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Author Topic: [Q&A] What happens when your tank is empty, and you’ve got nothing left to give?  (Read 437 times)

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Online Johann

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[Q&A] What happens when your tank is empty, and you’ve got nothing left to give?

Today I happen to read the article “Charitable giving by country: who is the most generous?

Then this question came up. When it comes to generosity, sometimes people look at what they’ve got and they’d like to be able to give much more. They’d like to make a more impressive offering, but their means are limited. So they have to content themselves with giving limited gifts. So what do you think happens when your tank is empty, and you’ve got nothing left to give?

Venerable members of the Sangha,
walking in front Fellows in leading the holly life.

 _/\_  _/\_  _/\_

In Respect of the Triple Gems, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, in Respect of the Elders of the community _/\_ , my person tries to answer this question. Please, may all knowledgeable Venerables and Dhammika, out of compassion, correct my person, if something is not correct and fill also graps, if something is missing.

Valued Upasaka, Upasika, Aramika(inis),
dear Readers and Visitors,


(This is a maybe modified and expanded answer of the "original" that can be found here . )

Upasaka Saptha Visuddhi,
interested and the Tripple Gems respecting readers,

first of all this not a good article and statistic, think that it's properly build up on registered trade in charity which is far away from what is real giving in accordiance to Dhamma.

Just for example, everybody knows that Swiss people are the most stingy peolpe in Europe and Chinese-people are for the most the most greedy people, yet they also have ways to give, or better trade.

If you "tank" is empty, than you might propably have already reached the Eightfold Path and it's good to focus now more on simply "Sila, Samadhi, Panna". Being already there, don't forget that you might have beome a person which is already a worthy field of merits and it's good to be not greedy and let now others prepare their way to follow and accept their support and help. Having given all outwardly one is on the stage of becoming a real homeless.

When ever taking what is not given, taking for sensual lust, again, one needs to give to keep one self-esteem on a level that allows further paths and fruits.

Its not praiseworthy to encourage taking for the sake of giving and enjoyment with it.

Yet, on the other side, if still after sensuallity, it's best to turn also generosity into virture by giving service, best for those who are worthy to receive it, since help, assistance and service, Veyyāvacca (not translated into english yet) falls already like veneration, under the Sila part of the eightfold path.

Atma can only encourage again and again, support, help and dedicate what ever possible and insired to the Savaka Sangha, don't waste your goodness into throwing gold into the mud or clear water into the salty ocean. No money and material needs required at all and when even keeping 8 precepts, all time worthy of living on gifts of the country dedicated to the worthy Ones and trainees, following them.

But there is also another point, shown in a nice story of a giving greedy Deva, Upasaka might know and remember:

There's another story, about an old woman who went to a monastery one day and saw that the walking meditation paths were dirty. She swept the paths clear of the dirt and rubbish, so that the monks could walk conveniently on the paths. She did it only this once, but she did it with an attitude of love, an attitude of conviction, an attitude of respect, and a pure state of mind. The dirt and rubbish had made her feel dispirited, so she swept it all away and set out water for washing the feet; as a result, her mind felt clean and refreshed. Soon after she returned home she had a heart attack. After she died she was reborn as a deva with a large following, a palace, divine food, and all kinds of abundant wealth. Living in her palace, she began to remember her previous life and thought to herself, "If I had done lots of merit, I'd be even richer than I am now. It'd be good to go back and do good things for just a little bit longer, so that I could get even more abundant results than what I have now. Before, I had no idea that goodness would give results like this."

So she left heaven and came down to earth, prowling around in search of monks in the forest and wilderness. She came across one monk who was about to enter concentration, so she stood there staring at him, looking for a way to be of service. But when he saw her, he chased her away: "What kind of deva is this, trying to horn in on human beings' merit? Before, you underestimated merit, but now that you've received good results you want even more. How greedy can you get? Go away! I won't let you do anything. Let human beings have a chance to do good. There are lots of people who don't have any of the good things you do. Don't come horning in on their chance for goodness."

Chagrined, the deva fled back up to heaven and had to content herself with the results she already had. She had wanted to make more merit, but they wouldn't let her. Why was that? We human beings tend to underestimate little acts of merit, but after you die it's hard for you to make any more merit at all. How is it hard? Your body is no longer like a human body. You can't talk with human beings at all. You can't even put food in monks' bowls. The best you can do is simply stand around rejoicing in the merit of others. Only human beings with good eyes can see you. Those without that kind of eye won't detect you at all. If you encounter those with the right mental powers, they can teach you to some extent. But if you don't encounter that kind of person when you're a deva, you have no way of developing any more goodness.

