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WAR & PEACE

On the day that England and Wales voted to leave the European Union, I am starting this group as a place for political comment. The aim is to create a space where all and any issue of current affairs in the world can be discussed from a spiritual perspective.

Members: 53
Latest Activity: Sep 13

Discussion Forum

REFLECTIONS ON OUR INABILITY TO CHANGE

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by David Brazier Sep 13. 6 Replies

The basic problem for the world at the moment is that we have had an economic system that has kind-of worked for several hundred years but is reaching its sell-by date, but, as yet, we have no credible alternative on offer. The fact of reaching an…Continue

COULD THERE BE AN UPSIDE TO THE VIRUS?

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by Paul Overend May 14. 2 Replies

Despite the grief, anxiety and disruption, there could also be an upside to the virus if it made people realise what matters and is essential and what is froth.  During lock-down, the carbon foot print will shrink.  Life becomes simpler.  Although…Continue

BREXIT IS UPON US

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by Robert McCarthy Jan 15. 1 Reply

Brexit is coming.  The government have decided that the best bet for UK survival in the coming times of economic crisis will be to hang onto American coat tails rather than club together with Europeans to withstand the hurricane when it comes. I…Continue

Tags: crisis, economic, EU, Brexit

DOOM AND SMALL HOPE

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by David Brazier Aug 21, 2019. 6 Replies

I may be wrong. I am not an economist and even the experts cannot predict with certainty. However, as I have said before, I think we are on the brink of an economic crash. What is different about this crash is that we have not really recovered from…Continue

BREXIT - A POETIC APPRECIATION

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by Massimo Tomassini Aug 11, 2019. 2 Replies

BREXITBrexit’s not a cereal to eat before your lunch; not a tasty, crispy treat that you can bite and crunch. Brexit is catastrophe that hits you in the wallet and if you are a business man you feel it like a bullet.It does not care for industry,…Continue

WOULDN'T IT BE NICE

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by Massimo Tomassini Jul 3, 2019. 1 Reply

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world wherebig countries did not exploit and plunder weaker countrieswhen people have to leave their homes because of war, climate change or economic disaster, other people welcomed and helped themtorture and child…Continue

NOTES ON BRITISH POLITICAL PARTIES

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by Dayamay Dunsby Jun 2, 2019. 3 Replies

The Brexit Party. This is the successor to the UK Independence Party. It is difficult to see UKIP ever becoming a significant force again while Nigel Farage leads the BP. However, despite its name, the BP is not a party, it is a business company.…Continue

SOME PESSIMISTIC THOUGHTS

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by David Brazier Feb 25, 2019. 2 Replies

It is notable how symptoms of social disintegration have been multiplying recently. The politics of the UK and of the USA have not been so turbulent for a long time; France is in the grip of rather chaotic public demonstrations the objective of…Continue

WHY THE BREXIT "NEGOTIATIONS" ARE A FIASCO

Started by David Brazier Jan 30, 2019. 0 Replies

A basic problem is that the British side is run by politicians and the European side by bureaucrats. As a sweeping generlisation, politicians do not mean what they say, are willing to vote tactically and to change allegiance when it suits whereas…Continue

TRICK OR TRUMP

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by David Brazier Jan 11, 2019. 2 Replies

Someone has asked me my opinion about the US government shutdown.Well, I have opinions, for what they are worth, about several aspects of this lamentable situation.1. Trump is not without justification. He campaigned on the issue of the wall. It was…Continue

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Comment by David Brazier on August 2, 2020 at 9:16

Buddhist ethics are not fundamentally rule based.  The rules - precepts - that exist in Buddhism point out and describe the behaviour of a person of faith and can act as a yardstick by which one can judge where one’s faith has faltered, but the rules are not the foundation.  They are a secondary formation.

Buddhist ethics are not consequentialist in the sense of utilitarianism, since they are not based on a calculation that the ego mind is capable of making. Consequentialism plays a part in a person finding faith through seeing the disadvantage of not doing so. Refuge springs from despairing of self. But this is not consequentialism in the normal sense.

In terms of the common Western categories, Buddhist ethics could be seen as  closest to a virtue ethics system, but, in fact, the virtues do not really become the possession of the individual.  We can loosely say that this person is wise and compassionate, but the person him or herself does not feel so.  They simply rely upon their refuge faith.  

