More blessed to give than to receive

When we become Buddhists we learn to put Buddha, Dharma and Sangha ahead or before us, to dedicate every activity, more to offer it to them.

But why then, if we buy new clothes for example or are about to have a meal, do we offer those to the Three Jewels first? Are the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas freezing? Is this offering received by them at all?

Of course, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not freeze and they are neither hungry. That is not the point or reason why we offer them something in our mind that is dear to us. This detail contains the solution already. We offer with our mind. How else would we do it?

Well, you might point out that in the Vajrayana we view the Guru as Buddha. So offering to the Buddha in person is more than possible. That is fully correct. My Guru is a living Buddha and that is not only a theoretical possibility which enables me to develop in my spiritual practice, but he is for real. Do I hence take every meal or every new pair of socks up to my Guru’s monastery to offer those? Well, that would be rather unpractical for me and at least a bit strange to my Guru.

So, the only practical and pragmatic way to do so is to offer to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in our mind. But what does that do and why do we do it after all? It does something with and to us. Instead of leaping at the new, as usual and enjoying it and/or develop disturbing emotions such as greed, attachment, pride or aversion our first thought before enjoying all that pertains to the Exalted Ones.

We hence learn to direct the first impetus from us and our sensitivities to others, and not to just anyone but the Enlightened Ones. Our motivation changes from “taking” to “giving” whilst the outer action looks exactly as before when we did not yet do that. We offer in devotion and trust which deepens and upgrades our compassion, too.

By doing so, our disturbing emotions gradually diminish and we can experience more personal happiness as More blessed to give than to receive.

Chöje Lama Palmo