qofq

On Gift Giving, Receiving and Refusal by the teacher/healer

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Hello Friends and teachers alike!

 

Story/Question time!

 

I've spent the last 5 years living under a Taoist Priest in the Longmenpai tradition.  This has been something I could not be more grateful for.  

 

Something I've seen in our time together has been as follows.  

 

: I intend to give a gift to my teacher

: I feel very sad (almost as if I want to weep) when he refuses to take my gift  

 

 

I learned to be more sincere as a result but didn't think to much about it at the time

 

lately I've made a friend in the world who I shared some things with (perhaps too much?) and  I've noticed the same behavior now from them.  

:trying to excessively give me gifts

:and only this last time have I been present enough to not just absently accept it, and when I refused I could sense that same grief/whatever it is by my refusal.  

 

Is there anyone who would like to speak to this?  I am grateful for the fellowship.

 

 

 

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It is very dependent upon the nature of the gift.

As well as the nature of the giving.

 

Gifts such as “would you like an energy healing” can be given from the best of intentions but may be best to reject for uncountable reasons.

 

Gifts of things or money are much simpler - but even they can be cumbersome.

 

Perhaps more clarity in what you are presenting?

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Nice seeing you t/here spotless. 

 

More like "here is some chapstick" .... "I made you this food"... Do you want this "thing".

 

I guess more specifically, why such a strong desire (both me to teacher and now this friend to me) to give the gifts (from the givers end and especially with the emotional reaction due to refusal)  

 

and what is avoided by refusing?

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I am currently in the process of decluttering and returning to a simple life as I see that as the way to go for me as a philosophical Taoist. So accepting a gift (even when it is given from the bests of intentions) is actually adding obstructions to the path of the receiver of the gift if the receiver wants a decluttered simple life, because he now (in all probability) has to remove one thing more from his properties (which is very difficult to do without disturbing the giver if he finds out). Maybe it would help to give some healthy food, beautiful flowers or some other things that naturally disappear after being used and thus don't add to the clutter in the receivers home. 

 

In case of a teacher there might also be some other reason to refuse a gift, and that is that he doesn't want to be bribed in any way.

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I think the true nature of a gift is in the intent. Is it an attempt to curry favor or influence? Is it a response to appreciation of something or some one? Is it a favor being returned? Is there any expectation attached?

 

A true gift has no expectation attached; there should be no trace in the giving.

 

Perhaps, in your case, teacher does not want to set a precedent. Or perhaps there is some deeper principle that he feels is being violated. Maybe he just wants to avoid a misunderstanding. It might be worthwhile to talk with your teacher about it so that you have a better understanding. It may be something you need to understand as part of your training.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Fa Xin said:

May I ask why you refused the gift from your friend ?

 

I see the person weekly.  Every week for months they would offer me a gift.  I noticed that In the moment of exchange I was not being as present as I could be.  Had minor intuition to not accept gifts since I had seen my teacher doing the same thing.  Noticed it was still hard to be present even after that intention.  For instance I would have the idea that I would not accept any gifts and it's like the exchange would happen so fast that I'd just end up with a gift in my possession.  I also noticed me getting sick frequently (week long flue -> right into food poisoning -> x, y, z) and set some intention to  try and become more aware of what was happening.  

 

Even said to this friend once "that's it, don't offer me any more gifts" in a friendly exchange.

The response was "They're more obligations at this point haha"

I said "Exactly!"

 

Thus this topic is something I'm looking at more deeply.

 

 

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8 hours ago, wandelaar said:

I am currently in the process of decluttering and returning to a simple life as I see that as the way to go for me as a philosophical Taoist. So accepting a gift (even when it is given from the bests of intentions) is actually adding obstructions to the path of the receiver of the gift if the receiver wants a decluttered simple life, because he now (in all probability) has to remove one thing more from his properties (which is very difficult to do without disturbing the giver if he finds out). Maybe it would help to give some healthy food, beautiful flowers or some other things that naturally disappear after being used and thus don't add to the clutter in the receivers home. 

 

In case of a teacher there might also be some other reason to refuse a gift, and that is that he doesn't want to be bribed in any way.

 

I see where you're coming from with this.  Thanks.

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3 hours ago, OldDog said:

I think the true nature of a gift is in the intent. Is it an attempt to curry favor or influence? Is it a response to appreciation of something or some one? Is it a favor being returned? Is there any expectation attached?

 

A true gift has no expectation attached; there should be no trace in the giving.

 

Perhaps, in your case, teacher does not want to set a precedent. Or perhaps there is some deeper principle that he feels is being violated. Maybe he just wants to avoid a misunderstanding. It might be worthwhile to talk with your teacher about it so that you have a better understanding. It may be something you need to understand as part of your training.

