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Jul 19, 2011

Benefits of Pure Volition of Dāna

by Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka

, when given with pure volition, is highly beneficial. When one unselfishly and humbly gives dāna with Dhamma volition for the benefit of all beings, one’s mind is free from greed, harshness, enmity, selfishness, miserliness, and dullness. One's mind becomes noble, gentle, tender, tranquil, generous, virtuous and alert.

To give dāna is the fundamental duty of householders.

In the ancient spiritual tradition of India, dāna has always had special importance.

In ancient times, virtuous and wealthy householders and sages used to organise great ceremonies of dāna.

Noble donors like Emperor Vessantara in ancient times and Emperor Harsha established the illustrious ideal of donating all their possessions. Their volition behind giving dāna was truly selfless.

The wealth of the community tends to accumulate with the rulers and wealthy men. If this wealth remains with them, it begins to rot and makes the whole community unhealthy. If wealth is re-distributed, its purity is maintained.

Having understood this, a wise donor, considered his wealth as the wealth of the community. To save himself from the improper hoarding of wealth, he gave dāna so that others could share and enjoy this wealth.

This wise policy of equitable distribution of wealth preserved the equilibrium of social prosperity and prevented it from becoming an unbalanced destructive force.

Global Pagoda at sunset on the Arabian Sea. Gorai Creek, Mumbai, India. Photograph by Bhavin Kothari

The Global Vipassana Pagoda was built with selfless Dhamma service and voluntary donations from people worldwide, for the benefit and happiness of many.

The wealthy donor distributed his wealth equitably from time to time. He did not give his wealth with the desire to obtain something in return nor to boost his ego.

Viceyya dānaṃ dātabbaṃ,

yattha dinnaṃ mahapphalaṃ.”

Dāna given with wisdom is highly beneficial.

There are two kinds of dāna:

1. Vaṭṭamūlaka dāna: the dāna that keeps one entangled in the cycle of existence(bhavacakka).

2. Vivaṭṭamūlaka dāna: meaning the dāna that takes one out of the cycle of existence.

A wise person gives dāna such that it frees him from the cycle of existence.

As with all other kamma, so too the kamma of dāna is good or bad according to the volition of one’s mind. The vivaṭṭamūlaka mind that cuts the cycle of existence is free of craving, free of aversion, and free of ignorance. Only the dāna given with this kind of mind is called vivaṭṭamūlaka dāna, which destroys the cycle of existence.

While giving such dāna, we do not consider our own benefit. Instead, we are delighted to see the happiness and welfare of the person receiving our dāna. When we take delight in the happiness of others, our minds become pure and tender and is freed from the limitations of narrow self-interest.

However, if while giving dāna we wish for any personal benefit, our mind is stained with craving, vaṭṭamūlaka. Dāna given with such volition of mind will only prolong the cycle of existence. If, as a result of giving dāna, we wish for worldly happiness, fame, respect, profit, or rebirth in heaven—our minds remains in bondage instead of becoming free from bondage.

Therefore, giving dāna with a mind stained with craving is wrong but even worse is to give dāna with the mind defiled with aversion. That becomes a cause of even greater harm to us; it becomes a process of earning demerits in the name of Dhamma. Not only do we lose the donated wealth, but simultaneously, the kamma done with a defiled mind becomes the cause of great sorrow and misfortune.

Let us understand by examples how we give dāna with the mind defiled with aversion:

A beggar standing outside my door is calling out, “Sir! Give alms, sir! Give alms!” Becoming enraged at his repeated pleas, I throw a coin at him to get rid of him. At that time, my mind is filled with anger and irritation.

Some people collecting donations for some school, or hospital have come to my shop. As soon as I see them, I fly into a rage and start grumbling, “Donation, donation! All the time, people are asking for donations! Accountant, give them five rupees and get rid of them.” While giving them the money, my mind is filled with resentment towards these undesirable donation-seekers.

Some minister or political leader orders me to give a donation for some cause. I do not have the slightest interest in it but I am afraid to refuse so I give dāna out of fear.

My Dhamma-teacher (kalyāna mitta) has sent a message to give a donation for some project. I do not wish to give this dāna but do so out of deference and diffidence.

The rest of the people in my community have given dāna for some work. I do not have the slightest desire to give any dāna for it. However, if I do not donate, others will criticize me. So I give dāna to protect my reputation.

My rival has become famous because he has given a large donation. I give a bigger donation than him out of egotism.

In this way, I give dāna with the unwholesome volition of anger, resentment, irritation, fear, deference, diffidence, rivalry, jealousy, hostility, pride, and conceit. And after giving such dāna, I regret it whenever I remember it and defile my mind.

All actions done with wholesome Dhamma-volition are beneficial; all actions done with unwholesome volition are non-beneficial. For all benefits of Dhamma, dāna should always be given with wholesome volition.

