By Nhat Quan
The word given or also said to be alms is what we give to someone. Of course, we understand that there are alms and recipients. The poor who are in need and have the help will be able to overcome the tribulation.
Giving away in the deep sense is letting go of all material and spiritual attachments.
Giving according to common sense is to help, share, it is to cultivate good seeds, like bank depositors, though at the moment there is no money, but when needed, we come to the bank to withdraw. In this case, we know that we have been doing a noble mind, although not calculating, but we know that we will receive the same or more. We give something that is intended to pray for the present and future blessings, or for wanting to respond to the kindness of others.
Thus, when we do good deeds such as giving money, property, sharing concerns, the suffering of others is we save for saving, or in Buddhist terms, they are we are cultivating merit. According to the cause and effect of the Buddha, those who do evil will suffer retribution and good will be blessed.
According to the cause and effect of the Buddha, in this world, rich people have a glorious career and become a famous person not suddenly. That is the result of their virtuous practice in many previous lives. Therefore, in this life, there is no such thing as a coincidence.
Wanting to be rich and noble, full of prosperity in the future, we must know how to give alms, make offerings, help, and share according to our ability. True Buddhists must always believe deeply in the cause and effect, believing that they are good and blessed. So if you want to be rich, lots of wealth that we don't know how to cultivate merit, we are afraid that the things we need cannot be.
Buddhism is present in life for the benefit of sentient beings, instructing those who want to transform poverty, they must know how to give alms and make offerings. Buddha taught almsgiving is the way we relieve the greed, selfishness, just know to live for ourselves. Doing the almsgiving is that we can help, share with others, no longer live in emotionless. Buddhism advocates living together with humanity, with the concept that everyone is our relative, each person must have the responsibility and duty of love, protection, and mutual assistance in the spirit of no-self.
Buddhism clearly sees the life of all living beings to rely on each other, not a species that can separate social life but exist in this vast universe.
In the present, we do not want to be blessed but we cannot be blessed tomorrow. Just as we have not done merit in the past, now we have to suffer from poverty. We should remember that doing good is blessed. Understanding this, each of us needs to try to cultivate merit to make life more perfect. One day we live in life, one day we have to live usefully for ourselves and for people without harming anyone. On the contrary, people living in deprived situations, rice is not enough to eat, clothing is not enough to wear, the family often causes aggression, discord, conflict is due to lack of merit.
Buddha taught:
- People who are enough to eat and wear are those who have merit, so they are less worried, so they can easily cultivate.
People with merit are people who have a stable life, adequate material means, houses, money, fame, good food, warm clothes; living in the family on the agreement under the peace, the small people know how to respectfully respect the adults, the loving adults protect small children and filial children with parents and grandparents, parents know how to teach children to stay away you are evil, close to those who are good in love for humanity, for human love in life with a knowing heart.
In addition to the blessings that come from the giving of property, giving alms to the understanding of the cultivation, the almsgiving is not afraid, the merit of almsgiving also comes from actions, words, thoughts bring happiness to everyone in the present and future. So the person who is dedicated to doing merit is someone who knows how to do good things, always helps people when they encounter difficulties, so everyone likes to be close, dear and respectful. Because of that closeness, we easily sympathize, forgive each other, be willing to serve, love, protect, help each other in the spirit of selflessness.
Blessings help us transform the evil and harmful karma that harms people and animals of many lives. Blessings also have the power to help us be wise to reduce wrongdoing in life. There are things that we seem to be unable to save, but because of the merit, we also pass everything.
So, almsgiving is still an essential condition of Buddhists, because it has the ability to make compassion develop more and more widely. That's why people give more merit than the recipient because the person who receives only a little bit of material but who gives a whole lot of spiritual pleasure helps other people with less suffering.
Buddha determined:
- Because of almsgiving so many lives, we reap many blessings.
So when we have faith in the Three Jewels, believe deeply in the cause and effect and try to maintain the mind of learning the Dharma, the practice of letting go, so we gradually transform negativity, greed, anger, and delusion. Buddhas in the ten directions, the attainment of enlightenment-liberation also from almsgiving as the foundation.
If you give alms and offerings, but your heart does not wish for anything, offer the temple to have more conditions to help people through the needy difficulties without hesitation, without thinking, then we will transform negativity such as greed, anger, and ignorance.
Be aware, when initiating alms-giving, is our mind and fame will diminish, the ego is also lighter than before. We do not do evil deeds, but do all good deeds, but do not adhere to those deeds, our mind will be pure. That is, we know how to cultivate the mind and nature and to know how to do merit and to cultivate the mind. When doing good deeds if we accept it closely, our minds will be upset, uneasy, uncomfortable when criticized by others.
