Does dāna (generosity) imply some level of dependence/commitment?

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rhinoceroshorn
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Does dāna (generosity) imply some level of dependence/commitment?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Hello friends.

I am in a situation which is an opportunity to practice dāna. It made me think about the degree of commitment that it is going to create in my life.
I perform other generous acts from my sincere desire to help others, though they don't create a sense of commitment in me, I perform them when I want. I can clearly see the dangers of this since the receiver of my generosity may become dependent on me and if I don't commit to help them it will occasionally end up in their suffering because of my absence in being continuously generous. :thinking:

To illustrate with an extreme situation: if all lay people stopped to give alms, how would monks survive? There seems to be an endless dependence.

So, could I conclude dāna implies dependence on one side and commitment on the other?


With metta.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Wizard in the Forest
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Re: Does dāna (generosity) imply some level of dependence/commitment?

Post by Wizard in the Forest »

There are more than one way of Practice of Dāna. If you are generous with material goods it is the lowest form of Dāna. A higher form of Dāna is to give fearlessness by agreeing to follow and abide by the precepts. This
way you renounce all forms of violence and bad behavior and thus all beings are safer out there, there's also sharing the Dhamma which is among the highest Dāna out there.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
justindesilva
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Re: Does dāna (generosity) imply some level of dependence/commitment?

Post by justindesilva »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 3:21 pm Hello friends.

I am in a situation which is an opportunity to practice dāna. It made me think about the degree of commitment that it is going to create in my life.
I perform other generous acts from my sincere desire to help others, though they don't create a sense of commitment in me, I perform them when I want. I can clearly see the dangers of this since the receiver of my generosity may become dependent on me and if I don't commit to help them it will occasionally end up in their suffering because of my absence in being continuously generous. :thinking:

To illustrate with an extreme situation: if all lay people stopped to give alms, how would monks survive? There seems to be an endless dependence.

So, could I conclude dāna implies dependence on one side and commitment on the other?


With metta.
Dana was one of the paramita of bodhisattva. The need is to develop the aklesha of alobha. As such bodhisattva in various former lives gave as Dana, his wife , his flesh, his wealth in former lives. So it is a matter of principle in self ,donor, not involving the donee. The one who benefits mostly in kamma is the one who donated as Dana. There are many sutta ( which I forget now) that explains this fact.
By giving we only, develop alobha and not the one who gets it.
Edited: please see Dana sutta and velama sutta ( can be downloaded in internet).
SarathW
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Re: Does dāna (generosity) imply some level of dependence/commitment?

Post by SarathW »

Wizard in the Forest wrote: Wed May 13, 2020 4:27 am There are more than one way of Practice of Dāna. If you are generous with material goods it is the lowest form of Dāna. A higher form of Dāna is to give fearlessness by agreeing to follow and abide by the precepts. This
way you renounce all forms of violence and bad behavior and thus all beings are safer out there, there's also sharing the Dhamma which is among the highest Dāna out there.
:goodpost:
Dana is a very important part of our living.
Disregard whether it is a commitment or a dependence.
When I give a donation to a charity I get a truckload of emails, junk mails, and internet advertisements asking more money. But I give then forget their dependence.
What is more rewarding is the practice of Sila.
Teaching Dhamma also one of the highest. "Dhammadanan Subbadanan Jinathi"
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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DooDoot
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Re: Does dāna (generosity) imply some level of dependence/commitment?

Post by DooDoot »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 3:21 pm To illustrate with an extreme situation: if all lay people stopped to give alms, how would monks survive?
Imo, monks only survive for the benefit of others. Imo, if all people stopped giving alms, a Buddhist monk has no need to live. Giving alms is a basic level of human virtue required to practise Buddhism. If there are no givers, there are no lay followers, thus no need for any monks, imo. In other words, imo, your question is non-sequitur.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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robertk
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Re: Does dāna (generosity) imply some level of dependence/commitment?

Post by robertk »

some background on giving from the Commentary
A Treatise on the Paramis
From the Commentary to the Cariyapitaka
by
Acariya Dhammapala
translated from the Pali by
Bhikkhu Bodhi
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el409.html
(1) The perfection of giving should be reflected upon thus: "Possessions such as fields, land, bullion, gold, cattle, buffaloes, slaves, children, wives, etc., bring tremendous harm to those who become attached to them. Because they stimulate desire they are wanted by many people; they can be confiscated by kings and thieves; they spark off disputes and create enemies; they are basically insubstantial; to acquire and protect them one has to harass others; when they are destroyed, many kinds of calamities, such as sorrow, etc., follow; and because of attachment to these things, the mind becomes obsessed with the stain of stinginess, and as a result one is reborn in the plane of misery. On the other hand, one act of relinquishing these things is one step to safety. Hence one should relinquish them with diligence."

Further, when a suppliant asks for something, a bodhisatta should reflect: "He is my intimate friend, for he divulges his own secret to me. He is my teacher, for he teaches me: 'When you go you have to abandon all. Going to the world beyond, you cannot even take your own possessions!' He is a companion helping me to remove my belongings from this world which, like a blazing house, is blazing with the fire of death. In removing this he helps me to get rid of the worry it costs me. He is my best friend, for by enabling me to perform this noble act of giving, he helps me to accomplish the most eminent and difficult of all achievements, the attainment of the plane of the Buddhas."

