My brother told me this story. It was the mid-autumn festival (moon cake
festival). A traveller was passing through town and decided to pay his long
time friend a visit. Unfortunately, his friend was not in. His young son
received him and since it was the mid-autumn festival, he told the young
man, "What a pity, I was looking forward to enjoying the full moon
with him. I shall have to leave, but I would like to present him with a
He picked up a stick
and drew a moon cake on the ground and said, "Here, tell your father
it's from me."
The young boy
was quick too; he drew a moon cake several times bigger and said, "Thank
you very much, sir. Please accept my father's gift in return."
With that the
man broke into laughter, and they bade each other farewell. The next day
when the father returned, his son told him about his friend and proudly
showed him the two moon cakes still on the ground. His father was not
very happy with what he saw, "Why did you have to draw such a big
one? Look, he only drew a small one!"
The Six Paramita's
in Buddhism describe the 6 practices that can ferry people from the sea
of suffering to the shore of enlightenment. The first of these is the
practice of Giving. (The others are 1. Observing the Precepts, 2. Patience,
3. Zeal and Progress, 4. Meditation, and 5. Wisdom.) Considering how much
pains and sufferings people often have to go through to fulfil their desires,
protect their possessions and then parting with them eventually, it is
perhaps easy to appreciate why being able to give, to part with what we
have, is so powerful that it can ferry us to the shore of enlightenment.
A moon cake
drawn on the ground, does its size really matter? Being able to give is
a state of the mind. Material things are not the only forms of giving.
It includes the giving of Dharma, fearlessness, courage, smile, greetings,
kindness, cheerfulness, non-hindrance and praise.
Indeed, it is
such an important practice that we like to focus this issue on what we
need to know about giving. Giving is the basis of our blessings, which
is why the more we give, the richer we become.
Be with Buddha.