Nakorn Jantharat 2010 : A Critical Study of the Concept of Consumerism according
to Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. Master of Arts (Philosophy and Religion), Major Field: Philosophy and Religion, Department of Philosophy and Religion. Thesis Advisor: Associate Professor Phajon Kamchusang, Ph.D. 116 pages.
This research aims at studying the concept of consumerism, consumption in Buddhism and consumerism in Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s point of view. This is a documentary research mainly focused on Tipitaka and Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s works including their commentary works related.
The findings revealed that consumerism refers to the self-indulgence implying one’s modernization, charming, and luxurious life. It creates a new identity that transcends others. It is the consumption not only for responding basic needs but further for pseudo-needs. In Buddhism, consumption is always made under the principles of (1) Yonisomanasikāra, critical reflection of real value of what to be consumed, (2) Santosa, contentment with what one has, and (3) Mattaññutā, moderation in consumption. Right consumption leads to the development and upgrading life and finally to the ultimate goal of life, Nibbana.
For Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, consumerism refers to over consumption beyond basic needs which leads to over competition and accumulation. A consumer is under self-indulgence and mainly responds to the instinct of ‘eating, sensual desires, and fame’. As a result, there occur complicated problems to oneself, society and environment. Then the world may encounter crisis. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu warns that the world would be destroyed if morality is ignored; he prescribes the way out of consumerism by means of (1) raising new conscience and (2) renewing one’s behaviours. The new conscience is a point of view beyond egoism, based on the principles of Tilakkhaņa (Three Common Characteristics of Things), Idappaccayatā (Independent Origination), and Suññata (Emptiness). Renewing one’s behaviours can be made according to principles of Ariyamagga (Noble Path), Tisikkhā (Threefold Training), and Indriyasamvara (Sense Restraint), which are the antidotes of consumerism.