Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

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Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby purple planet » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:30 am

Shouldn't lay advanced Buddhist practitioners be very successful ?

! i mean the few lay buddhist who are really advanced

cause when you practice you have less greed - you can be more focused ect ...

so they can waste less money for instance to buy stuff to make you "happy" so they should have more money -
they have less greed so they can control better their lust for tasty food so they can eat healthy
they can focus better so they can study new stuff very easily
make good use of time - not waste it on unnecessary habits that can come from stuff like aversion
ect ect ...

there are probably more than a few very good and advanced lay buddhists - who still have a job - i wonder why they dont get super successful ....

like warren buffet or bill gates - or why arnt there many top level athletes who are buddhists - cause i think that practicing the dhamma is improving you in a mundane way is it not ? than why we dont hear more of very - top-top level buddhists







(im trying to figure this to better understand dhamma - i personally might even ordain - so no need to say stuff along the lines of "what does it matter" or "we should not aspire for worldly gains" cause its me trying to understand the logic)
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:57 am

How about shouldn't lay Buddhists be very humble and live simply?????
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby Weakfocus » Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:29 am

purple planet wrote:there are probably more than a few very good and advanced lay buddhists - who still have a job - i wonder why they dont get super successful ....


Because their definition of being successful in life does not involve earning a lot of cash and acquiring socio-political influence in society.

Instead they measure their success by how much they have developed their Pāramitās over a lifetime. All the money you earn, all the status you acquire gets left behind when you die. Everything one builds eventually deteriorates and dies. The kamma gained by living a Dhammic life is all you can take with you. So 'advanced lay buddhists' choose to focus on things that matter long-term, rather than expend great amount of energy in building fragile sand-castles.
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby purple planet » Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:39 am

Because their definition of being successful in life does not involve earning a lot of cash and acquiring socio-political influence in society.

Instead they measure their success by how much they have developed their Pāramitās over a lifetime. All the money you earn, all the status you acquire gets left behind when you die. Everything one builds eventually deteriorates and dies. The kamma gained by living a Dhammic life is all you can take with you. So 'advanced lay buddhists' choose to focus on things that matter long-term, rather than expend great amount of energy in building fragile sand-castles.



When a buddhist gets money he can donate it to others - so if a buddhist is not a monk - and already has a job i dont see why he wouldnt try to get more money along the way (but i can understand how this can not be true )


But ! i also had that thought you had - but then i thought : even if they dont try to advance and get more money : if they work at a job wouldnt there boss promote them without them trying to advance in the job ? wouldnt the boss promote them because they work better ?
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:57 am

Why do you equate earning more money as being 'successful'?
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby Weakfocus » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:01 am

purple planet wrote:When a buddhist gets money he can donate it to others - so if a buddhist is not a monk - and already has a job i dont see why he wouldnt try to get more money along the way (but i can understand how this can not be true )


  1. The amount of money one donates has nothing to do with developing the pāramitā of Dana. Otherwise only the richest people would attain enlightenment. It is more about developing kindness in the mind, removing the taint of selfishness and greed.

  2. Dana need not be of monetary kind. People donate their time and effort as dana. Arguably this is more powerful that merely transfering a huge amount of cash to an account. My teacher Goenkaji spoke very highly of this kind of donation.



purple planet wrote:but then i thought : even if they dont try to advance and get more money : if they work at a job wouldnt there boss promote them without them trying to advance in the job ? wouldnt the boss promote them because they work better ?


Now you have jumped tracks. Who promoted Gates or Buffet to their positions? They are entrepreneurs, who did what was necessary to attain their wealth and status. And in the process not all of their actions have necessarily been wholesome.

People get promoted -or not- for all kinds of reasons. Surely one's kamma also plays a part. Presumably you have a lot of statistical data to come to conclusion that 'advanced lay buddhists' are -or are not- getting promoted at jobs over their colleagues? How many such people do you know and can name? Otherwise this is all speculative rumination.
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby purple planet » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:08 am

Now you have jumped tracks. Who promoted Gates or Buffet to their positions? They are entrepreneurs, who did what was necessary to attain their wealth and status. And in the process not all of their actions have necessarily been wholesome.

