Dialogue with Cherokee Nation Supreme Court


Buddhist Defense on Tribal Courts

The Buddhist Law criticizes the model of state justice because it guarantees impunity, inequity, corruption, privileges, indifference and disappointment in face of the thirst for justice and peace to the citizens. Therefore, Maitriyana’s legal system proposes seeking for the Cure (Nirvana) of war and injustice through a harmonious and unselfish path of life, guaranteeing human coexistence based on an ethical and spiritual contract in society. In order to achieve this, it is not necessary the arbitration of the State, with its institutions, norms and fictitious laws, but rather it is necessary for humanity to commit itself to abandon a pathway that leads to its disappearance and extinction. The Buddhist Law is an alternative pathway that guides the human being toward learning and not toward punishment, affirming that only the ethics empire can adequately regulate the functioning of politics, economics, culture, justice and environment, guiding society toward the construction and conservation of a healthy and sustainable international community. This passion for ethical justice kept by the Maitriyana is absent in all bodies of the State, which is a mask and simulation of justice. The Buddhist Law is a Way that dialectically returns to the justice of tribal peoples, so it is part of a transcultural Discourse based on the virtue of equality, generosity and practical knowledge of the spiritual masters.

Historically, the Buddhic-people has developed a coherent and satisfactory system of justice. But this system of ethical justice prioritizes collective rights rather than focusing only on individual rights, so that the justice of Maitriyana is at the forefront of international Law. The Buddhist Law is based on a righteous balance between the needs of the individual and the needs of society, practicing a conflict resolution based on reconciliation (maitri) and never on coercion, because the latter is antithetical with regard to the social model of the spiritual commune (sangha). Maitriyana has a system of ethical justice which transcends criminal and civil justice of the capitalist State, seeking the Liberation of the apprentice rather than his/her alienation, exploitation and domination. Thus, the Buddhist Law aims at Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, criticizing the State Law as an oppressive, unjust and conflictive system.

The courts of tribal peoples are often considered as providers of illegal and non-official sanctions in the eyes of the State, which ignores that the tribes or communes (sanghas) possess sovereignty and self-determination, not needing state legitimacy to operate their political, economic, cultural and juridical institutions. However, the ethical justice of Maitriyana confirms that tribal courts (panchayat) are illegal only when, in order to restore social honor, resort to feudal,[1] violent and atrocious judgments violating the human rights.[2] This demonstrates that the tribal system of Buddhist Law is much more civilized than modern procedures of the criminal and civil justice system of the State, functioning as an alternative to local and international official courts. Maitriyana’s ethical justice does not resort to violence to resolve conflicts, so that its sentences do not contradict the legal spirit of Constitutions and treaties of the world. In this way, even though it is considered as a non-official court, the Buddhist Law works effectively on the legal basis of the autonomy of Buddhic people. This means that the tribal courts (panchayat) should not be abolished but reformed according to the principles of ethical justice and compassionate wisdom (karuna-prajna), maintaining their sovereign immunity as long as they function righteously and appropriately. Although Maitriyana’s justice is traditional, ancestral and tribal, it is certainly not primitive, barbaric or uncivilized, by establishing a system capable of guiding the subject toward Liberation and self-determination. This libertarian capability of the Buddhist Law can be especially implemented in India and Pakistan, where there are thousands of tribal peoples who wish to exercise their sovereignty and autonomy.[3] In this sense, in this type of countries multiple legal systems coexist, existing state, colonial, tribal and religious laws.[4] Even, in India, the State traditionally has provided official status to the tribal courts (panchayat),[5] Which are a system where the power of justice is maintained close to society, as it allows the tribes or communes (sanghas) to govern themselves.[6] The tribal system of ethical justice of Maitriyana seek the conflict resolución not by means of punishment but through consensus, mediación and reconciliation (maitri),[7] ending the problems in a peaceful way such as was sought in Ancient India,[8] so that it is an advanced system with respect to the state justice, despite its judgments take place in only thirty days.[9] The tribal courts (panchayat) have the potential to provide autonomy to religious traditions and ethnic minorities.[10] However, the Buddhist Law denounces that when the tribal courts (panchayat) lack of compassionate wisdom (karuna-prajna) they violate the human rights of the members of the tribe or commune(sangha), even sentencing to death or sexual torture to the accused ones.[11] In conclusion, without the ethical and spiritual guidance of the Free and Enlightened Beings (Arhats-Bodhisattvas) the Buddhic-people, like the rest of the tribal peoples, is condemned to be perverted and to cultural extinction. Instead, when tribes or communes (sanghas) follow the guidance of spiritual masters, then their cultures survive, prosper, and evolve in the Path toward the Awakening (Bodhi).


[1]  Criminology Research Institute, Punjabi Gang Rape Victim Fears For Her Life After Six Are Sentenced to Hang.

[2]  Muhammad Saleem Sheikh, The Meerwala Incident: Shame in the Name of Justice.

[3]  I. Talbot, Inventing the Nation India & Pakistan.

[4]  A. S. Ahmed, Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity.

[5]  Kimberly A. Klock, Resolution of Domestic Disputes Through Extra-Judicial Mechanisms in the United States and Asia: Neighborhood Justice Centers, The Panchayat and the Mahalla

[6]  Shalini Bhutani & Ashish Kothari, The Biodiversity Rights of Developing Nations: A Perspective from India-

[7]  Amnesty International, Pakistan: Tribal Councils Must Stop Taking Law Into Their Own Hands.

[8]  Theodore A. Mahr, An Introduction to Law and Libraries in India.

[9]  A. H. Nadeem, Pakistan: The Political economy of Flawlessness.

[10]  W. Kaelin, Legal Aspects of Decentralisation in Pakistan.

[11]  Amnesty International, Pakistan: Tribal Councils Must Stop Taking Law Into Their Own Hands.

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