Hui-Hai, when asked how one might enter the gate of his school, says, “by means of giving,” literally dana paramita. when asked to clarify he says something startling that might be translated as, “giving means giving up,” or perhaps “giving over,” and adds that all the other practices that make up the Bodhisattva Path are realized through dana. this giving over is what it actually means to be free from suffering in this moment – “naked and free in the midst of the bustling marketplace”. without it even the most diligent practice is just spiritual athleticism and the most meticulous study is empty Zenology. it is what allows us to draw sustenance from the fabric and shape of everyday life and, even at the most difficult of times, find space to turn around.

in any encounter, even the most straightforward, the self-construct stakes out a position because that’s how its works. but, if we pay close attention, it’s easy to see that this act of staking out a position, drawing up categories and making up stories about them is exactly the thing that impoverishes our experience causing us to suffer and bring suffering to others. it’s the source of what the Buddha called “self clinging”. the most intimate request of practice, whether we’re sitting quietly in the Zendo or out wandering around in the World trying not to bump into things, is to relinquish our precious position and move into the very center of the encounter. to stand as close as possible, neither grasping or turning away. this is the essence of dana and, through it, practice is fulfilled.



About stupahead

householder-Zen-monk-poet-musician-bike-fanatic-baker-engineer View all posts by stupahead

3 responses to “generosity

  • peter

    …The separate, by joining itself to other separates, does not become the whole…

    Commentaries on Living – J. Krishnamurti
    First Series 1956
    [p204 – Exploitation and Activity]

    • stupahead

      and that’s a good thing, i guess. imagine how inconvenient it would be if our boundaries dissolved and we became the whole Universe every time we met a dog walking down the street or picked up a pair of socks with the intention of putting them on.

      z — “bending double like the knee of a grasshopper, i pass through”

  • peter

    Sounds like an episode of Star Trek. Mind melding writ large. It also sounds like Jill Bolte Taylor’s story of her stroke, and how she could not distinguish a boundary between her arm and the wall she leaned upon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: