Dana in Buddhism means “gift” or “giving”. It comes from Pali, the language of ancient India in which the Buddha’s teachings were recorded and passed down through the generations. The practice of dana is fundamental to our spiritual development, as it allows us to open our hearts to others, to recognize our mutual interdependence, and to express our appreciation and support for those who make spiritual teachings available.
In the time of the Buddha, it was traditional for those who taught, to offer the Dharma freely, and those who came to listen would support them materially. We continue this practice here at Heartwood, as the teachers who come to Heartwood receive no compensation. Retreat fees go towards program costs, including food, building maintenance, and administrative activities such as registration, bookkeeping, and promotion. The teachers who come here rely on the generosity of retreatants for their livelihood, so they can continue to practice and share what they know.
In addition, because of our commitment to making the Dharma accessible to all, we keep our retreat fees as affordable as possible. As a consequence, the revenue Heartwood receives from retreats does not cover all of Heartwood’s expenses. The income that’s needed to successfully maintain Heartwood as a place of refuge for those seeking the Dharma is provided in significant part by donations from people who value our presence and want to keep the doors open so that we can continue to offer these precious teachings. If your heart is touched by Heartwood, please give as generously as you are able.
In our culture, where we are used to having a fixed price determined for us, the practice of dana can be challenging. However, spiritual teachings are considered to be priceless, and so we encourage you to look into your heart to determine what seems right for you, taking into account both your highest aspirations and your means.
Dana offerings are generally considered tax-deductible. At the end of the retreat, you may make your offering in cash, with checks, or by using a credit card.