retrofuturist wrote:The suttas explain that dana offered to a perfectly enlightened Buddha brings greater fruit than a gift to an Arahant, which brings greater fruit than a gift to a Non-Returner and so on down the chain of enlightenment through to the unenlightened wanderers of other sects.
The suttas may also say to praise those worthy of praise.
Evan aside from that, dana is a virtue to practice at all times, but it follows naturally that dana extended to higher beings yields greater fruit of merit. This is in part due to virtuosity, but also in part to what will take place after the fact. You feed a starving animal and it will continue to live and merely continue to act in the capacity of an animal. Giving alms to a Sammasambuddha contributes to the continuation of that being, which enables that being to spread more teachings of the Dhamma. That will lead to more spiritual progress and enlightenments to take place...and the dominoes continue to fall.