Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
polo
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Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by polo » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:48 am

If you have a good life and well provided for you could spend your time on contemplation. You could have a cup of hot coffee in front of your fire place and a good book on Abhidhamma or Psychology of Buddhism.
Many working people don't really have such luxury by the time they finished their job they get home they are tired. They just want to watch TV after dinner and go to sleep.
You need to be really keen to read books on Buddhism. This is the second part that concerned intellectual. I don't know if any of you on this forum will agree with me that you need to be some kind of intellectual- by that I mean you need to be well educated to be able to comprehend books on Buddhism.
So I come to the conclusion that people who really understand Buddhism is a small minority of the Buddhist society.
I may be wrong but let's hear what more experienced and well read members of the forum have to say on this matter.

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robertk
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by robertk » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:02 pm

I have a Phd in science ed. and enjoy reading and considering Dhamma- .
On the other hand I know old people in Thailand who I consider have good understanding who are illiterate : although they do listen to countless Dhamma talks.

The crucial point is having the interest.

santa100
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by santa100 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:39 pm

polo wrote:If you have a good life and well provided for you could spend your time on contemplation. You could have a cup of hot coffee in front of your fire place and a good book on Abhidhamma or Psychology of Buddhism.
Those conditions are conducive for one becoming a good Buddhologist, but not necessarily a good Buddhist. There's no shortage of men who are able to analyze all the ins and outs of the Buddha's Teaching while still struggling to observe any of the Five Precepts. So the determining factors aren't out there, they are in here: the will, the conviction, the effort. Culapandaka was a prime example.
Culapandaka wrote:That’s how the qualities of conviction and tenacity make all the difference. There’s a story in the Pali tradition of two brothers, Mahapandaka and Culapandaka. The Canon doesn’t tell much about them aside from the fact that they were brothers and eventually both became arahants. But in the commentary, you learn that Mahapandaka was very intelligent and Culapandaka very dumb, so dumb that he embarrassed his older brother. Still, Culapandaka eventually became an arahant. The stories vary as to how, but in each case it’s a matter of Culapandaka’s finally settling down with one meditation topic and really carrying through with it. It was through his tenacity that he finally figured things out.

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Aloka
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Aloka » Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:46 pm

I have a degree and I'm also a qualified schoolteacher and a qualified complementary therapist. However, I definately don't think you need to be an intellectual (or rich) to be a Buddhist, in fact in some circumstances, it might even be a disadvantage.

In my opinion, Its not about what you read or how much money you have, its your heartfelt attitude to other sentient beings and how you practice that counts.

:anjali:


.
Last edited by Aloka on Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Ceisiwr » Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:52 pm

I finally finish my degree and qualify as a biomedical scientist this year. I’m currently poor due to being a student. I think there needs to be a balance between too poor or too rich, or too much suffering and too much contentment or temptation. This is on average of course. There are always deviations from the mean.

In terms of intellect I would say the same. Too “stupid” and you won’t be able to understand the Dhamma, but also I think if someone is too intelligent they may get lost in academic study of the Dhamma instead of practice.

I did read once that the Dhamma was mostly popular among merchants and the middle class instead of the poor or the very rich. Not sure if that’s historically accurate or not.
“Jhãyatha, mã pamãdattha, mã pacchã vippaìisãrino ahuvattha!”

“Meditate, don’t be negligent, lest you may later regret it!”

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mikenz66
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:00 pm

robertk wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:02 pm
I have a Phd in science ed. and enjoy reading and considering Dhamma- .
On the other hand I know old people in Thailand who I consider have good understanding who are illiterate : although they do listen to countless Dhamma talks.

The crucial point is having the interest.
I agree. From my observation of various people, I think it would be a serious error and conceit to write off the sort of people that I think Robert is referring to as "cultural buddhists", and think that academic knowledge makes one more advanced...

:heart:
Mike

SarathW
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by SarathW » Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:16 pm

Ven. Vijithanada warns that intellectualism is a hindrance to progress.
He advises his followers to practice walking meditation like a fool. (not to intellectualise)
For some reason, rich people are attracted to Buddhism than poor people.
Poor people think that they can end suffering by being rich (unless they are intellectuals. :tongue: ).
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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DNS
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by DNS » Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:52 pm

Good posts above. It should also be noted that education need not be the formal credential type (bachelor's, master's, ph.d.s, etc). One can be quite educated in the [informal] sense of reading lots of books, suttas, etc. I know many highly educated people who don't have any degrees.

