By : Sanjoo Thangjam
The Buddha had gone beyond all worldly affairs, but still gave advice on good government. The present political scenario signifies that since the last 15 years, the citizens of Manipur have been victimized in many different ways therefore, a lot of people have said or rather felt that it’s high time for a change.
Manipur to vote for change and development. But who is going to change? Is it going to be BJP or CONGRESS or us, the people?
Since something is better than nothing, and therefore the people cannot deny the fact that the Congress, during the last 15 years of its regime had done some good, bad and ugly works and any Tom, Dick and Henry can see and feel that therefore the Congress definitely have at least done something good, bad and ugly works and for that reason, they are not scared of the opposition at all,
But, at the same time, I think it’s high time that the Congress should also correspondingly start preparing answers for questions which, of course they will have no answers to answer for the uncountable number of questions that are going to be thrown upon them by whom? The Buddha knows and of course, we the public too also know to some extent. Voluminous people of Manipur have stated that they have given enough chances to Congress government since independent but the Congress betrayed the people of Manipur in many ways; especially rising the corruption rate, lack of development in the state, rising of unemployment rapidly and totally breakdown of law and order situation in the state.
Many citizens of Manipur are saying that BJP deserves at least one chance in Manipur for political reasons. Let the Congress prepare to accept their mistakes and move forward for a change.
However, it is also said that the people of Manipur will be happy to give a chance to Congress party when they realize their mistakes and when they are ready to serve the citizens of Manipur under the law of the land. On the other hand, many people say that they will not regret for giving a chance to BJP in this election.
I appeal to all the people that The Buddha bless the people of Manipur and its resources! The Buddha came from a warrior caste and was naturally brought into association with kings, princes and ministers. Despite His origin and association, He never resorted to the influence of political power to introduce His teaching, nor allowed His Teaching to be misused for gaining political power. But today, many politicians try to drag the Buddha’s name into politics by introducing Him as a communist, capitalist, or even an imperialist. They have forgotten that the new political philosophy as we know it really developed in the West long after the Buddha’s time. Those who try to make use of the good name of the Buddha for their own personal advantage must remember that the Buddha was the Supremely Enlightened One who had gone beyond all worldly concerns.
There is an inherent problem of trying to intermingle religion with politics. The basis of religion is morality, purity and faith, while that for politics is power. In the course of history, religion has often been used to give legitimacy to those in power and their exercise of that power. Religion was used to justify wars and conquests, prosecutions, atrocities, rebellions, destruction of works of art and culture. When religion is used to pander to political whims, it has to forego its high moral ideals and become debased by worldly political demands.
The thrust of the Buddha Dhamma is not directed to the creation of new political institutions and establishing political arrangements. Basically, it seeks to approach the problems of society by reforming the individuals constituting that society and by suggesting some general principles through which the society can be guided towards greater humanism, improved welfare of its members, and more equitable sharing of resources.
There is a limit to the extent to which a political system can safeguard the happiness and prosperity of its people. No political system, no matter how ideal it may appear to be, can bring about peace and happiness as long as the people in the system are dominated by greed, hatred and delusion. In addition, no matter what political system is adopted, there are certain universal factors which the members of that society will have to experience: the effects of good and bad kamma, the lack of real satisfaction or everlasting happiness in the world characterized by dukkha (unsatisfactoriness), anicca (impermanence), and anatta (egolessness). To the Buddhist, nowhere in Samsara is there real freedom, not even in the heavens or the world of Brahama.
Although a good and just political system which guarantees basic human rights and contains checks and balances to the use of power is an important condition for a happy in society, people should not fritter away their time by endlessly searching for the ultimate political system where men can be completely free, because complete freedom cannot be found in any system but only in minds which are free. To be free, people will have to look within their own minds and work towards freeing themselves from the chains of ignorance and craving. Freedom in the truest sense is only possible when a person uses Dhamma to develop his character through good speech and action and to train his mind so as to expand his mental potential and achieve his ultimate aim of enlightenment. While recognizing the usefulness of separating religion from politics and the limitations of political systems in bringing about peace and happiness, there are several aspects of the Buddha’s teaching which have close correspondence to the political arrangements of the present day.
(To be contd…..)
The writer is a lay Buddhist. He can be reached at [email protected]