TM: I’ve received quite a few inquiries about money and requests to talk about it. There has been a great body of writing on this from a spiritual perspective. What do you say to someone who asks, “What is the proper relationship to money, how much to have, how to use it, how to get it, etc.?”
Master Buddha: First of all, there isn’t just one way to view this because each person has his or her particular orientation to money given his or her life path. Anything I say must be understood as general statements and then I can offer examples of individual circumstances to show how some principles may apply.
As viewed from the spiritual perspective, meaning from a non-material realm, money is as worthless as a bicycle would be for travel across an ocean. It is purely a human creation. So your question presumes a spiritual oversight that doesn’t exist except in the form of advice and counsel that may be offered from time to time. That is the spirit in which I present these ideas today.
Let me attempt to simplify the concept of money in relation to a person. Humans have decided that money shall represent a value of some thing. Those things may include the physically inanimate object (house, car, etc.), a personal action (one’s labor), a promise for future delivery of value (speculation), restitution for past value (grievances resolved), a gift of love or social obligation, so on and so forth. The second premise is that the value of money shall equal approximately the value of that thing in the exchange. Sometimes the values are not equal, and if they are too unequal, then one or the other person feels either elated or cheated.
The third premise created by humans is a system of ethics regarding transactions between one another using money or the thing valued as the currency. This is a point of departure between the diverse cultures of the world. The one dominant force has been the Western philosophy governing the use of money. The ethics of the Western system have varied over the past two hundred years, but for the most part they have represented an idealism that while noble in its aim has not achieved its goal.
TM: So is it possible to answer my questions?
Master Buddha: I’m getting there, but needed to frame my response for clarity. The proper relationship to money must take on a general perspective representing larger society (we’ll call general ethics) and the particular relationship of an individual to money. From the general ethics, the idea of freedom to choose one’s occupation and one’s level of income and expense, is I think the best arrangement. As we have discussed in these conversations there is a point that one must consider that individual freedom intersects with group harmony. This means that it is necessary for individuals to contribute to the whole in a way that brings harmony to the whole and doesn’t disturb the peace of the many. This is the greatest insurance for all. The current system in Western society doesn’t achieve this goal, but with modification it could.
TM: I’m not clear on what you mean. Are you saying that there needs to be a balance in interest between the range of individual freedom and the needs of the whole population?
Master Buddha: Yes. For example, in Western society a person is permitted to amass unlimited wealth. On the other end of the scale a person is permitted to starve to death or die due to exposure to the elements because he cannot afford shelter. What is preventing Western society from implementing safeguards at the bottom end of the scale?
TM: We don’t allocate budget for it because we’ve determined other things are more important.
Master Buddha: And the contradiction is that your idealism states that you cherish life above all. Your military runs to all ends of the earth to rescue those in peril. Your governments send aid to foreign countries in an attempt to prevent starvation and lethal diseases from spreading. Yet in your own domestic domain you have families living in such poverty that their lives are at risk daily.
TM: It isn’t a perfect system for sure and most Westerners will agree that we can do more to clean up our domestic programs.
Master Buddha: What do you think is stopping you from doing this?
TM: We have an overly complicated and increasingly corrupt political system that can’t philosophically agree on just how much we are our brother’s keeper.
Master Buddha: It is first and foremost the obligation of your governments, using the general treasury, to prevent starvation and health-related problems derived from poverty. This cannot be left to the generosity and goodwill of individuals. It must begin with your domestic sphere first. It is there that you work out the ethics of being your brother’s keeper as you phrased it. Once you have mastered that step then sharing that wisdom with other cultures is a natural extension.
TM: We have the resources to do what you suggest, but not the collective resolve to do it.
Master Buddha: This is true, but you asked for a perspective on the proper relationship to money. You will have to work out the politics in order to deliver a just relationship.
