Buddhism Stories: Donating a Monastery

Guo Zheng

PureInsight | July 2, 2006

[PureInsight.org] Rohula was
one of the disciples of Shakyamuni. Out of many cultivators, he had
attained quite a high realm.  He was praised by fellow
monks.  Those who practiced 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

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.  He swore
to protect Rohula and do anything for Rohula.

The elderly man built a monastery for Rohula.  Rohula therefore
lived in the monastery.  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.  Rohula
asked Shakyamuni how to handle it.

Shakyamuni said, "Rohula, in my Fa, 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

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 monks and said to them, "One shouldn't accept items that
had 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?

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