By Nhat Quan
Given is a common word in society, in Buddhism, it is called Almsgiving. Almsgiving is understood in the ordinary sense of the world as helping, sharing, that is sowing good seeds. Thus, when you do good deeds such as almsgiving money, and possessions, and sharing the worries and sufferings of others, you are cultivating blessings. The word almsgiving is giving or sharing is one of the Six Paramitas. In Buddhism, the concept of the Six Paramitas consists of six actions:
- Almsgiving,
- Keeping the precepts,
- Patience
- Diligence,
- Meditation and
- Wisdom.
Almsgiving is one of the twelve vows of the Medicine Buddha. Almsgiving is the eleventh vow. The content of this prayer he said:
- Those who are hungry, I give food to eat, those who are thirsty, give water to drink, and those who are cold, I give clothes to wear. Only then did I preach the Buddhadharma to them.
Almsgiving is also a word to refer to a rich, high-status person giving gifts to the lower, poor, and needy. Almsgiving according to Buddhism is also called offering. The word offering is used for everyone, whether that person has a high status, rich to those of low status, or poor can be used to show respect when making an offering dedicated to higher people, especially in terms of morality and spirituality. Therefore, Buddhists all use the word offering to monks and nuns, bodhisattvas, and buddhas. Ordinary people in the community and in society all use the word giving or giving or sharing.
The act of almsgiving holds the top spot. In the minds of Buddhists, almsgiving is perceived as a necessary practice on the path to practice with all noble vows. It is letting go, letting go of attachment to the body, letting go of everything including external body things and even letting go of conceptual attachments.
- Let go of attachments to the body, such as clothes that only need to be warm enough to cover the body and rain without having to be expensive.
- Let go of personal things on the outside, which people in the world say: Take your possessions to cover your body, but don't use your body to cover your possessions.
- Let go of ideas, that is, you should not argue, do not accept unnecessary things ...
Therefore, almsgiving has the function of a key that opens the door to selfishness, gradually exhausting narrow selfishness. Thus, almsgiving is the act of starting a life of generosity, cultivating altruism, and the first step towards the enlightened Dharma.
However, the practice of giving will take you a long time to fully develop its profound meaning in the direction of non-demanding and non-attachment. You no longer see them as worthy jobs so there's no reason to be complacent. You don't think about what you've done, you don't think about giving back, and you don't wait for praise.
The more you practice almsgiving, the more your compassion and aspiration will grow, your narrow-mindedness, your pride will have to die out, and your meritorious deeds will gradually crystallize good results. The Buddha's eternal shining example shows the fusion of immeasurable, countless altruistic spirits that have created a sublime personality, causing all mankind to bow in awe over time and endless space.
So when you talk about almsgiving you think of Buddhism, which is essentially an education, not a religion at all. So outside of the religious sense, you don't worship the Buddha as a god, but you respect him as a teacher, that's why you often call it:
- The Buddha, or Nammo the original teacher of Shakyamuni Buddha
Perhaps you should not understand that you are followers of the Buddhist religion but should understand that you are disciples of the Buddha.
His teachings help you to be free from suffering, to attain true happiness for yourself and for others, and in general for all sentient beings. You perform almsgiving to eliminate greed, hatred, delusion, and pride. Usually, almsgiving is re-reduced by the Buddha into three types: almsgiving of wealth, giving of dharma, and giving of fearlessness.
          1- Almsgiving of wealth and materialism has two aspects inside and outside.
- The inner aspect is all effort, mind, and body for the benefit of others.
- External means to donate money, material...
2- Almsgiving Dharma is to contribute information and knowledge that benefit people, and to do your best to teach those who need to learn from you. As a result of giving the Dharma, you will be wiser and smarter.
3- Fearless giving is to help and relieve the anxiety of others, to share problems, to comfort and protect so that others can be more secure and safe. Blessings are being healthy, and body and mind are free.
The endless flow of a human's life is not the end of death, but the journey of changing the body to continue to return to another form in the human realm or in a certain realm such as:
- Heaven
- God Realm
- Human Realm
- Beast Realm
- Hell Realm
- Devil's Realm
In this continuing journey, after a person dies, without taking anything, only karma follows as energy to start another life, following a new cycle in the direction of the law. cause and effect operate, and then reappear in this world or some other world.
