The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:37 pm

Greetings!

I'm wondering about the place of giving (dana: practical act of giving) and generosity (caga) in the 8-factored path. I can see the place of dana in the mundane right view, the first factor of the 8-factored path:

“And what is the right view that has assavas ["leaks" (defilements)], sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? ' There is what is given, what is offered on a large scale, what is offered on a small scale. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.'” [MN 117]

I can see that dana will lead to the quality/parami of caga, and the place of caga in some of the Buddha's lists, such as the five qualities (faith, virtue, learning, generosity and wisdom) and the ten paramis.

I can't see the place of dana and caga clearly in the rest of the 8-factored path, unless we consider giving/generosity as an antidote/medicine for unrighteous greed/covetousness and sensual desire, ill will, and cruelty (for cultivating right intention/thought).

Since the abandonment of the defilement of stinginess is a requisite of spiritual progress, dana and caga should be developed to overcome stinginess, which is connected to greed / ill will / cruelty:

"Without abandoning these five qualities, one is incapable of entering & remaining in the first jhana... the second jhana... the third jhana... the fourth jhana; incapable of realizing the fruit of stream-entry... the fruit of once-returning... the fruit of non-returning... arahantship. Which five? Stinginess as to one's monastery, stinginess as to one's family [of supporters], stinginess as to one's gains, stinginess as to one's status, and ingratitude [but "and stinginess as to the Dhamma" instead of ingratitude in AN 5.256, which appears to fit here better]. Without abandoning these five qualities, one is incapable of entering & remaining in the first jhana... the second jhana... the third jhana... the fourth jhana; one is incapable realizing the fruit of stream-entry... the fruit of once-returning... the fruit of non-returning... arahantship.

"With the abandoning of these five qualities, one is capable of entering & remaining in the first jhana... the second jhana... the third jhana... the fourth jhana; capable of realizing the fruit of stream-entry... the fruit of once-returning... the fruit of non-returning... arahantship..."
— AN 5.256-263

But exactly what should be cultivated for dana?

"And what is the treasure of generosity? There is the case of a disciple of the noble ones, his awareness cleansed of the stain of stinginess, living at home, freely generous [giving without attachment to worldly gains?], giving with one’s own hands [?; according to the equivalent of Agama*], delighting in being magnanimous [generous/letting go], responsive to requests, delighting in the distribution of alms. This is called the treasure of generosity." — AN 7.6

“Again, Mahānāma, you should recollect your own generosity thus: ‘It is truly my good fortune and gain that in a population obsessed by the stain of miserliness, I abide with a mind devoid of the stain of miserliness, freely generous, giving with my own hands (?), delighting in relinquishment (letting go), devoted to generosity, and rejoice in giving and sharing.’" — AN 11.13

"Giving is good, dear sir! Even when there's next to nothing, giving is good. Giving with conviction is good! The giving of what's righteously gained is good! And further: Giving with discretion is good! It's praised by the One Well-gone: giving with discretion, to those worthy of offerings here in the world of the living. What's given to them bears great fruit like seeds sown in a good field."— SN 1.33 [because weed (greed, aversion and delusion) damage fields (beings); therefore, giving to those free of the above yields great benefit (Dhammapada 356,357,358 & 359 )] [For those who are worthy of offerings see Ang Nik. 57]

"But when a man or woman has laid aside a well-stored fund of generosity, virtue, restraint, & self-control, with regard to a shrine, the Sangha, a fine individual, guests, mother, father, or elder (why not younger?) sibling: That's a well-stored fund. It can't be wrested away. It follows you along.” (khp 8. Nidhi Kanda — The Reserve Fund)

"And how is a donation endowed with six factors? There is the case where the donor has three factors and the recipients have three. And which are the donor's three factors. There is the case where the donor, before giving, is happy. While giving his/her mind is clear & confident. After giving, he/she is gratified. There are the donor's three factors. And which are the recipients' three factors? There is the case where the recipients are free from passion or are practicing for the subduing of passion; they are free of aversion or are practicing for the subduing of aversion; they are free of delusion or are practicing for the subduing of delusion. These are the recipients' three factors …” (AN 6.37)

