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I'd like to understand the Buddhist view of Dāna better. I've read the Vaccha Sutta and it seems to say that gifts are best given to the most worthy. By comparison, in Christianity, the idea seems to be that one should do "for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine" source

Am I understanding correctly that the Buddhist view and Christian view of giving are very different? Is there a general concern for the (unworthy) poor in Buddhism? Thank you for helping me to understand this.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

First, it's important to understand, that it is not logically follows that if something is more worthwhile than lesser goal is discouraged. Acquiring lesser merits is not discouraged. Only bad deeds are discouraged.

Second, motivation is also play very important role, see AN 7.49.

And yes, merit (positive karmic fruits) of the action is also dependent on its nature, and merit of giving depend on the object of that giving, see AN 9.20.

Giving is meritorious deed, so helping poors is still meritorious deed.

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In the same way bad Kamma is different, it is much worse to harm an enlighted being than an ordinary person for example! – konrad01 Jul 28 '14 at 1:13
Thank you for the sutta references catpnosis. They were helpful also in further understanding a question I had asked a while ago, buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/253/…. – Robin111 Jul 28 '14 at 11:31
@catpnosis looking forward to more participation on the site. Your answers and questions were wonderful. Looking to see more of them. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Sep 16 '14 at 4:41

In Buddhism the merit created is greater if you give food to a monk when compared with giving to a prisoner for example, it doesn't mean you should not help the prisoner, it means that you create more merits by helping pure and enlighted beings to survive, there are many stories on the dhammapada about it.

Think as if you are helping the Sangha to survive, so they can benefit inumerous beings, the impact in the world is bigger and so the merit earned.

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Karma in giving is the product of the state of the mind of the giver and the recipients. If we give something in earnest and the recipient is not then the merit is diminished similarly when we do not have a strong volition but the recipient is overjoyed. The most merit results when the giver has strong volition and the recipient also has great appreciation.

Also pure and focused the mind greater the volition and appreciation.

So people in need getting something they need is means the recipient will appreciate it more and would result in better results. Rich or poor you should help at the hour of need.

Also helping people with pure mind like meditators will give better results.

The Buddha spent was amount of time to set establish the Sasana so anything inline with the Buddhas efforts and will brings great merit hence that is why donation to the Sangha is more meritorious than the personal donation to a Buddha.

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