Those of you who are re-appeared to this world, there are rich people, glorious careers, success, and fame, not by chance. It is the result of your practice of virtue in many previous lives. So in this life, nothing happens by accident or by chance. According to the Buddha, if you want to be rich, noble, and full in the future, in the present, you must know almsgiving, make offerings, help, and share according to your ability. A true Buddhist must always believe deeply in cause and effect and believe that you will be blessed with good deeds. So if you want to be rich, have a lot of wealth, but you don't know how to do good at the moment, I'm afraid you can't have it.
 Buddhism is present in life for the benefit of sentient beings and wants to help people transform their lives of poverty by encouraging them to generate generosity and make offerings. Buddha taught you to know how to release greed and selfishness, not only knowing how to live for yourself but knowing how to help and share with others. Should not live in insensitivity who suffers regardless. Buddhism advocates living in harmony with humanity with the concept that everyone is a relative and a loved one, so each person has the responsibility and duty to love, protect and help each other in the spirit of selflessness and altruism. Because the Buddha clearly saw that the lives of all species must depend on each other, no species can separate from social life and exist in this vast universe. He also shows you clearly all the differences and disagreements between people and animals:
- There are people who are rich, happy, possessive, and materially adequate;
- There are poor, miserable, hungry, needy, wandering people;
- There are the rich, the coward, the ugly, the beautiful, the stupid, the wise,
- Some people die prematurely, some live long, some are happy, some are unhappy, some suffer...
 Buddha also taught:
- People who have enough to eat and wear are those who have merit and virtue, so they don't worry about it, so it's easy to cultivate.
So what is a person with merit?
A person with merit and virtue is someone who has a stable life, adequate material means, a house, money, fame, good food, and warm clothing. Living in a family that is above and below peace, knows how to be respectful and polite to the people above, to love and care for the people below. Know filial piety to grandparents and parents, and know how to teach children what is good or right. Stay away from evil friends, stay close to good friends in the love of humanity for the sake of humanity in life with a heart of understanding.
          Through this teaching, from which you deduce the situation of a person or an unstable family, lacking food and clothing... It is the phenomenon of a lack of merit and virtue. Lack of merit and virtue that right now you do not know how to do meritorious deeds, or know but deliberately forget. Being indifferent to doing good and wanting to be blessed in the future is impossible. Just like before, you have never done good deeds, so now you have to suffer a life of poverty. You should remember that if you do good, you will be blessed, and if you enjoy your blessing, you will end up being blessed. Understanding this, you need to try to plant blessings and virtues to make your life more perfect. A day you live in the world is a day you must live to be useful to yourself and others without harming anyone. On the contrary, people living in poverty, not having enough food to eat, and not having enough clothes to wear, in the family often cause quarrels, discord, and conflicts with each other because of a lack of merit and virtue.
 Please repeat again. Blessings are actions, words, and thoughts that bring joy and happiness to everyone in the present and in the future. A person who does good is someone who knows how to do good and good things and always helps people when they are in trouble, so everyone likes to be close, loved, and respected. It is through that closeness, you easily sympathize, forgive each other, and are ready to commit to serving, love, and support each other in the spirit of selflessness.
 Blessings help you to transform bad karma that harms people and things for many lifetimes. Blessing has the ability to help you to be wise to reduce wrongdoing in life. There are things you think you can't save, but fortunately, you will overcome them all.
Because of that blessing, many of you easily let go and fall into sensual pleasures. At that time, even if there are good and knowledgeable people to advise, it is difficult for you to listen because you are in a drunken stupor, infatuated with lust.
 The cultivation of merit is very important. If you are blessed, you will be rich, have a lot of wealth, and power, and enjoy material things fully. However, enjoying the blessings without knowing how to save them, there will be a day when you will have to suffer in the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, having a blessing without merit or in other words, a lack of cultivation is very easy to lead to afflictions, and attachments, seeing you as a giver, the recipient must be grateful to you and then have high tributes and conceit. Many times when you see the recipient being ungrateful, not grateful, you will have a mind looking down on the recipient. So you will not only lose your blessing but also have to bear bad results.
