The dana economy explained

15th of December 2015

"Dhanakosa operates in the spirit of generosity, or dana (a Sanskrit/Pali word meaning giving or gift). This allows us to be open to anyone regardless of individual financial circumstances, by allowing people to pay what they can afford."

The dana economy explained
The practice of generosity takes us beyond ideas of separate self and constitutes a basic ethos at the heart of community. So, a dana economy is a gift economy, or an economy rooted in generosity.
The economic forms of consumerism and capitalism strongly condition our relationship to the world. They encourage us to experience ourselves as producers or consumers, and a sense of separateness from others. Rather than emulate this, we want to support economic relationships which contribute towards a culture of sharing.
We don’t want to enter into relationship with you as the providers of a service for a consumer. We want to enter into a wholehearted human relationship with you.  We believe in this way we can help transform both ourselves, and our world.
To support this intention, rather than offering our work as a service to be bought, we ask for contributions to make this work possible. Through your donation, you support this endeavour. This is guided by the basic principle of the Dana Economy; “give what you can, take what you need”.
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Crotha bothy solitary retreat hut
The bothy is situated at an altitude of 1,300 feet in Crotha Glen, behind Dhanakosa.  There are no roads or houses visible from the bothy and access is by foot or quad bike only. 

It was built by Ajitasena in 1999, especially to support longer solitary retreats. The isolated location makes it an excellent retreat venue, but conditions can be extreme so people using it must be fit and able enough to cope.

To consider before you book
The bothy is a solitary retreat venue, and is only available to those who have previous experience of solitary retreats, and can be confident of completing their retreat.  We will ask you to complete an application form and give a reference. 

All retreatants must be willing to accept the inherent risks of being out of contact. O2 and Vodafone mobile reception are intermittent and cannot be relied upon.

From the "Solitary retreat application form"
Solitary retreats can at times be psychologically and emotionally stressful, particularly in an environment as isolated and challenging as the Bothy.  To better help us understand your ability to undertake a long solitary retreat, please provide us with the following information.

Can you briefly summarise your intentions for this solitary retreat at Dhanakosa:

"I am following a desire to be in nature, to feel myself more fully, and to give space to writing. I recently started on a book that reflects a personal journey and discovery into what makes me and us come alive, past the conditioning effects you so beautifully write about under ‘The Dhana Economy Explained’. I was creating space to give myself more fully to writing, but I didn’t quite enter it. A couple of weeks ago I received a soft and very clear kick up the bum. A couple of days later I knew I was going on a trip, indefinitely.

From January 2016 I will be living and traveling without money, taking with me what I have to give. I love teaching Qigong and Tai Chi, working with my hands and in nature, meeting people, putting myself in service for questions that matter, and contributing in any way I can to the world my heart knows is possible. What I wish to receive is the ability to live and connect with nature, and the space to write and share what makes me come alive.

During this trip I want to give myself the gift of (a) solitary retreat(s). The images that came up in me are eerily similar to the bothy you offer. I would love to be able to spend time there. I intend to pay for my stay, if not through my current means then through someone who is willing to sponsor me. If I can express my gratitude through my gifts instead of money, I would love to discuss any options you see and feel."

21st of December 2015

Hello Mundo,

Thanks for your email. Apologies that I couldn’t hear you very well at all on the Skype call, I could only catch the odd word or phrase, so asked you to email instead.

I’m afraid we no longer offer just 2 weeks in the bothy (a recent change of policy) and the 2 weeks in February are no longer available. Our minimum is now 3 weeks.

Also, even though you have experience with leading classes and retreats and doing mountain treks, I’m sorry but you wouldn’t have enough experience at the moment with solitary meditation retreats to be considered for the bothy.

If it is any help, there are still a number of vacant weeks in Vajra Sheilin, however they are from May onwards. January – April are fully booked.

And just as a general note, payments for bothy retreats are based on set rates rather than our usual dana system.

I wish you luck finding a suitable location for your solitary.

Best wishes,


31st of December 2015

Hi Ben,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I will be in Scotland from the 19th of January and probably living and working with the people at Lendrick for a while from 17th February onwards. Maybe one day I will walk by to meet you. The intention I wrote you with remains; I'm curious in what form I will find it.

I wish you all the best for 2016.

Lots of love from The Netherlands,