Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Wealth

Wealth isn't "good" or "bad" in itself—everything depends on context. Wealth is a powerful and useful tool but a destructive deity as it has become in most places and times. One of the 4 Worldly Dharmas—along with Fame, Pleasure, and Power—Wealth easily becomes an addictive and powerful influence over our lives and decisions. The less thoughtful make choices based on short-term over long-term results; the more strategic and aware make the more mid- and long-range choices; but still, the materialistic approach to wealth prevails reeking havoc in its wake. How many leaders, countries, movements, civilizations, and everyday people have crashed into corruption, ignominy, and suffering by following the siren-calls of money-seeking? Of course, we need some form of money and wealth to survive and most-often need to make some kind of Faustian compromise in order to secure it. The main choice may only be how much we’re willing to give up and with how much self-awareness we can maintain in the process. Closely linked to the Desire defined by the Buddha as the cause of Suffering, our experience of and relationship to Wealth is ignored only at our great peril.

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Quotes (134)

“Ravana all your wealth is wasted, what's the use of being rich if you won't spend your gold to do good for other people?”

Vyasa व्यास 1
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

Themes: Wealth

75. Greed

“Ravana all your wealth is wasted, what's the use of being rich if you won't spend your gold to do good for other people?”

Vyasa व्यास 1
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

Themes: Wealth

75. Greed

“The weak progresses and goes upward. (Hexagram 35) The yielding pushes upward with the time.. However, the pushing up certainly begins at the bottom… At the top is decrease and not wealth.”

Fu Xi 伏羲 1 via Richard Wilhelm, Hexagram 35 & 46
Emperor/shaman progenitor of civilization symbol
from I Ching

Themes: Wealth

42. Children of the Way

“Danger arises when a man feels secure in his positon. Destruction threatens when a man seeks to preserve his worldly estate. Confusion develops when a man has put everything in order.”

Fu Xi 伏羲 1 via Richard Wilhelm, Hexagram 12
Emperor/shaman progenitor of civilization symbol
from I Ching

Themes: Wealth Confusion

50. Claws and Swords

“Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot.”

King David 1000 – 920 BCE
"The baffled king composing Hallelujah!"
from Book of Psalms

Themes: Wealth

“I say no wealth is worth my life!”

Homer 1
Primogenitor of Western culture

Themes: Wealth

44. Fame and Fortune

“Rich people without wisdom are but sheep with golden fleeces.”

Solon 638 – 558 BCE
Founder of Athenian democracy

Themes: Wealth

“A reflective, contented mind is the best possession.”

Zarathushtra زرتشت‎‎ 628 – 551 BCE via Dinshaw Jamshedji Irani
(Zoroaster)

from Avesta

Themes: Wealth Meditation

“Better poverty without a care than wealth with its many obligations.”

Aesop 620 – 546 BCE
Hero of the oppressed and downtrodden
from Aesop's Fables, the Aesopica

Themes: Wealth

53. Shameless Thieves

“Wealth without virtue is no harmless neighbor.”

Sappho 612 – 570 BCE
“The Poetess” and most famous Greek woman

Themes: Wealth

“Chasing fame, fortune, pleasure and power only drives us crazy.”

Lao Tzu 老子 1 via Shan Dao, chapter 12
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

“Less treasure, less theft, less desire, less delusion”

Lao Tzu 老子 1 via Shan Dao, chapter #3
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

“As want can reward you, wealth can bewilder.”

Lao Tzu 老子 1 via Witter Bynner
(Lǎozǐ)
from Way of Life According to Lao Tzu

Themes: Poverty Wealth

22. Heaven's Door

“I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes. I observe treasure of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth
from Dhammapada धम्मपद

Themes: Fame Wealth

44. Fame and Fortune

“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.”

Confucius 孔丘 551 – 479 BCE
(Kongzi, Kǒng Zǐ)
History's most influential "failure"

53. Shameless Thieves

“To be wealthy and honored in an unjust society is a disgrace.”

