By minimizing our desires,
keeping our minds clean and pure,
and striving to benefit others,
we can become spiritually wealthy,
which is true prosperity.
Dharma Master Cheng Yen was born in 1937 in a small town in Taichung County, Taiwan. When she was twenty-three years old, she left home to become a Buddhist nun, and was instructed by her mentor, Venerable Master Yin Shun, to “work for the good of Buddhism and all living beings.”
In 1966, she founded a charity, which later turned into the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, to “help the poor and educate the rich”—to give material aid to the needy and inspire love and humanity in both givers and recipients.
In recent years, Master Cheng Yen’s contributions have been increasingly recognized by the global community. In 2011, she was recognized with the Roosevelt Institute’s FDR Distinguished Public Service Award and was named to the 2011 TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people.
In today’s world, humanity is increasingly facing problems brought about by climate change. Many scientific studies provide evidence of a link between climate change and human activity, and the potential environmental and socio-economic consequences they bring.
The pursuit of materialism and modern day conveniences has resulted in overdevelopment and the depletion of natural resources, which has a serious impact on the environment. In From Austerity to Prosperity, Master Cheng Yen highlights how by curbing extravagance and living a simple life with few desires, we can help protect the environment from further damage as well as maintain a healthy body and mind.
The book offers practical tips and advice on how we can return to a simple and natural lifestyle by simplifying our wants, which helps to cut carbon emissions, reduce waste and conserve resources. Using real life stories, it illustrates how people practice frugality and make environmental protection a priority in life.
The Master also explains how if we minimize our desires, keep our minds clean and pure, and strive to benefit others, we can become spiritually wealthy, which is true prosperity.
Part One –Avoid Extravagance
Chapter One –A Simple and Natural Lifestyle
Chapter Two – Our Versatile Hands
Chapter Three – Diligence and Frugality
Chapter Four – Simplicity is The Best
Chapter Five – Regain Courtesy through Self- restraint
Part Two – Pure Stream in Vogue
Chapter Six – Starting from the Heart
Chapter Seven –Food: Vegetarianism and Dining Etiquette
Chapter Eight – Clothing: Simple and Plain
Chapter Nine – Shelter: Big Heart or Big House?
Chapter Ten – Transportation: Save Energy and Reduce
“In our modern society, most people have abundant food and clothing. Some think that since they have money they should use it to enjoy life. However, they are not content even when they own a large mansion decorated extravagantly. How, then, can they ever be happy? Does a house really need to be so luxurious?”
“Happiness does not come from owning lots of material wealth. True wealth is in our heart. If our heart is not content, we cannot be considered rich.
Therefore, rather than pursuing the comforts of a large house, we should broaden our hearts and feel more at ease. Once we change our mindset, we will be able to use our money to benefit others. The most satisfying life is one in which we cultivate good affinities with others and accumulate blessings.”