A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment


Buddha described the world around us as samsara, or greed, desire, and ignorance. In the west and now spreading to other parts of the world desire is not considered bad, rather in consumerist cultures it is ranked as one of the holiest attributes. For without desire the capitalist system would soon revert to a simpler way of live, and those who profit from satisfying desires, would soon find themselves in the same situation as the rest of humanity. Greed is looked at as an economic engine in many countries. Look at the lifestyle they have, why that country is so rich they average 2.3 cars for every person, regardless that they can only drive on at a time, where as we are poor because we only have 1 car for every 74 people, but we are doing better than those who live way over there and have only 1 car for every 532 people. One of the problems the environmental movement has had is the same one the spread of Buddhism has had in the west. Certain words are what we call hot button topics. The mere mention of renounce or renunciation is considered to be a regression or giving something up. If a doctor tells you to renounce you 2L per day Coke consumption to improve your health, it is not a bad thing. Rather it is liberation from the strain you body is suffering. Perhaps it will help reduce your weight, or ease you hyperactivity. It could also delay or prevent diabetes. We need to be less concerned about what we have to give up, and more concerned about where the path we are on is taking us. However living a simple non consumerist lifestyle is but the first step, for next is our mental comforts that our mind cherishes.


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