Practice the Joy of Giving

//Practice the Joy of Giving
Practice the Joy of Giving2018-06-23T12:28:37+00:00

Practice the Joy of Giving (dāna)

Prior to giving one is joyful;
while giving one settles the mind in trust;
after giving one is elated:
this is success in the act of offering.
—Aṅguttara Nikāya, 6.37

Join us to explore our relationship to generosity!

Generosity (dāna) is an indispensible element of Buddhist practice. The three pillars of the dhamma, also called the three bases of merit, are giving (dāna), virtue (sīla), and meditative development (bhāvanā). At IMSB we routinely practice dāna by supporting our meditation group and our teachers, but dāna practice includes many other forms of charitable giving and volunteer service.

To strengthen our practice of dāna, IMSB has designated up to $1000 from the IMSB Karunā Fund to support active charitable giving. This program has the dual purpose of providing tangible support for charities and encouraging IMSB members to value, explore, and develop generosity as a part of the spiritual path.

The Joy of Giving Program aims:

  • To focus on dāna as an element of our spiritual path and encourage us to strengthen our practice of generosity
  • To share and discuss issues related to generosity with dhamma friends.
  • To develop our ability to give, let go, share, and respond to the needs of others
  • To provide tangible support for charitable causes

The program works as follows:

  1. IMSB saṅgha members can sign up by filling out the registration form. Click on this link to fill out the Joy of Giving Registration Form.
  2. Participants will be assigned to a group composed of 3–7 givers. One member of each group will be assigned as group coordinator to facilitate communications and schedule meetings for their group.
  3. IMSB will provide $50 to each saṅgha member who participates (up to $1000). The individual will decide how to use these funds to support acts of generosity, and will meet with their group to discuss the practice and experience of giving.
  4. Each participant will give a brief, informal report on a Tuesday evening regarding what they chose to do, including their reflections on the practice of generosity.

Additional details:

Each group will meet twice—once before their generous act and the second after—at the times and places agreed upon by the group members. The discussion will explore topics such as:

  • How do you decide what to give, to whom, or how to give it?
  • How do you feel before giving, during the act of giving, and upon reflecting on your gift?
  • How does giving affect the quality of your mind, your attention, your mindfulness?
  • What causes or conditions make it easy or difficult to give?
  • What challenges do you face in giving?
  • How might you continue to cultivate generosity?
  • How can you nurture joy in giving?

In lieu of the dharma talk on a Tuesday evening, each group will report back to IMSB as an informal panel discussion. People will share their experiences and then engage in conversation with the rest of the saṅgha. No one is expected to stand up and talk in front of the group alone.

Any dāna collected on the evening of these panel discussions will be used to replenish the IMSB Karuna Fund.

Tuesday night Joy of Giving Panels are tentatively scheduled for:

August 14
September 4 or 18
October 23


One person might take five $10 bills and give them to five homeless people. Another might purchase groceries and deliver them to a local “Food Closet” for distribution to people of more limited means. Another might inquire at a local school to learn what sorts of school supplies would be helpful, and then provide them. Someone might purchase supplies to create care packages and distribute them to the needy. Another might simply make a donation to a favored charity. These are just a few “idea starters.” Be creative!
If two or more people want to pool their funds and work together, that would be fine, but the basic idea is to encourage individual initiatives.
We’re envisioning groups meeting twice, once before giving, and once after having given. The groups would communicate via email during the weeks that they are actively giving. Having completed the gift giving, they would report back on either August 14, September 4 or 18, or October 23. We’d like to get the first group started within the next couple of weeks.
IMSB maintains a “Karunā Fund” for charitable giving. (Karunā is the Pāli word for compassion.) In addition to funds designated for specific purposes like the Prajna Vihar School in Bodh Gaya, India, there are also some funds with no specific designation, which the Board of Directors is free to allocate for any charitable purpose. Over the years, sufficient funds have accumulated to support this activity.
Anyone who wished would be free to cover part or all of their $50 allocation using their own money. This would be handled confidentially between the group coordinator, treasurer, and participant.


To Join: 

Click on this link to fill out the Joy of Giving Registration Form. Please RSVP by July 30, 2018.


Contact our Joy of Giving Program Coordinator, Dafna, at karuna