Generosity or “dana” as spiritual practice invites us to explore the effects of giving and receiving freely.
If you reflect on your life for a moment, you may recall a time when people have been generous to you—extended a warm hand of inclusion, gave you a gift, or shared a wisdom teaching that revealed a fresh perspective. Where do you notice the effects of generosity in your body? How does it impact your thoughts and feelings? Whether we are the giver, the receiver, or the observer, if our hearts are open and we are present, we cannot be unmoved by acts of generosity.
When you come to Southern Dharma, you have the opportunity to experience generosity (or Dana in Pali) as a part of your practice. During the retreat, you receive dana from your teacher -- who is sharing the teachings free of charge-- and from multiple volunteers-- who give their time to help retreat run smoothly.
At the end of retreat, you are invited to reciprocate by giving dana. This is not like paying a fee for service. There is no “price tag” or check out line to “pay for” the teachings you receive. Generosity is an inner process that then manifests in an outward gesture of thanks that is not too much, and not too little. Practicing generosity helps us open to receiving, teaches us to let go of clinging to possessions, and softens us to understand our interconnectedness with others.
The fee you pay to come on retreat covers less than 65% of SDRC operational costs and teachers are reimbursed for their travel costs only. Your retreat fees primarily go to ensuring a living-wage for retreat staff. Choosing to participate in Dana to the utmost of your ability is choosing to support the sharing of these wisdom teachings and the places and teachers which nourish them. Southern Dharma’s walls were raised and maintained by the gracious hands and hearts of volunteers. You can currently come on retreat because of the generosity of past retreatants and your generosity clears the path for future seekers.
We thank you for your generosity. You play a pivotal role in the co-creation of this community, refuge and spiritual home. The practice of Dana is a humbling example of our interconnectedness and an empowering reminder that our choices make a difference.