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Download an E-book in *.epub FormatDownload in Mobi Format for Kindle/NookLedi Sayādaw

A Manual of Donation and Morality

Dānādi Dīpanī

Translated by U Tin Shwe

Download the » PDF file (902 K) to print your own booklets.


A Manual of Donation

The Exposition of Donation

Summary of Morality

Critique of the Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise

Editor’s Preface

I have done my usual editing job of reducing the use of Pāḷi, and checking that where quotations are used that they match the spellings used in the Pāḷi texts of the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana edition.

Words in bold blue text are quoted directly from the Pāḷi. This style of Nissaya, or word-by-word commentary is common in discourses by Burmese Sayādaws.

I have added some of my own notes (marked by ed.), other notes are those made by the translator. References have been changed to the page numbers of the Roman script editions of the Pāḷi texts.

This latest edition fixes some minor typos, errors, and broken links.

#Contents#TheExpositionofDonationA Manual of Donation

Two Kinds of Donation

Donation (dānaṃ) is of two kinds as inferior and superior:–

  1. Donation of property (āmisa-dāna), and the sharing of one’s skilled knowledge (Dhamma-dāna).
  2. Donation without due respect (asakkaccato-dāna), and donation with due respect (sakkaccato-dāna).
  3. Donation in honour of inferior persons (anuggahato-dāna), and donation in reverence of noble persons (pujā-dāna).
  4. Donation with one’s own hand (sahatthika-dāna) and donation made by sending another (āṇattikato-dāna).
  5. Donation of non-durable things (āthāvarato-dāna) like food and robes, and donation of durable things (thāvara-dāna) such as pagodas, statues, rest houses, halls, caves, monasteries, images of the Buddha, bridges, stairs with decorated roofs, wells, lakes, precincts, gardens, and forest trees.
  6. Donation without accessories (aparivārato-dāna) and donation with accessories (saparivāra-dāna).
  7. Occasional donation (anicca-dāna) and constant donation (nicca-dāna).
  8. Donation by the instigation of another (sasaṅkhara-dāna) and donation in accordance with one’s own wish without instigation (asaṅkhara-dāna).
  9. Donation with knowledge of effectiveness (jāna-dāna) and donation without such knowledge (ajānato-dāna).
  10. Donation longing for worldly pleasure as a result (vaṭṭa-nissita-dāna) and donation longing for supramundane pleasure as a result (vivaṭṭa-nissita-dāna).
  11. Donation of suitable things such as food and non-intoxicating drinks (dhamma-dāna) and donation of inappropriate things such as liquor and weapons to those who are prone to misdeeds (adhammato-dāna).
  12. Nine kinds of donation to the intended person, Saṅgha, pagoda, and vihāra (dhammika-dāna) and the nine kinds of donation diverted from the original aim (adhammika-dāna).
  13. Donation in kind (vatthu-dāna) and donation of freedom from fear (abhaya-dāna), such as by keeping the five precepts.
  14. Donation of life, body, or big and small parts of the body (ajjhattika-dāna) and donation of external property (bahira-dāna).
  15. Faulty donation (sāvajja-dāna) after killing and torturing deer, fish, oxen and buffaloes, fowls and pigs, and blameless and pure donation (anavajja-dāna) free from killing and cruelty.
  16. Donation of prime and excellent things (agga-dāna) and donation of inferior and left-over things (ucchiṭṭha-dāna).
  17. Donation of things inferior to what one uses oneself (hīna-dāna) and donation of things better than one uses oneself (paṇīta-dāna).

End of the Summary of the Twofold

Three Kinds of Donation

Donation is of three kinds as inferior, moderate, and superior:–

  1. Inferior donation (hīna-dāna), medium donation (majjhima-dāna), and superior donation (paṇīta-dāna).
  2. Slave donation (dāsa-dāna), friend donation (sahāya-dāna), and master donation (sāmi-dāna).
  3. Donation of property (vatthu-dāna), giving freedom from fear (abhaya-dāna), and giving truth (Dhamma-dāna).
  4. Donation having the world dominant (lokādhipateyya-dāna), donation having oneself dominant (attādhipateyya-dāna), and donation having the truth dominant (Dhammādhipateyya-dāna).

End of the Summary of the Threefold

Four Kinds of Donation

Donation is of four kinds as:–

  1. Giving the four requisites (catupaccayato): donation of cloth or robes (cīvara-dāna), donation of food (piṇḍapāta-dāna), donation of buildings such as rest-houses, halls, and monasteries (senāsana-dāna), and donation of medicines and tonics (bhesajja-dāna).
  2. Gifts purified in four ways (dakkhīna visuddhito): (i) donation where the donor has morality, but the recipient does not, (ii) donation where the recipient has morality, but the donor does not, (iii) donation where both the donor and recipient have morality, and (iv) donation where neither the donor nor the recipient have morality.

End of the Summary of the Fourfold

Five Kinds of Donation

Donation of unsuitable things (adhamma-dāna) is of five kinds as:–

  1. Donation of intoxicants,
  2. Donation of the entertainments of actor and actress such as puppet-show and performance of dancing and singing,
  3. Donation of a bull to have sexual intercourse among cows,
  4. Donation of women for sensual pleasure, and
  5. Donation of pictures and paintings, such as reveries of men and women.

End of the Summary of the Fivefold

Six Kinds of Donation

Donation is of six kinds as sights (vaṇṇa), sounds (sadda), odours (gandha), flavours (rasa), touches (phoṭṭhabba), and ideas (dhamma):–

  1. Donation of visible objects such as flowers, cloths and clothes of good colours;
  2. Donation of audible objects such as brass-gongs, bells, harps, and xylophone producing pleasant sounds;
  3. Donation of pleasant odours such as fragrant flowers and scents;
  4. Donation of flavours such as edible food of nice taste;
  5. Donation of tangible objects such as shawls, robes of excellent touch;
  6. Donation of ideational objects such as nourishing fresh butter, butter and medicines to lengthen life.

Again, donation is of six kinds as parks (ārāmo) bridges (setu), trees (vanappati), water pot (papā), well (udapānaṃ), or dwelling (upassayo):–

  1. Donation of parks with fruit and flowers to be enjoyed by everyone;
  2. Donation of a bridge, stairway, or ladder;
  3. Donation of a shady forest tree;
  4. Donation by setting up a water-pot stand constantly;
  5. Donation of pond or well;
  6. Donation of rest-house, hall, temple, or cave.

End of the Summary of the Sixfold

Seven Kinds of Donation

Donation to the Saṅgha is of seven kinds as:–

  1. Donation to the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuṇī Saṅgha led by the Buddha;
  2. Donation to the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuṇī Saṅgha;
  3. Donation to the Bhikkhu Saṅgha;
  4. Donation to the Bhikkhuṇī Saṅgha;
  5. Donation to the Saṅgha intended for both Bhikkhus and Bhikkhuṇīs;
  6. Donation to the Saṅgha intended for only the Bhikkhu Saṅgha;
  7. Donation to the Saṅgha intended for only the Bhikkhuṇī Saṅgha.

End of the Summary of the Sevenfold

Eight Kinds of Donation

Donation is of eight kinds as desiring existence (dān’ upapati):–

  1. Donation carried out longing for human pleasures;
  2. Six kinds of donation done with the intention to attain celestial pleasures in the six deva realms;
  3. Donation performed by one who has attained absorption (jhāna) with the wish to gain the pleasures of the Brahma realm.

End of the Summary of the Eightfold

Nine Kinds of Donation

Unlawful donation (adhammikato) is of nine kinds as:–

  1. Donation intended for a certain person to another person;
  2. Donation intended for a certain person to the Saṅgha;
  3. Donation intended for a certain person to a pagoda (cetiya);
  4. Donation intended for the Saṅgha to a person;
  5. Donation intended for a certain Saṅgha to another Saṅgha;
  6. Donation intended for the Saṅgha to a pagoda;
  7. Donation intended for a pagoda to a person;
  8. Donation intended for a pagoda to a Saṅgha;
  9. Donation intended for a pagoda to another pagoda.

End of the Summary of the Ninefold

Ten Kinds of Donation

Donation is of ten kinds according to the things given (vatthuto):–

  1. Donation of food such as cooked rice (annaṃ);
  2. Donation of drinks (pānaṃ) — except water and alcohol;
  3. Donation of dwellings such as a house or monastery (gharaṃ);
  4. Donation of clothes and cloths (vatthaṃ);
  5. Donation of flowers (mālā);
  6. Donation of fragrant scents (gandho);
  7. Donation of talcum powder (vilepanaṃ);
  8. Donation of couches, beds, bedding, mats and carpets (seyyaṃ);
  9. Donation of rest-houses and huts for guests and travellers (avisattako);
  10. Donation of oil, candles, etc. to produce light (padipeyyaṃ).

