The Buddha’s Teaching Encourages & Strengthens Nationalism

Prof. Sudhakar Arjun Pawar

Published in Issue V, April 2014

The critical in-depth study of the Buddha’s philosophy and his Eight Fold Noble Path clearly indicate that the Buddha’s doctrine encourages & strengthens the feeling of Nationalism. The study further indicates that only when the people have the feeling of nationalism in them it can results in peace and harmony amongst the people, within the nation and throughout the world. It therefore follows that we must get to know about the Nationalism, the resultant peace and harmony and the doctrine of dhamma as preached by the Buddha.


Nationalism: means the “feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries. (


I personally feel that besides the loyalty and pride of the country and the belief and the feeling, that my country is better and more important than other countries, the feeling of ‘Nationalism’ implies the love for the country and for its people leaving aside the conflict and the hatred. The Buddha’s teaching also aims at removing the impurities from mind and purify it. A purified mind, as everybody knows creates an environment which generates love, friendship and compassion. The phenomenon as this lays a solid foundation for people to get along together and thereby establishes the peace and harmony throughout the country. It is however necessary to undertake certain obligations vis-à-vis responsibilities in order that the above said environment is generated. Few important obligations are as follows:


  1. Every citizen of this country must value and respect the provisions of our Constitution, in specific reference to the principle of Social Equality which denotes the absence of discrimination on the grounds of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, or language. AND the principle of Secularism which provides that every citizen has complete freedom to follow any religion of his/her choice.


  1. Every citizen must also value and respect and practice the principle of Liberty, Equality and Brotherhoodness, and


  1. Every citizen must be away from the clutches of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, or language and act and behave on the principle of oneness which will drive out the attitude of generating the conflict and the feeling of hatred attitude amongst the fellow beings around him.


It is generally experienced that when people have feeling of love, friendship and compassion towards the fellow beings around them, they practice the principle of Liberty, Equality and Brotherhoodness and are free of hatred and conflict. In the simplest words, in order to have the feeling of Nationalism, and thereby to establish the peace and harmony, it is necessary to aim at what is known as the National integration. On the other hand, the spirit and feeling of National Integration can only be enriched and accomplished by a person by strictly adhering to the principle of Social Equality and secularism, the main objectives of our Constitution. In fact, these are the fundamental factors on which the Unity & Integrity of the Nation is based.


Unity & Integrity of the Nation:

The unity and the integrity of the nation presuppose the love, friendship and compassion amongst the people of the country, which is achieved by imbibing and practicing the four important values e.g.

  1. Social, Economic and political JUSTICE;
  2. LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
  • EQUALITY of status and of opportunity and
  1. FRATERNITY among them all.


These above said fundamental rights are necessary to be bestowed upon every citizen irrespective of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, or language.

In my opinion, when such environment exists, and it must exist, it will foster love, friendship and compassion amongst the people throughout the country.


Need for Buddha’s Doctrine:

The objective of the Constitution of India aims in establishing the peaceful coexistence. In order that this objective is fulfilled, it is obligatory on each of us to value and respect the objectives and the provisions of our constitution. To achieve this goal it is necessary and binding upon each of us to sincerely follow and practice the principles of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. However, as has been indicated earlier, these principles can be valued, respected and practiced only if people have developed in themselves the love, friendship and compassion for others and amongst themselves. This is the point, in my opinion, where it is necessary for us to understand the teachings of the Buddha.


The characteristic of the Buddha’s teaching is that it is directed towards the purification of mind i.e. to wipe out the total impurities from mind. When the impurities or the defilements are removed from the mind what the mind reflects is the strong desire for the well being of the people around and the love and the pride for the country. The Buddha’s teachings are also very easy to follow and practiced. Therefore, a person with little amount of prudence, can follow it however educated he may be. Moreover, besides using a very simple language, most of his sermons are explained giving the instances pertaining to day to day happenings in life. Furthermore, the Buddha talks about morality, working for the wellbeing of the people, to be away from the blind belief and avoid performing of rituals. I am sure, all these foregoing principles will never be objected to by any person. The other unique characteristic of the teaching of the Buddha is that he never compels anyone to accept the doctrine of his dhamma. On the other hand, the Buddha willfully allows one to select the doctrine of his choice, even if after pariyatti, patipatti and pativedan, the process of learning the doctrine of the Buddha, one is not comfortable.


The path of Buddha’s dhamma (the doctrine) can be learned by three ways.


  1. Pariyatti i.e. educating oneself by acquiring knowledge about the teaching of the Buddha either from scriptures or lectures from dhamma gurus;
  2. Pattipatti i.e. applying tests to ensure that what has been read or heard from whatever sources is logical, scientific and judicious and
  3. Pativedan i.e. actually experiencing the truth as regards the pariyatti and pattipatti.


