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I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant - Page 5 - Dhamma Wheel

I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
pegembara
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby pegembara » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:32 pm

Let's break down the problem using the Dalai Lama as an example... not saying that he is or isn't an arahant.

Feed a starving child and you save one life. That is good. The DL doesn't need your help and feeding him has minimal impact. The DL continues with his good works and impacting many lives.

If both are starving, saving the DL is more "meritorious" as the end result would be potentially many more lives can be helped.

You can substitute Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the like for the arahant.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:50 pm


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clw_uk
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:10 am

Seems we have some options

1) Give to the arahant, and let the child die, yet "I" get merit and so do future being's from the arahant being sustained for longer.

2) Give to the child and let the arahant die. So "I" get merit yet the child lives but the arahant dies, yet the child may become an arahant and fulfil the end of the above sentence.

3) Give to neither and sustain oneself, the child and arahant will die yet one can have wisdom from this act and become an arahant

The point is that the outcome it unknown, yet the intention defines the "morality".


However there are many variables, such as one can feed oneself and let both die, and not gain wisdom or the child could live and could not become enlightened.

Once again, there are so many outcomes to one situation. That is why, to me, intention is key.

Be sceptical to the outcome (as buddha said) and rely on subjective wisdom, which is born from empirical investigation into subjective phenomena.
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seeker242
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby seeker242 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:15 pm


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beeblebrox
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:50 pm

I think this could be an option: bring the child with you and ask the arahant if he would like to share some of your food with him.

:anjali:

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pilgrim
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby pilgrim » Tue May 26, 2015 2:31 am

I had just re-read the Velama sutta again. (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html)

The sutta explains that it is of great merit to make an offering to a person of right view, and even greater merit to a sotapanna, then a sakadagami , then anagami, then the Buddha. I think the logic of that is quite easily understandable as supporting a person with greater virtue brings more goodness to the world.

But then the sutta ends with "If one were to develop even just one whiff of a heart of good will, that would be more fruitful than...(all of the above)". What I understand this to mean is that there is greater merit in acting out of kindness than to act out of a desire to gain merit. So if one has a gift in hand which one is bringing to a temple for dana to an arahant, and one knows there will be plenty of food offered by others, then if one's heart so moves, there is greater merit to donate that packet of food to a starving refugee.

So yes, feeding a starving child could be more meritorious than feeding a plump arahant like Ven Kaccayana, if that is motivated by kindness and not after reading this post. :tongue:

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Zom
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby Zom » Tue May 26, 2015 5:59 am


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pilgrim
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby pilgrim » Tue May 26, 2015 7:09 am

If you look at the penultimate paragraph of the Velama sutta, after it has enumerated all the great merits of offerings to the Buddha, sangha and ariyas, it says ""If one were to develop even just one whiff of a heart of good will, that would be more fruitful than...(all of the above).." Dana to the sangha is of course excellent. They are an incomparable field of merits. However, all things being equal, the motivation to give should not be to gain merits but one of altruism and kindness.

Note 1 at the bottom of the page observes "The merit of the gift is determined more by the state of mind with which it is given than by the external quality of the gift."

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Zom
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby Zom » Tue May 26, 2015 7:56 am

I don't think this sentence in Velama sutta should be undrestood literally. For example, there are some similar sentences about metta in SN suttas but there it is to be understood figuratively. I've already written the difference between merit gaining and qualities development and that sentence in Velama sutta is, of course, not about merits, but about qualities. Metta is a "merit" figuratevily - not literally. While dana is a "merit" literally, not figuratevily.

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vacvvm
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby vacvvm » Fri Jun 12, 2015 4:48 pm

I think the key is remembering that intention is the heart of the gift, the same action can bear different fruits depending on its skillfulness or unskillfulness.
Eating a big healthy meal like a ravenous beast will nourish your body but drive you away from happiness, eating a grain of rice with mindfulness in pursuit of nibbana is immensely more beneficial.
Helping any ordinary being to live another day is meritorious, because it's one more day they'll have a chance to see truth and point themselves toward liberation, but because they aren't developed enough to truly experience gratitude, the gift is stunted. Merit isn't accrued by keeping the wheel of samsara spinning (aimlessly keeping all beings alive) but by helping the wheel to stop (assisting beings toward liberation)

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby LXNDR » Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:55 pm

Ramana Maharshi, an Indian saint of the XX century, would not eat food offerings from his devotees or meals if people who made his company at the moment weren't fed as well

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Dan74
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby Dan74 » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:22 am

Last edited by Dan74 on Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_

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daverupa
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby daverupa » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:29 am


SarathW
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby SarathW » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:55 am

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Dan74
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby Dan74 » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:52 pm

Not sure which part I got wrong, Sarath, so I can't really reply.
_/|\_

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lyndon taylor
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby lyndon taylor » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:10 pm

At the South East Asian temples I visited, the food was brought enough for everyone to eat, from the most enlightened monk to the hungriest, poorest attendee at the temple, the only discrimination was that the monks were given the honour of eating first, before the lay people, but I never observed the occurrence of the monks eating all the good food and leaving the scraps for the lay people, there was plenty of good food to go around.

I think it important to point out, that like Christian charities, Buddhist temples act as welfare centres for poor and down and out members of the community, anyone is offered food at the temple, and anyone that follows simple rules of politeness can stay at the temple, if they have no place to sleep, not like you get your own room, with attached bathroom, but a place to sleep, none the less.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

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Vanda
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby Vanda » Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:54 am

And I'd feed a starving animal before a plump child or a healthy arahant.
:|

nmz
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby nmz » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:50 pm

I would simply split the food into equal parts and give them. Why bother with how much I would get in return? The giving to arahant is blameless, wise, skifull, etc. cos' it is saddha. The giving to the child is blameless, wise, skillful cos' it is compassion (garuna). But thinking what they would do with the food given to them, there come the weight, I believe.

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badscooter
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby badscooter » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:16 pm

Definitely give to a starving child....
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby Tom » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:28 pm

Last edited by Tom on Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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