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Teachings by Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche

A Teaching On "Money"

Question: How can we make money come to us? 

Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpche: First of all, if you are attached to money, money will never come to you. Billionaires who are attached to money are in fact very poor. They are not rich at all. If you are not attached to money, you are richer than them.

The billionaires keep their money in banks, in stocks and bonds. But their hearts are empty, without contentment, and their pockets are empty, without cash. Furthermore, they always want more; they never have enough. There is a sense of impoverishment. I know some billionaires. They are always looking for freebies on the street, while their money sits in banks. They don’t know how to use money well; they are slaves of money.

If you are attached to money, money will never come to you. So in other words, money will not serve you well. The way to truly have money is to be unattached. To do that, you must know the essence of money and use it for something good. Be generous to beggars. Make offerings to temples and give to charities. Be generous to yourself! Make your wealth serve you by taking care of your health. Use your money to create more time for rest and for spiritual practice.

Don’t be a slave to money. Rather, make money your slave. Make money work for you. When you aren’t enslaved by money, money will follow you. When you make money work for you, you are the boss. You are the king or queen. You know that you are the precious one. No matter how much money you have, it will never control you. You will feel that you are more worthy than all the money on earth! You will not sell yourself so cheaply, as your life is priceless.

Make sure you are never attached to money, never seduced by money. When you use money for something good, you accumulate good karma. Then you will feel good about yourself. You will drink the nectar of life very happily. You will dance very joyfully.

Remember, when you die, no matter how much money you have, you can’t take a single penny with you. Do you know Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, who gave 50 billion dollars to charity? He must be quite smart. He knows he can’t take all that money with him. Even while he’s alive, he can only eat one plate of food for dinner. He might enjoy the finest French cuisine, but only enough to fill his stomach. He only has one stomach. He didn’t give 50 billion dollars away because he is enlightened. He gave his money away because he is helpless. What else he can do with billions? 

You can’t take your money with you when you die. So, whatever makes you content—that is most important. Experience contentment in life. You will feel rich when you are contented. Attachment means no contentment. When you are attached, you lose your strength and power. If you are attached to your girlfriend, the girlfriend will dump you. If you are attached to your boyfriend, the boyfriend will dump you. You know that—right? If someone is attached to you, he or she becomes a burden. You don’t want someone who is dependent. In the same way, if you are attached to money, money becomes a burden.

If you are attached to money, you are poor and weak. If you are poor inside, money never comes to you because you are not worthy. If you feel rich inside, money comes to you naturally. If you are rich inside, you magnetize money and money comes to you. This is an example of pure blessing. This is the way to look at money.

Whatever you do, you have to learn to be free. Free from anger. Free from jealousy. Free from pride. Free from insecurity. Free from attachment! When you are free, you are the richest person. The ultimate generosity is freedom from attachment. Therefore, generosity is the expression of true awareness, true mindfulness.

Is this the answer you are looking for? Try this, and if you don’t become rich, you can blame me!

Excerpt from teaching, Hong Kong, 2010. 

Self-Liberation In Every Moment

We all want to enjoy our precious human lives. We want to be happy, yet we feel that true happiness is somehow out of our reach. We are pressured by circumstances, discouraged by setbacks, shaken by uncertainty, and ruled by events that we cannot control. And yet, we continue to believe that we can find real happiness in conditional things.

In the lineage of Great Perfection we have the practice of self-liberation. You may be interested in this notion of self-liberation, freeing yourself from suffering and discontent. In truth, all over the world people are yearning for happiness and freedom from suffering.

To approach the practice of self-liberation, first we examine our motivation. Why do we do what we do? What motivates us? What are we trying to achieve? If we are honest with ourselves, we have to concede that most of our actions are selfishly motivated. We are trying to achieve happiness mainly for “me.” Furthermore, any happiness we do experience is temporary and unsatisfying. When we follow this line of inquiry, we begin to suspect that we are deceiving ourselves.