 

 

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

I am in tune with the "no trace of giving" you mention.  It was something I had to work on understanding through my experience with my teacher.  Just funny to be on the other end of the exchange, learning form that side now.  

 

I should also note that I haven't been initiated and being as such, I don't find much space or encouragement for direct inquiries with the teacher in regards to my training.  I do wonder if initiation would change that? This is not to say I don't learn what I need to =).  But there is not the relationship where I get to ask questions as I please, necessarily. haha.  A fact I'm still coming to terms with HA! 

 

I do appreciate the verbal exchange that I find here. 

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There are so many motivations for gift giving.  One possibility is to give in order to compensate for some perceived unworthiness in ourselves.  A person might not believe they are worthy just on their own of someone`s attention and try to make up for the lack with a gift.

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15 hours ago, qofq said:

I've spent the last 5 years living under a Taoist Priest in the Longmenpai tradition.

 

Do you pay the priest for tuition or whatever arrangement you have?

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It's wonderful that you've found such a teacher.

 

For the man who needs and wants nothing, perhaps a good gift is service.  Thanking the priest for the lesson, letting him know you have some spare time and could you perform any service for him? 

 

Sounds like you've discussed it properly with your gifty friend and hopefully it'll slow or stop it.  Otherwise let them know you want to keep things simple and clutter free, so no gifts, thank you. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, freeform said:

 

Do you pay the priest for tuition or whatever arrangement you have?

 

I pay rent and tuition for classes/retreats when I go.  

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The main issue is one of wilfulness.

 

It is perhaps a it hard to see but if there is any feeling in the rejection of the present as the one giving or attempting to give it is (however small) a reflection of it not going the way you wished and at least a tint of wilfulness to bend it the other way according to the intention and general expectation.

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12 hours ago, qofq said:

 

I pay rent and tuition for classes/retreats when I go.  

 

Ok - then it’s not what I thought it may be :)

 

Sometimes cultivators need to go through a period of offering something for nothing in return...

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I had a teacher once who would refuse any gifts unless he dreamt or had a premonition about receiving them.

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In general, everything your teacher does is intended to teach you something. I would be open and sit with this and over time you will get your teacher’s message.

 

It may simply be that he wants you to deal with the negative feelings his refusal elicits in you. Who is it in you that feels hurt by this? Who needs to offer something? These identities are what we express in our lives and need to practice with.

 

The greatest gift you can give your teacher is your spiritual growth, the fruits of successful practice. Practice diligently and express the results in your behavior, that is a gift he would never refuse.

 

It’s interesting that you feel hurt when your teacher denies the gift and yet you do the same in turn to another. I think there is a lesson there as well, worthy of some contemplation.

 

I once offered a previous teacher a gift of the best tea I could find in Seattle, expensive stuff. He told me it was crap and that he only drank much finer tea. My wife was pissed. I never offered him another gift! :D

 

You are fortunate indeed to have such an opportunity.

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On 1/29/2019 at 9:50 AM, steve said:

I once offered a previous teacher a gift of the best tea I could find in Seattle, expensive stuff. He told me it was crap and that he only drank much finer tea. My wife was pissed. I never offered him another gift! :D

 

Ha!  You never know what they are going to do.  

 

The self reflection brought about by my teacher (which I'm fully working on) seems correct. 

 

In regards to the friend it's interesting. The health concerns conjured thoughts about what someone else in this thread already said. 

 

The intention behind the gift. 

 

True Intention (whatever that really means) seems to be important to be aware of.  Inner & Outer

 

Thanks.

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On 1/29/2019 at 11:50 AM, steve said:

... gift of the best tea I could find ...

 

Several of us did the same thing with our teacher. We wanted to give teacher something to honor his birthday. We often found him drinking tea when we arrived to train. So, we all chipped in, went to a tea shop and bought a tea that cost $125 per pound. Next class, we presented it to teacher. Teacher accepted the gift with some humility. At the end of class, he made the tea and offered everyone a cup. That became a trradition for our group. At the end of each class we all gathered around and drank tea and hd really great discussions about the history and philospohy of taiji.

 

Now, perhaps we did not have the purest intent. But I mention this because earlier I wrote ... somewhat critically, as I am often wont to do ... about gifting and the intent behind the gift. But there is another side to the gifting ... it's in the receiving. In our case teacher turned the gift into something that had meaning for everyone and furthered our understanding of taiji. In a sense, in receiving our gift, he gifted us in return with his knowledge and understanding. Such a response was a great lesson in Dao.The bonding that took place as a result was something I will never forget. 

