Archive | February 2019

Wealth comes from Giving – My Personal Experience

(Sharing from a fellow Buddhist — translated from Chinese)

Dharma brothers and sisters, after seeing that some Dharma friends are experiencing difficulties in their finances, I decided to share some of my personal experiences in the hope that it would be of use to others.

In the past, I had many difficulties financially too and often worried about money.  After my marriage and setting up a family, we had some savings initially but my husband used them for an investment. I did not work and had no income, but my uncontrolled spending soon caused us financial problems.

At that time, my in-laws were a family of average income, my mother-in-law was quite thrifty.  If I did not finish a bowl of left-over vegetables from the day before, my mother-in-law would reprimand me severely.  I felt quite aggrieved and cried secretly. (Now  I realize that I had been very petty and did not know how to appreciate my merits). When we went to restaurants, we would pick the cheaper dishes and we did not snack at home, everyone was quite thrifty.  Even for going to the movies, my husband had to bring me secretly, knowing that his mother would be angry if she found out. After our wedding, my husband revealed to me that his family was laden with debts.  When I learned this, I was shocked out of my wits.

There were many problems with my husband after our wedding, at that time I came into contact with the Ksitigarbha seven days group practice.   In my eagerness to practice, I loved to make many offerings, give to the needy and release lives. But all these giving were accompanied by a kind of expectation or wish that I would be rewarded. I only hoped that something in my situation would change. My mother who knew somewhat of my financial situation, was saddened by my straits and would often support me secretly. Each time, she would give me quite a large sum of money, which, apart from supporting household expenses, I would use for myself quite sparingly, not daring to spend too much.  I used most of the money for releasing lives, giving to benefit others etc.  I spent most on releasing lives because I loved this activity.  I released lives ceaselessly and managed to release a great many lives.

At the beginning, there was not much improvement. Until I gave birth to our first child, there were many obstacles, so I decided to start doing my Dharma homework properly. I continued to persist in giving.  As long as there were places that needed donors, that had donation boxes, or donation drives, I would give a few tens of dollars, this became a deep habit of mine.

As my homework increased, my husband’s business started to turn around. I finally did not need my mother to help me financially. My husband would give me some money every month. Besides using it for household expenses, I would use most of it for releasing lives and giving. When relatives or other Dharma friends needed help urgently, I would try my best to help. Or if my friends liked something I had, I would give it out quite naturally. I knew that I had many negative habitual tendencies and used the method of generosity to reduce my greed and attachment.

As I persisted in practicing this way slowly, and as the volume of my homework increased, my husband’s business became better and better. We even got ourselves branded cars and large mansions. All the past debts of many decades finally got repaid, we got ourselves many real-estates in many places. Many of these properties were rented out at very good rates.

All these were just the appearances but many people envied me, thinking that I was still young and yet did not need to work and could just remain at home to bring up the kids, not even needing to do much housework.  But it is due to these very same reasons that I felt that my negative karma was very heavy, as these enjoyments also used up a lot of my merits.  Therefore, when I was home, I would try to help out with the housework and do whatever work I could do myself, not allowing other people to take my place in doing these work.  This was to conserve my merits.  I also tried to participate in internet volunteering.  What is worth mentioning is that: my children are basically taken care of by me. Because the kids are young, the mother’s guidance and teachings are especially important. Even in a very well-to-do environment, we should learn to be appreciative of what we have.  We should realize that the merits that enabled us to enjoy were obtained through hard work in the past. It came through giving and generosity. It came through maintaining moral discipline and holding precepts. If the children cultivated the habits of arrogance from infancy, it would mislead them and create a great mistake. The mother should inculcate her children with such values. Nowadays, although the children are still young, when they turn on the tap to wash their hands, they would automatically open the tap only slightly so that a small volume of water flows down.  They have been trained in many such cute habits (such as conserving water) , there is no need to mention them all here.

Later on, my husband got progressively better and better.  In the year when many in the same trade could not earn any profits, my husband even managed to make a killing.  As to this, my husband feels that he has very good luck. But secretly, I knew that this was due to his past accumulated merits and also the merits accrued from the virtuous deeds I had done on his behalf by releasing lives and giving for other beneficial causes.

Some Dharma friends asked me why I don’t put some savings aside for rainy days. It is true that I never did so. I can never manage to save money, because I love to give and release lives. This has become a deep habit for me only that now I no longer expect anything much in return, it has simply become a good way of life for me.  Although I do not really worry much about money now, strange to say, every time I needed money, there would always be some coincidental way in which money makes its way into my hands.  Sometimes, the coincidence is so uncanny that it shocks me completely but I believe this to be the blessings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

It may be because I used my husband’s wealth to make offerings and give generously that my husband also benefited. Many of my friends and relative often said, since I married into this family, the wealth of the family has prospered, they said that I brought wealth to my husband. Actually, they do not know that this is due to my strenuous effort in giving and doing my daily homework. In the same business deal, if my brother-in-law or sister’s husband went to negotiate, the clients would often refuse to accept the deal. If my husband went, he always closed the deal easily and the income would often be quite significant. My husband often commented behind their backs that my brother-in-law and sister’s husband did not do their work seriously, but I felt that this was not the true reason. I feel that this is related to one’s merits.

