Children should show
respect for their parents in the following ways:
supporting and attending to them, and making sure their needs are satisfied,
notifying their parentswhen they want to do something,
the wishes of their parents,
rebelling against the authority of their parents, and
continuing and enhancing the parents’ profession.
Parents, too, should
raise and educate their children in five ways:
their children not to do anything destructive,
instructing and guiding them in good ways,
loving and looking after them,
arranging good marriages for them, and
them with an appropriate allowance.
old Atul Paswan has successfully changed what many may have said was
his destiny. A Scheduled Caste from Siwan district in Bihar three years ago, the
village schoolteacher’s son set up a software company in Bangalore.
Company Name : Indo-Sakura Software Pvt. Ltd
Check out NDTV video at http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=T8xOia2MjXU
In the summer of 2007, as the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party galloped
towards an absolute majority in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.
Ms Mayawati’s implausible journey from a Scheduled Caste background of
deprivation and discrimination to Chief Minister on her own strength
was a story without precedent. (Barack Obama came later.) It had been
made possible as much by grit, struggle and courage as by strategy,
craft and a keen understanding of what to do when. Ms Mayawati plotted
her victory with precision, making a gradual but astute shift from the
exclusivist, strident Scheduled Caste-centred agenda of the past to a pragmatic
politics of inclusion and reaching out.
In a Press release on its site,Bahujan Samaj Party has alleged Allahabad High Court for Stopping Development of UP.
The Allahabad High Court has barred the Uttar Pradesh Government
from proceeding ahead on the ambitious eight-laned Ganga Expressway
project and directed the concerned authorities to obtain prior
clearance from environmental board.
A bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhusan and Justice Arun Tandon on
Friday passed this order on the petition filed by two voluntary
organisations, which questioned the environmental feasibility of the
The Court has stayed further work on over 1000 kilometres long
project that would connect the eastern and western boundaries of Uttar
Pradesh because of environmental concerns.
“The Allahabad High Court has restrained the proceedings of The
Ganga-Express way, the 1100 kilometre long expressway from Noida to
Ballia because of environmental issues. The project was started by the
Mayawati government,” said Arun Kumar Gupta, counsel for petitioners.
Further he informed that court has also asked the state government
to obtain clearance from the state-level Environment Impact Assessment
Authority.The High Court has also quashed the earlier environmental
clearance granted by the Environmental Protection Authority. The court
also directed UP government not to proceed with the highway project
unless and until it obtains a due clearance from the state-level
Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA),” Gupta added.
Mayawati has also asked top cops to ensure that the common man’s grievances do not go unheard.
Honesty, after all, may be the best policy. At least
that’s what Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati seems to be saying
after a post-mortem of her Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) losses in the
Lok Sabha polls suggested that rampant corruption may have taken a
In damage control mode now, Mayawati has despatched a
three-member team of bureaucrats handpicked by her to spread the
message of “no tolerance” for corruption.
A team comprising additional cabinet secretary Vijay Shankar
Pandey, principal home secretary Kunwar Fateh Bahadur and deputy
inspector general of police Jasvir Singh launched its anti-corruption
campaign this week when they went to Varanasi to hold a meeting with
local police and revenue officials.
“The objective behind the chief minister’s mission is to make
government functionaries realise that bribery of any kind will not be
tolerated,” Pandey said.
The exercise which began from Varanasi was carried out in
Firozabad Wednesday with all local government functionaries - district
magistrate and superintendent of police downwards.
“You will neither give bribe to anyone nor accept bribes under any circumstances” is what the officials were told.
Officials at all levels were told, “The chief minister wants to
make it clear that you have to put an end to bribery - don’t accept or
demand bribes from anyone and if any of your superiors demand bribes,
report it directly to us. You may rest assured that the chief minister
is not going to spare such a person.”
The chief minister’s special envoys are stated to have
emphasised “deterrent punishment will follow against those who refuse
to mend their ways and continue to indulge in corrupt practices,
causing hindrances in official delivery systems”.
“Punitive action will follow against officials who fail to
respond to the complaints of common people or refuse to register their
FIRs,” said Pandey, who had once spearheaded a powerful campaign to
identify the three most corrupt administrative officers in Uttar
While the three-member special team is running its “no bribe”
campaign, the chief minister has also detailed some of her select
officers to visit each of the state’s 72 districts to monitor the pace
of various development schemes.
To ensure that the visit does not remain just a perfunctory
exercise, handpicked officers of the rank of principal secretary were
assigned to spend two full days in the districts and submit a report.
“This has surely helped us get a detailed picture of the state
of various development programmes, to identify the stumbling blocks as
also to find ways of clearing the hurdles,” observed Shailesh Krishna,
principal secretary to the chief minister, after returning from his
two-day camp in Jaunpur from where he chose to start the exercise.
Mayawati’s BSP won only 20 of the state’s 80 parliamentary seats in the 15th Lok Sabha polls.(IANS)
Sci. & Tech.
Safer and affordable solar lamps for rural households
New Delhi (PTI): Rural households in
Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh with no electricity will now have the
option to use safer and affordable solar lamps instead of the polluting
D.light Design, a lighting and power
company, has joined hands with UK-based NGO Shell Foundation to deliver
affordable and high quality lighting solutions to rural households
living without adequate electricity in the country.
The project, funded by the Foundation,
is being initially rolled out in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh,
according to a joint statement issued by the two.
The portable lanterns will be made
available in two variants priced between Rs 800 and Rs 1,600 and are up
to 10 times brighter than the kerosene ones and provide up to 32 hours
of lighting, an official of the D.light Design claimed.
The company aims to provide clean source of light to 10 million rural homes in India by the end of 2010.
Shell Foundation analyst Simon
Desjardins said: “Renewable energy technologies represent the best
option for poor consumers in most rural markets in India primarily
because of their lower cost and usage flexibility relative to
government grid extension schemes, kerosene lanterns, or diesel
|UP sets up panel to attract investment|
EC has been mandated to develop a fresh perspective among the state
machinery for securing investment and attracting entrepreneurs.
In the last two years, UP has failed to secure investment in several
sectors, including sugar, transport, technical education and tourism
due to lack of clarity in economic policies and adequate incentives.
EC will review existing policies, rules and regulation relating to
industrial and infrastructure development to make them simpler and
efficient. It will also decide over rebate on trade tax to boost
The 29-member committee is headed by the state chief secretary and
comprises agriculture production commissioner, Infrastructure and
Industrial Development commissioner, and chief executive officers of
Yamuna Expressway and UP Expressway among others.
The proposals would be forwarded to the department concerned within
24 hrs, which will give its recommendation to Udyog Bandhu within seven
days. Later, Udyog Bandhu will put up the case before EC, in which the
entrepreneur would also be invited.
EC will take up matters pertaining to infrastructure and industry
entailing investment of over Rs 50 crore, and projects related to
agriculture, food processing, electronics, IT and biotechnology and
entailing investment of over Rs 10 crore.
It will also consider cases for revival of industrial units, which
are defunct and beyond the purview of Board for Industrial and
Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).
EC has also been entrusted with the task of taking decisions on
issues related to environment and allotting rivers and canals to
|Buddhist Social capital||
As author of a book on peace, democracy, and righteousness (Santi
Pracha Dhamma) and governor of the Bank of Thailand, the memory of Dr.
Puey Ungphakorn challenges us to ask how Buddhist principles connect
with the major globalizing force of today, economics.
