Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

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

Post by Crazy cloud » Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:24 am

A clear mind is all the riches one needs, the rest are attachments.
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

polo
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by polo » Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:50 pm

Pondera wrote:
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.
That's what I was trying to say , you need to be financially stable to have time to read and contemplate. And like you said "I believe you must be intelligent to progress in Buddhism".
By the way what do you do for a job that could allow you to meditate the entire time?
Just curious. Thanks for your reply.

polo
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by polo » Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:53 pm

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.
Who is this Kurt Cobain? Never heard of him before. Do I get informations on wikipedia ?

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Ceisiwr » Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:49 pm

polo wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:53 pm
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.
Who is this Kurt Cobain? Never heard of him before. Do I get informations on wikipedia ?


Lead singer of the band “Nirvana” who later killed himself:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Cobain
“Not taking up any views,
possessing good behaviour, endowed with vision,
having removed greed for sensual pleasures,
one never again comes back to the bed of a womb”
Sn 1.8

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DNS
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by DNS » Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:37 pm

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 didn't know that either. I thought the "Nirvana" name was just to sound cool.

Found this at wiki:
Religion appeared to remain a significant muse to Cobain during this time, as he often used Christian related imagery in his work, and developed a budding interest in Jainism and Buddhist philosophy. The band name "Nirvana" was taken from the Buddhist concept, which Cobain described as "freedom from pain, suffering and the external world," a concept that he aligned with the punk rock ethos and ideology.

A final ceremony was arranged for Cobain, by his mother, on May 31, 1999, and was attended by both Love and Tracy Marander. As a Buddhist monk chanted, daughter Frances Bean scattered Cobain's ashes into McLane Creek in Olympia, the city where he "had found his true artistic muse"
Not only interest in Buddhism, but Jainism too. :o

PeterC86
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by PeterC86 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:11 pm

polo wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:50 pm
That's what I was trying to say , you need to be financially stable to have time to read and contemplate. And like you said "I believe you must be intelligent to progress in Buddhism".
By the way what do you do for a job that could allow you to meditate the entire time?
Just curious. Thanks for your reply.
I understand your point, however, it would be an oversimplification to state that one needs to be financially stable, as that would require one to define what financially stable is, and on what bases 'financially stable' would be defined, then we would have to look at these bases, and sofort... looking to distinguish cause from effect, and get locked in samsara.

The way to progress in Buddhism, seems to be to dependent upon which stream/path one follows. Although I don't know that much about Zen, I spoke with an aspiring Zen Monk, and he explained that it is about dropping everything and just concentrate, whether or not they achieve the same kind of Nirvana as in the Theravada way, I do not know.

The Theravada way leads to two-fold liberation, in which the intellect is one side. To attain that intellectual liberation, one has to transcend the intellect, for which one might tend to belief that a certain kind of capability to intellectually comprehend seems necessary. Although this understanding may also come from liberation from the other side of consciousness; the feeling side, I do not know, as I have not experienced it this way.

How Buddhism is taught is also of relevance, also do you read a book or do you go to a monastery to listen or practice?

I can write more and come up with more points which could be of relevance, but what would it serve, besides entertaining ourselves mentally, which would result in the opposite of what the Buddha tried to teach, and coming up with excuses as to why one might not be progressing.

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Aloka
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Aloka » Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:56 pm

Crazy cloud wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:24 am
A clear mind is all the riches one needs, the rest are attachments.


:twothumbsup:

.

TRobinson465
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:06 am

This reminds me of a Tricycle article I read.
There were two main groups of dedicated practitioners at the center: You had your older, upper-middle-class folks with professions, vacation time, and plenty of disposable income. Then you had your young people—generally of the same class—with no real jobs, who were content to live there in temporary poverty as long as the accommodations came with a spiritual teacher, vegetarian meals, and an honest shot at enlightenment.
https://tricycle.org/magazine/white-trash-buddhist/

Based on ancecdotal evidence I'd say Buddhism in the West definitely attracts more college educated well-to-do people. Tho since over 90% of the worlds Buddhists arent westerners I wouldnt say its only for them. And Western Buddhism is also a bit distinct as well, so id say maybe its just Western Buddhism that is for the "rich and intellectual". Having been to poor areas in Thailand, i can say with full conviction some of the poor people in those areas have greater faith in Buddhism than any intellectual Sutta nerd i've met in the West.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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Pondera
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Pondera » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:17 am

polo wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:50 pm
Pondera wrote:
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.
That's what I was trying to say , you need to be financially stable to have time to read and contemplate. And like you said "I believe you must be intelligent to progress in Buddhism".
By the way what do you do for a job that could allow you to meditate the entire time?
Just curious. Thanks for your reply.
I’m a Security Guard at an abandoned psychiatric hospital. It has 250 acres of land and we’re here to address any issues that come up - like fire alarms, trespassers, etcetera.

