Generosity = Giving = Gifts
It is quite wondrous that the above three words all begin with the letter “G”. Verifying the definition and meaning of these three words will also lead us to conclude that they are closely linked.
I define these words as closely as I can with the meaning from the Oxford Dictionary.
GENEROSITY: The act of giving with plentiful abundance.
GIVING: Handing over, causing someone to receive, making available.
GIFTS: Something given or received without payment.
Then comes the deeper meaning, which is the result of the intention of GENEROSITY and GIVING, the GIFTS received without payment. Would it be the intention and motivation behind Generosity that makes the whole process of Giving either a conditional or unconditional gesture?
Conditional Generosity of Giving:
- Would be an act of giving with the agenda of garnering acknowledgement or fame by the giver.
- For the purpose of gaining something in return.
Unconditional Generosity of Giving:
- Would be an act of giving without any expectation of something in return.
- To be given even to someone who is not known to you or never will be known to you.
Gifts given should also be under consideration as either one of the above categories of Generosity.
- The gift is best when it is needed and useful to the recipient. In this instance, the focus is on the recipient and the intention is noble.
- The gift is given because it is of no more use to the Giver. In this instance, it will be a gift of no value to the Giver.
It is commonly perceived in our minds that generosity is experienced when the gifts are tangible, visible and touchable.
But there are many people who are very generous with giving care, love and kindness in many ways and forms. These gifts are most cherished and remembered by their recipients. Gifts of such nature give empowerment and enhancement to the well being of the recipients. In essence, such gifts cannot be repaid except with appreciation and gratitude. Having gratitude makes one a better and less self-centered person.
From my personal experience of generosity and gifts given, the most impactful experiences were when I witnessed my Guru, H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche’s generosity in giving.
I remember whenever Rinpoche leaves his ladrang, he would pack water and dog food into his car. Wherever he saw stray dogs, he would stop the car and take food and water out to feed these poor animals as they were scavenging amidst rubbish dumps for food. This is something Rinpoche would do all the time.
Another instance was when we were in Bangkok, Rinpoche would stop by all the lottery ticket stalls and buy up all the tickets available. Rinpoche was never about winning the lottery but only to elevate the poor vendor of her/his wares so they could go home happy for the night.
One day, when there was a huge land slide on the highway to Bentong, and crews of workmen were busy removing the mud off the highway and working hard in the storm, Rinpoche went to the supermarket and bought food, drinks and snacks and personally went to distribute these items of comfort to the hardworking men. It was wondrous to see the happy faces. They were happy to have felt so much comfort and appreciation from someone whom they have never met in their lives, and whom they would never meet again.
These are but a few instances of generosity which were extremely impactful to me – generosity in giving more than the material nature of the gift but also the appreciation of their circumstances.
In my personal point of view, it is the Dharma which Rinpoche gives to his students and to all who visit his blog that is the true nature of his generosity. The greatest gift of life is the gift of the Dharma.
Kechara is Rinpoche’s flagship of a place where generosity and giving is limitless and obtainable as long as you seek to be comforted by such generosity.
In conclusion, may all recipients of gifts given out of pure generosity be forever grateful and appreciative and may Generosity be forever available to have a better and equalised world.
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