Kim O'Hara wrote:I have ben sitting with a Tibetan meditation group for a few years, for similar reasons, with no observable ill-effects (I think )
IMO, the differences between schools are less important than the similarities.
Can I suggest you re-think your attitude to the 'suggested donation'? Some groups really do need to raise enough to pay the rent on their meeting place, and refusing to contribute is unfair. Other groups may not need the money so much but do use it for good purposes, e.g. supporting a charity. In any case, if your need for your money is greater than theirs, they ought to be understanding and supportive; if they are not, they are compassion-deficient and that could be a warning to you about getting involved.
My point is that I don't want to be refused a sangha because I cannot afford to sit in meditation.
Dan74 wrote:Personally I am pretty uneasy about charging money for Dhamma/Dharma but as others have said monastics need to pay the bills too.
On the other hand, if you are "dirt poor" as you said, are there any opportunities for you to earn money? I think it is important to do what we can to support ourselves and if possible to support others (relatives, friends, Dhamma centers, etc). Hard work is good practice though if people have a disability or otherwise unable of course that's a different story.
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