Dāna, the act of giving, is a very fundamental merit according to the Buddha’s Teaching if we perform it with a purest Cetanā (intention) in accordance to Dhamma.
It is important that donors know the Dhamma involved in dāna in order to produce the best merit. This following guidance is given for the benefit of donors who wish to fulfill dāna parami to the purest degree.
Cultivation of Pure Cetanā
1. The merit of dāna has its base in the mental state of non-greed (alobha cetasika).
2. It should be performed with the understanding of Cause and Effect (kamma).
3. It should be performed without any expectation for any worldly gain but for the liberation from all suffering only.
4. The Cetanā of dāna should be selfless and loving, free from the association with any wrong view, craving and conceit.
5. Donors should guard the purity of their Cetanā throughout three periods, that is the period before, during and after the dāna.
6. Donors should contemplate on the impermanent (anicca), unsatisfactory (dukkha) and non-self (anatta) nature of donor, object of donation and receiver to relinquish all attachment that may occur relating to the dāna.
Taking the above Dhamma guidelines to perfect the act of giving, Tusita’s donors never perform any dāna for worldly gains, for name and fame. Thus they never attach their names to any object of their dāna, whether it is land, building, books or any big and small items.
Once a dāna is performed, Tusita donors do not consider the object of dāna their own any more, fully applying the mental state of non-greed (alobha). They never attempt to exercise command and influence with regards to the object. They never seek to be given a privileged status or advantage over and above other poorer practitioners who donate less than them. They do not compare with others with regards to dāna. In fact they feel grateful for having the opportunity to perform dāna to the Saṅgha and Dhamma practitioners. They do not entertain pride and conceit for the sake of dāna.
In the case they wish to remember and rejoice over their past dāna, they would invoke suitable ways of reminder such as taking photographs or videos when the dāna is being performed. However, they only use the reminders for their own purpose only. They do not wish to publicize their good act for name and gain. Such is the selfless way donors are trained to perform dāna in Tusita.
Unconditional Dhamma Dāna from the Saṅgha
When a yogi enrolls for meditation in a Tusita Hermitage, the Saṅgha and Teachers will give him unconditional Dhamma Dāna whether he is a donor or not. While a person’s merits, including dāna, do affect the deserving quality of himself, Saṅgha and Teachers do not distinguish students based on dāna alone. When a student is ready to receive and absorb a Dhamma instruction, Dhamma instruction will be given all the same regardless of the dāna given to the Saṅgha.
At times, Saṅgha and Teachers will distinguish and provide different treatments to different yogis. But such distinction is made selflessly, without regards to personal gain. Distinction is done based on practical conditions and with the overall welfare of all and individual welfare of the yogi. Distinction is done based on selfless wisdom and compassion only. Dāna is never a main consideration in such distinction. Dāna is only one of the many helpful and relevant conditions affecting a person’s readiness to receive Dhamma only, being the contribution of his selflessness, detachment, loving-kindness and other wholesome and noble qualities cultivated throughout his pure dāna to his Dhamma practice.
Thus in Tusita, we seek to maintain the uttermost purity in the performance of dāna, whether it is the Dhamma Dāna of the Saṅgha to the laity or the laity’s material dāna to the Saṅgha.
We wish all donors who come to join the good deeds in Tusita fulfill the best quality of all good deeds, whether it is the Dhamma Dāna, material dāna, or contribution in the form of service.
May the Buddha Sasana last long.
May the Saṅgha and laity mutually support each other and always dwell in concord and harmony.
May all beings be well, happy and peaceful and attain Final Liberation eventually.