"Once King Pasenadi of Kosak asked the Buddha to whom alms should be given, and the Buddha replied that one should give to that person, to whom, when given one feels fulfilled and glad at heart. In the same context another question is asked, given to whom does it bear great fruit? the Buddha replied that alms given to the virtuous bears great fruit". -- S.I.: 97

"Ananda, of these fourteen kinds of offering, an offering made to an animal would result in a hundred fold benefit. An offering made to a common worldling who is without morality would result in a thousandfold benefit. An offering made to a common worldling who is endowed with morality would result in a hundred- thousand-fold benefit. An offering made in a period when the Buddha's Teaching is absent to one who lives detached from sensual pleasures would result in benefit multiplied by a thousand crores. An offering made to one who is practising to attain Sotapatti Fruition would result in benefit which is immeasurable and limitless. There is no need to say how much more would be the benefit that accrues from an offering made to a Sotapanna. There is no need to say how much more would be the benefit that accrues from an offering made to one who is practising to attain Sakadagami Fruition. There is no need to say how much more would be the benefit that accrues from an offering made to a Sakadagami. There is no need to say how much more would be the benefit that accrues from an offering made to one who is practising to attain Anagami Fruition. There is no need to say how much more would be the benefit that accrues from an offering made to an Anagami. There is no need to say how much more would be the benefit that accrues from an offering made to one who is practising to attain Arahatta Fruition. There is no need to say how much more would be the benefit that accrues from an offering made to an arahat. There is no need to say how much more would be the benefit that accrues from an offering made to a Paccekabuddha. There is no need to say how much more would be the benefit that accrues from an offering made to a Tathagata who is worthy of special veneration and who is Perfectly Self-Enlightened." [The Dakkhinavibhanga Sutta]

“In the Anguttara Nikaya the Buddha describes, with sacrificial terminology, three types of fires that should be tended with care and honor (Ang Nik iv, 44). They are ahuneyyaggi, gahapataggi and dakkhineyyaggi. The Buddha explained that ahuneyyaggi means one's parents, and they should be honored and cared for. Gahapataggi means one's wife and children, employees and dependents. Dakkineyyaggi represents religious persons who have either attained the goal of arahantship or have embarked on a course of training for the elimination of negative mental traits. All these should be cared for and looked after as one would tend a sacrificial fire. According to the Maha-mangala Sutta, offering hospitality to one's relatives is one of the great auspicious deeds a layperson can perform (Sn. 262-63).”

“Recluses (samana), brahmans (brahmana), destitutes (kapana), wayfarers (addhika), wanderers (vanibbaka) and beggars (yacaka) are particularly in need of public generosity (D.i, 137; ii,354; iii,76).” (From Giving in the Pali Canon: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#pali)

Manner of giving:

"These five are a person of integrity's gifts. Which five? A person of integrity gives a gift with a sense of conviction. A person of integrity gives a gift attentively. A person of integrity gives a gift in season. A person of integrity gives a gift with an empathetic heart. A person of integrity gives a gift without adversely affecting himself or others. A.iii,172

Sakkaccam danam deti: alms should be given in such a way that the donee does not feel humiliated, belittled or hurt.
Cittikatva danam deti: alms should be given with due consideration and respect.
Sahattha deti: one should give with one's own hand.
Na apaviddham deti: one should not give as alms what is only fit to be thrown away.
Na anagamanaditthiko deti: one should not give in such a callous manner so as to make the donee not feel like coming again.

And how to overcome stinginess/develop dana?

I've found the following helpful:

“What the miser fears,
that keeps him from giving,
is the very danger that comes when he doesn't give.”
— SN I.32

"What isn't given is lost:
So when the world is on fire with aging and death,
one should salvage [one's wealth] by giving:
what's given is well salvaged.
What's given bears fruit as pleasure.
What isn't given does not:
thieves take it away, or kings;
it gets burnt by fire or lost.

