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Giving Leftovers

--by Heng Ch'au (Apr 23, 2001)


As we start getting further from the L.A. area, everybody wants to have a chance to give us a meal, to help out. As a result we have food to spare. Today we got a hot dish we couldn't possibly finish, especially since Heng Sure is trying the fight of diarrhea. We couldn't let it spoil or waste and we couldn't eat it. Just then a very poor and hungry man walked by and started picking through a garbage can for scraps. We put the food on a plate and gave it to him.

But then I started to feel a little ashamed. Why did I just give him the food that we wouldn't keep? Why didn't I give him some of the other food too? The answer was because I'm selfish and greedy thinking to keep the better items for myself. The chance to give sincerely is a wonderful opportunity to plant blessings. What would I have done if the men were my teacher or father? Maybe he was or will be. Giving what you don't want or have no use for --leftovers and second-hands -- is selfish and empty. I felt pretty small and ungrateful.

Quickly we threw together a bag of goodies and found the man. He took it as easily as it was given with a simple "thank you". No thanks. Who benefits, who is in debt--it's all the same. And I blew it because of small minded to read it. More mistakes, more learning.

-- Heng Ch'au
(with another monk, he took a 800 mile `bowing pilgrimage, starting from South of LA. Every three steps, one full bow to the ground to spread compassion in the world. During the 2 years and 9 months of bowing, they wrote journals; some excerpts ...


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