How To Give

generosityDuring this week of talking about the 6 paramitas, Bhikkhu Samahita sent me an email with the subject line, “How to give with good and Joyous Result 🙂 .”

You may recall that generosity is the first paramita.

This what he sent:

There might be the case, where one gives wealth, but without joy!
Then, the later result is, that one gets wealth, but without any joy!

A multi-billionaire at Buddha’s time was known as neither enjoying himself, nor sharing any of his wealth. He lived alone in an old house, which were falling apart, wore rag clothes, ate only broken rice and drove a ramshackle ox-cart. When he died, then it took 2 weeks to move his gold & silver to the kings treasury…

This king then approached and asked the Blessed Gotama Buddha: How come this man neither ever enjoyed, nor shared out of his wealth? The Buddha then reviewed his case and explained that 8 generations back this man had given a single meal to a Solitary Pacceka-Buddha!

Yet after he had given, he felt no joy from it and even regretted that he did it. For 7 consecutive lives he was reborn as multi-billionaire, but without ever being able to enjoy any of it. Having now used up his accumulated merit, without ever doing any refilling good action, he had now, at the break-up of his body, re-arised in a bad state…

Apparently, he had never asked anybody about cause and effect!

The Opposite Case:
When old, the Noble Disciple recollects his own generosity thus: “I am truly Blessed, highly fortunate am I who joyous, among beings  defiled with the mental stain of stinginess, live with a mind freed from stinginess, liberal, open-handed, rejoicing in giving, ready to give anything asked for,  glad to give and happy to share with others. Such Noble One not only later gets much wealth, but also enjoys it. Why so?

Not only does he give, but he also enjoys it both before and after the giving!

The generosity spiral of giving begins with giving to impose, and ends with the ultimate giving of your life. Where are you on the spiral of giving?


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