If one has not been generous in the past it is not easy to be generous at the present time. We read in the commentary to the Cariyapitaka that the Bodhisatta, when his mind does not leap up at the thought of giving considers the following:
“Surely, I have not been accustomed to giving in the past,
therefore a desire to give does not arise now in my mind.
So that my mind will delight in giving in the future, I will give a gift.
With an eye for the future let me now relinquish what I have to those in need.”
Further on we read about the overcoming of worry about the loss of an object being given
“When the Great Being is giving a gift,
and he sees the loss of the object being given,
he reflects thus: ‘This is the nature of material possessions,
that they are subject to loss and to passing away.
Moreover, it is because I did not give such gifts in the past
that my possessions are now depleted.
Let me then give whatever I have as a gift,
whether it be limited or abundant.
In that way I will, in the future, reach the peak in the perfection of giving.’ ”
We too may regret the loss of an object we give. However, generosity can be
accumulated little by little. The Bodhisatta was not forgetful of his ultimate goal
while he developed the perfections. If we develop the perfection of dana along
with satipatthana we will not be forgetful of our ultimate goal: the eradication of
defilements. We can notice that we have a great deal of stinginess and
selfishness and thus it is beneficial to accumulate generosity. However, we
cannot have generosity whenever we want it, it is a kind of nama which arises
because of its own conditions. When there is generosity it can be object of
mindfulness so that it will be known as not self. In the absolute sense there is
no person who is generous.