Introducing the 6 paramitas (1) Generosity

Bodhicitta in action – the Six Paramitas 

After giving rise to aspiring Bodhicitta, we will put our aspiration of benefiting all sentient beings into action. The action of the vast path of the Bodhisattva, also known as the Six Paramitas, is expounded in the Heart Sutra. It is the guide for sentient beings to move forward, so that the Bodhisattva within them becomes increasingly stable and mature until perfect Bodhicitta is attained.

The Six Paramitas include generosity, discipline, forbearance, diligence, meditative concentration. These are the practices of the five paramitas attributed to Bodhicitta, the sixth paramita being wisdom. The first five paramitas, under the eye of wisdom, constitute the Bodhicitta mind.

(1) Generosity

Generosity includes making material offerings, the offering of the Dharma, and fearlessness. Making material offerings are acts of kindness and compassion, joy, health, and a desire to help those in need. The offering of the Dharma assists other people to attain worldly and spiritual benefits, both short-term and permanent. The offering of fearlessness helps save sentient beings in jeopardy, for example, through the liberation of animals and supporting life.

From beginningless time we have habitually sought to obtain the objects of our desires.  When we have got what we wanted, we have desired more because of our greed. Those who are extremely rich often feel that they are not satisfied with the wealth that they have. Greed makes a beggar worry about losing his bowl. Greed also brings about unnecessary afflictions and suffering. Generosity is a useful tool as an antidote against greed. Through generosity we can practise giving materially, which can help transform our narrow minds. Through changing this habit of meanness, we can become open and generous. Generosity not only satisfies the other person’s need, it also helps us to accumulate positive karma.

This chapter is part of: Introduction Course - Part 2: Bodhichitta