False And Genuine: Detachment From Material Desires

Posted by on Feb 13, 2010 in Philosophy | No Comments

Do you like delusions or truth? Many people keep a false front; projecting success and joy. Other people look on, believing this is reality, feeling envy. Culture and media supplies people with images of what success is, like a BMW. Then people delude themselves enough to repeat it parrot style. Real is simple and natural, but it is difficult, because you have work against the influence of media and culture. Especially when everybody is inebriated only you stay sober.

Recently I read a News article called “Millionaire Gives Away Fortune Which Made Him Miserable” The article says: Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder is giving away every penny of his £3 million fortune after realizing his riches were making him unhappy.
Mr Rabeder, 47, a businessman from Telfs is in the process of selling his luxury 3,455 sq ft villa with lake, sauna and spectacular mountain views over the Alps, valued at £1.4 million.
Also for sale is his beautiful old stone farmhouse in Provence with its 17 hectares overlooking the arrière-pays, on the market for £613,000. Already gone is his collection of six gliders valued at £350,000, and a luxury Audi A8, worth around £44,000. His entire proceeds are going to charities he set up in Central and Latin America, but he will not even take a salary from these.
“For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness,” he said. “I come from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years,” said Mr Rabeder.
But over time, he had another, conflicting feeling.
“More and more I heard the words: ‘Stop what you are doing now – all this luxury and consumerism – and start your real life’,” he said. “I had the feeling I was working as a slave for things that I did not wish for or need.
I have the feeling that there are lot of people doing the same thing.”
However, for many years he said he was simply not “brave” enough to give up all the trappings of his comfortable existence.
The tipping point came while he was on a three-week holiday with his wife to islands of Hawaii.
“It was the biggest shock in my life, when I realised how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five star lifestyle is,” he said. “In those three weeks, we spent all the money you could possibly spend. But in all that time, we had the feeling we hadn’t met a single real person – that we were all just actors. The staff played the role of being friendly and the guests played the role of being important and nobody was real.”
Since selling his belongings, Mr Rabeder said he felt “free, the opposite of heavy”.
But he said he did not judge those who chose to keep their wealth. “I do not have the right to give any other person advice. I was just listening to the voice of my heart and soul.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/austria/7190750/Millionaire-gives-away-fortune-which-made-him-miserable.html
THe Chinese Taoist philosopher named Zhuangzi (Chuang-Tzu), in his book Nanhua zhenjing Chapter 18: Perfect Enjoyment tell us like this: “Is there a way to be perfectly happy in this world or not? Is there a way to live longer or not? If there is, what can you do and what can you depend on to accomplish those things? What should you avoid and what should you accept? What should you move towards and what should you stay away from? What should you enjoy and what should you hate?
The things admired in this world are having wealth, being moral, living a long life and being famous. What brings enjoyment are having a comfortable place to live, eating flavorful foods, wearing beautiful clothes, looking at pretty colors, and hearing delightful music. What’s looked down on are being poor, being vulgar, dying young, and those who are filled with hate. What’s disliked are not being physically healthy, not having flavorful food to stimulate the taste buds, not having fancy clothes to wear, not being able to see bright colors, and not being able to listen to delightful music. If someone doesn’t acquire those things, they become depressed and anxiety-ridden. Those are stupid ways to treat the body!
The wealthy cause suffering to their bodies and make themselves sick because they try to accumulate more and more riches, but they never seem to get enough. That’s treating the body as being superficial.
People who want to be moral spend all their time day and night wondering if others see them as being kind or not. That’s being negligent towards the body.
If a person spends their whole life worrying about when they’re going to die, then their lives would simply revolve around worrying and they’d just be extending their misery. That’s taking yourself even farther away from your body.
People of high morals could be lined up so the rest of the world could observe how good they were, but that wouldn’t be enough to keep them alive. Can we really determine whether what we think is good is really goodness or really not goodness? Even if we decide that someone is good, that’s still not enough to keep them alive. If we decide that someone isn’t good, that might be enough to keep other people alive.
Therefore it’s been said:
“Faithfully listen to admonishments. Squat down and obey. DO NOT disagree.”
When Zi Xu (an adviser to the kings of the state of Wu who was forced to commit suicide) disagreed he suffered great injury to his body. If he hadn’t disagreed, then he wouldn’t have ended up becoming so famous. Can anything really be considered to be good or not?
As for when ordinary people express happiness, can we really determine if their happiness is coming naturally from within them or if it’s a release from unhappiness? When I observe the common people having fun, they socialize with each other in groups, rushing on and chattering incessantly as though that’s the only thing they can do. Even though they all say they’re happy, I’m not sure if they’re happy, but I’m also not sure if they’re unhappy. Maybe they’re just appearing to be happy, but they’re really not? Personally, I find more happiness in not being involved in all that activity, yet ordinary people would find what I do to be very uncomfortable.
Therefore it’s been said:
“In perfect happiness the sense of happiness vanishes. In perfect honorability the sense of honor vanishes.”
In this world, no one can know what results might occur from acting in ways that are considered to be either right or wrong. Even so, if no actions are taken, right and wrong become settled of themselves. To be perfectly happy throughout your entire life – only by taking no actions would it keep multiplying and accumulating. Please try to get the gist of these words. Without taking any actions the heavens are clear, and without taking any actions the earth is stable. Since neither of them do anything, they conform to each other and all living things transform naturally. What wasn’t there before is suddenly there, and there’s no sense where it came from! What is there suddenly vanishes, and it doesn’t even leave an image behind! All living things become involved in all sorts of things, and they go along with what happens and keep developing without even being aware they’re doing it.
Therefore it’s been said:
“Heaven and earth don’t do anything, yet nothing is left undone.”
Among people, who would be able to achieve this type of nonaction?
( Translation by Nina Correa) “http://www.daoisopen.com/ZZ18.html

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