The Buddha's Guide to Peace and Happiness
1. Basic Morality
2. Building and
    Managing Wealth
3. Protecting Assets
    and Wealth
4. False Friends
    and True Friends
5. Protecting
6. Qualities for

How to Accumulate Wealth
1. Material Wealth
    and Progress
2. Spiritual Wealth
    and Progress

How to Avoid Downfall
1. Material Downfall
2. Moral Downfall
3. Spiritual Downfall

A Life of Blessings
1. The Essential
2. The Supporting
3. The Personal
4. The Higher
5. The Supreme


The Buddha’s Guide to Peace and Happiness

The Sigalovada Sutta

2. Building and managing wealth

Building wealth

One who is wise and morally upright
Shines like a fire on a hilltop;
He or she builds wealth patiently bit by bit
Like the way bees gather honey.
In this way riches will be steadily accumulated
Like an ant-hill that grows high.

Managing wealth

One who builds wealth in this way
Is ready for family and household.
The wealth should be divided into four parts
So that he or she will always have good friends and a favourable life.

One part should be spent and enjoyed as the fruits of work,
Perhaps to use a portion to help the needy and less fortunate.
Two parts should be used to conduct or invest in one’s own business.
One part to save in case of misfortune.


Wealth should be accumulated in accordance with Right Livelihood in the Noble Eight-Fold Path.  This means that occupations involving killing, the sale of animal flesh, and trading in humans, weapons, poisons and intoxicants should be avoided.  Unethical, immoral and illegal forms of livelihood should also be avoided.  The Buddha praised the upright and wise who observe Right Livelihood in the process of accumulating their savings and wealth. 

Very interesting is the Buddha’s advice that wealth should be built up patiently and gradually.  How appropriate this advice is, especially in these modern times where we frequently see fortunes being made and lost very quickly in risky financial ventures, and so many people being duped and swindled of their savings by shady get-rich-quick schemes!

A person who builds up his or her assets slowly and patiently is usually more stable, and therefore more prepared in settling down and starting a family.  The wealth accumulated should be divided into four parts and used as follows : 

One part should be spent on ourselves and our family, with a portion for charitable purposes if desired. 

Two parts should be used to maintain and grow our wealth, such as by investing in our business so that it will remain viable and continue to provide a constant and ample flow of income.  In the modern context, these two parts may perhaps be used to invest in stable long-term investments.

The last part should be set aside as savings for a rainy day.  Misfortune may strike at any time, and we should always be well prepared for it.

These are all particularly good reminders as we are nowadays constantly bombarded by the media fueling our greed for easy wealth, and making us crave for frivolous, expensive and ultimately useless possessions.  Because of this, many people spend unwisely and get into excessive debt which results in financial difficulties.  This of course will likely lead to domestic and marital problems, bankruptcy and even crime.

Thus while the Buddha’s advice on managing wealth may appear simple and conservative, it can be used as a guide which if followed, will have a significant and positive impact on the financial well-being of most people, eventually leading to lasting prosperity and a happier life for self and family too. 




This part of the teaching appears later in the Sigalovada Sutta.  It has been placed here so that the teachings on Wealth (Sections 2 and 3) are grouped together for easier reading.