Costly Situations

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Costly Situations

Postby TheWay » Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:50 am

I was just wondering why it cost soooo much money in TB to go on retreats, attend workshops, etc.
I mean im in my early twentys and i don't have thousands of dollars to go on retreats or even hundreds to go to workshops.
im assuming the money is helping the tibetan crisis.or to further organisations etc.
but what about the poor guy who genuienly wants to learn but is broke because he has to support his family or pay his bills so people in his house won't suffer.

Is there a TB dharma center where a person can learn dharma free?

Honestly i would like to become ordained and not have to worry about finances etc and just get down to dharma....for the rest of my life.
TheWay
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:50 am

TheWay wrote:I was just wondering why it cost soooo much money in TB to go on retreats, attend workshops, etc.
I mean im in my early twentys and i don't have thousands of dollars to go on retreats or even hundreds to go to workshops.
im assuming the money is helping the tibetan crisis.or to further organisations etc.
but what about the poor guy who genuienly wants to learn but is broke because he has to support his family or pay his bills so people in his house won't suffer.

Is there a TB dharma center where a person can learn dharma free?

Honestly i would like to become ordained and not have to worry about finances etc and just get down to dharma....for the rest of my life.



Generally speaking Tibetan Buddhism in the west is practised by middle-class and up devotees, so the unsaid expectation is that they have at least some surplus funds to spend on religious endeavours.

If you're young and uncommitted to family engagements, you could pursue your study of dharma in Asia somewhere. Nepal has many Tibetan Buddhist temples and institutions. For example one can study for a BA degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute:

http://www.cbs.edu.np/

This costs money, yes, but fortunately scholarships are available via the Khyentse Rinpoche Foundation:

http://khyentsefoundation.com/the-five- ... olarships/

In the case of the Rangjung Yeshe Institute, the student has to pay for their first year, after which they may apply for the said scholarship package.

So, when there is a will, there is a way. Once you establish connections with people, and cultivate merit via generosity and right efforts, the path more or less unfolds ahead of you.

In the case of TB in your local area, why not ask them if you could attend their workshops and retreats at a reduced cost or for free? If they say no, then look elsewhere. They'll probably be able to dismiss the fees in the case of an individual with limited finances.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5571
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Costly Situations

Postby Karma Yeshe » Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:25 pm

In TB there is a history of providing assistance to ones locall monastery. In the past often this meant food or other services. In the modern western world it is important that Rent , utilities and other expenses are covered, so people are asked to make a donation for Teachings, Enpowernments butterlamps etc.

The Dharma is free...the lights cost money.
What Is...What Was...What Could be...What must never Be.
The Doctor

Something Old...Something New...Something Borrowed...Something Blue.
Amy Pond
Karma Yeshe
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:44 pm

Re: Costly Situations

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:24 pm

Actually, you are asking two different questions.
The first is about why retreats and weekend teachings and so forth are not cheap (inexpensive)
and the second is about how you can afford them if you have a low income.

The answer to the first question is easy. In the west, it costs a lot of money to have a place where dharma is taught and practiced. If a teacher is flown in, the ticket is expensive. If the teacher has a translator, double that, plus they need to be fed.

The answer to the second question is, I don't know of any Tibetan Buddhist centers that won't allow you to make some kind of payment arrangement or do some work or something if you explain your situation, but you still have to contribute something.

I don't buy the argument that because Tibetan Buddhism attracts people with a higher income level, that the teachings cost more. That's just whining. I think it is more likely that westerners who are turned off by "living in the material world" think that the dharma should be a freebie. This is because many do not truly believe in the great wealth of the dharma. They see it as sort of a cross between philosophy, yoga and a self-help course. There is not the sense of appreciation that you find in Christian churches. Have you ever noticed how many christian churches there are in America? A LOT! Not all of their members are rich. But they believe in the power of God to such a degree that they are motivated to build and give money...10% of individual income is the "tithing" amount.

Likewise, Immigrant communities, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. are able to build temples and house teachers, even though it sometimes takes many years to do. They are not all rich. many came here very poor, but they are motivated by their belief in the value of Dharma.

A lot of people are really hard up for cash these days. I am too, although my situation is better than it used to be. I lived for years, way below the poverty level , but I was very active with the local dharma group and when teachers came, I helped clean and cook, and I came up with fundraising activities (for everyone to participate in) so that even though I personally could not contribute very much (although I would donate some) it was possible to generate funds, and this also allowed others the opportunity to practice generosity. The economy has forced me to cut back on my grocery budget and this has helped me to lose some weight, walk more, and so forth. But i still save money for dharma purposes.

(I am working on another fundraiser, and will notify this group when the time comes. So please, everyone, save your pennies.)

But here is something that may help. Here is what I do now. I have a small coin bank next to my "shrine", and I keep a few quarters next to it. Every day, when I do my morning dharma stuff (incense, meditation, blah blah blah) I put a quarter into the bank as a monetary offering. This allows me to save up about $90 a year to spend on dharma teachings. It is quite painless to do it this way, because there is not a lot of attachment to 25 cents, even on a daily basis. Still, this may be too much. So, save a little bit. If you donate even a few cents a day to your dharma expenses, explain that this is all you can afford, and offer to help, you will have enough for teachings.

