K. Sri Dhammananda: Should religion get involved in politics and take stance on certain issues? - KNT Diary

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

K. Sri Dhammananda: Should religion get involved in politics and take stance on certain issues?

Late Most Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda (born Martin Gamage, 18 March 1919 – 31 August 2006)

On one occasion, one of his students or followers asked late Most Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda, one of the well respected Buddhist scholars in the 20th century: Should religion get involved in politics and take stance on certain issues? He answered as follows:

Yes, I can remember. Now it is a good question. Because I have heard on many occasions, people say we should not use religion with politics, should not mix. They are wrong.

The Buddhist has given this advice: anujanami bhikkhave rajanam anuvatetu.

First advice, as the followers of the Buddha, to cooperate with the existing government or law enforced by the government. That is the first thing.

Second advice, If the ruler of a country punishes innocent people, it is not suitable for him to remain as a ruler. He must be out.

Then He says:
If the ruler does not punish the culprits, it is also not suitable for him to remain [as a ruler].

Therefore, the Buddhist has pointed out the culprits must be punished. But in Buddhism, there are no religious punishments, but in other religions, they have religious punishments. In Buddhism, there is no religious punishment. Buddha advises, please cooperate with the existing government and the law, no separate religious law in Buddhism.

Again, if the people come to know the rulers or the governments are unfair or toxic. It is their duty to get rid of that kind of politics or political power or the governments and organise/establish a good government. Therefore, we cannot say religion should not interfere with politics.

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