the buddha, his teachings and buddhist economics
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The Buddha, his teachings and Buddhist
Relevance of Buddhism in modern-day life and business.
~ Suyog Prajapati, M.Sc., MA (TU)
23 Jan, 2017 (Monday)
Who was the Buddha and what are his teachings (philosophy)?
How do we know about Buddhas teachings?
Why is Buddhism such a major force in modern-day life?
What is Buddhist Economics?
How can Buddhist practices be related to economics and management?
Who was the Buddha?
The word Buddha is a title.
Sanskrit/P li root: budh (to perceive)
Buddha = the one who is awakened or one who can perceive and understand the four noble truths
Historically refers to Gautama Buddha
Born 563 BCE at Lumbini into the Shakya clan
Birth name Siddh rtha
Tradition his mother Mah m y Dev conceived him while dreaming of a white elephant on the way to her maternal home Devdaha (the Koliya kingdom) gave birth to Siddhartha in the beautiful Lumbini garden (Vaikha P rim )
Father uddhodana invited five renowned Brahmin scholars during his naming ceremony. Four prophesized the boy would either be a great king or a great sage.
The youngest Brahmin, Kodaya singly predicts that the boy would be a great sage (a Buddha).
Fearing his son will leave the palace, shields him from all kinds of misery and indulges him in extreme luxury
Marriage and the Four Great Sights
At age 16, father uddhodana arranges marriage of Siddh rtha to his cousin, Ya odhar (also 16), a Koliya princess.
All education and military training completed within the confines of the palace.
At age 29, decides to venture outside to meet his subjects. Aghast seeing the sight of an old man, a diseased person and a funeral procession.
Also sees a calm ascetic monk. Asks his charioteer, Channa about all this, who tells him that this is real world.
Dissatisfaction and the Great Departure
At around the same time Siddh rtha is blessed with a son, named R hula.
Instead of happiness, feels even greater mortification. Vows to relinquish life as a prince.
Convinced to look for the root cause and end of all bodily and mental anguish.
In the dead of night with the help of Channa, riding the horse Kahaka silently departs, leaving behind all material possessions. The event Mah bhinikramaa
Practices existing yoga techniques
After departure goes to R jagha
First learns meditation techniques from l ra K l m, then from Uddaka R maputta, both renowned vedic sages. Unsatisfied, departs to Uruvela.
Practices very harsh meditation techniques for six arduous years.
Extreme mortification almost leads to death.
On the full moon day of Vaikha, a lady named Suj ta offers rice-pudding to Siddh rtha, meditating under a tree, thinking him to be a tree-spirit.
At once Siddh rtha realizes the uselessness of self-torture. Again begins deep meditation.
In three stages of 4-hour each (praharas), achieves three stages of enlightenment1st, the recollection of past memories (p rvaniv s nusmti j na); 2nd, the knowledge of arising and diminishing (cyutotpatti j na); 3rd, the knowledge of interdependence ( ravakaya j na)
Upon realizing the third level of enlightenment (unique till that time), he achieved the Bodhij na and became the Buddha
What are the teachings of the Buddha?
At age 36, made his first discourse in the Deer-park at S rn th to five ascetics. Event dharmacakrapravartana
The five ascetics became the first Sagha. The first teachings of the Buddha (Dharma) was about the four noble truths and eight-fold noble paths
The Three Jewels of Buddhism (Tri-Ratna) Buddha (the teacher), Dharma (the teachings) and Sagha (the disciples)
A Buddhist someone who has taken refuge upon the Tri-Ratna (Tri- araa)
The Four Noble Truths
Sufferings (dissatisfaction, unease etc.) prevail in life (PROBLEM)
These sufferings are caused by desires (CAUSE)
Sufferings are ended when nirva is attained (SOLUTION)
Nirv is achieved through the eight-fold noble paths (METHOD/PATH)
The Eight-fold Noble Paths
Sam dhi (concentration)
u K ya (body)
u V ka (speech)
u Citta (mind)
The Three Universal Characteristics, the Three Root Causes of Sufferings and
the Five Aggregates
Tri-lakaa Anitya (change) Dukkha (unease/suffering) An tma (no-self)
Dukkha caused by R ga (attachment), Dwe a (hatred) and Moha (ignorace)
World is made up of Paca-Skandha (Five Aggregates) Form (R pa), Feeling (Vedan ), Congition (Saj ), Volition (Sask ra) and Consciousness (Vij na)
How do we know about the Buddha and about his
Why is Buddhism such a major force in modern-day
life? Until the late 1700s, Buddhism was limited only to Asia
During the 19th century many original Buddhist texts arrived to Europe. Meanwhile Buddhist archaeological sites were being discovered in South and Southeast Asia
Western scholars became interested in this hitherto unknown form of belief and began translating the texts.
