Timeless advice for troubled times

In DN 5 Kūṭadanta, the Buddha tells a story of a wise counselor of the past who advised his king on social policy.

‘bhoto kho rañño janapado sakaṇṭako sauppīḷo, gāmaghātāpi dissanti, nigamaghātāpi dissanti, nagaraghātāpi dissanti, panthaduhanāpi dissanti.
‘Sir, the king’s realm is harried and oppressed. Bandits have been seen raiding villages, town, and cities, and infesting the highways.
Bhavaṃ kho pana rājā evaṃ sakaṇṭake janapade sauppīḷe balimuddhareyya, akiccakārī assa tena bhavaṃ rājā.
But if the king were to extract more taxes while his realm is thus harried and oppressed, he would not be doing his duty.
Siyā kho pana bhoto rañño evamassa:
Now the king might think:
“ahametaṃ dassukhīlaṃ vadhena vā bandhena vā jāniyā vā garahāya vā pabbājanāya vā samūhanissāmī”ti, na kho panetassa dassukhīlassa evaṃ sammā samugghāto hoti.
“I’ll uproot this barbarian obstacle by execution or imprisonment or condemnation or banishment!” But that’s not the right way to uproot this barbarian obstacle.
Ye te hatāvasesakā bhavissanti, te pacchā rañño janapadaṃ viheṭhessanti.
Those who remain after the killing will return to harass the king’s realm.
Api ca kho idaṃ saṃvidhānaṃ āgamma evametassa dassukhīlassa sammā samugghāto hoti.
Rather, here is a plan, relying on which the barbarian obstacle will be properly uprooted.
Tena hi bhavaṃ rājā ye bhoto rañño janapade ussahanti kasigorakkhe, tesaṃ bhavaṃ rājā bījabhattaṃ anuppadetu.
So let the king provide seed and fodder for those in the realm who work in farming and raising cattle.
Ye bhoto rañño janapade ussahanti vāṇijjāya, tesaṃ bhavaṃ rājā pābhataṃ anuppadetu.
Let the king provide funding for those who work in trade.
Ye bhoto rañño janapade ussahanti rājaporise, tesaṃ bhavaṃ rājā bhattavetanaṃ pakappetu.
Let the king guarantee food and wages for those in government service.
Te ca manussā sakammapasutā rañño janapadaṃ na viheṭhessanti;
Then the people, occupied with their own work, will not harass the realm.
mahā ca rañño rāsiko bhavissati.
The king’s revenues will be great.
Khemaṭṭhitā janapadā akaṇṭakā anuppīḷā manussā mudā modamānā ure putte naccentā apārutagharā maññe viharissantī’ti.
When the country is secured as a sanctuary, free of being harried and oppressed, the happy people, with joy in their hearts, dancing with children at their breast, will dwell as if their houses were wide open.’


In Sri Lanka there were the Janatha Vimukhthi Peramuna (JVP) insurgents and the ‘Tamil Tigers’ terrorist movement (LTTE), who were both brutally crushed. There are however remains factions still active and is a potential threat. These problems partly arose because there wasn’t much development in those areas in which the uprisings took place. Most people don’t want to risk their lives and loved ones but if their burden is too much they will fight for a meaningful life, IMO. It seems to be a way society re-balances itself. I remember sending an email to the president. He probably never received it!

The haves and the have-nots in the world are heading towards a similar problem in time, I think (not to make this too political)

Incidentally I also thought DN5 was heading towards a Velama sutta parallel, but veered towards Sammanaphala sutta, in the expansion/abbreviation.

with metta

Bhikkhu Bodhi points out a more extensive analysis of matters relating to OP.
Start at timer 14.15
I recommend you listen to the episode one first.

I was pleased to learn that Japan was the lowest inequality in the world.
That was my personal experience too.
The USA was the highest inequality in the world. It was disappointing.