Hello Dear Listeners. Welcome to my new podcast. I am excited to share this first meditation on the Feminine Principle. Enjoy!
The meditator abides independently not clinging to anything in the world. –Satipatthana Sutta, Buddha
The first inspiration for this blog in 2007 came from this riddle or Koan (captured within yellow line from the left hand corner of a dollar bill). May be it will occupy your Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Before sitting with the Koan, you may want to take a bite of lunch here.
Contemplative Social Action-Non-Action~
- Related Questions : Breaking Free @IMOW
- Article Dharma Economics @Jagojjyoti
- Exploring Right View @T.Wheel-BPF, p3
- Can Spain and Greece learn from Iceland Revolution
- Euro web of debt, Timeline, Roarmag.economy
- World Bank Whistleblower Karen Hudes educates citizens, state elected officials and finance ministers
Koan: “Public and Private. Not One, Not Two. What the Buddha Will Do?” – SB
What is the dhamma of ‘ money as capital ‘ ? Can we use dhamma viccaya, the second of the seven factors of enlightenment to pierce through our collective delusion?
Can we engage our collective attention, intention and wisdom to transform the Vicious cycle of debt, poverty, war, inequality to a Virtuous system of Dharma Economics which uplifts humanity above greed, fear, trauma and struggle for survival?
Can we begin to trust the basic goodness of the people and society to seed and grow a virtuous economic system, that is wholesome in the beginning, wholesome in the middle and wholesome in the end? How do we begin to disentangle from the entanglements of Crony Capitalism with Bill Moyer?
They did not know it was impossible, so they did it! – Mark Twain
Breaking out of the illusion of false limitation is now possible if we trust in our basic goodness and refuse to be ruled by fear. Pema Chodron on opening to Fear and Fearlessness. Taking care of earth is taking care of our bodies and healing of earth and humanity are mutually interdependent. In his recent interview with Jo Confino of the Gaurdian, Thich Nat Hahn spoke on liberating our consciousness from Wrong Views through spiritual practice and see Earth as a great and beautiful Bodhisattva.
Learn how legal constructs “Corporate Personhood and Money is Speech” are undermining peoples’ and planet’s inalienable rights. Can you play with the above concept of money to come up with something fresh and wholesome? What is the source of this debt-based money paradigm? Listen to Positive Money, UK.
Can we let go of clinging to this dichotomy of public-private, socialism-capitalism to a clear and silent space in our mind long enough for the sake of all children? What would happen if we wake up and stop projecting a concrete world of debt to a fluid process of debt-free life? How do debt-burden gets passed from consumers, homeowners to young students (see planet money)? Do we have democracy, when our Governments have to constantly borrow from outside? Global Public Debt Map.
There are experiments done with different means of open source payment innovation by Social Trade Organization (STO). Debt and interest-free Cash and Coin is preferable to electronic system of currency to combat poverty with right understanding of currency, foster real economy and right livelihood for vast majority in the planet because of their transparency and less corruptability at the source. See Food Crisis in Sahel, West Africa and End Poverty Campaign by 2015.
In this Century of preoccupation with ‘Self’, Citizens came to be seen as ‘passive consumers’driven by unconscious impulses and dangerous desires. Marriage of Democracy and Capitalism was forged with help of Freud’s psychoanalysis and this spawned vast government programs, public relation and mass media strategies. See BBC Documentary ‘Century of Self’ .
“Contentment. That is a very unpopular word. Because the whole economy would collapse if people were content.” – Tenzin Palmo
Dharma of mindful-awareness is about discovering the inner freedom, creativity and joyfulness of ‘Selflessness’ or freedom from the illusion of mind-made self, ego and alter-ego. (See Dharmaseed teachings on Anatta).
Contemplations ~ Inquiry: Is the medium of money (and credit) a private commodity, a public service, a social contract (agreement), a commons, or a public-private agreement/partnership? Is it some, all or none of these? did the intentions behind modern money arose from one of the skillful (kusala) roots of non-greed, non-aversion or non-delusion, or from one of the unskillful (akusala) states of greed, aversion or delusion? [note the word ‘kusala’ as in Kusala Sutta is also translated as skillful, productive, fruitful, beneficial, profitable, advantageous states of mind;] Can we take refuge in our own basic goodness to wake up for the benefit of all beings? Can currency be crowdsourced like the recent Constitution of Icelnad?
“Letting go of attachment
Inquiry: Is the medium of money (and credit) a private commodity, a public service, a social contract (agreement), a commons, or a public-private agreement/partnership? Is it some, all or none of these? did the intentions behind modern money arose from one of the skillful (kusala) roots of non-greed, non-aversion or non-delusion, or from one of the unskillful (akusala) states of greed, aversion or delusion? [note the word ‘kusala’ as in Kusala Sutta is also translated as skillful, productive, fruitful, beneficial, profitable, advantageous states of mind;] Can we take refuge in our own basic goodness to wake up for the benefit of all beings? Can currency be crowdsourced like the recent Constitution of Icelnad?
