Could you please show us the way to survive and have happiness in society?

In Thai society these days, it has changed a lot because everyone has to work for survival until you can hardly find a smile on anybody’s face. Could you please show us the way to survive and have happiness in society Sir?

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ May 19th, 2005 ] - [ read : 12011 ]
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Question:
Venerable Luang Phaw Sir; in Thai society these days, it has changed a lot because everyone has to work for survival until you can hardly find a smile on anybody’s face. May you please share your kindness and show us the way to survive and have happiness in society Sir?
  

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku
 
The truth is that no matter what society we are speaking of, if people concentrate on working it will be very difficult for them to find happiness. This is because; in our life there are many more things than assets to bring us happiness.

The Lord Buddha has always warned all people to achieve peace of mind so that they can reach greater happiness in their life, and in this world.

You have to combine all 4 factors to achieve this. They are:

FACTOR 1: You Must Have Money.

You must work and earn a living. You must possess the feeling that the more you earn the better off you will be.
 
FACTOR 2: You Must Know How To Use Your Money.

 

Even if you earn a lot of income, if you don’t know how to spend it, then a great deal of money may not be enough for you.

Perhaps you are using your money in an inappropriate manner, which may cause you to have difficult times.

It makes so many people feel that the way to live their life in this generation is to have a great deal of difficulty, struggle and to always be in a hurry. They feel they have to have suffering until they no longer smile at other people. They don’t even smile at themselves in the mirror, and on top of that they don’t have time.

The mistake may be that you don’t know how to use your money. The management of income must be done correctly. You must be very careful that you DO NOT MANAGE YOUR INCOME BY SPENDING IT AND JUST TRYING TO MANAGE WHAT IS LEFT OVER. It is easy to say that.

IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH YOU EARN. WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IS HOW MUCH YOU HAVE LEFT OVER AND HOW YOU SPEND IT?

If you were to continue saving your money until you become rich by not spending any of it, you can turn into someone stingy.  Even when you are sick, you won’t want to use any of your money.  You won’t even give to your parents, the two people who raised you, as a way to show and repay your gratitude.

This is a case of someone who does not know how to utilize his earning.  The earning becomes a problem when the money is utilized in the wrong direction, like towards the roads of ruin.  All the money will be gone and this person would be considered extremely irresponsible.

On the other hand, this person can become miserly if he is too extreme in his saving efforts.  This is someone who does not know how to use his wealth.  In this day and age, this can be someone who has bachelor or doctorate degrees, but they still do not know how to use their earnings.  Please help them out if you know anyone like this.

FACTOR 3: You Must Be Free Of Debt.

In this generation we must admit that we don’t know how to use money, and we don’t know how to manage money because we owe too much money. Many people think that we owe so much money because we have very little income, but the truth is not that situation at all.

Research has revealed to us that provincial people who live comfortably receive very little income, and don’t have a lot of things to spend their money on. But on some good day, when progress comes and a new road is paved into that village, only the debt of the inhabitants increases. This is a fact even though no one in that village was in debt before.

This is due to the reality that when the new road was built people felt that it was suddenly necessary to pick up a car or have motorcycle to drive around on otherwise it wouldn’t look right if other villagers had them and you didn’t. So the villagers would go out and buy a car and buy a motorcycle utilizing installment plans and in turn amassing large debts.

Greater than that, villages progressed to electrical power sources, which prompted inhabitants to purchase refrigerators, TV’s and all sorts of electrical devices. It became necessary to the point that everyone became the kings and queens of installment plans. People would place this or that item on installment plans, even if the items were unnecessary. They would still install.

What will follow is a feeling as if the economy is squeezing us. But the truth is that it doesn’t matter when and where – it’s the same all over. You will feel the squeeze when you don’t know how to manage your money or how to spend wisely, or without knowing if the spending is necessary or not.

All of this subject matter has not been studied thoroughly enough. However, in the end, the result is that you are suffering everyday and you are trying to blame someone else for it. To blame it all on the government is erroneous. It is fictitious to think that the government has managed to collectively increase each individual’s debt.

But if you have a necessity, for instance if you have no place to live, then it is OK to purchase a home with mortgage installments, providing that the cost is commensurate with your income. Do not mortgage a house that is too expensive for your income bracket.

FACTOR 4: You Must Work Without Taking Advantage Of Anyone And You Must Work Without Being Taken Advantage Of.

Due to the fact that you don’t know how to use the money, and you don’t know to manage it wisely, so the money that you earn does not reach the finish as you spend more than you make. This prompts you to look for more work to earn more money.

However, the jobs that assist you in earning extra income are usually the types of jobs where you will be taken advantage of or where you will be taking advantage of others. The Lord Buddha referred to these kinds of jobs as, “Evil jobs,” which include selling weapons, selling humans, selling animals for slaughter, selling poison and selling illicit drugs.

When you go to work at these kinds of jobs, you will make more money, but you will receive more suffering. When people earn a living on an evil path, they work at open gambling casinos, open bars, and other open places that should never have been opened, and they will definitely earn more money. But they will surely be followed by a tremendous amount of Dukkha.

So, for people in this generation – if you want to achieve happiness this is what you have to do:

RULE #1: Only earn enough to support yourself.
 
Be careful not to be greedy and be careful not to try to grab and hoard everything.
 
RULE #2: You must associate with good, noble friends who have the Dhamma (Kalyanamittas).

This is because these friends will help us to develop willpower to gain genuine happiness. That is to say that a good, noble Kalyanamitta friend with a Dhamma mind will give you the opportunity perform good deeds and accumulate merits that will follow you to the after life and the next life.

If you all can follow these rules you will discover the wonderful world to live in, especially in Thailand . Even thought the Tsunami wave hit us, our country is still lovely and beautiful. If it weren’t, then no one would come for tours and vacations in Thailand .
So if you want to live a happy life in this generation, you must know how to survive, how to earn an income, how to live without debt, and how to avoid working at an evil job. Only have fine Kalyanamitta friends that will assist you in performing wholesome deeds and accumulating plenty of merits that will occur all over you body, mind, soul and life.

 


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I’d like to know what principle of Dhamma can give stability to the family till the next generations? If donating blood gives us a lot of merits, will donating our body after we die to a hospital help us accrue even more merits?
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