Day 24 – Reciprocity. Well, actually we are looking beyond the Law of Reciprocity at the act of Giving without the expectation of response or anything in return. I am a big fan of this and believe it sits at the very heart of our intended humanity.
Giving or letting go is the first of Six Keys to Buddhist Living. The Buddha taught that generously giving (ie without expecting reward) would bring you abundant joys and benefits. Your giving can extend to time, money and material goods. It can include giving reassurance, support and protection, or giving or imparting your spiritual and practical knowledge.
And don’t get caught in a trap where you say, ‘I would give, but only to the deserving’. The Buddha taught that you ‘should give to 10 different kinds of people: enemies, friends and those you haven’t made up your mind about; the ethical and the unethical; your equals, inferiors and superiors; those who are helpful and happy, and those who are harmful and angry’. So pretty well everyone. Are you able to do that?
I give without expectation as often as I can. Perhaps the cynic in me says that’s because we live in a world that only reluctantly shows gratitude. But that’s not really the point, is it?
You see, the reciprocal of me giving freely, is also allowing a certain vulnerability that I am also ready to receive because there are others like me. And of course if you appreciate what it’s like to be on ‘the receiving end of generosity’, you’re likely to be much better at giving.
What do you think?