Reader comment on Rachel Naomi Remen's passage ...

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    On Mar 22, 2013 Paul wrote:

     

    1. Once, when the Buddha was dwelling near Savatthi at Jeta Grove, in Anathapindika’s park, the householder Anathapindika visited him, and after greeting him politely sat down at one side.

    2. The Exalted One addressed Anathapindika: “Are alms given in your house, householder?”

    3. “Yes, Lord, alms are given by my family, but they only consist of broken rice and sour gruel.”

    4. “Householder, whether one gives coarse or choice alms, if one gives them without respect, without thought, not by one’s own hand, gives only leftovers, and without belief in the result of actions, then wherever he is reborn as a result of his having given these alms, his mind will not turn to the enjoyment of fine food and clothing, fine vehicles or the fine objects of the five senses. His children, wife, servants, and labourers will not obey him, and neither listen nor pay attention to him. And why is that so? Because this is the result of actions done without respect.

    5. “But whether one gives coarse or choice alms, if one gives them with respect, thoughtfully, by one’s own hand, gives things that are not leftovers, and with belief in the result of actions, then wherever he is reborn as a result of his having given these alms, his mind will turn to the enjoyment of fine food, clothes and vehicles, and of the finer objects of the five senses. His children, wife, servants, and labourers will obey him, listen and pay attention to him. And why is this? Because this is the result of actions done with respect.

    6. “Long ago, householder, there lived a brahman called Velama. He gave very valuable gifts such as these: He gave eighty-four thousand golden bowls filled with silver; he gave eighty-four thousand silver bowls filled with gold; he gave eighty-four thousand copper bowls filled with jewels; he gave eighty-four thousand horses with trappings, banners and nets of gold; he gave eighty-four thousand carriages spread with lion skins, tiger skins and leopard skins, with saffron-coloured blankets, with golden trappings, banners and nets; he gave eighty-four thousand milk-giving cows with fine jute ropes and silver milk pails; he gave eighty-four thousand bejewelled maidens; he gave beds with covers of fleece, white blankets, embroidered coverlets, covered with antelope skins, with awnings, and with crimson cushions at the ends; he gave eighty-four thousand lengths of cloth of the best flax, silk, wool, and cotton. And who could describe all the food both hard and soft kinds, sweets and syrups that he gave? They flowed like rivers.

    7. “Perhaps, householder, you think that the brahman Velama who made that very valuable gift was someone else. Do not think that; it was I who was Velama the brahman who made that very valuable gift.

    8. “But when those alms were given, householder, there were no recipients worthy of the gift. Although the brahman Velama gave such a valuable gift, if he had fed one person of right view, the fruit of the latter deed would have been greater.

    9. “Though he gave that very rich gift, or though he fed a hundred people of right view, the fruit of feeding a Once-returner would have been greater.

    10. “Though he gave that very valuable gift, or though he fed a hundred Once-returners, the fruit of feeding one Non-returner would have been greater.

    11. “… though he fed a hundred Non-returners, the fruit of feeding one Arahat would have been greater.

    12. “… though he fed a hundred Arahats, the fruit of feeding one Non-Teaching Buddha would have been greater.

    13. “… though he fed a hundred Non-Teaching Buddhas, the fruit of feeding one Perfect One, a Teaching Buddha, would have been greater.

    14. “. . . though he fed one Perfect One, a Teaching Buddha, the fruit of feeding the Order of monks (Sangha) with the Buddha at its head would have been greater. [1]

    15. “… though he fed the Order of monks with the Buddha at its head, the fruit of building a monastery for the use of the monks of the Order of the surrounding country would have been greater.

    16. “… though he built a monastery for the Order, the fruit of sincerely taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha would have been greater.

    17. “… though he sincerely took refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, the fruit of sincerely undertaking to keep the moral precepts, abstaining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxicants causing sloth, would have been greater.

    18. “… though he sincerely undertook those precepts, the fruit of developing [concentration on radiating universal] loving kindness [metta] even just to the extent of a whiff of scent, would have been greater.
     

    19. “… though he developed loving kindness to the extent of a whiff of scent, the fruit of cultivating the thought of impermanence, even for the moment of a finger snap, would have been greater.”

     the Velama Sutta

    I hope you enjoyed :)
    Offered in metta - Paul


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