So you shouldn't underestimate the power of goodness.

So it might be that real good monks will not give into your desire to make more merits which are not really conductive for the path but simply for this or that being and becoming.

And this is the point, Upasaka thought already about this the last days intensively, why you hang around here and waste you precious Gems, yet even possible to dedicate it there where it might bear real benefical fruits. No more demanding from a certain sociaty there is no more dept to pay.

Atma has to think on Upasaka Lal story about his teacher. Others then most western or todays "teacher", who use the Sangha and the tripple Gems right from the beginning to accumulate depts and demerits, having learned on generosity, lived on it, then even lay down the robe and make bussiness in teaching Dhamma as a "tradition destroying" Layperson enjoying sensuality and even take alms as well, he was a lay teacher and seemingly with time his Dhamma eye really opened and then there is/was no other way (for him also open and possible) as to live the holly live, ordained and also his family followed into the monastery. This is a great story and shows the way it works and worthy to follow this foodsteps. Since the others, having been giving goodness and step by step making a livelihood out of that, what do they do aside of distroying their old goodness and damaging the possibility of many in doing so.

Since Upasaka is actually well versed in Dhamma, but might only have lacked of straight forward advices, he might find enough food for thoughts and my person trusts that he do not only make the best choices for him and for the benefit of all his dears around him but also that he finds the way to real happiness with ease by him self.

Where else can someone arive having followed good deeds and the words by the wise, ones merits receive one here or there like old lost good friends where ever one goes. There is neither fear nor lack of anything for such a person.

Let my person now share the The Analogy of the Fire-Worshipper at the end, since Danā alone at least just increases the corpses, death and suffering in this world:

Quote from: Ven. Ledi Sayadaw
The Analogy of the Fire-Worshipper
by Ven. Ledi Sayadaw (A Manual of the Excellent Man)

Keeping the flame of personality alive

Personality view is not just ordinary wrong view, but the gravest wrong view. There is, for instance, the wrong view of fire-worship. When a child is born, the fire-worshipper’s parents kindle a fire for the child. For sixteen years the parents keep the fire alive by refuelling it regularly with ghee or butter. When he is sixteen, the parents ask their son whether he will remain as a layman or become a recluse and take up the practice that will lead him to the brahmā realm. If the boy chooses to become a recluse, the parents hand over the sacrificial fire to him. The recluse then takes upon himself the duty of feeding the fire with the best ghee or butter. The purer the fuel, the more meritorious is the fire-sacrifice. He takes the sacrificial fire wherever he goes. He keeps the flame alight constantly throughout his life. By this dutiful sacrifice he earns merit said to lead to rebirth in the brahmā world. This fire-worshipper is virtually a slave to his sacrificial fire. For as long as he lives, maybe a hundred years or more, his servitude persists. For as long as his wrong belief in the virtue of the fire sacrifice persists, he will serve the fire dutifully. This is, of course, a case of saṅkhāra dukkha, the tyranny of conditioned states. It is the nature of fire to consume whatever fuel it can lay hold of. Searching for fuel to keep the fire alive is therefore never-ending serfdom, eternal suffering.

The analogy of the fire-worshipper is this: All beings who have strong attachment to “self,” which is but the five aggregates, exhaust themselves to maintain their lives, but they are only feeding the fire that consumes from within. The fire of death is kept alive, consuming fresh materiality and mentality, being sustained by regular feeding.

All Beings are Fuel to the Fire of Death
Human existence is fuel for the fire of human death. A deva’s existence is fuel for the fire of a deva’s death. A brahmā’s existence is fuel for the fire of a brahmā’s death. Almsgiving done to acquire merit for these forms of existence is merely trouble taken to feed the fires of these existences. It virtually means cultivating the fields where these fires are to thrive. Keeping the precepts to acquire merit — whether five, eight, or ten precepts — is merely cultivating the field to reap a good crop of fires. Similarly, developing concentration or the four divine abidings is merely cultivating the field of fires. In the beginningless cycle of rebirths, every being has done infinite deeds of giving, and has reaped the results of infinite existences as human beings or as devas. All of those existences have been consumed by the fire of death. Not a particle of ash remains. In each of these existences, the nurturing of one’s life, from the time one could look after oneself until death, is just feeding the fire of death. Nothing remains at the time of death. There is no fundamental difference between such subsistence and maintaining the sacrificial fire of the fire-worshipping recluse.
This analogy is given to drive home the truth of the impermanence of all materiality, the danger that besets all living beings.

