Sep 27, 2017

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 16 Comments

DO LOTS OF CHARITY WORK, GET FEW BLESSINGS (Làm phước nhiều được ít phước)

DO LOTS OF CHARITY WORK, GET FEW BLESSINGS (Làm phước nhiều được ít phước)
Anyone can do charity work, depending on their own capacity. Many religious groups have done it by  organizing relief trips to disaster or epidemic-striken areas in the spirit of “good leaves protect worn – out leaves”. Many big newspapers have charity  column which associates with volunteers or charity groups to assist disadvantegous people. How delighted to see lots of them voluntarily go to remote area for relief works!

Is it possible to gain blessings when praying at such places?

So, what are the results from such charity activities? Buddha Sutra gives out 4 cases: do lots of charity work and get few blessings, do little charity work and get lots of blessing, do lots of charity work and get lots of blessing, do little charity work and get few blessings. Why that? This results from mental motivation of the doer. Buddhism considers mind as the leader of all actions, thus the outcomes are different.

Many sponsors do charities not for others but for themselves. It’s so surprised to hear that a man bought a normal product worth $1,500 from an auction sale but was mean with his close relatives and friends. Some man knows nothing about painting but is ready to give out thousands of dollars to buy charity pictures. Some man is unsuccessful in career, then falls upon the remote areas with the hope to be added to words “not to give a damn”. Some rich man wants to be more famous, in the way “honours change manners”, then hold charity activities by himself, with enclosed images and articles from media. Besides, there are many dependent men who just want to inherit the title ” Volunteer”. One time, I came to Artist pagoda in Go Vap District, where has cemetery for died artists. A responsible man here let me know that they could not fancy a famous rich artist who contributed less than an unknown one. While they know that this artist had donated 20 times as much as he did to a charity trip of a newspaper because of being published.

ITA’s Director – Master Thinley Nguyen Thanh in Latvia

They practice charity not by heart, but by a brain which spent billions of neurons in “counting exercise “. Any way, it is worthy welcoming them due to their alms. However, charity without merciful emotion is just unilateral. Seemly, all they expect from charity is comforting and honouring themselves. So, the Buddha will give them mercy because they “practice lots of charities, get few blessings”.

A Buddhist, who studies Buddhism and leads a Buddhist life, always bears in mind the motto: “Cultivate blessing and wisdom at the same time”.  The Kutadanta sutra (Dīrghāgama sutra) tells that a Brahmin whose name is Kutadanta, had hold a big sacrificial ceremony to pray for a blessed reward with 500 bulls, 500 cows, 500 female calves, 500 child goats and 500  castrated goats. Heard that Buddha would come to his local, he visited to ask how to obtain great blessings from his ancestor’s 3 ways of sacrificing and 16 things to sacrifice. The Buddha explained to the Brahmin that no matter how many thing he had sacrificed, they could not be compared to making offerings to the Buddhist Sangha. Then, Buddha said about progressive level in gaining great blessings: building monaster for nomadic Sangha; announcing ” I take  refuge in Budda, take refuge in Dharma, take refuge in Sangha, Receiving and retaining five precepts (killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, abuse of intoxicative substances); doing compassion contemplation on all living beings during the time of  milking a cow; leaving home for  Buddhist monastic life; fully observing precepts and vows, make offerings to the one who has attained Arahatship.

Jetavana senior made offerings to the Buddha

Then, we come to understand that making offerings to Buddhist Sangha and building monasteries belongs to external offering (cultivate external blessings) whilst the others belong to speech and mind which means internal offering (cultivate internal blessing). The later is greater because the doer has a chance to control and cultivate his mind, thus gain more merits. Not everyone can do this, even though one is a billionaire.

Upon grasping these theories, Buddhist do not have external expectations, even in doing charity. They turn internal to polish their mind, improve strict morality. Then, inspite of making little offerings, they still gain lots of blessings. About external offering, the Buddha taught in “Forty two chapters” sutra  that “Offering meal to one hundred of villains is not as much as to a good man.  Offering meal to one thousand  of good men is not as much as to a five – prohibition – keeper… Offering meal to one ten thousands of five – prohibition – keepers is not as much as a Srotapanna…”. The highest is sacrificing to a Thoughlessness, Impermanence, Impractice, Non-eating. It means “Practice little charity work, gain lots of blessing”, like said above.

