What Does Being a Buddhist Mean to You?

Bong Seok Joo

Divinity Student

Cambridge, Massachusetts

If I am not going to become a monk, I would like to earn enough money to maintain the basic needs for living, such as food, clothes, and rent. In addition, I hope I still have some money left for helping other people, especially young Tibetan monks and nuns.

Allen Ginsberg


New York, New York

You can be too thin but never too rich, if your inclination is to give it away, “transforming waste to treasure,” using dollars to relieve the mass of suffering in all the real dream worlds you can imagine.

Carlos Formena


Rhinebeck, New York

However much it is, it’s not enough. That’s the whole point of money: to perpetuate desire. As a Buddhist, you’ve got to understand that; otherwise, you’re fucked.

Barbara Roether


San Francisco, California

Enough to pay the rent and buy food - and for other basic things like going on vacation. I don’t need any money really. I need time. That’s what I want more than anything. If more money can buy more time, fine.

Rosalie Woods


Silver Spring, Maryland

It’s what you do with your money that’s important. Prosperity is but one of the eight winds that Nichiren said not to be swayed by. Based on the discipline I derived from my practice, what really makes me happy is using my money to contribute to charity, and to host meetings where people can practice and discuss how to evolve spiritually to contribute to world peace.

Shirley Curtwright


Chicago, Illinois

It’s more than the amount of money you have. I want to be able to introduce others to Nichiren Daishonen Buddhism, so I need enough to take care of my family and my appearance, to travel and share my religion with members.

More important than money is happiness. If you’re practicing the right religion, then happiness and money will come to you.

Steve Piontek


Allendale, New Jersey

The real question: is does the money control you or do you have control over it? By tapping our Buddha-nature, we can gain this kind of control to realize how we can use money to further the Buddha’s work, which is seeing the potential within our lives.

Andrew Gebert


New York, New York

I’ve been able to realize a deeper integration of all aspects of my life, including the material and spiritual. I have come to view money as essentially neutral. It can be used for positive or negative ends. The point is to develop the wisdom to use money to create the most value - happiness - for self and others.

Sabrina Rongstad-Bravo


Beverly Hills, California

You can have a lot of money and still be unhappy. It’s very important to come from a state of Buddhahood, and not a state of anomality. If how you receive the money is impure, you’re not going to be happy. If you’re making the world a better place with your money, creating good karma and value as you earn it, then by all means make as much as you can.

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