“In our busy, commercial world, it can be a profound practice to sincerely consider where and how we direct our financial energy and the impact of our financial decisions on the world. Our actions manifest our intentions.” -Ancient Dragon Zen Gate

Clouds in Water Zen Center is sustained by you!

Our doors are open precisely because you value compassion, wisdom, justice and equity and believe in supporting your values through the Buddhist practice of Generosity (Dāna)


Dāna is an ancient Sanskrit term that refers to the foundational Buddhist practice of wholehearted Giving, a practice of compassionate, wise activity that arises from meditative awareness. Just as there is no separation between your practice and the practice of others, the practice of Dāna realizes the non-separation between your gift, whatever it may be, and the receiver of the gift, and, finally, your role as the giver – going beyond conventional attitudes of profit and gain.*


Clouds in Water is a community supported temple, relying solely on the donations and class fees that our community offers. We turn away no one for lack of funds. 



It costs Clouds in Water about $630 per day to keep our doors open and our programs running. We hope you will join us in exploring how we practice with money and giving, and find entry points into Dāna that are wholesome, joyous, and within your means.

Membership and Supporting Friendship 

You may choose to become a member or supporting friend of Clouds in Water by making a one-time or recurring donation of any amount. 


Members may vote to elect the Board of Directors at the annual meeting. Each member is entitled to one vote per the Clouds in Water by-laws.

Supporting Friends wish to support the continued functioning and well-being of Clouds in Water, but do not wish to be a Member at this time.


Recurring donations are the lifeblood of non-profit organizations such as Clouds in Water. They allow staff and volunteers to focus more on programming and less on fundraising.

You may choose to give annually, quarterly, monthly or at some other frequency. Your donations support:

Clouds in Water Expenses (1)

We do not ask for a specific amount from donors; we ask that you consider your individual or household budget. Many Buddhist centers ask donors to consider support at the level of 2% - 3% of your gross income annually, adjusting up or down depending on various factors. Please refer to the following chart.

Consider paying less on the scale if you:

  •  Are supporting children or have other dependents
  •  Have significant debt
  •  Have significant medical expenses not covered by insurance
  •  Receive public assistance
  •  Have immigration-related expenses
  •  Are an elder with limited financial support
  •  Are an unpaid community organizer
  •  Have been denied work due to incarceration history


Consider paying more on the scale if you:

  •  Own the home you live in
  •  Have investments, retirement funds, or inherited money
  •  Travel recreationally
  •  Have access to family money and resources in times of need
  •  Work part-time by choice
  •  Have a relatively high degree of earning power due to level of education, gender, racial privilege, class background, etc.**

BIPOC Leadership Scholarship Fund

The BIPOC Leadership Scholarship Fund supports the growth of BIPOC spiritual leadership in the Zen Buddhist tradition. Spiritual leadership can look different depending on the path chosen, and the costs in terms of both money and time can be intimidating. The Fund encourages BIPOC individuals to apply for funding for expenses related to pursuing a leadership role on the spiritual path. This Fund is open to BIPOC participants in activities at Clouds in Water Zen Center, or in programs sponsored by Clouds in Water.
The BIPOC Leadership Scholarship Fund has been seeded by the generosity of a single donor. We hope to replenish this fund each year with future donations.
Do you seek funding to support your development as a BIPOC spiritual leader? You can request an application by emailing BIPOCFund@cloudsiwater.org

2019 BIPOC.1

Other Ways to Donate

Mail a check. You may mail your gift to:
Clouds in Water Zen Center
445 Farrington Street
St. Paul, MN, 55103



Drop cash or checks in our Dāna bowl when you’re here at the temple.



Schedule a regular deduction from your bank account helps simplify the center’s bookkeeping. You may instruct your bank to make this deduction as an EFT (electronic fund transfer), or your bank can send a paper check. All you need to do is to give your bank our mailing address. Most banks don’t charge for this service. The address is:
Clouds in Water Zen Center
445 Farrington Street
St. Paul, MN, 55103



Send money with PayPal.  If you have a PayPal account you can send a donation directly to [paypal handle coming soon]. Tip: The PayPal mobile app makes it quite easy to donate and designate your donation.



Reduce your Taxes with a Year-End Gift from your IRA
Members and supporting friends of Clouds in Water Zen Center who are age 73 or older may make a year-end gift by directing their financial institution to transfer funds directly to Clouds in Water. This tax-smart strategy, also known as a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD), reduces your taxable income even if you do not itemize.

For a QCD to count towards your yearly Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), the funds must come out of your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) by December 31 of that year. QCDs can be made in any amount up to $100,000 per year. If you and your spouse file jointly, your spouse can also make a QCD from their IRA for up to $100,000.

If you have a question, please consult your tax advisor.

Please let us know if and when your IRA gift is on the way. Email ED@cloudsinwater.org and share your name, the gift amount and your financial institution. Your generosity will be promptly acknowledged.


For your reference, Clouds in Water’s EIN is:

A Gift Economics Model: for Classes and Retreats

Pay What You Can + Resource Transparency. At Clouds in Water Zen Center, we are working to activate our Statement on Non-Harming in many practical ways, one of which is equitable resource development. It takes money, time and labor to sustain a Zen temple, and it matters greatly to us to find a balance between resource transparency, financial sustainability, the Buddhist practice of Generosity (Dāna), justice and systemic equity. 


Our current tiered "sliding scale" suggestions offer transparency about programming costs, while our "pay what you can" option allows you to set the fee that is right for you. This system is modeled after many justice-oriented organizations that center programming by and for historically marginalized communities. Most specifically, East Bay Meditation Center's Gift Economics model.


The generous effort of many caring people – from those who open the doors and facilitate the offering of weekly meditation to those who post our blog and Dharma talks, is the foundation of this temple. The gift of volunteer help is a great way to express Dāna.*


We encourage you to get involved as a volunteer, not out of obligation, but as part of the practice of community, the practice of the sangha jewel. Sangha is one of the three treasures, along with Buddha and Dharma. Through service together, through interacting with each other, the work of “opening the heart of great wisdom and compassion” is clearly manifest. By serving we deepen our own practice. There is also an indirect, wondrous effect of service: by serving in whatever role, we make it possible for the community to be here, and we realize the web of complete and profound interconnection with all beings.


If you are considering volunteer service, here are some ways you can help:

  • Become a board member
  • Support the maintenance of our building and grounds
  • Support the kitchen crew
  • Volunteer with the Youth and Family program 
  • Learn ceremonial practice
  • Serve on one of our committees
  • Offer administrative support

Volunteer opportunities are often listed in our bi-weekly Sangha News e-newsletter. Sign up for our newsletter here. 


For more information about volunteering, please email the executive director, Araṇya Minna Jain at: ed@cloudsinwater.org


“We know in our hearts that there is a different way to be, a different way to live. Our generosity with one another is indeed resistance to the greed and fear that oppresses us. We provide for one another out of love for each other and love for ourselves. When we give, we acknowledge that all beings want to be happy.” -Jacoby Ballard


*language from Ancient Dragon Zen Gate

**language from Solcana Fitness