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tranquillity and equality as well. In such society, the law can be enforced
in the full scale, and the religious teachings can be applied effectively.
But how justice arises and how justice can be achieved and implanted in
the global community are the ‘everlasting’ questions pending solution by
the religions, legal instruments, education systems as well as by human
beings themselves. This chapter is going to deal with the Buddhist
concept concerning justice, the Buddhist approaches to create justice and
the Buddhist contributions to social justice in the society.

3.10.1 What is Justice?

Although “justice” is sometimes used synonym for “law” or
“lawfulness,” it has a broader closer to “fairness.”

As it has been explained in the Encyclopedia of philosophy edited
by Paul Edward, Justice presupposes people pressing claims and
justifying them by rules or standards. This distinguishes it from charity,
benevolence, or generosity. No one can claim alms or gifts as a right.
However, although this account is appropriate to questions of distributive
justice, where the problem is to allocate benefits, it is not so obviously
true of corrective (or retributive) justice. It is farfetched to describe a
criminal trial as a conflict between an accused man’s interest in being let
alone and the community’s interest (if it has one) in punishing him.
Nevertheless, sentencing criminals and giving judgment in favor of one
party to a dispute rather than another have this in common with
distribution- that they all may involve overriding a claim and treating one
person more harshly that another. All presuppose general principles by
which such distinctions are regulated and justified.


Aristotle’s analysis of justice is the key to its meaning at the level
of the particular act or decision. Justice, he said, consists in treating
equals equally and unequals unequally, but in proportion their relevant
differences. This involves the idea like impartiality and right to equal

Mill sought to reconcile retaliataive justice with utilitarianism,
arguing that the natural impulse to retaliate is moralized as a sentiment of
justice by confining it to those cases where the injury is to society at large
and where retaliative justice has a useful deterrent function. However,
although the duty of reciprocity may spring from our recognition of other
men, just as much as ourselves, as persons with interests and claims
deserving of respect, we cannot infer from that a duty to attack their
interests whenever they attack either our own or even those of society at

Alf Ross, for instance, has declared that to use the word “just” as a
description of a rule or general order, rather than of a particular decision
in accordance with the
rule is merely to express emotion, like “banging
on the table.”

Hobbes is often said to have been a positivist because he
maintained that “just” and “unjust” presuppose a coercive power capable
of enforcing obligations and that no complaint of injustice could be made
against the sovereign legislator. But since he admitted that the sovereign
may act inequitably, that is, contrary to natural law, canons of legal
criticism beyond positive law do exist; it is only that the subject is not
entitled to use them.


The strength of the conventionalist position is illustrated by
Rawls’s view of a just order as that body of principles that anyone might
recognize as in his interest to maintain, given that others on whose
acquiescence he depends, have interests that conflict with his own.
Although the rules might appear to discriminate against him on some
given occasion, he would be able to see the point, nevertheless, of having
those rules. This was, broadly, Hume’s opinion. Justice, he geld, was
conventional in the sense of being necessary to society. Though there
were discrepancies in detai
l, men’s ideas on justice corresponded in
essentials because they arose from needs common to all social
saturations. These rules were binding by custom and convention but were
justified by their public utility.

Rawls has challenged the view that a practice is just if it answer
most fully to wants and interests. Justice is not the outcome but is
presupposed by such a calculation. Any interest not compatible with
justice ought not to be counted. Classical utilitarianism is at fault,
according to the Rawls, because it permits one to give as a reason why
slavery is unjust that the advantage to the slave holder does not outweigh
the disadvantages to the slave and to society at large. Justice, understood
as fairness, would not admit to the calculation the advantages of the
slaveholder as such because hid role could not be mutually acknowledge
as part of an acceptable practice by all parties involved. It would not be
thought relevant for one person, engaged with another in a common
practice and accused by him of injustice, to answer that nevertheless it
allowed of the greatest satisfaction of desire


Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, one of greatest political and intellectual
personalities of India, elucidated the concept of social justice as follows:
“Social justice as a guiding and evaluative principle is always dynamic
because it takes stock of the changing situation and suggests the abolition
or modification of unjust custom, tradition and social structures to
promote the welfare of the people and the preservation of rights of the
poor and weaker section of society” (Gokhale, Ed. 2008, p.87)

3.10.2 Buddhist concept of Justice

The term “Justice” is possibly equivalent to a Pali word of
“Yuttidhamma”or “Yuktidharma” in Sanskrit, which means ‘
the principle
of impartiality
’ or ‘the righteous principle on which the treatment of
either man-to-man or man to his fellow beings even his surroundings is
based and kept in balance
’. Justice is abstract and difficult to understand.
To make clear what justice is requires the explanation in the opposite
term, i.e., to talk about ‘prejudice’ or ‘partiality’. According to Buddhism,
there are four kinds of prejudice, consisting of the prejudice caused by
‘Love’(Chandagati), ‘Hatred’(Dosagati), ‘Delusion’(Mohagati) and
‘Fear’(Bhayagati). This sounds quite different from the concept in
general which holds that there are just 2 kinds of prejudice, namely,
‘Love-based prejudice’ and ‘Hatred-based prejudice’. There is no need to
elaborate the first two kinds of prejudice as they have already been well
acquainted to all. It is worth to explain the last two kinds: the prejudice
caused by delusion and that caused by fear.

