DHARMA HAGGLING
After reading the interview with Mu Soeng in your Winter 2005 issue (“Dharma for Sale”), I had two thoughts.

First, Mu Soeng must disapprove of Vimalakirti. Vimalakirti was a businessman and a landlord who gambled, watched sports, and had servants.

Second, Mu Soeng’s recommendations about the appropriate Buddhist lifestyle seem odd. He says he wants Buddhists to be outsiders. But when asked to give examples of the type, he cites Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, and Gary Snyder; only the last is a Buddhist. As far as I can tell, you count as an outsider in his eyes if you are leftwing in your politics and don’t have an ordinary job. You don’t have to live in a cave, a mountain, or a monastery; in fact, you can write best-selling books and be a celebrity. You can also live on a stipend from a Buddhist foundation. But never own stocks.

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