Bodhi Mind Reflection
When I came to America 20 years ago, one of the new concepts for me as an immigrant was the idea of personal credit. During most of my time here in the US, I have struggled with the three credit bureaus. In 2015, that began to change when I encountered the Three Jewels.
At the beginning of my journey in this new country, I learned quickly that living in America without good credit is complicated, so we started to build our credit. I was 34 when I came to America. I had two young children to support and was making minimum wage, which complicated the journey towards good credit.
One of the deciding factors in our decision to move to the United States was the interest rates in Venezuela during the 1990s. My mortgage interest in Venezuela jumped from 12% annually to 55% annually in just three months. With that rate, it was impossible to pay the mortgage, so we sold our apartment and moved to America.
After a couple of years here, I start receiving credit card offers. I was so happy when my first credit card showed up in the mailbox. The interest rate was 19%. Compared with Venezuela, it was a perfect deal, but in America, this rate was high, so the problem continued.
I received multiple credit cards until I had 5 cards with credit limits of more than $5,000. One of the problems of being poor is that something is always going wrong. If the car breaks down, we need to use a credit card. If you need new clothes, you need to use your credit card. If you need to visit the doctor, you need a credit card to pay even the copayment.
My war with the credit bureaus persisted until 2015 when I started learning about Buddhism.
The first lesson I used to fix my credit was the practice of repentance. I learned that we have multiple past lives, and we are dragging karmic problems along with us for years or centuries. So I started to repent for all the wrongdoing from previous lives.
The second lesson I learned is part of the Six Paramitas, specifically Dana Paramita. Dana is a Sanskrit word that we can translate as generosity, charity, or giving. During the lesson on Dana Paramita, the Abbess explained to the class that you don’t have to give just money. You can provide services or other non-monetary help. After this lesson, I started helping at the Temple on any possible occasion. I began to donate blood to the local blood bank and I am also starting to donate a small amount of money to another organization.
I began to notice that the more I volunteered and donated, the more I received. After one year of practicing in this new way, I was offered a different job, making significantly more money than I had in my previous positions.
After five years of practicing the Buddha Dharma, my credit report is excellent. We were able to buy a lovely new house, and my job pays me a salary I never even dreamt of.
As Buddha said, don’t do this because I told you to. Practice the Dharma in all aspects of your life and you will be happy with the outcome.