Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

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Lingpupa
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Lingpupa »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:39 am ... complaining about costs when you don't know how they are being calculated is somewhat pointless.
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jake
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by jake »

lama tsewang wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:41 am Again there is a retreat that took place in Washington state the retreat buildings were all paid for before they started. They did a year long retreat, and then after held athree year retreat there. They charged 1600 a month for the retreats. It sounds more like a retreat for wealthy retirees. This place is run by the Kagyu Center in Portland led by a layperson a Michael Conklin.
What is most troubling about this is that, probably these people running it don't consider that the fees and how they administer their institutions is part of the dharma they present, it's not separate, the container for the teachings is part of the teaching.
Though I appreciate people making contributions to discussions, I must admit I have some doubts as to the intention behind your post. For example, you neglect to write that Michael Conklin is a Lama who started his studies in 1974 with Kalu Rinpoche.

Further, I'm unable to find where you come up with 1600 a month. Online they list the total cost of a 1 year retreat for members of KCC for at least 2 years at 1,083/month. For newcomers, the cost is 1,333/month. Perhaps the prices have been updated since then, I don't know. This brings me to my next point.

Lastly, and perhaps most annoying for me, is that it took me all of 4 minutes to find the organization's financial report online. In 2018, the full KCC organization (it has several centers, apparently) lists a total income of about 168,680 USD. Their total expenses, just over 170,000 USD. So, they lost just over 1,000 dollars. http://www.kcc.org/sites/default/files/ ... 2018_0.pdf

Three more minutes of poking around their website and I found a budget report. Just looking at the 1 year retreat numbers in that report, we see 42,231 USD expected income vs 48,580 expected cost. So, no earnings. Some of the major expenses, salary, insurance, taxes (about 16,000), meals and lodging (~15,000), insurance (3100), utilities (4000)....
If you so desire you can do further digging on your own.

It really feels like people's only interest is to complain about how they think things should be while ignoring the realities we face in the West and making well-thought suggestions on how to change or support the spread of the teachings here, given our circumstances.

I think this thread has largely run its course.
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Könchok Thrinley
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

jake wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:05 pm It really feels like people's only interest is to complain about how they think things should be while ignoring the realities we face in the West and making well-thought suggestions on how to change or support the spread of the teachings here, given our circumstances.

I think this thread has largely run its course.
:good: It unfortunately does feel that way.

Maybe a thread concerned with solutions and alternatives to high cost retreats could be a good idea.
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zenman
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by zenman »

jake wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:05 pm Three more minutes of poking around their website and I found a budget report. Just looking at the 1 year retreat numbers in that report, we see 42,231 USD expected income vs 48,580 expected cost. So, no earnings. Some of the major expenses, salary, insurance, taxes (about 16,000), meals and lodging (~15,000), insurance (3100), utilities (4000)....
If you so desire you can do further digging on your own.
It is insanity to pay that much taxes.
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jake
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by jake »

zenman wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:31 pm
jake wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:05 pm Three more minutes of poking around their website and I found a budget report. Just looking at the 1 year retreat numbers in that report, we see 42,231 USD expected income vs 48,580 expected cost. So, no earnings. Some of the major expenses, salary, insurance, taxes (about 16,000), meals and lodging (~15,000), insurance (3100), utilities (4000)....
If you so desire you can do further digging on your own.
It is insanity to pay that much taxes.
What are you talking about?
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

zenman wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:31 pm
jake wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:05 pm Three more minutes of poking around their website and I found a budget report. Just looking at the 1 year retreat numbers in that report, we see 42,231 USD expected income vs 48,580 expected cost. So, no earnings. Some of the major expenses, salary, insurance, taxes (about 16,000), meals and lodging (~15,000), insurance (3100), utilities (4000)....
If you so desire you can do further digging on your own.
It is insanity to pay that much taxes.
Don't know if you heard, but generally speaking taxes aren't optional.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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jake
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by jake »

jake wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:05 pm Three more minutes of poking around their website and I found a budget report. Just looking at the 1 year retreat numbers in that report, we see 42,231 USD expected income vs 48,580 expected cost. So, no earnings. Some of the major expenses, salary, insurance, taxes (about 16,000), meals and lodging (~15,000), insurance (3100), utilities (4000)....
If you so desire you can do further digging on your own.
I probably could have been more clear in the above paragraph. I'll try again.

Some of the costs listed are:
Salary, health insurance, and employment taxes(FICA, 6.2%) all together= 16,000/yr
Meals and Lodging = ~15,000
Utilities = 4,000
Insurance [probably property, liability, etc] = 3,100.
bxcf24
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by bxcf24 »

They are expensive in Italy and Europe too. I understand that it takes money to prepare food and lodging.
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source_learning
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by source_learning »

I was part of a sangha for a long while (Soto Zen affiliation) that didn't charge at all for retreats/sesshin (or anything, for that matter.) Half of the participants would make a donation, while the other half were essentially subsidized by the general flow of dana that would come in from the Sunday program or from fundraising campaigns.

I think Jake makes a good point that we need to consider the (substantial) expenses of running a dharma/retreat center when it comes to how we view retreat fees. At the same time, I think it's also important to recognize that there are other models. On one side is the Theravadan model where casual practitioners (the laity) pay the way for retreatants (the monks) and rejoice in the merit they are accruing and the dharma that they are strengthening. I know that our situation in the West can't parallel that, but if we go too much to the other side, retreat becomes something that only a few can pull off. At the extreme end, not necessarily apropos to the examples in this thread, these retreats can start to have some of the flavor of a resort getaway.

Mind you, in my exploration of Vajrayana thus far, I've found paying my way to be quite meaningful. I lived a Zen monastic life for some while and have really only had an income the past year, so it makes sense for me to put what I am making into the world of the dharma. I feel like I did have a certain sense of entitlement when I was relying upon others' dana without really living the life of a renunciate (that's another topic.) But I feel for people who have dependents, or live in expensive places like Seattle and Portland. I think that the more we can establish a culture of dana, a network of people who aren't drawn to retreat themselves but see its value in the larger sense, the more we can establish a positive, non-transactional retreat culture.
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by zenman »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:24 pm
zenman wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:31 pm
jake wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:05 pm Three more minutes of poking around their website and I found a budget report. Just looking at the 1 year retreat numbers in that report, we see 42,231 USD expected income vs 48,580 expected cost. So, no earnings. Some of the major expenses, salary, insurance, taxes (about 16,000), meals and lodging (~15,000), insurance (3100), utilities (4000)....
If you so desire you can do further digging on your own.
It is insanity to pay that much taxes.
Don't know if you heard, but generally speaking taxes aren't optional.
They should replace their accountant.
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jake
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by jake »

source_learning wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:28 am I was part of a sangha for a long while (Soto Zen affiliation) that didn't charge at all for retreats/sesshin (or anything, for that matter.) Half of the participants would make a donation, while the other half were essentially subsidized by the general flow of dana that would come in from the Sunday program or from fundraising campaigns.
Thank you for this post. It contributes to an interesting dialogue and shows some thought on your part. It's great that the center was able to find a balance with those that could did contribute financial resources while newcomers or others could take advantage of the offering of Dharma and get their feet wet, so to speak.
source_learning wrote: At the same time, I think it's also important to recognize that there are other models. On one side is the Theravadan model where casual practitioners (the laity) pay the way for retreatants (the monks) and rejoice in the merit they are accruing and the dharma that they are strengthening. I know that our situation in the West can't parallel that, but if we go too much to the other side, retreat becomes something that only a few can pull off. At the extreme end, not necessarily apropos to the examples in this thread, these retreats can start to have some of the flavor of a resort getaway.
This idea of the dana paramita and its place in contemporary society is one I think about a lot. How best can I, an average joe, support the Dharma and what is the role of a center or temple in providing opportunities for this sort of merit generation. With the current economic system, at least the US one, money is actually the most fungible offering as so much of our life has been commodified. In the past one could gift lamp oil, ink, brushes, etc. but its not really possible to give electrons. Food offerings can be helpful and useful to larger centers I suppose but when it is a small center, probably not so helpful to donate a 20lb bag of rice.

I also think of temples that have work days or clean-up days. It is a great opportunity for people to give time and effort to the temple. It's also a great offering of the temple to give this opportunity for others to generate merit. Having coordinated volunteer efforts before they tend to require more work than one would think.

It would be interesting to see a thread on how centers and temples provide these types of merit opportunities, what challenges they face and what sorts of solutions they've developed.
source_learning wrote: Mind you, in my exploration of Vajrayana thus far, I've found paying my way to be quite meaningful. I lived a Zen monastic life for some while and have really only had an income the past year, so it makes sense for me to put what I am making into the world of the dharma. I feel like I did have a certain sense of entitlement when I was relying upon others' dana without really living the life of a renunciate (that's another topic.) But I feel for people who have dependents, or live in expensive places like Seattle and Portland. I think that the more we can establish a culture of dana, a network of people who aren't drawn to retreat themselves but see its value in the larger sense, the more we can establish a positive, non-transactional retreat culture.
Great points. I also find a great deal of meaning in providing for my training and take joy in purchasing translated Dharma materials. So much labor and work goes into these books, it's really unbelievable.

I also appreciate the comment on establishing a positive, non-transactional culture. We've so far away from this now that we've willingly started calling short-term rentals of rooms, and cheap taxi services the "Sharing economy." When I was a kid sharing didn't involve money. This is a struggle I face in my own life, the subconscious tendency to monetize everything. I'm making a greater effort to read and understand the "gift-economy."
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Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Grigoris »

I do believe this is the right note to finish this discussion on.
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