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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

About Generosity And Charity



Generosity is a great virtue. Eventually it will lead us to unleash the great compassion in us. Generosity or charity is not limited only in material or financial givings but also all the good and kind thoughts, and any acts or speech that is kind, cheerful, thoughtful, motivating, uplifting, encouraging, constructive and supportive towards self-improvement and total well-being, as well as promoting love, peace and harmony among all beings unselfishly are all acts of generosity and charity.

It is also a practice that will counteract stinginess and possession of things, and will remove ill-will, greed and attachment. It will bring light, warmth, love, peace and joy in our hearts. It will open up our hearts to receive unlimited goodness and knowledge that will lead us to self-realization.

Real generosity is unlimited and unconditioned by names, forms, time, space and causation. Any acts of giving and sharing without any selfish intention behind the act is a form of generosity. Such like sharing yoga and dharma with all; giving knowledge to the people, disregard they are young or old, smart or not smart, rich or poor, men or women, educated or non-educated, good or bad behavior; protecting nature and the environment; giving comforts and provide shelter for the suffering one; be a good listener for the distressed and disturbed; serve the sick people and old people; help those who are in need of helps; help to maintain or clear up some dangerous objects on the road for the safety of other road users; help to remove any obstacles in other people’s lives or in the spiritual path; make things easier for other people to improve their livings or show the path for anyone who want to evolve spiritually; give up the comfortable seat for some other people; Offer food and water to the hungry and thirsty beings including human beings and non-human beings; be forgiving and compassionate towards older people and young children that is dependent on our care taking and guidance; bring joy and happiness into people’s hearts; engage in selfless service to serve all in any fields and etc. It is not just about giving things but also love and care, compassion and wisdom.

It is like the sun, the space, the air, the water and the earth provide unceasingly, unlimited and unconditioned by all the names and forms, they give all the needs for life existence in the world without any intentions nor expectations.

Being generous towards all beings without any discrimination of beings that we like or don’t like; or beings that we know or don’t know; and beings that we think they are good beings or bad beings, is the true and greatest generosity.

If we only be generous towards particular beings that we like, and not want to be generous to the other beings who we don’t like, then this is generosity under the influence of selfishness of the ego. Like some people are being generous towards their spouse but not generous towards their own parents due to some personal reasons. Some other people are generous towards their close family members but not so generous towards those that are not within the family. Some people are very generous towards their friends but not to their own family members. Some people are generous towards many people but not towards their enemies or people that they don’t like.

There is nothing wrong about that but it is not the real generosity that we are talking about and want to practice in yoga or Buddhism. The real generosity is not affected or influenced by the ego, the likes and dislikes. There is no superiority or inferiority and all are equal under the real compassion and true generosity. There is no such idea that we are better and stronger beings, and that we can afford and are capable to give, and so we think we should give to the beings that are weaker and less fortunate than us but not to the people that are similar with us or are stronger and better than us. And nor should we have the idea that we are weaker and less fortunate than other people, and we should be waiting for other people who are stronger and better than us to provide helps or give us charity.

Everyone has different needs, weakness and strength. Some people are not lack of material and financial enjoyment but maybe they are in need of comforts for their disturbed mind and need wisdom to deal with fears and worries. Some people are strong physically but weak emotionally. Some people are lack of good health or material enjoyment but are very strong emotionally and spiritually. Some people are lack of worldly knowledge but are very wise with wisdom. Anyone can give, everyone can be generous to all beings at anytime, anyhow and anywhere, including being kind and generous towards our own self.

Generosity or charity should not be limited and conditioned by the social or financial status, the educational level, the experiences in life, the age, the sex, the creed or the ability of action and speech of both the giver and the receiver. People who are disabled physically or mentally still can give and share. Not to say people who are fit and healthy, who can see, can hear, can smell, can taste, can feel, can touch, can think, can move our arms and legs, can breath, can eat, can talk, can walk, can run, can go anywhere and can do so many things, we all can easily give and share whatever that is available to share with this physical body and the mind through our thoughts, actions and speech.

There is no selfish intention behind the act of real generosity or charity and also there is no expectation for any selfish rewards in return.

It is non-identification with the doer of the act of generosity. It is nameless and formless, where there is no differentiation about how much time and effort that has been spent in the act of giving nor there is any weighing about the amount and quality of what has been given. Nor there is any concerns about the people who receive the charity is being grateful and appreciate or not; nor is the people being benefited from the charity or not. It is being done with pure intention out of loving kindness and sincerity. The act of real generosity or charity is untouched by karma. It is renounced from the fruit of action. It is non-action in action.

If after giving and sharing, we felt uneasy or unhappy or upset or regret about it due to the entire process was not perfect, maybe our effort and sincerity was being rejected or unappreciated or being misunderstood or was being taken for granted, then no matters how sincere were we trying to give and share, it is still not true generosity. It is being conditioned by our ego and the attachment towards all the names and forms. Just give and let go. Don’t mind at all about the results, maybe it will be great, maybe it will be a disaster. Most important is we did it out of pure heart, intentionless and without any expectations. Everything that we do shall be “empty”. No body is “giving” anything, no body is “receiving” anything, and nothing was being “given” or “received”. Every incident happens due to a cause. That is real generosity and charity, true giving and sharing.

May all beings be happy in both “giving” and “receiving”.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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