Make offerings

Nowadays, Buddhist practitioners study and cultivate the path with a motto: “Cultivate blessing and wisdom at the same time”. In the Adbhuta-dharma sutra, the Buddha taught: ” If one wants to gain blessings without sin, he must be modest and be near an authentic guru to cultivate his wisdom, repent karmas, abandon unwholesome things in the past, prepare good things in the future. Then step by step achieve the wisdom and due to achieve the wisdom, all sins will be erased”. Hence, we know that charity without being driven by wisdom is not true Dharma. I would conclude this article by a famous teaching of Master Gampopa: “The giving in alms and charity of this obtained by theft, robbery or deceit, is like trying to wash the sheepskin coat in plain water. Performing meritorious actions in order merely to attain fame and praise is like battering the mystic wish granting gem for a pellet of goat’s dung”.
Pictures and written by Huu Nguyen
Translated by Mat Bich Hanh
  1.  Tantra Mahavita says:

    Querido Amado Guru : Muchas gracias por compartir estos maravillosos articulos. El tema de la Caridad….Es muy simple ….Es dar sin esperar nada a cambio … ya sean cosas materiales …tiempo …Amor …Compasion …DAR … Nuestra Verdadera Naturaleza Innata …de Misericordia hacia todos los seres sintientes ….Que el Guru tenga salud y pueda vivir muchos años para beneficio de todos los seres sintientes . Que todos los seres esten libres de sufrimiento y sus causas .Que todos los seres encuentren la felicidad y sus causas .OM MANI PADME HUM

  2. Tantra Mikaya says:

    Dear Holy Guru. Thank you very much for your article, which I have read carefully. This article teaches us true selfless charity. We are for the benefit of all help not get out of self-interest or to get confirmation. It is the little things and gestures that become habit. these thoughts and these deeds shall serve all living creatures. we have done good without thoughtlessness. Everything we give returns as joy in our hearts and fills us. When I walk through the streets of Berlin and see oddless people I sometimes sit down and talk to them or give me food to eat. It is not the form of careless help such as lending to food. It is sitting together and talking. While I was often aware was a simple conversation for human proximity worries. A smile that makes my heart happy and feels that these people are often more mindful of life. My thought is often the homeless fight hard every day for some food and human warmth. If we ever get that help from our heart and be honest. No help the broadcasts. With the help of our Holy Guru, we can and will expand our intelligence to leave our past behind us and move good things forward. With humility and constant practice and devotion in practice, we will be able to direct our karma. The nature of Buddha understand and live. The Buddha declared absolutely worthless positive, negative and neutral tendencies of the mind as a cause for later discourses and the following actions. Logically, even in the surrounding nature, never positive causes can lead to negative actions and vice versa. The simple example of seed and fruit shows, on the one hand, how the fruit, which the seed no longer exists, as soon as the fruit shows itself. So we can go the noble path with the help of our guru to the benefit of all and free us from old sins to make our karma positive. May all beings be free from suffering. May the nature of Buddha be with us. May our holy Guru have a fulfilled and healthy life at all times. Om Mani Padme Hum

  3. Tantra Upatissa says:

    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article.

    I understood rather than giving donation and doing charities with an impure heart it’s better to take refuge in three jewels and follow the Guru.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    May Guru live long for other beings and protected.

    Om Mani Padme Hum..

  4. Dr. C H Lakshmi narayan. says:

    Respected Guruji, I bow my head at the lotus feet of Guruji.

    I am Tantra Nirvadeva. I am delighted to read this article on  cbarity. Now a days, people  make a great publicity in giving  donation, alms and charity  conducting grand functions etc  to get name and fame. ! But according to Buddha’s Nature ,a true Buddhist or a Dharma practicioner’s  left hand should not know whatever is given to the needy and eligible persons as a charity ! In the great  holy epic Mahabharata of India an example of how charity should be is very beautiful.  A king by name  Danashoora Karna  was taking an oil bath holding a golden vessel  containing  oil by which he is taking bath near a river in an open secluded place when he went for outreach sightseeing. At that time ,a poor beggar approached him and stretched out his both palms seeking alms. The king having no other things at that odd time, gave away right then the golden vessel  which was in his hand and empty of oil then !. surprised by this, his accompanied Minister told the king you could have given some other alms after returning to the palace from there instructing the beggar to come to palace. The great king  said  my mind  may change next moment  ! Charity should be given then and there only when our mind positively feels to do so ! One should not postpone  lest the mind may change and  the alms given by right hand should not be known by the left hand  of the diner !. Such should be the attitude of a true Buddhist or a Dharma practicioner.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Long live our Guruji for upholding Dharma.

