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The Practice of Generosity . . .
Tithing and Dana
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, who introduced Self-Inquiry in its present form to the world, never charged or expected anything for his pure Teaching. He did allow the ashram management or staff to accept money and other things of value on behalf of the operation of the ashram. In AHAM we choose to follow Sri Bhagavan’s example, not charging for our teaching, but rather living from the generosity of those who recognize the value of its pure Teaching in their life.
AHAM and its training in Self-Inquiry and in the practices that support one’s ability to use Self-Inquiry most effectively in daily life is now supported entirely by a combination of the Western custom of tithing and the Eastern custom of support for spiritual teaching known as Dana (a Sanskrit word meaning “by your kindness and generosity”). The practice of tithing and/or “Dana” invites one to reflect upon and truly consider what is really important in our life. When we have benefited from both the purity and practicality of AHAM’s teachings, it is appropriate to direct some portion of our financial resources to support the Teaching. AHAM’s teaching is offered to people in the world community regardless of their financial circumstances. Donations by everyone in the spirit of generosity, according to their ability to contribute and their appreciation of the true worth of the teaching, ensure that the availability of the teaching remains universal.
Both tithing and Dana, when genuinely lived as a foundation principle of one’s spiritual life, assists each of us in recognizing and practicing our natural interconnectedness with God, the very Source of being and prosperity itself. So, as life gives generously to us, we – with love, gratitude and appreciation – give generously back to life. We feel that we joyously “belong” to what we support, and what we support truly nourishes us.
For those attending any scheduled AHAM program – i.e., workshops, guided meditation programs, structured individual or group retreats, etc., the programs themselves are offered without tuition or fees. There is a charge for the actual cost of lodging, meals, transportation and program supplies. Dana is then given by the participant in true regard and respect, as an expression of one’s genuine appreciation for what he or she has received from attending the particular program or function just completed, and also in anticipation of its future benefit. People are often moved to send in additional money once they return home and realize the depth of what they have received. It is understood that to support the Teaching and the Conscious Teacher is to support oneself.
“Because Dana is a ‘practice,’ with awareness and honesty we allow ourselves to experience how liberating and happiness-producing it feels to let go, and where it is painful, because it is challenging to let go . . . Dana is not giving someone a tip, like to a waiter or a bellman, nor is it (actually) in exchange for receiving the Dharma (Teachings). It is a way in which we can express gratitude and practice our kindness, generosity and ‘letting go’ with awareness.” (K. Masters and S. Armstrong, Insight Meditation Society)
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An Assurance Of Personal Prosperity
If you would like to tithe to AHAM on a regular basis please complete the Tithing Form
For one-time donations, please