The goal of this blog is to examine the intersection between Buddhism and Anarchism throughout history, mainly because while looking for information on the matter it was almost impossible to find. So I now find myself trying to compile as much information on the two in this blog.
I decided to make a little FAQ for those who are unaware of what Anarchism is all about and how it relates to Buddhism.
What is Anarchism?
Anarchism is often portrayed as a chaotic state of affairs in modern day, but in reality, Anarchism is a diverse political philosophy based on many different principles, but the common thread through all of them is the anti-authoritarian/anti-hierarchical structure of society. Anarchists main concerns are Capitalism and the State, Capitalism because of its authoritative/hierarchical nature and exploitation of workers and the State because of its strict authoritative and violent nature on its own citizens and those abroad.
What would an Anarchist society look like?
There are examples of this throughout history like Revolutionary Catalonia, ELZN, Free Territories in the Ukraine, Rojava and many indigenous societies from the past through the present. But there is no one way a society would look, every society/culture is different and has specific needs depending on its situation.
What does Anarchism have to do with Buddhism?
One of the main intersections between these two are it’s organizational structure. Before the Buddha died he declared the Sangha(community of monks/nuns) should be organized in a non-authoritative/non-hierarchical fashion, where no one monastic has control over another and decisions are made by the community as a whole.
Here is a quote from Buddhist monk Bhante Sujato in regards to this site that is a great example:
“And thanks for the website, it’s something that needs to be said! I remember all those years ago at a meeting of the (extremely hierarchical) sangha of Wat Nanachat, when I mentioned that the Vinaya established the Sangha with communal property, consensus decision making, absolute equality, no power of command, and governance by principle, all characteristics of an anarchist collective. The silence was awkward. Good times!”
Some more info on the Buddhist Sangha: