Organizing a retreat always entails some expenses, and these expenses are usually paid by those who are engaged in practice. But not all aspirants who wish to go on a retreat have enough money to pay for accommodation and the courses. We believe that money problems should not be an obstacle for a serious aspirant. In Dzogchen, to attain the realization a disciple should have special capacities, and the main capacity is the interest in the Teaching. For such an aspirant who has the genuine interest and intention for serious spiritual pursuit, all the obstacles become insignificant. Traditionally, in Tibet, India and China yogis sustained on donations. Full material support allowed for uninterrupted practice, and yogis’ retreats could last for many years. In Milarepa’s biography “Singer of Liberation” there are a lot of mentions of people who supported the great yogi, providing him with food and shelter. Many donators were not significantly richer than those whom they supported, but they were aware that selfless charity is an opportunity to cultivate the virtue of generosity.
The one who has chosen the path of Bodhisattva should practice six Paramitas (Perfections). The first Paramita is generosity, which means selfless giving within one’s capacity to offer, without attachment and without expecting any reward. The right offering is the one that is made out of willingness to give out all one’s possessions for the benefit of other living beings. It is important to remember that offering made for the sake of “earning more merits” would not help to develop the right qualities. Offering should be made with no selfish motives in mind.
Old tradition of supporting spiritual aspirants can also help a lot of present seekers. Pure Lands Foundation is non-profit organization that serves the realization of the Pure Lands project’s mission: to make it possible for people in any financial situation to receive the Teaching. Everyone who wishes to help preserve the tradition of the Dzogchen teaching is welcome to make donations.