Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:14 am

Thank you very much for your thoughts! I am in agreement.

There is one thing that I feel that I need to clarify once again though: there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the nature of what happened with Lillian Too. She did not fail to deliver to me any money. She gave me a $1000 advance for a translation deal. I completed the work, but she was not happy for some reason, decided to terminate the project, and demanded the money I had already worked for back. I refused to give it to her, of course. I didn't hear back from her. Three months later, I found out about the Mahashri Sutra plaques. The Mahashri Sutra was not one of the translations that I did for her. I had done it several months before. However, the Mahashri Sutra was one of the reasons that Lillian Too contacted me to translate one of the Zungdus for her in the first place was because she was impressed by my translation of the Mahashri Sutra.

What baffles me in a way is why she didn't just stay within the confines of the law, meaning she could have used any of the translations that I did for her legally and I really couldn't have said anything about it. In fact, she actually did use one of the translations that I did for her, "Vairochana's Heart Practice", for another plaque.

A side note is that it's quite possible that Lillian Too is still selling keychains with my translation of the Mahashri Sutra inside them, although she is using a different name for them, which is more based on Lama Zopa Rinpoche's translation of the title. It's pretty amazing that she would still do this. But then again, it's not confirmed that she's not selling Mahashri Sutra plaques -- she's just removed them from her website, that's all that I know.

These can all be found on her website at World of Feng Shui. http://wofs.com/

Anyway, I just wanted to clear that part of the story up. Our previous business deal had nothing to do with the Mahashri Sutra plaque, aside from that she presumably did it with a somewhat vengeful attitude after things not going her way with our previous translation deal.

Looking back from the start, I have to say that Lillian Too's conduct was really pretty poor. There was deception and cheapness right from beginning, as she tried to talk me down on my price like a flea market dealer, insisted on having "copyright" and full rights to the translations, and refused to tell me specifically how she was going to use them, which was, obviously, mainly for business purposes.

Anyway, I think that you're completely right in that it will all work itself out karmically and there's not a whole lot more that I have to do about it.
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby mindyourmind » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:27 am

catmoon wrote:I am at a loss to explain how this thread benefits anyone, or even how it could appear beneficial.


I must say that I have learnt a few new perspectives here, especially from my first reading of the OP. The situation is more complicated than what I suppose Eric initially assumed. I agree with most of the counterpoints against his initial view, it is just hard to see why Lillian couldn't have parted with even a nominal few dollars, it would have made all of this so much more palatable.

And we must be careful not to hold Eric to a standard where he is required to be dismissive of the economical implications of his work and then at the same time, and in doing so, create a double standard where we do not hold Lillian to that same standard.

As a generalized perspective I really believe that Lillian could have dealt with this situation in a far more wise and compassionate manner. The whole debacle can also reflect badly on the Dharma. Very unnecessary.
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:10 pm

mindyourmind wrote:
catmoon wrote:I am at a loss to explain how this thread benefits anyone, or even how it could appear beneficial.


I must say that I have learnt a few new perspectives here, especially from my first reading of the OP. The situation is more complicated than what I suppose Eric initially assumed. I agree with most of the counterpoints against his initial view, it is just hard to see why Lillian couldn't have parted with even a nominal few dollars, it would have made all of this so much more palatable.

And we must be careful not to hold Eric to a standard where he is required to be dismissive of the economical implications of his work and then at the same time, and in doing so, create a double standard where we do not hold Lillian to that same standard.

As a generalized perspective I really believe that Lillian could have dealt with this situation in a far more wise and compassionate manner. The whole debacle can also reflect badly on the Dharma. Very unnecessary.


I think suicide bombers killing dozens of people every week in the middle east is a more pressing matter than Lillian's illegal use of a copyright text.

Just my opinion though.
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby mindyourmind » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:34 pm

Huseng wrote:
mindyourmind wrote:
catmoon wrote:I am at a loss to explain how this thread benefits anyone, or even how it could appear beneficial.


I must say that I have learnt a few new perspectives here, especially from my first reading of the OP. The situation is more complicated than what I suppose Eric initially assumed. I agree with most of the counterpoints against his initial view, it is just hard to see why Lillian couldn't have parted with even a nominal few dollars, it would have made all of this so much more palatable.

And we must be careful not to hold Eric to a standard where he is required to be dismissive of the economical implications of his work and then at the same time, and in doing so, create a double standard where we do not hold Lillian to that same standard.

As a generalized perspective I really believe that Lillian could have dealt with this situation in a far more wise and compassionate manner. The whole debacle can also reflect badly on the Dharma. Very unnecessary.


I think suicide bombers killing dozens of people every week in the middle east is a more pressing matter than Lillian's illegal use of a copyright text.

Just my opinion though.


So, should we then only deal with the Big Problems in the world? Should we only discuss those? On a discussion board? If so, how do we decide which are those Big Problems? Who would make that decision?

Or is it more helpful to deal with, or at least try to, deal with and discuss in the open as many issues as possible.
Maybe if we deal with enough small issues the bigger ones would resolve themselves.
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:36 pm

Thank you for your thoughts.