Since nations still have
Economics on a Biological Model
Participation by CSOs
Buddhist Social Principles
Santi Pracha Dhamma
Essays in honour of the late Puey Ungphakorn
Putting Buddhism to Work:
A New Approach to Management and Business
Kodansha International Ltd. (Tokyo)
Year of publication: 1997
Economics: The Emerging Middle Path between Capitalism and Socialism
Inoue, a former President of the Japanese Miyazaki Bank and reputed
economist, has proposed a novel approach to economic management that
goes beyond socialism and capitalism. He calls his proposed economics
for the 21st century ‘Buddhist Economics’, a phrase first used in
print by Dr. E.F.Schumacher in 1973 in his best-selling book ”
Small is Beautiful “.
on the insight of the Buddha that spiritual liberation is attained
by avoiding extremes, whether by indulgence in worldly pleasures or
severe asceticism, and treading namely ‘ the Middle Way ‘, Inoue recommends
‘Buddhist Economics ‘ as the ideal middle path between the competing
models of capitalism and socialism. Both these systems, Inoue argues,
have failed to contain the relentless destruction of the natural environment
and the human community, thereby forcing leading executives and planners
to search for new solutions for planetary problems.
draws on the best aspects of both capitalist and socialist economic
systems, in his ‘ Buddhist Economics ‘ model. It supports the conventional
forces of a free market and competition without destroying either
nature or human society. His alternate vision of sustainable economics
is meant to be more just and more ecologically sound.
by the fundamental Buddhist insight of the inter-connectedness existing
among all living things, Inoue says that Buddhism, Economics and Ecology
are all inter-related. He places a heavy emphasis on the concept of
freedom as understood in Buddhism in contrast to the Western concept
of ‘freedom’. In the West ‘freedom’ revolves around the rights of
the individual i.e. freedom to do what one wishes. In Buddhism, ‘freedom’
means freedom from personal desires or attachments.
Inoue’s view, a Buddhist approach to economics requires an understanding
that economics and a moral and spiritual life are neither separate
nor mutually exclusive. The 20th Century has been ravaged by a materialistic,
self-centered consumerism. The next century needs to focus on the
quality and spirituality of life itself. Buddhism, which advocates
the ‘Middle Path’, serves as an important resource to pursue an alternative
to the extremes of capitalism and socialism, or pure self-interest
and utter self-negation.
Essence of Buddhist Economics
identifies three key phrases that underlie his model of Buddhist Economics.
an economics that benefits oneself and others
2) an economics of tolerance and peace
3) an economics that can save the earth.
Economics that benefits oneself and others
Smith developed his theory of free enterprise based on the concept
of self-benefit’. This led to people being more concerned with enriching
themselves and disregarding the interests of others. At the international
level, during Adam Smith’s day, major colonial powers such as England,
Netherlands, France, Portugal and Spain developed their economies
from the resources taken from other poorer regions, without an adequate
resulting benefit accruing to the colonies. In contrast, the earlier
Buddhist societies such as India during the time of the Buddha or
the time of Prince Shotuku ( 574 - 622 AD ) existed with a radically
different social approach. In Japanese society where the density of
population was high, human relations were tightly interwoven, and
Japanese people were encouraged to pay great attention to how other
people thought or reacted. In the Japanese world of business, earning
the trust of others and entering into mutually beneficial transactions
have always been given priority. Such conduct was the result of
deep-seated Buddhist influence.
Western obsession with ’self-benefit ‘ and indifference to the rights
of non-European people has been well analysed by former Indian diplomat
K.M.Panikkar in his ground breaking book ‘Asia and Western Domination
- A Survey of the Vasco De Gama Epoch of Asian History 1498 - 1945,
published in 1953. Panikkar says that western colonial powers were
reluctant to recognise that doctrines of international law applied
outside Europe or that European nations had any moral obligations
when dealing with Asian people. For example, when Britain insisted
on the opium trade against the laws of China in the 19th Century,
there was a prohibition by law on opium smoking in England. In countries
under direct British occupation eg. India, Ceylon and Burma, though
there were equal rights established by law, there was considerable
reservation in enforcing the law against Europeans. Maurice Collis,
a British magistrate in Burma, gives a rare candid account in his
book ‘Trials in Burma’ ( 1938 ) about the pressures brought upon him
by the members of the Colonial Government and the British expatriate
community, to be partial towards Europeans in his judgments. Panikkar
avers that this doctrine of different rights (which made a mockery
of the concept of the Rule of Law) persisted to the very end of western
colonial domination and was a prime cause of Europe’s ultimate failure
Economics of Tolerance and Peace
Indian Emperor Asoka established the world’s first welfare state in
the third century BC upon embracing Buddhism. He renounced the idea
of conquest by the sword. In contrast to the western concept of ‘
Rule of Law ‘, Asoka embarked upon a ‘policy of piety or rule of righteousness’.
The basic assumption of this policy of piety was that the ruler who
serves as a moral model would be more effective than one who rules
purely by strict law enforcement. The right method of governing is
not only by legislation and law enforcement, but also by promoting
the moral education of the people. Asoka began by issuing edicts concerning
the ideas and practice of dharma, dealing with universal law and social
order. Realizing that poverty eroded the social fabric, one of his
first acts was to fund social welfare and other public projects. Asoka’s
ideals involved promoting policies for the benefit of everyone in
society, treating all his subjects as if they were his children and
protecting religion. He built hospitals, animal welfare shelters and
enforced a ban on owning slaves and killing. He gave recognition to
animal rights in a number of his rock edicts and accepted state responsibility
for the protection of animals. Animal sacrifice was forbidden by law.
important aspect of Asoka’s economics of peace was tolerance. In one
of his rock edicts, Asoka calls for religious freedom and tolerance,
and declares that by respecting someone else’s religion, one brings
credit to one’s own religion. Inoue says that the idea of religious
tolerance only emerged in the West in 1689 with the publication of
John Locke’s book ‘ A Letter Concerning Toleration ‘.
says that from a Buddhist perspective, politics can be summed up by
the Sanskrit word 4 cakravartin ‘ (the wheel turner ), which means
a king or political ruler who protects his people and the Buddhist
teachings. Asoka was the prototype of this ruler whose political ideas
were to inspire a countless number of other Asian Emperors and rulers.
One enthusiastic follower of Asoka in Japan was Prince Shotuku. (574
- 622 AD ). An ardent believer in Buddhism, Shotukti drafted a 17
Article Constitution (the first Buddhist Constitution of Japan), which
was promulgated in 604 AD. Shotuku appeals neither to ’self-evident
truths ‘ (as in the American Constitution ) nor to some divine right
of kings as the basis of law. Instead he begins pragmatically by stating
that if society is to work efficiently for the good of all, then people
must restrain factionalism and learn to work together. A key feature
of this Constitution is the emphasis placed on resolving differences
by appeals to harmony and common good, using the procedure of consensus.
This approach is in marked contrast to the western view that factions
can be controlled only legally by a balance of powers. Decision making
by consensus is a significant characteristic of Japanese society.
Every effort is made to ensure that minority dissident factions are
not allowed to lose face.
influence of Buddhism in Japan was such that in 792 AD Emperor Kammu
(781 - 806 AD) despite constant threats from Korea, abolished the
100 year old national army, except for one regiment to guard the region
near Korea. National security was maintained by sons of local clan
leaders somewhat similar to the present day police. Japan was effectively
without an army until the emergence of the new warrior class before
the Kamakura, Shogunate (1192 - 1333 AD). Tibet is another example
of demilitarisation (in the 17th century). What is significant to
note here is that long before the ideal of demilitarisation was espoused
in western countries, ancient Buddhist countries had already implemented
it. In Japan, beginning from the 9th century, the death penalty was
abolished for nearly three and a half centuries.
