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Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 9:38 AM
Hi folks,

Sometime ago I found this American gentleman, including his wonderful book, cd and videos, which teaches some very essential things about mind and awareness. He has a lineage that he represents. I had sought such a pragmatic teacher who teaches real things for years to invite him over to Finland to teach my students and who would be interesting for me as well to share things with. We changed a few emails and he accepted my invitation. Great.

Then I asked him about the financial side of the event. I said I'll be happy to arrange it on a volunteer basis. He informed me that his fee for a weekend session (Fri evening and Sat-Sundays) is 7500 USD plus travels, hotels and food. I was shocked by this. I make that much in 3-4 months of working 6-7 days a week, as a dharma teacher, just for comparison. I told him that this doesn't feel right for me and essentially told him that it doesn't seem right for dharma teachers to ask such huge sums of money for just two days of work. Executives of small or medium-size companies make that much in a month in Finland. He got a bit offended by my remark and felt it was derogatory. He said his teacher, a well known lama, asks even more for his weekend teachings. I tried to explain that the whole culture here in Northern Europe is different and so on. I asked him to clarify his points but I'd be surprised if he gets back to me. I hope he does. I am not telling who it is because I hope the dialoque with him continues.

I once heard Adyashanti say as a sidenote in one of his talks (don't remember which one) that once before this weekend event of his, him and his wife had been wondering the small number of people who had registered. He said that only 200 people were joining. His website tells that his one-day teachings cost 90-100 USD. Do the math. The reason why this caught my ear was because of couple of things. One thing is that he must make a lot of money when teaching 200 or more people in one weekend. I am not very familiar with what Adyashanti teaches and I'm not that convinced of him in the first place but I suppose his teachings are relative to buddhism and vedanta aiming at awakening and further maturation. Therefore I'd categorise him as a dharma teacher, as the first fellow even though him neither uses traditional terms and descriptions.

It seems like over there in the big world of US of A, some teachers make a lot of money. Maybe this is the case in Central Europe as well. We have nothing like that in Northern Europe or Finland. Here it's 10 bucks for an hour. To me this simply doesn't feel right, my gut turns around. The business side of dharma has gone too far here, I think.

Even if I am a professional teacher myself and responsible for my family, usually getting by barely, I don't think I ever wish to find myself asking for such amounts of money for sharing the dharma. If money was given to me, I'd accept it but from my perspective it'd be purely greedy to ask that much. 1000-2000 USD I'd understand but 7500 dollars... Not healthy.

Share your comments and experiences about this. I would be interested in hearing of people have had similar thoughts about this.

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 10:21 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:
Hi Kim !!

Well, we all have to survive in the Universe somehow.  Teaching seems a wholesome enough trade.  If done for money, it should be fair ,open, reasonable and honest.  This probably depends somewhat upon the local socio-economic demographic type factors involved.  In some places $5 can be a fortune, in others, not enough for a cup of coffee.

He informed me that his fee for a weekend session (Fri evening and Sat-Sundays) is 7500 USD plus travels, hotels and food. 
Perhaps the person requesting this fee gives any excess money to those in need.

Maybe they are raising money for some Global and Noble cause.

 If not, the person requesting such a fee seems likened to a puthujjana,  a mind still enmired in the fetters.  And if this is so, they should be practicing and learning, not teaching.  Now, it may just seem that way on the surface, I do not know the person or anything, and is there no need for any of that, there is No "Person" there anyway, lol.  emoticon

It may also be that some teachers are just rather good Parrots, being excellent in repeating Wisdom, yet not actually Understanding Wisdom...
(The Way of Extinguishing)
16. “Cunda, that one who is himself sinking in the mud should pull out another who is sinking in the mud is impossible; that one who is not himself sinking in the mud should pull out another who is sinking in the mud is possible. That one who is himself untamed, undisciplined, [with defilements] unextinguished, should tame another, discipline him, and help extinguish [his defilements] is impossible; that one who is himself tamed, disciplined, [with defilements] extinguished, should tame another, discipline him, and help extinguish [his defilements] is possible. 

http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/middle-length-discourses-buddha/selections/middle-length-discourses-8-sallekha-sutta

I amnot saying people can or can not charge fees or make money, that is not really the point.  But, one who has liberated the Mind will see the folly of aquiring more than the necessary amounts of Food, Clothing, Shelter, and Medicine.

