Volume 15 - Issue 05
may 2017
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Posted on: May 10, 2017

Buddha's Lesson on Wasting

“It is only when you maintain spartan habits with regard to food and head,
will you become a good natured individual.”

A disciple of Buddha: “Oh Master! I have a request to make.”

Buddha: “What is it? Tell me.”


Disciple: “My robe is worn out. It is no longer decent enough to wear. Please may I have a new one?”

Buddha looked at the disciple's attire and found that the garment was absolutely in tatters and really needed replacement.

So he asked the store-keeper to give a new robe to this disciple. The disciple offered obeisance to the great master and left the room.

Buddha kept thinking about the incident and felt that He had perhaps missed an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson to the disciple. So he went to the disciple's quarters to talk to him.

Buddha: Are you comfortable in your new robe? Do you need anything else?

Disciple: Thank you Master. I am very comfortable and do not need anything else.

Buddha: Now that you have a new one, what have you done with the old one?

Disciple: I have used it to replace my worn out bedspread.

Buddha: What did you do with the old bedspread?

Disciple: Master, I am using it as a curtain on my window.

Buddha: Did you discard your old window curtain?

Disciple: Master, I tore it into four pieces and am using them as napkins to handle the hot pots and pans in the kitchen.

Buddha: What about the old kitchen napkins?

Disciple: We are using them as mops to wash and wipe the floor.

Buddha: Where is the old mop?

Disciple: Lord, the old mop was so tattered that the best we could do was to take all the threads apart and make wicks for your oil lamp. One of them is presently lit in your room.”

Buddha was content. He was happy that His disciples realized that nothing is useless.

We can find a use for everything, if only we want to! Nothing should be wasted; not even time!

If all of us were to practice the habit of thrift, we can preserve the non renewable resources for our children, our grandchildren and our great grand children just as our forefathers so thoughtfully did for us.


In a discourse delivered on July 18, 1996, Swami said:

We should not pollute this Nature. Today people are suffering from deadly diseases.

God gave us five elements which are pure. There is air pollution today. Water too is polluted. So food is also polluted. Then there is noise pollution.

All sacred things are being made unsacred by man. He is really truly a living creature only if he makes use of all the five elements in a sacred way. One should not waste.

A small incident happened some time ago. I was there in the interview room and the warden Siva Sankara Sai said, 'Swami, Your eye is little red.'

I said, 'It is My mistake. I don't waste water. People wash their face by keeping the tap open. Until the soap is completely wiped out, the water keeps running. But I don't do that. I open the tap when needed and close it immediately.

'So after wiping out as I was about to close the tap, suddenly some soap went into My eye and so it became red.'

I don't waste a drop of water because water is God. Air is also God. You switch on the fan but I remember to switch it off. Even when not required, people keep the fan on day and night. This is not miserliness. I am One of sacrifice. One should not waste. We should use if necessary.

Let us ensure that every element of Nature we use to make our lives comfortable are not misused or abused. They need to be used with gratitude. This should be our attitude all the time.

- Story and Artwork: Mrs. Priya Tandon
from her inspirational book 'Sunrays for Thursday'

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