Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

A Huge Lump of Gold

Part of Virtue Ethics

A retelling of a Buddhist Jataka Tale.

Once there was a village that was prosperous. The wealthiest of the villagers was afraid that the town’s reputation would attract thieves, so they buried a huge lump of gold in a field for safe keeping.

Many years passed and the village lost much of its wealth. The wealthy villager died and all knowledge of the gold was lost.

One day, a poor farmer decided to plow an abandoned field. After several long days of plowing, the farmer struck something large and hard. They thought it must be a rock or a tree root, but as they uncovered it, they were delighted to find the huge lump of gold. The farmer did not want to be seen carrying around such a piece of gold. They covered it up loosely with dirt, determined to come back at night to claim it.

Night fell. The farmer returned for the gold. However, it really was a HUGE lump of gold. It was too heavy for the farmer to even lift, much less carry home. The farmer became frustrated at the thought of their potential riches being forever out of reach.

After a while, the farmer decided to sit and think about the situation and an idea occurred to them.

“I will break the lump of gold into four smaller pieces. Then I will be able to carry the pieces home. One piece will be enough for my day-to-day living for quite some time. One piece I will save for emergencies. One piece I will invest in my farm and the fourth piece I will give to the poor and needy.”

With a peaceful mind, the farmer broke the gold into pieces and carried them home on four separate trips.

The farmer lived happily ever after.