Let’s learn about the Buddha’s wisdom, which brightens and enriches our lives.Everyday practice will dramatically change your life. This is a story in which a wealthy person Anathapindika learned the meaning of life.
Buddhism teaches the “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 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. He made every effort to build a temple that he could invite Shakyamuni Buddha to. Anathapindika felt very glad to encounter Shakyamuni, who had attained the supreme enlightenment of a Buddha. He became eager to spread the Buddha’s teachings in his province and started to look for suitable places to build a temple.
Soon he chose Prince Jeta’s forest and land. Anathapindika immediately visited Prince Jeta and asked him to sell the land, but the Prince didn’t accept Anathapindika’s offer readily. In spite of that, Anathapindika kept asking so persistently and enthusiastically that Jeta was at a loss and said, “Then, cover that land with golden coins. I’ll give you the land in return for that amount of gold.” Jeta thought that if he made such an extraordinary request, Anathapindika would give up. However, Anathapindika was delighted to hear Jeta say he would give him the land. He started to bring golden coins from his storehouse and spread them on the ground. “Hurry, hurry, bring much more gold! I won’t care even if the storehouse becomes empty.” The forest floor became covered with golden coins in a very short time and shone dazzlingly.
Prince Jeta was shocked to see the ground covered with gold and said, “It can't be! Wait, why would you go that far to donate this land to Shakyamuni Buddha?" Anathapindika said with a smile, “Shakyamuni Buddha teaches the path that leads everyone to true happiness. If we listen to the teachings, our life of suffering will turn dramatically into a bright one and we will attain happiness that will never change for all eternity. If there is someone who teaches such a supreme thing, we should be eager to go anywhere in order to listen to the teachings. However, Shakyamuni Buddha says, ‘I will visit you and give lectures.’ Then what we should do now is to build a temple to invite Buddha. I want to spread Buddha’s teachings in this country. Money and wealth are treasures within one lifetime. However, Buddha’s teachings are treasure forever. We can make use of our money and wealth to listen to the true Buddhism that lasts forever, so I’ll have no regrets even if I devote all of my wealth to it.” Anathapindika’s enthusiasm moved Jeta.
“Oh! Now I see how great and noble Shakyamuni Buddha is and how much you respect him. I don’t want the gold coins any more. I will give the rest of my land for free. I will donate the wood of the forest to build the temple. Let me take part in the donation.” In this way, the construction of the temple began. Anathapindika also thought, “I can build the temple with my own money and wealth, but this is a precious chance to practice the good deed of ‘GIVING.’ If many people take part in this, they will gain great bonds with Buddhism.”
He put up a signboard that said, “I have decided to build a temple and donate it to Shakyamuni Buddha, who attained supreme enlightenment. If you are willing to contribute, please donate something towards the construction of the temple, regardless of how much or little it is. Let us share the opportunities to practice GIVING.”
Soon the news spread all over the town. People who were willing to donate became very happy to participate in the great work to convey Buddhism.