I was talking about the secret of how to make money and they wanted to hear all the time. So I cut the talk. I said, " We have to go down and share with all the people because we all want to make money, don't we? Oh, yeah! You can buy a book like " How to... " Anyhow, the secret of having money is not how much you earn, but how much you save and how much you spend. Many people over spend, spend unnecessarily; and in the items you buy, you could pay less for the same quality. You don't have to shop around too much, but sometimes. If you happen to see something that is good and a reasonable or cheap price, you can buy them. If you don't see them, then forget it. You don't miss anything.
When you go to a retreat, like for example in Cambodia last time, or in Formosa, you had nothing with you. But you didn't die, did you? You lived! And how well. Walking, running and the guard pushing you from behind. "Quick, quick, quick! Master has already come down, quickly! " And you still lived. You ate simple food, no telephone, no husband, no kids, nothing. You were okay. And you wore simple clothes. No problem. Very simple.
Similarly in our situation, in our house, we can also have simple things. I don't mean you don't have anything. But there are many things, the values are the same but the price is different. You know the difference between shops. You don't have to always spend a lot of money in order to look good, for your house to look special. It can look special but not expensive. Sometimes I go shopping, because I want to look for something that I like -- sofa or something. Sometimes I pay only about two hundred or three hundred dollars, the big set of sofa, including the glass table and everything. But in other shops, it costs four or five times more -- same style, same quality. I don't understand this.
All the millionaires, the rich people, they don't always look like one. They don't always drive in limousine, Rolls Royce or Cadillac. They normally drive ordinary cars, because they don't need to show off. They feel good within, the security for themselves and their families. They have savings to last for years to come, for emergency, for anything they need, should the need arise. Meanwhile they still continue to generate money out of their saving income. So they fell good, they don't need to show off, they don't need anyone to know that they are rich. They just wear casual clothes sometimes, and go shopping in very ordinary shops. Their houses are also comfortable but ordinary. The furniture is not always antique, or anything extraordinary. Just comfortable, cosy. Enough for them to feel good.
So the secret of making money and being rich is not only how much you earn. It's how you manage your money. Many people, even rich, unfortunately after the second generation...Like the father was very diligent in making the money and saving it. But after the children or grandchildren have no ambition to do the same. They didn't earn it the hard way, so they don't value the money. So if they are left with a big inheritance, very soon they squander it, and are left with nothing. Often like this. Then commit suicide, because they do not know how to save. They think, the parents are very rich and they can spend, spend, spend and it will never finish -- the money. But it finishes. The Au Lac people have an idiom. They say, " Even if you sit there, do nothing, and eat, you can eat the mountain flat. "
Similarly, truly, why we can help so many people, it seems like I have a lot of money, but it is because I save. Not that I consciously save, but I just know logically how to keep the money. If you earn a lot, but you spend a lot, then it amounts to nothing. You just keep the car companies rich, you keep every other shopkeeper rich, but not yourself. You have to watch how you spend. Maybe you have to make a budget of your own -- how much to spend every month, and don't go over that.
Many rich people, not only they look ordinary in many ways, but they know how to save. For example when the toothpaste is nearly finished, they don't just throw it away in a half, but they squeeze it. They use some knife or something to flatten it. You do it also, sure; but the rich people teach their children to do that. Maybe you don't know how they earn money, but at least you know how they save money. And saved money is earned money as well, whatever you saved is what you've earned too. In turn, that money will create more interest; then make more money for you. Even if you don't do anything, you put the money in the bank, it earns interest for you. Then you can live on that too.
So whatever you save is yours. Whatever you spend is someone else's. And every time we go to the retreat, or something like that, it's not only that you want to see me, or that you want to practice spiritually; but it's also a very natural opportunity for you to put everything down, to be free of material bondage, to be free of the preconceived ideas and notions that we need this, we need that, we need everything in order to survive. It has been proven, that even if you go on like this, you survive.
