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Alms Giving

BLOG - Grandmaster Gedo Chang


My students, Parents, and guests. I guess you know who Fiorello LaGuardia is. If not I am sure you know about the airport in New York Called Laguardia International airport, don’t you?

LaGuardia was the 99th mayor of the city of New York, between 1934 and 1945. He was three times consecutively elected as the mayor of New York. He was considered one of the best mayors in New York history. LaGuardia airport was named after him to commemorate his outstanding work and accomplishments. Before he became the city mayor, he was working as a judge.

One day a poor old man was called to trial for stealing bread, because he was hungry and starving. Judge LaGuardia sentenced him with a $10.00 fine. However, Judge LaGuardia said “I am going to pay this $10.00 fine for him”. He searched his wallet and pulled out $10.00 and paid the $10.00 fine. Then he seriously said to the court room audience: “The reason I am paying this fine is because I have eaten so much good food, that I have become fat, while there are many hungry people existing. I am paying for my own penalty (fine) also.

Judge LaGuardia continued saying “Ladies and Gentlemen, if you also Agree with this, please feel free to put money in this hat.” He then passed his hat around the court room and collected a total of $47.00. Then Judge LaGuardia gave the money to the poor old man.

Judge LaGuardia’s very unique, wise, and wonderful verdict happen to be known throughout the city. A short while after the incident, he was elected as mayor of New York.

A few years ago. An eleven year old boy donated $100.00 dollars to a charity organization with a letter saying: “Please give this money to the poor and hungry people, I feel terribly sorry I have eaten so much good food that I have become fat”.

Crime is not only to commit bad deeds! I want you to know, morally speaking crime is also avoiding and Ignoring things that you can and should step in and help out!

A long long time ago, A poor man came up to Buddha and said “Buddha, you always preach that we should help others, however I am so poor, that I have nothing to offer. What can I do then”? Upon This question Buddha described, the different types of Almes giving.

1. To teach the truth, for the people who are living in the darkness.
2. Helping by giving materials, money, food, clothing, ect..
3. To help others reduce fear or anxiety, help them become comfortable. Help the sick and needy.

In other words, always use good and positive words with a smiling face, always praising and encouraging others. Always be kind and cordial with etiquette. Taking care of and respecting elders and people in need. Yielding your seat to the people who need help in the subway or on a bus. Carrying luggage for old or sick people. Always make others happy. In this respect, not only giving money, food or cloths. Monetary giving is not the only alms giving”. There are so many things we can do. Help your parents, by washing dishes or cleaning house. You can shovel the driveway of your neighbor who is old and or suffering illness. You can do your best to get better school grades, so your parents become happy.

You can also protect someone who is being bullied. You can control a situation, perhaps a robbery or child abuse. You can step in and help out! This is also Alms giving.

All of you are so confident. Through Hapkido discipline, so you have the ability to step in and help. But I want you to know, do not brag when you do something good. Don’t be arrogant. As you know the scripture in the bible “Mathew 6 verse 3” “When you help, don’t let your left hand know when your right hand does good things” As a matter of fact, According to the Koran: Demonstrating your own merit is the lowest level of Alms giving. Yet to me, it is still a act of love. It is better to give, even with arrogance than not to give at all, rather than being just a spectator.

I believe you remember a few months ago, I recommended you to read a particular book written by Stephen Post “Why good things happen to good people” According to this book, forgiving others, and helping others makes you live a much healthier, happier and longer life as compared to those who do not practice: giving, forgiveness, helping and loving. This is a medically well proven truth.

Let us forgive others, lets help others and let’s love others. Your immediate answer , when others question you on what you have gained from Hapkido is “Confidence” Then this is what confident people do! Give, help, forgive and Love. Let us live longer, happily with good health!!

Thank you
Master Gedo Chang

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