Charging for Dharma

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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Charging for Dharma

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:46 pm

Has anyone here also experienced being turned down from receiving teachings because of lack of funds? I was recently barred from receiving teachings on Phowa (don't wish to disclose which specific teacher or lineage, but it's a Nyingma Lama), because of my lack of a proper budget. I do understand that teachers ought to receive our help in order to keep teaching, etc. But, does Dharma needs a tag price in order to make itself available to all who have the connections and wish to practice? What're your experiences, opinions? Thank you all!
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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tranides
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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by tranides » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:32 pm

In centre im often visiting, there are shorter and longer retreats and each of them having suggested dana for participating (which reflects accomodation/staff/materials costs). Main Lama here always says that he would love to live in times, where dana is natural and everyone understands that if we want to have big centre then we must pay for it; and he always repeats that its very important and carefull matter - becouse he does not want to bargain with Dharmic events or Dharma itself. And there is always a way at the centre to participate the event - there is so much to do there, so office always accepts pure work instead of money as a gratification.
I also remember that i have read in some namthars, that disciples often gathered gold and precious staff to offer it to the teachers before even thinking about asking for some teachings.
So for me charging for events is not a problem in western - materialistic world, as long as there will be a way to participate in teachings even if one has no single penny in his pocket.

Regards,
Luke

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:48 pm

tranides wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:32 pm
In centre im often visiting, there are shorter and longer retreats and each of them having suggested dana for participating (which reflects accomodation/staff/materials costs). Main Lama here always says that he would love to live in times, where dana is natural and everyone understands that if we want to have big centre then we must pay for it; and he always repeats that its very important and carefull matter - becouse he does not want to bargain with Dharmic events or Dharma itself. And there is always a way at the centre to participate the event - there is so much to do there, so office always accepts pure work instead of money as a gratification.
I also remember that i have read in some namthars, that disciples often gathered gold and precious staff to offer it to the teachers before even thinking about asking for some teachings.
So for me charging for events is not a problem in western - materialistic world, as long as there will be a way to participate in teachings even if one has no single penny in his pocket.

Regards,
Luke
I offered myself to do any kind of voluntary work, and also pay the actual value in the future as soon as I get a job! Even then I was turned out, with a cold explanation that they don't need my offer currently for this teaching! I'm really disappointed! Dharma degeneration, lack of empathy of the organizers, or maybe just pure greed? Can't know, but it is a blow after so many difficulties of getting proper teachings in my current situation!
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:59 pm

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:48 pm
...lack of empathy of the organizers...
I imagine it is this one.
...or maybe just pure greed?
I don't think so. Any excess money from teachings generally goes to the teacher or back into the center, so who's greed?

I think it is very unfortunate that you were not given the option to offer services. There are always jobs that need doing. I guess that you are not a regular at the center?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:05 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:59 pm
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:48 pm
...lack of empathy of the organizers...
I imagine it is this one.
...or maybe just pure greed?
I don't think so. Any excess money from teachings generally goes to the teacher or back into the center, so who's greed?

I think it is very unfortunate that you were not given the option to offer services. There are always jobs that need doing. I guess that you are not a regular at the center?
No, Greg, I'm not a regular. The teacher does not live in my city, he's traveling in order to offer these teachings. So I took this as an opportunity to meet him an get acquainted with their Sangha. One of the reasons I guess they charge, may have to do with covering the travel costs. But still, the way they managed all this was very rude and without empathy/consideration.

Regarding greed. The teacher's greed? Why not? I don't know his person, only his credentials and ability to offer this teaching.
Last edited by Nyedrag Yeshe on Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Josef » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:08 pm

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:05 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:59 pm
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:48 pm
...lack of empathy of the organizers...
I imagine it is this one.
...or maybe just pure greed?
I don't think so. Any excess money from teachings generally goes to the teacher or back into the center, so who's greed?

I think it is very unfortunate that you were not given the option to offer services. There are always jobs that need doing. I guess that you are not a regular at the center?
No, Greg, I'm not a regular. The teacher does not live in my city, he's traveling in order to offer these teachings. So I took this as an opportunity to meet him an get acquainted with their Sangha. One of the reasons I guess they charge, may have to do with covering the travel costs. But I still the way they managed all this as very rude and without empathy/consideration.

Regarding greed. The teacher's greed? Why not? I don't know his person, only his credentials and ability to offer this teaching.
It’s probably for the best that you didn’t receive these teachings then.
Kye ma!
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Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:02 pm

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:46 pm
Has anyone here also experienced being turned down from receiving teachings because of lack of funds? I was recently barred from receiving teachings on Phowa (don't wish to disclose which specific teacher or lineage, but it's a Nyingma Lama), because of my lack of a proper budget. I do understand that teachers ought to receive our help in order to keep teaching, etc. But, does Dharma needs a tag price in order to make itself available to all who have the connections and wish to practice? What're your experiences, opinions? Thank you all!
Apparently you did not have a connection...
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:42 pm

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:46 pm
Has anyone here also experienced being turned down from receiving teachings because of lack of funds? I was recently barred from receiving teachings on Phowa (don't wish to disclose which specific teacher or lineage, but it's a Nyingma Lama), because of my lack of a proper budget. I do understand that teachers ought to receive our help in order to keep teaching, etc. But, does Dharma needs a tag price in order to make itself available to all who have the connections and wish to practice? What're your experiences, opinions? Thank you all!
i have.

it depends very much on the lama and sangha, and on what they pretend to or are building.

i think a teachings on Sutra-Mahayana can't be charged, that's like a crime; but transmissions like those of the inner tantras of course that makes sense, why? because it's principle is transmission and rules are different, however the teacher should discriminate students one by one and today thats not possible.

problem is that if you have money teacher-sangha doesn't examine you much (wtf but true), even if you don't have real interest. And if you have interest, don't have money, and ask directly teacher-sangha examines you, wich is the obvious thing. :shrug:

the end-problem is that when sangha do the examination, they might not have capacity to discriminate correctly and send a true practitioner to fly.

so, is another reason to examine the teacher, and sangha haha

but don't hesitate nor let rancor grow, it will only create obstacles to yourselve. so look forward for a blama that operates according to your means, that's all.

another choice is to insist to death, beg, whatever, etc. on receiving transmission, but one can do that if one is looking more to the blama than the teaching.

i have read a case in that a lama called for this student and due to many reasons he arrived in delay of days, there was an initiation and the lama denied it to him. the student insisted so much that tryed to steal an initiation by using a disguise, hahaha obviously the blama was aware and make fun of him in the very moment. i don't remember how it ended, but both are know for attaining the rainbow body of light: Adzam Drukpa the trulku and Urgyen Tendzin the reincarnation of who knows.
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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:09 pm

Everything i've ever been to (that I can think of) had a scholarship option, or some kind of alternative arrangement for those who couldn't afford it, IMO that's a good way to do it. I ran into something recently where the cost of online teaching went from something like $120 to $400 or so, which I couldn't afford. Fortunately it was per session, so I didn't spend much, but I was mildly perturbed that the price shot up so abruptly after I'd signed up for the first session. I don't think it was unethical, but it seems there was no connection here anyway, so I tried to just let it go.
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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:56 pm

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:42 pm
i think a teachings on Sutra-Mahayana can't be charged, that's like a crime;
A crime? You must be joking, right?

A teacher has expenses regardless of what "level" of teachings they are giving.

I will tell you what I think is a crime: The fact that Dharma centers have to charge for teachings because students are so irresponsible, ungrateful and full of pride that they think teachers owe them teachings. That they don't give a toss about how much time money and effort goes into organising a Dharma teaching. That they believe that the teachings have no value and should be for free but are quite happy to pay insane quantities of money for electronic devices that are redundant almost as quickly as you buy them. That well off western students complain about course fees, refuse to give money to the teacher, but go straight to the pub/bar after the teachings and spend their money on getting wasted.

That is what is (what I think is) frakin' criminal.