Confucius 孔丘 551 – 479 BCE
(Kongzi, Kǒng Zǐ)
History's most influential "failure"

18. The Sick Society

“If there were an honorable way to get rich, I’d do it, even if it meant being a stooge standing around with a whip. But there isn’t an honorable way, so I just do what I like.”

Confucius 孔丘 551 – 479 BCE
(Kongzi, Kǒng Zǐ)
History's most influential "failure"

Themes: Wealth Integrity

75. Greed

“Happiness does not come from fame, riches, or virtue. It only arises when posterity—reflecting on our life—believes it to be a life they would wish to live.”

Herodotus Ἡρόδοτος 1 via Shan Dao
“The Father of History”
from Histories

“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”

Socrates 469 – 399 BCE
One of the most powerful influences on Western Civilization

Themes: Poverty Wealth

53. Shameless Thieves

“Aren't you ashamed to care so much to make all the money you can, and to advance your reputation and prestige -while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your soul you have no care or worry?”

Socrates 469 – 399 BCE
One of the most powerful influences on Western Civilization

53. Shameless Thieves

“Small appetite makes poverty equivalent to wealth.”

Democritus Dēmókritos 460 – 370 BCE
Father of modern science and greatest of ancient philosophers

Themes: Wealth Poverty

3. Weak Wishes, Strong Bones

“When I was a boy, wealth was regarded as a thing so secure and admirable that almost everyone affected to own more property than possessed... now a man has to be ready to defend himself against being rich as if it were the worst of crimes.”

Isocrates Ἰσοκράτης 436 – 338 BCE
from 353 BCE

Themes: Wealth Crime

“The greatest wealth is to live content with little.”

Plato Πλάτων 428 – 348 BCE

46. Enough

“In a rich man's house there is no place to spit but his face.”

Diogenes 412 – 323 BCE
(of Sinope)

Themes: Wealth

53. Shameless Thieves

“It is not wealth but character that lasts.”

Aristotle Ἀριστοτέλης 382 – 322 BCE

Themes: Wealth

“If your Majesty loves wealth, give the people power to gratify the same feeling, and what difficulty will there be in your attaining the royal sway?”

Mencius 孟子 372 – 289 BCE via James Legge
(Mengzi)
from Book of Mencius 孟子

Themes: Wealth

“He who is not satisfied with a little, is satisfied with nothing.”

Epicurus ɛpɪˈkjɔːrəs 341 – 270 BCE
Western Buddha
from On Nature

Themes: Wealth Greed

75. Greed

“Everything natural is easily procured, and only the useless is costly.”

Epicurus ɛpɪˈkjɔːrəs 341 – 270 BCE
Western Buddha
from On Nature

Themes: Wealth Simplicity

3. Weak Wishes, Strong Bones

“Whoever loves money never has enough.”

Koheleth 1
from Ecclesiastes קֹהֶלֶת‎

Themes: Greed Wealth

44. Fame and Fortune

“The rich should help the poor, and the powerful should aid the oppressed. If instead they flaunt their riches and power, they are sure to suffer disaster…When your work is done, if you do not step down, you will meet with harm.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 202 – 157 BCE
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)

Themes: Wealth

9. Know When to Stop

“Sages do not need authority to be noble, do not need wealth to be rich, and do not need power to be strong. Peaceful and empty, they are not subject to outside influences; they fly freely with evolution.”

Liú Ān 劉安 1 via Thomas Cleary
(Huainanzi)
from Huainanzi

81. Journey Without Goal

“In a degenerate society, those who possess the wealth of the land and are in positions of authority over others exhaust the energy of the common people to serve their own sensual desires.”

Liú Ān 劉安 1 via Thomas Cleary
(Huainanzi)
from Huainanzi

Themes: Wealth

53. Shameless Thieves

“There is no fixed road to wealth, and money has no permanent master.”

Sima Qian 司馬遷 145 – 86 BCE via Burton Watson
(Ssu-ma Ch'ien)
Father of Chinese historians

Themes: Wealth Money

“We fail to take into account the sources of our desires when we make moral choices, not recognizing, for example, that the desire for great wealth or reputation is so empty and vain.”

Philodemus Φιλόδημος 110 – 35 BCE
(of Gadara)

Themes: Desire Wealth

“There is nothing more honorable or noble than indifference to money. There is nothing so characteristic of narrowness and littleness of soul than the love of riches.”

Cicero 106 – 43 BCE
from De Officiis, 44 BCE

Themes: Money Wealth

“The greatest wealth is to live content with little, for there is never want where the mind is satisfied.”

Lucretius 99 – 55 BCE
(Titus Carus)
from De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

Themes: Wealth

“Riches either serve or govern the possessor.”

Horace 65 – 8 BCE

Themes: Wealth

“Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE

Themes: Wealth

53. Shameless Thieves

“It’s harder for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich person to pass into the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE

Themes: Wealth

75. Greed

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE via Gospel of Saint Matthew
from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Wealth Poverty

“If you wish to know how much preferable wisdom is to gold, then observe: if you change gold you get silver for it, but your gold is gone; but if you exchange one sort of wisdom for another, you obtain fresh knowledge, and at the same time keep what you possessed before.”

Rabbinic Sages 20 – 200 CE
from Talmud

Themes: Wisdom Wealth

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

Epictetus Ἐπίκτητος 55 – 135 CE
from Discourses of Epictetus, Ἐπικτήτου διατριβαί

Themes: Wealth

53. Shameless Thieves

“Who is the rich man? He who is content.”

Epictetus Ἐπίκτητος 55 – 135 CE
from Discourses of Epictetus, Ἐπικτήτου διατριβαί

Themes: Wealth

67. Three Treasures

“For I am one who strives for freedom. I must not be caught by wealth and honors.”

Shantideva ཞི་བ་ལྷ།།། 685 – 763 CE
(Bhusuku, Śāntideva)
from Bodhisattva Way of Life, Bodhicaryavatara

Themes: Wealth Freedom Fame

44. Fame and Fortune

“A greedy man who piles up wealth
is like an owl who loves her chicks
the chicks grow up and eat their mother.
Wealth eventually swallows its owner.
Spread it around and blessings grow.”

Han Shan 1
(Cold Mountain)

Themes: Greed Wealth

75. Greed

“An old lady who lives to the east got rich a few years ago. Before poorer than me,now she mocks my poverty. She laughs that I’m behind, I laugh that she’s ahead. It seems we can’t stop laughing from the east and from the west.”

Han Shan 1
(Cold Mountain)

42. Children of the Way

“wealth eventually swallows its owner
spread it around and blessings grow
hoard it and disaster arises
no wealth no disaster
flap your wings in the blue”

Han Shan 1
(Cold Mountain)

Themes: Wealth

44. Fame and Fortune

“Transform the lust for power and riches into the desire to relate to all beings, destroy every demon that enters your mind.”

Kirapālapa ཀི་ར་པཱ་ལ་པ། 1
(Kirapalapa, "The Repentant Conqueror")
Mahasiddha #73

“When soldiers become farmers, wealth naturally distributes and equalizes.”

Wang Zhen 809 – 859 CE via Shan Dao
from Daodejing Lunbing Yaoyishu, The Tao of War

77. Stringing a Bow

“Everyone wants precious items and beautiful women but the Sage doesn’t allow them to throw his mind into chaos.”

Wang Zhen 809 – 859 CE
from Daodejing Lunbing Yaoyishu, The Tao of War

Themes: Karma Wealth Beauty

“When the Sage's wealth accumulates, he gives it away. When his Virtue accumulates, he acts.”

Wang Zhen 809 – 859 CE via Shan Dao
from Daodejing Lunbing Yaoyishu, The Tao of War

Themes: Wealth Virtue

“discard all you have acquired as being no better than a bed spread for you when you were sick.”

Huangbo Xiyun 黄檗希运 1
(Huangbo Xiyun, Huángbò Xīyùn, Obaku)

Themes: Wealth

7. Lose Yourself, Gain Your Soul

“What need have I for gold? The whole world is gold for me!”

Nāropā 955 – 1040 CE via Chogyam Trungpa

“The wealth that comes from giving generously is inexhaustible. The power that arises from not accumulating is boundless”

Cao Daochong 道寵 1
(​Daochong or Ts’ao Tao-Ch’ung)

Themes: Wealth Power

“If wealth is measured by inexhaustible bliss, then I am a king without peer.”

