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.
According to the Buddha, generosity is one of the central practices of a spiritual life. In the act of giving, we develop our ability to let go of attachment, cultivate an attitude of open sharing, and acknowledge the interconnectedness of all beings. The Buddha taught the practice of dana whereby those who share the teachings are dependent on those who receive them. It is the practice of dana that has kept the Buddhist tradition alive for more than 2,600 years in Asia, where committed supporters have given generously to establish monasteries and retreat centers, and provide for teachers and practitioners. At Tara Mandala we carry on this joyful tradition in the form of inviting donations from the community to our precious teachers, so that teachers can continue to offer the Dharma. Although the value of the teachings is immeasurably precious, we make our offerings as generous as possible while respecting our own financial well being.
Suggested dana amounts are listed on the registration page of each retreat 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. We have also included general guidelines for dana ranges below.
For online programs and virtual retreats, suggested dana amounts and PayPal links will be offered at the end of each retreat as well as on the respective course pages and retreat content pages.
For onsite retreats, there will be an opportunity to make dana offerings at the end of each retreat to the teacher(s) with a white scarf called a khata, which represents pure mind. Dana can be offered directly to the teachers through Paypal, check, or cash. A computer is available in the Temple for PayPal transactions, but if you would prefer to give dana now, please click on the link below.
For Empowerments and Transmissions, dana is also traditionally offered after receiving a Wang (empowerment) or a Lung (transmission). This dana can be monetary but may also be symbolic such as a flower or small personally important item. When a Lung is given online, dana may be offered monetarily via Paypal to the teacher directly. Paypal links are provided on the event content page.
What is the suggested dana range?
Your dana offering should always consider your individual capacity. There is no set amount for dana, but Tara Mandala has found it helpful to offer some guidelines for those who are new to this traditional Buddhist practice. Please note that Tara Mandala’s suggested dana range is always posted on the retreat registration page. However, we’ve included our general guidelines for the various types of retreats we have at Tara Mandala:
- For Virtual & Onsite Retreats: Tara Mandala suggests a range of $20 – $60 per day of any given retreat. For example, if your retreat is three calendar days, then you might offer between $60-$180 to the teacher as an expression of your appreciation for the teachings. If a retreat has more than one teacher, you may split that amount between each teacher or offer more to each if you are able. Suggested dana amounts and teacher PayPal links will be offered at the end of each retreat.
For Live Online Courses: Rather than calculating per day, we offer a comparable “per hour” range for Live Online Courses. The suggested dana range for Live Online Courses is $5-$15 per hour. For example, if you took a retreat that had 10 hours of live teachings, you could offer a range between $50-150 to the teacher. If your online program has more than one teacher, you may split that amount between each teacher or offer more to each if you are able. Suggested dana amounts and teacher PayPal links will be offered at the end of each retreat.
Does Tara Mandala compensate teachers?
Tara Mandala values our teachers and we want to support them in devoting their life to the Dharma. Therefore, beginning in 2020, Tara Mandala shifted our pricing policy to be able to include teacher compensation in recognition of the precious nature of the teachings. But that alone does not compensate the teachers for their many years of study, practice, and preparation. Therefore, we also encourage you to offer dana according to your capacity and using the guidelines above. To offer dana for your retreat or live online course, please follow the links below to your teachers’ PayPal accounts.