Give A Man A Cabbage
Friday, November 21, 2008 7:44:45 PM
Buddhists would not want to teach a man to fish, so I adapted this old Christian saying for Buddhism. The idea is still sound — don't just give material things, but give knowledge and skills.
In the Dhammapada it says:
The gift of Truth excels all (other) gifts.
The flavour of Truth excels all (other) flavours.
The pleasure in Truth excels all (other) pleasures.
He who has destroyed craving overcomes all sorrow. (Dhp v 354)
That is, the teaching that can help us to eradicate craving and ignorance is the best gift of all.
Don't misunderstand though; if a man is starving one should still give him food. He may not be strong enough to dig the ground to grow his own food, so even a gift of a hoe is not much use at the moment. If a man has food, and knows how to support himself and his family, then he is ready to understand something further.
Devout Buddhists provide all of the daily needs of Buddhist monks so that we do not have to grow food, or work to earn money. We can therefore study and meditate, preserve the Buddha's genuine teachings, and teach others how to meditate effectively.