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Monday, December 28, 2009

How to Accumulate Wealth

How to Accumulate Wealth is based on the Vyagghpajja Sutta, also known as the Dighajanu Sutta. It describes the conditions that improve the welfare of lay people.

In this sutta, the Buddha was approached by a lay person called Dighajanu who asked for his advice. Dighajanu said that as an ordinary person with a wife and children, he and his family enjoy worldly pleasures such as fine clothing, fragrant scents, and expensive gold and silver jewellery. He asked the Buddha to teach him how he could ensure his continued prosperity and happiness in this life, and in his future lives too.

The Buddha then proceeded to give this discourse to Dighajanu and in doing so, used the simile of a great water tank collecting rainfall. He showed how wealth, both material and spiritual, can be similarly accumulated by anyone with the right qualities.
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1. Material Wealth and Progress

Four qualities that create material wealth and progress

Persistent effort

By whatever means one engages in to earn a living, he or she should be hardworking and not lazy. He or she should understand what needs to be done, learn how to do it properly, do it well, and also delegate work to others where appropriate.

Proper vigilance

Any wealth that has been legally and rightfully accumulated should be looked after properly. Assets should be protected from fraud or misappropriation and be well managed to avoid unnecessary taxation or improper confiscation by the state. Possessions should be well protected from being stolen or destroyed. Property should not be allowed to be squandered away by irresponsible family members.

Good company

One should associate with the right kind of friends. It does not matter whether they are young or old as long as they are virtuous, charitable and have wisdom and spirituality. In this way, he or she will be positively influenced and thus live in the right way.

Balanced livelihood

One should be aware of one’s income and expenses and live within one’s means. One should be neither extravagant nor miserly, and ensure that one’s income will be more than one’s expenses and not the other way round. Anyone who lives beyond their means will have many problems and soon go to ruin. At the other extreme, a miser who hoards his or her wealth will live an unhappy life and come to a wretched end.

Four factors leading to the loss of material wealth and progress

Debauchery and promiscuity
Frequent drinking and intoxication
Addiction to gambling
Associating with bad company

Four factors leading to the gain of material wealth and progress

Abstinence from debauchery and promiscuity
Abstinence from drinking and intoxication
Abstinence from gambling
Associating with good company

Imagine a great water tank with four inlets and four outlets. The four inlets are the four factors leading to gain, and the four outlets are the four factors leading to loss.

If the inlets are kept open and the outlets kept closed, the water supply will not decrease, even if there is no rain.

For the same great water tank, if the inlets are kept open and the outlets kept closed, if there is rain the water supply will surely increase.

Therefore, always avoid the four factors of loss, and always abide by the four factors of gain.

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