The word wealth always reminds people of money。 and the sayings or concepts related to money. For example, “money talks”; “money makes the ghosts t。urn the mill”; “。as birds die for food, so men die for wealt。h”; “the poor have no f。riends even though they live in the noisy do。wntown, while。 the rich have remote。 kinsfolk even if they live in the deep mountains”; “poverty chills ambition” “one cent short may put a hero in an awk。ward situation” etc, etc..
In the 1980' s, all shops were。 state-owned with marked prices. You cou。ldn't buy what you wanted with even one cent short, so one cent could inde。ed embarrass a hero. A popular song at that time started “I picked up one cent at the roadside, and I handed it over to the polic。eman…” But now no one cares to pick it up even if it were ten cents.
People's reverence for money is expressed in v。aried ways. The names of companies or stor。es are often “Beer of Wealth and Honor”, “Restaura。nt of Wealth and Rank” “。Store of the Aristocrats” “Hotel of Fame and Prestige” etc. (even some peopl。e's names have the meanings of “fu。ll of gold。” or “great fortune”). At New Year's time,。 the god of wealth is worshiped and the picture of the god is covered wi。th signs of money. When a millionair。e is w。alking in the street, people w。ill show thei。r profound r。espect even though they know very wel。l that they can not get a cent from him. The English film “the Million-Po。und Note” makes a most vivid reve。lation of this situation. With the m。illion pound note in hand, the hero has the privilege to buy on credit, or on loan and is even presented money from others. It's an ide。alized end of the story that the hero is s。till。 loved by his girl friend ev[www.www.xxxxx.xxx]en after he los。t his mi。llion-pound note。. Howe。ver, without the million-pound note,。 they co。uldn't have known each other. It's very difficult for people to make friends direct。ly w。ith beggars.
The song of “All Good Things Must。 End” in A Dream of the Red Mansions attacks the money worshipers by saying:
“All men long to be immortals
yet silver and gold they prize
And grub for money all their lives
Till death seals up their eyes”
But when Chen Shih-yin tries to expound this song by a。nalyzing the inconstancy of human rel。atio。nships and th。e incomprehensible human hea。rt, he has to say:
“While men with gold and silver by the chest
Turn beggars, scor。ned by all and dispossessed”
The conclusion。 is that。 i。t doesn't work without money.
In spite of the human civilizations over thou。sands of years, people can not deny the function of money. This shows how important money is. Money plays a decisive role to individuals, to families and even to countries or nationalities. Otherwise, why is everyone, fro。m doorkeepers to presidents, trying to earn as much as。 possible? Why does every country need Chancellors of the Exchequer, who keep formulating and revising fi。nanci。al laws and regulation。s? How different it is to be a creditor nation and a。 debtor nation! The。 United。 States is playing the tyrant just because it is wealthy enough. A poor man may cherish lofty aspirat。ions, but will probably be beaten because of his poverty. The Afghanistan may have won a lot of s。ympathy, but。 how difficult it would be to li。ve solely on charity.
Of all ages and in e。very country, all kinds of corruption s。tem f。rom money. No matter how roug。h。 the man is, and in wha。t despic。able way he earn。ed the money, he can grease the palms of or buy。 over some very decen。t officials or even intellectuals. Can you see how crucial a role money is playing? (A。 case in point is the bankrupt of the company)。
Some people or organizations like some religi。ous groups claim that they hav。e seen through the human vanity and can take mone。y lightly, but to people's puzzle。ment, they are also accumulating money, either to renovate the temples, or t。o regild Buddha's statues, in whateve。r pretexts. They are。 not engaged in prod。uction, so。 they can only depend on the donations from the de。vout bel。ievers. Sometimes y。our sincerity r。elies on whet。her you do。nat。e and how much you donate. Do the monks care about money? The answer is affirmative. Wha。t's more, many monk。s are already provided with a salary.
We are。 living in。 a material world,。 and it's rea。lly difficul。t to deny the function o。f money or wealth. We need money for food, clothe。s, education, hospital, ho。using a。nd transportation。, etc. There's rarely anything that doesn't need money. What we can discuss now is not t。he impo。rtance of money, but wheth。er money is almighty and whether more wealth c。an bring us more happiness.
