In Luke, Jesus says: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Amen, Jesus. So, I'm pretty sure he was talking to me....and I am pretty sure he means it is time to let go of my abundance and replace it with more meaningful life.....and it is up to me, to us actually, to either respond positively or to walk away sad like the rich man in Matthew 19 who "had great wealth"....a story that ends with Jesus confirming our second step by saying, "With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible." It is a Power greater than ourselves that restores us to sanity, not our own doing. (Thank God because I was certain to go crazy trying to do it myself!)
Similar to the Hindu belief that there are three gateways to hell (lust, wrath and greed), in Buddhism, greed (or the selfish desire of, or attempt to possess something that is beyond personal need) is one of the Three Poisons that leads to evil and suffering. (The other two are anger/hatred and ignorance/delusion.) And get this, in Buddhist tradition, at the center of the Wheel of life are a snake, representing hate; a pig, representing ignorance; and what could possibly represent greed? A ROOSTER! So. Darn. Fitting. Dang it! According to Buddhist tradition, the three of them combined keep us bound to samsara, the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, which apparently is like being held in the hamster wheel of bondage, so, kind of a bad thing. The word they use for this suffering is dukkah. You don't want to get stuck in dukkah. You just don't.
But Karen, you argue, I have a lot of stuff but I don't think that means I am greedy. After all, most of it came from gifts and hand me downs and really great sales!
Ok, you and Pig just keep thinking that. Let me know how that works for you. But you might want to know that smug ol' Rooster over there is cock-a-doodling through your dukkah....
The bottom line, if you have more than you need, too many coats in your closet or clothes in your wardrobe, if you can call a charity pick-up after a week of purging and decluttering and know that you will need two or three more pick-ups (my hand is raised here), chances are greed is somewhere in the mix. And maybe delusion. I don't know for sure but I am willing to bet it's tough to get off the cycle of samsara with so much excess. Which is why a Power greater than ourselves really comes in handy here.....
In the Muslim faith, the third Pillar is called Zakat, which means purification, specifically, purifying one's heart from greed. They believe that wealth is a gift from God and that it is a human's natural inclination to love and even hoard wealth. They believe it takes God's help for a person to part with some of his wealth which is why they require the payment of zakat (or 2.5% of a person's wealth and assets). And that of course got me thinking: shoot, only 2.5%? They get off easy compared to Jews and Christians who are commanded to tithe 10%.....but when I told Kurt maybe we should reconsider our faith, he reminded me that giving 2.5% would be an increase for us....insert tail between legs and doh! Watch out for that dukkah!
I'll have to address that issue after I finish the purging though because really, there is only so much a girl can handle...perhaps this is where that higher Power comes in.....it's too bad that my Higher Power didn't intercede BEFORE I started writing this post!