Buddhist perspectives on society and culture


Buddhist perspectives on
society and culture

Only too often, human beings’ enjoyment of the infliction of pain on other human beings is associated with a definite ideology, whether that of Nazism, nationalism, dogmatic religion, Communism, or the Hindu system of hereditary caste.

Suffering can be inflicted not only by bodily action, whether direct or indirect, but also by means of speech or writing, which can be harsh, abusive or defamatory. It may pour ridicule or find expression in a supposed ‘joke’.

To the extent that one deliberately inflicts suffering, and especially when one enjoys inflicting it, one is to that extent morally evil. This is not, of course, the whole story. One is also morally good and can enjoy making other people happy even to the extent of devoting one’s whole life to their welfare. Though there is a great deal of suffering in the world, much of it is due not to natural evil but to the morally evil behaviour of other people, especially as supported by this or that ideology. It is not enough, therefore, that we should seek to popularize mindfulness and mettā, desirable as this may be. We have also to demolish the wrong views that undergird morally evil behaviour, and I suspect that the work of demolishing them will be one of Triratna’s main tasks for a long time to come.”

Sangharakshita A Passage to America
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