Centers and teachers should not have to charge for Dharma, students should willingly throw money at them.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:12 pm

I'll give an example (I'm on a friggin' roll now!):

It was coming up to one year after I organised to bring Loppon Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche to Athens where he gave us precious teachings and empowerments on a HYT practice and lung and tri for a seminal Dudjom Lingpa text. The retreat had set me back about 1000 euro out of my pocket after collecting fees from everybody that could pay (that is a month's pay for me). Mainly because I wanted to make sure that Rinpoche and his wife were as comfortable as possible and that the retreat fees were low as possible. I figured 1000 euro was NOTHING for me to pay for such precious teachings. Plus I got teachings that I was really desperate to receive. I organised the whole retreat while working for a three month period in the far north of Greece, far away from my home. I left work for ten days to travel all the way to Athens, to organise and run the retreat, and then left straight back to work.

So I was starting to plan for the next retreat (sucker). The phone rings and it was one of the people that were at the retreat from last year.

Him: "Hey Greg, is it possible to ask Rinpoche to give Orgyen Khandro Norlha (Guru Rinpoche as Dzambala)?"

Me: "Of course it is. But you know last year I had hassles organising the retreat and will need some help. Do you have money to help with the initial expenses?"

Him: "No, I don't have any money right now, I am going through some financial problems. Blah... And that is why I want the particular practice."

Me (completely understanding his issue, having been unemployed for a long period of time during the recession): "No problems man. Look, you know I live far away from Athens and so I will need some help to find a space in Athens for the teachings."

Him: "No. I am busy and cannot help. Blah..."

Me: "Do you know what the cause of wealth is? Generosity. Now go practice some generosity and maybe you will be able to receive the practice at some point in time in the future."

End of conversation.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:15 pm

It is the custom of secret mantra, described in the tantras themselves, that a fee is charged for initiation. End of story. If a teacher is willing to grant empowerment and instructions free of charge, one should feel blessed, and make offerings of whatever wealth one has for the teachings. This is how the dignity of secret mantra is upheld.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:20 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:56 pm
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:42 pm
i think a teachings on Sutra-Mahayana can't be charged, that's like a crime;
A crime? You must be joking, right?

A teacher has expenses regardless of what "level" of teachings they are given.
no joke, 100% real no fake. Denying the Mahayana to an interested person is of the most miserable.
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:56 pm
I will tell you what I think is a crime: The fact that Dharma centers have to charge for teachings because students are so irresponsible, ungrateful and full of pride that they think teachers owe them teachings. That they don't give a toss about how much time money and effort goes into organising a Dharma teaching. That they believe that the teachings have no value and should be for free but are quite happy to pay insane quantities of money for electronic devices that are redundant almost as quickly as you buy them. That well off western students complain about course fees, refuse to give money to the teacher but go straight to the pub/bar after the teachings and spend their money on getting wasted.

That is what is (what I think is) frakin' criminal.
true. i agree.
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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:22 pm

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:20 pm
no joke, 100% real no fake. Denying the Mahayana to an interested person is of the most miserable.
Why don't you go and organise a Mahayana level teaching and then come back and tell me if you still agree with your statement. I bet you any sum of money you wish, that you will change your view.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by florin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:48 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:15 pm
It is the custom of secret mantra, described in the tantras themselves, that a fee is charged for initiation. End of story. If a teacher is willing to grant empowerment and instructions free of charge, one should feel blessed, and make offerings of whatever wealth one has for the teachings. This is how the dignity of secret mantra is upheld.
I came across some pasages where the instruction was that in the case of imparting dzogchen teachings the guru should ask for very expensive gifts just to test the readiness of disciples.
The nature of diverse phenomena is non-dual. This means that both pure vision and impure vision are a manifestation of the energy of the primordial state. Even though in reality there is no duality, everything manifests separately. KG

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:35 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:15 pm
It is the custom of secret mantra, described in the tantras themselves, that a fee is charged for initiation. End of story. If a teacher is willing to grant empowerment and instructions free of charge, one should feel blessed, and make offerings of whatever wealth one has for the teachings. This is how the dignity of secret mantra is upheld.
Isn't also a downfall to refuse teachings for sincere seekers? A downfall that would fit maybe the two levels of teaching, secret mantra and sutra?
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Terma » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:01 am

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:35 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:15 pm
It is the custom of secret mantra, described in the tantras themselves, that a fee is charged for initiation. End of story. If a teacher is willing to grant empowerment and instructions free of charge, one should feel blessed, and make offerings of whatever wealth one has for the teachings. This is how the dignity of secret mantra is upheld.
Isn't also a downfall to refuse teachings for sincere seekers? A downfall that would fit maybe the two levels of teaching, secret mantra and sutra?
I won't answer for Malcolm here but I will offer my own perspective. First of all, I think in terms of Vajrayana it is up to the Guru to determine if one is a suitable vessel to receive the particular teachings or empowerments that one is requesting. Our Guru's don't owe us a thing and on the other hand, what we owe them is immeasurable in my opinion. So giving up what we value and taking on a bit of hardship can't be too much to ask for in exchange for empowerments and the liberating instructions.

