The Perfection of Generosity (//Dana-parami//) Translated by Saya U Chit Tin, WKH Assistan
The Perfection of Generosity
Saya U Chit Tin, WKH
U San Myint Aung, B.A.
William Pruitt, Ph.D.
Copyright by: The Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, U.K.
Splatts House, Heddington near Calne, GB.
Printed as Dhammadana Series 3
This gift of Dhamma is made possible through Dana given to the Publication
Account Fund of the Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial trust by two meditators in
their grandparents' name.
First Printing 1987
Printed in France
Dedicated to our much revered Teacher
the late Sayagyi U Ba Khin (Thray Sithu)
DharmaNet Edition 1994
This electronic edition is offered for free distribution
via DharmaNet by arrangement with the publisher.
Electronic format: Barry Kapke
P.O. Box 4951, Berkeley CA
PARAMIS: The Ten Perfections
1. Dana: Generosity
May I be generous and helpful
2. Sila: Morality
May I be well-disciplined and refined in manners.
May I be pure and clean in all my dealings.
May my thoughts, words and deeds be pure
3. Nekkhama: Renunciation
May I not be selfish and self-possessive, but selfless and
May I be able to sacrifice my pleasure for the sake of others.
4. Panna: Wisdom
May I be wise and able to see things as they truly are.
May I see the light of truth and lead others from darkness to
May I be enlightened and be able to enlighten others.
5. Viriya: Energy
May I be energetic, vigorous and persevering.
May I strive diligently until I achieve my goal.
May I be fearless in facing dangers and courageously surmount all
May I be able to serve others to the best of my ability.
6. Khanti: Patience
May I ever be patient.
May I be able to bear and forbear the wrongs of others.
May I ever be tolerant and see the good and beautiful in all.
7. Sacca: Truthfulness
May I ever be truthful and honest.
May I not swerve from the path of truth.
8. Adhitthana: Determination
May I be firm and resolute and have an iron will.
May I be soft as a flower and firm as a rock.
May I ever be high-principled.
9. Metta: Loving Kindness
May I ever be kind, friendly and compassionate
May I be able to regard all as my brothers and sisters and be one
10. Upekkha: Equanimity
May I ever be calm, serene, unruffled and peaceful.
May I gain a balanced mind.
May I have perfect equanimity.
May I serve to be perfect.
May I be perfect to serve.
Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu.
Some Aspects of the Ten Perfections
Preface to the Perfection of Generosity
THE PERFECTION OF GENEROSITY (//DANA PARAMI//)
The Importance of Generosity
Gifts to the Sangha
Types of Gifts
Generosity and Abandonment
The Greatest Abandonings as Generosity
The Brief Definition of Generosity
Analysis according to the Abhidhamma method
TYPES OF GIFTS BY PAIRS (22 groups)
Gifts to Individuals (14 kinds)
5 Good results of Giving Food
4 Purities for Generosity
7 Types of Gifts to the Sangha
The Example of Ugga
Gifts to Individual Monks representing the Sangha
The Incomparable Gift of King Pasenadi
TYPES OF GIFTS BY THREES
Gifts to the Dhamma, the Example of Ananda
Gifts which it is Painful to Give:
The example of Darubhandaka
The example of Bhattabhatika
The example of the Poor Girl
TYPES OF GIFTS BY FOURS
TYPES OF GIFTS BY FIVES
Vessantara and the Gift of Intoxicants
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF SIX
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF SEVEN
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF EIGHT
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF NINE
King Pasenadi and Bribes
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF TEN
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF FOURTEEN
THE GOOD RESULTS OF GIFTS
The example of Velukantaki
The example in the Mahadhammapala Jataka
ON FAITH AND GIFTS
International Meditation Centres
Address list of Centres and groups in the Tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
HOW BODHISATTA DEVELOP THE PERFECTIONS
"Bodhisattas' minds maintain their balance by giving preference to other
beings' welfare, by dislike of the suffering of others, by desiring that
the success of others endure, and by impartiality towards all beings.
They give gifts (//Dana//) to all beings (without showing preference).
They undertake the precepts of virtue (//Sila//) in order to avoid harming
living beings. They perfect their virtue by practising renunciation
(//Nekkhamma//). They purify their wisdom (//Panna//) in order to
understand clearly what is beneficial and what is harmful to living
beings. They constantly arouse energy (//Viriya//), keeping the welfare
and happiness of others in mind. When they have acquired heroic fortitude
through supreme energy, they become patient (//Khanti//) with the many
failings or shortcomings of others. Once they promise to give or do
something, they do not break their promise (thus they are truthful,
//sacca//). With unshakable resolution (//Aditthana//) they work for the
welfare and happiness of others. They place others before themselves
through unshakable loving kindness (//Metta//). They do not expect
anything in return through equanimity (//Upekkha//)."
Ashin Maha Buddhaghosa,
//The Path of Purification// (Ch.iX, par. 124)
For those of us who cannot remember our own past lives or see the past
lives of others, it is not always possible to appreciate our good fortune
in being born as humans during a period when the teachings of a Buddha are
available. As Sayagyi U Ba Khin points out in his lectures "What Buddhism
Is", the last Buddha had to continue working for four //asankheyyas// (a
number of world cycles equal to 1 followed by 140 ciphers) and one hundred
thousand //kappas// (world cycles).
We can all appreciate that not just anybody can pick up a tennis racket
and walk off with first prize at Wimbledon. But we may not appreciate the
preparation that is necessary in order to win first prize in liberation.
Concentrating the mind and understanding that conditioned existence is
unsatisfactory, changing and uncontrollable is not just a matter of
sitting still and closing your eyes. We must work hard on leading moral
lives, and we must go into training with the ten perfections (//paramis//
or //paramitas//): generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom,
perseverence or effort, forbearance or patience, truthfulness,
determination, loving-kindness, and even mindedness or equanimity.
These ten virtues may be obvious and self explanatory. But I think if you
are not from a Buddhist background, like me, you will occasionally find in
an explanation such as the one we publish here certain aspects you did not
expect. The more thoroughly we grasp the idea of these virtues the better
we will be able to live them in our lives. And when we come to take the
next step, we will find we have been preparing ourselves to control our
minds and to attain true happiness. Not that one stops practising virtuous
acts once he begins to meditate! Far from it. Each part of the teaching
helps others. The more we advance in one, the more we will work on the
As Sayagyi said in his introduction to the International Meditation
Centre, Rangoon, "Individual development (in meditation) depends on one's
own //Paramita// (perfections) and his capability to fulfill the five
Elements of Effort (//Padhaniyanga//), viz. Faith, Health, Sincerity,
Energy and Wisdom."
It is our hope that these publications will serve as an inspiration to
those practising on the path leading to Nibbana.
Peace to all beings
Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust U.K.
We are happy to be able to translate, adapt and publish this extract from
a modern-day commentary on a Buddhist text which was published in Burmese
in 1960. The Zambumeikswe Pitaka Press and Publishing House of Rangoon,
Burma, originally published in 1935 a work by the Venerable Sayadaw of
Ngarkhon village, popularly known by his Burmese title, Venerable Ngarkhon
Sayadaw, who lived during the reign of King Bagyidaw (ruled 1819-1837).
The king conferred the title of `Adiccavamsabhidhaja
Mahadhammarajadirajaguru' on him for his great learning. His work deals
with the efforts leading up to the Enlightenment of the Buddha Gotama.
Efforts were made to add more material to this by a learned layman:
Aggamaha Pandita Sayagyi U Lin, M.A., and finally, Tipitakadhara
Dhammabhandagarika Sayadaw Ashin Vicittasaraghivamsa, Aggamaha Pandita
Abhidaja Maha Ratthaguru was responsible for polishing the text and using
an up-to-date vocabulary in Burmese. The title is //Mahabuddhavamsa//
which we can translate by //The Great Chronicle of Buddhas//. (We refer to
it hereafter as `the Burmese Commentary'.)
The Burmese translation has been adapted for Western readers. We have used
English translations of the texts quoted from the Pali canon and
commentaries whenever available. At times we have felt it was necessary to
give more details so the texts would be readily understood by people
without previous knowledge of Buddhism. We are entirely responsible for
the English version.
The Burmese commentary is based on the //Buddhavamsa// in the Pali canon
(translated into English by I.B. Horner, //Chronicle of Buddhas//, Pali
Text Society) and the extensive commentary on it by Buddhadatta
(translated into English by I.B. Horner, //The Clarifier of the Sweet
Meaning//, PTS). These works give the details concerning the efforts to
become a Buddha made by Gotama and an account of the twenty-four Buddhas
who preceded him.
One of the most important aspects of the preparation to be a Buddha is the
accomplishment of the ten perfections. A Bodhisatta (Buddha-to-be) must
fulfill the perfections in three degrees:
1. to the degree which suffices for becoming an Arahat (fully-
enlightened) and involves the sacrifice of external possessions,
2. to the higher degree which suffices for becoming a chief disciple and
involves the sacrifice of one's limbs, and
3. the ultimate degree, leading to Buddhahood and involving the sacrifice
of one's life.
The account of the period of preparation for Buddhahood begins when the
resolution to become a Buddha is first made and confirmed by a Buddha. In
the case of Gotama, this occured when he was a hermit named Sumedha and
the prediction was given by the Buddha Dipankara (the twenty-fourth Buddha
before Gotama). It is after a Buddha confirms his resolution that a
Boddhisatta reflects on what must be done to accomplish this, and he
passes in review the ten perfections. At the time he met the Buddha
Dipankara, Sumedha had already practised the ten perfections to the degree
of becoming an Arahat and the only reason he did not become enlightened
was that he wished to become a Buddha himself. So the accounts we have of
his practice of the perfections in texts such as the Jataka stories are
examples of the higher efforts. It may be useful to bear this in mind if
the Bodhisatta's example seems too difficult for us to emulate.
The text on the ten perfections which is translated and adapted here is
from an appendix (or //Anu-dipani//, `Further commentary') to the Burmese
commentary. This appendix gives supplementary information concerning
various aspects of the Bodhisatta's career, but we have included here only
the discussion on the ten perfections as a text particularly useful for
students of Buddhist meditation.
Saya U Chit Tin,
Heddington, 19th January 1984
SOME ASPECTS OF THE TEN PERFECTIONS, FROM "A TREATISE ON THE PARAMIS"
The commentary to the "Basket of Conduct" is a detailed essay on the ten
perfections. It has been translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi under the title, `A
Treatise on the Paramis'. The discussion is organized around a series of
questions, similar to the style used in commentaries such as the
//Visuddhimagga//. Much of the information in this commentary was included
in the discussion on the perfections in the appendix of the Burmese
commentary that we have translated here. For a general discussion of all
ten perfections taken together, we use here the translation by Bhikkhu
Bodhi. More details may be had by consulting the full translation. The
"Treatise" primarily considers the perfections as they are developed by a
Bodhisatta. We have confined our discussion here to the aspects that would
apply to everyone working towards enlightenment.
The perfections are noble qualities which are all accompanied by
compassion and skilful means, and are untainted by craving, conceit and
wrong views. "Skilful means" (//Upaya-kosalla//) is the wisdom that
transforms the ten perfections into requisites of enlightenment. This
wisdom and compassion are responsible for the balanced approach that
motivates and enables a Bodhisatta to attain Buddhahood. For example:
through wisdom he understands the suffering of others, through compassion
he strives to alleviate their suffering. Through compassion he enters
continued rebirths (//samsara//), through wisdom he does not delight in
it. Through wisdom he is free from "I-making" and "my-making", through
compassion he is free from lethargy and depression.
Several explanations are given concerning the order of the ten
perfections. The order in which they are given follows the order in which
the Bodhisatta considers them after making his first vow to become a
A general explanation for the ten perfections includes:
1) Generosity (//Dana//), first, because it aids the development of
virtue and is easy to practise. It is common to all beings (even ordinary
people give) and is the least fruitful.
2) Virtue (//Sila//) purifies both the donor and the recipient.
Generosity benefits others and virtue is a complement to that by
preventing the affliction of others. Generosity will lead to wealth in
future lives. Virtue will lead to favourable states of existence.
3) Renunciation (//Nekkhamma//) is the complement to virtue as virtue
means good conduct of body and speech whereas renunciation is good conduct
of mind. Renunciation means abandoning the mental obsessions through
concentration of the mind (//Jhana//). Concentration succeeds easily when
virtue is pure.
4) Wisdom (//Panna//) is next as it is possible once concentration is
developed. Renunciation leads to serenity, and wisdom leads to equanimity.
5) Energy (//Viriya//) comes next as wisdom is perfected through the
arousing of energy. Energy is the basis for exertion and wisdom the basis
of equanimity. Arousing energy is mentioned after the activity of careful
consideration, as this approach gives excellent results.
6) Patience (//Khanti//) is a basis for serenity and comes after the
basis for exertion, for restlessness due to excessive activity is
abandoned through reflective acquiescence in the Dhamma. One who is
patient and free from restlessness will persevere in his work.
7) Truthfulness (//Sacca//) is next because the determination to practise
patience continues long through truthfulness.
