From email update March 30th:
I was amazed to learn that the entire operation budget for Dhamma Neru comes directly from student donations. No grant proposals, no NGOs, nada. To me, this is wonderfully inspiring as an example of compassion in economy — compassion based on direct, personal experience. Nobody pressures or shames you into giving, and nobody rewards you by putting your name on a building. Funding isn’t subject to nonprofit fads, nor contingent upon the program’s success in producing X number of enlightened beings per year. Always, the best motivation to give is born of direct, continued experience. Of course, in life we should help distribute resources that we don’t use directly (like sponsoring a soup kitchen that doesn’t feed us, or an accompanier for threatened organizers in Guatemala). Still, it’s quite special when the impetus to give comes from thinking, I have personally benefited from this, I continue to reap its benefits to this day, and I wish to share its benefits with other people who want to learn. Solid. Besides, I like the fact that “dana,” or donation in Pali language, can come in many forms, not just money: from a handful of fertile soil for the garden, to an afternoon of scrubbing toilets and sinks.