On Greed

Shi Zhenwu(Thimytrang LE)
Shi Zhenwu(Thimytrang LE)
  I am willing to plant good causes, conditions by making vows, gradually subdue my Afflictions, stay away from evil mentors and even to all evils, follow the Kind Mentor to hear the Proper Dharma, bring forth the intention of achieving unsurpassed path and carry out the Buddhas’ Practice....Read More

  The Buddhas’Practice Incorporated
  First Issue Paper: On Greed
  By Shi Zhenwu
  June 09, 2020


  From the beginning to the end, people always want to pursue, to seek fame and fortune, to seek power, to seek money, to seek sex, to seek good feelings, and so on. Thus I think those are the good ones, the ones I need, so I have to desperately seek whatever I lack, and I spend my life desperately chasing and desperately seeking. But in the end, did you get it? What did you get? I think I want to pursue those, sometimes it seems to have gotten, but how is still not a taste, how or bitter it? When the pursuit of the hand, you can only feel the bitterness of begging and so on. Anyway, how to get are suffering, and they still do not know why.

  There is a gatha about questions an answers in the Three Times of Nostalgia that said, “All sufferings arise from greed, I don’t know where it starts, because I have been forgetting that I have the same self-nature as Buddha and all the thoughts” that keep popping up are the devil . So that’s where I was wrong from the beginning to the end. It turns out that all the sufferings I have incurred because of my pursuit are due to one word: greed. In order to further understand and subdue my own worries, and to gain a better understanding of ‘greed’, the main question in this study is: Where does greed come from? What are the things that one covets? What are the manifestations of greed? What are the consequences of greed? What are the benefits of understanding and subduing greed? Let’s look at each of these questions in turn.

  In the Mahabodhisattva Shurangama Sutra, the Buddha instructed, “If you want to develop bodhicitta and have great courage in the bodhisattva sutra, and decide to give up all the realms of existence, you should examine the root of troubles” . If you want to practice, achieve, develop bodhicitta, and perform bodhisattva actions, you should carefully examine the root of vexation and subdue it. It is because of this ‘greed’ that is the backbone of all the troubles. It is because of this that we start to create all kinds of bad karma with our body, mouth and mind.

  The literature explored and cited in this article is mainly used to search for information on ‘covetousness’ in the sutras of the CBETA Tripitaka, the Gita, and other Buddhist electronic documents.

  The steps in this study cover these broad areas.

  The first is the preface, which explains the purpose, value, and basis of the study and the research methodology.

  The next section is the body section, which deals with the following: Section 1, Defining Greed. The second section is about the point of covetousness. The five desires are mainly used to analyze and explore the problem of covetousness. The third section is about the understanding of greed and the benefits of subduing greed. Finally, the conclusions drawn from this study.

  In this paper, we use the literature research method combined with the descriptive research method and the empirical summary method to study the issues published in the article.

2.Full Text

  2.1 Definition of Corruption

  The definition of greed has a wide range of interpretations.

  In the Xinhua Dictionary it is defined as “to be greedy; to seek more; to be ungrateful”.

  In the Chinese Dictionary, it is translated as ‘seeking without satisfaction.

  Gao Jian Note: “To be greedy is to ask for more than enough.”

  The Records of the Grand Historian Xiang Yu: “Fierce as a tiger, ruthless as a sheep, and greedy as a wolf.” Greed; one-sided pursuit.”

  The Avalokiteshvara Dhammapada, Volume 9: “What is greed? It is the covetousness of all those who are greedy in the realm of desire, who are attached to the name of protection, who are bored with love and happiness, who are addicted to all addictions, who are internally bound, who are addicted to suffering, who are addicted to all kinds of greed. The name is covetousness.

  The Avalokiteshvara Dhammapada, Volume 9: “What is greed? It is the covetousness of all those who are greedy in the realm of desire, who are attached to the name of protection, who are bored with love and happiness, who are addicted to all addictions, who are internally bound, who are addicted to suffering, who are addicted to all kinds of greed.

  It is explained in the Dhammapada as: “Sanskrit lobha, rga Pali same; or Sanskrit abhidhy, Pali abhijjh. One of the seventy-five dharmas of the Kushanas and one of the hundred dharmas of Vaisnava. The desire for the five desires, for fame, for wealth, etc., and the mental action of not having enough of them. This means that the contaminated love for the things one desires gives rise to the five desires, which give rise to suffering. Also called covetousness, covetous love, covetousness. They are also called lust and love.

  The sutras are extensively quoted in the Kama Sutra, where it is said that greed arises from the five realms

  of desire and entangles the mind, hence the name “yoke of desire”.

  In the Dhammapada, the Buddha said, “If love is the same, and love cannot be separated, then parents and children in all worlds will be born to each other continuously. The “Karma and Karma are continuous. The karmic consequences of karma are continuous.

  It also said “covetousness: the desire to be greedy and not satisfied”.

  From these dictionary explanations and the definitions in the scriptures, then, we can understand that ‘greed’ means to seek more, to be insatiable, to be wrongly greedy for something, someone, something, etc. It is the root of all suffering. It is the root of all suffering, and greed is at the root of all sentient beings’ continuous reincarnation. It is because sentient beings think of all illusory phenomena, such as mountains, rivers, land, men, women and children, people and things, as if they were real, and with greed in their hearts, sentient beings are reincarnated in all the evil dwellings.

 2.2 Coveting the Five Desires

 2.2.1 Coveting the Forms

  What is the definition of foms?

  The definition of forms in the Avalokiteshvara Kama Krsna, Volume 1, is as follows: “Two forms are spoken of: one is color and the other is form. There are four manifest colours: green, yellow, red and white, and the remaining manifest colours are the differences between these four. There are eight kinds of form, the long being the first and the wrong being the last. Or twenty, that is to say, twenty of these colours: blue, yellow, red, white, long, short, square, round, high, low, right, wrong, cloud, smoke, dust, mist, shadow, light, brightness, darkness.

  The Avalokiteshvara Kama Sutta, Volume 1: ” Five Yun likes the evil robber, who is the aggregate of past karma, habits and Afflictions. What are the Five Yun? The celebrating said: “The only forms are the five roots, the five realms, and the five manifest. The five roots are the eye, ear, nose, tongue and body. The five realms are the realms of the eye and other five roots, namely, colour, sound, fragrance, taste, and touch. The five realms are the five realms of the eye, namely, colour, sound, fragrance, taste and touch. This is the only measure according to which the name of the colour-being is established.”

  The definition of form in the Avalokiteshvara includes all colourful objects, all colourful places, mountains, rivers, earth, men, women, children and so on.

  Then, because of ignorance and foolishness, one thinks that all things are real and eternal. So once you see all the colourful things out there, you have the desire to go after them, to get your hands on them.

  As it says in the Dhammapada, “The mind is confused when it sees form, not only does it see impermanence. I think it is good, but how can I know it is not true? Wrapping oneself in pleasure, like a silkworm making a

  cocoon, A wise man is able to renounce and not to look away from all suffering.”

  Because of ignorance, not understanding. What is it that you do not understand? Not understanding the root that the nature of form, he thinks that they are real, that they can be obtained, that they are attainable, and so when he sees all things , his mind gets lost in them. I would throw my life away in pursuit of it, and I would seek it with all my might. When I saw something or somebody that I liked, I would coveted and clung to it. I held on to it, and tried to hold on to it by all means. For the sake of this desire, even if it takes a lot of effort, a lot of money and a lot of time, I have to chase after it, I have to get my hands on it. Sometimes it seems that I have it and that it belongs to me, so I guard it to the death and no one is allowed to touch it. When I can’t get it, there will be pain, and then I would cry, sulk, and hate. To what extent do I hate you? I would hate you even if I had to give up my life. Sometimes I even make a vow that ‘I will carry my hatred with me to you even after I die’, and so on.

  Although it is hard to live a life of struggle and hatred every day, we never look back and observe that all things are impermanent, changing all the time, and not eternal. Even one’s own body is always changing, and there is no one real, no one with an I and a I, let alone other external things. But the fool thinks that everything is beautiful, that everything I see before me is real, how can you say that it is not real? I don’t believe it, I have to pursue it, it’s what I want, it’s mine. So human beings, for the sake of his own greed, his own desire and love, entangles himself in it, and he is stuck, unable to get out. It is like a silkworm spitting out its silk and entangling itself in it, which eventually becomes tighter and tighter and more and more deadly. But the fool thinks, “Why am I not tangling you? I have to find a way to weave and knit, and I have to catch and keep you entangled with me. I have given you so much and you do not repay me what I want, so how can this be possible?

  But the wise man is different. He sees everything clearly, and he can cut off all these foolish practices without even looking at them, because he knows exactly what all these things are, you and I, and what they are all about. So he is able to remove this suffering and this greed without stint.

