Launched in September 2009, Aotearoa Buddhist Education Trust has received donations from a small number of people in the first three months, but the extent of the generosity has been both truly heart warming and surprising. We’re aware it will take time for the wider dharma community to become aware of the fact that ABET exists, to see value in the work of the trust, and decide to support it. What has been given, though, has taken the trustees by surprise.

Here’s how things stand with each of the four appeals:

Gregory Kramer (coming to teach in March and April 2010) $80.00
Martine & Stephen Batchelor (coming to teach in November 2010) $50.00
Eric Kolvig (coming to teach in April 2011) $50.00
General fund $1,959.44

There are two further donations on their way through Givealittle which are visible on the website but not included in the above. When discussing the notion of a charity to pay the travel costs of overseas insight meditation teachers, what we heard was that people wanted a way to help bring a specific teacher here which is why there are separate bank accounts for each teacher.

The wonderful surprise we’ve had is that there are those who are keen to to see the buddhadharma develop in New Zealand, who are prepared to give substantial amounts to do so, and they realise that ABET is an avenue for this. We weren’t expecting to get large donations into the general fund right away but we’re really glad we have, of course.

Tricycle community
Those familiar with the excellent magazine Tricycle may not be aware they’ve started an online community at http://community.tricycle.com. The publishers’ intention being to create an online sangha, their main attraction is the large number of groups and discussions. It also contains audio and video dharma resources, blogs, photos and even live chat. When you join this community you’ll see there is a group associated with ABET – Aotearoa Buddhist Education Project.

Please join this group and help us talk up the work of the trust. Find it at http://community.tricycle.com/group/aotearoabuddhisteducationproject/.

The practice of generosity is very much more developed among US buddhist communities, so it would be no surprise to find a small number of overseas practitioners welcoming a way of helping to make the practices and principles of insight meditation more easily available to folk in other countries. Your help with this would be of great value.

Payroll giving
From 7 January 2010, a new government initiative encourages charitable donation directly from your salary, in such a way that you receive an immediate tax credit. How much you give, and how often you do it, is up to you.

Assuming you are paid monthly and wish to give $100 each month to ABET. Doing so, you’d receive an immediate tax credit of $33.33. This means your wages would be just $67.77 lower than previously as your employer remits $100 to ABET in your name.

Previously, an individual could only claim back one third of qualifying donations up to a maximum of $630. The amount you can now claim back has gone up to the level of your taxable income.

When you tell your employer you’d like to make a donation from your pay to Aotearoa Buddhist Education Trust, give them the ABET bank account number your donation should go to [found elsewhere on this site] and point out that they can find us on the IRD’s list of approved donee organisations.

Finally
We thank all those who have given, whatever your intention and whatever you’ve given, and we encourage anyone who is considering developing your practice of generosity to take a look around this website. You are invited to get in touch in you have any questions.

– from the December 2009 INSIGHTAotearoa newsletter