    Dr C H Lakshminarayan.







  5. Steve Rogers says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    i am Tantra Haramitra

    I am pleased to have read the words you have given us. With so much ‘charity ‘ being given which is purely more about self promotion than benefiting other beings.

    Your guidance that charity must come from the heart with the Three Jewels at the centre is the most blessed way of giving.

    Please help me to keep this at the centre of my giving and for me to do charitable actions humbly and with a good heart.

    May the holy Guru have good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha ‘s nature.

    May I practice Dharma all days and nights

    Om mani padme hum

  6. Salvatore Antonio Fois says:

    Venerebol GURU;

    My name is Tantra Siramitra.

    Thank you very much! Venerebol GURU for souch profound explaination of Dharma practice.



  7. Sonam Tshering says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    I have learnt the potential of having good mind from this article. Though action May be just a little, if it is done with beautiful mind the merit becomes as vast fast as the sky. Thank you so much this priceless knowledge.

    Long live Guru!

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép dịch comment của bạn đọc Soman Tshering sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Sau khi đọc bài viết của Thầy, con hiểu được khi thực hành đúng pháp, tâm con sẽ được chuyển hóa. Thông qua việc thực hành pháp hàng ngày dù không cần phải cố gắng nỗ lực, nhưng nếu thực hành với sự tín tâm thì con sẽ tích tập được vô lượng công đức.

      Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì những kiến thức quý báu Thầy đã ban cho con trong bài viết này.

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy trường thọ.”

  8. Tantra pramamitra says:

    Dear respected your holiness,

    Its an honour to read this article. I saw the virtue of being humane.  To  consider the means and manners  to sail  with clarity is foremostly important. Its a great lesson and guide particularly in this 21st century. Wherein many people  practice clarity and  seems  the practice of clarity in four means  is  all together intact.  Needingly  the practice of clarity with merciful heart is of greater essence to  do with.   Triple gem is the ultimate refuge to all the sentient beings.  To do clarity with clean heart to help others is truely recommend  to all.   Intelligence of  mind to practice buddhist way of doing  should be tightened with wisdom and knowledge, also the heart of compassion should rule for non-self.  Buddhist sutra  cites if we offer a single flower  with clean and devoted heart, it can be offering of thousand buddhas. So its all for nonself  and  clean mind and heart in buddhism. So lastly with utmost devotion and gratitude  to the venerable guru, may all the sentients gain ultimate peace and bliss. May your holiness live long with   successful health for the benefit of all the innocent beings. Thabks alot. Om mani padme hum..

  9. Lan Trần says:

    Dear Guru,

    I have read your sermon titled: “Practice lots of charity, gain little virtue”. It is an intertesting lesson and I highly appreciate your great bodhicitta in preventing people from wrong view that lead them to be out of Dharma ‘s orbit.

    Thanks to your teaching, I understand that there are several cases of practising charity, that is:

    1/ Practice lots of charities and gain few virtue

    2/ Practice few charities and gain lots of virtue

    3/ Practice lots of charities and gain lots of virtue

    4/ Practice few charities and gain few virtue.

    Of among those cases, I pay much attention to the first one: practice lots of charities and gain few virtue. The questions then come up to my mind: 1) In which situation does the case happen? 2) Why do people put great effort in helping others but gain inadequate response? Then I saw your explanation towards my questions:

    They practice charity not by heart; but by a brain which spent billions of neurons in “volunteer counted exercise”

    In Buddhism, there are different ways for practitioners to gain virtue. By practising dharma continuously in daily life through daily activities, buddhists gather countless merits that generate virtue. They needn’t to practise lots of charity but still gain amazing results in life. For instance, due to the permission and guidance of respected holy Guru, many disciples in Song Nguyen Tantra House has practised bodhicitta through 16 daily activities and achieved big issues in their work and normal life. Furthermore, they also benefits sentient beings of all six realms by chanting Mani Mantra of The Great Compassion Bodhisattva – Avalokiteshvara.

    May you and your consort live long for the sake of all sentient beings.

    May all sentient beings be surrounded by the Three Jewels.

