The Buddhist Tradition
Historically, and today in many places, Buddhist teachings have been supported on what we might today call a "gift economy." The monks and nuns rely on laypeople to donate all that is required on a daily basis. This is most clearly exemplified in the alms-rounds one can still witness in many countries today, wherein monastics walk through the streets with food-bowls that are gradually filled up by lay people as they pass. This food, taken in the morning, will sustain the monks and nuns until the next day. Each year there is also a celebration marking the end of the "rains-retreat" - a period when the monastics "hunker down" as much as possible while mother nature does her work of renewing the growth of the natural world. The Buddha specifically set out a rule against unnecessary travel in this time so that monastics wouldn't disturb the ecosystem at its most fragile time. In the celebration marking the end of this period, monks and nuns would be offered the necessities that would generally last them through the year: new robes, a toothbrush and razor, soap, and other simple necessities.
In some countries, monastics became landowners and political leaders. In others, monasticism was replaced by married priests who owned their temples and passed them on to sons in a lineage. Today, we can find a wide spectrum of ways of supporting Buddhist teachings, from those monks and nuns going for alms each morning to more modernized teachers offering exclusive resort-style retreats, setting up online stores, and full-on branding campaigns.
We will aim for as much of the old-fashioned generosity as possible. Your generosity to Mindful Montana will support our free programs in the community and scholarships for participants with limited income. As such, we have a few avenues through which you can simply give directly to us. These are under development, so please be patient, and let us know what you would like to see here if it is not included.
First, you can give directly to Mindful Montana through PayPal. Second, you can support Justin via Patreon, where you offer a monthly donation in exchange for levels of rewards. You can also offer your talent. Are you skilled in Graphic design? Outreach? Sewing? We could always use more help reaching more people in the community. We could also use zafus (square, flat meditation mats). Other talents you think might help? Get in touch and let us know.
Third, you can support a Helena non-profit organization that is teaming up with us to offer mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy in our Helena community, Merlin CCC.