Sangha Dana: The Gift of Support for the Monastic Community
When the Buddha designed the spiritual life for his monastic and lay followers, he created a system of mutual dependence. Lay people who lived in the world would provide the basic necessities of food, shelter, clothing, and medicine to the monks and nuns. The monastics would then be free to learn and practice the Buddha’s teachings to the highest level. By providing material support, lay people get to practice material generosity and monastics get to practice spiritual generosity by sharing the teachings they have learned.
This spiritual relationship is maintained to this day by the monks living in the monastery in Tampa, Florida. Every day lay people have the opportunity to come and offer breakfast and lunch to the monks. This then gives them an opportunity to listen to teachings and ask questions.
Giving can be considered an antidote to the poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion.
Through the practice of giving (dāna) and letting go, this facilitates the development of moral conduct (sila) which is followed by mental development (bhavana.)
If beings only knew—
So said the Great Sage—
How the result of sharing
Is of such great fruit,
With a gladdened mind,
Rid of the stain of meanness,
They would duly give to noble ones
Who make what is given fruitful.
Having given much food as offerings
To those most worthy of offerings,
The donors go to heaven
On departing the human state.
Having gone to heaven they rejoice,
And enjoying pleasures there,
The unselfish experience the result
Of generously sharing with others.