End of the Summary of the Tenfold

Fourteen Kinds of Donation

Donation to individuals is of fourteen kinds:–

  1. Donation to an animal;
  2. Donation to an immoral person such as a hunter or fisherman;
  3. Donation to a moral non-Buddhist person;
  4. Donation to hermits who have attained absorption (jhāna) at a time when the Buddha’s dispensation (sāsana) is not extant;
  5. Donation to a moral person practising for the attainment of Stream-winning;
  6. Donation to a Stream-winner;
  7. Donation to a Stream-winner practising for the attainment of Once-returning;
  8. Donation to a Once-returner;
  9. Donation to a Once-returner practising for the attainment of Non-returning;
  10. Donation to a Non-returner;
  11. Donation to a Non-returner practising for the attainment of Arahatta;
  12. Donation to an Arahant;
  13. Donation to a Pacceka-Buddha;
  14. Donation to an Omniscient Buddha.

Learn by heart these fourteen kinds of recipients as listed in the Dakkhiṇāvibhaṅga Sutta, Uparipaṇṇāsa, Majjhimanikāya.

End of the Summary of the Fourteen-fold

Here Ends the Summary of Donation

#Contents#Summary of MoralityThe Exposition of Donation

Results in accordance with Kamma

“Sussūsaṃ labhate paññaṃ … uṭṭhātā vindate dhanaṃ.”¹

Knowledge, wisdom or skill (paññaṃ) can be attained (labhate) by the wish to respectfully listen to and heed the words of the wise and learned (sussūsaṃ). Wealth (dhanaṃ) can be obtained (vindate) by constant vigilance (uṭṭhātā).

“Suvijāno bhavaṃ hoti, duvijāno parābhavo.
Dhammakāmo bhavaṃ hoti, dhammadessī parābhavo.”²

The well-trained person (Suvijāno) gives rise to (hoti) the development and prosperity of pleasant effects in the present and future existences (bhavaṃ). A man of little wisdom (duvijāno) causes (hoti) the decline and impoverishment of continuous lives (parābhavo).

The lover of knowledge and the practice leading to nibbāna (Dhamma­kāmo) gives rise to (hoti) present and future affluent pleasures, wealth and superiority (bhavaṃ). The hater of knowledge and the practice (dhammadessī) causes (hoti) the decline and impoverishment of continuous lives (parābhavo).

“Yādisaṃ vapate bījaṃ, tādisaṃ harate phalaṃ
Kalyāṇakārī kalyāṇaṃ, pāpakārī ca pāpakaṃ.”³

The one who is in the habit of doing good deeds (Kalyāṇakārī) achieves welfare (kalyāṇaṃ,) the evil-doer (pāpakārī) begets evil (pāpakaṃ).

If good is done in the present life, good will be attained in the next existence. If evil is accomplished in the present life, evil will be obtained in the coming lives.

Whatever kind of (Yādisaṃ) seed (bījaṃ) is sown (vapate) the same kind of (tādisaṃ) fruit (phalaṃ) is harvested (harate).

High quality white rice will grow as a result of sowing good paddy. If red and rough paddy is sown the result will be likewise. If sour and bitter seeds are sown, sour and bitter fruits are the result. If sweet and delicious seeds are sown, sweet and delicious fruits are the result.

“Sadisaṃ pākaṃ janeti.”⁴

The effect (pākaṃ) is produced (janeti) according to the cause of volitional activity (Sadisaṃ). (Commentary to be learnt by heart).

Mostly, good and bad results are in accordance with their volitional activities.

“Manāpadāyī labhate manāpam.”⁵

The one who is accustomed to donating to the satisfaction of the recipient (Manāpadāyī) gets (labhate) pleasing effects (manāpaṃ). In other words: one who donates a thing that he likes, obtains a pleasing resultant.

The offering must be liked by the donor first, only then will the recipient appreciate it. The donation will be effective to the fullest extent if the recipient is satisfied. Manāpadāyī is the donor of the thing that can please himself and the recipient with the aforesaid knowledge. The satisfaction of the recipient is a must.

[The Prose from now on are not to be learnt by heart. Peruse to remember. Pāḷi with meaning is to be learnt by heart.]

Exposition of Two Kinds of Donation

1. Of the twofold donation of material things and truth, the latter is superior.

“Sabbadānaṃ dhammadānaṃ jināti.”⁶

The gift of the truth (dhammadānaṃ) exceeds (jināti) all gifts (sabba­dānaṃ).

In the comparison of material donation and donation of the Dhamma, the latter is superior. Donation of material things gives rise to wealth and luxury. Teaching of the Dhamma is the cause of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom.

2. Of donation with due respect and that without it, the former is supreme. When the donation is done without reverence, though it produces good effects, the donor will not be respected even by his wife, children and servants. At the arrival of the effects of donation carried out with respect, the donor is respected by many people.

3. Of donation in honour of superiors and donation to inferiors, the former is superior. However, donation to inferiors should also be given high regard. Even that must be carried out with active volition and respect. Even in feeding dogs, pigs, and fowl, it can be donation with respect (sakkacca-dāna) if the food is well-prepared and fed. It is without respect (asakkacca-dāna) if the food is just thrown in dust and mud.

4. Of donation made with one’s own hand (sāhatthika-dāna) and donation made by sending another (āṇattikato-dāna), the former is supreme. The effects of donation done by ordering another person without participating oneself are that the donor may be with few personal attendants and friends. In the Pāyāsi Sutta,⁷ Prince Pāyāsi became a lonely deity without any attendants in an old mansion. Therefore, if possible, do not send or employ others, but carry out the donation yourself.

5. Of donation of durable things and donation of non-durable things, the former is productive of stable result. The daily or regular offering of alms such as meals (though food is not durable) is also durable donation (thāvara-dāna).

“Tesaṃ divā ca ratto ca, sadā puññaṃ pavaḍḍhati.”⁸

The merit (puññaṃ), develops [like the current of a river] (pavaḍḍhati), by day (divā ca) and by night (ratto ca), for those (Tesaṃ) [who perform the donation of durable things or the daily offering of almsfood].

6. Of donation without accessories (aparivara-dāna) and donation with accessories (saparivara-dāna), the latter is supreme. Offering just a robe is called without accessories. Offering a robe together with other relevant requisites is called with accessories. Similarly with all other kinds of gifts. The effect of donation without accessories is that when the donor wants rice he gets only rice without other requisites. He may meet the awkward situation of getting honey without a container or a container without honey. The effect of donation with accessories is: when the donor wants rice he gets not only rice but also other suitable accompaniments such as curries, side-dishes, and beverages together with the requisite utensils.

“Sadisaṃ pakaṃ janeti”

“The result is according to the cause of volitional activity.”

7. Constant donation (nicca-dāna) and occasional donation (anicca-dāna) are similar to donation of durable things and donation of non-durable things. The one who performs either constant or donation of durable things is like a Stream-winner. According to the Aṅguttaranikāya Commentary, he or she is destined to celestial realms or fortunate existences after death. Therefore, it is best to perform either constant donation or donation of durable things.

8. Of instigated donation and spontaneous donation, the latter is supreme. Donation done by the instigation of another person causes the donor to be dull and his gains of wealth to be sluggish. Donation carried out without motivation results in the donor being dynamic and his gains of wealth to be swift when the effects arrive.

9. Of donation with knowledge (jāna-dāna) and that without knowledge (ajāna-dāna), the former is superior. The donation carried out without knowledge of its benefits gives rise to an effect with two root conditions: non-greed (alobha) and non-hatred (adosa). Wisdom may be weak. The donation with knowledge of benefits causes the triple root condition: non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion (amoha). It results in keen wisdom.

10. Of donation wishing for worldly pleasures (vaṭṭa-nissita-dāna) and donation wishing for supramundane pleasures (vivaṭṭa-nissita-dāna), the former is not included in ten kinds of perfections (pāramī). It can give only pleasures of celestial or human realms. It cannot fulfil the accomplishment of the Path, its Fruition, and nibbāna. Only donation not wishing for worldly pleasures is called the perfection of generosity. It is productive of three kinds of pleasure pertaining to human beings, deities, and nibbāna.

The ten perfections are: (i) donation or generosity (dāna), (ii) morality (sīla), (iii) renunciation (nekkhamma), (iv) wisdom (paññā), (v) energy (vīriya), (vi) patience (khantī), (vii) truthfulness (saccā), (viii) determination (adhiṭṭhāna), (ix) loving-kindness (mettā), (x) equanimity (upekkhā).

11. Of donation of suitable things (dhamma-dāna) and donation of inappropriate things (adhamma-dāna), the latter does not produce merit, but demerit. Five kinds of inappropriate donation will be explained later.

12. Of donation to the intended (dhammika-dāna) and diverted donation (adhammika-dāna), the latter is said to be lacking in merit. Of course, it is not totally lacking in wholesomeness, but it gains only a little merit. Nine kinds of diverted donation will be explained later.

