More on the Buddha and Prosperity
After struggling with yesterdays post, and finally saying it wasn’t perfect but got the basics across i went to the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library. On the end of each bookcase there is room for about 3 books to be displayed, chosen from what is available on the topics contained on those shelves. Some of you can probably already see where this is going, yes I found the book pictured above. The one I wish I had before I wrote yesterdays post. Anyone else ever have one of those days?
I am only going to give the following quote from the book:
“Wise laypeople improve two kinds of skills.
First they develop the ability to obtain new
wealth and to secure the acquired wealth.
Next, they learn how to differentiate between
wholesome and unwholesome conduct and
how to follow a wholesome way of life.”
The Buddha, The numerical Discourses as quoted from the above book, before the forward.
The rest of the book shows that ethics and economics are so tightly intertwined that to separate them into separate strands will cause the fabric of our lives to unravel. From being told that we should live joyful and meaningful lives, and not spend all our time in meditation. Most of us have families, and spending time with them is something we should do as much as possible with, while not forgetting our friends, neighbors and others. There is an old saying that, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. As Buddhists we are to earn enough to support our families, and have some to enjoy life with some luxuries permitted. However this is all to be done within a framework of wholesome actions.
How do we determine if an action is wholesome or not? There are three criteria:
1. Does the decision improve my own well being? (atta sambita)
2. Does the decision improve the well being of others involved in the decision? (paratha sambita)
3. Does the decision improve the well being of myself and all others involved? (ubbayattha sambita)
Well being is used instead of happiness, for short term happiness at the expense of the future is not good decision. Also when we look at all those involved with the decision it breaks into two parts. First might be a small group, such as your family who will see an increase in their well being. However there are other sentient beings who we must consider as well that maybe impacted by our decisions. To use a simply analogy. You decide to have bacon and eggs tomorrow instead of oatmeal or congee. To the chickens who lay the eggs, it is all in a days work, while to the pig is is a lifelong commitment, or should I say life ending one.
If we take the time to meditate or reflect on our actions, we will start to see better ways to accomplish our goals in life. If we all made even one positive lasting change every month of our lives, how much more wonderful would the world be in a year, or a decade. Also as children learn lessons best from us being living examples of the message we try to impart, this would influence the next generation, and if they continued on the continuous self improvement, there is no foretelling of the tremendous strides that could be made in allowing all beings to live with minimal suffering.