Why do we feel deprived? Because the mind is. When our minds feel deprived, we feel that we lack everything. With only one dollar left in the pocket, one man feels poor while another is delighted that he still has a dollar to help others. The latter would smile out of contentment. With one dollar, one man feels poor while another feels rich – why is that? We can conclude that the sense of deprivation has nothing to do with material goods or wealth but the mind. When the mind feels deprived, that’s the true sense of poverty.
A student once told me his trouble: Despite having five hundred million, his children and grandchildren are not around. His neighbors are intimidated to hang around with him. He is constantly caught in arguments with his wife without anything more to say. This man feels so deprived. Why? He doesn’t know the reason for making so much money. What is the meaning of his life? He had never given a thorough contemplation on what kind of life he really wanted.
So, here comes the question, “What is the pith instruction to be wealthy?” It is when we are content inside. Having the opportunity to practice Dharma is of great fortune. The real fortune isn’t about how much you have but how much you’re willing to give. When a man is bankrupted, he might still be richer than millionaires. It is because he could offer smiles and kindness to others although he has no materials. This is the real fortune. Money is the inferior wealth whereas generosity is the true and superior form of wealth.