Last year, I applied for the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Tech Visa in the UK. From the two criteria: "prove at least 2 innovations in tech" and "demonstrate how your engagement with the community helped advanced the sector", I picked the first one, because I don't spend much time socialising online, just doing my programming work. I did give link to my GitHub profile and showed my programming work. Still, the response that I got was negative and stated that "the applicant is expected to have the profile in the community" which I know is false, because it's not my criterion. This all happened because initially there were errors made by experts in their decision, and when I complained and applied for the review, the manager of the organisation that is supposed to provide fair reviews, hated me and wrote the review herself which is not based on any true facts. If you're interested, you can read the review yourself, but after each sentence please ask "why should I believe this, what are the objective facts that support statements". I'm a Senior Software Engineer, and I know that I didn't use frameworks in my work, instead I made dem frameworks myself. The manager just lied about me to the government because they're mental and there's no-one regulating this enterprise that issues reviews.

In any way, I will sue the company for breaking the GPDR since my choice of criteria is my personal data and it was not processed according to my consent and that's settled. However, I also want to prove that telling me that

"Although early in his career, an applicant who wants to be considered as Exceptional Promise is expected to have a profile outside of his immediate employer. This is feasible even with limited experience."

is limiting my opportunities on the religious grounds, such as that I'm a buddhist. This is in addition to the fact there was a clear choice between the two criteria, I picked the innovations, and was judged for the community profile because the manager without Computer Science education is not even in the position to evaluate my work (that's why there's no technical details in the review and the lies of my work not being innovative everywhere without any proof of that).

Sorry for the long preamble, I just want you to understand the background to my frustration when I'm a professional developer, spend 10+ hours a day coding my software, and at the moment not really keen on engaging with the community because I want to finish my software to the extend that I'm happy with it to be presented to the world and because I'm naturally OK by myself and also don't really like the state of what the "community" is doing, with anyone calling themselves developers after taking an online course, whereas I'm a Software Engineer with a master's degree. I'm not a stuck up person it's just annoying how I showed a distinction in masters, a senior software engineering position by 25 yo, and none of these things even matter for the visa? For non-tech sections, people have to have at least a PhD to apply for the same visa, but apparently for the tech one, you can get it just with the community profile "feasible even with limited experience"! The tech bubble is pretty annoying, you can read more. The best way to express my attitude is with a quote

But recall that Nietzsche is not attempting to defend values for everybody to adopt. He wants to free higher people from living by the standards (of equality, modesty, mediocrity) of the ‘herd’.

I think that Nietzsche is aligned with buddhism, and although he did attack it, it was only the part that is related to people becoming ascetics and thus denying their nature, which is exactly what Gautama Buddha was against iirc.

To tell me I have to have a profile in the community is like punishing a kid in the kindergarten for "not playing with other kids". We're adults and I'm building my business and I had shown how I contributed over 60 packages to Open Source, which were dismissed as "not track record". The woman is clearly insane and I know that because I met her and she talked to me in such patronising tone that I knew she thinks I'm upset about not getting the visa for my work not being good enough, rather than because the experts make mistakes and the organisation didn't even ensure that the recommendation they return is correct.

Back to the buddhism, this is the main theme I want to use:

SRAMANA, sramana. This is closely allied to the word shaman, and a shaman is the holy man in a culture that is still hunting, it isn’t settled, it isn’t agrarian. There is a very strong and important difference between a shaman and a priest. A priest receives his ordination from his superiors. He receives something from a tradition which is handed down.

A shaman doesn’t. He receives his enlightenment by going off into the forest by himself to be completely alone. In other words, a shaman is a man who has undergone solitariness. He has gone away into the forest to find out who he really is, because it’s very difficult to find that out while you’re with other people, and the reason is that other people are busy all the time telling you who you are, in many many ways, by the laws they impose on you, by the behavior ruts they set on you, by the things they tell you, by the fact that they always call you by your name, and by the fact that when you live among people you have to be in a state of ceaseless chatter.

But if you want to find out who you are before your father and mother conceived you, who you really are, you almost have to go off by yourself. You go into the forest, and stop talking, and even stop thinking words, and be absolutely alone, and listen to the great silences.

