Minimalist living

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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contemplating
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Re: Minimalist living

Postby contemplating » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:33 am

chownah wrote:Does living minimally make one a better person?
Does being a better person mean you will be a more minimal liver?
chownah


Living minimally, or simply, does not mean one will be a better person but when you start practicing and are in accord with the dhamma I think you begin to realize that there are many unnecessary possessions in this world that a person binds themselves to.

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby dagon » Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:54 pm

contemplating wrote:
chownah wrote:Does living minimally make one a better person?
Does being a better person mean you will be a more minimal liver?
chownah


Living minimally, or simply, does not mean one will be a better person but when you start practicing and are in accord with the dhamma I think you begin to realize that there are many unnecessary possessions in this world that a person binds themselves to.


I would agree with you - but becoming a minimalist or anything else can be a problem in its self. Just be.
metta
paul

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:35 pm

appicchato wrote:'Minimalist'?...minimalist would be not paying at least three grand a month rent on that pad...

Sam Vara wrote:Agreed. It reminds me a bit of John Lennon singing "Imagine no possessions" in a big pristine empty white room in his Thames-side mansion.

purple planet wrote:when i lived alone i had much less stuff then him - and i didnt try to be a minimalist and i dont think that i was

appicchato wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:I thought it was awesome.

List of things he doesn't have (out of the top of my head):
bed,
books,
cds,
dvds,
shelves,
more than one minimum cooking/eating set,
nightstands,
sheets,
pillow cases,
endless old medicine
TV.


Right there with the millions of homeless and displaced...and (dare one say) hundreds of millions very nearby...

Modus.Ponens wrote:
daverupa wrote:Yes, yes. Yes.


I don't get the point.


Hi Modus Ponens,

I think there's maybe a lack of awareness going on with some of the practices here, as unwholesome mindsets are playing themselves out... in the place of wholesome ones (e.g., such as mudita, or karuna, metta, or even uppekha).

I don't think it's really this guy's fault if there were people who were less fortunate, or they had no choice except to live the way that they do... nor do I think that says anything about him, nor the lifestyle that he chose.

To try to make such links (i.e., to try put it all on this guy; to try to point out what we think is his lack of efforts with these areas; or to try diminish his own efforts in contrast to these circumstances, which by the way have nothing to do with him) basically comes from a delusion.

I think we should just let other people do their own practices, from wherever they are... and hope they get some insights about it, eventually... (in their own times.)

We're all in this together.

:anjali:
Last edited by beeblebrox on Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:09 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:I don't get the point.


Succinctly,

contemplating wrote:Living minimally, or simply, does not mean one will be a better person


---

My response is informed by lines in the Brahmajala Sutta about how living simply and so forth, as examples of potentially or actually wholesome conduct (sila), are yet "those trifling and insignificant matters, those minor details of mere moral virtue, that a worldling would refer to..."

Homeless people live even more simply, and yet they are not singled out for videos lauding that lifestyle. This guy could have walked outside with his camera and buddy and found someone within a few city blocks who had even less.

I guess the point of the video is to cheer someone who chooses such an approach, as opposed to someone who finds themselves in it through other variables, but it's such a superficial thing to get excited about...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:03 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:
The video was making two points: 1) material possessions are a burden; 2) time is our most valuable asset. I see no hypocrisy here. :shrug:


:thumbsup: I agree it made good points on both counts.

daverupa wrote:I guess the point of the video is to cheer someone who chooses such an approach,


I think that is the other [unstated] point. That it must be a choice. For those in poverty who have much fewer possessions than the guy in the video, who don't have a nice apartment, computer, etc. there can be a great deal of frustration and unhappiness. As people come out of poverty, the happiness levels rise significantly. And then as people get to much higher levels of wealth and income, there is a diminishing returns of happiness. And that is due to the extra burdens. Something like the image in this graph:

Image

S. N. Goenka (who recently passed and was a successful businessman) stated in one of his talks that he is glad that he reached success in business and wealth. For had he not, he might have wondered if wealth would be the best course to happiness. He said that now he knows that wealth does not bring the happiness of insight, tranquility.

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby Anagarika » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:36 pm

All the more reason for the very wealthy to do their part to alleviate the suffering of those without food, or proper shelter. If the wealthy understood that there was a point of diminishing returns of happiness, and that they could instill happiness in others just by parting with 5 percent of their wealth (while they themselves would become happier!) , imagine how this rising tide of compassion could "lift all boats in the lake." So many in the US rail against socialism, but so long as there are the very wealthy, and there are high numbers of children going to bed so hungry at night they cannot breathe, more needs to be done to allocate the extreme wealth this nation produces.

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:44 pm

daverupa wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:I don't get the point.


Succinctly,

contemplating wrote:Living minimally, or simply, does not mean one will be a better person


---

My response is informed by lines in the Brahmajala Sutta about how living simply and so forth, as examples of potentially or actually wholesome conduct (sila), are yet "those trifling and insignificant matters, those minor details of mere moral virtue, that a worldling would refer to..."

Homeless people live even more simply, and yet they are not singled out for videos lauding that lifestyle. This guy could have walked outside with his camera and buddy and found someone within a few city blocks who had even less.

I guess the point of the video is to cheer someone who chooses such an approach, as opposed to someone who finds themselves in it through other variables, but it's such a superficial thing to get excited about...


Hi Dave,

I don't think it's really appropriate (if ever) to try to use the Buddha's teachings as a standard to judge others with. They're only for us to practice with... they're not for people who didn't take refuge in them.

:anjali:

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:10 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Hi Dave,

I don't think it's really appropriate (if ever) to try to use the Buddha's teachings as a standard to judge others with. They're only for us to practice with... they're not for people who didn't take refuge in them.


This is a good point.

I did not feel that I was judging the person, however I was conveying a point in a trenchant manner, which probably counts as harsh speech.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby Monkey Mind » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:07 am

Here's another video of the same vine:
http://youtu.be/CkaH_UUH0Ek

Obviously, her motivation of seeking a "life of adventure" has nothing to do with the Dhamma. I just share because the woman in the video comes to the same conclusion: having less stuff allows for a bigger life.

(Curiously, she never mentions what she does for income.)
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby chownah » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:13 am

She has got a very very nice boat.....you can even stand up in it! What an adventure!.....camping at sea. Here's a picture of some children having the adventure of their lives (literally) camping in Sudan. Look, you can even send up in their shelters!......or at least some of them.


http://www.kulturekritic.com/2012/08/ne ... gee-camps/

chownah

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby Monkey Mind » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:50 am

Yeah, I can't really explain why some have fancy boats or RV's, while others live in poverty. I could try, but it would be a long and opinionated diatribe...

I think the bigger point is this: we've had TV shows depicting mansions and elaborately refurbished homes as the "ideal" for a long time. I think it is interesting (and perhaps hopeful) to see media coverage of obviously wealthy people actively advocating for living small.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:59 pm

chownah wrote:Does living minimally make one a better person?


Not necessarily, but it is cheaper. ;)
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Re: Minimalist living

Postby chownah » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:15 pm

Some interesting examples of minimalist living here I think:
http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/03/wh ... sleep.html
chownah

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby Thales » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:42 am

I relate with this guy a lot. Yes, he allows himself a few luxuries -the projector, a nice apartment- but by American standards he's a regular Diogenes. I don't think the fact that there are people living with less and not by choice makes his lifestyle any less admirable. :shrug:
"Just as the ocean has a single taste, the taste of salt, so this Dhamma and Discipline has a single taste, the taste of release."

~Ud 5.5

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby sattva » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:49 am

I liked this. Even though he takes it farther than I would want to, I think he makes some good points. I am going to be moving into my own space next month and I hope to apply at least some of his ideas. I did have to wonder though. He says he has company over, but he only had one set of silverware and no comfortable chairs for us old folks!

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby Mkoll » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:27 am

BuddhaSoup wrote:All the more reason for the very wealthy to do their part to alleviate the suffering of those without food, or proper shelter. If the wealthy understood that there was a point of diminishing returns of happiness, and that they could instill happiness in others just by parting with 5 percent of their wealth (while they themselves would become happier!) , imagine how this rising tide of compassion could "lift all boats in the lake." So many in the US rail against socialism, but so long as there are the very wealthy, and there are high numbers of children going to bed so hungry at night they cannot breathe, more needs to be done to allocate the extreme wealth this nation produces.

I agree with you but of course I'm not rich so it's not my money that would be taken. But rather than going in that direction, we're going in the opposite direction. The gap between the 1% and everyone else is the widest its been since the 1920s (http://apnews.excite.com/article/201309 ... N7U02.html). And I don't see any signs of that trend slowing down, let alone reversing.

beeblebrox wrote:I don't think it's really appropriate (if ever) to try to use the Buddha's teachings as a standard to judge others with. They're only for us to practice with... they're not for people who didn't take refuge in them.

:anjali:

I would agree that it's not appropriate to judge people directly using the Buddha's teachings per se. For example, condemning some person for speaking idly is faux pas.

But a lot of his teachings are of basic human decency in a civilized society that is common to many other teachings and societies. For example, rapists deserve to be judged harshly for many obvious reasons apart from the Buddha's teachings. And it just so happens that one of the Buddha's teachings is to abstain from raping because it leads to a bad destination.

:focus:

Minimalist living is good. Less for oneself means more for others. He's inclining towards renunciation, good for him. :twothumbsup:
Peace,
James

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby SarathW » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:20 am

I couldn’t gauge much watching OP video.
As a student, same as David, I had very little possessions.
I did not have a table I study using my ironing table!
I wore borrowed cloths from my friends. :broke:

Two years after my graduation I was commuted to work by a chauffeur driven car!

The real question we should ask is, if he sells his book and become a millionaire will he still have the same life style.

For that matter I like Warren Buffett!
He said he got only 4000 hours to live.
He still drives his old car and lives in the same old house.
(That is what said in the documentary. I hope it is not a publicity stunt)
I think he gives generously as well.

So interesting video to watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xxhk1A2BOdU

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby Mkoll » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:47 pm

SarathW wrote:For that matter I like Warren Buffett!
He said he got only 4000 hours to live.
He still drives his old car and lives in the same old house.
(That is what said in the documentary. I hope it is not a publicity stunt)
I think he gives generously as well.

Remember that he was the world's richest person for a long time. One doesn't get there without being absolutely and completely ruthless in one's business dealings. Mr. Buffett may be minimalist to that extent but that has nothing to do with how he got all his money.

:soap:
Peace,
James

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby Anagarika » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:04 pm

Mkoll wrote:
SarathW wrote:For that matter I like Warren Buffett!
He said he got only 4000 hours to live.
He still drives his old car and lives in the same old house.
(That is what said in the documentary. I hope it is not a publicity stunt)
I think he gives generously as well.

Remember that he was the world's richest person for a long time. One doesn't get there without being absolutely and completely ruthless in one's business dealings. Mr. Buffett may be minimalist to that extent but that has nothing to do with how he got all his money.

:soap:


Warren Buffett may be a slight exception to the ruthlessness rule. He seems to have a good, solid family and raised his children well. I have not heard of any that felt that he was ruthless, or cheated anyone in his business dealings. His legacy seems to be that he understands value, and did the hard work of determining the present and future value of businesses. Once he bought into a good business, he typically managed it and held it for a long time, creating wealth over time. He's now involved in philanthropy on a large scale through the Gates Foundation.

If you buy a 2010 Ford automobile with an engine idle problem from someone who wishes to sell it, and you, a mechanic, buy it for $5000, puts some money and expertise into rebuilding it, and then sell it to someone else for $10,000, is that being ruthless? He's a capitalist for sure, and we can debate whether what he does for a living is Right Livelihood, but there've been some real POS SOBs produced by my country in the field of business, but I feel he's the exception to that sort. He's an old fashioned entrepreneur, who made his money the old fashioned way. He studied well, learned a lot, and knew the value of time and money. Now, his wealth goes to the world, and a small part of it to his kids.

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Re: Minimalist living

Postby Mkoll » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:16 pm

That's my dad's opinion whose career was in high level corporate business/finance and whose primary retired occupation is still finance and business. He's an expert and I'm ignorant in these matters so I tend to trust what he says if it makes sense to me. And it does: one doesn't become #1 in a competitive arena without stepping on more than a few toes. And it doesn't get much more competitive than making money.

A quick internet search revealed that he's not the only one who thinks this.

Book reveals the real Warren Buffett
LAST UPDATED AT 18:56 ON Tue 7 Oct 2008

The new biography of the world’s richest man, the investor Warren Buffett, may have been an attempt to paint the businessman in a sympathetic light but according to early reviews it has achieved the exact opposite. The book, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, was written by Alice Schroeder, an American insurance analyst. It was put together with Buffett’s cooperation - which makes it more of a mystery why such an unsavoury character should emerge.

Although Schroeder heralds Buffett’s philosophy in the book as "the triumph of straight thinking and high standards over flapdoodle, folly and flimflam", she still ends up painting a picture of a man utterly consumed by the pursuit of wealth. By the age of seven the young Buffett was already reading books about the bond market and boasting to his friends that he intended to become the richest man in America.

Buffett’s ruthless side is on show throughout the book. When he purchased the ailing Berkshire Hathaway textile company for next to nothing in the 1960s he bought up all the shares - even those belonging to former business partners of his. Even Schroeder admits this is “not exactly sporting conduct”.

He spent a lot of his career looking for what he calls "cigar butts". These are dying firms that he can buy large amounts of stock in and squeeze one last profit out of before he lets them go under.

For most investors these revelations are commonplace. Buffett, however, has always prided himself on being a more ethical, morally-driven man than the Gordon Gekko figures of Wall Street fame. Schroeder sums up Buffet’s business philosophy as "having more information than the other guy". Unfortunately the other guy still loses out. ·

Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/people/39701/b ... z2tKE3P3mw


:focus:
Peace,
James


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