Economics to save the Earth
is vehemently critical of the practice of industrial societies indulging
in a policy of take-and-take from nature, despite economics being
fundamentally about exchange or give-and-take. He identifies a passage
in the Bible (Genesis 1: 27 - 28) as a possible root cause of the
western attitude towards nature. This passage declares:
God created man in his own image, in the image created he him, male
and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto
them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and
subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the
fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the
have interpreted this passage literally, as one giving divine sanction
to domination of the earth for the benefit of only human beings and
disregarding the interests of both plants and other living creatures
of this world. In contrast, Buddhist sacred texts are much more humble
and always emphasise the need to live in harmony with nature and peacefully
co-exist with other living creatures, as the ideal and noble way.
In the Buddhist worldview, humans rather being masters of this earth,
simply make up one tiny element in a vast cosmos. In the Buddhist
Economics that Inoue proposes, the earth rather than human beings
will be placed at the center of our worldview.
examines the major ideas in the theories of prominent economists such
as Adam Smith (1723 - 1790), David Ricardo (1772 - 1823), Karl, Marx
(1818 - 1883), John Keynes (1883 - 1946) Joan Robinson (1903 - 1983)
and the German Economists Friedrich von Hayek (1899 - 1992), Wilhelm
Lopke (1899 - 1966) and Ludwig Erhard (1897 - 1977). Inoue singles
out Lopke’s best-selling book ‘ Civitas Humanas (Human Citizen) published
in 1949 as laying the foundation for the new humanistic school of
economics. Inoue uses the concept of `social market economics’ advocated
by Ludwig Erhard in his 1957 book ‘Woffistand fur Alles (Happiness
for All ) as the precedent for developing the new Buddhist Economics.
Erhard called for the need to overcome the inherent tensions between
the haves and have-nots in society, through such governmental policies
as the banning of cartels, using government ‘price valuation’ to ensure
fair pricing, rent control and supporting people with disabilities.
was also inspired by Dr. E.F Schumacher’s book ‘Small is Beautiful’,
which has a chapter on ‘Buddhist Economics.’ Schumacher was heavily
influenced by Buddhist meditation and wisdom during his time in Myanmar
(formerly Burma). Though Schumacher recommended a new approach to
economics based on Buddhism, Inoue says that Schumacher’s ultimate
solutions were sought in Christian oriented ethics. Nevertheless,
Inoue says that Schumacher’s book should serve as a wake up call for
those living in Buddhist countries. He further says that given the
destruction of the natural environment that has taken place in the
industrial West, the time has come to use a Buddhist approach to economics.
Background of Buddhist Economics
life story of the Buddha offers a valuable lesson when focusing on
Buddhist economics. Prince Siddhartha rejected the material comforts
of a royal life, and also realised the futility of asceticism and
denial of natural physical needs. Inoue says ‘’The Buddha walked a
fine line between materialism and denial of the world, and this middle
way or moderate standpoint is fundamental to understanding Buddhist
ordinary public and the merchant class supported Buddhism from the
very outset. As Buddhism moved eastwards over the centuries, to China,
Korea and Japan it absorbed elements of the culture of these countries
and became transformed along the way. It also managed to transform
the societies and economies of these countries by introducing ethical
concepts into the pursuit of profit. In Japanese history there has
been substantial Buddhist support of commerce, which had come to fruition
during the Edo period (1603 - 1867). This period witnessed an explosion
of economic activity. Some sociologists have found interesting parallels
in the connections between the Protestant work ethic and capitalism,
and between the rise of Japanese Capitalism and the religious thought
of the time.
world’s natural resources would be depleted if two factors are not
the ever increasing population growth, and
2) the mismanagement of desire ( particularly of those people in the
so-called advanced countries)
the Ryoan-ji, the Buddhist Temple of Kyoto, famous for its stone and
sand garden, there is a poem carved on a stone, which says ‘ Know
what one really needs ‘. Inoue says that this is no simple injunction.
To know what one really needs in life requires great wisdom. But to
have the strength to say ‘no’ to the unessential products in life
would release a person from the coils of consumption. Inoue says that
this view i.e. of wanting what is really essential reflects the Buddhist
view of consumption and it is the ideal attitude to be promoted in
the coming century.
livelihood is one of the components of the Noble Eightfold Path. Its
importance lies in the fact that the work one does for a living influences
a person’s thinking. The Buddha has named five types of occupations
as unwholesome ways of earning a living. They are 1) Selling liqour
or being connected with the production and sale of liquor 2) Sale
of flesh or being connected with the raising and killing of animals
3) Poison (includes drugs) 4) Trading in living beings (includes slavery
or for similar purposes) 5) Dangerous weapons.
uses the ‘Sigalovada Sutta ‘ (which is also called the layman’s code
of discipline or gihi vinaya ) as the premise for developing the right
work ethic for the next century. In one passage of this Sutta, the
Buddha says “One should work like a bee to earn one’s livelihood.
Do not wait for others to help, nor depend on others foolishly”.
In the Sigalovada Sutta, the Buddha showed his concern for the material
welfare and the spiritual development of his lay disciples. In the
discourse to young Sigala, the Buddha explained the full range of
duties owed by a layman to all those with whom he interacts. The Buddha
also indicated how wealth has to be spent i.e. one portion for one’s
needs, which includes offerings to monks and charity, two portions
on investment and the fourth portion to be kept for an emergency.
was born in 1918 in Southern Japan. Upon graduating from the Department
of Economics of the University of Tokyo, he joined the Bank of Japan.
In 1975 he was made the President of the Miyazaki Bank. Throughout
his career Inoue has sought to combine the practice of Buddhism with
his expertise in Economics and Management. He is the current Chairman
of the Foundation for the Promotion of Buddhism, and a member of the
Buddhist Economics Research Institute of Komazawa University.
the concluding chapters of this book, Inoue illustrates his creative
approach to business with a number of anecdotes of leading Japanese
entrepreneurs who had incorporated Buddhist principles and meditation
techniques in their day to day work in an effort to develop a more
humanistic and environmentalist business ethic.
much of the postulates of Inoue have been developed in a Japanese
Mahayana Buddhist context, the contents of this book nevertheless
provide food for thought to anyone wishing to adopt an innovative
approach to Management and Business. However the greatest appeal of
this highly readable book lies in the elaborate development of Schumacher’s
profound insight that there is another way of approaching economics,
based on the ideas taught in the East 2500 years ago, particularly
of the fundamental interconnectedness of people and nature. It is
upon this premise that the world can shift from a throw-away culture
to a more sustainable* civilisation. This work also throws a challenge
to governments in Buddhist countries to develop a Buddhist economic
vision as a part of national planning, as we move towards a new millennium.
word ‘Manussa,’ man, had different etymological meanings
given it by eastern scholars in the past. While popular or
general Indian tradition traces the origin of the word to
‘Manu’ the mythical progenitor of the human race, in
the Buddhist texts the derivation of the word is given as
‘manassa-ussannataya=manussa’- man, because of his
highly developed state of mind (as compared to the underdeveloped
or rudimentary mental state of the lower animal). According
to Buddhist thought man ranks as the highest of beings due
to the vast potential of the human mind.
Arthasastra and Brhaspati’s Arthasastra - two
famous ancient treatises on economics - were both written
after the Buddha’s lifetime. They held one common feature,
and that, - under title of Arthasastra both writers
had written on politics and economics, leaving out the most
important factor, of ethics and the moral development of man
the Pali term “Attha“ (-Sanskrit ‘artha’)
- which has more than one meaning according to
Buddhism, the word as signifying success is used at two separate
levels, i.e. ‘attha’ meaning success, and ‘uttamattha’
meaning the highest success. The latter concerns man’s
mental and spiritual development resulting in the realization
of supramundane knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, in the
conquest of Self and attainment to spiritual perfection or
speaking, the word ‘attha’ as success, relates to the
various aspects of man’s socio-economic development - such
as the economy, politics, education, health, law and morality
of a society. It refers to social progress due to the harmonious
unification of all the above factors, contributing to the
prosperity and peaceful co-existence of a people.
in the case of legal administration of the Sangha, no single
discourse of the Buddha deals fully on any one of the above
factors of social progress. Yet reading through the numerous
discourses (or Suttas) it is possible to develop a fully consistent
and complete view-point of the Buddha’s stand on each of the
above topics drawn from the various discourses of the Buddha.
A socio-economic system based on Buddhist principles and practices
could easily be formulated to suit today’s modern progressive
recent times many books have been written on the subject of
economics and economic theory, all of them either from the
Capitalist or Socialist point of view. Neither of these systems
pays attention to, nor considers the inner development of
man as an important factor in the growth of society. Hence
there has been a rapid deterioration in human values and standards
of behaviour in all classes of society. Science and technology
have taken gigantic strides forward to send man to the moon,
and it will not be long before he visits other planets. But
fears are expressed that if the present trend towards moral
degeneration continues, before long it would be impossible
to differentiate human action from that of the animal. This
fear is not baseless. It would be a great tragedy indeed were
man to turn beast even in one of the many bestial aspects
of behaviour belonging to the lower animals. Thus what the
world requires today is a socially stable economic system
which yields the highest place to man’s moral development
and cultivation of human values.
Buddha lived in a society entangled and confused by sixty-two
divergent views and one hundred and eight types of craving.
There were hundreds who went about in search of an escape
from this entanglement of views. Once the Buddha was asked
the question: (Jata sutta)
inner tangle and the outer tangle -
This world is entangled in a tangle.
Who succeeds in disentangling this tangle?
Buddha who explained that all these tangles have mind as the
fore-runner, answered thus
a wise man, established well in virtue, Develops consciousness
and understanding, ‘Men as a bhikkhu ardent and sagacious
He succeeds in disentangling this tangle.
the importance of the external factors in man’s endeavour
towards disentangling himself from the inner tangle, the Buddha
gave many discourses on the ways and means of overcoming the
outer tangle. Some of these teachings were meant only for
the bhikkhus. Others were only for laymen. The rest were meant
for both bhikkhus and laymen, although in the latter case,
the discourses were mainly directed to the bhikkhus. In one
such discourse, he approved the acceptance by the bhdddius
of the four requisites namely robes, food, shelter and medicine.
Man could live without all other modern contraptions but for
life to go on, these four requisites are essential. Wealth
is required by man to obtain these four requisites and to
meet his other needs.
Noble Eightfold Path which could be classified under right
values and right action, enables man to achieve the highest
ends. For economic stability and well-being, the Buddhist
system stresses three factors in the Vyagghapajja Sutta.
Utthana Sampada: Production of wealth through skilled and
2. Arakkha Sampada: Its protection and savings.
3. Samajivikata - Living within one’s means.
Buddha when encouraging the production of wealth makes special
reference to six job ranges prevalent at that time:
3. Cattle breeding
4. Defence services
5. Government services
6. Professional services
was predominantly an agricultural country. Hence many references
in the discourses were made to agriculture. For example in
the ‘Sadapunnappavaddhana Sutta’ it is mentioned that
providing of irrigation facilities results in yielding continuous
merit. In the ‘Samyutta Nikaya’ it is mentioned that
the greatest asset for agriculture is cattle, while in the
Sutta Nipatha cattle from whom man obtains milk, ghee,
curd, butter and whey, of much nutritious value, are described
as the best friends of a country. In developing countries,
water and draught power provided by cattle, are basic needs
the discourse pertaining to a layman’s happiness (domestic
and otherwise) (Cahapati Sukha), foremost is mentioned
the satisfaction derived by a layman from the possession of
wealth obtained through righteous means. (Atthi Sukka).
However, the Buddha warns man against the tendency to
become a slave to the mere accumulation of wealth for its
own sake. Ibis would lead to both physical and mental suffering
later. Adequate means of livelihood to support oneself and
family, to help relatives and friends, and to distribute among
the needy and the deserving, would lead to contentment and
inner satisfaction. This in turn would result in the moral
and spiritual development of man.
the ‘Kutadanta Sutta’ the Buddha shows how peace and
prosperity and freedom from crime comes to a country
through the equitable distribution of wealth among its people.
says: ‘Long ago, 0 Brahman, there was a king by name Wide-realm
(Maha-Vijita), mighty with great wealth and large property
with stores of silver and gold, of aids to enjoyment, of goods
and corn; with his treasure houses and his garners full. Now
when Ying Wide-realm was once sitting alone in meditation
he became anxious at the thought: I have in abundance all
the good things a mortal can enjoy. The whole wide circle
of the earth. is mine by conquest to possess. “Twere
well if I were to offer a great sacrifice that should ensure
me weal and welfare for many days.”
he had the Brahman, his chaplain, called; and telling him
all that he had thought, he said: “So I would fain, 0
Brahman, offer a great sacrifice - let the venerable one instruct
me how - for my weal and my welfare for many days.”
the Brahman who was chaplain said to the king: ‘The king’s
country, Sire, is harassed and harried. There are dacoits
abroad who pillage the villages and townships, and who make
the roads unsafe. Were the king, so long as that is so, to
levy a fresh tax, verily his majesty would be acting wrongly.
But perchance his majesty might think: I will soon put a stop
to these scoundrels’ game by degradation and banishment, and
fines and bonds and death! But their licence cannot be satisfactorily
put a stop to do so. The remnant left unpunished would still
go on harassing the realm. Now there is one method to adopt
to put a thorough end to this disorder. Whosoever, there be
in the king’s realm who devote themselves to keeping cattle
and the farm, to them let his majesty the king give food and
seed corn. Whosoever, there be in the king’s realm who devote
themselves to trade, to them let his majesty the king give
wages and food. Then those men, following each his own business,
will no longer harass the realm; the king’s revenue will go
up; the country will be quiet and at peace; and the populace,
pleased one with another and happy, dancing their children
in their arms, will dwell with open doors.”
King Wide-realm, 0 Brahman, accepted the word of his chaplain,
and did as he had said. And the men, following their business,
harassed the realm no n-tore. And the king’s revenue went
up. And the country became quiet and at peace. And the populace,
pleased one with another and happy, dancing their children
in their arms, dwelt with open doors.
King Wide-realm had his chaplain called, and said: The disorder
is at an end. The country is at peace. (Dialogues of the
Buddha - Part I, pp. 175-6).
means the worldly happiness derived from the constant protection
of one’s wealth (that has been righteously obtained) from
burglary, fire, floods etc. As the Buddha has extolled the
virtue of savings, this factor too could be considered in
money on credit (or loans) was prevalent even during the Buddha’s
time. Persons like Anathapindika were the bankers of the day.
