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Buddhadharma : Fall 2005
buddhadharma| 79 |fall 2005 organizaTional Challenges H ave you ever wanted to attend a program or a retreat but couldn’t afford it? I know I have. Since I’m just two years out of college, I don’t have a whole lot of money left over for dharma after rent, food, and other expenses. While I would like to attend more programs and retreats, I have neither the money nor the time off from work. I’m not alone. “It took my wife more than a year to store up enough leave time at her non- profit job to be able to attend a program, and she is still wincing from the money she spent,” says Jerrold Davis, a prac- titioner in the Washington, D.C., area. Jerrold, his wife, and a number of their friends, he says, find many of the pro- grams they want to attend too costly. Although they are committed to their community, money is a constant barrier to practice. Susan Ross, a student in Boulder, Colorado, who works for the city, also feels the pinch. Ross says there have been “many times” when she has had to forgo attending a program because she simply didn’t have the money. She feels that while it’s important to support teach- ers, it is also important for centers to find ways to embrace all those who seek the dharma. For their part, centers have long understood that practitioners are dealing with the balance of practice and money. However, just as many practitioners struggle to attend programs, many centers struggle to make ends meet. Large rural centers have sprung up over the past few decades in places where real estate was cheap, but the lands, buildings, and staff are quite costly to maintain. City centers are certainly more convenient for practi- The PriCe of dharma By Jeff ParDy lizamatthews