Saturday, March 21, 2009

Often Overlooked

Recently, a good friend of mine in Australia inherited $40.000 and decided to give half of it away. What follows is parts of a letter she wrote to me about this, reproduced with her permission.

“I decided not to give it away suddenly but to carefully check out different charities to make sure they really need the money and that they will use it intelligently and properly. Bhante, it was a real revelation to me. I never realized that there are so many people, volunteers and helpers, who care enough about this, that or the other cause that they are prepared to spend so much of their energy and time helping it. Charities helping people and animals seem to attract the most selfless and passionate volunteers. But there are numerous other causes – preserving old buildings, saving the Southern Lesser Red-breasted Tom Tit, getting travel books translated into brail, saving grand old trees from being chopped down…you name it! And all sorts of people are involved – young people, housewives, retirees, and lots of them spend their after-work hours, weekends and holidays at it. Its incredible Bhante! I never knew just how many good and caring people there are out there and discovering it has really inspired me… It has made me look at verse 53 in the Dhammapada completely differently. Instead of lying flat on the page, the Buddha’s words now seem to rise up, come close and whisper in my ear, ‘Get of your bum and do something to help others.’ ”

1 comment:

Alessandro S. said...

Reading letters like this makes me feel genuinely positive. Yes, there are many such generous and caring people out there. But people like this just happen to almost always shy fame and the stage. Myself I happen to know a few such people. Two of those that most inspire me I never met, but I can see what they do and feel overjoyed to be able to contribute my little to help them further their goals. At times I wonder if I might be overdoing, but then I consider how much of their life they devoted to their work, how much they could have enjoyed an easy, self-centered and uncaring life with all the goods they could afford, but they don't. I then feel ashamed of even thinking wasting my money on something I could very well do without. These people are then helping me living a more genuine buddhist life, a life where happiness, joy and contentment are prime values instead of hoarding up valuables and goods that «the flood, fire, the rust, thieves or the king are going to take away». They are not only helping the poor and needy, they are also, maybe unwittingly, helping me be a better buddhist. To them goes all of my praise and joyful appreciation.

And the same to you, Bhante! :-)