Letting Go In Life - True Kindness



Letting Go In Life

In our lives, we most often apply addition; we usually think if only we could have more money, be promoted one more level, wouldn't it be great? Driven forward by greed and desire, we never enjoy a moment's contentment. Because we are reluctant to part with wealth, status, and power. We are unable to understand the relaxation and ease that comes from letting go. Through not wanting, through learning to let things go in life, one's spirit naturally becomes more serene, more peaceful. In framing the question, we mentioned "addition", as in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, allowing only one plus after another. In addition, we often say, "Ascend step by step; grow richer every year; have a surplus every year." On the other hand, subtraction, we rarely wish to have less of anything. We tend to want a greater wealth, long and healthy life, not lesser. As human beings, we always hope for the increase, for the constant increase. Our age is increasing every year but this is one thing many of us wished not to be added. Moreover, whether it is about wealth or status, we tend to climb higher and higher. "Heights are vulnerable to cold", the more you take on, the heavier it is, too heavy to be born, an unbearable burden. Why do we want to shoulder it? Why do we like burdens? When a burden becomes heavy, we would feel tired. This will make us start questioning, " how many people do I have to support, how many people I must care for, how many companies I must to manage? I'm so busy," that's how we would think. Yet, even as we say it, but we continue striving to get it. Having one company is not enough so we want to start a second one or even the fifth one. This is the problem. When we consider it not excessive or feel it is not tiring, we should do it, add it on. As we are adding, we are also letting things go. Like I just mentioned about the age, we are actually losing years of our life. Subtracting, that's what it's like. It is the same for karmic rewards, the rewards originating in the past. The more money we have, the more we will spend. In fact, it is like taking money out of a bank. Withdrawing cash will decrease our savings account. Our savings all convert into cash, a big pile of cash, cash in hand, fluttering around. It's fun to look at all of those bills, playing with money, but the account balance will decrease. Thus, what appears to be a phenomenon of growth is actually one of diminished. However, if we are able to increase our wisdom, our good karma, and merit, this will be a real increase. If it is an increase in status and wealth, this is actually a decrease (from a Buddhist perspective). Does this mean wealthy people should forsake their money? No. Someone with status should eschew further advancement, refrain from further promotion? No. A promotion deserved should be accepting money that is rightfully one's own should be taken. When money must be earned, by all means, earn it. In this modern society, each and every one of us want money, the more the better. But what should we use it for? We can use it for educational and religious enterprises, charity, or culture. There are plenty of things we could do with it. There is plenty of need for money. Money is not to be rejected nor status to be rejected, for it is a kind of tool, and implement. Without this status, prestige, and position, things are not easy to achieve. Good works are easy from an official position. Because the power that comes from official position, status, prerogatives, everyone will listen to you. When you shout from a high place, ten thousand mountains respond. The greater the position, the greater the response. A small position elicits a small response. Status is definitely what is required. It is not to be rejected. The question is, what to do with it if you have it? What to do with the money when you have it? If you have money, as your wealth grows, so must your meritorious deeds grow apace, and so must your wisdom- not just wealth. Otherwise, you will be adding wealth on one hand, while subtraction on the other. So, it all comes out even. A scale has one side higher, one lower- that is the way it inevitably is. Thus, we should not want empty fame, benefits for ourselves, or superficial, empty status. Everything we account should be solid, practical. Whatever it is- fame or wealth, if you can get something more or a promotion, that's all fine. But is our merit, our compassion, wisdom also grow? If we are growing in these ways, even if we don't fame, status, etc. no problem. Is this useful? Yes, it is. Why? We don't always need to do things for the sake of promotion, for the sake of a raise, for the sake of reputation, fishing for recognition and compliments. All-day, neglecting the practical, racking our brains to acquire ill-gotten wealth and undeserved fame and illicit profits. If you manage to sit in a position, it was snatched by someone else; someone who has pushed aside so you can sit there. Such a position will not be a happy one; what you take from others will one day be taken from you. Thus, it is crucial to let recognition come authentically. Then, it is not to be rejected; addition is right too, to increase in all areas. The addition should be balanced between both realms; in fame, status, power, and wealth as well as in merit. What kind of merit? The merit of wisdom and the merit of compassion. This what a real addition is. Hence, only by letting go of the lust for wealth, power, and prestige can turn them into a means to accumulate merit and wisdom. 

Credit: Master Sheng Yen