top of page

Keeping legacy through giving back

Photographs: Pexels

Text: Ophelia Wu

Last month, I wrote about reaping what you sow metaphorically and literally through planting trees. This month, I want to share some wisdom I learnt from Buddhist teachings and mindful practices on how to keep a legacy by giving back. Sounds irrelevant? Not really.

At one point, we all came across some foundation or institution in a person's name, honouring their work, discovery and dedication, etc, within a particular area. That is one of the most common forms of keeping a legacy through giving back. Most of the time, these foundations or institutions are dedicated to that person's life and work and continue to expand on it. For example, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fellowship programme of the European Union for young scientists wishing to work in a foreign country; the Mother Teresa Girls Home, run by the charitable organisation Sevalaya, provides poor and orphaned girls near the underserved village of Kasuva in Tamil Nadu with free food, clothing, shelter and education. Well, you don't need to be a prominent figure like them to be honoured, or you don't need such a figure to honour. You can start with your closest circle – friends, families, and people you admire or know.

How is it relevant to giving back? Donation. Donate to or volunteer for a particular cause, honouring that person's legacy. With that, you are contributing to a bigger pool of resources that benefits more people related to that cause. I'll share an example of my personal experience. Many years ago, one of my best friend's mother and sister both died from cancer within the same year. Witnessing how painful it was for my friend to go through the process and the grief afterwards, I set up a small amount of monthly donation to a cancer research fund in their names to honour their lives and hope other cancer patients will have better access to more resources, medical team and scientists can raise funding to make a breakthrough, and hence fewer people will suffer. Their friends and families won't have to bear that torture. It is a small act of generosity that keeps a legacy alive and is part of a bigger giving back to society. You see what I mean?

"It is a small act of generosity that keeps a legacy alive and is part of a bigger giving back to society."

You may wonder, 'and then?' Let's go back to the tree planting for a bit. You contributed to a particular project; the tree grows, the community benefits, and you and them reap the tangible and intangible rewards. By donating, volunteering, or advocating for a cause close to your heart, you are generous with your time, effort, resources and money. You're sowing the good seeds, or good karma or good energy, and remember, what goes around, comes around. So, all the good deeds will return to you eventually. But why does it matter what the cause is? It doesn't matter as much because a good deed is a good deed; an act of kindness and compassion is not going to be wasted, but the cleverness here is that when you choose a cause that's close to your heart, it automatically means that you care more about it because you sympathise and empathise with it, the group of people who share the same experiences, you feel them, you understand them more than the others, you can resonate with the suffering, and hence it gives you a more significant motivation to do more to help, and that generates a more substantial effect and impact because you made it happen.

We are often drawn to certain things related to us in one way or another; if you offer your time and energy to volunteer and participate in that cause, you'll realise the people you're helping are actually helping you. Why? Because you learn a lot through your participation, you gain a deeper understanding and have more access to the resources needed quickly. So what does it mean? Not only are you honouring the legacy of someone at a cause that means a lot to you, but you are also supporting a community and accumulating experiences and resources for yourself in that specific area; you never know when it will be helpful to you.

For example, if you know someone who has a substance abuse issue and ends up homeless, you volunteer as a caretaker at a shelter for the homeless, you hear struggles and stories first-hand, and you realise how much one needs in life. It puts things in perspective, and you become grateful for the littlest things you have in life; the chance of you ending up homeless is almost zero because you already know how painful it can be, and you actively decided not to let yourself go down that road. If you had a relative who died of a heart attack, and you volunteer for heart disease or first aid NGO, you acquire the relevant knowledge that can potentially save your and others' lives. You become aware of the symptoms or warning signs and will probably go for more regular and thorough check-ups. Chances are, you can prevent this from happening to you and those around you. That's what I meant by reaping the intangible benefits, all because of your generosity to be kind. You're both honouring a legacy and spreading kindness.

If you're only donating money, the impact might not be as significant because you're paying someone to nurture the tree for you. However, you're still contributing to the more extensive network of groundwork, yet you don't see the actual fruit of the harvest. So, if you look at it this way, it makes sense, and in these modern times, we all need more kindness and compassion.

28 views1 comment

1 comentario

Keeping legacy through giving back is a powerful concept, blending the preservation of the past with contributions to the future. Forever Studios, with its expertise in media digitization and photo restoration for over 15 years, embodies this philosophy by safeguarding our cherished memories. Their process ensures that the essence of our personal and collective histories is not lost to time. By making digitization and restoration simple and stress-free, Forever Studios enables us to pass on a tangible piece of our legacy to future generations. This act of preserving and sharing historical and personal memories acts as a form of giving back, keeping the legacy alive and connecting the past, present, and future. In doing so, we not only honor those…

Me gusta
bottom of page