The Buddhist texts make references to instances where he gave
loans both to the state as well as to ordinary people. However,
Buddhism does not approve of excessive borrowing for as the
saying goes “borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry”
- and the Buddha’s advocacy of a life free from debts (anana
sukha) as being conducive to the happiness of a layman
supports this statement.
the ‘Samannaphala Sutta,’ the Buddha compares the SamannaPhala
(or fruit of a recluse’s life) to the happiness derived
by a person, who having been in debt frees himself of all
his debts, and now supports his family and children from the
savings he has managed to put aside. The importance of making
savings from one’s earnings is stressed in this manner. In
general, the Buddha gives details of the proper use of one’s
earnings. But in the ‘Sigalovada Sutta.’ He admonishes
particularly a big magnate, Sigala to apportion his savings
into four and to spend one part of it for his daily upkeep
and that of his family. Two portions were to be invested in
his business; and the fourth put aside for any emergency.
is the third of the three basic principles in the Buddhist
Economic system. A person should spend reasonably in proportion
to his income, neither too much nor too little. In the discourse
relating to the householders’ happiness (gahapati sukha)
enjoyment of one’s income appropriately and wisely
(bhoga sukha) is given as one of the four factors conducive
to lay happiness.
the Pattakamma Sutta the manner in which a person
should spend his wealth is given in detail as follows:
Expenditure on food and clothing and other needs.
2. Maintenance of parents, wife and children and servants.
3. For illness and other emergencies.
4. For charitable purposes.
5. For the performance of the following:
treating one’s relatives;
(ii) treating one’s visitors;
(iii) offering alms in memory of the departed;
(iv) offering merit to the deities;
(v) payment of state taxes and dues in time.
Buddha extols simple living as being more conducive to the
development of one’s mind. A society progresses to the extent
the mind of the individual is developed. Administration of
such a society becomes easier, when law and order is well
established. Knowing this, ancient kings in Sri Lanka gave
much publicity to the contents of the Ariyavamsa Sutta.’
In this Sutta, preached by the Buddha for the benefit
of the bhikkhus, the latter are exhorted to be contented with
The robes (clothes) they receive (whether coarse or fine).
(ii) Alms (food) they receive (whether unpalatable or delicious).
(iii) The abodes (houses) they receive (whether simple or
(iv) Meditation (development of mind).
content with the first three it is possible to reduce economic
restlessness, and at the same time to inculcate the habits
and values of simple living. Through meditation the human
mind develops itself both morally and spiritually, resulting
in reducing social disharmony and insurrection which arise
first in the minds of men and then put into action. Peace
and progress of a country is thus assured.
this modern world although highly advanced in science and
technology, with its rapid expansion of knowledge, there appears
to be a steady deterioration of human values. Present day
politics, the economy, and educational systems are some of
the more important reasons for this state of affairs. In this
context it is considered desirable that the existing political
and economic thought and educational systems should be changed
so as to give priority to the development of human values.
is both a path of emancipation and a way of life. As a way
of life it interacts with the economic, Political and social
beliefs and practices of the people. It is felt that the time
is now most opportune to make known to the world each of the
above aspects of society within the framework of Buddhist
Ethics and the basic principles of Buddhism. The progress
of a country depends ultimately on the progress of the individual.
Over 2500 years ago, the Buddha was born into a confused society
entangled in various views regarding life and thought in general.
Through Buddhism it was possible to disentangle this tangle
of views and to reduce this confusion. Today too, in This
Confused Society it is generally believed that Buddhism
could again help in lighting a path through the darkness of
thanks to Phramaha Somnuek Saksree
“Tannisho, A Shin Buddhist Classic,” trans. by Taitetsu Unno
The issue of globalization is an important topic affecting all our
lives. It is important for Buddhism because Buddhism is a global, world
faith. Further Buddhism stresses the principle of interdependence which is
also employed by proponents of globalization to advance their economic
Unfortunately, economic globalization is opposed by many people,
because the effects of the globalization of business and trade are often
disastrous for underdeveloped nations. These nations provide the raw
materials and cheap labor which are necessary to make globalization
prosperous for the more developed nations. Though there are successes in
the process of globalization, there is much unrest among peoples today.
Unrest occurs mainly among poor and underdeveloped nations which are deep
in debt and suffer internal conflict, poverty, droughts and famines.
Globalization also leads to the globalization of culture, the
homogenization of culture. It can undermine local cultures and disrupt
traditional relationships in a society with the assumption that free trade
will also to lead to a more democratic society.
The underlying principle and argument for globalization, as we have
indicated, is the interdependence of all peoples in this age of worldwide
travel and communications. The world is interconnected instantaneously
through electronic means such as television and the Internet. There is
immediate knowledge of disasters and tragedies. The glint and glitter of
the developed nations are flashed to the underdeveloped nations, arousing
desires for a better life among people whose political, educational,
social and economic conditions prevent quick fulfillment of those desires.
You may ask what has this to do with Buddhism? Buddhism and its role in
the modern world is affected by the way people understand the nature of
their lives. As a spiritual perspective, the principle of interdependence
is a positive teaching aimed at curbing our deep-rooted egoism. It teaches
that we cannot live simply for ourselves or without regard to others who
make our lives possible.
When this concept is transferred to the contemporary world of politics
and economics, it can turn into an onerous reality where the dominant
nations control the conditions within the dependent nations who need their
financial and economic support. Such dependence leads to enormous debt for
the underdeveloped nations and severe political inequalities.
Underdeveloped nations are often despotic and characterized by a high
degree of corruption. Interdependence which enables dependence increases
the tendency to nationalism and ethnic divisions as people look for
scapegoats for their problems.
We hear much about free trade as an important aspect of the principle
of globalization. However, when free trade causes economic dislocation in
developed nations, it turns quickly into protectionism for national
industries. Free trade comes to mean trading freely in underdeveloped
nations to sell products while protecting business in the developed
As a consequence, there is strong, negative reaction to the idea of
globalization and interdependence. Riots and violence at meetings of
governmental, international organizations such as the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund attest to this problem.
If Buddhism promotes the principle of interdependence which is a
fundamental truth of life, it must also promote the principle of equality
and justice, together with the rule of law for all participants in this
process. It must work to transform not only the nationalism of the
dependent nations, but the nationalism of the dominant nations.
Buddhists must be clearer in articulating the meaning of
interdependence. It is not simply the interdependence between people. It
is the interdependence of causation. The original teaching of
interdependence or pratitya-samutpada. was proclaimed in Sakyamuni
Buddha’s first sermon as a central teaching. It refers to the twelve
link chain of causation which describes the conditions that give rise to
sentient being in the process of rebirth. It is also the basis for
understanding the way to attain nirvana and spiritual emancipation. The
forward movement of these links indicates the way that our passions and
ignorance produce the sufferings of life, noted in the first truth that
all life is suffering. The reverse movement of the chain suggests that the
removal of the various causes in the series is the way to escape rebirth
and attain nirvana.
Ignorance is the root of the series of links, though the totality forms
a circle as the wheel of births and deaths. This circle continues to
revolve as long as each element is produced and nurtured. Ignorance
produces mental functions; then in order consciousness, name and form, the
six sense organs, contact, feeling, craving, grasping, becoming , birth,
old age and death. The cycle begins again as ignorance arises and produces
the links of the chain. Each factor in the chain relates to aspects of our
experience and nature as a human being. However, the system as a whole
indicates that life and reality is subject to the law of cause and effect.
In the context of the issue of globalization, beyond the actual
interdependence among peoples that human life requires, it also means that
whatever principles, policies and actions that are promoted have their
resulting effects. When something happens in our world, it must be seen in
context of the interactions of the various parties in the situation.
Contemporary issues, whether Afghanistan, the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict, or even the sovereignty issue in Hawaii have a history of
interacting causations which must be understood to arrive at a just
solution for all. The Buddhist principle of interdependent causation means
that we cannot simply decide issues as black and white, seeking to pin
blame on one party or another. Nothing happens in a vacuum.
We Buddhists must recognize the complexity of contemporary issues and
call on our compatriots to resist simplistic and emotional responses to
events and situations. It means we must call on our leaders to consider
issues in their full context and not seek politically expedient solutions.
The Buddhist principle of non-discrimination and equality is related to
this understanding. When we recognize the complexity of causation that
produces conflicts and suffering, we must treat each party to the problem
equally and fairly. We must clarify the issues that will lead to
reconciliation and the solution to the problem. Buddhists must make clear
the superficiality of contemporary notions of globalism and
interdependence and work to rectify injustices created by this process. We
must promote equality and support the aspirations for a full life for all
people, beyond economic and political power.
Buddhist Teachings: Acquisition of Wealth and Maintaining an Unperturbed Socio-spiritual Life
has been often incriminated that Buddhism is more concerned about
spirituality more than its concern about worldly matters. Against this
criticism, over the recent centuries scholars have contributed greatly
unearthing the social dimensions of Buddha’s teachings. In this
article, we shall look into some economic principles of the
Buddhadhamma by drawing some references from the Pāli canon.
The teaching of Gotama Buddha as we know is centred upon the four noble truths (cattāri ariyasaccāni), of which the first is dukkha
(suffering or unsatisfactoriness). In spite of the high spiritual
application of the concept in other texts, in the Dhammapada verse 203,
Gotama Buddha addresses the issue of Suffering in two fundamental
From this aforementioned primary issues of suffering, we see Buddhism stresses liberation (vimutti)
from both these two aspect of anguish or vexation in the same urgent
spirit. Elsewhere we learn from the Buddha who says ‘all living
beings are dependent upon food’ – (sabbe sattā āharaṭṭhiṭikā) which generated his idea of the Middle Path in the pursuit of a more conducive spiritual life.
fact, the spiritual life of Gotama Buddha itself had awakened him to
the importance of leading a life of moderation – the Middle Path. We
see that ascetic Siddhattha’s attainment of perfect Enlightenment (sammā sambodhi)
was possible only after he was disillusioned with the idea of ‘austere
practices’ and resorted to ‘middle way’. Thus, this noble discovery of
the Middle Path of the Blessed One motivated him to avert the
extremity of self-indulgence (kāmesukhallikānuyogo) and self-mortification (attakilamatānuyogo). The Middle path is to maintain the moderation in attainment of both worldly and spiritual success.
The fact that poverty is woeful (dāliddiyaṃbhikkhave dukkhaṃ lokasmiṃ)
accentuates the importance of wealth in the life of a worldly person.
Therefore, the Buddha advocates rightful means in acquiring wealth. By
‘material wealth’ (dhana), Buddhism recognises the four fundamental needs (catu paccaya): food (āhāra), cloths (vattha), shelter (geha) and medicine (bhesajja) before one undertakes the education (spiritual training) for the attainment of noble wealth (ariyadhana).
Of the four, food is distinguished as the foremost as ‘this body
survives depended upon food, without food it cannot survive’ – (ayaṃ kāyo āharaṭṭhitiko āhāraṃ paṭicca tiṭṭhati anāharo na tiṭṭhati).
it is a pathetic sight that around the world millions of people are
very poor . Many have died due to hunger. Owing to the severity of
hunger, some were compelled even to feed on the flesh of other humans.
The Buddha evidently mentioned in the Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta
of Dīgha-Nikāya that owing to the imbalanced distribution of wealth,
there arises poverty which in turn leads to immorality and crimes such
as thefts, falsehood, violences, hatred and cruelty and so forth. The sutta
emphasizes the state responsibility to judge the divergent individual
capacities of his citizens and distribute resources accordingly. Thus,
those with agricultural talents should be provided with seeds and
fields; those talented in business with capital; and those who can
serve in various government sectors with such opportunities. In this
way, people being busy with their duties will not develop harmful
Besides relying on the
economic support from King, Gotama Buddha also educated his lay
devotees on the righteous means to gain wealth. The Exalted One
elucidated how the righteous life first leads to rebirth in this
terrestrial world and eventually will lead to a happy life in the next
world (Dhammacāri sukhaṃ seti asmiṃ loke paraṃ hi ca).
the Dīghajānu Sutta, when the Buddha was asked by householder Dīghajānu
about the way to get happiness in this life and the life after, the
Exalted Master expounded four factors conducive to attaining happiness
in this life thus:
Buddhism always emphasizes right livelihood striving righteously (dhammena) and diligently (appamādena)
to be successful in material, social, or even spiritual gains. It is
mentioned in the scriptures that like a bee accumulating honey or an
ant building its anthill, a person must exercise his energy and effort
to accumulate his wealth. There is a saying in Sanskrit stressing the
effort of a man in both earning wealth and practicing a religious life.
It says that in earning wealth and in education, one must not think of
decay or death. But in his everyday life, he should think that the
death is extremely near to him (ajarāmaravat prajño/vidyamarthaṃ ca sādhayet/gŗhita iva kesesu/mŗtyunā dharmamācaret).
The way to earn wealth is precisely explicated in the Aṅguttara Nikāya thus : “for a good person wealth is or should be earned not by violent means, but by energetic striving, amassed by strength of arm, won by sweat, and received with the righteous means” – (Bhogā honti asāhasena uṭṭhānavīriyādhigatehi bhogehi bāhābalaparicitehi sedāvakkhittehi dhammikehi dhammaladdhehi).
The golden rule governing right livelihood or Buddhist economics is
thus : to do jobs that harm neither oneself nor another person or other
beings (morally or even materially). Thus, five kinds of businesses are
declared by Gotama Buddha as not righteous:
reminds us of the social obligations that must be cogitated by
manufacturers and tradespersons; not only by seeking self centric ends
but by truly serving the society. According to Buddhism, cheating is an
unskilful action that should be abandoned. It has been often
misapprehended that succeeding in business without cheating is
impossible. But one should also think that he himself does not like to
be cheated. There is a muscular saying of George Washington; ‘Honesty
is the best policy’ which is one of the five basic ethical principles (pañcasīla) of Buddhism and which should attentively be applied in the business matters.
also highlights the careful observation and protection of wealth
acquired by the individual with his hard work. It recommends that a
person should take a good care of his wealth, not allowing it to be
eroded away by unjust taxation, theft, natural disaster or undeserving
successors. Furthermore, when saving up one’s wealth, one should not
allow such doing to bring oneself into conflict with those around him.
The reason why Buddhism advises one to protect one’s wealth is that
in case of emergency such as repairing the consequences of fire,
flood, excess taxation, and so forth, he can make use of his wealth and
overcome the difficulties in life. Of course the best way to conserve
one’s wealth is by way of acquiring transcendental wealth or merit. In
such a form, it is beyond the touch of any evil force. Furthermore, it
will be appreciated with the passing of the years, thus saving in the
form of transcendental wealth is really the most skilful way of
conserving one’s wealth.
Along with the
economic activities or even day to day life, an individual should also
keep companionship with virtuous friends having faith (saddhā), self-discipline (sīla), self-sacrifice (cāga) and wisdom (paññā).
