Bob Banners
“Billionaire Buddha”
ordering info is:

See Banner’s review HERE

###########  pg 42
“What must I do?” he asked, nearly wailing. “Travel to foreign countries? Put out want ads? Help me!”

He pleaded with the universe. He offered a guzzle of his rare and vintage wine to the night. The ruby liquid of the drink of the gods tipped over the glass balcony rail and disappeared into the darkness. He could not hear the splatter on the rocks below. The night drank the offering on the wind.

“What must I do?” he asked again.

The night stilled. The wind halted. His hair stood on end.

Give it up.

He heard a voice so ancient its depth defied the confines of gender and language. The stars shuddered overhead. He knew without a word the sacrifice the voice demanded.

Give up your wealth.

Dave flung back from the railing; back from the night, the wind, the voice, stunned not at the demand, but the immediate retort of agreement that sounded through his synapses. Money bound him in its embraces, defining him from head to toe. Before a stranger saw his face, the subtle mask of money reached out to shake the stranger’s hand. Wealth suffocated his humanity and slid adulterously into bed with his lovers.

But now, Fate was robbing him at gunpoint: your money or your love. He could not have both. This woman existed beyond the beaten path of luxury. She hid behind a door his gold-tinged eyes could never see. His money clung to him worse than his earlier obesity, driving a wedge of gluttony between them.

Drop it. Shed it. Toss it vehemently from your life.  

###########  pg 95
“There have always been rich people and poor people. It’s the way the world works – “
“That is patently untrue,” Joan retorted, her eyes flashing. “The monkeys aren’t wandering around rich or poor. At some point, the human species invented money, wealth and property . . . and with those came poverty, the notion of scarcity, and the condition of hunger for some and abundance for others. It was a shell game that paid off well for the elite, so they perpetuated it. But,” she fumed, “what came into existence can fade from existence. Humanity could drop the shell game if it wanted to,” she spat out in disgust, “but everyone keeps thinking they’re going to win it. Everyone keeps gambling, hoping to get the winning lottery ticket.”   

####  pg 99
Dave’s expression fell into deep shadows as he grappled with the parasitical nature of capitalism. The spine-shuddering vision of a massive beast haunted his thought; he watched capitalism sink its talons into living creatures and suck their blood and sinew until the emptied sack of bones and skin collapsed. In the New World, capitalism had unleashed its seething violence to massacre a continent of civilizations that objected to its parasitic invasion. The coasts of the east, the farmlands, the Appalachia’s fell to the all-devourer. No more! the natives cried, but the Spanish conquered Mexico at sword point and sucked up the California coast. The French trappers wormed into the tall forests. The English, the Irish, the German, the Dutch: the hordes continued to advance as greedy European elites consumed wealth, food, equality, and justice, thrusting thousands more into desperation, and ultimately, onto the ships departing for the Americas. Manifest Destiny delivered divine rule to white-skinned masses; opposition was plowed under, along with the arrowheads and blood of massacres and battles….” A heartless novelist capitalized on the ill-founded myths and a well-funded foundation ensured her books were read. A thousand false premises paraded around in the psyche of a nation without a single courageous child to cry out, “Look Mommy, the Empire has no clothes!”

It had no clothes, no heart, no decency, no shame, no foundation in truth, no reality. Capitalism was Greed unleashed like Satan’s right hand man, justified by convenient misinterpretations of the Bible, and rationalized by sciences that failed to account for the reality of the world.   

#####  pg 142
Dave’s body started to shake. He sat down on the curb of the main street of town, even though the city ordinances made it illegal for the poor to stand on the corner, sit on the sidewalk, lie in the bushes, carry a blanket, wash in public, or piss in the back lots. Yet, the public restrooms were closed, the shelters were full or shut down, and the benches had been removed. Tourists and shoppers sat in cafes, never dreaming that they had to pay for the right to sit down. They sipped café lattes while the poor who could not afford coffee or tacos were swept out of sight from a city that denied them their right to exist.

Dave broke the law when he fell to his haunches. He’d broken so many laws in his life: tax codes, zoning ordinances, monopoly and antitrust laws, speed limits, investments in stocks. The wealthy break laws because the laws don’t apply to them. The poor break the law because their survival has been outlawed. Dave added loitering to his litany of crimes when he crumbled to the curb, shocked by a memory that symbolized the height of his conceit.  

###### pg150
You are not free until all are free. Equality is not a half measure. While the animals cower in the feedlots, and the dogs yap behind the fences, and the trees, rocks, rivers, and valleys are owned by human beings, our species is no better than the plantation slave owner loftily claiming that without him, his negroes would degenerate into wild beasts.

