මුල් පිටුව | බොදු පුවත් | කතුවැකිය | බෞද්ධ දර්ශනය | විශේෂාංග | වෙහෙර විහාර | ඉංග්‍රිසි ලිපි | පෙර කලාප | දායකත්ව මුදල් |


My radio is playing a golden oldie. It is sung by Andrews Sisters.

“Money is the root of all evil
Money is the root of all evil
Won’t contaminate myself with it
Take it away, take it away, take it away...”

Can I afford to do that? Does my Buddhism encourages me to do that? Is money really evil? Well, I do not think so. Money is evil only to the foolish. Money can destroy them.

The Buddhists of olden days did not seem to have believed in total rejection of money. The Buddha is reported to have associated frequently by very rich people. One was so rich that he could cover the park of an aristocratic prince with gold coins. Only those who renounced the lay life to become monks have given up all their money and wealth in the hope of attaining Nibbana. The laymen were known for generosity, and the same time, managed their wealth skilfully and were finance savvy. The Buddha has given positive guidelines to them on how to earn money and how to get the best use of it.

In order to appreciate the Buddhist attitude to money and wealth I decided to interview a millionaire. Though he was not as fortunate as Bill Gates with a lot of media blitz, Prof Ananda Guruge tells me that Americans today are very much interested in his biography. I met him in Benaris, India, the cradle of Buddhism and was fortunate to have an upfront chat with this extraordinary person.

“Good morning.”


Having greeted him formally, I told him my purpose of visiting him. “I wish to get some insight from you on the way you became a millionaire. I want to share your economic and managerial wisdom with my readers, especially Sri Lankan Buddhists.”

“Of course, I may enjoy sharing my secrets with you. As a matter of fact they are no secrets to Buddhists. The Buddha has taught all of them very clearly in a few suttas, which your monks keep on repeating almost every day. But I know that the Sri Lankans do not give a heed to them. They read my biography with delight, I know. But it is only to have a good laugh. Anyway, as you have met me here today, I will definitely share the way I became rich in no time.”

“I am glad you consent to be interviewed by me. Tell me, how much was your initial investment?”

“Well, to be honest, I had nothing to invest, so to speak. My path was not rosy at all. You may not believe, but to tell you the simple truth, I started with zero investment. However, I was fortunate to have encouraging and positive advice from a very wise and rich person. That time I did casual work and rich people only gave me something to eat. I had not even a single cent in hand, to be honest. People called me a pauper then. I could not even dream of a rosy destiny.”

“Absolutely interesting! I have heard of some who were given initial finance by philanthropists or generous relations, and building on that, later became millionaires. But you were only given know-how. And you built on that!”

“Exactly. With a casual piece of advice given to me, I thought of entering the world of business. Just a fantasy for any pauper, you may say, but not for me. I was determined and became proactive,” he said with nostalgic joy.


Unravelling his adventures in the difficult voyage to riches, he continued, “I had to find something that I can sell to get initial investment. My first principle I will share now with you. You have to be innovative. Find something to sell and get a few coins. I did exactly that. I sold something that no one would think selling. I got a few coins out of that. At that moment of delight my imagination and hope sizzled up. Instead of spending my lovely coins for consumption I thought of a way to invest it. I thought inventing a commodity, to be more factual.”

“Tell me, how did you do that? What was your invention?”

“Please allow me to keep myself abstract for some more time. I know that you are from Sri Lanka. Most people in your country are foolishly arrogant when they come to start a business. They want to ride clouds even when they cannot afford a bicycle. So, let me avoid a showdown at this juncture.”

His comment was a bit offensive, I thought. Yet he really seems to know the mentality of some Sri Lankans. No matter how many stories of millionaires who had very humble beginnings are told, some never get inspiration. I remember a story told by the famous Dutch artist Jean Picasse. During his stay in Sri Lanka, he had a poor young person always pestering him for a few rupees. Thinking that giving a fishing rod is better than giving a fish for a poor fellow (it is a wise saying of Jesus Christ), he gave the young man a recipe of a delicious Dutch soup and promised to buy him plastic cups for packing and a bicycle to transport them. He even told him that he would provide initial capital.

The young man had responded, “Who do you think I am to sell soup? I would rather starve to death than become ridiculed by selling damn soup.” And he never came back for his usual begging. The most interesting part of the story is not this. When the same artist moved to live in another South Asian country, he happened to get there too, a young person coming to him for a few rupees time to time. Picasse dared to extend to him also his kind offer. The young fellow was excited and accepted the offer, which was immediately granted. In two years time, to the amazement of the artist, the young man had become an owner of a thriving business with many people working under him. The soup is now delivered not on two wheels but four wheels. He has made a respectable brand name of the soup as well.


