Buddhism And Voluntary Simplicity September 18 2019

During this talk, Peter described how his 1970’s “flower child” interests in environmental health matured through the practice of Buddhist mindfulness meditation.  A central focus of attention for the talk was “Voluntary Simplicity”, a book he read by Duane Elgin in the early ’80’s that was a strong inspiration for his current “low carbon footprint” lifestyle and commitment to bringing Buddhist principles and practices to Central Florida.  Elgin’s work grew from a powerful meditation experience during a Tibetan Buddhist retreat; his work since then has been an expansion of those insights into the intricate interdependence of the universe and the role of Right Livelihood in realizing that interdependence through a lifestyle informed by an intentional simplification of contemporary life in this consumer culture.  The review of voluntary simplicity was followed by a vigorous discussion among those present about how this approach to life is beneficial.

The notes prepared for this discussion have important information related to the talk including a URL of a YouTube interview of Duane Elgin that might be of interest.  Here are the notes:  Buddhism And Voluntary Simplicity

Here is a copy of the article on voluntary simplicity referred to during the talk:  voluntary_simplicity

The focus on various aspects of using mindfulness practices to cope with contemporary societal distress and confusion will continue–the topic for next week’s discussion is not yet determined.


Right Money Management

Continuing the discussions on how to bring the ancient wisdom of Buddhism to contemporary life, Peter read some excerpts from the suttas to describe what the Buddha taught regarding the acquiring of wealth and how to wisely make use of it.  The example of  the wealthy merchant Sudatta, commonly named Anathapindika was discussed as an example of wise stewardship of wealth.  We then talked of how our meditation practice can be effectively applied to the temptations of this consumerist culture.  The topic of voluntary simplicity was introduced, as Duane Elgin spoke recently at Rollins College about cultural transformation.