13. Of donation of material things (vatthu-dāna) and donation of freedom from fear (abhaya-dāna), the latter is supreme. The five precepts are included in the donation of freedom of fear.

14. Of donation of one’s own body (ajjhattika-dāna) and donation of external things (bahira-dāna), the donation of one’s own body is supreme.

15. Of blameworthy donation (sāvajja-dāna) and blameless donation (anavajja-dāna), the latter is superior. Blameworthy donation is productive of internal and external harms in the existence when it takes effect. One may have wealth but one may have to risk one’s life to keep it.

16. Of donation of excellent things (agga-dāna) and donation of left-overs (ucchiṭṭha-dāna), the former is superior. However, if the recipient is satisfied with remnants, that donation will still be very effective. One should offer even remnants with active volition and respect. The remnants of the rich are excellent for the poor. The remains of human meals are grand feasts for dogs, pigs, chickens, and birds.

17. Of donation of superior things (paṇīta-dāna) and the donation of inferior things (hīna-dāna), the former is superior. However, even the donation of inferior things done with active volition and respect brings great benefit if it can satisfy and help the recipient.

Here Ends the Exposition of Twofold Donation

Exposition of Three Kinds of Donation

1. Of the threefold; the donation carried out longing for fame is inferior donation. The donation done with the wish to get the effects of the pleasures of human being and celestial realms is medium donation. The donation with high regard for the practice of the Noble Ones, and to fulfil the perfections (pāramī) is superior donation.

Again, the donation done longing for the pleasures of human beings and celestial realms is inferior. The donation with the aim of enlightenment of a disciple or of a Pacceka Buddha is medium. The donation with the object of the Omniscience of a Buddha is superior.

Therefore, good deeds should not be done without aim and object. It is commonly said to carry out good actions with a single object among three sorts of Bodhi that is none other than path knowledge (magga-ñāṇa).

“Bodhi vuccati catūsu maggesu ñāṇaṃ.”⁹

The knowledge (ñāṇaṃ) in the four paths (catūsu maggesu) is called (vuccati) enlightenment (Bodhi).

Enlightenment (bodhi) consists of three classes: (i) that of a disciple (Sāvaka-bodhi), (ii) that of a Solitary Buddha (Pacceka-bodhi), and (iii) that of an Omniscient Buddha (Sabbaññu-bodhi).

The enlightenment of a disciple is of three categories: (i) that of a chief disciple (aggasāvaka-bodhi), (ii) that of a great disciple (mahā­sāvaka-bodhi), and (iii) that of an ordinary disciple (pakatisāvaka-bodhi).

The enlightenment of an Omniscient Buddha (sabbaññu-bodhi) is also has three categories: (i) that gained through extraordinary wisdom (paññādhika), (ii) that gained through extraordinary faith (saddhadhika), and (iii) that gained through extraordinary effort (viriyādhika).

One who depends on wisdom for his enlightenment has to fulfil the perfections for four incalculable aeons (asaṅkheyya) and one hundred thousand world-cycles.

One who depends on faith has to fulfil the perfections for eight incalculable aeons and one hundred thousand world-cycles.

One who depends on effort has to fulfil the perfections for sixteen incalculable aeons and one hundred thousand world-cycles.

To attain Pacceka-Bodhi the perfections have to be fulfilled for two incalculable aeons and one hundred thousand world-cycles.

Those disciples like Venerable Sāriputta and Venerable Moggallāna standing on the right and left of the Buddha are called chief disciples (aggasāvaka). The chief disciples have to fulfil the perfections for one incalculable aeon and one hundred thousand world-cycles.

The eighty great disciples (mahāsāvaka) of right retinue and left retinue composing forty in each such as Venerable Ānanda, Venerable Anuruddha, and Venerable Mahā-Kassapa have to fulfil the perfections for one hundred thousand world-cycles.

The remaining noble disciples of the Buddha including laity, bhikkhus, deities and Brahmā are called ordinary disciples (pakatisāvaka). It is said that perfections need to be fulfilled for a hundred or a thousand world-cycles for that enlightenment. However, there is also another saying that it can be attained within two or three existences, if the perfections are mature.

2. Of donation as to a slave (dāsa-dāna), to a friend (sahāya-dāna) or to a master (sāmi-dāna), the effects of donation as a master can be obtained according to the moral status of the recipients. Even the slave or friendly donation can be greatly effective if they are satisfying and helpful for the recipient. It is important to carry them out with respect and active volition.

3. The donation of material things (vatthu-dāna), freedom from fear (abhaya-dāna), and a gift of truth (dhamma-dāna) have been already been fully explained.

4. There are some donations done without volition and confidence, but for fear of blame. That kind of donation is called the donation having the world dominant (lokādhipateyya). The appropriate donation in accordance with one’s social status without volition and confidence is called the donation having oneself dominant (attādhipateyya). The donation carried out with high regard for the virtues of the Buddha, Solitary Buddha, chief disciples, great disciples, ordinary disciples and good people, that is generous and altruistic — the contribution, supply and feeding the recipients according to their wishes and one’s best ability is called donation having the truth dominant (dhammādhipateyya) — that kind of donation is supreme.

Here Ends the Exposition of the Threefold

Exposition of Four Kinds of Donation

1. Of donation of the four requisites for monks, the donation of a monastery to the Bhikkhu Saṅgha is the noblest.

“Vihāradānaṃ saṅghassa, aggaṃ buddhena vaṇṇitam.”¹⁰

The donation of a monastery (vihāra-dānaṃ) for all bhikkhus that come from the four directions (saṅghassa) is praised (vaṇṇitaṃ) by the Buddha (buddhena) as the noblest (aggaṃ).

“So ca sabbadado hoti, yo dadāti upassayaṃ.”¹¹

Whoever (yo) [builds and] donates (dadāti) a monastery (upassayaṃ), that person (So) is (hoti) the donor of all (sabbadado).

2. Of the four kinds of purity and effectiveness of donation,¹² the donation in which both the donor and recipient are moral is supreme. The donation in which either donor or recipient is moral is moderate.

  1. The donor is moral, but not the recipient (e.g. the donation by King Vessantara to Jūjaka).
  2. The recipient is moral, but not the donor (e.g. the donation to Venerable Dīghasama thera by a fisherman on the bank of Kalyāṇī River).
  3. Both the donor and recipient are immoral. (e.g. the donation of a hunter of Vuḍḍhamana forest for the welfare of his former relative, then a hungry ghost (peta), to a bhikkhu of defective morality).
  4. Both donor and recipient are moral. (e.g. the incomparable donation (asadisa-dāna) of King Pasenadi Kosala).¹³

End of the Exposition of the Fourfold

Exposition of Five Kinds of Donation

Giving poison, a rope or any weapon to accomplish another’s suicidal tendencies is not meritorious, but the action of killing a sentient being. It is the same in giving anything to satisfy the needs of the potential killer. Giving one’s bodily organs with the pure intention to cure the diseased person makes the merit of donation. Donating the destroyed fisherman’s net, bow, arrow, or any weapon to be used in a monastery or pagoda is the merit of donation.

The donation of liquor, not for intoxication, but as an ingredient of medicine or for external application to sores such as leprosy is also meritorious. The donation of the performances of dancing, singing, and puppet-shows merely to arouse defilements is demeritorious (adhamma-dāna). The donation of music and songs cannot be said to be without merit if one plays or sings praises to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha. There are traditional donations of such kind in the treatises. The donation of men and women, not for sensual pleasures, but for service, cannot be described as demeritorious giving.

End of the Exposition of the Fivefold

Exposition of Six Kinds of Donation

Donation of various objects of the six senses is obvious and needs no further explanation. Again, donation of six kinds of objects such as parks, bridges, trees, water pots, ponds or wells, and dwellings, is clear.

Exposition of Seven Kinds of Donation

Of the sevenfold, the Saṅgha that can be referred means the number of Saṅgha that is directed serially by the elders in compliance with the request and wish of the donor. That is the donation to persons as directed by elders.

End of the Exposition of the Sevenfold

Exposition of Eight Kinds of Donation

Of the eightfold, the eight donations desiring existence are only a group of donation done longing for worldly pleasures (vaṭṭanissita-dāna).

“Tassa taṃ cittaṃ hinādhimuttaṃ hoti.”

That consciousness (taṃ cittaṃ) of the donor (Tassa) is (hoti) inclined to the inferior (hinādhimuttaṃ).

The consciousness longing only for the pleasures of human beings, deities, and Brahmā, is inclined to the inferior. Though it culminates with the pleasure of Brahmā, that is not attainable by donation. The donor must be attain absorption (jhāna) for the pleasure of Brahma realms to be obtained.

End of the Exposition of the Eightfold

Exposition of Nine Kinds of Donation

In the ninefold, three kinds of donation to another person, to a Saṅgha, or to a pagoda after inclination to a certain person are called unlawful donation (adhammika-dāna). Herein, the intended offering means that which has been declared or built for a certain person.

