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19 03 2012 LESSON 555
FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research And Practice UNIVERSITY And BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS LETTER Through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org Dhammapada Verse 107
Sariputtattherassa bhagineyya Vatthu Even Brief
Adoration Of An Arahat Is Fruitful
THE BUDDHIST ON LINE GOOD NEWS LETTER
Practice a Sutta a Day Keeps Dukkha Away
Verse 107. Even Brief
Adoration Of An Arahat Is Fruitful
might tend for a hundred years
the forest’s sacred fire,
but if for only a moment one
might honour the self-developed,
such honour were better by far
than centuries of sacrifice.
A person may perform fire-worship ritual in the forest for a hundred years.
Yet, for a person who adores just for a moment, a self-restrained, disciplined
Arahat, that moment’s adoration of the Arahat is far nobler than the
fire-worship of hundred years.
Dhammapada Verse 107
Sariputtattherassa bhagineyya Vatthu
aggim paricare vane
sa yeva pujana seyyo
yance vassasatam hutam.
107: For a hundred years, a man may tend the sacred fire in the forest: yet if,
only for a moment, one pays homage to a bhikkhu who has practised Insight
Development, this homage is, indeed, better than a hundred years of making
sacrifices (in fire-worship).
Story of Thera Sariputta’s Nephew
residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (107) of this
book, with reference to Thera Sariputta’s nephew.
occasion, Thera Sariputta asked his nephew, a brahmin, whether he was doing any
meritorious deeds. His nephew answered that he had been sacrificing a goat in
fire-worship every month, hoping to get to the Brahma world in his next
existence. Thera Sariputta then explained to him that his teachers had given
him false hopes and that they themselves did not know the way to the Brahma world.
took his nephew the young brahmin to the Buddha. There, the Buddha taught him
the Dhamma that would lead one to the Brahmin world and said to the brahmin, “Young
brahmin, paying homage to the bhikkhus for a moment would be far better than making
sacrifices in fire-worship for a hundred years.”
the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 107: For a
end of the discourse, the brahmin, who was Thera Sariputta’s nephew, attained
FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research And Practice UNIVERSITY And BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS LETTER Through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org
Translated by Bruce Evans
1. Understanding the Law of
as a law of nature
law of kamma and social preference
meaning of kamma
a. kamma as
b. kamma as
c. kamma as personal
d. kamma as social
activity or career
2. On Good and Evil
problem of good and evil
meaning of kusala and akusala
and akusala as catalysts for each other
good and bad kamma
3. The Fruition of Kamma
of kamma on different levels
that affect the fruition of kamma
the process of fruition
of kamma on a long term basis — Heaven and Hell
verifying future lives
fruition in the Cula Kammavibhanga Sutta
4. Kamma on the Social Level
importance of ditthi in the creation of kamma
influences and internal reflection
responsibility and social kamma
6. Misunderstandings of The
Law of Kamma
causes happiness and suffering?
that are contrary to the law of kamma
kamma be erased?
kamma and not-self contradict each other?
7. In Conclusion
rather than prayer
to race or class
caution for the future
The work presented here is based
on a single chapter from Buddhadhamma,
by Venerable P. A. Payutto. Buddhadhamma
is perhaps the author’s most formal and ambitious book to date, a volume of
over one thousand pages dealing with the whole of the Buddha’s teaching.
Although the work is scholarly in approach, it renders the Buddhist themes so
often misunderstood or considered beyond the scope of the ordinary layman more
approachable in practical terms.
author is one of the foremost Buddhist scholars in Thailand today. His vast
output of material ranges from simple explanations of basic Buddhist themes to
more substantial Dhamma teachings of a commentarial nature (such as Buddhadhamma) and social
analyses from a Buddhist perspective (such as Buddhist Economics). Venerable
Payutto is unusually gifted in this regard, having had experience of both
Eastern and Western cultures in the course of his scholastic and teaching
careers. This, combined with an inquiring mind, exhaustive research, and an
intuitive understanding of rare scope, gives the venerable author an
outstanding position from which to present the Buddha’s teaching.
modern Westerner, the teaching of
kamma offers a path of practice based not on fear of a higher
authority, nor dogma, but founded on a clear understanding of the natural law
of cause and effect as it relates to human behavior. It is a teaching to be not
so much believed in as understood and seen in operation.
Buddhism is a
religion that puts wisdom to the fore rather than faith. Intelligent and honest
inquiry are not only welcomed, but encouraged. Part of this inquiry requires a
good background understanding of the way cause and effect function on the
personal level. This is the domain of ethics or morality, and the specific
domain of kamma. What criteria are there for right and wrong behavior? As
concepts, these words are open to a wide range of interpretations, but in the
study of kamma we are concerned with finding definitions that are workable and
sound. Such definitions must not only point out a clear direction for moral
conduct, but also provide the reasons and incentives for maintaining it. The
teaching of kamma satisfies these requirements.
society today lacks clarity or a coherent direction in moral issues. With the
waning of faith in a Supreme Being that followed the advances of science, all
that seems to remain as a prescription for life are political systems and
social ideals. When authoritarian rule is rejected, it often means a rejection
of any coherent behavioral standard. There seems to be no room in modern
thinking for morality, except perhaps on the level of ideals such as human
In the age of
personal freedom and the right to self-expression, ethics seem to have been
reduced to a matter of personal opinion, social decree or cultural preference.
Concepts such as “right” and “wrong,” and “good”
and “evil,” no longer stand on solid ground, and we find ourselves
more and more floundering when asked to define them. Are these qualities simply
a matter of opinion, or do they have some reality based on natural law? How do
they relate to the scientific world of impersonal cause and effect
relationships? In the eyes of many, the concepts of good and evil have been
reduced to tools for righteous bigotry or political opportunism. This is why it
is irksome for so many people to see or hear the word “morality”; the
subject is a decidedly boring one for most. In an age when life seems to be
offering an endless succession of “cheap thrills,” who’s interested
without any clear direction in life we are faced with problems on many levels.
With no clear direction, no guidelines on which to base life, it becomes a
shabby collection of blunders, as we go clumsily groping from one experience to
the next — even more so when the meaning of life is reduced to a compulsive
race to amass “experiences” for their own sake. The result is a
society driven by hedonism, fueled by craving, and plagued with problems: on
the personal level, depression, loneliness, and nervous disorders; on the
communal level, irrational behavior, crime and social unrest. And at the most
subtle level, the legacy of the present age is a life out of step with nature,
producing the spiritual “angst” which has led to the modern search
for enlightenment from Eastern sources.
is in the light of precisely this situation that the law of kamma is so
relevant. Although the words “kamma” or “karma”[*]
are sometimes heard in the present day, the concept rarely emerges from the
cloud of mystery that has enshrouded it from its first introduction to the
West. Strangely so, because in fact the law of kamma is a singularly dynamic
and lucid teaching, one which is particularly pertinent to the modern age. In
the law of kamma we are able to find meaningful and relevant definitions of
“good” and “evil,” an understanding of which not only
clarifies the path of ethical practice, but also facilitates personal well-being
and fulfillment. Not only individual needs, but problems and directions on a
social level can be more readily understood with the help of this teaching. It
is no wonder, then, that the Law of Kamma is one of the cornerstones of
It is my
belief that the present book is an invaluable reference for both the casual
student and the more committed practicener of Buddhism. The law of kamma, as
one of Buddhism’s central themes, requires not only a modicum of learning, but
also a good deal of inner reflection. The book should therefore not be read as
simply a collection of ideas to be committed to memory, but as “food for
thought,” to be mulled over, reflected on and applied to practical
reality. Some of the concepts presented may at first seem strange, but time
spent contemplating them will reveal that these concepts, far from strange, are
really quite ordinary. They are, in fact, so ordinary that they somehow elude
our complicated minds.
