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Wholesome deeds and aspiration

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  • Wholesome deeds and aspiration

    Hello Bhante,

    When we perform generosity or wholesome deeds it's said the best form of giving is giving without asking anything in return. But it's also often said when we perform wholesome deeds, it's important to make aspirations.

    If aspirations are important then why the former type of giving is said to be the best one? Does it mean "not asking anything in return" can help us more in attaining our goal? Which one is the correct way to do dana?

    Thanks Bhante.

  • #2
    How about giving with the aspiration: "May I be able to give without asking anything in return?"

    Give in a way that brings you happiness. I wouldn't try to determine in advance what the best way to give is. Just play around with it, try new things. Give your time, give your possessions, give your presence, give your advice. Give a lot, give a little. And then afterwards see how it makes you feel. Sometimes it is the tiny things that anybody could have done that make you happy, not the big gifts. And sometimes it takes a while for the happiness to come up.

    For example, I see my work here in the monastery and my teaching the Pali as acts of giving. But it is not always the case that after doing a morning of hard work I'm instantly happy with my generosity. Sometimes it takes a bit of reflection, or some time. Sometimes it doesn't bring much happiness at all. But then still it's good to do service for other reasons.

    I guess there is no one correct way.



    • #3
      Dear Bhante

      Your answer is reminiscent of the idea of acting without being attached to results, something which I have long tried to put into practice, e.g. by giving anonymously. I understand that acting without attachment to results is a Buddhist idea, I think I came across it in some book I was reading once. Do you know if there is a sutta which discusses the idea?

      With Metta


      • #4
        Hi Rory,

        This may be an interesting read for you:

        I haven't read it myself, so I can't vouch for its contents.

        With kindness,


        • #5
          Thank you Bhante. Three interesting articles, though what they say is already reasonably familiar to me. I note that the first one says, "it is maintained in the suttas (A.iv,62) that alms should be given without any expectations (na sapekho danam deti)". I couldn't locate A.iv,62, but if that's right it supports my idea of giving without attachment to results.




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