From desire comes fear and sorrow.
The person who is free from desire
is therefore free
from fear and sorrow.
Dhammapada verse 216.
The Poor Heart.
(Part of a transcribed Retreat Dhamma Talk from Michael)
…So, what makes this man poor? He doesn’t have a big house, or a car or an Armani suit, and when we speak about poverty that’s really what we are referring to isn’t it?
Material poverty, and that very often we think that we ourselves are poor people because we don’t have as much as we would like, or as much as others have. But actually, in truth, there is only one kind of poverty in the world, and that is spiritual poverty. The poor or empty heart. Once we let go of the fear that holds us in our spiritual poverty, we will find that this heart is already full, and that when it manifests into our life we are not afraid to share, we are not afraid to give, we are not afraid to help, we are not afraid to commit.
Simply put, we are not afraid! Now, we live on this beautiful planet Earth. We’ve seen the photographs from space, and we have travelled to many countries and seen many wonderful things, such as the Himalayas, the Pyrenees, and all the beautiful rivers and valleys, and we realise that there is enough of everything we need for everybody living in the world. There is no real reason for people not to have enough to eat, and yet it is said that four people out of every six will go to bed hungry every night.
Not us, someone else – why is that? If there is enough of everything for everyone why is it like that? And the reason of course, is our spiritual poverty. Because not enough people have a heart that is open or heart that is not overwhelmed by fear and greed. A heart that is prepared to offer and give or to serve and share and just take care of the other beings that we share this planet with who need our unconditional help, love and support. The only poverty that we really need to focus upon in the world, even though people are going hungry and do not have enough medical resources, is this spiritual poverty. Once we eradicate that beings will share everything, freely and lovingly rather than just trade on the suffering of others. We won’t see differences concerning colour or nationality, gender or religion, we will see that all is one, and suffering is suffering. The key to this of course is the practice that we call meditation, especially the practice of Vipassana and Metta Bhavana, the Buddha’s gift to the world. To see, know, accept and respond lovingly and patiently to this mind as it manifests in each moment and creates the world that we experience. Without this deep practice to end our fear and so end our delusion, we will always live in that very superficial place in the mind where we will see others as different from us and so always find reason to fight and kill and exclude them from a place in our heart. Here we will always keep things for ourselves, for our country, our religion our own particular group. We will argue that we don’t need to take care of those people, because they are not like us. Really, not like us? How are they different? How is the suffering of someone from Africa or Asia different from the suffering of someone from Europe or America? Suffering is suffering and pain is pain. We will negotiate everything because when the heart is closed we cannot be honest. We will be in the place of those who say that they are animal lovers, but still eat meat! It is true that poverty is everywhere, and beings suffer in their millions every day, but the real poverty is the empty heart, and when we live from this place, we miss the joyful expression of life that love and wisdom brings. The joy of not being afraid to share without conditions, that which we have so much of …
May all beings be happy.
A Master was walking along a path with a disciple and carrying a small bag on his shoulder. “Master,” asked the disciple, “what is in the bag?”
“Nothing,” replied the Master.
“Show me,” demanded the disciple.
“How can I show you nothing, ” the Master, answered, “I can only show you that the bag is empty.”
As each breath is a new breath, each moment is a new moment, and so the opportunity to share your loving heart is always present
From: Higher than Happiness by Michael Kewley