Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/11/2014

Not Quite Boundless Generosity

There is an older homeless gentleman in my neighborhood whom I constantly run into and to whom I have given money and bought good on more than a few occasions. In fact I just bought him dinner last week and I ran him to him again last night and ended up giving him a dollar. What is strange is that I found myself thinking of him and looking for someone to buy food for as I walked home but, when I actually did run into him, I almost felt as if I didn’t want to give to him. As if, somehow, he had already been given all he was due and more it was someone else’s turn to receive my generosity. Strange when it’s articulated like that isn’t it?

So, what to do and what to make of the situation? Obviously, my stinginess is groundless so not giving is our of the question and trying to calculate my giving so I’m “all out” before I have a chance to see him in his usual spot just seems cold and wrong. No, it seems to me that the best choice is to honor his humanity and actually try relate as an equal, as a brother in birth, aging, sickness and death in order to transmute the dross of simple, material generosity into the elixir of true loving-kindness and concern.


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