Although your friend continues to live a life of luxury, it doesn’t mean he has money and is hiding the money. There is an Indian man living in Hong Kong who failed in business, but in order to face the organization and the people, he needed to maintain the same lifestyle.
What you want to get from your friend you might not achieve, but you need to believe in past karma, so what you experience now is the result of what you did before. As Aryadeva said in 400 Verses, if we cheat one sentient being, then we will receive cheating in a hundred thousand lives—not just in one life, but in a hundred thousand lives.
Therefore it is said, “Do not commit any evil, practice all good conduct, and purify one’s mind, this is the teaching of the Buddha.” If we don’t transform our mind, suffering comes.
FPMT had a project to buy a piece of land, but the person who helped to buy the land cheated a lot of money from FPMT. According to worldly methods, FPMT could sue this person and put him in jail, but I would never do that. Also one lady promised to help with some funds, but then she faced many difficulties. We spent a lot of money to help her in solving the difficulties, but in the end she disappeared, just like a show. Even checking the mo is under the control of karma.
In a past life, we created the cause and now we are experiencing the result. The object for us to experience the result could be either an ordinary being or a manifestation of holy beings, it’s hard to say.
We have to make sure that we are not causing the person to create negative karma by asking for the money back. Even if he is not able to give back all the money, just some of it would be fine. Also whatever we do to him, it depends on our motivation, on either virtue or non-virtue, and that will affect our future lives —not just one future life, but many future lives.
That student and the Maitreya Project experienced this because of past karma by our mind, so we have to think about our motivation. It is not that you can’t ask for the money, but it depends on your motivation. We have to think there are future lives, so how we are treated in this life —whether we are going to be happy or suffering —depends on our actions to others.
If our motivation is non-virtuous, we can experience a suffering result, not just once, but for a hundred or a thousand lifetimes, because karma is expandable. It is not that you can’t ask [for the money back]; you can ask for it, but your motivation has to be virtuous, so the future result is happy. If the motivation is non-virtuous then there is suffering for 500 or one thousand lifetimes.
It’s even more important to take care of future lives, because this life is just once. Taking care of future lives so we are free from samsara—how important that is. We want happiness in our future lives until we are free from samsara. It may be for numberless eons, I can’t say; it’s difficult to say. Your samsara might end after one life or two, I can’t say, it’s very difficult to say.
In this life, however much we suffer, it is just for very short time. There are people who live until they are 100 years old, but they are very few. It’s a very short life, so if we think about our happiness this year or in this life, no question that our future lives’ happiness is a billion, zillion, numberless times more important. Therefore, in this life if we cause others’ suffering, then we will be suffering in future; but if we cause happiness in this life, then we will have happiness in future.
When we don’t think about past and future lives, there is nothing to relate to about ourselves, and there are many ways to blame others. So many people in the world have this problem or a bigger problem.
Even we Buddhists believe these things, but in daily life when it is difficult, we don’t think about past or future lives; we think about this life and we blame others. But the minute we think about past and future lives, and about karma and reincarnation, because these different subjects come from our mind, our karma, that makes us think we need to take care of our life.
If we think the happiness of this life is so important, of course how important it is to achieve happiness in all our future lives, for numberless eons. It is so important, it is unimaginable. So that we have great happiness in the future, we must treat others well with every action, so we can enjoy so much unbelievable happiness in all our future lives . If we cause suffering to others in this life in order to achieve happiness for ourselves, that motivation is selfish and is done with the eight worldly dharmas. If we have a negative motivation, there is negative karma, then in so many future lives there will suffering. Therefore it is good to be wise in Dharma and in karma.
With love and prayers...