SuttaCentral

Does the EBTs talk about immigration?

The title may be surprising :smile: I wondered if a Buddhist could be against immigration. This seems impossible in the West where many Buddhists are quite liberal politically, but from the feedback I got it is possible to be Buddhist and conservative for many Asians, not to mention the Dalai Lama’s statements.

I was wondering if, by some miracle, the EBTs were talking about this subject somewhere? I doubt it, since the Buddha doesn’t seem to have interfered much in the politics of his day, preferring to focus on everyone’s personal ethics… :thinking:

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Yes but that advice is divided into two views, those who want to attain nibbana, and those laypeople who seek only a fortunate rebirth. The suttas which deal with advice given to the latter cover secular subjects. AN 8.54 describes how to balance income and expenditure.
“The Aṅguttara includes a notable proportion of suttas addressed to lay followers dealing with the ethical and spiritual concerns of life within the world, including family relationships (husbands and wives, children and parents) and the proper ways to acquire, save, and utilize wealth.”—Bikkhu Bodhi

“And what does it mean to maintain one’s livelihood in tune? There is the case where a lay person, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], ‘Thus will my income exceed my outflow, and my outflow will not exceed my income.’ Just as when a weigher or his apprentice, when holding the scales, knows, ‘It has tipped down so much or has tipped up so much,’ in the same way, the lay person, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], ‘Thus will my income exceed my outflow, and my outflow will not exceed my income.’ If a lay person has a small income but maintains a grand livelihood, it will be rumored of him, ‘This clansman devours his wealth like a fruit-tree eater.’[2] If a lay person has a large income but maintains a miserable livelihood, it will be rumored of him, ‘This clansman will die of starvation.’ But when a lay person, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], ‘Thus will my income exceed my outflow, and my outflow will not exceed my income,’ this is called maintaining one’s livelihood in tune.”

All advice from the Buddha is based on the middle way, just as an individual would not overspend, so if an incoming population was too numerous for the resources of the country, then that would be an unacceptable extreme.

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I think it’s difficult to compare the modern immigration situation with the time of the Buddha. Even comparing now to 300 years ago is difficult. The concept we have now of nation states and hard borders is a relatively modern thing, as I understand.

It’s also not clear that immigration is a conservative/liberal issue at it’s core, although that is how it is characterized now. But that’s modern politics.

There were border controls we can read about in the Vinaya, but that is more about taxation. And there is mention of famines and the moving about of people because of it.

You might find more about the movement of people in the origin stories of the Dhammapada and the Jatakas. But even there, nothing comes to mind regarding people ever being blocked from moving about, or even any permanent mass migration.

Remember travel was very difficult then. And people’s family connections were far more critical to one’s existence.

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So the subject remains open to everyone’s judgment, there is no Buddhist rules for politics? :thinking:

Are you looking for some to be made?

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:slight_smile: The Buddha himself walked away from being a householder; he later walked away from arguing oblivious monks ( who didn’t notice until the laity stopped feeding them). And the sangha around the Buddha moved, and some rules were made for monastics, partly perhaps to avoid attachments and excessive dependence on local laity…

Wholesome and unwholesome, it depends on intention or mind
Dhp 1

Intention is the forerunner of all things;
intention’s their master, they’re made by intention.
If with a corrupt intention
you speak or act,
suffering follows you,
like a wheel the ox’s foot.

Intention is the forerunner of all things;
intention’s their master, they’re made by intention.
If with a pure intention
you speak or act,
happiness follows you
like a shadow that never leaves.

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“Kimbila, it’s when the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen lack respect and reverence for the Teacher, the teaching, the Saṅgha, the training, diligence, and hospitality after the final extinguishment of the Realized One.
This is the cause, this is the reason why the true teaching does not last long after the final extinguishment of the Realized One.”
~ an6.40

A mendicant should honor and respect and rely on hospitality, to give up the unskillful and develop the skillful.
~ an7.70

In a former life, when Sakka was a human being, he gave the gift of a guest house. That’s why he’s called Vāsava, the Houser.

As long as I live, may I live at home rid of the stain of stinginess, freely generous, open-handed, loving to let go, committed to charity, loving to give and to share.
~ sn11.12

Any ascetic or brahmin who comes to stay in our village district is our guest, and should be honored and respected as such.
~ mn95

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Here is my favorite immigration sutta:

MN145:5.2: “Sir, there’s a country named Sunāparanta. I shall live there.”
MN145:5.3: “The people of Sunāparanta are wild and rough, Puṇṇa.
MN145:5.5: If they abuse and insult you, what will you think of them?”
MN145:5.6: “If they abuse and insult me, I will think:
MN145:5.7: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are gracious, truly gracious, since they don’t hit me with their fists.’

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