“Do not make a big show of your giving, because that invites feelings of indebtedness or reciprocity.

‘Do good work in secret,’ the masters say.

This is the Japanese concept of toku, which translates as ‘virtue,’ but in practice means ‘unrewarded good deed.’

Toku is like the love we shower on a new-born baby. As the baby grows, it knows nothing of our sacrifices; it just knows that it is happy.

Therein lies our reward. Give to those you love in ways they’ll never know, and you elevate the collective spirit of humanity.”

Philip Toshio Sudo


Be kind to yourself for a few moments here, allowing Sudo’s words to surround your heart and mind. Read them a second and third time, noting how your perception and understanding begin to shift. Become aware of any tiny changes you feel…

In your body

Your thoughts

Your beliefs

Your very spirit

You may begin to notice warmth, peace, relief, challenge, encouragement…

Plus much more.

Just watch, without interacting or judging.


Find one word or phrase that draws you in, the one that is beseeching you to stay with it…pleading with you to allow it to meld with your soul.

Relax your thoughts just a tiny bit, taking a few moments to imagine their edges softening slightly….now allow these sharp edges to melt just a little more. Consider the possibility that you CAN experience change, asking,

“If nothing were set in stone, how would that affect my next thought, my next action?”


Inquire of your Heart,

“How might toku find a place to enter my life today?”

Perhaps you already practice this mindset.

Perhaps it is a brand new concept.

Or maybe you find yourself somewhere between those two.

But regardless…

Our lives, our individual worlds are always hungering for more of those “unrewarded good deeds”. And the ones that hold the most power are indeed those that require no reciprocity. An act that carries the demand of some expectation – a certain result – is weakened and warped. It is unable to bring about true change because it is impure, colored by our limited vision for its purpose. Its message is scarred.

The freedom that comes from an action that is created and then left to fly out on its own is truly one of the greatest gifts we can give to our world…

And ironically, simultaneously, it is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves.

This is true kindness and compassion, borne on the wings of unconditional love.


No matter where we find ourselves in this moment on our spiritual path, toku can be expanded. Take a few moments to search for an area in your life where toku can bring light and freedom to your corner of the world…a place where each of us is fully able to “elevate the collective spirit of humanity.”


“Where do I grasp and cling to how I want things to be?”

“What attached expectations (on a person, an experience, a situation) are blocking my giving fully, completely, with no reservations or conditions?”

And finally,

“Am I willing to release my attachment to the results I want or expect, and instead allow the act to speak for itself, without any assistance from me?…Am I willing to leave it alone once I act?”

Select where you would like to practice toku in just one area of your life today…

And then complete the act.

A Caveat and A Benediction

Sudo states “Give to those you love…” This reminds me that we are all here to love…because we ARE love. And therefore this giving is for our entire world, not just a select few on our list of “deserving people” or those that are “easier” to love. If we say we are willing to practice toku, we take on the promise to share loving kindness equally, with any one, any thing, all of nature…in whatever way our path is crossed.

Admittedly a daunting task at first glance…

But remember:

We are Love.

We contain within our hearts all that is needed to say “yes” to this adventure.

Imagine what a stunning panorama we will see unfold because we freed others and ourselves with nothing but the simplicity of the very act itself.

What would that look like?

How might others be affected?

How would we feel?

The possibilities are endless and truly mind boggling.

Can we even begin to comprehend the transformations that are possible?

The Power of Love that would be unleashed?

I’m not sure we can…fully…

But let’s not ever let that hold us back.

There is much to create…

And our world awaits.

Believe it.


Let go.


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