In the tradition of Buddhism, the teachings are considered priceless, and are offered freely from teacher to student since the time of the Buddha 2500 years ago. In modern day America, we strive to continue this valuable tradition, by offering teachings on a donation basis. Though you may pay a fee for the event you attend to support the facility, the teachings themselves are offered by donation. Donations, called Dana in the ancient Pali language, represent the offering of generosity from student to teacher who of their great gratitude for the teachings. These donations in turn support the teacher to continue teaching. Every teacher is also a student of the practice, and cultivates their own personal relationship to giving and receiving Dana.
There is no set price for donations to teachers. Dana is a practice, which demands that each of us go inside our minds and hearts, and investigate our relationship abundance and scarcity, and to money, especially as reflected in our “fee-for-service” culture. We must find our own way to be generous, without giving so much that we cause harm to ourselves, but giving enough that we feel generous and know we have supported those who have helped us. In times of abundance, we give a little more, and in times of challenge, we give a little less, all the while knowing that we are practicing and giving in a community in which each offers what they are able.
There are numerous different ways to offer Dana to teachers and communities. Financial donations are one way. Volunteering your time and skills is another important form of Dana. Your meditation practice itself is another form of generosity to your wider community.
Heather invites you to take on the practice of Dana as part of your practice, and to remember to enjoy the process and gifts of giving.