Buddha nirvana

Buddha Ashoka Nirvana

Posted in Buddha Nirvana by buddhanirvana on August 25, 2009

Measuring the present U.S. social safety system by Buddhist standards, the greatness of a country is to be judged by how it uses its wealth, that is, whether it is used for the benefit of all or not. 

Turning back the pages of history, looking at the achievements of the great Indian Emperor Ashoka, third century BCE, who supported the central aims of Buddhism, we learn that he created an extensive social safety system for the benefit of his people and in fact, all creatures. 

Among Emperor Ashoka’s many humanitarian achievements, he built universities for the benefit of all.  He constructed roads and extensive water systems for such things as irrigation.  Perhaps most importantly, he created, by modern standards, an advanced health care system for all people, including animals.  Health care professionals were also trained to staff these facilities.

With regard to health care for his people, no one can say of Emperor Ashoka that he was a friend of a for profit health care system.  It seems likely the thought never occurred to Emperor Ashoka that profiting off the misery of others was moral.  Of the vast wealth Ashoka controlled, it was used for the benefit of all—not just the rich or his family. 

When compared against Emperor Ashoka’s health care achievements, the U.S. appears to have very little humanitarian interest in using its great wealth to create a system of universal health care for all.  Indeed, such a lack of interest is one of America’s more shameful traits.

When we look back at the creation of Social Security Insurance and Medicare, U.S. history has shown there is always been an acrimonious war of ideology going on between the forces of capitalism and those who champion the exploited victims of capitalism.  But what this really boils down to is a continuing war in the American psyche between greed and compassion.  But perhaps there is hope when the forces of compassion are courageous enough to push back against those who want to profit from suffering.


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