This resource is a brief article by NEU Chancellor & Co-founder, Dr. Nancy Ash, DD, PhD (reprinted from the NewEarth Blog in 2019) that discusses the first paramita of generosity with basic instructions for a healthy Sky Meditation, as taught in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition. Professor Ash is a longtime student of Dzogchen in the Nyingma Lineage, and has taught college-level introductory curriculum on Tibetan Buddhism.
(Note: This article is excerpted with the author’s permission from Doinga360.com, reprinted from her column, Doing a 360: Sacred Spherical Strategies for Optimal Living in Dayspring magazine, 2008. Feature Sunset photo by Connie Broussard. All other photos from the author’s private collection.)
You’ve probably heard of the saying, “He’ll give you the shirt right off of his back!”
Years ago a dear friend and I created a small dharma publishing company called, Sky Dancer Press. We were honored to work on and publish, Prajnaparamita: The Six Perfections, written by my spiritual friends (two Tibetan brothers) known as masters of Dzogchen. His Eminence Venerable Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche (the eldest brother) was my beloved mentor for many years.
In a previous article I discussed the fourth paramita (perfection) known as, joyful effort. Today I share the first — transcendental generosity.
Generosity has many shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. What do I mean by that?
Well… according to Buddha’s teaching there are different levels of generosity. Essentially, we all know that giving is great. However, if we give with attachment — whether conscious or not — then this is a lower form of generosity practice.
For example, you may be the receiver of gifts from a friend. How lovely. Let’s say that after a while each gift gets larger and larger, perhaps a sizable sum of cash — wow. If the benefactor begins to apply conditions in your relationship he or she may (consciously or unconsciously) be trying to control or manipulate you… and you are allowing that into your sphere of influence. Even though ego drives desire, remember, they’re still practicing generosity, which is wonderful. Some try to control others while being stingy, too!
Another basic example: You send a gift and expect to receive a thank you note… only to be disappointed it never arrives. This is sadly very common; it happens often. Conversely, if we give away all that we have with highest intention then this is perfect giving or a high level of generosity; and an anonymous donation is perfection of transcendent generosity.
When we give with pure perfection it opens our little local self to the Higher Self. That’s why the first of the six paramitas (perfection, sanskrit) IS generosity. It’s a foundation — the sacred ground of transcendence.
Doesn’t it feel good to give?
Handing out soup in the kitchen for our homeless brothers and sisters or delivering flowers to a friend when it’s not their birthday (just to let them know that we care). Doesn’t it feel good to give without needing anything back? When we feel generous we give freely from our Soul.
This month’s 360° Spherical Strategy is to practice applying a sense of complete openness in your day-to-day activities as an antidote to the obscuration of miserliness.
This is a meditation practice that I learned from Khenchen. It’s a beautifully effective Dzogchen technique called, Sky Meditation. Meditate on the spacious essence, or sky-like nature of the mind.
It is an audpicious time for this practice. The weather is perfect (however it manifests). The Sky is vast and blue. From your blanket or lawn chair, or from a park bench in winter overlooking an icy lake (wherever you may be) … just gaze upward.
Open yourself to transcendental generosity.
Merge with the sky (eyes are open and soft) and relax – rest there for a while in your true nature.
Then, contemplate how to improve ways of giving. You may wish to start simply: Send an email or a card to a friend. Follow your heart-of-hearts (Soul) to the best ways of transcendental generosity that benefits all sentient beings.
Yours in the Greatest Degree of Love,
His Eminence Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche with the Reverend Dr. Nancy Ash, 1989 and 1993
A longtime practitioner of Dzogchen and teacher of Raja Yoga, the Reverend Dr. Nancy Ash is known as a vajra-yoginiand pioneering midwife to the new paradigm since the 1970s. Her heart-centered voice is heard worldwide as a passionate new-thought-leader, author/poet, web TV host of Kaleidoscope, and former radio co-host championing peace for all women, men and children on this planet. Dr. Ash is the Chancellor & Co-founder of the NewEarth University, a planetary hub for wisdom-keeping of the NewEarth Project; and has served as president of New Earth Theological University (online), working as a professor and postgrad advisor, and dean for its School of InterSpiritual Studies. In tandem with decades of multi-dimensional work as a Oneness Advocate in the field of evolutionary consciousness, she is honored to serve (since 2015 – ) as a founding trustee for the International Tribunal for Natural Justice (ITNJ), to ensure that human rights are fairly and nobly upheld, restoring justice-making to the people. Rev Dr Nancy resides in the enchanted mountains of New Mexico, and has authored two books: Garland of Grace: Sitting with the Dying Sun, and, Doing a 360: Turning Your Life Around to Follow Soul’s Purpose.