almsgiving ［布施］ (, Pali dāna; fuse): Also, offering. (1) One of the six pāramitās, or six kinds of practices required of bodhisattvas. The “Devadatta” (twelfth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra describes Shakyamuni in a past existence as the ruler of a kingdom who, in order to fulfill the six pāramitās, diligently distributed alms, never stinting in heart no matter how precious were the goods he gave away. He did not begrudge, the sutra says, even his own life.
(2) The offering of alms to others, including the Buddha and the Buddhist Order. Among the various kinds of almsgiving, two are best known. They are the offering of goods and the offering of the Law; the former means to offer food, robes, and other goods, and the latter means to share or explain the Buddha’s teachings. There is also a concept of three kinds of almsgiving, which consists of the two just mentioned and the offering of fearlessness. The offering of fearlessness means to inspire courage and remove fear.