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Giving more than just material things (Ven Visuddhacara)

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  • antony272b2
    Giving is a word that has very wide connotations. It does not mean that you give only to monks. It does not mean that you give only expensive things. And it
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 15, 2011
      "Giving" is a word that has very wide connotations. It does not mean that you give only to monks. It does not mean that you give only expensive things. And it does not mean that you give only material things that cost money.

      For you can give many immaterial things which may count even more than material things. What I mean is that when we are kind to each other, we are giving kindness, gentleness, comfort, peace, happiness, etc. So we can give by being kind. For example, we can lend a sympathetic ear to a troubled person, listen to him (or her) with compassion and give him comfort and encouragement.

      To the troubled person, your giving time to listen to him is more important than if he were to receive a material gift. So when we are living in a community, we should cultivate care and concern for each other, reaching out to help whenever we can. Then we give more kindness by speaking gently, soothingly, not harshly or angrily. This can bring much cheer to people, as the following poem shows:

      Loving words will cost but little
      Journeying up the hill of life
      But they make the weak and weary
      Stronger, braver for the strife
      So, as up life's hill we journey
      Let us scatter all the way
      Kindly words, to be as sunshine
      In the dark and cloudy day.

      When we bring happiness into the lives of others, we are giving in a very meaningful way."
      http://www.mahindarama.com/e-library/dana-vis.htm
      From: Giving (Dana) by Bhikkhu Visuddhacara

      With metta / Antony.
    • antony272b2
      Giving is a word that has very wide connotations. It does not mean that you give only to monks. It does not mean that you give only expensive things. And it
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 9, 2012
        "Giving" is a word that has very wide connotations. It does not mean that you give only to monks. It does not mean that you give only expensive things. And it does not mean that you give only material things that cost money.

        For you can give many immaterial things which may count even more than material things. What I mean is that when we are kind to each other, we are giving kindness, gentleness, comfort, peace, happiness, etc. So we can give by being kind. For example, we can lend a sympathetic ear to a troubled person, listen to him (or her) with compassion and give him comfort and encouragement.

        To the troubled person, your giving time to listen to him is more important than if he were to receive a material gift. So when we are living in a community, we should cultivate care and concern for each other, reaching out to help whenever we can. Then we give more kindness by speaking gently, soothingly, not harshly or angrily. This can bring much cheer to people, as the following poem shows:

        Loving words will cost but little
        Journeying up the hill of life
        But they make the weak and weary
        Stronger, braver for the strife
        So, as up life's hill we journey
        Let us scatter all the way
        Kindly words, to be as sunshine
        In the dark and cloudy day.

        When we bring happiness into the lives of others, we are giving in a very meaningful way.

        <snip>

        It is understandable that Buddhists should give full support to the Sangha, for the monks are the ones who are in a position to study, practice and safeguard the Dhamma for the present and future generations. Without the Dhamma, Buddhism would be lost. The monks too keep 227 precepts, which restrain them from indulgence in sensual pleasures.

        Lay Buddhists thus consider monks to be in a better position to cultivate mental purity. So monks generally receive good support from lay Buddhists and this is as it should be. But in the true spirit of dana, Buddhists should not confine their giving to monks only They should relate well with their fellow Buddhists, showing care and concern and sharing what they can.

        Whenever somebody is in trouble and needs help, they should respond if they are able to. Furthermore, they should extend the same loving-kindness to society at large, to people of all races and creeds. They can donate liberally according to their ability to hospitals, old folks' homes, handicapped institutions and all worthy causes. They can also get together and set up such institutions, Such a broad attitude will make life meaningful and rewarding."
        http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B%20-%20Theravada/Teachers/Bhikkhu%20Vishuddhacara/Dana/Dana%20-%20The%20Act%20of%20Giving.htm
        From: Giving (Dana) by Bhikkhu Visuddhacara

        With metta / Antony.
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