What in Buddhism is hinayana, in politics is called Liberalism.
What in Buddhism is called Mahayana, in politics might be called republicanism.
It is a rough comparison, arising in me while pondering on symbolism, acts, rituals, and politics. During a lecture on the founding fathers of American Revolution, we discussed also Liberalism and Republicanism.
Inspired by John Adams, Thoughts on Governemnt:
We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow, that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best
Liberalism reffering roughly as the form of “me first” and if I am happy, all are happy.“ This means, transferred to buddhsim, the own enlightenment (first).
Mahayana in Buddhism is the Boddhisatva vow: to wait with the own enlightenment until all are enlightened. To come back into life (work) until the work is done, and all sentient beings are freed.
This might refer to Republicanism in the way, that community is first, and if the community reaches abundance, wellbeing, then all are rich, well, happy, freed. Until that, work is not finished.
It is said in the Heart Sutra / the Diamond Sutra, that if you reach enlightenment, you recognize illusion, being and non-being, existence and non-existence. And stepping out of the illusion, you recognise the illusion and return to help setting all people free.
So transferred from the Heart Sutra, if someone walks on the path of Hinayana and reaches the enlightenment, he turns towards the suffering, and, as a kind of Boddhisatva, returns until all reached enlightenment.
There are various paths to walk. In the end, they all make that turn towards the other.
The hinayana might only be the longer path.
What makes it so funny to watch in America, is the struggle between this liberalism, republicanism, utilarism. There are two parties called Republican (the Grand old Party GOP) and Democrats. Yet the Name might have Little to do with republicanism or Democratic attiudes. And in these parties, you also find liberal, republic or utilaric streams as well as capitalism etc..
So, my short philosophic remark on Buddhism enlightenment compared to politics in theory might not transferrable to America or Politics as named or in manifestation. Or it might, .. again… as a rough comparison with the current situation:
Happiness of People is not necessarily the utmost fulfillment of property. Abundance not necessarily that all have Gold and are millionaires (or all have atomic bombs).
If all people and all Nation are on the path of „me first“, and each only Think in Terms of ressources, property and Military, earth is devastated.
Reaching their Goals, stepping out of that Illusion, all liberal People might then turn around to help the suffering….
in Terms of politics and earth, it then might be too late. It might then be a matter of existence – or non-existence.