8) Determination (//Adhitthana//) comes next because abstinence from
falsehood becomes perfect when determination is unshakeable. Non-deception
in speech is complemented by unshakeable commitment to one's word.
9) Loving kindness (//Metta//) is next, for loving kindness perfects the
determination to work for the welfare of others and the work which
actually provides for others' welfare is stated just after making the
determination to do so. This undertaking will be unperturbed only when
determination is unshakeable.
10) Equanimity (//Upekkha//) purifies loving kindness. This shows the
indifference that must be maintained towards the wrongs inflicted by
others when providing for their welfare. This includes developing the
quality of remaining impartial even towards those who wish one well.
All the perfections have as their characteristic the benefitting of
others. Their function is rendering help to others, or, not vacillating.
Their manifestation is the wish for the welfare of others, or, for a
bodhisatta, the wish for Buddhahood. Their proximate cause is great
compassion, or compassion and skillful means.
They can be defiled by various kinds of wavering thoughts or indecision
(//vikappa//). Wavering thoughts about:
1) what to give and whom to give to (generosity),
2) when to act and how to act towards whom (virtue),
3) delight in sensual pleasures and continued existence and discontent if
they cease (renunciation),
4) "I" and "mine" (wisdom),
5) being inclined to listlessness and restlessness (energy),
6) oneself and others (patience),
7) claiming to have seen what one has not seen, etc. (truthfulness),
8) the requisites of enlightenment -- finding fault with them and seeing
virtue in their opposites (determination),
9) what is harmful and what is beneficial -- being confused about these
(loving kindness), and
10) the desirable and the undesirable (equanimity).
The perfections are cleansed when the mind is free from such wavering
thoughts. They become pure and luminous when they are not tainted by
defilements such as: craving, conceit, views, anger, malice, denigration,
domineering, envy, stinginess, craftiness, hypocrisy, obstinacy,
presumption, vanity, and negligence.
1) giving: stinginess,
2) virtue: moral depravity,
3) renunciation: sensual pleasures and the household life,
4) wisdom (knowing things as they really are): ignorance and perplexity,
5) energy: laziness,
6) patience: impatience,
7) truthfulness: deceptive speech,
8) determination: lack of determination,
9) loving kindness: ill will,
10) equanimity: not seeing danger in the vicissitudes of the world.
In general, all the perfections have all the defilements and unwholesome
mental states as their opposites. They are all opposed to greed, hatred
and delusion in the following ways:
1) giving applies the qualities of non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion
to gifts, recipients and the fruits of giving,
2) virtue removes crookedness and corruption in bodily conduct, etc.,
3) renunciation avoids indulgence in sensual pleasures, the affliction of
others and self mortification,
4) wisdom restores sight when one has been blinded by them,
5) energy arouses the true way free from listlessness and restlessness,
6) patience accepts equally the desirable, the undesirable and emptiness,
7) truthfulness proceeds in accordance with the fact whether others give
help or inflict harm,
8) determination vanquishes the vicissitudes of the world and remains
unshakable in fulfilling the requisites of enlightenment,
9) loving kindness is secluded from the hindrances, and
10) equanimity dispells attraction and repulsion towards desirable and
undesirable objects, proceeding evenly under varying circumstances.
Many more details are given concerning the individual perfections and much
of this information is included in the discussion of each below. There are
also many aspects of the perfections as developed by a Bodhisatta. The
high level to which a Bodhisatta fulfills the perfections can serve as an
aspiration to all, even if others' ability is less. We have not included
all the details for the "Treatise" here, however, as it would make the
text too long. The interested reader should consult Bhikkhu Bodhi's
translation of the "Treatise".
Heddington, 19th January 1985
Sayagyi U Ba Khin taught that when making a gift the donor should bear in
mind the impermanence of the receiver, the gift and of himself. This
should be done before, during and after the gift is made. The person who
has made enough progress in Vipassana meditation can in addition be aware
of the occurrence of change (//Anicca//) inside his body as he makes his
gift. In Buddhaghosa's commentary on the first book of the Abhidhamma,
this is called a gift accompanied by development of the mind or meditation
(see //The Expositor//, PTS, p.103 where //Bhavana// is translated by
"culture"). In this type of gift we find many accomplishments united.
During the act of giving there is absence of greed and this means one is
conquering desire (//Lobha//). As this is a virtous act, there is absence
of hate (//Dosa//). Through meditation we overcome delusion (//Moha//). In
other words, a gift that is given in this way, overcomes the three roots
(//Mula//) of unwholesome acts. At the same time we are fulfilling
morality (//Sila//), concentration (//Samadhi//) and insight (//Panna//)
(see //The Expositor"// p.167).
This is a good illustration of how interconnected the various aspects of
the Buddha's teachings are. We cannot just work on one aspect at a time.
Each part of the teaching gives support to the other parts. Direct
experiencing of impermanence, however, is perhaps one of the most
difficult things for us to do. If we have not already prepared through
generosity and progress in concentration, we will not be able to feel the
rapid changes taking place within us. But even if this should be the case,
we can still have an intellectual appreciation that nothing we know in the
world is permanent, lasting, eternal.
The present commentary shows us that even the most imperfect of gifts will
result in some benefits for us. If we study the various categories given
here, it is soon obvious that the single most important factor is what
goes on in the mind of the giver, before, during and after making the
gift. If we have no control over our minds, we will not choose proper
gifts, the best recipient for our gift; we will be unable to prepare the
gifts properly or to present them properly. And we may be foolish enough
to regret having made the gift afterwards.
No matter what level we are on, the best thing for each of us to do is to
be sure we are working for the right goal and that we are making best use
of every opportunity we have for progressing towards that goal. When the
Venerable Webu Sayadaw asked Sayagyi U Ba Khin what his goal was, Sayagyi
answered, "Nibbanic peace within". Then Webu sayadaw asked what he was
doing to attain that goal and Sayagyi answered, "I am experiencing
//Anicca// inside myself at this moment".
For those of us who are laymen and who are practising the development of
our minds, Sayagyi U Ba Khin is an example to inspire us all. In his own
words, "Our goal: Nibbanic Peace Within for All!"
Saya U Chit Tin
Heddington, 19th January 1983
PREFACE TO THE PERFECTION OF GENEROSITY
It is instructive to compare the Buddhist approach to generosity with the
Western attitude. Many Westerners are surprised to find that it is
considered best to give a person who is highly developed in the practise
of the Buddha's teachings rather than give priority to charity to the poor
and unfortunate. The text given here gives us enough explanations to help
us understand why this is so.
We are caught up in the cycle of birth-life-death repeated over and over.
Our deeds in past lives determine where we are born in a present life, the
circumstances we find ourselves in and what happens to us. The act of
giving is accompanied by a certain mental attitude. This mental attitude
is the most important of the acts we do, for it determines the rest. The
more highly developed the person is to whom we give, the better our mental
But we should not fall into the error of seeing this as a conscious
decision we must make. In Buddhism, all acts of generosity, no matter how
imperfect, are considered positive acts. The Buddha said, "If one should
throw away pot scourings or the rinsings of cups into a pool or cesspit,
with the idea of feeding the creatures that live therin, I declare it
would be a source of merit to him: to say nothing of his feeding beings
that are human." A person working to become a Buddha must be careful to
give with spontaneity, without choosing between recipients. And this is
the attitude we find in Buddhist countries. Like a Burmese friend who woke
up one morning saying he'd just been dreaming that he had taken a poor
beggar for a meal. They practise generosity even in their sleep!
Another point we may find useful is that making a gift to someone we
dislike is one of the ways to overcome our hatred. There will be some love
present while a gift is made. Love and hate cannot be present in the mind
both at the same time. So, for a moment, our hatred will be overcome. And
there's often the side-effect that the person will be better disposed
towards us afterwards.
We should also learn how to receive gifts. If everyone turned down gifts,
no one would be able to make merit. But we often find it easier to give
than to receive. Perhaps we are too prone to try and guess the ulterior
motives behind the gifts. This is not to say that these should never be
taken into consideration, of course. As a high public official, Sayagyi U
Ba Khin was careful not to accept contributions to the International
Meditation Centre from persons who were hoping to obtain favours from him
in his official capacity. But anyone whose motive was correct could
May this text serve to help us better understand the place of generosity
in the Buddha's teachings and be an inspiration to us in working to cut
through the vicious circle of continued birth and death.
Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial trust
Heddington, 19th January 1985
Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhassa
Ciram Titthatu Saddhamo
THE PERFECTION OF GENEROSITY
The Importance of Generosity
In the "Chronicle of Buddhas" (//Buddhavamsa//) the Bodhisatta Sumedha
admonished himself to practise generosity (//Dana//) as the first
perfection, just as Bodhisattas of the past had done. So we see that
giving or generosity has a very important place among the ten perfections.
In the canon, however, we find the Buddha teaching as follows:
When a wise man, established well in Virtue,
Develops Consciousness and Understanding,
Then as a bhikkhu ardent and sagacious
He succeeds in disentangling this tangle.
He only mentions the three trainings: morality (//Sila//), concentration
(//Samadhi//) and wisdom (//Panna//). Buddhagosa in his commentary on this
text in //The Path of Purification// makes no mention of generosity
(//Dana//). In the Eightfold Noble Path, too, there is no path including
generosity. The paths only include morality, concentration, wisdom.
Therefore some people pretend that generosity is not part of the Buddha's
teachings. As it does not lead directly to Liberation, and as it is only
the means for living more life cycles, we should not cultivate generosity.
One well-known Burmese minister, U Hlaing from Yaw, wrote that the Buddha
taught generosity for the sake of ordinary people such as the rich man's
Many Buddhists are impatient with such views, but impatience is not
helpful. It is important to understand what the Buddha taught. The
discourse of the Buddha mentioned above is meant for those who are ready
to reach the stage of full enlightenment (Arahatship) in the present life.
They will not be born again. Generosity is an act which leads to new life,
new pleasures. As the Arahat is in his last life, he has no need to
develop in generosity. That is why the Buddha mentions only morality,
concentration and wisdom and does not mention generosity for these people.
For someone who is not ready to become an Arahat in this life, generosity
has the quality of making the mind more pliable. When someone is being
generous, his mind is already more pliable, enabling him to observe
morality, to concentrate and to develop insight. Many Buddhists have
experienced for themselves the shyness that results when they visit a
monastery without an offering. That is why the noble disciples like the
layman Visaka (the husband of Dhammadinna) always brought an offering when
they went to visit the Buddha: sweets and the like in the morning or
beverages and medicines in the evening.
Everyone who does not become an Arahat in this life will go through more
life cycles. If they do not practise generosity now, it will be difficult
to be born in favourable conditions. And even if they obtain a good
rebirth, they will not have enough possessions to do meritorious deeds.
We cannot beg the question by saying in such a case we would cultivate
morality, concentration and wisdom. It is only as a result of past
generosity that one can cultivate these three trainings. So it is
important for those who are faced with future lives to cultivate
Bodhisattas are the most important individuals among those who will
continue with future life cycles. After having received a sure prediction
from a Buddha, they must continue to work for omniscience (//Sabbannuta//)
for four //asankheyyas// (a number of years equal to 1 followed by 140
ciphers) and a hundred thousand world cycles. The perfection of generosity
is of primary importance for them. Therefore, those who have not yet
fulfilled their perfections should not say that generosity is not
necessary, simply because there are statements in the canon addressed to
those who are ready to become Arahats.
Some people ask if it is possible to reach Nibbana by practising only
generosity. Liberation cannot be attained by only practising generosity
nor by practising only morality, or even through exclusively practising
meditation. Meditating without morality will not give lasting results as
that would mean the meditator would be indulging in evil acts. His efforts
to meditate would be like a seed turned to ashes because it was put on a
Gifts to the Sangha
Seven kinds of gifts to the Sangha (the Community of Bhikkhus) and
fourteen kinds for ordinary beings are mentioned in the //Dakkhinavibhanga
Sutta// (//The Middle Length Sayings//, III). In regards to ordinary
beings it is pointed out that the merit gained increases depending on the
receiver, going from animals to the most noble people. Giving to the
Sangha is even more meritorious. In the passage on generosity in the
//Chronicle of Buddhas//, it is clearly stated that a Bodhisatta should
give alms irrespective of the receiver's status.
An illustration of the greater merit acquired in giving to the Sangha is
found in the Stories of the Departed (//Minor Anthologies//, IV, PTS).
When the Buddha taught the Abhidhamma in the Tavatimsa abode (the second
of the deva worlds), two devas came to listen, named Ankura and Indaka.
