What is Dana?
Teachings and meditation retreats that are offered at PMC are offered on the principle of dana. Dana is an ancient Pali word meaning "generosity," "giving" or "gift." It is directly related to the Latin word donum and through this to such English words as donor, donate and donation.
Dana is intrinsic to the 2500 year-old Buddhist tradition. Going back to the days of the Buddha the teachings were considered priceless and thus offered freely as a form of dana. The early teachers received no payment for their instruction, and in turn, the lay community saw to it through their voluntary generosity, their dana, that the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and medicine were provided for these monks and nuns.
Beyond the practical dimension, dana also plays a crucial role in the spiritual life of a Dharma practitioner. It is the first of the ten paramitas, or qualities of character, to be perfected. The act of giving itself is of immeasurable benefit to the giver for it opens up the heart, diminishes for a moment one's self-absorption, and places value on the well-being of others. The simple gesture of offering a flower, an act of service, a kind thought or a simple meal is in fact a sincere form of practice.
We do not have a strong monastic tradition in the West. Still most Insight teachers try to follow the ancient model of generosity as much as it is feasible in this culture. Teachers do not receive any payment from PMC. Retreat fees cover only the cost of maintaining the Center, day-to-day operation of the Center and the teacher's airfare. Teacher support is provided solely by voluntary donations given directly to the teacher by students at the retreat. Many teachers are dependent almost entirely on teaching donations. We ask you to consider that these teachers invest the bulk of their time serving the dharma and that they have the same living expenses, rent/mortgage, auto, health insurance, children's tuition, that we all do.
During the retreat there will be dana boxes at each entrance. Contributions or retreat fees if in the form of check to PMC should be made out to the Philadelphia Meditation Center, Inc.. Dana to the teacher, if in the form of a check, should be made out to the teacher directly.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!
People who have been coming to PMC since it's opening have been very generous with contributions. This support is deeply appreciated. Contributions and retreat fees help keep the Center and the teachings alive.