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Thread: Brief essay on Buddhism.

  1. #1

    Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Buddhism teaches us that living with less simplifies our beings. the only reason that our way of life is not sustainable is because we feed a system that gives nothing back and takes so much from us that we have nothing left to give of our selfs. The solution to our problems is to immediately live as if you were free to live a peaceful life and to determine what you actually need.
    When we no longer pursue things simply because we don’t have them than our beings will truly be free enough and our minds clear enough to accomplish things that are productive to being as a whole. “Only when we loose everything are we free to do anything."
    Attachment is the the origin of all suffering, we feel as if we must own things that cause us suffering and cause suffering to all elements of existence on some level.
    When we own a car we enslave ourselves to the up keep of our own ownership there of.
    We consume a fuel that causes serious damage to the planet in order to extract and refine into usable form.
    We support a system of corporations that exploit third world nations until their already low standard of living is decelerated to the point that the original poverty stricken lifestyle is pined for in comparison.
    Such reflects how we love, how we work, how we make decisions that affect our families and so on.
    All of these facets of our decision making must not be looked at considering the self.
    when we live to serve others we find that our own concerns have already been considered by those we serve.
    When we live to serve ourself we find that we have no one, just as we asked for.
    When we reflect on ourself we ask the wrong questions.
    “Do I drive the right car?”
    “Do I wear the right cloths?”
    “How do the people around me reflect on me?”

    Never...

    “How do I reflect on the people around me?”
    “Do I act with wisdom?
    “Do I give life with all I do?”



    ---------------------------------------------------

    Any feed back about this one would be appreciated.
    Dose it miss the point?

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Dear Thirst;
    I think you may be on to something; take two aspirin and call me in the morning

  3. #3

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Hi,

    I very much believe that there are few things that people "need" for life. The Buddha said that we should eat and drink in moderation, breathe, have clothing appropriate to the climate, a roof over our head when it rains. He recognized the need for companionship in the form of a Sangha. (The famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow, added a couple of other items to the list like physical safety and love http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_h ... y_of_needs , and I might add perhaps education, access to health care ... but the point is the same). As Buddhism moved from warm India to cold places like China ... well, the monks got a bit more food, more robes, more buildings and (because begging was not as possible there) took to agriculture and labor ... but the principles of simplicity and moderation remained. (The monks sometimes also possessed serfs and slaves to support themselves ... but that is a story for another day ... read more here ... http://shoresofzen.com/nozeninthewest/2 ... no-really/ )

    The Buddha also recognized that, if everyone lived like monks ... celibate, begging and meditating all day ... society would quickly grind to a halt (in fact, there would be nobody left to beg from! :shock: ) So, he counseled Buddhist lay people to work hard, but live in moderation ... not be so material. One may have possessions, but do not live 'for' the possessions ... and clutch them lightly, for all is impermanent. Use them wisely and well. Here are some of his instructions for lay folks of the time (notice the reference to 'slaves' again ... well, those were different times ... ).

    viewtopic.php?p=33247#p33247

    In later centuries, the sharp borders between clergy and householder in the Zen lineages faded, with most (in Japan at least) having wives, children, homes. Still, the advice on moderation and non-attachment to wealth is vital.

    I am not opposed to "corporations" "capitalism" "material goods" and the like. Anyone can see with their own eyes that this modern world has brought us some wonderful things ... medicines to cure terrible diseases, modern machines and communications, computers that (when not checking out the latest Hollywood gossip ops: ) bring libraries and Dharma into our living rooms. On the other hand, some things seem to be running amuck ... and to excess ... represented best perhaps by the modern fast food drive-thru, the expanding western waistline (wasteline) and runaway nuclear reactors. Perhaps the problem is not "corporations" or "capitalism" so much as our priorities in what we demand the system to manufacture, the need for constant "new" gratifications, wastefulness of resources, lack of moderation in desires, greed.

    I gave a series of talks awhile back on Buddha-nomics ... focused mostly on "moderation at home" and in our personal lives. Maybe I will pick it up again soon, looking at the craziness of the larger economy and "the system". Here are the previous talks ...

    viewtopic.php?p=43127#p43127

    viewtopic.php?p=43443#p43443

    viewtopic.php?p=43890#p43890

    viewtopic.php?p=44551#p44551

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Putting some effort into paying attention is a big help for everyone. What can you do?

