The Perfection of Generosity - Giving of external objects I

Now I shall deal with generosity that goes together with sincerity, with the perfection of truthfulness, and in this context we should reflect on the generosity of the Bodhisatta. 
The “Paramattha Dipani”, the Commentary to the “Basket of Conduct”  (Cariyapitaka, of the Khuddhaka Nikaya) explains about three kinds of dana parami, perfection of generosity: the giving of material things (amisadana), the giving of fearlessness (abhayadana) and the giving of the Dhamma (dhammadana). We read about the giving of external objects:

“When the Great Man gives an external object,

he gives whatever is needed to whomever stands in need of it;

and knowing by himself that someone is in need of something,

he gives it even unasked, much more when asked.”

  A person who is ready to give something useful to someone else when he sees that he is in need, has a refined understanding of the performance of kusala. As soon as he has seen that another person is in need of something, the citta accompanied by compassion arises, and he gives immediately, he does not wait to be asked.
Further on we read in the Commentary:

“He gives only when there is something to be given.”

He does not trouble himself nor feel disturbed when at times he wishes to give but

he does not have anything he can give. The Bodhisatta gives only when he has

something he can give. We read:


“When there are things to be given he gives what people like to have,

not what they do not want.”


When other people are in need of something, he gives it away, provided there is

something to be given. We read:


“He does not give because he expects something in return.

And when there is not enough to give sufficiently to all,

he distributes evenly whatever can be shared.

But he does not give things that lead to affliction for others,

such as weapons, poisons and intoxicants.

Nor does he give amusing things which are harmful and lead to negligence.

And he does not give unsuitable food or drink to a person who is sick,

even though that person might ask for it,

and he does not give what is suitable beyond the proper measure.”


Topic 277