A poor woman once gave Sakyamuni Buddha a handful of parched barley flour. He said to her, “This good deed will eventually bring you enlightenment.” However, the woman’s husband turned on Shakyamuni Buddha, saying, “That’s ridiculous! There’s no way such a trivial offering could bring such a great reward.”
Then the Buddha asked him, “What do you think is the rarest thing in the world?” The man answered, “It’s that banyan tree. It’s so big that we can tie more than five hundred carriages to it.”
“Well then, the seed of such a big tree must be as big as a millstone, wouldn’t you say?”
“Nothing like it. It’s a quarter of the size of a poppy seed.”
“Indeed, no one believes such a small seed will grow to be such a giant tree.”
The man shot back, “Even if no one believes it, I saw it with my own eyes!”
Sakyamuni Buddha then solemnly said, “Small good deeds, like parched barley flour, will be helped by a great power and finally lead to enlightenment.” After this skillful teaching, the couple became the Buddha’s disciples at once.
On the Fearfulness of Greed
During a typhoon, the whole town was inundated with water. As everyone was fleeing to safety, one man remembered a precious possession left behind. Overcome by fear that it would be washed away or ruined, he rowed home with all his might. When he came to his house, of which all but the roof was underwater, as he was getting out of the boat he accidentally fell into the flood and was drowned. If only he had waited a bit longer! His greed killed him.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #62 | 2016, Even a Huge Tree Starts from a Tiny Seed
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