Whenever more powerful devas came, Ankura had to move back out of their
way, and finally wound up a great distance away from the Buddha. Indaka,
however, did not have to move. Ankura had taken rebirth as a deva because
of the merit he made in being extraordinarily generous to ordinary human
beings over a period of many years during a human life in which he was
very rich. Indaka became a deva because he had given a spoonful of rice to
the Arahat Anuruddha. This gift meant that he was the equal of the more
powerful devas that Ankura had to make way for. That is why it is said in
the canon, //Viceyya danam databbam, yattha dinnam mahapphalam//. ("A gift
is to be given having determined who as the receiver will mean great
The seeming contradiction between giving irrespective of the receiver's
status and giving after having chosen the receiver who will procure us the
most merit is resolved if we take the above passages in context. The
passage in the //Chronicle of Buddhas// discusses the perfections as they
are to be developed by Bodhisattas. Bodhisattas work for the attainment of
Buddha-Wisdom, omniscience (//Sabbannuta//), and this wisdom is not
subdivided by degrees into lesser wisdom, medium wisdom, noble wisdom. In
order to attain this unique wisdom, they must develop perfections such as
generosity as fully as possible. Ordinary people or devas give gifts in
order to obtain various worldly pleasures, so it is normal that they
should want their gift to result in the greatest benefit. Therefore they
consider who would be the best recipient of their donation.
Types of gifts
The main thing to remember concerning the word //Danaparami// (the
perfection of generosity) is that anything which is given away is //Dana//
(generosity, charity). There are two kinds of giving: 1. meritorious
giving (//Punnavisayadana//) and 2. worldly giving (//Lokavisayadana//).
Gifts given out of pure faith and right intentions are meritorious giving.
They are part of the perfection of generosity. But gifts given in a love
affair, or out of anger, fear, foolishness, etc., or by way of punishment,
these are wordly giving; they do not come under the perfection of
//Dana// (generosity) and //Pariccaga// (abandonment)
In the //Mahahamsa Jataka// (no. 534) the following virtues are listed:
generosity, morality, renunciation, uprightness, mildness, self-control,
conciliation, mercy, patience, gentleness. These are the ten duties of a
king and we can see that //dana// (generosity) and //pariccaga//
(renunciation, abandonment; also translated as charity) are mentioned
There are ten things to be given: food, drink, clothing, transportation,
flowers, perfumed unguent or powder, ointment, bed, dwelling-place, light
(//anna, pana, vattha, yana, mala, gandha, vilepana, seyya, avasatha,
padipeyya//). The sub-commentary of the //Mahahamsa Jataka// points out
that "//Dana// is giving suitable things in order to enjoy good results in
future lives; //Pariccaga// is giving rewards etc. to servants etc. in
order to benefit in the present life." The intention or volition
accompanying the gift is what makes it //Dana//.
Another illustration of the difference between generosity and abandonment
can be found in the //Akitti Jataka// (no.480). The Bodhisatta was once a
brahman by the name of Akitti. After the death of his parents he observed
that they had accumulated wealth, but could not take it with them when
they died. He determined to accumulate the kind of wealth one can take
along after death (i.e., good deeds). So he asked permission of the king
and had a drum beaten around the town and a great donation proclaimed.
For seven days he gave away his wealth, but there still remained more.
Anxious to renounce the world he decided there was no point in taking
pleasure in the ceremony of the gifts. So he renounced worldly life and
went away leaving the doors open to his house for all who wished to take
to come and take. In the example, the seven days during which the
Bodhisatta distributes his wealth is an example of generosity (//Dana//)
and the abandoning of the rest at the end is an example of abandonment
(//Pariccaga//). The reason is that four conditions must be fulfilled for
there to be //Dana//: 1. a donor, 2. suitable things to be given, 3. a
recipient, 4. the volition to give. Akitti's distribution of wealth during
the seven days fulfills all these conditions, whereas he renounced the
world before the recipients came to collect the gifts after that, so the
second case is abandonment.
It is also possible to differentiate as follows: giving to noble persons
(i.e., stream enterer or higher) is //Dana//, whereas giving to those who
are ordinary humans (or lower, as in the case of animals) is
//Pariccaga//. This would be the sort of distinction implied in the text
of the //Mahahamsa Jataka// speaking of the ten duties of a king. Alms
given to monks, noble brahmans, etc. would be generosity (//Dana//); gifts
to beggars would be abandonment (//Pariccaga//).
Although //Dana// and //Pariccaga// can be differentiated in this way,
their basic nature is the same. For giving suitable gifts to recipients is
generosity (//Dana//) whether they are near or far. If one bears in mind
that property is not owned, then that is abandoning (//Pariccaga//).
Abandoning is included in generosity. Before one can give, one must
consider, "I will not use that gift any longer." In the //Chronicle of
Buddhas// only the perfection of generosity (//Dana//) is mentioned, not
abandoning (//caga//, abandoning or liberality; cf. //pariccaga//). As
this text describes things according to the truth (//Dhamma//), we can
conclude that giving a suitable gift to any recipient, irrespective of
status, is generosity (//Dana//). Therefore, we do not need to distinguish
between whether a gift goes to a noble person or not.
Similarly, we should remember that generosity (//Dana//) is included in
liberality (//caga//) which is included in the seven riches of a noble or
moral person (mentioned in the //Anguttara Nikaya//).
The Greatest Abandonings (//Maha-paricaga//) as Generosity
In the commentaries five gifts are mentioned as the greatest abandonings:
giving one's limbs, one's eyes, wealth, kingdom, wife and children
(//anga, nayana, dhana, rajja, puttadara//). The terms used for these five
gifts vary according to the commentator. Giving one's body or life
(//atta//) is found instead of wealth. The sub-commentary to //The Path of
Purification// substitutes abandoning one's body or life for one's limbs.
The commentary to //The Chronicle of Buddhas// substitutes life
(//jivita//) for eyes. The commentary to the //Vessantara Jataka// (no.
547) gives: limbs, life, wealth, kingdom, children (//putta//) and wife
(//bhariya//), separating the last item into two. The same list is found
in the sub-commentary to the //Jinalankara//. But the essentials are the
same in these lists: material things apart from one's body (wealth,
kingdom, wife and children) and one's body (limbs, eyes, life). Giving
one's eyes means running the risk of losing one's life, so these can be
considered one and the same, making five gifts.
The Brief Definition of Generosity (Dana)
The essential elements that must be present are the volition to give and
suitable things to be given. Without the volition to give there can be no
generosity. The volition is present at the time of the donation. It is
called relinquishing volition (//munca cetana//), and it is the main
element involved in generosity. Anticipating volition (//pubba cetana//)
is the desire to give which exists before one makes the donation. If the
thing to be given is at hand, this can be called generosity. If the
volition to give exists without the object to be given being in the
donor's possession it is merely a sentiment of benevolence.
Some people ask why things to be given are called //Dana//, for only
mental volition (//cetana//) determines acts which bring future results.
This is true: no results can be associated with things; but, as they are a
joint cause for generosity, we must say they have the power to yield
results. For example, we say that rice is properly cooked because of the
fuel we use. Actually, it is the fire that cooks the rice. But the fire
cannot appear if there is no fuel. So it is not incorrect for us to say,
"The rice is properly cooked because the fuel is good." Likewise, we can
say, "One obtains beneficial results because of things given."
In the texts of the canon there are lists of things to be given in
//Dana//. In the Vinaya, four things are mentioned: food, robes,
monasteries and medicine. Some people take this list to be exclusive. But
it should rather be seen as the requisites that the Buddha allowed the
Sangha. In the Abhidhamma, gifts are listed as of six sorts, corresponding
to the six senses: visible, making sounds, odiferous, with taste, objects
of touch, and mental objects. This list too is not a list to limit the
types of //Dana// but rather a way to analyse them. In the Suttas, some
people maintain, there are ten kinds of //Dana//, the ten cited above from
the //Mahahamsa Jataka//. But here again we should take this as a list of
ten possible gifts, not a list of the only gifts to be given.
We should keep in mind that the most important element that must be
present for there to be //Dana// is volition (//cetana//) to give.
Analysis according to the Abhidhamma method
For a thorough analysis of generosity we should give its characteristic
mark (//lakkhana//), function and propery (//kicca//- and //sampatti-
rasa//), reappearance as phenomenon and effect (//upatthanakara//- and
//phala-paccupatthana//), and proximate cause (//padatthana//).
//Dana// has the characteristic mark of abandoning. Its function and
property is to destroy attachment to the things to be given, or to be in
possession of guiltlessness. Its effect is a sense of freedom from
attachment or knowing that it leads to future existence (//bhava//) and
wealth (//bhoga//). This last point means that when we think about the
effects of generosity we sense that giving will result in being a human
being, deva, etc. in future lives, with great wealth. The proximate cause
for giving is things to be given. Without something to be given there can
be no gift -- only imagining that one gives: so things to be given are the
proximate cause for //Dana//.
TYPES OF GIFTS BY PAIRS (22 groups)
1) Material gifts (//Amisa dana//) and the gift of the teaching (//Dhamma
Material gifts include giving cooked rice, etc. This includes also giving
the requisites (//paccaya//) to monks. Disseminating the teachings of the
Buddha (//Dhamma//) through talks, etc. is the gift of the teaching. The
Buddha said that this was the noblest of all gifts. This is the division
of types of gifts according to the things given.
Some people question whether establishing a pagoda and giving statues of
the Buddha can be called //Dana//. They maintain that for the gift to be
complete there must be a receiver. They say that these objects should be
considered from the point of view of recollection of the qualities of the
Buddha, that these objects help by reminding us of these qualities.
Others say these objects should be considered as honouring (//apacayana//)
the Buddha, etc. They would include these acts under morality (//sila//)
as right action (//Caritta//). Recollection of the qualities of the
Buddha, honouring the Buddha and observing the moral precepts do not
involve giving, however. A person who establishes a pagoda or who installs
a statue must spend a large sum of money. Therefore, these acts come under
The question of who receives the gift still remains. Those who use the
pagodas and who pay respect to the statues as representatives of the
Buddha, both devas and human beings, are the recipients. If we dug wells
and ponds to be used by the general public for drinking water, washing,
etc., we would not question whether such an act was //Dana//. So even
though the giver may not have a particular person in mind whem he makes a
gift, but means for it to serve the general public, there is still a
recipient and the action is one of //Dana//.
Pagodas and statues are worthy gifts to give for they are sacred,
appropriate for keeping relics of the Buddha, just as the cupboards and
shelves in a monastery are meant to hold the canonical texts.
Another issue that may be mentioned in passing is the practice of slowly
pouring out water when a gift is made. This is a traditional ceremony
which comes from India. It is important for those who have a high regard
for the ceremony, but for those who do not attach importance to this
practice, there is no reproach. The ceremony is entirely optional.
A person who is unable or incapable of teaching the Dhamma can make a gift
of the teachings by donating books on the Dhamma. It is like someone who
cannot prepare and administer a medicine for a sick person, but who can
show the method for preparing the remedy.
This pair of gifts can also be called "honouring with material gifts"
(//Amisa puja//) and "honouring with the teaching" (//Dhamma puja//); the
terms mean the same thing. The word //puja// is often used when a younger
person or less noble person gives to an older person or a person who is
more noble (i.e., more advanced in liberation). This can be called
"honouring with a gift" (//Puja dana//) and a gift by the older or more
noble to the younger or less noble is called "a gift out of kindness"
(//Anuggaha dana//). This is not a true division of generosity into two
aspects, but rather a division based on general usage.
2) Gifts of one's own person (//Ajjhattika//) and gifts of externals or
Gifts of one's own person include giving life and limbs. Some question
whether such gifts are moral if given by ordinary persons. They maintain
that such gifts can only be made by a Bodhisatta. We can see that this is
not so if we consider how an individual becomes a Bodhisatta. One can only
gradually become a Bodhisatta through fulfilling the perfections to the
best of one's ability. Therefore, we should not censor a person who
through great motivation and faith bravely makes a gift of his own person.
3) Gifts of property (//Vatthu//) and the gift of safety (//Abhaya//).
The first term refers to material things. The second term refers to acts
of mercy towards a person, either granting him life or property. This
generally comes from kings or governments.
4) Gifts for future lives (//Vattanissita//) and gifts for liberation
The first term is for gifts given in hopes of future worldly or heavenly
pleasures. The second term is for gifts given in hope of Nibbana.
5) Tainted gifts (//Savajja//) and untainted gifts (//Anavajja//).
An example of a tainted gift would be giving meat after having killed an
animal. The gift directly involves an immoral act. We can see the mixed
results of such gifts in the case of some fishermen. Because they were
generous with what they obtained immorally in past lives, as long as they
have improper livelihood (fishing) they were very successful and
accumulate wealth. If they decide to change their livelihood, they loose
their wealth. Untainted gifts, of course, are those given without any
immoral act being involved.
6) Gifts given with one's own hand (//Sahatthika//) and gifts given
through a command (//Anattika//).
The first is self-explanatory. The second includes gifts that one asks
someone else to make, all gifts made through another person. Gifts given
with one's own hand are more potent than gifts given through a command
(see the //Payasi Sutta//, "Dialogues of the Buddha",II,p.374).
7) Carefully prepared gifts (//Sakkacca//) and carelessly prepared gifts
An illustration of these two ways of classifying gifts would be presenting
flowers of a tree. If one thinks that the flowers is sufficient in itself,
then it is careless generosity. If one makes the effort to arrange the
flowers and to present them as attractively as possible, then it is
carefully prepared generosity. The comments of some scholars of old have
been translated as saying these mean gifts made "after paying due respect"
or "without due respect". Some people misunderstand these remarks,
thinking they mean that one should pay respects to the person receiving
the gift; but here, "paying due respect" means "preparing the gift well".
