Clair Brown, an economist at UC Berkeley and a practicing Buddhist, has developed a holistic economic approach, where the economy delivers a high quality of life in a sustainable world. Buddhist economics integrates sustainability, equity, and compassion. While teaching her sophomore seminar at UC Berkeley, Professor Brown learned, “You don’t have to be a Buddhist to embrace a Buddhist approach to economics. You need only share the Dalai Lama’s belief that human nature is gentle and compassionate and embrace the idea that economics can be a force for good, one that goes beyond self-centered materialism.” Clair is one of the most humble, loving people I have ever met. Her new book, Buddhist Economics is a treasure.
Session 3: Perspectives from spiritual and religious traditions
Religious and spiritual institutions are influential forces that promote peace and compassion and are concerned with the cultivation of an ethical existence. Yet at the same time they wield vast power that has often been used for divisive and destructive purposes and are profoundly implicated in the economics and government of societies, past and present. How can the world’s religions transform themselves and channel their immense power in order to remain viable agents of positive change?Speakers: H.H. the Dalai Lama; Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. (interpreter); Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D. (moderator); Pauline Tangiora, J.P., Q.S.O., Q.S.M.; Matthieu Ricard, Ph.D.; Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp; Brother Thierry-Marie Courau, o.p.; Alaa Murabit, M.D.
Session 4: Perspectives from economics and society
Politics and economics are the quintessential arenas for the expression of power in the social realm. Since political-economic reasoning dominates our social and cultural lives how can motivations belonging to the “care constellation” be introduced into economic thinking and therefore into the societal structures that regulate human relations? Indeed, there are other models and behaviors that can create equilibrium between these elements that determine so much of our daily existence.
Speakers: H.H. the Dalai Lama; Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. (interpreter); Dr Uwe Jean Heuser (moderator); Prof. Dennis James Snower, Ph.D.; Prof. Sir Paul Collier; Dr Vandana Shiva; Theo Sowa; Jody Williams
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11th, 2016
Session 5: Personal commitment and global responsibility
The issue of “empowerment” as a component of personal and collective engagement, and the concept of care as an expression of responsibility for our planet and its civilizations in times of strife, forced migration and homelessness, and distress at the individual and societal levels, will provide the focus for our final session. Power and care are two primary elements that may not, finally, be opposed but rather coexist as a condition of dynamic and constructive equilibrium.
Speakers: H.H. the Dalai Lama; Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. (interpreter); Theo Sowa (moderator); Olafur Eliasson; Dr Scilla Elworthy; Frédéric Laloux; Prof. Dr Tania Singer
In the final chapter of my book, I make what many mindfulness enthusiasts would consider a blasphemous request, “Offer up the illusion of being in the present moment! Awareness is not about being in the present moment. Awareness is beyond manifestation and cannot be contained within any particular moment. Awakened presence is the effortless, unperturbed, unelaborated reception of experience—not the effort of trying to be in a present moment.”*
Today, I happened upon the Dalai Lama’s succinct explanation of why there is no such thing as a present moment. Watch it below and consider renouncing the foolish act of trying to be in a present moment.
*Miller, L.D. (2014) Effortless Mindfulness: Genuine mental health through awakened presence. Routledge: New York.