Enlightenment, only $15!
I am curious as to what you all think about centers/sanghas/etc. that have a required cost to join/sit with them. Personally, the thought of paying for something such as meditation has always seemed silly. I mean, I will gladly donate to a group in need, but being required to pay is just, well, I can't even think of the word I want to use. I understand that everyone needs to support themselves, but demanding, not even suggesting, but demanding pay for meditation seems [insert word I can't think of here].
Money is a very loaded topic.
I have heard a few teachers say that it is very important to offer dana. It is part of our practice. Dare I say it is a "required" part of our practice. It may even be part of a teachers practice to give the opportunity for student to offer dana but I've never heard anyone REQUIRE specific sums of money as dana.
For me there is an important subtle difference between my feeling that dana is a required part of my practice and someone requiring money for teaching.
I suggest Dana, selfless giving, is an important part of our practice and a seed for nurturing Compassion.
However, for this Treeleaf Sangha, we have sufficient financial resources and no needs in what we are about. So, I suggest that folks so inclined (I hope that most people will be so inclined) make a donation to a charity for people with true needs, helping people, perhaps feeding the hungry, seeking a medical cure, etc.
If anyone wishes to consult about Dana or the related topic of Samu (I also encourage volunteer activities hands on helping people in need), please write to me and we can chat about it.
It is important to do a Samu that we resist a bit mentally, and the same for giving "until it hurts". I think.
I gave a little talk on the subject awhile back ...
I also have never heard of REQUIRED dana...which I guess isn't really dana. However, some teachers make their living from donations and the kindness of their students. I'd be hesitant to sit with a group that REQUIRES a donation.
That being said, it should be a part of our practice to give. This is something I'm working on and will hopefully become a large part of my practice. I'd rather give time than money because it's harder (especially when you're very busy) to give time.
Hands palm to palm,
"It is important to do a Samu that we resist a bit mentally, and the same for giving "until it hurts". I think. "
I can see that, Jundo's remark rather struck a chord with me. Unfortunately, I'm much better at the kind of "giving" that I feel comfortable with, better still if I feel good about it. Something to work on.
Pax said - "I also have never heard of REQUIRED dana...which I guess isn't really dana. However, some teachers make their living from donations and the kindness of their students. I'd be hesitant to sit with a group that REQUIRES a donation."
Every "Zen" group where I live asks for a set fee for sitting with them, a set fee for joining, and an annual membership fee. When in Japan, I noticed also that there was a set fee for sitting at some temples, but no other fees.
I usually see "suggested donation," either monthly/yearly or per course. Anywhere from 25$ to 125$ per month. The 125$ price tag was for students who wanted twice-weekly dokusan, casual students of the zendo were asked a lot less.
Retreats seem always to have a fixed cost.