The Buddha teaches that worldly wealth may be exhausted in a moment,
but the value of training other people to be virtuous never knows an
end. In many of the sutta-s such as Maṅgala sutta, Sigālovāda sutta
etc., the Buddha gave a detailed account on how the behaviour of a
friend should actually be. And he also advises us to associate with
the wise and virtuous friends and to avoid associating with the
unskilful and bad ones (asevanā ca bālānaṃ panditānaṃ ca sevanā).
And finally, we are advised to live within our means (samajīvikatā).
One should live a life not being a luxury-seeker and also not being too
spendthrift either. There is a very simple yet extremely significant
statement which in a nutshell contains the essential features of the
Buddhist economics. The statement runs thus: – an individual should
divide his wealth in four portions, of these the first portion will be
used for his own expense, a half of the total wealth i.e. the second
and the third portions should be used in reinvestments. And the best
approach to the investment as mentioned in Buddhism is – development of
skills, training experience, fulfilling the basic needs of others and
so on. And with regard to the hospitality there is a mention of five bali-s (offerings or treatments) namely;treating relatives[ñāti bali], guests[atithi bali], the government[rāja bali], departed relatives[peta bali], and samanas and brāhmanas [devatā bali]. And the last portion should be kept for the future needs such as – floods, calamities and drought and so on.
Thus, while one is practicing the above mentioned four qualities, one develops four more spiritual qualities namely saddhā (faith), sīla (morality or virtue), cāga (generosity), and paññā (wisdom). Having these qualities developed, one then obtains four kinds of happiness namely:
Buddha praised the fourth type of happiness because this person does
not do any unskilful action either through his body or speech or mind.
And hence he is freed from harming others in any way; therefore he
leads a blameless life.
The economic theory
in Buddhism is rather a holistic one. Buddhism begins primarily talking
with individual economy and then it goes on to social economy and then
to state economy. With the development of wealth, an individual is
expected to be developed in the dharma. He does everything for the
benefit and wellbeing of the both oneself and others as the Buddhist
saying goes; “May all livings be well and happy” – (sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā).
An individual trained in such a way is related to the family; a family
to a group, a group to a state or a nation; and a state to other
states. In such a state even the animals, birds, fish as well as trees
and plants are protected. Thus happiness prevails in such a country.
Buddhism appreciates such economic activities which do not exploit
others; do not increase additional wants depriving the basic needs; do
not fall within the five areas of trade and do not use material
resources without maintaining the ecological balance. Buddhism always
stresses on right livelihood . Right livelihood means that a man
should not just accumulate wealth for the sake of enjoying life,
rather taking the economic activities as a mean to achieve the end and
which is to be known as the socio-spiritual life. In respect of this
way of livelihood, a modern economist, Glen Alexandrian, says that
ethical consideration should be given a prominent place in production
and distribution of wealth. Therefore, it should be said that Buddhism
does not see any fault in the wealth itself. Its emphasis is mostly
the ethical acquisition and usage of the wealth. It recommends that in
the acquisition of wealth, one must not exercise greed, stinginess,
grasping, attachment, and hoarding. In other words, the economic
activities should not be done with competition or contest, but with
co-operation and zeal. In so doing one, would then be able to lead an
unperturbed socio-spiritual life.
Most of the important early Buddhist Economics promulgated by Gotama
Buddha is incorporated in this essay. We can learn Buddhadhamma as well
as Buddhist Way of participating in economic activities. Earning and
utility of economic wealth is a conditioned phenomenon. Non-violation
of Buddhist principle of Dependent Co-arising is the Principle. The
wisdom of Anattā integrates the phenomenon with the Principle
harmoniously. Live in Anattā and you are perfectly protected in any
sphere of activity including economic activities. To live in Anattā :
Annihilate your self-identity in the Totality of any collective work.
Consuming our way to happiness is a dominant theme in modern
economics. But it is not true that high living standards necessarily
mean high levels of consumption. Our economic and moral lives need to
Recent reports suggest that the US Congress (i.e., parliament) is
thinking of another stimulus Bill. That means putting money into the
pockets of people so they will spend it and give a boost to the
economy. The results of the previous stimulus Bill have not been very
The government handed out cheques of about Rs 29,000 each to
eligible families and asked them to go and spend it. Studies show that
about 70 per cent of that handout was saved, and the economy continues
to slip further into a rut with inflation, and higher unemployment
figures expected in the months to come.
Consuming our way to happiness is a dominant theme in modern
economics. It is a prime motivating force in utility maximisation, and
trade theorists claim there are ‘gains’ from free trade because there
are more goods and services available for consumption. The business
world, in general, and the marketers, in particular, have also built
their very existence around increasing consumption.
Regeneration rate down
The US government also strongly subscribes to this ideology, as seen
from their efforts to stimulate consumption. After the terrorist attack
in New York in September 2001, the US president George Bush, as part of
his speech calming the nerves of citizens, encouraged them to go to the
malls. To him, that represented leading a normal life.
The result of all this encouragement to spend and consume is that
the planet is getting quite a bit weary. With 5 per cent of the world’s
population, the US burns about 25 per cent of the world’s energy. It
also produces about 30 per cent of the world’s waste. The World Watch
Institute has calculated that if just the two countries, China and
India, who are trying to raise the living standards of their people by
building more malls, consumed as much per capita as the US, by the year
2030, those two countries alone would need the resources of one
An organisation called the Global Footprint Network has calculated
that the human demand on the environment, through consumption and waste
generation, exceeds the regenerative capabilities of the planet by 23
per cent. In economic terms, this means that we are drawing down the
capital, and this cannot go on forever. Not a pleasant thought.
Only ideas, no solutions
The problem with much of the public debate about global warming and
sustainable everything is that they are full of ideas that are only
solutions at the margin. Increasing mileage of the automobiles by
another 10 per cent becomes a goal, switching off the extra lights in
the office is a much touted cause, and bulky reports proudly claim that
they are printed on recycled paper. These efforts are all like
re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Cosmetic, but does not
solve the underlying problem. Nobody is dealing with the fundamental
problem that plagues our life, and our economic theories, namely
So I went back to read E. F. Schumacher’s essay on ‘Buddhist Economics’ (included in his book, Small is Beautiful,
1973) just to calm my nerves. His point is that “since consumption is
merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the
maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption.” I can hear the
sceptics jumping up and saying, “If everyone wears ochre robes and begs
for their food, who will be around to drop it in the bowl?”
That is not what is being recommended. The Buddhist approach would
be to say that you buy the number of shirts that you need, and no more.
If three shirts meet your needs, why does happiness come only when you
buy that fourth that you are presently admiring in the store shelves?
That is the Middle Way.
Extending the idea to fuel use, rather than only look at the cost
per unit for the fuels being consumed, Schumacher argues that we need
to treat non-renewable fuel with the utmost care and use only the
absolute minimum necessary to lead our lives. Thus, there is no formula
or index to decide our consumption, but every decision needs to be
carefully thought through. We have to re-examine the very philosophy of
I can hear people say that religion has no place in business. (To
digress, have we not already made a religion out of the market?)
Religion has already been influencing several businesses, albeit
marginally. Kosher foods among the Jews and halal meat among the
Muslims are areas where practices of faith have determined the products
and lifestyles. It is also happening with financial instruments. Since
Islam shuns the payment or receipt of interest, and prohibits gambling,
many banks have sprung up to cater to people who live their lives on
The Economist estimates that financial instruments
based on Islamic principles are growing at about 10-15 per cent per
annum. Several indices have also been developed to track organisations
working on these principles.