“Pariṇataṃ nāma dassāma, karissāmā’ti vācā bhinnā hoti.” ¹⁴

The inclined offering (Pariṇataṃ nāma) is (hoti) the speech (vācā) that has been uttered (bhinnā) thus (’ti) “Let’s donate” and (dassāma) “Let’s build” (karissāma).

It is not the offering inclined only in mind. Offering inclined to one person in thought can be changed and donated to another person. That kind of donation is not called unlawful donation.

The remaining threefold groups are the same.

It is said that unlawful donation cannot achieve merit. That is not so at all. It is called unlawful donation as it lacks one of the following:–

  1. Volition before donation (pubba-cetanā),
  2. Volition at the time of donation (muñca-cetanā), and
  3. Volition after donation (apara-cetanā).

In any case, merit is achieved.

If it is declared verbally to donate or build something for a certain person, it is to be presumed that half of it already belongs to that person because of that utterance. Therefore, it is not suitable to change the intention and donate it to another, the diverting of the donation comprises the corruption of verbal truth. It is giving to another by taking the half that already belongs to the first person. That is why it is called unlawful donation.

The acceptance of offerings is expounded as nine kinds of unlawful acceptance (adhammika-paṭiggaha). The second recipient should not accept such donations even though the donor offers it. A gift diverted to a pagoda is an exception as it is lifeless and cannot accept or refuse the offering.

There is a legitimate reason for the half ownership of an offering after an utterance. In the Pāḷi text ¹⁵ because of an utterance referring to the Saṅgha, the offering belongs to the Saṅgha (Saṅghika). From the study of the exposition of Saṅghika in the commentary, it will be evident that half the offering has been given to the person referred to because of the utterance. The donation of things obtained by wrong action is meritorious, but censurable as the offering is unclean. Similarly, nine kinds of diverted donation to another person, Saṅgha, or pagoda after verbally offering to another are blameworthy and expounded as unlawful donations. They are not without merit. The donation should be diverted after the first recipient has been asked for permission. One might ask whether it would be unlawful donation if the offering intended for a shameless and immoral person who was thought formerly to be moral, is diverted and donated to a moral person. It will be more efficacious as it is diverted to a moral recipient. However, since it is an unlawful donation its effects are less smooth.

End of the Exposition of the Ninefold

Exposition of Ten Kinds of Donation

In the tenfold, the donation of nutriment gives rise especially to strength.

“Annado balado hoti, vatthado hoti vaṇṇado.
Yānado sukhado hoti, dīpado hoti cakkhudo.”¹⁶

The giver of food (Annado) is (hoti) the giver of strength (balado). The donor of cloth and robes (vatthado) is (hoti) the donor of good complexion or reputation (vaṇṇado).¹⁷

The donor of a vehicle (Yānado) is (hoti) the donor of pleasure and comfort (sukhado). The donation of a vehicle includes a carriage, cart, raft, ship, elephant, or giving free ferry-service for comfortable and safe arrival of passengers at their destination, and the contribution of fares for the journeys by boat, cart, train and ship. This group of donations is called that of a vehicle. This donation of vehicles gives its result as pleasure in four postures of going, standing, sitting and lying down without any disease and danger in successive lives. The donation of light (dīpado) gives the effect of various kinds of eye (cakkhudo):

The ordinary physical eye (pasāda-cakkhu),

  1.  The divine-eye (dibbacakkhu),¹⁸
  2. Knowledge of the Four Noble Truths (dhammacakkhu),
  3. The eye of wisdom (paññācakkhu),¹⁹
  4. Omniscience (samanta-cakkhu).

There is no result better than vision (i.e. enlightenment). The donation of a rest-house, hall, monastery, abode and shady tree gives rise to all kinds of effects such as strength, complexion, and physical comfort.

Among all donations, the donation of a monastery to the Saṅgha gives the greatest effect.

End of the Exposition of the Tenfold

Exposition of Fourteen Kinds of Donation

1. Of the fourteen-fold, among fourteen individual donations, feeding animals a full meal gives rise to five results:–

  1. long life (āyu),
  2. complexion (vaṇṇa),
  3. pleasure or comfort (sukha),
  4. strength (bala), and
  5. intelligence (paṭibhāna), in a hundred existences.

The aforesaid results are effective for:–

  1. One thousand existences for an immoral human recipient,
  2. One hundred thousand existences for moral laity without three refuges of Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha,
  3. One billion²⁰ existences for hermits with absorption (jhāna) outside the Buddha’s dispensation (sāsana),
  4. Aeons of existences for the donation of a meal to individuals starting from moral laity or novice (sāmaṇera) with three refuges up to a Stream-winner (sotāpanna).

At each stage, the result become greater. The bhikkhu of defective morality is not included in the fourteen kinds of recipients. Therefore, it is said that the bhikkhu of defective morality is not worthy to be a recipient and the donor does not get merit. According to the Milindapañha, the bhikkhu of defective morality is superior to an immoral layman in ten factors.

In the Velāma Sutta the donation of food for a meal to a Stream-winner is more beneficial than the grand feast that the Bodhisatta, Brahmin Velāma, celebrated for seven years, seven months, and seven days inviting the people all over the continent of India (Jambudīpa). Giving food for a meal to a Once-returner (sakadāgāmi) is more beneficial than feeding a hundred Stream-winners. Serving a meal to a Non-returner (anāgāmi) is more advantageous than feeding a hundred Once-returners. Serving a meal to an Arahant is better than feeding a hundred Non-returners. Serving a meal to a Solitary Buddha is better than feeding a hundred Arahants. Serving a meal to an Omniscient Buddha is better than feeding a hundred Solitary Buddhas, and serving a meal to the Saṅgha led by the Buddha is superior to feeding an Omniscient Buddha.

The donation of a monastery for bhikkhus from the four directions gives more advantage than the donation of a meal to the Saṅgha led by the Buddha. Taking the three refuges in Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha is more beneficial than the donation of a monastery. Keeping the five precepts, together with three refuges is better than taking only three refuges. Meditation of loving-kindness for a moment as long as pulling a cow’s udder is more effective than keeping five precepts together with three refuges. Meditation on impermanence is nobler and more advantageous than meditation on loving-kindness.

End of the Exposition of Donation

#Contents#CritiqueoftheDhammaVinayaTreatiseSummary of Morality

In the Visuddhimagga, in the section on the analysis of morality (Sīlappabhedakathā) it says:–

“Tikesu paṭhamattike hīnena chandena cittena vīriyena vīmaṃsāya vā pavattitaṃ hīnaṃ. Majjhimehi chandādīhi pavattitaṃ majjhimaṃ. Paṇītehi paṇītaṃ. Yasakāmatāya vā samādinnaṃ hīnaṃ. Puññaphalakāmatāya majjhimaṃ. Kattabbamevidanti ariyabhāvaṃ nissāya samādinnaṃ paṇītaṃ. “Ahamasmi sīlasampanno, ime panaññe bhikkhū dussīlā pāpadhammā”ti evaṃ attukkaṃsanaparavambhanādīhi upakkiliṭṭhaṃ vā hīnaṃ. Anupakkiliṭṭhaṃ lokiyaṃ sīlaṃ majjhimaṃ. Lokuttaraṃ paṇītaṃ. Taṇhāvasena vā bhavabhogatthāya pavattitaṃ hīnaṃ. Attano vimokkhatthāya pavattitaṃ majjhimaṃ. Sabbasattānaṃ vimokkhatthāya pavattitaṃ pāramitāsīlaṃ paṇītanti evaṃ hīnamajjhimapaṇītavasena tividhaṃ.”²¹

Among the triads (Tikesu), in the first of the triads (paṭhamattike), [the morality that is] established (pavattitaṃ) by inferior (hīnena) will (chandena), consciousness (cittena), energy (vīriyena) and wisdom (vimaṃsāya) is the inferior (hīnaṃ). That established (pavattitaṃ) by medium (majjhimehi) will and so forth (chandādehi) is the medium (majjhimaṃ). That undertaken by superior will and so forth (paṇītehi) is the superior (paṇitaṃ).

Or [in other words] (), that undertaken (samādinnaṃ) longing for (kāmatāya) the admiration of others, fame (yasa) and followers is the inferior (hīnaṃ). That undertaken (samādinnaṃ) longing for (kāmataya) the fruit (phala) of merit (puñña) is the medium (majjhimaṃ). That is undertaken (samādinnaṃ) depending upon (nissaya) the nature (bhavaṃ) of noble ones (ariya) thus: (iti): [this practice of morality] should be carried out (kattabbameva) by the good people and the potential noble ones is the superior (panitaṃ).

