DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- THE KARMA OF STINGINESS
By Nhat Quan
word stingy is very easy, but showing an individual what it
is to be stingy is very difficult, because:
people think personally of Mr. A as a stingy person, for Ms.
B personally, it is considered thrifty and even said to be
wasteful for Mr. C and vice versa.
difficult to distinguish the two cases between thrift and
miserliness, because there is no clear boundary, and
moreover, it depends on the person, the situation, the
personality, and the point of view of each person. So those
who are stingy but never consider themselves miserly. Also,
there are people who go to casinos, for example, they spend
their money squandering but they never accept that they are
So when it
comes to being stingy, you immediately think of thrifty
spending but saving too much. Contrary to common sense, even
for yourself and your family, your wife, and your children,
when you don't want to spend, you find a good reason to
avoid it. Try to distinguish between thrifty and stingy
people, for example:
- For the
same item, the saver will care about the value of the item,
and the stingy person will care about the price of the item.
people always try to buy all goods at the cheapest price. So
do savers, but they are also always willing to spend on the
things they need.
miserliness of miserly people affects those around them. The
frugality of savers affects only them.
people are often ignorant. For example, going out to eat
with other people, everyone contributes 12 dollars while
they only spend 10 dollars
know how to choose when to spend money. For example, with
only $5.00 dollars, they will choose to order iced tea
instead of coffee. Miserable people make others
uncomfortable because of the way they treat people around
needs are obviously you must have, but the usage is not
exactly the same. For example, in eating, if you are a
thrifty person who uses the money to buy reasonable and
nutritious food, sometimes you have to pay a higher price to
buy quality food. While miserly people often ignore the
factor of providing adequate nutrients and only buy cheaper
food, that will lead them to incalculable harm. Because
eating miserly for a long time makes you lack nutrients or
eat foods of unknown origin, buying at a cheap price will
easily lead to making the body weak and sick. The end result
is that you have to pay a lot of money for medical
examinations and medicine to restore health.
and stinginess are two very different ways of looking at
money. If you know how to use money rationally, and
scientifically and can sometimes reward yourself with a
small gift. Because of your righteous way of spending and
saving, you have become a smart saver. Anyway, saving is
also your use of money scientifically. But it's also not too
harsh, making you uncomfortable when still using your own
money for legitimate things within a permissible limit. But
if you keep starving yourself from legitimate needs, even
though you have money and material conditions, you can meet
the urgent needs of life, but you do not use them just
because you are afraid it's gone, afraid it's lost and can't
be regained. Like a rich man who regrets a few hundred
dollars, he refuses to pay for people to save his life. Just
like having money but refusing to treat a disease, refusing
to repair a dilapidated house, refusing to give her children
a proper education... But only takes care of how the savings
fund is getting thicker and thicker, and always tells
herself I am saving and only know how to save. That truth is
a false view of miserly, miserly people who always consider
themselves thrifty and gradually become slaves of money. By
the way, let me tell you the story of the stingy
millionaire returned from the palace to the king and saw the
villagers eating a type of fried cake with sourdough. He was
so hungry, he was about to reach into his pocket to take out
a few coins to buy, but then he thought to himself:
food like this is too wasteful, I should try to starve until
I get home.
When he got
home, the urge made his stomach growl with hunger and
drooling. However, as soon as he stepped on the threshold,
another thought occurred to him:
- If I say I
want to eat fried cake, then many people want to eat it, and
that will waste a lot of rice, milk, and sugar.
millionaire did not dare to tell anyone. Although he tried
to suppress his craving, the fried cake in the pan kept
haunting him. So the millionaire kept going back and forth,
the color of his skin turned yellow every time, the blood
vessels on his forehead popped up with a rainbow, his heart
beat fast, and sweat broke out all over. Finally, unable to
bear it, he entered the room, curled up on the bed. The
fried cake appeared before his eyes again, now dancing with
a golden shimmer of fat.