Then in the end
you leave the body together with your possessions.
Knowing this, the intelligent man enjoys possessions & gives.
Having enjoyed & given in line with your means,
uncensured you go to the heavenly state."

— SN 1.41

"Overcoming miserliness
Conquer anger with lack of anger; bad, with good; stinginess, with a gift (dana); a liar, with truth." — Dhp 223

“If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving and sharing, they would
noteat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their
minds.

Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat
without having shared, if there were someone to receive their gift.

But because beings do not know, as I know, the results of giving and
sharing, they eat without having given.

The stain of miserliness overcomes their minds.”

Itivuttaka 26

(for more of the collection of suttas on dana see http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html")

"Generosity is one of the ways you pay off that debt (the personal debt to our parents ...), and it's also one of the valuable ways you interact well with other beings, benefiting both them and yourself in the process".

"By being generous — not only with material things but also with your time, your energy, your forgiveness, your willingness to be fair and just with other people — you create a good world in which to live [and a broad/spacious mind].

"You give away a material object and you gain in generous qualities of mind. You give away your defilements, and you gain freedom."

[from Ven. Thanissaro's talks "Meditations" (available at ATI)]

Through our mindful practice of dana, we use wise reflection. We consider our giving in a very thoughtful, careful, and respectful manner."
http://web.archive.org/web/200508290044 ... /dana.html

More important suttas on this topic:

Visakha's profound dana wisdom: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dana-givi ... ?var=0&l=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Scale of Good Deeds/Gifts (from low to high): http://www.vimokkha.com/velama.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Give with right attitude and belief -- Give to the worthy recipients -- Sincerely taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha -- Sincerely undertaking the Five Moral Precepts -- Developing metta -- Cultivating the awareness of anicca (which will lead to the awareness of dhukka and anatta …)

The Anguttara Nikaya mentions five great gifts (the meticulous observance of the Five Precepts) which have been held in high esteem by noble-minded men from ancient times (A.iv,246). By doing so one gives fearlessness, love and benevolence to all beings.

The Magha Sutta mentions that hates gets eliminated when one is established in generosity (Sn. 506).

The rich become spiritually richer by providing material assistance to the poor; independable, unsure outer material wealth should better be used to generate long-lasting, secure inner spiritual wealth.

Some other source:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el367.html

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dana-givi ... nt=-30&l=1

Looking forward to your input. Metta to all!

Starter

Notes:

1. * Chinese agama equivalents:
“云何施具足。謂善男子離慳垢心。在於居家。行解脫施。常自手與。樂修行捨。 至心行施[“以其至心故行施也”]。是名善男子施具足。” [雜阿含經] 91經 [I think “等心行施” should be “至心行施”]

“若慳垢纏眾生所,心離慳垢,在於居家。行解脫施,常施,樂於捨,至心行施,…” [雜阿含1133經(不壞淨相應/道品誦/如來記說)]

“若行施修福时。当至心与。自手与。自往与。至信与。知有业、有业报与。” [MA王相应品第六]

2. Dāna: 'foodgiving', generosity , offering.
caga: means generosity, "but with a connotation of surrender or letting go. It is
possible to give without generosity. And yet for dana to bring merit, one
must cultivate caga. Caga is the attitude that underlies dana."
Last edited by starter on Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:59 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: The place of dana in the path & its development

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:48 pm

Hi Starter,

Is giving good? Yes, would be the answer. Developing basic goodness is a big part of the path. Otherwise subtle defilements creep in.

Also if you had a heart of metta you would give, without thinking twice, and that is a good thing. It is an outward manifestation of metta, showing that metta is not limited to the cushion (ie theoretical).

Giving makes you humble- and faithful and is a feature of someone with right view- it benefits the giver and the receiver- it brings joy to both. So it is a worthwhile quality to develop. Stream entrants have generosity as a major feature according to one formulation of the mirror of the dhamma.