People get promoted -or not- for all kinds of reasons. Surely one's kamma also plays a part. Presumably you have a lot of statistical data to come to conclusion that 'advanced lay buddhists' are -or are not- getting promoted at jobs over their colleagues? How many such people do you know and can name? Otherwise this is all speculative rumination..


ok i guess this is the answer to the question - external kamma (vipaka) has affect also





so a new question : are "advanced lay buddhists" better at there jobs and more successful (focus better - preform better - work harder) in what they do than others ?
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby binocular » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:14 am

purple planet wrote:When a buddhist gets money he can donate it to others - so if a buddhist is not a monk - and already has a job i dont see why he wouldnt try to get more money along the way (but i can understand how this can not be true )

It seems difficult to passionately devote oneself to any kind of materialistic pursuit when one has little worldly ambition and passion to begin with.

But ! i also had that thought you had - but then i thought : even if they dont try to advance and get more money : if they work at a job wouldnt there boss promote them without them trying to advance in the job ? wouldnt the boss promote them because they work better ?

Chances are that an avidly practicing Buddhist will have a characteristic deficit of worldly ambition and passion. For people who are into worldly ambition and passion (and people who try to run a successful company typically are), seeing that deficit in an employee can be off-putting, no matter how well the employee may otherwise do their job.

Also see: Buddhists are losers? viewtopic.php?f=19&t=19532&hilit=loser

edited for correcting a phrase
Last edited by binocular on Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby purple planet » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:27 am

When someone has lower levels of sloth and torpor he has energy to work well - (if only to help his boss or not make his boss frustrated or to prevent him from getting fired so he can feed his family )
he has less greed and aversion so less chances he will surf the internet while at work
he has more focus and less distracted so he would work better
he will less likely get into arguments
by less aversion and understanding annicha antta and dukkha he wont feel bad if his boss will ask him to work a few extra hours
once the mind is clear from hindrances one can find solutions to problems better
ect ect

all this things should come natural to him without any desire or effort so i dont think its a matter of ambition
Last edited by purple planet on Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby Aloka » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:28 am

purple planet wrote:
so a new question : are "advanced lay buddhists" better at there jobs and more successful (focus better - preform better - work harder) in what they do than others ?


How can anyone here possibly know the answer to that ?

:?:
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby purple planet » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:30 am

purple planet wrote:
so a new question : are "advanced lay buddhists" better at there jobs and more successful (focus better - preform better - work harder) in what they do than others ?



How can anyone here possibly know the answer to that ?

:?:


:rofl:

its a question about the principles of it - about the logic in this being the case not about what are the statistics - or at least thats what i meant to ask ...

rephrase :

so a new question : should "advanced lay buddhists" be better at there jobs and more successful (focus better - preform better - work harder) in what they do than others - in general ?
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby binocular » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:53 am

purple planet wrote:When someone has lower levels of sloth and torpor

As far as I understood, the hindrances, of which sloth and torpor are part, refer to hindrances in regard to the Dhamma, not in general.

A person can conceivably have a lot of sloth and torpor in regard to the Dhamma, but be very energetic in regard to worldly pursuits.

he has energy to work well - (if only to help his boss or not make his boss frustrated or to prevent him from getting fired so he can feed his family )
he has less greed and aversion so less chances he will surf the internet while at work
he has more focus and less distracted so he would work better
he will less likely get into arguments
by less aversion and understanding annicha antta and dukkha he wont feel bad if his boss will ask him to work a few extra hours
once the mind is clear from hindrances one can find solutions to problems better
ect ect

This is a topic I am personally very interested in.

It seems that what you say above should be true.

I make an effort to beat the drudgery of daily life with dhammic skill. So far, to no avail. So far, skill cannot compete with passion, passion wins out easily.

all this things should come natural to him without any desire or effort so i dont think its a matter of ambition

Since the goal of Dhamma practice and the goal of efforting toward worldly gains are different, and to some extent mutually exclusive, I don't think the above holds.
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby binocular » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:01 am

purple planet wrote:its a question about the principles of it - about the logic in this being the case not about what are the statistics - or at least thats what i meant to ask ...

rephrase :

so a new question : should "advanced lay buddhists" be better at there jobs and more successful (focus better - preform better - work harder) in what they do than others - in general ?

According to some yuppie versions of Buddhism - yes.

The question is inasmuch is yuppie Buddhism really Buddhism ...
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby purple planet » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:10 am

when someone lowers his hindrances - he develops powers instead which if i understand correctly are there because of the lack of hindrances - not sure but this is my current understanding

so if someone dosnt get sleepy and has energy he gained throw practice when he will work he wont start to get tired just cause its not a "noble" task


Since the goal of Dhamma practice and the goal of efforting toward worldly gains are different, and to some extent mutually exclusive, I don't think the above holds.


if someone works to feed his family wont the will and effort to earn more money be wholsome and same : he also develops good-will and also works toward money so he can help others ?

I make an effort to beat the drudgery of daily life with dhammic skill. So far, to no avail. So far, skill cannot compete with passion, passion wins out easily.


Can you explain - do you think worldly motivation (passion right?) is better to deal with daily life then dhamma skill - its very intersting you say this cause this was one of the main reasons i made this thread - to figure out the part of non-buddhist motivation methods - to help in "mundane" issues but also in practice -
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby seeker242 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:55 am

purple planet wrote:
so a new question : should "advanced lay buddhists" be better at there jobs and more successful (focus better - preform better - work harder) in what they do than others - in general ?


It depends. Greed for wealth can make one work very hard to get that wealth. An "advance lay Buddhist" probably would not work as hard to get that wealth because they would see that this wealth is unsatisfying and not worth pursuing all that much to begin with.

:anjali:
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby binocular » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:22 pm

purple planet wrote:so if someone dosnt get sleepy and has energy he gained throw practice when he will work he wont start to get tired just cause its not a "noble" task

I used to hope that is the case, yes. Now, I'm not so sure anymore.

if someone works to feed his family wont the will and effort to earn more money be wholsome and same : he also develops good-will and also works toward money so he can help others ?


Can you explain - do you think worldly motivation (passion right?) is better to deal with daily life then dhamma skill

I wouldn't know about worldly motivation / passion being "better" for dealing with daily life, but it seems necessary to me.

- its very intersting you say this cause this was one of the main reasons i made this thread - to figure out the part of non-buddhist motivation methods - to help in "mundane" issues but also in practice -

Like I said, this is a topic that interests me a lot.

It seems to me that from a Buddhist perspective, non-buddhist motivation methods basically come down to cultivating greed, anger and delusion. If you read popular books on productivity and work ethics, especially by American authors, many emphasize the importance of passion, a strong sense of self, and believing that real gain is to be found in material gain and worldly reputation. But they don't seem to have anything higher to offer.

It seems to me that from a Buddhist perspective, to settle for those worldy motivation methods, is to sell oneself short. I find that it is impossible to have some knowledge of the goal of the Dhamma, but then spend the majority of one's waking hours in a pursuit and in a way that has little or nothing to do with the Dhamma.


I periodically search the internet for resources on Buddhism and work ethics.

Two books that seem useful are by Michael Carroll - Awake At Work and Fearless at Work. Although he writes from a generally Tibetan perspective, I have so far found no other Buddhist source that would address the problems I have in a useful way.
While plenty can be found on Buddhism and work ethics, much strikes me as rather general and not particularly useful. I appreciate Carroll because he addresses head-on the fears that so many of us have - esp. fear of job loss - in direct terms, while many others are more polite and gloss over the issue.

