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Four Kinds Of Merit

There was a rich man who used to invite all the Brahmans of the
neighborhood to his house, and, giving them rich gifts, offered
great sacrifices to the gods.

And the Blessed One said: "If a man each month repeat a thousand
sacrifices and give offerings without ceasing, he is not equal to
him who but for one moment fixes his mind upon righteousness."

The world-honored Buddha continued: "There are four kinds of
offering: first, when the gifts are large and the merit small;
secondly, when the gifts are small and the merit small; thirdly,
when the gifts are small and the merit large; and fourthly, when
the gifts are large and the merit is also large.

"The first is the case of the deluded man who takes away life for
the purpose of sacrificing to the gods, accompanied by carousing
and feasting. Here the gifts are great, but the merit is small

"The gifts are small and the merit is also small, when from
covetousness and an evil heart a man keeps to himself a part of
that which he intends to offer.

"The merit is great, however, while the gift is small, when a man
makes his offering from love and with a desire to grow in wisdom
and in kindness.

"Lastly, the gift is large and the merit is large, when a wealthy
man, in an unselfish spirit and with the wisdom of a Buddha,
gives donations and founds institutions for the best of mankind
to enlighten the minds of his fellow-men and to administer unto
their needs."

Next: The Light Of The World

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