Joined: Oct. 2009
||Posted: Oct. 02 2009,15:35
As a Buddhist myself, I was very interested to read the Dalai Lama say;
'Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned only with gain and profitability. (...) The failure of the regime in the former Soviet Union was, for me, not the failure of Marxism but the failure of totalitarianism. For this reason I still think of myself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist.'
'Don't believe that socialism is dead! This is just the materialist propaganda of neo-conservative diehard capitalists. Real socialism has never been tried on a large scale.
Socialism is the perspective and orientation that takes the good of society as a whole as central, rather than one's personal, individualistic good as all important. Thus, socialism is the opposite of the individualism with which we are brainwashed today.
For engaged buddhists, socialism must be rooted in and guided by Dhamma. Thus, we speak of "Dhammic Socialism." We are not talking abut the materialist monstrosities of centralized, dictatorial Stalinism. Dhammic
Socialism is not slavish conformism, for it respects and nurtures individuals. However, the individual's purpose in life is not merely its own pleasure or success. In Dhammic Socialism, the individual's purpose and meaning is found beyond its little "self" in society, nature, and Dhamma.'
I am not sure if Lenin (or Marx for that matter) knew anything about Buddhism. Because Buddhism is man-made, it can suffer from all the problems of religion, but yet at its core, it can not be considered a 'religion' as defined in the West in general, or Marxist critique inparticular.
Its core tenants are simply these;
1) There is no permanent self (anatta).
2) All is change (annica).
3) There is suffering caused by viewing things as permanent, in relation to an eternal 'self' (dukkha).
Through meditation, one learns to 'undo' the base ignorance, and free the mind from delusion - this state is termed 'nirvana'. Compassion (karuna), is the inevitable result of this journey. This is why I think Buddhism and Marxism are compatible.