First, let me talk about the “You reap what you sow” lesson. It’s part of the fundamental lessons in Buddhism. “Fundamental” means roots or trunks. If we imagine Buddhism as a tree without roots, the tree would wither. If we cut the trunk, the tree would fall. If we don’t understand the fundamentals of Buddhism, then we lose our foundation and meaning of life. Buddhism teaches us how to live happily and manage stress by accepting what happens in life.Everything that happens has a reason.
Good behavior will lead to good fortune, and bad behavior will lead to bad fortune.
Now, have you ever felt yourself stingy and not in the mood to spend money on anyone, such as for wedding gifts, or give New Year’s money to unfamiliar relatives’ children. You find yourself questioning your situation – “Should I spend money on this person or event?” Of course, your decision will depend on how deep the relationship goes. We often need to draw a line for ourselves because money isn’t infinite.
However, spending money on things like family events or friends is not always a waste, and it can be good for our character to willingly give. The final decision depends on the relationship with the person and also what the money is going towards.
There is a Buddhist lesson called “The Six Perfections to practice for reaching enlightenment.” It consists of six practices:
– the act of giving – learning to be generous and kind to others,
– keeping promises,
– the practice of patience and endurance in the face of suffering and sadness,
– diligent effort – striving towards achieving goals and objectives,
– the practice of self-reflection,
– wisdom – the helps advise us to cultivate virtues and grow mentally. By practicing the above five principles we will continuously grow into a well-balanced person.
It’s not necessary to concur with all of them simultaneously, but it’s important to consistently work on achieving them because even just one of these practices can lead to a more fruitful life.
For example, generosity is a way to show kindness to others. This can be done without spending money as well. Giving a smile and being kind can soothe someone’s heart. Giving up your seat for an elderly person, carrying heavy bags for someone, etc. are all acts of kindness and are also regarded as generosity. Acts of kindness are a way of giving from the heart.
Based on today’s topic, blessing others’ happy weddings with gifts or giving New Year’s money to relatives’ children can also be a form of generosity which also contributes to the economy, it makes them happy, and you’re concurring of the six Buddhist Perfections. However, more important than spending money is the “heart” behind the acts, like celebrating others’ happiness, offering prayers for the deceased at a funeral, giving presents to children who have bright futures, etc. One more thing, “forgiving others” can be included as generous, can’t it? Because the action of forgiving is to contribute your time of dwelling and giving the effort to change your mindset for the sake of those people. Forgiving is practicing letting go of the past and opening yourself up to giving love and accepting peace.
These actions will eventually come back to us in different forms which all start from our behavior and choices. So be encouraged to continue to practice Buddhism’s six Perfections.