Selling the dharma

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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Karinos » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:34 pm

pemachophel wrote:Karinos,

This is exactly what my wife and I do on a regular basis. Since we have a big house, we don't need to rent a meeting space. We have made a large shrine-room in our home that can fit 40-50 people when necessary. We pay for all the costs of getting the Teacher to our home and feeding and housing Them while here. We do not charge anything, unless the Teacher says to publish a price per event which did happen recently. Otherwise, we make a largish donation to the Teacher and then allow everyone else to simply offer what they can/wish to. After a lifetime of work and now being retired and reasonably well off, it feels really wonderful to be a jin-dag and to be able to do this kind of thing. My wife and I are very concerned about "charging for Dharma" as well as for especially the younger, impecunious Dharma students. So far, this model is working quite well. BTW, we have been tithing for years, through times of poverty and times of prosperity, and this is something we encourage others to do. How much is the Dharma worth to one? I also think annual memberships in sanghas are a good idea. I don't see that as "paying for the Dharma" but as supporting the place where Dharma can be taught.

:namaste:


awesome :applause: I rejoice so much. We do this as well in Poland when possible.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby T. Chokyi » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:00 pm

Karinos wrote:Anyone can organize Dharma event, really ....

1. Invite less known Lama/Rinpoche to your country (who can use English at least) there are literally dozens or hundreds of teachers out there who'd appreciate chance to go abroad and teach,
2. Ask teacher not to bring assistants, most of them can do pretty well all tormas and altar preparations themselves with your help (if sadhana or abisheka is planned),
3. Organize Visa, buy plane ticket, invite to your home, make separate room available, organize nice food, little attractions like city tour etc,
4. Book meeting room for people to come for teaching (it doesn't have to be Dharma center, any meeting room will do),
5. Announce event for Sangha,
6. Make free entry - people can offer whatever they want to teacher directly,

here ... everybody happy.

For single sponsor it's maybe a little, but usually for westerners it's less then two weeks holidays in any exotic destination.
if you can sponsor this you will make many people happy :) if they won't come ... ohh well maybe they are after fame of teacher and not really after Dharma


I've done this a couple of times, and I was a single sponsor, this is a good way to benefit self and others.

Thanks for your post.

:smile:
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby mandala » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:51 pm

From an event management perspective, I understand that very large dharma gatherings (eg, Dalai Lama at an entertainment centre) can be a costly affair when you're looking at venue hire, power, stagehands, technicians, audio/staging/lighting/AV gear hire, security, catering, licensing etc... however... For an average dharma centre, I think it's outrageous to charge hundreds for teachings.

It seems to me to be catering to an elite group of wealthy students. For example, a local FPMT centre is charging over $500 for a weeks teachings with a visiting Lama- not including accommodation or food.
So all up, you'd need about $1000 to attend, and it's not like the facilities are great either. Seriously? Who can afford that? It's really discouraging.

In fact it would be cheaper to travel overseas to India to attend teachings, including airfares, than to go to my local centre...
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby Jangchub » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:53 pm

“If we genuinely want to help beings, we must first perfect ourselves. If we make a lot of ambitious plans, doing business, collecting disciples, and setting ourselves up as teachers, we will end up like a spider caught in its own web. Spending our lives spinning such webs, we won't notice how fast time is passing until we suddenly realize that death is at hand. We will have used all our energy and gone through all sorts of hardships, but these hardships, unlike the trials of authentic spiritual practice, will not have helped us in the least to improve ourselves.”

--The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones, by Patrul Rinpoche, with commentary by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche [Kindle location: 750]

(In my opinion, I think it is better not to sell the Dharma. I know it looks like a lot of people get by quite well—jet-setting around the world and living lavishly, but I don’t know how they experience the world in their mind. I don’t think such a life style cultivates stability—even among some of the highest recognized “tulkus”. I just don’t think it works out very well for very long.

I also have a hard time with the prices for some retreats, but usually I have found that if the people at the Dharma Center are familiar with me and I offer to—cook, clean and so on—it can be a very beneficial way to receive Teachings in the Lhakang (at a lower or no financial cost) and get to know the Dharma practitioners at the Center more personally. By meeting the students—often over a hot stove, or mopping the floors, or pouring the butter lamps, I can get a better idea about the qualities of the Lama and the extended community of the Dharma Center.

I also find it useful to read the autobiographies of Lamas who received their training in Tibet. In these stories it becomes quite clear that the Teachings didn’t come cheaply for them either. Right now, I am reading “Like a Waking Dream: The Autobiography of Geshe Lhundub Sopa.)

Rinpoche writes:
“My uncle would have to sponsor my stay in Sera, paying for my food, clothing, and everything else.”

“The monastery itself did not ever provide support for its monks who were going to Sera, so my uncle accepted all the financial responsibility.”

“Some people wanted to go to the great Geluk monasteries for educational reasons, some wanted to be great practitioners or yogis. In either case, the emphasis was not on worldly comfort or gain but on a simple, disciplined life that had a religious motivation. One had to be aware of this fact in order to decide that this was the life that he wanted.”

(I also highly recommend “Surviving the Dragon” by Arjia Rinpoche)
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Re: Selling the dharma

Postby padma norbu » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:50 am

Jangchub, thanks for the response. Interesting to think about and contrast with the experience of an old college friend who told me of how he just walked into a zen monastery and stayed there for about a month free of charge. He said nobody said anything to him, just handed him a broom and smiled. I think he earned his keep by washing dishes, sweeping, etc. and then left when he felt reborn or something. He was in a really bad place with nowhere to go and they just accepted him no problem. Sounded like a scene from a movie. I wish I still knew the guy because I'd ask him where it was. :)
"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 smcj » Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:27 am

pemachophel wrote:This is exactly what my wife and I do on a regular basis. Since we have a big house, we don't need to rent a meeting space. We have made a large shrine-room in our home that can fit 40-50 people when necessary. We pay for all the costs of getting the Teacher to our home and feeding and housing Them while here. We do not charge anything, unless the Teacher says to publish a price per event which did happen recently. Otherwise, we make a largish donation to the Teacher and then allow everyone else to simply offer what they can/wish to. After a lifetime of work and now being retired and reasonably well off, it feels really wonderful to be a jin-dag and to be able to do this kind of thing. My wife and I are very concerned about "charging for Dharma" as well as for especially the younger, impecunious Dharma students. So far, this model is working quite well. BTW, we have been tithing for years, through times of poverty and times of prosperity, and this is something we encourage others to do. How much is the Dharma worth to one? I also think annual memberships in sanghas are a good idea. I don't see that as "paying for the Dharma" but as supporting the place where Dharma can be taught.


This is an excellent model as long as the jindok is sane, which it sounds like you are. That is not always guaranteed however.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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