"The fruit of sharing gifts"

“If beings knew, as I know, the fruit of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their use without sharing them, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last bit, their last morsel of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it.”  Buddha. Itivuttaka 18

Dana is the gift of unconditional love; the equanimity of generosity. We give with sincerity because there is a need; because it feels so good to benefit another in some way. The Buddha taught that there are many different ways to practice dana.  First, there is giving of material goods: food, clothing, money, housing or any other tangible thing that might help.  Giving without attachment in anyway.  Sometimes this is difficult because we don’t feel that we have anything that we can share or a way to help. But, there are some wonderful stories of sincere giving that show us that no matter what we give, if we do it with sincerity it has great merit.  In the Ashoka Sutra there is the story of King Ashoka whose kingdom became so poor that he had nothing left to give to the monastery he supported, so gave them half of what he had left – his crabapple. The monks made it into flour, and baked a cake that everyone shared.

We could also give a person a job or teach them a trade.  This has truly lasting benefit. The saying is that you can give a man a fish and feed him for a day. But, teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime. 

Meditation

Today watch the body as you sit. Notice what arises. There are so many sensations: itching, aching, tingling, cramping, ease, comfort. Whatever arises, just notice. You can name the sensation if you want to, but just notice or label without judgment or criticism. It is a neutral observation. If the sensation is too difficult to sit with, then move the body to a different position, but do it with intention and mindfulness. Notice the sensation, where it is located, what will help and then move. In this way, the movement is not just a reaction, but rather a deliberate action.

Sit in this way with the breath and the sensations in the body.  Sit for 10 minutes, or 20 or 60 or 3 breaths. Again, it won’t be necessarily comfortable … or maybe it will. But, just give it a try today.

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