Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Simon E.
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Simon E. » Tue May 15, 2012 11:15 am

Its not about what we have or lack. Its about attachment. Its possible to argue that the greater the material wealth the greater the attachment...but there are exceptions. It is also possible to be attached to poverty. Or at least to a particular political or philosophical view which is aversive to material things. And that can be another form of attachment.
" My heart's in the Highlands
my heart is not here.
My heart's in the Highlands
chasing the deer."

Robert V.C. Burns.

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Seishin
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Seishin » Tue May 15, 2012 11:26 am

Post retracted.

Gassho,
Seishin.
Last edited by Seishin on Tue May 15, 2012 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DGA
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby DGA » Tue May 15, 2012 11:40 am

$30/K a year (US) would have you living under a canoe and eating two meals/day in most American cities if you have a family to support.

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Quiet Heart
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Quiet Heart » Tue May 15, 2012 11:49 am

:smile:
Interesting topic.
Now I like to qoute stories...teaching stories I guess you could call them....so here's one relevant to this topic.
It's called:

The Stingy Artist

Gessen was an artist monk. Before he would start a drawing or painting he always insisted upon being paid in advance, and his fees were high. He was known as the "Stingy Artist."

A geisha once gave him a commission for a painting. "How much can you pay?" inquired Gessen.

"'Whatever you charge," replied the girl, "but I want you to do the work in front of me."

So on a certain day Gessen was called by the geisha. She was holding a feast for her patron.

Gessen with fine brush work did the paining. When it was completed he asked the highest sum of his time.

He received his pay. Then the geisha turned to her patron saying: "All this artist wants is money. His paintings are fine but his mind is dirty; money has caused it to become muddy. Drawn by such a filthy mind, his work is not fit to exhibit. It is just about good enough for one of my petticoats."

Removing her skirt, she then asked Gessen to do another picture on the back of her petticoat.

"How much will you pay?" asked Gessen.

"Oh, any amount," answered the girl.

Gessen named a fancy price, painted the picture in the manner requested, and went away.
(He recieved much criticisim for this action).

It was learned later that Gessen had these reasons for desiring money:

A ravaging famine often visited his province. The rich would not help the poor, so Gessen had a secret warehouse, unknown to anyone, which he kept filled with grain, prepared for these emergencies.

From his village to the National Shrine the road was in very poor condition and many travelers suffered while traversing it. He desired to build a better road.

His teacher had passed away without realizing his wish to build a temple, and Gessen wished to complete this temple for him.

After Gessen had accomplished his three wishes he threw away his brushes and artist's materials and, retiring to the mountains, never painted again.
---------------------------

Do you see the point of that story....and how it's relevant to this topic?
:smile:
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach

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Dave The Seeker
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Tue May 15, 2012 11:55 am

Being born into a situation where a comfortable life or wealth is Karma. A result of past positive actions in previous lives. Now what you do with what you have in this life is your choice.
Some people aren't Buddhist and do a lot for people "less fortunate" than they are.
And many do it for the correct reasons, they just don't like to see people suffer.
There are many organizations that operate only on public donations. Horses for the Handicapped for example, they run a program funded by the public. No government funds, just the charity of people who want to bring a bit of joy into someones life.

I agree that this is not everyone, but there are many more people that have more than enough to live comfortably. But one may live a life with wealth, as long as they're not attached to what they have, they are practicing Dharma.

Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~

Doshin
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Doshin » Tue May 15, 2012 12:10 pm


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Seishin
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Seishin » Tue May 15, 2012 12:15 pm


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mindyourmind
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby mindyourmind » Tue May 15, 2012 1:13 pm

Some of this finger-pointing is probably justified (although we seem to be rather light when it gets to the specifics), but a part of the real or perceived problem is also the fact that our society does not adequately provide for dharma students/monks and teachers, like one would find in the East and in traditional dharma societies.

That creates a need for teachers and others to provide for themselves, and sometimes that slope leads downhill from there.
Dualism is the real root of our suffering and all of our conflicts.

Namkhai Norbu

DGA
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby DGA » Tue May 15, 2012 1:56 pm


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Challenge23
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Challenge23 » Tue May 15, 2012 2:56 pm

IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Tue May 15, 2012 2:57 pm

For the entire history of Gautama Buddha's dispensation there have been powerful & very rich lay supporters, kings even. Since they were good Buddhist Dharma protectors, any modern rich person could be the same.
A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

NIRMAL2
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby NIRMAL2 » Tue May 15, 2012 3:50 pm

It's basically the fault of the disciples.They want their Gurus to move around in expensive cars, put up in 5 star hotels and live in grand houses to show how popular the Guru is.They wish to attract as many followers as possible in this way.

It is not important to have a large majority of followers as the purpose of Buddhism is not war.For fighting we need a large membership.But for Samadhi and Great Compassion, few is better as real Buddhists always emphasize Wisdom, Samadhi and Realization.

Teaching the Dharma is not like opening a theatre.Just sell as many tickets as one can and attract the majority, but what good is this type of lost majority?The Guru is the minority.He has to be wise one, the powerful one.He may also be the sinful one.It is basically up to the Guru to open his mouth to say "No" or "Yes" to his descilpes.He carries the gun.

But should we not be looking inwards?
Last edited by nirmal on Tue May 15, 2012 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Indrajala
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Indrajala » Tue May 15, 2012 3:54 pm

You probably have a standard of living superior to that of kings in the past.

It is all a matter of perspective.

We are part of the global aristocracy. Most of the human population cannot conceive of owning a computer. If you fly or own a car, you're already more wealthy than the majority of humanity.

Most of us in the first world fail to realize that we're part of the global aristocracy. We might even be poor in our home countries, but the world is setup in such a way that favours our luxurious and quite decadent lifestyles enabling us to live well at the expense of others.

Again, it is a matter of perspective.
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

Frank
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Frank » Tue May 15, 2012 4:15 pm

Ah, so it's irrelevant and related to something I'm unaware of, so I delete it.
Last edited by Frank on Tue May 15, 2012 4:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

NIRMAL2
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby NIRMAL2 » Tue May 15, 2012 4:25 pm

AN 8.54
PTS: A iv 281
Dighajanu (Vyagghapajja) Sutta: Conditions of Welfare
translated from the Pali by
Narada Thera
© 1997–2012
Alternate translation: Thanissaro

Translator's note: In this sutta, the Buddha instructs rich householders how to preserve and increase their prosperity and how to avoid loss of wealth. Wealth alone, however, does not make a complete man nor a harmonious society. Possession of wealth all too often multiplies man's desires, and he is ever in the pursuit of amassing more wealth and power. This unrestrained craving, however, leaves him dissatisfied and stifles his inner growth. It creates conflict and disharmony in society through the resentment of the underprivileged who feel themselves exploited by the effects of unrestrained craving.

Therefore the Buddha follows up on his advice on material welfare with four essential conditions for spiritual welfare: confidence (in the Master's enlightenment), virtue, liberality and wisdom. These four will instill in man a sense of higher values. He will then not only pursue his own material concern, but also be aware of his duty toward society. To mention only one of the implications: a wisely and generously employed liberality will reduce tensions and conflicts in society. Thus the observing of these conditions of material and spiritual welfare will make for an ideal citizen in an ideal society.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html

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Wesley1982
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Tue May 15, 2012 4:28 pm

Probably depends on the characteristics of that person living in luxury.

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Seishin
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Seishin » Tue May 15, 2012 4:30 pm


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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Tue May 15, 2012 4:52 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

Simon E.
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Re: Can someone living in great luxury truly understand Dharma?

Postby Simon E. » Tue May 15, 2012 6:02 pm

I think that is well put. :good:
" My heart's in the Highlands
my heart is not here.
My heart's in the Highlands
chasing the deer."

Robert V.C. Burns.


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