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Dana - Donations instead of a fixed course fee

An invitation to practice the flow of receiving and passing on.

Many courses in Felsentor, in keeping with the Buddhist tradition, appear in the course program without a fixed remuneration for the teacher. Instead, the teachers receive monetary donations from all course participants that the participants decide on individually. This practice is known as Dana. We ask you to take a few minutes to read the following text to become acquainted with the spirit of Dana.

Dana, an essential element of spiritual practice in Buddhism, is also in harmony with the core of Christianity, where generosity, joy in giving and helping others are central elements. Dana is not so strange a term as it might seem at first glance. It is actually a Sanskrit word that means roughly “free donation” or “voluntary contribution.” In its etymology, the word Dana is closely related to the Latin words “dona” or “donare,” which also mean giving or gift.

Dana is one of the “six Paramitas (perfections)” in Buddhism. The literal meaning of Paramita is “going from this shore to the other shore,” in the sense of going from the present shore of illusion to the other shore of realization.

As human beings we have many needs, such as air, water, warmth, nourishment, attention, love, protection and security. We need so much so as to be able to live fully with body and soul. Already with our first breath begins a process of receiving and letting go, of taking and giving, something of vital importance in every area of  life, in addition to being the key to genuine happiness and a fulfilled life.

Generosity as a spiritual practice means the practice of giving and receiving as we examine carefully our true priorities: What is really important for me in my life? Where do I find true happiness? How do these insights take concrete form in my own behavior and in my daily decisions? What do I want to support and make possible with my money? Where do I want to invest my money?

The spiritual teachers who are the recipients of Dana also need a financially secure basis for their livelihood in order that they can engage with true devotion in their teaching activities. The students, for their part, should be able to share in the teaching. In this sense, they are called upon to support those teaching activities with a generous spirit but within their capacity. The students practice giving to the extent possible for them, not overly anxious but also not beyond their means, not overextending themselves, but also overcoming stinginess.

Different courses have different attendance figures, and the teachers have different financial obligations, travel expenses and material expenses. As a guideline for Dana we recommend a sum of 50 Swiss francs per day for seminars with 25 or more participants, and more in seminars with smaller attendance. Each seminar requires intensive preparation. We thus also ask participants to consider the day of arrival and the day of departure in preparing their contribution. At the end of the course, the donation, sealed in an envelope provided by the center, is placed in the Dana box. The envelopes are given anonymously to the teacher, with each person individually placing his/her envelope in the Dana box.

We are grateful for the willingness of both teachers and students to help the Dana tradition live on in these modern times of fixed prices.


[Translate to Englisch:] Ein Teil dieses Textes wurde uns freundlicherweise von Katharina und Paul Shepherd zur Verfügung gestellt