Perfecting the First Perfection

generous text near wooden blocks
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The perfection of generosity
is to ‘give’ your defilements to no one [by harming none],
and to ‘share’ your virtues with everyone [by benefitting all].

— Stonepeace

Try to establish the nature of the mind during meditation sessions. In between sessions do not stray into ordinariness. Instead, develop the six paramitas or the ‘six transcendent perfections.’ They are ‘transcendent,’ free from the three concepts: the subject who acts, the object of the action, and the action itself. Let’s use the first paramita of generosity as an example of how this works. First, rest in a state that is free of the notion of holding on to an ‘I’ as the subject who performs the act of generosity. Then release any grasping to the object of generosity – the recipient of our help whose gratitude is usually expected. Lastly, there should be no grasping to the act of generosity itself. If we are completely free from these concepts, then we are practicing the true or ‘transcendent’ generosity that can ferry us to the other shore beyond samsaric existence.

There are different kinds of transcendent generosity. The first has to do with the giving of material things, such as food, clothing, and other necessities with pure intention and no second thoughts, hidden agenda, or ulterior motives. Greater still is to give whatever we have or surrender our most treasured passions or to give up clinging to our dearest friends or relatives. Beyond that, but only applicable to bodhisattvas who have truly realised the meaning of emptiness, there are no limits to what can be given. A bodhisattva on the first bhumi (ground) will have no qualms or hesitation about sacrificing his limbs or even his own life for the benefit of others.

The second kind of generosity is the gift of the Dharma. This also has various levels. We can give texts or funds so that people can study or enter the path, and so on. To make the Dharma teachings available on a vast scale, thus benefitting all beings is the best gift. This is what great masters do when they teach countless students. The third type of generosity is the give protection from fear, assist the sick and destitute, protect them from danger, and above all to protect life. One way to do this is to buy animals before they are slaughtered or free fish that have been caught. Any act of generosity is, if course, extremely positive. However transcendent generosity requires that we be free from strong clinging to the notion of ‘I’ or the giver, the recipient, and the actual act of giving itself. Only then will it be ‘transcendent’ and help us to progress on the path of enlightenment.

The Great Medicine: A Remedy that Conquers Clinging to Reality
(Shechen Rabjam)
Get it at Amazon

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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