Venue: Hokkien Cemetery Hall
Have you ever pondered on your reasons for giving? Why do you give, for example when you do dana to us, the monks here at SBS?
In one sutta (AN 8.33), the Buddha spoke on 8 reasons for giving. Please listen carefully and see if you can find any of your reasons here.
- Out of affection, such as a mother’s sacrifices for her children. Out of love she can sacrifice even her own life. A man can also give much to the woman he loves, sometimes even his own body organ.
- Out of anger, for example, in the very common situation where you give to beggars just to make them leave when you are eating at a public place. Or perhaps a person hires someone to kill someone that he dislikes.
- Out of stupidity, such as when you fall prey to confidence tricksters and con artists, or when you gamble your money or properties away. (Any business that can exploit people’s stupidity, anger, greed or fear is bound to be lucrative, damaging and very unwholesome.)
- Out of fear, for example, during a robbery when you are held at gunpoint or knife-point. Or perhaps like a person who earned his riches through evil ways and fears karmic retributions. So now, he gives in hope that he can somehow negate his bad deeds.
- With the thinking that one should not break an old family tradition that has lasted for generations, such as giving to a certain spiritual or religious organisation.
- With the thinking that by giving the gift, one shall be reborn in heaven. In another sutta, the Buddha declared that this is “only for the virtuous and not the unvirtuous; for it is due to one’s purity… that the heart’s desire of the virtuous succeeds.” (So, don’t bank on dana alone. Remember to keep your precepts.)
- With the thinking when giving the gift, one’s heart would be happy. I believe that is why many of you are here to do dana; you feel happy supporting renunciants like us who depend on you to carry on our holy life.
- Finally, one gives because it ennobles and beautifies the mind. In other words, one gives in order to improve oneself. This can happen because a lot of wholesome thoughts can arise in our minds when we give, making us beautiful from within.
Now among these many reasons for giving, which is the one that you think is the best? The last one? Of course! That is the best. So, hope that we will always bear this in mind the next time we give so that we can make the giving even more meaningful.