Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Banquet

The topic of this term's banquet was profits and prophets.

Buddhist speaker was Oxana. She spoke about
Buddha's method, he varied it as per the person who asked, was flexible, usually gave them certain meditation practice suited to them
3 points of Buddhism
Do no evil: she gave up meat since last 3 years, was difficult at first, then realised she really didnt have to kill all those animals, sweatshops: didnt shop in high street at all, instead hand knit, charity shops, swap shop etc
Do good
Train the heart and mind: did meditation
Capitalism: greed. Buddhism: to control greed
Quote from Dhammapada on the mind, and on love can conquer hate, so Buddhists dont like to fight

Sikh speaker: Mukteshwar.
Capitalism: exploitation of the proteriat
capitalism is here to stay, might as well accept it, cant say its wrong, lets make ti more benevolent and equitable
Sikhism: to share with others, earn honest living
So if you are accountant, be honest in your dealings etc
Equality: no distinction of race, caste, gender
Can have ideals but cant force everyone to think that way, so have to made do with capitalism, work with it, make it fairer
Maya: money, distracting from what matter, to be with God, need detachment

Hindu speaker: sahila goswami
Companies, corporations to maximise profits
if use profits for greater good of society: good
ancient varna system: each person grouped as per ability and occupation, each person's duty to fulfil potential. All fulfil their roles to the best of their ability
incentive: development of society, not personal gain at expense of others
Marrying capitalism with morality, ethics, religion, values, principles

Muslim speaker: Khan moghul
Islam: middle of road approach
duty to fulfill work, maintain family and society
disposable income: pay 2.5% tax to society
Zakaat: contribution from individual to society
each pound you earn has contribution from other members of society
No restriction to earn money: earn by fair means, put part of money back to society
islamic world: in some parts govt takes 2.5% directly off the bank as zakaat, goes to fund various projects. in others, no compulsion, obligation to individual to pay dues, as a good muslim, else no bonus positive points in the next world.
if you accumulate lots of capital: burden on you
not rich get richer and poor get poorer, bring them toegther, rich contribute to society and poor benefit from contribution
Answer to question: zakaat on top of tax, if your income below threshold no need to pay zakaat, only by and for muslims

Ananda marga speaker: avadhoot acharya ravi shankar ananda
Intro: with a namaskaar, i salute divinity within you, acknowledge divine consciousness no matter who, love of heart whatever be your language or culture.
Meditation society: Wednesdays, burlington rooms 4:30-6:30 pm
role of meditation is to build relationship with supreme being call by whatever name
vegetarianism: in whole yoga tradition
capitalism by itself isnt wrong but the present form its evolved to is fundamentally wrong. its got impact on human life, responsible for brutality, wars fought under different pretexts, causes disguised but wars are for certain values. the beneficiaries of capitalism are getting fewer and fewer, it perpetrates very inhumane system.
huge social impact of the system, even in uk 5th richest country: also on psychic and emotional level, people dont live wholesome life
we measure wealth in materialistic terms, there should be an index for well being
its wrong how we have allowed capitalism to degenerate
analysis of social orders:
history before industrial age in uk: holy roman empire, run by intellectuals, priests
before that: run by military, qualities of warriors
present financial system: run by merchants, nucleus of control of todays society is in the hands of those who control the means of production
All these systems were good when they started, then became bad. time to shift social cycle away from capitalist system
prout.org and prout.net
Economic system as alternative to both capitalism and communism proposed in india in 1950s by mystic indian activist PR Sarkar
progressive utilisation theory
based on 3 levels of economy:
huge industry such as electricity in habds of govt, national industry
vast bulk made of cooperatives, people who are working own them
corner newsagents etc: privately owned
Book titled "After capitalism"
Quote by PR sarkar: o humans get up and awaken, why you waste time, supreme being calling you, tear the shroud of darkness

Christian speaker: Felix martin
Christianity is a religion of one person, Jesus christ, not systems, not merging into world
Christians therefore seek to follow Christ
christ was a jew, grew up in parents home, led normal life, was carpenter. he was historic figure. similarly the church lives in time, is historic, needs to own property.
it doesnt have to be against human capital
Jesus said: pay ceaser what is ceaser's. pay God what is God's.
so we should pay our taxes to govt
one can follow christian values in a monstery
but jesus himself worked, earned his living, and also preached
we need to set priorities in life, all things belong to god but we should recognise other peoples contribution also
so work, make things little more christian. christian values: all human beings have dignity, right to eat, procreate, right to life from conception to grave, freedom of conscience: free to choose any faith/belief
we are children of god, made in image of god
act like jesus christ did, he is our guide
prayer: we understand sim, we are not on own, its a high ideal, we fall short. we need to acknowledge sin, as for god's grace to improve

Bahai speaker: Gopi raman
what is the model: our own needs, needs of society, improvement of planet
people have physical needs and also spiritual
if you work in spirit of service to othert people, it becomes like worship
bahais: no prohibition of wealth, wealth creation Vs manipulation. people should be rewarded for efforts
no extremes
profit motive guided by moral value
honesty is foundation of all virtues
family baslance and gender equality: expression of female values also: care for others
education universal
globalisation may have disadvanges, but its real and here to stay. we cant escape it
bahai principles: a new world order, global commonwealth, international law, one currency, auxilliary language
thus bahai faith principles seek to put systems in place, understand how to make it work
oneness of humanity: special paradigm shift.
what is effect of wealth creation on community/environment
all religions are connected.
consciousness of the world is shifting, individual to oneness
can elarn a lot by how bahai community governs itself
organic, groing around world, 800 million, decisions through consultation

Q1. activism and injustic, coencept of jehad, 3 layers of jihad
jihad: technical term against injustice
2nd step of hihad: write ro talk about injustice till it stops
3rd step: think in heart: i abhor it
Bro Bilal: muslim chaplain

Discussion questions:
1. do teachings of your faith favour capitalism? if so why?
2. does your faith uphold capitalism: how and why? discuss in 4 groups

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