Buddhist Economics

Discuss the application of the Dharma to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice.
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Queequeg
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Buddhist Economics

Post by Queequeg » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:56 pm

Came across this article on Buddhistdoor.

Buddhist Economics: The Beginnings of a Promising Approach

Its more or less a blurb with references for further inquiry, but interested to hear what the DW crowd has to say about it.

Thoughts? Opinions?

:popcorn:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:25 pm

My first thought was that this is a natural topic for DWE. :smile:

If you don't want to join us for a discussion over there, I will cross-post it.

:namaste:
Kim

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Queequeg
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Queequeg » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:32 pm

Is it?
I don't think I've been over there in a while... please go ahead and cross post. I'll check it out an lurk for now.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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well wisher
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Location: Canada

Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by well wisher » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:36 pm

Money seems to be a "necessary evil" in our modern society, very entrenched.
But I suppose Mahayana adaptions are needed for the institutions to survive for the benefits of future generations.
I know some temples have separate gift shops, similar to those in museums.
But Buddhist arts & crafts are definitely more beneficial than say celebrity porno, for example, in the path of the 4 noble truths.

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Brunelleschi
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:22 pm

Interesting. It is good to broaden the impact of Buddhism. Why couldn't it influence economics - see interdependence etcetera. I will follow this topic.

boda
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by boda » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:14 pm

From the linked article:
Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than the Gross National Product (GNP)
I would say that this is key, but it would entail shifting embedded cultural values. That would be difficult and take time, if a method for achieving it were even possible to develop.
We know how to move to a Buddhist economy. What we need is the political will coupled with the skillful means to create meaningful lives based on caring for one another and for the environment. Neuroscientists have shown that helping others makes us happy and has validated that buying more “stuff” does not lead to long-term happiness. Let’s turn off our devices and screens, stop being influenced by celebrities and advertisers, and enjoy our relationships and the world around us.
I can’t speak for Easterners but it seems that Westerners don’t really set out to achieve happiness in their lives. We set out to acquire wealth, status, pleasure, distraction, etc. All very materialistic and lacking in meaning. It’s no surprise that the average life expectancy is decreasing, despite our material wealth. Epidemic obesity and substance addiction, including the new opioid crisis, are symptomatic of unhappy lives, I believe.

It’s quite a boast to say, btw, that “We know how to move a Buddhist economy.” It’s notoriously difficult to move an economy without the profit motive. The major critiques of socialist or communist economies is their tendency to lack efficiency and innovation. That may not be a problem if they don’t compete with capitalist economies, I guess.
Thesis 1: Buddhist economics must take progressive and radical theory seriously, including understanding the contemporary tendency to separate the spheres of politics and economics from “religion” (they must be understood as they are very much overlapping); and understanding the significance of work or labor in all of its forms on the Buddhist path.

Thesis 2: Historical and philosophical materialism—in the work of Marx and anarchists, as well as that found in earlier thinkers in the West and Asia—should be explored by Buddhists in their ethical reflections on labor, production of commodities, and community and relationships.

Thesis 3: E. F. Schumacher’s thesis on the significance of “scale,” of societies becoming ungovernable at too large a size, is crucial to Buddhist economics. Similarly, anarchist critiques of hierarchies and power structures can be coupled with Buddhist organizational ideals.
It’s surprising that someone like Marx underappreciated the role that religion plays in society. Did he have bad experiences as a child? Anyway, the problem with theocracy, which is basically what we’re talking about here, is that it’s necessarily hierarchical in nature and inherently undemocratic. A wise and benevolent autocracy could be ideal, but as we know, power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Thesis 5: The traditional Asian virtue of “propriety” (Li in Chinese), along with other contemporary ideas about our place as individuals in society and in the world, can help us bring together our critique of the current systems as we build new communities and systems based on emerging Buddhist economic ideas.
As long as things like this are based on the principle of pursuing happiness (not the materialistic American Dream) and not some governmental mandate or law that, for instance, prevents critique of the theocratic powers that be.



For a general summation, I do not believe anything like this could work in its combining politics, economics, and religion. If there were some way to build a meaningful system around the principle of achieving happiness and some kind of secular or universal spirituality perhaps. Religion binds groups with common values and goals, and that can be good, but the problem is that in the religious framework there is ALWAYS the ‘other’. The group is always limited and cannot encompass all.

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well wisher
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by well wisher » Thu May 16, 2019 12:25 pm

boda wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:14 pm
From the linked article:
Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than the Gross National Product (GNP)
I would say that this is key, but it would entail shifting embedded cultural values. That would be difficult and take time, if a method for achieving it were even possible to develop.
Well said, this appears to be very difficult and seemingly impossible; yet it seems to be necessary key if we want to move general society away from corporate & big international companies mass slavery plus very wide income inequality,
and instead towards are more "beneficial" and happier societies.

It seems many teachings in across many different Buddhist schools do not deny happiness: in fact it is part of a wholesome goal and state to achieve as part of the 4 noble truths, and generally happiness is NOT Suffering (as long as no further harm & suffering is inflicted).

However, it seems the intrinsic property of money and wealth appears to easily feed directly into greed, which is one of the root poison that many Buddhist schools warned against.
Maybe some anarchist / money-less hippies got it more correctly?
in my opinion: Shakyamuni Buddha's original historical Sangha of monks may appear to be money-less beggar ascetics rebelling against the conventional wisdom of wealth and money. Especially considering one of the original Vnaya rule is against holding onto money and wealth.

Recently I feel the below statements from a Theravada Buddhists Dhamma Tips & Wisdom website resonates strongly with me:
http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/Is_Mo ... piness.htm
The Dry Facts are:
When there is money, there is inevitably recurring bills, debts, and loans...
When there is recurring bills, debts, and loans inevitably there is also worry!
When there is recurring, or even permanent worry, there is also frustration.
When there is frequent frustration, that is indeed mental Suffering...
Suffering is not Happiness...

A wise one said:
Those things we give emphasis to in our lives, can also become our own prison!
One's first inclination -if I have money- is not to lose it! Therefore it makes
one become increasingly fearful of others, and put security systems around
one's home, and credit-card. So money may not after-all "buy" any good life,
because it is simply not true, that money -itself- can make humans ever happy!
....
As the Buddha once told Mara the Evil One:
If there was a mountain made of solid gold,
even two of those would not be enough...
to satisfy even a single person!
Know this, and live accordingly...
Samyutta Nikaya 1.156

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SunWuKong
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Re: Buddhist Economics

Post by SunWuKong » Sat May 18, 2019 2:21 am

Queequeg wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:56 pm
Came across this article on Buddhistdoor.

Buddhist Economics: The Beginnings of a Promising Approach

Its more or less a blurb with references for further inquiry, but interested to hear what the DW crowd has to say about it.

Thoughts? Opinions?

:popcorn:
We were already on board with these ideas in 1968. Somebody just went through and added the word "Buddhist" in front of everything. I'm not seeing any new ideas here. All for Engaged Buddhists actually doing things to help though!
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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