    I am dilighted to Mat Bich Hanh’s translation.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  10. Boying Baguio says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    My greetings to you, and to all our brothers and sisters in chanhtuduy

    Charity giving is a way of sharing our blessings that we have. It is a form of kindness, I believed. The only problem sometimes is that it has been clothed with another form of intention. Some took it as a way of popularity, a form of marketing, or an act of taking an advantage. People who were given luck enough and been high rated in the society, use the act of giving to be more known and be recognize. Some are doing the charity to promote something like a program in television, a business that is about to begin, or most for politician during time of campaign prior to election. Others are using charity or act of giving in return to something. But of course, not all have this kind of intentions that they are painting other colors for charity giving. There are also individuals who are still on the spirit of true kindness.

    In this moment of existence that we have, life wouldn’t be in a nice purpose without sharing. We may not have enough for things that we possessed, money that we have in the bank, but there are still many ways we can get in touch to others for the expression of true charity. I happened to have with not much of richness, but I do make sure for a day that I get in touch with someone sharing something that I got in this life. I make times to express wonderful thoughts to someone who is down, though I my self is in the same phase of confusion too. To be in a company to someone who is alone; to render your ear to somebody who had been longing for someone to talk to; to be in times when we are out from our houses and we were given the opportunity to lay services to help those who are in need of our hands, like a simple guide for elders to cross the streets, to show the right directions for strangers who are looking for an address. Those are forms of giving charity too, I guess. Not all were given the richness and fame but everybody has the capability to be charitable to fellow beings, in one way or another. It is our decision and choice to let it manifest in our hands or not.

    We are all capable to give and share, whatever our conditions or status in life may it be. It is the willingness of giving without any other intention or something in return, that makes the most beautiful meaning of charity, regardless of its form. When I’d known the chanhtuduy and able to have access on it, I got the most wonderful charity that I never had from my previous Catholic life. The wonderful thoughts that I read from articles and comments from awesome brothers and sisters that impart a lesson to me, makes me feel more secured to live my every day. The wisdom that I am learning through the words of the Holy Guru that deepens my understanding about the essence of Buddhism, such an amazing blessing.

    May we all have the spirit of giving and the power of kindness be all in our heart. There are brothers and sisters outhere, may it be Buddhist or in other beliefs, and other beings whom we can share and manifest the true essence of charity. Let it be done through our concerns.

    I am Tantra Maruta, from the Philippines.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    • Kính bạch Thầy! 

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Maruta (Boying Baguio) sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý! 

      Con xin phép được thỉnh an Thầy. 

      Con xin gửi lời chào đến các đạo huynh,  đạo hữu trên 

      Từ thiện là hoạt động chia sẻ những may mắn mà mình có được cho người khác. Con tin rằng đó là hành động thể hiệ lòng tốt của mọi người.  Vấn đề là nhiều người khoác chiếc áo từ thiện để che dấu mục đích lợi dưỡng thanh danh.  Họ dùng từ thiện như một phương tiện để quảng cáo, marketing và lợi dụng việc từ thiện vì mục đích cá nhân.  Đặc biệt những người có địa vị trong xã hội dùng từ thiện như một cách để khoang trương thanh thế,  để được nhiều người biết đến. Một số người dùng từ thiện như một chiến lược để quảng cáo như một chương trình trên ti vi,  quảng cáo doanh nghiệp hoặc các chính trị gia dùng từ thiện trong chiến dịch tranh cử.  Một số người khác dùng từ thiện vì một mục đích lợi ích cá nhân. Đối với nhóm người này, từ thiện không phải vì lòng tốt mà họ dùng lớp sơn mang màu từ thiện để che đậy mục đích tư lợi cá nhân.  Tuy nhiên,  cũng còn một vài cá nhân từ thiện với lòng tốt.   

      Cuộc sống này sẽ mất đi ý nghĩa nếu con người không biết chia sẻ. Con người sẽ không cảm thấy đủ đối với những gì họ đang có,  như tiền trong ngân hàng có bao nhiêu cũng không phải là đủ,  nhưng con người hoàn toàn có thể giúp đỡ được người khác bằng nhiều cách khác nhau khi họ hiểu được rõ thực nghĩa của việc bố thí,  từ thiện. Con cũng có thể bố thí được ngay khi con không hề dư giả về tài chính. Ví dụ như việc ngày ngày con chia sẻ với những người khác những gì con có trong cuộc đời này chứ không chỉ là tài chính. Con dành thời gian để động viên,  chia sẻ với những người đang đau khổ,  chán nản giúp họ vượt qua những thời điểm khủng hoảng tinh thần đó chính là con đang thực hành bố thí,  mặc dù đời sống của con còn nhiều khó khăn. Hay con đồng hành với những người đang cô đơn,  biết lắng nghe những sẻ chia của họ khi họ cô quạnh. Hoặc chúng con sẳn sàng ra khỏi nhà,  đến đúng lúc bệnh nhân cần đến mình,  hoặc giúp đỡ những ai đang cần giúp,  đơn giản như giúp người già qua đường, hay chỉ đường cho người lạ khi họ cần giúp đỡ.  Con nghĩ rằng những việc đó đều là hành động từ thiện. Vì vậy,  không phải chỉ người giàu và có địa vị mới làm từ thiện,  mà mọi người đều có thể bố thí bằng nhiều cách khác nhau,  chỉ có điều là họ có ý thức để làm việc đó hay không. 