It is admitted that in the context of decision-making, the all-
embracing knowledge, experiences, perfect information and thorough
consideration (
Yoniso manasikara) are needed, not to mention the
‘SWOT’ (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis,


which cannot be absolutely overlooked. In spite of this, some failures
sometimes still arise. Specifically, should discrete appraisal or Yoniso
manasikara is to be accepted, what will happen is very horrible to imagine
of. The delusion (
Moha) or, in another word, lack of knowledge,
experiences and information that are sufficient and supportive, leads to
the rise of prejudice, either intentionally or unintentionally. Another
element that significantly influences the decision-making procedure is
‘fear’ (Bhaya), or the decision made under the pressure staged by an
influential person or group like political as well as interest groups that
exercise their power to the extent that the decision made is distorted.
These two kinds of prejudice, it can be said, may bring about, to the
society, negative effects which are more aggravated than those caused by
love and hatred.

As a matter of fact, Buddhism is the religion of ‘wisdom’. Thus, in
all the practical processes ranging from the beginning to the highest level,
wisdom is an inevitable agent, lack of which the result will be otherwise.
Moreover, ‘Bhaya’ or fear is, of course, nothing but an external power
that threatens the decision-making or Dhamma-practicing process. It can
be compared to an ‘ill-wisher’ or ‘Mara’ in Pali term, who is always
attempting to find chance to either tease or tempt the practitioners to go
astray and, at last, fail to achieve their goal.

Then it can be defined here that the treatment process that is
deprived of the above-mentioned four kinds of prejudice is called

As an atheistic religion, Buddhism denies the existence of God or
any external power that is believed to determine the fate of man as he


wishes, whilst guaranteeing human competency in respect of self-
development, self-reliance and future-
shaping through man’s own action,
i.e., the ‘Law of Kamma’ or, in other word, the ‘Law of Cause and
Effect’. A Buddhist proverb says, ‘As a farmer reaps whatever crop he
grows, so man is due to receive whatever result of his own action, either
wholesome or unwholesome. If he does good action, he is due to receive
good result, and vice versa
’. There are more of the Buddha’s sayings in
the Pali Text confirming the principle, for example,

-‘It is your duty to make your own effort. I am merely the pointer of
the way.’

-‘Have yourself as your own refuge, O Bhikkhus, and do not have
others as such. Have the Dhamma as theirown refuge, and do not have
others as such.’

In the Vasettha Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya (the Pali Text of Middle-
Length Discourses) dealing with two young Brahmans named Vasettha
and Bharadavaja who had a controversial attitude in respect of ‘pure
’ according to the caste system in Hiduism, and decided to take the
case to the Lord Buddha for judgment, the Lord Buddha said (in Pali),

‘Na jacca vasalo hoti na jacca hoti brahmano.
Kammuna vasalo hoti
kammuna hoti brahmano.’
(Not by his birth man is an outcaste or a Brahman;
Only by his own Kamma man becomes an outcaste

or a Brahman.)

Moreover, it is unbelievable that even in the community of those
who believe in a theistic religion, there still exists a proverb saying like
God helps those who help themselves.’


3.10.3 Buddhist Approach to Justice

The introduction of the law of Kamma instead of the external power
exercised by god or gods, which was, at the inception of Buddhism, the
major powerful faith occupying the entire society emphasized the role of
the Lord Buddha in a courageous attempt to create the justice-based
society in the subcontinent. The first evidence can be detected from the
principle of belief laid down for the new-comers to Buddhism that starts
with (1) belief in
Kamma or one’s own action, (2) belief in effect of
Kamma, (3) belief that one is due to reap the effect of Kamma he has
already done, and (4) belief in the Exalted One’s enlightenment. There
may be some argument that the last of the four beliefs is distinctively an
element of faith in external power, the answer to which is that Buddhists
are not taught to believe in the Lord Buddha as Almighty God who solely
possesses the power to determine man’s fate, but, on the contrary, taught
to believe in what had been enlightened by the Lord Buddha through His
insight-wisdom like the Four Noble Truth, the Noble Eight-fold Path and
so on.

Another example lies in the revolutionary teaching in aspect of the
caste system to be substituted by the virtue-oriented system as the Lord
Buddha once said in the
Ambattha Sutta in Digha Nikaya (the Pali Text
of Lengthy Discourses) that ‘To those who are troubled with birth and
caste, the caste of monarchy is considered supreme. However, he who is
perfect in the principle of knowledge and the code of conduct is supreme
among celestial and human beings.

Not only does Buddhism expect the availability of justice among the
human community, but even the animal world as well as natural


surroundings should also enjoy the virtue. Take for example the re-
interpretation of the five Brahmanical sacrifices in light of Buddhism.

1. Assamedha that means the horse sacrifice was changed to
Sassamedha, the meaning of which is the knowledge in the development
of rice or agricultural products.

2. Naramedha that means human sacrifice was reinterpreted as
Purisamedha meaning to render help to the people instead of killing them.

3. Sammapasa that formerly implied a series of sacrificial rites
in connection with a hoop or noose was re-interpretted as a philanthropic
movement implemented by the government or head of a community in
the form of a moral hoop or noose to fasten the minds of the people with.

4. Vajapeyya that means the immolation of seventeen kinds of
animal in the sacrifice, the meaning of which was cha
nged to ‘drinking
the water of wholesome speech.

