All people in society want happiness and want to avoid
poverty and suffering. But most of you do not know how to
manipulate to get happiness and avoid poverty and suffering.
In Buddhism, it is through ignorance that most people create
more and more causes of suffering for themselves. Things
don't just happen without a cause, so the source of all that
poverty and suffering is your own creation of unwholesome
karma. Unwholesome karma is the actions of body, speech, and
mind that arise from negative emotions and feelings such as
attachment, anger, and ignorance. These are the three main
afflictions when you create unwholesome karma, the result is
always suffering, trouble, or unhappiness.
Indeed, hunger and poverty are misfortune. You don't want to
be poor. Even if you don't want to be rich, extremely rich,
and have a lot of money, you also want to have a well-off,
affluent, and comfortable life. At least there is food,
clothing, a roof to shelter from rain and sun, and a means
to make a living... But being so poor that there is no food,
and no clothing is a misfortune.
Even more unfortunate is being poor but still in debt. Being
indebted to others but unable to pay, begging for debt,
making an appointment to meet tomorrow, then being asked by
the creditor, asking for it over and over again, at the end
the creditor has to foreclose on the house, force it to tie,
beat... is what great misfortune.
Looking at human life, the young Bhikkhus could not help but
mourn for the world. So a young monk asked the Buddha:
- Are people in such circumstances a great misfortune?
On this occasion the Buddha taught:
- Although they are poor and miserable, according to the
Blessed One, such people are not the poorest, the most
The young bhikkhus asked:
- Then, in Buddhism, what kind of person is the poorest?
- If anyone is for kusala, even if he has a lot of
honeysuckles, lapis lazuli, crystal, mani, coral, amber,
onyx, mother of pearl, jade, red stone... But he does not
believe in the holy Dharma, does not keep the precepts, does
not listen to the Buddha's teachings, does not give alms,
and does not have wisdom. In My Holy Dharma, I call it
(The Poverty Sutra, Majjhima-Nikaya, no. 125).
Turns out, material poverty, being so poor that you have to
borrow money and not being able to repay it, to the point of
being tied up, beaten, imprisoned by creditors, etc., is
still not the most unhappy poverty in your life. Those who
do not possess faith in kusala dharma, do not keep the
precepts, do not know how to listen to the Buddha dharma, do
not know how to share good deeds, do not have the wisdom to
know everything, are really the poorest and most unhappy
Obviously, if you live without faith in kusala, which means
you don't believe in good things and don't believe in cause
and effect, then you don't have the will to strive to rise
up to change your life on your own. That way you can't get
out of poverty even if you have other people's help, relief,
and business conditions.
If you don't know how to keep the precepts, don't know how
to practice, don't know how to make offerings to the Three
Jewels, and don't know how to help the poor, even if you are
rich, you will soon be poor again. Therefore, the most
terrible real poverty is the poverty of knowledge, the
poverty of morality!
The reason is that for the Holy Dharma, that is, the
teachings of the Buddha, which is like a great sea,
containing many precious treasures, countless fancy precious
things, all kinds of jewels such as honeysuckle, lapis
lazuli, mani, coral, amber, onyx, mother of pearl, jade, red
The Dharma of the Tathagata is also the same, full of
precious and rare treasures, which are:
- Fourfold stage of mindfulness, Four right (great) efforts,
four sufficiences, Five roots, five powers, The seven
Bodhyanga, Eight Noble Paths... are such treasures that you
don't know, don't believe, don't study, don't practice... No
matter how rich you are, you are still a poor person.
Therefore, the poorest, most unwholesome thing in life is
that you turn your back on the Three Jewels and the Holy
If you have turned away from the Holy Dharma, you are poor,
but you still do evil with your body, speak evil with your
mouth, and have evil thoughts, you are taking on unwholesome
debts! In life, sometimes you only see people who borrow
money. When you are in debt, then find ways, to do
everything to repay the debt, even if it is wrong or bad,
still despite creating bad karma. So instead of paying off
debt, you're taking on more debt without even knowing it!
You are familiar with the concept of money and material debt
but have not heard of the concept of unwholesome debt. The
concept of unwholesome debt shows you many times when you
are getting rich very quickly by taking on unwholesome debt
- The body does not give up any evil deeds, the mouth is not
afraid to tell the untruth of things, and the mind is
constantly thinking to benefit you. That is, regardless of
humanity, morality, law ...