We must say that mone。y is not almighty, and there are many things which mo。ney can'。t do. For example, many emperors l。ike Qin Shihuang longed for elixirs. As weal。thy as they were, and as mighty as。 they were to take every measure to search for long life medicine, they still could not avoid the sad denouem。ent that “their graves are a c。overed with weeds”.
Many great men suffered from fatal illness. E。ven。 though they were treated with the be。st medical means, they ha。d to s。uffer as m。uch as t。he ordin。ary people, and met with the same inescapable fate. Rich or poor, great or ordinary, we come and go with nothing be。longing to us.
Huang Shiren, the cr。uel hearted landlord, was rich but Xi'er would rather hid in the deep mountains a。nd turn into a white-hired。 girl than marry。ing him;
Wang Baochuan wouldn't give up her marriage with X。ue Pinggui even though she had to live in the cold cave for over ten years;
Emperor Shunzhi of the Qing Dynasty own。ed the whole country, but just because of the death his be。loved concubine, he eventually became disillusioned with this world and spent the rest of life。 in the te。mple as a monk (it's all right even if it is a legend).
Many love stories can never be bought with money. The ever-lasting folktale of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai shows peopl。e's。 id。entification with this。 point of view.
Wealthy men also have a lot of worries: afraid of be。ing stolen or kidnapped, they may have to hire a bodyguard; they're concerned about their spoiling the children, or worry about the。 f。amily discord bec。ause of the legacy disputes after their death; Fe。ari。ng devaluation if they don't inv。es。t, while fearing of bank。rupt if they invest; Where is their happiness?
How much is enough? No limitation。. As poor as beggars without a penny, they can make a living b。y begging. It's said that some have become millionaires through begging. As wealthy as a billio。naire, they can only en。joy a couple of dishes each meal. If someone is allergic to seafood, or tired。 of rich dishes, he may enjoy the pickled vegetables just as much.
As for money, people can take it easy sometimes, but most of the time, they can't. In theor。y, they may。 take it easy whil。e in practice, they usually take it very seriously; Talking ab。out others, t。hey can take it easy, b。ut to themselves, they take it se。riously again。. Some people take it seriously for one moment, but may take it easy afterwards,。 just as we said what is hidden from the concerned is plain to t。he bystanders. Mo。st people take m。oney。 too ser。iously when b。eing involved. In fact, as long as you have enough to eat, what is the difference between a little and a lot?
Everyt。hing has a limit, so doe。s money. We should conform to the course。 of th。e nature in st。ead of going out of our way to grasp it. We should。 spend a。ccording to our inco。me. Th。e rich may enj。oy much more lu。xuries but no le。ss worries th。an the poor. The only differen。ce is。 the content an。d form of worrie。s. The higher the income is, the bigger the expenditure is. The world famous boxers may earn mill。ions of dollars for one ga。me。, but often find themselves deep in debt. With an annual salary as high as tens of thousands of dollars, the f。ormer President of the United States Bill Clinton ran into debts because of lawsuit, and had to throw off his airs to earn mon。ey in every mean. Howev。er, the monthly income of some of the Chinese familie。s。 is no more than a few hundred Yuan while leading a life with enjoyment. Happi。ness doesn't necessarily rely on money.
According to the western fable the Gold Touch, a king was。 very fond of gold and pray。ed to God for more。 gold everyday. To teach him。 a lesson, God imparted the Gold Touch to him. From then on, what。ever he touched turned into gold, incl。uding bread, milk, flowers, and even his belo。ved daughter. He。 couldn't eat gold,。 of。 course, nor could he lose his daughter. In th。e end, he repented his sin, plea。ded God to take the Gold Touch back and went back to his former happy。 life again. This story is a litt。le exaggerated, b。ut at the。 same time it told us vividly that wealth。 and。 h。appiness a。re not synonym. What's more, no matter how much money you have, you can't spend it all.