* * *
I originally set out to make a
fairly literal translation of this book, but having completed the first draft I
was faced with a number of problems. Firstly, some of the points raised in the
book applied specifically to Thai culture and would only be meaningful in such
a context. One section, for instance, covered the difference between kusala (skillful) and akusala (unskillful) on one
hand, and puñña
(merit) and papa
(demerit or sin) on the other, these words being extensively used in Thailand.
But they are fairly untranslatable in English and not particularly relevant to
non-Buddhist cultures. For this reason I asked the venerable author for
permission to delete this section. Some sections, such as that on intention,
were moved from one chapter to another. On all of these occasions I have sought
out the venerable author’s advice and permission.
One of the
major changes to the book is the addition of Chapter 4, dealing with kamma on
the social level, which was put together from a tape recording of an informal
series of questions and answers on the subject between myself and the author.
The subject is in fact a very broad one, worthy of a book in its own right. It
is also one aspect of kamma which is particularly relevant to modern Western
the natures of the two languages, Thai and English, are vastly different. What
is considered good Thai, if rendered directly into English, sometimes turns
into bad English. Accordingly I have had to do some editing in the process of
the translation, mainly by cutting out repetitious passages. There are a number
of Pali words which it was felt were better left untranslated in the body of
the text, in the hope that some of these words may, in time, find their way into
the English language in one form or another. They are words for which the
English language has no direct translations, and as such they represent an
unfortunate lack for the Western world as a whole.
All in all,
the book is not strictly a literal translation, as anyone familiar with the two
languages will find out. For any shortcomings regarding both the language, the
quality of translation, and the amount of editing that has gone into this work,
I ask the reader’s forgiveness, and can only hope that the shortcomings are
surmountable to an earnest student on the quest for truth.
should mention that the manuscript has been read over by so many people as to
be too numerous to mention here. I have relied on the suggestions and feedback
of all of them to guide my treatment of the translation, hoping to present the
book in as “universal” a way as possible, and without this help I am
sure the book would be much less polished than it now stands.
merits accruing from the production of this book serve to illuminate the
subject of kamma, and thereby lead to a saner world for all.
otherwise indicated, all footnotes are mine.
As the translator has pointed out in
his own introduction, this work is not a direct translation of the original
Thai version, but has been adapted to suit a Western audience. Some parts have
been deleted, some trimmed down, some have been rearranged, and there have been
a number of footnotes added to explain concepts which might not be readily
understood by a Western readership. Even so, the essential meaning of the
original remains intact, and in fact the work has in the process become more
suitable for readers with a non-Buddhist background. This translation therefore
is not only the fruit the translator’s admirable ability, but of a concerted
effort, based on a desire for true benefit.
I would like
to express my appreciation to Mr. Evans for his good intentions and commitment
in translating this work into English and setting the manuscript up for
printing on computer. I would also like to express my appreciation to Venerable
Maha Insorn Cintapanyo, who helped to finalize the setting up, and the
Buddhadhamma Foundation, who have taken on the financial responsibility.
collected wholesome intentions of all concerned serve to encourage right
understanding and right conduct, which are the conditions which will bring
about peace and happiness in the world today.
October 15, 1992 (B.E. 2535)
All beings are the owners of
heirs of their kamma
born of their kamma
related to their kamma
19312 Buddhist Economics A Middle Way for the market place
P. A. Payutto
by Dhammavijaya and Bruce Evans
by Bruce Evans and Jourdan Arenson
The Problem of
Two Meanings of Dhamma
View of Human Nature
and the Two Kinds of Desire
Considerations in Economic Activity
Perspectives on Economic Concepts
Role of Wealth in Buddhism
Attitude to Wealth
Characteristics of Buddhist Economics
on Economics from the Buddhist Scriptures
and Protecting Wealth
Happiness of a Householder
The Benefits of
and Spiritual Development
These days Buddhist
meditation techniques are well-known in the West and Buddhist insights into the
human condition are, at least in academic circles, exerting a growing
influence. Unfortunately the popular image of Buddhism is often an
overly-austere one and many people still consider it to teach a denial or
escape from worldly concerns into a private, hermetic realm of bliss. However,
if we take the trouble to go to the words of the Buddha himself, we find a full
and rich teaching encompassing every aspect of human life, with a great deal of
practical advice on how to live with integrity, wisdom and peace in the midst
of a confusing world. Perhaps it is time for such teaching to be more widely
small volume, Venerable Dhammapitaka (P. A. Payutto) offers a Buddhist
perspective on the subject of economics. While not seeking to present a
comprehensive Buddhist economic theory, he provides many tools for reflection,
ways of looking at economic questions based on a considered appreciation of the
way things are, the way we are. I hope that making this work available in
English may go at least a short way towards resolving what has been called the
current ‘impasse of economics,’ and to awaken readers to the wide-reaching
contemporary relevance of the timeless truths that the Buddha discovered and
shared with us.
It is well known that the study of
economics has up till now avoided questions of moral values and considerations
of ethics, which are abstract qualities. However, it is becoming obvious that
in order to solve the problems that confront us in the world today it will be
necessary to take into consideration both concrete and abstract factors, and as
such it is impossible to avoid the subject of moral values. If the study of
economics is to play any part in the solution of our problems, it can no longer
evade the subject of ethics. Nowadays environmental factors are taken into
account both in economic transactions and in solving economic problems, and the
need for ethics in addressing the problem of conservation and the environment
is becoming more and more apparent.
In fact, economics is
one “science” which most clearly integrates the concrete and the
abstract. It is the realm in which abstract human values interact most palpably
with the material world. If economists were to stop evading the issue of moral
values, they would be in a better position to influence the world in a
fundamental way and to provide solutions to the problems of humanity and the
world at large. Ideally, economics should play a part in providing mankind with
opportunities for real individual and social growth rather than simply being a
tool for catering to selfish needs and feeding contention in society, and, on a
broader scale, creating imbalance and insecurity within the whole global
structure with its innumerable ecosystems.
I would like to express
my appreciation to Dhammavijaya, who translated the first Thai edition of
Buddhist Economics, which was published by the Buddhadhamma Foundation in
August, 1988, into English. His translation was published in May, 1992, and
that edition has served as the basis for the second edition. I would like to
also express my thanks to Bruce Evans and Jourdan Arenson, who were inspired
enough to compile and translate further sources of teachings on Buddhist
economics from among my talks and writings published in both Thai and English,
and thus produce a more comprehensive treatment of the subject. I would also
like to express my appreciation to Khun Yongyuth Thanapura and the Buddhadhamma
Foundation who, as with the First Edition, have seen the printing through to
Ven. P. A.
This book has been compiled from material
in the following works by the author:
1. Buddhist Economics, the
original booklet of a talk given by the author at Thammasat University on March
9, 1989; translated by Dhammavijaya.
2. “A way out of
the Economic Bind on Thai Society” (Tahng
ork jahk rabop setthagit tee krorp ngum sungkhom thai), published
in Thai by the Buddhadhamma Foundation, translated by Bruce Evans.
3. Parts of the chapter
called ‘The Problem of Motivation,’ translated by Bruce Evans from the book Buddhadhamma.
4. The section on Right
Livelihood, which makes up part of the chapter on morality (sila) from Buddhadhamma, translated
by Bruce Evans.
5. Part of the chapter
entitled “Foundations of Buddhist Social Ethics,” written in English
by the author, which appeared in Ethics,
Wealth and Salvation, edited by Russell F. Sizemore and Donald K.
Swearer, published by University of South Carolina Press, 1990, Colombia, S.
The Spiritual Approach to Economics
Our libraries are full of books offering
well-reasoned, logical formulas for the ideal society. Two thousand years ago,
Plato, in The Republic, wrote one of the first essays on politics and started a
search for an ideal society which has continued to the present day. Plato built
his ideal society on the assumption that early societies grew from a rational
decision to secure well-being, but if we look at the course of history, can we
say that rational thinking has truly been the guiding force in the evolution of
civilization? The reader is invited to imagine the beginnings of human society:
groups of stone age humans are huddled together in their caves, each looking with
suspicion on the group in the next cave down. They are cold and hungry. Danger
and darkness surround them. Suddenly one of them hits on a brilliant idea:
“I know, let’s create a society where we can trade and build hospitals and
live in mutual well-being!”