Dhilipa དྷི་ལི་པ། 1 via Keith Dowman
(“The Epicurean Merchant”)
Mahasiddha #62

Themes: Wealth

“Wealth is ownerless, like undiscovered riches underground.”

Marpa Lotsawa 1012 – 1097 CE via Nalanda Translation Committee

Themes: Wealth

“When the treasure wealth of a great chieftain is kept, it doesn't increase; but when given away, it does.”

Gesar of Ling གེ་སར་རྒྱལ་པོ། 1 via Robin Kornman
from Gesar of Ling Epic

Themes: Wealth

“Heroes seek fame and merchants seek wealth, even to the point of giving up their lives… But the more wealth they amass, the more they harm what they would truly enrich… The wise know the most precious thing is within themselves so they seek no wealth and encounter no trouble.”

Lu Huiqing 1031 – 1111 CE

Themes: Wealth Fame

44. Fame and Fortune

“The natural endowment of all beings is complete in itself. Poverty does not reduce it. Wealth does not enlarge it. But fools abandon this treasure to chase trash.”

Wang Pang 1044 – 1076 CE via Red Pine
from Lao-tzu-chu

Themes: Wealth Poverty

80. A Golden Age

“What else imperils and slays cities, countries, and individuals as much as the amassing of wealth which cannot be gained without harming others?”

Dante 1265 – 1321 CE
(Durante degli Alighieri)

“A short cut to riches is to subtract from our desires.”

Petrarch 1304 – 1374 CE

Themes: Desire Wealth

46. Enough

“Always panting for riches and never giving our souls or our bodies a moment's peace, we are thrown into a continuous state of misery and anxiety.”

Poggio Bracciolini 1380 – 1459 CE via Sansoni
from Nel VI Centenario della Nascita

Themes: Greed Wealth Health
“There are no wise mega-rich people - who could look out upon this world and hoard what could nourish a thousand souls. ”

Kabīr कबीर 1399 – 1448 CE

Themes: Wealth

53. Shameless Thieves

“What greater wealth can there be than cheerfulness, peace of mind, and freedom from anxiety?”

Thomas More 1478 – 1535 CE
from Utopia

Themes: Wealth Happiness

“You neither desire wealth nor greatness; and, indeed, I value and admire such a man much more than I do any of the great men in the world.”

Thomas More 1478 – 1535 CE
from Utopia

Themes: Desire Wealth

“Money is like mulch, not good except it be spread.”

Francis Bacon 1561 – 1626 CE

Themes: Wealth Compassion

“All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.”

William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616 CE
from Merchant of Venice

Themes: Wealth Livelihood

75. Greed

“With great wealth endless worries quickly come and peace of mind quickly leave. You become a target of envy and you don’t know if people are only pretending to like you for an advantage. Fears of theft and robbery arise. What chance is there for enjoying life?”

Lǐ Yú 李漁 1610 – 1680 CE
(Li Liweng)
from Art of Living

Themes: Wealth Happiness

“Those who know the true use of money, and regulate the measure of wealth according to their needs, live contented with few things.”

Baruch Spinoza 1632 – 1677 CE

Themes: Money Wealth

67. Three Treasures

“The more wants we have, the further we are from God”

Madame Guyon Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon 1648 – 1717 CE via Thomas Taylor Allen
from Autobiography of Madame Guyon

Themes: Wealth

“I have enjoyed the veneration of my country and the riches of the world; there is no object I do not have, nothing I have not experienced. But now that I have reached old age, I cannot rest easy for a moment. Therefore, I regard the whole country as a worn-out sandal, and all riches as mud and sand.”

Kāngxī 康熙帝 1654 – 1722 CE via Jonathan D. Spence
from Emperor of China, Self-Portrait of K'ang-hsi

“The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE

Themes: Wealth

46. Enough

“I have never seen the Philosopher’s Stone that turns lead into Gold, but I have known the pursuit of it turn a Man’s Gold into Lead.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Poor Richard's Almanack

53. Shameless Thieves

“There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war...This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

“He does not possess wealth; it possesses him.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Poor Richard's Almanack

Themes: Wealth

“Wine and sex distract from reality, the lure of wealth deranges our nature, emotions and desires arise in a tangle and we become lost in confusion.”

