Date: Wed, 04 Oct 1995 12:23:17 +0000
From: "Christopher Fynn" [email protected]
Subject: Re: Human Rights and duties
As a basis realise the Buddhist goal, freedom from suffering, one must have the means and opportunity or a "Precious Human Birth". To me, this means that one must have life and health, education, sustinance, shelter, information, freedom of religion and a certain amount of free time. Surely a society founded on Buddhist principles would be one that assured everyone the right to, and the means to obtain, these neccessities in adaquate measure?
A Buddhist also has the duty of refraining from nom-virtue – which means causing as little suffering or harm to others as possible. There is also a positive duty of relieving suffering and its causes – surely this includes relief of hunger, fear, pain, illness, ignorance as well as spiritual suffering?
These rights and duties may be independent of any reasonable system of government and might exist under an enlightend monarchy as well as in a modern democracy. (In the first case we may only need one great bodhisattva in the latter perhaps everyone needs to be a little bodhisattva.)
Sally Clay has mentioned the "four immeasurables". It seems to me that humans have to have well being and the causes of well being in order to be free fom suffering and its causes so that they may be enabled to become "one with the great happiness, devoid of suffering" and attain equanimity free of attachment and aversion.
Christopher J. Fynn