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How is Dāna prioritized? - Dhamma Wheel

How is Dāna prioritized?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Devosachcha
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How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Devosachcha » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:35 am

In some recent teaching in Sri Lanka, the idea of prioritization of dāna is described in a some sort of confusing way. Here is how some monks describe the idea of prioritization:

Scenario 1: You are walking on a street having some food with you, and you see a poor hungry guy who is about to die for not having any food for months. On the other side of the street, you see Buddha walking down the street. You might think it would rather worth giving your food to the poor guy as he might die without your food. On the other hand, if you offer your food to Buddha, it won't make much difference. You are wrong! You should still offer it to Buddha because that's what gives the most 'karma' back to you. The poor guy, on the other hand, is that poor because of the negative karma he earnt over the glitches he made in the past.

Scenario 2: One might worship a Bodhi tree offering some milk (primarily by pouring milk water on its roots). Another guy might use the same amount of milk to feed the hunger. The second guy seems right in the eye of common sense, but as in Buddhism, the first guy is the one who is right because he receives a better 'karma'.

These explanations don't look anyway right to me. Since the core of karma is all about what we think, how we perceive, and how we feel, how does the above laid down idea fits in that? If I had to offer my food to Buddha letting the poor guy die in hunger, I won't feel any good. So how come this be a "better karma"? Based on the second scenario, many people here in Sri Lanka use and exhaust lots of resources just for material offering (amisa puja) while there are many people who are suffering for the lack of the same resources.

I personally believe that we should not offer things out for the prime reason exchanging it with karma. I donate and offer things because I like the idea that other people getting a better life because of what I do. If karma applies, okay, let's it apply whatever way it should be. However, the problem with the above idea of prioritization is it will lead many people to exhaust resources for things that doesn't contribute to the world. If above prioritization sounds right to you, or if you believe that it was something that was mentioned somewhere in official Theravada scriptures, where was that written? On the other hand, what concept in Abhidhamma supports that idea?

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Ben
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:18 pm

I think there are two concepts here which might be confused, ethics and merit.
The hypothetical situation of choosing between offering Dana to a Buddha over a starving person may illustrate the merit of the two acts but, in reality, such a situation is beyond the realm of possibility in this life. The ethical thing to do is to give the aid where it is needed, that is, to the starving person.
Kind regards,
Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Weakfocus
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Weakfocus » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:21 pm


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Devosachcha
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Devosachcha » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:12 pm


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Devosachcha
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Devosachcha » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:15 pm


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Sokehi
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Sokehi » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:38 pm

this wrong view of "why bother it's his fault that he suffers" is perfectly adressed by Ajahn Sujato (from min. 36 onwards)

Last edited by Sokehi on Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko


santa100
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby santa100 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:47 pm

Scenario1: give all your food to the starving man, then invite the Buddha back to your house for lunch.
Scenario2: give the tree some water, and give all the milk to the hunger.
Problem solved.

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Devosachcha
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Devosachcha » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:50 pm


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Sokehi
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Sokehi » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:01 pm

Highly unrealistic Scenarios that just show how much the traditional buddhist countries/societies most often worry about making merit. Getting a better rebirth and be richer then. That's it. Nibbana is most often just not a goal at all it seems to me - let alone if most of the laity have a clear idea about what that might be. That's how that ugly materialism and egoism sneeks in.
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko


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Devosachcha
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Devosachcha » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:47 pm

Last edited by Devosachcha on Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Sokehi
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Sokehi » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:50 pm

Good Post!

Hence that what most us of think "Khamma" in a buddhist way is very deluded by brahmanic and jain concepts. It's funny how one of the most fundamental concepts of buddhism oh so many buddhists just don't understand! Therefore I've posted this very interesting talk by Ajahn Sujato above where he clarifies the differences between those concepts.
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko


culaavuso
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:30 pm



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Devosachcha
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Devosachcha » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:32 pm

Last edited by Devosachcha on Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Devosachcha
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Devosachcha » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:40 pm


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Sokehi
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Sokehi » Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:05 pm

Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko


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Devosachcha
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Devosachcha » Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:38 pm


santa100
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby santa100 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:44 pm


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Devosachcha
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby Devosachcha » Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:58 pm

Thanks for the clarification, santa100. :) It looks like I'm not in a good understanding of how Karma works.

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JeffR
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby JeffR » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:56 am

The Dana sutta makes it clear that if you are prioritizing your gift based on what you get in return, your gift does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

SarathW
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Re: How is Dāna prioritized?

Postby SarathW » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:11 am

If you give food to Buddha most probably , he will share it with the hungry man.
There is a Buddha’s story that he fed a hungry man before proclaim Dhamma.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”


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