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[Opinion] Virtue of Giving

Posted August. 21, 2002 22:56,   


Buddhism preaches the virtue of giving. It is said that there were originally three kinds of acts of giving – giving money and goods, teaching people Buddhist values and helping those in fear and despair. These days the act of giving has an even broader meaning. Whatever we have, if we are willing to share with others, we are carrying out the virtue.

Buddhism teaches you are giving something valuable when you are smiling, being kind, helping others, putting others before yourself or cleaning your neighborhood.

▷Indeed, the act of giving is what people across the world must have in mind, not just some religious preaching. It is welcoming that we begin to practice the virtue although we are still far behind Western societies. People start to pay attention to campaigns that say ‘share 1% of your monthly salary with the poor’ or ‘contribute 10% of the fortune you inherited to the society.’ In fact, Kang Tae-won, an 80-year-old man hailing from the North, donated 27 billion won to help the poor a few days ago, while professor-turned businessman Hwang Pil-sang made a 21.5 billion won contribution to a university. And an old man donated his house, all that he has after thirty years of hardworking, to a university.

▷Priest Dou living in Temple Tongdo in Yangsan, south Gyeongnam province shared his liver with a terminal liver cirrhosis patient. He was giving no other than a part of his body to a person who needs it desperately. He was smiling happily in patient gown. It was such a beautiful scene with a young priest in his 20s carrying out what he has been taught. He donated his kidney three years ago and further plans to donate his bone marrow to a blood cancer patient.

Most of giving people are reluctant to make their deeds public. “It’s nothing. I don’t want people to know,” said the priest. The old man who donated his house also declined to have an interview at first, “I am not doing this to show off.” They may feel uneasy that “not only their right hands but also many out there know what their left hands did.” They are beautiful souls that are rare in this secular world where people are eager to take credit. They make our society a place worth living despite the prevailing greed and corruption.

Song Young-eon