The Small Donor and The Big Donor

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(Fotolia)

In ancient times, there was a rich man named Wan who was cunning and stingy. One year, he hired a long-term laborer nicknamed “Idiot Zhang”. Though Zhang had such name, he was not a fool. He was generous in all situations, calmly accepted being bullied or swindled, and would never do things to harm others. At the beginning of the year, the rich man promised to give Zhang a cow for a year’s worth of work by year end. Zhang worked diligently all year, but in the end, the rich man simply gave him a bottle of oil.

Zhang turned to his employer and asked:” Didn’t you promise to give me a cow? Why did you only give me a bottle of oil?”

The rich man stared at him and said with anger: “I certainly promised to give you a bottle of oil, not a cow.” Zhang didn’t argue with him. He just accepted the oil and left.

Upon seeing Zhang returning without the oil,Wan was confused, and asked:”Where have you been, and what happened to the oil I gave you?”

Zhang replied peacefully:”I just donated it to the temple and was honored as ‘Big Donor’.”

Wan burst into laughter and said with a grin:”Shame on you! I donate a cartload of oil to the temple every year, but I was only honored as ‘Small Donor’. You donated just one bottle of oil to the temple, and are honored as ‘Big Donor’?” He shook his head in doubt.

Zhang said:” It’s true. As soon as I arrived at the entrance to the temple, I heard people inside saying:” ‘Big Donor’ is coming! Let’s make a fine cup of tea for him.” After hearing that, Wan finally came to believe what Zhang said. He remembered how he encountered a similar reaction at the same temple. He always heard people saying:”‘Small Donor’ is coming! Let’s make a cup of tea for him.” He thought to himself that the monks in the temple were ridiculous – the one who donates a cartload of oil every year is honored as “Small Donor”, while the other, who donated a bottle of oil, is honored as “Big Donor”. He decided to go and have a word with the monks.

Wan rushed to the temple with the great anger only to find the senior monk waiting for him at the entrance with a smile. As Wan released his anger on the monk, the monk stayed silent, stroking his white beard. When Wan finished his tirade, the monk ushered the rich man into the hall and offered him a cup of tea. The rich man was too agitated to drink any tea. Seeing this, the senior monk said:”Please close your eyes and let me help you relax.”

The rich man looked at the monk with disdain. He thought to himself:”Let me see what tricks you are going to play on me!” As soon as the monk pointed at the point between Wan’s eyebrows, Wan saw a gorgeous mansion surrounded by a vast expanse of farmland. With many uniformed servants around, an elegant man in a gorgeous robe was sitting in the magnificent grand hall. The man turned out to be Zhang. The rich man was dumbfounded. He then saw the mill in a corner of the mansion. There, he saw a skinny blind donkey with his own name on its back, being beaten by a laborer with a whip. He was terrified. He opened his eyes and asked the monk for an explanation.

The monk said:” After death, humans are subject to reincarnation, and our next life is completely determined by what we have done in this life. The scene you have seen just now is simply the next lives of you and Zhang. Because you made money by shady means, and lived without mercy or compassion, you are going to reincarnate into a skinny, blind millstone pulling donkey who is constantly whipped and abused if you continue like this.”

“Why will Zhang be so wealthy and successful?” The rich man asked.

The monk replied:”Though Zhang is simply a laborer in this life, he has accumulated a lot of virtue by enduring hardships and taking losses lightly. Zhang only donated a bottle of oil, but that was his wage after he toiled the whole year. Though you have donated a cartload of oil, that was only a small portion of the wealth you gained through deceit. To call you ‘Small Donor’ is already an overstatement.”

Wan was terrified and asked:”Is there any way that I can change my fate?”

The monk said with a smile,”Accumulate virtue and do more good deeds. With virtue, you will gain something in the next lifetime, if not in this life.”

The rich man thus hurried back home and gave Zhang a cow and a bottle of oil as an apology. That night, the rich man dreamed of the skinny blind donkey with his name on its back pulling the millstone strenuously, but without the laborer beating it with a whip. After waking up, he felt refreshed. He then swore to fix his mistakes completely, so as to live up to the senior monk’s expectations.

Before long, the rich man became a well-known philanthropist who was highly regarded by people from all walks of life. Since then, the legend of “the Small Donor and the Big Donor” has been passed down through history.

