What is a Normal Hand?
- What is a Normal Hand?
A devotee once complained to a Buddhist Master, "My wife so very stingy, that she is unwilling to spend even a single cent for charitable purposes. I would like to invite you to my house, so that you may teach her a lesson or two on the importance of practising generosity. Is this possible?" To his sincere request, the compassionate Master readily agreed.
The very next day, the Master arrived at his house. To nobody's surprise, the wife was so miserly that she did not even offer him a simple cup of tea. However, the Master neither scolded her nor asked for any tea. Instead, the Master sat down.
Calmly holding out a fist, he asked, "Please look at this hand of mine. What would you think of it if it always remains closed?" She replied, "If it cannot open, then surely that hand is not well - it might be deformed! Something must be wrong with it."
The Master nodded in agreement. Next, he opened the same fist and held out a flat palm, asking, "But what if the hand was like this all the time?" She replied, "That would not be right either - it must also be unwell!"
Again, the Master nodded, saying, "You are absolutely right! Both a constantly closed or opened hand is abnormal. Likewise, when we only crave for more wealth to keep, with no intention to share at all, we are being always close-fisted. This is being spiritually deformed. But if we only spend, with no intention to save for other important purposes, we are being always open-handed. This too is being spiritually deformed. It is only healthy when we give and receive as and when appropriate, letting our wealth flow in and out with ease. If not, wealth will neither bring happiness to oneself nor others."
With this brilliant analogy, the wife became enlightened on the need to balance generosity with thriftiness and without miserliness.