To summarize, when I was very poor in the past, I did not give, was thrifty, did not uphold precepts, did not practice seriously and everything was done in a superficial way. I was extremely attached to material enjoyments and had many negative emotions. Since doing Dharma practice, my family has been getting along well, my finances have improved by leaps and bounds. I know that my karmic obstacles are heavy and that my present good situation is just but an appearance.  Only if my body and mind regains its purity, my mind placed on the correct Dharma path, all my mistakes of body, speech and mind are corrected, and I am able to take as my teacher the Buddha, Precepts and Suffering (for the sake of practice) would I be able to rest satisfied that everything is done well.

My Dharma path has been very long and my karma has been very heavy but the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have been kind and merciful, not abandoning me, allowing me experience so many positive changes in my family in a very short time. Even though not everyone in my family practices Dharma, but many things are gradually changing. For instance, if we met a handicapped person on the streets, my husband would tell me to give some money. If it had been the past, if he saw me giving money, he would definitely give me an earful. Or for instance, in our family, we predominantly take vegetarian food, when we eat out, we do not order live foods, so there is no killing. My husband now spends time with me and our children, chatting, interacting and playing games. He gives the children baths, it is a great change from the past when he barely came home, and ignored us for long periods of time. Even my mother-in-law has become more accommodating and understanding, our relationship has changed from one filled with quarrels to one that is much more harmonious. The Dharma practice and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas help us in every facet of our lives.

However, one should not be attached to such little worldly merits. A teaching once said, someone who is materially well-off and had a peaceful body and mind can truly be considered a person with merits. Learning from my experience, many of my surrounding family, friends and fellow-practitioners have now started to joyfully practice generosity. Many people who used to make fun of me are now filled with admiration for me and have started the practice of generosity themselves. Many of them have already received palpable benefits from giving.

Actually, I am still young, and my practice is immature, so I do not really have the qualifications to write such an article. But seeing often that people are complaining of a lack of money, and that some people who make great efforts are still deprived of wealth, I really wish to tell them, “Wealth comes from giving, holding precepts and doing Dharma practice.”  Just look at someone like me: not working; bringing up the children; ignorant of many things; having a very simple mind and being quite stupid, when many other Dharma friends tell me something simple, I need to think about it for a long time before their meanings becomes apparent to me. Yet, I have money every month, I am able to do my Dharma practice, volunteer work, release lives, study the teachings, accompany my family and live a very joyful life.

I am grateful to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Tonight, for some strange reason, I suddenly felt like writing this article. I hope it helps those who have the karmic connection. I am quite a simple and slow person, so it is better to leave a pseudonym. Thank you all my Dharma brothers and sisters!

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Pure Motivation

Pema Trinley Rinpoche

If we do not have a pure motivation and our practice is merely for ourselves. Then I’m afraid that even if you practice the Dzogchen pith instructions, Thogal or even if you do retreats, all of these acts will not have much meaning. Many of our Dharma friends here have just emerged from retreats. I rejoice in your merits sincerely. All the Dharma friends here also rejoice in your retreat. Because we rejoice in the merits of your retreat, we obtain the same exact merits. (everyone laughs) And if you are going to do future retreats, all of us would now rejoice here in advance. However, as a practitioner, you should understand why we rejoice or why we retreat. If one does not know the reasons for these or if you don’t possess a pure motivation, or if you lack true faith in the Dharma or lack Bodhichitta, then whether you retreat or rejoice, it does not have great meaning.

All our practices must never ever be just for benefitting ourselves, or have our own benefit as its sole objective. Instead, one must genuinely give rise to the wish to benefit all beings vastly. Wish that oneself and others will obtain the fruition of liberation. In this way, you practice. If you simply say that you wish to benefit all beings, that has little practical benefits. We say that we must recognize the kindness of our mothers, that we must repay the kindness of our mothers, yet how can we genuinely repay our mothers’ kindness? There isn’t the slightest use in just saying we want to benefit all beings. We know that our mothers have great kindness towards us, then wishing to benefit our mothers, we should carry out actions that fulfill this vast aspiration.

Everyone of us needs to recognize our mothers’ kindness, repay our mother’s kindness. No matter who you are, it is impossible that you have just appeared like a raindrop falling from the sky, or like flower growing out from the ground. There is not one human without parents. Our ability now to practice the Dharma, to work in our jobs, to have happy lives. All these came from our parents’ kindness. If our parents had abandoned us, we would not even have this human life, not to mention Dharma practice or jobs. If our parents did not conceive us, nurture us, give us medicine in our infancy when we were sick and healed our sicknesses, did not give us food, then we would have died when we were young. Our present pleasant bodies are able to practice the Dharma and work– all these comes from our parents’ beneficence. As our parents were very careful to look after us, we have our present healthy bodies to learn the Dharma. Truly speaking, all that we possess right now comes from our parents’ kindness. We should really recognize this fact.