5. Niraggala formerly implying the wholesale slaughter of both
human beings and animals was newly defined as the abolition of all
obstacles or crimes to the extent that people are so peacefully content and

Above all, the justice in the Buddhist concept that transcends all
kinds of the justice as earlier mentioned is
the justice toward one’s own
self, viz. the perfect liberation of one’s mind off the influence of
defilements or Kilesas, which is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. It is


considered an absolute prejudice toward his own self so far as man lets
himself fall under the yoke of defilements, the cruellest master, and
become their faithful servants. Once the Lord Buddha said, ‘Be hurry, O
Bhikkhus, to paddle your boat till it shall reach the other side of the river

3.10.4 Buddhist Contributions to Social Justice

Through its long history of over 2550 years, Buddhism has
contributed so much to the social justice, beginning with the destruction
of the caste system which resulted in the equilibrium of human beings in
consistence with the proverb that says, ‘All men are born equal’, and
introduction of the virtue-oriented system in its place, followed by the
challenging admission of ladies to get ordained as Bhikkhuni, which
means nothing but upgrading the status of females to be equal to that of
males, despite the fact that the problem of equal rights between men and
women still remains unanswerable so far in the age of globalization.

There exist more evidences in the issue, to mention just few as

-The establishment of the ‘Law of Cause and Effect’ implies the
denial of the existence of God, the source of the external power, that may
effect the prejudice because of love, hatred, delusion and fear as earlier

-The seniority system applied in the ecclesiastical circle, regardless
of whatever category of birth they belong to, guarantees the fundamental


nature of Buddhism that places a significant emphasis on the accumulated
virtues by means of doing good or wholesome actions.

-The self-development steps that begins with the control of physical
and verbal behaviors or
Sila (Precept), followed by the control of mind or
Samadhi (Meditation) and culminating with Panna (Insight-wisdom)
ensures the self-
purification process that must be performed by one’s own
self, not by others nor any external power, as says a Buddhist verse,
Suddhi asuddhi paccattam nanno nannam visodhaye’ (purity and
impurity is the matter of an individual; one can, by no means, purify

3.10.5 Buddhism and Human Rights

Notions of rights derive from ethical principles. There is a clear
convergence between Buddhist ethics and modern discussions on human
rights, particularly in the common focus on responsibility and
indivisibility/interdependence. The non-dual understanding of Buddhism
gives rise to an ethics of inter-responsibility, or Bodhicitta - what His
Holiness the Dalai Lama calls Universal Responsibility. In the Theravada
we speak of Samma-sankappa or Right Thought, which leads to Bodhi,
the Awakened Mind. This principle is expressed in everyday terms by the
teaching of loving-kindness, non-violence, compassion, and particular
responsibilities. For monks and nuns these are set down in the rule or
Vinaya; for lay people in the Sigalovada Sutta and for rulers in the

All human beings, according to Buddhism, are equal, and each has
the potential to realize the truth by his or her own will and endeavour, and


can help others to realize it. Buddhist concepts recognize the inherent
dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings. The
teaching of the Buddha holds that all human beings are endowed with
reason and conscience. It recommends a Universal spirit of brotherhood
and sisterhood. Buddhist theory holds that the “three poisons” of hatred,
greed and delusion are at the root of violence in the world, and that the
solution is for us to see so deeply into these factors that we are no longer
dominated by them.

In the early, organic, societies the Buddha was addressing, these
specific responsibilities were assumed to be adequate guidelines for
human behaviour, with no need to identify the corresponding rights. In
modern, fragmented societies, however, where the fulfillment of
responsibilities cannot be guaranteed by the immediate community, these
guidelines or skillful means (upaya) have been supplemented by
corresponding rights. These are specified and protected by States and
International Organisations. In large part these bodies derive their
legitimacy from their promotion and protection of human rights. A State
which does not guarantee the enjoyment of human rights by its people
loses its claim to legitimacy.

Buddhism is widely regarded as the most tolerant of all religious
traditions. However, Buddhist countries like Sri Lanka, Burma, and
Cambodia have seen some of the highest levels of religious and ethnic
intolerance in the world, with Buddhists among the main perpetrators. In
other places it is Buddhists who are persecuted by the State, which fears
the influence of Buddhism on the people. In Burma, Tibet and Viet Nam,
for instance, thousands of Buddhists (especially monks and nuns) have
been persecuted, with well-documented instances of torture and


executions. In Tibet most of the country’s monasteries have been

The depiction of rights as simply a Western invention fails to
understand the relationship of rights to responsibilities and ethical norms.
The central values of all societies are very much the same. All ethical
systems encourage people to respect each other, and discourage killing,
violence and so on. Rights are skilful means designed to assist the
implementation of these ethics.

Human Rights discourse has moved on during the past 50 years
and has expanded and enriched the somewhat individualistic principles
set out in the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ which was adopted
and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10
December 1948. The dialectic of universalism and cultural relativism, for
instance, is an immensely creative process as well as a cause for countless
conflicts. The work since 1982 on the rights of indigenous peoples -
group rights - is another important development. The cultural, social and
political development of a nation is a dynamic process. The orientation of
the process should not only be based in our own roots and traditions, but
must also be shaped by innovative new ideas. Cultural diversity is a factor
that enriches the modern approach to human rights, rather than hindering
the universal respect for and observance of human rights.
( on 21/03/09)


3.10.6 Buddhism and political justice

The basis of political justice is that politically or economically
strongerpeoplemustnotbeempoweredtoviolatelegalsystem. Verilyin
Buddhism there is no explicit body of social and political theory
comparable to its psychology or metaphysics. Nevertheless, a Buddhist
political theory can be deduced primarily from basic Buddhism i.e. from
Dharma. Buddhism is of the view that political power is essential to
fashion and sustain a society whose citizens are free to live in dignity,
harmony and mutual respect, free of the degradation of poverty and war.
In such a society of good heart, all men and women find encouragement
and support in making the best use of their human condition in the
practice of wisdom and compassion

Political action, thus, involves the Buddhist ideal of approaching
each situation without prejudice, but with deserved circumspection in
questions of power and conflict, social oppression and justice. These
social and political conflicts are the great public
samsaric driving
energies of our life to which an individual responds with both aggression
and self-repression. The
Buddha Dharma offers the possibility of
transmuting the energies of the individual into wisdom and compassion.

