Dana: The Practice of Giving
Every gift in any form can transform our world.
Our temple is sustained by the generous effort of many caring people – from those who open the doors and facilitate the offering of weekly meditation and practice programs to those who brings gifts of tea and cookies. The gift of volunteer help and in-kind donations is a great way to express Dana. However, without financial gifts and Supporting Members, our temple and our dharma offerings simply could not exist. Generosity is a matter of heart, not income.
Dana is an ancient Sanskrit term that refers to the foundational Buddhist practice of wholehearted Giving, a practice of compassionate, wise activity that arises from meditative awareness. Just as there is no separation between your practice and the practice of others, the practice of Dana realizes the non-separation between your gift, whatever it may be, and the receiver of the gift, and, finally, your role as the giver. Gratitude and devotion are expressed in acts of generosity – going beyond conventional attitudes of profit and gain. We hope that everyone who benefits from our dharma programs can provide financial support according to their means.
In our busy, commercial world, it can be a profound practice to sincerely consider where and how we direct our financial energy and the impact of our financial decisions on the world. Our actions manifest our intentions. We know that this practice benefits many beings amid the difficulties of our world, and not just in obvious ways.
Buddhist practice has always been supported by the generosity of the community. In Buddha’s time, an alms bowl was offered during begging rounds to receive gifts of food and money called Dana to support the offering of the dharma to everyone. Today, we receive financial donations online or in our temple alms bowl to pay rent, utilities, and maintenance of our temple space, to subsidize our Dharma Podcast and meditation events, and to provide a very modest income for our Guiding Teacher. Dana is also a practice of receiving and employing: as stewards of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, our Board of Directors and Temple Leaders are committed to responsible, transparent, and ethical use of financial gifts.