  There is also a very graphic analogy to illustrate the phenomenon of greed for form and its harmful effects which has a gatha in the Mahayana Heartland Sutra, “Like a moth that sees the light of a flame and bids to enter because it loves it. Not knowing the burning power of the flame, they are willing to burn themselves in the fire. So is the mortal man in this world, who loves lust and seeks it. They do not know that the desire for lust is tainted, but they are burned in the fire and suffer.”

  Like a moth, because it loves the light of a fire, as soon as it saw the light of a fire which said, “Oh, that’s mine, oh, how beautiful that light is, that’s what I like”. Sometimes I was afraid that someone else would get it first, so I had to fly faster and I tried my best. It is because of its foolishness that it thinks that the fire is so beautiful and flashy, but it never knows that in reality the flame has a burning power. Some moths are afraid that another moth will get to them first, so they push harder and faster than they can, and end up burning to death. Some of them had just reached the fire and burned up both wings, so they fell down. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t caught the fire again and again.

  How many times have we been burned up in such a miserable way for the love of that fire? More than once or twice. Since the beginning of time, from one lifetime to the next, one has pursued something according to one’s own greed and preference. Whenever I saw something I liked, a man or a woman, or something I felt, my eyes open immediately, and that look comes out so brightly that I become attached to it. When I went back, I thought about that thing all day long, thinking about it, dreaming about it during the day and at night, and started to think of ways to get him, how to get him. I kept on thinking about him all day long, and when I got to a certain point, I couldn’t help it, I had to act. I can’t just stand there and watch him, I have to have him, I have to get him, I can’t stop until I get him. So people started to fight and chase, and they chased them to death. Sometimes it seems that when they have caught it, they will defend it to the death, saying, “This is my stuff, my man, my woman, my home, my car, my reputation, my money, none of you can take my stuff. I will fight you if you touch anything. Sometimes it seems like someone else got it first and I didn’t get it. I have to hate them, I have to find a way to screw them up, I have to destroy them, I don’t have it, why do you have it? All these thoughts keep pushing me to do unlucky things, and with my body, mouth and mind I start to do everything, saying things that make me unlucky, doing things that make me go to jail, ruining my life and family.

  In retrospect, for the sake of the illusion of comfort and preference for an illusory man or woman, how many shameful things one has done, how much physical suffering, how much pain and distress in the heart, how many births and deaths one has gone through, and how many lifetimes one has spent in the sea of suffering, even after creating these karma, you will never recover. But have you become aware of the pain and suffering when the reward comes? They still think, “It’s their fault that I didn’t get it this time, it’s God’s fault that I didn’t have a good chance.

  One never knows, nor does one think, that the fire of greed can stain one and lead one to misery, that it will burn you up again and again, that you will never recover, that you will never be well. I thought that the thing I liked would bring me happiness, but in the end it turned out to be so painful and miserable.

  2.2.2 Coveted Voice

  In the Avalokiteshvara, it is mentioned,“聲唯八種,謂有執受或無執受大種為因,及有情名、非有情名差別為四,此復可意及不可意差別成八。執受大種為因聲者,謂言手等所發音聲。風林河等所發音聲,名無執受大種為因。有情名聲謂語表業,餘聲則是非有情名。有說:有聲通有執受及無執受大種為因,如手鼓等合所生聲。如不許一顯色極微二四大造,聲亦應爾”. From these explanations it is understood that voice is sound, and that it is the sound produced by words, by the palm of the hand, by the wind, by the river, or by other things. It is a sound that is both lovable and unlovable.

  For example, the above-mentioned man and woman, material colours, have an image and we can see and touch them, but sound itself has no image and we cannot see it, so how can it still confuse people and cause them to be stained? Yes, although it has no form , sentient beings are very much tainted by it. Why is this so? Because if you are infected with it, you are asking for bad luck.

  In the Mahayana Sutra, the sound of greed is described as follows, “譬如群鹿居林藪,食於豐草而自養,獵師假作母鹿聲,尋聲中箭皆致死。世間凡夫亦如是,貪著種種可意聲,不知聲能染著人,還受三塗諸苦報。”

  Just like the deer, who were in the forest, eating the fragrant grass every day, living a peaceful life, when they suddenly heard the sound of a doe, they became greedy and thought that the sound was real, “I will go to her, this sound is mine, she is my favourite, I will be happiest if I find her, I will be happy. He was attracted to the sound, and after he had caught it, he began to search for it, searching and searching, not realising that the sound was an imitation of the hunter’s voice in order to seduce him.

