Buddhists and the economy

How Buddhists View Our Financial Crisis

How Buddhists View Our Financial Crisis

Do the current economic conditions leave you feeling uncertain and bleak? It might be time to take a deep breath and explore how the Buddhists view our financial crisis. You’ve probably heard the cliché before, but is there opportunity in our current economic crisis?

In order to understand how Buddhists view our financial crisis, a basic understanding of dukkha is required. Although dukkha doesn’t have a direct translation to English, it is a reference to suffering. This may be further explored in the Four Noble Truths. Through these truths, we learn detachment of desires such as greed. A key principle to understanding the financial crisis through the lens of Buddhism will require letting go of attachment to material existence and achieving liberation and freedom from suffering.

How does an understanding of dukkha enlighten us in our current economy? Rather than meeting our current financial crisis with fear and despair, mindfulness, openness, compassion—dharma—should be radiated from us to all suffering beings. At that point, economic challenges become an opportunity for growth and dispersion of love and kindness.

In order to understand how Buddhists view our financial crisis, it helps to anchor this in something that is concrete. For our purposes today, it is counter-intuitive to accept that the concept of money is not a reality. In this case, we need to apply the absolute to the relative. When people become so attached to cash, they cling to a false sense of security and fear.

A simple mindful act like buying someone a cup of coffee could help reduce financial tensions in a ripple effect by alleviating some of the fear and greed in the world.

When meditating on the current economic condition, the Dalai Lama offered these words of wisdom, “Too much speculation and ultimately greed…the potential to help is: reduce greed and (increase) self-discipline. Economic crisis is something urgent so it will be helpful to reduce some other conflict (that are going on) in the name of faith and nationality.”

Buddhism teaches the concept of impermanence. Ultimately, learning how Buddhists view our financial crisis can help you cope with the ups and downs that are normal in a society. The cyclical nature of finance is normal. Through this perception, we can achieve liberation from financial prisons through love and compassion.

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