The world of Buddha and its wisdom is unique. Sometimes it is beyond the grasp of mundane wisdom.
For example, Buddha taught that the cause of poverty is the karma of stinginess. If we live like the scrooge in the story, A Christmas Carol;
then we are likely to be reborn in a state of poverty in our next life. In one of the Buddhist story, a rich stingy merchant was reborn as a deformed child of the untouchable chaste.
I think, the habitual craving and stinginess of hording money will drive us to a state whereby a sense of insufficiency become part of our existence. Our desire for more lead us towards a state whereby our entire life is always lacking. That way, we live an entire life craving for more. It is a bit of an irony, isn’t it. and they say Karma is a Bitch?
Therefore Buddhist masters and teachers alike, taught that to overcome poverty, one must first learn how to give. Open up our mind and change our innate “mental DNA” that was from our past karma.
The western world is left scratching their head most of the time. Someone commented, “Are you sure this isn’t a ploy of medieval religious organization trying to exploit the poor?”
Even the eastern audience is left bewildered,”If I am poor, what do you want me to give?”
The intention of the Buddhist world was never to exploit but to enlighten the mind. The karma of exploiting people is worse, we end up becoming animals to be exploited in return.
Giving can be in many forms and guises, it need not be money. The idea of practicing charity is to achieve mind transformation. We believe that our mind will affect our life.
Foremost, we can give free service. In one of my favourite story, a dirt poor man in ancient India started volunteering to clear the grass that is being cut down by farmers. In return, the farmers agreed to let him dispose the unwanted grass. That poor man then sold the unwanted grass to grass weaver. That way, through careful management of wealth and diligence, he slowly became a rich merchant.
Besides giving free service, we can also give others a good day.
Give a smile.
Give a helping hand.
Give some kind words.
Give some encouragement.
Give some kind thoughts
We can practice giving within our means as long as we set our mind and mood to give.
And we can also give to animals. For example, leaving morsels of food to feed the ants is also a form of charity.
Last but not least, remember to share Buddha’s wisdom
May all be well and happy.