This may indicate that Buddhist movement was mainly concerned
with ethical advancement and psychic illumination and not with political
affairs. Nevertheless, political repercussions did ensue from Buddhism. In
Brahmajala Sutta, Gautama Buddha emphatically states that he is
vitally interested in social cohesion and co-operation and in the act of
reconciling those people who are divided. Early Buddhism did have
significant political consequences. From the evidence of the Buddha’s


discourses, or suttas in the Digha Nikaya (Mahaparinibbana-sutta), it is
clear that early Buddhists were very much concerned with the creation of
political conditions favorable to the individual cultivation of Buddhist
values. An outstanding example of this, in later times, is the remarkable
“welfare state” created by the Buddhist emperor, Asoka (B.C. 274-236).
The Buddhist political justice enjoins special responsibility to the king.
As the head of state he must adhere to specific code of conduct, as he is at
the helm of affairs of the state. Buddha felt that the personal moral
conduct of the king, along with his officials, would be expressed in the
political affairs of the state. Thus, the righteous character of the state
would help in prevailing universal righteousness on earth. Hence,
deliverance through peaceful coexistence would become easily attainable
for all. In some passages of the Pali Texts a parallel has been drawn
between a Buddha and a monarch, as both held the same esteemed place
in the eyes of the people. The two have the same objective, i.e. the well-
being of people. Both are also an integral part of the ordinary empirical
existence, and the political good and well-being is assured through them.
Kutadana sutta of the Digha-Nikāya explains that the safety of the
people and their economic, as well as material prosperity should be of
special concern for the state and the government. Political power may
manifest and sustain social and economic structures, which breed both
material deprivation and spiritual degradation for millions of people.


Buddhists are, thus, concerned with political action, first, in the direct
relief of non-volitionally caused suffering now and in the future, and,
secondly, with the creation of social
karmic conditions favourable to the
following of the way that leads to the cessation of volitionally-caused
suffering, the creation of a society which tends to the ripening of wisdom
and compassion rather than the withering of them.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Buddhism is a single religion
that does recognize the competency of human beings to solve all the
problems confronting the world, no exception even to the problem of
prejudice or lack of justice. Justice can be developed through the
principle of the Buddhist Teachings. However, the propagation of
Buddhism is not effective enough in lack of active cooperation of all
Buddhist traditions and Sects. The Second World Buddhist Forum hosted
by the Chinese Buddhist Association with a strong support from the
Chinese Government, it can be said, will be accounted as a spring board
for the active and energetic spreading of
Buddhist Teachings as ‘Message
of Social Justice
’ to all corners of the world, with the joint attempt of all
Buddhists and Buddhist organizations, regardless of whatever tradition or
sect they are attached to. This is for the sake of peacefulness, happiness
and well-being of the world. ( retrieved on

3.11 The Righteous Rulers (of Buddhism)

To start, Buddha and Buddhism declared that righteousness
dhamma) and morality (sila) were the best choices for rulers, as they


would ensure a long, successful and popular reign. Whereas many
monarchs of Buddha’s time exercised extreme and often arbitrary power
over their subjects, there were a few who followed his teachings. The
best-known examples were Bimbisara, and Asoka. Data on Asoka are
numerous and detailed, so the researcher shall concentrate on him.
Furthermore, Buddhism was proselytised by Asoka.

One of the greatest emperors of all times, Emperor Asoka was a
Mauryan ruler whose empire spread across the Indian subcontinent and
the present day Pakistan and Afghanistan thus covering a vast area. Born
in 265 B.C, the great king Ashoka was the grandson of the famous ruler
Chandragupta Maurya. He is known as Asoka the Great since he was one
of the most able rulers who ruled India. Under his rule, the whole of India
was united as one single entity with smooth administration.

After his father died, he was crowned as the king of Magadha
around 268 B.C. After being crowned as the king, he proved himself by
smoothly administrating his territory and performing all his duties as an
able and courageous king. After a period of eight years of being a king,
Ashoka planned to seize the territory of Kalinga, the present day Orissa.
He led a huge army and fought a gruesome battle with the army of
Kalinga. The battle of Kalinga made him pledge to never wage a war
again. The battle took place on the Dhauli hills that are located on the
banks of River Daya. Though Ashoka emerged victorious at the end, the
sight of the battlefield made his heart break with shame, guilt and disgust.
It is said that the battle was so furious that the waters of River Daya
turned red with the blood of the slain soldiers and civilians.

The sight of numerous corpses lying strewn across the battlefield


made his heart wrench. He felt sick inside. The battle ground looked like
a graveyard with bodies of not just soldiers but men, women and children.
He saw young children crying over the bodies of their dead parents,
women crying over the bodies of their dead husbands, mothers crying
over the loss of a child. This made him heartbroken and he made a pledge
to never ever fight a battle again. To seek solace, he converted to
Buddhism. He was so inspired by the teachings of the Buddhist monks
and Buddhist philosophies that he used his status to impart this
knowledge all over the world. He is credited to be the first Emperor to
make a serious attempt at developing Buddhist policies.