There are many children who are without the care of their parents, many of them are not even able to survive, or needless to say have a happy life. Just as you now make a lot of effort to look after your kids, all your parents have made similar efforts to look after you. Due to their parents’ kindness, these children are able to grow up properly. This is a kind of karmic connection through blood.

If the children are able to perform virtues with their body, speech and mind, then these positive karma will similarly ripen on their parents. If our parents have passed away, then as children, if we are able to practice many virtues, our parents’ future lives will be very good. But if we commit negativities, these negativities will similarly land on our parents. They will end up in the three lower realms on account of our negativities. Therefore, whether from the viewpoint of yourself or benefiting your parents or others, we need to continuously perform positive deeds with body, speech and mind.

Some advice by Pema Trinley Rinpoche on abortion

Tonight, a lady came to visit Rinpoche. After becoming pregnant, her boyfriend had disappeared. She wanted to abort the baby but did not dare to, it was very painful for her. She asked Rinpoche if she could first abort and then do prayers to liberate the deceased. At first, Rinpoche said, “No idea!”

That night, after the teaching had concluded. Rinpoche spoke privately to this lady again. He said, “After abortion, whether you do practice or not, the final destination will be the hell realms. If you give birth to the child, maybe you will have difficulties, but in the end, it will be good. The heaviest of all karmas is to kill, the greatest of all virtues is to protect life. I am saying this for your own good with a pure motivation, what decision you make is up to you. “

The lady shed tears and said strongly to Rinpoche, “I will definitely keep this child.”

Rinpoche then gave her some precious blessed items and blessed her by holding her head.

(Rinpoche’s translator: This lady had first met a teacher who told her that one could first abort and then do prayers for the aborted fetus. It was truly fortunate that she met an authentic teacher who directed her on the right path before she did anything foolish.)
—–

Tonight, a lady rushed to meet Rinpoche to request for the Dzogchen pith instructions. After she had reported her meditative experiences, the translator mentioned to Rinpoche that this lady’s husband and mother-in-law had disapproved of her keeping her child, but this student insisted that she would never do an abortion and later gave birth to the child safely.

When Rinpoche heard this, he was delighted and gestured to the lady with his thumbs up. Then he said, “Isn’t it so that since you gave birth to this child, your merits and good fortune have increased more and more and your life has become better?”

The lady hesitated in thought and her face brightened up as she replied, “It is indeed so.”

Rinpoche said, “I did not say this through clairvoyance, but the law of cause-and-effect simply works this way. You would not only enjoy happiness and good fortune now, but your future will be even better. In your future lives, great results of virtuous karma awaits you. Moreover, this child will be very filial, he will grow up to be a very good person, he will treat you very well. It is not that he understands your difficulties bringing him up and decides to repay your kindness, it is simply that the force of karma will cause him to treat you very well.

“There is no worse karma than killing and no better merit than protecting lives. Not only you will enjoy good fortune, but your parents will also get by very well.”

This lady was overjoyed and interrupted Rinpoche, saying, “ Yes, it is true. Before the birth of my child, my parents were always quarrelling. After I gave birth to him, the house became very peaceful, everyone was focussed on looking after the child. My parents never quarrelled again. Now, my whole family is very happy. When I was pregnant, my mother asked me whether I will give birth to the child, I said that this was my baby, how could I not give birth to him.”

“How many people are there in your family? “ Rinpoche asked.

“My mother adopted an abandoned child, that is my little sister. “

Rinpoche joyfully praised her mother’s virtue.

“But my parents do not know how to practice Dharma although they have great faith in Buddha.”

“This is not a problem, I will teach them how to practice. Simply bring a recording of my teaching this time for them to listen. They will understand what I am saying, it will be very helpful for their practice. As for your husband and mother-in-law, their minds are too ruthless, their merits will gradually diminish. When you resisted their suggestions to abort and decided to bring up your child yourself, it may seem very tough at first but the merits of protecting life will bring you more and more wealth, you will become more and more happy. Cause-and-effect works this way. If you look at those people who do abortion, their merits will start to shrink, their lives will gradually have more and more sufferings and terrible future lives are awaiting them. ”

This lady who bore her child with great difficulties was filled with great happiness and returned to her room to meditate.

(Comments: If you have done abortion before, do not feel despair, but do many prayers for your aborted fetus and do many practices to purify your negative karma before this life ends. Apart from Pema Trinley Rinpoche, many teachers have taught about the severe consequences of abortion. But it can be purified with very diligent practice. Just as Milarepa had practiced hard to purify his karma of killing many people, you should not be negligent but practice hard, keeping in mind the negativities you have heaped up in the past. You should also resolve never to kill or do abortion again and to protect lives as much as you can.)

Pema Trinley Rinpoche is a master of the three times who has mastered dependent-origination. He is famous for his clear omniscience to see the rebirth of the mind-streams of any being in the three realms or purelands as well as the causes and effects involved.