A Call for Compassionate Solutions
The time has come for citizens of the world to rethink economic systems that have left billions of people in poverty and undervalued the importance of informal economies in the developing world. In order for systemic change to occur, all citizens must learn fundamental economic literacy, and learn to value the contributions of women to our economic system.
As a Buddhist in Calcutta, I was taught to be mindful and compassionate towards the daily, existential suffering of others. It was obvious that this suffering was caused by poverty of the lower caste system and the societal inequities faced by women and minority groups. My college courses of study, on the other hand–economics, geography, demography, migration, regional development and planning–did not shed much light into the causes of this widening socioeconomic gap, a gap felt primarily between a formal, wage-based industrial economy and an informal, non-wage-based agricultural economy.
From my studies, I surmised that economics was about markets and firms, prices, profits and interest. It had very little to do with people, households, communities or real economic needs. People are seen in a mechanical way–they are producers, laborers and consumers of goods and services. They are rationally-guided by self interest and utility maximization, not by the basic human need to share or provide resources for others. Therefore, all unpaid caregiving work provided by women inside of the home, in agricultural fields and on community projects was devalued with the growth of an urban, industrial economy.
Ignored Aspects of the EconomyAccording to Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), the informal economy was not discovered until the 1970s and is largely seen as marginal in relation to mainstream economics. However, the informal economy in India is huge and can refer to street vendors, waste collectors, domestic assistants, garment workers, and home-based manufacturers largely comprised of women and children. The informal economy constitutes 83% of non-agricultural employment and 93% of total employment (including agriculture) in India.
Urban settlements in developing nations are growing at breakneck speed compared to those of first-world countries, with most urban poor living in large slum areas and squatter settlements. According to the United Nations, nearly one billion people live in slums worldwide. Fifty-five per cent of the population of Mumbai lives in slums that cover only 6% of the city’s land. In essence, a growing number of nations and communities around the world are swimming against the tide of globalization.
Despite remarkable gains in standards of living, many developed countries–America serving as a prime example–are suffering from afflictions such as corporate downsizing, outsourcing, overproduction, excessive consumption of fossil fuel, bank fraud, a growing lack of job growth, unregulated pollution, and the rising cost of healthcare.
I believe that in order to heal the planet we must create right livelihood by developing a sustainable economy for the people, and that this intangible concept of “capitalism” must be thoroughly investigated and understood. We are all victims of a perception error; we view capitalism through a linear, competitive, fear-based and adversarial mindset. Greed, ill will and delusion (the three mind poisons noted in Buddhist thought) are practically built into the common banking system inherited from the Bank of England in 1697. Money can have a corrupting, destructive influence because it is based on delusional thinking and greed, rather than integrity and wisdom.
Economics: A Progressive PerspectiveA healthy, progressive way of viewing economics is to break it down into a complementary relationship of three different types of capital, each one interconnected. First, there is the foundation of the economy, or the natural capital and resource base (physical, abundant and less mobile assets). Nested within–and connected to–it is the human capital or human resource base (mobile assets with specialized intangible skill sets). Lastly there is the intangible, transferable financial capital and currency, an economic theory side that has separated itself from nature and its feminine nurture values in the post-industrial era. If nature is abundant and human labor and creative capacity is growing, then why is money so scarce for basic human needs?
Our collective liberation awaits our collective literacy of economics and newfound perception of currency. This is all possible without violence or force, but through knowledge and the right understanding of the nature and function of economies. I feel that the best way to attain this knowledge is to engage women, citizens, activists, social entrepreneurs and humanitarians everywhere is to simply begin discussions on the topics that shape our financial world.
Consider ThisThe following questions could be asked at the kitchen table, in the classroom and throughout the community:
• What is money?
• Who is collecting all the public and private debts and assets?
• What is fractional reserve banking?
• In what context did central banking originate?
• What is usury? How is it related to both ancient and modern (wage) slavery?
• Why do we have ever-growing private and public debt?
• What gives money its value?
• Is sustainability possible with unsustainable currency?
• What is the difference between a real economy and a speculative economy?
• What is the best way to allocate money so that basic human needs are met?
• Do we need different types of currencies for different economic sectors?
• Did currency exist before modern economics?
• Why do we need literacy when it comes to economics and their function in society?
• What role can women play in a more compassionate, humanitarian economy?
• What possibilities exist that we have yet to consider?
Asking profound questions is a way to generate a breakthrough, creative insights, and unforeseen possibilities. A diverse set of perspectives are required for sustainable solutions and a holistic approach. Albert Einstein commented that problems cannot be solved from the same point that they were created. And in The Art of Questions, Marille Goldberg echoes this sentiment: “A paradigm shift occurs when question is asked inside the current paradigm that can only be answered from outside it.”
It is up to active, socially-conscious citizens to transform the system–not international banks, corporations and global institutions. The system is held both in our individual minds and our collective perceptions. When we become socially aware and engaged in making choices for the generations to come, our government and institutions are bound to change. The best part of such a transformative conversation: everyone has the opportunity to participate in shattering economic limitations and forging new pathways to a sustainable future.