“小布施”与“大布施”

古时候,本地有个万财主,为人狡诈、刁钻且又视财如命,是个不折不扣的财迷。话说这一年他找了个长工,叫张傻子。说起张傻子,他本人并不傻,只因他处事大方,不斤斤计较,得过且过,不贪便宜而得名。张傻子年初刚来时,万财主说给他一年的工钱折合一头牛。从此,张傻子兢兢业业地干活,不辞劳累,任劳任怨,这样一年下来,到年终时,张傻子找东家领工钱。万财主昧了良心给张傻子一瓶油,张问:“不是要给一头牛吗?怎么成了一瓶油?”万财主双眼一瞪,怒道:“明明是一瓶油,哪是一头牛?”张傻子没再坚持,拿起那瓶油出门而去。

等张傻子空手回来时,万财主觉得奇怪,上前问道:“干啥去了,给你的那瓶油呢?”张傻子平静的回答:“我把它送到庙里做了『大布施』。”只见那万财主咧嘴大笑道:“臭美!每年我往庙里送一车油,才是个『小布施』呢,你一瓶油会是『大布施』?骗人吧,你!”万财主把脑摇得象拨啷鼓一样,根本不相信。张傻子一本正经地说:“真的,我刚到庙门口,就听里面喊,送『大布施』的来了,上等好茶伺候――”。万财主这下信了,因为他每次去布施时,一到庙门前,就听里面喊,“送『小布施』的来了,茶水伺候――”。想到这里,万财主顿时火冒三长:好啊,庙里的和尚,你个老秃驴!千不该万不该你办事不公。我每年给你庙里送一车油,你只给我喊『小布施』,张傻子送你一瓶油,你却喊『大布施』……哇呀……哇呀……不行,我要找你理论!

只见万财主怒气冲冲地往山上的庙里奔去,等他赶到庙门前的时候,出乎意料的是老和尚早已在庙门笑容满面地迎接他了。他把满腔怒气一股脑撒向老和尚。老和尚见他发怒,只是手捻白色胡须,微笑不语。待他诉完,老和尚便领他到禅堂净室,让他坐下,倒上一杯香茶,让他消气。他哪里喝得下茶水,只是坐在那里出闷气。老和尚见他如此,便说道:“合上双眼,我让你消消气。”

他白了老和尚一眼,合上双眼,心想:“看你能耍啥花样?”只觉得老和尚用手指头在他两眉中间点了一下,立时,一个奇异的景象映入脑海中。只见一座富丽堂皇的庄园,四周是一望无际的茂盛的粮田,庄园里到处都有正在工作的衣著整齐的仆人。金碧辉煌的大堂里坐著一位衣著华丽的男士,俨然一副大福大贵之相,定睛一瞧,竟然是他家长工张傻子!正在纳罕呢,忽听一阵吆喝声传来,闻声寻去,发现声音是从庄园角落的磨房里传出的。进到里面,看到一个长工正在用鞭子抽打著一头瘦的皮包骨的拉磨的瞎眼驴呢。又发现那驴身上竟然有字!仔细一看,竟然怎么是自己的名字!他大吃一惊,募-地睁开眼来……

万财主不解,忙问原由。老和尚沉思少许,说道:“不要以为人死了就什么都没有了,根本不是那么回事,在阳间生命结束后,都要轮回的。轮回的下一去处是什么完全由生前的所作所为决定。刚才看到的情景是你和张傻子的下一世,咳――只因你为了钱财不择手段,净干损人利己的缺德事,如此下去,下世你将无法再转生成人了,只能落入畜生道,转成一直拉磨的瘦得皮包骨的并被抽打的瞎眼驴!”

他仍是不解,又问:“哪为啥张傻子,他一个长工,怎么会当上大福大贵的员外呢?”老和尚回道:“别看人家这世当长工做下人,可他不把吃亏当回事,一辈子积德,不损德。就拿你应给他一头牛,你却魅良心给他一瓶油,你说你干的这是什么事?虽然人家仅拿一瓶油来布施,可那是他的一年劳苦所得啊!你呢,虽说你每年送一车油来布施,可这仅是你巧取豪夺所得多少份之一呀!我给你唱成『小布施』,还颇犯难为呢。”

万财主听著听著,身上惊出一身冷汗,忙问:“有何破解方法?”老和尚见他开窍了,微微一笑,“积德行善作好事,今生不得来世得,切记啊,好自为之!”

万财主赶紧回去,找到张傻子,给了他一头牛,又加一瓶油作为道歉。说来神奇,当天夜里,万财主做了个梦,梦见了在庙里老和尚让他看到的景象,在那庄园的磨房里,依然是那头身上有自己名字的瘦的皮包骨的瞎眼驴在吃力地拉磨,所不同的是旁边没有了那个抽打它的长工了。一梦醒来,他的心里顿觉舒畅了许多。他发下重誓,决心痛改前非,洗心革面,重德行善,重新做人,不负老和尚救度之苦心!

不久,万财主成了人见人夸、远近闻名的大善人。于是, “小布施”和“大布施”的佳话流传开来,一直流传到现在,还盛传不疲呢。

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