millionaire's wife saw her husband's skin color from dark
pink to yellow, then from yellow to pale green, sweat
pouring out drop by drop, drooling in streams. She then went
over to rub his back, held a fan for him, and asked kindly:
long distances under the sun, you must have caught a cold.
millionaire shook his head.
can't do anything to me, you know!
felt reassured, and continued to ask. She asked a lot of
things but he also shook his head. But in the end, he
confessed that he craved fried bread. Because he was afraid
that someone would see him and beg for food, he said:
ma'am, you can't work here. Monks, Taoists, children,
slaves, and workers watched. They will wait to beg, so you
have to do it in a secluded place.
nodded and walked away, the millionaire also called back and
- Go to the
place where the rice is left over, leave out the whole
grains, take only the broken rice grains and grind them.
Done, don't stir, take the oven and pan, some milk, butter,
sugar .. remember to get the sugar for the horses to eat,
then we'll go up to the seventh floor together, fry there.
After frying, that's all your work. Leave the rest to me!
The wife did as he was told.
millionaire went up to the first floor and locked the door
with a solid iron bolt; Climb up to the second floor, and
lock the door with a solid iron latch. Seven floors are
locked seven times like that.
The wife lit
a fire in the oven and put the pan on. With enough flour,
milk, butter, sugar, and honey... started to make fried
cakes... After frying, he chased his wife down and just ate
Saving is a
good habit, however, if you keep this saving in mind all the
time, it is no longer thrifty but stinginess, like the
millionaire I just mentioned. For savers, money is freedom,
but for miserly people, money is always first. And although
thrift and stinginess are two concepts that have the same
form, the way of behavior has completely different meanings.
Once you've crossed the line of thrift, it's easy to become
mean and stingy. As psychologists suggest to us, there are 6
signs that help you recognize who is a miser by the way they
there's no shame in haggling over a purchase, be it the rich
or the poor. However, when excessive savings become an
obsession, it's time to take a look at yourself. So be a
smart shopper but don't let money rule your life.
identify mean and miserly people can also show up in the fun
when people cooperate with each other. Sometimes they only
contribute a small amount of money but always ask everyone
to be like this and that. Even these people rarely accept
invitations from friends to eat out, because they are afraid
of having to invite them back… And if you are one of those
people, who always want to avoid events and make money as an
excuse, then it's time to take a look at yourself. Saving
money is good, but relationships are worth more than keeping
little money in the account.
3- Likes to
use other people's things
hurt anyone if you use the neighbor's wifi for a few days
while your internet has problems. However, if you're always
looking for ways to spend without paying, or doing dishonest
things, this kind of thing to save money is unacceptable.
It's okay to
set a goal for you to always save as much as possible, but
when that becomes an excuse to judge other people's spending
habits, it's a bad thing. Since miserly people tend to scoff
at other people's spending habits, they always tell people
that they themselves would never spend a lot of money on
something you just bought because they consider it a waste
of money. They often comment on teaching others how to save
this and that… as they are doing.
5- Do not
dare to do good deeds
In order to
keep the savings account bigger and bigger, many people do
not dare to do charity work, give alms, or make donations.
In order to save a few hundred dollars a month, they have to
give up time to study at the temple or go out. They even
look up every penny
6- Try to
cut back on shopping
It's fine to
try to cut down on your everyday shopping expenses, but if
you're driving long distances just to save a few tens of
dollars on the difference in shopping, it's really not worth
it. Obviously, this can help you buy a few items at a low
price, but putting in the time and effort, even fuel to go
that far won't save you much. Even the money that you can
save is sometimes less than the fuel money and the time and
effort you spend doing this.
you think you are saving a large amount of money, but it is
not worth the effort and time and in the end not saving any
money also makes you a stingy person, and miserly.
used to teach:
wealth is due to savings, and great wealth is given by God.
