The Perfection of Giving: Saving An Alcoholic
The practice of giving is one of the six perfections (paramitas) It purifies the mind and heart, leading to a life of abundance and happiness.
Giving has three main benefits:
- Temporarily forgetting self-cherishing
- Overcoming miserliness
- Benefiting others through our kindness
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso on Giving
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a renowned Tibetan Buddhist master, emphasises the importance of giving. He speaks of the pain caused by self-cherishing ignorance and how it can be overcome through giving. According to him, giving is a remedy for self-obsession, leading to a harmonious and peaceful life. He urges us to offer help to others, as it enhances our self-worth and aids in overcoming miserliness.
Generosity and Addiction
Other Buddhist scholars speak of the transformative power of generosity. Helping others in need enhances our spiritual growth. Giving, is not just about material possessions but also includes offering love, kindness, and understanding to those around us. Giving brings contentment and a deeper sense of fulfilment.
From a recovering addict's perspective, this 'transformative power' can be life-saving. The addict often succumbs to his disease until he finds a new way of living that involves selflessness, mindfulness, and spirituality. This approach serves as the gateway to all that is good.
Overcoming Miserliness through Giving
It's commonly observed that alcoholics struggle with self-centredness and selfishness. To combat this, practising giving, as advised by Buddhist masters, can prove helpful.
Miserliness can lead to unhappiness and a lack of fulfilment. However, by practising giving, we challenge this self-centred attitude and cultivate a mindset of generosity and abundance.
As we give more, we gradually overcome our deep-seated fears and insecurities related to scarcity.
Giving serves as a potent antidote to the poison of miserliness, ushering us towards a life of contentment and spiritual richness.
While we gain much from the perfection of giving, it's important to remember that the main objective is to help others. The service we provide to others is our contribution to this world.
Even in the commercial world, the exchange of goods and services embodies giving and taking. However, altruism's effects are more subtle and long-lasting for both parties involved.
For instance, when my son asks for help with my grandson, Billy, I have the privilege of offering advice and giving time and material needs. In return, my son learns how to be a grandparent through my example, acquires useful communication skills, and experiences an emotional high from problem-solving with someone else.
Moreover, he helps an old man feel less lonely and more useful.
The Impact of Giving on Personal Growth
Through giving, we not only help others, but we also cultivate a sense of self-worth and contentment within ourselves. This practice can help in overcoming addiction and other personal obstacles, enabling us to lead meaningful and fulfilled lives.
The perfection of giving, as advocated by Buddhist masters, is a powerful tool for personal transformation.
It assists us in overcoming our limitations, enriching our lives, and guiding us towards contentment and fulfilment. As Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and other Buddhist masters have shared, giving is a profound practice that positively impacts our lives and those around us.
Let's embrace the practice of giving, for in giving, we receive so much more.