Buddhist View On Money And Materialism

Our lives are filled with loads of wants, demands, and desires. We never get rid of it as, when one gets fulfilled, another takes its place. For instance, if you want a mobile phone and then you get it, next you want a laptop. The cycle of our wants and desires continue in this process. As we get suppressed under such things, we often miss out on enjoying the true flavors of life. The Buddhist definition of life is inner peace, love, kindness, happiness, knowledge, and enlightenment. Buddhists lead a very simple form of life. They don’t have the materialistic desires like an ordinary man. As their lives are simple, they have less wants and desires, so they don’t need a lot of money too. The following will discuss the Buddhist view on money and materialism.

Why Is The Idea Of Money Forbidden?

A Buddhist monk needs to make 5 promises to himself to become a monk and those promises are, not to steal, not to lie, not to abuse, not to involve in sexual conduct, not to harm anyone and the last one, not to consume any intoxicating substance. These rules are putting on the robes, shaving off their heads and then getting into the training. Practicing Buddhism refers to fulfilling all the precepts and other norms. You need to let go of all your social attachments to become a Buddhist monk or nun. Gautama Buddha walked on the same path to reach enlightenment and the Vinayas or rules set by him asks his followers to do the same.

In Buddhism, money is considered a social attachment and therefore it is against their norms. Buddhist monks and nuns are forbidden from

  • Buying and selling
  • Taking or giving cash
  • Having a bank account
  • Accepting donations
  • Owning a property

How Do Monks Live Without Money?

As the Buddhist monks and nuns have zero sources of getting money by any means, they rely on the lay community. This community provides them with all the required supplies for survival. In some of the Asian countries, the monks walk across the villages or neighborhood with a bowl in hand during meal time for some food. This is called the alms round. In western countries, bulk foods are donated to the monasteries. The volunteers then prepare meals for the monks and nuns.

What Does The Lay Community Get In Return?

The entire process carried out by the lay community is a barter system. They provide the monastic community with basic requirements for survival and in return, they get spiritual support from the monastic community. This support is provided in the form of guided meditation, ceremonies, etc.

This is the Buddhist form of life which every monk and nun follows throughout their life. The path prescribed by Gautama Buddha without any social attachments.

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