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To Vaccha (On Giving)

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  • R. K. Wijayaratne
    Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammâ Sambuddhassa! Sunday, 9 December 2007 @ 10:00 AM : Ven. Gangodawila Soma There Commemorative Dana, Commemorative Dana
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2007
      Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammâ Sambuddhassa!
      Sunday, 9 December 2007 @ 10:00 AM : Ven. Gangodawila Soma There Commemorative Dana, Commemorative Dana Pinkama, in memory of the late Ven. Gangodawila Soma, which shall be attended by 14 Venerables. All welcome. At Buddhist Vihara Victoria, 125 Homestead Road, Berwick. More info Ven. Wimalananda, Ven. Kalyanadhamma 03 9702 6275.
      SUMMARY: Here Vacca the wanderer asks the Lord Buddha whether the Lord Buddha had said that giving (of offerings, alms, etc) should only be given to him and his disciples and not to others. The Lord Buddha states that those who report him as saying as such are spreading inaccurate reports and are a misinterpreting his words (comm. in other words all giving is good whether to the Buddha, the Sangha or any others). The Lord Buddha then explains that anyone who prevents and obstructs another from giving (comm. e.g. by saying "Don't give it there / to them") creates three impediments/obstructions i) prevents the merit of the giver, ii) the gain of the recipient and iii) also harms himself thereby. He says that even if someone were to throw the rinsings (food scarps) of a cup or bowl to a village pond wishing for the beings in that pond (e.g. fish, etc) would eat it, that would be a source of merit, not to mention what is given to human beings. The Lord
      Buddha says that what he DID say was that what is given to a virtuous person bears a greater fruit/result than what is given to an unvirtuous person. A virtuous person is defined here as someone who has abandoned the five hindrances (to the final goal) of i) sensual desire, ii) ill will, iii) sloth and drowsiness, iv) restlessness and anxiety and v) doubt and perplexity (about the Teacher, the Teaching and Path, the disciples, themselves, etc.) and has developed i) higher/noble virtue (sila), ii) higher concentration, iii) higher wisdom, iv) higher release, v) higher knowledge and vision of release.

      AN 3.57 Vaccha Sutta To Vaccha (on Giving)
      Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

      Then Vacchagotta the wanderer went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "Master Gotama, I have heard that 'Gotama the contemplative says this: "Only to me should a gift be given, and not to others. Only to my disciples should a gift be given, and not to others. Only what is given to me bears great fruit, and not what is given to others. Only what is given to my disciples bears great fruit, and not what is given to the disciples of others."' Now those who report this: Are they reporting the Master Gotama's actual words, are they not misrepresenting him with what is unfactual, are they answering in line with the Dhamma, so that no one whose thinking is in line with the Dhamma will have grounds for criticizing them? For we don't want to misrepresent the Master Gotama."

      "Vaccha, whoever says this: 'Gotama the contemplative says this: "Only to me should a gift be given... Only what is given to my disciples bears great fruit, and not what is given to the disciples of others,"' is not reporting my actual words, is misrepresenting me with what is unfactual & untrue.

      "Vaccha, whoever prevents another from giving a gift creates three obstructions, three impediments. Which three? He creates an obstruction to the merit of the giver, an obstruction to the recipient's gains, and prior to that he undermines and harms his own self. Whoever prevents another from giving a gift creates these three obstructions, these three impediments.

      "I tell you, Vaccha, even if a person throws the rinsings of a bowl or a cup into a village pool or pond, thinking, 'May whatever animals live here feed on this,' that would be a source of merit, to say nothing of what is given to human beings. But I do say that what is given to a virtuous person is of great fruit, and not so much what is given to an unvirtuous person. And the virtuous person has abandoned five factors and is endowed with five.
      "Which five has he abandoned? He has abandoned sensual desire... ill will... sloth & drowsiness... restlessness & anxiety... uncertainty. These are the five factors he has abandoned. And with which five is he endowed? He is endowed with the aggregate of virtue of one beyond training... the aggregate of concentration of one beyond training... the aggregate of discernment of one beyond training... the aggregate of release of one beyond training... the aggregate of knowledge & vision of release of one beyond training. These are the five factors with which he is endowed.

      "I tell you: What is given to one who has abandoned these five factors and is endowed with these five, bears great fruit.

      "In a herd of cattle,
      whether black, white,
      ruddy, brown,
      dappled, uniform,
      or pigeon gray:
      if a bull is born —
      tame, enduring,
      consummate in strength,
      & swift —
      people yoke him to burdens,
      regardless of his color.
      In the same way,
      wherever one is born
      among human beings —
      noble warriors, priests,
      merchants, workers,
      outcastes, or scavengers —
      if one is tame, with good practices,
      righteous, consummate in virtue,
      a speaker of truth, with conscience at heart,
      one
      who's abandoned birth & death,
      completed the holy life
      put down the burden,
      done the task
      fermentation-free,
      gone beyond all dhammas,
      through lack of clinging unbound:
      offerings to this spotless field
      bear an abundance of fruit.

      But fools, unknowing,
      dull, uninformed,
      give gifts outside
      and don't come near the good.
      While those who do come near the good
      — regarded as enlightened,
      wise —
      whose trust in the One Well-gone
      has taken root,
      is established & firm:
      they go to the world of the devas
      or are reborn here in good family.
      Step by step
      they reach
      Unbinding
      : they
      who are wise."

      See previous installment here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhamma/message/1291


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