faust / zen

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  • nealc
    Member
    • Dec 2010
    • 39

    faust / zen

    I've been toying with an idea for a while.. I've read, for instance, in Zen Seeds by Aoyama, that most people think that money will solve their problems, and they want more, more security, more material comforts. I catch myself really wanting that all the time in more subtle and novel ways. But Shakyamuni left being a king to be buddha. So I've been thinking, what if someone came and told me I could have $x, but I'd never have any possibility of receiving any teaching, any understanding whatsoever (and it is very little as it is, believe me) of buddhism. What would $x be? Bill Gates has $61B, Warren Buffet has $44B. Would I really turn that down if it was offered to me? Or not? I'd never have any sense of shikantaza. Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this. Along the same lines, do we think our lives are better than Bill and Warren's because we have the opportunity to learn some buddhism?

    -Neal
    Last edited by nealc; 10-06-2012, 02:55 AM.
  • Taigu
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
    • Aug 2008
    • 2710

    #2
    Yes, very clear thoughts. Leave these two guys where they are it is none of our business to discuss their fortune or happiness.
    Money would create more problems than it could solve. Same with fame.
    Simplicity is best, poverty or work to get the opportunity to practice and enough to live and have extras from time to time.
    Our lives are not better or worse, they are different. And sometimes identical (we all have a body-mind).

    A better life is what the American dream and its modern avatars are based on: try to get what the guy next door doesn t have. Always compare and see who is the richest, the tallest, the most powerful...

    A total loss of time and absolute delusion.

    gassho


    Taigu

    Comment

    • Mp

      #3
      Originally posted by Taigu
      Yes, very clear thoughts. Leave these two guys where they are it is none of our business to discuss their fortune or happiness.
      Money would create more problems than it could solve. Same with fame.
      Simplicity is best, poverty or work to get the opportunity to practice and enough to live and have extras from time to time.
      Our lives are not better or worse, they are different. And sometimes identical (we all have a body-mind).

      A better life is what the American dream and its modern avatars are based on: try to get what the guy next door doesn t have. Always compare and see who is the richest, the tallest, the most powerful...

      A total loss of time and absolute delusion.

      gassho


      Taigu
      Thank you Taigu.

      Gassho
      Michael

      Comment

      • pinoybuddhist
        Member
        • Jun 2010
        • 462

        #4
        Indeed.

        Life with money: dukkha
        Life without money: dukkha

        The real treasure is the Triple Gem.
        Originally posted by Taigu
        Yes, very clear thoughts. Leave these two guys where they are it is none of our business to discuss their fortune or happiness...

        Our lives are not better or worse, they are different. And sometimes identical (we all have a body-mind).

        A better life is what the American dream and its modern avatars are based on: try to get what the guy next door doesn t have. Always compare and see who is the richest, the tallest, the most powerful...

        A total loss of time and absolute delusion.

        gassho


        Taigu

        Raf

        Comment

        • disastermouse

          #5
          I think some of us may be forgetting the rich, famous, and powerful patrons that Buddhism has had throughout the ages. If we think of money and attaining it as evil, then only the evil will ever have any, and with it, THEY will continue to dictate the way the world works.

          Comment

          • RichardH
            Member
            • Nov 2011
            • 2800

            #6
            Chasing wealth and fame is senseless .... greed and narcissism. But IMHO at the other extreme, there is no virtue in valuing poverty (or romanticising it) at the expense of your family's health and well being. A simple life is one thing, but poverty damages people. Also, shrinking from public attention if it comes, along with greater responsibility, can be just as narcissistic as pursuing attention.

            Gassho. kojip

            Comment

            • disastermouse

              #7
              Originally posted by Kojip
              Chasing wealth and fame is senseless .... greed and narcissism. But IMHO at the other extreme, there is no virtue in valuing poverty (or romanticising it) at the expense of your family's health and well being. A simple life is one thing, but poverty damages people. Also, shrinking from public attention if it comes, along with greater responsibility, can be just as narcissistic as pursuing attention.

              Gassho. kojip
              Yes. I didn't mean to negate what Taigu said, BTW. I think you put it much better than I did.

              Chet

              Comment

              • Rich
                Member
                • Apr 2009
                • 2602

                #8
                Some have more, some have less. We don't envy the rich nor pity the poor. Help all as conditions allow.

                We work to take care of our financial responsibilities. Even buddhas monks had to work. Begging is worrk. Buddha dined and socialized to get benefactors and supporters.

                Its all to support life and practice. Keep it simple as taigu said.

                You don't really have anything and even if you did it can all go to pieces tomorrow. But buddha did say to save some of your wealth.
                _/_
                Rich
                MUHYO
                無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

                Comment

                • Kyonin
                  Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                  • Oct 2010
                  • 6742

                  #9
                  I've been a Buddhist for 16 years, but I never understood anything of it. Sure, I sat eventually and read those wonderful hardcover books with inspirational quotes. But really had no idea what they were about.

                  At the same time, I used to worship all the great entrepreneurs in media. I needed to be the next rich guy in town. Compassion and giving? What? That was for losers!

                  I was like those young executives in movies who would give everything (and did!) to get the next clothes/gadget/car/trip. My mind was too busy buying crap I didn't need and avidly desiring the next item to get or paycheck. When money flows, you get friends everywhere!

                  I drank every single drop of the capitalist Kool-Aid. And I thought I was happy.

                  Until 5 years ago, when I lost it all.

                  One day I woke up to see I didn't have a home, car, job, money, food and I owned only the clothes I was wearing. If it wasn't for my sister and her endless compassion and love, I would've ended living in the streets.

                  That's when I started to sit regularly. Every day.

                  Instead of getting all emo and depressed for my fall, I simply started to live for the moment. I knew first hand that everything material, everything you believe is safe and secure, is just an illusion and can go in a second. Like Taigu said, a waste of time.

