Fruits of Eating Modestly: Ven Sivali
- "The third type is eating modestly. This type of eating is very good, both in terms of the world and of the Dhamma. Take Ven. Sivali as an example. He ate modestly. How did he eat modestly? All that most of us know about Ven. Sivali is that he was wealthy in terms of the donations he received. But where did that wealth come from? It comes from eating modestly. Eating modestly is the source that gives rise to wealth. What Ven. Sivali did was this: whenever he received cloth, if he didn't then give a gift of cloth, he wouldn't wear what he had received. When he received food in his bowl, he wouldn't eat until he had given some of it as a gift to someone else. No matter which of the four requisites he received food, clothing, shelter, or medicine, no matter how much or how little once it was in his possession, he wouldn't use it until he had shared some of it with those around him. When he received a lot, he would make a large gift to benefit many people. When he received just a little, he'd still try to benefit others. This gave rise to all sorts of good things. His friends loved him, his community loved him, and they were kind to him. This is why being generous is said to tie the knot of friendship and to wipe out your enemies.
So that's what Ven. Sivali did. When he passed away from that lifetime and was reborn in his last lifetime, he gained all kinds of wealth and never had to go hungry. Even when he went to live in places where food should have been scarce, he never suffered from scarcity, never had to do without...
What this means for us is that, whatever we get, we eat only a third and give the other two thirds away. The parts appropriate for animals, we give to animals. The parts appropriate for human beings, we give to human beings. The parts we should share with our fellows in the holy life, we give with a clear heart. This is what it means to be modest in our consumption. We feel ease of heart and ease of body. When we die, we won't be poor."
From: Dhamma for Everyone
October 5, 1960
By Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo
(Phra Suddhidhammaransi Gambhiramedhacariya)
Translated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For Free Distribution, as a gift of Dhamma, from Access to Insight and Thanissaro Bhikkhu
With metta / Antony.