    I saw a young Libyan rebel on TV say something like being free was more important than dying. Free from what? oppression from others or the thinking and feeling that drags you around all day. Just don't know.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Here are my thougths:

    I think moderation, creating balance and the right motivations is the key to having "stuff". It is ok to have nice things as long as you are not attached to them and you are living within your financial means. Checking your motivations for buying material items is important. An example: Are you buying that car so you have something more reliable to get to work everyday or are you buying that car to make yourself look good to others for a higher social status? Another example: Are buying these new clothes to look more professional at work or buying these new clothes that you really don't need to fill a deep emotional void, fear or issue.

    Also, it is important to have gratitude for the things that you already have, especially for your family, friends, spouse/or partner and even the friendly UPS guy that greets you with a smile every day. Appreciate what you have right now in this moment without attachment and without fantasizing for wanting more. Enjoy the time you spend with your spouse and children. You can even enjoy using your nice, high-tech computer and iPhone as long as you understand that everything is impermanent and can be gone in an instant.


    Even appreciate the things that you don't like or for unfavorable situations. It is these times that give you the opportunity to learn patience, integrity and perseverance. In our culture it seems that there is too much desiring for things that make you comfortable and too much desire for pushing away the things that make you uncomfortable. Treat every stressful moment or difficult situation as way to see and express your true nature.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    The way I see it, Buddhism teaches us to the middle way. This may mean living with less stuff. This may mean to live with fewer concepts, even concepts that sound great like "being as a whole" or "serve others".

    Suffering can arise from wanting stuff that is unsustainable. It can also come from ideas, from being attached to a way to view "the world". It can arise when other people are not doing what you think is right. Attachment and suffering are so much more subtle, but also more powerful, on the non-material level.

    I am puzzled by the statement "when we live to serve others we find that our own concerns have already been considered by those we serve". There are people who work their asses off to care for family members, only to get abused. There are volunteers in many organisations who burn themselves out.

    I'd say, simplify your life if you want to, but don't stick a Buddhism label on it. Forget the concepts. Sit lots. Smile lots.

  7. #7

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo
    The way I see it, Buddhism teaches us to the middle way. This may mean living with less stuff. This may mean to live with fewer concepts, even concepts that sound great like "being as a whole" or "serve others".

    Suffering can arise from wanting stuff that is unsustainable. It can also come from ideas, from being attached to a way to view "the world". It can arise when other people are not doing what you think is right. Attachment and suffering are so much more subtle, but also more powerful, on the non-material level.

    I am puzzled by the statement "when we live to serve others we find that our own concerns have already been considered by those we serve". There are people who work their asses off to care for family members, only to get abused. There are volunteers in many organisations who burn themselves out.

    I'd say, simplify your life if you want to, but don't stick a Buddhism label on it. Forget the concepts. Sit lots. Smile lots.
    Right on!!!

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Hey Thirst

    Being on a third world country I certainly feel your words. People here gets poorer by the day and rich people get richer, powered by poor people who want to live like them.

    They all want to buy a car, a big house, more DVDs, more alcohol and more sex, but none of them stops and questions about what they really need.

    Buddhism and minimalism have been a part of me for a very long time and have liberated me so I can see the world in a different light.

    I really enjoyed your essay. Thanks, mate.

  9. #9

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Quote Originally Posted by chocobuda
    Hey Thirst

    Being on a third world country I certainly feel your words. People here gets poorer by the day and rich people get richer, powered by poor people who want to live like them.

    They all want to buy a car, a big house, more DVDs, more alcohol and more sex, but none of them stops and questions about what they really need.

    Buddhism and minimalism have been a part of me for a very long time and have liberated me so I can see the world in a different light.

    I really enjoyed your essay. Thanks, mate.

    And do you find that minimalism has freed you from the bondage that you see the rest of your people suffering under?
    the whole dolla dolla bill mindset that seems to cause those around you to harm them selfs and others.
    Thanks for the encouragement my very good friend.

    Gassho,
    "Thirst"

  10. #10

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo
    The way I see it, Buddhism teaches us to the middle way. This may mean living with less stuff. This may mean to live with fewer concepts, even concepts that sound great like "being as a whole" or "serve others".

    Suffering can arise from wanting stuff that is unsustainable. It can also come from ideas, from being attached to a way to view "the world". It can arise when other people are not doing what you think is right. Attachment and suffering are so much more subtle, but also more powerful, on the non-material level.

    I am puzzled by the statement "when we live to serve others we find that our own concerns have already been considered by those we serve". There are people who work their asses off to care for family members, only to get abused. There are volunteers in many organisations who burn themselves out.

