There are some other duties 'which should be carried out by every pious Buddhists whenever possible.
Lecturing, rewriting and teaching the Buddha's discourses are important missionary works. Performing missionary works means encouraging others to follow the Buddha's Teachings which can be summed up as: "to refrain from all evils, to do what is good, and to purify the mind."
First of all, a missioner must cultivate loving-kindness in the hearts of all beings and convey them how to dispel their wrong views which can bring evil consequences. Among the demeritorious action, the five heinous deeds of killing one's mother, killing one's father. killing an arahat, causing blood to settle on the body of the Buddha, and causing schism in the Samgha Order are the worst. Even though the perpetrator of these deeds has done a great deal of meritorious deeds, they cannot help him. He will be cast into hell (the Niraya) immediately on his death. Only when he is released from the Niraya, his meritorious deeds of the past existence will bear him good fruits.
A person, who has held a wrong view, earns greater demerit than a person who has killed his parents. If a person who has committed one of the five heinous deed, were to fall to the Niraya when the world is about to be destroyed. He has the opportunity to be released from there at the time of the destruction of the world. But the staunch wrong-viewer has to be shuffled to the Niraya of another world which remains undestroyed if the time for his release is not yet due at the time of the dissolution of the world.
The missionary work can salvage one from such grave offence. Therefore, it should be considered how noble and beneficial the missionary work is. Everyone should participate in the missionary work and strive for the proliferation of the Truth.
In doing so, one should cultivate loving-kindness on all wrong believers. Imparting the Buddha's Doctrine to others is one of the missionary works. The Buddha expounded that there is no other deed as meritorious as imparting the Buddha's Doctrine.
Every body has a chance to take part in the missionary work. We must try our best to make those who have not yet believed in the Buddha's Teaching come to believe in the Teaching and those who have already believed in the Buddha's Teaching come to believe all the more. If it is possible, we should go to the border areas of our country where the Buddha's Teachings have not well developed. If we ourselves are unable to do so, we ought to give support to the persons who are serving for that purpose.
Making Others Take Refuge in the Three Gems
'Saranagamana' means taking refuge in the three Gems: the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha. Each and every Buddhist must take refuge in the three Gems out of conviction.
How must we believe in the Three Gems? We must believe that one can liberate oneself from four miserable existences as well as from the round of rebirths by taking refuge in the Buddha
We must believe that the Dhamma can make all beings prosperous and liberate them from four miserable existences and the round of rebirths. So also we must believe that the Samgha can expound such Dhamma. Through these beliefs, we may come to know that the Three Gems are worthy of special veneration.
A person, who realizes the attributes of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha and has unshakable faith in them, can certainly be free from the four miserable realms in his next existences.
In the Buddha's time, there was a man of Sakyan clan named Saranani who had taken refuge in the Three Gems for a long time. Once the Buddha spoke in praise of him: "Saranani Sakya has taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha for a long time. How can he be reborn in the miserable realms?"
A person, who has unshakable faith in the Three Gems, and endowed with quick wit, ready wit and the knowledge of freedom from defilements, can attain arahatship in this very life. He is also free from the four miserable realms. Although a person, who has unshakable faith in the three Gems and endowed with quick wit and ready wit, has not emancipated from defilements, he can be reborn in the Brahma realm if he has completely uprooted the lower five fetters. And he will become a Non-Returner (Anagami) and will attain parinibbana in the Brahma realm.
Moreover, if a person who has unshakable faith in the three Gems, but not endowed with quick wit, ready wit and the knowledge of freedom from defilements, can be a Once-Returner or a Stream-winner.
Even though a person has neither unshakable faith in the Three Gems, nor quick wit nor ready wit nor the knowledge of freedom from defilements, but if he possessed the Faculty of Conviction, believes in the Buddha and appreciates him, he can also be free from the four miserable realms. (Pathama Sarananisakka Sutta, Saranani—vagga, Sotapatti Samyutta, Maha-vagga Samyutta).
The statement "one can be liberated from four miserable existences merely by the belief in the Buddha" is very encouraging indeed. It is very clear that a Buddhist who takes refuge in the Three Gems cannot be cast into the four miserable realms. Therefore, in Bahukara Sutta, the Buddha said that the person leading others who have no faith in the Three Gems to take refuge in the Triple Gems (to be Buddhists) is the incomparable benefactor.
Participating in Religious Associations
The strength of an association is greater than that of an individual. Performing religious and social affairs by a well-organized group can bring more success than by an individual.
Among the many different associations, the task of religious associations is subtle and profound. Therefore the members of these associations should have respectable physical, verbal and mental behaviours. Finding other's faults easily, saying words of blame on others, being I narrow-minded and impatient are not the proper behaviours of the members of religious associations. They should cultivate loving-kindness, compassion and good-will towards others. More over, even though the others treat them wickedly and dishonestly, they should stand righteously. Only then they are able to carry out their activities more effectively.
In the Buddha's time, the people of Savatthi used to make joint offerings to the Buddha. The Buddha said that the joint offering was very beneficial. A man, after hearing the discourse on charity, wanted to offer alms- food together with others to the Buddha and his disciples. So he invited the Buddha and his disciples to take alms-food on the next day. Then he went from house to house asking the residents to share alms-giving and to donate rice, oil, bean, etc., according to their wishes. When he reached a rich man's house, that rich man was annoyed by his request. The rich man thought why he was asking others instead of donating as much as he could. Then the rich man asked the man to bring his bowl and gave rice and beans only as much as could be taken by three fingers. He also gave very little amounts of butter and molasses.
The promoter of charity took the rich men's offerings without mixing them with others'. When the rich man saw that, he sent one of his servants to watch him.
At the cooking place, the promoter of charity put a little rice given by the rich man into various pots of alms-food, gruel and desserts so that the rich man may gain much merit. In the same way beans, butter and molasses were also put in all eatables. The servant reported what he had seen.
The rich man did not understand the man's intention. The next day with a knife concealed on his body he went to the place where the Buddha and his disciples were taking alms-food offered by the people. He intended to kill the man if he were disgraced in public.
After offering the food, the promoter of charity said to the Buddha thus: "Venerable Sir, this offering is a joint offering of all. In this joint offering some have given much and some have given little according to their own ability. May they all gain equal merit".
When the rich man heard those words, he realized that he was mistaken. So he pondered that if he did not confess his guilt, his head would be struck by thunder. He fell at the promoter's feet and begged for pardon. On seeing that, the Buddha enquired about the matter. So the promoter of charity explained the event in detail. The Buddha told the rich man not to think lightly of a good deed how ever small it may be. Then the Buddha gave a discourse on charity. At the end of the discourse the rich man attained Sotapatti Fruition. It is a good example of joint offering.