Liu Yiming 刘一明 1734 – 1821 CE via Thomas Cleary, Shan Dao, #43 Parting
(Liu I-ming)
from Taoist I Ching, , Zhouyi chanzhen 周易闡真

“I’ve never bothered about getting ahead… What use is there in fame and fortune? In my hut, I listen to the evening rain and stretch my legs without a care in the world.”

Ryokan 良寛大愚 1758 – 1758 CE
(Ryōkan Taigu,“The Great Fool”)

44. Fame and Fortune

“Riches are like sea water: the more you drink, the thirstier you become; and the same is true of fame.”

Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 – 1860 CE via T. Bailey Saunders
from Wisdom of Life

Themes: Wealth Fame

44. Fame and Fortune

“The wealth of the soul is the only true wealth, for with all other riches comes a bane even greater than they.”

Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 – 1860 CE via T. Bailey Saunders
from Essays

Themes: Wealth

“Wealth is a power usurped by the few to compel the many to labor for their benefit.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792 – 1822 CE
from Notes on Queen Mab, 1813

Themes: Wealth

“Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.”

Balzac 1799 – 1850 CE
(Honoré de Balzac)

Themes: Wealth Crime

“Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.”

Victor Hugo 1802 – 1885 CE
Literary pioneer, poet, and social justice provocateur

Themes: Problems Wealth

“Others will enjoy the wealth we as misers kept. Even our body we hold so dear will be left behind.”

Jamgon Kongtrul the Great འཇམ་མགོན་ཀོང་སྤྲུལ་བློ་གྲོས་མཐའ་ཡས། 1813 – 1899 CE
(Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thayé)
from Torch of Certainty

57. Wu Wei

“The rich man is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue”

Henry David Thoreau 1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

“that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it… and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters.”

Henry David Thoreau 1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from Walden or Life in the Woods

44. Fame and Fortune

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Henry David Thoreau 1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from Walden or Life in the Woods

Themes: Letting Go Wealth

46. Enough
67. Three Treasures

“There is no wealth but life.”

John Ruskin 1819 – 1900 CE

Themes: Wealth

“They have managed to accumulate a greater number of things but joy in the world has grown less… Interpreting freedom as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires, men distort their own nature for they thus engender in themselves many senseless and foolish desires, habits, and absurd fancies.”

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский 1821 – 1881 CE
from Brothers Karamatzov

Themes: Wealth

“Almost all that has been done for the good of the people has been done since the rich lost the monopoly of power, since the rights of property were discovered to be not unlimited”

Lord Acton 1834 – 1902 CE
(John Dalberg-Acton)
Prolific historian and politician
from Letters to Mary Gladstone, 1881

Themes: Wealth

“I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
America’s most famous author

Themes: Wealth

53. Shameless Thieves

“Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.”

Sarah Bernhardt 1844 – 1923 CE
“One of the finest actors of all time”

Themes: Wealth Progress

“It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire.”

Robert Louis Stevenson 1850 – 1894 CE

53. Shameless Thieves

“Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.”

Lucy Parsons 1853 – 1942 CE
(Eldine Gonzalez)
Political activist “more dangerous than a thousand rioters”

from Chicago Tribune, 1885

Themes: Wealth Democracy

“The irresistible natural truth which we all abhor and repudiate: the greatest of our evils and the worst of our crimes is poverty, and that our first duty is not to be poor.”

George Bernard Shaw 1856 – 1950 CE
UK playwright second only to Shakespeare
from Major Barbara, 1907

Themes: Evil Wealth

“We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Louis D. Brandeis 1856 – 1941 CE

Themes: Democracy Wealth

“Wealth is dismal and poverty cruel unless both are festive. There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.”

