|■布施波羅蜜The Paramita of Giving
From last issue: There are three other ways to explain the Six Perfections: the first is in terms of their curing powers,
The second is how they interact, and the third is in terms of their rewards.
Now we'll talk about how the Paramita of Giving has ten kinds of advantages. What are the ten? The first advantage is that one will be able to conquer the afflictions associated with stinginess. If you have stinginess, that's a form of affliction which is hard to overcome. To overcome stinginess, you must engage in the practice of giving. That's the first advantage.
What is the second advantage? One will be able to sustain the thought of giving continuously. If your first thought is to give, but in your next thought you no longer want to give, that cannot be considered giving. You must have the wish to give, to practice charity, in thought after thought. You have to sustain this wish continuously, without a break and without stopping. This is the second advantage: If you truly practice giving, the thought of giving will be sustained continuously.
The third advantage is that one will be able to equally share one's wealth with all living beings, so that there is no discrimination between oneself and all living beings. Since you are able to give your money to others, everyone will be the same in what they have or don't have.
The fourth advantage is that one will be born in a wealthy and honorable family.
The fifth advantage is that in every life, one will be generous and ready to give. You will have generous, not selfish, inclinations. In life after life you always have the wish to give; you always bring forth the resolve to practice charity. This is the fifth kind of advantage.
The sixth advantage is that the four assemblies will take delight in one's presence. The Bhikshus and Bhikshunis are pleased with you. Why? Because you make offerings to them. The Upasakas and Upasikas are also happy with you. Thus the four assemblies are all delighted with you.
The seventh advantage is that one will not be afraid in a crowd. What does this mean? If you lack virtuous conduct, then when you encounter many people, if you are not afraid of one, you'll be afraid of another. When you see one person, you think, "Oh! This person has too much virtue--I'm afraid of him." When you see another person, you think, "Oh, he's so mean and evil!" and you're afraid of him as well. If someone is good, you're afraid of him; if he's evil, you're also scared. If you practice giving, then you fear neither good people nor evil people. Thus you will remain unafraid when surrounded by the multitudes.
The eighth advantage is that one's good reputation will become widespread. If you practice giving, everyone will know that you are a great, wealthy elder, and your good reputation will be known by all.
The ninth advantage is rather strange: one's hands and feet will be soft and supple. Your hands will be as soft as cotton and very smooth. They won't be coarse like the palms and soles of a person who does rough work; if you were to feel his hands, they would be as coarse as sandpaper.
The ninth advantage is to have soft and supple hands and feet; your hands will be as soft as cotton. The Buddhas' hands are called tula cotton hands. This is the special characteristic that comes from having practiced giving in life after life.
The tenth advantage is even better--what is it? When you reach the Bodhimanda that you are going to, you will meet a genuine Good and Wise Advisor. If you are unable to meet a true spiritual teacher, it is because you failed to practice giving in your previous lives. If you encounter a true spiritual teacher, he will use "earnest remonstrations and a kindly heart." Earnest remonstrations means he will make a point of saying things that you don't want to hear. His words are bitter; when you listen to them, they seem very bitter to you. A kindly heart means that he has a heart of compassion. This is the advantage of always encountering Good and Wise Advisors.
If one can practice giving, one will obtain these ten advantages. The remaining five Paramitas also have ten advantages associated with each of them.
To be continued