Friday, March 23, 2012

The Man Who Gave Up Money

Daniel Suelo, Mark Sundeen, Madeleine Brand Show (, March 23, 2012)
Many of us have found out in the last few years what it's like to live with a lot less money.

But for most of us living with less is involuntary and, sometimes, painful. For Daniel Suelo, it's the only way he'd have it.

Twelve years ago, he pulled his life savings out of his pocket and left it in a phone booth. Since then, he has lived in America with no money.

He does not touch it, does not deal with it, does not accept it. Suelo's life story is the subject of a new book by Mark Sundeen called The Man Who Quit Money. Daniel Suelo lives happily and free in a cave near Moab, Utah.

  • REVIEW: Daniel Suelo has not earned or spent a single cent since 2000. He refuses to accept any form of government aid, lives in a cave outside, and not only survives but thrives completely without the use of money. This book begins with a lot of questions. For starters, is it even possible to live without money these days? Not everyone can live like Daniel. This is not an instruction manual for leaving behind material wealth. The moral of his story is not about emulation, but be happier. More

The liberation Suelo found was advocated by the Buddha. Many think it was only applicable in ancient India with its well established dana system. The Buddha benefited by the existence of wandering ascetics. It enabled him to "give it all up," to abandon his inherited riches, and to go on a quest unencumbered by worldly demands. Giving it all up is NOT being without money. If it were all our homeless would be dreadlocked saddhus, and we would be living in the spiritual paradise of India. Giving it all up, renouncing, is an internal act. It is not being unduly attached and controlled by our money. If it is ours, we are in control. If we belong to it, it is in control. Monastics exemplify what it is to live on dana. But many fall short. They have become missionaries not monastics, teachers not meditators. If they do not give up their attachment to the false sense of safety money sometimes provides, they will not be able to gain peace of mind and the fruits of recluseship. Conversely, if a layperson does, that person has access to what the Buddha taught and the benefits of meditation.

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