The Gift of Generosity

The Gift of Generosity

Discussion date: Thu, Mar 08, 2012 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday, after our meditation, we will recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings and focus our discussion on the Second Training–True Happiness. It begins with this sentence: "Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting."

We will start by bringing our attention to the second training and reflecting upon a time (or times) when we were the recipients of great (or small) generosity.

Earlier today, when I allowed to arise an experience in which I was the receiver of great generosity, what came up was my experience many years ago when I had a life-threatening cancer. All of the women in my book group joined together and became a support group for me. Even before I started treatment, they gave me the gift of a juicer–because it wasn’t clear whether (or what) I would be able to eat during treatment. One woman became the coordinator for the group. She was my connection with the rest of the group, so that I would be able to conserve my energy and deal only with her if I had requests. I (or my husband) let her know what I needed: food, rides to radiation, words of encouragement. Friends took time off from work to give me rides to and from radiation at the hospital. Two women came over and planted pansies for me in the Spring because they knew I didn’t have the energy to do it and they also knew that pansies are one of my favorite Spring flowers. Eventually, after treatment ended, and I was able to begin walking a bit outside, one woman came over on the weekend and walked with me.

My husband sent weekly emails to a large group of family and friends to let them know how I was doing–how the treatment was progressing and how I was (or wasn’t) tolerating it. They in return sent more words of love and encouragement that my husband printed out for me.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been free of that cancer for fourteen years. What first comes to mind when I think of that time are the memories of the generosity of all those friends who gave me their time and energy and love and caring and support in so many different ways.

I believe we are all the recipients and the givers of generosity every day. We will have a chance to explore that together on Thursday.

Below is Thich Nhat Hanh’s second mindfulness training and a quote from Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. Thich Nhat Hanh’s formulation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings is available on our website under "Resources and Links," "Still Water Mindfulness Ceremonies."

I invite you to be with us this Thursday.

Many blessings,

Dotz Darrah

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Thich Nhat Hanh’s Second Mindfulness Training

True Happiness

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting.

I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to working in a way that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.


Marian Wright Edelman

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Mar 08, 2012


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