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Fundamentals of the Dharma: Generosity

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2012-05-01
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



Why is generosity a fundamental dharma issue? The dharma opens us beyond our self-limitations, and generosity is the essential direction of that opening. There is a balance between staying within ourselves and our understanding without idealizing the dharma while working with our edges that keep us contained within ourselves. Generosity is the authentic journey out of that container where we realize we were never alone or isolated. Generosity is the manifestation in action of connectedness and is the fundamental conduit of a life lived from the heart.


Generosity is sharing some part of us with another. It could be time, attention, money, etc. It contains a “no” as well as a “yes.” The tension between the two allows you to care for yourself as you open to selflessness. Extend too far in one direction and you find yourself tight, self-enclosed, and contracted; too far in the opposite direction and you overextend and ignore the signs to stay within yourself. Work with this tension throughout the week. Explore both the “yes” and the “no.” A good direction for investigation is giving without regret. Too little or too much and there is a psychological kickback. Where does regret meet the opening of generosity?


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