What is Dana?
According to the Buddha, generosity, or sharing what we have, is one of the central pillars of a spiritual life. In the act of giving we develop our ability to let go, cultivate a spirit of caring, and acknowledge the inter-connectedness that we all share. The Buddha created a system to develop this quality of open-handedness whereby those who share the teachings are dependent on those who receive them. Monks and nuns go on daily alms rounds with a begging bowl, relying on the generosity of lay people for support in continuing their teaching and spiritual life.
This is not a common practice in the west, but we are continuing this tradition of dana, or generosity, in our Center. Generosity is the first of the ten paramis, or qualities of character, to be perfected in spiritual life and the very act of giving benefits the person who gives, for it opens the heart, lessens self-absorption, and serves the well being of others.
Against the Stream supports much of its operations through dana. Our weekly classes are offered by donation only. Many people have asked what to give, and we suggest $10-15.00 as appropriate.
The fees we ask for daylong programs and special class series go to pay for overhead and other expenses and the dana offering is used to support the teachers. There is no set amount for dana, but we ask you to use this as an opportunity for practice and what you give is a personal decision.
For our dana only days, the amount received will be split between the center and the teacher. These days are true opportunities to touch the deepest experience of finding our edge, experiencing we where we may be stuck and practicing letting go. For half day or day long dana-only classes, you are welcome to give appropriate to your means. Suggested guidelines are $20-30 for a half day, and $40-60 for a full day. But remember, you can make this a personal practice as well as a means of supporting the Center and teachers.
In all cases, no one is ever turned away from weekly classes, daylong programs or class series because of a lack of funds. The generosity of our community in supporting the Center allows us to make the teachings of the Buddha available to all who are interested and to acknowledge our interdependence.
Thank you for your generosity and your help in carrying on this tradition.
Against the Stream is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible. We accept cash, checks and credit cards.