The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby ground » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:37 am

cooran wrote:"What is the accomplishment of watchfulness?
"Herein, Vyagghapajja, whatsoever wealth a householder is in possession of, obtained by dint of effort, collected by strength of arm, by the sweat of his brow, justly acquired by right means — such he husbands well by guarding and watching so that kings would not seize it, thieves would not steal it, fire would not burn it, water would not carry it away, nor ill-disposed heirs remove it. This is the accomplishment of watchfulness.


Maybe this should be amended by "by strength of intellect" these days? :smile:


Kind regards
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:40 am

TMingyur wrote:
cooran wrote:"What is the accomplishment of watchfulness?
"Herein, Vyagghapajja, whatsoever wealth a householder is in possession of, obtained by dint of effort, collected by strength of arm, by the sweat of his brow, justly acquired by right means — such he husbands well by guarding and watching so that kings would not seize it, thieves would not steal it, fire would not burn it, water would not carry it away, nor ill-disposed heirs remove it. This is the accomplishment of watchfulness.


Maybe this should be amended by "by strength of intellect" these days? :smile:


Kind regards


I don't think it needs to, Ming

justly acquired by right means
would include non-labour related professions.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby manas » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:41 am

chownah wrote:I'd really like to see a sutta reference where the Buddha teaches about how we should only make our living by "the sweat of our brow".....I don't think he said that or anything else directly to that effect.....can anyone provide one/some?
chownah
I never said *only*...Anyway, although I do remember reading that 'sweat of one's brow' quote, I cannot now find that quote, but I think it was just a 'figure of speech' implying that one should actually be doing something productive, and putting forth effort in one's work (but I'm speculating here). I certainly was not implying that the Buddha said we all have to do work that involves working up a sweat...haha... Anyway, regarding Wall Street, take a look at this:

A balanced livelihood

"Herein, Vyagghapajja, a householder knowing his income and expenses leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income.

"Just as the goldsmith, or an apprentice of his, knows, on holding up a balance, that by so much it has dipped down, by so much it has tilted up; even so a householder, knowing his income and expenses leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income."

— AN 8.54

Interesting...'don't spend more than you earn!', pretty clearly spelt out.

:namaste:

EDIT: I wish to thank all those above who recalled the location of and / or found that quote...I knew I had read it somewhere!! :smile:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Dan74 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:57 am

As I see it, the Occupy movement is not really about complaining, which chowna seems to think.

It is saying "no" to ruthless corporations and their greed and it is looking to reimagine a just society, a truly participatory democracy when citizens have a real say, where we feel empowered to create a better more wholesome world for ourselves and our children.

Of course a lot of people are suffering in this economic climate and it is a cynical exercise to just say "get retrained" or there are others much worse off then you. This is always true. And yes, we should all take responsibility for our part in whatever misfortunes befall us. It is more skillful and useful for the future. But taking Wall Street to task, not only for its role in the GFC, but for jacking up world food prices and causing famine and mass farmer suicide, for instance, and many other examples of ruthless and psychopathic corporate behaviour, is way way overdue.

The way financial markets work in the US encourages dangerous and damaging speculation. The culture of the financial markets is predicated on one thing alone - short term gain. Then there is the military-industrial complex which sells weapons to the very regimes we have condemned for abuses. In fact as the Arab Spring was unfolding, the British PM was on a weapon sales tour of Middle East and North Africa and the French Foreign Minister offered Tunisian dictator to help his police with crowd control.

This culture of greed and environmental destruction is incompatible with the Dhamma, incompatible with basic human decency in fact. And this is what the Occupy movement means to me.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:01 am

Thank you, Dan!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:15 am

Dan74 wrote:
"As I see it, the Occupy movement is not really about complaining, which chowna seems to think."
Dan74,
I think there is a difference between the rhetoric generated by members of the Occupy movement (which is probably a small number of people) as reported by the media and the motivation of a large number (if not majority or vast majority) of the demonstrators and their supporters. I thought I sort of expressed this already when I posted, "....but it is sadly (in my view) only too common for demonstrations especially in the US to be motivated by short term self interest even when the issues being confronted are noble.".....and I stand by this statement completely. How is it that just now people are up in arms?.....the corporate problem has been going on for a very long time....the issues being raised are not new ones. I think that it is because there are alot of people whose incomes have dropped considerably in recent years or whose outlook for gainful employment and being able to pay back student loans has dimmed. This is happening now because there is economic turmiol which has disrupted the consumer patterns of average Americans....when Americans don't have spare cash to distract themselves with consumer spending they get viscious....it was the same in the days of the Roman emporers.....if they couldn't provide enough spectacle in the arenas then there rule was on shakey ground........I think then and now it was called "food and circus".

I'm hoping this movement can accomplish some of the rhetorical goals that have been bandied about in their name but I am not going to bet on it. I wonder if there is an Occupy Wallstreet branch demonstration in Somalia?.....remember Somalia and those starving people?....I think many have already forgotten because the demonstrations have Occupied their minds......

