Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/23/2019

Strange Giving

I just had the strangest thing happen: a woman with a nice handbag, clean clothes and a made up face just asked for a dollar. She is sitting diagonally across from me on a half empty train and I heard her say, almost imperceptibly, “Excuse me” as if to anyone at all. I had thought I’d heard someone say it before but couldn’t find the source so the second time or happened I began to look into the faces of the other passengers. That was when she quietly asked if I had an extra dollar.

I was so taken aback that I literally repeated her question before looking through my wallet. I did and I gave it to her but I almost felt like a fool doing so. And yet, that’s what the practice of giving to all who ask is. Maybe she’s down on her luck. Maybe she’s put a lot of effort into looking presentable but can’t afford lunch. All I know is that she asked and I had the opportunity to give.

I’m not always able to overcome greed and aversion but I was today. May I bring the practice of generosity to perfection.


  1. Same here. Diapers cost a lot where I am from. I once bought some for a gipsy begging on the street. It felt like the right thing to do. One piece of advice: do not give them money because some will spend it on alcohol. I always give food or something else as long as it fits in a healthy lifestyle.

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