Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

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seeker242
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by seeker242 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:45 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:I agree with you. I agree with the basic points you are making in the OP. If one has greater concentration, greater focus, less greed, etc., then yes it is possible to do your job or career to the best of your ability and likely to succeed. See: Sedaka Sutta.

A few very successful Buddhist celebrities:
Ellison Onizuka, NASA Astronaut
Tiger Woods, professional golfer
Steve Wynn, Las Vegas casino mogul

However, there are other factors involved, such as the economy, your bosses, co-workers and other things which could prevent an otherwise very focused person from getting ahead.
Jackie Chan
Jet Li
Richard Gere

Even though they are all actors. :tongue:

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by binocular » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:29 am

purple planet wrote:When someone has lower levels of sloth and torpor he has energy to work well - (if only to help his boss or not make his boss frustrated or to prevent him from getting fired so he can feed his family )
he has less greed and aversion so less chances he will surf the internet while at work
he has more focus and less distracted so he would work better
he will less likely get into arguments
by less aversion and understanding annicha antta and dukkha he wont feel bad if his boss will ask him to work a few extra hours
once the mind is clear from hindrances one can find solutions to problems better
ect ect

all this things should come natural to him without any desire or effort so i dont think its a matter of ambition
So where do you draw the line?

Would an "advanced Buddhist" be willing and able to work 12-hour days, 6 days a week, with a 90 minutes commute in one direction - and all this in top psycho-physical condition, producing excellent work, for decades, even if for relatively small payment?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Doshin
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by Doshin » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:29 am

I think of the buddhist path, as one where you let go of things, not one where you get more (things/status).

Generally I think your thread/theme is based on comparing one (self) to others, i.e. am I being better, worse or equal to others. As far as I see that is a conceit, and I don't think it is a productive train of thoughts.
purple planet wrote:...
Ok what i think now : the dhamma does help deal with mundane life and does help to do better in life ...
Better then what ? And how do you know that that measurement of "better"/"best" isn't wrong, but only seen as right due to delusion ?
purple planet wrote: ... - and i do belive that buddhist (Advanced ones) should do better in their job performance - its just logical they would -
Again, compared to what ?

Compared to what/how they would be doing, if not being buddhists ? That can never be known, and would purely be a belief.

Compared to others ? People are all different, and their skills as well; i.e. you would not be able to see if they are just "better", or if it is due to their spirituality.
purple planet wrote: ... they wouldnt work for nothing and wouldn't work just for the sake of working
Is there such work, that never is good for anything ?

_/\_
Knowing about dhamma, does not imply knowing dhamma

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by purple planet » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:35 am

Is there such work, that never is good for anything ?
yeah i wont work for my boss to get more money so he can go party - but i will work for my family - i wont work for the sake of working - its time wasting and lots of times health damaging

but i understand doshin that there are many factors to calculate in this issue


No binocouler

part of the sappaya dhamma - 7 supporting factors is avoiding over work (others are over eating/sleeping/talking ect)

its all about moderation BUT - a buddhist will preform a bit better because of the practice

he might use it to end early and go home early - but if his family needs the money he can work harder - and he wont feel depresed cause of it
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance

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Doshin
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by Doshin » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:48 am

purple planet wrote:
Is there such work, that never is good for anything ?
yeah i wont work for my boss to get more money so he can go party ...
That would (probably) make your boss happy, wouldn't that be nice (being nice to others) ?
purple planet wrote:- but i will work for my family - i wont work for the sake of working - its time wasting and lots of times health damaging
Making people you like happy, is very easy to see as good. Is it bad to help people you don't like, or even people you don't know ? Maybe if they see good in others, they might be inspired by the path, or some aspects of it.
purple planet wrote:but i understand doshin that there are many factors to calculate in this issue
It's just like trying to evaluate Khamma, or trying to predict the outcome of Khamma. But I think you have seen my point, as I tried to formulate it.

_/\_
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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by purple planet » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:12 pm

Yeah i understad - you make good points

for sure its not such an easy subject - cause some efforts are wholesome and some are not

i cant say your wrong on anything you said actually - still not convinced somehow but cant explain why
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by binocular » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:49 pm

Doshin wrote:Generally I think your thread/theme is based on comparing one (self) to others, i.e. am I being better, worse or equal to others. As far as I see that is a conceit, and I don't think it is a productive train of thoughts.
Actually, I think the implicit topic is about the role and goal of spiritual practice in one's life.

Some people believe - and I've heard even William James was one of those - that the whole point of any kind of spiritual or religious practice is to become a well-adjusted, well-functioning citizen in ordinary worldly society; and that one's spiritual advancement is to be measured by how well-adjusted to life as it is usually lived one is.

/William James/ followed the Romantics in saying that the function of religious experience was to heal the sense of "divided self," creating a more integrated self-identity better able to function in society.
/.../
Drawing on Methodism to provide two categories for classifying all religious experiences — conversion and sanctification — James gave a Romantic interpretation to both. For the Methodists, these categories applied specifically to the soul's relationship to God. Conversion was the turning of the soul to God's will; sanctification, the attunement of the soul to God's will in all its actions. To apply these categories to other religions, James removed the references to God, leaving a more Romantic definition: conversion unifies the personality; sanctification represents the on-going integration of that unification into daily life.

