Tag Archives: Jain Philosophy

Dana (Charity)

Dāna (Pāli, Sanskrit: दान dāna) is generosity or giving.It can be defined as an act of giving something without expecting anything in return.Although it doesnt get anything materialist in return to the living being giving it , but earns him a lot of spiritual wealth and therefore Jainism lays a geart emphasis on the generous act of Daan.

Daan can be easily performed by anyone.Even commonest person can afford smallest type of Daan. The items like wealth, money, clothes, foods and grains as well as property are attached with the word Daan.

In Jain philosophy, there are what is known as the ‘Chaturvidha Daan’, which means the four-fold gifts from the Jain congregation to society. These four are:

Ahara Daan: Giving food to the hungry and poor.

Abhaya Daan: Saving the lives of other beings in danger.

Aushadha or Bhaishajya Daan: Distribution of medicine.

Gyana or Shastra Daan: Spreading knowledge.

On listing these four great acts of charity, one may even consider these as the four gifts to Human Rights as they uphold the rights of everyone to health, education and nourishment. Indeed, these are the very gifts that are distributed by aid agencies and other charitable organisations as they are intrinsically linked with the protection of human beings.

Perhaps most significant is Abhay Daan, which involves providing shelter to those in danger. This surely encourages Jains and all humans to defend the rights of those who, for whatever reason, cannot defend their own. Once again the Jain faith upholds Human Duties as a way of promoting Human Rights. It is significant to note that these are gifts that every human can provide in one form or another. Each lay Jain, to some extent, is able to provide these forms of charity and it is a responsibility that Jains take very seriously.

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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Jain Philosophy



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