Buddhism, veganic gardening, compassion, and the vegan life calls all to deepen our relationships with Mother Earth and each other. Live sustainably, authentically, and lightly on the Earth. Manifest compassion for all sentient beings. The world is an altar. Worship in love.
Dāna – Pure Giving
giving, generosity, charity – is a core teaching in Buddhism; but it’s a
teaching that everyone, Buddhist or not, can benefit from. I’ve been listening
to Venerable Yuttadhammo’s dāna teachings this week. There’s lots to say on dāna,
but in essence, three things need to be considered when performing generous
is our motive for giving?
is it that we intend to give?
recipient of our gift worthy of our charity?
we give? Some of us give in order to get returns, while others give with the
hopes of being seen. This is ego and selfishness, which is not dāna. Right and
wrong forms of dāna come into play when we act. Good, enlightened, pure charity
is always a noble deed and a form of good karma. Yes, the reciprocity effect is
always present, but this can’t be our motive for dāna. We should take an honest
look at our reasons for giving.
not the only vehicle of dāna. We can give money, of course, but we can also
give knowledge and teaching, compassionate words, and food; we can care for the
sick or elderly; we can release others from fear or suffering. We can offer the
dhamma to an inquiring mind. Planting a tree is dāna.
third concern is one that can throw good intentioned people for a loop. Bhante
gave a good example of why we should consider worthiness. If you were to give
money to a person with a drug, gambling, or alcohol addiction, would the money
be used for good? The odds are that the money would help force that person
deeper into addiction. Part of the responsibility of dāna is to ensure as much
as possible that our charitable acts have beneficial outcomes and don’t harm
certain, pure dāna benefits the mind of the giver, increases spiritual wealth,
and offers the opportunity of being reborn in happy states. It also relieves us
of the affliction of attachment – we learn to let go. Letting go leads us
toward the path to nibbana.