Dana and debt

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
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TamHanhHi
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Dana and debt

Post by TamHanhHi » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:32 pm

I'm looking for some wisdom on knowing how to balance material generosity when one has lots of debt. I know generosity comes in many forms (time, metta, sharing the dhamma, etc.), but when it comes to material generosity—what's the line between stinginess and saving money to pay off your debt? Any insight would be helpful.
"Just as a large banyan tree, on level ground where four roads meet, is a haven for the birds all around, even so a lay person of conviction is a haven for many people: monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers."AN 5.38 :candle: | Blog at http://dhammareflections.wordpress.com

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Sam Vara
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:26 pm

This might help:
a householder knowing his income and expenses leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ati/tip ... .nara.html

My advice is that there are right times and wrong times for material generosity, and having lots of debt is probably a wrong time. It increases the likelihood of giving resentfully. Resolve to give in some of those other ways - with your time, or in ways that don't increase your debt. Having a debt is undesirable.

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pitakele
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by pitakele » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:56 pm

A basic premise of Dhamma practice is to undo dukkha. As a friend once remarked, more wisdom equates to less suffering. If, in the process of helping others, we create suffering for ourselves, then this is not the path, nor is it wisdom.

As you say there are many ways to peform generosity. Wisdom is knowing our limitations and giving according to our means. As Buddha says in Dhp. 224, 'when asked, even giving a little, is condition to go into the presence of devas [up to the individual whether this is understood literally or figuratively]. To cultivate generosity whenever possible is very important, but it is our mind state & intention which is primary.

Attadatthaṃ paratthena, bahunāpi na hāpaye.
attadatthamabhiññāya, sadatthapasuto siyā. Dhp. 166

One should not greatly neglect one's welfare for the sake of another. Knowing what is truly beneficial for oneself, one should be intent on that.
now here = nowhere

santa100
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by santa100 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:43 am

Also keep in mind the other grounds for meritorious activity:
Iti 3.11 wrote:This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three grounds for meritorious activity. Which three? The ground for meritorious activity made of giving, the ground for meritorious activity made of virtue, and the ground for meritorious activity made of development [meditation]. These are the three grounds for meritorious activity."

SarathW
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:58 am

Dhamma Dana is the highest gift.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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DooDoot
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:51 am

TamHanhHi wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:32 pm
I know generosity comes in many forms (time, metta, sharing the dhamma, etc.)
Yes. Give whatever you can, here.
TamHanhHi wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:32 pm
but when it comes to material generosity—what's the line between stinginess and saving money to pay off your debt?
The purpose of generosity is to make the mind free. However, debt does not make the mind free. Therefore, my advice is it is best to work on what makes you free, which is reducing debt. Monks, for example, generally do not have material things to share; apart from excess alms food. :smile:

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dylanj
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by dylanj » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:49 am

The kammic consequence of generosity & giving is wealth.

No one has ever nor will ever become poor from giving.

If you have debt you should give more. Even if you have just $100 you could give it all away & your debt will not be a bigger burden as a result, wealth will come to you. Through generosity your wealth will increase & you will be able to pay your debt while continuing to give & develop relinquishment.

Causality is not materialist, it is ethical. Many Buddhists fail to break out of materialism.

You should have faith that you could literally give away everything you have, all of your possessions, & the result will only be an increase of wealth, not a decrease.

anāthapiṇḍika gave away his entire fortune & sure enough he developed a whole new fortune all in one lifetime.

I have about $20,000 of debt. I give a couple hundred dollars in charity each month. Whenever anyone asks me for money I give it to them. I help support a poor Burmese friend of mine. I recently paid for the school fees of a man from Uganda who messaged me asking for money on facebook. I donated $50 to pariyatti yesterday. Overall my wealth & income is increasing. Still I could & should do more.

The thought "I do not have enough to give" is stinginess. It is not a rational conclusion based on how poverty & wealth actually manifest in the world. They are results of kamma. You will become rich if you're generous. You will become poor if you're miserly. The moment you hesitate to relinquish your wealth is the moment you should throw it all at those who deserve it. This is a radical mode of causality extremely different than what the world generally believes in but it's what the Buddha taught & you would do well to have faith in it.
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:15 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:58 am
Dhamma Dana is the highest gift.
:goodpost:

the gift given has more merit depending on the thought behind giving it, with 'giving is an ornament of the mind, a support for the mind' being the highest
giving is also amplified by the purity of the recipient.
saving a part of your money is what the buddha recommends
and also paying off your debt, there's not a ranking
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
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DooDoot
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:08 am

dylanj wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:49 am
The kammic consequence of generosity & giving is wealth.

No one has ever nor will ever become poor from giving.

Causality is not materialist, it is ethical. Many Buddhists fail to break out of materialism.
Its sounds like this above post is not a break out of materialism because "wealth" is not necessarily material as this post appears to be saying.
Bhikkhus, there are these five kinds of wealth. What five? The wealth of faith, the wealth of virtuous behavior, the wealth of learning, the wealth of generosity, and the wealth of wisdom.

https://legacy.suttacentral.net/en/an5.47
In the same way, the brahmins have prescribed these four kinds of wealth without the consent of these ascetics and brahmins.

I declare that a person’s own wealth is the noble transcendent dhammaṃ .

Ariyaṃ kho ahaṃ, brāhmaṇa, lokuttaraṃ dhammaṃ purisassa sandhanaṃ paññapemi.

https://suttacentral.net/mn96/en/sujato

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TamHanhHi
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by TamHanhHi » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:35 pm

Thank you everyone for your responses. It’s given me faith to work on paying off my debt and to give in whatever way I can :namaste:
"Just as a large banyan tree, on level ground where four roads meet, is a haven for the birds all around, even so a lay person of conviction is a haven for many people: monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers."AN 5.38 :candle: | Blog at http://dhammareflections.wordpress.com

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dylanj
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by dylanj » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:13 pm

'''Whatever there may be in our family that can be given away, all that we will share unreservedly with the virtuous ones who are of good character.' It is in such a way that you should train yourselves. "
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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dylanj
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Re: Dana and debt

Post by dylanj » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:13 pm

TamHanhHi wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:35 pm
Thank you everyone for your responses. It’s given me faith to work on paying off my debt and to give in whatever way I can :namaste:
:thumbsup:
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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