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XVII:6 It is the giver that makes the gift (Punna)
One night, Punna the slave girl was up pounding rice for her master. As she got tired she rested for a while. While resting, she saw Venerable Dabba leading some bhikkhus to their respective rooms after listening to the Dhamma. The girl seeing them up so late, pondered, 'I have to be up at this late hour because I am so poor and have to work hard, but why are these religious people up at this late hour? Maybe a bhikkhu is sick or they are being troubled by something.'
Early in the morning, Punna took some rice, soaked it in water and made a pancake out of it. Then, intending to eat it at the riverside, she took her cheap, coarse pancake along with her. On the way she saw the Buddha on his almsround. She thought to herself: 'On other days when I saw the Buddha, I had nothing to offer him, and when I had something to offer, I had no opportunity to see the Buddha. But today I have seen the Buddha and also have something to offer.' She then decided to offer her pancake to him, but she was not sure whether he would like to eat such coarse food. The Buddha knew her thoughts. He accepted her pancake and asked Venerable Ananda to spread a mat on the ground. The Buddha sat on the mat and ate the pancake offered by the slave girl. After the meal, he clarified the doubt which was puzzling her, 'You have no time to sleep because you are poor and so have to work hard. As for my sons the bhikkhus, they do not go to sleep because they have to be always vigilant and mindful. No matter what position one has in life, one must never tire of being mindful and vigilant.' Reflecting on the admonition, Punna realised the Dhamma.
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