The Light of Wisdom
Let’s learn about the Buddha’s wisdom, which brightens and enriches our life.
The Story of Buddha and His Apprentices:
Anyone Can Practice “Giving.”
Buddhism teaches “Six Paramitas” (six good deeds). If people practice even one of them, they will surely become happy in accordance with what they have done. “GIVING” comes first among the six good deeds. It is to be kind to others or willingly give something to others. We are learning about GIVING from the story of a rich man called Anathapindika, who was a real person living in Shakyamuni Buddha’s era. Anathapindika met Shakyamuni Buddha and he was deeply impressed with his lecture. He made every effort to build a temple that he could invite Shakyamuni Buddha to. He finally found the best place to build a temple. The landowner Prince Jeta made a promise to give his land to Anathapindika.
In this way, the construction of the temple began. Anthapindika also thought, “I can build the temple with my own money and wealth alone, but this is a precious chance to practice the good deed of ‘GIVING.’ I want to encourage as many people as possible to take part in this wonderful act.”
He put up a signboard that said, “I have decided to build a temple and donate it to Shakyamuni Buddha. I'd like to invite contributions from anyone who is willing to participate in this construction project. If you are willing to donate, it doesn't matter how much or little you give; just give whatever you can. Let us all share in this opportunity to practice GIVING!” Soon the news spread all over the town. People who were willing to donate were very excited. They were so happy to be able to participate in the great endeavor to construct a temple they could invite Shakyamuni Buddha to.
An Old Woman and Her Cloth
An old woman lived in the suburbs of the town. As she became old, her strength and energy declined, so she couldn’t weave cloth as fast as she had done in her youth. After several months, she finally managed to complete a single piece of cloth. This time the cloth had turned out better than the woman had expected. She thought to herself, “This is the first time I've weaved cloth this well. This is my treasure. I don’t want to leave this to anyone no matter how much money I am offered.” She put on the clothes she had sewn and went out into town for the first time in a while. She felt happy to be in such beautiful clothing. While she was cheerfully strolling along, she came across Anathapindika’s signboard. She saw many people bringing various things and piling them up. She asked a person nearby, “Why is such a rich man as Mr. Anathapindika collecting things from people?” The person answered, “Oh, they are not being collected for Mr. Anathapindika. We are going to build a temple to which we'll invite the great Buddha, Shakyamuni. Everyone is bringing things to donate for the temple. Even if you are poor, you can still give. Give as much as you can, no matter how small it is. That will be a very good deed. It is taught that the merit of giving does not depend on the amount you offer.”
Even If We Are Poor, We Can Still Donate
After seeing people giving happily, the old woman went home and thought for a while. “I thought GIVING meant rich people giving things they don't need to poor people, but I was wrong. Anyone can practice GIVING like this.” I am so poor that I have never thought of giving something to others, but maybe I too can give.” “However, in my house there is nothing that I can donate,” she thought to herself. But when she looked around her room, she noticed one special thing. “The one thing that's worth giving is that garment, but it is the second most important thing to me, next to my life. I don’t want to let go of it.” Then a messenger of Anathapindika happened to pass by asking for donations. Right away, the woman did something unexpected.