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 donations that supported temples and the clergy that 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 offering fresh and dynamic teaching. We don’t tend to appreciate the value – or cost – of having a priest who is primarily dedicated to supporting the Sangha and therefore available for spiritual counseling, leading a temple schedule and study, and all of the administrative duties that come with running a Zen Center.


The Concept of “Ideal Donation”

Because of our Western way of dealing with money, Bright Way Zen mentions an “Ideal Donation” for some of our programs and services. The Ideal Donation reflects the amount that truly supports the time, effort, and resources required to make a particular offering. It is mentioned for informational purposes (an Ideal Donation will sometimes be suggested along with the information about a given offering). If you are able to pay the Ideal Donation, please do – you are helping Bright Way Zen thrive, and are making the Dharma available for others as well as for yourself. You are helping to create and maintain something beneficial and positive in this world of materialism and competition. To make a donation, click here.


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 Ideal 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 Domyo know if you need to forgo donation entirely (info[at]; this arrangement will remain private and will be shared only on a need-to-know basis with people like board members or treasurers.


Ideal Donation is our estimate of what it truly costs to provide a particular offering.
Decide for yourself what to pay when an ideal 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).

*You may prefer to maximize your overall support of Bright Way through your regular membership pledge rather than budgeting for Ideal Donations for individual offerings