The Merit Of Donation
Once, the Venerable Ananda asked the Buddha how an ordinary worldling could attain Nibbana or even become a Buddha, and how it was possible to get the 32 features of a perfect human being.
The Buddha replied that there was many Buddha in the past, innumerable like sand grains and there will be even more in the future origination from ordinary human beings.
From Â PUTHUJJANA (Ordinary human being) to BUDDHAÂ
The starting point is Dana, i.e., giving charity. One, who is not attached to his money and property and can easily give it away, performs wholesome beneficial actions, which will give rise to excellent results in the future. These results or effects will be e.g., pleasing features, beautiful eyes, becoming wealthy, gaining property and living in good material conditions in the future.
When someone gives charity, the good result of this good action is never lost. It is “store”ť in the blood as kammasatti, which will give its due result one day or another in the future. Even when the person dies, satti is not lost, but transmitted to the next existence similar to microwaves.
Dana or generosity is emphasized in every religion; its positive results for donors and recipients are undeniable and promoted as being advantageous for both. This concept is thus not the “property”ť of Buddhism; all beings can benefit from the power of Dana. How and why is Dana so powerful?
When one performs a sincere act of charity, all the other 9 paramis also fulfilled. Hype act of giving combines all 10 perfections and is as such highly beneficial for all beings. It is even able to make of an average man a Buddha.
Dana can overcome the three powerful mental defilements of greed and attachment (lohba), anger and hatred (dosa) and ignorance and bewilderment (moha). These defilements are the reason, why beings are always subjects to suffering, little or great and are repeatedly reborn in the various planes of existence as animals, humans etc. There are 31 levels of existence with different degrees of suffering. People performing regularly acts of charity gain good kammasatti, which makes them go upwards in these planes, i.e., better rebirth, reduced suffering and developing the ability to wisdom.
The opposite forces of logha, dosa, moha are aloba, (loving-kindness) adosa, (goodwill) and amoha, wisdom through which good satti is stored and the above effects are produced. E.g., offering a glass of water to a thirsty person is an act of giving, Dana. But offering it because one is interested in that person and expects something in return is not Dana, which produces all the wholesome effects. This Dana is very weak unable to store good kammasatti.
But if you see or hear a thirsty person or even an animal and give him or her water out of compassion for his or her suffering, then it is real Dana. It is based upon our metta, loving-kindness for that being. We see him or her like a mother who sees her thirsty child. In this way Dana includes the other paramis and produces great positive result in the future, eventually leading out the repeated cycle of births and rebirths (samsara) within the 31 kinds of existence.
Meditation is the first way to get out of sansara, attain Nibbana or gaining Buddha hood. But we are average human beings and cannot always meditate. We have to earn our living. Only a Buddha is able to follow always the way of Dana, which can be practiced anytime easily by all. This way must be followed with a good mind though to give optimal results.
Dana should be accompanied by loving kindness in seeing the receiver kith the eyes of a mother seeing her child. A mother only wants the best for her children. She wants them to improve their life and go “upward”. If we see our charity also in this way, we will be very pleased and happy about our donation. This is the right way of Dana. The Buddha in His numerous existences as a Bodhisatta, the future Buddha, practiced always this way of pure Dana performed with metta. He was always pleased about His donation and collected so very precious kammasatti power non-stop throughout uncountable lives until He finally became the Buddha in His last existence.