When the Buddha taught he always began with generosity, saying that a true spiritual life is not possible without a generous heart. Dana, a Pali word meaning generosity or free will offering, is therefore a central aspect of Buddhism. A single act of giving touches on all four of the qualities spoken of as the Brahma Viharas, or Divine Abodes: Friendliness (metta), compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita), and equanimity (upekkha).
Dana is also central to what is offered here at Emoyeni. In the Buddhist tradition, the teachings offered are given freely. The teachers receive no payment. The fee paid for the retreat covers only food, accommodation and the basic costs of operating the retreat centre, a non-profit organization. Our community members do receive a small stipend but, primarily offer their services from a place of kindness and generosity.
When one gives, the first one to receive is the giver who experiences joy, self-respect, and a consciousness of abundance and spaciousness in which the practice of meditation flourishes.
The aim of Dana is twofold. First, it is to weaken the forces of craving and clinging to free the mind from the delusion of scarcity. This practice cultivates an internal sense of abundance that leads us on the path to essential happiness. Second, we practice generosity to free others and reduce suffering in the world through the extension of welfare and joy.
The continual practice of Dana increases our sense of well-being so that it flows through us naturally and becomes an integral part of who we are.
We invite you to participate in this cycle of giving and receiving in whatever ways and to whatever degree feels right for you.
If you feel particularly inspired by any aspect of the time you have spent here, you may designate where your Dana should go: the retreat teacher, Emoyeni community members, the gardens, the library, our domestic staff, or the general fund. Whether you can afford R50 or R1000, we are most grateful for this expression of your generous heart. We also appreciate donations of food, furniture, service and expertise.
Thank you. Your presence is already a valuable contribution to Emoyeni.