In your vision, is charity a part of religiousness?
If so, what would constitute charity?
Following the Catholic concept, the Indian legislature specifies:
1) relief for the poor, 2) education, and 3) medical relief, as being charity.
What is the concept of charity in the eyes of a buddha?
The concept of charity in the eyes of one who is awakened is bound to be totally different from the so-called Catholic idea of charity.
The Catholic idea is relief for the poor. The idea of the buddha will be: there is no need for any poverty in the world. Poverty is man-created, and it is in our hands to destroy poverty. But all the religions – and most prominent of them is Christianity – have emphasized relief for the poor. Relief for the poor is not charity; it is not love.
Why, in the first place, should poverty exist? It exists because there are a few people who are too greedy. Poverty is a by-product of greed. One part of society goes on accumulating; naturally, the other part of society becomes poor. And man has lived for centuries under this exploitation. This exploitation can be completely destroyed.
Whatever the society produces belongs to all. And the most surprising thing is that the poor are the people who produce, and the rich are the people who do not produce. Those who produce are hungry and starving and dying. Just to give them relief is a very cunning idea: it protects the exploitation; it protects the capitalists. It protects those who are the criminals, and it also protects the poor so that they go on producing and go on fulfilling sick ambitions of pathological people.
A man who accumulates money, seeing clearly that it is going to destroy millions of people, cannot be called healthy. To call him religious is a mockery – he is not even human. And particularly now, when science has developed to a point that the whole earth can be comfortably rich, there is no need of any relief for the poor.
What is needed is a revolution of the poor, a deep understanding among the poor that “It is not because of your past lives’ evil deeds that you are poor; it is not your fate that makes you poor. It is a few people who are pathologically sick, who have lost all compassion, all sensitiveness, whose hearts have become inhuman – it is because of these people you are poor.” And just a great understanding among the poor can bring a revolution in the world.
I don’t advocate any violent revolution. There is no need, because the poor are in the majority, and the rich are very few. Just by democratic means, the power can be in the hands of the poor, and we can create a society which is classless, where everybody’s needs can be fulfilled.