In ” Words of My Perfect Teacher” Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887) comments on the various kinds of human suffering in our world: In the following passage he discusses our difficulties with matters of money and possessions. How pertinent this passage is to reflect upon during this recession.
” We could spend all of our time looking after our wealth and property, and mount guard over it day and night. But even that would not prevent us from eventually having to share it with our enemies. Brigands by day, burglars by night, wild dogs, wolves, and other fierce animals can all descend on us without warning. Obviously, the more wealth and property we have, the more trouble it takes to acquire it, protect it and try to increase it.
Jetsun Milarepa says:
In the beginning wealth makes you happy and envied;
But however much you have, it never seems enough….
Our sufferings are indirect proportion to the extent of our possessions. For instance, if you owned a horse you would worry that it might be carried off by an enemy or stolen by a thief; you would wonder if it had all of the hay it needed, and so on. Just one horse brings plenty of trouble. If you owned a sheep, you would have one sheep’s worth of trouble. If all you had was a bag of tea, you could still be sure of having a bag of tea’s worth of trouble.
So reflect and meditate on how important it is to live in peace, following the old adage, ” Without wealth, there are no enemies”. Inspire yourself with the stories of the Buddha’s of the past. And uproot all of your attachment to money and property. Live on what you find like the birds, and devote yourself entirely to the practice of the dharma.”
This passage, echos Jesus’ words, ” Observe the birds of the fields: they sow not, neither do they reap”. Our true worth is not based on our worldly possessions, rather on our connectedness to love, compassion and community. Let us be inspired by take the stories of all of the Buddhas!
Jacqueline Mandell and Allyndreth Stead: editors