8) A gift that is accompanied by wisdom (//nana-sampayutta//) and a gift
unaccompanied by wisdom (//nanavippayutta//).
If one makes a donation while one is aware of volitional acts (//kamma//)
and their results, etc., then it is a gift accompanied by wisdom. If a
gift is made because one is imitating others then it is unaccompanied by
wisdom. In its most developed form, this would be a gift given while the
receiver develops insight: "I am impermanent; the receiver and the gift
are impermanent." But knowing that there is cause and effect is sufficient
for the gift to be accompanied by wisdom.
9) Spontaneous gifts (//Sasankharika//) and unspontaneous gifts
Donating after being urged or prompted is unspontaneous giving. Giving
without being urged is spontaneous giving. This does not mean that if
someone asks for something and the person asked gives that that person has
given an unspontaneous gift. It is only when a request has to be repeated
because the person is reluctant to give that the element of urging comes
in. If the person gives as soon as the request is made, then it is a
10) Joyful gift (//Somanassa//) and equanimous gift (//Upekkha//).
A joyful gift is one made by a person in a happy mood. An equanimous gift
is made by a person whose mind is equanimous.
11) A gift made in accordance with Dhamma (//Dhammiya//) and a gift made
not in accordance with the Dhamma (//Adhammiya//).
Giving property that has been justly earned is giving in accordance with
the teachings (//Dhamma//). Giving property obtained by immoral means,
such as stealing, is giving not in accordance with the teachings. The
second type of giving is a moral deed, but the good results of such gifts
are not as great as those of the first type. The results can be compared
to the types of plants that will grow up from a good seed and from a bad
12) Enslaving gifts (//Dasa//) and liberating gifts (//Bhujissa//).
Donating with a desire for worldly pleasures is the giving that enslaves.
The donator is the slave of his master (the craving for worldly
pleasures). Gifts made with the desire for the peaceful bliss of Nibbana
are revolutionary gifts for the donor is rebelling against the master,
From the beginning of our life-cycles we crave sensual pleasures. We are
slaves to this craving and work continuously to satisfy it. Not content
with pleasures in our present life, we make gifts in anticipation of
living luxuriously in future lives. These are enslaving gifts. Before we
encounter the Buddha-Dhamma, these gifts are considered to be the best.
But once we are fortunate enough to hear the teachings of the Buddha we
understand how powerful craving is, how difficult it is to soothe our
craving and how much we must suffer because of this craving. As a result
we make gifts with the prospect of attaining Nibbana. These are liberating
13) Immovable gifts (//Thavara//) and portable gifts (//Athavara//).
Immovable gifts include establishing pagodas, monasteries, rest houses,
wells, ponds, etc. Portable gifts are things to be used for a short period
of time, such as food, robes, etc.
14) Gifts accompanied by other gifts (//Saparivara//) and unaccompanied
For example, one makes a gift of robes to a monk accompanying the gift
with other things. This is the sort of gift that results in special signs
on the body for Bodhisattas. If one gives only the intended item, it is an
15) Established gifts (//Nibaddha//) and occasional gifts
Established gifts are ones that are given on a daily basis or at regular
intervals, such as food, etc. Occasional gifts are those given only when
one is able to.
16) Tainted gifts (//Paramattha//) and untainted gifts
Gifts which are affected by craving and wrong view are tainted gifts.
Untainted gifts are not affected by these. According to the Abhidhamma
method, wrong thoughts are an aspect of wrong view alone. But wrong view
is always connected with craving, so both are mentioned. When the giver
looses sight of the goal of Nibbana, due to craving and wrong view, then
the gift is tainted. In such cases the donor may wish to become king of
the second deva abode, etc. Such wishes are not effective ways of
attaining perfect peace. //Dana// can be made during periods when the
teachings of a Buddha do not exist. Gifts made during such times will
always be tainted gifts. Untainted gifts can only be made during a period
when a Buddha's teachings are alive. Therefore, we should strive to make
untainted gifts while we have the opportunity.
17) The gift of leftovers (//Ucchittha//) and untouched gifts
If one donates food taken from food that has been prepared for immediate
consumption, that is called "the highest gift" (//Agga dana//); and, as it
is not left over, it is an untouched gift. If we make a gift of food taken
from the meal we are still eating, that is also considered an untouched
gift (literally: non-leftover), a noble gift. It is only if we give the
food left after we have finished eating that it is a gift of leftovers.
This does not refer to a modest gift given by someone who cannot afford a
more expensive gift. But if the donor can afford better things than those
he gives, then they are gifts of leftovers.
18) Gifts given while still alive (//Sajiva//) and gifts made after one's
A monk cannot leave gifts to others after his death. Even if he should do
so, it would not be a true act of //Dana//. A monk can give from his own
property during his lifetime. Or, someone can take from a monk's
possession as a token of intimacy (//Vissasagaha//). Or, if a monk owns
something jointly with someone else, his partner can receive it after the
monk dies. Otherwise, the monk's property becomes the property of the
Order after his death. Therefore, only laymen can designate gifts to be
made after their death.
19) Gifts to individuals (//Puggalika//) and gifts to the Sangha
Gifts intended for one person, two people, etc. are gifts for individuals.
Gifts for the Order of monks or Order of nuns (including all noble persons
-- enlightened persons -- who are disciples of the Buddha) are gifts to
the Sangha. While the second type of gift is being made, the donor should
be clear that the sum total of those in the Sangha are the object of the
gift. In the //Dakkhina-vibhanga Sutta// ("Middla Length Sayings", I p.
302) there are 14 kinds of gifts to individuals mentioned and 7 kinds of
gifts to the Sangha.
Gifts to individuals (14 kinds)
The 14 kinds of gifts to individuals, in descending order of merit, are
gifts made to 1) a Teaching Buddha, 2) a Non-teaching Buddha, 3) one who
has attained the fruition state of Arahantship, 4) one who has attained
the path of Arahantship, 5) one who has attained the fruition state of
Non-returner, 6) one who has attained the path of Non-returner, 7) one who
has attained the fruition state of Once-returner, 8) one who has attained
the path of Once-returner, 9) one who has attained the fruition state of
Stream-enterer, 10) one who has attained the path of Stream-enterer, 11)
one who is not attached to sense-pleasures (i.e., who has attained the
absorption states), 12) an ordinary individual who is moral, 13) an
ordinary individual who is of poor moral habits, 14) an animal.
5 Good Results of Giving Food
There are five good results of feeding animals: long life, good looks,
well-being, strength and intelligence. These good results occur for about
one hundred lives for the donor. Giving a meal to an immoral layman gives
these results for a thousand lives; to a moral layman during a period when
a Buddha's teachings are not prevalent gives these results for a hundred
thousand lives; to ascetics during these same periods, for ten billion
lives; to moral people when a Buddha's teachings are prevalent (i.e., the
moral laymen pays respects to the Triple Gem and to //Ariyas//
(enlightened people)), for an //asankheyya// (one followed by 140 ciphers)
of lives; and, to noble (enlightened) persons up to the Buddha, for
//asankheyya// upon //asankheyya// of lives. The Commentary says that by
those who pay respects to the Triple Gem are meant those who are trying to
reach the first path of Stream-winner.
There is no mention in this list of fourteen types of individuals who are
immoral monks. Gifts to such individuals are only mentioned during periods
when a Buddha's teaching is not available. So there is a tendency to view
such gifts as tainted. But we should remember that someone who becomes a
Buddhist at the very last pays respects to the Triple Gem and therefore is
trying to reach the first path of Stream-winner. And, if giving things to
immoral people during the period, when there is no Buddha-Dhamma leads to
good results, then there can be no doubt that giving to such people when
the Buddha-Dhamma is alive will yield good results. Ten qualities are said
to belong to an immoral monk according to the "Questions of King Milinda".
These include respect for the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, etc. So, it would
not be accurate to say that gifts given to immoral monks are given in vain
or that it constitutes wrong doing from the point of view of the donor.
Another point of view is that when the Buddha's teachings are not
available, people cannot try to follow them, but since they can strive to
follow them when they are around, it is wrong to give gifts to those who
choose not to do so. This attitude is wrong also. For the Buddha said to
Ananda, after listing the 7 kinds of gifts to the Sangha: "There will be
in the future monks who are only monks in name, who will tie a strip of
cloth around their necks. People will make gifts to them with the
intention of giving to the true Sangha which is morally pure. Even this
type of gift to the Sangha will give innumerable good results."
4 Purities for Generosity
The first of the four purities for generosity is: a gift is pure if the
donor is moral, even if the recipient turns out to be immoral. On the
other hand, if we should give to an immoral person in order to support his
bad practices -- that is to say, if we give with bad intentions -- then we
are at fault. This is why it is important to be mindful, giving with
thoughts such as, "It is good to give to someone who has come to my door,"
etc. When there is right intention, the gift is blameless.
7 Types of Gifts to the Sangha
There are seven types of Gifts to the Sangha: gifts made to 1) the Order
of monks (//Bhikkhus//) and nuns (//Bhikkhunis//) during the Buddha's
lifetime or 2) after his demise; 3) the Order of monks only; 4) the Order
of nuns only; 5) a group of monks and nuns (because one could not afford
to give to all monks and nuns); 6) a group of monks (because one could not
afford to give to all -- but with the intention of giving to all monks);
7) a group of nuns (for the same reason and with the same intention).
The appropriate way to make a gift to the Order of monks and nuns led by
the Buddha after his demise is to present them with a statue containing
relics and say, during the ceremony for the gift, "I donate this to both
Orders led by the Buddha." As for gifts to be given to the Buddha after
his death, they should be given to a monk who is dedicated to the Buddha
or to the Sangha; for just as the parents' property goes to the children
after the parents die, so too should gifts for the Buddha go to monks and
to the Sangha after the demise of the Buddha.
During the Buddha's lifetime, people were generally less attached to
personalities and so most gifts were to the Sangha as a whole. So, at that
time, the monks generally used the requisites distributed by the Order.
And that meant the monks were less inclined to pride, thinking, "This
layman gave this monastery to me."
The example of Ugga
Those who wish to make gifts to the Sangha should emulate the rich man
Ugga (his story is found in the second sutta of the //Gahapati Vagga// of
the //Atthaka Nipata//, "The Book of Gradual Sayings" IV, pp 142 ff).
The Buddha mentioned to the monks that Ugga was possessed of eight special
and wonderful qualities, but did not specify what they were. One monk went
to Ugga to ask him. Ugga replied that he was not sure exactly which
qualities the Buddha meant, but that he would explain what he himself had
observed. He then explained that 1) when he first saw the Buddha he had
been drinking but as soon as he saw the Buddha he became sober and faith
arose in him. 2) The Buddha taught him the Four Noble Truths and he became
a Stream-winner and established himself in the five precepts with total
abstinence from sexual intercourse (//Brahmacariya-panca-sila//). 3) He
told his four wives of his new way of life and offered to find a husband
for any of them wishing to remarry. The eldest wife told him of a man she
wished to marry and he arranged it without any feelings of jealousy. 4) He
shared his wealth with people leading moral lives. 5) He always approached
monks with respect; listened to monks with respect; or, if they did not
give a discourse, made a discourse himself. 6) Even though devas told him
which monks were enlightened, which ones were moral and which ones were
immoral, Ugga made no distinction when giving alms. 7) When devas told him
the doctrine was well-taught by the Buddha he could reply that he knew
this, not because they told him, but because he himself knew this to be
true; and in all this, Ugga said that he did not feel pride because devas
talked with him. 8) Finally, Ugga said that he was a Non-returner
The sixth quality -- giving to the monks without distinguishing between
enlightened, moral and immoral monks -- should be understood as follows:
when Ugga gave to the monks, he kept in mind the Community of Noble
Disciples (//Ariyasangha//) as the object of his donation when the
recipient was an Arahat, and he kept in mind the Order of monks
(//Bhikkhusangha//) when the recipient was an immoral monk. Thus, he could
give without discriminating. Laymen should firmly keep in mind the Order
of monks as a whole, driving away any attachment to individuals. In this
way their gifts will be generosity to the Sangha, like Ugga's. This,
however, is not always easy. Take the example of a layman who decides to
make a gift to the Sangha and asks for a representative of the Order of
monks to be sent. If a novice is sent, the layman will be disappointed. If
a monk of long-standing is sent, the layman will be proud and feel
partiality. In such cases, the gift is not perfect generosity to the
Sangha. Someone who makes a gift without concerning himself about whether
the recipient is a novice, an important monk, a young monk, a wise monk or
an ignorant monk, this person can make a true gift to the Sangha.
Gifts to Individual Monks representing the Sangha
There is another example of a layman who had given a monastery and who
wished to make a gift to the Sangha. After preparing everything, he went
to the Order of monks and asked for them to send a representative. The
Order designated a monk who chanced to be an immoral monk. Even though the
layman knew the monk to be immoral, still he respectfully made his gift
with as much attention as he would give to the Buddha. That afternoon the
same monk came again and asked for a hoe in order to make some repairs in
the monastery. This time the layman gave him what he wanted without
showing him any respect; he simply kicked the hoe over in the monk's
direction. When members of his family asked why he showed so much respect
in the morning but none in the afternoon, he replied that in the morning
he had paid respects to the Sangha, not to the immoral monk.
We do not agree with those who maintain that giving to immoral persons is
like watering a poisonous plant. The volition of the donor as the gift is
made must be taken into account. If the donor means to encourage immoral
acts, then that is like watering a poisonous plant. But if the donor's
attitude is like the layman's just mentioned, then the gift is above
Nor do we agree with those who maintain that the recipient's character is
no concern of the donor, that the donor should give as though the
recipient were an Arahant. Disciples of other teachers wrongly believe
their teachers to be noble, enlightened, Arahats. This sort of wrong
belief is called "drawing the wrong conclusion" (//Micchadhimokkha//).
Surely it would be drawing the wrong conclusion for someone to pretend an
immoral person was enlightened knowing full well that it was not true.
The donor should bear in mind while making a gift that Bodhisattas give
without discriminating. We should strive to do the same. In that way, our
intention will not be to encourage someone in immoral acts, nor will we be
drawing a wrong conclusion about the recipient's development, and our gift
will be pure. Some people point out that it is difficult to control our
minds in this way, especially when we have a person in front of us that we
know to be immoral. The answer to this is that we should strive to make
good intentions a habit. We should cultivate the habit of directing our
gifts to the Sangha, as Ugga and the other laymen mentioned above did.
4 kinds of Gifts to the Sangha
Four kinds of gifts to the Sangha are mentioned in "The Book of
Discipline" (//Vinaya//), but these do not concern the layman. They are
distinctions which are important for the monks who receive the gifts so
they will know how to distribute the gifts inside the Order of monks.
These four categories are: 1) face-to-face gifts to the Sangha
(//Sammukhabhuta sanghika//), 2) gifts made in the monastery (//Aramattha
s.//), 3) gifts to the Sangha wherever (monks) may be (//Gata-gata s.//),
4) gifts to the Sangha from the four corners of the world (//Catuddisa
s.//). Face-to-face gifts refer to offering to monks in a town or village.
They are to be distributed among the monks present at the time. Gifts made
in the monastery are to be divided among the monks residing in the
monastery. Gifts to the Sangha wherever monks may be, mean that if someone
gives several gifts to a solitary monk, he may divide them with any monks
he encounters. On the other hand, if he is clever in using the rules, he
can keep all the gifts. Gifts to the Sangha from the four corners of the
world include immovable gifts, such as a monastery, which are used by
monks coming from all over.
20) Gifts made at special times (//Kala//) and gifts made at any time
Gifts made on special occasions such as giving Kathina robes (at the end
of the rainy season), food for a sick monk, food for visiting monks, etc.
are gifts made at special times. They result in specific good results that
do not accompany gifts made at any time. For example, when the time is
ripe for such deeds to bear fruit, if the donor wishes for something
special to eat he will receive it immediately.
21) Gifts made (in the recipient's) presence (//Paccakkha//) and gifts
made without (the donor) being present (//Apaccakkha//).
22) Gifts that can be matched (//Sadisa//) and incomparable gifts
A gift that can be matched by someone else is the first type. A gift that
cannot be equalled is an incomparable gift. Only one such gift is given
during each Buddha's time. The story of the gift made during Buddha
Gotama's time is found in the //Dhammapada// commentary (Buddhist legends,
III, pp. 24-28).
The Incomparable Gift of King Pasenadi
King Pasenadi of Kosala entered into a contest with the citizens of the
capital of Savatthi. Each tried to outdo the other in making presents to
the Buddha and Sangha. After six rounds of giving, the king felt
discouraged, but his queen, Mallika, said that he could win by giving
things which the citizens could not obtain, such as white parasols (symbol
of royality), elephants, and by having young ladies of the warrior caste
present perfumes and fan the monks. So, King Pasenadi made the
incomparable gift to Gotama Buddha. And every other Buddha had a similar
gift given to him by a layman.
TYPES OF GIFTS BY THREES
1) Gifts can be divided into three types as lesser (//Hina//), medium
(//Mahjjhima//) and excellent (//Panita//).
The degrees of benevolence is determined according to the strength of the
intention (//Chanda//), the conscious state (//Citta//), energy
(//Viriya//) and investigation (//Vimamsa//). When these four elements are
weak, the gift is a lesser gift. When they are neither weak nor strong,
the gift is a medium gift. When they are strong, the gift is an excellent
gift, a gift of higher order.
If a gift is made through a desire for fame, it is a lesser gift. If the
object of the gift is future well-being as a human or a celestial being,
it is a medium gift. If the person making the gift does so in imitation of
the Ariyas or Bodhisattas, paying homage to their good habits, the gift is
an excellent gift.
At the first council, when the texts were being prepared, the names of
those who gave monasteries were given to these monasteries. For example,
the Jetavana monastery was named after the rich man Anathapindika and
called the Anathapindikarama; the monastery given by Ghosita was named the
Ghositarama. This was to encourage others to follow their example and
acquire merits. So donors today should go along with this tradition, but
in giving their name to a monastery they should keep under control any
desire for fame through mindfulness.
Another way of understanding these three types of gifts is to say that the
desire for well-being as a human or a celestial being is involved in
lesser gifts; the desire for the knowledge of awakening (or enlightenment)
as a disciple (//savaka-bodhi-nana//) or as a non-teaching Buddha
(//Pacceka-bodhi-nana//) is involved in a medium gift; whereas desire for
the knowledge of one of the four paths (//magga-nana//). It has been said
that in order for the gift to become the foundation for Nibbana
(//Vivatta-nissita//), one should not be casual or careless while making a
gift nor desire any particular stage of enlightenment.
2) A second group of three types of gifts are: gifts fit for a slave
(//Dana-dasa//), gifts fit for friends (//Dana-sahaya//), and gifts fit
for a master (//Dana-samin//).
If one gives a gift that is less valuable than what one is used to using
oneself, it is a gift fit for a slave. If the gift's value is equal to
what one spends on oneself, it is a gift fit for a friend. If the gift is
more valuable or nobler than what one uses oneself, it is a gift fit for a
3) Again, gifts can be divided into three as follows: the gift of the
texts of the doctrine (//Amisa-dhamma-dana//, literally: the material gift
or the "raw" gift of the doctrine), the gift of mental objects (//Dhamma-
dana 1//; in the sense of "dhamma" as mental activity), and the gift to
the ultimate truth (//Dhamma-dana 2//; in the sense of "dhamma" as the
truth concerning the nature of reality -- the truth which transcends
conditioning). This division by three is based on various possible
meanings of the word "Dhamma".
The gift of the texts of the doctrine (//Amisa-dhamma-dana, pr
Pariyatti//) means giving knowledge or theory of the texts. This knowledge
or theory is the thing given. The listener is the recipient. The teacher
is the donor.
The first type of //Dhamma-dana// means giving the means to perceive
mental objects. In the Abhidhamma, six aspects are given for mental
objects: 1) the five organs of sense (sight, hearing, smell, taste and
touch -- the mind is already included in the term "mental objects" --
//Pasadas//), 2) the sixteen subtle forms (//Sukhuma-rupa//), 3) the 89
states of consciousness (//Citta//), 4) 52 mental factors (//Cetasika//),
5) //Nibbana// and 6) Concepts (//Pannatti//). These include mental
objects which exist and can appear to the mind.
One makes the gift of mental objects through curing another's weak eyes,
or hearing, etc. The most complete form for this type of gift to take is
in saving or sparing another's life (//Jivita-dana//).
The second type of //Dhamma-dana// is giving to the Dhamma, to the
doctrine discovered by the Buddha and taught by him. In a sense, the texts
themselves are also included here as they include the doctrine to another
person, here, the gift is to the doctrine itself.
Gifts to the Dhamma, the Example of Ananda
An illustration of how a gift to the doctrine is made is found in the
//Bhikkhaparampara Jataka// (no. 496). At one time, the Buddha was
residing in the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi. One day a faithful
disciple reflected that he constantly paid honour to the Buddha and to the
Sangha, and he wondered if it is possible to pay honour to the Dhamma. So
he asked the Buddha how he should go about it. The Buddha replied that he
should give food, robes, etc. to the monks but with the intention of
honouring the doctrine as cultivated by them. The disciple asked who would
be an appropriate monk to receive such a gift, and the Buddha told him to
make the gift to Ananda. So he invited Ananda and gave him a rich offering
of flowers, food and enough cloth for three robes, keeping in mind as he
gave that the object of his gift was the doctrine practised by Ananda.
But Ananda thought to himself that this gift would be more worthy of the
chief disciple known as the Treasurer of the Doctrine, so he made the gift
over to Sariputta. Sariputta in turn decided to give the gift to the Lord
of the Doctrine, the Buddha. The Buddha, seeing no one higher than himself
in this respect, ate the food and accepted the cloth for the robes.
In this story, the disciple is the donor, the flowers, food and cloth are
the things given, and the Dhamma realized by Ananda, Sariputta and the
Buddha is the recipient. Another example of gifts to the Dhamma is found
in King Asoka's donations of monasteries. Each monastery he gave was done
with the intention of giving to every line of the doctrine. Many people
have heard of Asoka's example and some have wanted to give in imitation of
it. But it is important that they understand that the main objective is
the paying of respects to the Dhamma and not merely the giving of a
We can better appreciate this type of gift if we are aware of the Dhamma's
importance. Buddhaghosa makes the wish, "May the true Dhamma long endure!
May all beings be respectful towards the Dhamma!" (//Ciram titthatu
saddhamo, Dhamma hontu sagarava sabbepi satta//. See the end of this
commentary, //Atthasalini//, on the //Dhammasangani// of the Abhidhamma --
A Buddhist Manual, cited above.) The Dhamma is of such importance because
as long as it is present the teachings of the Buddha will not lose their
strength. Everyone who has respect for the Dhamma will have respect for
the Buddha's teachings. As the Buddha said, "He who sees the Dhamma sees
me." And just before his demise he said, "The Dhamma will be your teacher
after I am gone."
4) Another way of determining three types of gifts is to divide them
according to gifts which is painful to give (//Dukkhasa-dana//), great
gifts (//Maha-dana//) and general gifts (//Samanna-dana//).
Gifts which it is Painful to Give
The example of Darubhandaka
An example of a gift which it is painful or difficult to give is found in
the story of Darubhandaka-Mahatissa (found in the commentary to the
//Anguttara//, "The Book of Gradual Sayings"). Darubhandaka was a poor man
who lived in Mahagama (in Sri Lanka) and who earned his living selling
fire wood. He said to his wife that though the Buddha had spoken in favour
of continual generosity (//Nibaddha-dana//), they could not afford this.
On the other hand they could give twice each month. So they decided to
give some rice the next day. Now at that time the monks received food in
plenty and the young monk who received their rice threw it away.
The wife saw this and reported it to her husband. The husband said, "We
are so poor we cannot give the monks food that will please them. What
should we do?"
"Those who have children are not poor", replied the wife in order to
encourage him and advised him to obtain money by placing their daughter as
a servant. They obtained twelve kahapanas and were able to buy a cow.
Because of the pure moral intentions of the couple, the cow yielded great
quantities of milk which they offered twice each day to the monks. The
milk they got in the evening was used for making cheese and butter and the
milk they got in the morning the wife used in cooking milk porridge.
These offerings were satisfactory to the monks.
"Well now," the husband told his wife one day, "thanks to our daughter we
are no longer ashamed. We are able to make offerings acceptable to the
monks. You should not miss the opportunity for making donations to the
monks during my absence. I am going to hire out my services in order to
earn some extra money so that we can have our daughter back." And he went
to work for six months in a sugar mill.
When he had saved up twelve kahapanas, he set out on the road home. On the
way he met Pindapatiya-Tissa, a monk from the monastery Ambariya-vihara.
This monk's name indicated that he made a practice of mixing all the food
he received in his bowl and ate it without enjoying the separate tastes of
the various foods given. Darubhandaka walked along with the monk,
listening to him talk about the doctrine. Eventually they approached a
village where a man was coming out carrying cooked rice.
Darubhandaka, seeing it was mealtime, and wishing to offer the monk food,
asked the man to sell the rice for one kahapana, even though the rice was
not worth a twentieth as much. The man, realising that there must be some
special reason for offering so much money, declined. Darubhandaka
increased his offer to two, then three kahapanas. Still the man refused.
Finally, Darubhandaka explained why he wanted the food and confessed that
he had offered all his money. The monk, at his request, was already
waiting under the shade of a tree for his meal. And, if he sold the rice,
the man too would make merit.