Ashoka’s endeavour to proselytise Buddhism is seen through his
fourteen stone edicts, which were erected throughout Northern India, and
the great stone statues of Buddha in Bhamiyan, Afghanistan. From the
start, as evident in Edict I, Asoka (who called himself Piyadasi, or
“beloved of the gods”) established a policy of love and compassion:

One must not, here below, kill any living animal by
immolating it, not for the purpose of feasts. The King Piyadasi sees
much that is sinful in such feasts. Formerly, such feasts were
allowed; and in the
cuisine of King Piyadasi, beloved of the gods,
and for the table of King Piyadasi, beloved of the gods, hundreds of
thousands of living beings were killed every day. At the time when
this Edict id engraved, three animals only are killed for the table, two
pea-fowls and a gazelle, and the gazelle not regularly. Even these
animals will not be killed in the future. (Edict I, trans. by James
Prinsep. Romesh C. Dutt, 2004, p.92)

Edict II mentioned medicine within the empire and on the
frontiers thereof, “the Cholas, the Pandyas,” etc. and in the kingdom


of Antiochus, king of the Greeks.” (Ibid. p.93) Edict IV refers again
to the “slaughter of living beings.” Asoka also shows his gratitude
and respect to Buddhism “the religion spread
by the King Piyadasi,
beloved of the gods:”

“Thanks to the instruction of the religion spread by King
Piyadasi, beloved of the gods, there exists today a respect for living
creatures, a tenderness towards them, a regard for relations and for
Brahmans and Sramans, a dutiful obedience to father and mother,
and obeisance to aged men, such as have not existed for centuries”.
(Edict IV, trans. by James Prinsep. Ibid.)

Edict V speaks of the difficulty in performing virtuous acts. It is
worthy to note that conv
ersely Asoka acknowledged “to do evil is easy.”
Therefore, he established ministers of the religion or dharmamahamatras.
The dharmamahamatras were told to contact every sect in the empire and
with every race or tribe:

“They mix with all sects for the establishment and progress of the
religion, and for the well-being of the faithful. They mix with the
Yavanas, the Kambojas, the Gandharas, the Saurashtras, and the
Petenikas, and with other frontier (Aparanta) nations. They mix with
warriors and with Brahmans, with the rich and the poor and the aged, for
their well-being and happiness, and in order to remove all the obstacles in
the path of the followers of the true religion”. (Ibid. p.94) Edict VII
testifies to Asoka’s religious tolerance and pluralism. In t
his edict, he
declares sectarian freedom by granting protection; and in Edict VIII he
declares that his new livelihood is the visitation of aged and learned men,
as opposed to hunting, etc.:


“The King Piyadasi, beloved of the gods, ardently desires that all
sects may live (unmolested) in all places. All of them equally propose the
subjection of the senses and the purification of the soul; but man is fickle
in his attachments.” (Edict VII, Ibid. p.95)

“In past times, kings went out for pastimes. Hunting and other
amusements of the kind were their pastimes. Here below, I, King
Piyadasi, beloved of the gods, obtained true intelligence ten years after
my appointment. These then are my pastimes:-visits and gifts to
Brahmans and Sramans, visits to aged men, the distribution of money,
visited to the people of the empire, their religious instruction, and
consultation on religious subjects. It is thus that King Piyadasi, beloved of
the gods, enjoys the pleasure derived from his virtuous acts.” (Edict VIII,

The Asokan model of governance was informed by what Sen
(2005) terms a ‘foundational agnosticism and commitment to public
communication and discussion’ (Sen 2005: p.182).
Unlike, Emperor
Constantine who made Christianity the official creed of the Roman
Empire, Asoka never made Buddhism a state religion. Furthermore, by
his willingness to accept dissent and commitment to tolerance of other
faiths, Asoka looked upon sectarianism with strong disfavor (Ling 1973).
Following the precedents set by the Buddha, Asoka strove to ensure
‘religious freedom by supporting not just the Buddhist monks but ascetics
of other religious sects’ (Harvey 2000; p. 116); and also by striving to
negotiate differences through participation and consensus building
(Laksiri Jayasuriya, 2008, p.25) Jayasuriya concludes that Buddha
faboured democracy over monarchy because of equity and freedom
incumbent in it. The Buddha favoured democracy not just as a question of


the constitutional or legal right of equality and ‘the absolute worth of
theindividual’ but more as an affirmation of the moral obligation cast on
the individual to act within a code of conduct based on such values was
the ideal of human dignity, equality of respect and worth of the
individual. (Ibid.)

At this juncture, researcher will explore the Buddhist viewpoint
and approach to democracy.

3.12 Buddhist Approach to Democracy

Democracy understood as a way of thinking and acting implies a
rational commitment to
freedom, equality and tolerance in a pluralistic
society, profoundly open minded, if not agnostic. The Buddha saw that
life’s very purpose is happiness. He also saw that while ignorance binds
beings in endless frustration and suffering, wisdom is liberating. Modern
democracy is based on the principle that all human beings are essentially
equal, that each of us has an equal right to life, liberty, and happiness.
Buddhism too recognises that human beings are entitled to dignity, that
all members of the human family have an equal and inalienable right to
liberty, not just in terms of political freedom, but also at the fundamental
level of freedom from fear and want. Irrespective of whether we are rich
or poor, educated or uneducated, belonging to one nation or another, to
one religion or another, adhering to this ideology or that, each of us is just
a human being like everyone else. Not only do we all desire happiness
and seek to avoid suffering, but each of us has an equal right to pursue
these goals.
Buddhism is essentially a practical doctrine. In addressing
the fundamental problem of human suffering, it does not insist on a single


solution. Recognising that human beings differ widely in their needs,
dispositions and abilities, it acknowledges that the paths to peace and
happiness are many. As a spiritual community its cohesion has sprung
from a unifying sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. Without any
apparent centralized authority Buddhism has endured for more than two
thousand five hundred years. It has flourished in a diversity of forms,
while repeatedly renewing, through study and practice, its roots in the
teachings of the Buddha. This kind of pluralistic approach, in which
individuals themselves are responsible, is very much in accord with a
democratic outlook”.(Statement of H.H. the Dalai Lama, from
http// /news.350.html April 1993)

