The Perfection of Generosity - Understanding based on giving

It is most difficult to develop the perfections, even though one has listened to the Dhamma and learnt much about the perfections. It depends on the capacity of each individual to what degree he can develop kusala. The perfections should very gradually be developed together with panna, they should be developed time and again. We know that this is necessary if we realize that we have many defilements and that it is difficult to develop the panna that can eradicate them. Therefore, during each life defilements should gradually be eliminated, so that the four noble Truths can be realized when one becomes a streamwinner, sotapanna. Then one has reached the first stage of enlightenment, and one will not be reborn more than seven times. 

We should know what kind of panna accompanies the perfection of generosity. The Book of Analysis (the second Book of the Abhidhamma), in Ch 16,  Classification of Knowledge, 325) explains about different kinds of panna, such as wisdom by means of thinking, wisdom by means of hearing, wisdom by means of giving, wisdom by means of síla.

The “Dispeller of Delusion” (the Commentary to the Book of Analysis, in Ch 16, 412) explains that understanding associated with the intention or volition (cetana) of giving is “understanding based on giving” or “understanding by means of giving” (danamaya panna).

When we read this we should investigate in detail the panna which is  accompanied by the volition or intention of giving (cetana of dana). Panna cannot arise with akusala citta, it cannot arise when someone expects a result.

We read in the “Dispeller of Delusion”:

“...that understanding which arises associated in this way with the volition of

this is called ‘understanding based on giving’ (danamaya panna).

But that has three forms, namely,

prior volition,

volition of relinquishing

and subsequent volition, 

according as it arises in one who thinks:

‘I shall give a gift’,

in one giving a gift

or in one reviewing after having given a gift.”

The “Dispeller of Delusion” speaks in detail about panna which accompanies the kusala cittas that are intent on generosity. Kusala citta can be unaccompanied by panna or accompanied by panna. Kusala citta of the sense sphere accompanied by panna cetasika (maha-kusala citta nanaasampayutta ) can be kusala citta of the level of dana, of síla, or of bhavana, mental development, including samatha and satipatthana, which is the development of vipassana. When we develop the perfection of generosity, the aim should be the correct understanding of realities as they are, without any expectation of a result for ourselves. This is the condition for panna which is understanding based on dana (danamaya panna).

Topic 277