Selling the dharma

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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:58 am

Those with money power and influence grow,its the way of the world.

The more money,power and political influence is put into Buddhism the more it will grow and spread around the world.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby padma norbu » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:23 am

And you can make a lovely career out of it, too, while other schmucks are slaving away at a crappy job. Do some yoga, some massage, maybe a little moxibustion and have enough extra time and cash to constantly travel the world, take retreats whenever you like. I'm pretty sure all of this can be a business expense for a nonprofit, too. No salary, no taxes.
"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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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby TattedCodeMonkey » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:41 am

Adamantine wrote: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.


In the context of American society I can definitely see your point.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:30 am

padma norbu wrote:And you can make a lovely career out of it, too, while other schmucks are slaving away at a crappy job. Do some yoga, some massage, maybe a little moxibustion and have enough extra time and cash to constantly travel the world, take retreats whenever you like. I'm pretty sure all of this can be a business expense for a nonprofit, too. No salary, no taxes.


I think there needs to be a fine line drawn between need and greed.
I think some groups need to be upfront with its members and let them know that book production,buildings/meeting places,water/power are not cheap and if they want their Sanghas to thrive they need to help build it from the ground up.........This would entail the Sanghas having direct goals for the future and what they need to accomplish those goals and then being able to relay these goals to its members.

For example if a teacher asked you for a suggested donation of 50$......you might ask why do you need 50 from everyone?.

But if the teacher asked for a suggested donation of 50$ BECAUSE they want to mass produce a sutra translation....or build a second Dharma center,then people would be more inclined to give money knowing what they giving for and there is a good purpose for giving their money.....otherwise they might assume those teachers are living like fat cats milking poor schmucks.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:39 am

I believe that there need to be logical prices for seminars/retreats based on the services provided (lodging, food, etc...) plus the payment for the teaching.

If teachers wish to ask for extra donations for other projects they are invloved in (Dharma or worldly), then these donations should be seperate to the price of the seminar/retreat itself.

This means that people that want to take part in the retreat/seminar would not have the extra costs of the teachers side projects loaded onto the cost for the retreat/seminar. Prices will be lower and people will still be able to practice generosity by voluntarily supporting the other activities of the teacher.

When I go to a seminar I do so to learn Dharma, if I want to support the other Dharma activities of the teacher, or the Tibetan refugee community projects that the teacher is involved in, then this should be seperate to the costs of the retreat/seminar and a decision I must make myself (ie it shouldn't be imposed on me).
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:59 am

"From giving comes wealth"

Nagarjuna
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:19 am

"Giving", as opposed to "taken from".
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby alpha » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:15 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:"Giving", as opposed to "taken from".


Or demanded ..
But a real honest teacher may demand from you something other than monies , in which case this is being done with the sole purpose to test your seriousness in receiving teachings and your attachments to mundane matters.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:38 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:"Giving", as opposed to "taken from".


I agree, but if it is taken, it's better to regard it as given, karmically.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby justsit » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:27 pm

So perhaps the students should emulate the Christians and tithe 10% of their pre-tax income to their dharma center. Then the teacher's and the center's basic costs of living would be met, and the teachings themselves would be donation-only. :jawdrop:
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:42 pm

justsit that would be a good thing if buddhism would be a registered religion like christianity.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Nemo » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:52 pm

It depends on the individual. Some Lamas are quite guileless. They receive funds and play like children with no malice. As they mature they should realize it is not their money. The job is to be an agent for the Buddha with power of attorney. Besides being a living embodiment they are also custodians, security guards and archivists for their employer. It should be a lousy stressful job if done properly. If my estate agent were driving in a Mercedes and flying first class I would fire them. Of course good students should realize what a crappy job it is and force a few perks in occasionally, like first class tickets and a nice ride.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:51 pm

KonchokZoepa wrote:justsit that would be a good thing if buddhism would be a registered religion like christianity.
It is a registered religion here in Greece.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:52 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:"Giving", as opposed to "taken from".


I agree, but if it is taken, it's better to regard it as given, karmically.
Sounds like mental gymnastics to justify to oneself that they have not been robbed.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby justsit » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:21 pm

KonchokZoepa wrote:justsit that would be a good thing if buddhism would be a registered religion like christianity.

What difference would it make if it was registered or not?
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:36 pm

i think that only way you would officially pay taxes would be if buddhism was in that country an official religion. and registered buddhist would pay tax to buddhism in that country as large.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:38 pm

Donations to registered organisations are tax deductible, so it really comes out the same one way or another.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Jikan » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:17 pm

justsit wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:justsit that would be a good thing if buddhism would be a registered religion like christianity.

What difference would it make if it was registered or not?


Depending on the country, this is necessary for tax purposes. It's not so easy for a religious group to get tax-exempt status as it is in the US (in Europe especially). it took several years for the Tendai sangha to get such status in Denmark, for instance.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby justsit » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:36 pm

Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear. I was referring to donation of the money pre-tax; that is, as part of gross income, not after tax dollars. It would obviously be a larger amount donated. Nothing to do with the status of the organization, nor with charitable contribution tax deductions on tax returns.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Jikan » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:34 pm

justsit wrote:Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear. I was referring to donation of the money pre-tax; that is, as part of gross income, not after tax dollars. It would obviously be a larger amount donated. Nothing to do with the status of the organization, nor with charitable contribution tax deductions on tax returns.


I'm so ignorant. I didn't even know this was possible. (is it possible in the US?)
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