Money and other Buddhist Sins of Commission…

Attachment to money is the worst form of craving, because, as a medium of exchange, it is something totally false, mere paper, typically folded and mutilated, if not spindled, simply because no one knows what that means.

And if I launch into a sermon on the use of punch cards, you still might not know much more unless you voted in the US twenty years ago, and still remember it. But what we really love are the numbers, anything more than zero considered a plus, by definition, and anything less subject to penalties, typically the sins of omission more than the sins of commission, because you really don’t have to do anything to suffer, or cause others to suffer, given the time dimension, and the fact that results and effects are often delayed far from the source of the original action, or karma, if you prefer.

Conversely, the less you do, than the fewer sins you commit, but if you do too little, then you may indeed starve, and if you fail to help another in need, then you may indeed be a direct cause of their suffering, even if you weren’t a direct cause of their pain.

So life has always been a search for sustenance, from the semi-tropical Garden of Eden, where fruit hung ripe from the trees, to the far northern steppes, where the big game ran wild and the satisfaction ran deep as the snowbank you could use to keep that slab of meat cool for a while.

So how did the big game get transformed into roulette wheels and lotteries and one-armed bandits, slot machines with no feelings nor dogs in the hunt? That is the history of the world, my friends, the transfer of feeling from fields to factories, by hook or crook, since it wasn’t always voluntary, least of all in the place of its origins, as the British Enclosure Acts claimed common grounds for capitalists, and sent crofters to the Commonwealth countries or factories, often with no other choice, as is typical in a class system based on caste, even where much of the deep ancestry is similar or even the same.

But cities are the same regardless of their location or countries of origin, and money is their common denominator, 0’s and 1’s in the ledger book of life. And dharma is the same, also, the truth of human circumstances and interactions and their repercussions across time and space. The medium used for commercial transactions is not the medium of human interaction, though the Middle Path may sound similar. It is not.

Money is superfluous, and best kept hidden. To flaunt it is to worship it, and a cardinal sin of commission, an insult to polite society. There is a reason that Buddhist monks in Thailand are forbidden to touch it. We’re playing for keeps here, not possession, but forever, always changing…