In the old times, when I didn't have many of you, just the so-called left-home people, we lived with bare necessities. I had a tent, they had a tent. My tent was sometimes smaller than their tents, because I'm smaller. We gave tents according to size. And my size is SM. That's why they say SM. Small size! (Laughter) Then each one of us, including myself, would have a sleeping bag and a thin, warm blanket. Not woolen, just a warm blanket inside, in case it was a cold time. If it was too cold, you were entitled to have another sleeping bag! You requested, then you got one. So each lived in a tent like that, very simple. We didn't have much. We just ate enough.
Now, even if I have a lot of things -- I sometimes have a house, a cave or whatever, more furnished -- nothing more happens. I'm still the same. I just get older every day. That won't help me. Nothing helps me. I stay the same as before, I live the same, I eat the same -- almost. It's not much different whether I have more material possessions or I have less. I've lived through the poorest and the richest, nothing changes!
When I was in the Himalayas in India, I didn't have much money -- I had to stretch my money very long, as I didn't know how long I would stay there. Sometimes I just ate chapatis and peanut butter. Chapatis that I made myself, too; they were even cheaper than buying them. It was very simple. You have a plate, which you use to eat, then you just have wheat flour, water and salt. That you can buy anywhere. You knead the flour and water, put a pinch of salt in it. Knead it the way you knead bread or pastry, but without yeast. Then you flatten it with your hands. Don't even need a rolling pin, just your hand. Flatten it and put it on the fire. You collect the wood from the forest and then you just cook it. After a while, you turn it on the other side and that's it. Put peanut butter on top and you are on top of the world, feeling good. Water you can drink from the spring or from the Ganges, no problem.
Sojourn In The Himalayas
I live like that many, many months. Sometimes I ate only raw food if I went too high. You can't cook. You can, but it takes half a day to boil a little, two centimeters of water. I'd say, " Forget it. I'll drink it cold. " You can't boil cabbage if you don't have a high power of gas. If you just collect wood, it's most of the time already damp from the snow.
The mountains in the Himalayas are nonstop -- always covered with snow, even in summer, just less. The army digs a road between the mountains, so you can walk between the two mountains of ice. But the ice is always there, even in summer. They have only two seasons -- snowing season and no-snowing season. The pilgrims normally go in the non-snowing season. If you happened to stay there too long, then you'd just be snowed under and stay there until next year, if you are still alive. Then you drink snow or whatever. Some people do that, it's okay! (Do not try it!)
Even in winter you can pick some of the herbs, some of the wild plants in the Himalayas and eat them. Some of them don't look so much like, but taste like spinach. Except that they are a little bit red on the stem, not green; they taste exactly the same. Don't go there and eat nonsense. You have to know which plant to eat. Don't say the Supreme Master Ching Hai said that and just taste everything whether it tastes like spinach or not. Before you know it, you'll already be finished. Don't make yourself become a laboratory.
I didn't even have a tent. Can you imagine in the Himalayas no tent? But sometimes you find a roof or a so-called house. The house is not really a house the way it is here. That kind of house, you can see the stars through the roof, you can see through the walls, and the wind is very free to visit you any time of the day and night, bringing in the snow as well. Very generous. The floor is very wet. It's not cemented, because in the Himalayas people just put the wood together to make a very simple flat, grass hut. There are no facilities, no cot. You lay on the floor.
I was very clever, I used a very thin mattress, thinner than yours. Not this kind. There is a thin like plastic sheet, one side gold and one side silver. You can use that too. When you unfold it, it's like a piece of paper tissue only, so thin. I couldn't afford to carry so many things, I could hardly carry myself! The higher you go, the heavier it becomes. The same luggage became heavier. Even your feet became heavier, got swollen with this snow, soaking into your shoes. Didn't matter what kind of shoes you had, the snow can managed to get in and soaked your feet. You know, like the way you soak bread in water, it becomes double the size. So if you go to the Himalayas, can't carry many things. So many months like this, I went from one place to another. I also survived.
