Generosity (Dana)



        In Buddhism, dana refers to the practice of cultivating generosity. Ultimately, the practice culminates in one of the Perfections (paramitas): the Perfection of Giving (dana-paramita). This can be characterized by unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go.
        It's said that if one rinses his food leftover in the lake and wishes "Let the fish eat this leftover", he/she has practiced dana [AN 3.57]. Buddha taught us to practice dana. Buddha never taught to give dana only for the sole benefits of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. What Buddha taught was dana given to righteous people will bring only a good consequence [AN 3.57, MN 142]. And, Dana given to a lot of people will bring even a better outcome [MN 142]. Thus, dana for the Sangha must not necessarily be devoted to only certain Bhikkus or temples but rather to all members of Sangha which include Bhikkus and Bhikkunis throughout the world. Such dana given to Sangha even exceeds that given to the Buddha [MN 142]. However,the mind factor in practicing dana is the most important one. Those who give dana but later regret it will only lessen its benefit. Keep in mind that dana is the supporter of this thought [AN 7.49]. It has the character of letting go of what we have; it brings happiness over the dana we've given, and that happiness will bring even a greater peace of mind [AN 11.1]. Hence, as was said "dana is the supporter of this mind" such motivation taught by the Buddha is indeed the most noble one [AN 7.49].

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