Friday, March 20, 2009

Buddha was a Businessman (UCLA)

Popular images of the Buddha do not have him "pondering how to avoid paying custom duties and taxes" nor teaching his followers "how to write a loan contract and not make unsecured loans" (Credit: Todd Cheney/UCLA).

"The Buddha as Astute Businessman, Economist, Lawyer" Ajay Singh for UCLA Today

Wall Street bankers would have benefited from being in the Buddha's audience. At the 106th Faculty Research Lecture, Gregory Schopen explains.

THE BUDDHA was a businessman. But don't take anyone's word for it — it's written in stone.

Of all the iconic scenes found in the earliest Buddhist art from India, none are more striking than the sculpted representation of a title deed involving one of Buddhism's most venerable monasteries: The transaction, involving 10 million gold coins, clearly shows that far from being an ascetic, other-worldly religious tradition, Buddhism was, in fact, "deeply entangled with money – and a very great deal of it at that," according to Gregory Schopen, chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and an authority on ancient Indian Buddhism.

Schopen spoke March 10 at the 106th Faculty Research Lecture at the Freud Playhouse on a topic that has much to say about why our world has sunk into a recession: "The Buddha as Businessman: Economics and Law in an Old Indian Religion." More>>

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