I just tell you, we can live through anything. We can survive, because if our spirit is strong, we have a noble purpose and a higher ideal, we can just look into that ideal and we forget everything else, truly like that. Like the way of the Tibetan air-traveller, they don't have aeroplanes there, so they travel like flying in the air. They just have to fix themselves on some point in the horizon or on some stars. Then they just concentrate on that. At that time, when you talk to them, they don't hear you. They don't know what's going on. Even if they get hurt, sometimes knock into branches or something or get bruised, they also don't know. After, they wake up from the trance and stop their voyage.
From my own experience, whatever I have, or not have, it's no problem! You are still happy, and you manage your life accordingly. When I didn't have too many material possessions, life was already fun all the time, because I had to think of how to survive. Every day I had to invent some new ways to enjoy. Always surprise, always new, always very happy and always contented, because every day you are a master of yourself, a master of your own situation, and you just feel good, feel so confident of your ability to survive. Truly, if there is a necessity to compare, then I must tell you that when I had nothing I had more fun, because I was more creative.
Now I can have everything I want because it's already settled down. I don't have to run around the world and I can have a fixed place sometimes, at least for a few months or a few weeks. Then things are too organized, too many disciples, they buy all kinds of things. I'm also busy now, also have to be creative, like which one to throw away and which one to scold for buying nonsense. But it's more annoying than when I had nothing, was master of my own life, decided everything for myself, and controlled every situation. There is not much to control, but every day you know what is what.
I don't like surprises! I don't like that every day people buy things that I don't like and then tell me later; or do something not according to my instructions and tell me later; or do something according to their own opinion and instructions and tell me later. Then I have to clean up the mess, because it was wrong. I don't mind if they always decide the good things, but most of the people that are around me are not up to my standard. I don't care whether my standard is good or not. My standard is my standard and I don't like people to mess about with it and decide for me, what I must have, what I must wear and what is good for me. I don't like that.
The people around me always make the same mistakes. Doesn't matter if I scold them, beg them, I reason with them, I explain to them, I tell them, I frighten them, I fire them, doesn't work. Habits are difficult to change, I understand that. But my understanding doesn't help my feelings. And they continue because now my financial situation is not that bad and I don't have the time to always go shopping for myself. So sometimes I have to rely on them. Sometimes I don't even rely on them; they just go do it themselves, because they think, Master needs this, Master needs that.
If I say, "I like bananas, " then every day bananas everywhere! If one cook happens to cook something nice and I say, " Wow, this is a nice dish that you made! " Then I have it week after week until I nearly die from it. I beg them, "Please! Even if it's nice..." I'm very polite, but to the point you can't bear it anymore and you have to tell it. Sometimes I explode. I say, "How can you have so low intelligence? Even if it's a good thing, you can't just have it every day and so often like this." Ah, you cannot believe it, the problems of having.
Before, having nothing was easier. Before, when I didn't have everything I was very happy, more happy, because I bought what I wanted and I know where my money went. I was happy when I could save something. I felt I was creative. Not because of the money, but the value of my intelligence, that I could save that, that I could live with such a few things and make it so nice.
Whenever we can buy some good things, yeah, with a very low price and other places are higher price. And it happens, that that thing we like so much, the color, the taste, the style we like. Then we are very happy! Not because of the money only! But just lucky, we are creative and we are resourceful. And that's what we are happy about.
So I regret to tell you that to have everything is not always as good as you think. On the contrary, if you don't have enough things or you just have barely enough, that's the best. Then your IQ becomes higher, because every day you have to think, = " can I save some money, where can I go for better shopping, and what kind of food can I cook today, which is nutritious, good, tasty and also economical?? Then you are happy with yourself. Everything creative brings happiness to humankind, because it's new, it's exciting, it's interesting. If every day the same and people serve you all the time, you feel bored after a while. I guarantee, money back guarantee. Anyhow, that's the end of how to be rich and how to keep your money. You take care and then you will know the difference.