 

Just thought I should share this. Kind regards.

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Sometimes teachers don't want to accrue additional karma by accepting gifts etc. You mentioned you pay a fee for your training. That is probably as much of an exchange your teacher will accept...

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A student simply needs to be a student.
If you do that you will stick out in a large crowd carrying expensive "gifts".

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On 28/01/2019 at 9:22 AM, wandelaar said:

I am currently in the process of decluttering and returning to a simple life as I see that as the way to go for me as a philosophical Taoist. So accepting a gift (even when it is given from the bests of intentions) is actually adding obstructions to the path of the receiver of the gift if the receiver wants a decluttered simple life, because he now (in all probability) has to remove one thing more from his properties (which is very difficult to do without disturbing the giver if he finds out). Maybe it would help to give some healthy food, beautiful flowers or some other things that naturally disappear after being used and thus don't add to the clutter in the receivers home. 

 

In case of a teacher there might also be some other reason to refuse a gift, and that is that he doesn't want to be bribed in any way.

 

Do you get stressed out if someone interferes with your cultivation in this way?

 

I have a similar goal, but I find it's a lot of energy to keep makinh that point and fighting clutter (and often food) away.

 

And I shouldn't complain. People are (literally) dying for such things!

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30 minutes ago, Rara said:

Do you get stressed out if someone interferes with your cultivation in this way?

 

I have a similar goal, but I find it's a lot of energy to keep makinh that point and fighting clutter (and often food) away.

 

And I shouldn't complain. People are (literally) dying for such things!

 

I don't know where it will end but I just finished sorting out and throwing away a lot of papers and documents from studies I did, jobs I had, etc. from many years ago. It was almost an archive! Completely insane - but that's how it goes when you're a rash young man with plans of becoming a famous scientist or philosopher. Nothing came of it, and decluttering is now also a way of acknowledging the fact. I have also decided to not study all kinds of things I still planned to do when I was young. I am not smart enough and too old to catch up with cutting edge research. So as the nobody I am I don't have to complain about any students or followers, let alone students or followers who overload me with presents.  ;)

 

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16 hours ago, wandelaar said:

don't know where it will end but I just finished sorting out and throwing away a lot of papers and documents from studies I did, jobs I had, etc. from many years ago. It was almost an archive! Completely insane - but that's how it goes when you're a rash young man with plans of becoming a famous scientist or philosopher. Nothing came of it, and decluttering is now also a way of acknowledging the fact. I have also decided to not study all kinds of things I still planned to do when I was young. I am not smart enough and too old to catch up with cutting edge research.

 

Cleaning out can be a cathartic, albeit somewhat traumatic experience. It's a human frailty to hang on to material things. They represent milestones in our lives. To discard them seems to deny the facts of our lives. Tough business. 

 

Still, being young and rash is part of the life cycle. I once aspired to be a research chemist. In university I was quite resentful of having to take on any study that was outside the college of science. I think my father foresaw that, which is why he insisted on my attending a liberal arts school. So, I ended up getting a fair dose of literature, philosophy and religion in spite of myself. Looking back I can now see the wisdom in that.

 

We are not as much in control of our lives as we think we are. On graduation, I was forced into the military ... an entirely different form of education altogether. Then married shortly thereafter ... more education. Dreams of life in a research lab drifted away in the wake of life ... replaced by the necessities of living. I still enjoy a good science lecture ... as long as it is dumbed down enough to for my aged knowledge to grasp.

 

Good luck with the sorting out. Look at all those things fondly as contibuters to your life and kindly let them go, knowing that they have made their mark in creating the unique you. Then look forward to the opportunities afforded by your new found freedom.

 

 

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6 hours ago, OldDog said:

 

Cleaning out can be a cathartic, albeit somewhat traumatic experience. It's a human frailty to hang on to material things. They represent milestones in our lives. To discard them seems to deny the facts of our lives. Tough business. 

 

When my ex-fiancée broke up with me, I took little hesitation in deleting all photos, throwing away old cards, discarding our joint possessions and generally forgetting her from my life. I left our house that we rented, replaced my piece of shit car and worked to clear my mind of the intense emotions that were pounding on me like a bully in the playground.

 

My current girlfriend (let's see how long it lasts) insists on bringing her up. Not in a negative way, but she constantly reminds me that she was such a big part of my life.

 

In what universe would I not know this? Why would this person want me to keep digging this past up?

 

My only answer for me is "different philosophies". I've been on this path too long and seen a radical change in me that I can only thank Tao for.

 

Declutter. Cleanse. Empty mind.

 

Amen.

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