We invite you to participate in a particularly beautiful practice of giving, by offering a meal, or a day of meals in a practice we call "meal dāna."
To provide a meal for a retreat is to feed and fuel the very life force of everyone on retreat at Cloud Mountain. Your meal offering sustains all of the yogis who come to practice the Dharma; the teachers who provide teachings and guidance in the Dharma; and the Dharma center staff, whose labors serve and support the Dharma. Your gift touches each person practicing or serving the retreat at the cellular level. To offer a meal is to offer a truly personal and intimate gift to your brothers and sisters in the Dharma, and to provide them the essential support needed to realize their highest aspirations of liberation.
Sometimes people might join with Dharma friends, or get together with their sitting group, to sponsor a meal or a day of meals. It can be a lovely way to support and surprise a friend by offering a meal in their name during a retreat they are attending! This kind of gift is very personal, and has the potential to touch people's hearts directly and allow them to open ever more deeply.
A meal offering can be a beautiful way for you to commemorate an important day—a birthday, for example. An offering can also be made on behalf of someone else, perhaps to honor a loved one who has passed from this life.
Meals may be offered anonymously, of course, but we would very much like to be able to provide the names of those who offer meal dāna. Sometimes there might be self-consciousness in making this kind of offering publicly. However, the impact of seeing the names of individual donors is very profound for those receiving such a wonderful gift, whether one knows them or not. It is very powerful simply knowing that someone has provided the sustenance for our practice and for our lives at that meal, but it is even more powerful to see the name, to experience the personal connection, the sense of receiving a real gift from a real person. Feelings of loving kindness, joy and gratitude arise spontaneously. Allowing your name to be acknowledged can be the cause for wholesome mind states to arise in others. This is one reason why offering meal dāna is a profound and lovely practice of giving.
Offering a meal on a retreat—whether you are a participant or not—is its own kind of celebration and a cultivation of wholesomeness. You have the opportunity to offer a single meal or even a full day of meals. All meal dāna donations are fully tax deductible. The specific donation amounts for meal dāna are as follows:
- Breakfast: $100
- Lunch (or Brunch): $125
- Dinner: $75
- A Full Day of Meals: $300
Since this a very unique gift, we want to offer you every opportunity to personalize it in ways that give you the greatest joy in giving! If you offer your donation online, you will be able to fill in fields to personalize your meal offering. If you mail or fax your donation, you may use the linked Donation Form. If time is short before the retreat you’d like to offer to, or if you are attending the retreat and wish to wait until you arrive to donate the funds, please email us as soon as possible with the following information. This helps us to best honor the intent of your gift. For simplicity's sake, you may wish to copy and paste the following questions into an email and send us the information that way:
- Which meal are you offering: Breakfast, Lunch/Brunch, Dinner, or a Full Day of Meals?
- Do you have a specific date in mind for your offering, or are you flexible?
- Do you want your meal offering to be anonymous?
- If you have a special dedication of one or two sentences in mind, please write it exactly as you would like to see it on the dedication board.
We take pleasure in acknowledging each and every meal offering on our dedication board. In the event you have no special dedication in mind and wish to remain anonymous, we will post a dedication that might read: "This meal is offered by an anonymous friend (present/not present) on this retreat." If you have no special dedication and are open to having your name acknowledged, we will post a dedication including your name, city and state that might read: "This meal is offered by Jane or John Doe of Seattle, WA."
Frequently Asked Questions About Meal Dāna
Will we still be fed if no one offers meal dāna?
Yes, of course! We always provide substantial, tasty and nutritious meals. That will never change! However, when meal dāna is offered, we provide a standard meal, and then some! Often we add a homemade dessert or another special dish. Of course, we try to exercise moderation and wisdom, and our primary goal is to offer meals that best support people's overall health and depth of meditation.
Do I have to come up with the menu for the meal I'm offering?
Not at all! We create the menu plans, according to our practices and guidelines. We need to keep the kitchen running smoothly and wisely, with the primary goal always being to best support everyone's nutritional needs and meditation practice. But we also wish you to be engaged and involved in gifting a meal, which you may do by specifying a preferred day and a particular message for the dāna acknowledgment.
What if I bring along food to offer as my meal dāna?
This practice of meal dāna is not a request for food donations. In fact, we would prefer that you do not. Donation of food items can, sadly, result in wasted food, which is not what we wish to achieve in our meal dāna practice. There is one exception food donations, or in this case really, beverages. If you wish to share a box of your favorite tea with the group, that would be terrific!
Should I offer meal dāna in advance, or can I wait to offer it when I arrive for retreat?
Meal dāna is best arranged in advance, since that allows you to be sure of being able to offer on your preferred day, and for us to shop and plan for dāna meals in advance. This brings the best results! However, it is certainly possible to offer meal dāna when you arrive, or during the course of the retreat. Since the logistics can be a little complex for us with short-notice offerings, we can't guarantee to meet every request to offer meal dāna that comes in once a retreat has begun.
I want to offer meal dāna, what should I do next?
To donate online by credit or debit card, please click here: Online Donation Form
Donation Form for mailing or faxing
Friends of Cloud Mountain
Cloud Mountain Retreat Center
373 Agren Rd.
Castle Rock, WA 98611
If you have any questions at all about donating, please don't hesitate to call or email us
Friends of Cloud Mountain is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, Federal EIN # 91-1859995. Your contribution is fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.