When dāna is given with wholesome volition, the mind is filled with a feeling of renunciation and with delight at the happiness and benefit of others. It is filled with contentment before giving dāna, while giving dāna and after giving dāna.

Before giving dāna, such joyful thoughts arise in the mind, “I shall give dāna. Others will benefit from my dāna and gain happiness.”

While giving dāna also, my mind is suffused with these joyful thoughts, “I am giving dāna. I am fulfilling the duty of a householder! By this dāna, the recipients will benefit and gain happiness.”

After giving dāna, my mind is repeatedly filled with these auspicious thoughts, “I have given the dāna of food or clothes or medicines so that the recipients will be healthy and strong in mind and body and practising sīla, samādhi, and paññā, will attain their own welfare and will become the cause of the welfare of many. I have given the dāna of this cottage staying in which the meditator will practise sīla, samādhi and paññā. By practising Anapana and Vipassana, he will experience the peace and happiness of nibbāna and will become the cause of the peace and happiness of many.”

Whether the recipient of my dāna is a fully liberated arahant or any virtuous saintly person who is a follower of the path of arahants, my mind will be filled with boundless joy, “It is my good fortune that, by my dāna, such a saintly person will remain healthy and strong for some time, and through him, many others will gain happiness! By accepting my dāna he has bestowed boundless compassion on me.”

Pubbeva dānā sumano, dadaṃ cittaṃ pasādaye;

datvā attamano hoti, esā yaññassa sampadā.

(AN 2.6.37, Chaḷaṅgadānasuttaṃ)

The donor is happy before giving dāna, while giving dāna, and after giving dāna. Such is the abundance of happiness of dāna offered with wholesome volition.

In this way before giving dāna, while giving dāna, as well as after giving dāna, the donor fills his mind with pure contentment
May all beings be happy, be fully liberated from all suffering.
( original article: Right Volition of Dāna, Vipassana Newsletter, December, 2009)
Rare opportunities to earn and share invaluable merits in participating in Global Vipassana Pagoda development projects:

* Designs on the Pagoda, decorating the canopy, canopy pillar, and Dhamma verses on the Pagoda walls. The Parikrama path will be laid with a special marble from Burma (to ease walking barefoot even on hot days). Estimated cost of completion of these projects: US $260,000; INR 1,25,00,000
* Landscaping the outer areas of the Pagoda, building parks and roads, laying water lines etc. Estimated cost: US$ 530,000, INR 2,50,00,000
*Gong Tower : $25,000, INR 12,50,000
*Cell Pagoda Dome: $80,000, INR 40,00,000
* Two auditoriums: $180,000, INR 90,00,000
* Dhamma Library: $60,000, INR 30,00,000
* Security and Information Centre: $445,000, INR 2,22,50,000
* Maintenance: Estimated cost $900 (Per day) $324,000, INR 1,62,00,000
* Boundary Wall: $335,000, INR 1,67,50,000
* Pagoda Parikrama Flooring: $670,000, INR 3,35,00,000
* Landscaping: $670,000, INR 3,35,00,000
* Estimated Total Funds needed: $3,579,000, INR 17,89,50,000

How to donate to the Global Vipassana Pagoda

  1. Donation through Cheque/Draft
    Donation Cheque/Draft favoring “Global Vipassana Foundation” payable at Mumbai can be sent to the following address:
    Kamlesh Vikamsey
    Khimji Kunverji & Co.
    Sir P. M. Road , Fort,
    Mumbai 400 001.
    Tel: +91 (022) 2266-2550

  2. Donations through Core Banking (within India )
    Donations to “Global Vipassana Foundation” can now be remitted from anywhere in India through any branch of the Bank of India under core banking system.

    Global Vipassana Foundation
    Axis Bank India
    A/C. NO: 911010032397802
    IFSC CODE: UTIB0000062
    MICR CODE: 400211011
    BRANCH: Malad west branch
    Sonimur Apartment,
    1st Floor, Malad Timber Estate,
    Malad West, Near BATA Showroom ,
    SV Road, Malad (West)
    Mumbai 400064

  3. Donations from Outside India can be remitted through SWIFT transfer to Bank of India
    SWIFT Transfer details are as follows:

    Name of the Bank : J P Morgan Chase Bank
    Address :
    New York, US
    A/c. No. : 0011407376
    Swift: CHASUS33

Copy of communication may please be enclosed to kamlesh@kkc.in.

For donation made through option 2 & 3 Please Inform
Kamlesh Vikamsey
Global Vipassana Foundation
Khimji Kunverji & Co.
Suite 52, Bombay Mutual Bldg.,
Sir P. M. Road, Fort,
Mumbai 400 001.
Tel: +91 22 22662550
Email to: Kamlesh@kkc.in

Please inform all relevant details such as Name, Address & No of Vipassana Courses done, so that the receipt of your donation can be sent to you.

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* Directions to reach Global Pagoda, Gorai / Borivili, Mumbai