Dhamma Dana

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    • #37600

      Dear Lal,

      I understand what “dana” is, and I know there are different forms of dana. Why is Dhamma Dana considered the ultimate form of dana? What effect does Dhamma dana have on an individual who teaches the Dhamma; whose intention it is to teach “correct” Dhamma? These may seem like mundane questions, but learning the answer to these questions is, I believe, key to one’s advancement on the Path.

      With metta,

    • #37602

      Hello Dipo,

      You don’t need to direct the questions to me. It is better to just post the question because others may want to comment too. I could be looking at it from one angle, and others could be looking at it from different angles.

      Yes. It is an important question.

      1. Giving (Dāna) is primarily of two types. One can give away material things (food, shelter, etc.), which is āmisa dāna. The other is to teach Buddha Dhamma which is Dhamma dāna.

      2. Giving material things is good and MUST be done at all possible times. It sets the background to be able to understand Dhamma and reach Nibbana. We know that dāna pāramitā is a key pāramitā helping set up the background to direct one to Nibbana.
      – We see many people who are not even interested in looking into Buddha Dhamma. They simply don’t have that necessary mindset.
      – So, one should always give, especially when coming across people/animals who need food, shelter, or help in any other way.

      3. However, none of that comes even close to Dhamma dāna. We can understand that the following way.
      – Any amount of āmisa dāna will lead to temporary relief that can affect only the current life of the receiver.
      – However, think about what would be the result of helping someone to attain the Sotapanna stage. That person will be free of numerous rebirths in the apayas. The Buddha clearly stated that over 99% of those who pass away from the human realm are born in an apaya.
      – Thus, if even one person can be directed toward the Sotapanna stage, that is equivalent to saving the suffering through millions/billions of lives.
      – When I started this website, I thought my efforts would not go to waste if just one person could be directed toward the Sotapanna stage. I am quite sure that more than one person has benefitted from the website. Yet, I always make sure to give to charity a certain amount every year because āmisa dāna is also important.

      Dāna Sutta (Iti 98)” state the key points I discussed above. English translation there is good.

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    • #37603

      The main reason I left the Zen Monastery and switched to Theravada was because (in my mind) the Mahayana practices seemed very similar to me to the Jude-Christian religions, e.g. worshiping Aviloketeshvara, Guan Yin (Virgin Mary & saints), mala beads (rosary), praying, reading Nagarjuna, etc. I was slated to attend the City of Ten Thousand Buddha’s in California, but before I did, this is when I decided to switch. I instinctively felt that I wanted to learn the original teachings of the Buddha. While the “exact” teachings may not be precise, directly studying the Sutta has proven to me the continuity of subject matter of the texts throughout the ages. Unfortunately, the closest Theravada Temple/Monastery is several hundred miles from me.

      This web site has been a panacea for me along with Access to Insight and Dhammatalks.org. Your assistance has been invaluable. Truly, your efforts to reveal the true Buddha Dhamma is commendable. Studying the meaning of key words and phrases in the original Pali, and the etymology of certain Sinhala words, I have been able to glean a meaning of the Buddha Dhamma that follows a contiguous thread of thought and meaning.

      When I began teaching Dhamma and meditation classes (the basics), I felt compelled to do so. Now, after almost a year teaching, I find that in order to prepare for the classes has also helped me a great deal to expand my knowledge of the deeper meaning of the Buddha Dhamma. Some of the papers I have written have been read by persons around the world. There is hardly a country where someone has not read my papers. I do not know what effect my papers of my teaching has on others, but like me, when I first heard the Buddha Dhamma, I was energized in a way that I still have not been able to explain. I only hope that my efforts to teach the Buddha Dhamma have the same effect on others.

      Thanks for the reply.
      (P.S. I will make sure not to personalize my posts. Apologies for that.)

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