One who has not fully liberated the mind, will recoil and fight back against such Wisdom.

Anyway, I would just save your and your groups money, the person can not tell you any more things than already exists anyway.  emoticon

These are just reflective thoughts, perhaps the thoughts are incorrect, just casual discussion and speculations.

Peace to All, 

Psi

P.s. $7500 would probably buy a complete Library of most, if not all of the Printed Material of Tibetan, Theravedan, Zen , Taoist, and Yoga Scriptures and Commentaries in existence,  a couple of weight machines, a Treadmill, and food for a month.  

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 11:03 AM as a reply to Psi.
[quote=Psi

]One who has not fully liberated the mind, will recoil and fight back against such Wisdom.

Oh, and "my" mind fights back and recoils against this Wisdom, has remnants of wanting to rationalize, or fantasize, that is how "I" know there is not full liberation.  emoticon

Again, just discussing stuff.

Psi

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 11:46 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
My guess is that you are paying for a slice of this gentleman's celebrity. I've come across plenty of high quality, relatively unknown teachers in my time. Their prices are modest because you're paying only for teachings, not also for the name recognition that will draw a crowd.

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 12:22 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Speaking solely for myself, I would be happy to tell someone that their speaking/teaching fee is far in excess of what I/my sangha are able to afford realistically. I don't see it as necessary to impugn or question another teachers credentials, realization or morals based on that. Why presume to know thier intentions, what they spend their money on, etc? Speculation is just getting caught in a cloud of pointless thought.


The facts: 

He offers a service.

You wanted the service.

The service you wanted is too expensive for you.


Offer what you CAN afford, and if it doesn't work for him, move on. Things are as they are supposed to be. Another opportunity will present itself if one is needed. Why belabour the point?

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 12:32 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

[1] 'I will speak step-by-step.'

[2] 'I will speak explaining the proper sequence [of cause & effect].'

[3] 'I will speak out of compassion.'

[4]  'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'

[5]  'I will speak without hurting myself or others.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.159.than.html

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 1:40 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
@Psi. Perhaps he's giving money away but this was not mentioned. This man is not a parrot. He's pretty much the only fellow out there who I'd ask to teach my friends based on what and how he teaches, no secrecy etc. He does give courses constantly and based on his Facebook-photos people joining are always in many dozens. He said his policy of fees is accepted in the US. Logical conclusion being that, yeah, he probably has more than enough, ref. "more than necessary".

@Derek. Yeah. The thing is that he surely is not well known in Finland. Maybe he has some fans in UK or Germany but he is not as well known in Europe as in USA. As he was referring to his lama who is very well known, saying that the lama asks even more than him, I respectfully told him that in my opinion no dharma teacher can ask for that much money for sharing dharma teachings. In case of a monk who is in charge of a monastery or charity projects, I can understand it but as said he didn't mention this.

@Stirling. Yes, I could/should have offered him another sum of money. His reaction was to get annoyed so I meanwhie trying to get some clarity to this matter from my point of view, I simply forgot to ask this. Now, I hope I hear back of him but I doubt it.

@Nicky. Material reward. Modern world. Laypeople. Bills to pay. Not always easy to draw the line.

So like I said above he told me that his fees are accepted in the US. But of course it is a different thing when there are surely many dozen of people who come. I told that here in Finland we might get 20-30 people. Perhaps he got offended because of my points if he never came across them before.

OK. I think this case is pretty well covered. Do you know of other similar examples of this?

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 1:56 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I agree, the fee sounds high. I don't know of many professionals that bill at that high a rate. Even my Lawyers don't bill at that high a rate...

Still, in this capitlist world, many will charge what the Free Market, as Tutte-ji calls it, will bear. Perhaps some arrangement might be reached, if you like the guy that much based on his other qualifications, style and teaching, such as a few hours of Skype time with your students around some video-conferencing set up. Here in the US, there are business centers you can rent for reasonable money with setups for video conferencing that would save substantially on cost over airline travel, as well as be more ecologically friendly. It would also be easy with a good mic, a good screen, and a laptop.

Anyway, I have very mixed reactions internally to those who charge for the dharma, and, at that level of profit, something does seem off to me at a visceral level. This is clearly my own reaction, not necessarily based on any fixed or ultimate value system, and I attempt to own it as such.

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/22/16 6:04 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:

@Nicky. Material reward. Modern world. Laypeople. Bills to pay. Not always easy to draw the line.



Reward vs requisites 

Livelihood vs profit 

A full-time dharma teacher should be able to earn enough to sustain their material needs in a modern world due to their full-time engagement in that livelihood (thus earning reasonable unburdensome amounts of compenation from each teaching engagement). As the Dhammapada states:

As a bee gathers honey from the flower without injuring its color or fragrance, even so the sage goes on his alms-round in the village.

A typical part-time dharma teacher should also have a normal job. An individual with some actual dharma attainment should be able to do many worldly jobs. I lived in a monastery (as a lay practitioner) for a number of years and when I returned to the modern world (without any particular qualifications), I quickly got jobs. Now I earn a living on the internet. I am pointing out that a dharma practitioner with wisdom, concentration & ethics should be able to perform many worldly jobs to earn a living. 

I personally would not engage a teacher I suspect has a disposition for luxury & profit. I personally know a dharma teacher from a well-known tradition that buys investment properties from large donations he illicits from gullible students. 

Why don't you consider inviting a Western monk living in Europe on the request (condition) that the monk speak in the mode you want (eg. only focus on meditation; focus on dharma in daily life, etc). It it not inappropriate to request of a monk to speak on a certain topic (and to not speak on other topics). 

Kind regards emoticon

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 6:13 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
@OP:

Some random thoughts...

For one-on-one teachings, I think the hourly rate should be .1% of the students annual income (i.e. $100 if the person makes 100k, etc.).  There should be a floor, below which the teacher could not make a reasonable living (perhaps somewhere in the range of $30-40 per hour).

This segways into the broader subject of dharma teaching fees in general.  Because it is such a hot and ethically-oriented topic, I think dharma teachers should be open about their cost of living and expenses.  A dharma teacher should be able to comfortably pay for rent, food, etc, as well as save money over time.  They should calculate how many lectures or workshops or retreats they have to give to meet these demands annually, and then be honest and open about the budgeting behind their fees.  They should not be millionaires.

Ideally, a dharma teacher's practice of the supramundane eightfold path makes it easier to be happier with less money.  This includes the stress-relief granted by wisdom training, as well as the disciplined, habit-formation granted by morality training.

Edit:  If a dharma teacher does not feel overwhelmingly satisfied with moderate material conditions, it makes me question how well-rounded their development is.  For instance, a teacher might be highly skilled in meditation and have well trained sensory circuits, but might lack the proper integration of things like Right View.  In other words, I am not saying enlightenment creates sanitized beings.  I am saying the eightfold path creates satisfied beings.

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 6:48 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
There are a couple of other factors involved as well as the pricing policy of this one individual.

In the United States, the core demographic for this kind of service is the affluent middle class. These are people for whom $200-$400 for a weekend workshop really isn't that much money. For example, there is a wealthy area to the north of San Francisco named Marin County that is filled to the brim with spiritual workshops, psychotherapists, meditation centers, and the like. A couple of hundred people in that income bracket can easily pay $20,000 for a weekend, so that $7,500 plus expenses for the teacher is very feasible. These wealthy areas then establish the "going rate" in the minds of American teachers.

The other factor is that our picture of the no-fee/low-fee ideal teacher comes from Buddhist monks in Asia. The community supports its monks day in, day out, year in, year out, even if the supporters are not meditators themselves, and even if they never participate in a single meditation class. That kind of committed support doesn't exist outside Asia. It is Westerners themselves who have made the fee-for-service model the only one possible.

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/21/16 6:51 PM as a reply to Derek.
I wish I was ordained in Marin, in the Upper Middle Way Order.  What can you do...

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/22/16 5:56 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim, it's s/w surprising to hear that you were interested in bringing this person to teach your students. I was forming the impression that you had no lack of self-confidence in your own various methods and achievements. To be perhaps cynical, I might suspect you're seeking opportunities for comparison, for competition ("statistics", etc.) – but am prepared to give the benefit of doubt.

