‘Dana’: Donations to the Teacher
The only ‘salary’ Khenpo Rinpoche receives is the donations of students.
All funds from the door fees go directly to defraying Khenpo Rinpoche’s travel and lodging costs and for
Program expenses. These funds are the operating expenses for the teaching event.
All workers at the event are volunteers and accept no fees for their time.
In Tibetan Buddhist tradition (and many other spiritual traditions) it is considered ‘good karma’
to make a personal donation to a teacher who has helped clarify spiritual understanding and awareness.
The amount is not as important as the action of donating.
The motivation for dana (giving), one of the Buddhist Six Perfections* (paramitas), is utterly pure -
free from all desire, conceit or misguided views. Thus in the perfection of giving one should seek no return
for oneself and be impartial, like the sun: that casts its radiance over all without a hint of favor.
In ultimate terms, there is no giver, no recipient and nothing is given - yet we still give! This is an important insight.
Generosity is a positive virtue we can practice even when the time is not available for study or meditation.
It is a good way of developing a shift away from basically egocentric orientation.
The ego is always trying to expand its province by accumulating,
whereas to freely give is to reverse this 'I'- building process so that for once the energy flows the other way.
Naturally, one may gain merit from giving, but even this can be given away to benefit all sentient beings.
Many who start practicing generosity report the sense of joy it brings.
All human beings want happiness and want to avoid suffering.
Human beings desire happiness, but in fact they are creating the causes for suffering.
Since the teachings explain happiness as being the result of a peaceful mind,
in order to become happy it is necessary to train the mind.
When practicing the Six Perfections the mind is trained to perfection.
The bonus is that the practice of the perfections also benefits other people, not only oneself.
If the goal is that of a bodhisattva to attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings,
the practice of the Six Perfections is indispensable.
* The Six Perfections
(1) Generosity - Giving without seeking reward
(2) Virtue (Moral Discipline) - Eliminating self-centeredness and not harming others
(3) Patience - Being tolerant and forgiving of self and others
(4) Effort - Practicing Buddhist principles despite adversity
(5) Meditation - Stabilizing and calming the mind
(6) Wisdom - Living in accordance with the true nature of things
"Take advantage of this human boat; Free yourself from sorrow's mighty stream!
This vessel will be later hard to find. The time that you have now, you fool, is not for sleep!"
Shantideva, Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, chapter VII, verse 14
Basic/Beginning reading To learn more about Buddhism
What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula
Basic/Beginning reading To learn more about Tibetan Buddhist Practice and Philosophy:
The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of Its Philosophy and Practice by the Dalai Lama
* The Great Perfection by the Dalai Lama
'What is Meditation' Teaching by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche
What Produces Peace?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from Heart of Compassion: A Practical Approach to a Meaningful Life
This idea of universal responsibility is rooted in a very simple fact: in general terms, all others' desires are the same as mine.
Every being wants happiness and does not want suffering. If we, as intelligent human beings, do not accept this fact,
there will be more and more suffering on this planet.
If we adopt a self-centered approach to life, and constantly try to use others for our own self-interest,
we may gain temporary benefits but, in the long run, we will not succeed in achieving even personal happiness;
and world peace will be completely out of the question.
Instructions for Spiritual Practice by Shakyamuni Buddha
from the Kalama Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya Vol. 1, 188-193 P.T.S. Ed.)
Do not believe in anything (simply) because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything (simply) because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
But after observation and analysis when you find that anything agrees with reason
and it is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all –
then accept it and live up to it.
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