Santayana, George 1863 – 1952 CE
(Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás)
Powerfully influential, true-to-himself philosopher/poet

“If we look into the souls and thoughts of men, we shall find that this impressive display of material prosperity is merely the shining garment of a polity blind to things without and things within, and blind to the future.”

H. G. Wells 1866 – 1946 CE
A father of science fiction and One World Government apostle
from Outline of History

“And he was rich – yes, richer than a king.
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.”

Edwin Arlington Robinson 1869 – 1935 CE

Themes: Wealth

44. Fame and Fortune

“Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident… they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.”

G. K. Chesterton 1874 – 1936 CE

46. Enough

“The two great tests of character are wealth and poverty.”

Charles Beard 1874 – 1948 CE
(Austin)
Pioneering progressive historian

“Money only appeals to selfishness and irresistibly invites abuse. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with the money-bags of Carnegie.”

Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955 CE

53. Shameless Thieves

“Surrounded by treasure, you lie ill at ease; proud beyond measure, you come to your knees”

Witter Bynner 1881 – 1968 CE
(Emanuel Morgan)

9. Know When to Stop

“Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God, and had to go through Gethsemane. Now the rich men of the West are worshiping Jesus, and it is the poor who are going through Gethsemane.”

Lǔ Xùn 鲁迅 1881 – 1936 CE via Lin Yutang
(Zhou Shuren; Lusin)
Insightful satirist representing the "Literature of Revolt"

from Epigrams of Lusin

“Modern man no longer knows what to do with the time and the potentialities he has unleashed. We groan under the burden of this wealth.”

Teilhard de Chardin 1881 – 1955 CE via Bernard Wall
from Phenomenon of Man

Themes: Wealth Time

80. A Golden Age

“Wealth in the modern world does not come merely from individual effort; it results from a combination... the people in the mass have inevitably helped to make large fortunes possible. Without mass cooperation great accumulations of wealth would be impossible.”

Franklin Roosevelt 1882 – 1945 CE
(FDR)
Champion and creator of a more just and equitable society

“I would not exchange the laughter of my heart for the fortunes of the multitudes.”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE

56. One with the Dust

“In progressive societies the concentration of wealth may reach a point where the strength of number in the many poor rivals the strength of ability in the few rich; then the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty.”

Will (and Ariel) Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
from Lessons of History

Themes: Revolution Wealth

“The rich have butlers and no friends, and we have friends and no butlers.”

Ezra Pound 1885 – 1972 CE

Themes: Wealth Friendship

“It's delightful to contemplate a society where art is more respected than wealth; but, art can only be the flower that grows out of wealth. It cannot be wealth's substitute. The Medici came before Michelangelo”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE via Shan Dao
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from The Story of Philosophy, 1926

Themes: Art Wealth

“The rich are always afraid.”

Pearl Buck 1892 – 1973 CE

Themes: Wealth Fear

44. Fame and Fortune

“This Power Elite directly employs several millions of the country´s working force in its factories, offices and stores, controls many millions more by lending them the money to buy its products, and, through its ownership of the media of mass communication, influences the thoughts, the feelings and the actions of virtually everybody. To parody the words of W. Churchill, never have so many been manipulated so much by few.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE

Themes: Greed Wealth

13. Honor and Disgrace

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896 – 1940 CE
Prototype of "Jazz Age" exuberance
from Rich Boy (1925)

“The only truly affluent are those who do not want more than they have.”

Erich Fromm 1900 – 1980 CE
One of the most powerful voices of his era promoting the true personal freedom beyond social, political, religious, and national belief systems

Themes: Wealth

46. Enough

“wealth without visible function is much more intolerable because nobody can understand why it should be tolerated.

Hannah Arendt 1906 – 1975 CE
Fearless researcher into the darker reaches of the human psyche

Themes: Wealth

“Mendoza said to Tanner, ‘I am a brigand; I live by robbing the rich.’ Tanner replied, ‘I am a gentleman; I live by robbing the poor. Shake hands.’”

Saul Alinsky 1909 – 1972 CE
from Rules for Radicals

“An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth - in short, materialism - does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.”

