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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 91 Haleigh Atwood TRADITIONALLY, Buddhist monasteries, universities, and initia tives have benefited from longstanding infrastructures of support from patrons and donors. The Indian emperor Ashoka (263–232 BCE) established temples, funded the construction of stupas, and supported the ordination of monks. In sixthcentury Japan, Bud dhism was embraced as a religious and political tool to create centralized governance; as a result, temples became cultural hubs and were even used as hospitals, schools, and orphanages. Today in Thailand, Buddhism is still supported by the state, and kings are considered both religious and secular leaders. Other Asian countries have an engrained system of mutual depen dence between lay and monastic communities. It is not uncommon for laypeople to provide monastics with the finances and labor nec essary to construct buildings, supply food, pay bills, and so forth, in exchange for spiritual support. Today in the West, there is a level of outreach, networking, and fundraising required of monasteries, practitioners, and organizations to survive—let alone thrive. Yet Buddhist practitioners and organiza tions operate without these kinds of financial scaffolding. It is here that the influential role of foundations comes into play. While individual donors are significant—the practice of dana remains fundamental to Buddhist practice—various foundations have also taken up an important role and may offer part of the solution. Whether it is sponsoring longterm contemplative study or showcasing neverbeforeseen Tibetan art, foundations such as the ones profiled below propel the integration of Buddhism in the West forward. Philanthropy: The New Dana