what is your approach to Dharma?

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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Re: what is your approach to Dharma?

Post by DGA » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:18 pm

liuzg150181 wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:16 pm
To put things into perspective, based on my limited experience for a years, in Singapore most Tibetan Buddhist teachings are free,mainly I believe due to Chinese Mahayana culture influence that donating to Dharma activities generates immersive merits. Hence wealthy patrons and Chinese associations are more willing to provide sponsorship compared to the west. Even then some events and grps do need to balance the accounts(most of the cost comes from rental,and not cheap in land-tight Singapore),so there will be charges involved,though in many cases it is negotiable if there is financial issue afaik.

For empowerment,it is customary for us to give an amount in red packet,either to the Rinpoche giving empowerment,or also including the monks and nuns involved. Again not they would enforce an amount and not like anyone would check on that. Even if one doesnt give at all,i dont think there is an enforcer to single you out. :rolling:

Based on what I had read,it seems it is more customary in the west to charge a sum(or rather suggest) for a seminar or teaching,as TB doesnt have the leverage or economic-of-scale compared to Asian countries in terms of sponsorship or the customary red packet offering,or cultural and social establishment and infrastructure like Christianity in USA. Not to mention that TB/Vajrayana is the smallest of the three Buddhist denominations(like 7% percentage of all Buddhist worldwide). So lets be realistic,the sangha and the community needs money to at least mantain or survive.

Heck,if one has decent internet access,one can now receive online teachings and even 'big' empowerments for free where Tibetan Buddhism is concerned.
Yes. Dharma is always free. It is not for sale.

However, putting everything in order so that the teachings can happen requires significant capital. In Asia, there's often infrastructure in place to support the teachings, thanks to previous generations' labors and sacrifices to build up the temples and so on. Here in the US, the expenses can be greater and the logistics more challenging because it is necessary to rent spaces for large events or even ongoing activities. For example, some years ago I received teachings and empowerment from an important Rinpoche in a Jewish Community Center in suburban Maryland, USA. I also attended an event led by another important Rinpoche in a large, beautiful church in Toronto (Church of the Holy Trinity if memory serves).

It's important to keep this straight to ensure that those who would criticize Dharma practitioners and Dharma teachers do not sow confusion around issues of money. Yes, it takes money to underwrite Dharma activities. This does not mean that Dharma is for sale or that money is a barrier to receiving and practicing the teachings.

Nor does it mean that miserliness or stinginess are virtuous activities. There's great merit in supporting Dharma institutions and teachers. It's good to make sacrifices to get the teachings and support teachers and other practitioners. Remember the formula dana, sila, bhavana? Generosity comes first because it's excellent training in renouncing self-grasping, and it enables the teachings to persist (including for those who have little or nothing to give in support of the teachings). Generosity before morality or meditation. This is worthwhile for all of us to remember.

Apropos of which... maybe it would be good to start a thread on the danka system

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Re: what is your approach to Dharma?

Post by rory » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:48 am

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:34 am
rory wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:49 am
Does it require $ to get teachings/empowerments from Nyingma teachers for lay people? Do you have to go to a specific place that costs money?
Your questions are irrelevant.

Here we go; if you want to practice Pure Land and Nembutsu here is a Jodo priest who will explain it to you:
and here he shows you how to do a daily service with the free service book to download: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy57um3Pjpg
and here are free pure land sutras to download: www.bdk.or.jp/document/dgtl-dl/dBET_Thr ... s_2003.pdf

If you want to practice Nichiren Buddhism here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOf3ZSBQQgU&t=154s this video will show you.
if you want to go to a meeting look here: https://www.sgi-usa.org/find-us/
the meetings usually take place in people's homes, no charge and if you cannot get there (no car) say so and someone will pick you up.

[Sectarian posturing removed. Please stay on topic]

and here you can download a free Lotus Sutra: www.bdk.or.jp/document/dgtl-dl/dBET_T02 ... a_2007.pdf
Last edited by Grigoris on Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58

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Re: what is your approach to Dharma?

Post by Bristollad » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:46 pm

rory wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:48 am
Teachings, practice texts, sutras, meetings etc. are all freely available throughout the different branches of buddhism in my experience.


Is help to defray costs sometimes asked for? Of course but not demanded. And these days, even if there is a cost involved in attending a teaching in person (travel, accomodation, food), the teachings are often livestreamed and so available to anyone who cares to watch and listen from the comfort of their own home (if they have internet access).

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