Buddhist Generosity: Its Conceptual Model and Empirical Tests

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This study developed a Buddhist Generosity Scale to assess Buddhist generosity, acts of compassion to give something of value to humans and animals, among Thai Buddhists. Conceptually the Scale consists of two factors: scope—giving to humans and animals, and criticality—the gifts’ importance to the recipients. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported the two-factor structure. Convergent validity tests showed its relationships with optimism, hope, and altruism but none with forgiveness; discriminant validity tests found positive relationship with psychological entitlement but none with trait anger and greed. Results of the predictive validity test showed that Buddhist generosity mediated the relationship between loving kindness and happiness. The scale is valid for use to assess Buddhist generosity in countries where Theravada Buddhism is practiced. The relationships between good thought (loving kindness) and good deed (Buddhist generosity) and good result (happiness) support the Buddhist law of human behaviors (kamma).

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Figures

  • Confirmatory Factor Analysis Model of Buddhist Generosity.
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  • Conceptual model of the hypotheses: (H3A) Loving kindness predicts happiness, and (H3B) Buddhist generosity mediate the relationship of loving kindness to happiness.
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  • Path Diagram for the Hypothesized Model. The diagram shows the direct and indirect effects of loving kindness on happiness, with Buddhist generosity as mediator and age and income as control variables. Direct effect: Loving kindness Happiness, β = .45, p < .01. Indirect effect: Loving kindness Buddhist generosity Happiness = .82 × .28 = .23, p < .001. Together the predictors accounted for 27% of the variance in happiness. Standardized regression coefficients are displayed. ** p < .01, *** p < 0.001.
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