Ven Payutto

A Quote by Ven Payutto on wealth, buddhism, society, and generosity

According to the Buddhist teachings, wealth should be used for the purpose of helping others; it should support a life of good conduct and human development. According to this principle, when wealth arises for one person, the whole of society benefits, and although it belongs to one person, it is just as if it belonged to the whole community. A wealthy person who uses wealth in this manner is likened to a fertile field in which rice grows abundantly for the benefit of all. Such people generate great benefit for those around them. Without them, the wealth they create would not come to be, and neither would the benefit resulting from it. Guided by generosity, these people feel moved to represent the whole of society, and in return they gain the respect and trust of the community to use their wealth for beneficial purposes.

Ven Payutto

Source: Buddhist Economics: A Middle Way for the Market Place

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Ven Payutto on production, consumption, economics, and buddhist

The word "production" is misleading. We tend to think that through production new things are created, when in fact it is merely changes of state which are effected. One substance or form of energy is converted into another. These conversions entail the creation of a new state by the destruction of an old one. Thus production is always accompanied by destruction. In some cases the destruction is acceptable, in others it is not. Production is only truly justified when the value of the thing produced outweighs the value of that which is destroyed. In some cases it may be better to refrain from production. This is invariably true for those industries whose products are for the purpose of destruction. In weapons factories, for example, non-production is always the better choice. In industries where production entails the destruction of natural resources and environmental degradation, non-production is sometimes the better choice. To choose, we must distinguish between production with positive results and production with negative results; production that enhances well-being and that which destroys it.

Ven Payutto

Source: Buddhist Economics: A Middle Way for the Market Place

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Ven Payutto on happiness, buddhism, sevice, economics, views, and progress

This begs the question: what view of life is behind modern economics? Is it a skillful or an unskillful one? At the risk of oversimplifying, let us say that the goal of modern life is to find happiness. This view is so pervasive in modern societies that it is rarely even recognized, let alone examined or questioned. The very concept of "progress" -- social, economic, scientific and political -- assumes that society's highest goal is to reach a state where everyone will be happy. The United States Declaration of Independence poetically embodies this ideal by asserting mankind's right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."


While certainly a good-hearted aspiration, the view that happiness is the goal of life betrays a fundamental confusion about the truth of life. "Happiness" is never more than an ill-defined, elusive quality. Many people equate happiness with sense pleasure and the satisfaction of their desires. For these people, happiness remains a remote condition, something outside themselves, a future prize that must be pursued and captured. But happiness cannot be obtained through seeking, only through bringing about the causes and conditions which lead to it, and these are personal and mental development.

Ven Payutto

Source: Buddhist Economics: A Middle Way for the Market Place

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Ven Payutto on happiness, buddhism, sevice, and economics

Buddhism makes a distinction between two kinds of happiness: dependent happiness and independent happiness. Dependent happiness is happiness that requires an external object. It includes any happiness contingent on the material world, including wealth, family, honor and fame. Dependent happiness, being dependent on things that can never be ours in an ultimate sense, is fickle and uncertain.

Independent happiness, on the other hand, is the happiness that arises from within a mind that has been trained and has attained some degree of inner peace. Such a happiness is not dependent on externals and is much more stable than dependent happiness.

Dependent happiness leads to competition and conflict in the struggle to acquire material goods. Any happiness arising from such activity is a contentious kind of happiness. There is, however, a third kind of happiness which, while not as exalted as the truly independent kind, is nevertheless more skillful than the contentious kind. It is a happiness that is more altruistically based, directed toward well-being and motivated by goodwill and compassion. Through personal development, people can appreciate this truer kind of happiness -- the desire to bring happiness to others (which in Buddhism we call metta). With this kind of happiness, we can experience gladness at the happiness of others, just as parents feel glad at the happiness of their children. This kind of happiness might be called "harmonious happiness," as distinct from the contentious kind of happiness. It is less dependent on the acquisition of material goods and arises more from giving than receiving. Although such happiness is not truly independent, it is much more skillful than the happiness resulting from selfish acquisition.

Ven Payutto

Source: Buddhist Economics: A Middle Way for the Market Place

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Ven Payutto on economics, wealth, materialism, marxist, buddhism, possessions, and livelihood

For the individual, the objective of livelihood is to acquire the four necessities or requisites of human existence: food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Again, the acquisition of these four requisites, be it in sufficient amount or in surplus, is not the ultimate objective. The four requisites are merely a foundation upon which efforts to realize higher objectives can be based.

Some people are content with few possessions and need only a minimum to devote their energies to mental and spiritual development. Others cannot live happily on such a small amount; they are more dependent on material goods. As long as their livelihood does not exploit others, however, Buddhism does not condemn their wealth. Moreover, people who are charitably inclined can use their wealth in ways that are beneficial for society as a whole.

In opposition to contemporary urban values, Buddhism does not measure a person's or nation's worth by material wealth. Nor does it go to the opposite extreme, as do Marxist thinkers, and condemn the accumulation of wealth as an evil in and of itself. Instead, Buddhism judges the ethical value of wealth by the ways in which it is obtained, and the uses to which it is put.

Ven Payutto

Source: Buddhist Economics: A Middle Way for the Market Place

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Ven Payutto on meditation, economics, development, and morality

With meditation, we gain perspective on our motivations: we sharpen our awareness and strengthen free will. Thus, when it comes to making economic decisions, decision about our livelihood and consumption, we can better resist compulsions driven by fear, craving, and pride and choose instead a moral course that aims at true well-being. In this way, we begin to see how mental factors form the basis of all economic matters, and we realize that the development of this kind of mental discernment leads the way to true economic and human development.

Ven Payutto

Source: Buddhist Economics: A Middle Way for the Market Place

Contributed by: Siona

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