Billionaire and Sotapanna?

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Billionaire and Sotapanna?

Postby SamKR » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:00 am

A purely fictitious question, and a bit silly too :). But I am curious.

Assume that there is a householder who is guaranteed to be a sotapanna in this life. If he has only two options as below, which do you think is better to choose?

1. Being a billionaire (who still follows Dhamma, and lives happily) by 2022, and then sotapanna in 2032 (while still being a billionaire)
2. Being a Sotapanna in 2022, and no possibility of being a billionaire thereafter.

Title edited.
Last edited by SamKR on Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:34 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Billionaire or Sotapanna?

Postby David2 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:33 am

Being a billionaire has no meaning. A billionaire can be the most miserable person on earth.
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Re: Billionaire or Sotapanna?

Postby SamKR » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:53 am

David2 wrote:Being a billionaire has no meaning. A billionaire can be the most miserable person on earth.

Yes, I understand your point.
Let me add more information: He is not a very miserable person, or at least he is an average guy who is living happily, following Dhamma, and using his fortunes for all sorts of social and Dhamma service too. He is still following Dhamma though he cannot become sotapanna until 2032.
And most importantly, sooner or later, whether he becomes billionaire or not, he is guaranteed to be a sotapanna in this life.
Last edited by SamKR on Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Billionaire or Sotapanna?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:00 am

Greetings Sam,

SamKR wrote:A purely fictitious question, and a bit silly too :). But I am curious.

Well, it's good that you see the error/uselessness in this speculation. Good for you. 8-)

Just don't be the one who needs to know the name and caste of the person who shot him and other miscellaneous information, before he'll have the arrow removed.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Billionaire or Sotapanna?

Postby David2 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:01 am

SamKR wrote:He is not a very miserable person.


Being a billionaire still has no meaning. Why would one who follows the Buddha's teaching even want to have so much money? You can lose all the money over night. You have more responsibilities with so much money. It is distracting from what is really important.

Why would you want to be a billionaire, when you are a Sotapanna you probably give away most of the money anyway, or even become a monk and give all money away.
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Re: Billionaire or Sotapanna?

Postby Ben » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:43 am

Greetings Sam,

My priority is not to accumulate extraordinary worldly wealth.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Billionaire or Sotapanna?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:50 am

See also:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=13288

I heard Goenka say that he is happy that he was successful as a businessman because had he not been, he might have still wondered if that would have given him complete happiness. He also said that he ran a retreat for business CEOs and executives and some were billionaires. He said, "show me a billionaire and I'll show you a miserable person."

(for the record, I have not personally met Goenka-ji, these are just words I heard him say at a talk he was doing in Los Angeles several years back, that I attended.)

Financial success provides opportunities to buy many things and yes to do some charity too, but also comes with big responsibilities, stress, worries, and other problems. I remember when one financial "guru" was taken to prison for some illegal activities, he remarked, "I have been relieved of the burden of wealth."
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Re: Billionaire or Sotapanna?

Postby Ben » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:26 am

Hi David,

David N. Snyder wrote:See also:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=13288

I heard Goenka say that he is happy that he was successful as a businessman because had he not been, he might have still wondered if that would have given him complete happiness. He also said that he ran a retreat for business CEOs and executives and some were billionaires. He said, "show me a billionaire and I'll show you a miserable person."

(for the record, I have not personally met Goenka-ji, these are just words I heard him say at a talk he was doing in Los Angeles several years back, that I attended.)


Yes, I have heard him say the same things during the evening discourses of the ten-day vipassana course and I have personally heard him relate similar stories and messages.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

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Re: Billionaire and Sotapanna?

Postby SamKR » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:15 am

Thanks everyone for the replies.

David2 wrote:
SamKR wrote:He is not a very miserable person.


Being a billionaire still has no meaning. Why would one who follows the Buddha's teaching even want to have so much money? You can lose all the money over night. You have more responsibilities with so much money. It is distracting from what is really important.

Why would you want to be a billionaire, when you are a Sotapanna you probably give away most of the money anyway, or even become a monk and give all money away.