When you have created unwholesome karma, you want to hide
your body's evil deeds, you do not reveal yourself, do not
want to speak out, do not like to be reprimanded, and do not
like to listen to what is right. You want to hide evil
words, and evil thoughts, do not express yourself, do not
want to speak out, do not like to be reprimanded, and do not
like to follow what is right. These actions, in the Buddha's
holy Dharma, are called unwholesome begging for debt.
Usually, you not only hide your evil deeds of body, speech,
and evil thoughts, but you also make excuses for your
unwholesome actions. If concealment fails, and someone finds
out and advises you, that doing so, such behavior, such
evil, and such impurity is a thorn in which to hurt
everyone, you will immediately make excuses, saying:
- I don't do that, I don't act like that, I'm not so evil,
I'm not so impure.
Thus, in the Buddha's holy Dharma, it is called unwholesome
Whether you are in a deserted forest, on a mountain, under a
tree, or in a secluded place, seclusion is called practice
but still remember three unwholesome things: desire, anger,
and harm. Thus in the Buddha's holy dharma, it is called
unceasing unwholesome debt.
Once the body has committed evil deeds, the mouth has spoken
evil words and the mind has thought evil thoughts,
therefore, when the body breaks up, after death, he will be
reborn in an evil place, which is hell, a hungry ghost, or
an animal. Thus, in the Buddha's holy dharma, it is called
the bondage of akusala.
- I have not seen any bondage as painful, as heavy, as cruel
as the bondage in hell, hungry ghosts, animals. These three
afflictions of suffering can only be known to an Arahant,
who has completely destroyed them, uprooted them, and will
never be reborn again" (Majjhima-Nikaya, Sutra of Poverty).
Due to unwholesome debt, sentient beings are bound in hells,
hungry ghosts, and animals. It is the most painful, heavy,
cruel realm. Therefore, when living in the world, instead of
trying to get out of material poverty by borrowing
unwholesome debt, it is better to say:
- Drink water when hungry, but when torn, make it fragrant
To avoid being caught in the three evil ways. And those who
are already rich, are getting rich very quickly in terms of
material possessions, and should also look back to see if
they have debt and unwholesome debt.
Therefore, in order not to fall into poverty and misery, you
must be aware. In this life, you are fortunate to have a
precious human body. This precious human body is difficult
to obtain, however, it is very easy to lose it at any time.
You have this precious human body as a result of having
accumulated merit and virtue from countless previous lives.
As a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha, you have the opportunity
to practice the Buddha's teachings. During his lifetime,
Buddha Shakyamuni taught countless different practices for
the benefit of all sentient beings. Because each sentient
being has different capacities and karmic practices, you
need different teachings. Just like in order to cure every
disease, it is necessary to find a special remedy for each
disease. Likewise, you need many different kinds of
teachings, with varying degrees, to purify your good karma
- How to purify the seeds of karma so that they do not ripen
and bear fruit?
You can purify unwholesome karma by practicing and using the
First of all, you have to express your attitude:
- Feeling remorse for the unwholesome actions that have been
- Put faith in the help of refuge objects such as Buddha,
Dharma, and Sangha
- Practice good karma to balance bad karma
- Determined not to repeat the offense.
Remember, the seeds of good karma can be destroyed when you
get angry or have wrong views. That's why you must cultivate
wisdom and awareness to keep watch over your mind from
falling into such negative attitudes and states. Although it
is difficult to avoid afflictive emotions, especially anger,
you can eliminate your past and present unwholesome karma by
practicing purification methods such as chanting Luong Hoang
Sam and Thuy Sam sutras, prostrate to the names of the
Buddhas. And protect the good karma created by dedicating
the merit to pray for all sentient beings to attain
In general, there are many methods to treat diseases such as
taking medication, physical therapy, changing diet, and
changing the way of life and work. Likewise, there are many
methods for purifying karma. Remember that karma is not
destiny, it cannot be changed. When you know that karma is
not destiny, so when karma is not fixed, that is, it has not
happened, you can change it. There is no unwholesome karma
that cannot be purified and cannot changed.
