What Is True Giving?

According to the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, there are three types of givers and then there is the process, itself. I will begin with the process, itself, as it is the most remarkable: Giving as a Buddhist is to know that there is a giver, a gift, and a receiver of that gift.

The moment the gift leaves your hand, it is no longer yours! You cannot control it or want anything for it (not even good behavior from our children!). It is the Buddhist practice of Selfless Giving (Dana). There is no ego involved! The receiver of the gift does not “owe back” for having received the gift. Pure bribery would be more honorable! That is because when we put conditions on a gift to get a return of behavior, etc., it IS bribery, not a gift! Simply practice being a “Selfless Giver” and when you need to bribe someone, just bribe them!

What kids of giving are there? First, what we give we have plenty of or don’t want anyway. Secondly, when we have just a little to share but we want to share. Thirdly, when we have little for ourselves but want to share, nevertheless. Each is a gift if it is freely given, without thought of reward or self benefit. Otherwise, it is, again, bribery!

The practice of giving without thought of what we will get in return is a wonderful practice. It makes our ego less puffed up. It makes us think of the needs of others. It simply makes us smile!

What is a True “Blessing” at Meal Time Gatherings?

As a Buddhist, we can share the teachings by the way in which we say our “Blessing” or what is often called, “Grace.” Itadaki masu and gochiso samadeshita are familiar indeed. But, what about saying a teaching instead?

May we always be mindful that we are consumers of life.
We exist because we utilize life to sustain our bodies and minds.
Therefore, we must remember to be grateful to all life
And remember that we are no more or less valuable
Than the food we choose to consume.
There is no separating ourselves from the Interconnected,
Interdependent, flow of life we call nourishment.

NAMO AMIDA BUTSU
NAMO AMIDA BUTSU
NAMO AMIDA BUTSU

 

So, during the holiday season give with a smile and gratitude and receive with a smile and gratitude, all without ego.

I am so grateful for all of you and for my being able to serve at Visalia and Hanford. I have the best life in the world. Thank you for your gift of accepting me!

In Gassho,

Jo-Ren MacDonald Sensei