I am putting together brief reviews for a future Dharma e-News of my 10 favourite books that are a commentary on the Buddha’s teachings. As I voluminous reader (a page a minute), I love most of all the Pali Suttas, so superbly translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi. All of the books of the various Buddhist traditions herald back to these Suttas. I have just ordered from Wisdom Publications and received a copy of The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity at Home, at Work, in the World by Bhikkhu Basnagoda Rahula. It immediately finds a place in my Top 10.
You might have thought that since the Buddha endorsed so wholeheartedly a voluntarily homeless and penniless way of life for the seeker that he would have a very low regard for those who spend their lives making money. No, he takes a remarkably practical point of view rather than leaping on the moral high throne about money makers.
Bhikkhu Basnagoda has examined carefully the teachings of the Buddha around money, work and relationships, conflict, parenting, making decisions, authority, and leadership. He has clearly and painstakingly dug out of the 5000 discourses some excellent statements that really shed light on these important areas of our life. The Buddha left no stone unturned in his determination to offer a depth of teachings and explorations to wake us up.
Bhikkhu Basnagoda shows what a healthy, pragmatic and insightful approach the Buddha takes to wealth, developing a career or what to look for in starting a relationship. The Buddha detailed the factors that contribute to the development of prosperity and happiness in daily life and what contributes to the decline of happiness and the collapse of a marriage. The Buddha never tires of reminding us of the power of kindness and the dangers of anger that destroys wise and rational action and generates irrational behaviour.
The Sinhalese monk points out that the Buddha did not have a problem with people becoming wealthy providing the wealthy individual or family examined the means employed to make money, the impact it had on others and whether the individual or family displayed kindness and generosity through sharing their wealth with the less privileged.
We are also reminded that the Buddha regarded the happiness of renunciation, of living simply, of inner discipline and living in a sustainable way, as preferable. “The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity” is a five star book. Dharma teachings offer a radical approach to daily life based on wisdom – neither supporting capitalism, communism, socialism or a democracy.
When you are desirous of doing something, you should reflect thus; “Is this action unskilled? Does it lead to anguish? Does it show inner skill? Does it lead to happiness for myself and others?” asked the Buddha (MN 58).
The Buddha realised that “happiness the greatest wealth.”
Do read this book. It would be money well spent. It can contribute to your welfare and benefit for a long time.
The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity
at Home, at Work, in the World by Bhikkhu Basnagoda Rahula
Wisdom Publications. 226 pages