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To: soc.religion.eastern,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion.buddhism,talk.religion.buddhism
From: (Hsi Wang Mu)
Subject: Re: poverty
Date: 29 Jun 1995 19:41:31 -0700


|From: (Ava Rosenblum)
|Date: 29 Jun 1995 15:52:51 -0700
|Quoting: >Mu

|>...'being in poverty' is a relative condition of desire.

|...What about illness from inadequate medical care? Is this a relative 

Yes, the physical world, an epiphenomenon of sensation, is something we
have desires about, and this pertains as well to our physical 'health'
and the reactions our body has to the presence of pain-stimulators and
various microorganisms.

NOTE, the pain itself, the ill-health itself is not illusory, but the
suffering as a result of wanting it to be different than it is, rather
than coming to peace with it, is a result of desire.

|Poor people have to struggle against inadequate housing, which produces 
|all kinds of stresses and illnesses. 

'Poor people' do not exist unless one defines the conditions of 'poverty'
or 'sufficiency'.  People have what they need to live or they do not.
There are things we can do, personally, to lower our minimum requirements.
This is illustrated consistently by Indian yogins, ascetics who minimize
the upkeep to their bodies and still sustain themselves (or are barely
sustained by others in great lack of housing/food/clothing).

|I don't believe all people can overcome these conditions. 

The conditions of which you speak would not be 'overcome', no.  However,
the suffering, the deep dissatisfaction resulting from wanting things to
be other than what they are can be addressed through mystical techniques,
including sitting meditation.

|Rugged physical constitutions play a large role in moving up social classes. 

The problem is in equating comfort, poshness, wealth in the materialist
sense, with freedom, inner resolution and satiety -- wealth in the
mystical sense of coming to terms with things as they are.  The physical
constitution is nothing in terms of its ability to determine our reaction
to various circumstances.  Quite to the contrary, physical difficulties
(and those of others sorts) are OPPORTUNITIES, for comfort and lack of
challenge often result in torpor and ignorance, while the stimulation
of pain may inspire us to transcend the entire paradigm in which it is
something to be escaped rather than accepted for what it is.  This was
the grandeur of Gautama Buddha in that he came from a palace of satiety.

|I guess I'm having a hard time accepting that many of the stresses of
|poverty (eg. inadequate medical care, noise from poorly constructed buidlings
|that effect one's ability to rest etc) are perceptual. 

These stresses of poverty are not perceptual, but how we see them is.  
Cf the story of the taoist sage who, when faced with varying circumstances,
from fortune to calamity, reacted with a 'so it is' attitude and flowed
with the currents of the dharma/tao.

|If there is variance
|from individual to individual among low-income people, might that variance be
|accunted for in terms of a more rugged physical constitution rather than a
|mind-set?(I can already feel the glow of oncoming flames. ;))

Variance in what sense?  Wealth-level?  Constitution?  Illness itself?
Of course!  Our place is often determined by factors of our constitution,
personality and past-choices.  However, our INNER CONDITION is determined
by our ability to detach and attach using skillful tools learned at the
heart of the zendo.  I'm not trying to make this sound overly easy, only
represent a certain perspective.

|needs are physical needs of the human animal.And these vary too from 
|person to person.

'Needs' are largely mentally-defined.  What is 'needed' by the poor of
ownership will vary tremendously from what is 'needed' by those who
control vast resources.  

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