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Integrating Democracy with Tibetan Buddhism

Satisfactory Essays
Integrating Democracy with Tibetan Buddhism

The combination of a religion and a political philosophy do not automatically allow for the most congruous applications. Tibetan Buddhism has been the main stay of a country that has been ruled by a monarchy, through a religious figurehead, and by a socialist republic, all of which seem to have their political frustrations in preserving the Tibetan society. The political spectrum now questions how well the Buddhist tradition integrates the values of democratic theory.

The previous applications of Buddhism in a role of government are necessary to analyze in order to properly investigate the application of the Buddhist tradition into a political framework. The structure of the Tibetan government before the invasion of the Chinese in 1950 was a mixture of the monastic influence and the nobles. The authority of the Dalai Lama reigned over the monasteries and religious order as well as over the administrative obligations of the Country. The search for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama ensures not only leadership of the country from the Buddha of Compassion but also implies that the reign of government is not hereditary, but based on wisdom and guidance for the people and much less on political situations, although these would still much be a factor in ruling. The hierarchical establishment of this division remained partially mixed so that the monks in office balanced the nobles and the monks were checked by the nobles, however the monastic influence remained the dominant of the two. The legacy of the aristocracy was more an element of the older reign of Tibet from a monarchy and class distinction and the religious influence was more dominant with the newer establishment and really established until the fourteenth century with the teacher Tsong Khapa. This checks and balances involved in the government may only be the confluence of an older tradition mixing in with the new in order to maintain a smooth transition, but it may also exhibit the balance necessary to a government lead by Buddhist thought. Buddhism is not merely a doctrine that is automatically to be accepted and instilled as the truth, rather it has to be taught and allow the people to come to it.
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