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Four Bases Of Sympathy: 
[1] Generously giving gifts 
[2] Speaking kind words
[3] Doing kind deeds
[4] Being equal in treatment

Hatthaka [the lay Buddhist] was famous… for his ability to attract people to the Dharma. Once he brought five hundred people, all obviously keen to practise the Dharma, to see the Buddha who asked him: “How do you manage to interest so many people in the Dharma?” 

Hatthaka answered: “Lord, I do it by using the four bases of sympathy, which you yourself taught me. When I know that someone can be attracted by generosity, I am generous. When I know that they can be attracted by kind words, I speak to them with kindness. When I know that they can be attracted by doing them a good turn, I do them a good turn, and when I know they can be attracted by treating them equally, I treat them with equality.” 

Obviously, when people attended talks on Dharma organised by Hatthaka, they always received a warm personal welcome that made them feel liked and respected, and so they would come again, gradually getting interested in the Dharma. The Buddha praised Hatthaka for his skill. “Well done, Hatthaka, well done, this is the way to attract people.”… 

Modesty, in particular, was evident in Hatthaka’s character. While some take great pride in their wealth or are motivated by self-aggrandisement to convert others to the Dharma, Hatthaka was always quiet and unassuming. He did all he could to interest people in the Dharma purely out of concern for them, not to make a name for himself… 

When Hatthaka died he was reborn as a deva, and one night he came to visit the Buddha. The Buddha asked him if he had any regrets and he replied, “I died regretting only that I never saw enough of the Buddha, heard enough Dharma or was able to serve the Dharma enough.” (A,I:278) [Note: Such was Hatthaka’s great modesty and sincerity in wanting to do his best for all.]

The Buddha and His Disciples
Ven. S. Dhammika

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