The Practice of Giving or Generosity

In the Six Perfections, or Six Paramitas, of Mahayana Buddhism, and in the Ten Perfections of Theravadin Buddhism, the first Perfection is Dana: Giving or Generosity. The Perfections are virtues that we cultivate to purify our hearts, remove our internal obstacles and further our practice of awakening. The Perfections are attributes of an awakened being.

The Dana Paramita is true generosity of spirit, giving from a desire to help others, without expectation of reward. So our motivation in giving must be pure. We practice giving in order to let go of our attachment to greed, to our need for personal validation, to our attachment to receiving something in return, and to our identification with the illusory self. We also practice giving to cultivate compassion for others.

The Perfection of Giving also includes giving spiritual guidance to those who seek it. In spiritual traditions, the teachers or monks give teachings, and the students give offerings. So there is no giving without receiving, it all comes full circle. Being willing to receive, without expectation, provides the giver the opportunity to cultivate the virtue of Dana.

Your donations not only help to ensure that the Zen Center continues to be a place of practice for our community, but they also help to support the practice of those of little means.