The Curse of CupidityDoctors warn that coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart may become contracted or clogged when a person is under extreme stress for a long time. One may die of a heart attack. If we eat when we are seriously stressed, we become ill in most cases. Because the stomach functions slowly and blood vessels connected to the stomach contract, digestion becomes disturbed. It is common knowledge that 50 percent of stomach illnesses are from stress.
Today's medical science explains many types of human diseases in relation to stress. Some analysis suggests that stress is the major cause of 280 diseases. When we become stressed, our sympathetic nerves become excited and trigger the production of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Blood pressure goes up and our arteries are hardened. Depending on the location of the hardened arteries, people may suffer from a heart attack or apoplexy. Stress also causes mental diseases including depression, insomnia, and neuroses and disease such as hepatic insufficiency, diabetes and cancer. It also causes troubles in reproductive organs such as irregular menstruation and impotency. Some even point to stress as the cause of the common cold because it weakens our body's immunity.
Although people become stressed by chemical and physiological factors, doctors say the major cause of stress is an inability to control our minds. One of the most serious factors causing stress is the cupidity to advance, lead others and be recognized by others. Buddhism teaches escape from hollow desires and wrongful obsessions. It tells us to live a life of valuing small and trivial things and becoming satisfied with such values. "One who does not know how to satisfy oneself is always poor though he may seem to be rich, while another who knows how to satisfy oneself is always rich although he may seem to be poor," according to a Buddhist teaching.
Kim Woo-choong once cried for his ideal of world management, arguing that world is broad and there is much work to do. Where now is Mr. Kim, who once inspired the youth of our country by saying, "History is for the dreamers"? If he had known how to empty his mind, he could have been freed from the extremely heavy stress and he would have never been in the current unfortunate situation of being pursued by the authorities. The last days of his uncontrollable cupidity put a tremendous burden on the national economy and send those who served him to prison one after another. "Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death," said the Bible, James 1:15. If he fears this stern warning, it is not too late yet. He should empty out his mind and come back. That will be the only way for him to escape from the deadly stress.