10

I'm talking about a peaceful demonstration against a corrupt government. The point is: It can be seen as divisive speech because there will be people against it.

5

The Buddha himself protested silently on at least two occasions in the Dhp commentary; both relate to his family, though. He never seems to have protested against the cruelty of kings, etc. and his actions seem always to have been in the form of teaching.

A protest is always a showing that you are against something. If you are truly against it, this is paṭigha, or aversion, and it is always unwholesome. In Buddhism we look at the bigger picture, and try to see that samsara as a whole is meaningless. As such, we try to teach all people to give up their unwholesomeness - this means teaching all rather than taking sides. The Buddha was exemplary in this regard, teaching even the basest of human beings and never challenging evil directly.

If the protest is instructional - i.e. a means of reminding certain parties of the error of their ways, then it seems to be reasonable, provided one is an involved party (e.g. a relative or intimate to one party in a conflict).

Finally, one might argue a civic responsibility for lay people - e.g. voting, or even demonstrating simply as a duty (e.g. H. D. Thoreau's Civil Disobedience). As long as one simply sees it as a duty, this seems reasonable.

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  • "If the protest is instructional - i.e. a means of reminding certain parties of the error of their ways, then it seems to be reasonable, provided one is an involved party (e.g. a relative or intimate to one party in a conflict).". Is this a teaching of the Buddha? – Lowbrow Sep 23 at 11:34
3

Some monks have, occasionally, protested against a government (for example, "this sermon was extremely critical of the Prime Minister").

The word "divisive" reminds me of rules against creating a "Schism in the Sangha" ... maybe the rule against "divisive" speech means, especially, speech which would divide the sangha (not the body politic).

Even in the Vinaya there are rules for orderly ways to express disagreement or to assert your belief.

I don't want to say that it's always correct (maybe it varies depending on the country etc.), but I also don't want to say that it's never correct!

It might depend on your motive too. I have met one (lay) lady who told me that she joins the front row of street manifestations, because (she said) her being in the front row will decrease the likelihood of violent clashes between protesters and police.

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2

Yes, it is ok since you are simply voicing your opinion against corruption. Your motive is not to divide people. But it is not ok, if you are putting the people who follow you in harms way, just to serve your political agenda.

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2
+100

To demonstrate... in regard of doing ways of Demon, straight

Protesting in such ways requires wrong, absence of right view, demanding, claiming for one/his, ingratitude:

There is the case where a certain person is covetous. 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.

What is understood as Demonstration goes direct against the path, seen best in Right resolve:

"And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill-will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve."

A duty to abstain for a clan-man, householder under 'equal':

"In five ways, young householder, should a clansman minister to his friends and associates as the North:

(i) by liberality, (ii) by courteous speech, (iii) by being helpful, (iv) by being impartial, (v) by sincerity.

And a highway to hell for rebelling toward authorities, elders, sublime, chef, boss, leader:

"Then the hell-wardens, seizing (such a being) by the arms, present him to King Yama: 'This is a man, your majesty, with no respect for mother, no respect for father [1], no reverence for contemplatives, no reverence for brahmans, no honor for the leaders of his clan. Let your majesty decree his punishment.'

There isn't easy a Sutta found not transporting a 'no-go' message, actually, in regard of what is called: paṭigha, paṭisandhi

"Buddhist" might do what they feel as ok, and others might approve or disapprove, good householder, as for a person wishing to follow the path, not wishing to accumulate bad Kamma or even strong hindrances, or desires for a most pleasing wandering on, uses non violent (incl. passive aggressions or violence) means to display his disapprove if it is even something of his, in his relations. Disapproving of something unskillful is actually important but does not necessarily require to go further than mentally doing.

Demonstrations are nearly always violent (incl passive aggression, ala Gandhi for example, or simply kinds of extortions) and it's totally not understandable why such is at large allowed to do, lead only to conflicts, till masses of deaths, it's like a "fest" of very unskillful emotions, aversion, greed, confusion, disturbs communities and has not only personal long term bad impact but also far infecting other in joining. So a practicing follower of the Buddha disapproves such thing, hell-leading undertaking, mentally, by declaring or giving signs of turning away, or by bodily deeds, walking away. Opposing, taking side, for certain groups interests, isn't something a wise person does, or gives signs of approve. There are always plenty other means to possible improve things.

As for the highest way of demonstration, demonstrating, for one no more taking part on common relations, the Sallekha Sutta: The Discourse on Effacement demonstrates such.

For one living on alms of faith it's total improper to take part on such, far off of his duties, incl. by ways of voting, signing perditions... not even for the Sanghas or others of his societies purpose and it's good to keep distance to such, since like with demos, even if in good ways and good mind taking part, as one associates with (danger) of fools, one gets not only suspected but also seen as part-taker on even worldly crimes.

Quarrel-maker, part-taker on demonstration, supporter, are at large total unwelcome in traditional societies with certain connection to Dhammic customs.

