Want to be rich?

July 9, 2011

One of my favorite books these days is a very short Buddhist book titled "Life in Relation to Death". While you might think the answer to that statement is obvious (death comes after life), well, I wrote the answer here before, and I'll repeat it again:

"In enlightenment, death has no relevance to one's state of being."

As the chef Emiril would say, "Bam!"

In regards to those wanting wealth, the author offers another gold nugget.

First, he tells us that life is like a chance meeting with a person in a parking lot. You're walking across the parking lot, you look at someone else, they look at you, you both smile, and then you move on, never to see each other again. "Life" is just like that, he tells us, a very fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things.

Then he follows that up with this statement:

"The only currency that has any value when we travel across the threshold of death is our spiritual attainment."

When I read that line this morning it hit me like a shovel upside the head. When you've experienced OBEs and other phenomena, you know that there's much more to "life" than the physical world that most people seem limited to knowing about. Therefore, there are more important things than chasing material wealth. In fact, on the days that I most strongly feel like a "spirit in a material world", I know that working at a job I don't love just to chase the almighty dollar seems like a monumental screw-up. You know you're only here for a little while, and, well, I won't give away any secrets, but you know you're supposed to do something else.

(And yes, I think everyone has the potential to feel like "a spirit in a material world", just as I did after a yoga retreat in 2009. I remember talking to people at the end of that retreat, and many of us felt like spirits who happened to be poking our heads into the physical universe, using the senses of our current bodies as portals into this physical universe. I really do think everyone can feel like that in their lifetime.)

The author (Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche) writes a little more about all of this in the Conclusion of this small book, but I don't want to give away any more than I already have. It really is a short read -- the Conclusion chapter begins on page 37 -- and if you're at all interested in Zen, Buddhism, or "life after death", I give it the highest recommendation I possibly can, "Two thumbs up" and all that.

back to the Tequila/Monk front page