Is there anywhere to learn and practice Buddhism for free?

Hi,I’m really interested іח Buddhism аѕ a way οf life аחԁ һаνе completed аח 8 week mindfulness course οח tһе nhs аѕ раrt οf therapy, bυt wһеח I һаνе looked іחtο finding somewhere tο bе taught аחԁ practice tһеrе always seems tο bе a charge! Considering Buddha sat under a tree аחԁ taught people out οf compassion fοr tһеіr suffering I don’t understand wһу іt costs £45 per month tο sign up tο a foundation programme аחԁ £8 a time tο ɡο tο meditation classes?! I јυѕt саח′t afford tһіѕ аחԁ іt seems tο ɡο completely against compassion fοr others anyway?! I live іח Essex іח tһе uk
Thanks

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2 Responses to “Is there anywhere to learn and practice Buddhism for free?”

  • Been There says:

    I agree totally. I avoid Centres that charge high fees.
    But I also do not know of any Centre that meets under a tree in the public park, that has no accoutrements of practice (a statue of the Buddha, candles, incense, etc … all of which must be purchased).
    Somehow, someway, an indoor space and the “necessities” must be provided for.

    I belong to a Centre in Canada that is run by the members of the Centre. We have a resident teacher, a Tibetan monk, who was sent to us at our request made to the Dalai Lama’s monastery in India. This teacher is our spiritual director.
    We ask (but do not police or check on) a $5 donation whenever you attend.
    We offer memberships (for $50 a year), but what that membership gives you is a cheaper rate on the special retreats (about 4 a year), and the right to vote at board meetings. You do not have to be a member to attend any of the teachings or retreats.
    BUT … the members volunteer and the work involved is quite extensive. We have paid off a small house where we house our teacher and hold the classes and “sits”. We have to maintain and operate that building (electricity, water, etc). We have to support our teacher and we pay him a small monthly honorarium for devoting his life to teaching us (he is a monk from the Dalai Lama’s monastery).
    The MOST time we spend is on various fund-raising endeavours, to raise that money which is required to support our teacher and keep the house going, also to advertise our fund-raisers and rent space for them! We have several members who are retired, or housewives whose husbands make enough that they themselvdes don’t have to work … and these members all easily put in 40 hours a week on “Centre tasks”.
    Time or money. Same thing. The very basics of our centre (not involved with fund-raising efforts) cost us about $25,000-$30,000 Cdn a year (depending on repairs to the old house). We would have to charge hundreds of dollars a year from each member to keep going without the volunteer time and the fund-raising efforts (which require much effort and time).

    Make no mistake … it is either our time or our money that is needed to keep the Centre going. To take the teachings without offering SOMETHING in return is not in the spirit of Buddhism.

    You should be searching out a Centre with a qualified resident teacher. Go talk to this teacher and explain your financial situation. If you are so poor that you cannot find the money, I am sure that you can make a different type of offering.
    If there is no Centre with a resident teacher, meet privately with the head of that Centre and ask how you can donate your time, instead of money, to help keep the Centre going.

    My teacher gives a special dinner once a year. He saves his small income to prepare a 12-course dinner that he makes by hand … time-consuming marvelous Tibetan dishes. And he invites EVERYONE who has personally helped him or done him a favor during the year (there are usually about 30 guests).
    … He says that if you take benefit from someone, you are karmically-obligated to give back in some form or another. And this supper is his return-donation to us. He is our example … and he should be yours. Do not expect to take without giving back in some form.

  • joe714 says:

    you can go to the place below and do a meditation retreat. it’s run on donations only. in fact. unless a person has done a course the center won’t even accept a donation.

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