Few days ago I had a discussion with One of my best friends about money. What I understood from it was, that she’d been mis-informed, that poverty is as same as consolation in life. Even though I tried to point out that it is not so, and that Buddhism does not recommend poverty for laymen, my attempt was in vain. She showed agreeing in some ways but again returned to her own misconception stubbornly. With some people I’ve seen that it so. Sometimes there is no other choice, even if they are great friends, but we have to let them realize the truth themselves, even if it could give them bitter experiences later. I realize that it may be same with her on this subject as she shows on openness to analyze it, but only wanting to stick to what she wants to believe on it. Anyway what made me feel for her is that the fact that she is running a small business herself. So this kind of myth would or could never help her to progress in whatever way, but to suffer. I’m hoping she’d have good karma to get away from any miserables and move on happily.
However it would be, I think it shows another a worldwide popular myth that could be seen nowadays. That is, that the Buddhism values poverty. Even more, some people go further by acknowledging this as the reason for poor Buddhist countries to exist, which is a most untruthful fact. Likewise, if someone says him as a Buddhist-layman, and then if he assess the poverty as a value he would have, concerning Buddhist teachings, that his opinion clearly shows, how shallow he knows about the philosophy he says to follow.
If there’s anyone having such empty ideas, they should look into how some counts and other laymen had had been advised to live happily by his holiness lord Buddha. And they should correct their perceptions and their life styles. Buddhism has clear instructions to how to make this current life happy. It’s true Buddhism focuses on how to end the sufferings completely. So people assume that all teachings are on enlightenment. But looking into the teachings in whole shows that majority part of sutta/sections are told to laymen and on how to make their lay-lives happy, contented and successful.
If someone adheres to such mis-conceptions, like my friend, without having analyzed it to see whether it’s true or not (as Dhamma says), but if chooses to stick to them just because that they’ve heard it from someone or felt it that way themselves, then it’s clearly their delusion/moha working on it blindly. Main Buddhist teaching that a follower should remember when trying to understand something, as to my understanding, is Kalama sutta.