Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Greatly Beneficial Charity and Less Beneficial Charity

While the Buddha was dwelling at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the female lay devotee, Nandamata, who lived in Velukantati City was offering alms-food to the Samgha headed by the two chief disciples of the Buddha. On seeing this greatly beneficial offering with His divine eye, the Buddha delivered the discourse on charity which can bring great benefits.

A greatly beneficial charity is accompanied with six factors, three factors pertaining to the donor and three factors pertaining to the donee.

The three factors pertaining to the donor are:
(1) The donor is delighted before giving to charity;
(2) His consciousness and volition are keen and clear while he is giving to charity;
(3) He is delighted after giving to charity.

The three factors pertaining to the done are:
(4) The donee is free from attachment (raga) or he is striving to be free from it;
(5) The donee is free from hatred (dosa) or he is striving to be free from it;
(6) The donee is free from bewilderment (moha) or he is striving to be free from it.

The Buddha proclaimed that the charity which is endowed with the above six factors can bear infinite benefits. If one of the factors is missing, the charity will bear less benefit, and consequently it is called less beneficial charity.

Moreover, the charity which is endowed with the following four factors can bring great benefits “immediately”. So it is also called greatly beneficial charity. 

The four factors are:
(1) The things to be offered are procured or earned by righteous means;
(2) The conviction and volitions of the donor are keen and clear before, during, and after the offering.
(3) The donee must be an arahant or anagami.
(4) The donee must have just arisen from dwelling in his attainment of absorption in cessation (Nirodhasamapatti).

The charity endowed with these four factors is called greatly beneficial charity because it produces its great benefits in this very life. If one of the four factors is missing, it is not possible to bear benefits “immediately”, and the charity is denoted as the less beneficial charity.

Moreover, the offering endowed with the following five kinds of factors is called greatly beneficial charity. They are:
(1) The donor must be endowed with morality and good conduct;
(2) The donee also must be endowed with morality and good conduct;
(3) The objects of offering must be things acquired by honest means;
(4) The conviction and volitions of the donor are keen and clear before, during and after the offering;
(5) The donor must be one who is endowed with firm belief in Kamma and its results.

Source : Ye' Thu Aung (Buddhism for Beginners)