He should further reflect: "He honors me with a lofty task; therefore I should acknowledge that honor faithfully." And: "Since life is bound to end I should give even when not asked, much more when asked." And: "Those with a lofty temperament search for someone to give to, but he has come to me on his own accord because of my merit." And: "Bestowing a gift upon a suppliant will be beneficial to me as well as to him." And: "Just as I would benefit myself, so should I benefit all the world." And: "If there were no suppliants, how would I fulfill the perfection of giving?" And: "Everything I acquire should be obtained only to give to others." And: "When will beggars feel free to take my belongings on their own accord, without asking?" And: "How can I be dear and agreeable to beggars, and how can they be dear and agreeable to me? How can I give and, after giving, be elated, exultant, filled with rapture and joy? And how can beggars be so on my account? How can my inclination to giving be lofty? How can I give to beggars even without being asked, knowing their heart's desire?" And: "Since there are goods, and beggars have come, not to give them something would be a great deception on my part." And: "How can I relinquish my own life and limbs to those who ask for them?"

He should arouse a desire to give things away without concern by reflecting: "Good returns to the one who gives without his concern, just as the boomerang[9] returns to the one who threw it without his concern." If a dear person asks for something, he should arouse joy by reflecting: "One who is dear is asking me for something." If an indifferent person asks for something, he should arouse joy by reflecting: "Surely, if I give him something he will become my friend, since giving to those who ask wins their affection." And if a hostile person asks for something, he should be especially happy, thinking: "My foe is asking me for something; though he is hostile toward me, by means of this gift he will surely become my dear friend." Thus he should give to neutral and hostile people in the same way he gives to dear people, having first aroused loving-kindness and compassion.

If, due to their cumulative force, states of greed should arise for things which can be given away, the bodhisatta-aspirant should reflect: "Well now, good man, when you made the aspiration for full enlightenment, did you not surrender this body as well as the merit gained in relinquishing it for the sake of helping all beings? Attachment to external objects is like the bathing of an elephant; therefore you should not be attached to anything. Suppose there is a great medicine-tree, and someone in need of its roots takes away its roots; someone in need of its shoots, bark, trunk, limbs, heartwood, branches, foliage, flowers, or fruits takes away its shoots, bark, trunk, etc. The tree would not be assailed by such thoughts as: 'They are taking away my belongings.' In the same way, when I have undertaken to exert myself for the welfare of all the world, I should not arouse even the subtlest wrong thought over this wretched, ungrateful, impure body, which I have entrusted to the service of others. And besides, what distinction can be made between the internal material elements (of the body) and the external material elements (of the world)? They are both subject to inevitable breaking-up, dispersal, and dissolution. This is only confused prattle, the adherence to this body as 'This is mine, this am I, this is my self.' I should have no more concern over my own hands, feet, eyes, and flesh than over external things. Instead I should arouse the thought to surrender them to others: 'Let those who need them take them away.'"

As he reflects in this way, resolved upon full enlightenment without concern for his body or life, his bodily, vocal, and mental actions will easily become fully purified. When his bodily, vocal, and mental actions, along with his livelihood, become purified, he abides in the practice of the true way, and through his skillful means in regard to gain and loss, he is able to benefit all beings to an even greater extent by relinquishing material gifts and by giving the gift of fearlessness and the gift of the true Dhamma.

This is the method of reflecting on the perfection of giving.
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Does dāna (generosity) imply some level of dependence/commitment?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Wizard in the Forest wrote: Wed May 13, 2020 4:27 am There are more than one way of Practice of Dāna. If you are generous with material goods it is the lowest form of Dāna. A higher form of Dāna is to give fearlessness by agreeing to follow and abide by the precepts. This
way you renounce all forms of violence and bad behavior and thus all beings are safer out there, there's also sharing the Dhamma which is among the highest Dāna out there.
Beautiful words. Thank you.
justindesilva wrote: Wed May 13, 2020 6:24 amDana was one of the paramita of bodhisattva. The need is to develop the aklesha of alobha. As such bodhisattva in various former lives gave as Dana, his wife , his flesh, his wealth in former lives. So it is a matter of principle in self ,donor, not involving the donee. The one who benefits mostly in kamma is the one who donated as Dana. There are many sutta ( which I forget now) that explains this fact.
By giving we only, develop alobha and not the one who gets it.
Edited: please see Dana sutta and velama sutta ( can be downloaded in internet).
Thank you for sharing Dana sutta. I just read it. :smile:
Quite interesting, most of mindsets are unwholesome to the aim of the practice.
""Having given this, not seeking his own profit, not with a mind attached [to the reward], not seeking to store up for himself, nor [with the thought], 'I'll enjoy this after death,'

" — nor with the thought, 'Giving is good,'...

" — but with the thought, 'This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind' — on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of Brahma's Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a non-returner. He does not come back to this world.
I'm impressed by this in bold. I think I have been mistaken all that time. :o
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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