By Nhất Quán
Greed is infatuation, lust, and passion for something. Greed means selfish greed, petty, doing everything you want to bring back to yourself, even if you have the excess to let it rot, but dare not bring it out to help anyone. When greed makes you think, speak, and act in a tyrannical way, how do plunder a lot for you or your family. You just want to get for yourself what belongs to others.
Greed manifests in appropriation from small things to big things, from simple things to complex things, and much more subtle. It will make your greed never stop and create bad karma, fall into the cycle of karma and death, but you still don't realize you are greedy and how greedy you are?
Of the three poisons, greed is the top poison that the Buddha advises you to stop. Greed has many different meanings and degrees. It's not like a person who doesn't steal or steal from anyone is not greedy and thinks you're a good person. Greed is divided into many types such as Favorite, like, desire, desire for sin, greed, excessive greed, and greed are bottomless.
1. Favorite:
The Sanskrit is Rati, and the Vietnamese translation is Ua, which means that when you see something or hear a pleasing sound, you like that object or that sound. This kind of favorite is found in the hearts of everyone, from the rich to the poor. But that favorite is not called greed, not called evil.
It's called Iccha in Sanskrit, and in Vietnamese, it means like. It means that if you want to get something you already like, you pray for it. This desire is not evil, not contrary to morality, or the law of the world, because the mind is still good, such as: If you want to study well or work a lot to get money, diligently make money by right living and right Karma. This kind of liking is not called greed, because it has not yet caused sin.
3. Desire:
In Sanskrit it is Mahiccha, in Vietnamese it is desire. This stage is the beginning of sin if you do not use wisdom to restrain or eliminate it as soon as it arises. But this is not necessarily considered illegal. It only reduces your noble character, because when you want to, often do unsightly and impolite things. You can see that person in many situations such as during meals, when the person who desires to see a dish that is delicious and suitable for him, then eats and eats without thinking about the people around him. That reduces the dignity of a person.
These desire people only know how to benefit themselves, not thinking about anyone, but they also do not harm anyone. This is the beginning of greed, if the person doesn't know how to keep himself or fix himself, he will easily become greedy
4. Desire for Sin:
In Sanskrit is Pàpiccha, Vietnamese translated as sinful desire or deeply despicable desire. Those who have greed come to this stage, they no longer know sin and breaking the law.
Once your mind reaches this deep, despicable desire, it will no longer think about the praise and contempt of the world. When you have that mind, you only know how to follow your aspirations, and no longer be afraid of anything. Although doing so is innocent according to the law, it is still criticized and despised by people.
5. Greed:
In Sanskrit is Lobha, Vietnamese translated as Greed, is a strong desire in the heart and wants to appropriate other people's property, or compulsorily do something to satisfy greed ... That means you use any means It's okay to get what you like. These avid people have no regard for the law and are not afraid of samsara's retribution.
Greed is evil dharma, an affliction, the source of making your mind dirty and sinful; and also because of its reincarnation. Greed to this stage is the embodiment of evil.
A greedy person at this stage is someone who wants to get others by all means, but except robbing and killing people. This greed also distinguishes between relatives, parents, and people with grace. That is, although greedy, do not take from the above classes.
6. Excessive Greed
The Sanskrit word is Abhijhà, the Vietnamese translation is excessive greed; This excessive greed can cause people to commit crimes.
This greed no longer distinguishes who it belongs to, but does not dare to take it from parents.
7. Greed is bottomless
The Sanskrit word is Abhijhàvisamalobha, the Vietnamese translation is Bottomless Greed, which means that greed has reached the extreme, there is nothing higher. This greed makes you dark, no longer see right and wrong, dare to kill people, rob, appropriate to satisfy greed. Human greed to this extent, there is no way to stop it.
          This greed no longer thinks of belonging to anyone, even though it belongs to parents and relatives.
          As you all know, there are few people in this life who don't have desires. To have life is to have the desire, but wanting more or less depends on each person's preferences.
          Everyone is greedy, but each person's expression of greed is different. For example, when some people fall into difficult circumstances, although they were virtuous before, they have to steal for survival. The story of a girl in Taiwan who often steals food from the supermarket. After watching the security camera, they found her and they arrested her. She was then given a suspended sentence and banned from leaving the area. She returned home, and after three months, the police and people did not see her leave the apartment where she lived. In the end, they broke the window to get in and discovered that she had died of starvation.
          Speaking of greed in seriousness, there is some greed that manifests into a very barbaric act. In Vietnam before, there were robberies, because of a cell phone that the thief ruthlessly cut off someone's arm, causing the whole community to condemn. Greed to this extent is very dangerous because it brings suffering and pain to others.
