Hoa Vo Uu (Buddha Dharma Education Association)
Venerable Shravasti Dhammika
The Buddha’s Words of Wisdom
Four things lead to worldly progress: achievement in alertness, in caution, in good friendship, and achievement in balanced livelihood.
♦ And what is achievement in alertness? Concerning this, in whatever way one earns a living, whether by farming, trading, cattle rearing, archery, service to the king or by some craft, in that one becomes deft and tireless, gifted with an inquiring turn of mind into ways and means, and able to arrange and carry out the job.
♦ And what is achievement in caution? Concerning this, whatever one earns by work and effort, collected by strength of arm and sweat of brow in a just and lawful manner, one husbands, watches and guards so that the kings do not seize it, thieves do not steal it, fire or water do not destroy it, and unwanted heirs do not remove it.
♦ And what is good friendship? Concerning this, in whatever village or town one lives, one associates with, converses with, discusses things with people either young or old, who are cultured, full of faith, full of virtue, full of charity and full of wisdom. One acts in accordance with the faith of the faithful, the virtue of the virtuous, the charity of the charitable, and the wisdom of the wise.
♦ And what is balanced livelihood? Concerning this, one knows both his income and expenditure and lives neither extravagantly nor miserly, knowing that income after expenditure will stand at so much and that expenses will not exceed income. Just as a goldsmith or his apprentice knows, on holding the scales, that so much had dipped down and so much has tilted up, one knows income and expenditure.
If one with small income were to lead an extravagant life there would be those would say: “He enjoys his wealth like a wood-apple eater.” Likewise, if one with a good income were to be miserly, there would be those who would say: “He will die like a beggar.” There are four channels through which the wealth one has collected is lost: debauchery, drunkenness, gambling and friendship with evildoers. Imagine there were a great tank of water with four inlets and outlets, and a man were to close the inlets but keep the outlets open.
If there were no rain we could expect the water to decrease. In the same way, these are the four channels through which wealth is lost. There are these four channels through which the wealth one has collected is preserved: avoidance of debauchery, drunkenness, gambling and friendship with evildoers. Imagine there were a great tank of water with the four inlets and outlets, and a man were to keep the inlets open and close the outlets. If he did this and there were good rainfall, we could expect the water to increase. In the same way, there are these four channels through which wealth is preserved.