In Buddhist countries there is a tradition that both rich and poor people – according to their capacity – give donations to the monasteries. It could be money, but just as often the donations consist of food and other requisites that monks and nuns need for their daily living. The act of giving with a mindstate of generosity as well as the gift itself is known as DANA in Pali – the language that was spoken during the time of the Buddha. Dana is pratised with great happines by the people in Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka and the Buddhist tradition also teaches that generosity itself is a way to peace and happiness. It is a wholesome mental state that each and everyone is encouraged to cultivate.
The Buddha once said: ”If beings knew, just as I know, the wonderful benefits that come out of generosity, noone would ever take even a meal without sharing, if there would be some living being present to share with.”
Traditionally it is said that those benefits are: longevity, beauty, happiness, good health, good sleep and wisdom. Having given away something with the intention to make life easier for another being, one is actually able to feel the happiness that immediately fills one’s mind and heart. Furthermore, the practise of generosity also contributes to a happy rebirth.
Another reason to cultivate wholesome mental states such as generosity, compassion or gratitude and let them fill one’s mind and heart is, that one creates a protection against unwholesome mental states such as anger, ill-will or envy to enter and take over.
Also work performed for the benefit of all beings, especially promoting the Buddha’s teaching , Dhamma, and supporting those who practise it, Sangha, is a kind of dana. The work of The Vipassana Group is based on this dana principle. When retreats and other activities are arranged it is always at self-cost. Teachers are only paid their travelling expenses and managers and staff work for free. It is, however, up to the participants – if they want and if they can afford – to offer further contributions to teachers and staff.
Concerning the annual membership fee of Vipassanagruppen, it is optional. Pay your membership fee of your own choice to the postal account (plusgiro) of Vipassanagruppen, Pg 17 43 75-6.