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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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by polo » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:50 pm

Pondera wrote:
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:
Thanks for your reply. You meditate while on the job? How lucky can you get, getting paid while you do your meditation. I would have done so in the same situation. It helps to keep you sane.

SteRo
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by SteRo » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:38 pm

polo wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:50 pm
...You meditate while on the job? How lucky can you get, getting paid while you do your meditation....
I used to regularly meditate on the toilet while on the job a few years ago.

chownah
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by chownah » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:35 pm

Monks aren't rich and many are not intellectual.....does this mean that buddhism is not for many monks?

If the only reason one doesn't study buddhism enough hours in a day is that one is not rich enough and does not have the intellectual motivation to find resources and study them ones self.....if that is the only thing stopping you....then go become a monk and there will be nothing stopping you.

I think there is something else stopping you. If you don't want to become a monk because you want to do x, y,and/or z then I guess it is your desire to have x, y, and/or z that is stopping you.
chownah

TRobinson465
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:29 pm

WindDancer wrote:
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.

I agree with this. I've found that intellectual people progress a lot more slowly in meditation. People who analyze things a lot basically get in thier own way in meditation. Ironically, despite tending to be more familiar with the book knowledge of anatta, they also often have the strongest attachment to thier egos. Literally the most egotistical people I have ever met have been people who are particularly knowledgable in a subject, and Buddhism and suttas is definitely no exception.
"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.

TRobinson465
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:36 pm

And I don't mean to knock scholars. I'm probably the most academic Buddhism inclined person at the local temple I go. But as I said before. This basically gets in my way as it does with other people with similar temperaments. Ive found it's the people who don't care about this stuff that progress the fastest.
"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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DNS
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by DNS » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:52 pm

TRobinson465 wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:06 am
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.
I agree, I think the OP is somewhat correct if we clarify it to mean Western Buddhism or rather converts to Buddhism. And it makes sense to some extent. After all you'd need some education (formal or informal) to pursue comparative religions and philosophies and make some analytical decisions on what is worth pursuing and what is not and thereby leave your birth-religion.

And then in regard to the income and class, you'd need some spare time and money to attend retreats. Some of the costs of some lay led retreats are in the thousands USD for a week or less. And then of course it's all possible to practice and study without attending those costly retreats. And then some are inexpensive or free (just voluntary dana).

For those born into Buddhism, they will of course be from varied economic classes as in virtually all nations there is a mix of classes / incomes / wealth.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Ceisiwr » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:29 pm

DNS wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:52 pm
TRobinson465 wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:06 am
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.
I agree, I think the OP is somewhat correct if we clarify it to mean Western Buddhism or rather converts to Buddhism. And it makes sense to some extent. After all you'd need some education (formal or informal) to pursue comparative religions and philosophies and make some analytical decisions on what is worth pursuing and what is not and thereby leave your birth-religion.

And then in regard to the income and class, you'd need some spare time and money to attend retreats. Some of the costs of some lay led retreats are in the thousands USD for a week or less. And then of course it's all possible to practice and study without attending those costly retreats. And then some are inexpensive or free (just voluntary dana).

For those born into Buddhism, they will of course be from varied economic classes as in virtually all nations there is a mix of classes / incomes / wealth.


I’m glad I have Amaravati which works on a dana basis lol
“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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mikenz66
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:19 pm

DNS wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:52 pm
I agree, I think the OP is somewhat correct if we clarify it to mean Western Buddhism or rather converts to Buddhism. And it makes sense to some extent. After all you'd need some education (formal or informal) to pursue comparative religions and philosophies and make some analytical decisions on what is worth pursuing and what is not and thereby leave your birth-religion. .
I'm reminded again how different people's paths can be. I never made an analytical/comparative religion decision --- I wouldn't know where to start! :tongue: --- I just turned up at a monastery and liked what I saw...
Ceisiwr wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:29 pm
I’m glad I have Amaravati which works on a dana basis lol
Yes, I'm grateful for my local monastery and for lay retreats where the teaching is also on a dana basis, and the accommodation and catering is organised by the group at low cost.

Mike

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DNS
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by DNS » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:59 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:19 pm
I'm reminded again how different people's paths can be. I never made an analytical/comparative religion decision --- I wouldn't know where to start! :tongue: --- I just turned up at a monastery and liked what I saw...
Yes, I remember us talking about that previously and I agree people come from different paths. But what if you walked into a cult and liked what you saw? What if everyone looked happy and was very friendly and helped you in that instance? Would you have joined them?

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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:55 am

DNS wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:59 pm
Yes, I remember us talking about that previously and I agree people come from different paths. But what if you walked into a cult and liked what you saw? What if everyone looked happy and was very friendly and helped you in that instance? Would you have joined them?
Well, I guess it's possible, but I guess I did know it was a monastery, not a cult.

:heart:
Mike

TRobinson465
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by TRobinson465 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:06 am

DNS wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:52 pm

I agree, I think the OP is somewhat correct if we clarify it to mean Western Buddhism or rather converts to Buddhism. And it makes sense to some extent. After all you'd need some education (formal or informal) to pursue comparative religions and philosophies and make some analytical decisions on what is worth pursuing and what is not and thereby leave your birth-religion.

And then in regard to the income and class, you'd need some spare time and money to attend retreats. Some of the costs of some lay led retreats are in the thousands USD for a week or less. And then of course it's all possible to practice and study without attending those costly retreats. And then some are inexpensive or free (just voluntary dana).

For those born into Buddhism, they will of course be from varied economic classes as in virtually all nations there is a mix of classes / incomes / wealth.
Yes actually, i think David here hit the nail on the head by clarifying "converts to Buddhism". It seems obvious but for some reason that just blew over my head. Convert Buddhism is certainly something that tends to be more "elitist" for the various reasons David listed above.
"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.

polo
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by polo » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:04 am

chownah wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:35 pm
Monks aren't rich and many are not intellectual.....does this mean that buddhism is not for many monks?

If the only reason one doesn't study buddhism enough hours in a day is that one is not rich enough and does not have the intellectual motivation to find resources and study them ones self.....if that is the only thing stopping you....then go become a monk and there will be nothing stopping you.

I think there is something else stopping you. If you don't want to become a monk because you want to do x, y,and/or z then I guess it is your desire to have x, y, and/or z that is stopping you.
chownah
Are you the same "chownah" on the Thaivisa forum? I wonder.

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Bundokji
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Bundokji » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:15 am

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.
A distinction between Buddhism and Dhamma can be useful in the context of your question. The understanding of Buddhism, as a phenomena within kamma loka can be affected by conditions such as wealth and intelligence. The dhamma, however, as the law of nature or as transcendence of Kamma loka has nothing to do with conditions.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

polo
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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by polo » Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:35 am

Bundokji wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:15 am
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.
A distinction between Buddhism and Dhamma can be useful in the context of your question. The understanding of Buddhism, as a phenomena within kamma loka can be affected by conditions such as wealth and intelligence. The dhamma, however, as the law of nature or as transcendence of Kamma loka has nothing to do with conditions.
Yes, I must agree with you. A good insight on this question. cheers

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Re: Is Buddhism for the rich and intellectual?

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:46 am

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.
My experience of Buddhism in the UK is that is mostly a middle-class interest.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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