Buddhism tells us that we will suffer for our passions, our greed, our hatred and our ignorance. Out of ignorance of how money really works many people have seen their house price soar, borrowed money against it and indulged their passions, greed and desires. They never believed that the floor could fall out from under them as the house price bubble burst.
Well now it has burst. People will be angry at the banks that foreclose on them and literally pull the rug out from under their feet, the governments that allowed this to happen and anyone else they can pick as a scapegoat.
Buddhism tells us not to get drawn into the materialistic world of fulfilling our desires but instead tells us that by looking within and cultivating certain virtues we can be happier people whatever the ups and downs of life bring. We can develop insight – into how our minds and bodies function, how we are conditioned into reacting in certain ways and how we can, through this very insight, undo that conditioning. We can become wise and overcome our ignorance. Through understanding the roots of anger and hatred we can overcome these too.
Buddhism suggests a simple life is probably a more fulfilling one. Yet that is only true if one is awake to each moment of life and able to achieve the fulfilment of each moment. As long as one is haunted by the nightmares of the past or dreams of the future one is distracted from now. As long as one is consumed with desire or anger one is distracted from now.
There will be a lot of very unhappy people acting out of fear, anger, desire and ignorance in the coming weeks and months as the full impact of the credit crunch takes bite. Most will react like lemmings – from their conditioning. So attached to their million pound home, now worth half that, their fancy car they can not afford to run these people are failing to do now what is the only way through a credit crunch: Cut back quicker and better than anyone else does. Either that or start the credit crunch filthy rich so credit is not an issue for you at all. In depressions the wealthy tend to accumulate much more wealth whilst the poor lose what little they have.