Generosity In The Gift Of The Magi

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Generosity in “The Gift of the Magi” Can a short story written for a Christian audience be used to explore Buddhist ideas of generosity? In her article “Generosity in Buddhism,” Jacqueline Kramer says that there are 3 levels of giving. The short story “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry, is known for its theme of generosity. Yet it is a book with Christian references throughout. Even the title is derived from the Christian Bible. Still, I think this short story would be a great basis for the exploration of the three levels of giving. Miserly giving,the first level of giving in Buddhist thought, is when we give away what we no longer want, according to Kramer. O. Henry spent a lot of time explaining how poor Jim and Della are. The furniture was shabby. They wore old clothes. Della could only save a dollar and eighty-seven cents to buy Jim a present. It would have been reasonable to buy very inexpensive gifts. Miserly giving would have been a reasonable level of giving for two people that had money problems. However, they did not give at this level.…show more content…
In this level, we give what we would like to receive. I think O. Henry’s description of the gifts that the Magi gave to baby Jesus was a good example of this level. Henry said. “Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication.” To me, this sounds like the gifts the Magi left for Jesus were kind of generic. In the “Gospel of Matthew” gold, incense and myrrh were the gifts. These are commodities, and very valuable, but not personal. Anyone would appreciate practical gifts like these. This is a perfect example of kindly

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