Did Gautama Buddha make any statements about the justices or injustices of the world? I would like to elucidate the right view to a person who has undergone a certain injustice. The person in question has not got a particular position she rightfully deserved due to a conspiracy of people blocking said person from achieving it. I would also like a parallel to the contemporary world so that it is more practical when reaching this society's person.

  • As this seems situational some details on what the injustice is specifically would help to answer this question.
    – hellyale
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 16:38
  • @hellyale the edit has been made
    – esh
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 16:51

4 Answers 4


The way Buddha explained these things, was not as much about justice/injustice as with references to how the world/society works.

For example he would say, if someone were to rob people, he will likely get caught by the king and get his feet and hands cut off. Dharma is not as much about justice as it is about understanding how things work.

Same way, when your friend had people conspire against her - this would mean she probably did a bad job making friends with people. When someone is good at making friends, people don't conspire against them. There could be exceptions but this seems a general rule of thumb, right?

As per the Occam's Razor principle, the explanation with fewer assumptions is more often the right one. So in my experience, more often than not, our social problems are caused by our own behavior.

This would be the most Buddhist advice, to start with yourself. Even if you are not THE source of the problem, in reality you are the only thing you can control (to a degree) - so whatever you want to achieve you have to achieve it by changing your own behavior. Unless of course you are in a position of authority to tell people what to do, but that's not the case here.

The key to the right view is to shift the focus from personal preconceptions ("this is not fair" etc.) to the context of kusala/akusala action-and-result: this action leads to this result - that action leads to that result, these words will have this effect - those words will have that effect, these thoughts of mine will result in this - those thoughts of mine will result in that.

Not sure if I can find any quotes or anecdotes for this. Hopefully someone else can think of some canonical story.

  • Yes this is what I told her . The world is not to be fixed . Your perceptions are. But they just don't seem to get it. So... I guess I'll leave it there in the hope that there is a time when the person will get it from their own experience
    – esh
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 18:45

The first thing that the story (i.e. "not got a particular position she rightfully deserved due to a conspiracy") reminded me of was verse 3 of the Dhammapada (i.e. "he robbed me" etc.).

  1. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

  2. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

  3. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

The associated story is here.

I hesitate to tell this story because it seems like blaming the victim, not sympathetic.

I don't want to say, "you were robbed ... and I expect you to like that!"

But if the friend to whom the injustice was done now continues to hate their situation (or, it's called, aversion), if you're continuing to hold hate, then that's continuing to 'suffer', prolonging the suffering ... and that's maybe part of the types of suffering (see here and see also "not getting what is wanted is stressful") that the Buddha certainly made statements about: not injustice so much as our reaction to it.

Of course he also made statements about justice; for example,

Sila (virtue, moral conduct) is the cornerstone upon which the entire Noble Eightfold Path is built.

There's also,

The Vinaya Pitaka, the first division of the Tipitaka, is the textual framework upon which the monastic community (Sangha) is built. It includes not only the rules governing the life of every Theravada bhikkhu (monk) and bhikkhuni (nun), but also a host of procedures and conventions of etiquette that support harmonious relations, both among the monastics themselves, and between the monastics and their lay supporters, upon whom they depend for all their material needs.

And actually the Dhammapada does say more on the subject of justice. The story behind Verse 331,

Verse 331: It is good to have friends when the need arises; it is good to be content with anything that is available; it is good to have merit when life is about to end; it is good to be rid of all dukkha.

... starts with people being "ill-treated by some wicked kings".


The world is perfectly just in the sense that the law of karma is ubiquitous, i.e., every cause results in an effect, and every effect results from a cause. Therefore, right view is to regard every experience as a personal opportunity for change and growth, rather than blaming others, which merely magnifies the suffering. Also, because everything is illusory (except one thing, which is therefore the only thing that really matters), it is as absurd to agonize over it as it would be to agonize over something that happens in a video game. In this regard Buddhism inculcates an attitude a bit like stoicism.

  • I was guessing that the OP's friend might be naive and that statements like "every effect results from a cause" (is that blame-the-victim, are you saying it's my fault? does it imply predestination, inevitability?) and "everything is illusory" (what, suffering isn't real?) might not be easy to understand without a little more explanation.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 16:30
  • Those are meaty questions that IMHO go beyond the scope of a comment. I understand there is a chat feature here but have never used it. See, however, David Loy, ""Rethinking Karma," Tricycle, located at tricycle.com/columns/my-view-rethinking-karma?page=0,1.
    – user4970
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 18:53
  • I'm not insisting on a chat. I think my comments are often meant as a 'request for clarification' when I find some point in your answer which I think you could make clearer, not by your adding comments or chat but by your adding to (i.e. editing) your own answer ... add a sentence or two, a reference, whatever you think best. Or ignore my comment if you think it's unnecessary (and/or you can 'flag' any comment which you think is obsolete, unnecessary, or whatever). In this case I'm not sure my comment is worthwhile: it was (just) fantasizing about how someone could misunderstand the answer.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 20:07
  • The questions you raise are legitimate and have indeed been a subject of very considerable discussions. However, I dont feel able to do justice to the extent of the discussion that would be required to elucidate your points. I do try to be concise and keep to the question. Any answer to any question can of course spin off many additional questions especially in this kind of format.
    – user4970
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 22:43

In the Dhammapada, is the chapter called 'The Just', which states:

He who does not judge others arbitrarily, but passes judgment impartially according to the truth, that sagacious man is a guardian of law and is called just.

Your friend is caught in the cronyism of unjust, unethical & non-impartial people. This is very common. Your friend should look for a new job in an ethical workplace.

The Buddha taught the world has many defiled unethical people. It is not a matter of your friend not being good at making friends because true friends don't collectively conspire against individuals.

Generally, befriending such people requires the diminution of one's ethical values.

In the Sigalovada Sutta, it is taught in life there are true friends & false friends. We should try to associate with good people & good friends (even though they can be difficult to find).

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