Anyway, welcome to the world of people setting out to do good, and ending up doing well.

IMO, and as someone mentioned, it would seem that, for a secular person (non renunciate), the cleanest approach would be to figure-out how to earn enough money in some secular arena. If one has cultivated awareness of how things work, and perhaps an ability to "read" and get along well with people, such should be doable, with minimal effort but some cleverness and persistence.

"Cleanest" because it's hard to imagine any "dharma" (let alone "dhamma") teaching not being seriously compromised, sooner or later, when it's mixed in with, in effect tainted by, salemanship. The element of "self-interest" gets aggravated as a factor, which is problematic enough, even with renunciation.

The overwhelming majority of Western (or westernized) dharma teachers present themselves with perceptible degrees of such self-interest, which I find inevitably "unsatisfying" (aka lessons in dhukkha rather than it's relinquishment). This in contrast to exposure to a handful of the generation of westerners now with several decades of Theravadan ordination, study, teaching etc. under their belts. There's a decisive difference in how these people understand and teach, and usually how they can listen and appropriately respond to students.

(This specific to the context of Theravada, which comprises my experience; other than very minor exposure to Zen, and s/w more in-depth exposure to Raja-/Kriya Yoga (Yogananda lineage via R.E.Davis), where in these other arenas that taste of dissatisfaction, of self-interest was always close at hand.)

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/22/16 5:58 AM as a reply to Psi.
re: Psi (6/21/16 10:21 AM as a reply to Kim Katami)

"$7500 would probably buy a complete Library of most, if not all of the Printed Material of Tibetan, Theravedan, Zen , Taoist, and Yoga Scriptures and Commentaries in existence,  a couple of weight machines, a Treadmill, and food for a month."

The complete library part (at least the most part) can be acquired for $0, given internet access, a spare 128GB USB drive, some time, and search know-how. The rest would probably run to more than $7500, as, if one's greedy for such stuff, further irresistable urges would surely arise.

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/22/16 6:05 AM as a reply to Derek.
re: Derek (6/21/16 6:48 PM as a reply to Kim Katami)

"In the United States, the core demographic for this kind of service is the affluent middle class."

Actually, probably 90% of American modernist Buddhists live in the SF Bay Area, Southern Calif, New York City, or the Boston area, (and maybe rural Alabama), and are rarely working-class types. In those areas, owning an average sort of house, puts one in the famous "1%" category (i.e. a net worth of $1,000,000 or more). As is often noted in current politics, the "middle class" is more or less an endangered species, tho it's still common to use terms like "affluent" or "upper-middle class".

More to the topic, the major IM/VM (Insight/Vipassana Meditation) organizations, tho 501c3 ("non-profit") entities, are rather well-heeled business ventures. A while ago I noted the job description Spirit Rock Meditation Center (SRMC) publicized in recruiting a new executive manager – it read rather like a job description at Goldman-Sachs. But this POV is also pragmatically based – a couple of years ago, attending a week-long "concentration" retreat at SRMC; last day Q/A session,someone asked why, if concentration is so valuable (as emphasized all week long), does Spirit Rock offer almost weekly "insight" retreats, but only a single "concentration" retreat per year? (Laughter from the crowd.) The answers hemmed and hawed all over the place; informative was one teacher noting that the very first such retreat actually didn't "sell-out", so didn't seem worth repeating.

Noah - 6/21/16 6:51 PM as a reply to Derek.
"I wish I was ordained in Marin, in the Upper Middle Way Order."
Maybe next rebirth, Noah, unless you're planning on skipping any more.

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/22/16 9:24 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I once lived in San Francisco and asked a popular teacher who I could talk to about my practice. They said they couldn't take on any more students, but they gave me the name of a new younger teacher, Anushka Fernandopulle. I sent her an e-mail inquiry and she responded with this: "I do executive/life coaching as part of my general work in the world as well, and for that I usually charge $250-350/hr. (to give you a sense of my time). You can let me know what you think you would be able to offer if you were to receive dharma coaching."

She put me on her mailing list where she made this statement: "The cultivation of generosity is built into the system of how we are asked to teach, which is to offer freely our understanding and then give the opportunity for support."

