Dāna means “giving; charity; liberality” It is the act of giving something to somebody. It is the way of practice generosity perfection or dānapārami cultivation. In Buddhism, dāna is the first source of a meritorious act. To give is to let go of ego, to get rid of selfishness. Why is that so? Because, naturally and generally, people are selfish, greedy and never find an enoughness. Therefore, to give is to gradually liberate us from the selfishness. The mind of giving is the source of happiness than the mind of getting.
There are two kinds of givings, they are:
- Āmisadāna: material gifts
- Dhammadāna: gift of Truth; spiritual gift.
Giving material things of a gift to someone is basically to cover their basic needs, just to overcome hunger and sharing material things. The most exalted gift is the gift of Truth, that is the gift of Dhamma. Why the gift of Dhamma is more exalted than a material gift? Because Dhamma or the Buddha’s teachings can make someone’s life better. Dhamma can change an angry person with a generous one; from an ordinary person to an arahant; from hatred to love and so forth. Therefore, the gift of Dhamma excels than all other gifts.