Spoken by master Ching Hai to initiates
Hsihu Center, June 3, 1995
What you should detach is the attachment for power and fame, not to be detached from money and fame.
The thing is that we had better strive, strive to have a better life all the time, not because we are materialists but because life should have joy and abundance in all things and in all aspects. We do not have to give power and finance to the negative class of people. You understand what I mean? For example, the good people don’t strive to make income for themselves or to have some power within a society then all the power and the finance go to the negative power, all the bad people. They will in turn control the good people and the good people can do nothing; cannot even spread goodness. So to me, to earn money, to make a business, to strive in your life to earn a good standard of living for your family, yourself and your country is a duty, not a sin.
I do not encourage my people to stay in poverty, and to give all the power and finance to the negative system that has no morals, to people who have no morals, who have no responsibility, no feeling, and who have no sense of sharing with other people. For example, we who are practicing moral standards, if we have money we always share with other people. We help people in disasters, we help the victims, we help the refugees, we help the poor, we help the needy, we help the sick and the orphans and things like that. So, it’s very good to have money. It’s not capitalism. It’s the power of finance that we must have and also the power, sometimes, of social activities.
If you are a politician, you should stay in politics and be a good politician and fight for your country and for the standard of living of other people. If you are a businessman, you must be a successful one. Always strive to be successful. Earn as much money as God gives you and then you can share. Money is very easy to use. You cannot say, “Oh well, I don’t care about money. I’m a practitioner. Money for me is untouchable.” You cannot do that, you know? You cannot have such an attitude, you don’t have then you’re lazy to achieve and then you say, “Oh, no, I don’t care. I renounce everything.” It’s not true.
In the old times, the so-called practitioners, they always renounced many things. It’s okay. You can do that for a while. But I don’t think you should do it all the time.
Sometimes, I put some make-up on, wear some nice clothes for camera so that you can see me nice in the pictures. After that I’m so happy just to go next to the river and wear comfortable clothes, just be alone and be natural. Sometimes, the make-up and the clothes make me feel tired. The outer requirement of beauty and decency sometimes makes you tired if you are not used to it. Especially for the practitioners, we just like to feel natural. But if we want to do it for the sake of beautifying the world or to work in the society, it’s also okay.
So for us, the so-called practitioners, we really don’t need material comfort much. And that’s why it’s easy for us sometimes to think, “Oh no, why should I earn money, I don’t really need anything anymore.” It’s a very easy way out. But when we come to think about it, if we still live in this world, many people depend on us, our family, our children, our parents, relatives, and friends. Sometimes they need our help. If we are not in a position to help them, who will? Because only very rarely do people in this world want to help the poor and needy.
Truly the people in this world very rarely would give anything, even in ordinary circumstances. So that is the way of working of the negative power, to make the people become greedy and grasping. Whatever they have is mine, mine, mine. They never let go. Even when they have more than enough, more than they can ever count, more than they can ever recognize how much they have, they still want more. No one else can have it. Therefore, if the so-called good persons, positive people, like the practitioners of moral standards, the practitioners of the Way, the Tao, the Truth, don’t have money, who will help those needy people? That’s the difference. That’s why we need to earn money and make good business. Not because we need it but because in this world we can make use of this useful equipment, money, power or political standpoint, then we can help the people.
Whatever I teach you is good and pure, good for you, good for the society. And whatever I do is what I teach. Just because I believe that I must have the power and the finance to help the world, not to take the power and finance of the world for myself. I have to give them the power and the finance they need, not that I take the power and the finance from them, for my own personal benefit and glory. So in that case, I work for my ideals and beliefs. That’s why I also ask you to do the same, if you can and if you want to. Only if you want to, because I believe there is logic; but of course you don’t have to do anything. If you believe the same ideal and you think it’s logical then you do it. I just want to explain to you why we cannot shun money, why we cannot despise political positions, because they are good tools, they are good instruments to work for God, to work for the betterment of the world at large.
Many people think because I’m a Master, why do I still make money and all this? Of course, I know they say that, but because they’re ignorant. Otherwise, they can see why I do it. I don’t have to. If I were to take just one hundred dollars from each of you, I’d become a billionaire in one day. No problem. I don’t have to work. So, because I am not a materialist, because I don’t care for position and money, that’s why I work. If I cared for position and money, I’d ask each of you give me some money every month. Everyone would be willing to do it, is that not so? (Audience answers: “Yes.”) You’d give more than that, not just $100. Even if I took one dollar from each person, that’s all, from all my followers, in one day I’d collect millions of dollars, and everyday everyone would give me one dollar only. What would I have? Do you know?