Finally the man sold the rice for twelve kahapanas. Darubhandaka took it
with great pleasure to the monk. Pindapatiya-Tissa only accepted half of
the rice, but Darubhandaka urged him to take all, saying, "Venerable sir,
this food is only sufficient for one person. I will not eat any of it. I
bought it for you. Please take pity on me and accept all the food." So the
monk accepted the other half.
After the monk finished his meal they continued their journey together and
he asked Darubhandaka about himself. Darubhandaka related his story very
frankly and the monk thought to himself, "This man has made a gift which
is very difficult to make. I should be grateful to him. If I can find a
suitable place for meditation, I will make the effort to attain
Arahantship in one sitting. Though my skin and sinews and bones become
dry, though all my flesh and blood dry up, I will not stir until I attain
the final goal!" When he arrived at the monastery named Tissamaharama he
made his great effort, not even getting up to go on the alms round.
When the seventh day dawned he became an Arahant together with the four
branches of logical analysis. And he thought to himself, "My body is so
exhausted. Do I have long to live?" And through the powers he had
acquired, he knew that he would soon die. So he put everything in his cell
in order and taking his robe and bowl went to the center of the monastery
compound. There he had the drums sounded to assemble all the monks.
When all the monks were assembled, the head Thera asked who had called for
the assembly. Pindapatiya-Tissa replied that he had done so. When asked
why, he replied that he did not desire anything, but that if any of the
monks had any misgivings about the Paths and Fruition-states of the four
degrees of enlightenment, they should ask him for an explanation. The head
Thera replied that no one had any questions. He then asked why
Pindapatiya-Tissa had persevered in his practice at the cost of his life.
So Tissa related all that had happened and informed the monks that he
would pass away the same day. Then he said, "May my corpse and the
structure supporting it not move until Darubhandaka comes and lifts it."
And he passed away that very day.
King Kakavannatissa came and ordered his men to take the body and the
supporting structure to the place for cremation, but they could not move
the body or structure. After enquiring about the reason for this, the king
sent for Darubhandaka, dressed him in fine clothes, and asked him to move
what his men had not been able to budge. Darubhandaka did as he was told,
and was able to lift the body and the structure over his head. No sooner
had he done so than they rose in the air and travelled through the air to
the funeral pyre.
Darubhandaka's gift is called a gift which it is painful or difficult to
give because of the great sacrifice he had to make in giving it. His six-
month's wages which were to redeem his daughter from servitude were used
to buy one meal of cooked rice to give to a monk. And his daughter was a
servant because he needed money to buy a cow in order to give food
acceptable to the monks.
The example of Bhattabhatika
Another example is found in the story of Sukha Samanera's past life (when
his name was Bhattabhatika) in the //Dhammapada// commentary (Buddhist
Legends, II, pp. 318-324). Bhattabhatika was a poor villager who wanted to
eat a rich man's meal. The rich man, Gandha, told him that if he would
work for him for three years, he would give him such a meal. Bhattabhatika
agreed. But when he obtained his meal, a Pacceka Buddha came, and he gave
his meal to the Buddha without hesitation.
The example of the Poor Girl.
In the //Ummadanti Jataka// (no. 527) we have the example of a poor girl
who was about to dress herself in clothes which she worked for three years
to acquire, but at that moment a monk who was a follower of the Buddha
Kassapa came by, covering himself with leaves because he had been robbed
of his robes. Her gift, too, was one which it is difficult to give.
Great gifts (//Maha-dana//) are those of great magnitude. For example,
King Asoka, when he learned from Moggaliputta-Tissa Thera that there were
84,000 sections of the Dhamma (//Dhamma-khandas//), honoured these by
giving 84,000 monasteries. That is why Moggaliputta-Tissa said, "No one
has given this much during the Buddha's dispensation, not even during the
Buddha's lifetime. Your offering is the greatest." Even so, Asoka's gift
is not to be compared with the incomparable gift (//Asadise//) given by
King Pasenadi during the Buddha's lifetime, for Asoka's gift was done on
his own initiative whereas Pasenadi's was done in competing with the
citizens of the capital city Savatthi.
General gifts (//Samanna-dana//) mean those which are neither difficult to
give nor of great magnitude.
5) Another way of determining three types of gifts is found in the
commentary to the //Vinaya// ("The Book of the Discipline", VI, p.222,
note 14): one gives to the //Sangha// (the Order of monks), a shrine or to
an individual after having determined to make a gift to one of these
three. These are called righteous gifts (//Dhammika Danas//) because the
gifts are made in a fitting manner, in accordance with the Dhamma; they
are suitable gifts. Further details concerning these three sorts of gifts
will be found below in the discussion of nine types of gifts.
TYPES OF GIFTS BY FOURS
The texts do not give any lists of types of gifts by fours. We may take
the mention of gifts of the four requisites, found in the //Vinaya// (The
Book of the Discipline), "Middle Lengths Sayings" (I, pp. 325, 335, for
example), etc., as four types of gifts. These four reqisites which it is
appropriate to give to monks and nuns are: 1) robe-material or robes
(//civara-dana//), 2) food (//pindapata-dana//), 3) lodging (//senasana-
dana//), and 4) medicines (//bhesajja-dana//). The third gift includes
monasteries, sites for monasteries, beds, etc.
Gifts may also be divided into four types according to the purity of the
giver and receiver. These will be discussed in more detail in the last
section below on the good results of gifts. The four possible combinations
are: 1) the giver is moral but the receiver is not; 2) the receiver is
moral but the giver is not; 3) both are immoral; 4) both are moral.
TYPES OF GIFTS BY FIVES
1) There are five types of gifts which are to be given at the right time
(//Kala-dana//). They are found in "The Gradual Sayings" (III, p.33): one
gives 1) to a newcomer, 2) to someone going away, 3) to the sick, 4) when
food is hard to get, 5) the first-fruits of the field and orchard are
first presented to the virtuous. The fifth type refers to gifts made by
farmers, but we can understand it to include gifts made by those who have
gained something through their own effort and who first make a gift of
some of it before using it for themselves.
The verse concluding this description of five types of gifts includes the
statement that "both those who praise the offering and those who do the
deed share in its merit."
2) There are five types of gifts made by those who are immoral
(//Asappurisa-dana//): a person who is immoral gives 1) unrespectfully,
without taking care, in an unthorough manner (//Asakkaccam//); 2) without
having first paid respects, or without considering if the gifts are
appropriate or not (//Acittikatva//); 3) without presenting his gifts with
his own hands (//Asahattha//); 4) leftovers (//Apaviddha//); 5) without
the (right) view that one comes back again (according to the deeds one has
done) (//Anagamanaditthiko// -- also known as "knowledge that (the
results) of one's own deeds are one's own property", //Kammassakata-
An example of the third type is found in the story of King Payasi who
could have given his gifts with his own hands, but had his attendant
Uttara do so instead (See "Dialogues of the Buddha", II, no. 23).
These five types of gifts and the next five are found in "The Gradual
Sayings" (III, p.129).
3) There are also the five types of gifts given by moral men (//Sappurisa-
dana//): a person who is moral gives 1) respectfully, taking care, in a
thorough manner (//Sakkaccam//); 2) having first paid respects, or
considering whether the gifts are appropriate or not (//Cittikatva//); 3)
presenting his gifts with his own hands (//Sahattha//); 4) gifts which are
not leftovers (//Anapaviddha//); 5) with the (right) view that one comes
back again (according to the deeds one has done) (//Agamanaditthiko//).
4) Another five types of gifts given by moral men are given together with
the good results coming from them (see "The Gradual Sayings", III, p.130).
The good man gives 1) having faith (in the law of cause and effect)
(//Saddha-dana//), 2) respectfully, taking care, in a thorough manner
(//Sakkacca-dana//); 3) when it is timely (//Kala-dana//); 4) out of
kindness (//Anuggaha-dana//); 5) without harming himself or others
(//Anupaghata-dana//). The third type means that one offers food when it
is mealtime, robes on the suitable occasion, etc.
All five of these types of gifts result in wealth, riches and great
property. In addition, each of the five gives the following results (in
the same order): 1) one is fair to look upon, handsome, as beautiful as a
lotus; 2) one's family and subordinates pay attention, listen to what one
says and serve one keeping the goal of right knowledge in view; 3) the
possessions that one gets are obtained at the right time and are abundant;
4) the mind is well disposed to enjoy in full the joy resulting from the
senses; 5) no harm comes, to one's property -- at no time and from no
direction, whether it be fire or water, governments (literally: kings) or
thieves, or impious heirs.
5) The five opposites of these types of gifts are not given in the texts.
But we can assume that five corresponding gifts made by immoral men would
1. Giving without belief in the law of cause and effect; that is, giving
out of imitation of others or because one is afraid of being criticised
(//Asaddha-dana//). Through such gifts, the donor will be wealthy later,
but he will not be handsome.
2. Giving without properly preparing what is given; giving carelessly
(//Asakkacca-dana//). Through such gifts, wealth comes, but one's
followers may not be obedient.
3. Giving at an unsuitable time (//Akala-dana//). One will obtain wealth,
but the results may not be so many or come at the right time.
4. Giving as if doing one's duty, but without any intention of honouring
the receiver (//Ananuggaha-dana//). One will receive wealth but one's
property will be subject to destruction or to problems coming from
In reference to timely gifts and gifts given at an unsuitable time, one
should be mindful not to make donations to the Buddha, monks, etc, at the
wrong time, even if one has the best of intentions. For example, one
should not offer light during the daytime when it is light or give food in
the afternoon to monks, as it is against their rules for them to eat in
6) There are five types of gifts which ordinary people think are included
in benevolence but which are harmful, unmeritorious. These include 1) a
gift of intoxicants (//Majja-dana//); 2) a gift of a festival (//Samajja-
dana//); 3) a gift of woman (//Itthi-dana//); 4) a gift of a bull
(//Usabha-dana//); 5) a gift of pictures (//Cittakamma-dana//). These
gifts are mentioned in reference to gifts to monks (see "The Book of
Discipline", VI, p.207). The last three are gifts made to excite sensual
desire -- Women given for sexual pleasure, bulls to be led to mate with
cows, and pornographic pictures.
These were mentioned by the Buddha as immoral gifts because the donor
cannot give them out of good intentions. Some people think that they
should give opium to someone who is addicted to opium because he will die
without it. They consider that they are givin them life (//Jivita-dana//).
But the intention behind such gifts cannot be benevolent, and it is
therefore not suitable.
Vessantara and the Gift of Intoxicants
In the //Vessantara Jataka// (no. 547) intoxicants are included in the
great gift of seven hundreds made by Vessantara (see "Jataka Stories", VI,
p.256). Some say that this is because Vessantara did not want for anyone
to be able to say that there was anything missing in his great gift. They
say that since Vessantara did not want anyone to drink the intoxicants,
there was no wrong intention involved. But persons such as Vessantara are
not afraid of being criticized for not doing what is wrong. The guilt
involved in intoxicants is in drinking it. Using it as a lotion or for
medical purposes is not immoral. So we should rather say that it is for
these reasons that Vessantara included liquor in his great gift.
7) The five great gifts (//Maha-danani//). In "The Book of Gradual
Sayings" (IV, pp. 167-169) five great gifts are mentioned. The commentary
explains this as "five determinations in giving" (//cetana-danani//).
These five determinations correspond to keeping the five precepts. The
noble disciple abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sensuous
indulgence, from lying and from the use of intoxicants which cause
indolence. Abstaining in this manner means that he gives to countless
beings without fear, hatred or ill-will. Through giving in this manner, he
gains unbounded fearlessness, amity and good-will.
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF SIX
As with the groups of gifts by fours, there is no direct mention of six
types of gifts in the texts. The commentary to the first part of the
Abhidhamma ("The Expositor", pp. 101-108) gives a detailed description of
six types of gifts in connection with the six senses: colour, sound,
odour, taste, objects of touch and mind-objects.
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF SEVEN
Similarly, a group of seven types of gifts are not mentioned in the texts,
but we can include gifts to the Sangha (//Sangika-dana//). See above under
`Types of Gifts by Pairs', part (19).
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF EIGHT
1) Eight ways of making gifts are given in "The Book of Gradual Sayings",
1. One gives spontaneously. (This would include paying respects to the
receiver as soon as she or he arrives.)
2. One gives out of fear. (This would include fear of having a bad
reputation or from fear of going to the lower realms of suffering.)
3. One gives, thinking, "he gave to me."
4. One gives, thinking, "he will give to me."
5. One gives, thinking, "it is good to give."
6. One gives, thinking, "I prepare food, they do not; though I cook, I am
not worthy to stop giving to those who prepare no food." (This means that
one does not wish to eat any food before giving to those who do not
prepare their food -- i.e. monks.)
7. One gives in order to have a good reputation.
8. One gives in order to attain a more malleable mind. (This would be
giving with the idea that it will help one to be better concentrated and
that it will help in gaining insight.)
The eighth of these ways of giving is the best, as it leads one to attain
the states of absorption (//Jhanas//). And, whether concentration is
developed as highly as this or not, it leads one to the unconditioned
state (//Nibbana//). The first seven ways of giving do not encourage the
mind to develop in concentration. The first and fifth ways of giving are
of great excellence (//Panita//), however. The seventh way of giving is a
lower sort (//Hina//), and the others (2,3,4 and 6) are of average worth
(//Majjhima//). (Cf. Types of gifts by threes, (1).)
We have already mentioned that there are two kinds of giving: 1.
meritorious giving (//Punnavisaya-dana//) and 2. worldly giving
(//Lokavisaya-dana//). (See above, Types of gifts). Of these eight ways of
giving the first, fifth and eighth are meritorious gifts whereas the
others are worldly giving.
2) Another group of eight ways of making gifts is given in the chapter
following the first list "The Book of Gradual Sayings", IV, p.161):
1. One gives out of affection (taking //Chanda// to mean "affection"
(//pema//) as the commentary says). (This includes the donor's knowing the
receiver and feeling affection for him or her.)
2. One gives out of exasperation. (One is unwilling to give and feels
hatred, but the act cannot be avoided.)
3. One gives out of delusion (//Moha//). (This includes gifts made through
foolishness and ignorance, by someone who does not understand the law of
cause and effect.)
4. One gives out of fear (//Bhaya//). (Fear of having a bad reputation,
fear of going to the lower realms, fear resulting from threats made by the
5. One gives, thinking, "This is the tradition of my ancestors. I must
carry on the tradition."
6. One gives, thinking, "I will be reborn in a heavenly realm."
7. One gives, thinking, "Gifts bring my heart peace; joy and gladness are
8. One gives in order to attain a more malleable mind (for better
concentration and insight -- as above).
With this group, as before, the eighth is the best; the sixth and seventh
are excellent also. These three are meritorious giving. The first five
ways of giving are lower sorts of giving and are of the worldly type of
3) There are eight types of (good) rebirths resulting from gifts
(//Danupapatti//). These are found in "Gradual Sayings" (VI, p.163; see
also, "Dialogues of the Buddha", III, p.240).
For each type a virtuous person gives to monks or moral men hoping for
something in return. For the first type he can see for himself, for the
others he hears of the good things associated with different planes of
existence -- on the human plane and higher. For the first seven types the
virtuous person fixes his mind on the thought, directs his attention to it
and develops the thought of being reborn in his next life in the plane
mentioned. For the eighth type, he must develop freedom from greed. "The
mental aspiration of the virtuous prospers because of its purity
(//Visuddhatta//)", the Buddha said.
A person gives with the intention of being reborn in the following planes
of existence and therefore is reborn:
1. as a wealthy human being,
2. in the plane of the four great kings (the guardians of the four
cardinal points) (//Catu-Maharajika-deva//),
3. in the plane of the thirty-three (//Tavatimsa//).
4. in the Yama plane
5. in the Tusita plane,
6. in the plane of the devas who delight in creating (//Nimmana-rati//),
7. in the plane of the devas who have power over other's creations
8. in the Brahma planes.
For all the planes above the human plane, one is motivated because one
hears that beings in those planes are beautiful, enjoy great pleasure and
live for a long time. The Brahma planes are not directly reached through
generosity, but through the four sublime abodes (//Brahma-vihara//):
loving kindness (//Metta//), compassion (//Karuna//), sympathetic joy
(//Mudita//) and equanimity (//Upekkha//); or, through the absorption
states (//Jhanas//), or through insight (for the planes which are the
domain of non-returners).
4) The distinction between the fact that gifts can lead to rebirth in the
human world and six deva planes whereas access to the Brahma planes comes
through developing concentration and insight is made clear in the
discourse following the one above ("Gradual Sayings", IV, pp. 164-166).
The Buddha says that there are three foundations of meritorious acts:
gifts, morality, and meditation (//Bhavana//, developing concentration and
insight). If concentration and insight are not developed, if a person only
does meritorious acts of giving and observing the moral rules, then he
will be reborn in eight possible states, depending on whether these two
types of meritorious acts are developed on a small scale (the first case),
a medium scale (the second case), or to a high degree (numbers 3-8).
Meritorious acts based on giving and observing morality lead to rebirth as
1. a human being of the lower type who experiences bad-luck (the
commentary mentions trappers, rush-plaiters, cartwrights and vermin-
2. men who are fortunate (the commentary mentions nobles, Brahmins,
3. a deva in the plane of the four great kings,
4. a deva in the plane of the thirty-three,
5. a deva in the Yama plane,
6. a deva in the Tusita plane,
7. a deva in the plane of those who delight in creating,
8. a deva in the plane of those who have powers over others' creations.
5) The following discourse ("Gradual Sayings", IV, p.166) lists the eight
types of gifts made by a moral person (//Sappurisa-dana//): 1) clean
(things) (this would include making the gifts pure, clean and attractive),
2) choice gifts, 3) suitable gifts (for the receiver), 4) timely gifts, 5)
gifts given with care (this would include giving to those who are moral,
who follow the Buddha's teachings rather than to those who are immoral as
well as the fact that one would choose only good gifts if one possesses
good and bad things that could be given), 6) one gives continuously, 7)
without calming the mind, 8) regretting that one gave after having done
TYPE OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF NINE
There is mention in "The Book of Discipline" (VI, p.222) that there are
nine gifts that are not legally valid. They are given in detail in the
commentary (see "The Book of Discipline", VI, p.222, note 12). Gifts which
are meant for the Sangha, a shrine or an individual (see Types of Gifts by
Threes, 4)) but which a monk causes the donor to give to another group of
monks, another shrine or to an individual (i.e., all nine possibilities of
the combinations) are illegal. In other words, once someone has made up
his mind to make a gift to an Order of monks, a shrine or an individual,
it is wrong for another person to persuade him to give to a different
Order of monks, a different shrine or to a different individual.
This rule was made by the Buddha on an occasion given in "The Book of
Discipline", II, pp. 160-163. Once when the Buddha was residing at the
Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, a group of men decided to offer food and
robes to the Order of monks. But the group of six immoral monks persuaded
them to give them the robes instead. When the modest monks heard of this,
they denounced what they had done and reported the matter to the Buddha.
The Buddha had the six immoral monks called and asked them if what had
been reported were true. When they admitted it was, he rebuked them and
made the following rule, "Whatever monk should knowingly appropriate to
himself an apportioned benefit belonging to the Order, there is an offence
of expiation involving forfeiture." (I.B. Horner trans.) "Benefit" in
food, lodgings, and medicine; also included are small items such as a lump
of plaster, a toothpick or unwoven thread.
A similar incident, involving procuring something for another person
rather than for oneself, is found in "The Book of Discipline", III, pp.
67-69. This rule does not mean that a monk cannot urge someone to give a
gift to the Order rather than to himself in order for that person to make
more merit. An illustration of this is found in the story of Maha-Pajapati
who wanted to give robe material to the Order of monks. The commentary
says that although she was disappointed, the Buddha was acting out of
compassion, as a gift to the Order is of great merit, and a gift to the
Order headed by him would doubly inspire the right thoughts associated
with giving. Ananda urged the Buddha to accept the gift, pointing out that
she had been established by the Buddha in the Triple Refuge, in the five
precepts, and in unwavering confidence in both these and the Four Noble
Truths. The Buddha's reply to Ananda indicates that he knew that Maha-
Pajapati thought she could repay the Buddha through her gift, but he says
that one cannot repay such a gift, i.e., the gift of the Dhamma.
King Pasenadi and Bribes
Another situation which would not be included in these nine cases of
misappropriating gifts is found in the //Bharu Jataka// (no. 213). King
Pasenadi took bribes from some heretics and gave them permission to build
a center near the Jetavana monastery. The Buddha, knowing that this would
result in endless disputes, went to the king and told him the story of
King Bharu and how a similar situation had led to much suffering. The king
was persuaded not to take the bribe and built the Rajakarama monastery
which he gave to the Buddha to make amends.
It is also possible for the donor to change his mind himself and there is
nothing wrong with this. For example, if a person prepares gifts for
visiting monks, then in the meantime monks who are established in one of
the stages of enlightenment arrive, he may change his mind and give the
gifts to them.
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF TEN
Gifts by groups of ten are not directly mentioned in the texts, but ten
things to be given are mentioned in the commentaries (see above, //Dana//
(generosity) and //Pariccaga// (abandonment)).
TYPES OF GIFTS BY GROUPS OF FOURTEEN
(see Gifts by Pairs (19))
THE GOOD RESULTS OF GIFTS
1) The example of Velukantaki
In the "Gradual Sayings", III, pp.45-38, in the story of Nanda's mother,
Velukantaki, three qualities that should be present in the donor and three
qualities that should be present in the receiver are given. Velukantaki
was a disciple of the Buddha who had practised the teachings and reached
the stage of Non-returner. She had also developed the special powers that
come with the absorption states. One day, through her powers, she saw
Vessavana, one of the Four Great Kings of the first deva world. He told
her that the two chief disciples, Sariputta and Moggalana, were coming to
her town (Velukanta) with a group of monks. When he learned she would
invite them for a meal, Vessavana asked for her to share the merits of the
gift with him. She invited them, and after the meal explained how she had
learned they were coming. When they expressed their amazement at her
ability to see beings in other planes of existence, she told them of four
other achievements: when her son Nanda was taken by the king's men and
killed before her eyes she was not perturbed; nor was she upset when her
husband reappeared before her after his death as a Yakkha; she kept the
precepts perfectly; she could enter the absorption states at will; and she
had cast aside the five lower fetters (//samyogana//: personality-belief,
sceptical doubt, clinging to mere rules and rituals, sensuous craving).
The Buddha said that when she gave her gift, she possessed three qualities
that are appropriate for the donor: 1) feeling happy before making the
gift, 2) satisfied while giving (i.e., clear of mind and intention), 3)
rejoicing after having made the gift. So, the gift was complete from the
point of view of the giver. It was also complete in regards to the
recipients, as they possessed the three qualities of being free from
desire, aversion and ignorance; or, they were on the way to being
liberated from these three.
The Buddha concluded by saying that the benefits that would result from
such a gift would be immeasurable, just as the water in the ocean is
2) The example in the //Mahadhammapala Jataka//
In the //Mahadhammapala Jataka// (no.447) we see that in a past life, King
Suddhodana, the Buddha's father, had been a religious teacher who went to
see the father of one of his pupils after learning that everyone in that
family lived till old age. He asked the father the secret to their long
life. The father, Mahadhammapala, answered that they all lived moral
lives, including generosity. They were happy before giving, content as
they gave, and rejoiced after giving. That was why no one died young in
their family. The same stanza concerning gifts occurs in the preface story
to the //Mayhaka Jataka// (no. 390) where the Buddha speaks of a man who
regretted his gift after giving it. The gift brought him riches, but his
change of heart made it impossible for him to enjoy the riches.
3) There are four qualities for a gift which brings great results in one's
present lifetime (given in detail in the Dhammapada commentary, "Buddhist
Legends", II, p.323, and in "The Expositor", p. 214; the order given here
follows the latter):
1. The requisites (to be given) were obtained through righteousness and
equity (//Paccayanam dhammikata//).
2. They are given with greatness of volition (//Catanamahatta//), by one
who gives in faith and confidence in the law of cause and effect.
3. They are given to someone of high attainment (//Vatthusampatti//), an
Arahat or a Non-returner.
4. The recipient is of exceeding merit (//Gunatireka//), meaning he or
she has just attained the unconditioned state (//Nirodhasampatti//).
Gifts of this sort, bringing results in their present life, were made by
people such as Punna (story in "Buddhist Legends", III, pp. 99-103),
Kakavaliya (see "The Path of Purification", Ch. XII, para 127), and the
gardener Sumana (Buddhist Legends, II, pp. 123-127). In "The Expositor"
these four qualities for a gift are called the four purities of gifts
(//Dakkhina-visuddhi//), and in "Buddhist Legends" they are called the
four attainments (//Sampada//).
4) Another list of four kinds of purity associated with gifts (//Dakkhina-
visuddhi//) is given in "The Middle Length Sayings" (III, pp.304-305):
1. A gift purified by the giver but not by the recipient. (Even if the
recipient is immoral (//dussila//), if the donor gives what has been
rightly obtained, has the right attitude before, during and after making
the gift, and has faith in the law of cause and effect, then the gift is
pure through the donor and is of great benefit.)
2. A gift is purified by the recipient and not by the donor. (Even if the
donor is immoral, has not obtained the gift in the right way, does not
have faith in the law of cause and effect, and does not have the right
attitude, if the recipient is moral the gift is pure through the recipient
and of great benefit.)
3. A gift purified by neither the giver nor the recipient. (If an immoral
donor gives as in the second case to an immoral recipient, the gift is
less beneficial -- just as a poor seed planted in poor soil will not grow
as well as a good seed growing in good soil.)
The third type, of course, has no purity, but it is included to show all
the cases involved. It is important that we bear in mind the five elements
which accompany the gift of greatest purity: 1) the donor is moral, 2) the
recipient is moral, 3) the gifts were justly earned, 4) the donor is happy
before, satisfied while giving, and rejoices after making the gift, 5) the
donor has faith in the law of cause and effect.
