Ayni is, perhaps, the most fundamental principle of the Andean Cosmovision (please read the earlier post on ayni). It does not fall easily into Western thought, for it is essentially about relationship while we in the West tend to focus on outcomes. Ayni is about a balance between giving and receiving; between people, between people and Nature, and between people and the Cosmos (in a way that is hardly conceivable within the Western world-view of the basic inanimate nature of the Cosmos). Ayni is the organizing principle for the flow of energy in the expanded view of reality of the Andes.
In this post I would like to focus on the ayni between you and me, and between our culture and the Andean people. Let’s first consider ayni between you and me. It would be great for me to receive something back for the effort I put into this web site, but only if it has value for you. If you would like to participate in a relationship of ayni please make a donation on the Donate page. I have no recommended amount in mind, it rather depends on the value to you of what I have made available on this site and your financial circumstances.
After covering the minimal costs of maintaining the domain name and having Salka Wind hosted on a server I give 50% of what I get from my classes and presentations, and from donations, to the people of the Andes as ayni for what they have given us. I usually give the money in person to people in Peru, in ways that I think will nourish the traditional Andean culture and our relationship with that culture. This is almost always done in a context where asking for a receipt just wouldn’t be appropriate. I have hesitated on this web site to be so specific about what percent of the donations I give back to the people of Peru for ayni as I have no receipts to back it up, nor will I in the future, so please be aware of that. The other 50% I use to defer my costs for going to Peru, or to have a beer, but mainly it is the effect it has on me to receive support for sharing what I can of the Andean Cosmovision with the people of my culture.
Giving to the Andean people in a way that both benefits them personally and nourishes their culture is a very important practice of ayni. You can bypass me and do this in a number of ways if you would like. Please see the Resources page of Salka Wind for a couple of options.
To keep this post from being too serious I would like to share a snippet from the delightful book Zen Without Zen Masters by Camden Benares (already referenced in the earlier post ‘Fallacies‘). Ho Chi Zen used to keep a careful watch on which of his students put money in the donation bowl before each of his classes. Any student who donated three times in a row was dismissed for being too gullible.