How to Perform Dāna?

revised on 2019-11-05

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 12th October 1962

Making dāna is not using up one’s money, instead one gains from it. (Some heavenly beings came and mentioned this point to the Buddha. Most people think, including Buddhists, by performing dāna, one used up money, wealth, and possessions. So they usually ask the donors how much they had spent the money. The right question should be how much they gained from it.)

It’s like a house is on fire. During the burning, what one takes out as much as from the house is what one gains from it. In the same way, everyone is burnt with the 11 kinds of fire (greed, hatred, delusion, old age, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, suffering, grief, and despair) and five kinds of enemies (water, fire, king, thieves, and nonfilial family members).

In these kinds of situation, performing dāna is like saving things from the burning house. Another point here is we are not doing this for human and heavenly worlds. It's still burnt with fire after arriving there if we are for these purposes. Now we are taking out the causes for Nibbāna. In this way we gain the unburnable priceless property (i.e., Nibbāna).

If you are taking out things like a blind man, only get the valueless properties. (Maybe it’s like a baby was inside the burning house. Instead of taking out the baby first, took out other things. Most Buddhists are doing like this man.). It’s quite a different between a blind man and a visionary one to take things out. 31 realms of existences are not free from fire. Outside them is free from fire.

Therefore, today is the big dāna of a person with right view. It’s easy to give others in ordinary way as just giving out (Even that much is quite difficult for most people because they don’t know the benefit of wholesome kammas, the law of causes and effects). The khandha is also on fire. The possessions are also on fire.

The khandha is burnt with fire of birth, ageing, and death (with the 11 kinds of fire). The possessions are burnt with the fire of five enemies; such as water (e.g., in 2011 Tsunami in N. E. Japan), fire (e.g., 9/11 2001 fire in the New York World Trade Center), thieves, by one’s own family members, kings (governments of nowadays and corrupted officials).

(Sayadaw continued to talk about the results of offering monk robes, umbrellas, and sandals. And then, about the beginning of human birth with the pregnancy) Birth is dukkha sacca and knowing it is magga sacca. You have to change your mind for I am offering these things with the knowledge of knowing dukkha sacca. Saddhā (faith) follows behind and knowledge (ñāṇa) is leading at the front.

You must believe it that except Nibbāna, it’ll never give other results. (Sayadaw continued to ask people to follow his reciting for the purpose of Nibbāna in Burmese.) These things are offered for the purpose of Nibbāna. Therefore, except Nibbāna, don’t crave for other things. We were craving for other things before, that until now not free from dukkha.

Someone who fears of dukkha will realize Nibbāna. You can decide that someone not fear dukkha will never get Nibbāna (Continued to talk about dukkha of near birth and delivering. After that, talk about the dukkha of the new born baby). The baby becomes a disable being. It can’t speak when hungry or wanting to urinate and defecate.

(Continued to talk about ageing and sickness. And then talked about dukkha near death and dying.) You have to change your mind for not wanting the dukkha of death. With the knowledge of disenchantment for dukkha and offer these things. You should have the attitude of offering dāna only for the purpose of Nibbāna.

revised on 2019-11-05; cited from (posted on 2019-02-22)

  • Content of Part 9 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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