Tax time can bring up all kinds of money issues for us. Here’s a healthy perspective on that.
“The first principle is that the business should be successful: that it should make money. There is a belief prevalent in America and other Western countries that being successful, making money, is somehow wrong for people who are trying to lead a spiritual life. In Buddhism though it is not the money which is in itself wrong; in fact, a person with greater resources can do much more good in the world than one without. The question rather is how we make money; whether we understand where it comes from and how to make it continue to come; and whether we keep a healthy attitude about the money.“
The whole point then is to make money in a clean and honest way, to understand clearly where it comes from so it doesn’t stop, and to maintain a healthy view toward it while we have it. As long as we do these things, making money is completely consistent with a spiritual way of life; in fact, it becomes part of a spiritual life.
“The second principle is that we should enjoy the money; that is, we should learn how to keep our minds and bodies in good health while we make the money. The activity of creating wealth should not exhaust us so much physically or mentally that we cannot enjoy the wealth. A business-person who ruins his health doing business is defeating the very purpose of business.“
The third principle is that you should be able to look back at your business, at the end, and honestly say that your years of doing business have had some meaning. The end of every business enterprise we engage in, and in fact the end of our lives, must come to every person who ever does business. And at the most important part of the business – at the end, when we are looking back on all we have achieved – we should see that we conducted ourselves and our business in a way that had some lasting meaning, that left some good mark in our world.”
The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life
Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally
If you want to explore your relationship to money, you want to read chapter 2 of The Accidental Business Owner.