Give away what you do not need.
Give away your miserliness.
Give away what others do need.
One morning when the Blessed One was in Śrāvastī he donned his lower garment and Dharma robes, and, carrying his alms bowl, went for alms. A little brahmin child stood not far from the Blessed One and watched as a householder offered a laḍḍū treat of a hundred flavors, big enough to fill his stomach. When the brahmin child saw the laḍḍū treat, great craving arose in him for it, and he approached the Blessed One and said, “Hey Gautama, gimme that laḍḍū!”
The Blessed One answered the brahmin child, “Child, if you say, ‘I don’t need that laḍḍū treat,’ I’ll hand it over.” So he said to Gautama, “Hey Gautama, I don’t need that laḍḍū treat,” and the Blessed One handed the laḍḍū treat to him. At that time, not far from the Blessed One was sitting the householder Anāthapiṇḍada, who thought, “It won’t be possible for the Blessed One to take alms again today. There’s nowhere else, no other opportunity.”
Realizing that there was no other place and no other opportunity for the Blessed One to take alms, he pulled the brahmin child aside and said, “Little brahmin, give that laḍḍū treat back to the Blessed One and I’ll give you five hundred gold coins.” “As you wish, householder,” the brahmin child said, and he put the laḍḍū treat back into the Blessed One’s alms bowl. The Blessed One finished his alms round and returned to the monastery. Meanwhile, the householder Anāthapiṇḍada brought the brahmin child home, gave him something to eat, and handed him the five hundred gold coins.
The monks inquired of the Blessed One, “Lord, tell us why the Blessed One would not give the brahmin child the laḍḍū treat when he begged the Blessed One for it, but the Blessed One gave the laḍḍū treat to him after the child said, ‘Hey Gautama, I don’t need that laḍḍū treat.’ ” “Monks,” explained the Blessed One, “for many thousands of lifetimes, that brahmin child frequently indulged, became addicted, and ended up wanting more. Thus I’ve lured him with a laḍḍū treat to turn him away from his preoccupation with acquiring things; that will be the sole cause of his going forth and giving up his aggregates.”
“Lord, when will this brahmin child give up his aggregates?” “Monks, in the future a totally and completely awakened Buddha named Mountain, who will far surpass the listeners and solitary buddhas, will emerge in the world. It is in his doctrine alone that, having obtained a human birth, he will go forth, cast away the afflictive emotions, and manifest arhatship.”
The Hundred Deeds (Karmaśataka)
Translated by Dr. Lozang Jamspal and Kaia Tara Fischer