oldbob wrote:One very hot day in Grosseto, when I was walking from the Questura, back to the bus station, I stopped into a little bar to ask for a glass of "local" water. The pretty bar lady was wearing a Tibetan mala around her neck. So in my broken Italian I asked her if she liked Tibetan things. She said, "Oh yes. I like Tibetan things very much. I've been to India and have met some Tibetan Teachers there." I then asked her if she knew of Merigar and of the Teachings there. She said, Oh yes, I like the Master very much but the people there are always asking for money for everything so I don't go there." I thanked her for the water and left.
Haha I guess so, I've only been there three times though. Though they ask for money, they don't demand it in my experience (except for the retreat itself I guess, though even then people can arrange something like helping in the kitchen instead of paying or paying less as far as I know), so you can always say no.
Open access to the precious Teachings will solve these issues.
Well (open) webcasts are totally free of charge. But it isn't really free, someone has to pay for it, the same for the Mirror, retreat, etc. I recently got an email from someone saying why should he pay since Rinpoche told him he himself doesn't need the money and I thought it was a bit silly. If everybody thought that way and nobody would pay how could we have all these things? If someone is going "free" that just means someone else is paying. Not that there is anything wrong with that of course, but one shouldn't simply take it for granted.
So I think it's a pretty good system, but if people can't afford it there should be options to accommodate that too (and I think there are). And mind you, being a student, most of the time I'm more on the poor side of things. Though that is relative too.
The hoops you have to jump through vary from time to time and place to place.
The last time Rinpoche came to NYC there was no "work study," and people who could not pay were turned away: this is first hand observation. This year, as more kindly people are responsible, things are much more open.
Sure the bills have to be paid: taking responsibility for yourself is one of the fundamental principles of the Dzogchen Community, but there are many trade-offs between expensive materials with sophisticated production values compared to inexpensive materials with no-frills production values, that are just as effective to communicate the information.
Maybe one solution to monetize the Teachings, and yet still have them be available for everybody, would be to have a two tier system where an expensive and glossy media presentation would be available to those who could afford, and enjoy that, and a no-frills media presentation, could be available at low or no cost, for the poor.
Perhaps the reduced membership needs to be appropriate to what can be afforded by each person's income, relative to the cost of living where they live, and not just by a flat rate for each Gar.
In the East, it is traditional to have "sponsors" for the Teachings and publications. Sponsorship is linked to gaining personal merit. Maybe this could work.
Maybe a funding endowment could be set up through tax deductible donations and legacy gifting.
Good fortune to all and All,
Long life to the Dzogchen Masters, in good health and with success in all things.