Tag Archives: anarchism

Noam Chomsky on anarchism, anarchist organisation and state socialism


_/\_ Anjali! I found this on http://www.wsm.ie have a watch and tell me what you think in the comments.

During a visit to Oslo Noam Chomsky gave a 70 minute video interview with our Anarkismo sister group, Counterpower. Chomsky says the most important task is the creation of Libertarian Socialist organisations and that if we keep the current system we are doomed. Counterpower describe the event as “an evening dedicated to the question of alternatives both beyond capitalism and state socialism, including what the alternative could look like and how we could get there.”

The video of the interview is below, the first minute which is in Norwegian is bascially Chomsky being introduced to the audience and some practical information about the meeting. The remainder of the interview is conducted in English

Areas touched on in the interview include

Core principles of anarchism
Organisation in an anarchist society
The Real life example of the Spanish Revolution
Worker run enterprises under capitalism – Mondragon & Porto Alegre’s popular budgets
Differences between Libertarian & State socialism
Famines don’t happen in democracies & post colonial India
Revolution in China
Does Norwegian Social Democracy mean there is no need for social change
Health Care in Cuba & the US
Climate change
Prefiguring revolutionary society
Learning how to organize through experience
The Arab Spring & Labour militancy
Core elements of a Libertarian Socialist organisation
Parecon – worth thinking about
‘Libertarian’ capitalism
Bolshevik revolution as the worst blow against socialism
What about those that don’t want to work, critique of Parecon
The real legacy of Adam Smith
The most important task is the creation of libertarian socialist movements
The London anarchist paper ‘Freedom’ as a positive example
If we keep the current system we are doomed
The legacy of Marx
Expanding the floor of the cage
Revolt in the west


Buddhist Anarchism: Are Governments Moral?


_/\_ Anjali

This was posted by Lightfiend on evolver.net on May 1, 2010. I have reposted it here in its entirety.

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. ~ Gotama Buddha ☸

Is government a legitimate means of improving society or can humans influence each others’ behavior in more effective ways?

Violence Breeds Violence

More and more through science we are confirming the Buddha’s teachings on karma. In an article last month at Wired.com, kindness was shown to breed further acts of kindness.

Experimenters created a game where “selfishness made more sense than cooperation,” however, “acts of giving were tripled over the course of the experiment by other subjects who were directly or indirectly influenced to contribute more.” Here is a visual representation of those effects:

Understanding karma, I believe this multiplying effect should also hold true for acts of violence, coercion, or threat. If we treat people poorly, they are likely to treat us poorly in return. Therefore, evidence seems to show that we should follow the good ol’ golden rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

The Non-Aggression Principle

As I understand it, the Buddhist moral notion of karma is congruent with libertarian-anarchist ethic of the non-aggression principle – which states that all initiation of physical force, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons is inherently illegitimate.

Although Buddha obviously cannot comment on the political theories past his time, I think if he understood our current understanding of government he would see that it is in strict violation of this principle.

Libertarian anarchists consider non-voluntary taxes (a process used to fund almost any government that has ever existed) to be a form of initiated aggression. Therefore, no matter the well-intentioned goals of politicians, the very means of government is seen as immoral. In Ayn Rands words, “Force and mind are opposite; morality ends where a gun begins.”

I think Buddha too would agree that you cannot create a moral society through the immorality of government coercion. Only free choice builds moral fiber. Even when people are forced to pay for others health care, housing, or food, they are in the process of becoming slaves, not saints. Not only is this a morally illegitimate way of building the society we want, it is impossible. In Buddhism the means don’t justify the ends: the means determine the ends.

Lead By Example, Not By Force

Karma teaches reciprocity. Only by being the change we wish to see in the world can we make a positive difference. We don’t create society by stepping into a voting booth once a year, we create society through our day-to-day actions and how we treat others. We lead by example; and when we do this, we inspire people’s hearts and minds to do the same.

An individual’s freedom is a prerequisite for all moral behavior. You cannot force or threat others to be good, you can only guide them through example and reason. People too can be guided the wrong way through example and reason. Morality is always and everywhere a battle of ideas. It starts in our minds and it spreads through our actions.

Government: Old Idea, Bad Idea, or Both?

The need to govern others is an ancient idea: master and servant, leader and follower, boss and worker are all distinctions buried in our unconscious. It is not just an old idea, but an idea we often take for granted. Modern America condemns it’s history with slavery but doesn’t yet see the the shapes and forms it takes through the veil of democratic government; in which, even Thomas Jefferson considered “mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” Today this is sometimes referred to as tyranny of the majority. To learn more I recommend Hans Hermann Hoppe’s great book, “Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order.”

Schools somewhat condition us to accept government; democracy being the glorified system of “fairness.” Many people I know find it hard to even imagine a peaceful society without any form of government. Instead they hear “anarchy” and imagine Molotov cocktails being thrown through windows – complete chaos and rebellion. But the truth is humans self-organize all of the time without the help of government bureaucracy. Even children can put together community baseball games without authoritarian oversight. The Austrian economist Friedrich A. Hayek would probably draw a parallel between this kind of social behavior and the “spontaneous order” of a laissez-faire economy.

My point is that the absence of government is not equal to a state of disorder. Humans organize voluntarily (out of their own free will) all of the time; of all people, Buddhists should recognize this inherent interconnectedness between individuals. So we shouldn’t need government to command our actions like some sort of ant colony – our ability to get along with others is a built into our humanity.

Am I suggesting that anarchy is a utopia? It may sound like it, but I assure you that I am not. How can you expect a perfect society from imperfect individuals? You can’t. It’s not realistic. But it is realistic to believe that humans can coexist peacefully without big brother government. Sure, there will still be crime and evils in the world and we will have to deal with those accordingly. But government may not be the answer to poverty, drug abuse, or even murder. Perhaps before looking to our paternal state for all the solutions to society we should take a deep gaze into ourselves; and see how we as individuals are personally responsible for the world around us.

Occupy Wall Street (FULL) Interview with Chris Hedges


Columnist Chris Hedges talks to the #OccupyWallStreet Live Stream.

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SKw2j3XOY0
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io8RLacFjlo
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xSPIjuSRKo
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2OxlfIDrCE
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwGkve3phvo
Part 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu1sucEFJSo

Buddhism, Ethics and Anarchism by Paul Roasberry



I will begin this article with a reaffirmation: I have been an atheist since about 1962 or 1963. The notion of a creator god is, to me, both absurd and repellent. The Christian church I involuntarily attended as a child differed not at all from other Christian sects in its adherence to the doctrine of “original sin.” This view maintains that all men are essentially wicked and sinful at their core, and can only become “saved” through acknowledging Christ as “the redeemer.”

The notion of man as an innately sinful beast, I have come to realize, has enormous social and political consequences. Such a pessimistic appraisal of man’s worth has been used to justify the most outrageous tyrannies and extraordinary cruelties. It also works insidiously to destroy whatever self-esteem individuals might have. In its psychological impact on populations, it works like a virulent plague, denigrating man and rendering him susceptible to control. At the same time, it elevates the Church – the leaders, the enormous looted wealth and the body of doctrine that sustains them – to positions of invincibility and infallibility. The close ties between church and state, outlined by Bakunin well over a hundred years ago, are predicated on a mutual worship of authoritarianism, intolerance and cultish isolationism.

Three of the world’s most destructive religions originated in the eastern Mediterranean region. Judaism, the first of the monotheistic epidemics to emerge from the scalded brains of desert lunatics, later begat both Christianity and Islam. Today, the greatest threat to peace and prosperity for hundreds of millions of people turns on the fratricidal hatreds of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The hymnal in my parents’ church set the tone well: “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war . . .” The sadistic horrors perpetrated in the names of Jesus, Moses and Mohammed defy comprehension, and thankfully require no elaboration here.

Let us be clear about one thing: the sickness we confront today is not “terrorism.” It is the pathologically insane belief that individuals are less than dirt in the eyes of a fictitious, unprovable “god.” This is the kind of “idea” that impels young men to follow their hormonally driven urges to kill, whether they be young Jews, young Baptists, or young Shiites. It is sobering to know that there are millions of young men out there who will kill you over a silly issue of theology. George W. Bush, who is linked politically to fundamentalist Christian fanatics, is no less a threat to peace than Osama bin Laden, whose “god” of “mercy” and “justice” is even more bloodthirsty than Jerry Falwell’s. In the meantime, the rabid Zionists continue to bulldoze entire neighborhoods whenever a Palestinian teenager throws a stone, proving themselves over and over again the moral equals of the Nazis they pretend to abhor.

But this is not an article about monotheistic religions. Most of the readers of this journal are all too cognizant of the centuries of human misery and suffering those religions have wrought. Rather, this article is about Buddhism, its ethical teachings, and its curiously non-religious character. As a philosophy, it is perhaps not wholly compatible with anarchist beliefs, but I was surprised to discover how closely it parallels some of the conclusions I’ve reached independently. Certainly, from what I’ve learned, a fruitful discussion between ethical anarchists and practicing Buddhists is not only possible, but perhaps well worth pursuing. Any such dialog with Christians, Jews or Moslems is, of course, entirely out of the question. By their very nature, these God-centered religious systems are intolerant of atheism and irremediably authoritarian in nature. Not so with Buddhism.


