Give As If There Is Nothing To Lose

These words of wisdom from Sallie Tisdale, author of Women of the Way: Discovering 2,500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom advises us to give as if there is nothing to lose. And really, what do we have to lose? All of our urgently felt needs for security vanish in light of our ultimate fate.

Seeing the beauty in the flowers and trees, listening to the fall of the rain and the birds chirping away in the morning all contribute their beauty to our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

We have learned that generosity is one of the six paramitas. In Sanskrit and Pali, the languages at the time of the Buddha, the first paramita is named dana paramita, generosity. This implies a giving from the heart without any expectation of a return.

Fearless Generosity

I see a fearless generosity in the flowers and trees, in the way birds sing out at dawn, in the steady drumming of the rain. As I grew older and found I had things to protect, I forgot. I completely forgot that I had always had enough in the first place. Now I am trying to learn this once again—total abundance, nothing begrudged.

– Sallie Tisdale, “As If There Is Nothing to Lose”


The practice of generosity was very common during the time of the Buddha. The monks and nuns would go from door to door on their early morning rounds to beg for food. People were delighted to support them and they were taught that by doing so, they achieved merit.

Today, things are different. We have such resistance to giving as if there is nothing to lose to the homeless people on our city streets. We have a difficult time giving a car a moment to slide in front of us. We hang up on people calling from not for profit organizations without the courtesy of listening to their plea.

All we do is think of ourselves and our entitlement. And this is having a tremendous impact on our planet, whether we know it our not. We need to be more giving, more caring and more sharing.

Why don’t you take a moment to give this article with your family and friends?

Books by Sallie Tisdale

Women of the Way: Discovering 2,500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom

Sallie Tisdale

In this groundbreaking work, Sallie Tisdale traces women Buddhist masters and teachers across continents and centuries, drawing upon historical, cultural, and Buddhist records to bring to life these narratives of ancestral Buddhist women.

[Read More…]

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