A long article in the Daily News – “Sri Lanka’s National Newspaper since 1918” – trumpets the Thai concept of “sufficiency economy” and highlights its Buddhist character.

Kalinga Seneviratne writes:

In the last two decades, Buddhism’s appeal has grown in the West, drawing people seeking a calm not found in the fast-paced world of Internet-driven commerce and communications.

While Bhavana (Buddhist meditation), has become a form of modern psychotherapy and influenced Western lifestyles, is there anything in the religion’s 2500 year old teachings, which could influence modern economics?

According to Thailand’s much revered King and lately members of the (new military installed) government and a growing number of economists and grassroots development activists, the answer is, yes, there is. They call it ‘Sufficiency Economics’, a term coined by King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the midst of Thailand’s economic meltdown in 1997.

It embraces the three pillars of Buddhism – dana (giving), sila (morality) and bhavana (meditation) – and is based on the Buddhist principle of the ‘Middle Path’, that is avoidance of extremes (of greed).

The Thais have recently got a strong endorsement of this Buddhist development strategy from the United Nation’s main development agency. In a report released in January, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hailed Thailand’s new “Middle Path” development model as a key to fighting poverty, coping with economic risk and promoting corporate social responsibility.

According to Seneviratne, “This model may perhaps offer some insights on how to tackle some of Sri Lanka’s own economic woes and development problems”.

The full article is available from the Daily News website.