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Daily Dana 1

Homage to the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Highest Self—Enlightened One!

Rasika Wijayaratne

Published: 2014-02-01 — Updated: 2018-02-21

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A question that arises is what can we do as a dana (giving) on top of making offerings to the Lord Buddha’s unequalled qualities? There are other forms of daily dana we can practice in addition to this, the emphasis being on it being daily, or regular, and also the letting go aspect of true dana.

  We can donate money to beggars and buskers on a daily basis. For those who work in the city this is not a problem as there is a beggar or a busker on every street corner, but for everyone else another approach maybe required. For example a till or another container can be kept aside and each day a small amount can be deposited into it for the purposes of dana. When its full, the contents can be donated to a beggar, a busker or alternatively to a charity of choice including the temple. Giving money like this reduces our attachment to it.

  Treating our friends to meals either when we go out or by inviting them over is another dana. Even sharing simple things such as sweets with friends is a dana. Offering refreshments to guests and friends when they arrive is an act of kindness that not only strengthens ties, but is also a valid dana.

“The Joy Of Giving — Narayanan Krishnan 1.” Click on the video to play it. View Full Video >
  Another good dana to perform is giving to animals in and around your home. Any unprocessed and uncooked food items such as bread, plain rice, fruit and cereals that is thrown out, but is still fit for consumption, can be kept aside and offered to birds on a daily basis. Don't give animals something you wouldn't eat! Alternatively bird feed can be obtained from shops. Even our lunch break is a good time to feed birds or other animals. Even feeding and looking after the pets, making sure that their water bowl is always full is a dana of our time.

  Sometimes the most valuable thing we can give to others is our time, energy and knowledge. Taking the time to listen to someone, to talk to and comfort a patient, to help a younger brother or sister with their home work and giving up our time and energy to help someone out are all good forms of dana that involve the giving of our precious time, energy and knowledge. In fact the word sramadana, the Sinhala word for a working bee means the giving of effort (srama = effort, dana = to give).

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Here the emphasis needs to be on not expecting anything in return, not even a thanks or a smile, from the person you are benefiting; it needs to be completely self-less.

  In all of the above letting go of something valuable is what is occurring, whether it be money, food, time, energy or knowledge, which is also called renunciation (nekkhamma) in Buddhism. It's important to not remain attached to what you give after you give it as otherwise dana does not occur, in fact it is important to not be attached to what you give before giving, when giving it and after giving it. You may have noticed that everything outlined here requires effort on our parts. To do anything good and worthwhile requires effort, but the results are worth it in the end. Happy giving!

May all be happy and well!

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