You may object and insist that you have no interest in deceiving yourself. But this is what is so insidious about self-deception. You have no idea that you are deceiving yourself. This is why self-examination is essential if you wish to avoid pain and disappointment. If your motivation is faulty, the result will be fruitless. It would be like planting an unhealthy seed. You may see a sprout and a few withered leaves, but you won’t harvest any fruit from an unhealthy seed. This unhealthy seed is a selfish motivation.

If you want to be happy, plant the healthy seed of pure motivation. When you plant a good seed, you get a tree with lots of delicious fruit. What’s more, this wonderful tree will bear fruit forever.

So how do we liberate ourselves from selfish motivation? How do we liberate ourselves from ourselves? In the teachings of the Great Perfection, it is said that we can liberate ourselves all of the time. We liberate our anger when we are irritated, liberate desire when we are attracted, liberate jealousy when we are possessive, liberate pride when we are arrogant, liberate selfishness when we are greedy.

Liberation in every moment is the essence of our practice. But how is this possible? How can anger, desire, jealousy, and pride self-liberate in every moment? This is the profound view of the Great Perfection. This view recognizes that our innate nature is primordially pure from the very beginning.

Our innate nature is pure and perfect. Anger, desire, jealousy, and pride are temporary expressions of the energy of our alpha-pure nature. When we realize this, everything spontaneously liberates by itself! Then we are complete in our true nature. To recognize this completeness in every moment is the practice of self-liberation.

How do we practice self-liberation? How do we reclaim our great wealth that is like a priceless jewel? First, realize that everyone wants to be happy and no one wants to suffer. Reflect in this way: All beings possess the primordially self-liberated nature, which is fundamentally pure and perfect. So everyone deserves my respect. Everyone deserves my compassion. Just as I am deserving of liberation, so are all beings. Everyone deserves to be one with the essence of self-liberation.

Make this aspiration: From hereon, whatever I do, whether it is as small as drinking a cup of coffee, or as big as relieving world hunger, may I do it with the thought of benefiting others, without a single selfish thought to have happiness and peace only for myself. May this be a cause for liberating all sentient beings from suffering. May it bring them peace and happiness. May my intention be completely pure, so that all beings find perfect liberation in their enlightened essence.

I recommend that each morning you begin your day with the thought of benefiting others. Then, before you begin any activity, generate compassion and establish a pure intention. This doesn’t take a long time. A single moment is all you need. It doesn’t require a special meditation posture. You don’t need to go to a temple. You don’t have to cross your eyes or stare at your navel.

How essential it is to have compassion! The core of compassion is to realize that everyone is the same in their essence. Then everyone is your brother, everyone is your sister. More than that, you are everyone and everyone is you. This is to realize the preciousness of being. This compassionate essence shows itself in every moment of life. This is self-liberation in every moment!

In the pure space of self-liberation, you are naturally compassionate. There is no judgment and no exclusion. You don’t feel like you have to put anyone down or lift anyone up. You just embrace everyone equally, and everyone sees light in you. In the midst of darkness, you are a true source of light and joy. The great master of Dzogchen, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, wrote:

Whatever one does, joyful: Practitioner of the Great Perfection!
In any company, happy: Lineage son of the Lotus Born!

If you are relaxed in any company, if you are content, that is self-liberation. Wherever you find yourself, if you are comfortable, that is self-liberation. You are happy sleeping in a luxury suite in Paris or in a dirty shack in Calcutta. You are happy dining on gourmet cuisines or nibbling on a dry crust of bread. This is indeed a wonder!

The ultimate blessing is to be who you truly are. So be true to yourself for a moment. To be who you are does not require designer clothing or diamond jewelry. You do not need a tattoo on your backside or the most expensive smart phone. Just relax and embrace your vulnerability. Accept that you are not invincible. Recognize that everyone is vulnerable. Everyone is victimized by mental unrest and emotional pain.

Embrace this vulnerability and wear it like an ornament. This understanding is the beautiful adornment of compassion. With compassion in your heart, you see the value of every being. You see the treasure in every moment. When you can treasure every moment, you are the richest of the rich. Even if you have nothing but the clothes on your back, you will feel like the luckiest person on earth!

Copyright 2016. Rangrig Yeshe.