The Thirteenth Mindfulness Training: Generosity
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, we are committed to cultivating generosity in our way of thinking, speaking, and acting. We will practice loving kindness by working for the happiness of people, animals, plants, and minerals, and sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. We are determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. We will respect the property of others, but will try to prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.
In Thay’s commentary on the Thirteenth Mindfulness Training in the book Interbeing, he states:
This training is closely linked with the Fourth (Awareness of Suffering), the Fifth (Simple, Healthy Living), the Eleventh (Right Livelihood), and the Twelfth (Reverence for Life). In order to understand this mindfulness training deeply, we need to meditate on those four other trainings.
– pg. 49, third edition, 1998.
I just started reflecting on this training this week, along with a friend of mine who is an OI aspirant I am helping to mentor. We’ve been making our slow way through all of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, spending two-weeks on each training. Reading and reflecting on each one and watching associated Dharma talks by the Plum Village monastics on youtube. It’s been a lovely practice spending concentrated, quality time with each of the trainings.
Currently resonating with me in regards to this training is the line that talks about cultivating generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. It’s very easy to gloss over these trainings and think: Yeah, yeah, sounds good. Check! But there is a depth to each one of these trainings that continually unfolds alongside our practice – but only if we’re active and diligent on the path. If we’re not careful and attentive, we’ll miss the boat of developing the insight that bears the fruit necessary for becoming more and more skillful, and more and more generous.
Here are my inner percolations:
Generosity in thinking: not getting caught in harshly judging self/others; being open-minded and inclusive.
Generosity in speaking: being honest and upfront without being arrogant or snarky; not criticizing others or spending too much time complaining.
Generosity in acting: being kind to self/others, even and especially when it’s hard.