Now she is on Spirit Rock's Teachers Council and also teaches at retreats in the dharma circuit of insight centers around the US. I understand how expensive SF is, but the assumption that I pay her at the rate of her life coaching business when I was making $20/hour was revealing. I never replied. I felt what I could offer wouldn't be enough for her and that would make the relationship uncomfortable for learning.

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/22/16 8:38 AM as a reply to David S.
@ David S. Thanks for that. The fellow I was talking about charges 180-220 USD per 45 minutes through Skype. I hear you.

Yoga and many modern forms of trendy physical yoga, has the same thing going on as what has been talked here. It's huge business. I've heard quite a bit of that scene through friends.

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/22/16 4:14 PM as a reply to David S.
David S:
I once lived in San Francisco and asked a popular teacher who I could talk to about my practice. They said they couldn't take on any more students, but they gave me the name of a new younger teacher, Anushka ....

You can ask me about practice for free. I don't charge money. However, I will point out in advance: 'what is this idea about "my" practise?' 

emoticon

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/22/16 4:51 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
CJMacie:
Noah - 6/21/16 6:51 PM as a reply to Derek. 
"I wish I was ordained in Marin, in the Upper Middle Way Order."
Maybe next rebirth, Noah, unless you're planning on skipping any more.

Here's hoping.  Based on all my ancient, twisted karma, I would say I'm going in again :p

RE: Dollar & Dharma
Answer
6/23/16 1:36 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Pardon the long post here, but wanted to share part of an article I found on the topic of this thread. Over the past few months I have been slowly reading through a number of articles by a western Theravadan monk - Bhante Cintita. He retired from the software/technology field to become a zen priest and later ordained in the Burmese Theravada tradition - spending a year in Burma - and now resides as the sole western monk at a Burmese Monastery near Austin Texas.

He is a good writer and has written on a number of topics that I will maybe talk about in another thread. The following is from a discussion on what he calls folk Buddhism vs adept or essential Buddhism. Here is an excerpt:

Consumerism in American Folk Buddhism.

If anything characterizes American Folk Culture it is consumerism, the boundless commercial advertising whetting and then drenching our appetites for more and more, the commodification of everything under the sun....

If anything characterizes Essential Buddhism, the Buddhism as understood, maintained and transmitted by the adepts, it is the equation of craving with suffering, the imperative to let go of lust and greed, envy and competition, instead to cultivate contentment and to disentangle oneself from the samsaric snarl of impulse, and the embrace of renunciation as a way of life.

It is a cinch that American Folk Buddhism, nestled as it is between the general American Folk Culture and Essential Buddhism will find itself in a process very much like trying to mix oil and water in a bowl or like trying to eat a snow cone in the shower.
...

Buddhism as an object of consumerism.  Folk Buddhism is often a shopping experience: statues, malas, incense, artwork, cushions, sitting robes, Zen mindfulness bell clocks, books,.... Of course people have always spent a lot of money on Buddhism; consider the million dollar pagoda we just built here at our monastery, whose motivation belongs to Burmese Folk Buddhism. Western consumerism involves primarily expenditures for oneself and lacks a community spirit.

But in either case, consumerism about Buddhist stuff doesn’t worry me so much. ...

Consumer Behavior as Template for Structuring Buddhist Practice. Consumer behavior seems widely to serve as a model in American Folk Buddhism, for how we to treat practice and for the way we to integrate practice into our lives. ...

... America  offers a veritable marketplace of  teachings, practices and teachers from which American Folk Buddhists are free to select those that appeal most, mixing and matching the various options much as they do with home furnishings or kitchen utensils.  Many teachers and authors correspondingly fall into the role of promoting and selling particular practices and teachings as commodities, often adapting them to increase their market appeal, for instance, favoring reassurance over challenge or ease over effort, and to to take care how they are packaged and presented, for instance, in the form of popular self-help books, lectures, seminars,  CD’s, stage performances, personal hourly consultations.

