The Quality of Generosity
According to the tradition of pure Dhamma, donations are the only source of funding for courses and centres in Vipassana meditation. There are no charges or fees to attend a course, and neither the meditation teachers nor the trustees who run the centres receive any payment for their service. Thus, the spread of Dhamma is carried out with purity of purpose, free from any commercialism.
The Pali word Dāna can be translated as
donation or as
generosity. It is one of the ten Parāmis or mental qualities. Giving donations (dāna) develops one's qualities of generosity and selflessness.
Dāna is the act of giving; giving in a special way. As Goenkaji says ‘The good of all, the welfare of all should be the volition’. Those who have experienced the benefits of Vipassana meditation are able to donate with this volition to help others in the ultimate sense: to come out of craving, aversion and ignorance.
Goenkaji also spoke about the Dāna of Dhamma:
As one progresses on the path, one keeps developing different pāramis - qualities which helps one to cross the ocean of life and death. When these pāramis are fulfilled, it becomes easy to reach the final goal.
Dāna is a very important pāramī. And, according to the words of the Enlightened One, the dāna of Dhamma is the greatest of all.
Why is it the greatest? Let us understand. According to the law of nature, the seed that we sow will give fruits, many fruits and each fruit will contain the same type of seed. If we give dāna of food, then the fruit will be that we will get sufficient food in our present life and future lives.
According to the same law of nature, whatever type of dāna you give, you will get that type of fruit in the future in a greater quantity. When you give the dāna of Dhamma, the fruit that you will get is a greater quantity of Dhamma.
As a result, one becomes stronger and stronger in Dhamma which helps one to reach the final goal. That is why the Enlightened One said that, "The dāna of Dhamma is the greatest dāna."
Donating to Centres or Courses
A Dhamma centre is not established only for the benefit of the present students. Properly managed it will continue to serve for generations, maybe for centuries.
Vipassana students may donate by going to the website of any centre for further information.
There are several Vipassana organisations that benefit centres and students worldwide:
International Vipassana Technology Association - IVTA provides introductory information, course schedules, online course applications via dhamma.org websites and mobile apps and other technical support for centres worldwide
Vipassana Research Institute - VRI provides a store-house of Dhamma related articles and books, education, other online resources and IT support for centres in India and Asia
Vipassana Community Foundation - VCF is a non-profit entity that accepts donations to provide grants and capacity-building investments to new and existing centres worldwide. It is tax-exempt in USA.
Donations in Your Will: Charitable Bequests
Another way of donating is to give a bequest to Dhamma in your will. Usually this would be to a Vipassana Centre or Centres in your region. Correct legal format for bequests does vary between states and countries. To find out the best wording to use for providing a bequest in your will, including the official name and contact details of the relevant Centre(s), please contact the treasurer or secretary of the relevant organisation(s).