The Chinese word "Money" is made of a character for gold and two characters for spears. There is a verse which describes it very well. It says, "Two spears fight for gold and the violent energy is high. Everybody gets into trouble because of money. Those who know how to use it can transcend the three realms. Those who do not know how to use it will find it hard to escape from retribution." A spear is a kind of weapon and money is made of metal. Two people hold spears and fight for money. Therefore, evil karmas such as a man slaughtering and setting fires are created. The fighting between one another causes the killing energy to rise high up to the sky. Although money is not real, everybody is confused by it. Not only do people love money, even ghosts love money. People try every possible way to scheme for money. Ghosts have no work, so they cannot make money, but, they have the way to make a fortune. They have people burn paper money for them. In fact, ghosts do not need money. Burning money is superstitious and wasting money. They burn real money into ashes which is extremely stupid.
There is a custom in Asian countries. People burn a lot of deposit in the Hades' bank, so they can be wealthy ghosts when they die. Or perhaps, in order to lighten their offenses, they can use their money in the Hades' bank to bribe King Yama. They do not know that they have taken all these pains for nothing because King Yama is a judge of integrity and justice and would not take bribes.
Many people think that money is as powerful as a god and money can talk as the saying goes, "money can make a ghost keep its nose to the grindstone". People with such thinking are making a big mistake. For sure these people will fall into hell after their death. Why? Because they must have done things that were against their conscience while they were alive. In order to avoid suffering after death, they burned a lot of paper money as gifts for corrupt officials. This kind of thinking is just cheating themselves. How silly they are!
Money has manipulated worldly people to become confused, and upside down. They do not even recognize their own relatives and surpass one and another. As a result, relatives become strangers, and even worse, some even become enemies. How terrible that is! Because of this, if a cultivator upholds the precept against money, then, he can avoid this trouble. The precept against money means one is prohibited to touch money. If one can hold this precept, then he is a true disciple of the Buddha, he can uphold the pure precept. One not only does not touch money, nor does he think on money, throws money out away of his sight and takes it as an inauspicious thing.
A cultivator should be a blessing sangha for living beings. He accepts offerings in order to plant blessings for living beings. For sure one should not crave offerings. One should take things according to their conditions and not scheme for them. Why can some monks and nuns not accomplish the Way? Because they cannot break through the two barriers of wealth and sex. Wealth deludes people and sex causes people's life to be upside down. These two things are the stumbling blocks for obstructing the Way. People can be tripped over by them easily and find it hard to get up, therefore, they drift along with the crowd.
Those of you who are holding the precept against money should pay special attention to this point. You should be very careful. Your hands do not touch money, your mind should not think of it either and nor should you feign compliance and be greedy for offerings. If any one of you has this kind of thinking and behavior, he must correct them right away. You cannot deliberately make offenses. Those who rely on the method of five deviant livelihood as a means of living are not true disciples of the Buddha. They are like bugs on a lion's body, relying on Buddhism to wear clothes and eat food. Generally speaking, people with a climbing mind are greedy for wealth and not entitled to be disciples of the Buddha.
We do not know how much trouble people have made from money. But, those who know how to use it will do many meritorious deeds (such as establishing schools and hospitals) which are beneficial to people. They do things which benefit both others and themselves, therefore, they can transcend the three realms. They will not undergo the suffering of the cycle of birth and death. They will attain the true bliss of Nirvana. Those who do not know how to use money are merely creating evil karmas. They do things which are offensive to Heaven and reason, therefore, they cannot escape from the three realms and will fall into hell. As a saying goes, "Wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep are five roots of hell." All of you pay attention to this, "Money is as powerful as a god". Be sure to remember that not to mistake cause and effect. Cause and effect cannot be off by one fine hair in breadth and this is the principle which cannot be changed. If one mistakes cause and effect, for sure that he has to undergo retribution.