Buddhism, then, is a teaching of renunciation. It remains to see what is renounced and why. The Buddha said: "What I teach is just ill (or suffering) and its cessation." What is renounced, then, is ill, suffering, unsatisfactoriness. But what is unsatisfactoriness? Here is the Buddha's answer: "Birth is ill; old age and decay are ill; death is ill; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are ill; not to get what one wants is ill. In short, the five groups that are the object of clinging are ill." These "five groups," taken together, constitute the totality of what we call a "being," and what that being feels to be its "self." They may be translated as follows: form or matter, feeling, perception or ideation, motivation or mental activities, and consciousness. It is oneself, then, that is the source of suffering, and it is self that must be renounced if one would be free from suffering. This is a truth which is recognized by most religions, but only in Buddhism is it fully understood. The feeling of "self," the deep-rooted sense of "I-ness," involves the desire for the continued existence of self. It generates, in other words, greed and attachment, both for the self and also for those things which enhance the existence of the self and make it feel secure, such things as sense-pleasures, possessions, kinship with others, and so on. It also generates hatred for or aversion from what is anti-self, that is, from those things which threaten the continued existence or the happiness of the self by attacking it (or whatever it identifies itself with) or by frustrating it in any way. Thus the self can never be really happy, for it is continually agitated by desires and fears which bind it tightly to the world, and cause the "ill" for which the Buddha has prescribed the cure.
-- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl036.html
skandha wrote:There are actually many teachings in the Theravada suttas in which the Buddha gave guidance to various aspects of worldly life including money, economics, politics, marriage etc. For instance in the Sigalovada Sutta the Buddha even goes into details how to use and save money. He told the young man Sigala that he should spend one fourth of his income on his daily expenses, invest half in his business and put aside one fourth for any emergency. Another that comes to mind is in the Mangala Sutta the Buddha describes the highest happiness and one if it is "To support mother and father, to cherish wife and children, and to be engaged in peaceful occupation — this is the greatest blessing." In fact I find more teachings about non renunciate life in Theravada than in any other tradition. If you search for it you will find a lot more of these teachings targeted at non renunciate.
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