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Investing In Inner Wealth

04/08/2015 8:08 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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The concept of "inner wealth" flows from my personal view, a Buddhist perspective, about the understanding of life, and the richness that lies within us. I use this terminology as a medium through which people can talk about the practicality of Buddhist thoughts, Buddhist views, in the hope that it will help others. But as Buddha said, it is ultimately up to all of us to investigate and research whether these views and concepts are beneficial or not.

We all live in a physical world that is driven by "material wealth". We depend on material resources. And when there are insufficiencies, we tend to look to the outside to draw the things that we need in life. When we consider that all of us are searching for happiness, we might ask ourselves: "Is material wealth alone enough to bring us lasting happiness?"

Material wealth is exhausting

The problem is that there is always some insufficiency when it comes to material wealth. By its very nature, it can be depleted and exhausted. There is always something missing. So, is there a type of wealth that, by its nature, is inexhaustible and timeless?

"We lack balance, we do not feel whole, partly because we are considering our wealth and success solely in terms that are by their nature limited and exhausting."

From a Buddhist perspective, we have a broader view of the types of wealth that exist. There is material wealth, but there is also inner wealth. Inner wealth is timeless, and in this sense it is the opposite of material wealth. Inner wealth is the rich pool of compassion, wisdom and other non-material values that lies within us. All of these values are in front of us, within us, but because we lack the experience of drawing upon inner wealth, we tend to look to the outside too easily. We lack balance, we do not feel whole, partly because we are considering our wealth and success solely in terms that are by their nature limited and exhausting.

A healthy balance of wealth

When we have an understanding and experience of inner wealth, we are able to strike a balance with material wealth and feel whole again.

We all have basic human needs. We need air, water, food and shelter in order to survive. Beyond meeting these needs, what is the purpose of material wealth?

In the information age, we are able to use material resources to communicate, share, and interact with each other around the world. But what are we sharing, and why are we sharing it? There is a risk of becoming confused, unclear about what we are trying to share. From a Buddhist perspective, the thing we really need to share is nothing other than inner wealth itself.

After all, when we have this luxury of having air, water, food and shelter, and we have the environment, space and time to explore and reflect on what is most important in life, we can actually see that it is our values such as loving kindness, it is our inner wealth that is most essential. Therefore, material wealth and resources have a significant role in spreading inner wealth.

Inner wealth as a basic human need

From a Buddhist perspective, inner wealth is the most essential thing that we need as individuals. The timeless values of compassion and wisdom have been with us and within us over the course of centuries and millennia. We cannot survive without compassion, a parent or guardian's care, or care for one another. When we look at the dependent, material world, we can see that, in many ways, inner wealth is a basic human need. We cannot survive without loving kindness, universal care, or universal love.

The choice and opportunity before us

We all have consciousness and we are able to understand and experience the world in different ways. Due to the nature of impermanence, we are a constantly evolving organism, and how we evolve is really up to us. If we fail to invest in our inner wealth, our challenges will remain unchanged, and there will always be a possibility of confusion. But there is an alternative.

"In a world where we invest in inner wealth, we will be able to utilise and balance material wealth more wisely."

As long as there is life, there will always be ups and downs. If we imagine a world with a greater focus on inner wealth, there would be more tolerance and understanding. A world with more inner wealth will not take away the difficulties in life, but we will be able to understand life with a far deeper clarity due to a great calmness in our minds. No confusion, no uncertainties.

In a world with more inner wealth, we will be able to go about everyday life in the most meaningful way. Yes, challenges will remain -- the material world will stay imperfect -- but we will be able to make the best use of every opportunity for the benefit of all beings. In a world where we invest in inner wealth, we will be able to utilise and balance material wealth more wisely. We will ourselves become more balanced, more wholesome, and experience a timeless happiness and peace that is simply not possible from the material world alone. Inner wealth is within reach for each and every one of us. It is my heartfelt wish that we all find the courage to discover it.

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