September 17 : Generating Wealth

When you imagine all sorts of wealth coming, our usual attitude is to think of material wealth. I was thinking that it should not be just material wealth we think about, but the fear of not having enough material things controls us. When there is a sense of poverty in our mind, we become tight, fearful, and miserly and do not want to share the material things we have. Yet the actual karmic cause of wealth is generosity. Many people feel poor in terms of love, friendship, acceptance, or appreciation, so poverty is not just material things. The best way to get more friends is to generously give care and affection to others.

We also need Dharma teachings, Dharma teachers, and Dharma friends. We can create the conditions for them by organising events, inviting teachers, helping to publish Dharma books, and helping to get the teachings out there in one way or another. The service we offer to our teachers becomes the cause to have Dharma teachers in the future.

When we practise generosity, all fear of poverty goes away because our mind becomes more expansive when we are generous. When you give, you have a worldview where there is not a fixed pie but there is enough for everybody. This changes your attitude and how you perceive and experience the situation. An expansive and generous mind is the opposite of a fearful mind.

In my own experience, I have found that when my behaviour changes, the outside circumstance changes. Offering care and affection to others has come back to me even in this life. I also know for myself that because of a very materially stingy streak in myself, the first years of my ordination were extremely difficult materially to the point where I had to ration toilet paper because I did not have enough money to buy more. One day, sitting there I realised the material suffering that I had was due to my attitude of miserliness. So, I sat down and had a good long Dharma talk with myself and began to really nudge myself to become a bit more generous. And now I see in this lifetime, I do not lack anything. I remember coming back from India and being with some of my friends. They had kids, and both had jobs. We were driving to eat at a restaurant and stopped by a photo shop to pick up family photos. While we were driving there, they were telling me how broke they are and how they feel so poor. It became so evident how poverty is a mental state — it is not what you have.

“365 Gems of Wisdom” e-book is out now!