Dana also leads to the propagation of the dhamma and the sasana.

It leads to a well rounded development of personality, in a way only samatha and vipassana cannot achieve.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: The place of dana in the path & its development

Postby Hanzze » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:07 am

Dear starter,

The nessesarity as well the possibility of Dana disappears latest with with the developement of right effort:

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong resolve & to enter into right resolve: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong speech & to enter into right speech: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort."

MN 117


When right livelihood and the two first sections are completly developed, there would be for the most no Dana possibility/need left. It expires with taking what is not given.

In the frame of the eightfold path, there is no nessesary to point Dana as a special training out. It would cause even an conflict, if has no possibility left or the thought that it is needed.

Normaly it's a starter to come even to the needed development of right view in a dimension that the wheel (the following factors) is errectable.

Thanks for the share of, AN 5.256-263. I didn't know that it was said very directly.

"And what is the treasure of generosity? There is the case of a disciple of the noble ones, his awareness cleansed of the stain of stinginess, living at home, freely generous [giving without attachment? - giving without judgement is maybe better], openhanded [non-grasping, not holding, not defending is maybe better], delighting in being magnanimous [forgiving, generous], responsive to requests [attending to all the needy? -- I don't think so - an effort to support (if possible) ones requests, who ever comes along and requests/ he/she does not walk out and searches for requester], delighting in the distribution of alms. This is called the treasure of generosity."
— AN 7.6
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: The place of dana in the path & its development

Postby dhammapal » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:21 am

Hi Starter,
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Dana Sutta discusses the motivations one might have for being generous, and rates in ascending order the results that different motivations can lead to. The Commentary notes that the highest motivation, untainted by lower motivations and leading to nonreturning (anagami – third stage of enlightenment), requires a certain level of mastery in concentration and insight in order to be one's genuine motivation for giving.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Also see Myth re Intelligent Act of Dana by Mahasi Sayadaw.

With metta / Antony (dhammapal).
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Re: The place of dana in the path & its development

Postby starter » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:32 pm

Hello Matheesha, dhammapal, Hanzze and other friends,

Thanks for the comments and recommendations. It's nice to read the Dana sutta again and to reexamine the meaning of giving with the thought 'This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind' [Can some one supply another good translation of this sentence? I tend to interpret 'This is an ornament for the mind' as 'making the mind beautiful']:

AN 7.49
PTS: A iv 59
Dana Sutta: Giving
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
...

"Having given this, not seeking his own profit, not with a mind attached, not seeking to store up for himself, nor [with the thought], 'I'll enjoy this after death,'
" — nor with the thought, 'Giving is good,'
" — nor with the thought, 'This was given in the past, done in the past, by my father & grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom be discontinued,'
" — nor with the thought, 'I am well-off. These are not well-off. It would not be right for me, being well-off, not to give a gift to those who are not well-off,' nor with the thought, 'Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past — Atthaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva, Vessamitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bharadvaja, Vasettha, Kassapa, & Bhagu — in the same way this will be my distribution of gifts,'
" — nor with the thought, 'When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise,'

" — but with the thought, '[b]This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind
' — on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of Brahma's Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a non-returner. He does not come back to this world.

"This, Sariputta, is the cause, this is the reason, why a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it 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."


Would giving with the motivation of removing the defilement of stinginess for spiritual progress in the path be considered as the last type of giving? It seems to me that 'This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind' means making THE MIND beautiful (by removing the defilement stinginess/selfishness of the mind, not by a "decoration"), and supporting the development of the mind for Samadhi and insight toward nibbana, without seeking the reward for “I”/"me".

Your correction and comments would be appreciated.

Metta to all!
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Re: The place of dana in the path & its development

Postby dhammapal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:27 am

Dear Starter,

Great question!

