Being Generous: Human being is a social animal. He lives in a civilized society and is dependent of others for his needs and wants. Living with others makes human generous. Generosity is basic nature of human being.
Each and every religion of this world emphasizes generosity to be practiced as core value for every one of their followers.
Buddhist tradition is rich with accounts of generosity and compassion. In Buddhism, generosity is one of the most important components of six paramites.
It is said that you must learn an attitude of generosity from the depth of your heart and ensure that you do not seek any reward for yourself.
You must also ensure that your acts of selflessness and generosity should not be motivated by desire for self gratification and personal benefits.
The first training that Buddha gave for everyone was the practice of giving. He always emphasized practicing generosity and said, “If you are well grounded in generosity, your hearts will always be more available for insight”
Christians believe God is generous. He loves to fill our cups of blessings to overflowing. He also wants us to become like Him and be generous. Generous giving is an act of Christian worship. Every Christian must show the genuineness of Christian confession. It is said that God measures gifts of everyone according to givers capacity and attitude.
In Hindu religion there are twelve important virtues to be practiced by mankind and generosity is one among those virtues.
Hindu religion says generosity is
- Living in love and trust and connection with people rather than self centeredness.
- Opening our hearts to give as we have received from somewhere.
- Honoring our oneness and interconnections.
- Creating a world of abundance rather than world of scarcity.
Helping those in need is essence of generosity. Giver should give with pure heart and taker should receive with glad heart.
Generosity was among the countless good qualities of the prophet Muhammad. He was the most generous person and he used to be most generous during month of Ramadan.
Islam says, our worldly possessions are bounties from God, the most generous. Muslims believe that everything originates from God and everything will return to Him, thus it is logical to believe as if that which we posses is merely a loan something we are obliged to preserve, protect and ultimately share. If everything flows from Allah and everything returns to Allah, do you truly own anything?
You are a steward, taking care of that the portion of this world under your care, which is to be preserved and protected and shared.
Generosity is the characteristic of the Muslim and kindness is his disposition.
Jain religion emphasizes following ten virtues for every follower. These ten virtues are forgiveness, humility, honesty, purity, truthfulness, self restraint, penance, renunciation, non attachment and celibacy. All these virtues promote generosity among them.
In renunciation, Jains are told to give fourfold charity. These include, giving food to hungry and needy, promoting fearlessness to those they are afraid of and are living in fear of someone or something, giving medicines and providing treatment to those they cannot afford. In addition, they are also told to give books and education; including religious books to those they are in need.
Judaism says, happiness is not made by what we own. It lies in what we give. It also has set a minimum standard for giving as part of every Jews generous responsibility. They must share minimum ten percent of their earning. And it could be more depending on capacity of giver.
Sikh religious community demonstrates true meaning of hospitality in abundance. It is the foundation of Sikh faith eating together. In their places of worship named, Gurudwara, they prepare food for community and strangers alike.
In Sikhism ethics and religion go together. For spiritual development Sikhs must inculcate moral qualities and practice of virtue in every day life is vital. Qualities like honesty, compassion, generosity, patience, humility must be built with perseverance and diligence.
Zoroastrians promote generosity in a big way through its followers.
‘Generosity’ is the ideal starting point in learning how to let go of self centered-ness and for seeing that deep joy comes from releasing whatever you are holding too tightly at a given moment.
Levels of generosity:
Generosity is the quality of being kind and generous. In Judaism they consider eight levels of charity and generosity, starting from lowest to highest.
Giving willingly but giving less than you could.
Giving only after being asked.
Giving without being asked.
Giving to a recipient, you do not know, but he knows you.
Giving to a recipient you know, but who does not know you.
Giving when both giver and recipient are anonymous to one another.
Giving that enables self reliance.
How to be generous?
Be more generous. Use your God given ability to help those in need. You can practice generosity by giving your time, money, talents and material objects individually or together to meet the needs of others.
Time is an asset. Every morning God gives us twenty four hours to spend. But unknowingly, we waste most of our time. Instead, we can use it for a noble task, in a fruitful way for the benefit of the self and others.