Growing up in the nineteen fifties and ‘sixties, I was sheltered from any deep knowledge of oriental philosophies. Even later, in the late ‘sixties and early ‘seventies, as I began arguing for a revolution against the existing social order, I ignored Buddhism altogether, assuming that it was “just another religion.” At the time, I would have shunned any philosophy that emphasized slow, evolutionary, personal change. With all the impatience of youth, I favored a massive and violent upheaval, immediately, at whatever cost. I just wanted the bad guys dead and off my back.

Two things drew me to a closer examination of Buddhism recently. The first was simply an isolated bit of news which remained interesting but essentially meaningless until I saw a context within which it made sense. I opened my newspaper last year to read about a boy who had attended my high school while I was there in the mid-nineteen sixties. His name was Jim. First, a bit of background.

About forty years ago, Jim was on a camping trip with his family, somewhere up in the Colorado mountains, when he had a heated argument with his mother. He clubbed her to death. He went out to find his father, who was fishing. The father reacted strongly to the news Jim gave him, and so Jim clubbed him to death, too, and then made up a story for the authorities about a “stranger” attacking and killing his parents. Jim’s father was a respected family physician in our town. It did not take the authorities long to pin the crime on Jim, who was only sixteen at the time. He was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Colorado state penitentiary. The year was about 1965.

The article I found myself staring at last year was about the very same Jim. Incredibly, he was now trying to get clearance from one of the local hospitals to practice medicine there. When he first entered prison for murdering his parents, a group of compassionate Chicanos protected him from the kinds of criminal gang rape that occur routinely in prisons, but which no one cares to do anything about. Jim vowed to return the favor. He studied in prison, and won a college degree with a 4.0 average. In the 1980s his sentence was commuted by the governor of Colorado, and Jim applied for admission to a medical school. He won a degree in medicine and had spent ten years in the migrant camps in California, giving his services away free to the workers there. Now he wanted to open a small practice in Denver and wanted to do surgeries at one of the local hospitals.

The second, but as it turned out, far more significant event, was the discovery of a book, The Monk and the Philosopher, in a thrift store. What prompted me to buy it (apart from the price, which was only a dollar), was the blurb on the dust jacket. Jean-Francois Revel, one of the co-authors, wrote a book nearly forty years ago entitled “Without Marx or Jesus” in which he criticized both communism and Christianity. The other co-author was his son, Matthieu Ricard, who, in the early 1970’s, was well on his way toward becoming a distinguished microbiologist in France. He had, instead, simply moved to India and joined a Buddhist monastery, and he’s been with the Dalai Lama ever since.

Now here was a curiosity worth looking into. Why, I asked myself, would someone so highly trained in western scientific methodology, suddenly leave it to become a Buddhist? In my mind, I still knew virtually nothing about Buddhism, and assumed it seized its victims and rendered them into glassy-eyed Hare Krishna-like zombies. The book I was holding, The Monk and the Philosopher, was written in the form of a debate or dialog between the father and the son.

Now, usually, when I read a book which contrasts two widely differing points of view, I find myself almost immediately leaning toward one position or the other, secretly “rooting” for the writer whose views most approximate my own. Judging from my hasty reading of this book’s dust jacket, I figured I’d be solidly behind Jean-Jacques by about page two, savoring his demolition of his son.

As it turned out, I read the book with complete fascination, first siding with the father, then with the son, as their discussion progressed. Clearly, my ideas about Buddhism had been all wrong from the very start. Matthieu Ricard had become a Buddhist not in spite of his western scientific training, but because of it! In fact, his father held many of the same misconceptions I’d held, and Matthieu Ricard did such a beautiful job of dispelling them, that I found myself almost arguing out loud against his father on some pages – “No, no – that’s not what he said at all. You don’t understand.”

In other words, this was a book like none I’d ever read. But please do not misunderstand me as I relate this. I experienced no profound epiphany; I did not see “the light,” nor did I feel like I’d been struck with any divine revelation. What I slowly and quite rationally began to understand as I read was that many of the ideas I already had formulated by myself were returning to me on the pages of this book as established precepts in a system of belief already 2500 years old! If anything, I was somewhat ashamed that I’d lived so many years without recognizing this.


A westerner who looks at the core teachings of Buddhism quickly realizes that it has far more to do with philosophy than it does with religion. In its essence, Buddhism is little more than the description of the path whereby one attains enlightenment. That enlightenment is defined as the cessation of suffering, and it is accomplished through a rigorous taming of the mind, obliterating all negative thoughts and impulses that mask or obscure the true nature of consciousness. Once all the clap-trap is pared away, what is left is the Buddha nature, so that it is theoretically possible for anyone to become a Buddha. The philosophy is decidedly humanistic, setting as its objective the end of suffering, not only for all humans, but for all sentient beings. Buddhism acknowledges no creator god whatsoever.

Matthieu Ricard states, for instance, in The Monk and the Philosopher,

“What we’re talking about here is the idea of a permanent Creator entity, sufficient in itself, without any cause preceding it, creating things as a voluntary act. Point by point, Buddhist dialectics refute this idea. Let’s take all-powerfulness, for instance. A Creator would have to be all-powerful. Either the Creator doesn’t ‘decide’ to create, in which case all-powerfulness is lost, for creation happens outside his will; or he creates voluntarily, in which case he can’t be all-powerful, either, as he’s creating under the influence of his desire to create.

“Can a Creator be a permanent entity? No, because after creating, he’s different from how he was before he created, He’s become ‘he who created.’ What’s more, if he creates the whole universe, that necessarily implies that all the causes of the universe must be present within him. Now, one of the bases of the law of cause and effect, or karma, is that an event can’t take place as long as all the causes and conditions for its arising are not assembled, and that it can’t not take place once they are. That means that a Creator either could never create or would have to be constantly creating. This sort of reasoning, and many others like it, can be applied to all the traditions that envisage a Creator who’s eternal, all-powerful, who exists intrinsically, and so on.

“In Asia, this form of dialectics continues even nowadays in philosophical debate and discussion. The relative aspect of phenomena, or in other words the world of appearances, is distinguished from the ultimate nature of everything. From an absolute point of view, Buddhism holds that an entity that truly existed could neither arise in the first place nor ever disappear. Being can’t be born from nothingness, because even an infinitude of causes wouldn’t be able to make something that didn’t exist come into existence; nor can it be born from what already exists, as in that case there would be no need for it to be born.”

Buddhism expresses no dogma. The Gautama Buddha encourages his followers to take nothing he says on faith, to question and test his teachings, and to decide for themselves whether his path is the right one or not. All of this is so alien to what we find in Christianity, Islam and Judaism that we are dumbfounded on first exposure to it.

But there’s more to it than that. Even the claims regarding consciousness and “Buddha nature,” which seem mystical at first appearance, have, on closer examination, an uncanny affinity to rationalism and western scientific methodology. Take, for instance, the Buddhist conception of matter. In The Monk and the Philosopher, Ricard says,

“Buddhism takes a middle path. It doesn’t deny the reality of phenomena in the relative world of perception, but it does deny that they are permanent, autonomous entities existing behind phenomena. . . . The kind of solid entities that Buddhism refutes are, for example, indivisible. particles of matter and indivisible instants of consciousness. It’s close to the formulation of modern physicists, who have abandoned the idea of particles as being little cannonballs or infinitely small masses. What’s called mass or matter is, rather, a sort of nonuniformity of the energy field. Buddhism leads us to the notion of the unreality of the solid world through an intellectual reasoning that doesn’t claim to be a theory of physics but which examines intellectually the very possibility of the existence of atoms, of indivisible particles. . . . According to Buddhism, atoms can’t be considered fixed entities, existing according to one single, determined mode. So how could the macroscopic manifest world, which is supposed to be composed of such particles, have any fixed reality? All this helps to destroy our notion of the solidity of appearances. It’s in this sense that Buddhism affirms that the ultimate nature of phenomena is emptiness and that emptiness carries within it an infinite potential of manifestation.

“. . .Buddhism doesn’t claim to be trying to account for physical phenomena in the way modern science would. What it’s trying to do is to break the concept we have of the solidity of the phenomenal world in our everyday experience. Because that concept is what underlies our attachment to a self and to phenomena, and is therefore the cause of the dualistic way we separate self and others, existence and non-existence, attachment and repulsion, and so on, and therefore all of our torments. In any case, Buddhism is here quite close, intellectually, to certain viewpoints in contemporary physics, and its contribution ought to be included in the history of ideas. One of the great physicists of our time, Henri Margenau, wrote: ‘toward the end of the nineteenth century the view arose that all interactions involved material objects. This is no longer held to be true. We know that there are fields which are wholly non-material.’ Heisenberg said, ‘Atoms are not things,’ and Bertrand Russell, ‘The idea that there is a hard little lump there, which is the electron, is an illegitimate intrusion of commonsense notions derived from touch . . . Matter is a convenient formula for describing what happens where there isn’t.’ Sir James Jeans, in his Rede Lectures, went as far as saying, ‘The universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.’”

What Matthieu Ricard is referring to here is in part the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, a linchpin of Quantum Mechanics. That principle asserts that in the electron “cloud” that surrounds an atomic nucleus, any given electron’s precise location cannot be described with certainty – only as a probability. Quantum Mechanics also posits that the very act of observation of events at the subatomic level affects or alters the event being observed. In other words, “reality” at the subatomic level is not the same as “reality” at the macroscopic, phenomenal level, and in fact, the standard assumptions implicit in a materialist analysis break down altogether at the subatomic level. This is, in fact, the prevailing view of physicists today, and Ricard is making a case that these findings validate the assumptions of Buddhism with respect to the nature of phenomena. Ricard again:

“The goal isn’t to deny that there’s any such thing as the phenomenal world as we perceive it – what Buddhism calls conventional truth – but to show that the world isn’t as real as we think. In fact, coming into existence seems impossible, because, once again, being can’t arise from nothingness, and if it already exists it doesn’t need to arise. At the same time, it doesn’t ‘cease,’ because it’s never come into existence. That is what leads Buddhism to say that the world is like a dream or an illusion. It doesn’t say the world is a dream or an illusion, because that would be falling into nihilism.”

Whether Ricard is right or not isn’t as important for the purposes of our discussion as the fact that here is a spokesman for a “religion” who can hold up his end of a conversation. Imagine trying to discuss the nature of matter with an intellectual barbarian like Pat Robertson.

There is little doubt that over the past 2,500 year, followers of Gautama (Buddha) have deviated into all kinds of tangential trails. Many converts to Buddhism brought along with them indisociable attachments to their old “gods,” creating hybrid rituals that accommodated both the Buddha and older pagan silliness. Those who propagate new philosophies cannot always be held responsible for the deeds of their followers. As much as I dislike Christianity, I know that many of the things reputedly praised by Christ – such as turning the other cheek in time of conflict, or praying alone in one’s closet and not “in the streets and the synagogues as the hypocrites do” – are rarely taken to heart by modern Christians. Ricard seems to agree when he says,

“Christ himself professed nothing other than love of one’s neighbor. Personally, I don’t think he would have approved of the Crusades and wars of religion. As for the Inquisition, how could those who took part in it dare to call themselves Christians?”

It stands to reason that Buddhism, which is over five hundred years older than Christianity, might have suffered a similar fate. As, in certain respects, it has

But in other respects, there are seemingly millions of practicing Buddhists who come much closer than Christians to living as the founder of their movement advised. Those who have lived and traveled in Tibet, for instance, commonly report that the people there are deeply pacifistic and compassionate. Even in the face of the most outrageous provocations by the Chinese Communists, they have maintained their composure and equanimity, proving themselves morally superior to the invaders. Why is that?

Perhaps it has something to do with the nature of the philosophy itself. Ricard maintains that “to be able to help beings, there should no longer be any difference between what you teach and what you are.” Buddhism, which holds that every individual has within him the seed or nucleus of a “perfect” Buddha, seems to be the very antithesis of Christianity, which holds that man is nothing more than a putrid gob of sin. Buddhism, which teaches that there are a “thousand paths” to Dharma (the Buddha-like state), seems to invite individual experimentation and deviation, whereas Christianity (as well as its two sister religions) demand absolute and unvarying adherence to a single course. The Buddha said, ‘Do not accept my teaching out of respect for me. Examine it and rediscover the truth in it for yourself.’ What Pope, what Mullah, what Rabbi, has ever invited his students to do the same?

Moreover, Buddhists place the responsibility for “salvation” (they call it enlightenment) squarely on each person’s own shoulders. Salvation does not come magically from a ghost in the sky after mumbling the right words. It is earned, through hard effort.

As a moral philosophy, placing responsibility squarely where it belongs – with each individual – rather than with the welfare state, the community, the police, or any other authority, Buddhism is far superior to the religions that try to enforce morality at gunpoint. The Dalai Lama wrote in his Ethics for the New Millennium, “we find that no matter how sophisticated and well administered our legal systems, and no matter how advanced our methods of external control, by themselves, these cannot eradicate wrongdoing.” Moreover, in Buddhism, there is literally no such concept as “evil.” In fact, there is no “good,” either. Buddhism seeks to dispense with all dichotomies, as they lead to a rigid and incorrect way of perceiving reality. Doing the right thing is not a matter of following a rigid formula or law; it is a matter of acting from an experience of life-long training and preparation for making choices. By making morality and “right choices” an object of personal analysis and study, one learns for himself to become moral. He does not act morally simply because to do otherwise would result in a jail term, or perhaps ending up in hell, which seem to be the prevailing motivations for correct behavior in the West.

Nor does Buddhism equate morality with religious piety. The Dalai Lama has often said that “whether or not a person is a religious believer does not matter much.” And of non believers he observes,

“. . . many who reject religion do so out of convictions sincerely held, not merely because they are unconcerned with the deeper questions of human existence. We cannot suppose that such people are without a sense of right and wrong or of what is morally appropriate just because some who are anti-religion are immoral. Besides, religious belief is no guarantee of moral integrity. Looking at the history of our species, we see that among the major troublemakers – those who visited violence, brutality and destruction on their fellow human beings – there have been many who professed religious faith, often loudly.”


Matthieu Ricard explains Buddhism as a philosophy which places the burden for altering bad behaviors squarely with each individual. I’d struggled about ten years ago to overcome a severe drinking problem. I’d attended one or two AA meetings and immediately rejected their “twelve step” program, which required one to place one’s entire fate in the hands of “a higher power.” It was so obviously a recycled version of Christianity that I was instantly repelled. Stating at once and without blushing that alcoholics are “powerless” against alcohol and at the same time in need of a “higher power” to lead them to sobriety, without seeing that this logically leads to a dilemma in which alcohol itself must then necessarily be one such “higher power,” although at the same time the very thing to be overcome, AA seemed suddenly ridiculous and forever saddled with trying to explain how alcoholism could cure alcoholism, much as Christians are saddled with the responsibility for explaining how a good, just, wise and omnipotent “god” could coexist with evil. Only through the most contorted, convoluted “reasoning” could one reconcile such contradictions, and this is exactly what AA founder Bill W. is reduced to. In order to mitigate the utter absurdity of his position, he adopts cult methods to keep his followers in line, requiring that they practically memorize the AA bible and deviate not one angstrom from its message. Those who overcome alcohol on their own are, furthermore, ridiculed as “dry drunks.”

So I resolved to overcome alcoholism on my own, and I did. As I write this, I have not touched a drop of wine, beer, or liquor in nearly eleven years. Now, incredibly, here I was reading about a major world philosophy that holds that what I did is not only possible, but is probably the only workable way to do it. I had taken personal responsibility for my behavior and I had corrected it. In essence that is Buddhism. Buddhists do not have to reconcile the existence of God with free will because they embrace free will and deny that there could ever be any such thing as a creator god.. What a concept!

Suddenly, the story of Jim, the fellow high school student who murdered both his parents and subsequently went on to become a doctor and lead a moral life, made perfect sense. The story was newsworthy here precisely because it flew in the face of traditional western “wisdom,” which held that murderers must be punished, even with death, and that state-operated vendettas are the only thing standing between us and . . . yeah, you guessed it – anarchy! I doubt that a story like Jim’s would have astonished anyone in pre-1949 Tibet or in Dharmsala, India today.

For many years now, I’ve come to accept a version of anarchism that holds, quite simply, that no social changes are possible – certainly not the eradication of government – until individuals have evolved and progressed to the point where that option becomes attractive to them. Anarchism at gunpoint is no better and no different than the kind of morality at gunpoint that we already have. Now, suddenly, here I am reading about a philosophy that says basically the same. Here is one exchange between Jean-Francois and Matthieu:

J-F: The idea of making men peaceful one by one, in such a way that adding them all together ends up making a human race opposed to violence, seems impossible to realize in practice. Our century, at least, has hardly made any progress at all in that direction.

M: That’s true, but the alternative, change imposed from the outside, which consists of forcing more and more restrictive laws on recalcitrant individuals – a totalitarian system, in the end – is not only impossible to realize in the long term but is also fundamentally flawed. You can tighten the screws for a certain amount of time, but the oppressed always end up expressing their malcontent and freeing themselves from the oppressor’s yoke, whether by peaceful or violent means. They’ll find ways of getting hold of arms and of using them.. . . In any case, the first thing is to make peace within oneself – inner disarmament; then peace in the family; then in the village; and finally in the nation and beyond.

To change the world, you begin by changing yourself. At the very least, if you have to live in a violent and insane world, you can live it in dignity and with self-respect. Buddhism is the moral philosophy. It is attractive to me because it teaches that I am solely responsible for what I do, what I am, what I become, and how I will effect my own change. And insofar as that is essentially the essence of Buddhism, there is nothing mystical or “religious” about it. Take nothing on faith, not even the Buddha’s own teachings. Experiment and see for yourself if his ideas don’t work. What kind of “religion” could this be, that counsels skepticism and denies that one can be “saved” by anything other than his own human efforts? What kind of “religion” could this be that regards not just people, but all sentient beings as worthy of equal love and respect?

Perhaps the most secular interpretation of Buddhism is given by Stephen Batchelor in his book Buddhism Without Beliefs. Batchelor dismisses virtually all of the religious overtones which, he maintains, were grafted onto the Buddha’s original teachings after he died. His analysis of Buddhism closely parallels Jefferson’s analysis of Christianity, going to original sources and ignoring any texts which are appended to the Buddha’s actual teachings. For instance, he writes,

“The Buddha was not a mystic. His awakening was not a shattering insight into a transcendent Truth that revealed to him the mysteries of God. He did not claim to have had an experience that granted him priveleged, esoteric knowledge of how the universe ticks. Only as Buddhism became more and more of a religion were such grandiose claims imputed to his awakening. On describing to the five ascetics what his awakening meant, he spoke of having discovered complete freedom of heart and mind from the compulsions of craving. He called such freedom a taste of the dharma.”

Even so thoroughly religious a spokesman for Buddhism as the Dalai Lama acknowledges that most of the ritual associated with the Tibetan practice of Buddhism is entirely irrelevant to an understanding of the core philosophy of the Buddha. He says, “We may also conclude that we humans can live quite well without recourse to religious faith.”

Stephen Batchelor shows uncommon insight as he seeks to explain how Buddhism was gradually corrupted. What he says could apply as well to Christianity, Jeffersonian democracy or Marxism:

“The power of organized religion to provide sovereign states with a bulwark of moral legitimacy while simultaneously assuaging the desperate piety of the disempowered swiftly reasserted itself – usually by subsuming the rebellious ideas into the canons of a revised orthodoxy.”

He also notes that

“The dharma in fact might well have more in common with Godless secularlism than with the bastions of religion. Agnosticism may serve as a more fertile common ground for dialogue than, for example, a tortured attempt to make Buddhist sense of Allah.”

The Taliban recently came under harsh criticism for dynamiting ancient Buddhist statuary in Afghanistan. I am coming to realize why it is that the Taliban, and Islamic zealots in general, would fear an ideology like Buddhism as much as they fear atheism.


Am I a Buddhist? No, I cannot say that I am. My knowledge of Buddhism is, at this point, still profoundly simplistic. Buddhism appears to be a system of psychology, an attempt to understand, explain and harness the unique qualities of the human mind, more than a “religion.” Matthieu Ricard writes that “Nothing, other than the mind itself, can allow us to know the ultimate nature of the mind.”

Buddhists say that the problem with the Western scientific approach is that it fails to take this into account and struggles to make objective sense of consciousness, reducing it to a set of chemical interactions. Buddhists maintain that this will explain the workings of the human brain adequately, but cannot explain the quality of consciousness, which goes beyond brain function. They do not make any claim to the effect that understanding consciousness requires some mystical leap of faith – to the contrary, they insist that there are experimental steps that can be taken to observe the nature of consciousness, but that by its very nature, it is only amenable to observation by itself. Matthieu Ricard says,

“According to Buddhism, the conflict between materialist and idealist points of view, between mind and matter, is a false problem. In fact, in the mind of most philosophers and scientists, it’s a question of ‘solid’ matter and ‘nonmaterial’ mind being in opposition to each other. But the dominant idea today among scientists is that such a dualism infringes the laws of conservation of energy by supposing that a nonmaterial object can influence a material system. Such a view of things does indeed raises insoluble problems. So it might be useful instead to investigate the ‘reality’ of matter itself, for it’s actually in reifying matter that materialism comes up against its failure to understand the nature of mind. According to Buddhism, atomic particles can neither be “solid” nor even exist intrinsically at all. No collection of such entities, however numerous, is any more real than its constituent parts. Without making too much of the parallels with modern physics, it’s hard not to be reminded of Heisenberg, who wrote, ‘Neither atoms, nor even sub-atomic particles are real. They form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than objects or facts.’

“What do you mean by objective knowledge? The nature of elementary particles can’t be known independently of the systems we use to measure them. [one of the core principles of quantum mechanics – PR] In the same way, a universe independent of any human concept couldn’t ever be known by the human mind. What is it that’s attached to the reality of phenomena? It’s the mind. And here, what are we working on? The mind! If we succeed in unblocking the solid way in which the mind perceives the world – a way of perceiving that leads to endless suffering – then that’s undeniably objective knowledge, not of the physics of the natural world, but of the mechanisms of suffering, and it’s undeniably an experimental verification of the results of that science of the mind.

“A present instant of consciousness, which was itself set off by a preceding instant of consciousness, sets off the next instant of consciousness. We’ve said that the world has no real beginning in time, and the same goes for consciousness. This is also one of the reasons why we consider that at the moment of conception, the spark of consciousness that animates a newly formed being can only be caused by an event of the same nature, a conscious one, even in the case of a spark as primitive as the one we could imagine in an amoeba.”

All of this is admittedly difficult to follow, but then again, so is quantum theory, so is string theory.

I am aware that there are a good many Buddhist sects that place much more emphasis on ritual than on belief, and I am not prepared to take my Buddhism in such “churchified” form. Perhaps I am only a Buddhist as far as Thomas Jefferson was a Christian when he extracted all the quotations of Christ from the gibberish that constitutes its biblical matrix and set them apart. As it turned out, there was little that was mystical or divine in what Christ is actually reputed to have said. No claims that he would be “resurrected.” No boasts about a “virgin” birth. Nothing about “transsubstantiation.” For me, Buddhism is intriguing because it seems to parallel the tenets of ethical anarchism. At least, it is not incompatible with ethical anarchism. It treats men, women, children, the sane, the crazy, dogs, criminals, salamanders, stamp collectors, butterflies and goldfish as equally worthy objects of respect.

In the hostile, violent, insane and dangerous present, it can be comfort enough just to know that someone else, somewhere, held similar values to our own. That those values have been respected throughout a twenty-five hundred year history. That there are “religious” leaders like the Dalai Lama who, although they are probably not even religious at all in the way we think of religion, maintain an open, scientific and liberal perspective. What other major religious leader would acknowledge and respect atheism, for example?

There’s another test of Buddhism, quite unscientific, but perhaps indicative of something. Go out and find some magazine photographs of the Pope, an Islamic ayatollah, or a Jewish Rabbi. More often than not, you will see a scowling, unhappy visage. This could be someone suffering from severe hemorrhoids, or the gout. These fellows look about as fun and lighthearted as Leonid Brezhnev or Alexei Kosygin. Now go find a photo of the Dalai Lama. Notice anything?


Anarchism itself is not a coherent philosophy. It is a loosely related collection of philosophies, all of which take as their starting point the desirability of absolute human liberty and the wrongfulness of authoritarian government. There is a full spectrum of “anarchism” that ranges from the pacifistic, voluntaristic and evolutionary anarchism of Kropotkin to the violent and revolutionary anarchism of Bakunin and Nechayev and on yet again to the fiercely individualistic and anti-altruistic, anti-collectivist anarchism of Stirner. There is no such thing as “pure” anarchism, and the means which anarchists embrace range from pacifism and non-violence to the rock-throwing, window-smashing behaviors of thugs and criminals who confuse anarchism with nihilism.

The history of Marxism shows a steady progression from the abstract theories of a reclusive German economist who had no grasp whatsoever of human psychology to the revolutionary scheming of yet another man who had a gift for mob oratory but no grasp of morality, to the leaden authoritarianism of party hacks who had a talent for political maneuvering but none for creativity or originality. To say, in the end, that Yuri Andropov was a “Marxist” makes about as much sense as saying that a creep like Bob Black (or a fool like Noam Chomsky) is an “anarchist” or that the late, unlamented Madalyn Murray O’Hair (who, in her final years was obsessed with fashioning her movement into a parody of a church replete with atheist “saints”) was an “atheist.” If Bob Black can turn anarchism into a movement that justifies calling the police in to bust your supposed friends, we can perhaps begin to comprehend what over two thousand years of human ignorance and idolatry have done to warp and alter the original teachings of Christ and Buddha. Even a lapse of two hundred years can transform a group of deistic, anti-Christian and rabidly libertarian “Founding Fathers” into beaming sponsors of everything from gun control to prayer in public schools and the teaching of “creation science.” Orwell’s 1984 was not so much an ominous warning for the future as it was a satire on what was already happening in 1948, when the book was published. In fact, the Memory Hole has been functioning for at least two thousand years, and probably a lot longer. Practically all of recorded history is revisionist, and one has to read deeply between the lines and extrapolate from ordinary experience to discern any reality whatsoever. Everything you think you know about your country, your ethnic origins, and your religion is massively edited and whitewashed.

So, summing it all up, we have to conclude that the religious, ritualistic elements of Buddhism today are irrelevant add-ons and remodelings that have taken place over more than two thousand years. When Catholicism came to Meso America, it quickly blended with pagan beliefs and rituals, so that the “Church” as it exists in Mexico and Peru is a grotesquely mongrelized thing compared to the “Church” as it exists in Spain. And that Spanish “Church” is, in turn a far cry from the “Church” that existed in the dark catacombs and sewers beneath the city of Rome seventeen hundred years ago. Even the “Church” founded by the Apostle Paul was a crude caricature of the religion outlined only a few years earlier by one Jesus.

Moreover, one can hardly expect a Christ or a Buddha to have much to say about the weather in Guatemala or the functioning of quarks or pi mesons. Discoveries quickly outdate the culturally-rooted elements of a philosophy. We can forgive Benjamin Franklin for not taking relativity and quantum mechanics into consideration when he was writing on scientific matters. One must separate the universally valid elements of a belief system from the culturally and temporally-rooted elements.

What is universally valid about Buddhism is not its current preoccupation with reincarnation. It is the path to enlightenment — rooted universally in simple human experience living and dying in human society– taught by the Buddha. Reincarnation is nothing more than cultural context – a hold-over of Hindu beliefs that were prevalent in India in Gautama’s time.

What is astonishing and altogether important for us to recognize and acknowledge in contemporary Buddhism is its sense of justice, its liberalism, its tolerance of opposing views in a world now largely dominated by rabid sectarian creeds. The very message of Buddhism is couched in the language of skepticism and tempered with admonitions to doubt and to test. This is what makes it so refreshingly different from the “Believe-me-or-I’ll-kick-your-fucking-infidel-ass-into-everlasting-hell” mentality of Christianity and Islam, in particular.

