sangha lifestyle of reciprocal dana

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Buddha initiated a four-fold Buddhist community known as sangha (monks and laity who have taken refuge and precepts, male and female). In accordance with Buddha’s directives, Buddhist monks let go of the householder life and a life of earning money in order to diligently study, train and practice the Buddha’s teachings on a full-time basis and volunteer their services.

Monastics live a life of generosity and simplicity. At Flower Dance Temple our founder, who is a monastic, practices generosity through serving the lay sangha and greater community with Buddhist teachings, spiritual guidance, ceremonies, as well as volunteer service work for the temple. In addition, she guides those who feel called to train as Lay Teachers of the Buddhadharma, as well as students who feel called to a full-time life of practice and service as a forest mountain monastic. She has local and distant students who may or may not be Flower Dance Temple sangha. When they offer dana the offering goes to the support of Flower Dance Temple. Venerable does not rely on personal savings, government assistance, funding or support.

The lay sangha of Flower Dance Temple also endeavors to live an ethical life of simplicity and generosity. They have experienced the preciousness of the temple’s environment where they receive Buddha’s teachings, as well as learn how to put them into practice. Their hearts are filled with gratitude knowing that they are actively involved in the activities of the Buddha Dharma through their practice at home and as well as their practice with the sangha at Flower Dance Temple.

The laity offer dana as Volunteer Service Practitioners, along with offering financial resources to assist in supporting the temple’s maintenance and services, inclusive of the four requisites of food, medicinal herbs, robes, and shelter for our monastics. In view of that, we established a ministry endeavor called Bear Paw Monastery @ Flower Dance Temple in order to provide the four requisites for our Master Teacher along with future students within our sangha who may desire to pursue a monastic path. Our aspiration and motivation is that through the efforts of establishing Bear Paw Monastery @ Flower Dance Temple the teachings of the Buddha will continue to flourish within our four-fold sangha expression – now and for future generations for the benefit of all sentient beings.

In this way, we express the reciprocal relationship of dana that Buddha established over 2500 years ago between the monastic and lay sangha, a relationship based on shared generosity. It is an interdependent relationship. The monastics and laity both benefit through the reciprocal practice of generosity.

Not only does the practice of generosity, “dana”, benefit our immediate sangha, but the greater community at large. Through cultivating and maintaining a healthy environment, in light of implementing the principles of permaculture with mindfulness, the forest and gardens will thrive. Air and water quality, animals, fish, earth, forest, and humans benefit. We contribute by assisting in creating a positive energetic mandala that benefits all near and far because of interdependence. Someday in the relative near future, our gardens will produce food and medicinal herbals for our monastic and lay sangha, and will additionally be in the position to offer excess to those in need within our county.

Flower Dance Temple is a nonprofit small Buddhist church organization. Contributions and volunteer services to Flower Dance Temple provide for on-going safeguarding and development. There are no paid employees at Flower Dance Temple or Bear Paw Monastery @ Flower Dance Temple, nor are stipends given to monastics or laity.

As a sangha community we do not required a membership financial pledge. Nevertheless, we do recommend suggested contribution amounts for teachings, retreats, personal and group guidance, rituals, ceremonies, etc. We also welcome contributions from donors and friends who may not be a sangha practitioner of Flower Dance Temple.

If a sangha member is financially impoverished and cannot offer a contribution for the teachings or other services provided at Flower Dance Temple, it is suggested that they offer “a work service contribution” if healthy and feasible, and agree to follow the guidelines of a Work Service Contributor.