Try to Understand the Phenomenon of Death
In spite of the inevitability of death, most people usually ignore it. You should meditate to realize the omnipresence of death. Try to visualize the ceaseless burning of the fire of death in all the four postures: standing, sitting, walking, and lying down.

All the merits acquired in the past through giving, virtue, or meditation for calm, if they were aimed at prolonging existence, are futile. The acquisition of merit now aimed at prolonging existence in the future will lead to the same fate. The burdensome tasks that one undertakes to support one’s present existence are no different either. All these efforts merely serve as fuel for the fire of death. This is to impress upon you the futility of all human efforts, however meritorious, aimed at the continuation of existence.
The Five Aggregates and the Four Noble Truths
The five aggregates, being truly impermanent, are unsatisfactory. This is the Noble Truth of Suffering. Attachment to the five aggregates as one’s own property, or one’s own self, and the craving for existence and rebirth, is the origin of suffering. This is the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering. The liberation from craving, which is the same as the escape from the five aggregates, is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering. The Noble Eightfold Path beginning with right view is the Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering.


This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

Online Johann

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Good related to the fireworshipper simile, in relation to DN3:

Hmmm… if you replace it[1] with kitchen then the whole passage is somehow saying the ascetic or brahmin ends up becoming either a cook or a householder, cooking for himself?
 1. [the word "agyāgāraṃ" in a certain passage of DN 3]

Such merit-making, in setting up a resistence, regarding as ones own, for the sake of being and becoming, even if in the camouflage of a monastery, or what ever, one becomes, "is" to be regarded as householder, a cook, one who keeps flame of personality alive.

Therefore, it is never really possible for Noble Ones to maintain or built up a dwelling for themselves and needs requires paccay, (pre)requisites at first place, which of course can only be given by householder to them.

If such does not happen, no dwelling (Vihara) could come into existence or might be possible resist for what ever time.

An importand aspect for contemplatives and brahmans, in regard of "What happens when your tank is empty, and you’ve got nothing left to give?" as well, specially taken of what is not given for it/such.

* Johann total off-topic: ...had to  :) , because Upasaka Laera look very similar of Atmas relatives on the side of his mother, named Leierer, family "origin" somewhere in France and southward of it, as far as remember having been told. So let this be a dedication for the ancestors and family, might it blood or heart relation, or both.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 02:21:34 PM by Johann »
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

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Today at 12:01:09 AM
One leading to peaks pointing downward so that aging, sickness and death can be seen, know him/her as a sage, a giver of release.


March 18, 2018, 11:57:30 PM
One leading people to papanca, promoting rejoicing in objectification as the heart wood, increases to fields of corpse in the world.


March 18, 2018, 12:03:14 AM
Good night _/\_


March 17, 2018, 11:59:14 PM
Vandami, Bhante _/\_


March 17, 2018, 11:51:37 PM


March 16, 2018, 01:19:17 AM


March 15, 2018, 09:53:07 PM
 :-* ich wünschen allen einen verdienstvollen uposatha  :-*


March 14, 2018, 11:19:11 PM
Sounds like a good idea to rest. I will be taking a break from the internet for a while i feel detached a lot from the worldly feminisms and all. It is wonderful not to be lusting, walking the streets with lowered gaze, delighting in meditation... I fear it compromises me to even think about the pol


March 14, 2018, 11:10:27 PM


March 14, 2018, 10:58:38 PM
Marcel, Morits, Upasaka X, it's time to break up this auspicious coming in touch now also for my person. Observe, remember, how you have been yesterday an now and guess of what will be tomorrow probably... maybe just not sure.


March 14, 2018, 10:06:46 PM
Sadhu, _/\_

may Bhante have a peaceful day.

Chom reap sour.


March 14, 2018, 09:58:42 PM
 :-* :-* :-*


March 14, 2018, 09:55:00 PM
O yes... will be a long day, this yesterday, but possible a remorseless.


March 14, 2018, 09:46:45 PM
Vandami Bhante,
good evening (morning in Cambodia?).



March 14, 2018, 03:03:38 AM
Wie war es gestern? Wie geht es heute?

