While our sesshin and residential Zen training fees are moderate compared to many other meditation centers, money is tight for almost everyone these days. We know that paying to attend sesshin can be prohibitively expensive for many people in our community, country, and world.
That’s why Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede created the Center’s Training Fund. Our members donate anonymously to a central fund, and anyone in need and willing to ask for help paying for their sesshin attendance or for residential Zen training is seriously considered as a funding recipient.
This peer-to-peer, community-based model allows a greater number of serious practitioners to deepen their practice in ways they might not otherwise be able to afford without financial hardship, while also allowing Training Fund donors to embody the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of the Bodhisattva through their compassionate action.
Everyone in need is encouraged to request assistance.
At first, I had a very difficult time asking for the help of the Training Fund. I was a
graduate student, with a ton of student debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and I was
convinced that I needed to continue cutting corners on my food bill to make it to
sesshin. I did that for my first several sesshins, before I decided to come into training full
time. I was desperate, and it was entirely unrealistic to train here without some help, so
I finally learned how to ask.
Fast forward 10 years, I continue to be
thankful for all those who have donated to the training fund, who have made it possible
for me to be here. Except now, I have so much more appreciation for all those who are
able to sit in sesshin with me or who train with me every day because they were able to
ask for the training fund. Training and practice is a community endeavor, and we all
really do need one another.
I arrived in America after exhausting most of my funds coming in from New Zealand.
Without the Training Fund (then called the Abbot's Fund), I would have been unable to
attend any sesshins because I could not work for money due to visa restrictions. Poor
planning? Definitely. I doubt I would have been able to come to the Zen Center at all
had I not received this help - what a shame! Zen practice transformed my life into
something wonderful, and the financial support was instrumental in making it possible.
My participation in my first 7-day sesshin was only possible with financial support from
the Training Fund. I was a PhD student living on a tiny stipend well below the poverty
line. However, as someone without a lot of disposable income and plenty of student
debt, I've continued to request aid from the Training Fund to help me attend several
sesshins since - and even to help cover my training fees now that I'm a residential
trainee. The Training Fund has really been there for me and my Zen training, and it can
be there for you too.