Why are so many Americans fat?.....this is a fact that I'm sure will stir up some reactions.....but why should it....it is true......I'm sure that the things I say on this topic will stir up some reactions......I won't however claim that they are all fact.....you be the judge of that.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby PeterB » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:23 am

Its an established fact that obesity in "developed countries " is higher among those with a low income, they eat for cheapness and comfort , not nutrition. Just as smoking is rapidly becoming a " blue collar" activity.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:30 am

Hi Chownah,
As I am sure you are all too aware, there are non domestic-US-based causes and effects that has meant that the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement has global appeal. The European sovereign debt crisis - its effect is rippling through world economies. While Australia is relatively well insulated from the global economic turbulence there are a lot of people who are still living with the legacy of the GFC of 2007/08 (myself included).

Yes. you are right, most people are just focused on their short-term benefit and have a short memory.

And no, some of us have not forgotten the crisis in the Horn of Africa. Some would suggest that it too is a symptom of the same problem.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Mr Man » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:32 am

If the demonstrations cause a little bit of thought and discusion I would say they are a good thing.

George Carlin ~ The American Dream (contains bad language)

http://youtu.be/acLW1vFO-2Q

Chownah are you not an American?
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:44 am

This, also, is relevant: Is the global economy a Ponzi scheme? by Joe Romm
http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2009/03/08/203784/ponzi-scheme-madoff-friedman-natural-capital-renewable-resources/
... and there's not even any bad language in it :tongue:

:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby kirk5a » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:05 pm

chownah wrote: the motivation of a large number (if not majority or vast majority) of the demonstrators and their supporters. <snip.> I think that it is because there are alot of people whose incomes have dropped considerably in recent years or whose outlook for gainful employment and being able to pay back student loans has dimmed.

You don't have any knowledge about the motivations of the majority of demonstrators, you're just speculating. But even if it is the case, so. what. You seem to think that as long as we can eat at McDonalds and starving Africans can't, we shouldn't protest institutionalized theft and the usurping of democracy by the money changers. Doesn't follow at all. You should consider the extent to which the obscene concentration of wealth is a global problem affecting poor countries as well. And so a bunch of selfish Americans protesting that fact might be a good thing, even if their motivations aren't as pure as you seem to think they should be. What's the alternative? Say nothing until we can have a protest of the enlightened? But even on that score, I see non-violence is mostly being followed by the protestors, and so those protests are surely superior to some that have occurred over the years in say, Thailand.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:30 am

kirk5a wrote:
chownah wrote: the motivation of a large number (if not majority or vast majority) of the demonstrators and their supporters. <snip.> I think that it is because there are alot of people whose incomes have dropped considerably in recent years or whose outlook for gainful employment and being able to pay back student loans has dimmed.

You don't have any knowledge about the motivations of the majority of demonstrators, you're just speculating.
But even if it is the case, so. what. You seem to think that as long as we can eat at McDonalds and starving Africans can't, we shouldn't protest institutionalized theft and the usurping of democracy by the money changers. Doesn't follow at all.
You should consider the extent to which the obscene concentration of wealth is a global problem affecting poor countries as well. And so a bunch of selfish Americans protesting that fact might be a good thing, even if their motivations aren't as pure as you seem to think they should be.
What's the alternative?
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:51 am

kirk5a" wrote the quoted excerpts and my comments follow each excerpt:

You don't have any knowledge about the motivations of the majority of demonstrators, you're just speculating.

What I said was that there is a difference between the rhetoric we have gotten and the motivation of a large number (and perhaps the majority).....I have worked in organizations working at alternative politics....I have observed how rhetoric arises and I have observed people and seen what seems to motivate them to action.....my assessment of the dynamic is that what I saw was that a very few people created the rhetoric; a corp of faithful who surrounded those very few propogated the rhetoric; and the vast majority accepted the rhetoric to the extent that its immediacy caused them to act but which was not so heart felt that they would accept it as something to live their lives by. I have seen alternative politics first hand and this is what I have seen.....my view of the current action is that it follows the same pattern....what I have seen in the media seems to support this view.....perhaps your views are different....my view is that "there is a difference between the rhetoric we have gotten and the motivation of a large number" of protestors.
But even if it is the case, so. what. You seem to think that as long as we can eat at McDonalds and starving Africans can't, we shouldn't protest institutionalized theft and the usurping of democracy by the money changers. Doesn't follow at all.

You misunderstand me completely. I support the action. My disappointment is that like so many other actions the motivational factors are not going to create the outcome of the rhetoric.....I hope I'm wrong...It would be great if some of the things being bandied about actually were confronted and changed.
You should consider the extent to which the obscene concentration of wealth is a global problem affecting poor countries as well. And so a bunch of selfish Americans protesting that fact might be a good thing, even if their motivations aren't as pure as you seem to think they should be.

Concentration of power is more important than the accumulation of wealth.....the wealthy already have the power and whether they get wealthier or not is immaterial except that when middle class Americans can't do the required amount of consumsing then they start to get greedy and agitate for more money.....when there was no job cirisis in the US people were not so concerned about the wealthy.
What's the alternative?

