Title- Charity is Analogous to Sowing Seeds

~Recipients are the fields,

~~Donors are the farmers,

~~~Offerings are the seeds sown,

~~~~Benefits in future are the fruits.




In the Peta Vatthu (Pali Text) it is said, “The receipient of the charity is like the land; the donor, the farmer; the offerings, the seeds sown. The benefits accrued later throughout samsara are the fruits that are borne from the plants”. Let us elaborate:




(1) In agriculture, the type of soil whether good or bad, determines the yield. Similarly, the integrity and nobility of the receipient determine the nature of beneficial results.


(2) Just as the vitality of the seeds sown determines the growth and productivity of the plants, the purity of offerings, gifts, whether they are procured through right livelihood or not, and the quantity, determine the nature of beneficial results.


(3) Just as farmers will reap harvests in conformity with their skill in farming and efforts, so also donors will enjoy results depending on their level of intelligence, appreciative joy and their sincere effort in giving dana.


(4) Farmers have to prepare to till and plough their fields properly, before sowing the seeds so as to ensure a good yield. Likewise donors must have pubba-cetana (pre-charity goodwill) before giving dana. Result will depend on the intensity of their pubba-cetana.


(5) Farmers need to weed and water their fields; only then the plants will flourish. In the same way, donors need to recall their charity and feel satisfaction for the meritorious deed. This apara-cetana (post-charity volition) of the donor determines the nature of beneficial results.


(6) In farmers, through folly, destroy their sprouts and seedlings they cannot enjoy the product of their labour. Similarly, if donors feel that they should not have done the alms-giving and regret for it afterwards, then they fail to enjoy good results due to their feeble apara-cetana.


(7) Even though the land and the seeds are all in good condition, the sowing should be done in the right season, the right time so as to get a healthy crop. In the same way, one should give alms to the needy, at suitable time and place. Such charity brings about the best results.





There are such valuable lessons and guidance regarding dana in the Petta Vatthu. Therefore, in giving charity, the correct choice of recipient, the appropriateness of the time and place are very important. The dana must be done with a blissful mind and cheerful volition. Moreover, one should not do dana with a view to getting worldly wealth because such a wish is associated with greed and craving. Your cetana (volition) should be as pure as possible!




The Recipient also Determines the Result___In the Petta Vatthu, it is mentioned that recipients of dana are like fields where the seeds are sown. Farmlands, in general, are of three grades: the very fertile, the mediocre and the poor. Likewise, recipients are also of different grades. Just as farms free of weeds and grass are highly productive, so also if recipients are void of greed, hatred and ignorance, the donors enjoy benefits all the more. Just as farms will yield a plentiful harvest when they are rich in manure and fertilizers, so also good results will accrue to donors when the recipients are persons of virtue and wisdom.




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