TM: Okay then, maybe you can state what a person should be required to do in order to receive assistance that raises his status above poverty. That’s where we fail; we can’t agree on that. Some people say we should be self-reliant and others want to give to others with little or no requirements for self-responsibility. So, what is the answer?
Master Buddha: Ah you see, now you are into the business of designing a society that grapples with such ethical obligations yet stumbles at the final step failing to complete the mission. If the US government felt the collective will of its citizens favored a system whereby no citizen would be permitted to fall into poverty, could they achieve that?
Master Buddha: Then it must be that the collective will of its citizens do not favor such a system.
TM: How many citizens create a collective will?
Master Buddha: Enough that under your political system you could legislate and implement the system.
TM: Then you must be correct. Sadly it must be true. But you still haven’t answered my question of self-responsibility.
Master Buddha: Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Your society has through its own design created an array of citizens from the genius to the infantile. Your society is responsible on a par level with the individuals that make up society. It will take many generations of enlightened governance to correct the mistakes and injustices created by past policies and practices. It will likewise take time for individuals to climb out of their ignorance or unfortunate circumstances due to conditions beyond their control.
Wandering your streets are the insane and the helpless. They cannot take responsibility for themselves in any way.
You have many people who are indolent and averse to responsibility through personal predilection and familial training. They will have to be educated on a new understanding of their responsibility.
You have a growing number who have turned to crime and are either incarcerated or among the general population. They will have to be educated, and until they are they will remain incarcerated because you have no other way to assimilate them.
There are those who through no fault of their own have fallen upon hard times due to major shifts in the economy. They will need to be retrained in new occupations and helped along the way.
When there are enough enlightened citizens there will be a more enlightened government and they will realize the long-term commitment required to correct your system. It is a race against the clock.
If you do nothing to correct this situation, because as a society you think it isn’t your responsibility, then you will suffer the consequences of doing nothing. The consequences will include a greater divide between the economic classes, thus more poverty; less efficacy in minimum education achievement among the lower classes; increased criminal activity; reduction of individual freedoms due to crime prevention measures; compartmentalization of community along class lines further reducing the efficacy of government and the erosion of community infrastructure. You can probably project from there what will transpire next.
If however, you find the collective will to make a long-term commitment to correction, then you will begin to see minor changes for the good. It will take patience beyond one, two or three generations. That is perhaps the greatest challenge for a society that has come to expect immediate gratifications of its goals (even though this hasn’t really been the case).
TM: What can you say to the questions regarding individuals and their relationship to money? What are some guidelines to follow is really what I’m asking.
Master Buddha: As individuals you must graduate through levels of ethical refinement regarding the role of money in your life. What is good for one person may not be good or right for another. For that reason do not be hasty in judging others for their view in earning or handling their money.
As Master Jesus and I have maintained throughout these conversations, release judgment from your view. Find your relationship to money based upon your path and your understanding and allow others to do the same without inveighing their choices. When you have come to peace with your relationship to money then you may offer a helping hand to others who may wish to hear from you.
Background to Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: The Passion of the Christ
This was my (TMichael) first conversation with Master Jesus and was prompted by the film, The Passion of the Christ. In this dialogue, Master Jesus describes his point of view surrounding his death and the role of those who played a part.
I saw the film The Passion of the Christ not too long after it opened. First, I saw the movie marquis and thought this should be interesting. I’ve been on a sparse mainstream media diet for many years and so I didn’t know anything about the controversy surrounding the film. Natural curiosity pulled me in.
Later when I asked some friends if they had seen the film I learned of the swirling debate. I jumped online and discovered more commentary than I had imagined. Then I attended a panel discussion hosted by Tikkun magazine that featured an array of Christian and Jewish clergy.
All in all, what I was hearing seemed predictable. Depending on the perspective of the speaker or writer, the grievances with the film reflected that singular point of view. The same with the supporters of the film; it was somehow proof of their faith.
Try as I may I couldn’t resolve whether I was under-reacting or whether others were over-reacting. After several days of deep meditation it became clear that what I wanted more than anything was to hear directly from Jesus. The following conversation occurred with Jesus and me.
Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: The Passion of the Christ
TM: What do you think about the recent film, The Passion of the Christ?
Master Jesus: Hmmm…sounds like you want to draw me into the highly charged controversy over this film.
TM: Actually, I’m hopeful that you can clear up things for everyone. You can sort of have the final word.
Master Jesus: I’m not inclined to pose as a film critic, but I am inclined to speak about the content and subject matter in a way that can shed some light.
TM: Please do so.
Master Jesus: There are a few things that must be said at the onset of this conversation. I’m as present today in the world as I was 2000 years ago. I serve among the Masters in world service to humanity. The record of my ministry is incomplete and at times incorrect, owing to the great number of interpretations through which it has passed. Nevertheless, the essence of peace and love remains the focal point for all who will embrace the teachings. The records of the life and times of humanity during those days are also incomplete and at times incorrect owing to the authors’ bias and inability of present day people to grasp the cultural mores of the time. There is much scholarly and layman speculation on the missing parts—a natural and admirable intent to make complete the story and an understanding of history.
TM: So, the fact that so many people are grappling with the meaning, context and impact of this film is natural and striving for a complete understanding is a good sign?
Master Jesus: It is natural for humanity to desire familiarity with their religious icons by interpreting the messages as best as they can. Naturally in that process there will be disagreement about the interpretations. When the level of disagreement reaches the point of personal and group acrimony, then it has moved beyond serving humanity and begins to destroy the fabric of unity among all beings. Unfortunately, the discussion over this current film has been divisive to that degree among some groups. However, we can note that some groups have bridged gaps in their relationships as a result of examining the meaning of this film.
TM: Some people have told me they wouldn’t see the film because they think it is too violent.
Master Jesus: Then they shouldn’t see the film. Seeing the film has nothing whatsoever to do with understanding the message I brought to humanity then and that I’ve brought through the intervening periods of time and into the present. It is merely a creative expression of the filmmakers and their interpretation of certain events.
TM: What about the claim that the film portrays Jews in a historically incorrect light to the point of making them appear evil, which in turn perpetuates hostility from Christians?
Master Jesus: This is a misunderstanding that arises from the causes I mentioned earlier, namely incomplete and incorrect reporting of my teachings and of history itself. Let me strip away the word evil and present a new word to describe what is meant by it. Ignorance coupled with fear produces what is referred to as evil. Scholars have devoted much time and energy to defining evil. The term itself has become too emotionally charged to accurately reflect a meaning that can be applied to human behavior. If it can be used to describe a political regime, religious leaders or a serial murderer, then its meaning has become too broad. I offer a way out of this labeling. To look upon a group or individual whose actions appear horrific to you and label them evil no longer suffices. The labeling as such shows a lack of comprehension on the part of the one applying the label. To label someone in a way that separates him from you destroys the fabric of unity in the same way I mentioned earlier. To default to that label implies ignorance of the one labeling and a signal that hatred has sprung from ignorance and fear. You can see the vicious cycle—ignorance, fear, hatred, separation, and destruction. Evil is in the eye of the beholder. Where hatred is present, one will see evil. But, I tell you it is already in the heart of the one producing the label.
TM: It sounds like your turning the tables and calling the righteous one hateful and the other, offending one justified, or at least free from scrutiny. Does this mean that one’s actions are justified and permissible and not subject to scrutiny by social standards? That if I brutally beat someone to death that I can expect society to embrace me and let me go unpunished for my actions?
Master Jesus: Society can and must define codes of conduct consistent with freedom for all. It is not necessary to label one evil in order to create a just society. What you asked in the previous question relates more specifically to a problem of labeling an individual or group as evil in order to justify all sorts of acts of retribution toward them. Do you not think for moment that I didn’t choose my death? The Sadducees played their role as did the Romans and as did all connected with me. It was my choice to allow that to happen the way that it did. No one was evil in my eyes because I love them all. I see into their hearts and minds and know them well. I am their elder brother and know their mistakes and love them still. Why would you do less in my name?