Such a scenario is not
likely. Early humans, and the first societies, were probably bound together
more by their deep emotional needs for warmth and security than any rational
planning. And over the millennia, our societies have evolved to a large extent
at the directives of these emotional needs. To be sure, rational thinking has
played some part in the process, but if we take an honest look at our so-called
advanced society, we must admit that our needs for security today are not so
different from the cave man’s. While our societies are certainly more complex,
the propelling force is still emotion, not reason.
If we are to honestly
discuss economics, we must admit that emotional factors — fear and desire and
the irrationality they generate — have a very powerful influence on the market
place. Economic decisions — decisions about production, consumption and
distribution — are made by people in their struggle to survive and prosper.
For the most part, these decisions are motivated by an emotional urge for
There is nothing
inherently bad about fear and irrationality; they are natural conditions that
come with being human. Unfortunately, however, fear and desire drive us to our
worst economic excesses. The forces of greed, exploitation and over consumption
seem to have overwhelmed our economies in recent decades. Our materialistic
societies offer us little choice but to exploit and compete for survival in
today’s dog-eat-dog world. But at the same time, it is obvious that these
forces are damaging our societies and ravaging our environment.
In the face of such
problems, the science of economics adopts a rational approach. The job of
economists is to devise well-reasoned models to help society rise above fear,
greed and hatred. Rarely, however, do economists examine the basic question of
fear and the emotional needs for security that drive human beings. As a result,
their theoretical models remain rational solutions to largely irrational
problems, and their economic ideals can only truly exist in books.
Perhaps a little
idealism is not so harmful; but there is a danger to the purely rational
approach. At its worst, it is used to rationalize our basest, most fear-ridden
responses to the question of survival. We see this tendency in the corporate
strategists, policy advisors and defense analysts who logically and
convincingly argue that arms production is in our best interests. When
rationalism turns a blind eye to the irrational, unseen irrational impulses are
all the more likely to cloud our rationality.
The book you are reading
takes a different approach — a spiritual approach. As such, it does not delve
into the technical intricacies of economics. Instead it examines the
fundamental fears, desires and emotions that motivate our economic activities.
Of all the spiritual traditions, Buddhism is best suited to this task. As we
shall see, the Buddhist teachings offer profound insights into the psychology
of desire and the motivating forces of economic activity. These insights can
lead to a liberating self-awareness that slowly dissolves the confusion between
what is truly harmful and what is truly beneficial in production and
consumption. This awareness is, in turn, the foundation for a mature ethics.
Truly rational decisions
must be based on insight into the forces that make us irrational. When we
understand the nature of desire, we see that it cannot be satisfied by all the
riches in the world. When we understand the universality of fear, we find a
natural compassion for all beings. Thus, the spiritual approach to economics
leads not to models and theories, but to the vital forces that can truly
benefit our world — wisdom, compassion and restraint.
In other words, the
spiritual approach must be lived. This is not to say that one must embrace
Buddhism and renounce the science of economics, because, in the larger scheme
of things, the two are mutually supportive. In fact, one needn’t be a Buddhist
or an economist to practice Buddhist economics. One need only acknowledge the
common thread that runs through life and seek to live in balance with the way
things really are.
Bruce Evans and
Jobs holding a white iPhone 4 at Worldwide Developers Conference 2010
|Born||Steven Paul Jobs
February 24, 1955
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Died||October 5, 2011 (aged 56)
Palo Alto, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||Reed College (dropped out)|
|Occupation||Co-founder, Chairman and CEO, Apple Inc., Co-founder and CEO, Pixar, Co-founder and CEO, NeXT Inc.|
|Board member of||The Walt Disney Company, Apple Inc.|
(1991–2011, his death)
|Children||4 – Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Reed, Erin, Eve|
|Relatives||Mona Simpson (sister)|
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