In Asian countries, this verse is chanted by Buddhist monks in appreciation for a gift
received. It is a description of the term "dana" (generosity) which in Buddhism
is one of the six practices of perfection. Generosity as a practice of perfection means
giving that is not tainted. Whether it is material goods or teachings, when given without
expectation or judgment the result is that the purity of the action permeates life beyond
what we can imagine. This is the kind of giving we can cultivate through spiritual
A monk's practice is to give the Dharma to all who ask, regardless of feelings of like or
dislike, and without expecting any particular result. This can be done through the example
of ones practice or by speaking about it or chanting sutras.
As a way of sharing in this practice, lay practitioners can offer food, money or whatever
they are able to the temple or to a monk. This is another way of supporting the Dharma.
Giving either material goods or teachings helps us to perfect the practice of Dana. In
this way, when we give we can do it purely, without the taint of expectations and
judgments. At Zen Center of Asheville, the priest is not given a stipend but depends upon
separate donations. For that reason at our temple there are two dana baskets: one for the
center and one for our priest. They are located on the entrance porch below the bulletin