Organize ones life in a better way.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby cooran » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:20 pm

Hello all,

Another perspective:

Waking Up from the Nightmare: Buddhist Reflections on Occupy Wall Street. ~ David R. Loy
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/10/ ... vid-r-loy/

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:24 pm

cooran wrote:Hello all,

Another perspective:

Waking Up from the Nightmare: Buddhist Reflections on Occupy Wall Street. ~ David R. Loy
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/10/ ... vid-r-loy/

with metta
Chris


Western Theravada Buddhists tend to be very smart, bookish, introverts who find the idea of turning away from the world appealing.

That works for monks and nuns. I don't think it works for lay people. If you are involved in a sphere only bad things come from not being involved in that sphere. Lay people living in the regular world to pay attention to and be involved with the politics there. A failure to do could impair their ability to live there and enjoy the dhamma. For example, wiping out their retirement savings, their access to health care ( get that joint pain interfering with sitting in meditation fixed ), etc.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby manas » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:06 am

Jhana4 wrote:
cooran wrote:Hello all,

Another perspective:

Waking Up from the Nightmare: Buddhist Reflections on Occupy Wall Street. ~ David R. Loy
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/10/ ... vid-r-loy/

with metta
Chris


Western Theravada Buddhists tend to be very smart, bookish, introverts who find the idea of turning away from the world appealing.

That works for monks and nuns. I don't think it works for lay people. If you are involved in a sphere only bad things come from not being involved in that sphere. Lay people living in the regular world to pay attention to and be involved with the politics there. A failure to do could impair their ability to live there and enjoy the dhamma. For example, wiping out their retirement savings, their access to health care ( get that joint pain interfering with sitting in meditation fixed ), etc.
Yes, there is a tendency (I've seen it in myself) to see the practice of the Dhamma as somehow 'independent' of worldy conditions, but maybe this is incorrect. If everything is interrelated, and depends upon something else, then so too must Dhamma practice rely upon a few basic needs being met. I recall that once the Buddha requested a group of laypeople should first be fed, before he would preach to them; I suspect this was because when one is excessively hungry, it would be difficult to pay proper attention to a Dhamma talk. And it wouldn't do much for peace of mind if one was living in a tent, having lost one's job and home, while traders in Wall Street live it up on obscenely high salaries, and tip champagne on the heads of protestors below. I'm not trying to stir up anger, I'm just calling a spade a spade when I say, this is wrong, the entrenched inequity, the increasingly vast gap between the rich and the poor, and needs to be corrected.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby ground » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:00 am

Jhana4 wrote:Western Theravada Buddhists tend to be very smart, bookish, introverts who find the idea of turning away from the world appealing.

That works for monks and nuns. I don't think it works for lay people. ...


That is actually a negation of the 8fold path in the context of lay people. Why? Because if the 8fold path is practiced "turning away from the world" happens "naturally".
But you are right in that as long as it remains an idea it is just an idea in the sphere of attachments to the world.

Kind regards
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:48 pm

At an Occupy Wallstreet official site I found this headline....the "WorldRevolution" part appears in the largest text size used on the front page so I guess this is a major idea that they are promoting:

http://occupywallst.org/

"the only solution is WorldRevolution"

Since there are many here who are of the view that my postings are filled with mistaken views I offer this as a chance to discuss the Occupy Wallstreet rhetoric in relationship to the motivation of its supporters. Many of us here are supporters.....do we agree that the only solution is world revolution.....do we think that the postal workers who demonstrated against reducing mail delivers to five days per week believe that the only solution is world revolution?.....and more imporantly since this is a Buddhist forum can someone provide some kind of Buddhist teaching which in any way supports this kind of notion.....I think for the purposes of this discussion we should not take the term "world" to mean the Buddha's notion since this term is not being presented within the context of Buddhist dhamma....but, hey, if someone wants to look at it that way then have at it.....
chownah
P.S. Also they seem to be planning having some children come and sleep over at the site....do people here think that this is a good idea?
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby manas » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:56 pm

Hi chownah
like ( I'd say ) most protestors, and most ordinary people worldwide, I just wish the globalist elite / world banking cartel would 'see the light', and stop trying to further drown the masses in a sea of ever increasing debt , accompanied by the steady erosion of civil liberties. I wish they would stop of their own accord, but I think this is like the wishful thinking of a daydreaming child. 'It is not for us to choose the times in which we live'...it's tough, could be really tough if they try to really clamp down and impose martial law, etc, but yes we need a mass, peaceful resistance to their rule through PEACEFUL NON-COMPLIANCE, and we need to actually begin governing ourselves. (and no, that is NOT what is happening now...trust me, the elite families don't give a damn about you or me...they do not represent us!)

I want the freedom to not have my anapanasati interrupted one day by military police kicking the door down to drag me off to a cell, just because I don't agree with what my government is doing. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but if we are not very careful, this is where things could lead to, if we don't do something. But we have to be smart about it...no violence, for that is their way...we must use force of numbers, not violence.

metta.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:15 am

Greetings,

If anyone is genuinely interested in these issues from a Buddhist perspective, I highly recommend...

Buddhist Economic Philosophy As Reflected In Early Buddhism by Dr. Dharmasena Hettiarachchi.

I'm only a quarter of the way through it, but it is awesome.

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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