Dhamma Video Conference Talk and Q & A with Ajahn Anan – December 29th, 2017
L uang Por Anan: Welcome to everyone. It is almost the new year. Let us talk tonight about how to manage wealth.
The people in the world are similar, whether in Thailand or Australia. This is important for laypeople, those living as a householder and need to find wealth and earn a living. To find wealth, they need to be diligent, they need to have forbearance and patience, they need to have mindfulness and wisdom as well. If they are only diligent but have no wisdom, they won’t get anywhere. They need wisdom to lead their decisions. They need to have diligence, be frugal, know how to use the money that they get, how to invest that money, and know how to save and preserve money for use in the times of sickness. They need to know all these aspects.
There is one story, where the Buddha talked about a Jataka story during one of the past eras before this current one. In the city of Varanasi, there was one farmer who was very diligent in his work. He was ploughing this one field whose owner had disappeared and was nowhere to be found. So, he was effectively the owner of this field. He ploughed this field every day as his work. One day he was out ploughing the field and the steel ploughing instrument that was pulled by the buffalo got stuck in the ground. It got stuck on something, possibly a stump of a tree. It was so stuck that it couldn’t be pulled anymore. The farmer was forced to stop his work. At first, he thought it was stuck on the root of a tree. But when he went to put his hand to see what it was stuck on, there covered in dirt he found a large piece of gold. It could have been from someone who was travelling past this place and lost or forgot this large piece of gold. This event occurred in the early afternoon, so the farmer still had a lot of time before he usually finished work.
This farmer was extremely diligent. Even after finding gold he didn’t change his nature. If this was a person who was lazy, easily excited, or greedy, then they wouldn’t have kept working, because they would be rich already. But this farmer thought that since it was just early afternoon he still had time to keep working. So, he kept working. He wasn’t lazy. He loved his work a lot. So, he kept working. He put the dirt to cover the gold as he found it. When it reached the time that he usually stopped working, he went to the gold and wanted to take it home. But it was too heavy. He wasn’t able to carry it all. It wouldn’t have been any less than 50kg. It was really heavy. So, he separated the gold into 4 portions. The first portion was for selling for instruments needs for his work. The second portion was for burying and to keep in times of emergency. The third portion was for trading and using. The fourth portion was for donations and making merit.
He took out the gold and brought it back the gold home piece by piece. This farmer didn’t tell anyone he had found this gold, not even his wife or children. He used his money as he normally would have. He didn’t tell anyone about this gold. He didn’t boast or show off his wealth. He worked as normal and no-one knew that he was any different than normal. All the people understood that his increase in wealth was from his diligence that he practiced continuously. All the people could see his diligence. Even finding gold, he was still diligent. So, everyone was sure he was a diligent person. The Buddha gave this story and who do you think was the farmer in that life? Try to guess? Who do you think the farmer was when he was born in this Buddha’s era?
N: The Buddha.
A: Its hard to guess. Yes, it was the Buddha himself. We don’t know for sure the origins of people in their past lives. This farmer was reborn again, later as our Buddha. Our Buddha had been a farmer before, who was diligent, worked hard, and had the mindfulness and wisdom to look after his wealth, not boastful and had patience and diligent. See how he practiced in this life as a farmer. He practiced with a lot of awareness and wisdom, he knew how to utilise his wealth effectively and how to lead a balanced life. He used the wealth to sustain his life, to keep for future investment, to keep to donate and make merit as well, and to keep for sickness and emergencies. He kept his wealth as 4 portions. He had a lot of wisdom. He wasn’t an ordinary farmer but a Bodhisattva farmer.
So, if you want to be wealthy, then recite this mantra – uu aa kaa saa. It means that you know how to be industrious and diligent, you know how to keep and maintain your money, you know how to associate with good friends, and you know how to increase your wealth and what diminishes it, being able to maintain a balanced livelihood, being frugal. In this way one keeps and balances their wealth in the appropriate portions.
What would you do if you found a large gold nugget as a layperson?
So, we are approaching 2018, and you can be determined to be frugal, to maintain your wealth that you get, and plan for the best ways to maintain and keep it. By developing in this way, then this trains your character and establishes new behaviours. This coming year we have to be thrifty. … so this is the Dhamma topic for your contemplation today.
Questions and Answers:
Question: In the blessing chant, what is the meaning of the word ‘beauty’?
Luang Por Anan: It can mean physical beauty or radiance. It also means the inner beauty that comes from developing inner goodness of heart.
Q: There is a book about the regrets people have when they are about to die. They are usually: 1. They didn’t do what they wanted to in life. 2. Not enough time with family. 3. They didn’t use their abilities to the fullest. 4. Not enough time with friends and loved ones. 5. Not enough happy times in life. My question is, do Thai people have similar regrets when they are about to die?
Luang Por Anan: It is not about whether one is a Thai person or a Western person, it is about whether one is a Dhamma practitioner or not. The regrets you list are the regrets of someone who has not practiced well. You should practice well and be heedful in order to be free from regrets.
When your eyes are open, you do not see. This means one does not yet see the Dhamma, the truth of the way things are. One needs to open one’s internal eye to see things with wisdom.
Q: How can I develop metta without attachment? I feel attached to hearing nice words from others.
Luang Por Anan: Practice metta, make your own mind peaceful, and practice accepting what happens. Give metta to yourself.
Q: A job offer has come up that involves killing lots of flies. Is this right livelihood or not?
Luang Por Anan: It is not right livelihood because it breaks the first precept.