When posting to the Classical Theravada forum citations from Pali textual sources are required. Readers of this sub-forum are not interested in half-misremembered quotes.elaine wrote:The reason why Buddhists prefer to donate to temples and monks is because there's a sutta (I forgot which one) which says, if you give money and food to monks and temples, the merit that you'll receive is much, much better than giving it to anyone else(!?!)
In fact there is nothing in the Pali suttas about giving money to temples or monks. I suspect the text that you are referring to (but which you have both misunderstood and misremembered) will be either the Dakkhiṇavibhanga Sutta (MN. 142) or the Velāma Sutta (AN. iv. 392-5). The main message of the former concerns the threefold purity of giving (i.e. of the giver, the recipient and the gift) and that an offering made to the sangha as a whole is more meritorious than one made to an individual monk or nun. In other words, it's a teaching aimed at encouraging laypeople not to discriminate between monks they like or dislike when making offerings to the sangha.
As for the Velāma Sutta, here we are presented with a graduated list of increasingly meritorious deeds. As summarized by Lily de Silva:
- The Anguttara Nikāya (A.iv,392-95) records a fabulous alms-giving conducted by the Bodhisatta when he was born as a brahmin named Velāma. Lavish gifts of silver, gold, elephants, cows, carriages, etc., not to mention food, drink and clothing, were distributed among everybody who came forward to receive them. But this open-handed munificence was not very valuable as far as merit was concerned because there were no worthy recipients. It is said to be more meritorious to feed one person with right view, a stream-enterer (sotāpanna), than to give great alms such as that given by Velāma. It is more meritorious to feed one once-returner than a hundred stream-enterers. Next in order come non-returners, Arahants, Paccekabuddhas and Sammasambuddhas. Feeding the Buddha and the Sangha is more meritorious than feeding the Buddha alone. It is even more meritorious to construct a monastery for the general use of the Sangha of the four quarters of all times. Taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha is better still. Abiding by the Five Precepts is even more valuable. But better still is the cultivation of mettā, loving-kindness, and best of all, the insight into impermanence, which leads to Nibbāna.
- "Though a person might develop a thought of loving-kindness, greater still would be the fruit if he would develop the perception of impermanence for the duration of just one snap of the fingers."