It is how you begin the path towards enlightenment.
Buddha was rich before he was enlightened. Or should I say his lay name? Siddhartha.
He was Siddhartha back then.
Buddhism is one of those religions that don’t make gods their center.
Instead it chooses to make a natural law it’s center.
Core of Buddhism
Desire = Suffering.
Eliminate Desire, and you eliminate Suffering.
It is only through experience that you come to realize that you do not need to desire, and that by not desiring, you can be free.
“I wish this coffee had more sugar”.
“I wish my dad didn’t beat up my mom”.
“I wish I could talk to girls”.
“I wish society didn’t push me into a direction”.
“I wish people didn’t judge me like that”.
“I wish I could seat more comfortably during meditation”.
“I wish my mind didn’t jump around all day long without staying focused”.
“I wish I didn’t feel so alone”.
“I wish I couldn’t feel so empty”.
Desire is the nature upon which human beings take charge and change things in their lives. Because they believe it will make them happier, and more fulfilled.
But that is not what happens.
By fulfilling one desire, another is born, and with it, the feeling that you can’t escape yourself but keep fulfilling more desires.
Natural Law (Dharma)
Desire = Suffering.
End Desire, and you end Suffering.
Eliminate the root of desires. And they stop arising from your mind.
By meditating constantly, you eventually realize that you can empty the well upon which desires arise.
Once you reach that stage, you are called Arahant, Enlightened One, Buddha.
You reach Nirvana(which means ceasing of the fire, ceasing of desire).
You no longer take stake in reality to be happier.
You are happy, you expect nothing.
It doesn’t mean you end up depressed, or apathetic.
You then get to experience a level of compassion so great, that it ends up becoming your new drive.
So Desire is Bad?
There is no moral judgment on desire.
If you realize you desire to build a company, and you understand that it is a desire. You also understand that because you desire it, you can suffer.
That is it. It isn’t right or wrong to desire.
The Buddha even said that there are 2 forms of desire.
Unskillful desire, which is those random thoughts that try to make your life more comfortable.
Skillful desire, those that brings you into a life of effort, discipline, morality and if applied in a particular direction, enlightenment.
The path to enlightenment is rooted in desire as well, the desire to be enlightened. The desire to meditate to understand more.
The desire to study.
The desire to help the comunity.
The desire to help others.
Types of People
Buddhism separates people into 3 categories.
Lay, the ones that can’t commit fully into a life of searching for nirvana. They have to feed the kids, work, grow their businesses, help the family, and live the life that most people live. They can still benefit from practice of the Dharma.
The monks and nuns(I forgot the right term, but you get the idea). They are the ones that can dedicate themselves fully to understand the nature of humanity, and lead the next generation of both monks, nuns and lay people.
Enlightened beings. The ones that got to the stage and help others close the gap between their position and nirvana.
One last thing…
Buddha was rich before he was enlightened. That may have helped him to embrace a life of the middle path, since he knew experimentally that riches doesn’t shelter you from suffering.
Osho once said that someone actually needs to taste life’s riches before understanding the same thing for themselves.