These four ways were employed by one of Buddha’s prominent lay followers, Hatthaka Āḷavaka. According to Buddhist scriptural records, Hatthaka was constantly surrounded by more than 500 followers. So what did he do to keep his popularity? Is Hatthaka’s method still relevant today?
This is an act of sincerity because we give with a selfless intention to benefit others. The recipients will be touched by our sincerity and kind thoughts. Consequently, they will be happy and goodwill will arise in their minds when they benefited from our gifts. Therefore, the giving of gifts and receiving of gifts is an exchange of goodwill when performed correctly.
It is very important that gifts are given without expecting anything in return. Secondly, our gifts should bring benefits to others. Thirdly, it should be given with respect and goodwill. When we examine the criteria, it is obvious that the price of our gifts is not an important factor. In other words, our gifts need not be expensive. For example. when a person is dying of thirst, then a gift of clean potable water is better than a gold bar.
Last but not least, we need to have good affinities with others to give gifts. This is because if we incur the hatred or displeasure of others, they will reject our gifts.
Speaking with kindly words
Kind words maintain harmony. It is important for a leader to speak kindly because he/she will set the “tones” within the organization. However, kindly words are not limited to polite vocabulary. It also needs to consider the feeling and emotions of the listeners. Therefore, kindly words must be spoken with empathy and the right understanding. Otherwise, we will sound “hollow” and fake.
On the other hand, if one speaks kind words with genuine goodwill, the listener will reciprocate with goodwill in their mind. Consequently, mutual goodwill will arise and people will wish to associate with us. In that manner, one will gradually acquire more friends and followers.
Doing kindly deeds
This is similar to kindly words except that we put them into action. Being kind and helpful to others will attract people. This is because we provide kind service. At this juncture, let us examine the above. If we think carefully, giving gifts, saying kind words, and doing kind deeds actually make us into a person who benefits others. Due to that, we will become popular and will attract followers.
From a Buddhist perspective, we will emphasize the importance of genuine goodwill.
But if you examine the above in the context of commercial applications, it will still work. I guess that is the wonder of Dharma.
Treating people with equality
Nobody likes to be treated lesser or feel like a second-class citizen. Therefore, it is important that a leader treats all his followers equally without any discrimination. If favoritism exists, people will compare and they will feel resentment because of perceived unfairness.
When that happens, people will leave too.
For example, if a Buddhist organization only respects rich patrons, the poorer members who contributed their time volunteering will feel slighted. This naturally causes resentment to appear in their minds. When that happens, how can the organization be free of blame?
Hope you find the above tips useful too.
May all be well and happy.