Also, James followed the Romantics in judging the effects of both types of experiences in this-worldly terms. Conversion experiences are healthy when they foster healthy sanctification: the ability to maintain one's integrity in the rough and tumble of daily life, acting as a moral and responsible member of human society.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... icism.html
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by binocular » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:05 pm

purple planet wrote:part of the sappaya dhamma - 7 supporting factors is avoiding over work (others are over eating/sleeping/talking ect)
Again, where does one draw the line?

For a particular person, the amount of work considered minimum in some jobs, may already be overwork.

An ordinary worker cannot set these norms themselves; they are instead set by the boss or employment policy. And it's not easy to live up to that norm, at least for some people. And if one struggles to even just live up to the minimum - what hopes can such a person have for anything more, anytime soon?

a buddhist will preform a bit better because of the practice

he might use it to end early and go home early - but if his family needs the money he can work harder - and he wont feel depresed cause of it
Theoretically, this seems like it should be true. But I find it a bit idealistic. What you describe might be like that for someone who has no doubts about the Dhamma, no major problems and questions in their practice, who is solidly established in the practice. But who is like that ...
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by purple planet » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:20 pm

Theoretically, this seems like it should be true. But I find it a bit idealistic. What you describe might be like that for someone who has no doubts about the Dhamma, no major problems and questions in their practice, who is solidly established in the practice. But who is like that ...
thats why i said "advanced buddhists " but maybe regular buddhists like myself can have this affects on a very small - tiny scale

by the way another thing is when your mindful of what you do you tend to do less mistakes - so someone who is practicing - he might preform not-complicated simple physical tasks - with fewer mistakes - he might be a better waiter cause a buddhist would drop less glasses on the floor
Again, where does one draw the line?

For a particular person, the amount of work considered minimum in some jobs, may already be overwork.

An ordinary worker cannot set these norms themselves; they are instead set by the boss or employment policy. And it's not easy to live up to that norm, at least for some people. And if one struggles to even just live up to the minimum - what hopes can such a person have for anything more, anytime soon?
not sure - i re-read my posts and they seem very confused - so this would be my last post on this thread - hope others will answer your question its a good one - but i will give it a try :

a buddhist might except better that he cant work better than he does now and wont get frustrated about it - and also wouldnt think its the end of the world if he lost his job - unless he does it for his family and then he will deiced what he prefers

A buddhist might know better when he is just lazy and emotional - and when its actually something that hurts his health and is not worth the money ... cause he will be mindful of laziness and aversion better then other non-buddhists ( buddhist=advanced buddhist - for the record im not advanced so its not about me lol )
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by Sati1 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:25 pm

Isn't it a bit like asking why there are no arahant celebrities displaying their psychic powers (iddhi) publicly? Psychic powers, like the other faculties and strengths that arise as one walks the Buddhist Path generally accompany a loss of interest in wordly pursuits and yield a sharp recognition of the dangers implicit in seeking fame, wealth and power. Thus, the more "Buddhist powers" one has, the less one will want to use or display these powers for "success".
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by Chi » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:24 am

A few questions and thoughts arise in the mind when reading this thread. A few may already have been raised, directly or indirectly, but I'll list what comes to mind.

What is the criteria for an "advanced Buddhist?" Meditative attainments? Meditation experience? Theoretical knowledge?
What makes one believe these lead one to worldly success?
Is spiritual maturity in terms of contentment, humility, gratitude, peacefulness, etc. not considered "success" in OP's mind?
What makes one think an "advanced Buddhist" wants to be more successful?
What makes one think Buddhists are inherently more mindful or better workers than non-Buddhists?

The spiritual path may not be linear for some. Many worldly desires and goals fall away. The thinking, planning mind may become less filled with thoughts of any type of success. Meditation practitioners might actually become less skillful in their work life at certain times. They might work less than more. They might become lazier when performing work-related tasks. They might actually take steps to be less "successful" in the worldly sense so they can focus on solitude and simplicity. Just something to consider.

Peace,
Chi
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by lyndon taylor » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:36 am

Good post, Chi, you sort of sum up how I see it too.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by DNS » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:13 am

Chi wrote:Meditation practitioners might actually become less skillful in their work life at certain times. They might work less than more. They might become lazier when performing work-related tasks. They might actually take steps to be less "successful" in the worldly sense so they can focus on solitude and simplicity. Just something to consider.
I disagree. The Buddhist lay householder life is not the monastic life. The Buddha advised lay people to have a wholesome living and spoke in praise of that. He did not advocate being lazy either for lay or monastic.
AN 5.41 wrote: "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — provides his friends & associates with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. This is the second benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — wards off calamities coming from fire, flood, kings, thieves, or hateful heirs, and keeps himself safe. This is the third benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — performs the five oblations: to relatives, guests, the dead, kings, & devas. This is the fourth benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — institutes offerings of supreme aim, heavenly, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven, given to brahmans & contemplatives who abstain from intoxication & heedlessness, who endure all things with patience & humility, each taming himself, each restraining himself, each taking himself to Unbinding. This is the fifth benefit that can be obtained from wealth.
DN 31 wrote:"There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in being addicted to idleness:

"He does no work, saying:
(i) that it is extremely cold, (ii) that it is extremely hot, (iii) that it is too late in the evening, (iv) that it is too early in the morning, (v) that he is extremely hungry, (vi) that he is too full.

"Living in this way, he leaves many duties undone, new wealth he does not get, and wealth he has acquired dwindles away."
This is not to say that I feel that lay people must pursue great material success; but rather that a householder life free of idleness and laziness is praised by the Buddha and allows one to take care of responsibilities. As I mentioned in my first post in this thread, there are other factors that could prevent one from being too materially successful, including the economy, one's bosses, and co-workers, which we don't have much control over. However, there is no part of the Buddha's teaching that suggests one should be idle or lazy. Even a monastic who gives up all material possessions is to work diligently toward the goal.
MN 70 wrote:"Though my skin, my nerves and my bones shall waste away and my life blood go dry, I will not leave this seat until I have attained the highest wisdom, called supreme enlightenment, that leads to everlasting happiness."

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by Chi » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:57 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
I disagree. The Buddhist lay householder life is not the monastic life. The Buddha advised lay people to have a wholesome living and spoke in praise of that. He did not advocate being lazy either for lay or monastic.
I understand and respect what the Buddha advised. Laziness is a great obstacle to any endeavor in this life. But I am talking about what actually happens in the practice, from my own limited experience and from watching and listening to other Dhamma practitioners. As different goals, both spiritual and worldly may fade away, transform, or disappear along the path, sometimes the mind has no ambition or motivation to strive for anything. Sometimes the mind is full of motivation and determination to strive for liberation, and sometimes, in the same being, can be full of the same energy to strive for worldly aims. Minds come and go. Sometimes we realize the mind is actually really lazy when it comes to relinquishing desires, although outwardly, we may seem energetic and motivated and highly functional in the worldly sense. It's quite a paradox, really.

There is a wide spectrum of Dhamma practitioners. From what I have seen and heard, there householders firmly set on being a lay practitioner, householders who don't know whether they want to be lay or monastic, householders who know they want to be a monastic but still have worldly obligations, those living in monastic environments without worldly obligations but want to stay lay, those living in monastic environments who don't know whether they want to be lay or monastic, those who are living in monastic environments as lay but are set on being monastics, monastics who don't want to be monastics, monastics who don't know if they should be lay, monastics who are bent on liberation, monastics who just want to relax and live a simple life and have stopped striving for liberation, and monastics who are ambitious in the worldly sense.

Bottom line, I'm just saying there is no reason why lay Buddhists should be successful or should be unsuccessful in the worldly sense. Different people have different karma. Some might be millionaires one day and impoverished the next due to certain causes and conditions. Some might have lots of money but poor health. Some might be beggars with excellent health. Who know?
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.

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Re: Shouldn't lay Buddhists be very successful ?

Post by binocular » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:53 am

Chi wrote:I understand and respect what the Buddha advised. Laziness is a great obstacle to any endeavor in this life. But I am talking about what actually happens in the practice, from my own limited experience and from watching and listening to other Dhamma practitioners. As different goals, both spiritual and worldly may fade away, transform, or disappear along the path, sometimes the mind has no ambition or motivation to strive for anything. Sometimes the mind is full of motivation and determination to strive for liberation, and sometimes, in the same being, can be full of the same energy to strive for worldly aims. Minds come and go. Sometimes we realize the mind is actually really lazy when it comes to relinquishing desires, although outwardly, we may seem energetic and motivated and highly functional in the worldly sense. It's quite a paradox, really.

There is a wide spectrum of Dhamma practitioners. From what I have seen and heard, there householders firmly set on being a lay practitioner, householders who don't know whether they want to be lay or monastic, householders who know they want to be a monastic but still have worldly obligations, those living in monastic environments without worldly obligations but want to stay lay, those living in monastic environments who don't know whether they want to be lay or monastic, those who are living in monastic environments as lay but are set on being monastics, monastics who don't want to be monastics, monastics who don't know if they should be lay, monastics who are bent on liberation, monastics who just want to relax and live a simple life and have stopped striving for liberation, and monastics who are ambitious in the worldly sense.
Exactly.

And it doesn't seem like one could choose with one simple act what kind of Buddhist to be and then stick to it.

One cannot say "I am a lay Buddhist practitioner and I intend to stay this way until the day I die. Until then, I will just keep to my practice. I do not think any surprises await me."

One's practice can have effects on one's life, unpredictable effects.

Bottom line, I'm just saying there is no reason why lay Buddhists should be successful or should be unsuccessful in the worldly sense. Different people have different karma.
However, there are many instructions for lay practitioners (a collection here) and I myself have come away from reading those instructions with the impression that practicing the Dhamma as a lay will make one successful in the worldly sense; and that absence of such success is an indication that one has not practiced right.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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