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In the Diamond Sutra Buddha said:

Subhuti, if a person collected treasures as high as 3,000 of the highest mountains, and gave them all to others, their merit would be less than what would accrue to another person who simply observed and studied this Sutra and, out of kindness, explained it to others. The latter person would accumulate hundreds of times the merit, hundreds of thousands of millions of times the merit. There is no conceivable comparison.

I do not believe in charity because it doesn't cease suffering in a long term and it doesn't solve any fundamental problems in the human world.

So I'd like to follow Buddha's words but of course I'm not skillful enough to do it myself.

What do you think will be the best way to help the Dharma reach more people if you have spare $100 a month?

Or $1,000?

Or $100,000 at once?

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If you can spare some money, by all mean please continue to donate to charity. Imagine you were a starving child in some war-torn country, getting a hot meal won't help you attaining enlightenment but it does help relieving a horrible kind of suffering: starvation! Then one can always start with him/herself. Observing the Five Precepts whole-heartedly itself would generate tremendous amount of merits according to AN 8.39:

..."Now, there are these five gifts, five great gifts — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans. Which five?

"There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from taking life. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the first gift, the first great gift — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans. And this is the fourth reward of merit...

Finally, one can share the Dhamma to others if the conditions are appropriate according to MN 58:

...In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them...

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    That reminds me of this story: Publishing the Sutras – ChrisW Nov 26 '15 at 18:07
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    Thank you, I understand it and I'm not living in the first world, so I see poverty quite often and try to donate a little. But the reason why I want to help spreading the Teaching instead of breads is because there are so many people who are doing it already and it's simply not working that well in the world that lacks compassion. I'm not a millionaire, I have a limited resource but imagine if Buddha's words could reach more rich people. Or the people who're opposing refugees from Syria at this very moment. – user5716 Nov 26 '15 at 18:22
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    I recommend looking at GiveWell, an organisation that tries to find out the most effective way of spending money to help others. – michau Nov 26 '15 at 23:07
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Above all, the intention!

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/dana/

Many motives, many fruits "Sariputta, there is the case where a person gives a gift seeking his own profit, with a mind attached [to the reward], seeking to store up for himself [with the thought], 'I'll enjoy this after death.' He gives his gift — food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp — to a brahman or a contemplative. What do you think, Sariputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?"

"Yes, lord."

"Having given this gift seeking his own profit — with a mind attached [to the reward], seeking to store up for himself, [with the thought], 'I'll enjoy this after death' — on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the company of the Four Great Kings. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

"Then there is the case of a person who gives a gift not seeking his own profit, not with a mind attached [to the reward], not seeking to store up for himself, nor [with the thought], 'I'll enjoy this after death.' Instead, he gives a gift with the thought, 'Giving is good.' He gives his gift — food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp — to a brahman or a contemplative. What do you think, Sariputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?"

"Yes, lord."

"Having given this gift with the thought, 'Giving is good,' on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the company of the Devas of the Thirty-three. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

... (excerpt available on source page)

"This, Sariputta, is the cause, this is the reason, why a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit."

— AN 7.49

From the same page:

A gift of Dhamma conquers all gifts

— Dhp 354

With this basic understanding:

"Even if a person throws the rinsings of a bowl or a cup into a village pool or pond, thinking, 'May whatever animals live here feed on this,' that would be a source of merit, to say nothing of what is given to human beings. But I do say that what is given to a virtuous person is of great fruit, and not so much what is given to an unvirtuous person. And the virtuous person has abandoned five factors and is endowed with five.

Think to benefit all sentient beings with your gift, that the benefits may echo out into the cosmos and into all planes of existence. Set that mind when you give, and lose yourself in the action.

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I do not believe in charity because it doesn't cease suffering in a long term.

This is wrong. Even basic charity has the same exact spirit of compassion as the compassion of Buddha turning the wheel of Dharma. In Jataka stories they say that Buddha did a lot of charity in previous lives before he could become Buddha.

The most fundamental form of charity is giving security, refuge, protection from fear to someone scared. Then they can finally stop running, look around, and think about life.

But even with regular charity, it's not just the money or food that you give, it is care! Care can soften even a very hardened heart. You don't even need money to give care! You can give someone abandoned and outcasted that human recognition and respect they long have forgotten.

Giving security and/or care is like ploughing and watering the soil. And then when they ask, how can I be grateful to you for making me feel like a human being worthy of existence in this world: then even one word about Dharma will be like a seed falling into the best soil!

In Tibetan tradition they say: start small, even giving gifts from your right hand to your left hand already sows the good seeds! Not to mention that it improves your own karma: your meditation will go a lot better.

But yes, until your faith grows very strong and you can help without expecting to see any result of your action - it is better to help the human beings directly. That will make you feel good, and when you feel good you have more energy to do more.

  • Maybe I've chosen wrong words. It's not like I do not care or I think poor people do not deserve it or I want more merit for my actions. It's just an idea that if some percentage of charitable people support the teaching itself – it will be more effective in the long run. Like if there's an earthquake and I don't go out to volunteer but work for more hours and then give earned money to a recovery fund. It will not relieve suffering immediately but it will help much more later because I'm effective at bringing foreign funds to the country and a bad fit for rescue works or first aid. :( – user5716 Nov 28 '15 at 2:51
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    But probably I'm overthinking it. I will start with regular charities but continue to search for ways to support the Dharma. – user5716 Nov 28 '15 at 2:54
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    Sure, I understand - you want to optimize. But the problem is when some grand idea "over there" gets in the way of real goodness "right here". Someone right next to us could use our care, but we stay blind because it is too small comparing to our big idea. Optimizing is good when you already doing something, not when you are choosing between doing and not doing. I talk more about the difference between real help and abstract idea of help here: buddhism.stackexchange.com/a/12593/43 – Andrei Volkov Nov 28 '15 at 3:27
  • This is a truly wonderful answer and echoes to me the spirit of a life well lived: Mother Theresa once said "We can do no great deeds, just small deeds with great love." – sova Nov 30 '15 at 16:33
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Atma doubts that one could accumulate much merits by reading and spreading the Diamond Sutra, but in relation to Dhamma, yes: Iti §100

But! Such is not possible for whom how is certain to stingy to give material things and to say "I do not believe in charity because it doesn't cease suffering in a long term and it doesn't solve any fundamental problems in the human world." is fatal wrong. Giving in the meaning of merits means to give and not to do things that it might become as one likes it to have. Grasping for the hole world and even thinking its one own, how could one even make the first step into Dhamma?

Such is the benefit of reading and teaching the Diamond Sutra, a plenty good way to cut one self and others from the path...

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