As we have mentioned in Chapter Two, earlier, Buddha may have
based the structure of his Sangha on the
principle which was
available. Data say that the republics attracted and interested him, so they
could have influenced him to form the Sangha. Recent information
supports this as democratic government was getting underway in Athens,
the First Buddhist Council convened in India. The Council, which met
about 480 BCE, give or take, was an exercise in democracy. (Retrieved
from on 17 March 2009. Date of Citation: 28 -10-

Robert Thurman, working in Bhutan, a Buddhist nation like
Thailand and Sri Lanka, affirms the similarities between Buddhism and
democracy as follows:

Buddhism has many principles that fit with democracy such as
individualism, allowing people to develop their own mind to the fullest


than having to serve whatever their duty is, parents, cast etc. This is very
much in consonance with democracy. Buddhism teaches each person to
have the opportunity to develop their own being towards enlightenment,
to the fullest extent in life. That is the highest thing in the society.
(Retrieved from http://www.kuensel on 17 March 2009. Date
of Citation: 21-11-2006).

3.13 Modern Democracies influenced by Buddhism

There is a consensus that Buddhism resembles democracy in
miniature. The Sangha, as we reported in Chapter 2, was based on the
republic system, which favoured Buddha Gautama and which he
taught a specific dharma. On this note, we shall look at Buddhist
approach to democracy. The principle countries we shall investigate are
Japan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Buddhism in these
countries appears to be more dynamic. Concerning
Republic of Korea,
history shows that it had established a Republic several times and
Buddhism was interrelated. Korea was originally one state until it was
liberated from the Japanese after World War II. Buddhism was non-
evident in the North due to the government practice of Soviet Socialism.
In the 1950s, Buddhism in the South Korea, called Republic of Korea,
prospered. It became more political as it aligned with various political
parties in the country. By the decade of the 1980s, ROK established its
first Buddhist TV station. During the Third Republic, Korean Buddhism
echoed the national ideology of Japan. In the Fifth Republic, headed by
Christian leader Chun Doohwan, it was downplayed and even criticized
as unprogressive. The Sixth Republic, under No Taewoo, revived it and
Buddhism continued to prosper. Until the present, Buddhism has been


existing side by side with Christianity. To attest to this information there
is the Korean analyst
Jae-ryong Shim, who has commented firstly about
the North-South divide and claims of demo racy in both states:

Thus far the governments or power holders in both North and
South claim that they run the countries in accordance with democratic
principles. But nobody believes the claims. Instead they are of the opinion
that the North is run by a dictatorship of the late Kim Ilsung and his heir
even after his demise, while the South is struggling to keep the balance
between the proclaimed democracy imposed upon it from the West and
the embedded tradition of paternalistic authoritarianism, perhaps the only
ideological contender to modern Western democracy. (Francis Fukuyama,
“Confucianism and democracy,” Journal of Democracy, April 1995, p.

Democracy was introduced only after the 1945 liberation from the
Japanese imperial-military rule by the occupying forces of the United
States of America, which happened to occupy and “democratize” the area
south of the 38th parallel in the Korean peninsula. Shin continues to
analyse/criticise the situation in a thesis, as follows:

The Buddhist political institution originally promulgated by the
Buddha Sakyamuni for the resident monks in the Sangha, the Buddhist
community of religious practitioners, had some seminal ideas and
practices similar to democracy. But the ideally democratic position with
which Buddhism began underwent many transformations in the course of
history. It is my task to summarize some major transformations in the
history of Buddhism, and to assess the relationship between Buddhism


and democracy in modern Korea. The reason why we have to confine our
talk to modern Korea is evident

Sri Lankan Buddhism is very pro-active. Sri Lanka is traditionally
the home of the last Sanghas of Gautama Buddha. The island was known
as Serendipity and Ceylon respectively before being called Sri Lanka. Its
activity there resembles the Israeli Zionist movement, which emphasized
homeland. The Sri Lankan Buddhists claimed similar right in the island
and even the monks, who took vows of non-violence, resort to fighting
and violence in the conflict.

The two remaining entries, Thailand and Japan, are the most
significant countries where Buddhism has been active.

In Thailand, Buddhism endeavours to propagate an ideal
government through the analysis of Venerable Buddhadasa Bhikku.
Buddhadasa was a respected and honored bhikku in Thailand. He
analyzed politics into equality and unity, through interdependence.
Buddhadasa actually coined the phrase “spiritual socialism” wherein the
individual loses self-centeredness and becomes socially aware. Some
scholars thought that Nirvana was actually a selflessness of this type and
that it was an original state of being. Buddhadasa agreed with this. Herein
he is quoted as defining politics
in the true sense: “spiritual or dharmic
socialism, namely a state where individuals act not out of self-interest but
out of regard for the common good.” (Donald K Swearer, p. 217-18)

In Japan, in contradiction to the state religion of Shintö, which was
a type of polytheism, Buddhism had established several socio-political
organisations. Shinto was a way of countering possible military


invasions but Buddhism asserted itself as the national religion and, in the
modern age, it sought reforms. Buddhism began to re-emerge after the
defeat of Japan, post World War II. However, the bhikkus practiced only
traditional measures. By the 1960s, new organisations developed. Among
them was the Nichiren Sokka Gakai.

