Dharma should not have a price on it

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Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby greentara » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:44 am

"The Buddha gave the Dhamma freely to all. He often underwent difficulties and inconveniences and on occasions even risked his life, in order to teach the Dhamma to others (Ud.78). The monk Punna was prepared to teach the Dhamma in a district where the people were known for their violence and where he had a good chance of being manhandled or worse (M.III,269). Today, some Westerners go to traditional Buddhist countries to learn Dhamma or meditation, they return to their homelands, and then charge for teaching what they were taught for free. I really think this is unethical. Likewise, some Asian monks put a price on the Dhamma, certain Tibetan teachers being the worst offenders. I once mentioned to the student of a rimpoche that his teacher charged very high prices for his teachings – really high. Rather defensively the student said that air fares, accommodation, etc all cost money. “Why not just ask students for a donation rather than charge them?’ I said. “What if the costs were not covered?” the disciple shot back. I let the subject drop but it seemed a little odd after all the insistence about infinite compassion for all beings. I also couldn’t help thinking that Goenka (and his assistant teachers) rely entirely on donations"

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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Jesse » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:53 am

Unfortunately in the real world we need money to live, and if their prices are high I think it depends on what there doing with the money.. are they supporting monks/nuns. Building communities/watts etc.

Or are they buying BMW's.

:P
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby greentara » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:15 am

Jesse, The Buddha lived in the real world. Let's call a spade a spade. We all have to look at the situation clearly and stop making excuses.
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Sherlock » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:28 am

Fees were part of Vajrayana empowerments even in India. If you couldn't pay you could work for the teacher (as in the earliest biographies of Milarepa, not Tsangnyon Heruka's). Of course there is some abuse of it but today there are so many Tibetan teachers giving teachings freely so it is not fair to single put Tibetans in this way. It also shows commitment to the path on the part of the student. Moreover Vajrayana really is not meant to be spread all around in a missionary manner.
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:47 am

greentara wrote:... Let's call a spade a spade. We all have to look at the situation clearly and stop making excuses.

Sure.
greentara wrote:The Buddha lived in the real world.

That's true, too, but it wasn't our real world. In particular, in his world there was a well established tradition of householders donating to monks and wandering mendicants but in our (modern western) world there isn't.
What we're seeing now is a patchwork of ways of bridging the gap between the teacher's need to eat, sleep and travel, and the low level of community financial and in-kind support. "Dharma should not have a price on it" is a good thing to aim for but I don't think we should uncritically condemn all dharma teachers who do put a price on it.

:namaste:
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Ayu » Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:36 am

If westerners learn about the significance of GIVING free heartedly, then "Dana" would be a functioning system and there would be no need for fees and prices. ;)

Unfortunately this pricing is better understandable for the western mind: "What does it cost? What is it worth?" But it is changing slowly, not at once.

greentara wrote:"...., and then charge for teaching what they were taught for free. ...

For free? Are you sure? They didn't give any donation? That's unethical, whatever they do afterwards.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby seeker242 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:47 am

The dharma should not have a price on it! However, electricity, water, mortgage payments, building repairs, airfare, etc. all do have a price on them. Temples and centers in the west do not have a traditional base of financial support like temples and centers in the east do. Westerners don't give nearly as much to Buddhist temples as easterners do. A Buddhist temple in a predominately Buddhist culture generally has no problem subsisting on donations alone. A temple in a predominately judeo-christian culture, that is not always the case. Thus, they charge fees for the above expenses. As long as there is not an excessive amount of "profit", nothing wrong with that IMO.
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Martin007 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:37 pm

greentara wrote:I also couldn’t help thinking that Goenka (and his assistant teachers) rely entirely on donations"


There are a number of schools which rely just on donation, which IMO is the best approach. Other groups charge a reasonable fee to cover their costs. If some groups are charging high prices then I think it's reasonable to ask where the money is going, like you would with a charity.
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:41 pm

Martin007 wrote:There are a number of schools which rely just on donation, which IMO is the best approach. Other groups charge a reasonable fee to cover their costs. If some groups are charging high prices then I think it's reasonable to ask where the money is going, like you would with a charity.
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Paul » Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:43 pm

seeker242 wrote:However, electricity, water, mortgage payments, building repairs, airfare, etc. all do have a price on them. Temples and centers in the west do not have a traditional base of financial support like temples and centers in the east do. Westerners don't give nearly as much to Buddhist temples as easterners do. A Buddhist temple in a predominately Buddhist culture generally has no problem subsisting on donations alone.


This is exactly the problem.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

-Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:06 pm

This is the principle we should employ, as Kenpo Ngalo states in his commentary on Ngondro:

Never arriving with empty hands is a critical point of dependent origination. In particular, when that guru confers empowerment and explains Dharmas, since all the compassion and blessings of all the buddhas of the three times and ten directions along with all the bodhisattvas exist in that sublime guru, the guru is inseparable with all the buddhas. Even bringing him a morsel of food has greater merit than making many hundred of thousands of offerings to others.
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby LastLegend » Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:39 pm

I can only speak for Vietnamese Mahayana.

Dharma should be free always. For monks to provide Dharma, they need support as monks don't hold a paying job. So Buddhists often donate to the temples. In Vietnam, it's often money or rice. By giving to the temples, we gain merit for supporting the Dharma. If the monks take the donations and don't service the people properly, they will suffer by their karma.
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:59 pm

LastLegend wrote:I can only speak for Vietnamese Mahayana.

Dharma should be free always.


In Vajrayāna stated in the tantras themselves that a fee for the initiation and teachings should be set.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:02 pm

Haven't we had this argument before? If somebody can remind me of the thread we had it in, then we won't need to repeat it (again).
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:09 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:Haven't we had this argument before? If somebody can remind me of the thread we had it in, then we won't need to repeat it (again).



Of course, it is a Buddhist board, and all our discussion take rebirth again and again, and will until they exhaust their karma...
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby LastLegend » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:13 pm

Malcolm wrote:
LastLegend wrote:I can only speak for Vietnamese Mahayana.

Dharma should be free always.


In Vajrayāna stated in the tantras themselves that a fee for the initiation and teachings should be set.


In form of money? Or other offering?
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:40 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
LastLegend wrote:I can only speak for Vietnamese Mahayana.

Dharma should be free always.


In Vajrayāna stated in the tantras themselves that a fee for the initiation and teachings should be set.


In form of money? Or other offering?


Gold, usually.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:56 pm

Ayu wrote:If westerners learn about the significance of GIVING free heartedly, then "Dana" would be a functioning system and there would be no need for fees and prices. ;)


No - westeners are impoverished. Most of them are severely strapped fro day to day living no matter their income and lack the resources to offer dana as they should.

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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:07 pm

Malcolm wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
Malcolm wrote:In Vajrayāna stated in the tantras themselves that a fee for the initiation and teachings should be set.


In form of money? Or other offering?


Gold, usually.


Thus spake Gayadhara.

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Re: Dharma should not have a price on it

Postby Mkoll » Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:26 am

kirtu wrote:No - westeners are impoverished.
:jawdrop:

Are we living on the same planet?
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