We make a living by what we get;
but we make a life by what we give.
The habit of giving
only enhances the desire to give.
The fragrance always remains
in the hand that gives the rose.
The true measure of a man is how he treats
someone who can do him absolutely no good.
Noblesse oblige, or, superior advantages
bind you to larger generosity.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap
but by the seeds that you plant.
-Robert Louis Stevenson
The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.
He also accepteth from a grouch.
If you can’t feed a hundred people,
then just feed one.
If you are feeling helpless,
-Aung San Suu Kyi
No one has ever
become poor by giving.
If you think you are too small to be effective,
you have never been in bed with a mosquito.
Give all thou canst, high Heaven rejects the lore
Of nicely-calculated less or more.
It is more difficult to give money away
intelligently than to earn it in the first place.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.
He who gives when asked
has waited too long.
Kindness is the
practice of generosity.
You have not lived until you have done something
for someone who can never repay you.”
The desire to act generously often arrives in our lives by surprise, as an uninvited guest, a lightning bolt of inspiration. In a mere moment a story, quotation, poem, passing remark or mere gesture can be enough for generosity to move into our hearts and minds and become central to our lives. Inspiring Generosity is a rich offering of such moments.
I wrote my book for a broad general audience. I hope readers will want to give this book as a token of gratitude to all the generous people in their lives. I hope it will make its way to desks, coffee tables, and bedside tables, as well as beach chairs, pulpits, and meditation cushions. I hope that philanthropists and leaders of our foundations and charitable arms of our businesses will display this book in their homes and offices, and turn to it to renew the spiritual engine of their work. Nonprofit boards and executives should have this book, and should give it to those who donate to the organizations they lead. Fundraisers should have this book on their desks, and make it a gift to the generous people who light up their work. Retreat centers will want to make this book available to their students, teachers, participants, and guests. Volunteers could be given this book as a token of appreciation for all they do—and perhaps many will have already bought it for themselves! Teachers, professors, religious leaders, poets, and philosophers will all find inspiration in these pages. I even dare hope that our elected officials, who could all do with a bit more generosity of spirit, may find this book a source of inspiration.
“The best thing I have read on the path of generosity.
Warning: this book might change your life.”
David Loy, author of The World is Made of Stories
“Read it and you will love it!”
Robert A. F. Thurman, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies,
Columbia University, and President, Tibet House USA
“Truth explodes from every page…”
Stephen Cope, author of The Great Work of Your Life