“If you’re invested in security and certainty,
you are on the wrong planet.” 
– Pema Chödrön


Generosity as a Means to Joy – Ian Challis

Mar 17, 2024

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Can generosity lead to joy in a wounded world? 

Ian Challis believes so, and helps us explore both our generous impulses and the actions they give rise to if we allow it.

Generosity is the first of the 10 Paramis or beautiful qualities that lead to Buddhahood:

  1. Generosity
  2. Virtue
  3. Renunciation
  4. Wisdom
  5. Energy
  6. Patience
  7. Truthfulness
  8. Resolve
  9. Loving Kindness
  10. Equanimity

There are two words in the Pali language associated with generosity:

  • Chaga – the intention or impulse to be generous;
  • Dana – the outward expression of generosity.

Both intention and action are equally important.

In many Eastern cultures, the practice of giving is a core value, an essential way of being taught from a young age, and familiar to all. Perhaps this is why the Buddha would teach this virtue first when entering a new village.

Ian shares many insights on generosity, including:

  • How to recognize and foster our generous impulses;
  • Letting go of transactional thinking when giving;
  • Giving in-person;
  • Our intention is what determines the value;
  • Giving is about connection, not sacrifice;
  • Seeing and celebrating our generosity;
  • Bringing presence and mindfulness to the whole process of giving.

He concludes by reminding us of the four gifts we can give:

  1. Material Support
  2. Protection
  3. The teaching of the Dharma
  4. Non-fear, through our commitment to harmlessness

Ian Challis is a student and teacher in the Insight Tradition of Buddhism. He is a teacher, founding member, and past guiding teacher of Insight Community of the Desert in Palm Springs.

Ayya Khema, Leigh Brasington, Narayan Liebenson, Larry Yang, and Arinna Weisman are key teachers who have inspired and illuminated his practice.

Serving Queer community is a passion. 2023 marks his co-teaching of the 7th annual Queer retreat at Dhamma Dena Retreat Center with Leslie Booker.

Ian teaches regular drop-in classes as well as retreats. He is a qualified teacher of MBSR, a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader teacher training, and was formally invited by Arinna Weisman to teach in the lineage of U Ba Khin and Ruth Denison.
Find him at ianchallis.com/