The Perfection of Generosity - Giving of the Dhamma

The Commentary gives many more details of the Bodhisatta’s practice while he developed the perfections in order to attain the supreme enlightenment as the Samma-Sambuddha. However, now only a few details are dealt with so that people can investigate more carefully their own citta in order to develop kusala further.

The Commentary states about the giving of freedom from fear, abhaya dana:

“The giving of freedom from fear is the giving of protection to beings

when they have become frightened on account of kings, thieves,

fire, water, enemies, lions, tigers,

other wild beasts, dragons, ogres, demons, goblins, etc.


The giving of the Dhamma, Dhamma dana,

is a non-perverted discourse on the Dhamma given with an undefiled mind;

that is, methodical instruction conducive to good in the present life,

in the life to come,

and to ultimate deliverance (ditthadhammika samparayikaparamattha).

By means of such discourses,

those who have not entered the Buddha’s Dispensation enter it,

while those who have entered it reach maturity therein.

This is the method:-

In brief, he speaks on giving, on virtue, and on heaven,

on the unsatisfactoriness and defilement in sense pleasures,

and on the benefit in renouncing them.”


People may have understanding of dana, of the danger in sense pleasures and

the benefit of renouncing them, but when one is unaware and does not listen to

the Dhamma, one is bound to be overcome by defilements. When we often listen

to the Dhamma, even though we hear what was said before, or when we listen to

what has been said about daily life, we are reminded to reflect and be aware of

realities, and, thus, there are conditions to accumulate more kusala.

  We read further on in the Commentary:

“In detail, to those whose minds are disposed towards the enlightenment of disciples 

(savakabodhiyam adhimuttacittanam),

he gives a discourse establishing and purifying them 

(in progress towards their goal)

by elaborating upon the noble qualities 

of whichever among the following topics is appropriate:

going for refuge, restraint by virtue,

guarding the doors of the sense-faculties,

moderation in eating, application to wakefulness...”

One should know the degree of one’s understanding. As we read, the Buddha gave a discourse in detail to those whose minds were disposed towards the enlightenment of disciples, he gave a discourse establishing and purifying them (in progress towards their goal) by elaborating upon the noble qualities as was appropriate to them.

Those who want to develop satipatthana, to develop right understanding of the characteristics of the dhammas that are appearing, and to develop the perfections in daily life, are already disposed towards the enlightenment of disciples, and that means that they go for refuge to the Triple Gem, that they observe síla, guard the doors of the sense-faculties, are moderate in eating and apply themselves to wakefulness and energy, time and again.


Topic 277