Next Monday we’ll explore Dana Paramita in more depth, focusing on how we practice and manifest it in our own lives.
Generosity is the first transcendental perfection, paramita. It is called dana paramita. There are different levels of dana. Giving material help and sharing our good fortune is one level. Preserving, cherishing, and protecting life is another level of dana paramita. Selfless service, seva, is another form of dana practice; being helpful and even cheerful. Another level, said to be the highest level, is giving Dharma, which is both truth and love; sharing our most precious gifts, our purity of heart, by sharing the truth, helping people to awaken. Those are all practices of generosity that we can participate in, thus cultivating and enacting perfect giving. Generosity ennobles us. And the more we give, the more we receive, as the saying goes. Trusting is also a way of practicing dana. Dana implies non-attachment, letting go.
Many people have told me their lives have been changed just because, for example, they saw a poster on a telephone pole that somebody went to the trouble to post, introducing them to something significant and new in their lives; or they read a book or got a tape in their hands; or heard that there was such a thing as a dharma teacher they could meet and learn from.
We can share in many ways. We can be generous with ourselves, generous with our emotions. Why are we so stingy with our emotions? What are we suppressing, hoarding, and saving them for? Why be afraid to experience our own feelings? Let’s learn to genuinely experience our experience, just as it is, without restriction or inhibition. Let’s share freely with each other, collaborating and networking towards a true sense of community.
Lama Surya Das