OVERCOMING GREED David Landis Barnhill University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Consumerism is such an ingrained part of our culture, it is paradoxically difficult to avoid and easy to ignore. Sometimes it seems like the water we modern fish swim in. But the Buddhist call to awareness of our state of mind and the nature of reality leads us to reflect on it, to encounter it as directly as possible. When we do, it is all too clear that consumerism goes directly against virtually everything Buddhism stands for. In thinking about a Buddhist response to it, what first comes to mind is the rich monastic tradition, with its trenchant analysis of the pervasiveness of desires, the ideal of life lifted free of craving, and the inviting simplicity of the communal life. But as an engaged Buddhist, I almost immediately feel that, compelling as it is, this monastic tradition is insufficient, particularly at a time when consumerism has become so devastating on a global scale. While the monastic tradition offers a model of a nonconsumer lifestyle, it does little to affect the industrialized world's accelerating exhaustion of natural resources. I sometimes put this point in mythical Buddhist imagery by saying that
Buddhist-Christian Studies – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jan 10, 2004
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