But since there are so many kinds of good deeds, we may get lost and then not end up doing any. For this reason, Shakyamuni Buddha condensed all the good deeds we can possibly do into six categories of virtues. Buddha taught us to do any one of them or even two or more if we’re able to.
|Original Photo by Ed Yourdon available on Flickr.com|
This simply means having a charitable mindset toward others but also acting on it. We found out last time the big idea behind Buddhism is for each of us to stop doing evil and to do more good. Being generous toward others is an easy and kind way for us to do this.
|Shared Word Art by Celestine Chua available on Flickr.com|
There are two kinds of giving: Giving Materials or Money and Giving the Teachings of Buddhism. Here we will focus on the first category, Giving Materials or Money. This means helping people and making them happy by giving them something they need. Shakyamuni Buddha taught us that this is a really good thing for us to do for others.
However, it's important to note that the real value of giving does not depend on the amount of money or materials. It is all about the intention behind the giving. Let’s get more insight from this historical Buddhist short story.
|Original Photo by Geoff Stearns available on Flickr.com|
Nanda was filled with resolve but the high price of oil was a hefty challenge.
With this small windfall, she went straight to an oil seller and asked to buy the oil needed for one lamp.
"A coat may warm me through cold nights, and more food may help me and my family endure a few more days. But the lectures of Shakyamuni Buddha are timeless and help me understand about the crucial matter of my afterlife."
|Original Photo by Scott Wylie available on Flickr.com|
Upon investigating who owned the land, he discovered that it belonged to King Pasenadi's son, Prince Jeta. Anathapindika scurried over to pay him a visit.
"But your majesty, I'll do anything!"
At these words, Prince Jeta became intrigued by Anathapindika's persistence.
"All right, all right, all right. Settle down or else I will charge you and your behavior as defiance to the crown!" Prince Jeta said waving his finger authoritatively. "If you really want that land so badly, Anathapindika, I'll give it to you. But you first must cover the entirety of the region that you desire for this temple -- in gold coins! I'll agree to trade you all the land you want in exchange for the gold that you rest upon every square inch of soil."
Anathapindika began calculating all of his assets and found creative ways to stretch his budget.
|Original Photo by Jeff Belmonte available on Flickr.com|
He might just be able to cover the amount of gold needed, but he realized that by including the donations of others it would deepen the bond others have with Buddhism. So he posted signs all over the city asking for donations of any kind to help build, furnish, and supply the monastery. People all over the city began to donate materials and money.
"Your determination and regard for Buddhism amazes me," said the prince. "Let me contribute the other remaining half of the land as an act of charity to this grand new temple."
|Original Photo by Photo Dharma available on Flickr.com|
|Original Photo by Jesse Barker available on Flickr.com|
|Original Photo by Feed My Starving Children available on Flickr.com|
|Shared Word Art by BK available on Flickr.com|
|Original Word Art by Celestia Chua available on Flickr.com|
So let's go out there and use kind words and avoid all that negativity, criticism, and insulting language. Instead be nurturing, considerate and caring with your friends and family. Try to focus on giving from your heart as well as smiling a little bit more throughout life.
Note: The translation of Śākyamuni has many different spellings. Up to this point, Sakyamuni has been used, which was the phonetic translation without accent symbols. In order to come closer to the original sound, Shakyamuni will now be used. Both forms are still acceptable, but this alternate spelling is preferred. Soon past posts will all be updated to reflect this change.