A Buddhist must have three objectives; in other they must aim to three good results:
The first objective is material blessing. This is the blessing of material life, physical health, mental capacity, wisdom, intelligence…
Buddhists must have material blessing to live comfortably, avoiding the case that having a long time of practicing Buddhism but are still poor. As for those who go in the right direction of Buddhism, the longer they cultivate, the better-off they will be.
The second objective is spiritual blessing.
That means our mind will be purer to step by step achieve sainthoods. In Buddhism, there are four sainthoods, they are Srota-Apanna (the lowest level), Sakrdagamin (higher level), Anagamin (higher level), and Arhat (the highest level).
The third objective is to save and convert human beings. We must practice Buddhism the way that human beings will listen to us when we talk about Buddhism and will accompany us to temples. That means we help many people to adopt Buddhism.
Buddhists should have these three objectives at the same time: after a period of practice, our material life will be better, we will be healthier, wiser and step by step achieve sainthood and the longer we follow Buddhism, the more people we help to know Buddhism.
Generally, first, a Buddhists must achieve the blessing of material life. It’s unacceptable that the more you practice the Dharma, the poorer, less healthy, less wise you are. Formerly, people looked down on us because of our poverty and now because we know Buddhism, we often go to temples to listen to the Dharma and do good deeds, our material life is better. That is, we practice the Dharma in the right way. People will recognize it and admire Buddhism. However, in order to have a better material life, and the longer you follow Buddhism, the more comfortably you live, you have to know what you should sow. For example, if there is a question, “I want to have a litchi, what should I do?” The answer may be, “Go get it in a garden” But it will be more accurate if you answer, “if you want to have litchis, you have to sow a litchi tree.”
And Buddhism aims to plant trees, that is, to create true causes. If we say, “if you want to have litchis, go get them in a garden)” it is easy to do. However, have to consider whom this garden belongs to? Likewise, when you say “if you want to have money, just get them from a cabinet’, but whos the owner of the cabinet is the question. Or when you say “if you want to become rich, you must trade in something”… These statements are not wrong, but shallow. The most accurate answer is if you want to have litchis, you must plant litchi trees; and if you want to become rich, you have to create blessing on your own.
Those who are wealthy now planted litchi trees a very long time ago. Perhaps, they planted them in a previous life, so in this life they enjoy their fruits.
Those people will succeed in everything they do. So, what should they continue to do? They should preserve this blessing and create more blessing for their future. It is easy for them because they are now blessed, similar to the fact that they have litchi trees, now they harvest fruits, preserve trees and plant more new trees.
But how we preserve our trees? In our previous lives, we loved and helped people, so that in this life, we are rich. So, now we continue to love and help people more. If we do so, our blessing is preserved and we earn more and more blessing. Therefore, we will be more and more successful in our next life and our descendants, thanks to our blessing, will have good luck with everything they do.
If our litchi trees are giving fruits to us, and we are both harvesting fruits and cutting down trees, so we will have no litchis in the future. That implies we are now rich, but we enjoy our wealth alone and do not share with others and look down on others. For example, when we were in our luxury car, we saw a poor neighbor and we didn’t say hello to him or even when our car made dirty water on the street spurt to him, we didn’t say sorry to him because we despised him.
Preserving blessing must be like this. We are driving our car and see our poor neighbor walking on the street, if we are in a hurry, we wave at him; otherwise, we should stop to say hello to him. That is, although we are rich and they are poor, we don’t despise them. That means, we are enjoying our blessing and preserving it, like we are eating litchis and taking good care of the trees. If we are blessed and we love the poor more and more, we will be blessed forever. Each time we have a thought of despising someone, we give a cut in our trees.
When we feel our life is hard, we have to plant litchi trees. Some may ask why we can help others when we even do not have sufficient food to eat. Those who wait till have money to help others will never have money. So if we are poor and want to do charity, we must do it in poverty; otherwise, we will never be blessed and this is the only way of escaping poverty.
Never should you say, “I am too poor so I have to keep money for myself and I have no money for charity.” You should not wait until you are rich to do charity. Only when your life is difficult but you make effort to do good deeds, the Buddha will bless you.
The advantage of the rich is easy to do charity. For example, a temple arranges a tour to a remotely mountainous area to give the people there food and money. A rich person can offer tons of rice at ease because they do not have to try their best. So, this is also the disadvantage of the rich.
For those who strive to survive every day, if they want to contribute to do charity they have to make so much effort because they earn only five hundred thousand VNDs a week and this is enough for their family’s need. So, they think over and over again to draw two hundred thousand VNDs out of the amount of five hundred thousand to do charity. And finally, they decided to contribute two hundred thousand VNDs to buy food for the people in a mountainous area with the temple.
It is really not easy to do for the poor. Although they contribute not much in material value, their sentiment is very strong and they made so much effort. And incredibly, the same result is for this poor and this rich person: One contributes a ton of rice, which is worth millions of VNDs and one contributes only two hundred thousand VNDs. That is, according to the law of Karma, the rich one will receive tens of tons of rice and the same is for the poor one. The disadvantage of the poor is contributing little money, but with their big heart and this is also the advantage of the poor.
We should never think that it is very hard for the poor to create blessing. Their heart and effort help them earn blessing. They will achieve excellent result for their work of charity because of their big heart. We just feel sorry for those who are poor but with cold heart because they will never be blessed. Therefore, poor people have to try harder to do charity even though their life is very difficult. Thanks to their effort, they will be blessed by the Buddha.