What is Dana? Dana is a Pali word, indicating generosity. Ideally we experience gratitude and from that gratitude we wish to give back to the world for what we have received. It is an internal opening. You may or may not actually experience it. So, why is it tied to paying for dharma teachings? Yes, this is unfortunate. It goes back to years ago, when a monastic community was supported by the working community.
Dana in this situation is simply a donation to the teachers to cover some of their time preparing and guiding each individual on retreat. We are not teaching under any Buddhist umbrella organization. Basically we teach retreat when students ask us to do so. In order to make our retreats less costly, we ask for a donation for our teaching. We ask that each of you consider this before you come on the retreat. Decide before the retreat what you can afford to donate to teachers for their instruction. You can then be settled in your heart before the retreat has even begun. This is how we have taught retreat for 10 years and it works fine. To read more: Dana & Dana1
We keep the fee of retreats affordable in two ways: by offering scholarships and by requesting a donation to cover our preparation, instruction and teaching material expenses.
How do I figure out the amount to give for Dana?
Consider these 5 elements when deciding upon an amount for Dana:
- What do I wish to give to the teachers for preparation and a five day silent retreat?
- What can I give for private meditation consultation while on the retreat?
- Can I give anything toward the printing of the retreat booklet & other materials?
- What can I give that is from my heart and does not cause me trouble?
- Knowing that the opportunity to deepen practice is invaluable, can I offer something?
What does the advertised cost of the retreat actually cover? The fee you pay upfront covers: your room for 5 nights, your meals (3 meals daily + snacks) for 5 days and a percentage of teachers room & board. It does not cover payment for the teachers.
What has the donation for the teachers been used for in the past? The donations that we have received have been used for: zafu & zabutan for sangha, retreat scholarships for future meditators, printed materials & gifts to Mandala staff, flowers for alter, offsetting costs for long distance practitioners additional travel expenses, helping teachers attend retreat with teachers, colleagues and solo…
*Please decide upon a Dana sum BEFORE you attend the retreat! In this way, it will not be a concern while on retreat. We provide envelopes at the end of the retreat for this purpose.
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