Buddhist Social Democracy, Part 1

by Stefan Schindler

   All things pass; life is brief; seek freedom; be kind.  Siddhartha Gautama, Gangamala Jataka

 “A Buddha arises for the welfare of the multitude.”

This is a common refrain in Buddhist sutras. On Buddha’s Eightfold Path to the common good, a spoke in the Dharmachakra – Siddhartha’s “Teaching Wheel” – is “right vocation.” Right vocation is ethical employment guided by the medical maxim, “Do no harm.”

Buddha’s politics aim for moral-egalitarian economics, informed by the main Buddhist issue: suffering and freedom from suffering (the first and third of Siddhartha’s Four Noble Truths).

A just society is peaceloving and peaceful. Violence opposes that.   Violence and poverty go together. But if poverty is the breeding ground of crime, so too is wealth. Indeed, the primary cause of poverty is wealth itself. Excess wealth among the few creates insecurity, fear, desperation and despair among the many. This is a crime against humanity.

Buddhist social democracy offers economic balance, making space for personal and communal creative evolution. Heart-centered pedagogy is its path, where all the institutions of society support lifelong educational opportunity. Giving peace a chance through voluntary simplicity and the joy of learning.

A psychiatrist for the criminally insane once noted that her clients’ crimes were mere drops of blood in the sea of pain inflicted by the captains of industry and their political, military and media puppets.

Locally and globally, economic apartheid is capitalism run amok; a collective Faustian bargain. The delicate balance of freedom and authority tilts toward fascism.

Benito Mussolini said: “Fascism ought rightly to be called Corporatism, since it embodies the fusion of state and corporate power.”

American Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis declared: “We can have democracy, or we can have vast wealth in the hands of a few. We cannot have both.” Howard Zinn observed: “While the jails are full of petty thieves, the grand thieves are running the country.”

Thirsting for distraction after long hours of competitive work, citizens become historically and politically illiterate; ignorant of their actual past, present and trajectory. Trapped by “chains of illusion,” in a high-tech version of Plato’s cave. Worldview warped by a blizzard of epistemological confetti. Unable to cope with the power elite’s weapons of mass dysfunction. This is important.

An informed citizenry is the prerequisite for a functioning democracy, gifted with the leisure, skills and desire to comprehend, critique and oppose plutocratic ruptures in domestic and global harmony. George Santayana elaborates: “Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

The more a government serves capital profiteering instead of the welfare of the multitude, the more fractured a society becomes.

Martin Luther King offers a diagnosis: “Wealth, poverty, racism and war always go together; and we cannot solve one without solving the others.”

H. G. Wells warned: “History is now a race between education and catastrophe.” Accordingly, a just society does not empower a news media which critiques peacemakers in the name of patriotism.

Nagarjuna says to a sophist: “When you cast your faults onto me, you are like a man riding a horse who has forgotten where his horse is.”

Mark Twain says, with an exasperated sigh: “The lie is half-way around the world before truth has its boots on.”

Chogyam Trungpa – twentieth century Tibetan Buddhist in the West – shows Buddha’s teachings to be therapeutic: “Buddhism is all about returning to the sanity we were born with.”

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A World-Wide Unity Campaign

To create World Peace

By Andre Sheldon


a Gandhi / King-like people movement,


For the Children

Via a CALL to WOMEN.


 The Immediate Objective is to:


Enlist women to rise up as the PEACEMAKERS, and

Set a Precedent for the Future of the Planet.

The long term goal is to STOP WAR!

The world is becoming more and more divided and violent.

The time has come to unite the people of the world and grassroots organizations everywhere. It is time for a PEOPLE MOVEMENT!


 Please Contact

Andre Sheldon

Director, Global Strategy of Nonviolence, For the Children

Facilitator, CALL to WOMEN, a World-Wide Unity Campaign

Cell number: +1-617-413-9064, Home number: +1-617- 964-5267

Email:  Andre@GlobalStrategyofNonviolence.org

Website: www.GlobalStrategyofNonviolence.org

Facebook: Global Movement of Nonviolence




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Refusing the Order to March, Part 2

“REFUSE THE ORDER TO LAUNCH” demonstration at the Natick Army Base on Sunday, August 27.


By Lewis Randa

The protest march from Natick Center to the Natick Army Base last Sunday, August 27, was important for reasons that extend beyond making a public statement against a potential nuclear strike against North Korea.

For our young college intern, Maddie Walters, who worked to organize the action, it was an opportunity, following two horrific years of recovery from a near death accident in high school that left her with a ​serious brain injury, to take a stand both literally and figuratively.

Maddie’s recovery has been miraculous — and her one-mile protest walk from Natick center to the army base was a poignant testimony, not only of her fear of nuclear war but a spirited demonstration of her physical recovery and the resilience of the human body and the human mind.  Maddie’s impact on others is profound; her contribution to peace is enormous.  We wish her well as she enters her freshman year at Lasell College in Newton.

I wish to thank​ the activists who read Peace Chain statements about the horrors of nuclear war, and extend my debt of gratitude to the ​members of the Common Street Spiritual Center and the First Congregational Church, ​without whom ​the action ​would not have ​attracted long-time activists from the area and several individuals who are new at taking such ​actions for peace.

The Natick Board of Selectmen that authorized the march did so trusting that an action organized and led by the Peace Abbey would be nonviolent and peaceful and would be conducted according to agreed-upon standards of conduct on town property.

Mass Peace Action provided the NO WAR banner and many marchers brought homemade signs that personally expressed their concern and outrage.   For those who were part of the demonstration, it was impressive to witness the professional, measured, and thoughtful response from both the Natick Police officers and the Federal police stationed at the Natick Army base.

I am grateful to report that such was the case both at the Natick Jail and at the Framingham District Court.

FYI:  Following my arrest, I declined bail, preferring to spend the night in jail in prayerful reflection while rereading the book “I REFUSE” by J.K. Osborne.   (I first read this powerful memoir of a Vietnam war resister during a fast which led to my discharge from the army as a conscientious objector in 1971.)

Monday morning I was transported to Framingham/Natick District Court where my wife Meg and peace movement attorney Greg Barison awaited my arrival.  The Judge reduced my fine from $510. to $100 and dismissed the case.    In the words of attorney Barison:  “No gesture for non-violence, however small, no stand for peace, however modest, goes for naught.”

Please join us at Noon on October 24th, United Nations Day at the Pacifist Memorial in Sherborn, MA, ​as we honor Retired Major Harold Hering who was discharged from his military career for asking the question:  “Are there checks and balances on the President when ordering a nuclear strike?”

That was in 1973 and Richard Nixon was president.   Decades later, we find ourselves at the gates of the military installation in Natick ​asking the same question.  It’s 2017 this time, and Donald Trump is president.  Some things never change.

Pray as though everything depends on God.  Resist as though God depends on us for everything.


Posted in Champions of peace, Democracy, Donald Trump, Nonviolence, Pacifism, politics, Prisons, Protest, resistance, Stories of engagement, Weaponry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


The contributions of Lewis Randa, Dot Walsh,  and  the Peace Abbey  to the promotion of peace and social justice have been featured on engaging peace several times in the last few years.  I am glad to report that these forces for good continue to speak truth to power.

Stay tuned for more information on the “Refuse the Order to Launch” rally in Natick, MA, August 27, 2017.

Posted in Champions of peace, Democracy, Nonviolence, Pacifism, politics, Protest, resistance, social justice, Stories of engagement, Weaponry | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments