Generosity is one of our most important practices

May 13, 2019

QUESTION Hello! 

I wanted to thank you for all the wisdom you shared with us this weekend. I found a lot of the things to be quite helpful and it inspired me to continue my practice, both individually and in our meditation group. There was one thing that I didn’t understand quite well: when we were at the center, you told my friend that he needs to get certain things, like a bigger statue and different water bowls. I had a discussion with another person from the center on our way home in which, among others, we debated this: Is a bigger statue or different bowls really important in our endeavor of knowing our minds and becoming better people? Couldn’t that money be better used for something else? I would really appreciate it if you had the time to respond to this dilemma I’m having.

VEN. ROBINA I’m happy to hear from you and glad you asked the questions! Perfect questions.

When I mentioned the statue, I had in mind Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s instructions to centers that it’s auspicious to get a beautiful statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. And big is beautiful! People can see the eyes, the features, more easily, which will touch the hearts of people more. That’s the idea behind “big.” It’s practical.

Second, the water bowls the center has are made of brass, and brass gets very dirty. So I was suggesting something beautiful like cut glass, or ceramics. Something that stays clean and is a beautiful offering to the Buddha. I mean, would we offer our guests a cup of tea in a dirty cup? I don’t think so! Here we’re offering to the Buddha.

As for using the money for other things. Of course, you could do that, too. But there is great meaning in making offerings to the Buddha: it creates virtuous karma. Generosity — to anyone, and especially the Buddha — is very powerful! Generosity is one of our most important practices. Karmically, it’s the main cause of our receiving anything. Our capacity to receive even a grain of rice is the result of our past generosity. Our being born in a country where we can have a good lifestyle, which gives us the leisure to practice a spiritual path, is the result of our past generosity.

What do you think?

Love,
Robina 

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