There is a role for "I" and "me" in beautifying the mind with generosity:
Majjhima 99 wrote:The bhikkhu becomes benevolent (BB transl "one who engages in generosity"). He experiences its meaning knowing "I'm benevolent," experiences the Teaching and joy of knowing the Teaching. That joy accompanied with merit I call the accessory of the mind, to develop the mind freeing it from ill will and anger.

'Young man, these five things:
He becomes truthful...,
becomes austere...,
leads a holy life...,
becomes learned...,
becomes benevolent...,
made known by the Brahmins for the accomplishment and accumulation of merit, I declare are the accessories to develop the mind freeing it from ill will and anger.'
From: Subhasutta.m: To the Brahmin Subha

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:40 am

Dear Dhammapal,

Many thanks for the very helpful input. I agree with you that "a support of the mind" refers to the joy accompanied with merit, which the Buddha called "the accessory of the mind, to develop the mind freeing it from ill will and anger" in MN 99. Similar principle applies to Visakha's profound dana wisdom (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dana-givi ... ?var=0&l=1), whose great delight (pamujja) and Joy (piti) arisen from her merits helps her cittam samadhiyissati.

Metta to all!
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:46 am

Why dana as the beginning of the path to liberation?

The Buddha’s path comprises a gradual process of emptying “self”. It starts with giving away one's external possessions (dana). Only when the generous dispositional trait sets in and the close-fitted selfish grip one has on one's external possessions is loosened by generosity (caga, literally means letting go?), one can truly achieve the observance of the Five Precepts, empty the Ten Unwholesome Deeds (the coarse internal defilements/“possessions"), and fill oneself with positive noble qualities (sila). Next comes the emptying of attractive/repulsive sensory inputs by guarding the sense doors, and the suppression/emptying of the Five Hindrances (deep-seated defilements/"possessions") to develop Samadhi (bhavana), which will lead to the deepening insight into the real nature of things and finally the empty of “self” (panna). But the path of dana - sila - bhavana - panna (which is another manifestation of the 8-factored path) starts with dana, the practice of giving. The path for those truly gone forth starts from sila instead of dana, because they have already given away all their external possessions to start the holy life. We as lay disciples can develop and use dana as our first "weapon" for greed/ill will/cruelty.

My understanding: in order to practice dana and caga, one should first establish Right View of the Buddha's teaching on the law of Karma and dana/caga as one's guide. One should also establish Right Intention/Thought (non-greed, non-ill will, non-harming), practicing dana/caga as the first antidote for greed (linked to stinginess), ill will and cruelty. In this sense, the practice of right view and right intention/thoughts precede and guide the practice of dana/caga.

Your input would be appreciated.

Metta to all!
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:44 pm

Some more understanding:

dana and caga are the first antidotes for unrighteous greed/stinginess/selfishness, hatred/ill will, and cruelty that a lay practitioner can develop and use; metta/karuna/mudita/upekkha are the second antidotes that can be developed with the quality of caga as the foundatio; the bhavanamaya panna (not just theoretical understanding) of anicca/dukkha/anatta is the third antidote that will finally uproot greed/aversion/delusion but can only be obtained after the successful suppression of greed/aversion/delusion, with dana/caga, metta/karuna/mudita/upekkha, sila and bhavana as the foundation.

Metta to all!
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby dhammapal » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:25 am

starter wrote:Dear Dhammapal,

Many thanks for the very helpful input. I agree with you that "a support of the mind" refers to the joy accompanied with merit, which the Buddha called "the accessory of the mind, to develop the mind freeing it from ill will and anger" in MN 99. Similar principle applies to Visakha's profound dana wisdom, whose great delight (pamujja) and Joy (piti) arisen from her merits helps her cittam samadhiyissati.

Metta to all!

I actually prefer Bhikkhu Nanamoli/Bodhi's translation "an equipment of the mind."

