The Practice of Dana

The Tradition of Dana

The teachings of the Buddha have been sustained by the 2,500-year-old tradition of Dana, a Pali word meaning “generosity,” which allows retreat participants to offer donations to the teachers at the retreat’s end. The teachers receive no other financial compensation. At dana retreats, teachers offer their teachings within a system of mutual generosity and interdependence that has been alive since the time of the Buddha.

In keeping with this ancient tradition, teachers for dana retreats are not paid by VMRC, instead they rely on the generosity and donations of retreat participants for a sustainable income to support their important work in this world. Teachers come to VMRC to share the teachings, and in turn we, as retreatants offer financial support to them. At the end of the retreat there will be an opportunity to offer financial support to your teachers through the tradition of dana.

Dating back to the time of the Buddha, interdependence has existed between those who offer the teachings and those who receive them. Your contributions help teachers to lead a life devoted to teaching both at VMRC and in other parts of the world, including communities without the means to donate. Your gifts also allow teachers to take time for their own practice, ensuring that their teachings are continuously enriched.

According to the Buddha, generosity, or sharing what we have, is one of the central pillars of spiritual life. In the act of giving we develop our ability to let go, cultivate a spirit of caring, and acknowledge the interconnectedness that we all share. The Buddha created a system to develop this quality of open-heartedness whereby those who share the teachings are dependent on those who receive them.

Not all retreats are Dana based. Please see the retreat description to learn if a retreat is a Dana or Non-Dana based retreat.