Buddha’s Guide to Peace and Happiness
Building and managing wealth
who is wise and morally upright
who builds wealth in this way
part should be spent and enjoyed as the fruits of work,
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
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
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.