There are several ways; we can help others by giving our time. Every one of us can find a way depending on needs of people in our surroundings. We can help others in need with our money and material resources. Our talent is a unique thing. With our talent and energy, we can also help others.
Please remember, it is always easy to give your time, money, talent, energy and material resources when you have lot to spare and share. But your true test of generosity comes when you don’t have surplus. Do you still give what little you have to help someone else? If you really do that is wonderful. This is an act of generosity.
You get blessings of God when you are generous in true sense and show your acts of generosity and kindness with little resources you have.
Develop compassion, while helping others with a feeling of a mother taking care of her child. Learn to give at your own, unconditionally and without any anticipation of reward.
When you give unconditionally to others, you experience a profound letting go and these results in a sense of true freedom and connection with the world.
Your activities and actions taken for help, co-operation and welfare of others, in thoughts, word and deeds are generosity. It is not a singular act that makes you a generous person. Therefore giving needs to be practiced regularly and cultivated as a habit. Giving must always be selflessly. Your essence must be kindness.
How Tibetans develop habit of generosity?
InTibet, they cultivate habit of giving from childhood. They take a small item, say a potato and pass it on from one hand to another repeatedly. They go on doing the same unless it becomes easy to pass on from one hand to another. At a later stage, they move to more expensive item. It can be currency or an ornament. And these children go on practicing giving from one hand to another.
Tzedakah is Jewish tradition of generosity:
Charity and generosity are fundamental and integral parts of Jewish tradition. Giving to poor is an obligation in Judaism. Jewish have a law that they are responsible for needs of the poor. It is a duty that cannot be forsaken even by those they are in need.
They give by way of giving their wealth, giving of oneself physically and giving of one’s wisdom. Traditional Jewish give ten percent of their income to charity. They call it Tzedakah and give aid, assistance and money to poor and needy or to other worthy causes.
Thus a habit of letting go and relinquishing every object is developed in them. They also make sure that their outer material attachment is converted to an internal habit of giving selflessly. Thus a habit of generosity is cultivated in Tibetans from childhood.
Single largest act of generosity:
Warren Buffet in June 2006 announced giving eighty five percent of his fortune in charity that amounted to $ thirty one billion. It is one of the largest acts of generosity in world’s history.
Generosity must be out compassion:
Every one of us should make it a habit of giving to the best of our capabilities, not reluctantly or under any compulsion, but with a sense of compassion, love and cheerfulness towards mankind. Every one of us must always keep in mind that God loves cheerful givers.
Those they want to see profits in their every action, for them generosity can be viewed as a wise investment for future. As generosity brings you closure to God and He loves you very much and brings endless stream of happiness and abundance in your life.
Habit of generosity will establish world peace:
By continuous practice of generosity, you create an atmosphere of trust, mutual understanding, universal brotherhood and cheerfulness. You also create a world where there is abundance and more than enough for all. Everyone is content, happy, healthy and peaceful.
So commence practicing generosity if you are not doing so. And if you consider yourself as a generous person, make efforts to increase your level of generosity, so as to reach at its highest level.
This will increase your wealth and welfare and you will lead a peaceful life.
Practice generosity and help establishing happy, contented and peaceful world.
Quotes for Thoughts
“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” ~ Albert Einstein
“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.” ~ Khalil Gibran
“Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Unless we think of others and do something for them, we miss one of the greatest sources of happiness.” ~ Ray Lyman Wilbur
“Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.” ~ John D. Rockefeller Jr.
“Teach love, generosity, good manners and some of that will drift from the classroom to the home and who knows, the children will be educating the parents.” ~ Roger Moore
“You will discover that you have two hands. One is for helping yourself and the other is for helping others.” ~ Audrey Hepburn
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” ~ Albert Pike
”No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” ~ Emma Goldman
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ~ John Bunyan
“Happiness exists on earth, and it is won through prudent exercise of reason, knowledge of the harmony of the universe, and constant practice of generosity. ~ Jose Marti
“Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.” ~ Richard Dawkins
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