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The Offering

Tales from History

The Offering

Robert Bruce and the Spider

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'Don't go,' cried the child in his heart, but he knew that that was not what the Buddha would want of him. He was desperate - he didn't want the Buddha to go. The child felt an emotion he hadn't felt before - he felt love. How could he tell the Buddha that he loved him? That he would follow him to the ends of the earth?

The child saw the grown-ups gather round the Buddha. Some were offering him more fruit to carry with him, some were offering him grain. The child had nothing to give the Buddha, nothing at all in the world. So he gathered the dust from the earth, and holding it out in his two little hands ran to the Buddha with his offering.

The Buddha was touched by the faith he saw in the child's eyes. He smiled and accepted the child's offering, and blessed him.

The child never saw the Buddha again, but carried his image in his spirit forever.

It is said that this child was reborn as Ashok, one of the greatest of the emperors of ancient India. Ashok fought many wars of conquest, but after one particularly bloody war in Kalinga, where thousands lay hurt or dead, Ashok gave up war forever. He embraced the teachings of Buddha, and spent his long reign in improving the life of his subjects. Ashok also sent missionaries to spread the teachings of the Buddha far and wide.

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Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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