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Ancient Wisdom Applies to Today and Tomorrow

May 4, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

Adin_Strauss_DSC1624During May 1 to 8 Social Security is joining forces with faith-based and community groups across the country to increase awareness about their programs and services. The theme for this Faith Week of Action is “Shining a Light on Your Lifelong Protections.”

One of the common misconceptions about Buddhism is that it is detached from the affairs of daily living.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Buddhist tradition focuses on cultivating the wisdom to differentiate between short-term pleasure and long-term well-being, and the courage to make the best choices.

Among the ancient Buddhist teachings, we find detailed, practical advice on how to handle our money. One sutra, or teaching, advises us to “set aside one fourth of our earnings for times of need.”

Social Security is a solid partner that helps us to prepare for times of need — retirement, disability or the unexpected death of a family’s breadwinner. 

As a Buddhist, I believe that all of our lives are profoundly interwoven. As one of the great modern Buddhist thinkers, Daisaku Ikeda said, “Each form of life supports all others; together, they weave the grand web of life. Thus, there really is no happiness for oneself alone; no suffering that afflicts only others.”

I appreciate that Social Security provides this kind of protection for my friends, neighbors, and all my fellow Americans. I can relate to those who resent the deduction taken from their paycheck every payday.  However, I also know these contributions provide us with an essential foundation for the future.

We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. We must ensure their well-being and honor their much-needed contributions to our world.  Social security helps us to do just that. Register for Social Security’s Faith Week of Action online and learn how you can help spread the message about securing today and tomorrow.

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About the Author

Adin Strauss, General Director, Soka Gakkai International-USA

Adin Strauss, General Director, Soka Gakkai International-USA


  1. Take A.

    One thing I like about all the comments on this post is that it has created dialogue. As a Christian, I appreciate the diversity and wisdom from all of God’s creation. Jesus whether you believe him to be the son of God or a Prophet of God, was always inclusive. He said the greatest commandment is that you have love for your neighbor. He did not say have love for those of people of your group. Which brings to my mind one instance in the bible where the apostles complained that they were out preaching and noticed people performing miracles who were not part of their group. When asked what they should do about that, Jesus simply replied, “If they are not against you then they are for you.”

    So lets respect one another in love and if what someone is saying is good, see it as love because love does not have a religious label. The greatest gift that God has given us is the gift of diversity and the ability to learn from it all.

  2. adc

    The word “Buddhist” took me by surprise when reading the article too, but it’s amazing how this article turned into a discussion about religion in the comment section. Maybe the writer was trying to gain the audience’s attention by citing a principle of another religion other than Christianity. The message that was conveyed within the article was a positive one. I hope your Christian faith did not stop you from receiving the benefits of the article.

  3. Pat

    WOW!!!!!! what a reaction!!!! No wonder there r so many wars and killings in the name of religion!!!!

    • Ty

      I agree, Pat! Most of these comments are so ignorant.

  4. Jane

    I support Social Security for use as it was first intended. However- I would like the government to stop “borrowing money” from Social Security for other project funding. Imagine how solvent the Social Security Program would be if all the previous “borrowing” was paid back.

    • J. W.

      EXACTYLY !!

    • Ray F.

      Thanks for your comment Jane. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system. Social Security taxes collected from today’s workers pay the benefits of today’s retirees. Any funds in excess of what is needed to pay today’s benefits are invested in special issue, U.S. Government, interest-bearing securities. This investment – the purchase of U.S. Government securities – is what constitutes the “borrowing” that people are sometimes concerned about. Any funds that have been “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust Funds have always been paid back in full, plus interest. Please check out our Trust Fund Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

  5. Tony

    Wow, I normally delete theses email but was glad I kept on reading.
    So my friends, does “religion” unite us humans or divide us. What exactly is the purpose of being religious if it only deepens our hatred and vitriol. I’m not a scholar, just asking.

  6. Susy

    It is not God that cannot be mentioned, it is Jesus!
    I hope Social Security balances this post with posts from all major religions

    • Kahnna F.

      Good point Susy. I am not ignorant, closed mind nor scared to learn of other belief systems.I am also not going to sit by and not point out the obvious disparity. The post is sponsored by an agency within a government that seeks to separate itself from religion. No one missed the part that says SSA is partnering with faith-based and community groups. What I am saying is SSA should give Chistians equal time.

      I will stand down once I see the SSA promote articles by other faith based entities.

  7. Athelind

    Well, let’s see…from the inception of “Christianity” and especially during the Witch Trials here in the United States and throughout Europe, approximately 50 million women alone were killed in order to promote the now dominate religious system here in the US. It is not surprising that seed of intolerance for the views of others still exists.

    The only killing in the name of Buddha has come from non-Buddis, (i.e.: Muslims, Christians, etc.), seeking to destroy peace in order to perpetuate power in the name of religion.

    One should not worry one’s self regarding the separation of “church” and state, they are and always will be intimately connected. The evidence being the rapid destruction of our country and youth. The quality of any religion should be it’s fruit. After all, Christ; who by the way begged his followers not to worship him when he said, “It is not me, but the Father who sent me.”
    is a title and the name of the man “christians” worship is never used. Therefore, who are the real idol worshipers?

    I read these postings and no longer wonder at the condition of our world. An 80 year old person posts their “opinion” and not respected. The word “God” is used as an excuse to spew self-serving, uninformed dogma by politically and socially powerless individuals. For, should “Christianity” live by the tenants of Christ when he said, “What I do, ye can also do.”…they would realize their God’s power is within and not worry about the peaceful beliefs of others.

    • Marc

      Thank you. This article neither makes no law “establishing” ANY religion, nor does it in any way prevent any of you good “christian” haters from practicing your religion. Learn the Constitution before you attempt to exercise your “rights” thereunder. Immigrants seeking to become citizens know FAR more about our Constitution than most of you. Less bible, more reality maybe???

  8. Gloria

    If readers actually click on the link as the article encourages, you will see Social Security is hosting a weeklong campaign to educate people on the importance of planning and saving for your future financial well being if you become disabled or retire. It is an attempt to reach people of ALL faiths. There is no governmental intention to discriminate or create bias among differing faiths. As the article points out and as I see daily in the work I do, Social Security retirement benefits replace only 40 percent of workers’ earnings. Many folks don’t have a savings set aside for emergencies let alone years of retirement. This campaign is intended to educate everyone about social security not religion. Signing up for a my Security account is a great way to prevent social security identity fraud and can provide individuals with knowledge that could change their lives for the better and set them on a sound financial course. It’s too bad when people jump to conclusion without even reading what the campaign and article is all about. I applaud Social Security for their efforts. I think most people who identify with a particular faith listen to their elders/clergy/pastors,etc… so what a great way to encourage the faith based communities to help spread the word!

  9. Seeker

    If the writer of the article had noted that many other religions, especially the Christian religion provide guidance for making wise choices I would not be a disturbed, but the article seemed to infer the advantages of Buddhism over other belief sets without recognizing their contributions. Christianity from its incept has taught and exercised the taking care of others, especially the widowed, crippled, and less fortunate. And Christianity has been doing that since before the creation of the SSA.

  10. Mary K.

    I found it very interesting. I’m not Buddhist but open minded and appreciate learning good stuff that is benefits humans from any authentic religion like a Buddhism. I also thank you Adin for clarification of misconceptions because I was one of those who thought wrong about that.

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