Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Buddhist Philosophical Perspective on Sensibility and Vulnerability

It is already passed midnight. I drank a cup of strong coffee to keep myself awake to do some urgent paper works. I did manage to do some paper works but not all. Paper works are like waves. Incessant. The effect of coffee seems to linger. I am tired but still not sleepy. There is dead silence. I can only hear my conceptual waves lash against the shores of my brain.

I am thinking about sensibility and vulnerability from a Buddhist philosophical perspective. This is trigged by some recent turmoil (or incidents) in the Tibetan society. I am not a Tibetan, but an admirer of Tibetan people with all its strengths and weaknesses. And I try to intellectually engage with Tibetan Buddhism. In fact, this is all I can do. I consider myself apolitical, not because I have no political views on any given issue but because I consider political (or religious) ideology to be inherently beset with cognitional-emotional defilements (kleśa: nyon mongs pa).

Elsewhere, I once stated that there is no such thing as a perfect political system or a form of government. Of the many forms of imperfect political systems, democracy seems to be preferable, though not necessarily more efficient. I also claim that the degree of the efficiency and success of democracy is directly proportional to the gross national wisdom or insight (prajñā: shes rab) and compassion (karuṇā/kṛpā: snying rje) of the people. Democracy is doomed to fail and cause immense misery to the people if the majority of people become increasingly blinded by one’s political and religious ideology and if the benevolent attitude of compassion for all people is supplanted by malevolence and hatred. Majority per se can never be a criterion for prajñāic and karuṇāic correctness. Ignorance and malice of one hundred people would not transform them to wisdom and compassion. A country ruled by one wise and compassionate person would be much better off than a country ruled by one hundred ignorant and cruel persons. That is why sometimes one would think that a wise and benevolent monarchy is better than a dysfunctional democracy run by foolish and cruel people. Despite such risks, democracy should be promoted by trying to constantly enhance the gross national prajñā and gross national karuṇā. The two should ensure that the greater and long-term wellbeing of the people is not undermined. …