the practice of dana
The Buddha’s teachings of the dhamma often started with generosity. It’s an act of relinquishment. In that act of release, we cultivate wholesome feelings, which we’re then able to call up and use to cultivate wholesome mind-states which are necessary for the clear seeing of how things are. That clear seeing leads to the ultimate and final eradication of suffering which is the goal of Buddhist practice. It also, relationally, binds us to one another in wholesome ways. You want the teachings, and someone needs your support. There is a wholesome co-dependence that is nurtured.
To give a sense of the intention, monastics are instructed not to endear themselves to the laity with the intention of improving their take during alms rounds, not to ask for anything directly except in an emergency, not to express thanks for donations received, and to even receive without establishing eye contact. There’s a system and the system functions to support the transmission of the dhamma. Most of us are not monastics. And I don’t suspect many of you reading this are heading that way. We can change the dhamma from this point—we can charge, fundraise, create a competitive spiritual marketplace—but we will be decidedly doing something different. It’s just that way. We change the starting point, move it off dana, but we’re orienting it in another direction. We’re pointing to a different star.
As a meditation teacher, Gary has taken a vow to not charge a set fee for teachings. All offerings from Stone Mountain Meditation are on a generosity basis.
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