Or [in another way] (): “I am (Ahamasmi) endowed with (sampanno) morality (sīla), but (pana) these (ime) other (aññe) monks (bhikkhū) are immoral (dussilā) and evil (pāpadhamma).” Thus (iti evaṃ) the corrupted (upakkiliṭṭhaṃ) [morality] with self-exaltation (attukkaṃsana), denigration of others (paravambhana) and so on (adīhi) is the inferior (hīnaṃ). The worldly (lokiya) morality (sīlaṃ) uncorrupted (anupakkiliṭṭhaṃ) [with self-exaltation and defamation of others] is the medium (majjhimaṃ). The supramundane (lokuttaraṃ) morality is the superior (panītaṃ).

Again (), that established (pavattitaṃ) by craving (Taṇhāvasena) for the achievement of status and wealth (bhavabhogatthāya) is the inferior (hīnaṃ). That established (pavattitaṃ) for oneself (attano) to be released (vimokkhatthaya) from saṃsāra is the medium (majjhimaṃ). That (pāramīta) of morality (sīlaṃ) established (pavattitaṃ) for the release (vimokkhatthāya) of all (sabba) living-beings (sattānaṃ)²² from saṃsāra is the superior (paṇītaṃ).

Tearing, Ripping, Blotching and Mottling of Morality

“Apica kho aññataraṃ devanikāyaṃ paṇidhāya brahmacariyaṃ carati ‘Imināhaṃ sīlena vā vatena vā tapena vā brahmacariyena vā devo vā bhavissāmi devaññataro vā’ti. So tadassādeti, taṃ nikāmeti, tena ca vittiṃ āpajjati. Idampi kho, brāhmaṇa, brahmacariyassa khaṇḍampi chiddampi sabalampi kammāsampī”ti.²³

The noble practice (brahmacariyaṃ) is really (Apica kho) carried out (carati) longing for (paṇidhaya) one or another (aññataraṃ) celestial plane (devanikāyaṃ) [thinking], “Thus (iti) I (ahaṃ) will become (bhavissāmi) either a famous deity (devo vā) or an unknown deity (devaññataro vā) either by this constant practice of morality (Imina sīlena) or () by this habit of non-transgression (vattena) or () by this severe practice of austerity (tapena) or ()by this noble practice of chastity (brahmacariyena).” He (So) takes delight in (assādeti) that plane of deities (taṃ) and has a strong desire for (nikāmeti) it (taṃ) and (ca) takes (āpajjati) satisfaction (vittiṃ) in that (tena). O brahmin, (brahmaṇa) indeed (kho) the condition of desire and delight for celestial planes (Idampi) is (hoti) either tearing (khaṇḍampi), or ripping (chiddampi), or blotching (sabalampi), or mottling (kammāsampi) of the sublime practice of morality (brahmacariyassa).

Two Kinds of Morality

The reasons for morality to be inferior are the same as in the case of donation. So too, for the medium and the superior.

Morality (sīlaṃ) is of two kinds (duvidhaṃ) as:–

  1. Morality of laymen (gahattha) and of those gone forth (pabbajito).
  2. Among the morality of laymen (gahatthe), there are constant practice of five precepts, eight precepts with right livelihood, and ten precepts called permanent morality (niccato), and occasional observance of eight precepts according to one’s capability (aniccato).
  3. Morality that is fruitful if it is observed (cāritta-sīla) and guiltless if it is not observed such as the precept of abstaining from food after midday, and the morality or restraint (vāritta-sīla) that is beneficial if it is kept and detrimental unless it is observed.
  4. Morality associated with craving and wrong view, which is dependent (nissita-sīla) and that dissociated from craving and wrong view, which is not dependent (anissita-sīla).
  5. Mundane (lokiya) and supramundane morality (lokuttarato).

Here Ends the Summary of the Twofold

Three Kinds of Morality

Morality is of three kinds (tividhaṃ) as:–

  1. Inferior (hīna), medium (majjhima), and superior (paṇītato).
  2. As in the case of donation, there are morality having oneself dominant (attādhipateyya-sīla), morality having the world dominant (lokādhipateyya-sīla) and morality having the truth dominant (dhammādhipateyya-sīla).
  3. That adhered to through craving and wrong view (paramaṭṭha-sīla), that not adhered to through craving and wrong view (aparamaṭṭha-sīla), and the morality freed from corruption (paṭipassadhi-sīla).

Here Ends the Summary of the Threefold

Four Kinds of Morality

Morality is of four kinds (catubbidhaṃ) as:–

  1. (i) Partaking of deterioration (hānabhāgiya-sīla), (ii) partaking of stagnation (ṭhitibhāgiya-sīla), (iii) partaking of distinction (visesabhāgiya-sīla) and (iv) partaking of penetration (nibbedhabhāgiya-sīla).
  2. (i) Habitual morality fulfilled by the people of Uttarakuru, the northern continent, by traditional and permanent non-transgression (pakati-sīla), (ii) Customary morality observed according to clan, locality, and religion (ācāra-sīla), (iii) Natural morality of a Bodhisatta’s mother who has no thought of men in connection with sensual desire after the Bodhisatta’s conception (Dhammatā-sīla), and (iv) morality purified by former causes like those of Venerable Kassapa and the Bodhisatta (pubbahetuka-sīla).

Here Ends the Summary of the Fourfold

Five Kinds of Morality

Morality is of five kinds (pañcavidhaṃ) by means of abstinence and so on (veramaṇīyādito):–

  1. Morality as abstinence (viratī-sīla),
  2. Morality as a volition (cetanā-sīla),
  3. Morality as a mental state (cetasika-sīla),
  4. Morality as restraint (saṃvara-sīla), and
  5. Morality as non-transgression (avītikkama-sīla).

Here Ends the Summary of the Fivefold

Eight Kinds of Morality

By means of the permanent eightfold morality (ājīvaṭṭhamakavasena), it is of eight kinds (atthavidhaṃ):–

  1. Abstaining from killing beings (pāṇātipātā veramaṇī),
  2. Abstaining from taking that which is not given (adinnādānā veramaṇī),
  3. Abstaining from sexual misconduct or wrong practice in tangible objects of sensual pleasures (kāmesu-micchācārā veramaṇī),
  4. Abstaining from false speech (musāvāda veramaṇī),
  5. Abstaining from slanderous speech (pisuṇavācā veramaṇī),
  6. Abstaining from harsh speech (pharusavācā veramaṇī),
  7. Abstaining from frivolous speech such as relating legends that are not beneficial for the present and the future existences (samphappalāpā veramaṇī), and
  8. Abstaining from wrong livelihood (micchā-ājīvā veramaṇī).

Again, it is of eight kinds by means of the eight precepts undertaken on Sabbath days (Uposathavasena).

Again it differs in various eight precepts as:–

  1. Eight precepts undertaken on Uposatha days (pakatikaṃ),
  2. Eight precepts that are observed for four months, three months, two months or a fortnight (pāṭihariyaṃ), and
  3. Eight precepts that are maintained on the days before and after Uposatha days (paṭijāgaraṃ).

Again, the Uposatha differs in the mode of observance as:–

  1. The Uposatha that is similar to the performance of a cowherd looking for pastures (gopālakaṃ),
  2. The Uposatha that is like that of the Naked Ascetics who limited their avoidance of killing in selected areas and directions (Nigaṇṭhakaṃ), and
  3. The Uposatha that is like the eight precepts fulfilled by Noble Ones (ariyakaṃ).

Here Ends the Summary of the Eightfold

Nine Kinds of Morality

Morality is ninefold (navavidhaṃ), as the Uposatha of nine factors by means of the meditation on loving-kindness in addition to the eight precepts (navaṅguposathavasena).

Here Ends the Summary of the Ninefold

Forty Kinds of Morality

Morality is of forty kinds (cattalisavidhaṃ), by abandoning (pahāna­vasena) ten wrong actions (dasannaṃ duccaritānaṃ). I pay homage (Ahaṃ namāmi) to the Buddha who taught (desentaṃ) that (taṃ) [the various types of morality such as the precepts that should be kept by laymen].

There is no morality of mental action. Three wrong mental actions are included in varieties of moral precepts but they are not real precepts. All wrong actions are shown to be complete. There are forty wrong actions when ten wrong actions are permuted with:–

  1. Doing it oneself,
  2. Urging others to do it
  3. Speaking in praise of it or condoning it, and
  4. Taking satisfaction in those wrong actions.

N.B. Ten types of wrong actions are:–

Three Wrong Bodily Actions

  1. Killing living beings.
  2. Taking that which is not given.
  3. Sexual misconduct.

Four Wrong Verbal Actions

  1. False speech,
  2. Slanderous speech,
  3. Harsh speech,
  4. Frivolous speech.

Three Wrong Mental Actions

  1. Covetousness,
  2. Ill-will,
  3. Wrong view.

End of Forty Wrong Actions

Here Ends the Summary of Morality

#Contents#DeitiesShouldbeReveredCritique of the Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise

May internal and the external dangers and obstructions be overcome.