The Dalai Lama is a moral man, and his preoccupation with morality extends to the secular world he sees in his travels. Matthieu Ricard writes that “The Dalai Lama often says to journalists, ‘It’s really good that you poke your noses into things and uncover the state’s scandals. An authentic politician should have nothing to hide.’”


1. Stephen Batchelor, Buddhism Without Beliefs, New York, Riverhead Books, 1997.

2. Jean-Francois Revel and Matthieu Ricard, The Monk and the Philosopher, New York, Schocken Books, 1998.

3. Dalai Lama, Ethics for the New Millennium, New York, Riverhead Books, 1999

All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain? ~ Gotama Buddha ☸

Can a Buddhist be an Anarchist? by Jerry Kolber


_/\_ Anjali!

This is republished in it’s entirety. I have edited the formatting a bit (it was just a large block of text) but other than that it is intact. You can find the original here http://blog.beliefnet.com/onecity/2009/02/can-a-buddhist-be-an-anarchist.html Hope you enjoy!☸

To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.~ Gotama Buddha

I’ve had many wonderful conversations over the past few years about the role of anarchism in western society (not the Anarchist Cookbook blow stuff up and call it anarchism juvenile version, I’m talking real deal anarchy that involves re-thinking the way the society is structured.) The more I sit, and take my practice into daily life, the more I’m finding that the way I approach my art, money job, friends, and family (and self) is starting to resemble an approach that I would have called anarchy in the past but now I tend to think of as increased mindfulness. Which led me to thinking about the compatibility of anarchism and Buddhism, and in particular wondering if the eight-fold path makes it impossible to simultaneously be a Buddhist and an anarchist. I guess, at this particularly moment, the question I am exploring is – is social revolution (anarchy) compatible with insight into emptiness (buddhism).
At the crux of the issue are what appear to be two opposing viewpoints:

1) Anarchy requires the destruction/reformation of the state in a way that allows each individual to maximize his or her potential as they see fit, without the imposition of external rule or authority. Theoretically, in a perfect anarchist state common sense and basic human morals would act as a deterrent to crime and violence.

2) Buddhism suggest that we do no harm and that we do what we can to reduce violence and suffering in our own lives and the lives of others. Buddhism, like anarchism, suggests that we question authority and arrive at our own conclusions about whether a particular teaching or perspective is true.
So here’s the problem. Modern society – that is, the one we live in – perpetuates a great deal of suffering on a great many people.

As Buddhists, we can shape our lives as examples (or not) of how to live a “free-er” life within the system by working on understanding the nature of our desires and what constitutes a truly free, productive life, with a foundation of reducing suffering. But the deeper I go into this question, and the more I opt for the de rigeur “less suffering” options in a consumer society (canvas bags, cruelty free products, less meat) the more I see that I am trading one consumer category for another. I’m not becoming more free; I’m merely becoming “MoreFree, Inc.”. As long as we are monkeying around within the system, we’re just monkeying around within the system. This is not a bad thing per se, but it’s just a realization I’ve had and one which has kept me slightly ambivalent about becoming as deeply involved as I had initially thought I would with the IDP activism, at least until I have a better sense of what this question means to me. I know this is a big part of what is being explored in the activism programs at the IDP (how to do compassionate activism), but I haven’t quite settled the question enough for myself yet to be ready to explore this question in a group setting.

Then there’s anarchy. True anarchy (again, not the black coat wearing perversion of anarchy that involves blowing things up and killing people) demands a stateless society, one in which ever-increasing self and community knowledge make it less and less desirable for a state to control, tax, and legislate personal behavior. Not only are there as many definitions of anarchy as there are anarchists, anarchy is such a free-form political philosophy that eventually it bends back around onto itself – left-wing anarchists and right-wing libertarians start to look awfully similar after even a two-drink-maximum. In truly anarchist society could/would they co-exist? At the very least, anarchy’s insistence on no-dogma/no-rules with basic human morality prevailing looks quite appealing from a Buddhist perspective.

If modern American capitalism and the state are, by definition, designed to consolidate power and to encourage increased production at the inherent cost of oppression and re-allocation of wealth, it seems that there is suffering built into the system. Anarchy is not necessarily an answer, but it is an interesting question to ponder with its emphasis on a formless state and re-interpretation of free-market economies, and freedom to do what you want as long as it doesn’t harm your neighbor. The state/society we work in and on cannot ever be considered as abiding by Buddhist precepts – there is too much taking of human life and suffering baked into the system in the forms of war, malnutrition, degradation of women, minorities, and children, and exploitation at the hands of capitalism.

But changing the system also necessitates creating suffering for those who do not want the change. It necessitates deciding that our vision is right, and that our actions to manifest that vision are right. It necessitates a great leap of faith for ourselves and those we want to follow us, which means that we are saying “trust me, I got this”, which seems to lead directly to ego. And I have found it nearly impossible to avoid hatred/derision when considering those who oppose what I think is right, which is something I’m working on – it’s so much easier to be compassionate when contemplating than when confronting, for sure. I’m wondering if this conundrum is what has led to Buddhists historically being known for not taking a whole lot of “action”.

I’ve met many people at the IDP who would never remotely identify as anarchists. Some not even activists. But I have had some conversations with certain folks that have left me with the impression that there might be an anarchist lurking somewhere inside that Buddhist. And so I’m wondering, for real, can you be a Buddhist and an anarchist?

Anarcho-Buddhism by Ryan Sproull


_/\_ Anjali!

Here is an interesting essay in the relationship between Buddhism and anarchism by Ryan Sproull. Hope you enjoy!

The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows. ~ Gotama Buddha

I want to say a few things about the possible relationship between Buddhism and anarchism, where they share values and where they differ, and how each can provide practical and theoretical support for the other. Foolishly expecting it to be a few paragraphs, I quickly found that the more I looked at the two, the more there was to talk about.

So I’m going to summarise a few of the highlights and then treat them separately later. And yes, I’ll treat what I mean by “Buddhism” and by “anarchism” separately first.

both see actions in terms of broader systems

Both Buddhist metaphysics and many anarchist critiques of human behaviour see those behaviours in terms of the backdrop of systems that give rise to particular attitudes, rather than solely focusing on the individual context. The anarchist laments the tendency of hierarchical power structures to produce people who crave or submit to authority while often asserting some fundamental aspect of human nature that desires to be free. Buddhist metaphysics see an individual’s behaviour as being an expression of what is commonly seen as the individual’s surrounding “environment” (actually questioning the distinction in the first place).

both use consequentialist arguments

The recognition of broader structures shaping behaviour and having far-reaching consequences means that both Buddhism and anarchism tend to level criticism at systems and behaviour by claiming they inevitably give rise to undesirable results. The differences and similarities between the forms of these arguments may shed light on each other.

both are inclined towards pacifism

While there have been strands of anarchism in the past that encouraged acts of violence against fellow human beings, the libertarian socialists of today are generally anti-violence in thought and deed, much like Buddhism.

both value individual responsibility as well as community and compassion

Of course, very few people would claim that they did not value individual responsibility, community and compassion, but both anarchists and Buddhists see something qualitatively different between aid given to someone freely and aid given to someone via coercion. Even though the immediate consequences may be the same, subtler consequences have far-reaching results.

both value liberty as a fundamental value

Again, few people would argue they do not value liberty, but the place of liberty within both Buddhist and anarchist thought will be interesting to compare and contrast. For both, it seems to me, liberty is the point at which they draw the line when it comes to consequentialism/utilitarianism. The old question of whether or not a utilitarian would support mass opiate medication of a population to bring about the most happiness, when asked of the consequentialist anarchist or Buddhist, provokes a claim that something much more specific is meant by happiness than simply a buzzed-out smile on one’s face when criticising suffering.

both Buddhism and anarchism have evolved tools that may assist the other’s goals

Many of the problems facing Buddhist worldviews today have been treated by anarchism, and vice-versa. The Buddhist approach to human nature will also be interesting to contrast against the various anarchist theories of human nature.

I’m afraid that John Rawls and Aristotle will be forced to make an appearance.

Of course, I’m not the first person to think about these two schools of thought in relation to each other. “Anarcho-Buddhism” has 660 hits on Google, and Gary Snyder wrote “Buddhist Anarchism” in 1961. Wikipedia even has an entry on Buddhist anarchism. But I’m going to have a hit at it anyway. Stay tuned. (Note: 18 months later, I still have not done this.)

Buddhist Anarchism by Gary Snyder


_/\_ Anjali

Today I bring for you an article written by Gary Snyder titled, “Buddhist Anarchism” I found this on the Bureau of Public Secrets website and has been posted in it’s entirety. Please enjoy.


Buddhist Anarchism

Buddhism holds that the universe and all creatures in it are intrinsically in a state of complete wisdom, love and compassion; acting in natural response and mutual interdependence. The personal realization of this from-the-beginning state cannot be had for and by one-“self” — because it is not fully realized unless one has given the self up; and away.

In the Buddhist view, that which obstructs the effortless manifestation of this is Ignorance, which projects into fear and needless craving. Historically, Buddhist philosophers have failed to analyze out the degree to which ignorance and suffering are caused or encouraged by social factors, considering fear-and-desire to be given facts of the human condition. Consequently the major concern of Buddhist philosophy is epistemology and “psychology” with no attention paid to historical or sociological problems. Although Mahayana Buddhism has a grand vision of universal salvation, the actual achievement of Buddhism has been the development of practical systems of meditation toward the end of liberating a few dedicated individuals from psychological hangups and cultural conditionings. Institutional Buddhism has been conspicuously ready to accept or ignore the inequalities and tyrannies of whatever political system it found itself under. This can be death to Buddhism, because it is death to any meaningful function of compassion. Wisdom without compassion feels no pain.

No one today can afford to be innocent, or indulge himself in ignorance of the nature of contemporary governments, politics and social orders. The national polities of the modern world maintain their existence by deliberately fostered craving and fear: monstrous protection rackets. The “free world” has become economically dependent on a fantastic system of stimulation of greed which cannot be fulfilled, sexual desire which cannot be satiated and hatred which has no outlet except against oneself, the persons one is supposed to love, or the revolutionary aspirations of pitiful, poverty-stricken marginal societies like Cuba or Vietnam. The conditions of the Cold War have turned all modern societies — Communist included — into vicious distorters of man’s true potential. They create populations of “preta” — hungry ghosts, with giant appetites and throats no bigger than needles. The soil, the forests and all animal life are being consumed by these cancerous collectivities; the air and water of the planet is being fouled by them.

There is nothing in human nature or the requirements of human social organization which intrinsically requires that a culture be contradictory, repressive and productive of violent and frustrated personalities. Recent findings in anthropology and psychology make this more and more evident. One can prove it for himself by taking a good look at his own nature through meditation. Once a person has this much faith and insight, he must be led to a deep concern with the need for radical social change through a variety of hopefully non-violent means.

The joyous and voluntary poverty of Buddhism becomes a positive force. The traditional harmlessness and refusal to take life in any form has nation-shaking implications. The practice of meditation, for which one needs only “the ground beneath one’s feet,” wipes out mountains of junk being pumped into the mind by the mass media and supermarket universities. The belief in a serene and generous fulfillment of natural loving desires destroys ideologies which blind, maim and repress — and points the way to a kind of community which would amaze “moralists” and transform armies of men who are fighters because they cannot be lovers.

Avatamsaka (Kegon) Buddhist philosophy sees the world as a vast interrelated network in which all objects and creatures are necessary and illuminated. From one standpoint, governments, wars, or all that we consider “evil” are uncompromisingly contained in this totalistic realm. The hawk, the swoop and the hare are one. From the “human” standpoint we cannot live in those terms unless all beings see with the same enlightened eye. The Bodhisattva lives by the sufferer’s standard, and he must be effective in aiding those who suffer.

The mercy of the West has been social revolution; the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void. We need both. They are both contained in the traditional three aspects of the Dharma path: wisdom (prajna), meditation (dhyana), and morality (sila). Wisdom is intuitive knowledge of the mind of love and clarity that lies beneath one’s ego-driven anxieties and aggressions. Meditation is going into the mind to see this for yourself — over and over again, until it becomes the mind you live in. Morality is bringing it back out in the way you live, through personal example and responsible action, ultimately toward the true community (sangha) of “all beings.”

This last aspect means, for me, supporting any cultural and economic revolution that moves clearly toward a free, international, classless world. It means using such means as civil disobedience, outspoken criticism, protest, pacifism, voluntary poverty and even gentle violence if it comes to a matter of restraining some impetuous redneck. It means affirming the widest possible spectrum of non-harmful individual behavior — defending the right of individuals to smoke hemp, eat peyote, be polygynous, polyandrous or homosexual. Worlds of behavior and custom long banned by the Judaeo-Capitalist-Christian-Marxist West. It means respecting intelligence and learning, but not as greed or means to personal power. Working on one’s own responsibility, but willing to work with a group. “Forming the new society within the shell of the old” — the IWW slogan of fifty years ago.

The traditional cultures are in any case doomed, and rather than cling to their good aspects hopelessly it should be remembered that whatever is or ever was in any other culture can be reconstructed from the unconscious, through meditation. In fact, it is my own view that the coming revolution will close the circle and link us in many ways with the most creative aspects of our archaic past. If we are lucky we may eventually arrive at a totally integrated world culture with matrilineal descent, free-form marriage, natural-credit communist economy, less industry, far less population and lots more national parks.


“Buddhist Anarchism” was originally published in Journal for the Protection of All Beings #1 (City Lights, 1961). A slightly revised version appeared in Earth House Hold (New Directions, 1969) under the title “Buddhism and the Coming Revolution.” I have reproduced the latter version, but have kept the original title.

Copyright 1969. Reproduced here with permission from Gary Snyder (who informs me that any nonprofit reproduction of it is fine with him).

This little text is one of the first expressions of what later became known as “socially engaged Buddhism.” It meant a lot to me when I first read it in 1962, and it still seems pretty lucid 40 years later (within its carefully modest limits, which obviously leave room for considerable divergences of views regarding tactics and strategies). It is precisely because Snyder was so important for me at the time that one of my first “situationist” actions (1970) was a disruption of one of his poetry readings — my personal declaration of independence from heroes and leaders of any kind, even the most admirable. I went my own way from then on, but I still acknowledge Gary Snyder as one of the people who have contributed most richly to my awareness of life’s possibilities.


There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.~ Gotama Buddha

Reflections on a Buddhist Anarchism


_/\_ Anjali
On this, the 10th Anniversary of the Happenings of September 11, I bring you a plan for a better tomorrow and hope for the future. While I do not agree with everything  Mr. Mayes says here I agree with most of it. How do you feel? Please respond in the comments. ☸

When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them, one is free of fear. ~ Gotama Buddha

I suppose that all of this basically comes down to a deep dissatisfaction with life and the world that we live in. After years of grappling with this, trying on different approaches, lifestyles, ideologies, drugs, traveling, I now have come to see this world and my life in it in a particular way. My well-being, and the well-being of everyone in the world, basically comes down to our own choices that we make. Our choices have consequences. We can be happier, healthier, and live more fulfilling lives if we learn how to make wiser more skillful choices. This is what I call Buddhist anarchism.

What’s in a name Writing all of this I have a concern that I am merely contributing another label, another –ism, another ideology to a world that is already saturated with these. I do not want to add another set of words and ideas to fight over, but rather I want to tie together some historical streams of thought and practice that I believe can be quite beneficial and mutually reinforcing.

When I say “anarchism” what I’m referring to is a social philosophy based on an understanding that leads away from domination, top-down hierarchy and coercion, as exemplified by institutions such as capitalism and the state, and towards greater social freedom, voluntary cooperation and sharing of resources. Two slogans best summarize this worldview: “No gods, no masters” and “liberty, equality, fraternity”.

Buddhism to me is a philosophy of the mind based on an understanding that leads away from delusional thinking, attachment or trying to hide, and instead leads towards greater ethical conduct, control over one’s mind, and experiential insight. The phrase that best summarizes this worldview is: “Discern what helps; refrain from harm; purify your mind.”

Both of these philosophies emphasize a profound sense of freedom, community with others and with life in general, and a sincere goodwill being the motivating force behind people supporting each-other. I believe that both of these approaches are necessary in order for us to have real, meaningful and lasting change in this world.

The Buddha once said “even ignorant people look for a pathway to reality. But, searching for it, they often misunderstand what they encounter. They pursue names and categories instead of going beyond the name to that which is real.” My goal in writing all of this is to hopefully provide a few more useful guide-posts in the ongoing search for that which is really real in our world.

No separation from the personal and the politicalAnarchists have long said that the “personal is political”, that dynamics of authority and domination manifest themselves within interpersonal relationships and mindsets as well as in the larger institutions of our society. As a result, the choices and actions carried out within one’s life in relationship with others has been viewed by anarchists as being just as important an area to focus one’s attention on as capitalism and the state at large. As the German anarchist Gustav Landauer put it, “the state is a relationship between human beings, a way by which people relate to one another. One destroys it by entering into other relationships, by behaving differently”.

Buddhist belief holds that there is no real separation between an individual person and other people, and the rest of life, around them. The idea is that our very nature is so inextricably tied together, so bound by various processes of cause and effect occurring between us, that there is no meaningful way to draw a boundary from where a person begins and ends. To quote the famous anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, “Man becomes conscious of himself and his humanity only in society and only by the collective action of the whole society”.

This is one of the core ideas behind Buddhism, the concept of “no self”, or “anatta”. One is to have compassion and kindness towards all sentient beings because, to use an anarcho-syndicalist phrase, “an injury to one is an injury to all”.

Coming out of this understanding of “no self”, there is the Mahāyāna Buddhist ideal of the “Boddhisattva”. This ideal is such that the individual who chooses to go down this path does not achieve Enlightenment until all sentient beings achieve it first. A similar sentiment was expressed by Mikhail Bakunin when he said “I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free.”

Accepting the PathThe end goal for all of this is Enlightenment and a utopian society. Enlightenment would be when one is fully aware, at peace and free from all suffering. The utopian society in question would be where the world has no more relationships of hierarchy and domination, and all human activity is carried out freely, as equals, and all collective decisions and resources are shared together in common. Both ideals can seem distant and unattainable, but the path towards attaining these goals is in itself fulfilling, in both regards.

The Buddhist path is comprised of three aspects: ethical behavior, control of one’s mind, and experiential insight. Ethical behavior includes things like refraining from telling lies, stealing, killing, taking intoxicants, sexual misconduct, or in any other way harming people. This is not to be viewed as a kind of moralistic list of “do’s and don’ts” to use to judge people, but rather as a kind of guiding framework that one can choose to adopt for one’s life to aid in creating more personal stability and grounding from which to work from.

