452 South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies Now, Buddhism rejected class structure, in the form of the Indian caste system. Marx thought that religion was contagious on society. Eliminating it requires hard work and practice. Understanding is, of course, only a first step, though it is an essential step. Hence, capitalism maintains a “reserve pool” of unemployed. Authors and affiliations. It is only recently that interest has turned to the writings of the young Marx, many of which were published only in the last 50 y… In human bodies as they are, such differences cannot be found: the only human differences are those in names alone’ Suttacentral (2011). Buddhist Mythology. Karl Koppen (1808 - 1863) was a Young Hegelian in 1830’s Berlin, and was a very good friend of Karl Marx. Although what produces wealth is the people who work to do so, the increased wealth is not used for the benefit of people, just for making more wealth. } This is largely absent in Marx. But self-interest makes sense only if we conceptualise individuals as social atoms, which can be conceptualised as having rights/interests, etc., independently of others. Historically, Buddhism and Marxism both have a substantial diversity of forms. • A quantum of capital must try to get people to buy its products, rather than those of a competitor. Capital can therefore take advantage of this position of weakness. The issue is a complex one. Available to ship in 1-2 days. History has taught us some important lessons, and so alerted us to many traps along our path. • Another way to maximise profit is to produce commodities as efficiently, and so as cheaply, as possible. This includes people, giving rise to their dehumanisation. But for the Eastern proletariat, the apparent intersection between the ‘mind-body’ (nama-rupa) of early Buddhist thinking (preserved predominantly in the Pali Suttas of the Theravada School), and the historical and dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels, (coupled with the fact that Marx fully acknowledged that ‘thinking’ and ‘education’ were integral aspects of the revolutionary path), offers an interesting opportunity for the non-Western working class to easily transition from Buddhist philosophy to an appreciation of Marx and Engels. Marxism tells us that capitalist ideology legitimises selfishness, that is, acting solely in self-interest. It is not. Trevor Ling. Mention of species being is absent from Marx’ later writing; but much attention is paid in these to the nature of society, which is partly constitutive of it. Five years later, Marx informs Antoinette Philips that he has been ‘keeping his mind in a state of nothingness’, in accordance with the Buddhist teachings. What is produced? Marx, Karl, -- 1818-1883; Buddhism -- Doctrines. Let us start with the Buddhist side. Everything is what it is only in relation to other things. It feeds the ego; people who have it want to retain it and—usually—get more of it. This is often called the Eightfold Noble Path, and it falls into three groups: • Ethical: right speech, right action, right livelihood, • Mental: right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. I do not mean to suggest that everything in one of these forms of Buddhism should be added to everything in one of these forms of Marxism. The human organism constructs a narrative of itself. Capital then no longer needs any particular person. So it makes sense to single out the thing that is: the attitude we bring to bear on the slings and arrows of (sometimes not so) outrageous fortune. After these matters of exegesis, I will then spell out how Marxist and Buddhist ideas may be seen as complementing each other. Work is not life-affirming; it is nothing more than necessary to live. "subject": true, Unemployed people are impoverished, not in a relative sense, but in an absolute sense. Ethics has implications for the kind of society in which we live—or in which we should live; and the kind of society in which we live is very often a crucible for ethical decisions. So let us turn to some of the core parts of Buddhism. Given that Engels and Marx agreed on virtually everything, it is logical to assume that Engels’ positive appraisal of the Buddhist use of dialectics met with the general approval of Karl Marx himself, although it is clear that dialectics only reached their most advanced state of usage in the modern era of philosophical analysis (or the time within which Engels was writing). This is false (an $\bar a$tman). It is complex on the Buddhist side, since different schools of Buddhism hold somewhat different views on the matter; it is complex on the Marxist side since what Marx says—or at least, what he chooses to emphasize—changes throughout the corpus of his work. Of course, wealth does not come from nowhere. Thus, in the Grundrisse we have (Nicolaus [Reference Nicolaus1973], p. 265): Society does not consist of individuals but expresses the sum of interrelations within which the individual stands. Buddhism and Religion. Marx, of course, predicted the imminent demise of capitalism. Whether or not he gave up these ideas is a moot point, but the notion largely disappears from his later writings—those which contain his detailed analysis of capitalism. His most authoritative writings on these subjects were completed in the 1840s . So, one might hope, one can combine Buddhist ethics with Marxist political philosophy to form a more comprehensive picture, drawing on the strengths of each. Karl Marx is supposed to be the architect of a … I will explain those aspects of each of the two on which I wish to draw, and then explain how they are complementary. A major way of achieving this is with the division of labour. 