The Buddha recognized many interrelated spheres of human activity.
He took note of importance of economics to human life, and
he held that if people are to be capable of personal and spiritual
progress, the economic foundation must be secure. We have to
be able to live secure life materially and economically.
Here we see how economic order
can become a determinant of the social and moral order. The
sutta seems to imply that if the governing body does not insure
that the people are economically secure, the result will be
chaos and confusion in society at large.
Here the Buddha teaches not only that economics to a large
extent determines man’s moral condition but also that
the government has the responsibility to correct any extreme
In another discourse, the
Buddha describes another kingdom where a similar situation
The Buddha teaches four things that lead to long-term
benefit: confidence, generosity, moral discipline and wisdom
Buddhism also tends to promote economic wellbeing in society
by its by emphasis on the virtue of generosity. The
Buddha teaches all his disciples to practice giving, to be
generous and bountiful towards others, living with open hands.
The wealthy, in particular, in Buddhist society have the duty
and obligation to help and assist the poor. The Buddhist texts
classify minutely those things that should be given, with the
main objects being the basic requisites of existence — clothing,
food, dwelling places and medicine.
On many occasions the Buddha gave practical advice on economic
The Buddha specified the very practical matters of the
right ways of acquiring wealth — the four standards of
right livelihood to which the lay follower to conform:
He should acquire wealth by only legal means.
He should acquire it without violence.
He should acquire it honestly.
He should acquire it in ways that do not harm others.
Then having acquired wealth in these ways, the Buddha went
on to teach five uses the person should make use of his wealth:
To provide for is own household – his family, his
To make gifts to friends
To protect and repair his property and dwelling,
To pay taxes.
To offer alms to monks
This deals with some of the economic teachings of the Buddha.
Look for courses in Buddhist economics on Ashoka in the near