The Effects Of Buddhist Teachings Essay

2831 words - 11 pages

In this paper I will explore the effects of Buddhist teaching used by these two organizations: The Cambodian Buddhism Association for Vulnerable Children and the ACT Alliance. Using these two foundations I will focus on the work of Buddhist monks, nuns and lay people on how they use a Buddhist approach to tackle poverty and hunger in their designated areas. Buddhist monks believe they can influence development in a positive way and actually have a way responsibility to do so from a Buddhist perspective; it is the monks’ duty to instruct the lay-population in Buddhist teachings and ethics, to give moral support and become engaged in activities that reduce dukkha (suffering). In recognizing that all human beings share a common desire for happiness, these two foundations work to lend a helping to the underprivileged within their communities by enabling them to fulfill their dreams (Nibbana) and to realize their potential.
Poverty is something that many people dread and would never want to experience. Everyone in this world wants to be rich. Some view wealth as a symbol of happiness and poverty as a sign of misery. Well in Buddhism, wealth does not guarantee happiness for it is impermanent. People suffer worldwide, rich or poor but the ones who understand Buddhist teachings are those who can or will find true happiness. It is a basic precept of Buddhism that the purpose of ending or resolving suffering is for all things to have no self or to be essential to nature. If that is the case, then, poverty does not truly exist because it is neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. So, are the people of Cambodia and Laos individually responsible for their poverty? Did they bring this condition of poverty on themselves? In Buddhism it is understood that the wholesome and unwholesome action of a person is what which creates outcomes in his or her future life. This is called Karma. The idea that a person can be reborn based on the past action, into the present and the future. If a person is living in poverty in their present life, this can be viewed as an inappropriate behavior in their preceding lives. If you were to think of the poor people of Cambodia and Laos in this light then you are blaming them for the circumstances that exist in their lives. As a result of this, you may be less likely to try and help alleviate poverty in the lives of those people. Buddhism challenges people’s understanding of poverty by contextualizing this problem in a different light. It questions the supposition that dominates a person’s thinking about undeveloped societies.
Buddhist teaching views poverty as a bad thing because it involves dukkha, which is a fundamental concept of Buddhism. This concept of Dukkha emphasizes “suffering, frustration, dissatisfaction and ill being.” That being said, the main point of Buddhism is to eliminate Dukkha. As a philosophy and way of life, which supports the alleviation of dukkha, “Buddhism does not and cannot value poverty that is...

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