"Thusness" by Alan Watts

In buddhist lectures, I always hear about how society brainwashes you by giving you a name, setting the rules and standards that are there to ensure its (temporal) victory over time in trying to establish itself as permanent, but buddhists know that nothing is permanent. Therefore, I'm trying to extract the essence of the idea that a man, as an individual, does not owe society, he is free to live for himself and pursue his/her own goals. This is best reflected in Ayn Rand's philosophy,

“Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite faces nature through an intermediary.

The Fountainhead

Zen is concerned with what actually is rather than what we think or feel about what is.

What things are, is that my code works, gives result and solves problems. What others think or feel about it is the community profile which I don't care about.

Can you please give me all possible quotes/parts of teaching that would prove that according to buddhism I don't owe society a community profile, I can work on my own and make significant contribution to the sector with just my development work (i.e., the criterion I chose for the visa), without having to prove anything to anyone with the profile.

“A leader is best When people barely know he exists Of a good leader, who talks little, When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, They will say, “We did this ourselves.”

Lao Tzu

I tried searching for "buddhism and society" topics, but all comes up vague. What I'm really looking for is anything that resembles Alan Watts's saying that a buddha is not the one who's been conditioned by the society and "community", but on contrary, the one who leaves it to find his/her own way. I know that working on my own on independent software is the way of dealing with suffering, therefore it's irrelevant if I have the profile or not. Gramercy.

  • 2
    I will sue the company ... I also want to prove that telling me that [...] is limiting my opportunities on the religious grounds, such as that I'm a buddhist. I guess that argument (i.e. "religious discrimination") won't be useful/effective -- that they're not denying your application because you're Buddhist, but instead because of what they assess of your (past and future) effect on the tech industry. And proving that you're a good Buddhist (i.e. in line with Buddhist ideals or role models) also wouldn't help with that particular visa application.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 14:53
  • Not directly denying it - they demand I get engaged with community which is wrong according to the GDPR because it's not the criteria I chose. I want to get more evidence why it's wrong from the buddhist point of view. For example, if you read Castaneda, he often talks how when people get to know you, they start "making" you, affecting you directly on subliminal level. This is what Alan Watts says as well, that we come into this world alone, seek liberation on our own, and leave it on our own, not with imaginary community. I just want evidence that buddhist can choose to work in solitude. Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 12:21

3 Answers 3


If you're asking how to integrate Buddhist values with work, having a career, I might recommend this book: The Buddha's Teachings on Prosperity: At Home, At Work, In the World, by Bhikkhu Basnagoda Rahula.

It's an anthology of the advice which the suttas give to lay people -- organised into different topics and with commentary for a modern (American) audience. Several chapters of it are relevant to the social relationships you have at work.

The Sigalovada Sutta (DN 31) is maybe the single most-detailed sutta for lay people. It describes how to tell the difference between good friends and bad friends, for example -- and warns to avoid bad friends -- but also recommends that you support good friends, family, employers, employees, teachers, and so on.

I'm tempted to add that even software development is a social activity -- that it matters what people think of you and vice versa, and how skilfully you choose and communicate with people. That wasn't the question you were asking here, but I don't think that my saying so would contradict any Buddhist doctrine.

I'm also tempted to give a meta-answer, like, "You seem to be disappointed with the result", and maybe advise about detaching from the outcome -- identify that as "craving" -- and point out that some of that unhappiness seems to be tied to "self-view", i.e. how you see yourself (e.g. "I'm Senior", and "I'm Buddhist", and "I have a master's degree and am better than the community") and so on. I don't think that's a line of thinking which Buddhism recommends, which says instead to "still their hatred" and to "settle their quarrels" (Dhp 1). However that's not what you're asking either, and I should be trying to just answer the question instead of trying to offer advice.

I don't know that Visa in particular. My guess is that it (like similar visas in other countries) is meant to be a way to give visas to people who'll make a difference to the national tech industry. I guess they're looking for founders (entrepreneurs who found companies and hire people), and/or technical experts whose work might be exploited commercially -- maybe some patents or something. I guess that very few people qualify.

I suspect that your thoughts of suing them are futile, and that it would be better for you to plan another activity that's more likely to succeed and to be beneficial -- not that I'm a lawyer, but I am twice your age, and a software developer, so more experience and I have met lawyers and government bureaucracies in the past.

Re. spiritual development rather than software development, I think that there it's recommended that you have a good teacher -- i.e. the Buddha (as a good teacher) but a good contemporary teacher too if possible. There are different schools (or sects) of Buddhism and different ways of teaching, but it includes gradual training, explaining doctrine step-by-step, some emphasis on morality and generosity (which is, I think, at least partly social).

Even when you start to practice (as a monk) I think that's not just solitary. Monks belong to a sangha. There's seclusion (e.g. from evil and distractions) but also the Kalyāṇa-mittatā as a practice or ideal. I think you're supposed to be able to learn from senior practitioners ("if I practice as they do, then I too can ..."), and so on.

The most famous sutta on that subject is I'd guess the Upaddha Sutta (SN 45.2).

There are also suttas which appear to tell of a more solitary practice; for example:

  • Someone who hears the Dhamma from the Buddha, understands, and then goes away to practice -- there are several, one (maybe not the best example) is the Kuṭṭhi Sutta (Ud 5.3)
  • Some solitary practice is recommended for well-taught practitioners -- there's not a lot to be said about that, perhaps, but I think it's evident that people spend a lot of time in solitary contemplation -- something like this from MN 107 perhaps:

    As soon, brahman, as he is possessed of mindfulness and clear consciousness, the Tathagata disciplines him further, saying:

    'Come you, monk, choose a remote lodging in a forest, at the root of a tree, on a mountain slope, in a glen, a hill cave, a cemetery, a woodland grove, in the open, or on a heap of straw.'

    On returning from alms-gathering after the meal, the monk sits down crosslegged, holding the back erect, having made mindfulness rise up in front of him. He, getting rid of covetousness for the world, dwells with a mind devoid of covetousness, he cleanses the mind of covetousness. Getting rid of the taint of ill-will, he dwells benevolent in mind; compassionate and merciful towards all creatures and beings, he cleanses the mind of ill-will. Getting rid of sloth and torpor, he dwells without sloth or torpor; perceiving the light, mindful and clearly conscious he cleanses the mind of sloth and torpor. Getting rid of restlessness and worry, he dwells calmly; the mind inward tranquil, he cleanses the mind of restlessness and worry. Getting rid of doubt, he dwells doubt-crossed; unperplexed as to the states that are skilled,[5] he cleanses his mind of doubt.

  • One of the more famous (but atypical) suttas about solitude is the "Rhinoceros" sutta (Sn 1.3).

    I read that as saying, more especially, it's better to be a contemplative than a house-holder.

    Wikipedia says ...

    The Rhinoceros Sutra has long been identified, along with the Aṭṭhakavagga and Pārāyanavagga, as one of the earliest texts found in the Pāli Canon.[2] This identification has been reinforced by the discovery of a version in the Gandhāran Buddhist texts, the oldest Buddhist (and, indeed, Indian) manuscripts extant. There is also a Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit version of it in the Mahāvastu. The early date for the text along with its rather unusual (within community-oriented Buddhism) approach to monastic life have led some scholars to suggest that it represents a holdover from a very early stage of Buddhism.

    ... which IMO emphasises that "usual" Buddhism is "community-oriented".

    I think it has echoes in Dhp 5, for example:

    1. Long is the night to the sleepless; long is the league to the weary. Long is worldly existence to fools who know not the Sublime Truth.

    2. Should a seeker not find a companion who is better or equal, let him resolutely pursue a solitary course; there is no fellowship with the fool.

    I read that though as saying that it's better not to be a fool, and that good fellowship is better.

I think that in practice people tend to live in mutual dependence on/with each other. And maybe the brahmaviharas are being right attitudes to have towards others in social situations.

There's a certain amount of independence taught as an ideal, e.g. if you had evil companions you should know better and act to become independent of them.

And at the right occasion or to the right audience, there's advice like "be your own refuge" and "be an island". But the more general advice is to do not only "what you know for yourself to be true" but also "what is praised by the wise".


well like you said, the fantasy of '' a man, as an individual, does not owe society, he is free to live for himself and pursue his/her own goals. '' is what humanists who invented the the classical or new liberalism obsessed over. Those people where fed up with the theist christians, ''not spiritually'' (those people love the word spiritual) but as the day to day ruler, like the priests and nobles messing with the life of the bourgeois and the bourgeois were tired of that. All the usual philosophers like Descartes and Rousseau, Lock and all those people loved liberalism (whether classical or new, does not matter) and this idea of individuals. And Today those people love to think that their idea of the in-dividual (individual means ''cannot be divided'', like an a-tom but for humans) and human rights as something to do with the dhamma.

Anyway, the thing about relying on yourself and the dhamma is that when a puthujjana stops being a puthujjana, the non-puthujjana has ''gained fearlessness & independence from others with regard to the Teacher's message'' A puthujjana has to rely on the ariya sangha and a few other things before getting this knowledge, like here http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts/an/07_sevens/an07.066.hare.pts.htm , because the non-puthujjanas will brainwash the puthujjanas. Even the asekhas [ arhats] will train the sekhas [non-puthujjanas who are not yet arhants].

THe fantasy of not being influenced by society and other people is really an obsession of those humanists. Especially the fantasy of doing ''what one wants'' because according to some liberals, freedom means exactly ''doing what one wants'', meaning not being the slave of somebody else. And gain this is not freedom at all according to the buddha, only according to some puthujjanas.

  • A third basic principle, from a Buddhist perspective, is that our social engagement is not about sacrificing our own happiness to help unfortunate others who are suffering. That just reinforces a self-defeating (because self-exhausting) dualism between us and them. Rather, we join together to improve the situation for all of us. An email I recently received included the remark of aboriginal woman that makes this point perfectly: «If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine, then let us work together.» Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 12:13
  • My wanting to do what I want is related to my liberation, and my compassion to the world. I create good software of high quality, and thus I seek to relieve the world’s dukkha. This is supported by my Open Source contributions. Other people might choose to do it via teaching programming, organising events etc, but that's not my path and I have the right for that Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 12:15

is limiting my opportunities on the religious grounds, such as that I'm a buddhist, was said, householder Anton.

By one's deeds, one becomes this or that, not by taking a stand.

Actually the Buddha did not give rights, nor did he encourage to claim such, since it is actually basic and unskillful, serving wrong view:

He covets the belongings of others, thinking, 'O, that what belongs to others would be mine!' He bears ill will, corrupt in the resolves of his heart: 'May these beings be killed or cut apart or crushed or destroyed, or may they not exist at all!' He has wrong view, is warped in the way he sees things: 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is how one is made impure in three ways by mental action.

As for actions based on wrong view, something like "wrong speech" easily arises: speech that seeks for harm, seeks for dividing people... seeks for revenge. In the actual case, may the householder consider that such as "mail-privacy" may even violate worldly laws. And what does he expect, if fighting against the hand which he seeks for getting his food and protection?

Why wishing to enter spheres where not welcome? Why wishing to conquer?

So looking for one's duties, serve more sublime and dwell in gratitude, knowing that one is heir to one's actions, is the wise and suggested track.

As for the question raised, what ever one likes to give, aside of one's duties, depending on certain society, involvement, what ever is based on proper means, meaning holding Silas above certain thoughts that it might be helpful, is always a good choice. At a point where one makes a society one's own, and desires for having control over it, at this stage the protection of Silas (i.e. ethical conduct) often fades and things get worse -- not only to lose one's society. To gain more and more freedom, one gives what can be given, does not leave any debt behind. More and expanded on the ways the Buddha suggested, for one's own and all others' welfare, may householder Anton find in the essays: Wisdom over Justice, and Justice vs. Skillfulness.

As householder Anton might have been fallen into hellish states, anger and pain, it's at this point good to remember the Buddha's teaching, that attracting one's leaders, authorities, Brahmans and contemplatives, leads to hell, and low realms, or being "voiceless", not respected and heard at all.

By the way, seeking refugee into the Gems is a refuge that serves long time happiness, which others could not provide.

It's good to receive what is given without strings in the worlds, better then seeking for taking what one wants, believing that such increases not mostly huge further debts in the wrong direction, and maybe householder like to follow such gifts of goodness, yet tending toward good or bad, foolish or wise, is still up to his own choice.

(Note that this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks or entertainments that binds one here, but as a means for release.)

  • I didn't understand "...the Buddha's teaching, that attracting one's leaders, authorities...". Did you mean to write, instead, "attacking one's leaders"? Which specific teaching were you thinking of, could you reference that? Thank you.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 15:54
  • attacking, yes. On kamma, Nyom Chris.
    – user11235
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 22:55

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