Three roots 4 – greed

Greed, hatred, delusion
Generosity, loving kindness, wisdom

The tricky bit is noticing when we are being motivated by greed, so we can experience it as greed, acknowledge it, and (having seen it thoroughly) release it. Sometimes this recognition happens later, after a negative result has become apparent. For example, if I’ve charged ahead without pause to get something that I wanted, I might later notice that someone else should have been included and now feels hurt. Ouch.

In that case, I can see (later) that taking the time to think about my project beforehand might have led me to the generous idea of wondering who else might be included. When we do let go of greed, what arises in its place is generosity; so our reward for letting go is the instant enjoyment of the feelings that generosity engenders. This is a little taste of freedom, and it is what we want to cultivate.

From one perspective, greed is a force that prevents us from thinking of others. Generosity is its opposite and leads us to consider others in all our dealings.

In the Buddha’s words:
O monks, if people knew, as I know, the results of giving and sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would they allow the stain of stinginess to obsess them and take root in their minds. Even if it were their last morsel, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared it, if there were someone to share it with. But, monks, as people do not know, as I know, the result of giving and sharing, they eat without having given, and the stain of stinginess obsesses them and takes root in their minds.
– Itivuttaka 26: 18-19 (tr. Ven. Bodhi)

About lynnjkelly

Australian/American. Practicing Buddhist.
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