04 Oct Living Openhandedly
Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression. We experience joy in forming the intention to be generous. We experience joy in the actual act of giving something. And we experience joy in remembering the fact that we have given. ~The Buddha
Are you openhanded? Do you know what this term means? It means to give freely for the sake of service to a person or humanity as a whole. Most people are so busy living from the fear of the genetic heart that they cringe at the chance to be openhanded.
Giving for the sake of gaining merit (deserving of praise and reward) is not giving at all and does just as much damage to our ability to recognize Karma as we would experience if we had chosen not to give at all. Both are devastating to our lives. The fool rationalizes that if this were the case, it would be smarter to not give at all and suffer, while keeping what would have been given and being the richer for it. This is an even more devastating choice that plays out in the bigger picture of this lifetime and the many to come.
People with fast minds (quick to rationalize) seem to analyze a situation for what they can get out of it and never realize the damage that they so unwittingly do to themselves and to the lives of the people they are involved with. Simply ask yourself one question: “Do I want to be held to the results of my own fears?” It is sad to say that most people will answer: “YES.” Fear looks responsible and safe. Until a person is over this kind of underhandedness, nothing will help them.
Buddha offers the antidote to all of this through his teachings on the three types of giving. Read, listen and see which one you might be, with total honesty and no mental equivocation:
- Beggarly giving – we give the worst of what we have, what we don’t want, the leftovers. Even then, we have a lot of doubt, such as: “Should I give it? Shouldn’t I? Next year I’ll probably have a use for it.”
- Friendly giving – we give what we would use for ourselves, and we give it with more spontaneity and ease, with more joy in the mind.
- The highest form of generosity is queenly or kingly giving – the Heart takes delight in offering the best of what we have, giving what we value most. This is the perfection of generosity
I will end with Gibran as I feel what he states is more important than anything I could ever have written to you:
Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do. ~Kahlil Gibran
If you understand the utter truth of this statement, then you may know you are openhanded. If you find this statement philanthropically foolish or only for “rich people,” then you can know that you are living underhandedly. It matters not how much we have done in this world to help people. It does matter from whence our giving originated within ourselves. So you ask me: “How much merit have I earned through my giving?
If done underhandedly…none. If done openhandedly…ENDLESS!
Excerpt from the Commentary entitled: Karmaphala Karma – Generosity