Lama Chuck Stanford, Rime Buddhist Center: Recently, several of our political leaders have disgraced themselves by sexual misconduct, accepting bribes and through other moral lapses. So, how should a politician or leader conduct him or herself?
More than 2,000 years ago, the Buddha established a set of guidelines for kings. They are known as the “Ten Royal Qualities.” Although these rules were designed for kings and political leaders, they are just as relevant for any type of leader today. The 10 qualities are:
▪ Charity — Willingness to sacrifice one’s interest for the good of the people.
▪ Morality — Maintaining a high moral order in one’s personal conduct.
▪ Altruism — Generosity toward people, avoiding selfishness.
▪ Honesty — Fulfilling one’s duties with loyalty and integrity.
▪ Gentleness — Being kind and gentle, never arrogant.
▪ Self-control — Performing one’s duties with dispassion.
▪ Non-anger — Remaining calm in the midst of confusion.
▪ Nonviolence — Being nonviolent, not persecuting the people.
▪ Forbearance — Practicing patience in one’s duties.
▪ Uprightness — Respecting public opinion, promoting harmony.
It might seem impossible for any ruler to cultivate all 10 of these ethical characteristics, however, King Ashoka (304-232 B.C.) is remembered by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike as an example of a truly compassionate and just ruler, who lived according to the 10 royal qualities while ruling India for 41 years.
Can you imagine what an enlightened society we would have if our leaders practiced these 10 virtues?
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