ON FAITH AND GIFTS
//Saddha//, in Pali, means faith. We can take it to mean "The dhamma which
holds firmly." Just as clear water where all the dregs have sunk to the
bottom can hold the image of the moon or sun, faith which is free from
defilements can firmly hold to the qualities of the Buddha, etc.
If men had no hands they would not be able to pick jewels up even though
they could see them. Without wealth there would be no variety of
untensils. Without seeds there would be no grain, etc. Similarly, if we
have no faith we cannot pick up the jewels of generosity, moral living and
development of mind, etc. Without faith we would not have the pleasures of
the human world, the celestial worlds or the peace of Nibbana. That is why
the Buddha compared faith to having hands, wealth or seeds.
Faith is also compared to the jewel of the Universal Monarch which will
clarify the water it is put in, no matter how dirty the water is.
Similarly, faith immediately dispels the defilements and makes the mind
clear. When the mind is filled with faith there are no defilements such as
grief, worry, etc. It will be obvious to us if we try concentrating on the
qualities of the Buddha how difficult it is to cultivate faith to the
exclusion of all defilements. But if while we make the effort, the mind is
clear and pure through faith for only a few minutes, we should remember
that we are capable of having that much faith. And we can work to maintain
a clear, pure mind for longer periods, until eventually we can do so
With regards to having faith in the law of cause and effect, as mentioned
above, we should remind ourselves as follows, "I will spend a certain
amount in giving a gift, but it is not spent in vain. The intention is to
make a gift. It is the result of this intention that will follow me
through all my lives until I reach Nibbana." Moreover, one should reflect,
"I will obtain good results." Through such thoughts the mind will become
clear, and this clarity is what is called having faith in the law of cause
So, it is important to cultivate faith through reflecting on one's actions
or on the results of the acts, for this is one of the elements that
VIPASSANA MEDITATION COURSES
at the International Meditation Centres
in the Tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin
TRAINING IN HIGHER VIRTUOUS CONDUCT
TRAINING IN HIGHER MENTAL CONTROL
TRAINING IN HIGHER WISDOM
There are five Centres all with the same course structure in this
Tradition. IMC-UK, IMC-WA, IMC-NSW, IMC-USA and IMC-Austria.
The International Meditation Centres were founded to provide for the
instruction and practice of Theravada Buddhist Meditation. The Centres in
the West are direct offsprings of the International Meditation Centres of
Yangon, Myanmar (former Burma), which was founded by Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
In addition to being a highly respected meditation teacher, Sayagyi U Ba
Khin was the first Accountant General of Burma after Independence in 1948.
All Centres are guided by Mother Sayamagyi and Sayagyi U Chit Tin, two of
Sayagyi U Ba Khin's closest disciples, who have practised and taught
meditation for more than forty years and have carried on the tradition
since Sayagyi's demise in 1971.
Ten-day residential courses are held usually once a month at IMC-UK and
regularly at other Centres, beginning on Friday evening and ending early
on Monday morning. They are led by Mother Sayamagyi and Sayagyi U Chit Tin
or by a regional teacher.
The students who come to do courses at the Centres are from all walks of
life, professions, religions, cultural backgrounds, races and countries.
Anyone who comes with an open mind can gain the necessary confidence in
the technique and in himself or herself. Thus, all can attain benefits
which will be proportionate to the amount of balanced effort they make.
Buddhist meditation is the practice of the Eightfold Noble Path, as taught
by the Buddha, which can be divided into three parts. These are: higher
training in 1) morality, 2) concentration and 3) wisdom.
1. Morality is the common denominator of all religions. At our Centres,
students observe the five precepts of refraining from killing, stealing,
sexual misconduct, lying and the use of drugs or intoxicants. By
diligently observing this morality, we develop purity of physical and
2. Beginning with this base, training in concentration is taught
(//Anapana// meditation -- mindfulness of breathing). Through learning to
calm and control the mind during the first four days, the student quickly
appreciates the advantages of a steady and balanced mind.
3. The third training in wisdom or insight is introduced through Vipassana
meditation, which is practised throughout the remainder of the period.
Vipassana is a process which enables the student to develop concentration
and awareness and, through personal experience, to gain an understanding
of the truths of impermanence, suffering and non-self. Practised with
diligence the gradual process of mental purification will lead to the end
of suffering and to full Enlightenment or Nibbana.
The emphasis is on experiencing directly the truth for oneself by
practising the technique. Noble Silence (no unnecessary talk) provides a
conducive atmosphere, and discourses given in the morning and evening by
the Teachers help to clarify the practice. There are also daily interviews
with the Teachers.
There has never been any charge for the Buddha's Teachings. The Teachings
have always been passed down from the Buddha, through the Teachers to the
students, without any expectation of payment, however, the Trusts/
Associations who are responsible for running the Centre ask each student
to contribute towards food and accommodation for a ten-day course (the
expected contribution varies according to the standards of each country,
for example in the UK it is 140 currently).
Wholesome and tasty vegetarian food in ample quantity is provided, and
those who follow a diet for medical reasons will be accommodated as far as
For a person who is genuinely interested, meditation (including Noble
Silence) is not difficult. The results of patient practice can be quite
astonishing. The day's schedule is neither too severe nor too relaxed but
follows the Middle Path. Sayagyi U Ba Khin taught his students to work
with "zestful ease".
People from many religions have found the meditation courses helpful and
beneficial in their day-to-day lives.
Please note that the course lasts for ten days. Students should plan to
remain for the full ten days without leaving the Centre.
INTERNATIONAL MEDITATION CENTRE
The International Meditation Centres were founded by the Sayagyi U Ba Khin
Memorial Trust to promote the practice of Buddhist Meditation according to
the Teachings of the BUDDHA.
Ten-day residential courses are conducted regularly in the practice of the
Eight-Fold Noble Path as taught by the Buddha, which comprises three
stages of training: morality (//sila//), concentration or control over the
mind (//samadhi//), and wisdom or insight (//panna//). Instruction in
mindfulness of the breath (//anapana// meditation) is then given for five
days, with the aim of quieting and concentrating the mind. The remaining
days are devoted to insight meditation (//vipassana//), whereby students
can experience at first hand the essential elements of Buddha's Teaching:
the impermanence of all physical and mental phenomena (//anicca//), the
unsatisfactory nature of all conditioned phenomena (//dukkha//), the
absence of a permanent enduring self or ego in beings (//anatta//).
One should come with the understanding and intention to enter a ten-day
retreat. The training, if followed diligently, will result in a calmer
mind through the gradual eradication of impurities, and ultimately in the
realisation of the `Nibbanic Peace within'.
To achieve a state of mind perfectly attuned and in balance, it is
essential to start with a stable and sound base of conduct. For the
duration of the training therefore, each student is asked to observe the
five precepts as follows:
1. To refrain from killing
2. To refrain from stealing
3. To refrain from sexual misconduct
(here total celibacy)
4. To refrain from lying
5. To refrain from the use of intoxicants and drugs
All these instructions are framed in accordance with those of the
International Meditation Centre, Yangon(Rangoon) Myanmar(Burma), as
established by Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
During the period of training students will have to give up their previous
practices, and all spiritual activities including those concerning pseudo-
sciences. Students should not wear or bring with them spiritual objects or
reading material of any kind.
Observance of noble silence throughout the training period will be very
beneficial and conducive to a better appreciation of the teaching. This
means that the students should not talk amongst themselves, but they may
of course speak to the teachers and managers at any time.
During the daily interview with the teachers students should give a true
and accurate account of their experiences.
4:00 AM WAKE UP
4:30 - 6:30 MEDITATION IN HALL
6:30 - 8:00 BREAKFAST AND REST
8:00 - 9:00 GROUP MEDITATION IN HALL
9:30 - 11:00 INTERVIEWS AND MEDITATION
11:00 - 1:00 LUNCH & REST
1:00 - 1:45 MEDITATION
2:00 - 3:00 GROUP MEDITATION IN HALL
3:30 - 5:00 MEDITATION
5:00 - 6:00 TEA AND REST
6:00 PM DISCOURSE
7:30 - 8:30 GROUP MEDITATION IN HALL
9:00 PM TAKE REST
THE SIX ATTRIBUTES OF THE DHAMMA
1. The Dhamma is not the result of conjecture or speculation, but the
result of personal attainments, and it is precise in every respect.
2. The Dhamma produces beneficial results here and now for those who
practise it in accordance with the techniques evolved by the Buddha.
3. The effect of the Dhamma on the person practising it, is immediate in
that it has the quality of simultaneously removing the causes of Suffering
with the understanding of the Truth of Suffering.
4. The Dhamma can stand the test of those who are anxious to try it.
5. The Dhamma is part of oneself, and is therefore susceptible to ready
6. The benefits of the Dhamma can be fully experienced by those who
attain the four Paths and four Fruition States of Awakening (or
For a course schedule for the forth coming courses in our Centres, and an
application form please request for info in USA at CIS: IMC-USA,
74163,2452 or any other country at CIS: IMC-UK, 100330,3304
This is the end of //The Perfection of Generosity//. All the ten
perfections have been published by the International Meditation Centres in
the Tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin and have the copyright to these
Worldwide Contact Addresses
in the Tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin
AUSTRIA: International Meditation Centre, A-9064 St. Michael/Gurk 6,
Austria; Tel: +43 4224 2820, Fax: +43 4224 28204 Email CIS: IMC-Austria,
EASTERN AUSTRALIA: International Meditation Centre, Lot 2 Cessnock Road,
Sunshine NSW 2264, Australia; Tel: +61 49 705 433, Fax: +61 49 705 749
UNITED KINGDOM: International Meditation Centre, Splatts House,
Heddington, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 OPE, England; Tel: +44 380 850 238, Fax:
+44 380 850 833, Email: CIS, IMC-UK, 100330,3304
USA: International Meditation Centre, 446 Bankard Road, Westminster MD
21158, USA; Tel: +1 410 346 7889, Fax: +1 410 346 7282 Email: CIS, IMC-
Contact address California: Linda H. Kemp-Combes, 1331 33rd Avenue, San
Francisco, California 94122, USA.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: International Meditation Centre, Lot 78 Jacoby Street,
Mahogany Creek WA 6072, Australia; Tel: +61 9 295 2644, Fax: +61 9 295
GERMANY: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Gesellschaft, Christaweg 16, 79114 Freiburg,
Germany, Tel: +49 761 465 42, Fax: +49 761 465 92
THE NETHERLANDS: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Stichting, Oudegracht 124, 3511 AW
Utrecht, The Netherlands, Tel: +31 30 311 445, Fax: +31 30 340 612
SINGAPORE: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Association, 10 Anson Road #24-04A,
International Plaza, Singapore 0207, Tel: +65 281 3381, Fax: +65 225 4021
SWITZERLAND: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Gesellschaft, Greyerzstrasse 35, 3013 Bern,
Switzerland; Tel: +41 31 415 233, Fax: +41 61 691 8049
BELGIUM: Address as for the Netherlands, Tel: +32 2414 1756
DENMARK: Contact Address: Mr. Peter Drost-Nissen, Strandboulevarden 117,
3th, 2100 Kopenhagen, Denmark. Tel: 031 425 636
JAPAN: Contact address: Mrs. Mindy Martin-Feng, 14-17-201, Aoki-cho,
Akedia 21, Nishinomiya-Shi,Hyogo - 662, Japan. Tel: 0798-74-4769
ITALY: Contact address: Mr. Renzo Fedele, Via Euganea 94, 35033 Bresseo
PD, Italy. Tel: +39 55 603 333
For information download the file IMCINF.TXT from CompuServe [or
IMCINF.ZIP from DharmaNet].
* * * * *
TITLE OF WORK: The Perfection of Generosity (Dana-parami)
AUTHOR: Ven. Ngarkhon Sayadaw (1935), et al.
AUTHOR'S ADDRESS: n/a
PUBLISHER'S ADDRESS: International Meditation Centre, Splatts House,
Heddington, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 OPE, England
COPYRIGHT HOLDER: The Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, U.K.
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 1987
DATE OF DHARMANET DISTRIBUTION: 1994
ORIGIN SITE: BODY DHARMA * Berkeley CA 510/836-4717 DharmaNet (96:101/33.0)
[Note: The text was written as an appendix to a Burmese work called
"Mahabuddhavamsa" based on the Buddhavamsa and its commentary. The text was
written by Venerable Ngarkhon Sayadaw and was first published in 1935 by
the Zambumeikswe Pitaka Press and Publishing House. For the 1960 edition,
additional material was added by a layman, Aggamaha-pandita Sayagyi U Lin,
M.A., Venerable Tipitakadhara Dhammabhandagarika Sayadaw (Ashin
Vicittasarabhivamsa, Aggamaha-pandita) was responsible for polishing the
text and using an up-todate vocabulary in Burmese. The Burmese translation
has been adapted for western readers and at times more details have been
given so people without prior knowledge of Buddhism could also read the
text. The responsibility for the English version lies entirely with IMC-UK.
Some reformatting and correction (see errata.txt) changes have been made to
this electronic edition by DharmaNet International.]
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