Sunday, January 12, 2003

Buddhist Charity "Vs" Dharma Education

I see much of the local Buddhist community doing charity work instead of propagation of direct and systematic Dharma education work. Dharma work in terms of education is not as easy to do as general charity work, but we mustn't forget that the giving of the Dharma is the highest charity- "The gift of Truth excels all other gifts." Yes you can say that doing general charity is part and parcel of Dharma practice, but the Dharma is much more than practising charity, which is mainly doing good and avoiding evil. There is still the purification of the mind to be taught and practised. General charity alone will not purify the mind- it is only compassion at work without the highest wisdom- which is to be realised by purifying the mind. If even Buddhist temples and leaders miss this point and practise only charity, who will be the ones to propagate the complete Dharma which leads to the liberation of all beings? This is not to discourage charitiable works by Buddhist organisations, but a question of priority. In the mean time, it is perfectly alright for the Buddhist individual to do charity for charity's sake, though he too should not miss the ultimate aim of the Dharma.

While it is true that many beings need the gift of basic charity such as food and medicine before they can learn and practise the Dharma, giving someone all the non-Dharma charity in the world will not lead to Enlightenment. We should focus on non-Dharma charity only when we have learnt to integrate it well with Dharma propagation. The Buddha is the perfect example of one who is able to integrate the duo. Even so, the Buddha was focused on teaching the Dharma more than doing general charity. It is Dharma charity that will save all beings eventually, not general charity. There are many categories of the Dharma. By "Dharma" here and above, I refer to the teachings of the Buddha which lead to nothing less than liberation; not just general betterment in this present or future life with no clear advancement towards Enlightenment. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

No comments:

Hopefully Somewhat Enlightening & Entertaining Thoughts... Stuff discovered on the path to the natural unshakable peacefulness of a stone...