Affairs of state are clearly not the focus of Buddhist teachings. Indeed, conversation about ‘kings and ministers’ figure in the many forms of ‘low or animal talk’ that the Buddha recommended we avoid (Anguttara 10.69). This injunction stems from the view that we often engage in such talk simply to exercise our opinions, without useful purpose.
Yet, however contested modern political discourse might be, the function and qualities of leadership are of ongoing relevance in our worldly lives. And when it’s observed that no dimension of life is excluded from the Dhamma it does not surprise that, in addition to diverse spiritual teachings the Buddha gave to various kings of his day, he is also known to have offered them guidance on royal governance.
With the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II and ascension of King Charles III, reflection on the role of monarchs – indeed, any form of personal, professional, or state authority – acquires renewed pertinence.
Is there a Buddhist approach to such ancient and contemporary concerns? A list of qualities found in the Jataka Tales, provides one response. The Jatakas present memorable incidents believed to issue from various previous lives of Gotama Buddha. The following ‘Ten Royal Duties’ (also, ’Norms’ or ‘Rules’: Dasa Rajadhamma) appear in the Jataka III,274:
Dana – generosity
Sila – virtue
Pariccaga – altruism, or selflessness
Ajjava – honesty, or integrity
Maddava – gentleness
Tapo – self-control
Akkodha – non-anger, or calmness
Avihimsa – harmlessness, or non-violence
Khanti – patient forbearance
Avirodha – uprightness, or conformity with principles of Dhamma
Even a brief glance will confirm that the list is in harmony with numerous refined qualities recommended by Buddhism to be worth developing… by anyone.… Read the rest
As can be seen by the photos posted in the News section, the Dhamma Hall is now taking shape. As usual, the early work all took place below ground (e.g., foundation footings, electrical lines, septic and water lines, etc.) all monitored by repeated surveying. Although such work doesn’t interest everyone, for the residents even this proved to be rather captivating, as it was conducted by an impressive excavator, dump trucks, large concrete pumper, and teams of workers. Lots of commotion!
This first rows of insulated blocks for the foundation, have now been filled with concrete and buried below several feet of packed gravel. The insulated walls have continued to be raised and strengthened with concrete and rebar, and now stand nearly complete, with just a few more rows needed at each gable end.
Before these ends are completed, some of the timber framing along the walls will begin. However, before this is done attention will be focused on the floor. Like everything, this is a sequential process, entailing a heavy plastic vapour barrier set between 2 layers of insulation, onto which tubing for the radiant heating will be attached. The concrete can then be poured and levelled. Outside of the main building, the well and a septic tank have also been dug. … Read the rest