The main teaching of the Buddha is the emphasis on the law
of karma. Karma is created from the activities you perform
with your body, speech, and mind. Talking about good karma
is doing everything with compassion and love. To get rid of
poverty and suffering, you must train your mind to practice
compassion and love. You must cultivate true compassion for
all sentient beings. Of course, compassion means wishing all
beings to be happy and free from all poverty and suffering.
If you don't sow the cause, there will never be any fruit.
All effects come from the cause. Everything has a cause,
nothing can happen without a cause. It is thanks to the good
karma that you have accumulated from previous lives that you
now enjoy the good results you have today. Therefore, the
cause of all poverty and suffering is unwholesome kamma and
the cause of happiness is wholesome kamma. You must try to
eliminate the cause of suffering and plant the cause of
happiness. The true source of happiness does not come from
external conditions but from within your own mind. If you
know peace, you will be happy. Conversely, if your mind is
not peaceful, you will never be happy.
Here is a sample story for you to ponder:
At that time, the Buddha was residing at Sàvatthi, at the
Vihara Anàthapindika. A young man, Subha Todeyyaputta, came
to pay homage and said:
- World-Honored One: What is the cause, what is the
predestined relationship between human beings, that we see
some people with small assets and some with great assets?
Young man, listen and think carefully, I will say:
- Here, young man, there is a woman or a man who does not
give alms, make offerings to monks, nuns, or brahmins with
food, drink, clothes, vehicles, ... doing good deeds.
Because of that karma, after the breakup of the body, after
death, one is reborn in the bad realms, in the bad
destinations, and in the lower realms. If he is allowed to
go to a human being, wherever he is born, he must suffer
poverty and have small possessions. The way to small fortune
is not knowing how to give, make offerings and do good deeds
But here, young man, there is a woman or a man who gives
alms and offers to monks and nuns or brahmins food,
clothing, vehicles, etc. Do good deeds. Because of that
karma, after the breakup of the body, after death, he is
reborn in a good destination, in the heavenly world. If he
could go to a human being, wherever he was born, he would be
rich and have many possessions. The path that leads to many
possessions, Young man, is to give alms, to make offerings
to samanas or brahmins... in general, to do meritorious
Another very important thing is that you should practice
patience. If you don't practice virtuous patience, all
attachment, anger, and ignorance will destroy your peace and
happiness and bring countless sufferings to your life. This
adversely affects yourself, your friends, your family, and
all sentient beings. Practicing patience is the source of
peace and happiness in your life and all sentient beings.
This comes from your own positive thoughts. To achieve peace
of mind, it is essential that you cultivate compassion and
love and direct these qualities toward all sentient beings.
Compassion and genuine love are the essences of bodhicitta,
the motivation for action for all bodhisattvas. Bodhicitta
or compassion is the wish for all sentient beings to be
liberated from the sea of samsara's suffering and thereby
realize Nirvana. Nirvana means peace and happiness. You
should visualize that all sentient beings were your parents
in a previous life. As a result, you will naturally generate
a sincere desire to help them liberate themselves from the
sea of samsara. This is true compassion and love
At present, your love and compassion are lacking, still
limited and conditional. You only love or have compassion
for someone because they are your loved ones, friends, or
family. Such compassion and love are fundamentally selfish
and not genuine compassion. Genuine love and compassion
should be directed towards all sentient beings without
exception, not just your family or friends. Just like a
mother's immense love and compassion for her children is
always overflowing, full, regardless of whether the child is
good or bad.
In the same way, you must practice compassion and equal love
for your enemies as well as for your loved ones. You must
train your mind to cultivate bodhicitta in this way.
Therefore, you must practice patience. This is extremely
In short, if you practice contemplation of karma in your
daily life, you can develop the realization that you are the
master of karma and will be responsible for your actions. As
a result, you will have the right attitude to live, accept
the unsatisfactory things and be grateful for the lucky
things in life. A deep understanding of karma also helps you
to be prudent, and deliberate in each act of creation to
avoid unwholesome karma and develop the causes of happiness
and liberation. This will surely lift you out of poverty and
will bring you peaceful experiences now and in the future.
With an understanding view of Karma, you see that human life
is precious because it is an opportunity for you to
accumulate immeasurable merit and purify countless negative
karma. This is also the only place that allows you to freely
decide the nature of happiness or poverty for your present
and future life.
So use your human body most effectively, stay away from
worldly delusional desires, and commit and strive diligently
to practice towards enlightenment and liberation!