Theravada

The "Teaching of the Elders," rooted in the earliest complete teachings of the Buddha
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    The Power of Receiving Paid Member

    When I am given something, I sometimes feel indebtedness, which makes me uncomfortable. What is this discomfort in receiving? Is there a way to receive with grace and generosity? The practice of true generosity is rare; it is an exchange in which both giver and receiver are enriched. In the Tibetan tradition, the custom of exchanging ceremonial scarves, or khatas, perfectly evokes this spirit of giving and receiving freely. When you offer a scarf to someone, it is received with grace and immediately offered back to you, completing the circle. Today, however, the culture of giving and receiving is often burdened by a complex mix of social obligations and expectations. More »
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    Giving Full Circle Paid Member

    The Sanskrit word dana is often translated as “alms.” One of the paramitas, or “perfections,” on the Bodhisattva path, dana is traditionally understood as the full circle of giving, from lay supporters to the ordained sangha, in the form of material support, and back again to the laity, in the form of dharma teachings. More »
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    Dana Worksheet Paid Member

    Here are some questions to help you develop your practice of dana. Your answers will suggest what you might like to change—and what you might like to keep the same—about how you give and receive. Answer these questions now, and again in a month or two, and see how your responses differ. Then pick a few key areas on which to focus your practice. • In what ways have you given over the past few months, and to whom? • What do you find easiest or most enjoyable to give? • What is most difficult for you to give? • To whom is it easiest or most enjoyable for you to give? More »
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    Three Grapefruits Paid Member

    A few days before my family and I were leaving Japan in 1968 after a six-year sojourn, my friend from California came to visit and gave us three grapefruits from a carton that he had brought with him. Because of import restrictions, fruits from abroad, such as grapefruits, melons, and grapes, were a rarity and hence ridiculously expensive. A single grapefruit, for example, would cost several thousand yen, equivalent to twenty dollars at the exchange rate at that time. People bought these exotic, imported fruits primarily to give away as gifts on special occasions. More »
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    The Gift That Cannot Be Given Paid Member

    Can you suggest any ways to develop my dana practice? The Buddha taught: "If you knew as I know the benefit of generosity, you would not let an opportunity go by without sharing." The Buddha taught and lived what is really a "way of life": giving and receiving—the practice of dana. The cultivation of dana offers the possibility of purifying and transforming greed, clinging, and self-centeredness, as well as the fear that is linked to these energies of attachment. Dana practice is the foundation of Buddhist spiritual development. Generosity is the ground of compassion; it is a prerequisite to the realization of liberation. More »
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    The Prince and the Elephant Paid Member

    The Jataka Tales comprise a collection of 550 stories recounting the previous incarnations of the Buddha. Together, the tales illustrate the perfection of virtues on the path to enlightenment. More »