4 –THE MERCHANT
Pg 29 – Even in the face of imminent peril
the virtuous never shrink from practicing charity.
Who, then, when safe and happy, should not be charitable?
Once, when the Buddha was still a Bodhisattva, he took birth as the son of a good family. Blessed with boundless energy and great good fortune, he became head of his guild. He acquired a large estate, and by his fairness and integrity in business, earned the deepest respect of all. In addition, his study of various branches of the arts and sciences purified his mind and produced qualities which, together with his noble virtues, brought him honor even from the king.
Devoted to the precept of giving, he constantly endeavored to share his wealth with the people. The mendicants praised his name far and wide, spreading his reputation for charity in all directions; they trusted him entirely, becoming bold enough to tell him their desires freely. For his part, untouched by avarice, he never held back his wealth, either for his own pleasure or to gain influence over others-for he found it impossible to witness any sort of suffering and refuse to help.
One day a mendicant, a Pratyekabuddha in whom the fire of knowledge had burned away all fettering passions, approached the Bodhisattva’s dwelling. –
Pg – 30 Now this beggar’s sole desire was to increase the merit of the Bodhisattva, and to that end he had appeared in the gateway at meal time, just as the Great Being, having bathed and anointed himself, was about to sit down to a feast. Many and various dishes had been prepared by the finest of cooks, dishes pleasing in their color, smell, taste, texture, and so on. In the quiet of the evening, the monk stood outside the house without apprehension or agitation, looking firmly and quietly a small distance before him, his lotus-like hands holding a wooden alms bowl. Continue reading