The Singer Solution And World Poverty, And The Buddhist Jataka ' The Perfect Generosity Of Prince Vessantara

2131 Words Oct 15th, 2014 9 Pages
The news article “The Singer Solution to World Poverty,” and the Buddhist jataka “The Perfect Generosity of Prince Vessantara,” both extrapolate on giving and how to give well. This concept is extremely hard to explain especially in light of Buddhist tradition. Both authors try their best to elaborate on the concept of giving, Singer talks about the moral obligation to give and the story about Vessantara talks about giving everything you have. However, these stories do not necessarily teach others the most perfect form of giving, Dana, or giving without expecting anything in return. The author who comes closest to this concept is Peter Singer because the guilt he uses to compel his readers is more easily dissipated than the joy Vessantara feels at giving. It is harder to give up positive feelings than negative ones. In Buddhist tradition, Dana, or perfect generosity, is giving just to give. It is a hard concept to understand because one is not supposed to feel good about the giving in any way nor expect merit or good karma in return. When Buddhists perfect this giving they do gain merit and good karma, both concepts that will bring them prosperity and closer to Enlightenment in the future, but they should not expect their act of giving to procure these for them. To achieve Enlightenment, the ultimate goal in Buddhism, one must live a life of non-attachment to the world around you. This life is one of recognizing impermanence and interdependence and not worrying about…

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