Monday, April 13, 2009

Some more questions

About seventeen years ago, when Bush the father was president, America went through a little recession – I don’t know if many of you remember that one – It wasn’t that bad or spectacular as the one right now but I will always remember it because at that time I lost my house to foreclosure, plus a large part of my other investments – stocks in particular.

It was a hard blow for me but fortunately at that time I was a single guy, no family or kids to take care of, so after some painful readjustments to reality, I pulled myself out of the mental depression and started rebuilding my life again.

I have learned a lesson – actually several lessons - about life and vouch never to be caught with my pants down again.

This bad turn of the economy I am faring much better.
I have paid all of my debt – well almost all, I still have my house mortgage but that is the only one – I have saved some money for the eventual loss of income and my investments, which by the way are not doing well at all but at least I can hope one day will go up again.
At this moment I am refinancing my mortgage and God willing it will cut my monthly payments in half, which will further increase my financial stability.

So what is this all has to do with Zen Buddhism?
And that is the problem.
Buddha never had to deal with mortgages, stock market, insurance, credit, interest rates, recessions, subprime crisis and other joys of the modern life.
He lived in an agrarian society where all this complexities of modern life did not exist; hence he never spoke about them.

So the question is: can the wisdom of the ancient be applied to the modern life?
Probable most of you will say “yes” – which by the way is my point of view as well.
So the next question is: How do you do it?

What is the Zen of “credit”, “interest rates” or “stock market”?
Should I renounce all material possessions, shave my head, put on the robe of the ascetic and go begging in the streets?
What if I want a family and children?
Is enlightenment reserved only for monks?
Can I be a father, a husband and a Buddha at the same time?
Do I have to spend the rest of my life on a job I don’t enjoy just to pay my bills?
Can I do what I like instead and enjoy a decent, comfortable life?

Sure I can.
I believe that anything is possible.
I just wish I knew how to turn that thought into reality.


Lydia said...

"...So the question is: can the wisdom of the ancient be applied to the modern life?..."
I sure hope so, because it's a given that the wisdom of the moderns turned out to be unsatisfactory regarding the world of finance/investment. (Don't you love my mild word unsatisfactory?)

mickael said...

altering world of illusion in any imaginable way indeed is possible, yet those who seek this 'power' are never to gain it for it merely is a side effect of the fading 'self'.

sakyamuni can not help. he is dead. i breathe, still i can not help. i can ask 10000 questions, yet no result will come. there is only one human who can step beyond the horizon. this human is right here and right now reading this.

good luck.

Sylvie said...

I don't know about the Zen of Investing or Zen economic theory, but I've found there's an Zen-like old story that goes well with times like these. All the Zen I know comes from stories anyway :). Have you heard the one about the man whose horse ran away?

There was an man in the village whose horse ran away, he crossed the river bridge and had not been seen for days.

The villagers said to him, "Oh you are so unfortunate." He said, "perhaps".

Later the horse returned and brought back with him a female horse. They bred together and the man now had three fine horses.

The villagers said to him, "Oh, you are so lucky." He said, "perhaps".

The man's daughter one afternoon riding the new horse was thrown from its back and broke her leg, requiring the help and care of the local physician.

The villagers said to him, "You must be cursed." He said, "perhaps".

The local physician's son was also a gifted healer and quite wealthy. Upon seeing the man's daughter he fell immediately in love and requested her hand in marriage, as soon as she was healed, of course.

The villagers said to the man, "You are very blessed." He said, "perhaps".

The moral I get:

In the moment you live things are, not necessarily good-not necessarily bad, they simply are. You can only judge them as good or bad well after they've passed into the past, and even then, your judgment may well be wrong. I suppose all you can do is what you can in the moment you are, and know that soon it too will be gone ad something new will be here.

Diego said...

I also think this ancient wisdom is applicable. This Way is along a very simple path the Buddha prescribed 2500 years ago because he reduced human need to its simplest terms and that is the zen way. Reduce greed, follow the precepts. There is enough struggle in that to keep anyone busy.

Liara Covert said...

At any given moment, you always see and experience in the physical world what you are prepared to consciously accept as truth. The rest remains off your conscious radar screen.

Brigit said...

Detachment. Isn't that one of the principles of Buddhism? If your life has improved and is better because of material possession, or better financial standing, perhaps your life hasn't improved all that much at all. buddhism focuses on the person, not the possession. Credit, interest rates, stock markets focus on possession not the person.