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Blog » Sweet Dews Of Dharma Talks » 2009 » The True Investment

The True Investment2013-01-10


A Dharma talk given by DM Jin Da
English Translation By Lotus Lee


Another year has come and gone. Most companies are busy closing their books for the year end to see what their profits and losses were this year. But because of the great financial crisis in 2008, the global economy went into recession, and if you invested in the stock market, your investments must have lost a great deal of value. Many stocks that were originally quite valuable became worthless in seconds. Actually, investing in the stock market is very risky since the stock value goes up and down with the market. For instance, some companies, the banks in particular, had pretty good stock prices and financial reports in 2007, but last year, because they carried a lot of bad loans, many companies went bankrupt. 


These investments are all unreliable. If you lost money because your investments went kaput, do not be sad. These are all external wealth, and you cannot take them with you when you die. 

What kind of investment would be more reliable and really worth the effort? That would be our investment in cultivation. It is the most important financial record in our lives. So when we are balancing its year-end report, we should see if we made big improvements? We should see whether we were more vigorous or lazier? This is the real financial record for ending birth and death because we can take these investments with us when we die.  
If we notice that we did not do well last year,  then why don’t we make a better investment plan for this year? In 2009, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas will have a lot of Dharma assemblies, such as three Guan Yin Recitation Sessions, the Ten Thousand Buddha Repentance, the Avatamsaka Sutra recitation, the Transmission of the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts, and etc. We should ask ourselves whether we can attend these Dharma assemblies or not.  In addition, for people who have not taken refuge, are you planning to do so? For those who have already taken refuge, are you planning to take the five precepts? For those who have already taken the five precepts, are you planning to step up to another level and take the Bodhisattva Precepts? There are also some who are not vegetarian, or are not completely vegetarian; are you planning to become vegetarian? 
Our most reliable investment is the merit and virtue we acquired from our cultivation. It will not change value according to the market; we have absolute control over it, because its value depends on our cultivation. 
For every ounce of vigor, there will be an ounce of merit and virtue. But the only thing that would make this investment value depreciate is our temper. The Venerable Master said, “The fire of anger burns the forest of merit and virtue.” When our temper flares up, we destroy all of the merit and virtue we acquired. However, our temper is controllable because it was us who wanted to get angry in the first place. How can we subdue our mind? Bowing to the Buddhas more often will make our minds calmer and keep our temper in check. It is like what the Venerable Master said: “Recognize your own faults, and do not discuss the faults of others. The shortcomings of others are also my own; being one with all is called great compassion.” When you contemplate it as thus, nothing will make you upset anymore.