We could, perhaps call them a "second nature ethics", since when one has despaired of self-justification and gone through the contrition of facing the consequences of self-centredness, one might truly take refuge, abandon self-power and find a new centre of gravity outside of oneself in which "the myriad dharmas come forth to enlighten one" unceasingly.  In that state (that in Japanese Buddhism is variously called shinjin, satori or kensho), behaviour that a third party observer might call ethical becomes second nature.

Comment by Paul Overend on July 28, 2020 at 17:47

In a recent Saturday online (zoom) discussion, the issue of Buddhist approach to war and the use of violent force in protecting peoples (e.g., from genocides) was raised and discussed. I found this interesting and thought provoking.

Two or three ethical approaches or philosophical positions were raised and briefly exposited, which in the terms of Western ethics can be categorised as follows:

1) deontological (Rule-based ethics, as found with Kant) - that there is a fundamental Buddhist principle of not killing listed in the five precepts. Applying this leads Buddhists to pacifism.

2) consequentialism (a utilitarian approach to ethics) that some genocides need to be prevents, as with National Socialists, in Rwanda (and Rohingya). We noted though that not all consequences can be known, but inaction may be a failure to apply the principle of no harm.

3) virtue ethics (Aristotle) that we live intentionally, mindfully, shaped by the sangha,  and this forms our character, but that we then need to make difficult choices in future times from the practice of inhabiting virtuous ways. This may not lead to easy decisions, but prepares us to make them. This approach arises from a western philosophical framework, however, and tends towards being rather individualistIc.

It may be that as Westerners we framed the discussion according to those categories, or maybe it was me who familiar with those frames of references was pigeonholing the positions others were outlining. I just wonder though are there non western approaches that differ from these.

I know that within Christian ethics there has been the development of an ethics of a ‘liturgical theology’ that asks what sort of moral formation of the ‘Eucharistic community’ do the liturgical practices of welcoming, confessing, praising or celebrating, reading sacred writings, and giving thanks over bread and wine, of receiving these together to be shaped (re-membered) as the ‘body of Christ’. This approach has been enlightening in contemporary Christian critiques of Western Philosophical ethics, and so it made me wonder, therefore, how do Buddhist ritual, meditation, and the practice of nembutsu calling on the Buddha Amida give moral formation to the Buddhist sangha.

Would anyone like to explore that question? Or is there another more Buddhist (non-Christian) Critique of Western philosophical approaches to ethics?

Comment by Nati on July 15, 2016 at 10:44

With a great sadness and a heart full of tears, I pray for all of those families, and people directly involved in this disgrace in Niza. I also pray for all of us, who are sharing this world nowadays, that the Light  guide  our pace.

Namo Amida Bu

Comment by Michele Phelps on June 26, 2016 at 18:47

It is out of chaos that opportunity manifests...we just have to have the eyes to see it...

Comment by Marjolaine on June 25, 2016 at 9:15

I am unclear if democracy can be undemocratic. Hope they can mend and create wholesome answers to true issues. The old Europe is long gone, the current situation does call for pragmatism. Like the swiss never wanted to be in Europe, but managed a half independent Schengen consensus situation, understanding that their impoverished european clients will not be able to come with an expensive swiss currency. Buddhism really is the only answer to everything.

We need collective answers to terrorism prevention and maybe we are not all guilty of all the politics, problems from elsewhere tend to come over here. And we do not need more borders and walls, we need humanitarian answers and not be intimidated by guys like Donald Trump and their clubs.

They should inform instead of misinform and maybe the impression that Brussels rules our world is out of perspective. I do not believe that so called our territories will be any worse because of immigrant input in the future and we must agree on a humanitarian common ground. Name Amida Bu.

Comment by Marianne Jacuzzi on June 25, 2016 at 1:43

I feel shocked and saddened by the result of the referendum. Though I knew it would be a close vote, I really expected more from the UK. Europe certainly has its problems, but the way to deal with them is from the inside, remembering what the EU is about in its essence and how much has gone into its formation. The EU stands for a vision of peace and harmony. It was born out of the devastation of WWII, with countries broken from that horror looking towards a better future. I never thought Britain would turn its back on that vision. However, the result is the result, unfortunately. And though I believe it was the wrong choice, I’m heartened by the fact that nearly half the population voted to remain.

Being in California for the summer, I watched the results come in from beginning to end, glued to the BBC on my phone. As I listened to the refrains repeated over and over by the “Leave” side, things like, “We want our country back.  We want to govern ourselves. We want our borders back,” I could not help remembering that only a few generations back this was the country that felt it had some kind of God-given mandate to govern much of the rest of the world.  Those were the days when “the sun never set on the British Empire”, when borders were stretched to encompass more lands to control. Much of the trouble in the world today, in the Middle East and other places, has its roots in the problems created by European colonialism. The history is complex, obviously, but the connection is there. Now it’s all coming home to roost. 

