They are not the same thing though. Giving food to a hungry person, in a soup kitchen, where you actually give them food, is a simple, direct act. I agree that it need not be generous, but there is much less scope for unintended consequences and impure motivation because of its simplicity.mikenz66 wrote: ↑Thu May 09, 2019 7:12 pmWell, clearly it's not the case for all political activity. Thanissaro Bhikkhu's point is that if one did feel motivated to give time in some sort of political activity, then it should be carried out in that way. Just as helping in a soup kitchen, teaching, or giving money could be generosity, or not, depending on the motivation.
So, for example, if I had an opportunity to influence the political outcome on some issue that helped some group of people in my city, to me that would be exactly the same principle of generosity as giving them money or food. And potentially much more effective.
Attempting to influence a political outcome, on the other hand, is something like trying to influence the fluid dynamics of a running stream by putting your hand in it. You will have some effect, but it is unlikely to be the effect you wish, because you have no control over most of the many factors of the dynamic. The outcome is well outside your zone of control. It can be a generous act, but due to the complexity of the process leading to the outcome, there is much scope for unintended negative consequences. Simply, directly, giving food to a hungry person is the better bet, I think.