Okay. Now. If anyone asks you why I make money, you already know why. Just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the correct way to live our life honestly, earning our money with the sweat and labor of our own talent and our own endeavor. We put our labor, our talent, our work, our time into the production and then we can earn the money and then we can give it away.
The world is upside down. All the masters who don’t work, who don’t do anything, their disciples just offer to them anything and they praise them, “Oh holy man. Never touch money, no material.” It could be. But this is just one of the ways, it’s not the only way. It’s not all the masters who like to do that. It’s not all the people who don’t touch money, who just sit there and let people feed them, who are holy. It’s not that way. But actually, I think I’m doing the things a little bit stupid in people’s eyes, because all the masters don’t do that. The disciples feed them enough, really. Why do they have to work and do anything. But I want to give you a good example of all perfection development. You don’t only develop a moral standard and wisdom but you also make use of that moral standard and wisdom in daily life. Express it.
If you have talent and wisdom, then you can do all things. You have to beautify the world and make money for yourself. Take care of your own living so you don’t burden other people. And if you have really good moral standards, then of course you have compassion and love for all the needy and desperate beings. And of course, you would lend a helping hand to anyone, regardless of race, color, beliefs, and religious system, even your own enemies. That’s how we know that we truly have wisdom and moral standards.
At least you understand me. Many of the people in the world they don’t know. They think the opposite. If I sit here pretty and you all come with flowers, food, everything around me, and bow to me really flat on the floor, things like that, then I am a holy person. Because I don’t do anything, I don’t touch money, that’s when I am holy. Really useless holy! (Laughter) And the people who strive to do good for the world, with their own hands and efforts and work hard for it, then many people scold or criticize them, thinking they are materialistic and they want power and things like that. Power, I have enough already. Materials I could have anytime. Each of you give me one dollar I have enough to live my many lifetimes !
We must work. God has sent us here with equal opportunity, power and talent. So, if we don’t grasp the finances and the power from the world then all the negativity will grasp it. We are under their control. The negative power wins, and then we can’t do anything, we can’t complain and say that God doesn’t help us. God does, God sends us here, sends you here and even gives you opportunity to study like everyone else, the same as the negative power. This is just like a competition, you know what I mean? Both have opportunity, talent, and ability to take the same thing.
So, if you renounce it, of course, then the negative power will take it. And then in this world, if we have no power, no money, what will we become? Beggars, of course. That everyone can be, but mind you, nowadays, even beggars cannot survive. Many governments don’t like beggars, you see, even if you want to beg. If you renounce everything that doesn’t mean you are safe. You got it. Many put beggars in a home and you are not free to do anything that you want. You can’t have this and you can’t have that and you have to do many things not according to your will. And in the home you must eat meat and you cannot eat vegetarian, etc., etc. So, what do you do?
So, it’s not that you renounce everything then the negative power will leave you alone or will give you peace. It’s not true. Fight. You have no choice really. Take away your wrong conception about money and fame. What you should detach is the attachment for power and fame, not to be detached from money and fame. You know what I mean? The desire for it, that’s what you should renounce, not the money and the fame, just the desire. (Applause) Now so many people who practice spiritually have this wrong conception. So now you should not have this kind of wrong conception any longer since I have already taught you and showed you why logically. Not that I force you to believe me talking nonsense, but it’s really logical.
So, don’t laugh at our brothers and sisters who are in Parliament or who are in Congress. They are doing their jobs. They’re doing fine. Many of our brothers and sisters are in high political positions, as well as very famous and successful businessmen. I never tell them to get out of them. If they get out, I even say, “Why, are you crazy?” Yeah! Some of our brothers and sisters, just after initiation, renounce. Don’t become Congressmen anymore, don’t run anymore, and don’t do anything. I say, “What do you want to do now? I don’t need such a useless person around me. I have too many already. (Laughter)
We renounce the desire for the world, not renounce the world itself. Because the world is a part of us, a part of our relatives and friends, brothers and sisters, so we can’t renounce the world. That is the wrong word. We renounce the desire for anything in this world, that’s all we must renounce. Then you do anything you want. Earn as much money as you can, be in as high a position as possible, and use your power and finance to help the needy people. That’s the right thing to do.