The Perfection of Generosity - The Bodhisatta’s giving II

Further on in the Commentary we read what the Bodhisatta is thinking when he has an object that can be given but his citta is not inclined to give:

“When the Bodhisatta possesses objects that can be given and suppliants
are present,

but his mind does not leap up at the thought of giving

and he does not want to give,

he should conclude: ‘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.’ ”

Thus, we see that giving cannot be forced. A person who has accumulated the inclination to give often, time and again, is able to give immediately, without hesitation, without having to think about it again and again. Therefore, when someone’s mind does not leap up at the thought of giving immediately, or when he hesitates, it can be known that he surely did not accumulate giving in the past.

We read further on:

“Thus he gives a gift, generous, open-handed, delighting in relinquishing;

one who gives when asked, delighting in giving and sharing.

In this way the Great Being destroys, shatters,

and eradicates the first shackle to giving.”

Here we see that we should investigate our citta when we are not inclined to give. We read:

“Again, when the object to be given is inferior or defective,

the Great Being reflects: ‘Because I was not inclined to giving in the past,

at present my requisites are defective.

Therefore: though it pains me,

let me give whatever I have as a gift even if the object is low and inferior.

In that way I will, in the future, reach the peak in the perfection of giving.

Thus he gives whatever kind of gift he can -

generous, open-handed, delighting in relinquishing,

one who gives when asked, delighting in giving and in sharing.

In this way the Great Being destroys, shatters,

and eradicates the second shackle to giving.”

When someone does not give, he may reflect on it; he may realize that he did not accumulate generosity and that, from now on, he will try to accumulate it. Or, he realizes that the things he could give are defective or scarce because he did not give in the past, and that he from now on, even though he has little, should give.

We read further on:

“When a reluctance to give arises due to the excellence or beauty of the
object to be given,

the Great Being admonishes himself:

‘Good man, haven’t you made the aspiration for the supreme enlightenment,

the loftiest and most superior of all states?

Well then, for the sake of enlightenment,

it is proper for you to give excellent and beautiful objects as gifts.’

Thus he gives what is excellent and beautiful,

generous, open-handed, delighting in relinquishing,

one who gives when asked, delighting in giving and in sharing.

In this way the Great Being destroys, shatters,

and eradicates the third shackle to giving.”


Topic 277