  So it is with mortals in this world, who, for the sake of their desire to be tainted with all kinds of lovely and pleasing sounds, whether the voice of a man or of a woman, or a kind word or a hateful or hateful word, immediately discriminate when they hear it. When I met someone cute who matched my own preferences and feelings, I fall in love with them, why is that voice so beautiful, why is he so touching, why do I miss him so much after listening to him, and so on. And when it seems that you have got it, you keep on holding on to it all day long, afraid of what I will do if I lose it, what if someone else takes it away. When I can’t catch it, I start complaining about this and that, that it’s because of you that I can’t catch it, because of whoever it is that I didn’t catch it, and then I blame and complain, hating this and that. I didn’t get it, you can’t touch it, I screwed it up, why should you have it if I didn’t get it? Some of them I have to hold on to even if they are dead. The suffering of not being able to get it, the suffering of love and separation, and so on, are endlessly coming to us.

  In fact, when someone says a kind word about us, when they praise us, you can look back and see how it feels. It was a very happy, joyful state. How long do we hold on to a kind word when someone says it? Is it a day, two days, a year or two? More than that, even years later, we remember every word that person said so clearly and remember it so vividly, and we keep chasing after that happy feeling.

  Similarly, when someone says one word or even writes one word that is not to one’s liking, one immediately blushes and becomes angry and upset, and then one starts to hate, to curse, to hit, or in serious cases, to kill and set fire to, and so on and so forth. You can hear about these things in the newspapers and the news almost every day. I don’t care who you are, I have to take it out on you to make me happy and comfortable. Even if you don’t apologise to me, I will never speak to you again in my life. I will hate you to death, and even if I die I will go with my hatred.

  Throughout the ages, men and women, young and old, have always run and chased in order to get. When I was young, in order to be praised by my parents, family members, relatives and teachers, and to appear to be better than others, I worked hard to earn some face and fame. I want to be recognised by my parents and family, I want to be praised by others, I want to get this fame, I want to feel comfortable being recognised by others”. Over time, this greed for fame grew and grew. This greed becomes more evident when we leave our homes, go to school and become a part of society. When I was at school, in order to compete with my friends for the top spot, so that others could affirm that I was learning well, and to be praised by teachers, to gain the respect of teachers and friends, ‘Look at my performance today, I got praised by teachers, I got the top spot in the exam, I’m higher than you, right? How do I do …… yet desperately go after it. It is because of this reputation that people in society spend so much effort and money, and in some serious cases, they would rather lose their lives to chase this false reputation and to maintain it. When it looks as if they have already gained it, they hold on to it all day long, worrying all the time about what to do if they lose it. When I couldn’t catch it, I struggled in every way possible, so I told many lies and did things that were against the rules. And there I was grumbling: “You have ruined my reputation, you have taken away my reputation. So the desire grows and grows, and day by day it becomes more and more serious, and one lives in a state of contention and struggle. The more you struggle, the deeper you fall into the mud. The more you struggle, the deeper you fall.

  2.2.3 Coveted Fragrance

  In the Avalokiteshvara, it is said, “香有四種:好香、惡香、等不等香,有差別故。本論中說香有三種:好香、惡香及平等香” So whether it is a good or bad fragrance, equal or unequal, as long as one covets it, one will have endless suffering. It does not matter whether it is a good or bad fragrance, it is the same thing. As soon as you start to crave it, you are absolutely controlled and stuck to it. When the fragrance in front of you is a human fragrance, a flower fragrance, a perfume fragrance or any other material fragrance, and you smell a good fragrance that you like the most, you immediately look for it, “Where does it come from? Greed will encourage you to find it, to get it, to get as much of it as possible. So one starts to get confused and runs after it, chasing after it, being led by the nose, and chasing after it with great pleasure.

  For example, when you smell a perfume, at first you do have a good feeling about it, and a little spray is enough, but after a while you can’t smell it anymore, so you spray more, and more, and the more you spray, you lose your sense of smell, you can’t feel it anymore, and you say: you’ve changed your mind, you’re no good, I love you so much, why did you leave me, what’s wrong with you. You feel that you have changed your scent, and you start to blame and resent. The more one covets it, the more one ends up with the suffering of love and separation, the suffering of not being able to get what one wants, the suffering of the five elements, the suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death, and countless other sufferings. In the same way, when you hear something you don’t like, you become distracted, you begin to rage, you become annoyed, and resentment and hatred begin to follow.