The path of dhamma learned as above i.e. with the process of three ways explained above, allows the people to understand and experience in depth, the knowledge of the path, and thereby remove ignorance from the mind of people and purifies it. This, in turn, develops love, friendship and compassion. Further, this activates and prepares the mind to think only of those deeds or projects which are fully meant for the wellbeing of the people. The doctrine learned as above lays a strong foundation and the basis for generating the feeling of nationalism and aims at national integration as also results in unity and integrity of nation..


Overview of the Teachings of the Buddha:

The main features of the Buddha’s Teachings are:


  • Mind is the centre point of all your deeds.
  • Mind directly controls all deeds via sensations. So one must take cognizance of the sensations which constantly arise and affect the mind.


(c) All things, good or bad arise only from the mind. Therefore, the Buddha says avoid bad deeds, and


(d) The doctrines of dhamma cannot only be learnt from scriptures or from lectures from dhamma gurus, but these needs to be actually experienced and practiced. It is very clearly explained by the Buddha in Dhamma Pada as follows:


“Sabba papassa akaranam, kusalassa upasampada I

Sachittapariyodapanam, etam buddhanam sasanam II”


The meaning of the above verse in the simplest words is:


  1. Don’t do evil deeds,
  2. Keep performing as much good deeds and virtues as possible; and
  3. Purify mind by driving out (destroying) the total impurities.


This is the teaching of the Buddha. In short, it means, when the defilements or the impurities are totally wiped out from the mind, it reflects love, friendship, compassion and joy at others success, and directly contributes to the feeling of nationalism and the resultant peace and the harmony.


It must be noted that all the 84,000 (eighty four thousands) sermons of Buddha directly or indirectly help to generate the spirit of nationalism and establishes peace and harmony. It is therefore morally binding on each one of us to learn few sermons on test basis.


Dhammachakkapawattana at Sarnath:

After the enlightenment, the Buddha, based on his own experience, realized that it is only through the “pariyatti, patipatti and pativedan” of “the eight fold noble path”, one can wipe off the impurities of mind and can overcome the miseries or the sufferings of life. At “Isipatan Migidaya, in Sarnath, the Buddha while explaining the above to “panch vaggiya bhikkhu” (five ascetics) therefore declared “ekayano ayam maggo bhikkhave” meaning “Oh monks, this is the only path for liberation from miseries of life”. The total sermon at Sarnath is commonly known as ‘patham dhammachakkapawattana”. The salient features of dhammachakkapawattana were:


  1. The man and the relationship amongst men in this world is the basis of my dhamma.
  2. Neither get excessively entangled in the luxuries of life, nor observe the penance. Follow the middle path.


  1. By way of the theory of ‘paticchasamudaya’, the Buddha taught that “Every happening in the world has a cause behind it.”


  1. The three main features of the “Eight Fold Noble Path”, were told to be:


  1. Panna (wisdom);
  2. Sila (morality), and
  3. Samadhi (concentration).


Panna, he told, comprises of samma ditthi i.e. right understanding; and samma sankappa i.e. the right thoughts.


Sila constitutes of samma vaca i.e. right speech or purity of vocal action; samma kammanta comprises right action or purity of physical action and samma ajivika constitutes right livelihood or means of livelihood which by no means are harmful either to oneself or to others.


Samadhi comprises of Samma vayama i.e. right efforts or right exercise; samma sati means right awareness and samma sammadhi means right concentration. These eight feathers (two of panna, three each of sila and Samadhi) are commonly known as “Astangika Marga”.


It is experienced by many that “pariyatti, patipatti and pativedan” of “the eight fold noble path”, gradually start destroying the defilements and thereby begins the purification of mind. It also simultaneously starts reducing the miseries of life which ultimately result in generating love, friendship, compassion and pride for the country i.e. the feeling of nationalism.


Few unique Sermons of the Buddha directly contributing to Nationalism:

The critical study of the Buddha’s philosophy or the doctrine of dhamma reveals that there are many unique advises which directly contribute to build the feeling of Nationalism and thereby establishes peace and harmony amongst people and the country and the world at large. These are as below:


  1. For the spread of his doctrine the Buddha advised to his first sixty monks as follows:

“Charath bhikkhave charikam, bahujan hitaya bahujan sukhaya, athaya hitaya deva manussanam (I)


Desetha bhikkhave dhammam adi kalyanam majja kalyanam pariyosanam kalyanam sattha sabba janam, parisuddha bramhacharyam pakasitam” (II)


“Ma eken dwe agamitha” MEANING “Oh monks! Keep moving for the benefit and the well beings of all. Each one goes on different route. Teach the doctrine which is beneficial in the beginning (Sila), beneficial in the middle (Samadhi) and beneficial in the last (panna ). While explaining the teachings please exhibit your purity of character, your utmost moral behavior, so that people will have faith in you.


