Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Finance Is Suffering: Suze Orman and the Noble Truths of the Buddha

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, Buddhism, finance, guideance, Buddhism, suffering, Shambhala Sun, Orion,

Suze Orman BuddhaIn tough economic times, financial tips can feel like spiritual guidance. The first noble truth of the Buddha—that existence is suffering—sounds like good advice for someone trying to cut back on expenses.

Whether or not she knows it, financial guru Suze Orman doles out such spiritual-financial teachings on her CNBC show, according to John Tarrant writing for Shambhala Sun. Orman helps people understand that the origin of their suffering lies in craving—the second noble truth—firmly but lovingly pushing them away from financial lust and excess. She also teaches the third noble truth, that “a change of heart is possible,” believing in her clients ability to be reborn.

The implicit message of Orman’s show is “you are not alone,” Sandra Steingraber writes for Orion. By showing the financial information of other people anonymously, Orman’s show provides a kind of catharsis and therapy to the viewers. It also gets beyond a taboo people feel when talking about expenses or salary with their friends. This is important, according to Steingraber, due to the fact, “to borrow a phrase from the adoptee rights movement, that secrecy breeds fear. And shame. “

Neither Tarrant nor Steingraber endorse Orman’s specific financial advice. In fact, Steingraber describes her retirement plan as “to be found stiff and cold at my writing desk.” The articles are aimed at illuminating a link between people’s money and their spiritual life, and the way that Orman, according to Tarrant, “is filling a necessary role in our culture as we wake out of a dream.”

Sources: Shambhala Sun (excerpt only), Orion (excerpt only)