  The Mahayana Sutra describes the coveted fragrance as follows, “譬如蜜蜂能飛遠,遊於春林採眾花,為愛醉象頰上香,象耳因之而掩死.世間凡夫亦如是,愛著一切受用香,不知香能染著心,生死輪迴長夜苦.”

  The bee used to be at ease there, free to fly far and wide in the air and to roam about. But because they fell in love with the fragrance of a drunken elephant’s cheek, they suffered all sorts of hardships. Some of them were slapped to death and died; others were fine, but only their legs were broken; others had their wings broken and fell down with a clatter, never to fly again. If you fall in love with a bee, if you fall in love with him, and if you crave him, you may end up worse off than the bee. But when you are about to be slapped to death, are you convinced? How can you be so cruel? How can you hurt me when I love you so much? How could you change your mind? Wasn’t it enough that I was so kind to you? I feel the pain of love and separation, the pain of not being able to get away, and then I let out my resentment, my words of complaint, my violent and rude behaviour. If I can’t have you, I will destroy you, and only then will I be happy. If you don’t satisfy my greed, if you don’t give me good feelings, I will kill you, kill you, torture you, and make you suffer. If you don’t let me be greedy, I will hurt you with my cold words, expressions and gestures, and sometimes I will insult you, quarrel with you, and make a mess of you. The more you make trouble, the harder you mess up, the more you can’t get out, and the more you cry and make trouble. I’m still thinking, “I’m not lucky this time, maybe I’ll be better next time, I’ll find someone else, you don’t give me a good feeling, it’s okay if you don’t obey me, I’ll find someone else to replace you. But did the incense really leave you? Did he not treat you well? Did he change his mind? No, it’s still there and it hasn’t changed, it’s just that when you’re in the thick of it all the time, you lose your sense of smell and even if it’s there, you can’t smell it anymore, you can’t feel its presence and value. If you don’t give me a comfortable fragrance, I’ll find another one to replace you, there are many more than you in the world. So they continue to touch and mess around, and in the end they are left alone, and no one dares to approach them.

  So can fragrance really touch people? In fact, incense itself does not have a distinction, nor does it have any concept or ability to stain you. The reason why it can stain you is that you always feel it and think it belongs to you, so you crave it. If you don’t ask for it, if you don’t covet it, it can’t help you.

  2.2.4 Coveted Taste

  Taste is explained in the Avalokiteshvara Kirtan,“味有六種,甘、醋、醎、辛、苦、淡別故”.

  So whether it is sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, salty, pungent or any other taste, we all go on pursuing it because we want to have a little taste that is pleasant, refreshing and satisfies our desires. Since the beginning of time, people have been feeding themselves with the lives of others in order to get a taste of something. When they wanted to taste something, they found ways to get corpses and stuff them. If it’s good, I’ll eat more of it today, if it’s not, I’ll get rid of you. If I’m given good food, I’ll be happy and arrogant, if not, I’ll make a fool of myself. I don’t care if you are poisonous or not, harmful or not, I have to eat anyway, I have to find all the delicious food in the world, I have to try it all, I don’t want to eat, drink and be merry. What would it be like to live without it?’ So they kept stuffing themselves to such an extent that their bodies became fatter and fatter, they could not move in bed, they could not even support themselves in a bed or a chair, they broke their bodies wherever they sat, they could not even move and they needed someone to take care of them, and they still ate and tasted desperately. Some of them are so stuffed that they get sick, and some are so stuffed that they die. When you get a craving for a little taste, it will encourage you, ‘Go on, go and find something to eat, it’s so beautiful and appealing, eat it and you’ll be comfortable.’ At this point you always hear their call, ‘Come on, come on, look how delicious I am, eat it, eat it. And you can’t help yourself, you can’t help your craving and you run with it. When you lick your tongue, you are definitely hooked, whether you are a human being or an animal or any other living being, and your greed for food leads to all kinds of danger, danger and loss of life.

  There is a gatha on the Mahayana Heartland Sutra that said,“譬如龍魚處於水,游泳沈浮而自樂,為貪芳餌遂吞鉤,愛味忘生皆致死。世間凡夫亦如是,舌根躭味以資身,殺佗自活心不平,感得三塗極重苦。” We see that the fish is so free in the water that it can play with whatever it wants. But when a fisherman wants to catch a fish, he has many ways to make the fish throw itself into the net, and he will come with whatever the fish likes to eat the most. When you are caught and struggling on the floor, you can’t help yourself, you are at the mercy of others, and you can fry and cook whatever they want. If it hadn’t been greedy for the food, it wouldn’t have met such a miserable end.

