I’m traveling though life hoping to learn and the greatest gains are forthcoming when debate is encouraged. So if I leave this open question for the duration of my nightly slumber I wonder what gems of knowledge might be derived from a debate here?
Here are my initial quick thoughts and please feel free to comment….
One definition of a religion is a set of beliefs, values and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
From my observations people may hold a belief that the acquisition of material wealth will bring abundant personal happiness. Ask most people and I’m confident that they will do the national lottery in the hope of winning enough wealth. They would also then equate wealth with happiness. Studies have shown that money doesn’t of itself confer personal happiness. Indeed nations that are materially wealthy generally present a low index of happiness. On this point Buddhism teaches that happiness derives its life source from within the mind. I’m mindful that in Buddhism the way that a person reacts to sensory stimuli is expressed in the practice of Insight or Mindfulness Meditation. Letting the mind be the slave of the senses should be guarded against. The mind is trained in such a way that it becomes detached from the senses and merely plays the role of observer. So western society in general believes in the therapeutic properties of retail therapy and supposes that happiness follows.
The values of buying commodities is instilled at the earliest age. “I want” is the mantra chanted by our young and not the more humanly sensitive “I need”. We encourage this thinking process through the means of directed marketing thereby deflecting the fledgling mind away from altruistic development.
Then there are the spiritual leaders the “celebs” who more often than not flaunt their material wealth and show a marked degree of personal and moral corruption. We give god like status to them and follow their every word as if they are life coaches or Guru’s.
We all have or did hold the need to accumulate “things” and wealth. Some of us have noticed the paucity of the argument that wealth is the meaning of life. I believe in the here and now, this very moment, all else has yet to be born in my mind and experience.