Part of Summer 2003’s Special Section on Dana: The Practice of Giving.
Here are some questions to help you develop your practice of dana. Your answers will suggest what you might like to change—and what you might like to keep the same—about how you give and receive. Answer these questions now, and again in a month or two, and see how your responses differ. Then pick a few key areas on which to focus your practice.
• In what ways have you given over the past few months, and to whom?
• What do you find easiest or most enjoyable to give?
• What is most difficult for you to give?
• To whom is it easiest or most enjoyable for you to give?
• To whom is it most difficult for you to give?
• From whom is it easiest for you to receive?
• From whom is it most difficult for you to receive?
• To whom are you able to give with no expectation of return or thanks?
• From whom do you feel you can receive without an expectation of return or thanks?
• Do you ever presume selfish motivations in people who give to you?
• Do you ever feel indebtedness to people who give to you? Which people, and why?
• Do you ever feel resentment at being asked to give? To whom, and why?
• Do you have trouble figuring out what is the appropriate amount to give—either emotionally or materially?
• Do you have any past experiences that might affect the way you give and receive today?
• Have you encountered situations where you’ve had the opportunity to give, but have held back? Why?
• Have you encountered situations where you feel you’ve given too much, or too little?