          Please define: If any of your possessions are derived from the suffering of others, it is also considered unjustified!
          Besides those who are greedy because of habit, there are also people who are often greedy for petty things, in fact, they do not fall into poverty and deprivation, but because they cannot control their greed enough, they always want to collect everything for themselves. Or rich people, businesses trying to cheat people, cheat other people's contributions, undercut wages in this way or that.
          Those who calculate little by little, compare, and haggle with the poor are also ways of expressing greed. So in everyday life, you should re-evaluate yourself in each case:
          - What needs to be opened, should be open, what needs to be released, let go, what should be forgiven, forgive, what needs to be calculated, calculate
          Since humans don't see the danger of greed, the more you desire, the more it will lead to suffering. This greed manifests itself in various forms, for example.
          - Some people, because of greed, have no conscience, eat bribes, eat away at other people's wealth, sweat, and efforts.
           - Some people are passionate about gambling and betting because of greed to get rich and have property. In the end, the wealth was invisible but received a tragic result that was the family's bankruptcy, the property was no longer available, the house was confiscated...
          - Some people buy lottery tickets because of greed, numbering to ask for the jackpot to get a lot of money, and the result is empty-handed, broken houses, piled up debt...
          - Some people first want a bicycle because of greed, when they have a bicycle, then they want a motorbike, when they have a motorbike, they want a car... So, Such greed has no limits. People who are greedy, attentive, and stalk what they like such as Money, beauty, fame, food, accommodation, and how to have enough means in all aspects...
Examples of greed abound in everyday life:
- People try to build a career because of greed, when they have a lot of property, they worry about stealing. There are rich people who have money but keep it safe, live selfishly with workers, are stingy not dare to give alms, when they lose their possessions, they beat their chests and cry, lose food and sleep.
- There are people who are rich in wealth but still glean to save, dare not eat, dare not wear.
          It is also because of ambition and excessive greed that people fight, tear, rob, and kill each other, causing pain and grief for many people. Greed is a kind of affliction, which is not only harmful to you in the present, but also harmful to you in the future, and affects many other people as well.
Human greed is like a bottomless well that never gets bored, knows enough, knows how to stop. People with high positions of authority take advantage of their power and oppress and exploit the underlings. People without power seek to rob and defraud others. The suffering and disadvantaged part is poor and miserable
          There are many families whose parents have just died, then in the family, siblings have competed to share the inheritance, and compete with each other over items from all the land. When they are not satisfied with each other, they curse at each other, then go to court to win for themselves. Brothers and sisters are still like that, neighbors, how can they love and help each other with human love in life.
          Due to greed, conflicts often arise. Like family disputes, husband and wife dispute, father and son dispute, mother and child dispute, brothers dispute, sisters dispute, friends dispute... People are for material and money needs. , property that pursues meager greed, selfishness for himself. Therefore, family conflicts and loss of happiness also occur from here. The reason is also because of greed, so they no longer love and care for each other, but often quarrel and conflict with each other.
All the desires mentioned above will lead you to an end of suffering, even though the desire for riches, created in any form, will bring damage and danger to the body yourself, your loved ones, and the whole society. All kinds of desires are karmic actions of evil dharmas, of akusala which are expressed in your own body, speech, and mental actions. Because mental action often thinks about wanting to be richer than others, body and speech must act to harm you, harm others and harm sentient beings.
After all, worldly people, the core of greed lies in the five human needs:
- Asset,
- Beauty
- Good reputation
- Food and drink,
- Sleep.
When the desire for one of these things is higher than usual, you will develop greed which is shown in your actions and words.
Hence the Buddha taught:
- Greed is like wild grass that damages the fields, similarly greed damages the land mind of a monk.
From greed leads to ambition and from there they plot and plan, to find what you like no matter who it hurts, so the proverb has a saying:
- The other sea is easy to install, and the greed bag is difficult to fill.
Greed for you, then for your family, for your relatives and close relatives. Ambition originates from the mind of excessive desire, so it leads you in the direction of suffering because if you get it, you have to be afraid of loss, if you don't, you will suffer.
However, the Buddha's teaching about greed affirms that greed is not human nature, because:
- When people are born, they are all honest people.
Humans are born as pure as a white paper, with a pure and kind heart.
Greed grows over the years, through the changing life situations that each person encounters. If people do not know how to control their greed, greed will continue to grow, and then greed will lead the way to wrong actions. So Buddha said:
- The greater the greed, the more virtue is dissipated.
Because greed often goes hand in hand with evil, when you have greed, you always want to take other people's possessions and what you want, so you have the mind to do evil to satisfy you.