  In order to have a good meal and satisfy their cravings, they start to use various means to get that food. Some of them are so desperate to earn money that they keep looking for it and fighting for it. Some of them can’t afford to get it, so they start to seek it out and rob it, regardless of whether it is illegal or not. In order to feed their bellies, they have done many things that are not reasonable and legal, and have brought them bad luck and imprisonment. They have even taken turns to pay their debts in the long night of life and death from the beginning to the present. As the Lanyan Sutra says, “貪愛同滋,貪不能止,則諸世間卵化濕胎隨力強弱遞相吞食,是等則以殺貪為本;以人食羊,羊死為人,人死為羊,如是乃至十生之類,死死生生互來相噉,惡業俱生窮未來際,是等則以盜貪為本。汝負我命,我還汝債,以是因緣經百千劫常在生死」 . At the bottom of it all, it is greed that causes the poor and the future to kill and devour each other, and it goes on and on. In order to satisfy their own stomachs and feed their own lives, they have no compunction about taking the lives of others to feed themselves. When greed arises, I don’t care whether it is right or wrong to eat it, nor do I care what harm or illness it will bring or what future consequences it will bring. I don’t care what harm, what disease, or what future retribution will come from eating this bite, I have to eat it anyway. I want to eat, I want to eat, I want to eat. “When you eat it, it means that you have established a debt karma with it, or perhaps it has come out of the three evil paths and become a human being, and after eating it, you have to go and do that thing. Whenever you owe someone something, you have to pay it back. And so they bully each other and eat each other, and so they go through hundreds and thousands of kalpas, still reincarnating in life and death. I thought that I had already coveted that taste, but I had no idea that I would end up in the three miseries of life and death for many lifetimes.

  2.2.5 Covetous Touch

  Tactile awareness is explained in the Avalokiteshvara Kirtan as, “觸有十一,謂四大種、滑性、澁性、重性、輕性及冷、飢、渴。此中大種後當廣說。柔軟名滑。麁強為澁。可稱名重。翻此為輕。煖欲名冷。食欲名飢。飲欲名渴。”

  Whether it is slippery, audible, cold, hungry or thirsty, we feel these tactile sensations every day and we can experience them in ourselves.

  In the C.A.S. Vol. 42 that said,“比丘!人有六觸處,此說何因?謂比丘眼觸見色,耳觸聞聲,鼻觸嗅香,舌觸嘗味,身觸覺觸,意觸知法。

  When the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body come across a soft thing, or a person or thing that you love, that you can’t stop loving, that greed will encourage you to ‘touch it, touch it, get it, get it and it will make you happy, it will give you good feelings, etc.’ Or, on the other hand, when you come across such astringent sensations as torment, irony, bitterness, etc., that you can’t accept, you start to resist them. Or, on the other hand, when you encounter astringent sensations such as torment, irony, bitterness, which you cannot accept, you begin to rebel against them, and with these bad sensations you begin to do all sorts of things. When you become greedy for the touch, you begin to be led by the nose, whether it is positive or negative. And you do not know what the result of that touch will be, what harm it will bring to you. If you continue to follow it in such a confused manner, you will not know how much karma you have created, and how much misfortune you will bring upon yourself, and how much misery you will suffer in your turn.

  In the Mahayana Sutra on the Heart and Soul, it is said that“譬如白象居山澤,自在猶如師子王,欲心醉亂處昏迷,追尋母象生貪染。一切凡夫亦如是,趣彼妙觸同狂象,恩愛纏綿不休息,死入地獄苦難量。”

  Whether it is an animal or a human being, it is the same for all beings. They live there with such freedom, and then, out of greed and desire, they want to get that good feeling, and they start to be confused and stirred up, and they are in love, and I love you and you love me, and they never stop. For example, if you suddenly meet someone you fall in love with at first sight, whose figure, voice, and everything about him distracts you, and you dream about him all day and night, you try to find him by any means possible, so that you can get him. If you touch him once, you will touch him a second time and a third time. …… Greed will keep you going, because if you stop, it will be gone. The more your desire grows, the more you can’t control yourself. If you don’t satisfy me, I’ll go and find someone else. The suffering comes continuously.

  It is also stated in the Dhammapada that“心放在婬行,欲愛增枝條,分佈生熾盛,超躍貪果猴。以為愛忍苦,貪欲著世間,憂患日夜長,莚如蔓草生。”

  In the Mahayana Heartland Sutra it is said“世間男女互貪求,皆由樂著諸色欲,人天由此被纏縛,墮墜三塗黑闇中。”

  For the sake of your own greed and to satisfy your own good feelings, it first lets you lick the sweetness of the blade, and as soon as you touch it, it takes the bait and starts to cut you. When this body is gone, you will go straight to hell and feel the suffering of the three evil paths.

