Week of

Are Buddhists Isolationists?

Question: Do Buddhists have a tendency to be isolationists?

Chogyam Trungpa: I don’t think so. The mahayana Buddhist’s concept is to relate to your surroundings and try to help each other. The Buddhist notion is to use everything available around you to further yourself and your fellow sentient beings.

Q: So from a mahayanist point of view, would we have a closer relationship with all peoples?

CT: Definitely. Not only people but animals included–all sentient beings!

Q: So there might not be as much nationalism:

CT: Well, there  would be the same sense of dignity and celebration, obviously, but at the same time, it would not be nationalism. When we talk of nationalism, that is a sign of weakness. A person wants to fight just anyone who enters his territory, to defend himself. Therefore, you call yourself a so-and-so nationalist.  As a sign, a symbol, that becomes an expression of a sense of territory and patheticness.

From “A Buddhist Approach to Politics,” in The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume Eight, page 425.


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