There are several varities of dana. But in reality, these danas can be divided into three classes according to the Buddha’s Teachings. They are danas according to Suttanta-desana, danas according to Vinaya-desana and danas according to the Abhiddhamma-desana.
Ten Kinds 0f Dana According to Suttanta-desana
There are ten kinds of dana according to Suttanta-desana or as found in the Buddha’s discourses. They are-
(1) Anna dana = Offering of cooked rice and other kinds of food;
(2) Pana dana = Offering of drinking water or beverages;
(3) Vattha dana = Offering of robes or clothing;
(4) Yana dana = Offering of foot-wear and other items that can be used in travelling;
(5) Mala dana = Offering of flowers;
(6) Gandha dana = Offering of scented woods and fragrant solids;
(7) Vilepana dana = Offering of unguents and perfumes;
(8) Seyya dana = Offering of beds, couches, bedding, etc;
(9) Avasa dana = Offering of monasteries, rest-houses, ordination halls, religious hall, etc., and
(10) Padipeyya dana = Offering of lights.
Four Kinds 0f Dana According to Vinaya-desana
There are four kinds of dana according to Vinaya-desana, i.e., as prescribed in the Rules of Discipline for Bhikkhus. They are:
(1) Civara dana = Offering of robes;
(2) Pindapata dana = Offering of alms-food;
(3) Senasana dana = Offering of monasteries,beds, dwelling places;
(4) Bhesajja dana = Offering of medicines.
Six Kinds 0f Dana According to Abhidhamma-desana
There are six kinds of dana according to Abhidhamma-desana. They are:
(1) Rupa dana = Offerings that have a decent appearance;
(2) Sadda dana = Offerings that have an agreeable sound;
(3) Gandha dana = Offerings that have an agreeable smell;
(4) Rasa dana = Offerings that are wholesome in taste;
(5) Photthabba dana = Offerings that have an agreeable touch such as robes, monasteries, etc., and
(6) Dhamma dana = Teaching the Dhamma and other ways of spreading the Dhamma.
The Buddha expounded in general the first ten kinds of dana set out according to Suttanta-desana in general without making any distinction in the type of donee. He expounded the next. Four kinds of dana set out according to the suttantavinaya, as the dana to be made only to those who continually observe moral precepts. Therefore, the danas according to Vinaya-desana will yield greater benefits than the danas according to Suttanta-desana. In offering danas according to Abhidhamma-desana, one should reflect on the ultimate realities, rather than on conventional aspects, with regard to the six sense-objects. So this type of dana represents the supreme type of dana that will bear the greatest benefits among the three categories of dana.
However, if the donee, the object of offering and the volition are pure and faultless, any dana will yield great benefits.
The Buddhist text also describes dana in groups of two, three, four, etc., depending on the nature of donor, donee, object of offering, the manner and the time of donation.
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Title- Dana In Pairs