There is a saying, “Sow good seeds right away; don’t put it off.” Buddhism teaches the “Six Paramitas”, or six good deeds that bring us happiness, and encourages us to practice them.
The first one, “GIVING”, is doing kind acts such as giving people money or materials, showing consideration, or saying kind words. It is a good deed that everyone can practice if he or she is willing to.
The spirit of GIVING is very important for those who listen to Buddhism and seek true happiness. He who gives to another bestows on himself. If you practice “GIVING”, then good results will surely appear to you.
This month, let’s learn how important it is to “practice GIVING right away” through a story taught by Shakyamuni Buddha.
The foolish man who couldn’t give milk
Once upon a time, a foolish man decided to invite many guests and treat them to a meal. “Then what should I treat guests to?” he wondered. Realizing that he had a dairy cow, he decided to treat the guests to some milk. However, only one cow cannot supply milk for many guests. If he milked the cow in advance and stored the milk, it would go bad.
After pondering for a long time, an idea came to him. “I know! If I milk the cow now, the milk will go bad, but if I keep it inside the cow, it’ll be fine. What a good idea!” So he left the shed without milking the cow and waited for the day when the guests would come.
The day came and many guests gathered. The man went to the cowshed and tried to squeeze out some milk, which he thought had been stored inside the cow. However, he found that he couldn’t get even a drop of milk—it had all dried up! The guests started to complain that they wanted their meals. Now there was nothing he could do. The man told the guests what happened and they went away, angry and making fun of him.
Never put it off; do it right now.
After telling this story, Shakyamuni Buddha said, “When it comes to GIVING, some say that they will generously donate when they have saved enough money or they have become rich enough to do so. However, such people are similar to the foolish man in the story. They can never practice GIVING with this mindset. They may be robbed of their money and fortune before they earn enough, or they may be killed in a disaster or an accident before they have the chance to donate at all. Whenever there is a chance to give, we should act upon it immediately.”
Even though we know that GIVING is a good deed, it is hard to put it into practice. Therefore Shakyamuni Buddha encourages us to put it into practice right away, as soon as the chance arises. This applies not only to giving money or things, but also to deeds like greeting others or showing them consideration. So let's always make an effort to plant good seeds whenever there is a chance. Don't put it off!
The Buddha’s wisdom is the light which brightens our life. If we practice the teachings, our daily life will dramatically change.