Meanwhile, according to the Ten Good Karma Sutras, those who do not desire will achieve the following good things:
- Three karmas of body, speech, and mind are free,
- Wealth is not lost,
- Enjoy blessings and good things will come to you even though you don't wish for it.
The Buddha also taught that do not to generate greed and hatred, and do not to let sin drag you into suffering.
In the Sutra Buddha also taught that:
          - Human greed has no limits.
For example, when you have had enough to eat and wear warm, then you need to eat well is to dress beautifully, then the need to be respected by society, the need to express yourself. The higher the demand, the greater the greed
          In many sutras, the Buddha also taught that the more greed, the greater the retribution. The law of cause and effect of greed is often paid in this life, through many examples in life that you still see every day in newspapers and television stations.
Those who are corrupt and steal are imprisoned, gamblers are poor, greedy for high positions and finally get nothing, families are discord, society does not forgive.
          Here, you have a better understanding of greed and its destructive level, from here you look at yourself, know how to adjust for yourself, and at the same time find ways to educate future generations, so as not to be deceived greed leads them on the wrong path and loses their moral values. In this way, you warn people. Those who always run after greed, do not know how to avoid it, will be in danger themselves. That's why the Buddha often used the image of gold, silver, treasure, and property like a poisonous snake that will bite you to death at any time.
          Human greed is like a bag without a bottom, a bag without a bottom, no matter how much precious gold and silver you hold, it can't be full. That's why people always run after sensual pleasures to enjoy, never stop. Like a moth, when it sees a light, it comes to it without knowing how much danger it will be in. It also cannot know that when it rushes into the light bulb, it will be instantly burned to death.
          Buddhism is forever a very basic foundation for a happy, stable life at all times. The Buddha's teachings on how to live well have always helped people to restrain their excessive desire for all needs. A person studying Buddhism will know morality, cause and effect, and guilt. Moral education will limit excessive greed, without excessive greed people will create fewer crimes. Especially true Buddhists must know how to create a clean life for themselves, as long as they have enough food, clothing, and drink to cultivate spiritual ethics. Knowing how to give rice and clothes, eat less, and wear fewer clothes to help the unfortunate in spirit: Although the material is little, the heart is much.
          Thus, in the five ethical principles of lay Buddhists, the precept not to steal is the Buddha's only way to prevent you from unlawfully desiring. That is, a Buddhist who is not greedy, is not greedy, is a good person, because you are only in relative goodness, not absolute. Therefore, a person who wants to limit the domination of greed as well as educate the next generation not to fall into excessive greed. To do this, you need to apply methods such as:
          The first is education on Ethics: Causality, Crime: To limit your greed.
          The second is to encourage others to live to know how to give and share alms: A person who lives for others is less likely to commit fraud and lies to illegally possess other people's property.
          Third, a person who has the perception of knowing enough to live will reduce the dominating activities of Greed.
          Therefore, the Buddha taught that those who give up greed will be liberated. There is no more suffering because the cause is not greedy, the result is not suffering. When people know that greed is the cause that leads to suffering, then stop and give up this greed, then peaceful and happy results will appear immediately. The Buddha's teaching is very practical:
          - Desires for pleasure are few, sufferings are many, afflictions are greater, and dangers are greater.
          This is a statement that summarizes the Buddha's experience of the truth of life's suffering, often used by him to advise monastic disciples as well as lay disciples to control their sensory desires and live a Satisfied lifestyle that is no longer affected by sensual motives. This will facilitate the practice toward complete liberation from all attachments to suffering.
          Everyone should learn the virtue of wanting less, knowing enough, and not being greedy for much. Thus, even if you are poor and needy, you still feel enough, and do not complain, so you don't need to ask God to support you to be rich. As for the rich, they should also learn how to be less willing, to know enough, not to indulge in luxury, to spend squanderingly, to waste wealth...
          The unhappiness, suffering, or happiness, richness or poverty, hunger or abundance, beauty or ugliness, etc. All are due to the karma that you have created. It is not because of a god or a supreme being that blesses or causes harm to anyone, but you are the owner of the misfortunes or blessings.
          The Buddha taught that people who want to be rich must give up greed, selfishness, stinginess, and miserliness. Then you will enjoy wealth and prosperity. But when you are blessed with riches, don't be proud of that blessing. Because that wealth is conditioned and impermanent, so don't cling to it, but learn to let go and stay away from the traps of sensual pleasures so that your body and mind are always at peace and peaceful. This is the unscrupulous blessing of no longer having to drift in the sea of ​​birth and death.
          Happiness is available in everyone's heart, no need to roll back and forth, no need to compete for greed and appropriation. Find your mind, give up desires, lusts, fame and profit, gain and loss, win or lose, then you will find your own treasure. Buddha-nature appears, like golden light at that time, you will have true happiness.
          The first step back to your mind, back to your good nature, is to gradually reduce desires. You must know, that it is because of greed that you have to run around, side with, and flatter those who are able to bring you up. If you ask for it, then you will ask for more. If you don't get it, you'll have to suffer. Fame is delicious food, so if you want it, others will also want it. If you hold it in your hand, someone else will find a way to remove it. Therefore, the ancients said:
          - The higher the fame, the more hardships.
          There are very few people who sit on the chair of fame and have a secure life for the rest of their lives. But because of the glamor of fame and attraction, people keep their eyes on it endlessly. Chasing fame, like children chasing a ball, only ends up getting tired. Only a wise person who knows how to stop will be safe.
          Today, when people attach importance to material life, their joy and happiness are all based on material things, taking material things as a measure of success and failure in a person's life. So, more and more people, in pursuit of this money dream, have to lose their joy, and happiness, and then finally lose themselves.
          There are times when people gain and sometimes they have to lose, when they are happy, they will be sad, if they are greedy, they will have anger and hatred. When you greedily pursue material things more than you need, that's when you step into the boat called suffering, drifting aimlessly on the bustling river of life. The moral is that it seems simple, but it is not simple. Human life changes like the four seasons spring, summer, autumn, and winter, you come from dust and then return to dust.
          This world is considered an inn. You come empty-handed and come back empty-handed. Therefore, let go of greed, take pleasure in enough, use depending on conditions as a reason to live, cultivate the mind to nurture nature, and keep the body and mind pure for a lifetime of peace. The Blessed One gave advice:
          - If you have a greedy mind, you must cultivate your mind right away, practice less desire, and know enough.
          People who have little desire and know enough have a very simple, noble, and secure life, because they know enough about what they already have. Gradually let go of greed to attain non-greed.
          As a human, everyone is willing to be greedy. A person with greed is like a person who keeps a poisonous snake. If you are not careful every minute, you will be bitten by a poisonous snake. In today's life, you compete, find a livelihood, earn money, fame, and desire love. That greed incites the mind to make you feel miserable, not satisfied with what you have.
          When you are too greedy, you will become blind, do not know the limit, ready to give up what you have to expect to possess more valuable things. Blind greed sometimes costs you dearly, then you realize that those precious things are always right next to you, not looking far away.
          Greed creates the basic condition for dissatisfaction because no matter how much you have, you are always looking for more, better. Your present society has exploited this greed and dissatisfaction, that's why you always hear that last year's fashions are outdated, last year's items are out of date. Just like that, you have to follow the new trend, try to buy what is considered newer, better just because you see someone else has already, then you must have those things like the other person. But then they will also become old or damaged over time. This can cause you to always be unstable.
          Contrary to desire, if you say to yourself:
          - What I have right now is already very good.
          Then your heart will be at peace. This does not mean that you will never buy new items, or that society does not need to improve in terms of technology and techniques. If you have a need for something or a new type of item that is more efficient, there is nothing wrong with shopping, as long as you have enough money to buy it. But whether you can shop or not, your heart is still at peace, with the above thought, you will always be satisfied with what you have.
           Desire is itself a painful, sick mind. Because of desire, the mind gives rise to illusions, so you cannot realize that there is another kind of happiness, true happiness.
          If at times greed leads you to pain and sorrow, the peace that you have experienced by giving up desire will lead you to Nirvana, the state of being free of afflictions. This peace, the absence of desire, allows you to fully develop the spiritual life to achieve Enlightenment. You can experience this peace forever. Immediately you free yourself from the attachment of thoughts about worldly dharmas, from covetousness, and you begin to develop peace in your mind.
          In short, as long as you still want more, you will never be satisfied, no matter how much you already have. On the contrary, if you are satisfied with what you have, you can still work to improve your material life, but you will always be at peace in your heart.
Instead of enjoying with selfish greed, you will use these things with the desire to improve yourself so that you can love and be more helpful to others. You can enjoy food, clothes, houses, and more, but with a different motive than before. This way you will be at peace and free from worries and uncertainties.
          Abandoning greed does not make you lose your motivation to live and become indifferent to life. At first glance, it may seem so, simply because you are so used to craving. However, there are many other life trends that can motivate you to live. Such as genuine concern for others. The wish to bring happiness and joy to others is loving-kindness, and to save others from all suffering is compassion. These two minds can be very powerful motivators in your life. So, letting go of greed opens the door to honest communication with others, to love and compassion.
          Have you seen anyone in this world who can make someone happy? Not yet! True happiness depends on you, no one gives it to you. Happiness comes from letting go of greed, from patient silence, from love, from peace, and from the faith you have.
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