Hooked!: Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume

Hooked!: Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume

by Stephanie Kaza
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

At
one time or another, most of us have experienced an all-consuming desire for a
material object, a desire so strong that it seems like we couldn't possibly be
happy without buying this thing. Yet, when we give in to this impulse, we often
find ourselves feeling frustrated and empty. Advertisers, of course, aim to
hook us in this way, and, from

See more details below

Overview

At
one time or another, most of us have experienced an all-consuming desire for a
material object, a desire so strong that it seems like we couldn't possibly be
happy without buying this thing. Yet, when we give in to this impulse, we often
find ourselves feeling frustrated and empty. Advertisers, of course, aim to
hook us in this way, and, from a global perspective, our tendency to get hooked
fuels the rampant over-consumption that is having a devastating impact on the
world's stability and on the environment.

According
to the contributors to this unique anthology, Buddhism can shed valuable light
on our compulsions to consume. Craving and attachment—how they arise and how
to free ourselves of them—are central themes of Buddhist thought. The writings
in this volume, most of which have never been previously published, offer fresh
perspectives and much-needed correctives to our society's tendency to believe
that having more will make us happier.

Hooked!
includes a range of writings on how to apply Buddhist thought and ethics to
understand and combat the problem of over-consumption as individuals and
collectively. Contributors include popular Western teachers, Asian masters,
scholars, and practitioners such as:



  • Pema
    Chödrön—on what is actually happening at the moment we're
    "hooked," and how to get beyond that.
  • Joseph
    Goldstein—on how mindfulness training can help us stop "wanting to
    want."
  • Bhikshuni
    Thubten Chödrön—on how consumer mentality influences spiritual
    practice.
  • Judith
    Simmer-Brown—on how cultivating spiritually based activism and compassionate
    action can help us address the negative effects of consumerism.
  • Rita
    Gross—on how understanding moderation can curb overconsumption.
  • Santikaro
    Bhikkhu—on practicing generosity in a consumer world.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kaza, who co-edited the environmental Buddhist collection Dharma Rain, gathers key Buddhist thinkers to reflect upon aspects of consumerism, greed and economics. Certainly, many other authors have examined consumerism from the lens of their religious traditions, but this book's Buddhist perspective is unusual, and its pairing of consumerist critiques with core Buddhist concepts is generally fruitful. Buddhism assumes, for example, that the very foundation of suffering is desire-a core teaching that has obvious applications to consumerism, whose goal is to multiply and intensify desire. Moreover, Buddhism stresses the impermanence of all things, providing a valuable perspective on the transient nature of goods. Several of the authors in this cogent anthology draw upon the metaphor of the "hungry ghost" of Buddhism to describe the ethos of consumerism: with their enormous bellies and tiny mouths, hungry ghosts are incapable of ever being satisfied. Some of the book's most helpful essays draw on Buddhism not merely to diagnose the problem, but to prescribe solutions on individual, local or global levels. Second-generation Zen American Sumi Loundon seeks the Buddha's middle way as a viable compromise between the consumer desires of her heart and the austerity of her antimaterialist childhood, while Vermont Zen Center teacher Sunyana Graef discusses taking refuge in the Three Jewels as an antidote to selfishness and excess. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
One need only stroll down a supermarket or department store aisle to observe the staggering array of choices available to the average consumer. According to Buddhist teaching, this hallmark of Western culture is driven by an underlying cycle of acquisition and amassing that ultimately leaves us unsatisfied. While we are led to believe that more choice is always better, such a competitive marketing environment demands an ever-present "hook" to keep consumers in a constant state of readiness to buy. Kaza (environmental studies, Univ. of Vermont) here gathers a group of prominent Buddhist authors to focus on various compulsive aspects of modern consumerism, presenting insights for practical application. This collection of writings elucidates the scope and magnitude of the compelling malaise of craving that afflicts so many people in modern Western society. Appropriate for public libraries, especially those with Eastern studies collections.-Dina Komuves, Collingswood, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Finally! A book about consumerism that goes to the very heart of the matter—that it corrodes our precious human capacities to know truth, see beauty, and feel love. These seventeen highly intelligent, compassionate, and lucid Buddhist teachers each give a unique understanding of what gnaws at most of us about our consumer habits. They each show how Buddhist thought can help clear our minds and settle us down. Hooked! is also just an exceptional Buddhist primer for Westerners no matter what their consumer habits. I highly recommend these essays to everyone."—Vicki Robin, coauthor of Your Money or Your Life and founder of Conservation Cafes

"Stephanie Kaza is gently and winningly shrewd; Buddhism is the faith practice that has looked most clearly at desire and what it means. This volume, therefore, is extremely readable and extremely useful to those of us from other faith traditions trying to come to grips with the modern plague of consumption."—Bill McKibben, author of Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780834822382
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
04/25/2011
Series:
Shambhala Publications
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
830,023
File size:
1 MB

Related Subjects

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >