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:
(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.
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?