Causes of poverty.

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Causes of poverty.

Postby muni » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:53 am

Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest people combined.

Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.

Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.

1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day).

http://www.globalissues.org/issue/2/causes-of-poverty
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Tilopa » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:57 am

The causes of poverty are stealing and miserliness.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Jesse » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:57 pm

I think to put it bluntly, we are the cause.

Not through our direct actions, but through our combined ignorance, the cumulative effects of our lifestyles of extravagant comfort.

I typically mean those of us in the west, but I'm sure it applies to many other developed countries as well. I think we are slowly realizing our effects on others though, whereas before we were just happy to have, and have and have..

We all continue to elect inadequate individuals for office who create polices that harm others, and until that changes.. neither will the issues that plague our world like poverty, and destroying the environment.

I do believe things are changing though.. the world is pretty chaotic right now, but it is also becoming ever more conscionable to these issues..
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:56 pm

It's a planet of slums.

http://newleftreview.org/A2496
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Will » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:41 pm

Tilopa: "The causes of poverty are stealing and miserliness" by the present poor in their past lifetimes.

The present-day rich were generous in their past lifetimes. So says the buddhadharma.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Tilopa » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:55 am

Will wrote:Tilopa: "The causes of poverty are stealing and miserliness" by the present poor in their past lifetimes.

The present-day rich were generous in their past lifetimes. So says the buddhadharma.

Correct.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:34 am

Tilopa wrote:The causes of poverty are stealing and miserliness.


No, the causes of a poverty mentality are stealing and miserliness.
The Buddha lived the life of a homeless, wandering beggar.
He lived in poverty but he never had a poverty mentality.
Some people have great fortune but are always wanting more.
others have very little and are content.

When people look at the negative situations that occur in the world, and have the attitude of,
"well they brought it on themselves through actions in a past life"
this assumes that some force in the universe magically maintains a kind of balance.
It is a complete misunderstanding of karma.

In some cultures, it is believed that if you are born as a female
that this must be the result of some negative action in a past life!
It is a completely arbitrary value system.
Some times things simply happen, such as floods and droughts.
If you say that nothing just arbitrarily happens,
then what is the difference between this and believing in a predetermined fate?

It is not the conditions....temporary or life-long, that are the result of your karma, because you never know what conditions may bring a person to perfect realization, or even take a person far from the path. It is the clinging to the three poisons (attachment, repulsion and ignorance) in a previous existences that has such a strong influence over our actions in this lifetime.

If I may refer to a Theravada source here,
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_r/paccaya.htm

... there are many reasons for events to occur in one's lifetime and not everything that happens to a person is the result of their past actions. However, how one responds to the conditions that affect one's life is very much influenced by the karmic imprint on the mind, and this is due to one's actions in the past.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:41 am

Tilopa wrote:
Will wrote:Tilopa: "The causes of poverty are stealing and miserliness" by the present poor in their past lifetimes.

The present-day rich were generous in their past lifetimes. So says the buddhadharma.

Correct.


Please define "rich" and "generous".
and also please present the source of this teaching.
thank you.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Will » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:03 am

From MN 135:

"There is the case where a woman or man is not a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, or lighting to brahmans or contemplatives. Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death he/she reappears in the plane of deprivation... If instead he/she comes to the human state, he/she is poor wherever reborn. This is the way leading to poverty: not to be a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, or lighting to brahmans or contemplatives.

"But then there is the case where a woman or man is a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lighting to brahmans & contemplatives. Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in a good destination... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she is wealthy wherever reborn. This is the way leading to great wealth: to be a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lighting to brahmans & contemplatives.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby maybay » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:33 am

You can be generous but without discipline you will lose faster than you gain.
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
- Machig Labdron
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:54 am

Will wrote:Tilopa: "The causes of poverty are stealing and miserliness" by the present poor in their past lifetimes.

The present-day rich were generous in their past lifetimes. So says the buddhadharma.


However we need to act to eliminate poverty from our world. This is also one of the activities of a bodhisattva and of a Buddha.

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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Tilopa » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:11 am

kirtu wrote:However we need to act to eliminate poverty from our world. This is also one of the activities of a bodhisattva and of a Buddha.

Unless everyone abandons the 3 poisons poverty will never be eliminated from this world but we should definitely try to help wherever possible. It's why bodhisattva's often pray to have great wealth while also practicing extensive generosity in order to bring those prayers to fruition.

Be careful not to criticize Bill Gates. :smile:
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Tilopa » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:02 am

When people look at the negative situations that occur in the world, and have the attitude of "well they brought it on themselves through actions in a past life"this assumes that some force in the universe magically maintains a kind of balance. It is a complete misunderstanding of karma.

Karma isn't about magic, balance or fairness it's about cause and effect but you are right, in a way it is a universal force.

In some cultures, it is believed that if you are born as a female that this must be the result of some negative action in a past life! It is a completely arbitrary value system.

No it's not. In a culture where women are abused, mistreated or marginalized life is easier as a male and therefore in the context of karma it's a better rebirth.

Some times things simply happen, such as floods and droughts.

No they don't. Everything happens for a reason. It's impossible for a result to be experienced if the causes haven't been created.

If you say that nothing just arbitrarily happens then what is the difference between this and believing in a predetermined fate?

Very little except we create our karma and we can purify it before the negative effects bear fruit. But if we don't understand karma or do nothing to change it then it's almost the same as fate and predestination.

It is not the conditions....temporary or life-long, that are the result of your karma because you never know what conditions may bring a person to perfect realization, or even take a person far from the path. It is the clinging to the three poisons (attachment, repulsion and ignorance) in a previous existences that has such a strong influence over our actions in this lifetime.

