four excellences

A Quote by Dalai Lama on buddhism, dalai lama, four excellences, peace of mind, friends, and happiness

In the Buddhist approach, wordly happiness is based on what we call the four excellences: the Dharma, wealth, nirvana, and satisfaction.  Nirvana, or freedom from suffering, is the ultimate goal.  The satisfaction achieved from a successful temporal life is just a transient goal.  The teachings are the means to achieve ultimate inner freedom, whereas money and wealth facilitate worldly happiness, temporary satisfaction.  One strives to achieve that which is positive for all beings.  To do so, one must attend to both ultimate and temporary goals.  Well being and money belong to the latter category.  In fact, Buddhist texts mention the fruition of eight qualities including wealth, health, and fame that define a "fortunate" human existence. 

To enjoy even temporary happiness, however, one must first have peace of mind.  Next comes health, then good companions, and then money, in that order, though of course all four aspects are connected.  For example, when we had to escape from Tibet, our first priority was to save our lives.  Being penniless was secondary.  If one is alive, it is always possible to make friends and earn money.  Peace of mind must come first.  Peace of mind generally attracts prosperity.  Certainly someone who has peaceful of mind will use his or her money judiciously.

The mind is key.  If anything should be considered a god, so to speak, it is the mind, not money.  A healthy positive mind is the utmost priority.  But if we were to reverse the order of these priorities, what would happen?  I find it hard to imagine how a person with great wealth, bad health, no friends, and no peace of mind could feel even slightly happy.

Dalai Lama

Source: Imagine All the People: A Conversation with the Dalai Lama on Money, Politics, and Life as it Could Be, Pages: 5

Contributed by: HeyOK

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