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Volume 9 Issue No. 4

The Blossom of Wisdom
by Venerable Master Shen-Kai

A record of Venerable Master Shen Kai's advice by members of the Jen Chen Buddhism Sangha

Know contentment and be happy


A Buddhist once asked Venerable Master Shen-Kai,

"Venerable Master, human beings suffer because of their five desires. In our daily lives, how can we, as students of Jen Chen, liberate ourselves from the suffering of the five desires?"

Venerable Master replied, "There is a saying in Buddhism: 'wealth, sex, fame, food and sleep are the five roots of hell', speaking of which, suffering of the five desires applies to everyone. Let's consider wealth. In our life, we cannot manage without money. However, where earning money is concerned, there is a basic principle upon which money should be earned. As the old saying goes: 'A gentleman of noble character and integrity may love wealth, but he gets it by righteous and moral ways'. When we earn money, we must earn it with ethical principles. For example, a doctor may hone his medical skills to a very advanced level to cure his patients of their ailments. This is the righteous and moral way of a medical practitioner. However, if a highly skilled doctor charges exorbitant fees for curing his patients, then he has deviated from the ethical principles of a doctor. A businessman must uphold certain ethical principles in making profits. Deviating from these principles is not the way in business. Take for another example, a government servant brings home a fixed salary for his household. If in addition to his salary, he extracts money from the public, then this is greed. Along this line of consideration, in the wider society, there are a multitude of different types of livelihoods which each exist based upon their own fixed code of ethics and principles. Deviating from these is to be greedy, and greed breeds suffering. When we practise as the Buddha did, we know contentment and are always happy. Not only is there no suffering, but on the contrary, there is happiness. As students of Jen Chen Buddhism, of course we earn the money that we should rightfully earn, and enjoy the benefits which we rightfully deserve. However, our foremost criterion must always be to have loving-kindness, compassion and remorse. If we were to frequently allow our minds to engage in wild thoughts of wealth, sex, fame, food and sleep, our desires for these will be insatiable. This would in fact bring the most suffering. In our future lifetime, we would also have to suffer painful retribution."


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