All Giving is not Created Equal. [Trungpa, Moses Maimonides, Idiot Compassion, Microfinance]

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jan 4, 2009
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A worthy-of-contemplation article via Norris Burkes of the Zanesville TimesRecorder.


…Maimonides’ Eight Degrees of Charity – describes eight levels that motivate our giving to those in need. Read the paraphrased list below along with my comments and ask yourself which one best describes your motives.

1. Giving to the poor unwillingly.

This is what Buddhist leader Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche called “idiot compassion.” It’s the kind of giving we do when we can’t bear to see someone suffer. That’s co-dependency and we only do it out of our own need to avoid suffering.

2. Giving to the poor happily, but inadequately.

This happens when the coffee barista asks whether you’d like to add $1 to help AIDS orphans in Africa. We smile generously, because smiles are cheap, and we reply, “Certainly” – even though we know a buck is woefully “inadequate” for such a momentous task.

3. Giving to the poor after being asked.

This can either be giving pocket change to the homeless or writing a large check at a charity benefit. You do it because in some sense you had to be pressured before you “noticed” the need.

4. Giving to the poor without being asked.

Giving gets a bit harder at this level. You’ve got to be looking for needs. As Kaiser Cement Corp. used to say, “Find a need and fill it.” Truthfully, I usually hover about a “4.”

5. Giving to the poor without knowledge of the recipient, but allowing the recipient to know your identity.

This is giving to someone we don’t know, but we still “allow” ..

…read the rest.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


2 Responses to “All Giving is not Created Equal. [Trungpa, Moses Maimonides, Idiot Compassion, Microfinance]”

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