Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Financial Intelligence – Part X

Balanced Livelihood

Today, the Guru instructing us on Financial Intelligence will be none other than Lord Buddha. It may be useful to listen to the Vyagghapajja Sutta, where Lord Buddha instructs rich householders how to preserve and increase their prosperity and how to avoid loss of wealth.

In a town named Kakkarapatta, Vyagghapajja had approached Lord Buddha to requested advice on how maintain a balanced livelihood. Lord Buddha replied thus:

What is Balanced Livelihood?
A householder knowing his income and expenses leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income.

Just as the goldsmith or an apprentice of his, knows, on holding up a balance, that by so much it has dipped down, by so much it has tilted up; even so a householder, knowing his income and expenses leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income.

If a householder with little income were to lead an extravagant life, there would be those who say:

'This person enjoys his property like one who eats apples obtained by shaking the apple tree. Many fruits fall from the apple tree, only a few are eaten whilst a large number are wasted.'

If a householder with a large income were to lead a wretched life, there would be those who say:

'This person will die like a starveling.'

Four Sources of Wealth Destruction
The wealth thus amassed has four sources of destruction:
(i) Debauchery,
(ii) Drunkenness,
(iii) Gambling,
(iv) Friendship, companionship and intimacy with evil-doers.

Just as in the case of a great tank with four inlets and outlets, if a man should close the inlets and open the outlets and there should be no adequate rainfall, decrease of water is to be expected in that tank, and not an increase; even so there are four sources for the destruction of amassed wealth — debauchery, drunkenness, gambling, and friendship, companionship and intimacy with evil-doers.

Four Sources of Wealth Creation
There are four sources for the increase of amassed wealth:
(i) Abstinence from debauchery,
(ii) Abstinence from drunkenness,
(iii) Non-indulgence in gambling,
(iv) Friendship, companionship and intimacy with the good.


Just as in the case of a great tank with four inlets and four outlets, if a person were to open the inlets and close the outlets, and there should also be adequate rainfall, an increase in water is certainly to be expected in that tank and not a decrease, even so these four conditions are the sources of increase of amassed wealth.

Conclusion:
It would be useful to reflect and benefit from Lord Buddha’s wisdom on maintaining a Balanced Livelihood, free from the worries of poverty and debt. Any questions or comments?

9 comments:

Black Zedd

Nice one Avatar..abstinence alone can't directly create wealth, but like pollution, staying away from the causes will eventually lead us to clearer skies.

molly

Thanks for reminding. The more we give the more we will received. Be generous in giving help to the needy.

Avatar

Dear Zedd and Molly,

All thanks should be credited to Lord Buddha.

I came across this sutta quite a while back and it's still very relevant at this time and age.

Quite simply concepts really...it's the implementation that's tough!

:)

Rgds

Damien Tan

Hi, this is a good post. What I read from the sutta is that a person should not live beyond his means. Its great advice. If everyone followed it, the Ah Longs and the credit card companies will fold up in no time, hehe.

On the 4 sources of wealth destruction, would you have the definition of an evil-doer? If it means anyone who had strayed from panna, sila and samadhi wouldn't that be like everyone on the planet, except maybe for monks?

Its actually something I've been wondering for a while.

Avatar

Dear Damien,

I believe the definition of evil doers are those who have strayed very far from the 5 precepts.

For me personally, the so-called evil-doers that comes to mind are those *friends* that encourages one to gamble, smoking, drinking and indulge in unhealthy activities.

It's a free world but sometimes when one has a lot of friends who are into these things, it's very easy to pick up these bad habits.

Obviously, discernment is an important factor in evaluating one's friends and there are no hard and fast rules.

Rgds

Damien Tan

5 precepts. Yes that makes sense. The application of Buddhist principles in business (right livelihood) is something I have great interest in. I'll be looking forward to more posts from you in this area.

Avatar

Dear Damien,

Hmmm... the application of Buddhist principles in Business is an intriguing topic.

However, I'm not really qualified to blog about this though I'll KIV this suggestion.

Thanks for your contribution to the discussion.

Rgds

Yours Truly

Business is still seen thru a zero - sum lens these days. Lord Buddha taught compassion for all beings. Gonna be difficult to apply piecemeal all his teachings directly unto the arena of business, which is still tragically very much cut - throat.

Nice attempt at illustrating the priciples to life though, Avatar.

Have a blessed week ahead.

Avatar

Dear Yours Truly,

Thanks. Hope you have a relaxing and nice weekend too :)

Rgds

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