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Lions Roar : July 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2007 29 And when we do not crave so much, when we don’t constant- ly think that we need this and we want that, we are then ready to contribute and share with everyone else. At that time, we become the wealthiest people in the world. On the other hand, we do not share or contribute to the wel- fare of others if we constantly feel that we need more. Feeling such a lack, we think that everything we give away is one less thing for ourselves, and so we hoard. Even though we may be materially wealthy, so long as we feel that we cannot share with others, we are still in poverty, spiritual poverty. It is the poverty of the mind and spirit that is going to take the most work to alleviate. Yes, while curing material poverty is difficult, compared to spiritual poverty, material poverty is a relatively solvable. In your upcoming meeting at the United Nations, the idea is that if we can eliminate material poverty, most of the world’s problems will be solved. But remember that as long as there is great spiritual poverty, people will still continue to suffer and be unhappy. Along with helping to alleviate material poverty, we should help others to cultivate spiritual contentment, to eliminate the poverty of the spirit. Spiritual poverty is extremely com- mon, yet with at least half of the world’s 6.5 billion people living in dire circumstances—experiencing hunger, sickness, homelessness—we are often plagued with the erroneous un- derstanding that suffering comes only from material poverty. I, however, have known of many very wealthy people who have everything they could possibly want materially, but they don’t have happiness and they even lack a sense of security. Taking into consideration those who suffer materially and those who suffer spiritually, most of the 6.5 billion people on earth are suffering in one way or the other. For example, I can see that all of you young leaders have adequate shelter, enough food and clothing, and you are all healthy and intelligent. And yet, although you seem to have everything you need, in the past few days a lot of you have told stories of pain and suffering. So ask yourselves, why is it that though you have all your material needs, you still have some experiences of suffering to share? If you do that, you will understand that everyone, regardless of circumstances— fortunate or unfortunate—suffers. There are some people who, through most of their lives, nev- er really have to undergo any great suffering, any great difficulty. However, when you look at the lives of the truly great leaders in history, had they not experienced great suffering themselves, it would have been very difficult for them to truly understand and empathize with the suffering of others. If one only experiences pleasant circumstances, it becomes easy to think that everything in the world is wonderful, and there is no one out there suffer- ing, no one who needs our help. That is why in order to become a leader, one should be willing to experience difficulties. ➢ 1-800 -331-7751 Telephone and mail orders welcome. Sales support Karmê Chöling Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center here in Northern Vermont. Zafu GomdenTM Zabuton SAMADHI CUSHIONS · DEPT SS · 30 CHURCH ST. · BARNET, VT 05821 SAMADHI CUSHIONS & STORE Since 1975 Order Online www.samadhistore.com Gongs & Incense Sacred Style Benches Yoga Mats & more Books & Media