Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Zen and the Art of Not Buying

by Rachel Levitt


Tags: Spirituality, mindful living, Buddhism, zen, shopping, gift giving, consumerism, Christmas, Adbusters, Gary Gach,

Santa BuddhaThe Adbusters-promoted National Buy Nothing Day (a.k.a. Black Friday) has gained steam over the past few years, but what about an entire buy-nothing Christmas? The anti-consumerism magazine wants to help. In the latest issue, writer Gary Gach ruminates on "What Would the Buddha Buy?"—the first in a series of articles to help identify and avoid the “moment during which real pleasure becomes abstract desire—the want to want.”

Easier said than done, of course, which is why Gach also advocates mindful purchases and donations in place of buying for buying’s sake. Instead of obsessing over finding perfect gifts for your loved ones, make spending time with them a priority. Instead of purchasing a new gadget or sweater, donate what you already have but don’t use; the strategy has the double benefit of helping those in need and clearing up space. “It’s harder to be grasping greedily when your arms are extended in giving,” Gach writes.

Image by mermay19, licensed under Creative Commons.