The Practice of Generosity - "Dana"
Dana (Pronounced “Donna”) is a Pali term literally meaning generosity or giving freely. There is a beautiful tradition of Dana in Dharma circles throughout the world and throughout time. In some cases, Dharma teachers and institutions rely solely on the generosity of others to support themselves.
At Great Vow Zen Monastery and Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple, our current model is to charge a set rate plus dana for any event. The set rate covers just your food, laundry, heat, water, and electricity for the time you are here. Your dana (donation above the set rate) helps cover the monastery’s and temple's other expenses, including maintaining the buildings and grounds and supporting the teachers and staff. Such support is essential if we are to continue our work.
Dana may be given anytime before the retreat begins, and/or as you check in, and/or toward the end of the retreat. Sometimes there will be a dana bowl or basket set out at the end, or you can give your dana directly to a staff member (to give to the monastery or temple) or leave it in the donation box across from the kitchen.
Your dana amount is completely up to you. It may be helpful to consider the value of the teachings in your life and possibly look at what other centers are charging for comparable retreats.