Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/23/2019

Happy Uposatha – Release Over Justice

Restorative justice—the justice that seeks to return situations to their proper state before the first stone was thrown—requires not only a specific beginning point in time, but also that that beginning point be a good place to which to return.

Distributive justice—the justice that seeks to determine who should have what, and how resources and opportunities should be redistributed from those who have them to those who should have them—requires a common source, above and beyond individuals, from which all things flow and that sets the purposes those things should serve.

Only when their respective conditions are met can these forms of justice be objective and binding on all. In the Buddha’s worldview, though, none of these conditions hold. People have tried to import Western ideas of objective justice into the Buddha’s teachings—some have even suggested that this will be one of the great Western contributions to Buddhism, filling in a serious lack—but there is no way that those ideas can be forced on the Dhamma without doing serious damage to the Buddhist worldview. This fact, in and of itself, has prompted many people to advocate jettisoning the Buddhist worldview and replacing it with something closer to one of our own. But a careful look at that worldview, and the consequences that the Buddha drew from it, shows that the Buddha’s teachings on how to find social harmony without recourse to objective standards of justice has much to recommend it.

https://www.dhammatalks.org/books/uncollected/Justice.html


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