Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mindfulness and money

I and Prerna liked book by D. Kulananda and D. Mahaprabha (Dominic Houlder) called "mindfulness and money". It was gifted by Dhammachari Manidhamma of TBMSG. It is a "how-to" manual for the position of money inhuman life. The buddha clearly is in favor of accumulating wealth by sheela-filled means and then managing the money well. "Islamic investing"is so restrictive, while financial complexity of the funding instruments used by ancient buddhist monastries is quite high. Clearly buddhist way of managing money in human life is more comprehensive and less restrictive in scope and depth.

At this point of time in the dalit movement, I think we must encourage and support our young people in taking and managing risk in their careers and enterprises to create more and more wealth for themselves and then to leverage this wealth to make themselves more happy in dhammic ways. Usually the latter requires spending ones money on causes which make other people sustainably happy. After all, unless others are happy, can one really be sustainably happy? My favorite page in "mindfullness and money" was about the money ofa miser. He hoards and does not enjoy it, nor does he allow othersto enjoy it. The page clearly tells us to "earn and enjoy" money and not merely "earn and hoard". Donation is not enjoyment if one is not mature in dhamma. But if you are a good buddhist, then donation is an enjoyment and the book tells you how to handle donations. And one need not only donate, one can behave as a trustee and create/operate various services using one's own money.I find buddhism supportive of "dhamma asoka", the wealthy politician and "anathapindika", the rich investment banker among other ideals. I strongly recommend "mindfullness and money" to young buddhists to get a more comprehensive perspective on how to deal with money in their lives.

Make more money, not less.

In "siddhartha" by nobel prize winning Herman Hesse, the hero goes from monk to householder to not-exactly-a-monk-but-quite-a-monk. One of my other favorites is "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach. I have gifted copies of these books along with "7 habits ofhighly effective people" to many youngsters and "lost" individuals. I strongly recommend all these books.

It is possible to get addicted to almost anything and everything ...money is not the only culprit. It is also possible to have anythingand everything ... and yet not be addicted. Excess service of othersat cost of service to self is unskillful, much like excess service of self at the cost of service to others. Dwell unattached to sensesamong all the sense-objects and do not run away from anything including money. Stay and fight to win your-self with dhamma as the raft.Money is one of the more tangible measures of the relevance of the actions of individuals to the community.

We must (as a community) not run away from money. We must master the process of making money and use money for dhammic purposes...as social or economic entrepreneurs. Dhamma isparticularly useful to take and manage risk in one's personal andprofessional life. Use Dhamma to grow personally and professionally. More dhamma means more money, more peace, etc. till one is sated. Each one's equilibrium may vary. Dr. Ambedkar gave us this Alladin's lamp. Polish your lamp (be a lamp unto yourself) and use it to derive personal and professional benefits and growth.
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