Why we must practice Dana
“I am suffering, how to help others”, “I am looking for other to help me also”. Normally this is the excuses when you find a friend or family member to do charity. A person who really understand the meaning of Dana would be able to share their food even they have only a piece of bread.
Commonly, we know about rebirth & incarnation for past lives, recent lives, future lives. Our recent suffers doesn’t mean related to our past lives, it can be further than that. In the age of Buddha Gautama, there are some meditated practitioners have been declined the theory of Cause and Effect. Because they have concluded that a person who didn’t do any bad action in recent live and past live are suffering with all kind of Karma in recent life. Buddha Gautama explained that the meditation of these practitioners can only see past live, higher mental stage is needed in order to see further past lives. (Note: For better understanding, we here used Past Live represent the many past lives).
An evil doer still gain good return as the good karma that the person performed in the past is still effective. However, when the bad karma results, the effects will show. Same goes to a person who did many good deeds but unable gain good return was due to his past misconduct is having the effect. However, when his good karma comes, the return can be seen clearly. Buddha Gautama always remind us that all assets and material are impermanent, only karma will follow.
Everyone are born with two Karma which is Good and Bad, the return is resulting by karma. We have been instilled by the ideology since we grow up which is work hard or own a business, saving for emergency. (Note: we have no objection to the ideology, is right) The thought normally comes from what they have seen in real life, which is some of friends and relatives make good money when they are young but when they are getting old, financially they have to reply on other people as they don’t have saving.
However, explanation by Buddha is different. The Divine Eye of Buddha Gautama able to foresee that human being is suffering and facing the bad karma when old times, is due to they seldom do charity when they are able, the purpose is to accumulate their merit. In the other words, we born with two accounts, one is a bank account, one is a merit account. Bank account is for expenses, merit account is for happiness and prosperity.
Buddha teaching, life in vain if we refuse to learn be a good human. As the Deva and other beings don’t able to do Dana and Merit but human can. The happiness and prosperity that we enjoying is the merit accumulated from pass life. Bank savings will run out if discontinue make saving. Same goes to the merit account, Dana will be finish if we not continue to do charity. ((Note: There is no objection to enjoy happiness and prosperity, but have to be careful).
A lot of people are wealthy in short while when they are young, some of them spend their whole life make money but at end their money is pay for medical bill. Some of them passed away before reach their goal of life. The process of live and death always reminded us to do Dana as early as possible because life is unpredictable. Breathe in and out control our life, no one knows whether we still able to wake up on next day after tonight.
The purpose of doing Dana is to eliminate selfishness, generate the heart of mercy to help the needy. Besides than financial, Dana (charity) can be do mentally such as volunteer, blood donation and Sila (keeping five percepts). Buddha’s education is remind us to practice Dana frequently instead of occasionally, Dana can’t be determine by figure or quantity. To obtain full merit from Dana Joy, good thoughts and ability are request. We do charity when in hard time, we will feel appreciate with what we having now.
Life is unpredictable and we couldn’t bring anything when we pass away but Karma will follow. We couldn’t change the result on past lives, however on present live we still manage to do something good to accumulate merit for future live.