The Buddha encourages us to be generous. It's part of the practice of any follower - to give, to be generous, to assist the poor. He even goes to far as listing what should be given:
The basic requirements are:
- Dwelling places
- Utensils, lights, seats etc.
In giving food, especially, one is giving life. He has said that if we all knew about the myriad benefits of sharing our food, we would share our food every day.
When we share our food with others, we are replenishing them, giving life, strength and allowing their minds to function more optimally. We are assisting them in being in a better position to change their karma.
Recently, I have made the acquaintance of several homeless men: Young Lucas, Old Lucas, Madala, Isaac and Desmond. It has been humbling to discover how simple their desires are compared with my own: food, clothing, shelter, a job, and in the case of Old Lucas, a Bible and books to read. These are all things I take for granted every single day.
These are also the people we walk past every single day without a single nice thought. We usually think, "They should get a job" or "I worked hard for my money. They don't. They just beg."
The reality is that we have no idea what life circumstances led them to live life on the streets. It could so easily be any one of us out there.
When I bring food to Old Lucas, he doesn't hesitate to share what I have given him with Madala and Isaac, no matter how little it is. Which is more than what we, who have more food than we know what to do with, are willing to do. (Watch this video: CLICK HERE.)
How is it then, that homeless people are more generous with each other than we are, who have so much more? If we haven't been in the situation homeless people find themselves, it's easier to not see them as human and walk on by.
The truth is we are all human. One of us is not less human than the other. We all deserve compassion and love.
The Buddha tells us we are all One. The teacher Jesus tells us that "who among you does this for the least of these people, does it for me". (To paraphrase - it's been a long time since I read a Bible)
Basically, everyone around us is a reflection of ourselves, of The Buddha, or The Christ, or Krishna, or God.
Anyway. The point of this was to relate what happened when I donated an old pair of shoes and a T-shirt to Desmond.
A friend generously gave me the shoes and T-shirt, which I passed on to Desmond. I saw him the next day, wearing the T-shirt, but not the shoes. He told me he didn't want to wear the shoes while standing in the rain because they were really nice shoes and he didn't want to ruin them.
To the friend, these were old running shoes that no longer served a purpose. To Desmond, these were really nice shoes that he didn't want to ruin.
The old stuff that you don't use can be used by someone else.
I am collecting old clothes for these guys: shoes, socks, shirts, trousers, caps - anything. I am also collecting items such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and razors for shaving. Books for Old Lucas to read. Food items too.
If you are willing to donate and be part of making a difference in at least one person's life, please get in touch.