“The practice of giving is universally recognized as one of the most basic human virtues, a quality that testifies to the depth of one’s humanity and one’s capacity for self-transcendence,” writes Bhikkhu Bodhi in his essay introducing a Wheel publication devoted to generosity in Buddhist practice.
There are countless ways you can practice generosity each day, from simply giving some time to a friend or stranger in need, giving comfort, giving consolation, giving respect and recognition, sharing knowledge counts, especially knowledge of the Dharma, the list goes on. Giving (dāna) is the first of the 10 (or 6) perfections taught in Buddhism. As Bhikkhu Bodhi states, “Viewed as the quality of generosity, giving has a particularly intimate connection to the entire movement of the Buddha’s path. For the goal of the path is the destruction of greed, hate and delusion, and the cultivation of generosity directly debilitates greed and hate, while facilitating that pliancy of mind that allows for the eradication of delusion.”
In that spirit, I am sharing a few opportunities for you to give. Remember, even if you don’t have dollars to give, you can donate time by sharing this with others.
Buddhist Global Relief was founded with the vision of alleviating social and economic suffering, with emphasis on the developing world. They have projects in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Vietnam, Rwanda, and Haiti, to name a few as well as sustainable food projects in New York City and Santa Clara California. Check out Seth’s wonderful blog and help him help BGR.
This second one is a great project from a former Antioch Education Abroad in India student from the same year I taught there. Camille writes, “Bodh Gaya, India is the most magical place I have ever known. It is a small town surrounded by dry, rocky mountains that overlook clay and thatch villages, a pair of elephants, and some of the most happy and sincere people I have ever encountered.”
Bodh Gaya is also in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. The recent bombings there have led to the demolishing of an entire market area around the temple for security purposes, disrupting the work and commerce that is vital to the people there. Camille’s project is modest, and it is already nearly halfway funded, but with your support she can quickly make her goal and hopefully much more. She writes, “My goal is to raise 2,000 USD to fund the purchase of these bulk food ingredients that I will distribute in Bihar. This amount will feed 300 people in need for one month. The more we raise, the more people we can feed. Please consider making a donation to the Bodhi Food Fund. Even a few cents will make a difference, as it takes less than $1 a day to feed one individual.” Click here for more or to contribute.
And lastly, Adam Tebbe of Sweeping Zen is putting together a Kickstarter (coming soon) for his new project Zen in America. This promises to be an exciting and intimate journey into the growing Zen community of North America. Have a look at the trailer here (which features the great James Ford of Monkey Mind):
Oh wait, there’s more (this with music – and pugs!):