What does the Buddha say in the EBTs about supporting other spiritual seekers (brahmins, ascetics etc.) of different sects?

Hi there,

I was wondering what the Buddha states about supporting spiritual practioners (like brahmins, ascetics, samanas etc.) of other sects and traditions?

Do the EBTs denounce others who follow a different path, or is it encouraged to support living beings in general apart from their spiritual background?

Would the Buddha therefore also encourage to support Christians, Hindus, Muslims etc. if one happens to be in this situation?

The Buddha encouraged giving … one should give wherever one feels inspired.

And which are the three factors of the donor? There is the case where the donor, before giving, is glad; while giving, his/her mind is bright & clear; and after giving is gratified. These are the three factors of the donor.

And he encouraged giving, even to those whose path he did not agree with (the Jains)…

“For a long time now, Sīha, your family has been a well-spring of support for the Jain ascetics. You should consider giving to them when they come.”

“Now I’m even more delighted and satisfied with the Buddha, since he tells me to consider giving to the Jain ascetics when they come. Sir, I have heard this: ‘The ascetic Gotama says, “Gifts should only be given to me, and to my disciples. Only what is given to me is very fruitful, not what is given to others. Only what is given to my disciples is very fruitful, not what is given to the disciples of others.”’ Yet the Buddha encourages me to give to the Jain ascetics.

And the Vinaya does not allow a good monk to directly ask for donations for himself or specifically to his order, or to divert a possible donation. Instead, the monk is supposed to say

if being asked, “Where may we give?” he says, “Give where your gift goes towards equipment/where it goes towards repairs/where it will last for a long time/where you feel inspired


It’s a mixed bag, and I don’t know in which ratio. Because you also find very harsh criticisms:

AN 3.57 states that “fools devoid of understanding, dull-witted, unlearned, do not attend on the holy ones but give their gifts to those outside”. And AN 5.175 calls a lay follower who gives dakkhiṇā to
non-Buddhist teachers an outcast (caṇḍāla), a stain, and blameworthy.

My assumption is that the competitive side of religious giving became more pronounced in later suttas and the closer we get to the historical Buddha he would have been more dispassionate about it. But for a general statement one would need to make a systematic search.

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True, true…but I do think the complete context there is important… this is the last in a set of 5 bad qualities.

A lay follower with five qualities is an outcaste, a stain, and a reject among lay followers. What five? They’re faithless. They’re unethical. They practice noisy, superstitious rites, believing in omens rather than deeds. They seek outside of the Buddhist community for those worthy of religious donations. And they make offerings there first.


Critical tolerance: