Christmas is approaching and it is a time of giving. But we need to make sure that what we give is the thing that the receiver needs and is of value to them, not to us. Often we buy things we like and present it to someone. So it is best to learn about the person first and then find a gift they need. It may surprise us that at times they don’t want any ‘thing’ at all- what they want is company, assurance, love, time, friendship- not a ‘thing’.
As Nichiren advised us, we must be careful in giving, “If a person’s throat is dry, what he needs is water; he has no use for bows and arrows, weapons and sticks. If a person is naked, he wants a suit of clothes but has no need for water. From one or two examples you can guess the principle that applies in general.”