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby gavesako » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:31 pm

Ajahn Sudhiro - Qualities of Giving Dana
The merit from generosity and offering Dana do not depend on the material value but rather on the intention (cetana) behind it.
Even a beggar can make merit by offering a little.
http://youtu.be/GoSFEMra33Q
:broke:
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:42 pm

gavesako wrote:Ajahn Sudhiro - Qualities of Giving Dana
The merit from generosity and offering Dana do not depend on the material value but rather on the intention (cetana) behind it.


Dear Bhante and other friends:

Thanks for your input. Would the merit from dana/caga also depend upon the worthiness of the recipient according to the Dakkhinavibhanga Sutta, in addition to the manner of giving? Also according to the Dakkhinavibhanga Sutta, the merit from dana/caga appears to depend partially on the material value:

"Ananda, of these fourteen kinds of offering, an offering made to an animal would result in a hundred fold benefit. An offering made to a common worldling who is without morality would result in a thousandfold benefit. An offering made to a common worldling who is endowed with morality would result in a hundred- thousand-fold benefit. ..."

By the way, I read somewhere that a dana given to an immoral person who has used the gift in a bad way generates demerit for the giver. I don't believe this is the Buddha's teaching since he clearly indicated that "An offering made to a common worldling who is without morality would result in a thousandfold benefit".

Metta to all!

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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby gavesako » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:25 pm

Perhaps it would come under "giving a gift inattentively":

"And how is a person of no integrity a person of no integrity in the way he gives a gift?
There is the case where a person of no integrity gives a gift inattentively, not with his own hand, disrespectfully, as if throwing it away, with the view that nothing will come of it. This is how a person of no integrity is a person of no integrity in the way he gives a gift."

Kathañca bhikkhave, asappuriso, asappurisadānaṃ deti:
Idha bhikkhave, asappuriso asakkaccaṃ dānaṃ deti, asahatthā dānaṃ deti, acittīkatvā5 dānaṃ deti, apaviddhaṃ6 dānaṃ deti,anāgamanadiṭṭhiko dānaṃ deti. Evaṃ kho bhikkhave asappuriso asappurisadānaṃ deti.

Elsewhere the Buddha also advises that one should give a gift "having considered well" and "where it is going to be put to good use".
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby cooran » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:34 am

Thanks Bhante. Many of my donations to various charities and to my local monastery are done via automatic bank deduction each month. This means I could go months without even bringing them to mind. I was advised to look over my bank statement each month, and consider each donation with joy. At first, this seemed odd. But after a while, I came to enjoy it.

With metta, and respect,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:46 pm

Hello Bhante: Thanks for the very helpful sutta.

Hello Chris: Thanks for sharing your dana practice. I happened to read the following today:

"Impersonal giving, for instance, having amounts stopped out of one's wage packet, should be avoided as there is little or no good kamma made in such ways." [from "Lay Buddhist Practice" by Bhikkhu Khantipalo
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#visakha]

I'm not sure if the above comments conform to the Buddha's teaching, but I suppose personal giving is better for practicing generosity. By the way, here are the Buddha's teaching about recollection of one's own generosity as one of the ten recollections, which can be read together with your bank statements :twothumbsup: :

“Again, Mahānāma, you should recollect your own generosity thus: ‘It is truly my good fortune and gain that in a population obsessed by the stain of miserliness, I dwell at home with a mind devoid of the stain of miserliness, freely generous, open-handed, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to generosity, delighting in giving and sharing.’ [‘... delighting in being magnanimous, responsive to requests, delighting in the distribution of alms.']

When a noble disciple recollects his generosity, on that occasion his mind is not obsessed by lust, hatred, or delusion; on that occasion his mind is simply straight, based on generosity. A noble disciple whose mind is straight gains inspiration in the meaning, gains inspiration in the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma [“... gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma]. When he is joyful, rapture arises. For one with a rapturous mind, the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body feels pleasure. For one feeling pleasure, the mind becomes concentrated. This is called a noble disciple who dwells in balance amid an unbalanced population, who dwells unafflicted amid an afflicted population. As one who has entered the stream of the Dhamma, he develops recollection of generosity.”