knowing how to save money can accumulate wealth. However,
when you have abundant wealth but save too much, do not
consume, do not know how to take care of your parents, do
not provide for your wife and children, or relatives, do not
think about servants, and help people you know. . Do not
know how to give alms, make offerings to plant in the field
of merit, to aim for a noble place, enjoy a long life of
peace and happiness, so that the next life can be reborn in
heaven. Having acquired wealth without knowing how to widely
use it for great benefit in the future, these people are
like the Buddha who said:
- Just as
water is stored in a pond in the middle of the moor, but no
one comes to drink, eat, bathe, and for a long time, the
water in the lagoon is dried and consumed. In the same way,
those who have innumerable wealth, etc., but refuse to use
it widely for great gain, are eventually dissipated, just
like that lake.
when a person has more blessings, wealth, and benefits than
others, he is happy and has a long life. Know how to take
care of their parents, provide for their wives and children,
and relatives, think about servants, and help people they
know. Regularly doing charity work, giving alms, knowing how
to plant in the field of great merit, to aim for a noble
place, so that the next life will be reborn in heaven. Get
rich and full of money, and know how to use it wisely to
reap great profits. To these people the Buddha taught:
- Just like
next to the hamlet, the village has a pond with clear and
clean water, cool, shade trees, making everyone love it,
many people will use it, even animals. In the same way, a
person who is rich in wealth makes offerings as he likes,
takes care of his parents, etc., until he sows a field of
great merit and reaps great profits.
- In life,
you should not be stingy and then suffer retribution. But
you must live to know how to do good, give alms, and be
compassionate to help people… Don't forget!
the karma of stinginess, according to the Pali Canon, when
the two top disciples of the Buddha, Sariputra, and
Moggallana, usually before eating, also Use the miraculous
power of compassion to observe sentient beings suffering in
the three evil paths of hell, hungry ghosts and animals, see
if there is any chance to save them, and then eat rice.
venerable Moggallana observed the world of hungry ghosts and
saw a very pitiful ghost. Its body is like a burning pillar,
its belly is as big as a mountain. Whenever it brought
anything to its mouth, it immediately turned into iron
needles. Moreover, he often spits out smoke and burns his
face. Another ghost, whose hair was as hard as a sword,
cried and cried all day long, hungry and thirsty, wanting to
die but couldn't. Thirsty, but not even a drop of water to
swallow. Because when he brings water to his mouth, the
water turns into blood, and he can't drink
leaving the samadhi and finishing eating, the two Sariputra
and Moggallama returned to Jetavana Vihara and reported to
the Buddha what they had seen and heard about the situation
of the hungry ghost, the Buddha taught:
- A long
time ago in the city of Sràvasti, there lived a very rich
man who sold sugarcane juice. Business is prosperous, the
house is crowded with workers. At that time, there was a
Pratyekabuddha, because he wanted to save all sentient
beings, so he displayed an illness of frequent thirst for
water. Someone advised him to drink sugarcane juice. So he
went to the rich man's house to ask for sugarcane juice to
drink to cure his illness.
man saw Pratyekabuddha coming, reverently, joyfully offered
him sugarcane juice. But he had urgent business to go out,
unable to make offerings by himself. He then assigned this
to his wife and instructed:
help me bring sugarcane juice to offer Pratyekabuddha.
bring it up right away.
The rich man
left, and his wife thought:
juice is very precious, so far our family has never given it
to anyone to drink. If I give him a drink today, many more
people will come to ask for it in the future.
stingy mind arose, and she secretly executed a poison plan,
by taking an iron bowl, pouring unclean water in, and then
pouring a little sugarcane juice on top. Then she picked it
up and gave it to Pratyekabuddha to drink. The
Pratyekabuddha took the bowl, knowing immediately the
woman's sinful act. The Pratyekabuddha poured the dirty
water into the bowl on the ground, took the clean water to
wash the dishes, and left.
after, the stingy woman's human life ended, falling to the
hungry ghost, often hungry and thirsty, and burned by the
fire of karma. This karmic suffering still has to last for
another 90,000 years to come to an end.
those who, because of stinginess, do not know how to do
charity work, do not know how to give and make offerings. On
the contrary, they also oppose and denigrate others to give
alms. This karma will reincarnate a hungry ghost. These
Hungry Ghosts are tormented by three kinds of hindrances:
obstacles (external obstacles),
obstacles (internal obstacles),
- Or special
obstacle (no obstacle).
