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 A young man in his early twenties exclaimed loudly, "Almsgiving is impossible got me, a penniless man. It is I who wants to beg for alms of others!"
This happened while I was preaching a sermon to an audience about almsgiving. The reason he got upset seemed to be that he thought it was unreasonable for a person like him to be asked to give alms as he had neither money nor any other valuable possessions. But in Buddhism, there is a teaching about the "seven possible ways of alms for men with no property." I explained this teaching to my audience, particularly bearing him in mind.
Shashin-se (shashin means sacrificing oneself, and se means almsgiving) Do not exclude offering yourself, if you are needed to perform a good deed.
Shinryo-se (shinryo means having consideration for other people) Share both sorrow as well as joy with others and wish for their happiness.
Wagen-se (wagen means smiling face) Have a smile on your face whenever meeting others.
Jigen-se (jigen means affectionate eyes) Try to keep your eyes affectionate at all the time.
Aigo-se (aigo means soothing words) Use soothing words so as to reassure and set other's minds at ease and cheer them up.
Boosh-se (boosh means room and house) Offer your room or house to people, if it is needed to shelter them from the wind and rain.
Shhoza-se (shooza means thing to sit on) Be kind enough to offer your seat to anybody who needs it more than yourself, like elderly for instance.
As soon as my explanation ended, that young man said, "Oh, those types of alms! Don't you think that I, and anybody for that matter, could give those at anytime?"
I do think that he could. But it is not as easy as thought for everyone to give these alms. It takes little or no money, but instead benevolence, forbearance and bravery, which not everybody has in sufficient amounts for them to make a proper choice as the occasion demands. In the case where a person is lacking, one will have to strain every nerve in their body to suppress their unkind-self.
At any rate, these ways of alms are ……………