Friday, February 16, 2007

Buddhist socio-political program

Let's open this post to analyze the essay below by the Dalai Lama, which can be construed as a a sort of socio-political program (from a Buddhist perspective). Though concise and simple in structure, this essay addresses fundamental problems of today's world, such as world peace, injustice, cooperation, the impact of technology, etc. Hannah Arendt used to say that politics was the realm of possibilities. If so, is this world-view any better than other alternatives?

9 comments:

Philosophy Club said...

as we disscussed in class many of the points he makes may seem naive, and unachievable, like the world leaders reuniong. what i got from his statements about the world problems, my understading of his approach to the problems is the main idea of looking a the things all of us have in common instead of our differences. for example the world leaders getting together: if they now eachother and now what they have in common we would relate with them and being enemies would be unlikely, but it will also is unlikely for world leaders to get together.

adam febles said...

In terms of what this worldview is promoting, it seems achievable yet at the same time too ideal. He talks of the long run and being able to come to global compromise over time, but I find it hard to get this movement of mindset even started for the short-run. There are countless human beings around the world and not every single individual is as open-minded as we’d like them to be. There are those who are extremists (or just those who are hard-headed) and are just not willing to change or alter or even add on to their own point of views, while others just don’t care and are more concerned with their own personal welfare. In terms of being able to thoroughly carry this proposal and concept throughout the world seems questionable, but the idea of balance of material development and human values seems like a good place to start.

Susana said...

The speech may seem idealistic and somewhat unrealizable, but the essence of it is pure wisdom. When he talks about “universal responsibility” we all know he is not referring to the American imperialistic outlook. Seemingly, he implies that first and foremost, we should understand the impact of our actions. The worst sin we have committed throughout time has been our apathy. Our lack of interest and understanding towards the environment and towards the less fortunate ones, to name a few, has emanated greater problems that could lead us to chaos eventually. Take for example the communist block that’s now rising in South America, the hatred and revenge of extremist groups in the Middle East, or the global warming crisis. These issues have all started for a reason, and most probably, the reason has been directly caused by our indifference. I don’t think he is taking an idealistic approach, but rather a realistic one that responds to the need of having a novel proposal. And, if it were pure idealism, then why not consider it? That is exactly what we need. We need ideals. We need to fix our compass and start a new journey. We need new leaders who can help revitalize our world with altruistic principles.

Alejandro said...

“The wiser course is to think of others also when pursuing our own happiness. This will lead to what I call ‘wise self-interest,’ which hopefully will transform itself into ‘compromised self-interest,’ or better still, ‘mutual interest.’”

Though other parts of this speech seemed na├»ve or idealistic, this part was very practical and, I would venture to say, egoistic. The Dalai Lama recognizes the need for nations to compromise, especially as they become increasingly interdependent in our global economy. He states that for nations to pursue their own best interests, they must consider the interests of other nations. He calls this “wise self-interest.” If both nations practice this, “wise self-interest,” it becomes “compromised self interest” or, ideally, “mutual interest.” This is not as easy as it sounds. It is wholly dependent on how much nations are willing to compromise and whether or not they are willing to compromise to the same to degree. For this to work, both nations must feel that what they are giving is equal to what they are receiving. So, it seems that even this simple, practical advice is not easy to follow, nor should it be. Diplomacy between nations is not easy; it is difficult and perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to have more idealist leaders with “Buddhist economics” in mind.

Antonella said...

I greatly enjoyed and agree with the Dalai Lama's buddhist program for world peace. It is a worldview that seems all the more obvious when blatently presented to the reader. It seems simple to solve problems by saying we miss compassion is it not? However it goes beyond that and I believe the Dalai Lama is trying to point out that what really matters is what comes from inside us, our selves. It seems that in our nature we are meant to bind together in a "family" community yet it is these outer factos such as technology that have altered our motives. Now, life has become easier to be dependent and have like he says "lost our touch with those aspects of human knowledge" and it is so that he mentions the importance of creating a balance between them (the material and the spiritual,human values).Interestingly enough he also points out that love and compassion are the "moral fabric for world peace" and many international relations experts would agree. Just last semester in International Relations class we learned that love is the one thing missing.Thus we may only hope and attempt to intertwine these concepts in our education and daily lives.

rovena said...

The Dalai Lama’s speech is as appropriate as it is coherent; however, on many levels it is very idealistic. According to the speech, one of the necessary conditions for world peace is a complete, worldwide change of perspective—a shift from a narrow view to a more comprehensive view. This would require that everyone, most importantly the world leaders, look beyond their short –term interest, and to try to analyze the possible consequences of their actions, and, lastly, to act accordingly to what would truly benefit them on the long run, not necessarily at the present. Although this seems to be quite logical, it is not very realistic, since one could say that it’s human nature to want to see immediate results.

d said...

When we try to figure out how to fix the world, it's quite easy to get stuck on developing methods and programs that will serve as some sort of futile panacea. However, in his speeech, the Dalai Lama suggests that the very fabric of society (love and compassion) is torn. Before implementing any plan to bring world peace, the hearts of the leaders of this world need to be changed. What good will it do if a peace treaty is finally negotiated between Israel and Palestine, but the enmity that has existed between the two for ages continues to persist. How will countries adopt a policy that is based on love and compassion? That's what I want to know.
-daniel

Joey S. said...

As we live in a world full on unending conflict, it is almost inconceivable for there to be even a whisper of the thought of universal peace. This bitter reality is the product of our extensive history of wars throughout the time we have documented. However, having a strictly pessimistic outlook on our world is precisely what we must stray from together. This is what the Dalai Lama is trying to express to our world leaders today. Even though his proposals seem to be unachievable and simply idealistic, they can be the basis of new type of ideology of politics in which cooperation and understanding can possibly be considered before any more war.

rey said...

To continue our discussion on what we spoke of last class, I just simply want to say that even though it is a beautiful idea, it is far from realistic. The reason I say this is because there is no way that world leaders will get together and spend time together. The reason i say this is because they have to much damn pride to analyze and realize their errors. They are people of pride that will not recognize their errors as rulers or leaders of their nations, and hence that pride of nationality is what will continue being the fuel for all this haterd amongst us. This is also impossible because of the simple fact that all and I mean all world leaders are highly influenced by their religions. Its true that all religions try for world peace. The thing is that if there is to be world peace all people must adopt the same religion and that creates a very huge problem. the reason for this is because we are all internally prejudice wether we accept it or not of other religions that are not our own.