TM: I feel inspired and sad at the same time. So what can we do to better understand the role of this film and what it provokes emotionally among so many different people?
Master Jesus: The film itself is not important, as I stated earlier, it is a representative view of that time and those events by filmmakers. It provokes discussion that could occur with or without the film. It provokes emotions that already exist. It provokes ancient prejudice and guilt that already exist. The film doesn’t need to do these things, but it does because of the subject matter and what is in place around it. The subject has been contentious on so many levels for so long now that it doesn’t take much to provoke an outcry.
The Jews didn’t kill me anymore than the Romans did. That will be confusing to many who wish to pin the blame on someone so that they can seek justice in the form of revenge. Again, this isn’t necessary in my name, and I’m the one presumably wronged here so my wishes must be weighed. The longstanding enmity between Christians and Jews over this episode is unnecessary. Jews are reluctant to drop their defense and Christians are holding on to a grievance that isn’t true.
TM: Forget about it. Is that it? If the Jews and the Romans didn’t kill you, then who did? Are you saying you took your own life?
Master Jesus: I had a plan when I came into physical life just like every human being before me and since. I carried out my plan just as every being before me and since. I was consciously aware of my plan in the flesh. Nevertheless, I faced the same obstacles as every being, namely, staying in my conscious awareness. The greatest test for me was in my final hours before my death in physical form. Could I remain conscious of who I am and what my purpose is on this earth? Isn’t that true for every being? Those who judged me acted out their own conscious awareness. Their ignorance and their fear filtered their judgment and prevented them from embracing me and my teachings, just as it has done since and that it is now for the vast majority of beings. Will you judge your ancient brothers for their acts and claim yourself to be free of ignorance and fear? My mission and purpose is not complete until I can demonstrate to humanity the strength of love and wisdom and the power of conscious awareness. It is judgment that has been and will be your downfall. Forever will you remain separate from one another. It is worse that you take part of my teachings and use it to condemn your fellow beings. It is better that you take all or nothing.
TM: To make sure I understand this, you’re saying that to be in full consciousness of whom I am and what my purpose is on earth is only possible when I let go of judgment of others?
Master Jesus: And to let go of judgment of yourself, which is equally important.
TM: So I’m not sure how to answer the question of who killed you and I have a feeling you’re not going to go there. I guess what you’re saying is that it doesn’t matter.
Master Jesus: It doesn’t matter in the sense that you think you have to judge others and avenge my death in the flesh. To do that is to oppose everything I represent.
TM: Why do we make such a big deal of these things? The film I mean. Why such dramatic hoopla about the risk of Gibson’s career and the actor who played you may never “work in this town again”? That frenzy spills over into the religious circles as well.
Master Jesus: Because people think it’s important to be right. Right in their point of view, right in their understanding of reality, right in their relationship to me and to God. Being right often means making others wrong. It’s that simple on the surface, but runs much deeper on racial hatred or religious intolerance. Not only is it important to be right, but one must also weave a measure of justice into the arrangement by punishing those who are wrong. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a movement among the enlightened teachers of all religions to put aside dogmatic differences and embrace the oneness of all faiths while still practicing the rituals of each.
TM: Are you behind this movement?
Master Jesus: Yes, along with other Masters.
TM: Will this recognition bring peace to the world?
Master Jesus: It’s a beginning. Politicians have often used religious differences and the strong emotions of those differences to fuel their wars. If there is a general sense of spiritual unity and religious peace it will make it more difficult to wage war among countries. Powerful leaders intentionally determined to wage wars to achieve their goals know that to control the emotions is to control the minds of their followers. Our work begins with the heart. A strong heart with pure intent of love and peace will withstand the sophistries of mental concepts put forth by those seeking after power.”