Research Publication Title

Buddhism and Wealth

Presenter Information

Andrew SteelFollow

Major

Philosophy and Liberal Studies

Faculty Mentor

Matthew Milligan (matthew.milligan@gcsu.edu)

Keywords

Buddhism, Wealth, Materialism, Monastic, Law, Duty, Religion.

Abstract

Andrew Steel (andrew.steel@bobcats.gcsu.edu) Supervisor/Mentor: Matthew Milligan (matthew.milligan@gcsu.edu) Presentation Type: Oral Field of Study: History of Religions 3/5/19 Buddhism and Wealth The relationship between Buddhism and wealth, according to Theravada tradition, is evidenced in this monastic law scripture: “For a monk to accept money, he would be committing a vow violation from the Nissaggiya Pacittiya category”. This means that the monk would have to confess to senior monks and then forfeit the money. This seems to paint a clear picture that Buddhist monks/nuns are disallowed from engagement with money. Instead, monks are only permitted a middle-man on their behalf to handle monetary related activities. However, if we look closer at some scriptures containing famous stories such as Vishvantara, The Rhinoceros Sutra, and Asoka the image of wealth looks quite different. Using a research methodology within the purview of the “history of religions” and using higher textual criticism to analyze the texts diachronically, this contradictory picture will be illustrated clearly. All sources mentioned show the consistent usage and ongoing importance of wealth in the Buddhist tradition. Therefore, with these scriptures, my goal is to define the relationship between Buddhism and wealth despite Buddhism’s tendency to denounce materiality. By defining this relationship, it will allow us to reconfigure Buddhist attitudes towards wealth and shed light on a unique perspective.

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Buddhism and Wealth

Andrew Steel (andrew.steel@bobcats.gcsu.edu) Supervisor/Mentor: Matthew Milligan (matthew.milligan@gcsu.edu) Presentation Type: Oral Field of Study: History of Religions 3/5/19 Buddhism and Wealth The relationship between Buddhism and wealth, according to Theravada tradition, is evidenced in this monastic law scripture: “For a monk to accept money, he would be committing a vow violation from the Nissaggiya Pacittiya category”. This means that the monk would have to confess to senior monks and then forfeit the money. This seems to paint a clear picture that Buddhist monks/nuns are disallowed from engagement with money. Instead, monks are only permitted a middle-man on their behalf to handle monetary related activities. However, if we look closer at some scriptures containing famous stories such as Vishvantara, The Rhinoceros Sutra, and Asoka the image of wealth looks quite different. Using a research methodology within the purview of the “history of religions” and using higher textual criticism to analyze the texts diachronically, this contradictory picture will be illustrated clearly. All sources mentioned show the consistent usage and ongoing importance of wealth in the Buddhist tradition. Therefore, with these scriptures, my goal is to define the relationship between Buddhism and wealth despite Buddhism’s tendency to denounce materiality. By defining this relationship, it will allow us to reconfigure Buddhist attitudes towards wealth and shed light on a unique perspective.