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

indeed.



"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."





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