A person who does a good job gets a rich blessing in the world, when he dies he is born into heaven. According to the Buddhist scriptures, people who have the highest blessing are born into the heavenly realms of the human realms to enjoy good results, but when the blessings are over, are still dominated by the law of impermanence, still have to drift within the cycle of birth and death, only the full merit is not dominated by suffering, so be at ease in all circumstances.
The cause and effect of karma will not give up when one meets the conditions. Those who specialize in good deeds are blessed and do bad deeds, and receive misery. It is a very fair law that does not favor anyone. Therefore, Buddhists must know wisely to choose their actions, do not let the bad fruits to be harvested, to take suffering.
Saints when encountering bad results due to wise wisdom clearly see the cause and effect of karma, so they are not sad. A wise person must know how to choose a good path to happiness, know how to do merit, if he does not know how to accumulate merit, then when the blessing will no longer be a disaster.
Helping, sharing with people, we will establish love everywhere, based on which we can create relationships and relationships in the community to develop well in all aspects of long-term sustainability. So in our daily life, we have to do how to create blessings to perfect our-selves and contribute to humanity.
We can cultivate blessings in many ways, but the practice of giving is the basic foundation for connecting love, sharing life to ease the misfortune of others, the first good thing that Buddha always mentioned. Human nature is always wanted, want more, never seen enough, never satisfied with what you have. To live happily, we should be content with what we have and try to maintain, preserve and develop. Expecting a lot, dreaming so much and not being satisfied is just a lot of sorrow and suffering.
True Buddhists must stop desires in the right place and should know almsgiving is the first step to share the suffering of the unfortunate people. It is a great consolation in life, a bridge connecting love with human love in life.
Going one step further, almsgiving is letting go of this mistrust of the mind and body as an ego, from which there is our self which is bound by defilements: Greed, anger, and ignorance. Full generosity is when we help anyone without seeing who we have helped. Such alms has the power to help us overcome the miserable sea, the enchanted river, and soon arrive at the enlightenment land to liberate.
So as a practitioner, we should build and develop and preserve the temple; contribute, participate in social activities; helping people have conditions to learn and practice to transform the suffering of pain into happiness and benefit all beings. The story of the rich man is named Anathapindika in Dhammamapada (Dharma of the Sutra), the paragraph of Pāpavagga (Evil product) talks about the retribution of victory of the pure alms mind. The story, one day Mr. Anathapindika visited the Buddha. The Buddha knew that Anathapindika had no assets to give, the Buddha asked:
- Hey homeowner, today at home you have something alms again?
- Sir Bhagava, I have almsgiving.
The Master asked:
- Do you still have something to give, so what are the things?
- Sir Bhagava, at home I have porridge with sourdough left from the previous day.
Hearing that, the Buddha taught the following:
- Hey homeowners, never think, porridge plate and sour powder will be less merit. Anything alms, but your alms mind is good, the results will be good.
So when we work well, we want to get good results like the Buddha's teachings, we need to know the following three things:
1-What do we do with the joyful mind, the merit, the more the mind becomes happy, the more merit it is.
2 - Blessed that there is wisdom is more blessed than not having a clear understanding of what you do.
3. When creating merit, we invite others to do merit with us, then the blessing will be increased.
If your self is the one who often calls for others to do merit, or if you are the one who is called by others to do merit, you should know these things:
- Firstly, when doing merit, we should avoid the case of other people encouraging. For example, I don't want to do that kind of good work, but listening to other people stir up, so we make people see. This is an avoidance that should not be done and similarly, we should not encourage others to call them to do merit.
- The second is not to call someone to make offerings from time to time. For example, in the temple, there are Buddhists who are very pleased with the Three Jewels, earnestly make offerings, and so we keep calling them to do good. In this case, the Buddha called milking cows to exhaustion. There are people who, because they keep calling them bless-ing, so they become depressed, have no joy and finally do not want to be blessed. In this case, we have created a huge bad karma that we lose faith in these employers.
- Third, when people do merit, whether more or less, we should not look, criticize. For example, today we call people blessed, people who donate $ 100 are happy, and people who donate $ 10 are happy too. Never say that the Buddhist, or that she is a doctor, but when the temple calls for blessings, only 20.00 dollars or 50.00 dollars are offered. We should not say that. The fact that people do merit, whoever does it will enjoy it, it is not a duty or a problem that they have to worship like this or that, but in a pure mind.
The blessing of generosity is so beautiful, so Giving is also considered a noble fragrance, radiating all over, in all directions, creating many good and aromatic voices for villages or communities where they are I live. In the Sutra of the Tang Chi Bô, Chapter Three Dharma, Ananda asked the Buddha:
- Sir Bhagava, what is the aroma of what kind of incense can fly in the wind, can fly against the wind, can fly smoothly according to the wind and can also fly against the wind?
