Dana is a Pali word meaning “generosity.” As one of the six paramitas or “perfections,” the practice of generosity is an integral part of the Buddhist path.
Dharma teachings are traditionally offered on the basis of dana, so our retreat fees are in place to cover food, facilities, staffing, and other overhead costs. Below the course price we list a suggested dana amount in an effort to give participants an idea of what a traditional offering might be for each retreat, but this is simply a suggestion and is in no way a required fee.
In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a concept of tendrel or “auspicious interdependence” which gestures to the special relationship that is formed between a teacher and their students in many ways. Traditionally after a transmission or teaching, in order to create good tendrel, and to reflect appreciation for the preciousness of what they have received, offerings are made on the part of the student to the teacher.
The teachers for our programs offer their time and teaching and are not paid. They are only financially compensated by what participants offer at the end of the retreat. Most teachers dedicate their lives to teaching and often have no other source of income. Many donate all of their dana to Dharma activities.
There will be an opportunity to make dana contributions at the end of each retreat to the teacher or teachers with a white scarf called a khata which represents pure mind.
Dana is also traditionally offered after receiving a Wang (empowerment). A Wang is generally given at the beginning of a retreat and the khata and Dana are offered immediately after the Wang is completed. This Dana can be monetary but may also be symbolic such as a flower or small personally important item.