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Give it Away Now - Generosity Stew


Sometimes Receiving can be as claw wrenchingly difficult as giving. Generosity (or Dana in Sanskrit) is a central component to Buddhist Teachings. By freely offering, and not clinging so closely to what we own, we can break down the mental barriers that keep us disconnected from the world.

Generosity is a force against fear and delusion, and can be cultivated through many simple practices -- like collecting all the change in your house and giving it away, or generating thoughts of generosity and kindness in a visualization practice. This practice of giving is touted highly in the Buddhist and other Spiritual traditions as key to letting go of our ego selves. 

“If you knew, as I do, the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing some of it.” -- The Buddha

"He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" - Jesus - 2Corinthians9:6-8

Not talked about as often though are the feelings of shame and guilt that can arise when someone is the recipient of generosity. Receiving a gift of food, shelter, a Mercedes Benz -- there can be as much rejection of the world as when one is stingy with their change. Graciously receiving a gift is as much an act of opening as giving one is -- it is accepting that you are worthy of love and care as any other being on our planet. This whole human situation has the potential to turn in to one big love fest, if we are open to receiving.

A few weeks ago my Roomate Shola Came Home with a bag of FREE vegetables -- given away, across the street from our apartment, by the Malcolm X Collective to promote healthy eating in our Brooklyn Neighborhood. There were sweet potatoes, carrotts, swiss chard, pumpkin and apples.

Inspired by a recent dining experience at Ali's Roti Shop, I saw great potential for a hearty winter stew.  At Ali's they combine a seemingly dense combination of vegetables into a deliciously balanced stewy Roti treat, with cabbage, chikpeas, potatoes, pumpkin and spinach as the star ingredients.

I set out to get a few supplemental ingredients and turn our gift into a Generosity Stew. The recipe I came up with yielded a much larger amount than I originally anticipated, the result being a refrigerator full of stew...

what's one to do 
with all this stew? 

Generosity Stew

1 Extra Large Beet - Peeled and Diced
3 Carrotts - Half Moon Diced
1 Head Garlic - Diced
5 Red Onions - Med Diced
1 Small Pumpkin - Roasted and Peeled
1 apple
3/4 head of cabbage - Rough Chopped
1.5 pounds Sweet Potatoes - Diced
3 Small Serrano Peppers - Smalle Diced, with seeds

1 30 oz can of diced tomatoes
5 T Raw Honey
5 T Curry Powder
2 t Cardamon
4 T Salt
Black Pepper to Taste

1 T Coconut Oil
1 28 oz carton vegtable stock
3 Cups Cooked Cannelini Beans, Navy Beans or Chickpeas

1) Heat Coconut Oil in a Large Stockpot Until Melted. Sautee Garlic, Onions and Carrotts until onions get light brown around the edges

2) Add Cabbage, Cannelini Beans, Serrano Peppers and Roasted Pumpkin. Stir in Spices, Tomatos and Honey. Let cook covered for 5 minutes

3) Add Beets, Sweet Potatoes and Apple, Stir and Let Sit Another Five Minutes.

4) Add Stock and Water To Cover. Bring to a Boil and let simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes

5) Serve with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Cornbread!

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Yay for Roti! Yay for the stew now waiting for me in the fridge!


There is a little-known list of the "downfalls of a bodhisattva." One of the them is not accepting the generosity of others. Accepting the generosity of others is a good practice. Especially since sometimes my practice can be the kind that is bitter, or harsh.

Accepting the generosity of others can take many forms, and it has depth. It also tends to be very sweet.

What's one to do with all

What's one to do with all this stew? Well you you give some of it away, of course! So who did you find to give it to?

What's one to do with all

What's one to do with all this stew? Well you you give some of it away, of course! So who did you find to give it to?

Some in the Freezer

Some in the Freezer for a Winter Night,

Some to Friends who just might like

Is there a way

to give more away?

Mercedes Benz Stew

This looks amazing; how wonderful that someone gave away vegetables to make into such a delicious stew.

You really touched a nerve with the Mercedes Benz comment.  The first time I was given a Mercedes Benz, I really did feel guilty, but as soon as I sank into the soft sheepskin seat and felt the plush leather of the wheel in my hand as the engine purred cooingly to me, I realized that as much as I'm concerned with others comfort and happiness, my benfactor was concerned with mine. 

I actually tried to work out how many vegetables I would be able to give away if I traded the Benz for fresh produce, but the dealership wouldn't go for it.

For reals, though, really interesting to think about the other side of generosity and being generous in how you receive gifts.  Be it vegetables, or really nice cars.  The simplicity of your stew, and how it is an extension of your practice, is inspiring.

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