The donation described on page 19 of the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise” consists of:–

  1. The donation that obtains mere effect,
  2. The donation that does not obtain mere effect, and
  3. The fruitless donation of which both donor and recipient become the destroyers of the Buddha’s dispensation (sāsana) and is liable to fall into Avīci-hell.

Then the exposition of the second type is explained as follows:–

“The donation of which the recipient is either a morally shameless person (alajjī) or the donor offers traditionally like the ancestral veneration of Mahāgiri Deva because the recipient had traditionally been revered by ancestors, must be noted as the donation that does not achieve mere effect.”

This saying cannot be found in sound treatises. It is only the exposition of one’s own opinion. Even so, it should be accepted and noted if it accords with treatises in comparison with them.

#Contents#NotFruitlessEvenforShamelessMonksDeities Should be Revered

I will consider whether the veneration of deities is in agreement with treatises. The traditional worship of deities like Mahāgiri that are revered ancestrally is a beneficial action according to the Pāḷi text of the Aṅguttaranikāya.

In the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta, the traditional veneration of guardian deities of villages, towns, divisions, and the country is said to be Aparihāniya-dhamma, a factor of non-decline for citizens.

In the Ratana Sutta of the Suttanipāta it says:–

“Tasmā hi bhūtā nisāmetha sabbe,
mettaṃ karotha mānusiyā pajāya.
Divā ca ratto ca haranti ye baliṃ,
tasmā hi ne rakkhatha appamattā.” (Sn v 225)

Therefore, indeed, (Tasmā hi), O deities! (bhutā) listen to me carefully (nisāmetha) all of you (sabbe) please develop (karotha) loving-kindness (mettaṃ) towards human beings (manusiyā pajāya). Those people (ye) bring you (haranti) offerings (baliṃ) by day (divā ca) and by night (ratto ca). Therefore (tasmā hi) look after (rakkhatha) those people (ne) with vigilance (appamattā).

Thus in the Ratana Sutta, the Buddha urged the deities to develop loving-kindness towards the people who make offerings and revere them day and night.

In the Udāna, the Buddha advised sharing merits with deities:–

“Yā tattha devatā āsuṃ, tāsaṃ dakkhiṇamādise;
Tā pūjitā pūjayanti, mānitā mānayanti naṃ.
Tato naṃ anukampanti, mātā puttaṃva orasaṃ;
Devatānukampito poso, sadā bhadrāni passatī’’ti.²⁴

There are (āsuṃ) those () deities (devatā) at that place [of a new house] (tattha) one should share (ādise) the merit of one’s donation (dakkhiṇaṃ) among the guardian-deities [of oneself, one’s house and so on] (tāsaṃ [devatā naṃ]). Those guardian-deities () honoured by this sharing of merit (pūjitā) honour by looking after in return (pūjayanti) the person who shares the merit (naṃ). Those deities () revered with offerings by a householder (mānitaṃ) revere him by warding off danger (mānayanti naṃ). The householder (poso) looked after by deities (devatā) out of compassion (anukampito) sees (passati) is blessed with good effects (bhadrāni).

When people move to new houses they serve the monks with meals and share the merits with the guardian-deities of houses, such as Mahāgiri. For that share of merit, the guardian-deities of houses will honour and revere them in return by protecting them from danger. If householders are looked after by deities with compassion they will get blessings and honours.

The Buddha, who taught for the welfare of people, has praised the ancestral veneration of deities in several discourses. In the Mahā­parinibbāna Sutta it says that failing to obey this tradition is a factor of decline.

Benefit of the Veneration of Deities

The traditional honour of deities like Mahāgiri is not the unfounded kind of veneration because they are worthy of offering (dakkhiṇeyya) for their qualities of morality, concentration, and wisdom. It is not blind veneration without due consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of volitional activities. It is like the respecting of a physician to be free from diseases. It is also like the deference paid to the rich to be wealthy and the veneration of kings and officials to get comfort and glory. Diseases can be cured by respecting skilled physicians. Association with the wealthy leads to wealth. By veneration and attendance on kings and officials one can enjoy wealth and glory. This is evident in the world. If one has no respect for kings and officials, one may lose comfort, wealth and even life. This is also obvious.

Relying solely on volitional activities, some naïve people totally disregard the traditional veneration and reverence for deities. However, those same people dare not disobey the orders of kings and officials by relying only on their kamma. They are afraid of them, as if for their very lives.

Disadvantage of Irreverence for Deities

Though there is evidence of loss of life, comfort, and wealth because of the danger of kings and officials who are to be feared. The loss of life, comfort, and wealth due to the anger of deities is not obvious, so ignorant people are not afraid of them. This is a precise exposition because of the example of traditional, ancestral veneration of Mahāgiri given for ineffective donation in the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise.” It is a factor for losing one’s life, the lives of one’s children, and grand-children, as well as wealth and comfort for disrespect of those deities like Mahāgiri.

#Contents#ThreeTypesofBhikkhuNot Fruitless Even for Shameless Monks

One of the fruitless factors is shown by the donation of which the donor by chance offers to shameless recipients, through ancestral tradition. If the donation is performed knowing that the recipient is shameless (alajjī), it can be said to be fruitless. Why can it be fruitless if the donation is performed by custom, without knowing the recipient to be shameless? It can only be said to be fruitless and blameworthy if the donation is done with the knowledge that the recipient is shameless with the improper intention to support and defend the oppression and subjugation of scrupulous bhikkhus. A bhikkhu becomes shameless due to the continuous transgression, with awareness, of a certain precept. However, that person still maintains hundreds of precepts that he has not infringed. Any one of the remaining precepts is invaluable. Knowing the benefit of each precept laid down by the Buddha, if donation is performed with unwavering confidence in the remainder of precepts that he has not transgressed, the results will be for aeons and infinite.

Allegory of the Gem Digger

In the Mogok gem mines, some emeralds are covered by outer layers of ore. These have priceless gems inside them. With weak eyesight, an unskilled gem-digger finds one of them, but sees only the outer layer. Not having seen the inside colour, he does not known its value. Thinking it to be worthless, he throws it away. If a skilled gem-digger with good eyesight finds that stone. Seeing the inside colour penetrating the outer layer, he brings it home. After cutting and polishing it, he sells it and becomes wealthy.

Similarly, according to the Pāḷi passage of the Visuddhimagga commentary beginning, “Navakoṭisahassāni …” more than nine hundred million precepts rest on bhikkhus after the recitation of the formal act of the Saṅgha (ñatti-kammavācā). Laymen and bhikkhus with weak wisdom see only the minor precepts broken, but not the remaining nine hundred million that are intact. Those who have powers of confidence and wisdom can see those uncorrupted precepts and adore even the shameless bhikkhu.

Therefore, one cannot say that the accidental or traditional donation to a shameless monk thinking him to be scrupulous is fruitless.

Not the Perfection of Donation

In other words, the donation done with discrimination and desire for effects thinking, “Donation to a shameless monk produces small effects and donation to scrupulous monks is highly productive,” is moderate. Like morality, in accordance with the phrase in the Visuddhimagga, longing for the effects of merit is moderate (puññaphala kāmatāya majjhimaṃ).²⁵ It cannot be the perfection of donation. It is just meritorious activity (puññābhisaṅkhāra) productive of good results. It is not the donation that enables one to be liberated from the cycle of repeated births and deaths. The donation that is carried out regardless of the worthiness of the recipient and the effects is like the perfection of donation by potential Buddhas and Noble Ones because the recipients are not classified as inferior or superior and donation is given according to one’s capability. That kind of spontaneous donation with high regard for the perfections cannot be fruitless.

It is true. Those donors who want good effects have to take care of the factors of scrupulous and shameless. The donations with discrimination for greater benefits are inferior — they are not perfections. They cannot release donors from the cycle of rebirth.

The morality undertaken (samādinnaṃ) desiring the effects of merit (puññaphalakāmatāya) is medium (majjhimaṃ). Morality and donation are similar.

Perfection of Donation

Nowadays, some laymen and monks are not aware of the Visuddhimagga Commentary and they give great importance to the distinction between scrupulous and shameless recipients. They are only encouraging inferior donation. Therefore, avoiding the distinction between scrupulous and shameless for the sake of great effects of donation, the people who want to carry out the perfection of donation to be liberated from the cycle of rebirth should care only for generous donation without stint or desire for its effects.

“Viceyya dānaṃ dātabbam, yattha dinnaṃ mahapphalam.”²⁶

After selection (Viceyya) the donation (dānaṃ) should be given (dātabbaṃ), the donation (dinnaṃ) to that person (yattha) is productive of great benefit (mahapphalaṃ).

This is the discourse taught putting the effect in the foremost position in compliance with the inclination of a person without consideration of accomplishment or non-accomplishment of perfections.

By these words, the second statement, “The chance and traditional donation to shameless monks is fruitless” is clearly shown to be unacceptable.

