Title- The Difference in Merits of the Charities Performed Inside and Outside the Buddha Sasana


 

With regard to my older post title- greatly beneficial charity and less beneficial charity, the offerings given inside and outside the Buddha Sasana should be considered “seriously”.

 

 

To be greatly beneficial charity, the role of donees plays an important role. We can get the donees who are endowed with morality and good conduct, who are striving to be free from raga, dosa and moha such as noble Samghas only inside the Buddha Sasana. In contrast, it is impossible or very hard to find even the one who is endowed with morality and good conduct outside the Buddha Sasana.

 

 

The best illustration, which describes the difference in benefits produced by charity inside and outside the Sasana, is provided by the two celestial beings, Ankura and Indaka.

 

 

The Story of the Two Celestial Beings, Ankura and Indaka

 

The Buddha went to Tavatimsa to preach Abhidhamma to devas and brahmas headed by Santusita deva, who used to be His mother. The deva Indaka arrived there and took his place on the right side of the Buddha. Then the deva Ankura arrived and sat on the left side of the Buddha. Whenever powerful devas and brahmas arrived there, the deva Ankura had to move back to make room for them. When the Buddha started delivering his discourse, Ankura had to sit at a place twelve leagues (twelve yojanas) away from the Buddha. (note: a yojana=about 13miles).

 

 

But the deva Indaka did not have to move; he remained at the place where he had initially set close to the Buddha. After delivering the discourse, the Buddha asked Ankura about this matter. Ankura recounted his own story, comparing the benefit of the charity performed inside the Sasana and the charity performed outside the Sasana.

 

 

At the time after the Sasana of Kassapa Buddha had disappeared, the future deva Ankura was the youngest son named Ankura among the eleven sons of King Mahasagara who ruled over the Kingdom of Uttaramadhurajika. When Ankura grew up, he earned his livelihood by trading. One day, the prince Ankura travelled across a desert with 500 carts loaded with commodities. They lost their way in the dessert, and encountered great trouble for they were short of food. At that time a certain deva who lived in a banyan-tree in the desert, appeared before him in person. This deva possessed the supernormal powers of creating whatever he wished and letting the created things flow out of his right first finger. He possessed this power, because he had pointed out to donees the place where alms were being given.

 

 

This devas who felt greatful to the prince Ankura for the latter had helped him in his previous life, created all the things which the prince wanted. The prince loaded five hundred carts with the things and treasures given by the deva, and returned to his native place.

 

 

Thenceforth, the prince performed for ten thousand years (note: the life-span of human-beings varies from time-to-time) a great act of charity by giving away foods and things to thousands of people. As a consequence of his charitable deed, on his death he was reborn in the celestial abode, Tavatamsa, as a deva named Ankura.

 

 

Although the prince Ankura had performed a great act of charity for a long time, he had the chance to donate only to people who were not endowed with good morality as it was the time outside the Sasana. It is like planting seeds in an infertile field; and therefore the yield of the crops is very poor. {See detailed facts about that in my older post title-charity is analogous to sowing seeds}.

 

 

As for deva Indaka, he had been a youth named Indaka at the time of Gotama Buddha. He offered only one spoonful of alms-food to the Venerable Anuruddha, who was an arahant. On his death, he was reborn in the celestial abode as deva Indaka. As the result of his meritorious action in the time when the Sasana was flourishing, he became a very powerful deva. The very noble donee in the person of Venerable Anuruddha, the arahant, resembles a very good fertile field. Planting a good seed of meritorious deed in this field produces wonderful results. The deva Indaka surpassed the deva Ankura. The former enjoyed a longer life, had more retinues, possessed better appearance, greater wealth and greater power, and enjoyed the pleasure of five senses better than the latter.

 

 

Thus the charity performed in the time when the Sasana is flourishing is the greatly beneficial charity. The charity performed outside the Sasana and the charity performed by non-Buddhists inside the Sasana belong to less beneficial charity.

 

 

Knowledge is power and may all members be able to gather greatly beneficial merits as much as possible by performing greatly beneficial charity in time while the Sasana is flourishing.

 

 

Doc Version Here In My Group:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/buddhism-for-beginners/title-the-difference-in-merits-of-the-charities-performed-inside-and-outside-the/866365113420278

 

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