    I'd say, simplify your life if you want to, but don't stick a Buddhism label on it. Forget the concepts. Sit lots. Smile lots.
    You do have a point there, people can be abused when they allow others to manipulate kindness and give nothing back.
    I mean this in the way of a family who lovingly supports one another not for personal gain but because they see them selfs in one another.
    in this it is easy to see the spirit of life giving, detached love that truly supports all.

    Thank you.
    Gassho,
    thirst.
    _/_

  11. #11

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Heart Sutra
    Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
    when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita
    perceives that all five skandhas are empty
    and is saved from all suffering and distress.
    Shariputra,
    form does not differ from emptiness,
    emptiness does not differ from form.
    That which is form is emptiness,
    that which is emptiness form.
    The same is true of feelings,
    perceptions, impulses, consciousness.
    Shariputra,
    all dharmas are marked with emptiness;
    they do not appear or disappear,
    are not tainted or pure,
    do not increase or decrease.
    Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings,
    perceptions, impulses, consciousness.
    No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;
    no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch,
    no object of mind;
    no realm of eyes
    and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness.
    No ignorance and also no extinction of it,
    and so forth until no old age and death
    and also no extinction of them.
    No suffering, no origination,
    no stopping, no path, no cognition,
    also no attainment with nothing to attain.
    The Bodhisattva depends on Prajna Paramita
    and the mind is no hindrance;
    without any hindrance no fears exist.
    Far apart from every perverted view one dwells in Nirvana.
    In the three worlds
    all Buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita
    and attain Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi.
    Therefore know that Prajna Paramita
    is the great transcendent mantra,
    is the great bright mantra,
    is the utmost mantra,
    is the supreme mantra
    which is able to relieve all suffering
    and is true, not false.
    So proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra,
    proclaim the mantra which says:
    gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
    gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
    gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

  12. #12

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    [/quote]I'd say, simplify your life if you want to, but don't stick a Buddhism label on it. Forget the concepts. Sit lots. Smile lots. [/quote]

    So, suppose it would be taking these teachings out of context for some one in a high societal position perhaps such as a prince to decide to live in poverty and servitude, all because of what he had learned from Buddhism :roll: .

    Oh, wait....

  13. #13

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    I can understand some of your points but, to me, they are too idealistic.

    First there are no needs. There are only wants. Do you want to live? Yes. So what is needed to live? It becomes a need only when we let our desires lead us by the nose. So I completely agree with you in terms of attachments. As human beings, we need to do more than just survive; we need to thrive. To me life is art.. it's not just here's my chart to live by.. I mean it's nice to enjoy it.

    I mean I could get rid of all my stuff, and then what? I know there's a balance point. There's nothing wrong with entertainment in moderation. But again as human beings to thrive that may include a multitude of different things.

    Some people like to drive nice cars or wear nice clothes. So what? Who said you can't enjoy life. Someone may enjoy a nice car, someone else may enjoy minimalism. But I do agree what is very problematic is exploitation of natural resources. Now, I include humans and animals when I say natural resources. And exploitation occurs when attachments get out of balance.

    But it's too easy to the lay the blame on some group, e.g. "corporations". That turns it into us vs. them. You see? The current state of the world is your fault. And it's my fault, and it's everyone who is alive's fault, because we are part of it. We aren't separated from it.

    Personally, I can't take down corporations (like they did in the awesome movie "Fight Club"), but I can take care of myself. I have my own anger, greed, and ignorance to deal with before I can start pointing fingers.

    Again, though, I feel you; I really do. I have an ideal that one day our society, if we don't kill each other first, would be somewhat like it is in Star Trek.. no poverty, no money needed. People have learned to turn away from being power/money hungry into exploration.

    But it does start with us, so again, I agree with your questions. We need to ask those. But again, don't separate yourself from others who you feel to be more materialistic because it is only in your mind that they are any different, any less than you. I know this because I do this too.

    I wrote a comment on one of my Facebook friend's walls last night that spoke about exploitation. It also talks about this country's problems. When the left has power, the right demands justice in light of socialism. When the right is in power, the left calls them out on their vast right wing conspiracy. But this divisiveness has to end.

    Politicians use our desires as the basis for their campaigns; they do it to get us emotionally invested in some cause.

    Take President Obama, for example. He ran his campaign on the basis for change, on yes we can. Yes we can what? Yes we can have the same old same old? Politicians forgetting that they are servants of the populace flying their family around in military aircraft that we pay for? That's not all Obama's fault. That did not just happen with this current administration although certain Alaskans would want you to think that.

