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Dana – The Tradition of Generosity
The spirit of generosity is a foundational practice of the Buddhist path. Generosity is the first of the ten paramitas, or qualities of character, that the Buddha taught his students to cultivate. The practice of generosity develops loving kindness and compassion, deepens awareness of our interconnectedness and encourages non-attachment. Dana is the Pali word for generosity or giving freely. The teacher donates their time in service of the Dharma and only receives what the participants offer. Traditionally, teachings were given freely, so there is no required amount of dana. Please remember that the precious teachings are priceless, and the offering of dana is an opportunity to practice the paramita of generosity.
It is traditional to determine for ourselves the amount that is right for us to give. Dana asks us to consider, “What value do these teachings have in my life?” Even though it can be a little uncomfortable to make this decision on our own – we are used to goods and services having set fees – this is an important opportunity to reflect on how the practice has impacted our lives. May your generosity benefit all!