A recent entrant into this field is that of dharmic
investments. The Dow Jones Dharma index, which is to be launched in the
near future, will identify companies listed in the world’s stock
markets that are not doing things that violate the concept of Dharma.
This is being defined as those products that lead to prosperity in the
world and the cessation of pain and misery. (Don’t even bother checking
if breweries stocks have a place here.) Such efforts show that there is
a growing interest in the interstices of religion and business and
economics. Getting back to our discussion of consumption, the time is
probably ripe to question whether we should let it rule our lives. But
the essential issue of dealing with consumption has to come from
personal choice and reflection.
Some societies in Europe have already made choices whereby they
forego greater consumption for leisure. Thus, it is not true that high
living standards necessarily means high levels of consumption. Look at
countries such as Japan or the Netherlands who are among the richer
countries of the world but consume at just abut half the US rate, per
The underlying theme of Buddhist economics is that our economic and
moral lives need to be intertwined. We will probably come to the same
conclusion if we substitute any mainstream religion’s underlying
principles for Buddhism in the arguments made above. But the difficult
part is in practising those principles beyond merely buying products
that tout those principles.
The problem with consumption is that it plays a role that goes
beyond satisfying one’s desires. It also has a demonstration effect.
Consumption is a symbol of one’s success and standing in life.
Increasing incomes lead not just to more consumption from those who
previously did not consume but also from those who already have
satisfied that need but feel it necessary to show society that they can
afford the more expensive car or the bigger diamond.
We need to be able to develop an alternative justification for our
lives beyond consumption and if Buddhism or any other moral philosophy
can provide it, let us give it a chance. And our economists need to get
working on revising their theories. Mother Earth will thank us.
and environmental accounting research manifests varying levels of
awareness of critical global problems and the need to develop
alternative approaches to dealing with economy and society. This paper
explores Buddhist thought and, specifically, Buddhist economics as a
means to informing this debate. We draw on and expand Schumacher’s
ideas about ‘Buddhist economics’, first articulated in the 1960s. Our
analysis centres on Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold
Path and associated Buddhist teachings. The examination includes
assumptions, means and ends of Buddhist approaches to economics; these
are compared and contrasted with conventional economics.
consider how thought and practice may be bridged, we examine a
practical application of Buddhism’s Middle Way, in the form of
Thailand’s current work with ‘Sufficiency Economy’.
the paper, we explore the implications for the development of social
accounting, looking for mutual interactions between Buddhism and social
accounting thought and practice.
“It is urgent that such models [as this book offers] be put into effect.”—the Dalai Lama
Business and the Buddha
Doing Well by Doing Good
Lloyd Field, Ph.D., Author
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Foreword_|_Master Hsing Yun, Foreword
When it comes to business, everyone wants to do well. But can we do
good at the same time? Lloyd Field (and, indeed the Dalai Lama, who
provides the foreword here) says, unequivocally, Yes. Field’s Business and the Buddha
lays out the guidelines for putting ideas about individual and
corporate social responsibility into practice without sacrificing the
No longer can business—big or small—afford to focus solely on profit.
Real assessment of a business’s worth must take into account its
consideration of our shared human values, and the realities of our
shared planet. That doesn’t mean a business can’t or shouldn’t compete;
it means that investing in efforts to build a better society can be, on
many levels, an asset.
Drawing in a substantial and sophisticated way on traditional Buddhist
teachings, Lloyd Field shows how decision-makers and entrepreneurs can
achieve new levels of happiness and security both inside and outside
the company, and take a power-position as a force for positive global
|Praise & Reviews
“An exceptionally well-written book, and one of the most
thought-provoking books I’ve read in many years. It gets to the heart
of many issues that trouble me about the business world, and how our
societies have managed the free enterprise system. The author, Lloyd
Field, uses the lessons of Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha, to critique
and recommend changes to business and free enterprise to increase its
humanity and concern for the welfare of the planet and its inhabitants.
Its focus is on three groups of guiding principles: wisdom, ethical
conduct, and compassion. Who could argue that we have enough of any of
these in the business world?”—John Caddell, founder and principal of
the Caddell Insight Group, on his blog, Shoptalk
“Lloyd Field’s inspired book reminded me of the value of ‘karmic
“Field offers an inspiring perspective on Buddhist principles
“This book invites senior corporate leaders to apply Buddhist
“Can profit-driven, free-market enterprise be reconciled with
“It is an urgent priority that such models [as the one Lloyd
“When Lloyd speaks, I listen.”—Cheryl Leis, Ph.D., International Ethics Advisory, Boeing Corp.
“I cannot express to you how much we all appreciate Lloyd’s
“Business and the Buddha shows us the way to apply the
“Lloyd Field wrote Business and the Buddha because he believes
“The challenge in all interpersonal relations, corporate or
“I can think of no better person to act as a confidante and
Lloyd Field, Ph.D., Author
Business and the Buddha
Doing Well by Doing Good
Lloyd Field, Ph.D., Author
Our Price: $13.56 (20%off)
Pages: 232 pp
Size: 6 x 9 inches
New book “The Perfection of Marketing” incorporates Diamond Cutter principles
Written by Scott Vacek
Manhattan, New York, USA
An interview with James Connor, author,
“The Perfection of Marketing”
Scott Vacek of Diamond Cutter Discussion Groups recently interviewed
Q: James, how important was reading The Diamond Cutter to your career?
I started to study the original sources for the wisdom contained in The Diamond Cutter
After reading The Diamond Cutter and
Q: What kind of success have you had with your business, The James Group?
I got to
Q: James, what did you set out to accomplish with this book and do you feel you’ve done it?
Q: Tell us about the book?
Q: The reviews have been extremely positive. What can you say about that?
Q: How are you going about marketing the book?
When her incredible book was complete, I
Q: What’s next for you?
In many ways, this book is my goodbye to business in a
I feel that I’ve gone spiritually as far as I can go
In retreat, I want to concentrate
James Connor is
the founder and CEO of The James Group advertising agency in New
York. In 13 years of owning the business he has incorporated Diamond Cutter principles in advising over 200 company owners.
|Groundbreaking Diamond Cutter Seminars in Ramat Gan, Israel|
Written by Scott Vacek
The understanding gained from this workshop is applicable in all areas of life - it is not just for the business community.
Planning for future workshops is in progress….another Part 1 in April, and the first presentation of Part 2 in July 2009!
For further information, please email:
Dr. Dvora Tzvieli holds advanced degrees in Mathematics and Computer
Science, and has been working in research at Bell Labs and on Wall
Street. She has studied with Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin, a
great Tibetan Master, Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery, and with Geshe
Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally in New York and in Arizona. She
is a student and teacher at the Buddhist University Diamond Mountain in
Arizona, and has been a beloved teacher of classical scriptures from
the Buddhist and Yogic traditions for the past 10 years. She has
translated numerous classical texts.
Dr. Arie Tzvieli grew
|Diamond Cutter Labs in Italy - 2009|
Written by Scott Vacek
Diamond Cutter Labs are gaining
In each group
members of their experiences in applying Diamond Cutter principles.
Piazza is the translator of the Italian version of The Diamond Cutter,
“Il Tagliatore di Diamanti” and founder of Centro Studi Piazza, which
began in 1990, providing professional training, inter-family counseling
For more information you can contact him through his website at www.centrostudipiazza.org
|Five Years With The Diamond Cutter in Germany|
Written by Arne Schaefer
It was early 2003 when my friend Michael (an editor for the German publisher of the The Diamond Cutter)
So we read The Diamond Cutter, and I
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