The Ethics of Dharma Distribution

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The Ethics of Dharma Distribution

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:27 am


A few days ago I came across a site called...

Buddhist Torrents" onclick=";return false;

Without a doubt, this site contains links to many downloadable resources... the free distribution of which would be clearly in violation of copyright laws. However, it seems as if the owner believes the actions are justifiable on the grounds that the Dharma should be free, and that the benefits arising from this unauthorised distribution exceed the negative consequences.

What do you think?

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Re: The Ethics of Dharma Distribution

Post by Drolma » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:12 pm

Hi Retro,

I can only speak for myself. Personally, unless something has been given freely, I will not knowingly take advantage of its “free distribution”. I have many personal ideas about how I think things should or should not be, none of which have anything to do with the way things are. If something is not given freely, it is not given freely, end of story. Not stealing, to me means not taking what has not been given. Keeping this precept is important to me, not because I am a perfect practitioner, but because I am not. I am very creative, it would be all too easy for me to come up with reasons to justify my taking what has not been given. I practice because I want to create the causes for happiness, not for more suffering.
Making offerings for the teachings I have received and helping the teachers so that they are able to spend their time studying and teaching, is an absolute pleasure.

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Re: The Ethics of Dharma Distribution

Post by Drolma » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:50 pm

As for dharma teachings being given free of charge -

This group for example,

They offer a load of free audio, transcript and video dharma teachings that anyone can download, listen to or read on- line. Venerable Thubten Chodron also writes books. One comes with an MP3 disc. Now, I would not download to my pc and share on-line because I heard that the dharma should be free. The money to put these books and cds together has to come from somewhere. When I purchase these items it is an offering I am making. The money that comes from the sales of these books goes to help support the monks and nuns at Sravasti Abbey so that they can focus on study and meditation, which means that they are able to share more free teachings. My offering also goes to help support the giving away, free of charge, of many many of these books that are sent Dharma practitioners in prison.

Dana .

We don't have to don stretch tights and rob one lot to give to another, no need break the precepts to share the dharma. :tongue:



The Meaning of Dana

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Re: The Ethics of Dharma Distribution

Post by thornbush » Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:31 pm

Well the owner can think all h/she wants but as they said: No such thing as free lunch...
Even if it was free, it was made possible by someone's efforts, time and money....
And state laws across the world does not depend on how an individual views break it, you pay it..
His argument is quite similar to what was said by a snake trader in Thailand that I once watched on Discovery Channel: The benefits of the snake oil and blood far outweighs his actions and in fact he uses some of the money he gets to do 'merit' for them in a local wat. He says this as he is skinning a cobra alive for its blood....go figure :shrug:

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Re: The Ethics of Dharma Distribution

Post by sraddha » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:54 am

There are 2 faults:

1) selling the Dharma for money, I'm not sure but I think I read in a sutta that it's not a good thing -- but without this incentive, dharma material might never be made available. :smile:

2) taking things not given -- breaking a precept!

I think there are so many free distributions -- thank goodness for them! I hope some day a Buddhist buys all copyrights on Buddhist texts and puts all these books online for free! :twothumbsup:

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Re: The Ethics of Dharma Distribution

Post by DNS » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:35 pm

The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation offers thousands of Dharma books for free.

Great merit!" onclick=";return false;

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