|What religions say about money
Wiccans, Hindus and Buddhists
What if all you want is a way to acquire more money?
Times Rituals Page Web site advises: "If you need improved
finances, turn your wallet or purse by the light of a waxing crescent
moon three times to draw money to you. Make sure you first spy the
full moon outdoors. This brings luck."
It may not be to your advantage to be too successful in attracting
cash. Some Hindus say they detect a general hesitation on the whole
issue of excessive wealth.
"Hindus do have, more culturally than religiously, an ambivalent
feeling toward wealth, " says Dhruv Luthra of Washington, DC,
who grew up in India. "There's an entrepreneurial spirit among
Indians, but at the same time, there's a hesitation about wealth."
He notes that Hindus, unlike Christians and Jews, don't have one
major religious text to guide them. Instead, geographical location
and personal interpretation deeply influence an individual Hindu's
thinking on everything -- including finances.
"This may be more the older generation, but there is a feeling
that wealth shouldn't be excessive," Luthra says. "This
is my subjective view -- when I go to India, people are doing business
like crazy, but they look upon wealth in the West as excessive.
"There's also concern about waste."
As for charity, there's no minimum or maximum, Luthra says. "What
matters most are actions," he explains.
Like most religions, Buddhism emphasizes spiritual growth but recognizes
that some material stability is necessary for happiness.
In the Anguttaranikaya (a collection of Buddhist teachings), the
Buddha says there are four kinds of happiness that stem from wealth:
Atthisukha, the happiness of ownership; Anavajjasukha, which is
the happiness that comes from earning a just livelihood;
Ananasukha, which is happiness that comes from not being in debt,
and finally, Bhogasukha, which is the happiness of sharing one's
wealth with others.
Buddhists who give away all their possessions to the temple, thus
sharing all their wealth, do so before becoming monks, explains
Yiyun Li, a writer who grew up in Beijing, China.
The minister and the rabbi both laughed when asked if they got into
religion for the money.
"I'm a rabbi to bring people closer to Judaism," says
Rabbi Blesofsky. "We're not in the rabbinical business for
the money. Many Chabad organizations are constantly fund-raising
to meet their monthly commitments."
Pastor Kummer says there may be money to be made in the megachurches,
but not as a minister in Africa, as he chose to be, or as a campus
minister, his current position.
"I love working with people and Biblical texts," he says,
when asked to list the rewards of his job -- financial or otherwise.
That doesn't mean that money is a minus for observant Christians.
For Kummer, there's an enjoyment factor in the Christian view of
"God intends money as something that can be used in a way
that's fun," Pastor Kummer says. "As it says in Second
Corinthians,God loves a cheerful giver. Some people say a 'hilarious'
Pastor Kummer thinks excessive materialism hurts everyone -- the
rich and not-so-rich. "As long as we worship money, we can
never have fun with it."