“Charity is a virtue which, when our affections are perfectly ordered, unites us to God, for by it we love him.” St.Augustine – Christian Bishop
He says charity is a responsibility for Christians, but adds that the act of giving can also be a joy.
“When we look at our finances, our money, we want to be able to be generous with it, because we believe it’s God’s money,” he explains.
Reverend Tai says he puts kindness in his consciousness by asking himself, ‘What is a loving thing to do in this moment?’ on a regular basis.
“Sometimes it doesn’t cross my mind, but I’m hoping that it becomes a natural thing and that I’m kind because I know God’s kindness.”
“Kindness is one of the universal principles that all religious traditions adhere to,”
“[In Islam], the Prophet says kindness is a marker of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith.”
There are five pillars, or duties, in Islam: profession of the faith, prayer, charity, fasting during Ramadan and pilgrimage to Mecca.
Prayer, meditation and reading holy scriptures instil kindness on an inner level, while the obligations of charity (Zakat) and fasting (Sawm) encourage empathy and giving to those in need.
The Muslim community practice kindness through in-numerous ways — from leaving water out for birds during summer heatwaves to visiting the elderly in nursing homes or donating huge sums to charities.
The whole concept of your being is service to others, sharing what you have and being mindful and kind.” this is Sikhism
One of the five virtues of Sikhism is Daya — exercising compassion, considering others’ difficulties or sorrows, and trying to relieve their pain.
Compassion can be as simple as listening to somebody’s woes and commiserating with them or helping them to get over whatever is hurting them and to find peace.
“To be kind to all beings is considered much more meritorious than just getting up in the morning and saying your prayers or going to visit a shrine … it’s giving somebody happiness.”
Sikhs are expected to give one-tenth of their earnings to a deserving cause or charity. This tithe or religious tax is known as dasvandh.
Like Sikhs, Jews are expected to give one tenth of their income to charitable causes.
But according to Simon Holloway, education officer at the Sydney Jewish Museum, discreet donations are viewed as more virtuous.
There are eight levels on this ladder, says Dr Holloway, who completed his PhD in classical Hebrew and biblical studies. Giving money to someone who’s asking for it — for instance, a busker or a homeless person — is recommended, but it sits on the bottom rung.
“Moving up higher, we find things like giving a person money before they have asked for it or giving a person money [when] you don’t actually know who’s receiving it, nor do they know who they’re receiving it from,” he explains.
The highest form of charity is an act of kindness — offering people training so they no longer need to rely on monetary gifts.
In the Jewish tradition, being a kind person is often referred to as “being a mensch”, says Dr Holloway.
“Mensch literally means person, but being a mensch is exemplifying the things which make us human — acts of kindness and righteousness — I guess what should be the norm.”