Stories from Ancient China: Donating a Monastery

Rohula was one of the disciples of Shakyamuni. Out of many cultivators, he had attained quite a high realm and so was praised by fellow monks. Those who practised Buddhism at home paid special respect to him. Therefore, Rohula received the most donations.

Usually having too good a life due to a lot of donations might cause difficulties for one's cultivation. However, it didn't cause any problems for Rohula because he shared the donations with the other monks.

Once when Shakyamuni gave a lecture in a clan in Kapila, an elderly man converted to Buddhism. He especially respected Rohula. Maybe he still had the notions of hierarchy in his mind and so he swore to protect Rohula and do anything for Rohula.

The elderly man built a monastery for Rohula, which Rohula then lived in. Rohula provided the monastery to other monks from different areas as a shelter to rest because there were many wandering monks at the time. However, the elderly man thought that he was the donor of the monastery. He often liked to interfere with or participate in affairs in the monastery and so Rohula asked Shakyamuni how to handle it.

Shakyamuni said, "Rohula, in my Law, followers who cultivate at home should not interfere with issues of monks. A follower who cultivates at home should not interfere with the affairs in the monastery simply because he had donated the monastery. Go and ask that elderly man: what is your purpose of donating the monastery? If it's a donation, things that he had donated no longer belong to him. A monastery is not a store. A monastery is run by monks. It is fine that followers who cultivate at home help the monastery, but they shouldn't manage the monastery."

Rohula told the elderly man Shakyamuni's words. However, due to his realm and attachment of pursuit, the elderly man could not let go of his attachment of control. He started to dislike Rohula. He had respected Rohula so much in the past, but he started picking on Rohula. He eventually turned around and donated the monastery to another monk when Rohula was not around.

When Rohula came back, he found out that the monastery had become another monk's. He then left the monastery. When he went back to Shakyamuni, Shakyamuni knew what had happened. He gathered all the monks and said to them, "One shouldn't accept items that have already been donated to another monk."

How many people today make donations to Buddha out of their wholehearted desire to make contributions without a hidden pursuit of hoping to get things back in return?

You are welcome to print and circulate all articles published on Clearharmony and their content, but please quote the source.