The Art of Giving

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Ven. Amy Miller with students at Garrison Institute

It’s interesting being a touring teacher for the FPMT, as I travel to many FPMT centers, as well as other centers. For me, the FPMT centers, like Shantideva, are more like home. However, I do witness that most of these centers struggle financially. In the States and Europe, I find it even more so as compared to Asian centers, as our culture seems to have come late to the understanding and practice of generosity. In Buddhism, it is through generosity that you create a flourishing of Dharma in your life along with your own prosperity. So when people are low on funds, the tendency is to tighten the purse strings and not give. However, after years running Buddhist centers with minimal funds, we practiced giving on small levels at times and I often felt anxious about it. What I came to see, however, was that the funds came back to us 100-fold and more! It was extraordinary and deepened my faith in the Dharma.

The other thing I notice is that people have money for their entertainment, etc., but when it comes to the Dharma center, they have no interest in giving and want it all to be free. Shantideva Center is a place that would love to offer all of the programs. If there were more sponsors and benefactors, this may be a possibility in the future as it is at some other centers. However, as you know, the reality of maintaining a business (and yes, there are business aspects to our centers) in the New York area is daunting. Rent, maintenance, teachers’ expenses, materials, etc. cost money, but consider the value. This is a place you can come to work with your mind on a deeper level. In addition, as I travel to many centers, I rejoice that Shantideva Center is a place that provides this safe, open, and welcoming environment to support this meaningful work. They do it extraordinarily well. This is an amazing gift to the community and it’s wonderful to see how many people come and thank the center for being there.


So the essence of the work at Shantideva is about opening the heart. Truly. It makes you happy. Period. Your financial support is essential in this process. Please enjoy the art of giving now. We are so grateful for your support.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Venerable Amy Miller has been teaching extensively since 1992 and was ordained as a Buddhist nun in June 2000 by the great Tibetan master, Venerable Choden Rinpoche. She has directed several FPMT centers and projects for decades and has completed a seven-month solitary retreat. Her teaching style emphasizes a practical approach to integrating Buddhist philosophy into everyday life. She is happy to help people connect with meditation and mindfulness in an effort to gain a refreshing perspective on normally stressful living. Venerable teaches and leads retreats and pilgrimages around the world. Her teaching schedule and other information can be found at www.AmyMiller.com.

Ven. Amy is the co-author of Buddhism in a Nutshell and a contributor to Living in the Path, a series of online courses produced by FPMT.

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