Buddhist Economics

One of the greatest statements on living simply is to be found in E. F. Schumacher’s book, ‘Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered’. The chapter entitled Buddhist Economics pointed out that consumption is merely a means to an end. Our aim, he argued, ‘should be to obtain the maximum well-being with the minimum of consumption.’

Using clothing as an example, he suggested that the most economically efficient approach would be to provide warmth, comfort and an attractive appearance for everyone, with the least amount of effort and minimum destruction of natural resources. Collecting clothes we hardly ever wear simply doesn’t make sense. We could choose to toil less and have more time for other pursuits. This would also put less pressure on the environment.

When we go for maximum well-being with minimum consumption, we help to make the world a kinder, gentler place, and it doesn’t mean depriving ourselves because we’re gaining much more than we lose, including time for ourselves and our loved ones.

©David Lawrence Preston, 22.7.2017

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

How to Books, 2007

Simplify your life for happiness

If you really want to be happy and less stressed, simplify your life. Reduce your dependence on possessions. Surround yourself only with things that meet your needs and delight you.

  • Give up the need to have more. ‘More’ is one of the mantras of the ego, which believes ‘I never have enough’ and ‘If I don’t get it I won’t be happy’.
  • Give up the desire for luxury.
  • Shun ostentation.
  • Choose simple tastes that place less strain on the environment.
  • Learn to use less expensive things in more creative ways.

This doesn’t mean you’ll be less prosperous. Truly prosperous people do not need to burden themselves with unnecessary personal possessions. They know instinctively that they will always have sufficient for their needs.

When you’re gripped by an impulse to acquire something new, ask yourself:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Why?
  • Will it bring me more ‘pleasure’ than ‘pain’?
  • Have I kidded myself I need it to be happy?

If you don’t need it, don’t buy it! Resist the persuasive skills of the marketing and advertising industries! Research has repeatedly shown that once we have enough to feed, clothe and house ourselves, each additional item makes little difference to our happiness and well-being.

Clear the clutter

Free yourself of unnecessary paraphernalia. Don’t hang onto things just on the off-chance that one day they may come in useful. This attitude is born out of fear that one day your needs won’t be met, which keeps you rooted in poverty consciousness.

If you don’t need it, get rid of it. If you haven’t worn something for a while, let it go. Recycle anything you can’t use or give it to charity. Clear out your drawers, cupboards, shelves and every nook and cranny, and once you’ve cleared a space, don’t refill it. A good clear-out leaves you feeling lighter and clears the channel of supply enabling you to receive more of what you really need and value.

‘Wealth beyond what is natural is of no more use than an overflowing container.’

Epicurus

©David Lawrence Preston, 5.6.2017

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

How to Books, 2007

Buddhist Economics and Good Work

One of the greatest statements on living simply is to be found in E. F. Schumacher’s book, ‘Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered’.

One chapter, ‘Buddhist Economics,’ points out that consumption is not the purpose of life but merely a means to an end. Our aim, he argued, ‘should be to obtain the maximum well-being with the minimum of consumption.’

Using clothing as an example, he suggested that the most economically efficient approach would be to provide warmth, comfort and an attractive appearance for everyone, with the least amount of effort and minimum destruction of natural resources. Collecting a wardrobe full of clothes we hardly ever wear simply doesn’t make sense. We could toil less and have more time for other pursuits. This would also put less pressure on the environment.

When we go for maximum well-being with minimum consumption, we help to make the world a kinder, gentler place, and it doesn’t mean depriving ourselves because we’re gaining much more than we lose, including time for ourselves and our loved ones.

Good work

Another E.F. Schumacher book, ‘Good Work,’ spells out the two main purposes of work – to provide for our needs and, just as importantly, to express our gifts and powers. This is equally important because if we work only for money, we never be prosperous regardless of what we earn.

If your work is unfulfilling, change it. Find work that you enjoy, uses your talents and allows you to make your best contribution. When you do what you love and put your heart and soul into it, providing it benefits others and not just yourself you will be taken care of according to Spiritual Law.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 1.2.2017

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

How to Books, 2007

 

Everything material is impermanent

Every material thing you have will one day cease to exist in its present form. Even your body will return to the dust from which it was made.

The consequence is clear: if you chase after possessions, hoard them and rely on them for security, you make yourself a slave to things that inexorably deteriorate. They are not a stable basis on which to build your happiness.

People who are highly acquisitive are often too busy or stressed to enjoy life. Think of the effort and expenditure to which some go to ensure that they are up to date with the latest fashion trends so they can win the admiration of others similarly inclined – and yet in a very short time, the items on which they relied for their feelings of pleasure lose their appeal.

Wouldn’t it be better to attend to something that brings lasting benefit – the qualities of consciousness that bring lasting security, happiness, love and peace of mind?

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.2.2017

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

How to Books, 2007

 

The Joy of Simplicity

‘There’s only one reason why you’re not experiencing bliss at this present moment and it’s because you’re thinking or focussing on what you don’t have.’

Anthony de Mello

There’s a paradox in matters of prosperity and spirituality. We live in an abundant universe and yet most of the great spiritual teachers were exponents of the simple life, shunning wealth and status. Do we have to deprive ourselves to get in touch with our spirituality?

Absolutely not! But there is a balance to be achieved between seeking material possessions and pursuing spiritual goals. Modern life appears complex and busy, but our needs are really very simple.

Socrates, a leading proponent of the simple life, loved going to the market in Athens. When asked about this, he replied, ‘I love to go and see all the things I’m happy without.’

Once we have a steady supply of the essentials, a little for pleasure and some put aside for a rainy day, extra money and belongings make very little difference to our happiness.

When we live simply we discover, like Socrates, that there are pleasures that do not depend on possessions and countless things we’re content to live without.

‘It’s the preoccupation with possessions more than any other things that keeps us from living freely and nobly.’

Professor Bertrand Russell

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.2.2017

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

How to Books, 2007