Dave groaned on the ground. The wilds – that which we called the wilds – was nothing more than a perfectly content ecosystem going about its business until our fear came along and choked on it. The wilds once humbled humanity, keeping our species into the natural system of checks and balances. They cast the arrogance of human beings into the democracy of the species, the round table in which elephants and ants are all created equal. And for this reason, humanity holds nature’s egalitarianism with deep disdain and lauds the hierarchies of man. But as the slow quest for equality between the human races, genders, and classes begins to bear fruit; humans are also starting to wonder . . . what is humanity doing on a pedestal of our own construction?   

######  pg152
I’m here, she whispers. Immortality, resurrection, birth beyond death, the emptiness that births your form, embraces your form, gives meaning to your exclamation point of existence.
And still, the man rages. He shaves the forests as severely as his culture insists that women shave their legs, armpits, pubis. He blows up mountains in brutal rapes for coal. He pisses his sewage into oceans as if defecating on his lover. He cruelly exhales toxic smoke into her face. He sprays her with disfiguring, cancerous substances. Then he kicks her in disgust, saying she is old, worn out, useless, ugly; her vagina stretches wider than a whore’s; her breasts hang like an old sow’s.

In her brokenness, she mocks him. Missing a tooth, she sneers at him. Go find yourself a virgin, fool! She is the wilds, the woods; the Earth. She says to humankind: in this entire Universe, I dare you to find another planet as hospitable as I. She stands on rickety knees, naked and hideous. She waggles her flabby hips.

I was beautiful, once, she reminds man. He groans, remembering. She was beautiful once, beyond belief, beyond compare. The very memory of Earth stirs his loins and quickens his pulse.

############## pg153
Dave wept into the forest floor. His mouth grew chalky on the crunch of loam. The musk filled his nostrils. She is there; the maiden, mother, crone; every woman he’s ever known, the friends, adversaries, ex-wife, fantasies, lovers . . . and Joan.  

####### pg 162
Dave shuddered on the fallen oak. The consequences of this cultural insanity were dire. As long as humanity believed in the colonizing lie that survival came by destroying others, nothing on this planet would survive. The forests would be clear cut, the indigenous mowed down in genocide and wars, the earth torn open in search of minerals, the oil burned into the skies, the people devoured by a machine of greed that knows no bounds or limitations.

“Somehow,” he told the oaks, “we must stop the madness of these beliefs.”  

#######  pg196
Bits of sand and seaweed clung to them. The salt of the ocean mingled with his sweat, her tears, semen and dampness. And as they lay shuddering, bodies hot against the coolness of night, Joan looked at the envelope of darkness above, below, and to all sides, and felt safe in night’s embrace. Dave listened to the sweep of ceaseless waves, felt the reverberations of their thrusts through the rocks, through his skin, through his own body. And they wondered why humanity had need for anything more than a quiet place to love one another in peace.  

####### pg199
The modern world may scream for rational explanations, but there are forces beyond the mechanistic model of the Universe. Science knows only the limits of its answers; infinity is vast and fecund with the unknown. Joan dropped the constraints of society and stepped into the lineage of wandering saints and mountain sages, ecstatic nuns alive in God, and singing women who walk naked through the streets, clothed only in wisdom and compassion. Throughout all time, they have leapt for love and reached for knowledge of the divine. Societies have mocked and scorned them, bound these women to husbands, children, chains of propriety and property. But when enlightenment comes knocking, how could they refuse to answer the door? When the divine says, leave this life and leap into the unknown, would you protest that the laundry wasn’t done? Joan closed up her house, gave away her sparse belongings, quit her jobs, and left.
####### pg 216
They would circle these themes like koans as they hiked into towns. After a day on the corner, they would split their earnings with other homeless people standing around town holding cardboard signs in grimy hands. Now that they had embarked on the path of the Buddha, holding out the begging bowl in modern America, they could never be certain that winos were just drunkards – a bodhisattva might hide in that body. The jittering meth addict and the tired old veteran could be emanations of the Buddha sent forth to test their compassion and wisdom.  

####### pg233
Freedom is not a concept that swears allegiance to any flag! It defies nationalism! Patriotism! Boundaries and borders! The wild birds are free! The wild fish are free! But the wild human? Such creatures have gone extinct. Out of seven billion humans, not one knows the meaning of freedom. Humankind enslaves their species by culture, society, history, and law. In blind ignorance, they utter the word, freedom, to launch wars, spend money, make laws, and imprison others. Freedom is not free, their bumper stickers read . . . but such a twisted convolution of logic baffles the brightest thinkers.

Freedom is free, you fools! It is war that is costly, that takes your sons’ lives. It is protecting the empires of the rich that is expensive to the people. It is the fortunes of the few that enslave the lives of the many. It is the imprisonment of your mind that bankrupts your freedom.

See Banner’s review HERE

Listen to a pair of 1 percenters who gave it all away and talk about it:

Read the fictitious character of Dave Grant, based on a real live person
Dariel Garner, give it all away here:

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