In accord to Dhamma, What is appropriate to give oneself?
What is appropriate to give to others?
Does dana ever go to oneself? Could oneself be seen impersonally as another that needs dana? How is metta and dana related or not related?
'Dana' can be a 'test' of true 'metta'. For example, the Christian Bible refers to 'metta' without 'dana' as being something 'dead', as follows:
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, “Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,” but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that ? So too, faith by itself, if it is not complemented by action, is dead.…
The Pali suttas often refer to 'dana' as follows:
... devoid of the stain of stinginess, freely generous, open-handed, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing
'Dana' can show we have true metta towards others rather than the fake metta of politicians, virtue signallers and social justice warriors.
That which is conducive to dissipation of stress is an appropriate gift, both to oneself and others.
Compassion and sympathy for oneself can be seen as dana if one 'gives oneself a break' or an opportunity to be put in a favorable situation for example. However we don't say that we give to ourself what is already ours to give lest it is supposed to be given to a person/group of our choosing. Therefore in general i don't think it is an appropriate expression and use of the term Dana.
Metta and dana are related in that both Dana which is an act and the base sympathy are based on right views, they are both dispersive of ill.
There are other ways of explaining the relation between giving and good-will like; One who sympathizes is provoked to give. Development of giving is a support for the abandonment of greed, anger and delusion; the development of metta is for the abandonment of those same qualities.
Metta is the highest form of dana. According to Okkha Sutta:
Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, if someone were to give a gift of one hundred serving dishes [of food] in the morning, one hundred at mid-day, and one hundred in the evening; and another person were to develop a mind of good-will — even for the time it takes to pull on a cow's udder — in the morning, again at mid-day, and again in the evening, this [the second action] would be more fruitful than that [the first].