Dana is a Pali word that means ‘generosity’ or ‘giving freely,’ and has played a central role throughout Buddhism’s history. The spirit of generosity guides all aspects of IMS’s vision and operations.
Generosity is the first of the ten parami, or qualities of character, that the Buddha taught his students to cultivate. The practice of generosity develops lovingkindness and compassion, deepens awareness of our interconnectedness and encourages non-attachment.
Giving is said to benefit both the giver and the receiver – the giver practices sharing and letting go, and the recipient practices acceptance of what is presented. Offering a small favor, a kind thought, a meal, or funds to help sustain a meditation teacher or center is a sincere form of spiritual practice.
Here in the midst of contemporary Western culture, our teachers are continuing the ancient Buddhist monastic tradition of freely offering the teachings. Teachers rely on the generosity of course participants for a sustainable income. At the Forest Refuge, where retreatants often stay for long periods, IMS supplements teacher dana as needed to provide an adequate offering.
There is an opportunity to offer contributions to the teachers and to IMS at the end of your retreat, as well as anytime throughout the year. Your donations help many teachers to lead a life devoted to teaching at IMS and also in other parts of the world. Your gifts also allow teachers to take time for their own practice, ensuring that their teachings are continuously enriched.
One of IMS’s deepest aspirations is to share the Buddha’s teachings with all who are interested, regardless of their ability to pay. We count on your generous support to operate our centers, to provide affordable rates and to give financial assistance to approximately a third of our retreatants.
Whenever you are inspired to offer a donation, you join a community directly engaged in alleviating suffering and bringing greater wisdom and compassion to the world.