Why the 2008 Retreat near Santa Fe is not a Dana Retreat

There were over 50 people who were interested in attending the 2006 Dana retreat near Santa Fe, NM. However so many people canceled at the last minute that we wound up with only 24 students and 6 empty rooms. So again for 2008, I'm going to use a different approach: "Dana Scholarships".

Dana Meditation Retreats
taught by
Leigh Brasington

In June of 2002, I taught the first retreat I had ever done on a dana basis. There was no set cost for attending the retreat - each participant was offered a chance to express their generosity (dana in Pali) by paying what they felt was a fair and affordable amount for the retreat given their economic circumstances and the value they received. The experiment was enough of a success that I want to continue to offer one or more retreats each year on a dana basis.

However, there was a downside to offering the retreat this way: although 36 people registered for the retreat, 21 of them canceled, including 10 during the last week and 4 on the day before the retreat started. This generated quite a number of headaches for the organizers - including the fact that the cook bought too much food. Also a number of people were told that the retreat was full and were put on a waiting list. But with the late cancellations, no one on the waiting list was able to attend since they had made other plans, couldn't get airline tickets, etc.

In June of 2003, I again offered a dana retreat, but with a dana registration fee (no set amount). 60 People signed up for this retreat, however 20 canceled before the retreat started. So again people were told that the retreat was full and even that the waiting list was full. Yet when the retreat started, there was still room for a few more people.

So now some retreats that I teach are offered with no set cost, but there a fixed registration fee of $100 for these dana retreats. This is necessary in hopes of really getting a commitment from those who indicate that they will be attending.

Of course, along with a registration fee comes the necessity of a refund policy:

I really want to continue to offer dana retreats, but I now find that a fixed registration fee is necessary to prevent undue hardship for those who organize the retreats I teach. And maybe at some time in the future, Western Buddhism will have reached a level of maturity where I can again offer dana retreats with no registration "fee".

If you have questions or comments about this policy, please feel free to email me at .

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Leigh Brasington / / Revised 19 Oct 12