Conditions form part of our experience of the world and are also a result of karma. Buddhas do know what is conducive to liberation and what is not which is why we follow them as spiritual guides. Yes the 3 poisons do influence our experiences and actions in this life because under their influence we create karma.

If I may refer to a Theravada source here

The Tibetan tradition teaches it a bit differently as you can see here: http://www.thubtenchodron.org/GradualPa ... Karma.html
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby muni » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:10 pm

kirtu wrote:
Will wrote:Tilopa: "The causes of poverty are stealing and miserliness" by the present poor in their past lifetimes.

The present-day rich were generous in their past lifetimes. So says the buddhadharma.


However we need to act to eliminate poverty from our world. This is also one of the activities of a bodhisattva and of a Buddha.

Kirt


Yes. Whether our view is so high, if we don't care since all is already perfect; what more is our insight then, than a frozen idea of nonattachment?


Found this: Why Should We Care?
There are two philosophical platforms which justify our concern about global poverty. First is the abhorrence of extreme poverty on ethical grounds which for many springs from religious teaching. This moral stance is greatly reinforced by awareness of the political injustice that has created and perpetuated the global divide............ => http://uk.oneworld.net/guides/poverty
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby muni » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:18 pm

Will wrote:Tilopa: "The causes of poverty are stealing and miserliness" by the present poor in their past lifetimes.

The present-day rich were generous in their past lifetimes. So says the buddhadharma.


Right. But this seems difficult to grasp, since many people reject such "beliefs".
Since how all unfolds and at the same moment recognition of emptiness, is blocked by habitual ideas is me said. That is interesting anyway, how we let us lead through such as well to give/share or not.

Then there are the Paramitas. A nice teaching for the governments, politicians.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:31 pm

Yes, everything happens for a reason. But not everything that happens to a person is the result of their own actions.

And no, karma is not an invisible force in the universe.

Considering that so many places in the world where Buddhism has had significant influence over the centuries are, or have been among the poorest countries, and in those countries where Christianity has been practiced are among the wealthiest, and that those countries are populated primarily by people who were born there as a result of their previous actions, then the logical conclusion, if you want a favorable rebirth, is to switch over as soon as possible.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:57 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Yes, everything happens for a reason. But not everything that happens to a person is the result of their own actions.
Well actually it is. Let's take the flooded river example. Now a river flooding is (maybe) not a consequence of a specific action on your behalf, but being in the vicinity, or living in the vicinity, or being born in the vicinity is due to your karma. That is the reason why not everybody was in the vicinity of the flood.
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One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby Lhug-Pa » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:14 pm

In general, according to Buddha-Dharma, those who have wealth do have it because of their generosity in past lives; or maybe they just worked hard in this life based on other good circumstances that they created in this life or past lives.

However some people could be materially wealthy now because of their corruption, cunning, and deceit. Nevertheless, we should have compassion for those who fall in this category, because they'll eventually have to pay that karma, yes? Yet at the same time, we should also expose their corruption when possible, for the sake of those who suffer at their hands (such as the poor farmers who get overrun by the synthetic-chemical-poison-producing megacorporation known as Monsanto for example).

Of course Dharma practice always comes first, because as has been said by a number of Lamas, we can produce 100's of times more merit when our actions are based on objective Clairvoyant perception.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:04 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Yes, everything happens for a reason. But not everything that happens to a person is the result of their own actions.
Well actually it is. Let's take the flooded river example. Now a river flooding is (maybe) not a consequence of a specific action on your behalf, but being in the vicinity, or living in the vicinity, or being born in the vicinity is due to your karma. That is the reason why not everybody was in the vicinity of the flood.
:namaste:


Yes, that is true. Technically, every moment of where you are is a result of your previous actions.
I guess what I meant was that there is a sort of hierarchy of relevance. Ultimately, everything is connected with everything else. But at some point (and I bet there could be a mathematical equation for this) the causes are so numerous and so far removed that their significance is hardly relevant.

For example, both of my parents served in the US Army during WW2, and they met at some sort of military social function in the early 1940's. But this would not have happened if Germany had not invaded the rest of Europe. So, you could say that if Hitler hadn't come to power, my parents would not have met or gotten married I would not be here. But the connection is so remote it is essentially meaningless. I don't need to thank the nazis for my being able to post on Dharma Wheel.

So, when someone brings up the issue of poverty, and then somebody else brings up the point that where a person is today is the result of some past karma, okay, that karma could have been 100 lifetimes ago. It is an essentially meaningless conclusion.

Furthermore, what constitutes poverty is not necessarily wealth. In the Wonderful Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, the average per capita income is less than US$3000 per year. This doesn't mean the people are living in poverty. But poverty can mean no home, no access to drinking water, no education and no easily accessible medical care, or all of the above combined. For a person to have the "positive karma' to be born is such a place where those things exist, those things first have to exist! It doesn't matter what your karma is if a cure for your fatal disease hasn't been discovered yet. It's like saying that people born two hundred years ago had the unfortunate karma, due to past actions, of not being born when there was the internet.

Furthermore, if a person's tendency is to be generous, and as a result they acquire great wealth in a following lifetime, then with that wealth they have two options. They can continue being generous, lifetime after lifetime, which, if we hold to the principle that actions tend to become habitual, is likely the case, then over time, exponentially, enough people would give away enough wealth so that there would be no more poverty. The other option is that having been born into wealth, they become covetous and greedy, and this in turn would perpetuate exponentially until there is no more wealth anywhere. So, I think it is an illogical and impossible proposition.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Causes of poverty.

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:13 pm

If you comment on this post, and I reply to it, how much is my reply to you the result of your karma?
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