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Real Charity by Ven K. Sri Dhammananda

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  • Antony Woods
    Real Charity by Ven K. Sri Dhammananda You perform real charity if you can give freely without expecting anything in return. The essence of true charity is to
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 11, 2005
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      Real Charity by Ven K. Sri Dhammananda

      You perform real charity if you can give freely without expecting anything
      in return.

      The essence of true charity is to give something without expecting anything
      in return for the gift. If a person expects some material benefit to arise
      from his gift, he is only performing an act of bartering and not charity. A
      charitable person should not make other people feel indebted to him or use
      charity as a way of exercising control over them. He should not even expect
      others to be grateful, for most people are forgetful though not necessarily
      ungrateful. The act of true charity is wholesome, has no strings attached,
      and leaves both the giver and the recipient free.

      The meritorious deed of charity is highly praised by every religion. Those
      who have enough to maintain themselves should think of others and extend
      their generosity deserving cases. Among people who practise charity, there
      are some who give as a means of attracting others into their religion or
      creed. Such an act of giving which is performed with the ulterior motive of
      conversion cannot really be said to be true charity.

      The Buddhism views charity as an act to reduce personal greed which is an
      unwholesome mental state which hinders spiritual progress. A person who is
      on his way to spiritual growth must try to reduce his own selfishness and
      his strong desire for acquiring more and more. He should reduce his strong
      attachment to possessions which, if he is not mindful, can enslave him to
      greed. What he owns or has should instead be used for the benefit and
      happiness of others: his loved ones as well as those who need his help.

      When giving, a person should not perform charity as an act of his body
      alone, but with his heart and mind as well. There must be joy in every act
      of giving.

      A distinction can be made between giving as a normal act of generosity and
      dana.

      In the normal act of generosity a person gives out of compassion and
      kindness when he realizes that someone else is in need of help, and he is in
      the position to offer the help.

      When a person performs dana, he gives as a means of cultivating charity as a
      virtue and of reducing his own selfishness and craving. He exercises wisdom
      when he recalls that dana is a very important quality to be practised by
      every Buddhist, and is the first perfection (paramita) practised by the
      Buddha in many of His previous births in search for Enlightenment. A person
      performs dana in appreciation of the great qualities and virtues of the
      Triple Gem.

      There are many things which a person can give.
      He can give material things: food for the hungry, and money and clothes to
      the poor.
      He can also give his knowledge, skill, time, energy or effort to projects
      that can benefit others.
      He can provide a sympathetic ear and good counsel to a friend in trouble.
      He can restrain himself from killing other beings, and by so doing perform a
      gift of life to the helpless beings which would have otherwise been killed.
      He can also give a part of his body for the sake of others, such as donating
      his blood, eyes, kidney, etc.
      Some who seek to practise this virtue or are moved by great compassion or
      concern for others may also be prepared to sacrifice their own lives.
      In His previous births, the Bodhisatta had many a time given away parts of
      His body for the sake of others.
      He had also given up His life so that others might live, so great was His
      generosity and compassion.

      But the greatest testimony to the Buddha's great compassion is His priceless
      gift to humanity - the Dhamma which can liberate all beings from suffering.
      To the Buddhist, the highest gift of all is the gift of Dhamma. This gift
      has great powers to change a life.
      When a person receives Dhamma with a pure mind and practices the Truth with
      earnestness, he cannot fail to change.
      He will experience greater happiness, peace and joy in his heart and mind.
      If he was once cruel, he becomes compassionate.
      If he was once revengeful, he becomes forgiving.
      Through Dhamma,
      the hateful become more compassionate,
      the greedy more generous, and
      the restless more serene.

      When a person has tasted Dhamma, not only will be experience happiness here
      and now, but also happiness in the lives hereafter as he journeys to
      Nibbana.
      http://www.budsas.org/ebud/whatbudbeliev/168.htm
    • Antony Woods
      Dear Group, I wish to start a discussion on part of the article I just posted. Comments below. ... ... The normal act of generosity
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 11, 2005
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        Dear Group,

        I wish to start a discussion on part of the article I just posted. Comments
        below.

        >From: "Antony Woods" <antony272b@...>
        >Reply-To: dana-giving@yahoogroups.com
        >To: dana-giving@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: [dana-giving] Real Charity by Ven K. Sri Dhammananda
        >Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 19:58:26 +1100
        >
        <big snip>

        >A distinction can be made between giving as a normal act of generosity and
        >dana.
        >
        >In the normal act of generosity a person gives out of compassion and
        >kindness when he realizes that someone else is in need of help, and he is
        >in
        >the position to offer the help.
        >
        >When a person performs dana, he gives as a means of cultivating charity as
        >a
        >virtue and of reducing his own selfishness and craving. He exercises wisdom
        >when he recalls that dana is a very important quality to be practised by
        >every Buddhist, and is the first perfection (paramita) practised by the
        >Buddha in many of His previous births in search for Enlightenment. A person
        >performs dana in appreciation of the great qualities and virtues of the
        >Triple Gem.
        <big snip>

        The "normal" act of generosity described sounds great to me. Selfless. What
        more could you ask for?
        Surely it is the best motive for giving, rather than thinking about "dana"
        as my virtue, my wisdom, my paramita.

        Just my two cents.

        Antony.
      • Colin D. Neal
        ... Dear Antony: Yes, it seems that way to me too...in that it seems much more selfless and uncontrived. Best wishes...Colin
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 12, 2005
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          On Fri, 11 Mar 2005, Antony Woods wrote:

          > The "normal" act of generosity described sounds great to me. Selfless. What
          > more could you ask for?
          > Surely it is the best motive for giving, rather than thinking about "dana"
          > as my virtue, my wisdom, my paramita.

          Dear Antony:

          Yes, it seems that way to me too...in that it seems much more selfless and
          uncontrived.

          Best wishes...Colin
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