Buddhism, wealth, and happiness

May 2, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at May 2, 4.20.08 PMBe forewarned. You’re going to see a bunch of headlines soon like this one from Business Week: Economists Nail It: You Can Never Be Too Rich.

The Business Week post is rather breathless: “I just spoke with Justin Wolfers, co-author of a short but important new paper that concludes the more money you have, on average, the happier you are.” I almost see the author’s laptop screen misting as he pants with excitement.

Business Week describes this finding thus: “That may seem to deserve a Homer Simpson “Duh!” award for most obvious research finding of the month” before going on to admit that actually previous research has shown this not to be the case: … Read more »

Buddhists speak on Occupy Wall Street

October 15, 2011

Thanks to Maia Duerr and the follow-up comments on a post on her blog, the Jizo Chronicles, here’s a quick round-up of some of the recent posts that Buddhists have made on the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon.

  • There’s a post by Maia herself, along with Roshi Joan Halifax: “This is What Compassion Looks Like.”
  • Nathan Thompson has post on “Occupy Minnesota: Zen Style” on his blog, Dangerous Harvests where he describes “coming out” as a Zen Buddhist at a peaceful protest.
  • Chris Wilson, president of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship board of directors, compares OWS to the Arab Spring and asks why engaged Buddhists should get involves. Chris states that BPF
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The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

October 14, 2011

The Buddha’s concerns with politics — or at least those what found their way into his teachings and have been recorded — were very limited.

Perhaps this isn’t surprising, since he lived at a time when kingdoms ruled by absolute monarchs were expanding their territory at the expense of clan-based republics and other kingdoms. The rise of monarchies was probably unstoppable, and there was little chance of any alternative for the foreseeable future.

Some of the kings were notoriously paranoid, placed spies in religious communities, and would literally kill their own parents to consolidate their power. It would have been very dangerous to criticize them directly, and so the Buddha’s emphasis in talking about politics … Read more »

Review of “Super Rich,” a self-help book by hip-hop promoter Russell Simmons

January 23, 2011

Russell Simmons Super RichThe transformation of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons from the recreational drug-using, model-chasing manager of seminal 1980s rap artists Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Will Smith into a serene 21st-century prophet of veganism and meditation may be surreal, but it’s also quite real.

Even in his dark days of excess, Simmons had a lot of light around him. As 1990s entrepreneurs like Suge Knight made the rap business virtually synonymous with invective and violence, Simmons stood above them as a relative paragon of virtue, achieving unmatched success with humor and hustle rather than brutality. As he matured and embraced his holistic lifestyle, Simmons became “Uncle Rush,” purveyor of hip-hop brands but also philanthropist and father-figure.


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How to be rich and happy (whatever that means)

December 17, 2010

tim brownsonWriting a book entitled How To Be Rich and Happy means rather unsurprisingly I regularly get asked by interviewers, “What is rich and happy?” and I always respond by saying, “I have absolutely no idea”.

As you can imagine, that is seldom the answer the person is looking for, or indeed expecting, and it usually leads to a furrowing of the brow and a quizzical look before the follow up question of “Well how can you write a book on it then?” comes my way.

Philosophers have been debating the meaning of happiness almost since the dawn of time and we still don’t have a definition that everybody agrees upon. Modern day advancements in the … Read more »

Meditations on ‘lazy investing’

December 29, 2009

Commentary: Turning to Buffett, Bogle and Buddha for wisdom on how to invest

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Last May, 35,000 shareholders crowded into the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting. One of the faithful asked a fundamental question: “What is the secret to value investing?”

According to an article in Harper’s Magazine — “The Church of Warren Buffett: Faith and Fundamentals in Omaha” — Buffett replied with all the serenity of the Buddha: “Independent thinking and inner peace.”
Billionaire’s bright lights bring big cheer

WSJ’s Alan Murray shows us the latest extravagant light display decorating the home of hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones in Greenwich, Conn.

Independent thinking? Traditional … Read more »

Dharma on zero dollars a day

November 23, 2008

Urban meditation

In a time of global financial meltdown, it may be wise to consider that many of the best things in life are indeed free, including self-awareness, happiness, and the freedom to explore one’s own experience. Bodhipaksa shares some reflections from a former monk.

“Rise before dawn and bow three times to the Buddha within you. Bow three times to whatever Buddha image you may already have. If you have no Buddha image, trace the outline of a footprint or a circle on the wall and bow to that. Bow three times to anyone else who may be doing this practice at this very moment, to those who have done it in the past, and to … Read more »

True wealth…

August 22, 2008

gold liliesAlthough the Buddha encouraged his householder disciples to create wealth, he also repeatedly pointed out the relative worth of outer and inner riches. This short teaching outlines seven sources of inner abundance.

Then Ugga, the king’s chief minister, approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: “It’s amazing, lord, & awesome, how prosperous Migara Rohaneyya is, how great his treasures, how great his resources!”

[Then the Buddha said:] “But what is his property, Ugga? What are his great treasures and great resources?”

“One hundred thousand pieces of gold, lord, to say nothing of his silver.”

“That is treasure, … Read more »

“The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity: At Home, At Work, in the World” by Bhikkhu Basnagoda Rahula

August 5, 2008

The Buddha's Teachings on ProsperityIt’s a widely held view that the Buddha taught his followers to disdain wealth and worldly success, or at best tolerate them as necessary evils. Sunada reviews a book that shatters these misconceptions and repositions the lay life as one of dignity and happiness, and full of opportunities for personal growth.

Here’s a pop quiz for you: What famous spiritual teacher taught that the way to happiness is through accumulation of immense wealth, striving for worldly success, and seeking pleasure through the senses? Would you believe it’s the Buddha? I bet you’re surprised! It’s a widely held view that the Buddha taught his followers to turn away from the secular world and seek happiness in … Read more »

The Buddha’s View on Prosperity

August 5, 2008

dollars and eurosThe Buddha’s view of prosperity stands out as one of the most misinterpreted aspects of his teachings. Many writers have either stated or implied that the Buddha did not encourage people to prosper and become wealthy. This misinterpretation influenced some to believe that achieving prosperity goes against the Buddha’s teachings. But let us examine what the Buddha actually maintained with regard to the layperson’s wealth and prosperity.

The Freedom to Prosper

 …an attitude of “I have a job that’s enough for me to live on” has no place in the Buddha’s teaching.

First, the Buddha never imposed limitations on his lay follower’s efforts to be successful; instead, he clearly encouraged them to strive for success. … Read more »