To be poor with no craving or rich with attachments? It’s your choice

One day, a father from a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm. Upon their return, they reflected on what they  had learned from the trip.

The father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, dad.”

“Did you see how poor the people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered:
“I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have a field that goes beyond our sight.
We have servants to serve us, but they serve others.
We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks dad for showing me how poor we are”

Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing that makes us wonder what would happen if we all give thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t have.

In Buddhist perspective it is tanhă or craving. “Craving” is the chief root of suffering and of the ever continuing cycle of rebirths. “What, O monk, is the origin of suffering? It is that craving which gives rise to ever fresh rebirth and, and bound up with pleasure and lust, now here finds ever fresh delight. It is Sensual Craving (kăma-tanhă), the Craving for Existence (bhava-tanhă), the Craving of Non-Existence (vibbhava-tahnă.”

Digha Nikaya, Sutta No: 22 Mahăsatipattăna Sutta: The Greater Discourse on the Foundation of Mindfulness.

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou (YMBA, Senior 1)

Tanhă or craving represented by a person drinking beer.
Even though it harms you, no matter how much you drink,
you just keep on drinking. Also known as attachment, a mental
factor that increases desire without satisfaction.

Comments are closed