Today, Ven Kumara continues with the series of talks on blessings.
The next four blessings are dana, righteous living, supporting of relatives, and blameless action or work.
Performing dana will bring us merits, which will lead us to higher realms. Other benefits of performing dana are:
One gains material wealth
One cultivates a wholesome state of mind that is free from greed and filled with kindness
One feels joy in giving
One is liked by others
There are two types of dana: amisadana and dhammadana
Amisadana is the giving of material things such as food, money, and medicine. Donating one’s blood and organs also fall within this category of dana. With this type of dana the benefit for the recipient does not last very long; at the most it lasts a lifetime. Dhammadana means giving the Dhamma; that is to say one imparts Dhamma to others. One who does this type of dana teaches others what is good and what is evil, to do wholesome acts and refrain from unwholesome ones. This kind of dana brings much benefit to the recipient, which can last even into succeeding lives. Besides just amisadana, parents should do dhammadana to their children, i.e. teach them the Dhamma. The Buddha was the greatest performer of dhammadana because he helped many recipients to be free from suffering.
In the Dhammapada, we find the words “The gift of Dhamma triumphs over all (other) gifts.” Dhammadana brings incomparable happiness surpassing that which can be brought by other forms of dana. A person giving dhammadana can also be quite free from defilements because he has to think about the Dhamma, which conduces to a happy state of mind.
A lady once called up to ask Ven Ajahn Brahmavamso how much she would have to pay to attend a Dhamma talk he was going to give. At first, she could not accept that it was for free. After she had been convinced that she did not need to pay anything, she asked, “What do you guys (meaning monks) get out of this then?” His answer: “Happiness, ma’am. We only get happiness.”
Furthermore, when one teaches others the Dhamma, one has a better chance of meeting with the Dhamma in the future. Such are the many advantages of dhammadana.