I have not done a post in quite a while. I put most of my energy into my Jātaka book project these days. I am currently working on the final edits for volume 4.
When you do a project like this – at least if you have the kind of mind that I do – you are fully involved in whatever the current story is. But as soon as you move on, you tend to forget about what you last worked on. So when I do the final proof of a book, sometimes it is like I am reading it for the first time.
I just finished proofreading Jātaka 180, which is a lovely story about generosity. And I had forgotten that at the time that I was first working on it that I heard this lovely story from Ajahn Brahm about a kind act of generosity from his time in Thailand.
Ajahn Brahm was responding to a lay follower who asked how could he learn to feel the joy of giving more. Ajahn Brahm answered that one way to do that is to look at the inspiring stories of other people who give. He went on to tell several stories of giving that are very inspirational.
One of them is about a young teenage girl from Thailand. She was very poor and lived in a poor village there. She was also brain damaged from birth, and she could not speak. But the villagers looked after her, and she was very devoted to the temple and the monks.
One day Ajahn Brahm was sweeping the back of the temple, and he sensed that someone had snuck in. He thought maybe the temple was being robbed. So he very quietly peeked around the corner, and there he saw this young girl. She was looking around cautiously to see if anyone was watching. Then she went up to the alter, put something there, and then turned around and ran out the door.
Ajahn Brahm went up to the altar to see what she had put there. What he saw was a very crudely made origami lotus flower. She was probably embarrassed that anyone would know who had made it. But she had made this gift from the goodness of her heart. It was the best that she could do, and it was the most that she could give.
This is the joy that comes from a kind and generous heart. And of course Ajahn Brahm made sure that none of the other monks removed that lotus flower from the altar.