“If you don’t let go, then your mind will never be calm.”
You have to give up the worldly possessions first in order to gain the noble possessions. Seeing that the worldly possessions are impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not self will make you want to give them up. They are actually suffering and not happiness; they bind you to the endless cycle of rebirth and death. You have to let them go. And once you’ve let go, you won’t then be reborn when you die. But if you’re still attached to them, you could be reborn as a gecko in your old house.
If you haven’t reached a real level of practice or cultivation, then it is just a formality, which is not considered ‘bhāvanā’. You may think that you’re practising and keeping your precepts, but your mind is still attached to wealth and possessions. You still do not fully understand the purpose of the practice: to cut off, to let go, and to leave behind.
If you don’t let go, then your mind will never be calm. If one day you meditate and happen to let go for just a moment, your mind will be calm. Once you’ve experienced that calm, you’ll give all of your money and wealth to other people. This is because thinking about money and wealth will disturb your peace of mind, and so you do not want any of it.
When I was a new monk, my parents had a piece of land that they put under my name and kept sending me letters to sign. Sometimes the landowner next to it wanted to build something, so they needed my signature. I just didn’t want anything to do with it, because it was a lot of trouble and I would never make use of it. When it is time to let go, you’ll be able to let go on your own. But it is not the end of world if you still cannot.
If you have some assets, then you can give them to your children and grandchildren. If you can give them up without any condition, then that is considered ‘letting go’. It depends on whether or not you do it wisely, because you still need a portion of it to take care of yourself. If you have given it all up and end up with nothing, what would you do? What if your children or grandchildren don’t support you or spend all your money? You should put some aside if you haven’t ordained.
But if you’re ordained, then it is not a problem. This is because you’d then have your robes, which are special possessions, to take care of you and make sure that you have something to eat everyday.
But if you are still a lay person and need to feed yourself, what would you do if you don’t have any money? So you have to put some aside to take care of these needs. It doesn’t need to be so much that it becomes a burden. If you think there may be a need for it, then you can save some for yourself. You can put it in a bank and don’t have to worry about it. You can then carry on practising your meditation and keeping your precepts. And there won’t be any problem.
One day when you have truly experienced that peace of mind, you’ll be annoyed with having to take care of things—signing papers and going to offices that have nothing to do with calming your mind. You’ll want to sell or give them to someone else because you no longer have any need for them.
When your mind is starting to feel calm, you will then know that there’s something better inside yourself. It will be the only thing that you want, which is to calm your mind. When you reach that point, you’ll give no matter how much money and wealth you have to others.
By Ajaan Suchart Abhijāto
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