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Buddhadharma : Winter 2009
51 winter 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly Buddhadharma: Practitioners are naturally concerned about how the major dharma centers are being affected by the cur- rent economic troubles. Can each of you say something about what’s happening at your center? SuSan O’COnnell: Before the economy shifted so drastically, Zen Center was engaged in a visioning and strategic planning process. We were looking at the ways we’ve done things in the past and making a commitment to widen our view and look outward more in response to the requests people are making now for the teachings. Given that our vision was to offer more programs, we decided to do something we hadn’t ever done: actually ask people for money. When Zen Center started, we were some of the only Western Buddhists around, so there wasn’t a donor The meditation hall on the main floor of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, at Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado brianspielmann base. Now there are many more Buddhists, and more people interested in supporting what we do. Right before the economy went crazy, we had a huge fire and lost the income from half the Tassajara guest season, one of our main sources of support. When people heard about the fire, they rallied to the cause. Almost losing one of the treasured parts of Zen Center brought out the generosity in people, and we actually started our fiscal year with close to a balanced budget, even with the fire. The net result has been that while the guest season was less subscribed, the donations were very robust. JOn BarBieri: Almost everybody has to travel to get to Shamb- hala Mountain Center. When the economy started going hay- wire, we thought that with the travel costs involved, we would