Friday, August 15, 2008

Five Ways Of Performing Dāna Part (4) By Venerable Shwe Oo Min Sayardaw (ဒါနျပဳနည္း သိေကာင္းစရာ အပိုင္း ၄)

The fourth type of Dāna is called Anuggahīta Dāna. Some offer Dāna with attachment, with stinginess, with covetousness. He will have wealth and prosperity here and hereafter. But he would not use much of his wealth to enjoy, to spend. Because he donated with a Lobha (stinginess, covetousness). He has not digested (assimilated ?) his three A’s (Alobha, Adosa, Amoha) yet. When one dies with Lobha, one can become a Lobha Peta (wandering ghost) who is starving, as one cannot find food. It is easier to understand that people are starving due to unavailability of food. How can we understand a person’s starvation when that person has ample supply of food? A man with money in his pocket, standing near a restaurant, he was feeling quite hungry; then why didn’t he go in and eat? Why? Because he was stingy. He still has not understood the 3 A’s.

An individual with Alobha (ungreediness), he not only can eat well, he can feed others too. Not only can he maintain himself, but also he can maintain the others. That is a kind of individual who has done Dana freely, liberally. Tripitaka SayadawGyi (U Vicittasarabhivamsa ) explained about that in one of his dhamma talks. One hot summertime, about 30 plus Shan Palaung monks and their male devotees came on pilgrimage trip to the SayadawGyi’s MinGun forest monastery. They came from cooler climate, and so they were quite tired from the hot weather. They had not brought with them their umbrellas. SayadawGyi pitied them and managed to collect 25 umbrellas. So, he collected umbrellas from senior teaching monks from each building in his monastery. He managed to offer each and every one of the visitors an umbrella. After this dana, he felt so pleased and joyous. This kind of detachment was not with him before. If he gave away all the umbrellas and slippers, what would happen when the resident monks and samaneras were in need of it and asked for it? There seemed to be that concern which created hesitancy in his generous volition. He never gave all away, he had never forsaken all, and he always left a few behind for the residents. That day, he did not remember to reserve some, he just gave all away, and he felt so delighted to see the visitors all cool and happy under the umbrellas. That is the Dāna being given liberally.

Those who had donated with a bit of attachment, the result was that – although they have money, they like to use second hand things, a little inferior quality products, a little rougher materials, they ended up with used things. They themselves like those kinds. They do not long for the best things. Of course, intentional frugality as in practising Dhamma is different. Ashin Maha Kassapa made his double-fold over garment robe (Dukutta) from the rough patches of cloths laden with maggots, which he peeled from the discarded corpse of a servant girl in the graveyard. The estimable robe looked soft and delicate on him. When he came to see Buddha, Buddha praised that he had such soft robe of patched cloth. So, he asked Buddha to accept the offering of his robe. Buddha replied that, “ If you’d accept the offering of my robe, then I would accept yours.” Buddha took off his Dukutta robe and gave to Ashin Maha Kassapa. Of course there was a reason for that. Ashin Maha Kassapa led the First Great Sangha Council, which was held shortly after the Buddha's Parinibbāna. That is Theravāda Buddha Sāsana (Elders). Successions of Elder monks, old and young alike had handed down the Buddha’s teachings so that it would be in continuation, and still is prosperous to this present day. That’s why today we all can listen to, revere to, and practise this Sāsana. That’s why we all still can offer Dāna, the words of Sāsana can still be heard, all these are the gains derived from the Sāsana. Theravāda means – the tradition of following the Elders’ doctrine, which gives us the opportunity to practise the Buddha’s exact exhortations, without derivation. That’s why we still can give all these Dānas. Because we all donate without stinginess, without grudge, without attachment; - when Kusalas take effect, we are able to spend, enjoy, share and donate liberally, freely. This is the fourth way for a virtuous man to give charity, isn’t it?

(to be continued...)

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