                  One meal had, if only was peanuts (literally), turned into the best meal in the universe. An afternoon walking in the park, turned into the best holiday ever.

                  I started to savor every single moment in life and at the same time, the little dharma I read over the years started to make sense, little by little.

                  I saw my fall as a much needed chance to rebuild my life from scratch.

                  How I live now? I moved to a smaller city, opened a very modest graphic design business and I have a very poor life. I only have what I need to live. I don't want anything more than that.

                  But now I'm happy. I take care of my mind and body and my practice is everything... but at the same time I practice so I don't hold on to anything.

                  Just a couple of days ago I spent a couple of hours sitting at the subway station, waiting for someone. I was just there, enjoying the air, the wartmth of the afternoon sun light on my back and people passing by. It was a perfect moment and everything I have ever needed was there.

                  So... do I need more money? No I don't. A little extra would be fine, but it's not the basis of my happiness.

                  Do I miss the corporate life? Not one bit.

                  For today, at this moment, with a nice cup of coffee, watching the night turn into day from my window... This is all I need.

                  Gassho,

                  Kyonin
                  Hondō Kyōnin
                  奔道 協忍

                  Comment

                  • Koshin
                    Member
                    • Feb 2012
                    • 938

                    #10
                    I find myself wanting less and less material things as I sit and study harder... and I think that indeed simplicity is best... yet, I am married with no children... this point of view may work and make sense to me, but maybe not to my wife, and I am sure it would be a BIG problem if we had kids.... maybe it is the responsability over other humans (kids, aging parents) and the team work and prior commitments (partners in life) what drives us to think we need more money and the sense of security it comes with.... I am happy with my $20 shoes I wear all the time, my wife hates them (she is pro-$200+ shoes ), I don't need anything (car, house, gadgets) to feel better than anyone, but at the same time, I try to have a good finance system, not spend money in anything I don't need and try to save the 30% of my income for the future, when I will be an Old Zen Master

                    Gassho
                    Thank you for your practice

                    Comment

                    • Yugen

                      #11
                      Taigu wrote: Simplicity is best, poverty or work to get the opportunity to practice and enough to live and have extras from time to time.
                      Our lives are not better or worse, they are different. And sometimes identical (we all have a body-mind).

                      A better life is what the American dream and its modern avatars are based on: try to get what the guy next door doesn t have. Always compare and see who is the richest, the tallest, the most powerful...

                      A total loss of time and absolute delusion.


                      Kyonin wrote: So... do I need more money? No I don't. A little extra would be fine, but it's not the basis of my happiness.

                      Do I miss the corporate life? Not one bit.

                      For today, at this moment, with a nice cup of coffee, watching the night turn into day from my window... This is all I need.




                      Zen macroeconomics! Thank you Taigu and Kyonin - adding the metric of desire/delusion to the supply and demand equation!

                      Kyonin, I really appreciate your post. I too was in pursuit of salary, title, and self importance for years..... it led me to all sorts of excess of ego, emotion, and consumption. It came crashing down because I could not continue to live the way I did - I live far more simply today - more happily - with balance - and zazen is a central component of my day. It is absolutelty worthless. :-)

                      I am enjoying a hot cup of coffee and watching the wind play with the autumn leaves - some cling to the branches, others let go. Life/death ... death/life ...

                      Deep bows,
                      Yugen
                      Last edited by Guest; 10-06-2012, 01:27 PM.

                      Comment

                      • Nenka
                        Member
                        • Aug 2010
                        • 1238

                        #12
                        It is funny to read this thread this morning, which I have just spent going to neighborhood yard sales. All the shit people just had to have a year ago . . . two years ago . . . ten . . . all laid out with price tags of a dollar or two.

                        Gassho

                        Jen

                        Comment

                        • disastermouse

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Nenka
                          It is funny to read this thread this morning, which I have just spent going to neighborhood yard sales. All the shit people just had to have a year ago . . . two years ago . . . ten . . . all laid out with price tags of a dollar or two.

                          Gassho

                          Jen
                          Although it does increase consumer debt, the clamor for consumer goods isn't what messed us up in 2008. When goods get too expensive, demand does eventually drop. When assets increase in price (such as the housing market) it actually drives demand higher. Gains on assets drive demand for assets because of the gains - and then you get a bubble and a bust.

                          We shouldn't focus on money, IMHO, but if you make more money, you can then give more money - affecting causes and lives that the market rarely serves.

                          Chet
                          Last edited by Guest; 10-07-2012, 09:11 AM.

                          Comment

                          • Kyonin
                            Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                            • Oct 2010
                            • 6742

                            #14
                            Originally posted by disastermouse
                            We shouldn't focus on money, IMHO, but if you make more money, you can then give more money - affecting causes and lives that the market rarely serves.
                            I totally agree and it would be fantastic that people who make a lot of money understood this. Our egos are so huge and we center ourselves in having/owning/buying that we totally forget about other people, thus making it impossible to see human needs outside our nose.

                            Now I only make a small fraction of what I did in the past, but it is now when I am able to see and give.

                            Strange, I know.

                            Gassho,

                            Kyonin
                            Hondō Kyōnin
                            奔道 協忍

                            Comment

                            • Kyonin
                              Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                              • Oct 2010
                              • 6742

                              #15
                              Would you live without money? Would you be willing to give away everything you own in order to break free from the system?

                              Some adventurous and brave people like Heidemarie Schwermer have been doing it for years and have a lot to say: http://livingwithoutmoney.org/

                              Would I live without money? I don't know. The idea it's too radical, but I admit it does sound attractive to me.

                              Gassho,

                              Kyonin
                              Hondō Kyōnin
                              奔道 協忍

                              Comment

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