And how to overcome arising drive to do or join a Demonstration, violent protest?

AN 5.162: Aghatavinaya Sutta — Subduing Hatred (2)

AN 5.162: Aghatavinaya Sutta — Subduing Hatred (2)

May all those using the label 'Buddhis', Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha always demonstrate the proper use of taking on them and prefer to turn toward mudita and the other Brahmaviharas if required.

[Note that this demonstration isn't given for stacks, exchange, other wordl-binding trades but as gift for release for those able to receive]

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  • You should definitely be able to edit your previous answer. – tripleee Sep 23 at 16:09
  • If, why a secound and comment then... 'should': sabbe dhamma anicca, isn't for sure, good householder. 'definitely': who knows cessation of suffering... – Samana Johann Sep 23 at 16:15
  • Sadhu for edits, for demonstration, Nyom @triplee (Just to inform Kamma is the Pali-spelling for deeds) – Samana Johann Sep 24 at 23:59
1

Vietnamese Buddhist monks were against the repressive rule of President Diem, a Catholic in South Vietnam in the early sixties. They conducted street demonstrations and were beaten and jailed by the military and secret police thugs of the Diem gov't. Finally one of their monks in protest burnt himself with gasoline in downtown Saigon. A photographer was present and these photos of a monk burning were instrumental in bringing down Diem's repressive gov't and also in providing support to anti-war protesters around the world. The protests by Buddhist monks in a predominantly Buddhist country culminated in the ousting of President Diem by the CIA (via his assassination by military personnel loyal to coup plotters) in September? of 1963. You can read more about this monk at wiki page link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Qu%E1%BA%A3ng_%C4%90%E1%BB%A9c

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1

Some may find this answer challenging; apologies in advance...

The essence of Buddhism is protest: a protest against the blind, grasping nature of the self, and all the confusion and disruption that this nature can bring on us. Every time we sit down to meditate we confront that self, and show it a different path. Every time we teach the dharma, we confront that egoic nature in others, in the hope they will take up the protest.

Buddhism says: "Stop perpetuating discontentment and strife." That is the core message of every protest ever made.

Of course, every protest carries the risk that we will get carried away and perpetuate discontentment and strife in the very act of trying to end it. We cannot blindly grasp after a solution to the problem of the blind, grasping nature of the self. We have to bring the dharma into the protest. But that being said...

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  • Well, I like this answer and there are certainly suttas about that but I'm not sure that is what is meant. I thought they meant "demonstration or protest" as a practice that tries to lessen the defilements of society as opposed to the individual's defilements. – Lowbrow Sep 29 at 2:29
  • @Lowbrow (noting that I don't generally use the term 'defilement,' which I find a bit heavy-handed): Though I understand the urge to make this distinction, I'm not certain how much water it can hold. Where does a society stop and an individual begin? How can the defilement of one be different from the defilement of many? If a leader starts a war, is the defilement behind it his, or the nation's, or the world's at large? Karma is impersonal; we all share its burden. – Ted Wrigley Sep 29 at 7:23
1

Unless you have attained freedom, you fix yourself before you fix the world otherwise you fix the world and your defilement manifests in the world. If you believe you can help because you believe X that may be lobha as we people cling to that which gives us purpose: Helping other people.

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0

"Buddhist" might do what they feel as ok, and others might approve or disapprove, good householder, as for a person wishing to follow the path, not wishing to accumulate bad kamma or even strong hindrances, or desires for a most pleasing wandering on, uses non violent (incl. passive agressions or violence) means to display his disaprove if it is even something of his, in his relations. Disaprove of something unskillful is actually importand but does not necessay required to go further then mentally doing.

Demonstrations are nearly always violent (incl passive aggression, ala Gandi for example, or simply kinds of extortions) and it's totally not understandable why such is at large allowed to do, lead only to conflicts, till masses of deaths, it's like a "fest" of very unskillful emotions, aversion, greed, confusion, disturbs communities and has not only personal long term bad impact but also far infecting other in joining. So a practicing follower of the Buddha disaproves such thing, hell-leading undertaking, mentally, by declaring or giving signs of turning away, or by bodily deeds, walking away. Opposing, taking side, for certain groups interests, isn't something a wise person does,or gives signs of approve. There are always plenty other means to possible improve things.

As for the highest way of demonstration, demonstrating, for one no more taking part on common relations, the Sallekha Sutta: The Discourse on Effacement demonstrates such.

For one living on alms of faith it's total improper to take part on such, far off of his duties, incl. by ways of voting, signing perditions... not even for the Sanghas or others of his societies purpose and it's good to keep distance to such, since like with demos, even if in good ways and good mind taking part, as one associates with (danger) of fools, one gets not only suspected but also seen as part-taker on even worldly crimes.

Quarrel-maker, part-taker on demonstration, supporter, are at large total unwelcome in traditional societies with certain connection to Dhammic customs.

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