Donation Does not Lead to Hell

“The fruitless donation of which both the donor and the recipient become destroyers of the Buddha’s dispensation and prone to fall into Avīci hell.”

This third statement is explained as follows:–

  1. The recipient is shameless (alajjī) or immoral (dussīla),
  2. The donor likes the manners of shameless or immoral monks such as the treatment of patients, fortune-telling, acting as a messenger, or giving gifts of fruits or flowers to the donor.

Without volition, both the donor and recipient follow the manners of real destroyers of the dispensation. The shameless and immoral persons as imitation of what one sees (diṭṭhānugati), both of them will suffer, one above another, in Avīci hell.

These words do not accord with texts and treatises. They are only vain exposition of a destructive view. Here, I shall explain a little further. In the case of shameless persons, the monks do not have to observe the precepts by utterance like laymen. At the end of recitation of the formal act of the Saṅgha all of the monks’ precepts have been undertaken. This function is totally ruined after abandoning the training or after transgression of the gravest offence of defeat (pārājika), or with the promise of a bhikkhu to remain as a novice (sāmaṇera) or layman. That person is neither shameless nor immoral. One is shameless who makes a promise to be a bhikkhu after the infringement of an offence of defeat. Not having fallen into the offence of defeat, if one is committing lesser offences with awareness, consciousness, and volition, such as Saṅghādisesa that entail a formal meeting of the Saṅgha, the function of observance for that person has not been broken even for the precept broken. The recitation of the formal act of announcement (ñatti-kammavācā) does not need to be repeated. Only restraint (saṃvara-dhamma) has been broken. As the function of observance is not ruined, that person is not immoral, but shameless. Remaining on rehabilitated restraint (āyatiṃ saṃvara), if that person undergoes probation and rehabilitation he again becomes a scrupulous monk. Thus, shameless and immoral should be differentiated.

As the author of the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise” does not know the difference between shameless and immoral, only minor offences (dukkaṭa) of a shameless monk such as the treatment of patients, fortune-telling, acting as a messenger, or giving gifts of fruit and flowers are wrongly mentioned as the manners of shameless and immoral monks.

Donation Cannot Destroy the Dispensation

The author of the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise” mentions the “destroyer of the dispensation” as one who encourages, patronises and supports a shameless monk according to the commentary on the precept concerning money. Without a thorough knowledge of Vinaya, Suttanta, and Abhi­dhamma, those who write and publish erroneous treatises airing doctrines like this author’s are the destroyers of the dispensation in conformity with the Pāḷi text of the Kassapa Saṃyutta. Those who transgress the precepts at their own places without restraint are destroyers of themselves. They are not destroyers of the dispensation.

This author of the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise” does not rightly know the destroyer of the dispensation mentioned in the texts. He wrongly labels the shameless monks who treat patients, tell fortunes, and so on as the destroyers of the dispensation.²⁷

He also states that the devotee who likes the manners of that person and supports him is also a destroyer of the dispensation. That devotee destroys himself, but not the dispensation. Conforming to the texts, the bhikkhu who destroys in this way is prone to woeful existence, but not to Avīci hell. The supporter of that bhikkhu is not so advantageous according to the texts. However, he is not destined to Avīci hell. At the time of Kassapa Buddha, the Bhikkhu Kapila fell into Avīci hell together with his mother and sister. They suffered thus since they had insulted the Arahants and good bhikkhus with the wrong verbal action of harsh speech. They did not suffer thus for the treatment of patients and fortune-telling. In the Petavatthu, the donor of a monastery and the resident-monk were suffering as hungry ghosts in a latrine one above another for their meanness.

No Logical Reason

The author of the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise” may have heard the Petavatthu taught by others. Then, he warns wrongly, “The devotee and the bhikkhu suffer, one above another in Avīci hell.” No text mentions it. There is not any logical reason either. That being so, the author who dares to say that both the donor and the recipient suffer in Avīci hell is endowed with his own quoted factor of a ruined bhikkhu, i.e. speaking falsehood.”

In the later parts, as he is not conversant with the meanings of realities, his following statements are only mistakes:–

  1. Believing him to be scrupulous, the donation to a shameless monk who comes from other parts of the country is fruitless.
  2. Paying homage, with the thought of relics, to the thing that is not so, and with confidence that it is a pagoda with relics, one pays homage to the fallen empty pagoda, etc.

All those mistakes will be rectified here. Being shameless only for minor offences such as the treatment of patients, fortune-telling, and so on that person is mentioned as, “With only the outward appearance of a shaven head and robe, the essence of practice and precept is absolutely absent in that shameless monk.”

That author is like the feverish and paralysed man who falls asleep in the open on the full-moon day of November. Both of his eyes are full of the internal fumes of phlegm. Not knowing his real condition, he looks up at the sky. He sees neither the full moon nor the constellation. To him the whole sky is covered by dark clouds. Therefore, he mutters that the heavy rain of the month of November will pour down soon. Similarly, the author of the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise” cannot notice the nine hundred million precepts remaining on that shameless monk.

No Trace in Good Treatises

The statement, “Donation to the shameless is fruitless” is said to be found only in the Cūḷagaṇṭhi written by the ruined ex-monk of a forest monastery of ancient Pagan Dynasty at the foot of Tuywin Mountain. No other trace can be found in good and sound treatises. In good books it can only be found that the donation to a person of defective morality is not so effective.

Even Homage to an Ant-hill

The statement, “Paying homage, with thoughts of relics, to the thing that is not so is fruitless,” is untrue. If people adore the Omniscient Buddha with real confidence and their consciousness, volition, confidence, and wisdom reach and rest with him even though they pay homage to heaps of gravel, bronze, or gold, believing them to be relics, they get merit. Leave alone the fallen pagoda, it is not the homage, with belief, to earth where Omniscience rests. It is the homage with the thought of it being a pagoda and it reaches and rests with the Omniscient Buddha even though the people pay respect to an ant-hill.

“Tiṭṭhante nibbute ca pi, same citte samaṃ phalaṃ.”²⁸

If paying homage to the Living Buddha and (Tiṭṭhante ca pi) to the relics of the late Buddha who has already attained parinibbāna (nibbute ca pi) are equal (same) in contemplating consciousness of his noble qualities together with confidence (citte) and all the resultants and effects of that homage are equal (samaṃ phalaṃ).

Cannot Miss the Buddha

The Buddha who entered the forest after renunciation of the royal luxuries of the kingdom of Kapilavatthu, became enlightened under the Bodhi tree and attained final cessation (parinibbāna) at Kusināgara is the real Omniscient Buddha. With that knowledge and adoration, the people cannot miss the Buddha whatever they idealise.

With excessive faith (Balavasaddho) a man of weak wisdom (mandapañño) may adore (pasādati) something without value (avatthusmiṃ).²⁹

This saying refers to those people who have no knowledge of the real Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha and are devoted to great heretic teachers such as Purāṇa Kassapa or Makkhali Gosāla, and so on. It also refers to the Buddha’s disciples like Bhikkhu Sunakkhatta of the Licchavī clan who could not adore the Buddha, but only the heretics.

The author of the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise” quotes this Pāḷi verse to testify the fruitlessness of donation to a monk who becomes shameless due to minor offences of the treatment of patients, fortune-telling, and so on.

“Na muṇḍakena samaṇo, abbato alikaṃ bhaṇaṃ;
Icchālobhasamāpanno, samaṇo kiṃ bhavissati.” (Dhp v 264)

One is not (Na) a recluse (samaṇo) merely by a shaven head (muṇḍakena). Having desire and greed for sensual pleasures (icchālobhāsamāpanno) without moral and austere practice (abbato), how (kiṃ) could he be (bhavissati) a recluse (samaṇo) who speaks (bhanaṃ) falsehood (alikaṃ)?

#Contents#TheDhammaVinayaTreatiseAuthorsErrorThree Types of Bhikkhu

The author of the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise” warns of falling into Avīci hell and becomes a speaker of falsehood in accordance with this discourse.

“Alaṅkato cepi samaṃ careyya,
santo danto niyato brahmacārī;
Sabbesu bhūtesu nidhāya daṇḍaṃ,
so brāhmaṇo so samaṇo sa bhikkhu.” (Dhp v 142)

Being at peace (Santo), having tamed (danto) the sense faculties, being assured (niyato) depending on the sublime practice (brahmacāri), having given up (nidhāya) punishment (daṇḍaṃ) of all (sabbesu) beings (bhūtesu). Having practised well (cepi samaṃ careyya) he is a Brahmin who has destroyed all evil (brahmāṇo) a recluse (samaṇo) who has terminated defilements and a monk (bhikkhu) who has destroyed corruptions even if (pi) adorned with ornaments (alaṅkato).

