Some Useful Explanations...


a round support cushion


a flat cushion that goes under the body and feet.


(pronounced "dah-na") is a Pali word meaning "gift" or "giving." It is the practice of developing the beautiful qualities of heart that enable us to live in this world with inner and outer happiness, lovingkindness, gratitude, compassion and letting go. This not only creates harmony in our lives but also creates fertile ground for liberating wisdom to grow in our hearts.

    Dana is closely related to the virtue of generosity and is expressed in many forms—the offering and sharing of our time, energy, knowledge/expertise, material items and financial resources. Dana is a purely volitional act of giving in which we develop our ability to let go, convey our compassion and caring, demonstrate our commitment, and acknowledge our interdependence and connectedness. The offering of dana involves unconditional giving from the heart, with no expectation of return. The real return is enormous though. It's the deep joy of sharing something precious with another, feeling their joy. Dana is not given out of obligation or in order to avoid looking cheap. It is an expression of our love and compassion for all beings.

    Taking the opportunity to make dana a practice of awareness brings it out of the realm of unconscious habit, and into the realm of wise attention. When we practice with care, it elevates giving from a place of unconscious habit to a place of more conscious intention and leads to awareness of where we grasp. There is no obligation to give. Offering dana indicates that we understand our interconnectedness. We realize that we depend on the generosity and kindness of others and they depend upon ours. We belong to what we support and what we support nourishes us. There is a direct exchange of energy. The decision of what to give is deeply personal. The practice of dana asks that we look within with wisdom and offer what we are able with loving-kindness.  

    Our culture has taught us to hoard for ourselves, to make ourselves the center of everything. This behavior leads to grasping and to suffering, for we can never get enough, and can't hold on to what we get. With the teachings of dana, we explore a different way of living from a place of love that steps out of self-centeredness. We release the duality of self/other, and know that as long as anyone is suffering, starving because of what we hoard, we can never know true peace. Dana can push us at times, challenging self-centeredness and attachment, but the fruit of the practice is a softening, joy and peace.

    In this way, we begin to understand with deeper confidence that there is compassion and wisdom developing in our hearts. Through compassion and generosity we benefit others, and through wisdom we know that we are also benefiting ourselves by nourishing our own highest spiritual aspirations.