The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Matsarya (Sanskrit; Pali: macchariya; Tibetan phonetic: serna) is a Buddhist term translated as "stinginess" or "miserliness". It is defined as being incapable of enjoying one’s own possessions and other material objects, clinging to them and being unwilling to part with them or share them with others. It is identified as:
- One of the twenty subsidiary unwholesome mental factors within the Mahayana Abhidharma teachings.
- One of the fourteen unwholesome mental factors within the Theravada Abhidharma teachings.
- One of the ten fetters in the Theravada tradition (according to the Dhammasangani)
The Abhidharma-samuccaya states:
- What is matsarya? It is an over-concern with the material things in life stemming from over-attachment to wealth and honor, and it belongs to passion-lust. Avarice functions as the basis for not letting up in one's concern for the material things of life.
Alexander Berzin explains:
- Miserliness (ser-sna) is a part of longing desire (Sanskrit: raga) and is an attachment to material gain or respect and, not wanting to give up any possessions, clings to them and does not want to share them with others or use them ourselves. Thus, miserliness is more than the English word stinginess. Stinginess is merely unwillingness to share or to use something we possess. It lacks the aspect of hoarding that miserliness possesses.
- It has, as characteristic, the concealing of one's property, either attained or about to be attained; the not enduring the sharing of one's property in common with others, as function; the shrinking from such sharing or niggardliness or sour feeling as manifestation; one's own property as proximate cause; and it should be regarded as mental ugliness.