    Criticizing Obama is pretty silly considering politics involve a high level of compromise. So no matter how good one's intentions are, you may have to do certain things to push for something you believe in in the long run. Of course, his opponents will not speak to that. They will only point out his failures, and his side will blame everything on Bush. It's been done this way for a long, long time in this country.

    My point is that like politics, life isn't black and white. We are all in this. And until we start changing our attitudes the way you say from a perspective of exploitation to one of more compassion, we will see these problems. I mean, damn, and I agree with you again. I have a lot of stuff. How much stuff do I need? And how cheaply do I need it? You know there are people in China who get paid crap to work in factories without the standards required by the US government to produce the stuff we consume so readily. And yes, the corporations, and China's government are responsible for that. But guess what? So am I because I paid for stuff that was made by that system.

    Sorry to get into politics, but it directly relates to this point of overconsumption. The US got rid of most of its manufacturing processes in the 80's/90's. We did that so global corporations could get things done more cheaply. The cost of producing is expensive (especially if done properly) because: 1. a person has to make a certain amount of money to have a standard of living that allows them to have shelter, clothes, food, and some other additonal things. 2. There is a large cost involved in insuring safety measures for workers, and 3. there is a large cost involved in maintaining equipment. That's only a couple of points.

    We learned these lessons through the loss of life during the Industrial Revolution, but our desire led us astray. Our desire, not someone out there. Each one of us has this same inate desire to things that can get us into trouble.

    So all of that was shelved when the goal shifted from quality and taking care of the each other to exploitation. Hey, those Chinese people may have to work 20 hours a day but, who cares, I can't see it from my backyard. And the current president did not address that. Why not?

    Is it because Obama is terrible because he's on the leftwing? Nope, it's because global trade is insane. In any case, I'm not an Obama supporter, but I'm not a divider either. When I look at problems I think it's a good idea to step in the shoes of the person who has to solve them. And that job is not easy.

    And to get back to the point of exploitation, when a country like us uses one of their major points of leverage in the market (ie. that we can produce and export goods) things will shift in favor of the producer. If china or other 3rd world countries make all of the exports, they can charge us whatever they want because we no longer have the infrastructure or expertise to make it ourselves. The balance will shift.. It's just the nature of it all.

    Anyway, I do understand where you are coming from. I think we need to embrace those ideas of compassion instead of consumption as well. But, like I said, it starts with each of us as individuals.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Hogo's Avatar
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    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Just got me a shiny new flatscreen on my new credit card.

    Gotta get a car so I can geta job!

    Gotta get a job so I pay for my car!

    Gotta get some gas so I can get to work!

    Gotta get to work so I can get some gas!

    Anybody wanna buy a new flatscreen T.V. ?

    :roll:


    P.S. Good post "Thirst" I enjoyed your essay, and the conversation that it sparked.
    Gassho.

  15. #15

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Thank you everyone for replying, everyone was very insightful.

  16. #16

    Re: Brief essay on Buddhism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    I can understand some of your points but, to me, they are too idealistic.

    First there are no needs. There are only wants. Do you want to live? Yes. So what is needed to live? It becomes a need only when we let our desires lead us by the nose. So I completely agree with you in terms of attachments. As human beings, we need to do more than just survive; we need to thrive. To me life is art.. it's not just here's my chart to live by.. I mean it's nice to enjoy it.

    I mean I could get rid of all my stuff, and then what? I know there's a balance point. There's nothing wrong with entertainment in moderation. But again as human beings to thrive that may include a multitude of different things.
    Perhaps not to get rid of it all, but choose not to obsesess over it either.


    Some people like to drive nice cars or wear nice clothes. So what? Who said you can't enjoy life. Someone may enjoy a nice car, someone else may enjoy minimalism. But I do agree what is very problematic is exploitation of natural resources. Now, I include humans and animals when I say natural resources. And exploitation occurs when attachments get out of balance.

    But it's too easy to the lay the blame on some group, e.g. "corporations". That turns it into us vs. them. You see? The current state of the world is your fault. And it's my fault, and it's everyone who is alive's fault, because we are part of it. We aren't separated from it.
    Not the corporation it's self, but the actions of a corporation.

    Personally, I can't take down corporations (like they did in the awesome movie "Fight Club"), but I can take care of myself. I have my own anger, greed, and ignorance to deal with before I can start pointing fingers.
    the point is not to point fingers, but not to engage in the actions of..greed, arrogance and recklessness that come with the corporate life on planet starbux, perhaps for even the sake of one's own enlightenment.