5 ‘While in [various animal] births are differences, each having their own distinctive marks, among humanity such differences of species—no such marks are found. Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD is a writer, translator, founder of the Sangha Kommune, and Spiritual Director of the Chan Buddhism Institute. Portraits of Marx and Lenin were posted in Gelao village’s Guanyin temple. The notion of self-interest is then based not just on a political illusion, but on a metaphysical illusion. The state, therefore, does not function in the interest of people, but of capital. If one does not understand the situation one is in, then it is impossible to take effective action to change it. In a capitalist ‘democratic’ structure, money means power. They may be just as much deceived by the ideology of capitalism as anyone else. Neither in hair, nor in the head, not in the ears or eyes, neither found in mouth or nose, not in lips or brows. 4 To oppress: to keep someone in subjection and hardship, especially by the unjust exercise of authority. Arguably, an important part of the explanation is the fact that global capitalism has been able to find cheap sources of labour in the “developing” countries of the world. I don't need to say much of these eight points here, except the first: right view. There are striking differences between, for example, Theravāda Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, and Chan (Zen) Buddhism. (Note that ‘exploitation’ has a technical sense in Marxist economics. Of course, these two things are not inconsistent with each other. All things will disappear sooner or later. Before we pass on to Marxism, let me address a couple of possible misconceptions about Buddhism. Pages 25-25. The Buddhist and Marxist views, then, have notable similarities. But it says nothing about the social factors which create this. It's just a long essay or Booklet. Merely consider Aristotle on woman and slaves. The concern of capitalism is not the well-being of people; it is the making of profit. Finally, the ideology of capitalism takes society to be constituted by social atoms, individuals with independent rights and interests, who vie with others in the pursuit of these—though they may come together to form a state in order to keep their collective affairs ordered. 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhvlnC-oKEw. Marx thought that religion was contagious on society. But the personal and the social interact dialectically. A caveat. This item: Buddha or Karl Marx by Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar Paperback $9.99. So let us turn to the relevant parts of Marxism. There is much to be said about this, but this is not the place to say it. Neither Buddhism nor Marxism offers a magic bullet to achieve the end. Compare: Racism is bad, and so should be eliminated; and it makes no difference whether it is racism in my country or in someone else's. People have to eat, be clothed, housed—and so have to work—to live. Ambedkar's death happened a few months after his conversion to Buddhism, in which he also converted 500,000 of his supporters from the Dalit ("untouchable") caste. Secondly, and even more importantly, each of us misunderstands our very nature, taking this to be some kind of substantial entity, some abiding self. Secondly, species being clearly has a social component as well. So in the next section I shall give a very simple outline of the parts of Buddhism on which I wish to draw. But the two have at least this much in common: both say that life, as we find it, is unsatisfactory; both have a diagnosis of why this is; and both offer the hope of making it better. PDF. This omits an important part of the picture, however. Marxism is, of course, well aware of this. I know that a sect has appeared because of the writings of Karl Marx. Why, is an interesting question. Please select Ok if you would like to proceed with this request anyway. Since they have no say in this aspect of their life, they become alienated from it. (See, further, Priest [Reference Priest201+]. T/F: Karl Marx analyzed less developed societies in order to discover and better understand religious factors that lead to capitalism. I'm an executive; I'm much better than him. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. If you understand the situation, you can do something about it. Both reject the existence of a self/soul; both see being human as being involved in causal processes and natural laws; and both move towards thinking of people in purely structural terms. Confirm this request. Amazon.in - Buy Buddha or Karl Marx book online at best prices in India on Amazon.in. Karl Marx – The German Ideology) Buddhism, as a philosophical school, is the product of the prevailing socio-economic conditions of 6 th century BCE India, although the birth date of the Buddha is a matter of dispute and could be earlier. These lay out what we might think of as the human condition. I use it in the more familiar sense.) Human dispositions to behaviour are very malleable. [20] As a consequence, some of them moved to the left as they intersected and influenced a new generation of young liberal idealists like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who eventually would become truly dangerous radicals. Let us start with the most obvious thing. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Total loading time: 0.322 • Of course, it is not in the interest of capital that people should understand how the system works. Karl Marx did not make a detailed study about Buddhism, but it is clear from his comments that he knew of its existence and had a broad understanding of its workings. But, mostly, these things are not under our control. What species being is, is never clearly spelled out. It creates dissatisfaction with what a person already has, and a never-ending series of desires to have other things. This article is the first in a special series of commissioned articles on non-Western philosophies. 3 As he says in the Holy Family: ‘Speaking exactly and in the prosaic sense, the members of civil society are not atoms… The egoistic individual in civil society may in his non-sensuous imagination and lifeless abstraction inflate himself to the size of an atom, i.e. How did Marx know how to apply the Buddha’s technique, given that he never met with practising Buddhists, or received any sort of instruction from a Buddhist teacher? I think this summary is the best I have read about Buddhism and why its required. But by way of conclusion, let us simply assume that the views are largely correct, and ask where this takes us. In the process, people are manipulated, used and abused, in order to make more profit. We often do have the ability to eliminate, or at least lessen, some of the duḥkha of others, by changing their material circumstances. A person is a psycho-biological entity. A self ($\bar a$tman) is a part of that entity which exists while the person exists, is constant, and defines the person as that very person. Render date: 2020-12-12T10:58:24.597Z You don't have to be a Buddhist to see the sad effects of capitalism. One might start with Robinson [Reference Robinson1942] and Mandel [Reference Mandel and Fowkes1976].). This is largely absent from Buddhism. Part of the answer is that concern for others is a very good way of quieting the self-centredness that plays such a large role in trṣṇa. A more theoretical reason was offered by perhaps the greatest Buddhist ethicist, Śāntideva (8c, CE), in his Bodhic $\bar a$ry $\bar a$vat $\bar a$ra (VIII: 94, 95). both Buddhism and humanistic-Marxism is indeed a deep concern about human suffering” (Brien, 2004, p.37). 2, and Carpenter [Reference Carpenter2014], ch. Marx and Engels combine suggestions that ethics is part of the superstructure, and so relative, with a moral condemnation of capitalism whose tone is anything but relative. Unblessed sensuous reality does not bother about his imagination; each of his senses compels him to believe in the existence of the world and the individuals outside him and even his profane stomach reminds him every day that the world outside him is not empty, but is what really fills. Buddhism locates the cause of duḥkha in tṛṣna—desire, if you like. Of course, this may well be denied by people in this class. More: people are damaged, both physically and mentally, in the process. Footnote 1. But the air is wonderfully pure and reinvigorating, and you have here at the same time sea air and mountain air. Of course. 1, 3. Buddha was born in 563 BC and Karl Marx in 1818 AD Karl Marx is supposed to be the architect of a new ideology-polity a new Economic system. (As emphasised—perhaps over-emphasised—by Althusser.) I certainly do not claim that Buddhism and Marxism are the same. However, let me try to keep things as simple as possible. We do not behave compassionately because we do not see people as human, but as an unemployment statistic, an illegal immigrant, a human resource surplus to requirement, etc. Should one think of the overthrow of capitalism as (at least a partial) means of eliminating tṛṣna; or should we think of a reorientation of our attitudes as a means to undermine capitalist ideology? ... god Karl Marx Marx religion . And Karl Marx himself knew something of Buddhism. The Buddhist – Marxism Alliance was founded by the Oxford Collective on the 20th of July 2013 in Oxford, United Kingdom . You are like that. I am sure that there are probably other ways in which our two pictures complement and reinforce each other, but that will do for the present. This must be a momentous occasion. Better is attachment and aversion: the wanting of good things to continue, and bad things to go away. Marx’s analysis and critique of religion "Religion is the opium of the Masses" ("Die Religion ist das Opium des Volkesis") is perhaps one of the most famous and most quoted by theist and atheist alike. There is no one part that must remain constant to make it that very car: even the registration plates can change if you move state. Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views. By contrast, Marxism has always been strong on political philosophy, and in particular the nature of capitalism and its unsatisfactory consequences. There are remarks of a political nature in some of the canonical texts, such as the A $\dot n$guttara and D $\bar i$gha Nik $\bar a$yas, and Nāgārjuna's Ratn $\bar a$val $\bar i$; and over the last 50 or so years, we have seen Buddhist thinkers such as Thich Nhat Hanh and other members of the “Engaged Buddhist Movement”, who have been concerned with ending wars and establishing more compassionate societies. All Buddhists hold that there is no such thing. Such a practice ensures that one aspect of a persons’ abilities becomes highly developed, whilst the others atrophy. The Social Dimension of Buddhism. To be human is to possess this. It is necessary to figure out how these problems may be solved in a bottom-up fashion. These will use their power, of course, to further the capital that they own/manage. Whereas ‘akincanna’ denotes an absence of things, the state of ‘sunnatta’ (or ‘emptiness’) is used to describe the true state of reality, or the personal realisation that the material universe (and the conscious mind) are not only linked in essence, but are also free of any sense or cultural-religious construct of ‘permanency’ (such as an eternal soul or indestructible self). The ideology is imposed on people's thinking by advertising, the mass media, statements made by politicians and ‘captains of industry’, etc. This, of course, was not on Marx’ agenda: the effect of capital expansion on the Earth's environment was something about which people in his time had no clue. These are the principles that the historical Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, enunciated in his very first talk after enlightenment. That is not so. And the Buddha has said it 2000 years before Marx was born. Karl Marx was a German philosopher who attempted to examine religion from an objective, scientific perspective. If people own no capital, they must work for someone else. View all Google Scholar citations According to Buddhism, a major cause of tṛṣna is the fact that we misunderstand the world in which we live (avidy $\bar a$, ignorance). Once the Marxian attitude toward theological religion is established, the question must be asked as to whether it is directly applicable to the self-developmental philosophy of Buddhism. Matters do not stop there, though. for this article. With regard to the question of property, you will again find some very close affinity to the doctrine of the Buddha and the doctrine preached by Karl Marx. We see this in a very visible form in the modern business corporation: the telos of each is to increase its quantum of wealth by deriving as much profit as possible. In particular, Buddhism provides a stable ethical base that Marxism always lacked; and Marxism provides a sophisticated political philosophy, which Buddhism never had. Marx and Buddha are divided by 2381 years. Those who come into the Buddhist religion should come with understanding; they should consciously accept that religion. In 1861, whilst visiting Berlin in the hope of retrieving his Prussian Citizenship (previously withdrawn because of his ‘revolutionary’ activity), Marx met with Karl Koppen, and after a drinking session, Koppen presented Marx with his two-volume study of Buddhism. • One way to keep people in this position of weakness is to have a pool of unemployed. Neither in neck, nor shoulders found, not in belly or the back, neither in buttocks nor the breast, not in groin or sexual parts. ... economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Modern Buddhist Movement and campaigned against social discrimination … That, however, is a narrative fiction. A consequence of both is that we should work to destroy the illusions on which capitalism is based, together with their pernicious effects—and so the destruction of the capitalist economic structure itself. Conception, then, plays a central role. This is sometimes translated as craving, though this is a most misleading translation. Everything in the stream of causation comes into existence when causes and conditions are ripe, and goes out of existence in the same way. They are subject to all the causal, biological and physical, laws involved in these things. Feature Flags last update: Sat Dec 12 2020 10:08:32 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) See