On Make'n Mula
I HEAR TELL:
Once upon a time the Lucky Man, Savatthi-town, Jeta Woods, Anāthapiṇḍika Park, came a revisit'n. There, Anāthapiṇḍika, the housefather came to pay a call, and, after paying respect with closed palms, he sat on a low seat to one side at a respectful distance, and Bhaggava said this to him:
"Housefather! There are these five reasons for getting rich.
"In the case of the first case a student of the Aristocrats gets rich in a just, lawful manner; by the strength of his arm, the sweat of his brow; hard work, energy, enterprise and intelligence. With his wealth so earned he makes himself happy and he is able to sustain that happiness; he makes his parents happy and he is able to sustain their happiness; he makes his wife and children happy and he is able to sustain their happiness; he makes his employees happy and he is able to sustain their happiness. This is the first case.
In the case of the second case, with riches so gotten, he makes his friends and companions happy and he is able to sustain their happiness. This is the second case.
In the case of the third case, with riches so gotten, he is able to set up protections against loss through disaster, fire, water, kings, robbers, enemies and greedy heirs. This is the third case.
In the case of the fourth case, with riches so gotten, he makes the Five-Dimensional Offering Ceremony, offering gifts and nourishment, remembrance and gratitude to: kinfolk, friends, ancestors, kings, and the gods. This is the fourth case.
Again, in addition, with riches so gotten, he makes gifts to shaman and godly men; men of modest demeanor who have let go of lazy ways, bearing all with patience, men who have stilled, calmed, controlled the self, perfected the self, abandoned the self; gifts aimed at the high, the godly, resulting in happiness, leading to the godly realms. This is the fifth case.
These are the five reasons for getting rich.
Furthermore, householder, should the wealth of such a one, having gathered wealth with these five reasons in mind, come to destruction, he may rightly think: 'At least this wealth now lost was gathered for righteous reasons.' And he will find he is without shame or regret. But if his wealth should grow he may think: 'This wealth is growing, and I am one who grows his wealth for righteous reasons.' And in this way he will have protected himself from worry from either cause.
Are you ready for The MulaPariYaya?)
Couple of points:
The strangest thing about this sutta, to most Western readers, is going to be the suggestion that one good reason to make wealth is the ability to make "sacrifices" — "feasts" — "offerings" to the ancestors, and so forth.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind here: The first is that this sutta is directed to an individual whom readers of the suttas will recognize as the extraordinarily wealthy banker who purchased the Jeta grove for the Saŋgha from Prince Jeta for the price of covering it's surface with gold coins. In spite of this great act of support for the Saŋgha, and what we hear was absolute devotion to the system, when we enounter Anāthapiṇḍika in the suttas, he is mostly being given instructions as though he were a very beginner ... and, indeed, at the end of his life he is shown to be one who had not heard the more sophisticated teachings. So what we have here, I imagine, is the effort by the Buddha to interest Anāthapiṇḍika in the teaching, while showing him at the same time that certain practices of the day such as this were not unacceptable. That is the first case.
The second case is that practices such as this are common even today in the far east, and in different ways in South America.
Again, this is something we who come from a culture which has no such traditions of homage to one's ancestors and making public offerings, should better try first before making judgments. Those of you out there who are interested in magic powers should especially pay attention; and even moreso those whose interests are in cultivating "allies" a la Don Juan's practices. This is something I can tell you from first hand experience: This is powerful medicine, no matter how it works!