Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Path of Abundance (or some things about money)

As the year draws to a close, I thought I might write a bit about money - perhaps prompted by looking at our end of year accounts! If you've received a copy of our 2007 programme, or looked at the booking section of the website, you might have noticed that for our 2007 retreats we've introduced a 3-level price structure - even more complicated than before, you might think! The reason for our change is that previously we had just two rates for each retreat - the standard rate, and a concessionary rate for students and those on a low income or unemployed. Our retreat costs have remained largely unchanged over the last couple of years, although financially we are not making a profit. What we have done for 2007 is to keep the standard and concessionary rates almost the same as for 2006, but add in a higher rate for those who feel able to pay more. Some retreat costs can seem a lot to pay up-front, but we do want to continue offering 2-week retreats as this gives us a chance to really explore themes in detail, while maintaining an spacious atmosphere.

Still on the subject of money, we've been thinking quite a lot about the bursary fund recently and you might have received a flier about this with the 2007 programme. The background to this fund is that it was originally set up to help a woman in Estonia, who was practising in fairly isolated circumstances, come to Tiratanaloka to prepare for ordination. After a time, we were able to start using the funds to help other women who would not otherwise have any way of coming here. The bursary is entirely funded by voluntary donations, mostly from women who have come here on retreat and, because have been running at a loss, we're unfortunately unable to fund retreat places from our own profits. When people ask for financial help to come on retreat, we sometimes explore options other than the bursary with them first, such as paying for the retreat in instalments or fundraising in their local sangha. This is simply because the amount of money in the bursary is limited, and may only pay for a handful of retreat places each year. But we really do want women to be able to come here on retreat, so please keep donating to the bursary if you can and asking for money from it if you need to!

(p.s. those are chocolate coins in the photo... I ate them afterwards)

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