Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The seven deadly sins: Greed

Author: Paulo Coelho

Dictionary definition: from the Latin Avaritia, a feminine noun: Excessive fondness for money, stinginess, meanness.

Catholic Church definition: Goes against the Ninth and Tenth Commandments (You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house). Inordinate inclination or desire for pleasure or possessions.

For the philosopher Seneca: The poor always want something, the rich want a lot and the greedy want everything.

A story of Priests of the desert: “Holy man” – said a novice to the Father Abbot – My heart is full of love for the world and my soul is free of temptations from the Devil. What is my next step?

The abbot asked the disciple to accompany him on a visit to a sick person who needed extreme unction. After comforting the family, the abbot noticed that in one of the corners of the house there was a trunk.

“What is inside it?” he asked.

“Clothes that my uncle never used”, said the sick man’s nephew.” He bought everything, always thinking that the right occasion would arise to wear them, but they ended up rotting inside it”.

“Don’t forget that trunk”, said the Father Abbot to his disciple, when they left. “If you have spiritual treasures in your heart, put them into practice now. Or they will rot away.”

Text commenting on the 1997 Asiatic economic crisis: The brokers bought and sold, convinced that the world would not change, because all they needed to do was to invest more and more and watch their fortunes grow. They didn’t care about the harm they were causing to the currency (Malaysia). Suddenly, 500 billion dollars disappeared out of circulation. When the time came to explain to all those who had lost their savings built up over the years and with much sacrifice, they replied: “it’s the fault of the market.” Actually, they were the market.

Death and Greed: Death and Greed watched the men working feverishly to find diamonds in a river. “I came here to take away some souls,” said Death. “Deliver me a third of these people and I will go away.”

“They belong to me, they are my slaves”, replied Greed. “I have nothing to deliver to you.”

Death then touched the water with his magic rod and poisoned it. Little by little, all who were there began dying.

“Why did you steal all my slaves?” shouted Greed, angrily.

“Because you didn’t want to give me any”, was the answer.

In a speech: because of its inability to produce, the Jewish people are parasites, and their aim is to enslave other peoples. They use greed to manipulate the stupidity of the middle class (Adolf Hitler, preparing the ground for the Holocaust, which cost the lives of six million Jews).

Many centuries before, the Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon used to say: The Lord sent to Man his messengers, called diseases. Eternal Providence put me in charge of caring for their health. Let the love for what I do guide me at every moment. Never let greed, or the thirst for power, or the desire for recognition, blind me and make me forget that a man’s objective is to give the best of what he has to another man.

Advice from the Tao Te King: The five colors blind human eyes. The five notes deafen their ears. The five tastes harm the palate. Races and hunts set off furious and savage passions in the heart.

Goods hard to get cause wounds because of dangerous obstacles. For that reason (…) the wise man rejects the superficial and prefers to dive into the deep.

(next: Lust)

Click here to subscribe yourself to the Warrior of Light Newsletter. 

Subscribe to Blog

Join 16.9K other subscribers

Stories & Reflections


Paulo Coelho Foundation

Gifts, keepsakes and other souvenirs