Ja 180 Duddadajātaka
The Story about the Difficulty of (Giving) Gifts (2s)
In the present two brothers get together and give alms to the Buddha, and to the Saṅgha, who then praises their good deed. The Buddha then tells a story of how rich and poor banded together to give alms to a holy man in the past.
The Bodhisatta = the teacher of a group (gaṇasatthā),
the Buddha’s disciples = the seer’s group (isigaṇa).
Keywords: Generosity, Faith.
“Tis hard to do as good men do.”
In the past, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta was born into a brahmin family of Kāsi. When he grew up, he was thoroughly educated at Taxila; after which he renounced the world, and took up the ascetic life, and with a band of disciples went to live in the Himālayas. There he lived a long time.
Once having need to procure salt and seasoning, he went on pilgrimage through the countryside, and in course of it he arrived at Benares. There he settled in the king’s park; and on the following morning he and his company went begging to some village outside the gates. The people gave him alms. Next day he sought alms in the city. The people were all glad to give him their alms. They clubbed together and made a collection; and provided plenty for the band of ascetics. After the presentation their spokesman offered his gift with the same words as above. The Bodhisatta replied, “Friend, where faith Cittapasādo. is, no gift is small.” And he returned his thanks in these verses following:
1. “ ’Tis hard to do as good men do, to give as they can give,
Bad men can hardly imitate the life which good men live.
2. And so, when good and evil go to pass away from earth,
The bad are born in hell below, in heaven the good have birth.”
This was his thanksgiving. He remained in the place for the four months of the rains, and then returned to the Himālayas; where he practised all the modes of holy meditation, and without a single interruption continued in them until he joined the hosts of heaven.
When this discourse came to an end the Teacher identified the Jātaka, “At that time,” said he, “the Buddha’s company was the body of ascetics, and I myself was their leader.”
last updated: November 2021