To Give Is To Gain
“To give is to gain” is often heard in the teachings of the Buddha. To give means to share material or immaterial things with others. Material things such as clothes, food, shelter, medical care etc and immaterial things such as teachings, advice, education etc should be shared with others. Both things are necessary to maintain life. To gain means to be loved and respected by the others. But it doesn’t mean that we have to give for something like love, respect and gratitude in return. We must give without expectation; ‘give is to help others with what they need’. To gain is just the consequence of giving.
It is true that to give is to gain as an example; if one gives smile, one will get an answer with smile. To give is the gate way to loving-kindness and generosity.
On the contrary, not to give is the gate way to greed, hate and envy. There is a Chinese story which illustrates this well. Here is the story;
At one well-known college, there were two students; one, named Aphei, who did not like to share his knowledge with others, but one, named Ali, who liked to share his knowledge with others. Aphei thought, “If I share my knowledge to the others, they will be my competitor in the exam”. But Ali thought differently, “To give is to gain”. Aphei was puzzled by Ali’s actions as saw many times that Ali spent much of his time for answering his friends’ questions. But he never thought, “I don’t want to waste my time for those friends”.
One day they met, Aphei asked Ali why he spent time sharing his knowledge to friends. Ali said, “To give is to gain”. Aphei asked him, “What does it mean?” Ali answered, “Ah! It means that anytime I answer questions, I sharpen my knowledge”. Aphei did not understand that well, thinking, “How can he sharpen his knowledge?”
When the general exam came, all students did the exam. The result was that Ali got number one, but Aphei did not. Then Aphei understood that; to give is to gain.
According to the story, while listening and answering questions, it is double study. It is really true; to give is to gain. Therefore, the Buddha encouraged the world to share things with one another. He did not only encourage the world to do that, but also he himself shared his Dhamma to the world. Without sharing, Buddha’s teachings would not be available for us, the world, to learn and practise now. It is a great share which the Buddha and his disciples did, isn’t it?