Buddha’s Eight Great Awakenings as They Apply to Abundance

Buddha’s Eight Great Awakenings as They Apply to Abundance

Buddha’s “Eight Great Awakenings” as They Apply to Abundance: A Thought Experiment in Writing. Image: Greg Rakozy.

Buddha’s Eight Great Awakenings as They Apply to Abundance

I’m studying the Eight Great Awakenings which Buddha offered near the end of his life, with commentary by Dogen Zenji.* I am applying them to money to see what emerges. This is what I have for you so far.

1.     The first awakening is to have few desires.

Few desires is a route to abundance. Few desires is a way to have more money. But having small desire for money is another way to have more money.

2.     The second awakening is to know how much is enough.

This is a key way that having small desire for money is a way to have enough money. What is enough? In interview after interview with statistically wealthiest people in the world, a Financial Times journalist found most did not feel wealthy. Most of us reading this don’t either. Who is wealthy? What is wealthy? When is wealthy? The second great awakening helps us realize: we are, this amount we have is, now.

3.     The third awakening is to enjoy serenity.

Serenity is no small thing. It is foundational. If we know how much is enough, we know that what we have is enough. We have serenity. If we have few desires, we find it easy to fulfill them. Then, we have serenity. If we have serenity, we can choose to enjoy it or not. Realizing how much is enough means realizing it is ok to enjoy our serenity.

4.     The fourth awakening is diligent effort. “Monks, if you make diligent effort, nothing is too difficult. That is why you should do so. It is like a thread of water piercing through a rock by constantly dripping. If your mind continues to slacken, it is like taking a break from hitting stones before they spark; you can’t get fire that way.” [Quotations beginning, “Monks…” are Buddha’s. Everything else in each Great Awakening is Dogen Zenji’s discussion of Buddha’s Great Awakenings.*]

If the statistically wealthiest people in the world do not feel wealthy, it takes diligent effort to practice and observe the first three Great Awakenings. We are wearing down the rock of our resistance to serenity. It takes practice to restore our minds, return to source, re-center ourselves in enough. Having few desires helps in so many ways; one way is helping us focus on what matters most. In this practice, it helps us focus diligently on enjoying serenity by knowing how much is enough, supported by having few desires.

5.     The fifth awakening is not neglecting mindfulness. “Monks…[if] you practice this, robbers of desire cannot enter you.”

When we focus our diligent effort, we become aware of our minds. Our minds are great allies—in what? We decide whether they are allies in serenity or allies in scarcity. Mindfulness—mind observing mind (not shaming mind, not shoving mind in a box, not negating mind but opening to it and simply observing, which melts what we are observing)—is how our mind becomes an ally in serenity. Over and over, we protect the house from “robbers of desire.”

6.     The sixth awakening is to practice meditation. “Monks, if you gather your mind, it will abide instability…It is like a house where water is used sparsely, or an embankment that holds water. You practitioners are like this. Because you have the water of wisdom, you practice stability and the water of wisdom is not wasted.”

The type of meditation we do is far less important than picking a practice and doing it. Diligent effort focused in mind observing mind is what banks water, spares water, uses water wisely, without waste. Mind becomes our ally in focus on serenity. Not wasting water is not wasting money. Not wasting resources includes not wasting mind.

7.     The seventh awakening is “to cultivate wisdom.” It is to listen, contemplate, practice, and have realization.

Wisdom is within our reach. Money is not to be feared or chased. Money is. Diligent effort simply focused on mind observing mind results in wisdom. It is inevitable. It is not something only special people achieve. We pay attention, we practice, we get the result: wisdom with money.

8.     The eighth awakening is not to be engaged in hollow discussion. “Monks, if you get into hollow discussions, your mind will be scattered….So you should immediately leave behind a scattered mind and hollow discussions. If you wish to attain the joy of serenity, you need to cure the sickness of hollow discussions.”

There is healthy discussion, like this one. The quality of my writing, the degree of my achievement in mindfulness, do not guarantee this. Rather, my listening, contemplating, and practicing guarantee whatever realization I am able to share with you here. I am cultivating wisdom. I do not need to be fully successful to have non-hollow discussion. You don’t either. You simply need to apply the awakenings to money and abundance in the ways described in this post.

Hollow discussions around money: have you had them before? It is ok to stop, and to leave behind “scattered mind” that initiates and perpetuates hollow discussion, including about money.


*I read them in this book, translated by the amazing Kaz Tanahashi. For this blog post, I have excerpted them. To read them in full: go here, and here.

Would you like to learn more from me about money, money flow, and abundance?

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