The Buddha gave a very beautiful simile to describe this relationship: Just as a bee goes from flower to flower collecting nectar without damaging them, in the same way monastics collect small amounts of alms food from everyone in the village, not burdening anyone. And as the bee helps the flowers by spreading pollen, the monks and nuns spread the teachings of the Buddha that bring the highest happiness.
This same relationship governs this monastery. Here the monks live without collecting a salary, without supporting their families, living only on what is donated to the community by the lay disciples. Because of this they are free to study and practice the Buddha’s teachings full time. And just like in ancient times the monks share what they know of these teachings freely to anyone with an interest in learning.
On a practical level, lay people sign up to offer each of the two meals eaten at the monastery, breakfast and lunch. To cover other expenses such as medicine, transportation, mortgage, and utilities, some lay people choose to pledge a certain amount each month or simply offer individual donations. The monks do not accept money themselves. All financial donations are managed by a board of directors made up of lay people. Sometimes lay people also offer in-kind donations of household items as they feel moved to do so. With guidance from the monks, volunteers take care of all the day to day operations.