8 December 2011
Three Different Religious Views on Serving the Homeless
People who practice Buddhism believe that giving is a major foundation of their lifestyle. They believe that being generous is very important and to be taken seriously. “Compassion and love are not mere luxuries. As the source both of inner and external peace, they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species” (His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama). They see serving others as a vow or commitment they have made with their faith. They view this subject as if you can see yourself in others, who is there for you to hate? Buddhist monks “beg” for a living to make themselves dependent upon the compassion of others. “If you do not tend to one another, then who is there to tend you? Whoever would tend me, he should tend the sick” (Vinaya, Mahavagga 8.26.3). They believe that you harm no one, help anyone you can. “Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings. Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world” (Sutta Nipata 149-150). They believe in considering others as yourself. Jewish law mandates helping the poor and that specifically includes housing. Jews feel that the word "charity" implies that your heart motivates you to go beyond the call of duty. They also feel that the word “tzedakah," however, literally means righteousness -- doing the right thing, and a "tzaddik," likewise, is a righteous person, someone who fulfills all his obligations, whether in the mood or not. Helping the less fortunate is very important to them and helps them to feel complete. “Abraham gave Malki- Tzedek one-tenth of all his possessions” (Genesis 14:20). Jews believe that it is their duty to help others in need. “Jacob vowed to give one-tenth of all his future acquisitions to the Almighty” (Genesis 29:22). They believe that rightfully that God...