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About 2,500 years ago there was a great teacher who persuaded people to show love and respect for all living things. He became known as the Lord Buddha
The religion he founded spread across many countries, including Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and China.
In these countries there are many beautiful temples. Each with a statue of Buddha.
Long ago people living near a temple decided to make a new statue. The monks went far and wide collecting money to pay for it.
When one young monk visited the house of a rich merchant, the whole household was gathered to hear about the Lord Buddha, and to offer donations towards the new statue.
The merchant was the first to make his contribution – a bag of gold coins. His wife offered necklaces and bracelets. Then their friends donated rings and brooches. The monk accepted each gift most gratefully.
The monk had not noticed the young servant girl who worked all day long in the household in return for her food and clothes. The only thing she possessed was a single coin of little value
As the monk was leaving, the servant girl slipped out of the shadows and offered her coin for the statue. The monk was in a hurry, and brushed her aside. “I have no use for that.” he said “It’s worthless!”
The monks all returned to the temple with the gifts they had collected. The precious gold was melted down to make the statue.
They poured the molten metal into the mould, and waited impatiently for it to set.
When the metal was cold and hard, they broke open the mould. To their horror the statue that emerged was really ugly! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!
They agreed to start the process again, heating then pouring the metal into a new mould. After an anxious wait they smashed the clay, but as the statue appeared they saw that it was even more hideous! Oh No!
“I fear that this is a sign that one of us has not shown sufficient love and kindness” said a wise old monk.
Everyone present searched their conscience. The young monk suddenly remembered his refusal to accept the humble offering from the servant girl at the house of the rich merchant.
“Return and accept the gift” said the wise old monk. “It may have been small, but it was offered with a loving heart.”
The monk wasted no time in returning to the merchant’s house. On finding the servant girl he asked if she was still prepared to contribute her small coin, which was needed after all. She was pleased to hand it to the young monk.
For the third time the metal was melted down and poured into the mould of Buddha. For the third time the monks waited anxiously for the mould to set.
They need not have worried, for this time when the mould was broken they saw that the statue was quite beautiful
As they examined it in greater detail, they found to their astonishment that a small bronze coin lay embedded on the breast of the statue. It was the gift of the servant girl.
The humble coin which had been offered with a loving heart now lay next to the heart of Buddha!
Teefa’s Teasers • Who was the most generous person in the story. • Why do you think so? • What is your most precious possession? • If you were to give away a little of your pocket money, who would you give it to?
Glossary Merchant – a seller or trader Humble – poor, modest
Activities to complete this lesson include: Rate this lesson here. • background information on Buddhist temples • make lotus flowers • make a hand plaque and model street Click on the image above to view and/or download learning activities.