  2.3 Recognise and stay away from greedy interests

  2.3.1 Understanding Greed

  If you want to get rid of this trouble and subdue it, you must first understand it and find out exactly where it comes from, how it manifests itself and what harm it brings. Once you have clarified and understood these questions, you will not be led by it by the nose, and you will not be led into the three evil paths without knowing why you are going down.

  So let’s look at where the greed comes from.

  In the Mahabodhi Rulai Sutra, Volume 3, the Buddha said,“復次,阿難!云何六入本如來藏妙真如性?阿難!即彼目睛瞪發勞者,兼目與勞,同是菩提瞪發勞相,因於明暗二種妄塵,發見居中,吸此塵象,名為見性,此見離彼明暗二塵,畢竟無體。”

  when we are confronted with all realms, all people and all things, greed arises and becomes a stalker because you stare at it all day long, and when you stare at it for a long time, you develop a strain. Then greed will encourage you, ‘Go on, go on, look how beautiful he is, try him, it will be all right if you try him’, tempting you to go with him on various pretexts. For example, if your favourite food is durian, or a sweet and refreshing drink, then you are thinking about its aroma, its taste and its texture all day long, and you keep thinking about it. You’ve had a bite, you’ve had a drink, but it’s not enough. Once you stop, it’s gone. So again and again, you eat and drink and eat again, and in the end you become fat, you develop diabetes, high blood pressure, and all kinds of wealthy diseases, and in serious cases you die. This shows that greed is the result of staring at the face of labour, and that when one is greedy, one loves, and when one loves, one continues to be greedy, and so on.

  So what does greed look like?

  In the Dhammapada it is said,“心念放逸者,見婬以為淨,恩愛意盛增,從是造獄牢。”

  It is your one-sided belief that everything is good, that it is pure, that it is real, that it is available, that it is your own, and that is why you have been chasing it since the beginning of time. If you didn’t think it was good, you would never have fallen in love with it, and you wouldn’t have pursued it with such confusion and anguish.

  When you follow greed, it brings endless suffering, both from your own feelings and from the external environment.

  In the Sutra of the Buddha on the Difference of Karma for the Shugha Elders, it is written“……以貪業故,感生外報,令諸苗稼、子實微細……。

  For example, in the case of those who cultivate a field, the same field, the same fertilizer, and the same method of cultivation produce different harvests. Some have a good harvest, others a poor one.

  In business, the same dealings, the same market, the same capital, some make a fortune, while others work hard for a lifetime but do not. Those who are greedy in the world can hardly achieve anything they want to do.

  In the Dhammapada it is said,“愚以貪自縛,不求度彼岸,貪為敗處故,害人亦自害。”

  He was a good official there, but because of his desire for more fame and fortune, he ended up in prison, and in serious cases, he was sentenced to death and his life was lost. Is this life dead and gone?

  In the Mahayana Sutra on the Heart and Soul of the Mahayana, it is said,“或有菩薩,以貪多財而為恐怖。自己財寶恒求積聚而不受用,何況能施貧乏眾生?於己財寶深生貪著,於佗財寶欲令損減,以是因緣,命終之後墮大地獄受無量苦,如是苦報,名為第一正感之果。從地獄出,受畜生身,身常勞苦,水草不足,經多時中,酬損他財,如是眾苦,名為第二正感之果。受是罪已,生餓鬼中,困飢渴苦,無量千劫不聞漿水飲食之名,其咽如針,其腹如山,縱得飲食,隨變為火,如是苦身,名為第三正感之果。畢是罪已,來生人間,貧窮下賤,為他所使,於諸財寶所求難得,於一切時而不自在,如是餘報名相似果。” Not only do they suffer while they are alive, but after death they fall into the three evil paths and suffer immense pain. It is even more difficult to attain wealth and treasure. And there is no freedom at all times, everywhere. What is that? It is the difficulty of the three karmas, the lack of all the roots, the lack of freedom in possessions, the pursuit of wealth, the lack of roots, the lack of blessings, the lack of virtue, the lowly position, the lack of support, and the lack of what one wants because one is so frugal.

  As long as you are addicted to it, the suffering that follows will continue. It will make you feel the suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death, the suffering of not being able to get away, the suffering of love, the suffering of resentment and hatred, and the suffering of overwhelming desire.

