Perform a Dāna Properly
revised on 2019-09-12
Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 22nd November 1961
[This was a dhamma talk for the offering of a Sālā building before the water pouring ceremony. ]
[In the beginning Sayadaw mentioned not to share the merits made by others for the vaṭṭa dāna (for the becoming or round of existence) because these kinds of merit are truth of dukkha and not for ending of it. It’s important not to end up at what others believed and said.
He gave the story of Ven. Rāhula's (the Buddha’s only son) past life as a king. At that time he met an ascetic with psychic power. Every day the ascetic went to a Nāga Kingdom under the sea for day rest. So he asked him about the place: the ascetic praised about the place. Rāhula believed him and vowed to be born there. So next life after death he became a serpent king. ]
Whatever khandha you have it’s never good. All are truth of dukkha, disgusting and useless. In the body there are excrements, urine, phlegm, etc. Only foulness (asubha) exists. Nobody wants to come closer to you if you died. It’s the same as asking "May I get the disgusting and useless thing?" if you pray for the khandha.
The meaning of samudaya (craving is the cause of dukkha) is the dhamma creating bad things. Therefore you are asking with the bad dhamma of samudaya sacca. Asking with the bad dhamma, you get the bad thing. You might get the bad thing after using the money, even you can have the real happiness of ending dukkha. Actually, you are making friend with the dhamma, which is association with dukkha (i.e., craving — samudaya). It’s the deceivable and cunning dhamma. I am talking with the knowledge of truth (sacca ñāṇa). So you must listen with the truth of ear. (Most people don’t have it. They only have the defiled ear and like to hear defiled things).
You have to make the wise attention of with this ageing and decrepit khandha and exchange with the not ageing and not decrepit Nibbāna. You must exchange this burning body, burning with the 11 kinds of fire with the cooling Nibbāna.
This is the dāna of exchanging dukkha with sukha. If you are using the money for eating and spending and it’s burning into ashes by kilesa fire. Therefore, this kind of dāna is pulling it away from kilesa fire.
In the performing of dāna (giving away), if you ask: “How much money has been spent?” This is not a right question. The right question is: “How much you got from it?” Because you are taking away the money and wealth from the 11 kinds of fire (Here Sayadaw didn’t mention some of the dangers which can destroy people wealth and money.
Such as robbers, thieves, fire, water, natural disasters, family members, etc. There are a lot can be mentioned about it. The 11 kinds of fire are: raga, dosa, moha, jāti, jarā, maraṇa, soka, parideva, dukkha, domanassa, upāyāsa — lust, hatred, delusion, birth, ageing, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.)
This is the day of exchanging heat with coolness; exchanging dukkha with nirodha. It is knowing the two truth (dukkha and nirodha) with the analytical knowledge today. This is the forerunner of the Path Knowledge. You will really get the Path Knowledge if you really practice.
You are offering dāna as a good worldling (kalyāṇa puthujjana) and not as a blind worldling (andha puthujjana). Knowledge (ñāṇa) knows the truth and not kamma. Therefore this is a dāna performed with knowledge, and will sure to reach Nibbāna. Dāna is not for prolonging the round of existence (saṁsāra). Not knowing the right way of doing it only prolongs the saṁsāra.
[After that Sayadaw was leading people to perform a short ceremony of prayer and sharing the merit. This short prayer was in Burmese, about dukkha and for the ending of it; not including anything like, good rebirth, wealth, beauty, long life etc. because these things were truth of dukkha. He talked about many dukkha starting from the mother’s womb during the pregnancy; from giving birth to the whole human life with ageing, sickness and death].
revised on 2019-09-12; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4091&p=35773#p35773 (posted on 2019-01-14)
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