Tag Archives: Dana Giving

How to plant fruit trees

4 Oct

Let me start by telling you a story about two next-door neighbors. They decide they both want to plant a fruit tree. The first neighbor plants her tree in the front yard very close to her house. She waters it, nurtures it, and protects it, all the while thinking that when the tree is fully grown she’ll get to enjoy its sweet fruit.

The second neighbor also plants her tree in front of her house, but she plants it farther from the house, near her garden fence. She too waters, nurtures, and protects the tree. And she thinks that one day, when this tree is fully grown, everyone who passes by will get to enjoy its sweet fruit along with her. Both neighbors have exactly the same work to do. They water, nurture, and protect the tree. But the reach of their actions is completely different.

What I’m suggesting here is that we’re living through not just a transformation of the way we do things but possibly a deeper transformation of why we do them in the first place. Are we here to maximize our own reward, or to generously share the fruit of our labor? From a practice perspective, there is great power in intention and how it can shape the present moment and even the future—because if you approach this present moment with wisdom, kindness, and a sense of responsibility, you won’t have to worry about the future. It will take care of itself.

~Dawa Tarchin Phillips

On Giving

1 Oct

“When we examine our own giving, we often discern that we give for a wide variety of reasons, often with mixed motives. Although we may have the well-being of the recipient in mind when we give, we also give in order to receive.

Giving often creates the expectation that it’s now our turn to get something. We give because we like the other person and hope to be liked in return. We give in order to be accepted or recognized in a particular community, to be admired, honored, or praised. Often we give in order to think well of ourselves, in order to think of ourselves as truly generous people. Even the admirable desire to become a profoundly generous person still maintains the primacy of self-concern. It focuses on me, the giver, rather on those who might need my help. But it is a mistake to simply reject these mixed and sometimes immature motivations, because for most of us these are the motives that do in fact drive our lives.

The movement from ordinary states of self-concern to selfless giving always involves a gradual transformation of character, not a sudden leap. Like any form of strength, generosity needs to be intentionally cultivated over time, and everyone must begin in whatever state of mind they already happen to be. Understanding and accepting who you really are right now is as important as the commitment to become someone more open and generous. Whatever the quality of motivation, when we intentionally reach out to others in giving, some degree of transformation occurs. We become what we practice and do in daily life. When we engage in acts of giving, we begin to feel generous, and the force of this feeling encourages our wanting to give.

Generous feelings are not always enough to make someone truly generous, however, because there are other important capacities entailed in effective giving. One of these is receptivity, a sensitive openness to others that enables both our noting their need and our willingness to hear their requests. If we simply don’t notice the problems and the suffering all around us, our generosity won’t amount to much. And if we don’t present ourselves as open and willing to help, we probably won’t help, because we won’t be asked. Our physical and psychological presence sets this stage and communicates clearly whether or not we care about the plight of someone there before us.”

By Dale S Wright

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Sati Pasala aims at sharing mindfulness with students, teachers, and entire school and university communities, as well as those in other relevant sectors.

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