We have a lot of down time and I use it to meditate. Of course emergencies happen and we have to switch into high gear to do our job right.

Obviously it’s not a well paying job. I’m just lucky I’ve been here four years and was promoted with a wage increase. Otherwise, I don’t know how I would afford rent in the housing market we have where I live.

Anyway. Not much pressure in this job. Not a lot of repetition. Ie. it’s not an assembly line kind of job. It’s like being a police officer without any power :jumping:

TRobinson465
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:30 am

Being well off and well educated certainly helps with buddhist practice for sure. I'd imagine its harder for people just scraping by to take time to practice Buddhism. Having sufficient wealth is actually pretty important. I'd imagine that's one of the reasons there's stories of arahants going around looking for poor people to give them food.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

SteRo
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by SteRo » Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:09 am

SteRo wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:54 am
...
Buddhism can't be for the rich and intellectual exclusively since there are many poor and uneducated monks.
On the other hand wealth is the result of giving kamma, so giving might improve conditions for practice in one or more of next lives. That's one reason why giving is so appreciated.
Even if many monks come from poor families I doubt that the uneducated monks will progress significantly on the path and in this world it is still wealth that ensures good education.

In the West where there is no tradition of monkhood and monasteries it is wealth that enables one to live the beneficial life of a hermit

sunnat
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by sunnat » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:00 am

Gotama had to renounce everything and become utterly poor and dependent on alms in order to spend years trying to learn something (that in the end no teacher could teach him) . When he renounced the teachings and looked inside he discovered the path by himself, saw the builder of the illusion and became independent. He then continued to live the rest of his life poor. Statistically it must be seen that most people who were touched by his teachings were poor and very few could read. Certainly noone could read the language the Blessed one spoke because it was not a written language for hundreds of years yet uneducated poor continued to benefit and continue to benefit today. It can be seen that wealth and education causes an intricate tangle of views leading to discussions.

SteRo
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by SteRo » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:43 am

sunnat wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:00 am
Gotama had to renounce everything and become utterly poor and dependent on alms in order to spend years trying to learn something (that in the end no teacher could teach him) . When he renounced the teachings and looked inside he discovered the path by himself, saw the builder of the illusion and became independent. He then continued to live the rest of his life poor. Statistically it must be seen that most people who were touched by his teachings were poor and very few could read. Certainly noone could read the language the Blessed one spoke because it was not a written language for hundreds of years yet uneducated poor continued to benefit and continue to benefit today. It can be seen that wealth and education causes an intricate tangle of views leading to discussions.
You can't take these times as reference for present time. Today poor and uneducated people don't have the capacity for dhamma because they are under the influence of wealth and education of others. Today worldly emancipation is a prerequiste for dhamma if you don't live in a society which as a whole is poor and uneducated. Of course you may escape into a monastery but are you really disconnected from worldly influences in a monastery today? If not your intellect needs to be trained too.

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WindDancer
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by WindDancer » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:47 am

Based on my experience and what I have been taught, there is a big difference between learning about Buddhism and actually living the practice. Intelligent, educated people with sufficient money may have the capacity to learn about Buddhism; however, these traits tend to get in the way of these same people making progress toward living the practice. I am sure many of us have met people with plenty of book knowledge but who have little experiential understanding. People I have met who have high intellectual capacity seem to have a more difficult time letting go of self. There is an intellectual aloofness that runs deep. These people place their trust in their own intellect and have a more difficult time surrendering being self-sufficient and truly letting go and developing a deep trust or faith in the Buddha's Path.

Recently, I heard Bhikkhu Bodhi talk about a similar issue. He said that people, like the ones I described above, tended to have a more difficult time in making progress in meditation and in cultivating the Path, whereas he knew of simple villagers who were able to make more progress with less resistance in a similar amount of time.
Live Gently....

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No_Mind
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by No_Mind » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:12 pm

polo wrote:
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.
This question has partly come up on this forum before about how could some members go on a long retreat (anything above 5 days).

Material wealth, an easy to perform job, a job market where there are plentiful jobs if you are willing to be under-employed are certainly conducive to practice.

But it takes dedication and focus (like all other things) to have strong practice.

It is no harder for someone who is poor to be a good Buddhist than to be a good Christian or Muslim or a good human being. Study is a part of the whole journey. It is what is within that matters.

Read about Dipa Ma.

Widowed at a relatively young age and ill she became a celebrated Buddhist meditation teacher.

At the end of the day, the pursuit of Nibbana is same as most other things - how badly do you want it.

:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus

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