Author Topic: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family  (Read 942 times)

Offline Tobszn

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« on: February 25, 2018, 03:35:52 pm »
I have a question concerning the general attitude of generosity as a Buddhist practicioner, within a family context.

My situation is that we are supporting my wife's family financially, quite substancially. This creates/d a kind of depencency on our support (dana), as there is no other source of income at the moment for them (the father, mother and sister of my wife). But sometimes the money requirements/demands (medical expenses, school fees, etc.) get so high that my own family (my wife and I, and our little daughter) run into financial shortcomings in some months.

What are your thoughts/recommendations?

On the one hand, generosity is a virtue, and teaches us non-attachment and compassion.

On the other hand, I feel I have to also protect my own well-being (and happiness) of me and my immediate family. But I then also struggle with the guilt of cutting the financial support to the extended family...

Offline PinkJasperCat

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 04:44:06 pm »
There is nothing wrong with going to the local food bank, salvation army, or shopping at good will.

There is nothing wrong with putting them on a budget. lol

It all depends on the "needs" that you and your family have. Its hard to say, it can work both ways, as in you could scale more down and give more. Kids dont need ipods and phones before age 13, as it damages cells and cognitive functioning. I shopped at goodwill as a kid, I still do it now, lol. Found a $250 pair of pants for .75 cents. lol One of the many great goodwill/thrift store finds.

There is a fine line between want and need. lol

Although, at the end of the day, its up to what you want to do and give.

My simple advice is putting them on a budget. lol

Drawing the line in the sand, and dropping them off at the dollar store instead of Whole Foods, mmmkay????? lol 5 dollars can feed you rice and beans all week long!!

Also keep in mind, if its you that needs to scale down, karma isnt nice. Just saying. lol Is it you complaining about $5 a week?? Complaining that you couldnt afford that Disney trip, aka genocide city??? AKA I hope your not vegan. lol Disney trip on a vegan diet, lol. The maddness of it all!!! lol I'm talking about ethics there, not the food. Obviously being mindful, its a place of greed, lust, distraction, hatreds, materialism, etc, etc. What other places and corporations are like Disney?? Do you seek more THINGS from "genocide city"??? Mindfulness, you see things as they are, no filters.

Everyone may need to scale down?? See?? Mindfulness. Or rather "Right View". :)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 05:23:27 pm by PinkJasperCat »

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

  • Member
  • Posts: 432
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2018, 03:31:33 am »
Hello Tobszn

In Buddhism, your in-laws have a responsibility to look after themselves; even if they must seek other sources of charity or government assistance.  Buddhism does not neglect personal responsibility. They are not your responsibility (although your wife has some responsibility towards them; since they are her parents). As you accurately said, what you give them is 'dana' or 'charity' rather than 'obligation'.

Buddhism teaches us to not sacrifice our welfare for the sake of another. The Dhammapada says:

Quote
166. Let one not neglect one's own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one's own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.12.budd.html


Therefore, according to Buddhism, you should give them whatever you can spare. Also, if they must adjust their lifestyle (such as find a smaller house or eat less luxurious food), you should ask them to.

Buddhism teaches that children should look after their parents, however, in the time of the Buddha, parents & children generally lived in the same house & village, therefore they were not paying costs for two houses.

Kind regards  :namaste:
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 03:37:41 am by VisuddhiRaptor »

Offline Tobszn

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2018, 07:21:07 am »
some more background:

My in-laws life in South Africa, and the social security system is very limited, so that they are quite dependent on our financial support for their lifelihood. My sister-in-law would be able to work, but is struggling to find work, although she has a truck drivers licence, etc. ...

Offline Tobszn

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 07:28:45 am »
There is nothing wrong with going to the local food bank, salvation army, or shopping at good will.

There is nothing wrong with putting them on a budget. lol

It all depends on the "needs" that you and your family have. Its hard to say, it can work both ways, as in you could scale more down and give more. Kids dont need ipods and phones before age 13, as it damages cells and cognitive functioning. I shopped at goodwill as a kid, I still do it now, lol. Found a $250 pair of pants for .75 cents. lol One of the many great goodwill/thrift store finds.

There is a fine line between want and need. lol

Although, at the end of the day, its up to what you want to do and give.

My simple advice is putting them on a budget. lol

Drawing the line in the sand, and dropping them off at the dollar store instead of Whole Foods, mmmkay????? lol 5 dollars can feed you rice and beans all week long!!

Also keep in mind, if its you that needs to scale down, karma isnt nice.

Everyone may need to scale down?? See?? Mindfulness. Or rather "Right View". :)

Yes, life is not easy, and there is practically no other income for them at the moment, so they need our financial support, yes. But I'm also just getting the bit the impression that this also creates a bit of a apathy and laziness, as they take our support a bit for granted, as is my feeling...

