Monday, April 20, 2009

our community budget

monthly living expenses

all the recurring expenses incurred
by our community are: $850 per month........$10,200
per year

Housing.........................$150 per month.......$1,800 per year
We rent three rooms on one floor of a quiet and sunny house, next door to Drolmaling Nunnery near Dharamsala, India. The owners are Tibetans living in New York who plan to retire here one day. The other floors of the house are vacant, and our space includes a large open roof space and several terraces.

Food.................................$150 per month.......$1,800 per year
We take turns cooking simple but nutritious vegetarian meals. For breakfast we have Indian porridge (upama) or oatmeal. Lunch is usually rice, vegetables and either dal, beans or a tofu dish. We fast in the evenings.

Education.......................$230 per month.......$2,760 per year
Part of the service we offer now and hope to offer more in the future involves translation of Dharma materials from Tibetan, Sanskrit and English into Spanish, German and English. This fund supports our education to that end, including books, small, symbolic offerings we make to monastic teachers from whom we receive instructions, as well as the salaries of our Tibetan language teachers.

Communication.............$90 per month.......$1,080 per year
We are committed to remaining connected to others, even as our life as Buddhist monastics entails renouncing ordinary social and family life. We maintain blogs, such as the one you are now reading, and remain in touch by phone or e-mail when possible.

Transportation..................$75 per month.......$900 per year
We travel twice a month up to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's temple in McLeod Ganj for monastic confession ceremony, and twice weekly to Gyuto Monastery, the residence of our main teacher His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, for teachings and public audiences.

One-Time Annual Costs
Apart from our recurring monthly expenses, we have a number of annual events that we consider important and valuable but that (unlike our food, housing etc.) are optional, and thus could be skipped if we do not receive support for these activities. In addition, none of us have health insurance and would like to have annual medical exams and dental care.

Health ................................................$1240 per year
Our estimated medical costs assume no major health issues, but a thorough annual medical, gynecological, dental exams and new eyeglasses as needed. Fairly high-quality health care is available in India at far lower costs than in the West, but not in the area we live, so this budget includes as well the cost of travel by overnight bus to Delhi, where such care is available.

Pilgrimage, Teachings and Monlam Festival...$1,500 per year
Every winter in the most sacred Buddhist site of Bodhgaya, Buddhists gather from around the world for all-day prayers, teaching and initiations called the Kagyu Monlam. The event is preceded by a winter debate session with teachings on such topics as philosophy and monastic training (vinaya), also led by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. We find this to be an important way to connect with the larger Buddhist community and to offer our prayers, presence and translation services to support its aspirations.

Special Teaching Events................................$500 per year
Several times a year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives public lecture series on various subjects in his monastery in Dharamsala, India. Our costs are approximately $10 per day for all of us to attend these teachings. In addition, several high lamas give annual public teachings in various locations around India. As and when other important teachings take place in India, this fund would allow us to take advantage of those opportunities. Although admission to such events is free of cost for monastics, we must cover our own travel, lodging and food costs.

Visa Renewal........................................$1,200 per year
Several of our community members are able only to receive short-term visas for India, and most leave the country one to three times a year, to Nepal or other countries, to apply for new Indian visas. This is an unavoidable and costly part of our community life.

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