"Mahanama, you should develop this recollection of generosity while you are walking, while you are standing, while you are sitting, while you are lying down, while you are busy at work, while you are resting in your home crowded with children.
— AN 11.13

Metta to all!

Starter :anjali:
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:16 pm

Happy Uposatha!

I'm reading the following teaching again and wonder if someone practices dana/caga with the genuine motive to cleanse and develop the mind would automatically reappear in the company of Brahma's Retinue without jhana, and then become a non-returner after that? Such a person is destined to gain the Right View of 4NT and the practice of the N8P either during this life or in the company of Brahma's Retinue, where he'll break up all the five lower fetters? [若以为求解脱之心行施,此即成解脱之因; 布施的发心很重要]

"...— but with the thought, 'This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind' — on the break-up of the body, after death, one reappears in the company of Brahma's Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, one is a non-returner and does not come back to this world.

This, Sariputta, is the cause, this is the reason, why a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it 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.""

(from AN 7.49)

Metta to all!

PS: Chris -- I now think it's perfectly OK to have dana done by automatic salary deductions/transfers, if your motive is to support your mind (the last kind mentioned in the above teaching). I'd like to rejoice over Chris' good deeds again and express my admiration of her generosity: Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Last edited by starter on Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:14 am

It seems to me that giving with the noble/supramundane motive is the third way to rebirth in Retinue of Brahma (brahma-parisajja deva– the "Councilors of Brahmā" or the devas "belonging to the assembly of Brahmā"), with the destination of non-returning. The other two ways are:

1) mastery over the first jhana.
2) meditations on loving kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity (see the Subha Sutta, in which the Buddha taught the Brahmin Subha how to be born in the world of Brahma).

By the way, Bhikkhu Bodhi translated the phrase "'This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind' as 'because it ennobles and adorns the mind' [Numerical Discourses of the Buddha n°162 p.213]. As I understand, the realization of the noble motivation for giving alone is not enough; it has to be put into practice when we mindfully observe if our motivation is tainted by lower motivations or not. The noble motivation must not be tainted by lower motivations to "qualify" one for rebirth in Retinue of Brahma and then non-return.

May we all succeed in this "short cut". Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks and metta!
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:03 pm

Greetings!

I went back to an old thread viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5914&hilit=+selfhood about a relevant discussion concerning awareness-release through metta leads to non-returning:

Starter:
"This awareness-release through good will should be developed whether one is a woman or a man. Neither a woman nor a man can go taking this body along. Death, monks, is but a gap of a thought away. One [who practices this awareness-release] discerns, 'Whatever evil action has been done by this body born of action, that will all be experienced here [in this life]. It will not come to be hereafter.' Thus developed, awareness-release through good will leads to non-returning for the monk who has gained gnosis here and has penetrated to no higher release. [ AN 10.208]

... If s/he realizes that 'Whatever evil action has been done by this body born of action, that will all be experienced here [in this life]. It will not come to be hereafter' , then with Metta meditation one can become a non-returner. ..."

rowyourboat:
"You are right. But there is no easy route to do this! … in this case based on all consuming 24hr metta. … Don't make the mistake of choosing only the suttas you prefer and making the full case based on just that. If there was an easy path, many wise people who have gone before you would have found it."


I guess rowyourboat is right. We probably shouldn't focus on one sutta and make a full case based on just that. If the noble motivation for giving is indeed a "shortcut" to liberation, then why no other wise people went after it and left their successful stories before us ? I'll certainly practice noble giving, while practicing the 8-fold path. No matter where we practice, earlier liberation is always desirable.

Your input would be appreciated. Metta to all!
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby gavesako » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:38 pm

Here is a relevant good talk by Ajahn Thanissaro:

Merit: the Rewards & Dangers
http://dhammatalks.org/Archive/130710_M ... angers.mp3
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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Re: The place of dana and caga in the path & its development

Postby starter » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:41 pm

Greetings!

