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Some observers believe certain Buddhist teachings form a philosophical ground for anarchism.
Inferences drawn from the Three Universal Truths
Buddhism is rooted in three fundamental truths of the universe, the dharma seals, viz.:
* Everything is in a constant state of change, nothing is permanent. (anicca)
* That “suffering” exists everywhere in Samsara. (dukkha)
* That everything is devoid of a “self.” (anatta)
Thus, there can be no “perfect State.” Any man-made institution is impermanent as well as imperfect, as people and the world change constantly. Further, no material wealth or political power will grant people permanent happiness—unenlightened satisfaction is an illusion that only perpetuates samsara. Individual liberty, while a worthy goal for anarchists, is nevertheless incomplete, to the extent that it precludes our common humanity, since there is, ultimately, no “self” that is inherently distinct from the rest of the universe.
The Buddhist anarchist argues that both the state and capitalism generate oppression and, therefore, suffering. The former, the state, is an institution that frames the desire for power, and the latter, capitalism, the desire for material wealth. Trying to control other human beings, in the view of Buddhist anarchists, will only cause them to suffer, and ultimately causes suffering for those who try to control. Trying to hold on to and accumulate material wealth, likewise, increases suffering for the capitalist and those they do business with. Buddhism can also be viewed as inherently at odds with capitalism when the need to consume goods on an individual level is considered unnecessary and ultimately destructive.
Compassion, for a Buddhist, springs from a fundamental selflessness. Compassion for humanity as a whole is what inspires the Buddhist towards activism; however, most, if not all, political groups tend to go against the Eightfold Path that steers Buddhist thought and action. Thus, anarchism, lacking a rigid ideological structure and dogmas, is seen as easily applicable for Buddhists.
Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little. ~ Gotama Buddha ☸
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