Generosity. . .
Generosity is usually thought of as being liberal with material things. But we can also be generous with praise, with our time and with our skills, and such “gifts” are greatly appreciated by those around us.
We can also be generous in moments letting others have their way, acquiescing to their wishes or by letting them be in charge. The power of speech to alienate people and to create divisions between them is almost limitless. Gossiping, boasting, whining, put-downs, ethnic slurs, teasing, sarcasm and one-upmanship are just some of the many negative forms of speech that can do this. Likewise, words motivated by kindness and respect, help build relationships and bring out the best in people.
The Buddha said: `If speech has five qualities, it is well-spoken, not ill-spoken, commendable, not blamed by the wise. What five? It is timely, truthful, gentle, to the point, and spoken with a mind of love. The third of the Bases of Community involves being sensitive and aware enough to see when others need help and being selfless enough to offer it to them. Sometimes, just letting people know that you are there to help them should they need it, is enough to create or to strengthen a relationship with them.
Of course, the offer should be sincere. This type of attitude is well illustrated by Reõu’s words to Govinda from a story told by the Buddha: “If you are in need of anything, I will provide it. If anyone tries to harm you, my arms will protect you”. When there are no favorites in a group, when everyone has the same opportunity to excel or to contribute, and when the burdens and the rewards are shared equally, then no divides develop, no `in-group’ or `out-group’ forms, and the community and world remains strong and close.
Peace and Love, Jim