Perfection of Generosity


DANA

The first of the six perfections or paramitas in the Buddhist tradition, is Dana or generosity. It’s considered a primary entry to practice I think largely because the practice of generosity itself is something that absolutely anyone can do.

ASPIRATION

Our daily life offers us endless opportunities to practice generosity. Dana is the first impulse we might have to help others, whether it’s to support their desire to achieve enlightenment or something else they might need like help with the groceries, getting to a doctor appointment, building a house a baking a better chocolate cake. Bodhicitta, is the flavor of dana pertaining to helping ourselves and others attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. When we see those around us who have that sincere desire to completely rid themselves of suffering and are moved to help, that’s bodhicitta.

EGO-LESS DESIRE TO HELP

One of the most important aspects of dana, of generosity, is that the desire to help is not based on any desire attached to our own ego, our own desires in any way. We don’t do something so we can get our name on a wall somewhere, or thanks, publicity, connection to celebrity. It’s simply done because it’s the thing that needs doing. Say, if your left hand was on fire, your right hand would immediately pull the burning one out of the fire. Right? Or say, since it’s summer, if you saw a small child fall into a pool, unable to swim and sinking to the bottom, you wouldn’t ponder what action to take. You’d simply jump in, clothes, runny mascara and all and save the child. That’s selfless generosity.

ASKING

So, Calm Chicago has recently been on the receiving end of amazing generosity and I want to tell you all about it because it’s so amazing. So, Calm Chicago is a little start-up organization. We do a lot of community service work for free as well as offer classes, workshops and coaching for a fee to individuals and organizations. The whole point is just to help people get rid of their stress, learn how to heal and transform themselves and their lives. So, because we’re so small right now, there’s no real budget to do things start-ups do, like hire designers to make logos and do web design.

How then to get the word out, present a professional face and all the rest on a zero-funds budget. Friends gave great advice about what they thought it all should look like. Finally, one person suggested I just ask for help. They said, “you know people – creative people, right?” And I said, “yes.” And they said, (when I protested about social media campaigns, thinkings like Kickstarter or Indiegogo and so forth) “It’s not about ego when you are offering something of genuine value that people really, desperately need.” So, I said, “Okay, you’re right.”

And then I asked for help.

GRATITUDE

And within maybe 20 minutes of the first Facebook post, Brittany Thill, a young, up-and-coming artist, offered her services for the whole thing.  She listened to my not very clear description of what I wanted. Clean. Cape Cod colors. I think that was the clearest guidance I could give. Within just a few days, she made this amazing new logo:

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Isn’t it great?

It’s so gorgeous, so exactly what I wanted, that I could just cry from gratitude.

Ms Thill is up for new work. She’s especially interested in projects that will be beneficial not harmful for people or the planet. So, all natural products and services are good. Holistic care, also good. Please contact her via her website. 

Thank you Brittany. And by the way, she didn’t ask for this plug or anything. She was living the first paramita, generosity.

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Author: Hillary Johnson

Improvisational documentary and fine art photographer.

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