    Again, though, I feel you; I really do. I have an ideal that one day our society, if we don't kill each other first, would be somewhat like it is in Star Trek.. no poverty, no money needed. People have learned to turn away from being power/money hungry into exploration.
    That is perhaps our own responsibility before it is that of the "superiors" of society.

    But it does start with us, so again, I agree with your questions. We need to ask those. But again, don't separate yourself from others who you feel to be more materialistic because it is only in your mind that they are any different, any less than you. I know this because I do this too.
    Again, not them, only their actions.

    I wrote a comment on one of my Facebook friend's walls last night that spoke about exploitation. It also talks about this country's problems. When the left has power, the right demands justice in light of socialism. When the right is in power, the left calls them out on their vast right wing conspiracy. But this divisiveness has to end.
    It seems as though we look to the left or the right when the 16 ton weight is coming from above us.
    And it's inspiring to hear of others speak of a better way.


    Politicians use our desires as the basis for their campaigns; they do it to get us emotionally invested in some cause.

    Take President Obama, for example. He ran his campaign on the basis for change, on yes we can. Yes we can what? Yes we can have the same old same old? Politicians forgetting that they are servants of the populace flying their family around in military aircraft that we pay for? That's not all Obama's fault. That did not just happen with this current administration although certain Alaskans would want you to think that.
    IMHO, no one who would take the job of leader is qualified to lead.
    And you are right, there has been no change offered by political intervention, only change of how we phrase things.


    Criticizing Obama is pretty silly considering politics involve a high level of compromise. So no matter how good one's intentions are, you may have to do certain things to push for something you believe in in the long run. Of course, his opponents will not speak to that. They will only point out his failures, and his side will blame everything on Bush. It's been done this way for a long, long time in this country.
    The old proverbial square peg in a round hole mentality.

    My point is that like politics, life isn't black and white. We are all in this. And until we start changing our attitudes the way you say from a perspective of exploitation to one of more compassion, we will see these problems. I mean, damn, and I agree with you again. I have a lot of stuff. How much stuff do I need? And how cheaply do I need it? You know there are people in China who get paid crap to work in factories without the standards required by the US government to produce the stuff we consume so readily. And yes, the corporations, and China's government are responsible for that. But guess what? So am I because I paid for stuff that was made by that system.
    This, again IMHO of course is yet another example of the need to stop complying for the sake of others, not the self.

    Sorry to get into politics, but it directly relates to this point of overconsumption. The US got rid of most of its manufacturing processes in the 80's/90's. We did that so global corporations could get things done more cheaply. The cost of producing is expensive (especially if done properly) because: 1. a person has to make a certain amount of money to have a standard of living that allows them to have shelter, clothes, food, and some other additonal things. 2. There is a large cost involved in insuring safety measures for workers, and 3. there is a large cost involved in maintaining equipment. That's only a couple of points.

    consequentially,porduct quality dives employees assigned to manufacture are paid NOTHING,consumers pay more and finally those responsible for this tank in quality of life are rewarded for their destructive actions.
    It's is a shame that Japan has experienced catastrophe on the level that they have, the world may have just lost one of our most fair, hard working and proud manufacturer in history.


    We learned these lessons through the loss of life during the Industrial Revolution, but our desire led us astray. Our desire, not someone out there. Each one of us has this same inate desire to things that can get us into trouble.

    So all of that was shelved when the goal shifted from quality and taking care of the each other to exploitation. Hey, those Chinese people may have to work 20 hours a day but, who cares, I can't see it from my backyard. And the current president did not address that. Why not?
    I beleive this was spoken of in the words of the Buddha, look under delusion.

    Is it because Obama is terrible because he's on the leftwing? Nope, it's because global trade is insane. In any case, I'm not an Obama supporter, but I'm not a divider either. When I look at problems I think it's a good idea to step in the shoes of the person who has to solve them. And that job is not easy.
    trying to improve the world through politics is like trying to eat ice cream with chopsticks

    And to get back to the point of exploitation, when a country like us uses one of their major points of leverage in the market (ie. that we can produce and export goods) things will shift in favor of the producer. If china or other 3rd world countries make all of the exports, they can charge us whatever they want because we no longer have the infrastructure or expertise to make it ourselves. The balance will shift.. It's just the nature of it all.

    Anyway, I do understand where you are coming from. I think we need to embrace those ideas of compassion instead of consumption as well. But, like I said, it starts with each of us as individuals.

    I enjoyed your response (perhaps the most) Not only enlightening but it was some good logic that I had to hear. thank you so much.

    Gassho, Jess
    _/_

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