16
Apr 2018
How to Think When Paying Taxes

Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving a teaching at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Bendigo, Australia, April 2018. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave advice about paying government tax and health insurance, instructing to see it as an opportunity to practice charity, thus a cause for happiness and full enlightenment, for oneself and others.

I spoke to the ex-Kopan monks and nuns in New York, in a restaurant run by people from Mustang. I talked to one Nepalese girl who had previously worked in Nepal for one year. She told me that after she got money from working in the United States, a lot of the money went as tax to the US government, in federal and state tax, and also for Medicare and health insurance. I gave her this advice about using every opportunity to become Dharma, especially Mahayana Dharma, so that it becomes the cause of enlightenment.

You have to pay tax to the state and federal government, as well as  paying Medicare and health insurance, and then you feel resentful and become miserly, which is the cause of poverty. Also, by creating so much miserliness you become unhappy, but you have no choice because you have to give the money.

I said this is a most incredible opportunity for you to practice Dharma. By giving tax to the state and federal government you can use this as a method of giving charity and generating bodhichitta. When you have to make the payments, you can think about the purpose of paying this money.

Think, “May I myself achieve enlightenment in order to free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings in the six realms and bring them to buddhahood—the total cessation of all the obscurations and completion of all the realizations. Therefore, I am making charity of this money.”

Thinking this way is incredible. This way, not only does it become Dharma, but it becomes the cause of oneself achieving buddhahood. It also becomes the cause of happiness for numberless sentient beings, to free them from oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them to buddhahood—the total cessation of all the obscurations and completion of all the realizations. Therefore this becomes the cause of happiness. Wow, wow, wow, wow. Amazing, amazing, amazing. This becomes the best cause of happiness up to full enlightenment.

According to the Tengyur, Buddha said:

For any sentient being, who during the period of my teachings
Makes charity well (even if the material is the size of a hair)
For 80,000 eons will experience a great result of great enjoyment:
No pain, no disease, and enjoyment of happiness.
Like that, one will be enriched with the desirable things.
At the end you can actually achieve the result—the peerless cessation and completion (enlightenment).
After hearing that there is a great result, who wouldn’t want to collect merit?

Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow!

Here it mentions in the quotation that by making charity of something just the size of one single hair, you receive benefits for 80,000 eons. You will have unbelievable happiness and wealth, most unbelievable happiness, and also by continually making charity, at the end you will achieve enlightenment. Here the charity that you make is much more than money. It is unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable, so you can rejoice, you can feel very happy. It’s unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable.

It’s the same when you pay the health insurance and Medicare, because even though you are not sick all the time, there are many other sick people, who have cancer or incurable or curable diseases. The money goes for that, so again you are making charity. Wow, wow, wow, wow! So you should rejoice.

It’s unbelievable, it’s like the person who wins the soccer game—they are running around, all the nerves out, their shoulders up. In reality that is all done with attachment, so it’s the cause of the lower realms, but expressing happiness here, this is for enlightenment—full enlightenment for oneself and then to free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment. Wow, wow, wow, wow!

It is very important to think this way, to use the situation of paying tax and so forth as a way to create the cause of enlightenment.

This advice, “Motivation for Paying Tax,” is from “Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book,” published in January 2018 on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive website:
https://www.lamayeshe.com/advice/motivation-paying-tax


Watch Lama Zopa Rinpoche teach during the Heart of Wisdom Retreat at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Bendigo, Australia, March 30-May 12, 2018!


Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service.


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