In line with my understanding of the teachings, I have been letting go of many possessions that have been accumulating in my life. I realized they really are unnecessary, they mostly just add stress to my life, and I can possibly use them to do good for myself and others by turning them into gifts/dana.

I decided to clear out my parents garage of most of the things they are storing from my childhood. Initially, I quickly came up with the plan to sell all the valuables donating their proceeds to the Sangha, and donate anything else to Goodwill or a similar non-profit thrift store. However, as I thought about it, I began to consider the Buddha's teachings about right livelihood and the five trades he specifically discouraged as well as his teachings to the actor, Talaputa.

My understanding of this teaching regarding livelihood is that the Buddha discourages participating in trade where you will be harmed or encourage others to be harmed through the breaking of the precepts, or in arousing passions, aversion or delusion. As I thought about this, I have started wondering: is it right to sell my old valuables, or even give away possessions that may cause this kind of harm to their recipients? Would it be better to just throw these things away?

I would like to keep the question general, as perhaps others will have this same dilemma but have different possessions; but in my case, there are a few notable examples that have me perplexed, including:

Things that could be classified as weapons like fishing poles, fishing tackle. Fishing/camping/bushcraft knives.

Things that have fed my passion for sensuality (and still do even as I have firmly decided to part with them). Like my trading card game collections of Magic the Gathering and Pokemon. And my collection of retro video games.

Even things like kids toys, stuffed animals, action figures, nerf guns all seem like they will excite passion, aversion and delusion in their ultimate recipients.

So I am having this dilemma, because some of the things are valuable and could become support for the Sangha through the donation of the proceeds. But, the vast majority of the items are now questionable to me as to whether they cause harm. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to part with these possessions skillfully?

1 Answer 1


[Angulimala:] "At long last a greatly revered great seer for my sake has come to the great forest. Having heard your verse in line with the Dhamma, I will go about having abandoned evil."

So saying, the bandit hurled his sword & weapons over a cliff into a chasm, a pit. Then the bandit paid homage to the feet of the One Well-gone, and right there requested the Going-forth.

The Awakened One, the compassionate great seer, the teacher of the world, along with its devas, said to him then: "Come, bhikkhu." That in itself was bhikkhuhood for him.

Angulimala Sutta

  • Such a great sutta. Such a pleasure to read.
    – user17652
    May 8, 2021 at 19:03

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