By Roberto Arriola García, Mexican Society for Quality of Life Studies - President & CEO
Buddhist Social Theory:
Challenges of Contemporary Quality of Life
The serious social suffering that afflicts the world, forces us to innovate for social transformation. We require new approaches that allow more people to improve their quality of life.
In these times of global convergence, dialogue between contemporary Western thought and the ancient Buddhist philosophy, offers a refreshing perspective to increase social satisfaction.
Individual LevelBuddhism argues that suffering originates in the so-called "triple poison": attachment, aversion and ignorance. This, together with a static idea of individual identity and ignorance of the collective nature of beings, leads us through the wrong route in the individual pursuit of satisfaction.
The proposal of Buddhism is to achieve recognition of the collective and continuous nature of identity and consciousness; and acceptance of inner emptiness impossible to fill. A strategic approach based on moderation, self-restraint and non-violence is the recommended route to find the balance. The inner void can only be filled with triple-poison’s counterparts: generosity, compassion and wisdom.
Social LevelBy extrapolation, a Buddhist social theory proposes stimulate ethical, psychological and spiritual development of citizens. The satisfaction of the desires of the population, through greater economic growth and consumption is not recommended as the route to achieve a comprehensive social development with improved quality of life.
The pursuit of wealth has not improved the welfare of society in the contemporary multidimensional sense. By contrast, postmodern hyper-consumerist society is generating a huge void, individual and collective, that can not be filled within their paradigm. A selfish and predatory society can not hope to ensure quality of life for its citizens.
A satisfied society, with better margins of governance, goes through a new social ethic, where the quality of human life and respect for all forms of life are values as themselves. A society where we educate for generosity, compassion and wisdom. An alternative project to transcendence, to replace the current aspirational models based on fame, wealth and power as indisputable indicators of success.
A transformation project that seeks to improve the social satisfaction and quality of life of its population should scrutinize the existing collective project. Recognizing this will allow to join the cry that "Another World is Possible".
Sociedad Mexicana de Estudios de Calidad de Vida
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