Wealth and Poverty

January 17, 2008

It’s quite an anachronism to think about a buddhist monk in the United States teaching people.  We in the United States tend to value people based upon how much money they have, educational level, corporate position.  We put no value on inner peace.
The buddhist monks value the mind, and your attitude towards the world and put no value on physical possessions, wealth, or social status.
We look at them, dressed simply and probably owning very little to no actual possessions, and asking for donations, as being impoverished.  They look at us, dressed in Gap jeans and wearing expensive sunglasses, as being impoverished.
We are impoverished in our spiritual state.  We run around from day to day, stressed out.  We come home and take a drink or three to unstress, sleeping pills to get through the nights, video games to escape.  We don’t know what it’s like to be at total peace with the world and ourselves.
I think back upon a very good childhood friend.  I would visit her and see flavored vitamins in her kitchen.  Her mother made her homemade yogurt for snacks.  The things she created in school decorated the house.  Her house eminated a feeling that she was a precious and cherished being whose every effort was valued.  Now that I think back on that friend, I understand that what I saw was how incredibly rich and empowered this friend was to be exactly who she was, to go in whatever directions her soul took her.  There is no doubt in my mind that she’s grown up to be a very successful person in whatever her field turned out to be.
Wealth and poverty have so many different meanings in this world, depending upon your perspective.  Each of us has it within us to be incredibly wealthy, even more than Bill Gates.  I just depends upon who we are and where we decide our real, true joy lies.
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