dude wrote: Adamantine wrote:
dude wrote:That's why we should present offerings without being asked or required to.
I totally agree with this ideal
, however, the selfish ethic of capitalism which currently dominates the world culture does not agree with you, in that most people are stingy about giving
, but will not hesitate to pay a fee
. This is why Dharma teachers and centers have had to adapt.
If they're that stingy, how can they practice Buddhism, even if taught correctly?
If it's that easy for them to come up with the money, how much do they really value it or are likely to put it into practice?
You are missing the point: people can't practice the Dharma until they are taught it. If they came from a Dharma culture, that's one thing, but most people don't. Especially in the Western countries. That means, that according to the culture of capitalism within which they were raised and are accustomed, if there is a way to avoid paying for something, and retaining more money for their own selfish needs or for their own necessities, they will choose to avoid paying. There is also a cultural ethic of Church and State being separate, of Jesus casting out the money changers from the temple, and so on. So we have a bias against spirituality costing money, other than the anonymous basket being passed around at church.
So in this context, left the choice of NOT paying anything, and giving the "suggested donation", a majority may only offer the smallest of sums. Since they need to learn the Dharma before they appreciate the merit of generosity, and of making offerings to the Three Jewels, etc., to expect people who are not already deeply experienced practitioners to voluntarily give substantial offerings is really unrealistic.
Therefore, for basic practical reasons, in order for any Dharma teachers to be able to live in these countries and to teach, and maintain centers, etc. it has become necessary to simply charge flat fees. Often times there are scholarship options, however.
Also, as Malcolm has pointed out, --in the context of Vajrayana, it has always been the custom to demand offerings, historically of gold.. we are lucky that gold is not required now because the cost of even a tiny piece of gold is generally more than most fees for teachings these days.
I know that Lama Dawa still requires a gold coin offering for his Vajra Armor retreats, because it is very specific in the original text that this is a requirement. So the history is certainly there.