Home » Excerpts » The Wheels Of Spiritual & Worldly Power

Without the spiritual wheel of the Dharma,
all worldly wheels but turn in endless cycles,
seemingly getting somewhere but nowhere.

– Shilashanti

“The monks since the time of the Buddha have represented the wheel of truth and righteousness, the Dhammachakra [i.e. Dharma Wheel],” Sulak says. “The politicians and king make up the state, and this is where the Anachakra, the wheel of [political] power, rests. There is a necessary dynamic between the two, but truth is always greater than power. If the moral authority of the Dhammachakra does not legitimize the Anachakra, the king must be replaced… So the Dhammachakra must maintain its distance from the Anachakra, while at the same time advising the king and politicians through the monks’ spiritual and ethical standing.”

… The quality of the Sangha, according to Sulak, can be measured by the degree to which they follow the spirit and letter of the disciplinary code set out by the Buddha, and the monks’ willingness to speak truth to power… Sulak maintains that only if the Sangha is independent from the monarchy can the monks give corrective advice and direct the monarch to steer the right course. The Sangha should have this position of critic and adviser to the powerful because the monks are trained in virtue and possess the necessary moral discernment. If the monks are not free to express disapproval, they will fear reprisal from the crown…

Roar: Sulak Sivaraksa and the Path of Socially Engaged Buddhism
Matteo Pistono

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