What Can You Carry With You?

All human beings have possessions. But why do you obtain and keep these things? Are they only for your own pleasure, or do they help you to help others? This is a very important point. Many people keep their things only for themselves, or for their family. This causes attachment, and attachment always leads to suffering. When you die, what can you carry with you? "Coming empty-handed, going empty-handed — that is human." A famous Christian proverb says, "The shroud has no pockets." And you cannot even take your body with you when you go! So human beings cannot carry anything with them: why should we be attached to our things in this life? However much you value your possessions, they cannot help your true self. We must all remember this. So Mahayana Buddhism teaches generosity to help us keep our direction clear. My life is only for all beings, so my possessions are also only for all beings. If money comes, that is OK. If money goes, that is also OK. How do my money and my things function to help other beings? And this generosity does not apply just to physical objects: everything I have and everything I am is only for all beings.

Zen Master Seung Sahnteachings