Offering With Both Hands

Now I know I’ve been quoting The Lunar Tao a lot, and I swear I’m not trying to reprint the book on this blog, but today’s page really helped me realize how the small details make a big difference.

Every child is taught this:

When offering a bowl of rice, offer it with both hands.
When giving a gift, give it with both hands.
When receiving a bowl of rice, receive it with both hands.
When receiving a gift, receive it with both hands.
When greeting someone, clasp both your hands in greeting.

We use both hands because it shows we are being respectful and that we are giving all our attention. The worst thing is to give or receive carelessly, impolitely, or negligently.

Using both hands opens the way to reverence. (97)

Retrospectively, I realize that many of the times when I’ve felt awkward making an offering, I was doing so with only one hand.

This attitude towards using both hands is found in other East Asian cultures as well, and was in the news recently, as Bill Gates was accused of disrespecting the South Korean president by giving her a one-handed handshake.

Apparently he had done the same to the previous South Korean president in 2008, but back in 2001 had given that president a two-handed handshake.

Anyways, speaking of respecting other cultures, I wish an auspicious Beltane/Bealltuinn/Lá Bealtaine/Calan Mai/May Day to readers celebrating that holiday around this time of year!

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