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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 2.2 (2019): 81–105; https://dx.doi.org/10.15239/hijbs.02.02.03
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism and Business: South and East Asian Perspectives)
How to Make and Spend Money: Some Stories from Indian Classical Literature
Keywords: poverty, wealth, cleverness, avadanas, jatakas, jain prabandhas
Abstract: This paper explores attitudes towards wealth and poverty in early and medieval Indian literature. While poverty is universally decried, stories and plays tell us that wealth brings with it its own problems. First of all, there is the initial problem: how does one acquire wealth? And then there is the question of what a person is to do with wealth once he has it. In answer to the first question, this paper discusses stories that suggest making money required a combination of luck and pluck. A person must recognize a good business opportunity and have the daring-do to seize it. The answer to the second question starts from a verse in the Pañcatantra, which tells us that a man’s wealth is not like his wife, to be kept all to himself, but like a public woman to be shared by all. Defining just who is meant by ‘all’ is the task of numerous religious texts.
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