Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Material possession.

I was wondering if you believe one of the goals of Buddhism is to rid yourself of the desires of material possessions, including your body. Basically to not let any of it affect your happiness, or really have any possessions to worry about. I was also wondering if you in fact practice that, or is that reserved for monks?

My comment:
Hi D,

Thank you for asking me.

We can say that the teachings of the Buddha are of 2 levels. One is for the lay people. The other is for those who pursue the ultimate release or salvation, generally refers to monks and nuns. The teachings are no different, but the intensity of practice and realization is different. If we really want to seek ultimate release or salvation it is very difficult to live as worldly persons because being worldly we are subject to worldly problems, worldly needs, and worldly temptations.

Your comment is theoretically correct. But as worldly persons you would agree with me that it is impossible to live without the necessities of human comfort (and a little bit of sensual gratification). The Buddha's contention is not so much of ridding material possessions, but not to be over crazy with our desires. We practise a lifestyle of CONTENTMENT with what we already have. This does not prevent us from further improving our material well being. The skill in right-living is to be contented here and now. Otherwise, we will be like crazy fools chasing after more and more material gains without ends.

Hope this clears your doubt.


PM said...

Justin the question is ""how much is enough"" This measurement has no end.

Justin Choo said...

I think we will never have enough.

The wisdom is to be contented with what we have right now, even if we feel that it is still not enough. We still can continue to strive for more. The "keywords" are "contented for the time being."

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