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dāna-pāramitā (P. dānapāramī; T. sbyin pa'i kyi pha rol tu phyin pa སྦྱིན་པའི་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་; C. bushi boluomi), aka "perfection of giving," "perfection of generosity," etc., is one the "perfections" (paramitas) that is cultivated on the bodhisattva path.

This paramita is identified as:

One Teacher, Many Traditions states:

Based on nonattachment and the relinquishing of miserliness, generosity is the mind of giving. Generosity is of four types:
1) Giving material resources is giving possessions or money. Bodhisattas give whatever is needed to whoever needs it. They give even if not asked, and they give a suitable amount, not just a little so that the other person will leave them alone. They give without expecting to receive a gift, praise, or fame in return, and when there is not enough to go around, they distribute it equitably among all those in need. They do not give things that may cause harm or stimulate afflictions to arise in others’ minds, such as weapons, intoxicants, pornography, and dangerous chemicals. They give only what is appropriate for the recipient and conducive for the other’s well-being.
Should bodhisattas notice they are becoming attached to a particular object, they immediately give it away. When asked for things, they contemplate the disadvantages of clinging and see the person asking as a close friend helping to free him from bondage to these items and giving him the opportunity to be generous.
Bodhisattas also give their own body by serving others or giving parts of their body, but they do this only when it is suitable. If they hesitate to give their body, they should think that if people in need of the various parts of a medicinal tree were to come and take them, the tree would not complain. Similarly, since this body has the nature of dukkha and since they have entrusted it to the service of others, there is no sense clinging to it thinking, “This is mine, this am I, this is my self.”
Ārya bodhisattvas are able to give their body without hesitation or fear. Practitioners below this level are allowed to give only parts of their body if doing so does not jeopardize their lives. It is wiser for ordinary bodhisattvas to maintain their precious human lives and use them to practice the Dharma. Meanwhile, they can aspire to give their bodies in the future, after they become āryas.
Ārya bodhisattvas who give their bodies do not experience physical suffering due to their great merit and do not experience mental suffering due to their wisdom. Ordinary bodhisattvas feel physical suffering when giving parts of their body. However, the pain they experience serves only to intensify their compassion for other sentient beings, who experience far greater pain in unfortunate rebirths.
We should practice giving possessions as much as we can, making offerings to the Three Jewels each day, offering our food before eating, and giving to those in need. Doing practices in which we imagine giving our body, possessions, and virtues of the past, present, and future are also beneficial, especially if we reflect that the giver, recipient, and gift exist dependently and are empty of inherent existence.
2) Giving fearlessness is offering protection to those who are frightened, lost, or in danger. It calms sentient beings’ minds and shields them from physical suffering.
3) Giving love includes volunteering in social welfare projects, consoling the grieving, and encouraging others’ good qualities.
4) Giving the Dhamma is giving correct Dhamma teachings that lead to well-being and peace in this and future lives and to liberation and full awakening. Bodhisattas introduce the Dhamma to sentient beings who have not met it and mature the minds of those who are already practicing. They give discourses on the three vehicles according to the disposition of the audience. When sharing the Dhamma, they do not expect special treatment, respect, or offerings but simply give advice or instructions to others as one close friend to another.
Generosity has many benefits. It is the cause to receive resources. Making offerings to the Three Jewels creates a karmic connection that will enable us to meet holy beings who will guide us on the path. Bodhisattvas give whatever is required and beneficial with a joyful heart, knowing that through this, they will attain full awakening.
If we think of the benefits of giving and the disadvantages of stinginess but still cannot bring ourselves to give to a person who has asked for something, the Buddha tells us to humbly explain to him:
At this point my strength is meager and my roots of virtue are immature.… I still have the perspective of grasping and am stuck in grasping things as I and mine. And so, good person, I beg you to forgive me and not to be upset. [In the future] I will act, accomplish, and exert myself in order to fulfill your desires and those of all beings. [1]
Being generous does not mean abolishing all the poverty in the world. If we have the wish to give but lack resources, there is no fault. Each situation in which we are requested to help needs to be examined individually, in light of our motivation, capability, and the repercussions of our action.[2]


  1. From the Ugraparipṛcchā Sūtra. Translated by Jan Nattier in A Few Good Men (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005), 259.
  2. Dalai Lama & Thubten Chodron 2014, s.v. Chapter 13, section "Perfection of Generosity".