Thursday, March 17, 2005

Spend like the Buddha

It's interesting to think of the economy in Buddhist terms.

After all, The Middle Path does lend itself admirably to something that India has been struggling to achieve for the last five decades and more: the impossible Golden Mean between private initiative and public enterprise, between the right to make profit and the duty to share resources, between those two big C's - capitalism and communism.

Reading about E F Schumacher's theories had me wondering if it could actually happen. Could we strike that right note, balancing materialism against meditation, nightclubs against nirvana? Could we spend like Gautam Budhha would have?

I suppose we could. After all, millions of rich (relatively speaking) foreigners are constantly looking for the means to chuck it all and find a new way of life; they go seeking high in the Himalayan ranges and low in the African wilds. Thousands of people give up the pleasures of the world to live like hermits. Vipassana, Art of Living, Osho ashrams... what are these, if not an attempt to find that fine balance?

But, like my friend S says, she's seen too many Buddhist monks shopping at Woodland and Nike outlets, to believe in such theories... what to do, eh?

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