To Accumulate and Cherish Bliss

The key to managing an enterprise is to increase income and decrease expenditures. The key to managing a family is diligence and economy. Thus, over the past two thousand years, our traditions have taught us to be diligent and economize on expenses. The path to success is to accumulate and cherish bliss.
The management from western countries shows that the path to a successful career concludes with luck, knowledge, and effort. Knowledge and effort depend on diligence, learning, and hard work. Therefore, some have said, “there are no difficult matters if one works diligently.” Others said, “There’s no genius; genius comes from diligence.” So the function of diligence is really important. However, if a family only works diligently but without economizing expenses, even after a few years of hard work, they probably will still not be wealthy.
Only if a family combines diligence and economy¬¬¬—spending on necessity, and eliminating unnecessary expenses—will it be healthy and wealthy.
As for individuals, if one wants success and a healthy life, one must accumulate and cherish bliss. But what is accumulating bliss? It means to lay up bliss, to build up good fortune. Only fortunate people can be lucky. To be lucky means that opportunities would come to them, but unlucky ones have to search for opportunities. The lucky ones are like sailing on a boat that flows along the river, yet the unlucky ones have to fight against the tide, which obviously is a big difference. Bliss includes: fame, wealth, social status, health, good family and happiness.
There are two accounts in life. One includes fame, wealth and social status, which is called the material account. The other one includes health, good family and happiness, which is called the spiritual account. When the material account is poor, one has no money to buy food and groceries. And if the spiritual account is so low to fall to a certain level, it would affect health and family. How could Heaven decide a person’s lifespan? It depends on if this person has assets in his or her spiritual account. When the spiritual account reaches its lowest level and the spiritual assets become negative, he or she can only claim bankruptcy. When the day comes, Heaven determines this as a sign to terminate one’s life.
There are people that have fame and wealth, yet no longevity. The reason is because they have an abundant material account but a very poor spiritual account. It results in health problems, which might possibly endanger their life.
How to gain bliss? This can be called to accumulate bliss. Accumulating bliss can be developed from “not killing, not stealing, not committing adultery, not lying, and not partaking of intoxicating liquors/drugs.” This is known as the five precepts. Furthermore, accumulating bliss can be developed from “not killing, not stealing, not committing adultery, not lying, not harshly speaking, not engaging in double talk, not talking frivolously, not being greedy, not being angry, and not being delusional,” which is called the ten meritorious acts. Bliss can also be developed from “generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, meditative concentration and wisdom,” which is called the six pāramitā, for they are the six means to achieve perfect wisdom, liberation and eternal bliss (nirvāṇa).
Not killing can help one obtain health and longevity; not stealing can prevent poverty; not committing adultery can keep a family in harmony; not lying can guard one’s credit; not partaking of intoxicating liquors can keep one’s mind clear.
Not harshly speaking can keep people united; not double talking can guard a team’s spirit; not talking frivolously can help one stand on solid ground; not being greedy can help one know his or her own strength and work step by step; not being angry can keep one healthy; not being delusional can help one find the right methods to solve problems.
Generosity can offer one good fortune and numerous benefactors. Following moral laws can decrease obstacles and allow everything to go smoothly in his or her life. Patience can help one decrease the bad karma against one’s will. Diligence can help one speed up the process in solving problems and achieve goals sooner than usual. Meditative concentration can give one the chance to reflect, introspect and repent. Wisdom can help one to draw up better plans and choose the right path and methodology.
How to keep bliss? One must cherish bliss. Cherishing bliss means to keep the five commandments, the ten meritorious acts, and the six pāramitā as faithfully as possible. However, it is easier said than done. It is very hard to put this into practice, because sentient beings on earth are affected by the power of karma, which means they are affected by habits from the past. It is very difficult to change oneself in a short period of time. This is the sentient beings’ original sin: the innate habits. It is said in a Buddhist sutra, “The power of karma is so tremendous that it can break through the greatest mountain, go through the deepest sea.” In other words, the power of habit is so strong that even the greatest mountain cannot hold it back; even if one were to run to the deepest sea, he or she still cannot hide from it. It could create tremendous obstacles to people while they are seeking or walking on the holy path.
The great masters in Zen school observed and researched karma and the environment of sentient beings, and thus offered mental medicine to cure these problems. For example: “To rebuke disciples with a rod”, “Returning as liberation”, and “Living in the moment” are some cases from the Zen school’s history.
“To rebuke disciples with a rod” is a means to cure people who have no perseverance. Without perseverance, how can one achieve his or her goals? “Returning as liberation” is a means to cure people’s problem of stubbornly adhering to the wrong attitude. “Living in the moment” is to cure people’s problem of more talking than doing. They often put too much attention on arguments, and forget the philosophy that “empty talk causes a country to degenerate, but pragmatic action brings a country prosperity.”
In the case of “Living in the moment”, the Zen masters summed up three key methods, called The Three Good Virtues. They are: “keep a good heart, speak good words, and do good things.” Even just these three methods are enough for us to learn and to practice. There is a Chinese proverb, “to perform a one minute show requires ten years of practice.” When we are dealing with people and daily matters, can we truly “keep a good heart, speak good words, and do good things?” Only when we practice every day, do it every moment can we gradually accumulate bliss. If we make a mistake, we shall repent it right away. Only repentance can mend mistakes. If we don’t know how to repent, it is easy for us to fall into an abyss of stubbornly adhering to the wrong attitude.
Only when we learn how to self-criticize, conclude, and introspect can we discover, confront, and correct our shortcomings. Only those who have fewer flaws and more merits can be considered healthy and blessed.

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