Author Topic: An expensive Sangha? (Kadampa)  (Read 1110 times)

Offline Explorer123

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An expensive Sangha? (Kadampa)
« on: October 25, 2015, 12:12:26 pm »
I've attended a few meditation classes at a local NKT center.  All seems ok and I'd like to learn more about Tantric Buddhism and other practices besides meditation (sadhanas, chants, etc). 

I noticed, however, that their membership fees are quite expensive (about $60 a month).  I didn't ask anyone in person since I don't want to hear a sales pitch . ..  Is it supposed to be expensive to be a Kadampa Buddhist? (Pay to Pray?), How does one become a Kadampa Buddhist (a refuge ceremony?)

Offline hanuman38

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Re: An expensive Sangha? (Kadampa)
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2015, 02:15:15 am »
Howdy. Thanks for sharing your concerns.

I've been a member of a Kadampa dharma center (in Arizona) for a little over two years. At our center, we have several different levels of membership, and the most common one costs about what you've described. But not everyone pays a monthly membership fee. There are some folks who come to certain events when they can, and pay a small fee (usually $5 - 10 for a dharma talk, maybe $25 - 35 for a full-day workshop; other events, such as pujas, may be free to attend). This all goes towards keeping the center open; I've just started to become privy to some of the business aspects of what goes on at my center, and am amazed at how razor-thin the difference between revenues/donations and expenses is. Nobody is making a profit from this.

Anyway, the monthly membership fee is for folks who want to make a continuing commitment to the center and who know they will be attending classes there frequently - enough so that for most of us, it's cheaper to do it this way than to pay for classes ad hoc. Our center has a very diverse sangha, both in terms of how often members attend and in terms of our socioeconomic circumstances, and if someone is really interested in attending certain classes but can't afford them; we'll usually find a way to make it happen. Talk to the center's Resident Teacher or Administrative Director; they may have some helpful advice.

As to how one becomes a Kadampa Buddhist - the best way to start is by attending the Prayers for World Peace, which most Kadampa centers hold every Sunday, and/or the General Program (beginner) classes. Once you become familiar with your local center and your local sangha, you can decide how much you want to participate in the center's activities. When you feel you're ready, most centers hold refuge vow ceremonies once or twice a year (in the past month, we've done both a refuge vow ceremony and a Bodhisattva vow ceremony). Again, feel free to ask the Resident Teacher about this.

If you have any other questions, feel free to send me a message. Maybe I can even offer some tangible help. And no sales pitches, I promise. IMO the most important thing for new people is that they find a spiritual home where they can feel welcome, whether it's in our tradition or another.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2015, 02:21:51 am by hanuman38 »


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