Since we meet on Wednesday evenings, the night before Thanksgiving has been focused on a Buddhist perspective on gratitude and the increasing spirit of generosity that emerges from dedicated mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation practices. The participants in the group each talked of their experiences related to their practice and this time of year.
It’s our custom to devote the meeting on Thanksgiving Eve to shared experiences on how Buddhist practices foster gratitude, and how gratitude fosters generosity, which the Buddha regarded as the foremost of the qualities we develop as the awakening process unfolds. We hope that listening to this dialogue will inspire your practice of awakening.
During this talk Tommy gave some background information about the Buddhist concept of dana, translated as generosity. He related this as an outgrowth of gratitude for the clarity and relief brought about through intensive meditation practice. He emphasized the application of gratitude and generosity as important applications of Buddhism, and that generosity depends more on the degree of awareness of the practitioner. He mentioned some of the possible applications of generosity in life. This was followed by the closing night Dhamma talk provided by Peter
During this second discussion of the seven awakening factors, more emphasis was placed on the integrative function of the factors and how this process transitions from personality integration to spiritual transcendence. As the “demons” of the hindrances are starved of attention, more free energy is channeled intentionally to nurturing the “angels” of loving-kindness, compassion, generosity, empathic joy and insights about the three characteristics of impermanence, non-self, and the inevitable results of craving and clinging, that is, distress. This talk also includes the enthusiastic question and answer session that followed.
The Jataka Tales are Buddhist teachings on ethics in the form of a story. They’re quite numerous, and have been retold over the centuries in different cultures. Judy told the story of the Elephant King (except she renamed the main character “The Elephant Queen”). In this story, the insatiable quality of greed was contrasted with the total surrender to compassion and generosity on the part of the Elephant Queen.