Selling the dharma

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padma norbu
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Selling the dharma

Postby padma norbu » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:06 pm

I have recently begun considering a career change. I have found that all my knowledge of computer programming is nothing compared to the profit to be made from giving hot stone massages and teaching yoga, pranayama and meditation. Seriously. It's got to be the most relaxing lifestyle choice possible. I was under the impression that profiting off the dharma is considered bad form, which is why everything is "suggested donation" and "nobody will be turned away due to lack of funds," but I have discovered over the past several years that this is more or less just something people say. I have also noticed that the line about "nobody turned away due to lack of funds" is disappearing from many teaching and retreat announcements. For curiosity's sake, I contacted one group about a retreat I really wanted to attend but could not afford. The only option I was given was a payment plan. It was basically a way of saying, "cash, grass or ass, nobody rides for free." No discount offered and not even a hint of the suggestion that "nobody turned away due to lack of funds."

I have recently discovered that some dharma organizations I thought were really struggling are doing a very profitable business.

Considering all this, I find it funny that people always say to donate your dharma books rather than sell them. For the merit, you see. But, what if you could really use the money? Well... people still don't think you should sell them. Good merit is always better than a couple bucks in your pocket, right? Once I heard Pema Chodron say that some texts say if you sell the dharma, that's a ticket straight to hell and then she smiled and said, "if that's true, there's a whole lot of people who are going to hell."

So what do you think? Should the dharma be sold? Should dharma organizations be million dollar enterprises? Should a tent on a lawn cost a few hundred bucks during a retreat? Should poor people be offered a payment plan to pay for these tents?

I was always under the impression that dharma organizations are struggling to get by, which is why I always donated more than I could afford. Learning this high profitability has raised a new issue within me: am I being selfish for not wanting to spend a few hundred for a weekend class so some teacher can make a cool grand in about 8 hours? Seems preposterous considering a gym membership for a full month is $70 or less, which includes several different kinds of classes.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron

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Konchog1
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:21 pm

Same as anything else. If it's too pricy, look elsewhere and find the same thing for less or free.

I've never have and never will pay more than $50 for any class.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

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padma norbu
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby padma norbu » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:30 pm

"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron

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Konchog1
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:47 pm

Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

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padma norbu
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 1:10 am

Re: Selling the dharma

Postby padma norbu » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:57 pm

"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron

emaho
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby emaho » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:07 pm

Some years ago I lost my job during an economic crisis and I made lots and lots and lots of negative experiences of this kind. It goes without saying that I have always offered to work for the center in exchange for the classes. But still I was turned down, more than once in a very arrogant manner.

Since then I have some very strict principles: (1.) If I don't get teachings because I don't have enough money, it's not Dharma. (2.) If people close me out because I don't have money, they're not practising Buddhism, i.e. I don't need them.

As to the books, well, books don't print themselves. I think selling them for a reasonable price is justified. Very often you see that books which are currently out of print are offered for hundreds of dollars at amazon's. That is definitely a sin. But if you sell a used dharma book that was originally 20$ for a tenner I don't see what's wrong with it? It's good for you, it's good for the buyer. Otherwise we would have to expect publishing houses like SnowLion to give us all of their books for free. Not that I would mind - but how are they supposed to do that? :shrug:
"Do yourself a favor and get out of Samsara!" Dudjom Rinpoche, Counsels From My Heart

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padma norbu
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby padma norbu » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:29 am

Reasonandrhyme, I see a lot of reason in what you've said here, but could use a little more rhyming. ;) Seriously, though, what you've said makes a lot of sense. Something for me to think about for sure.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron

TattedCodeMonkey
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Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:33 am

Re: Selling the dharma

Postby TattedCodeMonkey » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:24 pm

What are the thoughts on Buddhist Centers charging an explicit membership fee? In my area there are very few physical resources and I found there is a small Buddhist center. But it struck me odd that they list explicit membership prices.

I'm pretty new to all this. I've been interested for awhile but just starting to get serious with a practice and following the path. Which is what drew me to finding a place with teachers.

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Adamantine
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:45 pm

Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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padma norbu
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby padma norbu » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:05 pm

Have you been privy to the inner workings of the majority of dharma centers in the west? I don't think that's possible.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron

dude
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Re: Selling the dharma

Postby dude » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:32 pm

I think it violates the spirit of offering, which should be freely given out of a sense of appreciation, not obligation, much less to think of the dharma as someone's personal possession to be offered for a price.

KonchokZoepa
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:51 pm

you are missing the point, there are costs to bring the dharma to people.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo

dude
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby dude » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:31 pm

That's why we should present offerings without being asked or required to.

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Adamantine
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:48 pm

Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Adamantine
Former staff member
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Location: Space is the Place

Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:49 pm

Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Malcolm
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Malcolm » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:31 pm





འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Free of hope and fear, relax.
Human life spent in
a state of great spaciousness is enjoyable.


— Kunzang Dechen Lingpa

dude
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Re: Selling the dharma

Postby dude » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:39 pm


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Grigoris
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Grigoris » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:54 pm

"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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Adamantine
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Adamantine » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:02 am

Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Konchog1
Posts: 1468
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:30 am

Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:44 am

Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats


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