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Thread: Dana?

  1. #1


    I have a question on Dana, when I work, can that be dana? If i work with no "attachments" to it. with that I mean no pride, no disappointed... Just work.

    One more.. What does Gassho means? Thanks?


  2. #2

    Re: Dana?

    Good afternoon (here) Ola,

    It is my view that Dana is having enough wealth to share; I don't think that you necessarily have to be generous with things to be generous. To be sure, time is most precious--when you're out, you're Out!

    Perhaps it could be said that the perfection of Dana is giving what needs to be given; money, clothing, time, a hug: all without thought of reciprocation. Giving as an expression of Buddho. Generosity for generosity's sake.

    Just my thoughts.

    Gassho is when you put your hands together in front of you, like this: _/|_. It can be used as an expression of greeting, reverence, and thankfulness. Perhaps one of the more advanced practitioners here can comment on the deeper meanings of the gesture.

    Much metta, Ola.


  3. #3

    Re: Dana?

    hiya,Now I'm not a teacher, and this should be taken with a grain of salt or 10 but I understand Gassho, the coming together of your hands in gassho, displaying oneness, no separation.

    Shohei (really in gassho before i hit submit)

  4. #4

    Re: Dana?

    My understanding is that dana can be work. I treat my work as dana. I teach rehabilitation counseling at a university, so my job is pretty much by definition giving to students so that they can then give to people with disabilities. BUT I think true dana exists only with the right giving mindset. I have teaching colleagues that do not seem to share that generous mindset, but I better stop here before I break the precept of saying bad things about people.

  5. #5

    Re: Dana?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ola Nelsson
    I have a question on Dana, when I work, can that be dana? If i work with no "attachments" to it. with that I mean no pride, no disappointed... Just work.

    One more.. What does Gassho means? Thanks?

    Hi Ola,

    I sense that there may be a little confusion on terminology here between "samu" and "dana". All are just words, all connected ... but a little different in meaning.

    I would define "samu" as doing labor and chores much as we do sitting Zazen (in fact, it is "Zazen" in its wider meaning). Nothing to attain or "get done", yet we move ahead with sincerity, diligence, effort, trying to get the job done. Dropping all thought of "good or bad" ... yet we seek to do a good job, and not a bad one. It is rather like trying to clean the temple windows while dropping all thought of "clean or dirty", the windows sacred in their very dirtiness. Thus we clean clean clean the yucky muck, trying to remove the dirt (in Zen practice, there is often from these various simultaneously true, sometimes seemingly contradictory perspective ... "nothing in need of cleaning" and "grab the soap and brush 'cause the windows are filthy!" all at once!) The same for changing diapers on the baby or getting a report done at the office. All can be "samu".

    Now, "dana" is the practice and virtue of generosity and giving. That is a bit different meaning. It is charity. It can have many forms, many kinds of charity. I agree with so many of the definitions written in this thread, that it can include "money, clothing, time, a hug: all without thought of reciprocation" (thank you for sharing this teaching, Perry ... another form of "dana" giving).

    "Selfless giving" is an important aspect, not doing it primarily (or at all if possible) for one's own satisfaction, not looking for "pay back". I think that "hands on" is more valuable than "writing a check and being done with it) ... so I encourage folks to get in the mud actually helping people in need like the sick or elderly or challenged kids (not just folding envelopes or sending money). That assumes, of course, that one has the time ... and some folks truly do not (which is not the same as thinking you do not have the time ... if really you do!)

    Here is a little more on our "official" Dana policy here at Treeleaf ... Get out there!


    (i also see that the way I wrote that "policy" may have added to the confusion) :?

    (we are also working on some other projects now through this community that, I hope, folks will get involved in ... like the "Web of Interconnection" that is now being developed ...


    As to Gassho ...

    It is a word that literally means "pressed palms", a traditional greeting in Asia much like a handshake (this photo from a McD's in Thailand) ...

    but also an expression of gratitude to all things and unity therewith (two hands, just one) ... coming together, whole ...

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6

    Re: Dana?

    at OBC we were taught that Gassho signified Gratitude, a very important part of Rev Master Jiyu's teaching, hence the bowing to inanimate objects like your zafu, your breakfast bowl etc.

    Gassho (really)


  7. #7

    Re: Dana?

    After posting the above I realized I was thinking more of samu than dana. OOPS ops:

  8. #8

    Re: Dana?

    I am not a frequent writer on the forum, but thanks for your time and answers


  9. #9

    Re: Dana?

    From Bernie Glassman's Infinite Circle:
    The first paramita, and in a sense the most important, is called dana, or "giving." In the context of practice, this is giving in the sense of letting go: giving up the self, giving up our notions. Give it all away! Give up all concepts. Zazen is the manifestation of giving, because it's the state of letting go.

  10. #10
    Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil

    Re: Dana?

    Never thought in a million gazillion years I would see Ronald McDonald and "gassho' referenced at the same time...

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