Buddhist Essential Support Trust (BEST)


Buddhist Essential Support Trust (BEST)
105A St Stephan's Road
United Kingdom



If you knew, as I do, the power of genorosity, you would not let a single meal go by without sharing some of it – The Buddha

The Buddha taught in his first sermon the unsatisfactory nature of worldly life (dukkha). The Buddha dissected the origin of dukkha and revealed that it arises from craving and clinging. For example, we experience suffering when we can’t get something we want and even if we do, we experience sadness at its loss. Importantly, once a particular desire has been fulfilled, a person will move onto something else to crave – such is the unquenchable nature of the thirst.

Above: Dr. Min Sein, Daw Hta Shin and Daw Khin Win Mya, Trustees of BEST offering Dana

There is a way out of dukkha as the Buddha explained further. Since people are unsatisfied or experience suffering because of craving, the logical step in stopping suffering is to uproot its cause, that is craving itself. The cessation of craving results in the extinction of the factors that cause suffering and the realisation of perfect peace and happiness, Nibbana.

In Buddhist tradition the path leading to Nibbana begins with the practise of generosity (dana) and morality (sila). These practises are important because they provide the right conditions for the higher training of meditation (bhavana), which enables us to be free of ignorance. It is because of ignorance that we crave and cling. Through wisdom the causal factors that results in dukkha are extinguished.

Many people practise generosity because it is the opposite of craving and clinging. Generosity has so much power because it has the quality of letting go and non-attachment.

Giving alms to monks and novices in Pakkoku

In Myanmar and in many other Buddhist countries generosity is often expressed as the offering of meals to monks and people. Each time we offer food, we think beyond ourselves and our wants and replace them with the selfless act of giving. The sharing of food is highly regarded because whenever we offer a person food, we not only give them something to eat, we are giving much more. We give health, energy, clarity of mind and life.

This is why the Buddha said “if you knew, as I do, the power of generosity, you would not let a single meal go by without sharing some of it.” The Buddha was trying to convey to us in this message that the power of generosity acts positively at many different levels: it directly benefits the person who receives; it brings immediate happiness to the person who gives and sends us well on our way on the spiritual path that ultimately leads to Nibbana.