Buddha answered:
- Here, Ananda, in which village, or in which town, is there a female or male person, who has taken refuge in the Buddha, a refuge in the dharma, refuge in the Sangha, keeps the five precepts, the mind is honest, lives in the house with the mind Invasive infection, almsgiving does not regret with open hands, like to give up, prefer to share alms. Such people are praised by the Sa-mon, Ba-la-Mon, Chu Thien and the non-humans. And like that, that person is a noble plant. That incense tree, Ananda, has a scent flying in the wind, has a scent that goes against the wind, has a scent flying in the direction of the wind and can also fly against the wind.
However, almsgiving is not an easy thing to do, as many people often misunderstand. This is a practice that requires us to be diligent, mindful and intellectual. First of all, the Buddha taught that when giving, we must know clearly about things, ways to give and give thought to. In the Sutra of the Sangha, the Chapter Eight of the Dharma, He taught:
- Hey, monks, there are eight alms of the one who embodies the truth. What is eight:
- Give clean objects;
- For specific objects
- For the right time;
- For adaptive objects;
- Give with care;
- Always give;
- When giving, the mind is faithful;
- After giving, the mind is always happy.
Such a pure alms, according to the Buddha, will create a huge asset:
- Never get burned by fire,
- Not being swept away by floodwaters,
- No theft,
- Not confiscated by the government,
- Don't be taken away by enemies.
The treasure of merit created by almsgiving is one of the seven most noble types of property, in the world of Buddhist learning called: Seven types of holy resources. The Buddha taught in the Sutra of Tang Chi Bo, Chapter Seven of the Dharma:
In the Sutra of Tang Chi Bo, Chapter Five of the Dharma, the Buddha taught, there are five types of generosity that deserve the one who embodies the truth:
- Almsgiving has faith
- Almsgiving has respect;
- Giving alms in time,
- Alms with a heart that is not forced;
- Giving alms does not hurt yourself and others.
Regarding the benefits of alms food, alms meal, will be five results:
- Long life
- Beautiful color
- Living peacefully,
- To have a healthy body
- Talent speaking and rhetoric.
In addition, according to the commentary, to have great results, almsgiving must meet all three conditions of achievement:
1 - achievements of merit fields, that is, to the recipients of alms-giving. The recipient of almsgiving is the one with virtue, who meets special virtues.
2 - the achievement of almsgiving, that is, the almsgiving material is fully legal, pure and relevant to the giver and receiver.
3- Achieving the mind, being aware of full alms, having a pure mind, having joy and joy in three times: Before doing, doing and after doing.
Regarding alms in time, the Buddha stated that there are 5 types:
- Giving to someone new to our country of residence.
- Giving to people who are about to leave, leaving our country of residence.
- Giving to the sick.
- Giving in hunger.
- What are the fruits that are newly harvested, first of all, the offer-ings of the virtues?
If almsgiving has such a pure mind, then almsgiving will bring benefits. Depending on almsgiving, depending on the way of giving, the result will be given to the almsgiver with abundant property. Typical as:
- Husbands, wives, children, and grandchildren all have a beauty like lotus flowers.
- The maids in the house are obedient and work hard.
- All appliances in the house come at the right time.
- Five types of worldly virtues such as money, beauty, fame, food, and sleep are fully enjoyed.
On the other hand, if alms-giving is not pure, more alms, the more afflicting, so only a little blessing, that blessing is still very limited, moreover, even though the future will be blessed, but very hardships. The morality of karmic retribution must understand. We give alms, almsgiving is very comfortable, very happy, very pure, the future receives blessings, this blessing is pure. You see, in this current society, there are many rich and precious people, they absolutely do not care about work, but they are very easy to obtain. This is the reason in the past life that giving alms is very comfortable, very happy, so the blessing that they get is very natural. There are some people who are rich but very miserable, working very hard to get rich. That is depending on the distribution of each person's generosity.
In short, almsgiving is a noble virtue that the Buddha advised all Buddhists to practice. Alms has three types: Giving property, giving Dharma, and fearlessness. In these three types of giving, Dharma is nobler. In the three types of alms, we can practice any kind of alms. It is important that we have mindfulness and wisdom to clearly understand the giving, the way we give, and our minds must be pure when doing the almsgiving. More importantly, when almsgiving needs to originate from the faith in the Three Jewels and to be sufficiently virtuous to bring joy to all beings. Finally, we also need to practice chanting, reciting Buddha's name, meditating, in which mindfulness of almsgiving is an important practice that we need to practice.
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