- Pretas are
tormented by external obstacles
Ghosts are tormented by extreme hunger and thirst. Centuries
have passed without even the word water being mentioned.
Constantly obsessed with food and water, they search
endlessly for food and water but fail to find even the
slightest trace. Occasionally they see in the distance a
stream of clear, pure water. But their joints were so weak
that they couldn't support their heavy stomachs. They had a
hard time getting there, and when they got there they were
completely exhausted, and even more miserable when they saw
that the water had dried up, and there was nothing left but
the rocky bottom of the river.
they see an orchard in the distance. As before, they
approached, but when they got there they found that the
large trees had completely withered. Sometimes they saw
plenty of food and water guarded by countless armed men who
hunted and beat them with weapons that caused them great
pain. In the summer, even the moonlight seemed to be hot and
scorching them. In winter, they have the impression that the
sun is also cold. These feelings torment them terribly.
- Pretas are
tormented by inner obstacles
have a mouth no larger than the eye of a needle. Even if
they drank all the water in the oceans, by the time the
water was down their throats as small as a horse's hair, the
heat of their breath would have evaporated it. Even if they
somehow managed to swallow a little bit, it would never be
able to fill a stomach the size of an entire country. Even
if the water entered their stomachs enough to satisfy them,
at night it turned into fire and burned their hearts, lungs,
and internal organs. When they wanted to walk, with limbs
like grass, they couldn't lift their huge bellies. And then,
also make them suffer infinitely
- Pretas are
tormented by special obstacles
are subjected to all different kinds of suffering and to
varying degrees. For example, some Pretas have many living
beings in their bodies and eat them. Storytelling:
woman in a certain village. One day, she cooked some
delicious food because it was a good day. Incidentally, the
World-Honored One was revered by the world as a great and
sublime man who went for alms there. She began to believe in
him and offered him food. Then she thought to herself that
maybe her husband wanted to share in the merit, so she said
with me because I have made offerings to the great and
sublime World-Honored One.
the husband went into a rage:
- She never
offered food to the Brahmins, and you give the first food to
this bald monk! Why can't he put the husk in his mouth?
She told the
same story to her son, but he also got angry and shouted:
- Why didn't
the mother's bald teacher eat the iron bars?
her parents sent her some delicious food, but her
daughter-in-law ate it and left her with only the worst
pieces. When she asked:
"Did you eat
the good ones and leave me only the worst?"
- I'd rather
eat my own meat than touch my mother's plate of food!
when the servant had eaten the food she had to bring to the
Brahmin woman's family, she said to the mistress:
- I would
rather drink blood and pus than steal your food.
being stingy and greedy in the past, they suffered tragic
giving some food to a hungry ghost, the piece of food turns
into a husk;
- There is a
kind of hungry ghost when giving food turns into iron lumps;
- There are
hungry ghosts, when given food, start eating their own
- There are
hungry ghosts when giving food, it turns into blood and pus.
the karma of stingy miserliness is said to be endless.
Contemplate that the main causes of rebirth as a hungry
ghost are miserliness and the opposition to the generosity
of others. You too have committed such deeds countless
times, so you must do whatever you can to avoid being reborn
there. Think like this from the bottom of your heart and
work hard to create blessings.
With that in
mind, you don't have to endure the various sufferings that
the Preta ghosts have to go through due to karmic
inspiration, especially the torture of hunger and thirst.
Think how miserable you would be if you didn't eat or drink
for just one morning, how would you feel if you were reborn
in a place where for years not even the word drinking water
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