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"Endowed with these five qualities, a lay follower is a jewel of a lay follower, a lotus of a lay follower, a fine flower of a lay follower. Which five?...He/she has conviction; is virtuous; is not eager for protective charms & ceremonies; trusts kamma, not protective charms & ceremonies; does not search for recipients of his/her offerings outside [of the Sangha], and gives offerings here first. Endowed with these five qualities, a lay follower is a jewel of a lay follower, a lotus of a lay follower, a fine flower of a lay follower." An05.175

What does one think is meant here by gifts and by outside, the Sangha?

How would a wise understand it correct in line with the Dhamma?

(not sure if MN 142 Dakkhiṇāvibhaṅgasuttaṃ might help for investigation the question on topic without going astray)

(Note that this has not been given for trade, exchance, stacks and stucks but for exit from this wheel)

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I think this is merely a reference to a typical aspect of religious life. Whenever we have a body of people who dedicate their lives to religious pursuits — be they clergymen or monastics — those people have no means of support other than the generosity of lay people. This binds the lay followers and the devotees together: the lay followers put their hopes for salvation on the full-time adherents; the full-time-adherents get their subsistence from the labor of lay followers. Someone who gives donations to a different group is breaking that bond; that has an impact both on the community as a whole and on his own progress on the path.

Imagine someone who attends a Christian congregation, but gives a good part of his donations to a Hindu temple down the road. There are reasons one might do that, but it inevitably calls into question his commitment to the Christian congregation and Christian teachings as a whole. Is he trying to hedge his bets, in case the Hindus are 'right'? Is his boss Hindu, and he is trying to curry favor? Hmph.

It's often a good idea when faced with lists like this to focus less on the individual items and more on the common theme. The goal here is to convince lay followers to show a commitment equivalent to that of monastics, within their means. They shouldn't split their attention between this and that; sometimes being committed to the sangha and sometimes being committed to other groups or principles. If you think about it, it is difficult to violate any one of these precepts without simultaneously violating the others, and that is the essential concern.

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  • re-, better just legion, boundage, yes. It's like marriage. Thoghtful answer, good householder. Just one thing: the goal isn't to maintain supply, but to bind them toward the same path, if not now and in this existance, then to lay out the conditions, Upanissaya. What ever is feed, inward, outward, that grows for one, that makes Upanissaya. Who cares much about Fremdgeher. All here not a matter of generosity but already Sila within a relation. – Samana Johann Jan 6 at 14:43
  • I dislike being called a 'householder'; please avoid that in the future. Archaic term... – Ted Wrigley Jan 6 at 15:14
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Ted Wrigley Jan 8 at 6:59
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The word in question is dakkhiṇeyya.

Bhikkhu Sujato's translation

They seek outside of the Buddhist community for those worthy of religious donations.
ito ca bahiddhā dakkhiṇeyyaṃ gavesati;

Curiously the Pali text doesn't say "outside the Sangha" or "outside of the Buddhist community" -- it just says bahiddhā ("outside").

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  • It's not curious to gain no insight and inside if seeking for answers outside. Or does Nyom think that Sujato and his Kibbutz is any but inside? – Samana Johann Jan 5 at 2:35

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