Struhl (Reference Struhl2017), where he outlines views which substantially overlap those presented here. I just finished reading Buddha or Karl Marx By Dr. Ambedkar. Indeed, it is promoted to the central ethical virtue in later (Mahāyāna) Buddhism. But concepts are social, so people construct themselves in terms of social categories. (For an outline of the different Buddhisms, see Mitchell [Reference Mitchell2002].) Secondly, and in virtue of these interactions, it makes sense to think of a person as a single thing, that is, to conceptualise it as a unity. Power can be used—and usually is—to oppress;Footnote 4 and this power structure certainly is. The fundamental player in this dynamic is capital itself, which is essentially wealth in search of more wealth. What, then, “holds these parts together” as a single thing? And in one of the sūtras where the Buddha does so, the V $\bar a$seṭṭha Sutta, he also rejects the importance of race and gender.Footnote 5 The Four Noble Truths make such distinctions of no moral significance. Nor does this dependence disappear later. A person is complex of biological and psychological parts in a constant state of flux and change. That would be absurd. It locates capitalism in an overarching perspective of the human condition and its duḥkha. Penal incarceration is well known actually to promote anti-social behaviour; on the other side, working with groups who help those with particular needs promotes a more benevolent attitude. Naturally, those in the first class are a lot richer than those in the second. Karl Marx's religious views have been the subject of much interpretation.In the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Marx famously stated: . So we need to work towards a better socio-economic system. Next, capitalism engenders a particular power-structure, with those who own or manage capital exerting great power over those who merely work for it. People can be truly human only in as much as they are part of a community. A classic article on the Buddha and Marx was penned by the inspiring Indian political leader, jurist and writer B.R. First we must ask questions about Buddhism itself. Marx appears to going about his day at the seaside, exercising a self-discipline that involved the maintaining of the ‘non-arising’ of thoughts in his mind. What I do wish to suggest is that there are central insights in Buddhism and Marxism which can be put together in a constructive and illuminating way. However, first of all, it clearly has a biological component. Its parts are put together, interact with each other and with the environment. In other words, Marxism adds to the Buddhist imperative of compassion, providing yet another reason for it. Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848 explained how religion affected the society and how it was an institution that was not actually necessary to exist. 10 Many thanks go to Anna Malavisi, to the editors of this issue, and to two anonymous referees for their helpful and insightful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. (The matter is part of a much larger issue of the relationship between what Marx called the base and the superstructure—again, an issue much too large to go into here.) 2.) Those who have power, then, even if they sought it for the most altruistic of reasons, soon come to exercise it to feed the beast. In particular, people are taught to see everything as a commodity (commodification)—as something to be bought and sold. The Buddha certainly did not believe in any form of idealism, and even advocated an early form of evolutionary theory, which can be read in the Agganna Sutta. But there are other, and equally pernicious, power structures which Marxism has largely ignored, notably those of race and gender. There need be no surprise in this. That would be incoherent. A comparison between Karl Marx and Buddha may be regarded as a joke. Thus we have a social structure, that is, a set of relations, and the very rationale of those relations is to maximise capital. "clr": false, This is the Western equivalent of the Indian ātman. But the two have at least this much in common: both say that life, as we find it, is unsatisfactory; both have a diagnosis of why this is; and both offer the hope of making it better. Let us start by seeing how Marxism fills out the Buddhist picture. Front Matter. We have had a number of illuminating conversations, and even given some joint presentations on the topic. Ambedkar gave a speech titled “Buddha or Karl Marx” at the Fourth Conference of the Buddhist World Fellowship in 1956, where he compared Marx, the architect of a … This seems that Karl Marx understood something about the Buddhist meditative technique, and even the idea that meditation within Buddhism can be performed standing, walking, lying down and sitting. In the previous sections, I have explained certain Buddhist and Marxist views. For a fuller discussion of these, see Siderits [Reference Siderits2007], ch. 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