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Pondera
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Pondera » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:12 am

I have a B.Sc. which never amounted to anything. By my country’s standards - I’m poor. I save $400 a month; pay a ridiculous amount for rent...

But my job allows me to meditate the entire time. I am supremely content with my arrangement. I would not want to be rich - I would not want such worldly pressure and responsibilities.

I believe you must be intelligent to progress in Buddhism. Artistically, philosophically - it does not matter. You must have only “a little dust on your eyes” to progress in Buddhism.

char101
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by char101 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:11 am

It is for everyone, but the rich and intellectual has more opportunities to practice Buddhism.

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Pondera
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Pondera » Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:33 am

Kurt Cobain was rich and artistically gifted. He wrote songs about inner torment and suffered chronically from undiagnosed stomach pain. He began self medicating with heroin but didn’t believe he’d ever become addicted. His suicide note was addressed to an imaginary childhood friend named “Buddha”. Before his death, both Kurt and Courtney ordained as lay Buddhist followers.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:35 am

Pondera wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:33 am
Kurt Cobain was rich and artistically gifted. He wrote songs about inner torment and suffered chronically from undiagnosed stomach pain. He began self medicating with heroin but didn’t believe he’d ever become addicted. His suicide note was addressed to an imaginary childhood friend named “Buddha”. Before his death, both Kurt and Courtney ordained as lay Buddhist followers.
That’s interesting. I never knew that.
“Jhãyatha, mã pamãdattha, mã pacchã vippaìisãrino ahuvattha!”

“Meditate, don’t be negligent, lest you may later regret it!”

MettaDevPrac
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by MettaDevPrac » Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:09 am

The ultimate aim of Buddhism is liberation.

Cultivation of moral conduct, concentration, and insight/wisdom does not depend on wealth, education credentials, or demographics; the Buddha successfully taught the Dhamma to people from many backgrounds and of differing preparations and skills.

The Buddha was very critical of the caste system, and of monks or nuns taking pride in or comparing their own background with that of any other monks or nun. That's actually a matter of morality, and communal discipline. But any conceit, any delusion about self, is a hindrance to liberation. My advice would be, don't cultivate it; abandon it.

Every human life is fortunate; this is true because the basic requisites to make progress on the Path are there.
- MettaDevPrac

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Pondera
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Pondera » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:05 am

Ceisiwr wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:35 am
Pondera wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:33 am
Kurt Cobain was rich and artistically gifted. He wrote songs about inner torment and suffered chronically from undiagnosed stomach pain. He began self medicating with heroin but didn’t believe he’d ever become addicted. His suicide note was addressed to an imaginary childhood friend named “Buddha”. Before his death, both Kurt and Courtney ordained as lay Buddhist followers.
That’s interesting. I never knew that.
I should correct my self here. The spelling is “Boddah”.

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.urbandi ... h&amp=true

Interesting that when Cobain was a child (say in 1974 when he was 7 years old) he meets an imaginary friend with a name strikingly close to “Buddha”. I can’t imagine that there was much of a Buddhist influence in Seattle at such a time - and I wouldn’t be surprised if the imaginary friend’s name was an original inception.

Cobain would blame Boddah for anything bad he did - such as torturing a cat or writing “kill your parents” on the wall at school.

SteRo
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by SteRo » Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:54 am

polo wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:48 am
...
So I come to the conclusion that people who really understand Buddhism is a small minority of the Buddhist society.
What is "really understand"?
B. Bodhi wrote:Spk: One “fully understands what can be expressed” by way of the three kinds of full understanding: (i) by full
understanding of the known (ñātapariññā) ... (ii) by full understanding by scrutinization (tīraṇapariññā) ...; (iii) by full understanding as abandonment (pahānapariññā)
There might be many who fully understand the known, i.e. the doctrine.
And there might be none who fully understand as abandoning.

Buddhism can't be for the rich and intellectual exclusively since there are many poor and uneducated monks.

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