In this sutta the Buddha lists various reasons why people are generous and where their generosity will lead them. At the end of the sutta he mentioned the most powerful way of giving:

" — nor with the thought, 'When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise,'

" — but with the thought, 'This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind' — on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of Brahma's Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a non-returner. He does not come back to this world.

Now my question(s) How exactly is this done? And how does it differ from the former?

"Makes the mind serene" vs "This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind"

  • It's a good question but I think it has already been asked (here). If someone has another answer, perhaps they could add it there. There were also answers here and here which associate it with samadhi.
    – ChrisW
    Mar 3 '19 at 17:08