These teachings and practices are then integrated into Folk Buddhists’ lives much as products are used to enhance those lives. Rather Buddhism is integrated piecemeal as enhancements into the old pre-Buddhist life, for instance, adding a meditation practice much as one would add a regular gym workout or skydiving lessons without otherwise changing any other parts of one’s life. Just as American homes and lives become cluttered with market products, Folk Buddhist lives become more cluttered with the accumulation of practices and teachings. Progress in Buddhist practice adds but rarely subtracts these. There is, for instance, generally no mention of renunciation as a practice in American Folk Buddhism, and only cursory mention of the practice of virtue or precepts, since these generally involve abstention from certain behaviors. A practice like meditation, on the other hand, fits well with the consumer product model as something we can add, devote time to and later even supplement.

It seems to me that the consumer model of Buddhist understanding and practice distorts the content of Essential Buddhism in some profound ways. First, mixing and matching of freely selected teachings and practices damages the coherence of Essential Buddhism in which all the parts of the practices are intended to work together as a unified whole. For instance, the Buddha taught that you cannot have Right Samadhi without first establishing the previous seven factors of the Noble Eightfold Path, without, for instance, Right Intention, Right Action and the others. This is almost impossible to achieve by mixing and matching whatever has appeal to the spiritual shopper.

Second the actual presentation of teachings and practices as saleable products or services with actual market values violates the Buddha’s principle that teachings should be offered freely. ... selling Buddhism in this way tends to  bias what is taught in the direction of saleability and away from actual efficacy. ....

Third, the piecemeal accumulation of spiritual products largely excludes plunging boldly into a new way of life or taking on a Buddhist way of being in the world as the defining framework in which the details of one’s life are to be integrated. There is accordingly generally little mention in American Folk Buddhism of faith or vow, nor of aspects of Buddhism as a community project, nor a deep understanding of the Triple Gem. There is little opportunity for Buddhism to shake one’s life to the core.

Fourth, “renunciation” and “restraint,” fundamental to Essential Buddhist practice, are relegated to the fringes of the Folk Buddhist vocabulary. But in fact virtually all of the progress one is likely to make on the Essential Buddhist Path will be directly correlated with what is given up or curtailed: the physical trappings of life, relations and obligation like debt and car ownership, self-view, identity or being somebody, behaviors like partying flirtatiously or channel surfing, and particularly the clinging emotions rooted in greed or anger. Practice in Essential Buddhism is no more and no less than a long process of disentanglement strand by strand from soap-operatic existence, of renunciation. Meditation has an ancillary role in this larger task; it provides a magnifying glass so that we may see and then disentangle the subtlest aspects of the clinging mind.

Fifth, I fear that a Folk Buddhism built on the consumer model is very commonly a selfish Buddhism, one about self-enhancement, about making oneself special and envying others’ attainments rather than about the total selflessness encouraged in Essential Buddhism.

Folk Buddhism’s Confrontation with the Unwholesome Aspects of Consumer Behavior. According to Wikipedia, “Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts.” It is an order that goes beyond satisfying human need to feeding human greed, which Buddhism teaches will never ever be satisfied. Consumerism in some form has probably been a part of almost all folk cultures, but took on a particularly virulent form with the rise of the commercial marketing industry and public relations starting in America in the early Twentieth Century, which beginning with the great pioneer Edward Bernays developed the art of mass manipulation of human drives to specific ends. It was discovered that desire and craving could be stimulated to increase market demand and fear and hatred could be stimulated to promote a war or a political movement. Stimulation largely played upon the irrational, emotional and delusive aspects of human cognition rather than upon clear rational thinking, which was discovered to be not only harder to manipulate but in much shorter supply than anyone had ever imagined.

Now, from the perspective of Essential Buddhism this is all an abomination. For Buddhism craving with its manifestations in greed, hate and delusion is the root of suffering. Buddhism is fully in accord with satisfying fundamental material needs, but the relentless intentional stimulation of dissatisfaction must for Essential Buddhists lead bottomless human misery. This conclusion is borne out in the modern world, particularly beginning in America as evident in the generally feeling of impoverishment even in the midst of wealth, the enormous degree of drug and alcohol abuse, the rate of suicide, the huge market for antidepressants, the ubiquity of daily fear, the widespread unraveling of social networks, the dissolution of  families and the renewed strength of class and racial oppression. And so much stuff, we are choking on it. Ultimately this order has produced endless war, poverty for much of the world’s population and brought us to the brink of ecological collapse, all driven by greed, hate and delusion.

source

From a series of articles on American Folk Buddhism