Ben wrote:Greetings Sam,

My priority is not to accumulate extraordinary worldly wealth.
kind regards,

Ben

A very rich person (who also practices Dhamma) could use his resources for Dhamma service. My fictitious person (who chooses option 1) does not only accumulate but also spends a lot for social and Dhamma services.
Isn't Anathapindika an example in the Buddha's times?

David N. Snyder wrote:See also:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=13288

I heard Goenka say that he is happy that he was successful as a businessman because had he not been, he might have still wondered if that would have given him complete happiness. He also said that he ran a retreat for business CEOs and executives and some were billionaires. He said, "show me a billionaire and I'll show you a miserable person."

(for the record, I have not personally met Goenka-ji, these are just words I heard him say at a talk he was doing in Los Angeles several years back, that I attended.)

Financial success provides opportunities to buy many things and yes to do some charity too, but also comes with big responsibilities, stress, worries, and other problems. I remember when one financial "guru" was taken to prison for some illegal activities, he remarked, "I have been relieved of the burden of wealth."

I also heard or read somewhere about Goenka ji saying this. Sure, financial accumulation can be a source of stress, if he is not following Dhamma. But if he is following Dhamma, then he could use the resources wisely without much stress and worries, and help many people.


retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sam,

SamKR wrote:A purely fictitious question, and a bit silly too :). But I am curious.

Well, it's good that you see the error/uselessness in this speculation. Good for you. 8-)

Just don't be the one who needs to know the name and caste of the person who shot him and other miscellaneous information, before he'll have the arrow removed.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Thanks for suggestion, retro. But this question is not useless, I think. Of course, the assumption (that someone is guaranteed to be a sotapanna in this life) is almost impossible, but the responses to this question might help me to clear up some doubts in my mind.
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Re: Billionaire and Sotapanna?

Postby poto » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:53 am

Not sure I will live to see 2032... I mean, I hope I do, but life is short sometimes. So, I'd probably go with the guaranteed sotapanna thing in 2022.

On the other hand, if I was sure I'd live until 2032 then I'd probably go the billionaire route. Lots of good charities and worthwhile projects out there that could benefit from that kind of money being dropped on them. At that level of money you're talking about the chance to change the world for the better if you know what you're doing.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Billionaire and Sotapanna?

Postby SamKR » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:00 am

Thank you, poto, for the reply.
:smile:
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Re: Billionaire and Sotapanna?

Postby fig tree » Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:16 am

SamKR wrote:A very rich person (who also practices Dhamma) could use his resources for Dhamma service.

I don't think this kind of question is so very silly, hypothetical as it may be.

People who decide not to ordain are described as being an integral part of the "four-fold community", and laypeople are recommended to apply themselves to their work and aim for success at it. Take the Sigalovada sutta for instance. Using your wealth for the benefit of others is no piece of chopped liver.

I think in the end, though, especially in times like these where stream-enterers are pretty rare, that even just attaining stream entry at a younger age than one might otherwise have done is the bigger prize. People like that leave an impression on the people they meet and if they teach, especially on their students. The individual person who reaches stream entry also gains great peace of mind, which even for a short period of time is worth more than these other things.

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Re: Billionaire and Sotapanna?

Postby santa100 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:51 am

SamKR wrote:
"And most importantly, sooner or later, whether he becomes billionaire or not, he is guaranteed to be a sotapanna in this life"

Given that important piece of info., I'd definitely take the first option. The obvious big risk of being too wealthy is that money corrupts people. But your premise basically says that there's no way the householder would've used his/her great wealth for evil purpose (else s/he would've not been guaranteed of sotapanna in this life), so, picking option 1 means zero risk of regression, a guarantee of self-deliverance, and wholesome dedication of one's great wealth for the sake of other people. It's a win-win..
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Re: Billionaire and Sotapanna?

Postby chownah » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:31 pm

All the money in the world belongs to me but I let everyone use it because if I didn't let people use it then it would lose it's value and what would be the point of that?
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