It's interesting to me that people have not responded to many of my very important points. I believe that I responded to most of the points that others raised. I felt that others' responses helped me a lot. In particular I realized that the story was not so clear to some when they read it, and also that there is a lot of misunderstanding about the nature of translators' legal and ethical rights. In this regard, as so often, it seemed that most of the "disagreement" was actually a confusion of definitions, terms, and context. The statement "The Dharma should ideally always be free, and so should Dharma texts" does not pervade the statement "Translators should have no rights over their work, and businesspeople should be able to use their translations freely and not offer them credit or compensation (and in more usual terms, "publishers should be able to publish their translations freely and not offer them credit/or compensation")". This is not how it works in the publishing world. It's illegal. And according to a Buddhist point of view (at least to the Tibetan point of view), translations should always be the best they can be before they are published, which means checked many times and reviewed with Buddhist masters and scholars. I myself try to follow this rule on my own website now, and have removed the translations that have not been reviewed with scholars.

The previous point that translators are generally not exactly living luxurious lives should be taken into account. The translators of the 1100s in Tibet were often the aristocracy. And they became rich through translating Buddhist texts and everything that came along with that. In today's world they are often living at poverty level. Peole are often very critical of them, sponsorship is difficult to find, and they are often misunderstood by both the pepole in their home culture as well as the culture whose language they are proficien in. Basically, for many, it's a long and hard road, and a road that is usually not without some serious financial problems.

However I don't feel that my "initial view" changed. Certain things were brought to light in a helpful way, and other people's responses helped me to formulate a more articulate presentation. I now realize that the presentation that the article was written in is probably not the best. This is probably why it seems that I had an "initial view" which changed later. Actually I just wasn't expressing everything so comprehensively.

In reponse to those who have been very dismissive and negative about this thread and the situation, I would say that they should consider that this is an issue that goes beyond me whining about the fact that someone illegally and uethically used a translation of mine to make money and should have got my permission first and paid me something. It extends to a lot of issues that are imporant for a lot of people, especially translators but really everyone who reads Buddhist texts also. This story can help people.

I hope that it helps Lillian Too, also. Lilian Too's actions in a way could be seen as contributing to the degeneration of the Dharma, when Buddhisit sutras are turned into stone and sold in the thousands with no consideration about whether the text is the best translation that it can be, and done in the proper way, with true respect for the text and thus inherently for the translator.. I think that furthermore there's just a lot of ignorance out there about the work that goes into translation, and the ideal standards that translation should be held to.
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:03 pm

it is just hard to see why Lillian couldn't have parted with even a nominal few dollars, it would have made all of this so much more palatable.

And we must be careful not to hold Eric to a standard where he is required to be dismissive of the economical implications of his work and then at the same time, and in doing so, create a double standard where we do not hold Lillian to that same standard.

As a generalized perspective I really believe that Lillian could have dealt with this situation in a far more wise and compassionate manner. The whole debacle can also reflect badly on the Dharma. Very unnecessary.


:thanks:

Cool, some compassion and wisdom on the board (that isn't coming in SUPER wrathful form at least!), nice! :cheers:

Yeah, it would have been, and still could be, VERY easy for Lillian Too to resolve this issue, make me feel better, and clean her karmic slate somewhat. She could even make herself look like a hero. It's an interesting psychological phenomena that someone could be so stubborn, seemingly greedy, and uncompassionate, especially for a Buddhist who otherwise seems to be an intelligent person. I think there were definitely a lot of disturbing emotions flaring pretty strongly for her to be so, let's be honest, stupid about the situation. But, so it is, and I will just wait for karma to play itself out. I ain't gonna worry my pretty head about it.
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby Sönam » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:15 am

It seems that in the past, that person gave an advance for your work ?
It could have been interesting to hear what Lillian Too thinks about. Without, it's difficult to have a clear view of it ...

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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby sherabzangpo » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:40 am

The responses to this article have spoken sad volumes about peoples' lack of reading skills, ability to follow fairly basic stories, and logical abilities.

Westerners really do often have poor attention and reasoning skills, I think. :juggling:

I have already explained the situation with the advance many times. I don't need to do it again. Please refer to my previous posts.

Once again, the previous translation deal with Lillian Too had NOTHING to do with her stealing my translation of the Mahashri Sutra, aside from her possibly getting revenge on me for the deal not going the way she wanted it. Other than that, NOTHING.

However I thought it was good to mention it, because it shows that Lillian Too not only knew that there was a translator to the Mahashri Sutra, but actually knew me somewhat personally, which makes it even worse.

She NEVER promised to pay me anything for the Mahashri Sutra. That is the whole point. The entire thing was done without my permission.

Wow people. This whole thread had made me feel that the Tibetan Buddhist form of debate is more necessary for Westerners than I thought.

It's something that I don't think hardly a single person has been able to respond both accurately and cogently to on this thread. The negative responses were not in discussion or debate format at all, but phrased like dismissive, totalitarian and immature pronouncements, which didn't engage me in debate even when I challenged the opponents' points. And even the positive responses didn't seem to understand some of the basic points of the story.

Granted, the story is a bit complex, as are the moral issues at play. But still... disappointing and surprising.

If anyone is interested, I suggest re-reading my post and responses.

:shrug:
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby muni » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:07 pm

Take it easy.
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:36 pm

muni wrote:Take it easy.


:namaste:

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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby sherabzangpo » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:26 pm

Sure thing. :heart:
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby BFS » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:06 pm

:heart: ((( :heart: ))) :heart:
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pervade.
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Re: Lillian Too's Mahashri Sutra Atrocities

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:17 pm

Well I think that this was fairly open and interesting discussion regarding copyright law and the responsibilities each parties take on regarding the use of religious scripture. At this time, I think it may be best to close this thread. I'm sure sherabzangpo would be more than happy to discuss this on his blog in the comments section.
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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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