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Financial Support of Bright Way Zen


Japanese Monk Begging (courtesy of Randen Pederson, Flickr Commons)

Japanese Monk Begging (courtesy of Randen Pederson, Flickr Commons)

Traditionally, all Buddhist teaching and practice has been offered for free. However, “free” was in the context of generous regular donations to temples and the clergy who ran them.

In the West we have a different tradition. We expect goods and services to have a particular cost, and we pay them if we’re able. We don’t tend to consider the “real cost” of maintaining a Zen Center, creating Sangha (community), and having access to teachers.


The Concept of “Suggested Donation”

Because of our Western way of dealing with money, Bright Way Zen mentions an “Suggested Donation” for many of our programs and services. The Suggested Donation reflects our estimate of the amount that fully supports the time, effort, and resources required to make a particular offering. It is mentioned for informational purposes (a Suggested Donation will sometimes be mentioned along with the information about a given offering). If you are able to pay the Suggested Donation, or more, please do – you are helping our community thrive, and are making the Dharma available for others as well as for yourself.


Our Commitment to Accessibility

However – We are committed to making sure the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are available to anyone, regardless of their financial situation. Therefore, if you need to pay less than the Suggested Donation, simply do so. If you need to pay a symbolic amount or nothing at all, please do that and know that your participation at Bright Way Zen is important and your presence is valued no less than anyone else’s. It is helpful to let us know if you need to forgo donation entirely (info[at]; this arrangement will remain confidential.


Suggested Donation is our estimate of what it truly costs to provide a particular offering.
Decide for yourself what to pay when an Suggested Donation is listed, based on:

♦ Your income level
♦ Your level of general membership support*
♦ Your sense of what is appropriate

Explaining the amount of your donation: It is not necessary to explain the amount you choose, although it is helpful if you let us know if you decide to forgo a fee entirely (just so we know you haven’t simply forgotten about it).

*It’s fine if you prefer to maximize your overall support of Bright Way through your regular membership pledge rather than budgeting for Suggested Contributions for individual offerings