As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby yamaka » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:18 am

Hi all, recently I have found some cashes on the floor but do not know its owner. If base on the precepts and Vinaya, how do we handle these issues appropriately?


With Metta.
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Re: As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:24 am

Hi Yamaka,

I would take the money to the lost property office, or in a public place, to the police.
It depends on the laws of your country but in Australia, if the lost money/property is not claimed within a certain period of time, it is given to the person who found it. If that happens, its up to you what you do with it. Giving it as dana would be the most meritorious but I don't think there is anything wrong/immoral with keeping the money or goods if all reasonable steps have been taken to re-unite it with its last owner.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby yamaka » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:32 am

Hi Ben, thanks for your prompt reply.

I would need to explain more on my situation over my place, the public party as Police station will not be my option to report the lost money or property because once a while, I had reported a lost wallet(which worth a few thousands of cash) to the Police station and they have corrupted the lost money as their own. :shrug:

Base on the unhappy experiences, I would be re-consider another options which can really resolve the problem.

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Re: As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:36 am

Hi Yamaka,
I understand your dilemma!
I am sorry to hear that the police in your country are not honest.
Perhaps others will provide some better advice.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby Sekha » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:57 am

I think Ben's reply was pretty good, even in the case where the police will not cooperate honestly. It is just that in that case, handing the money to them is not a good option. I think every reasonable effort should be made to find who the owner is.

If this is not possible, I think donating the money is both a morally safe and meritorious way to solve this dilemma.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby santa100 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:06 am

set up a separate free gmail address (use a different alias to be safe), then go back to the floor and put up a note to have the owner contact this email. Ask them to state the amount they lost to make sure they're the right owner. If after a certain period and there's no claim, consider donation to charities to help the poor and the sick..
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Re: As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby karuna_murti » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:31 am

Hi Yamaka,

If you want to see the Vinaya rules, please see number 84:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/bmc1/bmc1.ch08-9.html
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Re: As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby Volcommerce » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:28 pm

Hi I'd like to share a story that is related to this situation you are facing to provide some perspective.

I found a wallet near my house with a few hundred dollars in it. I contacted a business with information from a card in the wallet and found out who the owner of the wallet was, I contacted them and returned the wallet and the money. The individuals offered to give me some money but I declined and was satisfied that I had done the right thing.

While travelling a few months later in Milan, a city known for materialism and greed - I lost my wallet on the subway with vital credit cards and a few hundred euro's in it. Not only was the wallet returned to the metro's lost and found office, but the wallet was recovered from the metro's lost and found office a few days later with all of my credit cards and money.

I was shocked that the individual that found the wallet had no only returned the wallet to the lost and found with all of its content, but that the individual's at the lost and found had not taken any of the money.

Its always best to do things the ''right'' way and not create foul karma.
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Re: As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:30 pm

yamaka wrote:Hi all, recently I have found some cashes on the floor but do not know its owner. If base on the precepts and Vinaya, how do we handle these issues appropriately?


With Metta.

well according to the vinaya unless it was on your property you shouldn't of touched it, and then it would only be for safe keeping.
However as you are not a mendicant that is not an issue, although it can inform how you deal with it in other situations.
the best coarse of action would be to hand it into the lost property desk, or customer service desk, and if on the street the local police station or as a last resort when no owner can be found, or is unlikely to be found, charity (in this case I would recommend a neutral charity, one you neither are for nor against, so there is little benefit for yourself or associated people/groups or a local charity).

i met someone who was escorting a monk and on the journey they found and picked up £20 note lost on the shop floor, he said the monk didn't appear to pleased by that, and probably would of sooner he left the money where it was, so he put it in the charity box at the till. the monk probably didn't like it as it would be something akin to guilty by association, not a violation of their precepts but as the escort was only their because of them, a certain responsibility was possibly felt.

EDIT - after reading your other reply to Ben I would include the question - if you can not show trust how can you expect anyone to do the right thing?
There are options open as already mentioned about leaving a notice, and there is the option of other avenues of places to put it so the rightful owner has a chance to retrieve it.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: As a Buddhist, how do I handle the lost monies or goods?

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:13 am

yamaka wrote:Hi Ben, thanks for your prompt reply.

I would need to explain more on my situation over my place, the public party as Police station will not be my option to report the lost money or property because once a while, I had reported a lost wallet(which worth a few thousands of cash) to the Police station and they have corrupted the lost money as their own. :shrug:
Base on the unhappy experiences, I would be re-consider another options which can really resolve the problem.

With Metta.

Why? You have done well. A misdeed of others is not your business as well as it is not your business to bring the money back to whom who has lost it.

See it positve, in this case the policeman will of cause being "blessed" by this money maybe taker lesser on another sides.

Even walking the correct way with corrupted (we can not easy be sure, in addition) officials is better then to increase selfjustic. You task is done, the ripping of kamma comes by it self as well as the grouppressure if many just follow a good way.

The other "simply don't touch it" is not proper for a layman deppending on care of each others and keeping the agreed rules.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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