  1. “Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arhato Samma Sama Budhhassa”. Meaning Worship only those who have destroyed all their defilements and impurities from the mind. This sermon presupposes that one has done renunciation.


  1. The Buddha made it obligatory to all his disciples/devotees to take vows/pledges for not to kill, not to steal, not to lie, not to do sexual misconduct and not to have intoxicant.e. vows regarding “Panch silani”, whenever they recite “dhamma vandana”, which generally is at least once a day as well as on all occasions, whether household, public ceremonies or in Buddha viharas.


  1. Buddha and now all monks or anybody whenever finishes the discourses on dhamma concludes by saying “Bhawatu sabba mangalam”. Meaning I wish for the well being and the happiness of all.


  1. Devotees present on the occasion respond “Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu” i.e. Amen /Aham Bhante, meaning we all subscribe to your wish.
  2. The principles of moralities or the virtues are actually imbibed. It is not merely understood at intelligent level.
  3. The Buddha actually attacked the root of sorrow and miseries and resultant tendencies AND showed the way to overcome it, thereby to have happiness.
  4. The Buddha formed an organization of monks & nuns (sangh) for spread of doctrine, and laid down strict rules for administration. (Vinaya Pitaka). For monks 227 and for nuns 331. Rules were also made for lay devotees.
  5. Complaint received either from monks or lay devotees were promptly acted upon by Buddha, thereby himself exhibiting the spirit of equality.
  6. The doctrine preached “Atta Hi Attanano Natho, Atta Hi Attano Gati” Means One Is One’s Own Master, And Works Out One’s Salvation with One’s Own Efforts. In other words don’t depend upon anybody and work for your salvation.
  7. The Buddha made it compulsory even to his caring mother Mahaprajapati Gautami to observe the principles of Equality, Liberty and Brotherhood.
  8. The scrutiny of entire “eighty-four thousand dhamma-desana” (preachings) of the Buddha contained only morality, good behaviour, good conduct and good relationship with all.
  9. The Buddha’s teaching “Yecha Buddha atitacha, yecha Buddha anagatha, pachuppannacha ye Buddha, aham vandami sabbada”. Meaning the teaching make it obligatory on every body to respects all intellects, whether past, future or present.
  10. “Yen kinchi ratnam loke vejjhati vividha puthu, ratnam buddham samam natthi tasma sotthi bhawantu mem” Meaning Intellect is the supreme (prime) jewel. In view of this the Buddha advised “atta deep bhava”, means one can attain any growth in life with the help of education and efforts.


From the few examples explained above, it is evident that the Buddha has directly contributed to the Nationalism and thereby for peace and the harmony of the nation and of the world at large.


Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution, also has contributed to the peace and happiness of the country in various ways. For illustrating the same, one example is sufficient. On 14th October, 1956, when accepting Buddha’s dhamma and spreading it to amongst Crores of his followers, Dr. Babasaheb, who had utmost pride of country in his mind i.e. nationalism, managed the dhamma conversion of crores of people with the strict discipline and utmost peace although the said conversion was the biggest in the world, and the unique, i.e. the only one of its kind.


Relevance and practicability of Buddha’s Doctrine in modern days:

The Globalization, Liberalization, the Technical advancement and the privatization in all the spheres of activities has immensely increased the expectations about life style. Those who have nothing aspire for the same. However, those who have it aspire for more and more. This has substantially increased the craving and the aversion and has added lot of tension. Consequently, many diseases like heart-attacks, hypertensions, diabetics and other tension related diseases are seen to have been the by-product of this tension.

The normal habit pattern of a person is to generate craving & aversion and is difficult to stop it suddenly. However, one can change it by pariyatti, patipatti and pativedan. of eight fold noble path by learning the same from Vipassana Meditation Centers. These centres impart knoweledge as to how one can be away from attachment (raga in Pali) hatred (dosa) and illusions (moha). The attachment, hatred and illusion are the three sensations, which give rise to all the other defilements. By systematically learning the required technique one can comfortably drive out mental stress, tension and worries etc. and live every moment of his life peacefully, happily and productively.



The personality of each individual depends on mind (nama) & matter (rupa). The nama consists of consciousness (vinnana), sensation (vedana), perception (sanna) and formation (sankhara). With the help of eight fold noble path one learns to understand the three characteristics of buddha’s dhamma i.e. anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering) and anatta (no “I”, no ‘Mine”). These three does not allow the craving or aversion to be generated and thereby the person becomes free from suffering and tensions and as a result generates love, friendship and compassion.


It is important to note that the doctrine of dhamma taught by the Buddha two thousand six hundred years ago to develop the humanitarian traits i.e. love, friendship, compassion which in short means to develop a feeling of nationalism and thereby to establish the peace and harmony amongst the people of the country, is still relevant and valid and applies in modern days also.





Author: Prof. Sudhakar Arjun Pawar, M.A. (Pali), Cell No. 9819933692.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *