The joy of giving
Generosity is central to faith, and by exploring it together we find joy and pursue a life of purpose. Nobody can tell you how to be generous, and indeed, the size of a generous gesture does not matter. There is simply no act too small or too big, but simply a right act from a sincere heart.
My wife and I have something of a birthday tradition; We view birthdays as special occasions where one has an opportunity to celebrate life and extend goodwill towards others.
In keeping with this tradition, this year, we embarked upon a 7 Day Kiri, Aloka and Kapruka Pooja at Jayasri Maha Bodhi at the end of which we distributed dry rations to 500 families and school books to 200 destitute children. One cannot express the heart-felt joy of touching another person’s life. . A sacred Boo tree was also planted in Wakada, Kurunegala to mark my wife’s birthday, but the present she was most pleased with was the laying of a foundation stone for a new temple that will include a hostel for female monks, a chaitya, and a bana maduwa (a place where tiie Buddhist Priests read the Bana, or Sacred Books).
Gifting such as this offers much needed sustenance to rural communities in Sri Lanka as poverty continues to be a large problem. Although Sri Lanka has done well in some Human Development Index (HDI) indicators such as life expectancy and literacy, and even topping some rankings in the South Asia region, it has continued to average in the medium ranges of the HDI. This is despite the fact that Sri Lanka has been experiencing moderate growth in its GDP averaging 5.5% per annum between 2006 and 2009. One of the reasons is due to its relatively low GDP per capita; currently ranked in the bottom one third of the world. This could be due to the issue of poverty, specifically, rural poverty. The Sri Lankan government has been successful in reducing poverty from 15.2% in 2006 to 8.9% in 2010, Urban poverty was reduced from 6.7 to 5.3% while rural poverty was reduced from 15.7 to 9.5% and the nation is close to achieving Millennium Development Goals on Eradicating extreme poverty hunger.
Promoting charitable giving is a wonderful way to share happiness and spread values such as generosity and compassion through the community and ultimately build a better world. Generosity comes from the heart, and is also a thoughtful process that guides our philanthropic choices and role in making our community a better place.