Towards the end of the 1800s and beginning of the 20th century, organizations like the Pali Text Society and the Buddhist Society of London were formed in the West
The experience yourself philosophy
The European enlightenment, industrial revolution and dramatic economic changes lead to great social upheaval.
Scholars, philosophers, artists and writers were on the look out for radical view points.
Buddhism attracted the rational scientific minded Europeans because of its strict emphasis on first-hand evidence (eg. K l ma Sutta of Aguttara Nik ya)
Buddha himself instructed not to take his words at face value Dont believe just because its written in the scriptures, just because your teacher told you, or because of tradition always see, feel and experience what has been said first-hand in order to believe it
Siddh rtha Gautama before leaving palace was in extreme luxury. Then in the forest practiced extreme mortification. Both did not favor him. So he sought a middle-way (madhyama-m rga)
Neither eternalistic (leading to fatalistic thinking) nor nihilistic (leading to hedonistic thinking)
Like tuning a stringed intrument
Applicable in all situations in day-to-day life
Spread of mindfulness meditation
Since the last half-century many Buddhists from Asia travelling to Western countries. Americans, Europeans and Australians are also coming for meditation practice
Tibetan-diaspora attracted attention of powerful countries like the US. Also increased interest in their culture which is in large part Buddhistic
Integration of mindfulness techniques with modern Psychology helping countless people live stress-free lives
Study of Buddhism not limited to only scholars
What is Buddhist Economics?
Right Livelihood one of the Eight-fold Noble Paths. It means Buddhism is directly related to daily transactions.
E.F. Schumacher used the term Buddhist Economics in his seminal work Small is Beautiful
Modern liberal economics solely profit oriented, consumer-market based, reduces the function of work to merely the production of goods
Buddhist Economics takes the function of work as to help enable and develop ones faculties, let go of ego and cooperate and create goods and services for better (happier) existence
Materalist goods versus Buddhist liberation
Materialist interested mainly in goods. Buddhists aim at liberation from the cycle of rebirth and suffering.
But Buddhism being The Middle Way does allow materialistic fulfillments as well.
Wealth does not hinder liberation. Rather attachment to wealth does.
Craving for pleasure and not the enjoyment of pleasurable things are the source for entanglement
Buddhist Economics focus simplicity (lessening desire and cravings) and non-violence
Maximum well-being with minimum consumption
Buddhism does not oppose the accumulation of wealth or the use of material goods.
But both should be optimum and not excessive
Buddhist Economics measures high standard of living not by more consumption but by optimal consumption through least effort, thus allowing our efforts to be directed towards other creative endeavors
Modern economics maximize consumption by optimal pattern of productive effort
Buddhist Economics maximize human satisfaction by optimal pattern of consumption (the middle way)
Buddhist practices, economics and management
Main aim of Buddhists Happiness in this world (Lokiya Sukha) and Happiness in the world hereafter (Lokottara Sukha)
Driving force for both economics and management la (Morality). Paca la (Five precepts) not to kill, not to steal, refrain from sexual misconducts, not to lie and refrain from intoxication
E.g. Sig lov da Sutta of D gha Nik ya Guidelines for Householders (gha vinaya) based on above covers the whole spectrum of economics and management.
Fulfillment of reciprocal duties Six directions of veneration East (Mother and