I'm not sure how to deal with this as a Buddhist. I have no problem of giving freely. But I would like to have the impression that my giving really improves things over time (sister-in-law gets a small job, any other income sources are seeked and found...), and not just creates a dependency on our dana. do you know what I mean?

Or is my ego too much involved here...?

Offline Tobszn

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2018, 07:31:52 am »
Also keep in mind, if its you that needs to scale down, karma isnt nice.

Could you elaborate a bit on that pls? -- do you mean if I scale down my dana, I get bad karma? -- What if I had do scale down dana in order to keep my own budget?

Offline Tobszn

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2018, 07:33:04 am »
as a general question:

What if I cut my dana, if I get the impression that my dana is exploited, and/or taken for granted...? and/or creates a dependency or expectation towards me as a dana-giver?

Offline meez

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 405
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 11:32:31 am »
as a general question:

What if I cut my dana, if I get the impression that my dana is exploited, and/or taken for granted...? and/or creates a dependency or expectation towards me as a dana-giver?

It sounds like there are two issues at play here.  The first one being the feasibility of providing for your family (or in-laws in this case), and the second being whether they spend that money wisely.

The reality is, you are not obligated to give them anything, especially if it puts you and your wife/children in a difficult position.  Obviously, you want to help others and your family, but there shouldn't be an expectation that you continue to do so at the expense of your own family's well-being and stability.  Add to this, your concern that the money you are giving them isn't being spent in a healthy manner, and you have a situation where you need to re-evaluate what is going on and how you are involved/contributing.

Bottom line, if providing financial support is a detriment to your family, it is appropriate to take action to correct it.  Of course, I can't tell you how to navigate that discussion with your wife, but it sounds like a discussion that should be had.

Good luck and best wishes to you.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4520
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2018, 02:38:34 am »
Congratulations regarding your generosity, Tobszn.

My suggestion is to give until it hurts your immediate family and yourself and then stop.  Apply the rule of "limited assets" when it comes to dana.  Since it is your wife's family, which is draining your assets, the absolute maximum and minimum should be half of your excess resources, which should be agreed upon by both you and her.  This gets reduced whenever you and she produce offspring, which is the foundation of your marriage.

This approach may sound tough, but tough though it may be, it is necessary to be fair to you and yours.

Continue to assist with public support, SSA, local charities and such to the limits of your abilities as to resources and time.  Again, your wife should take the lead in this respect.

 :twocents:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Tobszn

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2018, 07:34:00 am »
I guess, my reflections are also about the general nature and attitude towards Dana and Family, as a Buddhist.

Is it ego/expectation/attachment to "want" security for my immediate family? or "want" my dana to have a specific outcome (progress/upliftment of extented family)?

I'm happy to give freely, when I have the feeling that my giving is having an positive effect and is reducing some suffering.

But my worry is that this is creating an long-term depencency. (like the saying: "give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and he can feed himself")

So I guess, my worry is also that my dana now is also creating depencency and thus long-term suffering...

and then I wonder how much of my own ego and expectations are involved here, and how to deal with this in a buddhist way...

Offline Tobszn

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2018, 11:41:18 am »
I found this talk on "Doing Good Deeds Unwillingly" by Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgXPcg6u9os

Quite interesting, as he is saying that even generosity and good deeds given unwillingly give some good (karmic) merits...

What are your thoughts on that?

Offline Lotusmile

  • Member
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: Generosity/Dana/Selflessness and Family
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2018, 02:49:29 am »
I have a question concerning the general attitude of generosity as a Buddhist practicioner, within a family context.

My situation is that we are supporting my wife's family financially, quite substancially. This creates/d a kind of depencency on our support (dana), as there is no other source of income at the moment for them (the father, mother and sister of my wife). But sometimes the money requirements/demands (medical expenses, school fees, etc.) get so high that my own family (my wife and I, and our little daughter) run into financial shortcomings in some months.

What are your thoughts/recommendations?

On the one hand, generosity is a virtue, and teaches us non-attachment and compassion.

On the other hand, I feel I have to also protect my own well-being (and happiness) of me and my immediate family. But I then also struggle with the guilt of cutting the financial support to the extended family...
Your happiness should be evoked naturally from supporting both your family and extended family. When your extended family is too relying on you instead themselves looking way to reduce your financial support, it has to be moderated to your extended family. However, if they really in genuine need of your support, your immediate family expenses have to be moderated for them.
Buddha was a King to be, he commanded wealth and power, but let go all these materialism because genuine happiness or enlightenment could not be actualised from the externals.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal