Summary: A meditator asks Sathi to speak about generosity or dana.

Sathi explores greed and how it makes us vulnerable to people trying to get us to buy more things. He then talks about being a mindful person, having compassion and from that compassion, generosity.

Sathi talks about giving with an ulterior motive versus giving unconditionally, with compassion.

When you recognize this compassion inside, you will happily practice generosity.

When you practice generosity, it will bring joyfulness. Your mind will become lighter. You are not losing anything by practicing generosity. It is a gain.

[Sathi]We have discussed this many times. But, at the same time, this subject we have to talk about again and again. That way we can keep investigating ourselves and go deeper.

Let me talk about it in the opposite direction. Think about in day-to-day life, what do we practice most? And what are we believing the most?

As a human being, our most basic effort is to survive. From morning until night think about how many things we are doing because we want to survive. Pay bills. Not only you, but you have to help your family to survive. Why do we eat? Why do you pay all the heating bills and the airconditioning bills in the summer? And the water [bill]?

The next step would be, while we are surviving and living, we want to feed our senses. Through our senses, we experience pleasure and happiness. We are looking for happiness. When we are unhappy we want to get rid of that unhappiness. We want to replace that unhappiness with happiness.

That is common for all living beings.

What is the method we are using to fulfill this expectation? The number one method is by accumulation or collecting what we need in order to experience those things [happiness]. That urge of need is the starting point for greed. Because you can ask, how many times have you felt that the things you have are enough?

When somebody has something, as long as you don’t have it, you are trying your best to achieve it. But, once you have it, you want it better. When somebody has a house, they want a one or two-bedroom house. Once you have that house you think, “How can I get a house with an office?” Afterward, “Oh, I don’t have a garage.” Then [you] keep adding things.

“My TV is too old. Now I want to have a flat-screen.” Then, afterward, all of the features, one after another.

What is behind this? We are maintaining the nature of the never-satisfying mind. This mind is supported by greed. Whatever we have, we want to keep ourselves.

If someone asks, “What’s wrong with greed?” We all of us have greed. But, we don’t want to say, “I am greedy.” Because that is a negative comment. But, if we happen to see some reason that you have this greed, or that you are greedy, instead of saying it, you are giving a reason for that greed. We validate it. Our society is based on that value. Validating [our greed].

What is the situation for the mind? What is happening with our mind? The mind is not satisfied. The mind will never be free. Because when you have a lot of things, then you have a lot of challenge. The nature of the world is… just think, if somebody has a car that person only has to take care of one car. Changing tires on one car. Gas for one car.

But, if you happen to have a few different cars, one for your regular work, the other one for your recreation. That adds troubles.

If someone has one house to take care of, then they only have trouble for one house. But, if you have a few different houses…. what happens? Your mind has to engage with all of those [problems]. But, we are not trained to see this as a burden. We don’t see it. We see, “That is what I need to do. That makes me happy because I can use it.”

This is based on and supported by greed. As a result, whether we know it or not, we are living by dissatisfaction or pain, all of the time. You let your mind go through this stress. And, stress has lots of opportunities to grow. So many things to feed your stressful mind.

When mindful people recognize this, to address this situation, they introduce different qualities. These qualities are compassion and loving-kindness. These work in two different ways, towards me and towards others.

Instead of me, you start thinking about us or all other living beings. What happens is that you will intentionally introduce compassion. You will intentionally introduce loving-kindness. But, compassion and loving-kindness is an internal experience. It comes from your mind.

But, this internal experience will grow with practical experiences. Without practical experiences, there is only a thought. Compassion is only a thought. It is not a feeling or experience. Loving-kindness is only a thought.

The practical experience starts with generosity. To practice generosity, you have to be honest and authentic. You have to be genuine. You have to have a certain respect for yourself.

When you look at the market. What are they touching? They are touching your greedy mind. They are trying to sell things by saying, “The sales are there.” When the sales are there are trained to go and grab something because you feel like you can get something by paying little.

What is the thought behind this? Sometimes you don’t want to buy something but you are buying it because it is cheaper. That is what marketers want to do. They want to create this environment that allows you to come in to buy it. Because they know that this is the strongest thing that they can touch [utilize] in order to sell this product.

That is what we have given value [to].

But, when you have compassion, what is happening? You don’t see the value in there. You are selecting yourself as the most valuable person. When you select your mind and your well-being as the most valuable thing for yourself, you will not choose anything else by letting go of your peacefulness.

[When] you recognize this compassion inside, you will happily practice generosity.

When you practice generosity, it will bring joyfulness. Your mind will become lighter. You are not losing anything by practicing generosity. It is a gain.

But, [for] people who don’t have this compassion, generosity is lost to them. That is why they are having a difficult time practicing generosity.

Indirectly I tell people, “Don’t throw money. Practice it.” When you are offering it, you will know what you are doing. You are giving something valuable that is valuable and useful to yourself, something that you respect, that is what you are giving.

Sometimes people give their time. “Oh, I have extra time….” No, it is okay to give extra time, when you have it, but, you have to recognize that, “I am giving time that I could use for myself.” Now, you are having an effort to create that time to offer to someone else.

And, you don’t give extra energy away. You don’t throw your extra money out. [Instead,] you are practicing by knowing the value of [your energy and money.]

What is happening when you are doing this? You have compassion for yourself as well as for others. When you have compassion for others, it will become unconditional giving.

For the mindful person, there is another step that we will add on. When you are giving mindfully, you will give with respect. Without the receiver, you won’t be able to practice this [giving].

A story just came to my head.

There was a politician who wanted to get his propaganda [out] by making a big donation to a certain temple where there was a big congregation. So, this would be equal to people getting their propaganda spread by donating to the church or any religious or public place.

He offered a bag of money and the monk accepted it and set it aside. The monk continued his work.

This man kept asking, “You know, there is a lot of money in there?” The monk said, “Okay, thank you.” and he continued doing his work. He picked up the money and just threw it in another basket.

Now the man said, “Bhante, there is a lot of valuable money here. You should be very careful with it. And maybe you can tell others…”

The monk looked at the man and said, “Your job, you have done your job. Don’t tell me about my job. Now, you are trying to do my job, after you have done your job. Giving is your job. Receiving is my job.”

Think about your intentions. Think, “What is my job?”
When you practice generosity, it has to be part of the unconditional giving. It has to be based on compassion.

Okay, I think that is enough for today and it is very good to see all of you.

Recorded on January 27, 2020 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Mankato, Minnesota.

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