How was it yesterday? How are you today?


March 06, 2018, 02:24:03 PM
Nyom Jens.


March 05, 2018, 02:25:22 PM
 :-* erhwürdiger bhante johann  :-*


March 05, 2018, 02:17:57 PM
Nyom Marcel


March 01, 2018, 12:52:02 AM
Sadhu, eine des Magha-puja allen jenen die sie heute Begehen.


February 28, 2018, 09:48:58 PM
 :-* allen ein verdienstvollen uposatha tag :-*


February 24, 2018, 02:37:41 AM


February 24, 2018, 01:31:25 AM


February 24, 2018, 12:50:00 AM
Es ist sehr selten, ungewöhnlich und erfreulich, zur Mitfreude anregend, junge Menschen Kloster aufsuchend zu sehen.


February 23, 2018, 02:56:54 PM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_


February 23, 2018, 04:04:45 AM


February 23, 2018, 02:16:16 AM
Nyom Danilo.
(Atma will leave for a while for his almsround.)


February 22, 2018, 10:08:41 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann, ja ich ahb die khmer tastatur installiert! ich werde in den nächsten tagen text teilen und berichten!  :-*


February 22, 2018, 12:34:06 PM
Hat Nyom Marcel schon eine Khmer Tastatur installiert?


February 22, 2018, 12:32:21 PM
So ist das. Wenn Nahrung aufgebraucht, dann ist da für eine Weile Ende, und Wiedergeboren, es wieder brennen wird. Zum endgültigen legen des Feuers sind wir hier, oder? Pfau ruft, Gecko balzt, alles in Ordnung, oder?


February 22, 2018, 12:16:35 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann, letzte nacht davon geträumt, dass es beim ashram brennt!!
ich hoffe, das feuer hat sich gelegt  :-*


February 22, 2018, 11:43:37 AM
Nyom Marcel.


February 22, 2018, 09:08:57 AM


February 22, 2018, 08:49:51 AM
Möge Regen kommen und alle beschützt werden


February 22, 2018, 01:59:08 AM


February 22, 2018, 01:04:19 AM
ich  wünsche einen verdienstvollen uposatha!! all jende für morgen auch einen hervorragenden uposatha!!!
 :-* :-* :-*


February 19, 2018, 06:00:04 PM
Much joy and releasing touches here, Nyom Chris, my person will leave for today, befor it becomes tomorrow, and rest a little.


February 14, 2018, 03:57:33 PM
Sadhu, auch jenen, die ihn morgen, auch Chinesisches Neujahrsfest, begehen, einhalten.


February 14, 2018, 01:37:51 PM
einen verdienstvollen uposatha allen!!!


February 10, 2018, 12:31:09 PM
Sadhu! Mag er fruchtvoll verlaufen sein. Gerade wieder Möglichkeit erhalten, in dieser Welt hier beizutragen.


February 08, 2018, 12:46:43 PM
 :-* :-* :-* ich wünsche allen einen verdienstvollen uposatha  :-* :-* :-*


February 05, 2018, 02:19:14 PM

 :-* :-* :-* sadhu,sadhu,sadhu

 :-* :-* :-*


February 02, 2018, 12:38:06 PM
Meinereiner ist so schnell ie noch nie genesen. Die Symptome des Befalls nur 2 Tage, und die üblichen 5 Tage um das Medikament zu überstehen. Atma ist gerade wohl auf und auch das ist wie für alle nicht sicher. Nutze den Tag heißt vorallem über Alter, Krankheit und Tod, wie Alternative z


January 31, 2018, 08:34:45 AM
 :-* :-* :-*
Möge sich Bhante wieder schnell vondem Malariaschub erholen!  :-* :-* :-*


January 24, 2018, 04:49:45 PM
Nyom Moritz


January 24, 2018, 04:48:30 PM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_


January 24, 2018, 12:46:37 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann  :-*


January 24, 2018, 12:10:15 PM
Nyom Marcel.


January 24, 2018, 07:27:24 AM
Nyom Jens.


January 24, 2018, 05:39:37 AM
Nächste Woche ist ja schon Magha-puja, doch Ovāda-pāṭimokkha Gāthā ist ja etwas Zeitloses. Ajahn Lees Dhamma für Jedermann .


January 24, 2018, 12:41:03 AM
Namasakara Bhante _/\_

Einen verdienstvollen Uposatha allen.

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