Controlling one’s mind comes about as a result of a regular ongoing practice of meditation. Ordinarily our own mind is scattershot, fragmented, jumping around from topic to topic, and in many cases it is actively working against us. Very often we do not even know our own mind, let alone control what it does and where it goes. Various forms of meditation practice exist in the world, and simply by choosing one or a few of them and sticking with them as a regular ongoing personal practice, eventually one’s mind will find greater clarity, coherence and sensibility.

Experiential insight comes about when one knows something not merely in an intellectual or abstract way, but because one has had direct personal experience with it. Through your experience, insight occurs. This is not merely a mental occurrence of conjuring up a memory of something, but a kind of bodily-felt experience where that which you know is felt and understood directly. This kind of thing can never be told from one person to another, each person has to come to it themself. Words that are spoken about this can at best be a guide towards personally coming to this kind of experiential insight. Unfortunately words can often be a distraction away from this as well.

The anarchist path towards social revolution could also be characterized as having three aspects: direct action, self-organization, and prefigurative politics. Direct action means doing something without asking for permission or waiting for an official stamp of approval. This is related to the goal of coming out of authority-based ruler/subject relationships, and instead finding one’s own personal power to take action directly one’s self without being told what to do.

Self-organization means that groups of people who do something together also have the role of organizing that activity together as well. Instead of having one group of people doing an activity, and another group of people doing the organizing work and decision-making for that activity, everything is all carried out by the same group of people. Where direct action can be viewed as people finding their own personal power, self-organization can be viewed as groups of people finding their own power together as a group.

Prefigurative politics means that the activities carried out and the ways of organizing and relating within them all reflect the kind of society that one wants to live in. This is in effect eliminating the separation of “means” and “ends”, or as Gandhi put it, to “be the change which you want to see in the world”. In practice this would mean establishing and spreading various social systems and structures to meet people’s needs within our current society. Whether these needs are for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, sanitation, medical care, child care, education or skill-building, all of people’s needs can be met through social means that are cooperative, voluntary, egalitarian and free.

The point with all of this is to not get tripped up by focusing too much on the end goals – personal Enlightenment and a utopian society. The goals are wonderful, but we are living our lives in the here-and-now. Therefore more focus should be placed on walking the path to these goals, because that is where we are now, taking one step at a time. When done right, each step on the path towards these goals are fulfilling in and of themselves, regardless of when and if we get there. This is all about improving our lives, personally and socially, and the process in itself is worth the effort.

Taking ResponsibilityIn common with both Buddhism and anarchism is the whole notion that one ought to take responsibility for one’s own life. With anarchism, there is a change of social structures and relationships towards recognizing and respecting each person’s ability to make their own choices for their own life. With Buddhism there is a kind of investigative search towards locating one’s core sense of choice, and from there consciously deciding upon one’s own actions, words spoken, and even the thoughts that are held in mind. The psychologist Victor Frankl expressed the later sentiment well when he said: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

In a way, these two approaches towards looking at individuals taking responsibility for their own lives are two sides of the same coin. The anarchist approach is “from the outside-in”, meaning that it focuses on how the community, the social structures and the relationships that a person is surrounded with can best acknowledge and support the individual in taking responsibility. The Buddhist approach is “from the inside-out” in that it focuses on the sense of choice coming from within an individual and extending outwards towards one’s thoughts, onto one’s words, and finally expressing itself in one’s actions.

To have a Buddhist anarchist approach would be to acknowledge and support each-other in making our own choices and decisions, to make decisions collectively and cooperatively when they pertain to group or community matters, and to always keep in mind that we can and should continue to develop greater wisdom, maturity and skill in the choices that we make.

Developing good qualities“Abstain from all unwholesome deeds,
perform wholesome ones,
purify your mind –
this is the teaching of the Buddhas.” – from the Dhammapada

At various points over the years that I have considered myself to be an “anarchist” I have felt discouraged, disillusioned and disappointed with the words and actions coming from different people who also consider themselves to be “anarchists”. These behaviors have ranged from very hurtful things that are written or spoken to one-another, to petty theft, lifestyles emphasizing intoxication, sexual assault, and other forms of violence. I have been astounded by this behavior, and at times have wondered if I really belong to the “anarchist community”, given that these kinds of behavior are not what I associate with anarchist values or the kind of utopian society that I want to live in. In other words, this is not what I signed up for.

Then I think about my own life, and how I myself have done various things that I regret and am not proud of. I remember how within my own mind when I was carrying out those actions, I felt quite agitated, confused, and in turmoil. My mind was not clear, composed and at peace with itself when I did those things. I recall the Buddha’s exhortations to “purify your mind”, and I think – what a remarkable difference that would have made in terms of providing the foundation for different, more beneficial actions to take place.

What strikes me about Buddhism is how seamlessly integrated the whole process is. The ethical framework that is provided is directly related to the mastery of one’s own mind, which is also related to developing one’s ability for concentration. Seen from this perspective, it is not surprising that such behaviors are found in the anarchist community, or other communities of people, because the perspective of the whole person is missing, as is the explicit commitment to positively developing one’s capacities.

A commitment to personal growthI believe that the more one is genuinely committed to improving one’s self, developing inner strength and mastering one’s own mind, the more one is in a better position to contribute towards meaningful social change. The Sufi writer Idries Shah put it well when he said:

“The individual, and groupings of people, have to learn that they cannot reform society in reality, nor deal with others as reasonable people, unless the individual has learned to locate and allow for the various patterns of coercive institutions, formal and also informal, which rule him. No matter what his reason says, he will always relapse into obedience to the coercive agency while its pattern is with him.”

In other words, we often produce and reproduce relationships of domination, authority and submission without even realizing that that is what we are doing. We are so accustomed and conditioned to these ways of being that we often are not even aware that they are happening. Cultivating greater self-awareness in the present moment can aid us in noticing this taking place. Buddhism provides various tools to assist in this. A real personal commitment to doing the ongoing necessary inner work of developing in these areas has to be present; otherwise “anarchy” would end up being the kind of nightmare situation that people usually associate with that term.

Intoxication and seeing clearlyWithin countless anarchist circles I have come across there are problems that exist with drugs and alcohol. A lot of the time the using of drugs or alcohol is one of the factors contributing to instances of sexual assault and other forms of violence, as well as unnecessary run-ins with law enforcement. Overall the time, energy and money spent on the procurement, consumption and dealing with the after-effects of intoxication within the anarchist scene seems to me to be something that could be more productively put in other places.

From the Buddhist perspective of developing greater self-control, mastery of one’s mind and concentration, the act of getting intoxicated pretty much defeats the purpose. One of the goals with Buddhism is to see reality as it is, without delusions and confusion. The adding of the element of intoxication is contributing one more unnecessary barrier to achieving this desired clarity.

Part of seeing reality clearly also involves facing directly the reality that exists inside of you. This means not hiding from that which is unpleasant, and not craving that which is pleasant. Intoxication is a way to induce pleasant experiences, and to escape unpleasant ones. The more time that one spends with one’s self, directly and unobstructed, the more one eventually finds personal acceptance and comfort with one’s true nature.

Related to the anarchist punk rock scene there is “straight edge” (or “sXe” for short), a movement of people who abstain from drugs and alcohol. These folks have already elaborated on the draw-backs to intoxication, particularly as it relates to the effective carrying out of social change work. Many straight edge people tie their abstinence to their religious or spiritual beliefs, the most notable of which being Christianity and Hare Krishna. I would say that Buddhist anarchism would also have ties to straight edge (as well as “posi-core”, given the focus on positive values).

Selfless serviceTurning the focus now from one’s self towards others (to the extent that there is a distinction between the two), I will say that one of the important aspects within Buddhism that has most struck a chord with me is what has been referred to as “dhamma service”, or “dharma service”. This is the voluntary giving of service for the benefit of others without expecting anything in return. This is to be done out of a spirit of love, compassion and generosity, with a sincere wish for the peace and happiness of those you’re serving. I have found this to be a very personally rewarding experience, which is ironic given that this activity is done out of a spirit of focusing on serving others, not yourself. That this kind of experience would be personally fulfilling makes the “giving” in fact be a kind of “receiving”. (To me this is an example that high-lights the principle of “anatta” or “no self”)

In the world of activism, the profession of those who want to change the world, I have been struck by the amount of anger that exists towards other people. I believe that this stems from a mindset of wanting to change other people. I do not see that perspective as going anywhere. Because when it comes down to it, each person is responsible for changing themselves, for determining their own future through their own actions. The mindset that I instead would like to use when approaching matters of social change is not the “activist” mentality, but rather that of selflessly serving others – dharma service.

The simplicity of givingAnother aspect of Buddhism, related to dharma service, is something called dāna. This is generosity and giving without any strings attached. It is giving simply to give, for the benefit of others. In societies that have an old history of institutionalized Buddhism, this virtue has enabled the profession of Buddhist monks and nuns to exist and be sustained over centuries. Because of people regularly giving to monks and nuns, they end up living more simple and austere lives themselves, in addition to the monks and nuns who live with very little material things to begin with. This results in a more simple life all around.

Within the anarchist sub-culture I have noticed a similar dynamic taking place. Anarchists regularly give and offer what little resources they do have to others, to comrades in need, projects worthy of support, and people who are in legal trouble. A culture of selfless giving is often the case within anarchist circles, and this often goes unacknowledged. I find this to be a very beautiful thing and something worthy of praise.

The delusion of ownershipRelated to this notion of giving, I would like to propose another idea – that nobody really owns anything to begin with. In contrast to this, I would say that things exist, they move around and change, and eventually they go away. That’s the extent of it. The moment that the identification with a material object takes place, that the concept of “mine” enters the picture; the stage is then set for suffering to occur (and for systems of institutionalized domination, such as capitalism, to eventually come about).

From the Buddhist perspective, suffering comes about from craving things, from trying to avoid things, and from delusional thinking. To me, the concept of ownership has the seeds for all three within it. The craving part seems obvious – “I want what belongs to me”. The avoidance is evident in that there are certain thoughts and feelings that one is trying to escape confronting. In other words, what exactly will be there when you have “nothing” to hide behind? What are you left with when you do not have your stuff?

The delusion of ownership is evident in that the material objects that one considers to be their “property” inevitably breaks, get lost, or stolen. These material things are usually not physically attached to one’s body, so in a way they have a life of their own and wind up wherever. To consider material objects “yours” does not match reality, because they will go wherever they go, irrespective of your wishes. To think otherwise is to invite suffering.

The delusion of controlling othersSimilar and related to the idea of controlling material objects is the idea of controlling other people. People will do whatever it is that they do, and to think otherwise is to invite suffering. Offering of suggestions, advice and support can be made to people, that is different from attempting to control. However it must always be kept in mind that in the end it is up to each individual to take it upon themselves to change in a more positive direction, if that is what they want.

To try to control people is to set one’s self up for disappointment – by the other people not following through, not fulfilling the vision that was anticipated,by resisting or rebelling, or by holding a resentment that will show itself as retaliation in some future time. Real peace of mind is neither present in the person in the position of being the controller nor in the person being controlled. To find peace of mind one needs to create social harmony, which means establishing cooperation between people as equals; always with an understanding that everything is impermanent, that change is a constant.

Practicing NonviolenceAs I see it, a common goal that both anarchism and Buddhism have is fostering social harmony. To foster social harmony there has to be nonviolence. This means actively making the choice to not harm others, even in the face of injustice and aggression. Instead of retaliation and harm, one seeks to support understanding, empathy and love. In order to maintain an active nonviolence, it is important that one remain clear about one’s values, authenticity, and to openly expresses these.

There are traditions within both Buddhism and anarchism of nonviolence; although nonviolence is not exclusively practiced within either one. To have a Buddhist anarchism, I believe that nonviolence needs to be a unifying principle – given that nonviolence emphasizes that a goal in common to all of this is real peace. Both personally and socially speaking, peace is what we seek. It is important that we remain as consistently in integrity with these values as possible, every step of the way.

Extending the LoveCommon to both anarchism and Buddhism is vegetarianism (although this is not always the case). This is usually done for the same reason for both – an ethical conviction that it is wrong to kill animals for our own consumption. When striving to extend our compassion and care to others, no line is drawn between humans and animals. Animals can feel both joy and pain, hence they are seen as worthy of our concern and consideration when deciding on the kind of lifestyle we want to live and the kind of world that we seek to create. For this reason, Buddhist anarchism would include having a vegan, plant-based diet.

Nonviolence within Buddhism, and dharma service and dāna/generosity in general, all come out of a particular state of mind (or rather, a quality of heart). This is called “metta”, which means “loving-kindness”. This is a real opening of the heart, a loving no matter what, a sincere wishing of the best of everyone. The ideal is to have this quality be the motivating force behind all of the actions that one does in the world. Various meditative practices exist within Buddhism to help with developing metta. Having the ability to bring about sincere loving-kindness throughout one’s activities of daily life is tied together with cultivating personal happiness in life.

Compassionate communicationComing out of a sense of both nonviolence and loving-kindness is a related practice that does not necessarily originate from either anarchism or Buddhism per se, but which I believe is essential for a real living Buddhist anarchism nonetheless. I am referring here to compassionate communication, also known as “Nonviolent Communication” or “NVC”. Briefly put, this is a system of tools to help people to communicate with more empathy, personal authenticity and caring, as well as translating judgements of people into a deep understanding of what is actually taking place. Compassionate communication is practicing in listening, with expressing, and also in terms of one’s own thinking. It is a tool to be used when addressing conflict situations, as well as a kind of “talking meditation” that can be used in the interactions of daily life.

I see compassionate communication as being a great tool to help one in practicing what in Buddhism is called “Right Speech”, which is a part of the “Noble Eightfold Path” towards the liberation from suffering. Within anarchist circles, I have seen countless projects, relationships and gatherings of people break down because of communication difficulties and how conflict is dealt with. This is an area where I believe some real skill-building is needed. Learning compassionate communication is one way to pursue building these skills.

Small is beautifulWithin Buddhism the goal is for one to live a life characterized by the renunciation of material things, making a living through ethical means, being moderate in one’s eating, and having patience, hard work and equanimity. Within the anarchist ideal of a utopian society, production and consumption would take place in a decentralized way through local small-scale face-to-face communities of people. The goal is to have everybody being nourished by local organically-grown food where everyone knows the people who grew it and the land that it was grown on.

These two goals to me seem to fit together like hand-in-glove. Taken altogether, one would live a simple small-scale life, hard-working and modest, living together with others whom you know, make decisions and share with. This is a goal which one does not need to wait for a distant future to achieve; this is attainable in our lives right now.

New kinds of social organizationWithin the community of Buddhist practitioners, particularly the monks and nuns, the Buddha gave specific suggestions for how the organization of this community could best be carried out. The term for the community of practitioners is “sangha”, and here are two quotes that are particularly relevant when considering a Buddhist anarchism. These come from the book “An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World” by Pankaj Mishra:

“The Buddha was confident that ‘as long as the monks hold frequent and full assemblies the sangha will prosper, and not decline’. He did not think of himself as leading the sangha. Nor did he encourage any of his disciples to assume the burden after his death. He saw consensus as of the utmost importance to the life of the sangha. The Buddha also stressed the need for each local sangha to remain united. He allowed for differences of opinion, but he did not wish them to undermine the structural unity of a sangha and vitiate the experience of everyday life. Controversy, whenever it arose, could be settled by the method of the dissenting individuals removing themselves and forming a new group.”

This reflects a number of anarchist values, namely, that of including everyone’s voice and allowing for each person to have their own opinion, prioritizing a group consensus process, and ultimately making room for group self-determination and free association.

Mishra then goes on:

“The Buddha encouraged individual monks to become exemplars for the society of laymen; he may even have wished the organization of the sangha to become a model of a higher politics and morality. With its rules and its respect for consensus and tradition, the sangha does seem a prototype for the close-knit political organization – something that could conceivably serve as an alternative to the unmanageably large states in which two new human categories were coming into being; the rulers and the ruled.”

This then brings up an intriguing question – what could a Buddhist anarchist sangha look like? In our current era of digital technologies, globalization, and ecological crises, where the social categories of rulers and ruled have existed for quite some time now, how can we create an anarchist sangha that realistically addresses the needs of people where they are at? I feel that both the traditions of anarchism and Buddhism have a lot to offer in terms of beginning to answer these questions. However, in the end it is up to us and our own ingenuity and effort to come up with some answers.

Step by stepBoth anarchism and Buddhism offer unique ways to look at the world to dispel all of the illusions that are cast around it – to see life as it really is. The reality is that we are all deeply enmeshed in different kinds of power relationships. This results in some people being placed on top of a social pyramid as a privileged ruling class, while most people are simply following the orders and expectations that are handed down to them from above. These relationships are created and reproduced by the choices and actions that we take, both internally and externally. We are ultimately responsible for our own suffering, both personally and socially. This suffering is ultimately unnecessary. We can find liberation from all of this.

To find true liberation, we need to face the reality that is before us without any illusions. We need to take full responsibility for our own lives. If we see and acknowledge that we are inextricably connected with one-another, and determine that we want to work together to create different kinds of relationships for a radically different kind of world, then we must learn how to communicate, share, and love without any reservations. Doing all of this takes practice. This is an ongoing process of development, and luckily the various tools that can aid us on our way are already before us. As a famous monk once said:

“Liberation is the inevitable fruit of the path and is bound to blossom forth when there is steady and persistent practice. The only requirements for reaching the final goal are two: to start and to continue.”

Further resourcesThere are various websites, people and organizations who are out in the world doing things of a Buddhist anarchist nature. Here are few:

Buddhist punks

Against the Stream Meditation Society: http://www.againstthestream.org/
Hardcore Zen: http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/
Dharma Punx: http://www.dharmapunx.com/

Buddhist social change stuff

Buddhist Peace Fellowship: http://www.bpf.org/
International Network of Engaged Buddhists: http://www.inebnetwork.org/
Zen Peacemakers: http://www.zenpeacemakers.org/

Learning Buddhism

D.I.Y. Dharma: http://diydharma.org/
Vipassana Meditation: http://www.dhamma.org/

Secular Buddhists

The Secular Buddhist: http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/
Confession of a Buddhist Atheist: http://www.stephenbatchelor.org/book-confession.html

Compassionate Communication

The Center for Nonviolent Communication: http://www.cnvc.org/
Consciousness Transformation Community: http://ctc.learnnvc.org

Reflections on a Buddhist Anarchism

By: Ian Mayes
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