ASIAN DEMOCRATIC VALUES
though Gauthama Buddha belonged to an aristocratic family, his life and work were those of a Democrat. he served the interests of the masses and was concerned with their happiness. He traveled widely for forty five years, preaching to them. to carry out his mission, he founded the Sangha, the order of the Buddhist fraternity of monks and nuns. the constitution and working of this organization was on democratic lines. Everyone who was ordinated as a Buddhist monk could be a member of the Sangha in a particular locality and all official business in a formal meeting of the Sangha was transacted according to democratic principles. every member had a vote and decision of the sangha was taken by a vote of the majority. when complicated question came up before the sangha , it was refer to a select committee, whose recommendation had to be placed before the sangha for ratification. if a member of the sangha was absent on account of illness, his vote was recorded by bringing him, sometimes carrying him to the meeting place to cast hist vote. all members of the Sangha in a parish were required to be present at a formal meeting of the sangha. Questions about fixing the days of the uposatha(day of fast), of beginning of the vassavasa (retreat in the rainy season) were settled by the majority, and the minority had to submit to its decision, unless, of course, It was a question of fundamental principles necessitating the convening of a synod or religious council. The leader of the sangha was generally elected from among the theras or senior monks and he was respected by all. All Buddhist monks and he was respected by all. As buddhist monks had no private or personal property of their own, all furniture or things in the monastery for use of the monks, such as cots or water jars, belonged to the whole community or the sangha. sangha, however, was not a close body belonging to a particular place, but was open to monks from all the for directions. In short. no official act of the sangha was valid unless it was decided at a meeting where all members and visiting monks in a parish were either present or could communicate their wishes (chanda).
When it come to voting , marked sticks were used and a responsible officer was appointed to keep watch over the voting. As monastics establishments developed , the sangha began to to appoint office bearers to supervise new constructions, to look after property, the distribution of clothing, the allotment of dwelling places, the acceptance of property as a gift to the sangha, and the like. All these officers were appointed after due election at a meeting of the sangha, where the proposal was announced three times, and if there was no dissenting voiced it was declared carried.
During his life time the Buddha allowed things to be decided democratically by the Ssangha: and after death too, he did not want to restrict the freedom of the Sangha by appointing successor. He wanted the Dhamma (Dharma)and Vinaya(rules) to be its guides after his death and anything which was not authorized by the Dhamma(Dharma) and Vinaya was to be rejected by the Sangha. ( from Document of gov, of India)
for further reading DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR WITINGS AND SPEECHES COMPILED BY VASANT MOON PUBLISED BY GOV. OF MAHARASTHRA 1987 MULTYPLE VOLUEMS and DISCERNING THE BUDDHA BY LAL MANI JOSHI
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