Overall, I've gotten the impression that some (many?)Buddhist sources on work ethics seem to be written from the perspective of someone who is already firmly settled in Buddhist practice, who has probably been born and raised into a Buddhist family and culture to begin with.
On the other hand, those who live in non-Buddhist countries and have taken to Buddhism only as adults, seem to be in a significantly different situation, though. Especially if already prior to contact with Buddhism, we have experienced a deep dissatisfaction with the way life is usually lived.
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby Doshin » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:39 pm

purple planet wrote:...
if someone works to feed his family wont the will and effort to earn more money be wholsome and same : he also develops good-will and also works toward money so he can help others ?


Can money satisfy all needs within ones family ? Could you swap a father, for a steady stream of money ?

I think you are trying to measure, some non-measurable values. Or trying to predict/calculate causes and effects of khamma.

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:11 pm

Yes and no.

MN 135: Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta wrote:But then there is the case where a woman or man is a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lighting to brahmans & contemplatives. Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in a good destination... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she is wealthy wherever reborn. This is the way leading to great wealth: to be a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lighting to brahmans & contemplatives.


However if your priority is to practice the Dhamma, then working long hours to amass wealth would be contrary to that goal. One story that explains how this difference in priorities might play out is the story of the Fisherman and the MBA. Replace the leisure time activities with Dhamma practice and the principle still holds.

Mexican Fisherman Meets Harvard MBA wrote:The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.

The businessman then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor."

The businessman scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But señor, how long will this all take?" To which the businessman replied, "15-20 years." "But what then, señor?" The businessman laughed and said, "That's the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions." "Millions, señor? Then what?" The businessman said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "Isn't that what I'm doing right now?"
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby purple planet » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:19 pm

lol - i understand the message though - but sometimes we just have to give the maximum


In a poor country a hard worker can bring food to the family - maybe theres some Pakistani who works at making bricks and his doughters are hungry - and he goes to work 10 hours a day - but to really make it he must "push things to the limit" and needs to work more or try to sell stuff on his own ect ... so the dhamma should help him finish the job and go home and not get mentally tired and if the dhamma dosnt help than maybe a motivational speaker can help

Even in rich countrys its hard to pay for medical care - not to talk about the best medical care - which is extremly expansive and if one wants to have money to pay for his family he needs to care for money

Maybe a father who works so he can move his family from a bad neighborhood to a good one


Ok what i think now :
the dhamma does help deal with mundane life and does help to do better in life - its hard to think that it dosnt - and i do belive that buddhist (Advanced ones) should do better in their job performance - its just logical they would - they wouldnt work for nothing and wouldn't work just for the sake of working


i guess this whole thread is me idle chatting - what i should do is just increase meditation time slowly and be as much mindful as i can .... and im pretty sure my mundane stuff will improve - my problem was that i put more emphasis in the past too much on my meditation and neglected the mundane and it lead to frustration - so the best way for me! is to go to the start - practicing dhamma so i can reach my "mundane" goals which are for the goal to help my family- and all the super-mundane will follow - and because i dont seem to get enough "ompfh" from the dhamma at the moment i will incorporate this motivational speaker in my practice :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edH5ICAx5rM

about the OP : i belive that if buddhist wanted to they could be more successful no doubt - even the most motivated by greed person cant deal with someone who has no sloth and tropor no aversion no greed has a sharp clear mind ect ....
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:10 pm

I agree with you. I agree with the basic points you are making in the OP. If one has greater concentration, greater focus, less greed, etc., then yes it is possible to do your job or career to the best of your ability and likely to succeed. See: Sedaka Sutta.

A few very successful Buddhist celebrities:
Ellison Onizuka, NASA Astronaut
Tiger Woods, professional golfer
Steve Wynn, Las Vegas casino mogul

However, there are other factors involved, such as the economy, your bosses, co-workers and other things which could prevent an otherwise very focused person from getting ahead.
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