In an OnBeing conversation on 26th February 2013, with Krista Tippett, Father Gregory Boyle (whose life has been a message of hope for many many young people) makes the astonishing observation that
I’ve learned everything of value, really, in the last 25 years, from precisely the people who you think are on the receiving end of my gifts and talent and wisdom….
Seneca begins a Letter (“Moral letters to Lucilius” translated by Richard M. Gummere) that was probably written a year or two before he passed on in 65 AD: “You complain that you have met with an ungrateful person.” As he elaborates on this, he writes that “the wise man….enjoys the giving more than the recipient enjoys the receiving.” And why is this so? Seneca answers: “There is not a man who, when he has benefited his neighbour, has not benefited himself….”
In an essay published in the July 1896 edition of “Prabuddha Bharata”, we read Swami Vivekananda: “No beggar ever owed a single cent to us, we owe everything to him, because he has allowed us to exercise our power of pity and charity on him.”
In a 18th December 2018 Lions Roar compilation titled “Joyful Giving”, the Zen Teacher who founded (and runs) one of the largest centers in the USA that helps abused children, Jan Chozen Bays, writes:
We are not self-made. We are made of the raw ingredients of sunlight, soil, and water, shaped into the flesh of plants and animals, shaped into our life. Our life is one big gift, given by countless beings.
She goes on to observe that “When we truly see this”, our life becomes an answer to the question “How can I repay the many beings who are continually giving to me?”, and we realize that generosity, in our lives, must become like breathing.