“If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving and sharing, they would not eat without having given, now would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared, if there were someone to receive their gift. “
The practice of dana, the Pali word for “generosity,” dates back to the time of the Buddha. His words above are as relevant today as they were then, although the contemporary, Western form of the practice may look a bit different. In ancient India, and even now in certain Southeast Asian Buddhist countries, the teachings were freely given by the monastics to the lay people, and in return, the recipients would provide the “four requisites” to sustain the spiritual community: food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Today, the practice of dana often takes the form of service work or financial contributions to both monastic and lay communities that are continuing the lineage that the Buddha started, making the teachings freely available to all.
The Triangle Insight Meditation Community continues this tradition of dana by offering all of our activities free of charge (excluding retreats, where the lowest fee possible is charged such that facility expenses can be met). The generosity of our community has been heart-warming, and some have asked for an opportunity to be able to contribute from the website. We trust the Buddha would approve of this modern version of this ancient practice, and that the same benefit of practicing dana may be realized.
Thank you for your generosity.