Bodhi Mind Reflection

The Three Jewels vs The Three Credit Bureaus

Juan Garcia (Fa Huan 法歡)

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.

 

菩提心旅

三寶與三信

Juan Garcia (Fa Huan 法歡)

當我二十年前移民來美國時,第一個面對的新課題就是建立個人信用紀錄的重要性。之後大部分的時間我都被美國三大個人信用徵信中心搞得焦頭爛額。直到2015年,我接觸到三寶,狀況才開始好轉。

移民來美國後不久,我馬上就意識到良好的個人信用評分是保障美好生活的必要條件。因此,我們努力的試著建立並維持良好的個人信用紀錄。然而,對一個領著最低工資,並要撫養兩個幼兒的34歲新移民來說,這是一項艱苦的挑戰。

90年代委內瑞拉國內急遽攀升的利息促使我們做出移民美國的決定,由於房貸利息在三個月內由12%調升到55%,以我們當時的收入,完全無法負擔這麼龐大的房貸支出,因此我們就賣掉房子,舉家移民美國。

移民來美國幾年後,我開始符合申請信用卡的資格,當我收到第一張信用卡時,喜悅之情難以言喻,當時的信用卡年利率是19%,跟委內瑞拉相比,這看似是一個很好的條件,但以美國的標準來看,這算是很高的利息,因此,問題也接踵而來。

我陸陸續續申請了五張信用卡,總額度高達五千塊。通常貧窮伴隨著的都是層出不窮的問題。車子壞了需要用信用卡付帳單,添購新的衣服,看醫生等等額外的支出也是要用信用卡舉債,我與信用卡的長期戰爭在2015年我接觸到佛法後開始出現轉機。

懺悔是我學到的第一課,我深信佛說 的三世因果,由於我們在過去世造作種種惡業,因此在今生和來世,我們都要遭受惡報,於是我開始為我過去所造的惡業誠心懺悔。

我的第二課是六波羅蜜中的檀那波羅蜜,檀那是梵文的音譯,其意義為布施,住持法師說布施不限於財布施,出坡做義工也是布施,因此我開始發心護持道場,把握精舍每個出坡的機會。我也開始捐血,甚至做些許的財布施。我發現我付出的越多,相對也獲得更多。在我持續布施一年後,一份很好的工作找上我了,我的收入也因此大幅增加。

經過五年的佛法修行,我的個人信用分數也大幅提升,再加上公司給我超乎想像的高薪,我們終於買了一棟屬於自己的房子。

如佛所說:不要因為我說了,你才去做。將佛法融入生活中,你終將會得到善報。

English