I just hope the rest of Europe does not succumb to the far right, with its rhetoric of xenophobia and its desire to retreat into narrow nationalism. I see a similar phenomenon here in the USA too, with the popularity of Trump. Though his vulgar style sets him apart, his rhetoric mirrors much of what the “Leave” side stands for.  Rather, I hope the sad occasion of Brexit galvanises the rest of Europe to make our union of peace and friendship stronger and better than ever. We can’t let the vision die!

Who knows what might happen next???? Maybe Scotland will vote to leave the UK in order to stay in the EU.  Maybe Northern Ireland will too, joining with the Republic to form at long last a United Ireland. With both Ireland and Scotland strongly European, maybe Dublin will take over London’s role as the English-speaking gateway to the continent, becoming a major centre for international finance and business. Maybe the island of Ireland, with its forward-looking youth and its tradition of the 100,000 welcomes, will become a major player in a prosperous new Europe! Then a few years later, perhaps the bit of Britain still left will wake up and wonder if it all wasn’t just a bad dream. 

Comment by Robert McCarthy on June 25, 2016 at 1:05

I have been really distressed not only about our collapsing ecology, savage climate change and species cruelty but about how little concern people really seem to have as evident in how little change people make in their living or how passionately discussions are entered into.

Evoke nationalism and their is plenty of passion.  Although I was born in Australia and live there I hold contempt for our political institutions.  We shared in the English plunder of the world and very much serve the English speaking warmongering currently lead by the us. I do not identify as a member of any such alliance.

To me Britain has been used by the us as their deputy in Europe- To serve the us agenda of destabilising Russia primarily.  Europe may become more peaceable without Britain's presence; it may now grow much closer to Russia. A combined Europe and Russia is a far better prospect for world peace than what existed before yesterday.

A power vacuum is frightening to those who feel reassurance from seeing hegemony working. Much needs to be undone, almost all of our political and economic institutions.  Europe, like all the wealthy western power systems, holds peoples goodwill through the greed of surplus wealth creation. We need to let go of much of that and hugely simplify how we all live.

Comment by David Brazier on June 24, 2016 at 20:55

Regarding Cecile's comment that "the voters decision is always right", I appreciate that one must follow constitutional rules, but voters are, in fact, often wrong. Firstly, there are plenty of examples, like the election of Hitler. Secondly, the electorate can never be full informed, especially on issues of international relations. Thirdly, votes depend upon who is included. It does appear that if the voting age had been two years of age lower the vote would have gone the other way. Broadly speaking, young people voted to remain and older people voted to leave. the problem wioth democracy is that one part of the population imposes its will on the other simply on the basis of numbers. This is why it does not work in tribal cultures, for instance, where the biggest tribe automatically wins. Unfortunately, there is no perfect system. In UK we now have a peculiar situation where the electorate has a majority of one course and the parliament has a majority for the other one. It is difficult to see how this can be resolved without another general election or by the future of the country being negotiated by a minority group within parliament that does nor command majority support in the House. Very difficult.

Comment by Andrew on June 24, 2016 at 17:47
I think that a lot of people didn't understand the pros and cons. The people of the U.K. Have been let down by the politicians who should have been giving real statistics and arguments for staying and leaving. This would have empowered the people they are supposed to represent. A chance to give real choice where the democratic process could have been used to motivate and enable debate has been missed. It was replaced with egotistical career builders thinking of themselves. I hope that they may learn that to be a leader takes great skill and you must put the people you lead at the heart of what you do.
Comment by Nati on June 24, 2016 at 17:34

What a sad surprise!!...I also hoped that “Bremain” was the final result. It is really sad but it is also a sort of new that fits perfectly with the rest of things happening these last days and months everywhere…Problems with money and identity are exploding in our face. I feel our culture like a “waxwork”, with a solid appearance but also, with something old and tired burning inside, attracting chaos and turmoil.

I think that this feeling of separation responds to that strong ego struggling for money, security and identity, which nowadays is showing its most obvious face. War and Peace together are bringing chaos and surely this represents our own dukkha. From chaos, sometimes, something new appears, from dukkha an opportunity appears… It is a time of a great risk. Even here, in politics, a more hearted approach (or” full of heart”, I am not sure how it is said) would be needed

Thanks for the invite.

 

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