Fame and Fortune
- From TBN, issue 442
- By Living Buddha Lian Sheng, Sheng-yen Lu
- Translated and Edited by True Buddha Foundation Translation
While in my retreat at
Leaf Lake, I had a rather interesting thought involving the familiar
subject of fame and fortune. Do not underestimate the power of these
words, as they literally rule all of our human life.
When I was young, whenever I heard the names of certain people,
I would exclaim, "Ah! That rich man!" or "Ah! That famous person!"
and I would be very envious of them.
When I was studying at university, I would keep looking at the Mercedes
Benz cars that others drove around. And when I learned of any VIP,
my heart would be filled with admiration. Thus, [I thought] it would
certainly be a joy to become someone extremely rich and famous,
for he or she would always be in the spotlight.
As a matter of fact, even to this day, the world's richest man still
receives all the attention from the world, as does the world famous
president [of the United States].
This is why sentient beings in this Saha world make all the efforts
to climb the two mountains of fame and fortune. When one gets to
the top of these mountains, everything else simply follows.
I am well aware that when people eye the emperor's throne, even
brothers will harm each other. And when it comes to money matters,
people can easily turn their backs on their loved ones. These examples
are found everywhere.
Do not assume that cultivators are exempted from such behaviour.
There is a common saying: "If you want to find a black-hearted person,
look for him among the Buddhists." It is certainly shocking to learn
of this statement. Yet, we find countless examples of people fighting
over temple assets or over the leadership position of temple abbot.
Otherwise, why would the Sixth Patriarch Hui-Neng have escaped into
Good heavens! Good heavens! So sad! So sad!
I have forgone everything to set an example, keeping my meals simple,
my clothing simple, sleeping on straw mats, and walking in my bare
feet. You ought to know that all fame and fortune are but temporary
and can never be everlasting. It is for you to decide whether you
want to follow the Buddha or the Mara. There is nothing in this
world that you really own.
When we cultivate without being deluded by the lure of fame and
fortune, we shall gain the power of stability and wisdom. Thus,
the cultivator must exercise caution! It is especially crucial for
those propagating the dharma! They must never go astray.