According to this verse, there are three kinds of bhikkhus:–

  1. A bhikkhu by means of Vinaya,
  2. A bhikkhu by means of Suttanta, and
  3. A bhikkhu by means of ultimate reality (paramattha).

After the recitation of the formal act of the Saṅgha the conventional bhikkhu of the least wisdom like Lāḷudāyī becomes a Vinaya bhikkhu. He is conventionally called the son of the Buddha since he has become a bhikkhu by recitation of the Buddha’s formal act of announcement (ñatti-kammavācā). He is a true son of the Buddha according to ultimate reality when he becomes a Noble One. The conventional Saṅgha (Sammuti Saṅgha), and the true Saṅgha (Paramattha Saṅgha) are to be understood in the same way.

The Suttanta Bhikkhu is the one who becomes a bhikkhu by means of the Vinaya rules in accordance with the concept of Suttanta like Lāḷudāyī, Hatthaka Thera of the story of above-mentioned verse, and the notorious group of six monks (Chabbaggiyā) beginning with Assaji and Punabbasuka who were hoisting the banners of greed (lobha), hatred (dosa), and delusion (moha) with vulgar bodily, verbal, and mental actions. They are not called recluses (samaṇa) by means of Suttanta. Even ordinary laity with their defilements suppressed, with the six sense faculties and three doors of action — body, speech, and thought — restrained are called recluses. This is the Suttanta Bhikkhu.

The Paramattha Bhikkhu may be a layman with royal ornaments and decorations like King Suddhodana, the father of the Buddha; or the minister Santati who became an Arahant after seven days of intoxication; or the deities Sakka or Brahmā at the attainment of the Noble Path. That person is called a recluse, a Brahmin, and a monk. These are monks according to ultimate reality.

Of those three categories of bhikkhus, all of them can be Suttanta Bhikkhus and Abhidhamma Bhikkhus. Being the conventional bhikkhu called Vinaya Bhikkhu, one may be momentarily shameless for the transgression of one, two, or three minor precepts. However, that person is still one of the noble recipients.

The verse starting with “One is not a recluse merely by a shaven head…” is the Suttanta teaching. A Vinaya Bhikkhu who has not suppressed the defilements, who is not endowed with control of the sense faculties and three sense-doors is not a bhikkhu according to ultimate reality. That is why the Buddha censures with the words, “How could he be a recluse (samaṇo kiṃ bhavissati)?

“Kilese sametī‘ti samaṇo”

Whoever (Yo) can tranquillise (sameti) the defilements (kilese) thus (iti) that person (so) is called a recluse (samaṇo).

For that reason the following verse says:–

“Yo ca sameti pāpāni, aṇuṃ thūlāni sabbaso.
Samitattā hi pāpānaṃ, “Samaṇo”ti pavuccati.” (Dhp v 265)

That person (Yo) has subdued (sameti) minor (aṇuṃ) and major (thūlāni) all (sabbaso) evils (pāpāni). By subjugation (samitattā) of evils (pāpānaṃ) he is indeed (hi) called (pavuccati) a recluse (samaṇo).

These are the criteria to distinguish the various types of bhikkhus.

#Contents#NotesThe Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise Author’s Error

Of the above three kinds, the shameless and immoral monks are thus defined due to breaking the Vinaya precepts and so they are only Vinaya Bhikkhus. Neither shameless nor immoral monks can be found among Suttanta Bhikkhus or Abhidhamma Bhikkhus. Disregarding the various designations of the aforesaid bhikkhus, the author quotes the verse for Suttanta Bhikkhu to display the fruitlessness of donation to a bhikkhu who has become shameless due to minor offences such as the treatment of patients, fortune-telling, and so on.

“Saṅghe cittīkāraṃ kātuṃ sakkontassa hi khīṇāsave dinnadānato uddisitvā gahite dussīlepi dinnaṃ mahapphalatarameva.”³⁰

Indeed (hi) the donation given (dinnaṃ) even (pi) to the accepted (gahite) person of defective morality (dussile) is capable (sakkontassa) of being carried out (kātuṃ) with the mind fixed (cittakāraṃ) on the Saṅgha (saṅghe) appointed (uddisitvā) by the Saṅgha (saṅghato) is truly (eva) of greater fruit (mahapphalataraṃ) than the donation offered (dinnadānato) to an Arahant (khīṇāsave).

The aforementioned commentary on the Dakkhiṇāvibhaṅga Sutta shows generally that the donation with respect fixed on the Saṅgha, to the bhikkhu of defective morality appointed by the Saṅgha is more effective than the individual donation to an Arahant, at any time, even on the auspicious occasion of a living Buddha.

Even though he has clearly seen the Pāḷi passage, “Saṅghato uddisitvā gahita dussīlassa,” the author of the “Dhamma-Vinaya Treatise” does not know the meaning of it fully. Therefore, he extracts the meaning “a bhikkhu of defective morality wearing a piece of yellow cloth around his neck (kasavakaṇḍha)” when there is no dispensation of moral precepts, but of outward appearance only, without any real Saṅgha. Then, how will there be at that time the possibility for “directed by the Saṅgha (Saṅghato uddisitvā)?” At that time, the people who have heard of the noble qualities of the real Saṅgha will donate to those sham bhikkhus of defective morality and changers of lineage. There will be no genuine Saṅgha to direct at that time. His statement, “End of the Admonition of Saṅgajā Sayādaw” is like the metaphor of “The big rock where fish take shelter” as there is absence of any true facts, but only expressions of his own opinions.

End of the Exposition of Donation and Morality


1. Sam.i.214, Netti 146. (All Pāḷi texts to be learnt by heart are mentioned by Venerable Ledi Sayādaw, at the end of the Nissaya).

2. Sn 18. Parābhava Sutta.

3. Saṃ.i.227.

4. Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha, Kammacatukkaṃ.

5. A.iii.49, Manāpadāyī Sutta.

6. Dhammapada v 354.

7. D.ii.357.

8. Sam.i.33.

9. VinA.v.952.

10. Vin.ii.147, 164.

11. S.i.32.

12. D.iii.231.

13. DhpA.ii.89.

14. Vin.iii.266.

15. Vin.iv.340.

16. S.i.32.

17. Book of Analysis, 480.

18. The divine-eye (dibbacakkhu), is also called the knowledge of the decease and rebirth of beings (cutūpapāta-ñāṇa). At the attainment of the divine-eye, knowledge of the destiny of beings due to their kamma (yathākammūpaga-ñāṇa) and knowledge of the future (anāgataṃsa-ñāṇa) are accomplished. Mahā-Buddhavaṃsa 11.326.

19. The eye of wisdom consists of: a) Ordinary reasoning, b) Insight knowledge, c) Path-knowledge, d) Fruition-knowledge, and e) Knowledge of retrospection according to the Mahāsi Sayādaw in A Discourse on the Tuvaṭaka Sutta, who there leaves out Dhammacakkhu, but mentions the Buddhacakkhu as including: a) Knowledge of the controlling faculties of beings (indriyaparopariyatti-ñāṇa), and b) knowledge of the latent inclinations of beings (āsavanusaya-ñāṇa). However, the Aṭṭhasālinī Commentary on the Dhammasaṅgaṇī (DhsA.306) mentions the physical eye (maṃsa-cakkhu), and the eye of wisdom (paññā-cakkhu), which includes the Buddha eye (Buddhacakkhu), Omniscience (samantacakkhu), the eye of knowledge (ñāṇacakkhu), the divine-eye (dibbacakkhu), and the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths (dhammacakkhu).

20. One million-million. One hundred thousand crore, where a crore = ten million.

21. Visuddhimagga i.13.

22. The feat and province of Bodhisattas, the prospective Buddhas who are superior to ordinary sentient beings.

23. A.iv.55.

24. Ud.89.

25. The original, here and below, has “hīnaṃ,” but the Visuddhimagga, Sīlappabhedakathā, (Vism.13), has “majjhimaṃ” (moderate). Above, in the exposition of three kinds of donation, that longing for the results is medium, while that longing for fame is inferior (ed.)

26. Pvu.37.

27. According to the Aṅguttaranikāya, Adhammavaggo and Anāpattivaggo (A.i.19-20), those monks who explain what is not Dhamma as Dhamma or Dhamma as not Dhamma, or those who explain a serious offence as a trivial offence, and so forth, make much demerit and cause the disappearance of the true Dhamma. It is often the case that shameless monks who indulge in bad habits such as fortune-telling, giving gifts to lay people, and so forth, also excuse such bad behaviour by teaching that a minor offence (pācittiya) is a trivial offence (dukaṭa), or by denigrating scrupulous monks. The following story about Kapila clearly illustrates this typical behaviour of shameless monks, which does lead to hell (ed.)

28. Vv.69.

29. No reference was given, but a similar passage is found in the Visuddhimagga: “Balavasaddho hi mandapañño muddhappasanno hoti, avatthusmiṃ pasīdati.” (ed.)

30. MA.v.75.