The peace and beauty of Gaia House provides a sanctuary of calm stillness, welcoming all people who wish to explore the heart of understanding and freedom. Your donations make an invaluable contribution to the running of Gaia House. Dana allows charges at Gaia House to be kept at a minimum, allowing as many as possible to attend.
It is a practice that diminishes self-centredness and includes the well-being of others in our actions. There is no correct sum to give. The amount depends upon your ability and willingness to give.
Dana can be translated as cultivating generosity or giving. Great time and energy goes into creating the special environment of the retreats at Gaia House, but the teachers who lead our group retreats receive no payment for their service and our residential coordinators only receive a minimal stipend to cover their expenses. At each retreat, participants are given the opportunity to offer a voluntary financial contribution to the teachers and coordinators, if they wish to support them in being able to offer the service they provide. This is called offering Dana.
The tradition of Dana in Buddhism is an acknowledgement of our interconnectedness and interdependence. In Asia, monasteries are generously supported by the lay community, and in turn they offer a place of refuge and teaching as well as a whole range of projects dedicated to peace and the relief of anguish. This ancient and rich tradition has sustained the Dharma teachings for more than 2,500 years, since the time of the Buddha, enabling the creation of Retreat Centres, the support of monasteries and a whole range of social and peace practices and projects. It enables teachers to continue teaching and supports the very life and sustainability of the teaching.
When you come to Gaia House you are staying in a centre that has been created and is supported by the generosity of those who have practised here before you. The house was purchased through the donations of countless students, and can only be run through the generosity of our volunteer staff. The teachers share this firm commitment to the principle of Dana rather than asking a fee for leading retreats. This system is true of all Insight Meditation Centres in the West. The fee you pay for a retreat at Gaia House is just enough to enable us to provide food and accommodation, the structure of the retreat centre, administration and to cover teacher travel expenses.
Teachers give enormously of their time, energy and understanding, but do not receive any payment for leading group retreats at Gaia House. The Dharma teachings of wisdom and compassion are considered priceless, thus teachers offer their understanding freely, as it has been over centuries.
The livelihood of most Gaia House teachers depends wholly, or to a large extent, on the generosity and voluntary contributions from retreatants who value their guidance and wish to support the ongoing teachings of the Dharma. Some teachers receive a small stipend for supporting long-term Personal retreatants – this service is primarily supported by Dana. Your generosity to the teachers is greatly appreciated, it is truly what enables the continuation of the teachings.
About the Teachers.
The coordinators generously offer their time and energy to assist the smooth running of the centre. Their essential work involves providing the meals, reception work, book keeping, managing the vegetable gardens and grounds, house keeping and maintaining the building.
Coordinators receive a small monthly stipend, plus food and board. Dana for the coordinators who live and work at Gaia House is much appreciated and greatly supports their well-being during their time of service. They often work long days, and they support the retreatants and care for the retreat space with dedication and compassion.