 Because of almsgiving for many generations, you will reap many blessings, so your mind believes in the Three Jewels, deeply believes in cause and effect, and tries to maintain and develop the mind to learn the Dharma, cultivate and let go, so step by step, you can transform your afflictions greed, hatred, si. The Buddhas of the ten directions who have achieved the path of enlightenment and liberation are also based on the practice of generosity.
 As you know, almsgiving is still an important and essential condition for Buddhists, so more and more great compassion is developed. That's why the giver is more blessed than the receiver because the recipient gets only a little material, but the giver gets a lot of spiritual joy because it helps others to reduce their suffering.
However, if you help someone you don't know how to cultivate and nurture, then you will be attached to your work, so you will see that you are the helper, the other person is the object of help and the recipient of alms. If almsgiving, or making offerings but the mind does not wish for anything, such as: Offering to the temple so that the temple has more means of living beneficial for everyone. Helping people is to let people overcome hardships without hesitation, without thinking, without further calculation, then you will transform the afflictions of greed, hatred, and delusion. Your desire for fame and profit will decrease, and your self-grasping mind will also decrease. If you don't do bad things but do all kinds of good deeds but don't cling to them, your mind will be purified. That is, you know how to cultivate your mind and nurture your nature, and you know how to do good deeds and at the same time, you know how to cultivate your mind. When you do good deeds, if you cling to them, your mind will be angry, insecure, and uncomfortable when others criticize and criticize you.
Blessing is the result of doing good deeds such as helping people in need, sharing material and spiritual things to help people less miserable, and creating good causes. If you do a lot of meritorious deeds, you will enjoy rich results, rich money in the world, or be born in heaven. According to the Buddhist scriptures:
- Even if people have the ultimate blessing to be born in the heavens or the human realm to enjoy good results when their blessings are exhausted, they are still governed by the law of impermanence and still have to drift in the cycle of birth and death. Only people with full merit are not affected by suffering, so they are at ease in all circumstances.
          So if you have already generated the mind of giving, you should try a little more, that's practice. Causation and karma will not give up on anyone when the conditions are met, doing good will enjoy blessings, and doing evil will suffer the results of suffering is a very fair law with no difference. Therefore, Buddhists must know how to choose wisely, don't let the time come to reap bad results and then lament their fate, blame it here and there, and then sharpen the suffering.
 When the sages encounter bad results, because they have clear wisdom, they can clearly see the cause and effect of karma, so they are not sad or suffering. Wise people must know how to choose a good path leading to peace and happiness, know how to do merit to accumulate, if they do not know how to accumulate more blessings, when they run out of blessings, they will encounter disaster.
 Giving, helping, and sharing help you to establish love. On that basis, you create a relationship of correlation and interdependence in society and the community in order to develop well in all aspects, sustainably and in the long term. In your daily life, you have to do how to create merit in order to perfect yourself and contribute to the benefit of mankind. Because almsgiving is the basic foundation for connecting love, sharing life to alleviate the pain and misfortune of others, is the first good thing that the Buddha always mentioned. Human nature is that you always want, want more, never get enough, and never be satisfied with what you have. So, if you want to live a peaceful and happy life, you should be content with what you have and try to maintain, preserve and develop. Expecting a lot, dreaming a lot but not getting what you want will only add more sorrow and suffering.
 True Buddhists should know that almsgiving is the first step to sharing the suffering and pain of the unfortunate. It is a great consolation in life, a bridge connecting love with humanity in life. Therefore, you should develop a mind to give alms, develop a Buddhist common house, actively contribute, participate in social activities, and help people have conditions to learn and cultivate. practice to transform suffering and pain into happiness and bring benefit to all sentient beings. If you do all that, you will feel:
- The greatest consolation in life is knowing how to give, and there you also find the greatest consolation in life is when you see someone receiving alms, which you clearly see when natural disasters flood occurs. From there you can expand:
- The happiest when being loved
- The happiest when being lucky
- The most consoling is the poor who are in need, in times of difficulty get help to be able to overcome the tribulation.
Have a question:
- Have you given alms today?
Yes, that's fine. If not, try to develop the mind to practice meditation and practice good deeds. On this occasion, I would like to convey to you the story:
- On February 15, 2019, the media in the northeastern United States published a news story that will warm your heart after reading it. The news story was about a policeman who left a $100 bill for a hostess, even though he only ate $8.75. He gave a rather large sum of money when he learned that the hostess was pregnant with her first child and still wanted to work at a restaurant. He had known the practice of giving, although he was probably not a Buddhist, having never heard of the Buddhist word almsgiving.
The Cherry Hill Courier-Post newspaper reported that the act of helping the young woman by the police happened in Gloucester, a city in New Jersey, at noon on Friday, February 15, 2019.
People and the whole world would not know about the generous heart of the policeman if it were not for the voice of the hostess's father, Mr. Brian Cadigan, owner of Lamp Post Diner restaurant. His daughter is Courtney English, 23 years old. The father said that from a young age, Ms. Courtney was independent and strong-willed. However, she was still touched when she read the words written from the heart of the policeman.
When her father saw the receipt with an additional amount of $100, her father was impressed by the generous act of the officer who had left the restaurant by then. Mr. Cadigan recounted this story on Facebook, and since then people have heard about the policeman giving away money.
Mr. Cadigan wrote on Facebook that people often hear bad stories about the police, about how they are rude to others, but besides that, most officers are doing the right thing to protect people and must solve complex problems of society every day. Mr. Cadigan praised the officer and other officers for doing acts of kindness that most of the public is never aware of.
The father said that the officer came in for lunch during busy hours on Friday. Mr. Cadigan's daughter is seven months pregnant with her first child but still wants to work because she needs to save money for the baby while she can still work.
When he heard her talk about her situation, the policeman quietly waited until he paid, using the card to give her the largest amount of money she had ever had in her days as a waitress.
On the bill handed back to the waitress, the policeman added the short words "Enjoy ur 1st. You will never forget it". Please translate a bit long as:
- Enjoy the happiness of giving birth to your first child. You will never forget that experience.
Mr. Cadigan added that the officer did not want others to know who he was.
Almsgiving is often thought of as an act of material donation, giving someone money, a material item, or even donating blood or an organ.
According to the Buddhist spirit, more almsgiving will create more blessings for you. That is not wrong, it is clear that the action of the other policeman determined that giving is thinking of others, knowing that he must act to help those around him to reduce suffering and sorrow. The recipient will be comforted, live more joyfully, and live in happiness. When you know how to think like this, you will not only reduce your ego, get rid of selfishness, but gradually learn to do things that don't really need money but still make others less miserable and happier.
As I said once, give a word of comfort when someone else is sad, give words of encouragement to someone who is suffering, listen to their concerns, or give a smile to anyone you meet in your life day.
As long as you forget yourself, and think about others, you will find many ways to make others happy. Almsgiving is a very easy act to do, but also very important for those who think of themselves as children of Buddha. The bridge of almsgiving will help you establish love, on that basis create friendship, social relationships and community also develop well.
The attitude while you are almsgiving, that is, sharing, or donating your possessions to others is the way to apply and practice the doctrine of not-self, which means that nothing is entirely yours. Because when you know you are not you anymore, then everything is only a function, a tool for a moment, for a period of decades in life.
Therefore, you must do noble deeds to share less suffering and pain in life. From there, you can easily give with happiness, in order to perfect all the necessary moral examples of yourself. Therefore, if you do not understand the doctrine of no-self, it is difficult to almsgiving and makes offerings.
In short, human suffering and pain are caused by natural disasters, if it doesn't happen in one place, it happens somewhere else. As for the human-caused suffering caused by the lack of understanding of cause and effect, no-self, impermanence, and lack of Buddhist wisdom, the suffering remains the same. However, when you understand the Buddhadharma, then material hunger is not an obsession that plagues people anymore, you can still live happily and peacefully.
In society, if an individual lacks almsgiving, it will be difficult to succeed. Because, in addition to the consolation factor, almsgiving is also a moral and spiritual element, helping people to rebuild society from many different angles and situations. In addition, through almsgiving, you can bring Buddhism into society in languages ​​other than Dharma. With such spirit and content, you will successfully carry out what the Buddha taught. This is the very heart of the incarnation of Buddhism through which the spirit:
- The greatest consolation in life is when you know how to give. And the greatest consolation in life is when you receive from others in a time of need.
If you have any recommendations, please e-mail to: