Tallowwood Sangha
    - dana



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Sexton Bourke



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What is dana?

The Practice of Generosity to Support the Dharma Teachings

In the Buddhist tradition, the dharma teachings of wisdom and compassion are of such great value that one cannot put a price on them, they cannot be bought or sold in the market place, they are said to be priceless. 

The teachings of liberation have been passed down through the generations by the ancient practice of dana: receiving and transmitting these teachings as a gift. All fees for Insight retreats are simply to cover the basic expenses, food, accommodation, travel and advertising.

The teachers do not charge a fee and the teachings are given freely. When we hear these teachings we are touched and moved, and the feelings of appreciation and gratitude naturally express themselves in the act of generosity by offering dana to the teacher, thus circulating and completing the gift. The act of giving is a declaration of mutual respect. Giver and receiver recognise they share the same fundamental values and concerns.

dana bowlThe gift takes us beyond the limitations of our normal self-interest and opens us to a life of mutual care, called good friendship (kalyana mitta) by the Buddha. The practice of generosity is one of the highest virtues in the Buddhist tradition, as within every act of generosity, there is also the act of relinquishment, thus cultivating the spirit of letting go.

The teachings offered through this website are all offered on a dana (gift) basis.



Supporting Tallowwood Sangha

We welcome any financial support for Tallowwood Sangha.  The Sangha’s resources are dedicated to supporting anyone in deepening their dharma practice and furthering their understanding of the dharma teachings.  Donations can be made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to Bananacoast Community Credit Union (BCU):

BSB Number:
533 000
Account Name:
Tallowwood Sangha
Account Number:

If you would like to support Tallowwood Sangha in a more hands-on way, there are suggestions about volunteering in the Notice Board page.

Charities Tallowwood Sangha is currently supporting:

Lifeline Australia
  (lifeline.org.au) - crisis support and suicide prevention.

Prajna Vihar School  (bdainc.org.au) - education for children who would otherwise receive no schooling or a very low standard of schooling in the Bodhgaya region of India.

More info about the school:
In October 2018 a group of Sangha members, including Will our teacher, visited the Prajna Vihar School in Bodhgaya in the state of Bihar, India. 

Bihar is one of the poorest, most densely populated, violent and corrupt states in India, with 30% of the population being children. It is not uncommon even today to find whole villages without a single person who can read and write, and with little opportunity to change their circumstances.

The school began in 1989 during a retreat lead by Christopher Titmuss (see About Us - history) in Bodhgaya, where an Indian Buddhist Monk at the Thai Monastery was teaching local children basic chanting, Dharma and the alphabet. The children were illiterate, very poor, hungry, half naked in the cold and dressed in only rags.  Retreatants at this event raised $100 to hire 2 teachers who could teach for a couple of hours each day, and this is how it began.

The School of Wise Abiding (Prajna Vihar School) now has around 600 pupils aged 5 to 17 years, and around 20 teachers, and is the largest school in Bodhgaya.  It is multi faith, having teachers who are Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, and offers a full range of subjects, including ethics and environmental projects. It respects and promotes diversity, human rights, equal opportunities and environmental care.

Some children from the school, who would have had a childhood begging in the street with all the vulnerability and danger this would have brought them, are now attending university.

The school is funded entirely by donations from a variety of sources, including Christopher Titmuss in U.K., and The Bodhgaya Development Association in Australia. Tallowwood Sangha makes a yearly donation. It costs around $125 per year to educate a child.

The school is managed by a not for profit society called The Prajna Vihar Inter-Religious Education Society. All donations go directly to the school.  During our visit we were hosted most generously by the School Principal Sister Shobha, and welcomed by all the children in assembly, before being given a tour of the school including classrooms where lessons were happening.

We were fortunate to be able to give the school some computers. These were very well received, as computers are desperately needed for the children's education.
This really is a beautiful place in every way, and I encourage any one who is interested in helping to contact Tallowwood or The Bodhgaya Development Association, and to visit the websites below.



                                                                                                                Ali Barlow 2018



Tallowwood Sangha teacher Will James with Sister Shobha, the Principal of the School of Wise Abiding (Prajna Vihar School) in Bodhgaya, Bihar India.

dana bowl

Day begins for one of the classes at this non-denominational school that offers places to the most poorly-resourced children of Bodhgaya.

                  class Bihar school

Prajna Vihar School 2018.  Without an opportunity to attend school, most children here would have little hope of escaping the life of begging and illiteracy had by their parents.  Some graduates from this school now attend universities, and can look forward to a very different future.