To give without wisdom
is to share your delusion.
We can give anything we like [for practising the perfection of generosity], as long as we do it freely and with pleasure. At the beginning, we will perhaps be capable of giving only a glass of water without regret, without a feeling of sacrifice, spontaneously and joyfully. When generosity grows, it becomes easy to give even something of great value. In the end, we will perhaps even be capable of giving our own life, because we will feel no more attachment for our body than we did for the glass of water at the beginning.
A sad story illustrates the danger of doing too much too quickly. A long time ago there was a bodhisattva of great diligence who wanted to progress as rapidly as possible. He announced publicly that he would give away anything that anyone asked him for. So some came for money, others for food. He was very rich.
One day, a rather disagreeable beggar came and asked him, “Is it true that you are ready to give away anything that people ask you for?” The bodhisattva replied, “Yes, I give freely everything I have, whatever you ask for.” The beggar then said to him, “Give me your right hand.” The bodhisattva took a knife, cut off his hand, and gave it to the beggar. The beggar then said. “I could never accept something given with the left hand. This is really improper!” That was too much for the bodhisattva, who cried out, “That’s it! I’m not giving anything else to anyone! I’m not a bodhisattva any more! Get out!” and with that he abandoned the bodhisattva path.
Path to Buddhahood: Teachings on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation
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