The Sense of Charity
Charity means donation or giving away one’s own properties to others. There are three kinds of charity: giving material offerings (Amisa dana),giving sanctuary and protection to animals from being killed (Abhaya dana) and giving doctrinal lectures (Dhamma dana). In dispensing the charity, volition (cetana) and the belief in karma and its results (saddha) play important roles. In growing paddy, the good rains in the beginning, in the middle and in the later part of the rainy season can produce a good yield of rice. So also in performing the charity, the accomplishment of three steps of volition can produce great benefits to the donors. These three steps of volition are:—
(1) Volition that arises before giving (Pubba cetana);
(2) Volition that arises while giving (Munca cetana); and
(3) Volition that arises after giving (Apara cetana).
It is very important to make the three-fold volition keen and pure, whenever we perform any act of charity.
Every pious Buddhist more or less carries out the meritorious deeds of dispensing charity, observing morality and practicing meditation. Out of these three, the Buddhists usually perform the charitable deeds daily. At every house of Buddhists, they offer food, water and flowers dedicated to the Triple Gems every morning. Moreover, with generous mindedness, they offer alms-food to the Samghas who go round from house to house for collecting alms-food, in procession or individually. In some towns, there are many hundreds of the members of Samghas going in procession for alms-food. The Buddhists heartily believe that the daily act of offering alms-food to the Samgha is the main cause for the perpetuation of the Buddha’s Teaching. According to their wealth, they occasionally make other donations such as inviting the monks to their home and offering food, donating the material requisites to the Samghas, etc.The charity is the first item of ten meritorious deeds.
The Advantages of Charity
Charity is praised by the Buddha in many ways. It is: —
(1) The stairway to celestial realms;
(2) The packet of provisions for the long journey of rebirths;
(3) The direct way to a good destination;
(4) The support to attain Nibbana;
(5) The condition for becoming a ruler;
(6) Capable of producing luxuries and wealth;
(7) Capable of enjoying happiness;
(8) Capable of self-protection;
(9) Capable of civilizing the uncivilized;
(10) Capable of bringing success in everything; and
(11) The noblest auspiciousness.
Title- Volition At The Three Stages of The Good Deeds & The Characteristics of Dana
Title- The Meaning of Charity