Offering a meal to the monastic and lay community
It is a tradition for Buddhist lay followers to offer meals to the monastic community. Monastics are dependent on lay people to provide food each day because they are not permitted to cook or store food. Traditionally a meal offering is made to honor a special event in someone’s life, such as a birthday or a marriage. It is also frequently done in memory of a family member on their three month or one year death anniversary. But meals can be brought at any time for any reason. What matters most is that it is done in the spirit of generosity.
How to arrange a meal offering
If you will be providing the whole meal it is a good idea to contact the Food Dana contact person listed. Please note our Retreat Schedule page to determine if we will be in retreat on the date you are considering offering Dana. During retreats, there can be up to sixty or more people here so offering Dana on a Retreat date, you should be prepared to offer enough for the entire group. If you would like to offer “a few dishes”, please contact the Food Dana contact person, thank you.
Offering a Financial Donation instead of providing the Meal
Bhavana Society accepts financial donations instead of bringing and preparing the meal here. If you are interested in offering a donation towards a meal, we offer multiple variations of processing your request. You can simply send a donation through regular mail letting us on the date and if requested, the person in which you would like the meal offering made. You can also use PayPal, found on our website under “Support-What is Dana?” and note your donation is offered for a meal along with the name and date. You can also call or send an email to the Food Dana contact person, letting them know this information and it will be placed on our Food Dana Calendar for our monastic community to acknowledge during meal time.
What to know
The Bhavana Society residents eat a vegetarian diet and will eat dairy products when offered. Please note, it is Bhante Gunaratana’s request that those offering food dana also bring at least one American style dish for those who cannot eat international cuisine. If you have never brought a meal before or are not accustomed to cooking for large group, you can contact our Food Dana contact person about any questions or concerns you have. We want to help you in whatever way we can.
What else to know
NEW INFORMATION: We at Bhavana strive for our community to be healthy but especially to eat healthy. We are now requesting anyone who considering offering Dana to follow these simple yet healthy guidelines. Please provide foods that are low in fat, dishes prepared with no oils, no refined sugars and no salts. Oils and salt based condiments can be provided on the table for each individual to choose to use or not. Again, we would like to thank you for offering Dana but especially for helping our community follow these healthy guidelines.