Wealth itself is neutral, but it acquires a double-attribute because of the dif。ference of its owner. Kind people us。e it for charities, while wicked peopl。e may use it to make guns an。d cannons for kil。ling. Therefore wealth can be the origin of both good and evil.
God(。if he real。ly。 exists), can you make the k。ind richer and the evil live in poverty?
Wea。lt。h alwa。ys reminds people of money, land,。 houses, and cars, etc. whi。ch are all material. In fact, weal。th has two aspect。s: material and spiritual. People pay more attention。 to material wealth, which is tangible a。nd a。lso limited. For example, a cake can。 be quick。ly eaten up, and a big sum of money can b。e。 spent. However, spiritual w。ealth is different, since it is intangibl。e and unlimited. For example, a kind of philosophy, con。cept, spiri。t, a plan, a st。rat。egy, or a innovation is hard to estimate its value. Chairman's。 Mao's thought had aroused millio。ns of people, and with an ov。erwhelming and irres。istible momentum, his strategy of “en。circle the city from the countr。y” defeated first the Japanese invaders and then Jiang Kai-shek's a。rmy of eight million. Deng Xiaoping's principle of “reform and opening up” led China out of the trap o。f poverty. The current financial policy and the general plan of “”。 have kept the Chinese currency RMB from devaluating during。 the Asian economic。 crisis and kept our national economy at a 7% growth rate in the unstable macro。 environment of world-wide economic crisis.
An enterprise can。 grow bigger and bigger like。 a snowball,。 but in the meantime, it can go bankrupt instantly like a deflated balloo。n, all depending on whether the operating strategy and specific measures are appropriate. Just as the old saying goes: As long as the line is right, the futur。e is bright.。 Long-term development doesn't depend on good luck. Therefore。 we believe that spiritually rich is reall。y r。ich, and spiritual we。alth is the biggest wea。lth. Jud。ging a man, we should see whethe。r he has the w。isdom while jud。ging an enterprise, we shou。ld see whether its strategies。 a。n。d measures are in accordance wit。h the historical trends. Never trust beaut。iful illusions like the moon。 in。 the water and flowers reflected in a mirror that will not last long. We don't advoca。te beggarism, so we are not afraid of wealth,。 but uphold wealth. However。, we should。 acquire wealth in a proper way, and think more about the future. We should not forsake good for the sake of gold, nor should we benefit ourselves at the expenses of others. What we should do is to enjoy o。ur own share at the common wealth of the human be。ings. Wealth is not absolute. A great man may as r。ich a。s owning the whole world, at the same time, he may also as poor as penniless. Therefore, as long as we are not spiritually poor, it is all right even if we are not rich man for the whole life.
Being poor is not because someone。 is penniless, b。ut mainly because。 of the lonely misery in。 his inner world。. They are gr。een-eyed, because they are never satisfied with what they have, but ar。e always jealous。 of people who are successful or who earn higher salaries. They never look at other people's devotions and co。ntributi。ons, but with their habit of jealousy they always feel poor and uncomfortable。. It is more difficult to solve inter。nal poverty. Suppose we can look back at th。e past wi。th the concept。 of wealth, how can we stay poor? We may well say that wealth lies in your heart and we should know h。ow to treasure it.
Translated by Zh。ang Baodan
June 20, 2004
讲到财富，人们想到金钱、土地、房屋、车辆等等，但这都是物质的。其实财富。包括两方面，即物质财富和精神财富。物。质财富人们比较看重，但它是有形的，因而也有。限。比如。一张饼，可以吃光的。比如一万元，可以花完的。而精神财富则。不然，它无形也无限。比如一个主义，一种 观念，一种精神，一个计划，一个战略，一个创新，常常很难估算它的价值。毛泽东的思想，当时发动了千千万万的。民众，排山倒海，势如破竹，以农村包围城市的。方略，打败了日寇，打败了蒋介石八百万军队。邓小平的一个“改革、开放”方针，让中国甩掉了贫穷。中国。现时的积极财政政策和拉动内需的大战略，使我。国在亚洲金融危机时能保持人民币不贬值，在世界经济危机起伏动荡的大环境中，能保持国民经济 7 ％的增长率。