By: Stefan Schindler
Do not build fifty palaces, your highness. After all, you can only be in one room at a time.
Nagarjunaa second century CE Buddhist sage, to an Indian king
Nagarjuna’s suggestion – combining wisdom and wit – exhibits the essence of Buddha’s political philosophy: simplicity, humility, compassion.
To open a vista onto Buddha’s vision of a just society, this essay takes a brief look at Siddhartha Gautama’s life story; sketches the Buddhist worldview; traces the evolution of Buddhism; and concludes with an outline of Buddha’s political philosophy.
Along the way, we’ll draw parallels between Buddhist and Platonic thought, and reference the embrace of Buddhist ideals by peacemakers in the modern and postmodern world.