Friday, November 26, 2010

Black and Blue Friday

You don't have to be a Buddhist to see how greedy people are. It's textbook irony that the day after Thanksgiving--a holiday intended to show thanks but that often degenerates into mass gluttony--is dedicated to gratifying our deepest material desires. Shoppers literally fight one another in order to buy their loved one gifts--again, talk about irony. The apotheosis of American greed occurred last year when that poor employee was trampled to death at a Walmart in Long Island. And for what? So some guy could get a deal on his kid's DVD player?

I just don't get it. I don't understand the whole Christmas mentality, how people spend their hard-earned money on crap they don't need, or encourage this senseless materialism in their children by spoiling them with gadgets and gizmos galore. Call me Tyler Durden if you want, but when I turn on the TV this time of year, all I see is greed.

I can't speak for other spiritual traditions, but that doesn't fly in Buddhism. As a Buddhist, you can't make excuses for allowing your desires to run rampant. Chalking it up to "'tis the season" just doesn't cut it. Self-absorption is still self-absorption, and narcissism is still narcissism, regardless of what time of the year is. Mindfulness doesn't go on vacation, and greed doesn't get any "free bee" days. For Buddhists, the Dharma never sleeps.

My recommendation is to to stay home today. Spend time with your family. Show how thankful you are by not buying anything. Because in the end, you don't need it; you're perfect and complete the way you are.

Photo borrowed from Creative Commons flickr user: Michael Holden.

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