85. Paramita of Meditative Concentration II — Contemplate the Faults of Covetousness
Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 85
Take refuge and arouse bodhicitta.
Reflect upon the many faults of greediness: Amassing wealth, watching over it, and making it grow wear you out. Your wealth attracts enemies and increases your non-virtues such as bickering with others. However much you have in possession, you are never contented, but instead become more conceited and stingy. You worry your money will be exhausted, plundered away, or fallen into the domain of outlaws and thieves. When death comes, everything has to be left behind, including the wealth you tried so hard to amass before. The more belongings you hoard, the more suffering you will experience; actually, wealth brings one more headaches than pleasures. In all, greediness contradicts the way of liberation that entails study, reflection, meditation, and discipline, and thus is a vice disparaged by sublime beings.
At the end rest the mind in non-arising emptiness.
However many possessions you have amassed, on the day death descends, you have to leave all of it behind, like a hair pulled out of a slab of butter, retaining nothing. At this, I often thought of Steve Jobs whose wealth and intelligence, ever so impressive and magnificent, could not have saved him in the end. In his youth Jobs made a spiritual quest in India and had maintained a meditation practice all his life. However, if his meditation embraced not bodhicitta nor the view of emptiness, it might have afforded him a calm mind only, not the wisdom that severs the root of samsara.
In sum, we should not be too finicky about money and living standards. Or else, the alternative is to drift away from Dharma practice as our worldly attachment gets fortified. Granted, spiritual practitioners can’t do without the basic provisions of a place to live, food, and clothing. But when these requirements are met, do not crave more and become obsessed, say, in remodeling your dwelling place year after year. You will only undermine your spiritual goal. Earlier, I mentioned that a certain resident at the Academy kept upgrading his cabin every year for ten years straight. When he finished it for the tenth time, he was done with his spiritual career also, and left the Academy.
Therefore, let’s learn to be content with whatever we already have.
Dedicate the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.