In the coming weeks, the No. 1 question most of us will be asked is, "What did you get?" While the Christmas season is rooted in the Christian faith -- a faith that teaches benevolent and charitable giving -- Buddha, too, offered a succinct lesson in giving and getting.
When we give to others, we give without expectation of reward. We give without attachment to either the gift or the recipient. The practice of giving is thought to be one of the most basic human virtues, a testament to the depth of our humanity, and for Buddhists, one's capacity for self-transcendence.
Author Karen Armstrong makes the observation that the concept of self-transcendence is bound up with the golden rule: "Treating others as you yourself would like to be treated." When we transcend our limited self, this rule becomes an inherent part of our own nature, and other people an extended part of our own reality. For this reason, learning to receive is equally vital.
PS - My thanks and gratitude to Gina Misiroglu of Red Room for putting me in touch with the Huffington Post people. It’s just one of the great ways she's bringing traffic to Red Room and getting attention for Red Room's authors.