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InnerNet Weekly: Inspirations from ServiceSpace.org
Half A Pomegranate
by Brian Conroy

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2465.jpgEarly one morning, the Buddha and his disciples set off on an alms round. He announced that on that day all of the offerings they received would be given to the poor.

The community sat beneath the red blossoms of a sala tree and waited. Soon all of the most important dignitaries from the surrounding area came to make offerings.

First to arrive was King Bimbisara. He offered lavish gifts of gold coins, gilded lanterns, and necklaces sparkling with precious gemstones. The Buddha accepted these offerings with one hand.

Next to arrive was Prince Ajatashatru. He extended offerings of intricate carvings, mouthwatering foods, and sticks of fragrant ox-head sandalwood incense. Again, the Buddha accepted these offerings with one hand.

These were followed by offerings from minor kings, brahmins, elders and laypeople. The Buddha accepted all of their offerings with a single hand.

Late in the day, a disheveled old woman appeared before the Buddha. She bowed respectfully and said, "World Honored One, by the time I heard you were accepting offerings, I had already eaten half of this pomegranate. I am just a poor old woman. The only thing I have to offer is the other half of this pomegranate. I hope you will accept it."

Those gathered looked on in embarrassment at the old woman’s meager offering. But the Buddha extended both of his hands and gratefully accepted the half a pomegranate.

When the old woman was gone, the Buddha’s disciple Aniruddha asked, "Why did you accept the old woman’s offering with both hands, but all of the others with only one hand?"

The Buddha replied, "This woman gave all she had without expecting reward. I needed both hands to accept such an abundant offering."

About the Author: Brian Conroy is a story-teller. Excerpt above from his book, Stepping Stones.

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Half A Pomegranate
How do you relate to the abundant offering of the old woman? Can you share a personal story of a time you either received such abundance or were able to tap into it yourself? What helps you tap into your deepest abundance?
Jagdish P Dave wrote: Such simple and easy to understand stories teacha profound spiritual lesson. When we offer a gift from our heart without expectingany rewardit becomes an abundant offering.When a poor old woman heard …
rahul wrote: Though royalty preceded her, only the old woman gave like a true queen. The irony is that it often takes the utter humility of poverty to internalize the truth that whatever we have is a gift of the u…
David Doane wrote: The abundant offering of the old woman was her giving all she had without expecting reward. I’ve never given all I have (actually the old woman gave very much but didn’t give all she had). I s…
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