  2.3.2 The benefits of staying away from greed

  Now that we are aware of the harm and suffering caused by greed, if we want to be free from such suffering, if we want to be truly benefited, if we want to be free from such troubles, then we must stay away from greed and subdue it.

  So what benefit can one derive from staying away from greed?

  In the Mahayana Sutra on the Heart and Soul, it said,“若能捨離貪欲心,住阿蘭若修梵行,必得超於生死苦,速入無為常樂宮。” ;

  In the Sutra of the Ten Good Deeds, it said:“若離貪欲,即得成就五種自在。何等為五?一、三業自在,諸根具足故;二、財物自在,一切怨賊不能奪故;三、福德自在,隨心所欲,物皆備故;四、王位自在,珍奇妙物皆奉獻故;五、所獲之物,過本所求百倍殊勝,由於昔時不慳嫉故。是為五,若能迴向阿耨多羅三藐三菩提者,後成佛時,三界特尊,皆共敬養。”

  Also said,“離貪求心而行施故,常富財寶,無能侵奪;一切所有,悉以慧捨,信解堅固,具大威力。”

  In the Dhammapada it is said「戒為甘露道,放逸為死徑,不貪則不死,失道為自喪;慧智守道勝,終不為放逸,不貪致歡喜,從是得道樂.”

  In the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Ten Wheel Sutra, it is stated ,“復次,善男子!若菩薩摩訶薩,能盡形壽,遠離貪欲,一切眾生常所愛重,其心清淨,離諸染濁。由此,善根速得成熟。所有前際輪轉五趣沒生死河,因貪欲故,造身語意諸惡業障、諸煩惱障、諸有情障、一切法障、諸無貪障,自作、教他、見聞隨喜,由此遠離貪欲輪故,皆悉輾壞摧滅無餘,不受果報。於現身中,諸人天等皆共親愛,無所猜慮,身心安樂,其心清淨離諸染濁。將命終時,身心不為憂苦逼切,所愛妻子眷屬圍遶。臨命終時,不見可怖剡魔王使;唯見可意成調善法、具戒、富德、真實福田,為善知識;身心歡悅,深生敬信。既命終已還生人中,諸根圓滿支體具足,隨所生處,其心清淨,離諸染濁,端正聰明,安隱快樂。復遇可意成調善法、具戒、富德、真實福田,為善知識。依彼修學離貪欲法,能斷一切惡不善法,能成一切殊勝善法,能求一切大乘法義,能修一切菩薩願行,漸次趣入深廣智海,乃至證得無上菩提。所居佛土地平如掌,眾寶充滿,種種寶樹行列莊嚴。種種寶衣、寶莊嚴具、寶幢幡蓋、金銀、真珠羅網等樹,處處皆有,甚可愛樂。遠離憍慢、顏貌端嚴、諸根無缺、其心平等,如是有情來生其國,無貪功德圓滿莊嚴。如來自身壽命無量,為諸有情如應說法。般涅槃後正法久住,利益安樂無量有情。善男子!是名菩薩摩訶薩第八遠離貪欲輪也。



  All in all, the reason why sentient beings keep on going through all kinds of suffering is because they are ‘greedy’ for everything and everyone, and the more greedy they are, the more suffering they feel. The more one covets, the more suffering one feels. Always wanting to covet something, one ends up getting nothing, but instead ends up harming oneself and others. If we can always be aware of greed, its appearance and its harmful effects, and if we can always be careful and aware of all the benefits and advantages of staying away from it, and if we can train to subdue it in our daily lives, we will not be led by its nose. But to be able to subdue greed and gain real benefits requires personal awareness and long term training.

  Through the study of this article, I have been able to trace my own trouble points, so that I can understand my own trouble better and have more confidence to subdue it. I hope that it will help the reader in his or her own revision process and study of reference materials. However, due to the language barrier and being a beginner, there are some deficiencies in the language and presentation of this paper, such as the lack of clarity of words and arguments. I also hope that through training and implementation of research methods, I will be able to enrich and use various methods of verification, and to further expand the scope of the research subject by exploring case studies, questionnaires, etc., in order to further understand society or a person’s understanding of ‘greed’ and the implementation of subduing it.


  10. http://buddhaspace.org/main/modules/dokuwiki/agama:新阿含經卷二#導讀_三毒
  11. http://etext.fgs.org.tw/search/index.aspx#sk1-1
  12. https://www.fgs.org.tw/fgs_book/fgs_drser.aspx


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