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Understanding Scriptures

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 Blooming Stars

Being, Doing, and Having

            Even though doing comes after being, being is known through doing. Having results from doing. Thus doing and having flow from being. There are essence, existence, and accidents (nonessential qualities of an entity). Essence precedes existence; existence and accidents determine essence giving it form, shape, and uniqueness. I want to mention here some important and necessary concepts to understand being, doing, and having without getting into a great deal of philosophy. A tree (essence and existence) is known by its fruits (accidents). Certain fruits are delicious and fetch money; other fruits are useless and may even be toxic. So are with people. Some people do evil and destructive things, and cause themselves and others to suffer. Most people do good things that benefit themselves and others. People, who work hard and generate wealth, which in turn can buy things, can improve their quality of life.

            They can also help others who can benefit from their wealth. They can also use their wealth for destructive aims while their fellow humans do not have the bare essentials to survive. What anyone does at any one time depends on one’s value system, purpose in life, world-view, and philosophy of life. A person who works for the unity of humanity or strives to develop solidarity with other fellow humans and has a sense of the common good would use one’s wealth and resources differently from the one who has no social sense. While there are some rich people who use their wealth for the benefit of the poor, there are many who hoard wealth at the expense of society that helped them to achieve it.

            In a well-ordered society the gap between the rich and the poor will not be large. The rich will be honored not for their wealth but how they spend their wealth for the least in society. In fact there will not be any rich and poor. A spirit-led person works and acquires wealth and possessions for the well-being of one’s family and society. Such a person does not flaunt wealth and possessions. In a consumer, materialistic world, power and prestige acquired by money determine almost everything.

            In such a society success is measured by the amount of wealth one has and what one can buy and possess. Gautam who had boundless wealth renounced it and went after enlightenment. Christ who emptied himself to become a man lived a life of the spirit and was not known to have material possessions. Gandhi who could have acquired immense wealth chose to live a simple life devoid of pomp and circumstances though according to a wisecrack it cost quite some money to keep him in poverty. True great men and women of the world did not go after money or solicit funds to build great institutions or places of worship. All that shows greatness is measured by the content of one’s character as Martin Luther King, Jr., said. That also shows greatness can be achieved by all. The secret of greatness and spirit-life is the integration of who one is, how one works/does, and what one has, that is, the integration of being, doing, and having.


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