To be fair, Jikan, this 'Prosperity Gospel' thingy has nothing to do with being a version nor an offshoot of mainstream Christianity and in fact has been debunked and denounced as the shameless work of profiteers and opportunistic people who prey on the gullible and and desperate. From my previous days as a Christian, I recall reading and encountering tons of works from both conservative Protestant Christian theologians and prominent evangelistic circles (I won't name any of them here) who have critique and denounced it and some gone as far as naming and shaming individuals and organisations which promote such in what has been described as repackaged smuggled new age deception or some terming it as the 'Judas' Kiss' on the Gospel message of Christ...The Prosperity Gospel is a version of Protestant Christianity (or perhaps an offshoot from it, depending on your perspective) that teaches, in short, that Christ wants you to be wealthy; that religious practice should involve a measure of material benefit (or that material benefit correlates or represents spiritual blessing); and so on.
This is reminds me of an elderly stock broker in a Dharma class who loudly criticised Buddhists as having an inane love affair with poverty and he finds this rather appalling that in doing so, questions the future of Buddhism in attracting the mass people if not the big temples and monasteries, statues, huge ventures, big sponsorships and sighed that we are still living in the kutis and caves of the past, hoping that some kind filthy rich Bodhisattva will spare us a penny... and thundered that Buddhists are preaching and marketing a 'poverty Gospel' as if it was a virtue yet passing on donation slips on the side which lists terms 'Grand Sponsor', 'Diamond Sponsor', exhorbitant wealth vases, amulets and empowerment sessions where some contribute amounts of no less than 50-100k and above... monastics accepting rides and stays in luxury vehicles and lodgings, sponsoring certain precious objects where one can take it home for a handsome 'suggested donation'... which he finds disgusting and hypocritical as the tongue does not seem to match what the hand is doing...In a conversation with a friend, it was suggested that a major Buddhist organization was effectively promoting something analogous to the Prosperity Gospel, but in Buddhist terms: a Prosperity Dharma, if you like. This is an organization that is active in Asia but increasingly in America and Europe. I can see how such a twisting of the teachings might occur (people are people, life is life), but I have a difficult time imagining such a teaching could find a welcome ground in the States. Why? Because many of those who are involved in Dharma to begin with did so out of a revulsion with the Robert Tiltons of the religious world, and found among the Buddhists a community committed to practice for the sake of practice, not devotion for the sake of dollars or whatever. Then again: could it be that a prosperity Dharma might attract new people to the teachings--people who don't object to a Tilton-style glitz approach?
pueraeternus wrote:I think with the right motive and aspirations, such "Prosperity Dharma" can lead to skillful ends, but I am afraid it is easy to deceive oneself. So I prefer such dharma not be propagated or at least toned down.
Yes I agree that my response scope was stretched to other areas but BUT...I think your experience differs from what Jikan is trying to say in the sense that Prosperity Dharma attempts to draw people to the "Dharma" by promising them that they will attain wealth as a consequence of practice. Do this "Buddhist" practice and you will gain: money, chicks (or dudes, depending on your proclivity), cars, prime real estate, etc...
Right, we know this but how many out there do or care? I don't exactly want to blame Dharma organisations but reality is, perception and how it is marketed sells... puts the 'butts on the seats' to borrow a Sister Act term and bills paid. Who wants to hear sermons when you can get 'packaged' deals? Better yet with no strings attached?Now in Vajrayana there are deities that one prays to for wealth, but anybody that tells you that by praying to Dzambhala you will become a millionaire is pulling your leg. These practices are about appreciating the wealth one has, overcoming greed and grasping and about acquiring the most valuable object of wealth available, permanent freedom from suffering!
gregkavarnos wrote:Now in Vajrayana there are deities that one prays to for wealth, but anybody that tells you that by praying to Dzambhala you will become a millionaire is pulling your leg. These practices are about appreciating the wealth one has, overcoming greed and grasping and about acquiring the most valuable object of wealth available, permanent freedom from suffering!
Karma Dorje wrote:gregkavarnos wrote:Now in Vajrayana there are deities that one prays to for wealth, but anybody that tells you that by praying to Dzambhala you will become a millionaire is pulling your leg. These practices are about appreciating the wealth one has, overcoming greed and grasping and about acquiring the most valuable object of wealth available, permanent freedom from suffering!
They are also primarily about generosity, particularly as a route to having what you need for dharma practice. I wouldn't discount their effectiveness in providing what you need for dharma practice in a very practical way, though becoming a millionaire is a bit far-fetched. These practices, combined with genuine generosity are truly like wish-granting jewels. As you say, the most important wealth is the dharma itself. Jambhala was a very important yidam of Milarepa, yet outwardly he had almost nothing at all.
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