E. F. Schumacher 1911 – 1977 CE
The “People's Economist”
from Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered

80. A Golden Age

“a Zen master was once asked what was the most valuable thing in the world and the master answered that a dead cat was, because no one could put a price on it.”

J. D. Salinger 1919 – 2010 CE via Raise High the Roof Beams
from Raise High the Roof Beams, Seymour an Introduction

Themes: Wealth

“In the past there were people who were not rich but contented with their living style, laughing and happy all day. But when the new rich people appear, people look at them and ask, 'why don't I have a life like that too, a beautiful house, car and garden,' and they abandon their values.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ 1926 CE –

Themes: Ambition Wealth

“True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire.”

César Chavez César Estrada Chávez 1927 – 1993 CE
(César Estrada Chávez)

Themes: Wealth

“To accumulate wealth, power or land beyond one's needs in a limited world is to be truly immoral, be it as an individual, an institution, or a nation-state.”

Bill Mollison 1928 – 2016 CE
Permaculture's Founder-Father

Themes: Greed Wealth

“wealth is not so much possessed as it is performed... We display the success of what we have done by not having to do anything.”

James P. Carse 1932 – 2020 CE
Thought-proving, influential, deep thinker
from Finite and Infinite Games

Themes: Wealth

“The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - and so destroys democracy.”

Wendell Berry 1934 CE –

13. Honor and Disgrace

“The source of energy which need not be sought is… that you are rich rather than being enriched by something else.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Mudra

Themes: Wealth

9. Know When to Stop

“If we are passionate, if we are in love or in a lustful state, we begin to feel that there is an enormous amount of glue sprayed all over the world… We want to be stuck to things, to objects, wealth, money, friends… so we begin to spray this crude glue all over the place. We are asking to be stuck.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Journey Without Goal

Themes: Wealth Money Desire

44. Fame and Fortune

“Money can't buy life.”

Bob Marley 1945 – 1981 CE via final words to his son Ziggy

“If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.”

Bob Marley 1945 – 1981 CE

Themes: Happiness Wealth

“Don't gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.”

Bob Marley 1945 – 1981 CE

Themes: Wealth Wisdom Fame

“If it were not for certain people's greed for wealth, the highways would be filled with cars powered by the sun, and no one would be starving. Such advances are technologically and physically possible, but apparently not emotionally possible.”

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche རྫོང་གསར་ འཇམ་དབྱངས་ མཁྱེན་བརྩེ་ རིན་པོ་ཆེ། 1961 CE –
(Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche)
"Activity" incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
from What Makes You Not a Buddhist

53. Shameless Thieves

“Richness and meaning don't lie outside of us. And life not just about 'what can I get?' or 'what don't I have?'... With this unrestricted mind of richness, even a beggar on the street can feel like a universal monarch.”

Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche ཛི་གར་ཀོང་སྤྲུལ། 1964 CE –
from It's Up to You

Themes: Wealth

“We may seek a fortune for no greater reason than to secure the respect and attention of people who would otherwise look straight through us.”

Alain de Botton 1969 CE –
Philosophic link between ancient wisdom and modern challenge

Themes: Wealth

“A wealthy upbringing compounds stupidity while a hardscrabble childhood dilutes it.”

David Mitchell 1969 CE –
from Bone Clocks

Themes: Wealth

46. Enough

“because it abstracts the value of things... we don't do well with abundance... By its very nature, scale creates distance... the more we have, the less we seen to value what we've got,”

Simon Sinek 1973 CE –
from Leaders Eat Last

Themes: Wealth

“In spite of their wealth and power, they swim in an ocean of pain, which is sometimes so deep that suicide seems the only escape. Such intense pain results from believing that objects or situations can create lasting happiness.”

Mingyur Rinpoche 1975 CE –
Modern-day Mahasiddha

from Joy of Living (2007)

Themes: Wealth Power

“Capitalism distinguishes 'capital' from mere 'wealth'. Capital consists of money, goods, and resources that are invested in production. Wealth on the other hand, is buried in the ground or wasted on unproductive activities.”

Yuval Harari יובל נח הררי‎ 1976 CE –
Israeli historian, professor, and philosopher

from Sapiens

Themes: Wealth

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