So, I decided to listen to the millionaire not insisting that he should reveal what his invention was.

“I am sorry, please continue.”

“As a matter of fact, I created a new commodity out of something that was never sold before. I combined it with another thing and made it saleable. So it was my product idea. I created a demand for my new product. I went to the promising market I thought where I could create a demand. So both the commodity and the market was my brainchild.”

“Very interesting” I nodded, highly inspired.

“And the most interesting thing is that I even resorted to bartering. I found it was easier and more profitable to barter in that particular market. I resold the goods I got from them at a different time at a better price. I made friendship with many people too.”

“So you won some good friends. As a matter of fact, some customers like a bit of personal touch. That is the secret that even in the presence of prestigious supermarkets some customers patronise their usual corner shop as well. Some personal goodwill is essential in doing business, isn’t it?”

“Well, there is more to that. The Buddha has taught that Kalyana Mittata is an essential resource for success in business. I strongly believed in that. So, I had made friendship with some street boys too and when I was in need of some manpower they helped me in a big manner.”


“Very wise indeed. Some people when they acquire a bit of wealth become ‘big heads’ and forget their good friends. So, tell me, how many years it took for you to make your first million.”

“Not very long, about three months.”

“That is incredible. May be your commodity was a miracle product.”

“Not really. It was a very humble thing. But I was very positive and imaginative. I did not stagnate in one position. I took the risks and moved on to import trade and even became a wholesale dealer in no time.”

“So fast! You became a wholesaler of imported goods in three months and earned a million? It is like having Aladdin’s lamp! That is miraculous, I must say.”

“Well, yes, it is a miracle of strategy. To enter into wholesale business you need an impressive office with staff, clothes that show status, classy vehicle and such. I had none.

So, I hired all of them. Spruced up in hired clothes and riding a hired vehicle I approached the cargo people and reserved all what they had on ships by paying advances. When retailers came to the ports they all had to come to my hired office and buy through me. So from their money I released the stocks and made a good profit. This was the way I entered import market and believe me, in the first three months I had earned my first million.”

American business

“Born in India, you seem to have had a super American business brain. Very smart I must say. How did your adviser feel about it?” “Well, I visited him with an expensive gift. He was absolutely impressed. I was given red carpet treatment. To cap it all he gave me his daughter in marriage. He even recommended me for a ‘state recognised millionaire’ title.” “You told him all about your journey from poverty to riches and the ways and means you earned your first million?” “Yes sparing no secret I revealed him the entire scenario, how I got encouraged by his remark that he made looking at the dead rat seen at the roadside. I told him that I purchased some jaggery with the few coins I got from the owner of the cat I fed and combined jaggery and water to create my first commodity. He listened with curiosity that, I asked grass cutters and flower pickers to give me some grass and flowers, instead of money for the water and jaggery I gave them, and made profit by reselling. And he had a good laugh on how my friendly lads helped me in collecting fallen trees and branches in the royal park, to be dried and sold for firewood again to the royal kitchen. What really impressed him most was that instead of stagnating at small business I moved to wholesale and imported goods.” Thanking this enterprising young millionaire who was feeling jaded about his life I closed my book of Jataka stories in which I found his biography as Culla Setthi Jataka. I wrote this report of his upbeat views not only for your reading pleasure but hoping some of our readers may get lifted up for a better approach to money.

වප් පුර පසළොස්වක පෝය

වප් පුර පසළොස්වක පෝය ඔක්තෝබර් මස 11 වන දා අඟහරුවාදා පූර්ව භාග 05.11 ට ලබයි.
12 වන දා බදාදා පූර්ව භාග 07.37 දක්වා පෝය පවතී. සිල් සමාදන්වීම ඔක්තෝබර් 11 වන දා අඟහරුවාදා ය.

 මීළඟ පෝය
ඔක්තෝබර් 20 වන දා බ්‍රහස්පතින්දා ය.

පොහෝ දින දර්ශනය

Full Moonපසෙලාස්වක

ඔක්තෝබර් 11

Second Quarterඅව අටවක

ඔක්තෝබර් 20

New Moonඅමාවක

ඔක්තෝබර් 26

First Quarterපුර අටවක

නොවැම්බර් 02

2011 පෝය ලබන ගෙවෙන වේලා සහ සිල් සමාදන් විය යුතු දවස

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