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Trouble with Being Too Rich or Too Poor?

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  • NamoAmituofo
    TheDailyEnlightenment.comWeekly 06.07.07 Get this newsletter | TDE-Weekly Archive Click here if you do not see pictures
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2007
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      TheDailyEnlightenment.comWeekly 06.07.07

      Get this newsletter | TDE-Weekly Archive
      Click here if you do not see pictures
      Realisation: The Trouble with Being Too Rich or Too Poor?

      http://thedailyenlightenment.com/pics/476.jpg Wealth is measured by contentment, not money. - stonepeace

      Contrary to popular belief, a fulfilling life is usually a difficult life. How is this so? If life is a bed of roses, one soon gets tired of the luxury. Becoming used to, it becomes that much less comfortable. Fretting to experience more, one starts yearning for something else - to get greater kicks. This is probably why even the rich and famous seek adventure by running foul of the law occasionally? Fame and fortune is just not satisfying enough. On the other hand, a life where we face obstacles is as fulfilling as the number of challenges we overcome. One who never scales a mountain can never get the "high" of reaching its top. You might argue that the well-to-do have no need to climb because they are already at the "top". But the destination reached should spell contentment, not fretting for more. The beauty of the trip is not just the view at the top, but the sights along the way too. With the peak of life standing for ultimate spiritual fulfilment of having attained liberating enlightenment, no one is born directly at the "peak" (unless one is a manifested enlightened being), but everyone has the ability to advance towards it.

      Comparatively, outdoing ourselves materially is not so much of a kick. One can be born into royalty with a silver spoon in one's mouth for instance - but where is the sense of achievement (though “royal karma” was indeed personally created in a previous life)? In fact, there is no greater kick than outdoing ourselves spiritually as there is immense satisfaction in mindfully knowing we are becoming more generous, more loving and more wise. This is not to say that material well-being has no importance. If one feels that one already has adequate material needs satisfied, one should spend more efforts in fulfilling spiritual needs. Wealth can make us complacent. On one hand, with too much to spend, we might forget about spirituality. On the other hand, with too little to spend, we might fret for wealth and also forget spirituality. We need the Middle Path – enough is enough. Interestingly, the ability to share our material wealth is part of spiritual practice too.

      For those with a generous slant, great weath offers great opportunity to share. For those with a miserly slant, great wealth offers great trappings. In this sense, how we view wealth can make or break our spirituality. Only with mindfulness, are we not trapped by the material, are we spiritually free. But what's wrong with being miserly, especially with hard-earned money? The more one's wealth is selfishly guarded when others are in need, the less spiritual we are - being lacking in generosity, loving-kindness and wisdom. As long as there is a cent not given away when we die, we are in fact a cent too rich. Save for a future rainy day, yes. But give for others' rainy present days too, just as you would hope others give to aid yours too. In the most drastic scenario, imagine being born the richest person in the world, while being surrounded by only the destitute. How can you be happy being miserly, while knowing you have more than enough for yourself, that you can spare what you have to relieve the suffering of others? There is limited happiness in fulfilling oneself, but there is unlimited happiness in helping others live fulfilling lives. - Shen Shi'an

      All the suffering in the world arises out of wanting happiness for self. All happiness in the world arises out of wanting happiness for others. - Shantideva
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