I once knew a young woman who asked everybody she knew to give her all of their pennies every day. Since most people are happy to get rid of pennies, this was not a problem. She told them that she was saving up for a trip to New York, and so this generated a lot of peoples enthusiasm. Then every night, she rolled up the pennies and in a year she took them to the bank, got paper money, bought her ticket and went to new York. this is a true story and is what inspired me to keep a bank next to the Buddha in my house.
Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:30 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 pm

TheWay wrote:...and not have to worry about finances etc...


That is not going to happen.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:32 pm

Namdrol wrote:
TheWay wrote:...and not have to worry about finances etc...


That is not going to happen.


It is possible if you ordain, though maybe this isn't the case in TB.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5571
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Costly Situations

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:38 pm

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
TheWay wrote:...and not have to worry about finances etc...


That is not going to happen.


It is possible if you ordain, though maybe this isn't the case in TB.


Maybe in Chinese and Thervada Buddhism, it is possible, but not for westerners in TB. On the other side of that however, you lose a lot a freedom by ordaining in monastic scene where you are completely supported. And it is not necessarily fanatastic for practicing Dharma.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:48 pm

Namdrol wrote:Maybe in Chinese and Thervada Buddhism, it is possible, but not for westerners in TB. On the other side of that however, you lose a lot a freedom by ordaining in monastic scene where you are completely supported.


I think it depends largely on your connections and where you are. I know one westerner in Nepal who has the option of going into permanent lifelong retreat if he wants to, but then that's because of his connections and service. Very few would ever have that option, and I think you'd have to be in India or Nepal for it to ever happen.

Maybe there is also the unspoken expectation, too, that westerners are all wealthy, so they should pay more. In India even at government tourist sites you pay 100 rupees, the locals pay 5 rupees. The cost of tuition at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute is also much more than what locals pay, and as a foreigner you pay your tuition in US dollars, too.

Tell me if I'm wrong, but in TB in Asia, I think the cost of everything increases if you're a westerner? Perhaps speaking Tibetan puts you on the cost scale of a local because they don't need to use extra services to support you (like English speaking staff and so on).
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5571
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Costly Situations

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:53 pm

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Maybe in Chinese and Thervada Buddhism, it is possible, but not for westerners in TB. On the other side of that however, you lose a lot a freedom by ordaining in monastic scene where you are completely supported.


I think it depends largely on your connections and where you are. I know one westerner in Nepal who has the option of going into permanent lifelong retreat if he wants to, but then that's because of his connections and service. Very few would ever have that option, and I think you'd have to be in India or Nepal for it to ever happen.

Maybe there is also the unspoken expectation, too, that westerners are all wealthy, so they should pay more. In India even at government tourist sites you pay 100 rupees, the locals pay 5 rupees. The cost of tuition at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute is also much more than what locals pay, and as a foreigner you pay your tuition in US dollars, too.

Tell me if I'm wrong, but in TB in Asia, I think the cost of everything increases if you're a westerner? Perhaps speaking Tibetan puts you on the cost scale of a local because they don't need to use extra services to support you (like English speaking staff and so on).


Americans, Canadians, and Western Europeans have more money than locals, so they should pay more. Speaking Tibetan does not bring the costs down. AFAIK.

I know a lot of broke western Tibetan Buddhist ordained folks. Some of them are quite pathetic, like hungary ghosts.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10217
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby TheWay » Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:26 pm

Thank you PadmaVonSamba for your practical advice;
Let me just say im not trying to get "freebies" etc. or trying to become ordained so i don't have to pay; some learn some ways others learn other ways.
Im a 20 year old black guy who moved from the ghettos of newark new jersey to the run down housing projects in Atlanta.
not only am i below the normal poverty level...but way below. :broke:
no, im not some lazy ass who expects anybody to do anything for me.im in jobcorp trying to make life better for my mother and siblings.(my younger siblings have a strong drive for their education and goals)

I guess i read so much about monks going off into the forest or retreats; thats the way i thought it should be.Like the mahasiddhas of the past.
TheWay
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:04 pm

I wasn't making any assumptions about you or your situation! I was just making a general observation because dharma centers are really underfunded by their memberships. If they weren't, then they could probably level their costs out and ask for lower "admission fees". It is too bad that they are high. And the people are not always friendly either. So, I wasn't laying that on you personally. The Buddha was just as comfortable around kings as with beggars. Mental suffering goes all over the place. Sometimes people with a lot of money get involved with dharma, and they make some big donation or buy some huge statue or something and then they want everybody to see how generous they are. It's kind of sad, really.

All those yogis in the past still needed food and drinking water, but they didn't get much. And living in a cave or in the woods probably isn't all that sweet. And no toilet paper. It is a romantic image, even the hardships are made to sound heroic and wonderful. I used to scrape by on almost nothing. If I had a dollar then I knew at least I could eat and if I could eat then I could keep "networking" with people. You know, you make connections here and there to get what you need. The thing I tell myself now is that at least if everybody goes broke, I will know how to get by. People who lose big fortunes will panic and freak out. From 1983 to about 1988 I was living on about $5,000 a year. I don't know what that would translate to today. But it wasn't much then. But even if you can save 1 cent a day for dharma, this is good. It's good for your own head.

Sometimes it's not about the money as much as it is about the psychology of the money. So, if you save a penny a day and in a year you have $3.65 to offer, that's pure dharma practice, and it's money you can give away, and being able to give money away is the sign of a rich person.

There are dharma centers in the United States that sometimes offer room & board and a slight payment for people who want to work there (usually in the kitchen) and practice. KTD in Woodstock, for example, is often looking for people to work in the kitchen. I hope you can find something.

TheWay wrote:Thank you PadmaVonSamba for your practical advice;
Let me just say im not trying to get "freebies" etc. or trying to become ordained so i don't have to pay; some learn some ways others learn other ways.
Im a 20 year old black guy who moved from the ghettos of newark new jersey to the run down housing projects in Atlanta.
not only am i below the normal poverty level...but way below. :broke:
no, im not some lazy ass who expects anybody to do anything for me.im in jobcorp trying to make life better for my mother and siblings.(my younger siblings have a strong drive for their education and goals)

I guess i read so much about monks going off into the forest or retreats; thats the way i thought it should be.Like the mahasiddhas of the past.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:11 pm

Namdrol wrote:Americans, Canadians, and Western Europeans have more money than locals, so they should pay more. Speaking Tibetan does not bring the costs down. AFAIK.


Funny my Indian friend said the same thing, and his yearly income is probably 25x more than mine.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5571
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Costly Situations

Postby xylem » Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:59 pm

<deleted by board request>
Last edited by xylem on Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
xylem
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:53 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:49 pm

One time there was public talk given by a Tibetan lama.
The sign at the door said: "Requested donation: $10.00"

A visitor showed up and handed a $5.00 bill to the person collecting money at the door.
The person collecting the money said, "This lama is a very well known and highly respected teacher.
So we are asking for a donation of $10.00."

"That may be so", said the visitor, "but I am not going to be listening to that lama.
I am only going to be listening to the translator!"
:tongue:
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby xylem » Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:00 pm

<deleted by board member request>
Last edited by xylem on Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
xylem
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:53 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby kirtu » Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:59 pm

Namdrol wrote:I know a lot of broke western Tibetan Buddhist ordained folks. Some of them are quite pathetic, like hungary ghosts.


Well we should change that. Money is useless except that people can use it to get resources that they need.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4129
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Costly Situations

Postby TheWay » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:18 pm

xylem wrote:simply put-- somebody has to pay. the costs are either passed onto the student, or a few members of the sangha hemorrhage money and absorb them.

international and/or domestic air travel. ground travel. costs applying for r1 visas and filing for 501(c)(3) status. room and board for the lama and entourage and translator. translator fees. costs in producing practice materials like sadhanas. advertisement. legal expenses. insurance. renting a venue, or the rent and upkeep of the dharma center. offerings and other materials for an empowerment or puja. donations to the lamas for their time. sometimes the lamas have special expenses like medical care, personal needs, phone cards, fedexing materials, etc.

all of that's on top of any projects or charities the lamas might have.

i've been on all ends of this. i've been turned away from teachings at the door because of money. i've also hemorrhaged money, both as a student as well as an individual supporting my center.



ahh yes i guess i was being a bit naive, i thought i could just go to the Lama or Rinpoche, receive the teachings and go from there etc. i forgot about the extra stuff. I was just overwhelmed at the prices on some retreats i wanted to go to.
TheWay
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Costly Situations

Postby kirtu » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:20 pm

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Americans, Canadians, and Western Europeans have more money than locals, so they should pay more. Speaking Tibetan does not bring the costs down. AFAIK.


Funny my Indian friend said the same thing, and his yearly income is probably 25x more than mine.


Exactly! It should be the higher the income the more a person can donate and national origin/citizenship has nothing to do with it. Even when I'm well-paid I don't earn more than the head of Tata Group.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4129
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Costly Situations

Postby kirtu » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:28 pm

TheWay wrote:ahh yes i guess i was being a bit naive, i thought i could just go to the Lama or Rinpoche, receive the teachings and go from there etc. i forgot about the extra stuff. I was just overwhelmed at the prices on some retreats i wanted to go to.


It has always been my experience that even when I'm impoverished I can find funds to get to events when I need to get there. I have only once had to work something out with the event coordinators. There have been several events that I felt I should have gone to and in the last minute (so the day before the event usually) the coast gets cleared and I could have gone.

However I missed Lam Dre this summer because of these considerations. Now my financial situation is likely to clear up and get back on track. So I could have gone. So for me this means more faith.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4129
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Costly Situations

Postby TheWay » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:50 pm

I was actually getting ahead of myself, i should just stick to my basic meditation practices and when it is reasonable to go on retreat etc then i will. I guess it was the fact of death coming at any moment that I wanted to rush things as fast as possible.
TheWay
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:13 am

Next

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Election by lot, Indrajala, MSN [Bot] and 10 guests

>