Dhammadāna: Pāli Word of the Day

Pali: Dhammadāna
English: the giving of Dhamma

The word Dhammadāna is made up of two words: Dhamma, the Buddha’s teachings, and dāna, giving. So Dhammadāna is when we share the Buddha’s teachings with someone.

Sabbadānaṃ dhammadānaṃ jināti, Sabbarasaṃ dhammaraso jināti;
Sabbaratiṃ dhammarati jināti, Taṇhakkhayo sabbadukkhaṃ jināti.

354. The gift of Dhamma surpasses all gifts. The taste of Dhamma surpasses all taste. The delight in Dhamma surpasses all delights. The destruction of cravings conquers all suffering.

Dhammapada 24 Taṇhā Vagga, Craving

When we share material things with people, that can surely help them in this life. However, those benefits are short when we compare them to the benefits that people can get when we share the Dhamma with them. Those benefits can last even to future lives and the ending of all rebirth.

Dvemāni, bhikkhave, dānāni āmisadānañca dhammadānañca.
Etadaggaṁ, bhikkhave, imesaṁ dvinnaṁ dānānaṁ yadidaṁ dhammadānaṁ.

“Monks, there are two kinds of giving: giving material things and giving the Dhamma. Monks, of these two kinds of giving, giving the Dhamma is supreme.

Itivuttaka 98 Dāna Sutta, Giving

And what is the power of inclusiveness? There are these four ways of being inclusive. Giving, kindly words, taking care, and equality. The best of gifts is the gift of the teaching. The best sort of kindly speech is to teach the Dhamma again and again to someone who is engaged and who lends an ear. The best way of taking care is to encourage, settle, and ground the unfaithful in faith, the unethical in ethics, the stingy in generosity, and the ignorant in wisdom. The best kind of equality is the equality of a stream-enterer with another stream-enterer, a once-returner with another once-returner, a non-returner with another non-returner, and a perfected one with another perfected one. This is called the power of inclusiveness.

AN 9.5 Balasutta, Powers

“Monks, you have friends, relatives and family members who you have sympathy for. If they listen to your advice, you should establish them in the four factors of stream-entry. You should encourage them to have the four factors of stream-entry. What four? Unshakable confidence in the Buddha… the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… And virtue loved by the noble ones… leading to concentration.

“Monks, you should establish your friends, relatives and family members who you have sympathy for, in these four factors of stream-entry. If they listen to your advice, you should encourage them to have these four factors of stream-entry.”

SN 55.16 Mittāmacca Sutta, Friends

More suttas about other kinds of giving and the benefits. Sermons on dāna.

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