Sunday, November 1, 2015

On Buddhism, Money, and Meaning

On Buddhism, Money, and Meaning: As a religion, Buddhism teaches that money is temporary, and ultimately meaningless in the long-run. As a philosophy, Buddhism questions how people can view something which is increasingly abstract (money), as something extremely practical. In the days of Ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt, money was typically synonymous with precious metals (gold, silver, copper, etc.). For millenia, metallic coins served as the primary vehicles used to catalyze the process of exchanging goods. Throughout the 19th century, however, a variety of industrializing nations (beginning with Britain in the 1820s) adopted paper money as their basic facilitator of trade. Today it seems that money is becoming ever-more electronic (or paperless), as credit cards, Bitcoin, and PayPal-type mechanisms are starting to dominate the point-of-sale process. But why do people continue to attach themselves to something which is becoming less and less tangible? Buddhist philosophy states that no amount of money will ever make one feel secure. Yet one could set a personal money-saving limit to reach, which could one day lead to financial Nirvana.

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