Just to add the following contents that were missing from my first post:

Dakkhiṇāvibhaṅgasuttaṁ, MN 142

http://ancient-buddhist-texts.net/Engli ... erings.htm

...

The Seven Kinds of Offerings to a Community

There are these seven offerings to a Community. What seven?

A gift one gives to both Communities, with the Buddha at their head, this is the first offering to a Community.
A gift one gives to both Communities, after the Realised One has attained Emancipation, this is the second offering to a Community.
A gift one gives to the monks' Community, this is the third offering to a Community.
A gift one gives to the nuns' Community, this is the fourth offering to a Community.
A gift one gives after saying ‘this many monks and nuns have been nominated from the monks’ and nuns' Community’, this is the fifth offering to a Community.
A gift one gives after saying ‘this many monks have been nominated from the monks’ Community’, this is the sixth offering to a Community.
A gift one gives after saying ‘this many nuns have been nominated from the nuns’ Community’, this is the seventh offering to a Community.

There will be in the future, Ānanda, clansmen with an ochre robe around their necks who are unvirtuous and bad-natured. But even a gift that is given to those unvirtuous ones because of the Community at that time, Ānanda, will be an immeasureable, unlimited offering to the Community, I say. I certainly in no way, Ānanda, say that a gift to an individual can have greater fruit than an offering to a Community. [The Gracious One said this to Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī: “Give them to the Community (instead of to me), Gotamī, when you have given them to the Community, you will have offered them to me and the Community.” This way greater fruit would be generate.]

The Purification of Offerings

There are, Ānanda, these four purifications of offerings. Which four?

There is an offering that is purified by the giver, not by the receiver,
there is an offering that is purified by the receiver, not by the giver,
there is an offering that is neither purified by the giver nor by the receiver,
there is an offering that is purified by the giver and by the receiver,

What, Ānanda, is an offering that is purified by the giver not by the receiver? Here, Ānanda, the giver is virtuous and good-natured, and the receivers are unvirtuous and bad-natured, in this way, Ānanda, the offering is purified by the giver not by the receiver.

What, Ānanda, is an offering that is purified by the receiver not by the giver? Here, Ānanda, the giver is unvirtuous and bad-natured, and the receivers are virtuous and good-natured, in this way, Ānanda, the offering is purified by the receiver not by the giver.

What, Ānanda, is an offering that is neither purified by the giver nor by the receiver? Here, Ānanda, the giver is unvirtuous and bad-natured, and the receivers are unvirtuous and bad-natured, in this way, Ānanda, the offering is purified neither by the giver nor by the receiver.

What, Ānanda, is an offering that is purified by the giver and by the receiver? Here, Ānanda, the giver is virtuous and good-natured, and the receivers are virtuous and good-natured, in this way, Ānanda, the offering is purified by the giver and by the receiver.

These, Ānanda, are these four purifications of offerings.

Summary Verse

The Gracious One said this, and after saying this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, said something more:

“That virtuous person who, with a mind full of confidence,
gives a gift that has been righteously obtained to unvirtuous people,
who has great faith in actions and their results,
that gift will be purified by the giver.

That unvirtuous person who, with a mind lacking in confidence,
gives a gift that has been unrighteously obtained to virtuous people,
who does not have great faith in actions and their results,
that gift will be purified by the receiver.

That unvirtuous person who, with a mind lacking in confidence,
gives a gift that has been unrighteously obtained to unvirtuous people,
who does not have great faith in actions and their results,
that gift will not bring an extensive reward I say.

That virtuous person who, with a mind full of confidence,
gives a gift that has been righteously obtained to virtuous people,
who has great faith in actions and their results,
that gift will bring an extensive reward I say.

That passionless person who, with a mind full of confidence,
gives a gift that has been righteously obtained to passionless people,
who has great faith in actions and their results,
that gift is the highest of worldly gifts.”
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