If you think about it, we are quite lucky that there are so many teachers now days that will give much of what is requested to a wide group of people. I'm pretty sure that traditionally this may have not been the case and that there were plenty of Vajra guru's who were a bit more selective about who received what.

I think sometimes these special teachings can be taken for granted and we really need to keep in mind and appreciate just how special Vajrayana teachings are.

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:27 am

Terma wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:01 am
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:35 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:15 pm
It is the custom of secret mantra, described in the tantras themselves, that a fee is charged for initiation. End of story. If a teacher is willing to grant empowerment and instructions free of charge, one should feel blessed, and make offerings of whatever wealth one has for the teachings. This is how the dignity of secret mantra is upheld.
Isn't also a downfall to refuse teachings for sincere seekers? A downfall that would fit maybe the two levels of teaching, secret mantra and sutra?
I won't answer for Malcolm here but I will offer my own perspective. First of all, I think in terms of Vajrayana it is up to the Guru to determine if one is a suitable vessel to receive the particular teachings or empowerments that one is requesting. Our Guru's don't owe us a thing and on the other hand, what we owe them is immeasurable in my opinion. So giving up what we value and taking on a bit of hardship can't be too much to ask for in exchange for empowerments and the liberating instructions.

If you think about it, we are quite lucky that there are so many teachers now days that will give much of what is requested to a wide group of people. I'm pretty sure that traditionally this may have not been the case and that there were plenty of Vajra guru's who were a bit more selective about who received what.

I think sometimes these special teachings can be taken for granted and we really need to keep in mind and appreciate just how special Vajrayana teachings are.
Fine, but, even when the only criteria for selecting who is fit is money? Read my former posts, please!
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by Terma » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:52 am

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:27 am
Terma wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:01 am
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:35 pm


Isn't also a downfall to refuse teachings for sincere seekers? A downfall that would fit maybe the two levels of teaching, secret mantra and sutra?
I won't answer for Malcolm here but I will offer my own perspective. First of all, I think in terms of Vajrayana it is up to the Guru to determine if one is a suitable vessel to receive the particular teachings or empowerments that one is requesting. Our Guru's don't owe us a thing and on the other hand, what we owe them is immeasurable in my opinion. So giving up what we value and taking on a bit of hardship can't be too much to ask for in exchange for empowerments and the liberating instructions.

If you think about it, we are quite lucky that there are so many teachers now days that will give much of what is requested to a wide group of people. I'm pretty sure that traditionally this may have not been the case and that there were plenty of Vajra guru's who were a bit more selective about who received what.

I think sometimes these special teachings can be taken for granted and we really need to keep in mind and appreciate just how special Vajrayana teachings are.
Fine, but, even when the only criteria for selecting who is fit is money? Read my former posts, please!
I should have specified that my response was not directed to your own personal experience. But to be fair, the statement of yours that I commented on was a rather generalized.

As for your own situation, as Malcolm suggested earlier in the thread, just consider that you did not have the connection to receive those particular teachings. There is interdependence involved in receiving different Vajrayana teachings and meeting with specific teachers.

May you have the conditions to receive other teachings and meet with other teachers that you have a connection with.

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Re: Charging for Dharma

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:35 am

There was once a dharma center hosting a teaching by a lama who only spoke Tibetan.
A sign on the door read, "Dharma teaching today: admission $10"
A visitor went to the table where money was being collected, and handed over $5.00.
The person taking the money said, "We require a $10 admission fee. This lama is a highly respected Rinpoche, and the teachings are precious!"
The visitor replied, "I'm sure that is true. However, I'm not here to listen to the teacher. I'm only going to be listening to the translator!"
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ha ha ha
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Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

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