Complete ruin for those who hinder others who gives

by Ven. S. Dhammika, Dhamma Musings, June 20, 2008

Singapore -- Reading the Tipitaka over a 35 year period I have found that the Buddha said something about almost everything and where not, he said things that were relevant or related to them in some way.

Take the recent situation in Burma for example. A large part of costal Burma has been devastated by a cyclone, various countries and aid organizations have rushed to help and the government refuses to let them do so.

I think the last time something like this happened was during the Ukraine Famine of 1932-3 when Stalin refused to admit that there was anything wrong and refused all offers of help and continued exporting grain just to prove it.

A man called Vacchagotta had been told by someone that the Buddha was teaching that people should only give alms to him and his disciples and not to those of other religions.

Vacchagotta went to the Buddha and asked if this was true. The Buddha replied, ‘Those who say this are not of my way of thinking, they misrepresent me, they say something that is false and untrue.’

He then added, ‘Indeed, whoever obstructs someone from giving creates hindrances in three ways. What three? He prevents the donor from acquiring merit, he prevents the donees from receiving the gift, and he has thereby completely ruins himself’ (A.I,161).

This last phrase, pubb’eva kho pan’assa atta khato, is quite a strong one. Khata has the double meaning of ‘to uproot’ and also ‘to injure’ or ‘to harm.’
To discourage someone from giving (provided of course that the gift is appropriate and one is giving intelligently) for the joy and delight of sharing, could only grow out of jealousy or mean-spiritedness and would reinforce such unattractive mental states.

To prevent someone from giving to those in desperate or even life-threatening circumstances would be – well, I cannot understand why someone would do such a thing. It would have to have its origins in some extremely perverse and twisted intentions.