      Chúng con ai cũng có thể chia sẻ và bố thí dù sống trong bất cứ điều kiện,  hoàn cảnh nào trong cuộc sống. Chính việc cho đi mà không mong cầu mới đúng nghĩa của việc bố thí,  dù với bất kỳ hình thức nào. Khi con được biết đến và con có thể truy cập vào trang nhà để đọc bài là con đang được Thầy ban cho sự bố thí tuyệt vời nhất trong đời con mà từ trước đến nay con chưa bao giờ nhận được khi con là tín đồ Công giáo.  Những lời dạy tuyệt vời của Thầy thông qua các bài viết trên trang nhà cùng với những comment của các đạo huynh,  đạo hữu mà con được đọc giúp cho con có được những bài học quý báu,  giúp con vững tin và thong dong trong cuộc sống này. Chính những giáo huấn của Thầy tôn quý thông qua bài viết trí tuệ của Thầy đã giúp con hiểu được những điều tinh túy của đạo Phật,  đó chính là ơn phước lớn lao Thầy ban cho con. 

      Con cầu nguyện chúng con biết thực hành hạnh bố thí với tâm không mong cầu,  cầu nguyện cho tâm từ được phát triển trong tâm của chúng con. 

      Con cầu nguyện cho các đạo hữu đạo Phật và các tín đồ khác đều hiểu về bố thí và thực hành bố thí với tâm chân thành. 

      Con – Tantra Maruta,  đến từ Phillippines. 

      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  11. Tantra Amitara says:

    Dear guru

    I bow my head before your lotus feet. I am very thankful for this article.

    We all do charity but to satisfy our ego or initiation of business.,etc but attached to self cherishing. Very few people who has not any expectation with external world. I myself not very rich but a middle class family and right now fully dependant on parents for money so doing less charity. I am sorry for that. But giving charity to right person. I am very fortunate to take refuge in guru,Budha,dhamma and Sangha. Though It is very tough to practice but is truth always.

    May guru and dakini live long for the sake of all sensient being. May guru teaching illuminates all over the world for peace and happiness.

    May all sensient being attain true nature. Om Mani padme hum

  12. Tantra Ashihata (Simon Michael) says:

    Dear holy Guru,

    my name is Tantra  Ashihata.

    I am very greatful for this wonderful article you have given to us .you made me to understand that it not all  kind of charity that one will gain more blessing it is only when is done with sincerity and compassion that is when one could be able to recieve more blessing.

    May Guru live long for the seek of happiness of all sentient being.

    Om mani padme hum.

  13. Tantra Sagovana says:

    Dear Guru,

    My name is Tantra Sagovana.

    Thank you for sharing this article.

    In this article you explain that when we make charity the mental motive for making the charity is an important factor.

    We should have a motive of mercy and compassion and not a motive of boosting our ego. In this way we will get more virtue with practicing fewer charity.

    May all sentient beings be healthy and well and be free from suffering.

    May Guru be healthy and live long for the benefit of all beings.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)


  14. Tantra Pramitdhita (Josh Hacker) says:

    Holy Guru, thank you for sharing this article written by Huu Nguyen. After reading this article I understand that it is better to cultivate wisdom and merit at the same time. It is also better to do charity work out of the kindness of your heart and not because you will gain fame/pleasure or material objects. We can cultivate merit and wisdom at the same time by practicing Dharma in our daily life and through Guru devotion.

    Mat Bich Hanh, Thank you for translating this article into English. I appreciate your kind and compassionate deed as do many others. May all of your legitimate wishes be granted within the right orbit of Dharma.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    May Guru and his consort live a long and healthy life for the sake of all sentient beings

    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature

    May the global pandemic caused by the Corona virus soon end

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