Nichiren was a Buddhist saint who lived in Japan of the 13th
Century. Nichiren believed that national security depended upon
dhamma. He exemplified this in the Lotus Sutra. More recently, a modern
follower, Tanaka Chigaku, established that the Imperial Constitution
personified Nichiren’s teaching. In 1923, Seno Giro, another follower,
established the Buddhist Youth League based upon equality and
compassion. However, he disbelieved that Nichiren preached nationalism.
Nichiren’s Buddhism founded other new socio-religious organisations.
As mentioned above, one such organisation was the
Sokka Gakai. The
protest against the US-Japan Treaty in the1960s heightened the
organisation’s political action. The president of the Sokka Gakai was
Ikeda Daisaku. Under Daisaku, the organisations started its political
wing, which emphasised Buddhist democratic ideals-e.g., equality, fair
elections, parliamentary democracy. By 1964, it merged and formed the
Komeito or Clean Government Party. This party earned 24 seats in the
House of Councillors, which was the Upper House of Japanese



Chapter Three can be summarised as follows: Predominantly,
Buddha Gautama was not directly a, political reformer because his most
important concern was social ethics. Buddha spent his life after
asceticism recommending proper social interaction towards the goal of
social cohesion, unity and peace, to both monarchies and republics.
However, scholars have highlighted his interest in and attraction for the
latter. Among these latter republics, the Vajjians were well documented.

Towards the above-mentioned goals, he warned that solidarity and
unity as well as adherence to his dharma would guarantee their survival.
In contrast, his monarchical supporters included King Bimbisara. We
have recorded earlier that Ajatasatru had referred to him, but he used
Buddha’s counsel to his won advantage against the Vajjians. However,
data do not mention whether Ajatasatru conducted a siege of the republic
or not. [Some data mention that he colluded with Devadatta against
Buddha]. King Pasenadi might have listened to him as well.

From the basic introduction, the researcher has discussed the
concept of Kingship and the ten royal virtues prescribed by Buddha, or
Das Raja Dhamma(m). Buddha prescribed them against the
licenciousness of monarchs probably, such as Ajatasatru or Pasenadi. In
this unit, researcher has added data recorded in Bhutan. Asoka was
discussed in the following unit.

Concerning righteous monarchs, Emperor Asoka stands out as the
most historical and most admirable. A f
ull account of Asoka’s reign
including some important stone edicts is given in this unit. We


highlighted his compassion towards all living beings and his
magnanimity towards secular society under his rule. Asoka converted to
Buddhism due to his wartime experiences, which also induced him to act
more compassionately and to revile war and violence. However, due to
his fame, other monarchs had no data.

The researcher continued to examine Buddhist approach to
, although the democracy of Buddha’s lifetime did not
outwardly resemble the “Republic” of Plato. As mentioned earlier, data
from other scholars indicated that Buddha both was interested in the

or tribal republics and was welcomed among them as a teacher.
Their success at democracy inspired him to structure and regulate the
Sangha. Like these republics, the Buddhist Sangha was autonomous and
the bhikkus had rights and freedom similar to the denizens of the
republics. Vijayvardhan rermarks that “in its original form the Sangha
was an organized brotherhood of earnest minded men–and later women
also-who had dedicated their lives to the service of mankind. The
Vinaya Pitaka recommends solutions for disputes as well as monastic
disciplines but does not impose them strictly. This suggests B
humanism and pragmatism in contrast with the authoritarian regime of
other religions. Due to this similarity, the Asian democracies such as
Republic of Korea, Thailand, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, as well as Tibet,
have been investigated in this chapter. Bhutan and Thailand stand forth as
the closest in resemblance to Buddha’s concept of a republic governed at
the centre by a powerful but compassionate monarch, like Emperor
Asoka, or ‘dhamamraja.”

The public doesn’t need to wear heavy-duty respirators.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may soon agree with
this assessment; the agency currently states that healthy people do not
need to wear face masks unless they are caring for someone who is ill
with the new COVID-19.

said, the public does not need to wear face masks most of the time,
said Dr. Otto Yang, a professor in the Department of Medicine and the
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the
David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los

you’re out for a walk — in essence, going to a setting where you can be
at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) from other people, “then I think that not
having a mask is fine and that fits the CDC recommendations,” Yang said.
discussion about face masks has become a national conversation. Many
people in the public are buying face masks to protect themselves. But
health care experts have urged against hoarding, since these supplies
are desperately needed in hospitals. Even the U.S. surgeon general
tweeted “Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!”

CDC, it’s like they’re talking out of both sides of their mouth,” Yang
said. “One side of their mouth is telling the general public, ‘Hey, you
don’t need masks, forget about it.’ The other side is, ‘Health care
workers need to wear N95 respirators.’”

“Is that a double standard?” Yang said. “Are they valuing some people more than others?”

Droplets or aerosol

of the confusion about “masks versus N95 respirators” exists because so
little is known about COVID-19. At first, it wasn’t clear if the virus
spread predominantly through large respiratory droplets (like influenza)
or also through a fine mist, called an aerosol, which can linger for
hours (like measles). This great unknown made it unclear whether a
heavy-duty mask, known as an N95 respirator, which blocks the smallest
virus particles, or a regular surgical mask, which only blocks larger
droplets, was better suited to protect against the virus.

first, the CDC advised health care workers to wear N95 respirators
because it wasn’t clear whether COVID-19 could spread through aerosol. A
March 17 study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) seemed to
justify the fear of airborne spread, showing that the new coronavirus
SARS-CoV-2 could survive in the air for up to 3 hours as an aerosol.

Yang doesn’t see it that way. The new study showed that the virus was
viable as an aerosol in a lab, but not in real life, he said. In the
study, the researchers “took extremely concentrated virus, much more
concentrated than a person makes, they used an artificial aerosol
machine [a nebulizer], which probably generates way more aerosol than a
normal person does,” Yang said. “So their conclusions were in this
Are viruses alive?

researchers of that study looked at SARS-CoV-1 (the original SARS from
the 2003 outbreak) and SARS-CoV-2 and found that both could be aerosols.
“But we already know that the original SARS virus was not transmitted
that way,” in the general public, so that makes their model “not very
believable,” Yang said.

other words, except in certain hospital situations such as a
bronchoscopy, which essentially creates a fine mist of virus, SARS-CoV-2
is likely spread mostly through droplets, like the flu, Yang said.
That’s supported by a Feb. 24 case report in the Canadian Medical
Association Journal, which found a man sick with COVID-19 on a flight
from China to Canada in January did not infect his fellow passengers,
even though he had a dry cough during the 15-hour flight. The man was
wearing a face mask, but because no one else on the plane got infected,
this case “supports droplet transmission, not airborne, as the likely
route of spread of the COVID-19,” the researchers of the case study
it’s still unclear whether the virus can spread through aerosol. For
example, after the Skagit Valley Chorale in Washington met for rehearsal
on March 6, 45 of its members were diagnosed or showed symptoms of
COVID-19, at least three were hospitalized and two were dead within
three weeks, according to the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps the choir
singers’ forceful breathing as they sang dispersed the viral particles,
Jamie Lloyd-Smith, an infectious disease researcher at the University of
California, Los Angeles and a co-researcher on the NEJM study, told the
Los Angeles Times.

“One could imagine that really trying to project your voice would also project more droplets and aerosols, Lloyd-Smith said.

N95 respirator or face mask?

to the N95 respirator shortage, the CDC recently relaxed its
guidelines, saying that among health care workers, face masks were “an
acceptable alternative when the supply chain of respirators cannot meet
the demand,” except in situations when respiratory aerosols might be
produced, such as intubation or nebulizer treatments.

addition to the shortage, N95 respirators are challenging to put on.
Doctors receive annual training on how to mold the respirator around the
face. As a test, doctors put on a hood and have the artificial
sweetener saccharin sprayed in. “If you’re wearing the mask properly,
you don’t taste any saccharin,” Yang said. But most people do, he noted.

this reason, the N95 respirator isn’t recommended for the public, since
it requires training to put on properly. Moreover, the N95 respirator
is thick, so it’s hard to breathe through.

a nutshell, the public does not need N95 respirators; they likely will
not be in a situation where they’re exposed to aerosol of the virus, and
these masks are needed by health care workers who will, Yang said.

“There’s no reason for the general public to wear N95’s,” Yang said.

even regular face masks are in short supply, prompting the CDC to
recommend the use of bandannas and scarves when necessary. There’s not a
lot of research on homemade masks, but a small 2013 study found that
masks made from cotton T-shirts were effective, though not as good as
surgical masks.

surgical mask was three times more effective in blocking transmission
[of microorganisms] than the homemade mask,” the researchers of that
study found, who noted that homemade masks “should only be considered as
a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected

Tiny & nasty: Images of things that make us sick

people opting to use scarves and homemade masks, Yang recommended
washing them after every use, and to stop wearing them when damp from
breathing. Wearing eye protection, such as a face shield or goggles,
could also physically block the virus, said Yang and Dr. James Cherry, a
professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the David Geffen School
of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
a 1987 study Cherry did with colleagues, health care workers who wore
face masks or goggles were less likely to get respiratory syncytial
virus (RSV) from hospitalized children than doctors who did not take
these measures.

unlike Yang, Cherry agreed with the current CDC guidelines, and said
that except for certain exceptions, the public doesn’t need to wear face
masks, as did Dr. Jaimie Meyer, an infectious disease specialist at
Yale Medicine. That’s especially true given that the safest way to avoid
being exposed, or exposing others, is to simply stay home.
current CDC guidance says the general public does not need to be
wearing surgical masks,” Meyer told Live Science. “The best protection
is to focus on social distancing, hand-washing, not touching their faces
and bleaching high touch surfaces.”7,788,971,247Current World
Population-Recovered form COVID-19: 3,168,921

Do not Panic &
don’t kill yourself with unecessary fear. This posting is to balance
your news feed from posts that caused fear and panic.


Join to Spread Hope instead of Fear.The Biggest Virus is not COVID-19  but Fear!
”Pain is a Gift
Instead of avoiding it,
Learn to embrace it.
Without pain,
there is no growth”

are Happy, Well, and Secure having calm, quiet, alert, attentive that
is Wisdom and equanimity mind not reacting to good and bad thoughts 
with a clear understanding that everything is changing!

of democratic institutions (Modi) collected crores of rupees through
unconstitutional secret trust only to the remotely controlling
Foreigners thrown out from Bene Israel chitpavan brahmins of RSS (Rowdy
Rakshasa Swayam Sevaks who also collect in the name of Guru Dhashana.

Executive, Supreme Court, Parliament, Media must see that the funds
collected by unconstitutional way are distributed to the needy suffering
by hunger, unemployment, under employment by COVID-19 -induced Curfew 
‘draconian’ which has ended up decimating  the economy and flattened the
GDP curve.

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