Dhammapada Verse 177
Na ve kadariya devalokam vajanti
bala have nappasamsanti danam
dhiro ca danam anumodamano
teneva so hoti sukhi parattha.
Verse 177: Indeed, misers do not go to the abode of the devas; fools do not
praise charity; but the wise rejoice in charity and so gain happiness in the
The Story of the Unrivalled Alms-Giving
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (177) of
this book, with reference to the unrivalled alms-giving of King Pasenadi of
Once, the king offered alms to the Buddha and other bhikkhus on a grand
scale. His subjects, in competition with him, organized another alms-giving
ceremony on a grander scale than that of the king. Thus, the king and his
subjects kept on competing in giving alms. Finally, Queen Mallika thought of a
plan; to implement this plan, she asked the king to have a grand pavilion built.
Next, she asked for five hundred white umbrellas and five hundred tame
elephants; those five hundred elephants were to hold the five hundred white
umbrellas over the five hundred bhikkhus. In the middle of the pavilion, they
kept ten boats which were filled with perfumes and incense. There were also two
hundred and fifty princesses, who kept fanning the five hundred bhikkhus. Since
the subjects of the king had no princesses, nor white umbrellas, nor elephants,
they could no longer compete with the king. When all preparations were made,
alms-food was offered. After the meal, the king made an offering of all the
things in the pavilion, which were worth fourteen crores.
At the time, two ministers of the king were present. Of those two, the
minister named Junha was very pleased and praised the king for having offered
alms so generously to the Buddha and his bhikkhus. He also reflected that such
offerings could only be made by a king. He was very glad because the king would
share the merit of his good deeds with all beings. In short, the minister Junha
rejoiced with the king in his unrivalled charity. The minister Kala, on the
other hand, thought that the king was only squandering, by giving away fourteen
crores in a single day, and that the bhikkhus would just go back to the
monastery and sleep.
After the meal, the Buddha looked over at the audience and knew how Kala the
minister was feeling. Then, he thought that if he were to deliver a lengthy
discourse of appreciation, Kala would get more dissatisfied, and in consequence
would have to suffer more in his next existence. So, out of compassion for Kala,
the Buddha delivered only a short discourse and returned to the Jetavana
monastery. The king had expected a lengthy discourse of appreciation, and so he
was very sad because the Buddha had been so brief. The king wondered if he had
failed to do something which should have been done, and so he went to the
On seeing the king, the Buddha said, "Great King! You should rejoice
that you have succeeded in making the offering of the unrivalled charity
(asadisadana). Such an opportunity comes very rarely; it comes only once during
the appearance of each Buddha. But your minister Kala had felt that it was a
waste, and was not at all appreciative. So, if I had given a lengthy discourse,
he would get more and more dissatisfied and uncomfortable, and in consequence,
he would suffer much more in the present existence as well as in the next. That
was why I preached so briefly."
Then the Buddha added, "Great King! Fools do not rejoice in the
charities given by others and go to the lower worlds. The wise rejoice in other
people's charities and through appreciation, they share in the merit gained by
others and go to the abode of the devas".
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 177: Indeed, misers do not go to the abode of
the devas; fools do not praise charity; but the wise rejoice in
charity and so gain happiness in the life hereafter.