Q350. My grandmother, a Buddhist, always says that our greed is the main root of our unhappiness. Is she right?

A. She is not wrong, but in order not to have greed we should know why we have greed. The reason that we have greed is that we can’t see things as they are. For example, when we mistake a piece of broken glass for a piece of diamond, we come to have greed and strive to attain it. When we fail to attain it, we feel disappointed and even frustrated. Even when we succeed in attaining it, we often hurt our hands in the middle of grasping it. After getting it, we are disappointed to find that it is not diamond but glass, or we keep hurting our hands while playing with it.

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In conclusion, we come to have greed because we can’t see things as they are, and we try to satisfy our greed only to fail. As a result of this failure, we become unhappy. So, the main root of our unhappiness is not greed itself, but rather our foolishness in that we can’t see things as they are.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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