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A good leader

There are ten qualities explained in Buddhism which make a ruler of a government just. They are called the tenfold governing-qualities (dasarajadhamma) for they make a ruler or a government just. Generosity (dana) is the first. The ruler should not crave for wealth and property, but should give it away for the welfare of his subjects. It is this quality which makes him work for the wellbeing of the people, introducing tax relief for the needy and subsidised schemes where necessary. A high moral integrity (sila) is the second quality, which means that he should not destroy life, steal and exploit others, commit adultery, utter falsehood and take intoxicants. This keeps him free from corruption. The pure moral character of a leader gives him a position of high authority and his subjects maintain full confidence in him. A sense of commitment (paaiccaga) is the third one, which makes him sacrifice his personal comfort, name and fame, even his life, in the interest of the people. Honesty and integrity (ajjava) is the fourth one. All his dealings must be carried out without any trace of fear of favour. He must be sincere in his intentions, and he must not deceive the public. Kindness and gentleness (maddava) is the fifth quality, which makes him refined in his manners and free from arrogance, so that people can approach him. The sixth quality is self-control (tapa) which makes him lead a simple life and be considerate in making decisions. Not being easily moved by anger (akkodha) is the seventh quality. He should bear no grudge against anybody. Non-violence (avihimsa) is the eighth quality which helps him take a harmless attitude in settling all issues. Also, this quality induces him to promote peace by avoiding and preventing war, and anything which involves violence and destruction of life. Forbearance (kanti) is the ninth quality, which makes the person understanding and toleraant. He must be able to bear hardship, difficulties and insults without losing his temper. The tenth quality is non-vindictiveness (avirodhata), which makes him free from taking revenge on those who criticise him or oppose him. He should rule in harmony with his people. These are the qualities which make a ruler or a government just.

This is taken from the essay JUSTICE IN BUDDHISM by Ven. Dr. M. Vajiragnana:


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