Knotty Veneer wrote:
Bear in mind to run a temple in India with foreign currencies is a lot cheaper than doing something equivalent in the USA. To build a giant monastery is likewise cheaper when materials, labour and such things are bought with donations of foreign currency.
I think Japhy’s complaint was more around the cost of being a practitioner in the West (courses, retreats etc). I have certainly noticed that Western monastics and others looking to practice full-time really do have a hard time financially. It seems they are expected to pay their own way often with no help from the lineage to which they belong.
I don’t know if the major lineages are as well-off as Japhy thinks but I agree to a large extent that poor Westerners do get a raw deal.
This is one of the reasons why I like the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (Soto Zen).
It pisses me off when I see people charging as much as they do for the Dharma.
And I have to admit, I have seen this a lot more in the Tibetan Lineages (Sadly.
It often seems like there is a fee for everything, but most especially for retreats and stuff.
I understand if someone can't afford to offer things for free for practical reasons, or and because their' Lay Sangha is not big enough yet to support it.
But at least once a year I think they should be offering something for free that is a retreat.
The Dharma is for everyone, not just for the super wealthy, or middle income Baby Boomers.
That, to my mind is one of the biggest remaining obstacles to getting Buddhism firmly established as a western practice, is making it available to people of all backgrounds and financial means.
When I first lived in Mt. Shasta I was a very poor college student.
I couldn't have afforded to go on retreats and study Buddhism as I did if they charged for it.
It quite literally changed my life.
Why can't other's do the same? (as the OBC)
It seems to my mind, that sometimes Western practice (especially with the Tibetans) is more geared toward mining Westerners of their money to support efforts in other countries, more than it is to support a sustainable practice here.
I've seen that a lot, and also in the still remaining tendency to promote Tibetan teachers (who can't speak English, or do it poorly) over passing the lineages down to more English practitioners, and teachers of Western decent.
There seems to be a real reluctance to do that.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer
" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy