Oct 6, 2019
In Buddhism, generosity is defined as the virtue of a generous attitude and any physical and verbal actions motivated by this intention. Thus, generosity is fundamentally a state of mind. Our goal would be to completely condition our mind to giving. It is conditioning our mind to wish to be the gift, the blessing, the miracle for other living beings. The practice of generosity entails generating, in various ways, the intention to give and steadily increasing this generosity, even though you may not be actually giving something away to others.
Buddha once said, “If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of selfishness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared”. There are many ways to practice generosity—by giving material things, spiritual teachings or care for the sick, saving the bugs or animals in danger and giving love. In an era in which we are always advertised to, spurring our attachment and over-consumption, generosity is a much-needed practice. Giving our material possessions helps to diminish attachment and craving, which increases our peace and good fortune.
In general, there are Four Ways to Give:
-Fearlessness (saving living beings from harm or caring for the sick)
Fools don’t praise generosity;
Misers don’t go to the world of gods.
The wise rejoice in generosity
And so find happiness in the hereafter. (177)
— Buddha, The Dhammapada
Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 46.
Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment., Volume 2. Pages 113-130. Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor.