Left philosophy and Buddhism

Sean Griffin

Ask yourself, is the politics and philosophy of the left compatible with Buddhism? Tibetans are both religiously and politically conservative. I can tell you, they aren’t big fans of leftist/marxist ideology! They are pretty universally capitalists, at least the ones I met in India, despite H.H’s ‘romance’ with communism.

Is demonizing the right compassionate? Do you think the Buddha would would indulge in any partisan sentiments? What do you think the Buddha would say about identity politics? What would he say about the so-called oppressed/oppressor power inequality? Did the Buddha try to get individuals or governments to disarm? Would Buddha condemn the patriarchy or the straight white male oppressor? Would the Buddha support feminism, marxism, or gender politics? Very controversial now – would the Buddha support a woman’s right to choose? Would the Buddha agree that religion is what’s wrong with the world? Would he say that science is fact? That empirical materialistic science can produce any real ethical values that support humanity without resort to any sort of transcendental or absolute truth?

Are you starting to see the politics of the left in a new light? Are you starting to see some commonality with the concerns of the oh-so-maligned Christians? Does Buddhism start to look slightly more compatible with conservative values?

I absolutely do not want to offend, only to bring some awareness to what seems like a given, that we Buddhists, being so compassionate, are of course going to mainly vote Democrat and support leftist politics.

I am not lionizing the right here; that’s not my intention. I still see myself as a liberal, though I feel my politics and those of many liberals have been moved to the right because the left has become so extreme. I will always remain an independent, as I feel this supports my values and my commitment to the dharma.

Fixed views are attachment. There can be no ideology that encompasses the dharma.