As of writing this post, we are in the top 30 of the Top 50 Buddhist Blogs – at number 29!
This is very exciting and humbling news. Thank all of you kind readers who find value and interest in the discussions shared here. It is a great gift to be able to share the ideas that one finds valuable- elaborating in writing is a great way to deepen learning, and this is the gift that you have given.
This is a great opportunity to practice the Perfection of Generosity (Dana Paramita). Giving and receiving without attachment – without hidden agendas, especially in today’s society, is of immeasurable value. There is a wonderful story about the meeting of Bodhidharma and Emperor Wu, who heard of this great sage from India and invited him for an audience. The monarch proceeded to tell the raggedy, tattered Bodhidharma about all the monasteries he has built and all his numerous acts of generosity for promoting and supporting Buddhist institutions. Finally he asks: “How great is the merit from all these?” Bodhidharma, ever the pragmatist, answers: “No merit”. A good Chan master can give a whole new meaning to the old adage, no good deed goes unpunished.
However, after the initial blow to the ego, “no merit” can actually show us a way to an immense sense of freedom. Doing something for its own sake, without trying to gain or manipulate anything, but simply as an act of devotion, can be a truly liberating experience. That is the true power of “no merit”.
“To practice charity is to give everything away. This means to get rid of perceptions of self, being, life, and soul, sorrow and delusion, possession and renunciation, love and hate. The Buddha teaches us to practice charity, to rid ourselves of all attachments within, and to benefit all beings without. By not dwelling on anything, bodhisattvas do not see the self that gives, nor do they see the other that receives, nor do they see anything given. For all three are essentially empty. By concentrating without concentrating on anything, their practice of charity remains pure. They do not desire what they do not have. Nor do they long for some future reward. When ordinary people
practice charity, they hope for some blessing or benefit. This is to practice charity while attached to something.” (Translated by Red Pine)
So to celebrate this occasion, Let’s practice giving and receiving with no strings attached. May we realise the emptiness of giver, receiver and gift!