Selling the dharma

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Malcolm
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by Malcolm »

tobes wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:52 pm
Can you not see the difference between "pay for sutra translation, charge for sutra" and "donate for sutra translation, make sutras freely available to all"?
84,000 pays $250 per folio side. People pay, are getting paid, etc. Nothing is free. In this case, since the main donor for this project is a millionaire several times over, it is no sweat of his or her back since most of those millions were donations anyway, to begin with. Someone always pays. The metaphysics we attach to this or that economic exchange is not the measure of whether someone paid something or not.

If you try to buy books from the BDK, you have to pay for them. If you want to download the PDF, well, that is "free."

Thus far, 84000 has avoided printing its books. If they were to print them, it is like that they would have to charge for them. Nothing is free. Someone always pays.
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PeterC
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by PeterC »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:58 pm
Really, instead of people worrying about prices, I would rather see people focus on institutions that are a bit more financially transparent. It costs a cubic buttload to organize Dharma events, in so many areas.
This. I would be completely happy if events followed two basic rules:
1. Nobody is turned away due to lack of funds. Other participants are always willing to subsidize them
2. Sources and uses of funds are made transparent. I’ve seen, multiple times and in Sanghas of highly regarded teachers, practices that are essentially fraud and theft. The people doing it had their own pious rationalizations but these activities would never have survived public scrutiny.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

PeterC wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:17 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:58 pm
Really, instead of people worrying about prices, I would rather see people focus on institutions that are a bit more financially transparent. It costs a cubic buttload to organize Dharma events, in so many areas.
This. I would be completely happy if events followed two basic rules:
1. Nobody is turned away due to lack of funds. Other participants are always willing to subsidize them
2. Sources and uses of funds are made transparent. I’ve seen, multiple times and in Sanghas of highly regarded teachers, practices that are essentially fraud and theft. The people doing it had their own pious rationalizations but these activities would never have survived public scrutiny.
One of the many things that has kept me at my meatspace Dharma center is that they transparently publish their finances to the members yearly, and that they have a policy of never turning people away, despite the fact that for some retreats we never broke even, much less making money.
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tobes
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by tobes »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:19 am
tobes wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:52 pm
Can you not see the difference between "pay for sutra translation, charge for sutra" and "donate for sutra translation, make sutras freely available to all"?
84,000 pays $250 per folio side. People pay, are getting paid, etc. Nothing is free. In this case, since the main donor for this project is a millionaire several times over, it is no sweat of his or her back since most of those millions were donations anyway, to begin with. Someone always pays. The metaphysics we attach to this or that economic exchange is not the measure of whether someone paid something or not.

If you try to buy books from the BDK, you have to pay for them. If you want to download the PDF, well, that is "free."

Thus far, 84000 has avoided printing its books. If they were to print them, it is like that they would have to charge for them. Nothing is free. Someone always pays.
At the end of the day, there is in fact a difference between making Dharma a gift or a commodity with a price.

If you can't see a distinction there, there is little point debating.
Malcolm
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by Malcolm »

tobes wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:38 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:19 am
tobes wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:52 pm
Can you not see the difference between "pay for sutra translation, charge for sutra" and "donate for sutra translation, make sutras freely available to all"?
84,000 pays $250 per folio side. People pay, are getting paid, etc. Nothing is free. In this case, since the main donor for this project is a millionaire several times over, it is no sweat of his or her back since most of those millions were donations anyway, to begin with. Someone always pays. The metaphysics we attach to this or that economic exchange is not the measure of whether someone paid something or not.

If you try to buy books from the BDK, you have to pay for them. If you want to download the PDF, well, that is "free."

Thus far, 84000 has avoided printing its books. If they were to print them, it is like that they would have to charge for them. Nothing is free. Someone always pays.
At the end of the day, there is in fact a difference between making Dharma a gift or a commodity with a price.

If you can't see a distinction there, there is little point debating.
The value of things purchased always exceeds the value of things obtained for free. The culture of patronage, in many ways, is far less honest and far more corruptible than the fee for service culture, which in fact is the defacto model Tibetan Buddhism actually runs on and always has.

In Buddhist history, patrons have had inordinate input on just what Dharma gets promulgated, and that has not always been kind to Dzogchen teachings, not to mention Vajrayana in SE Asia, etc.
Last edited by Malcolm on Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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amanitamusc
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by amanitamusc »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:57 am
tobes wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:38 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:19 am

84,000 pays $250 per folio side. People pay, are getting paid, etc. Nothing is free. In this case, since the main donor for this project is a millionaire several times over, it is no sweat of his or her back since most of those millions were donations anyway, to begin with. Someone always pays. The metaphysics we attach to this or that economic exchange is not the measure of whether someone paid something or not.

If you try to buy books from the BDK, you have to pay for them. If you want to download the PDF, well, that is "free."

Thus far, 84000 has avoided printing its books. If they were to print them, it is like that they would have to charge for them. Nothing is free. Someone always pays.
At the end of the day, there is in fact a difference between making Dharma a gift or a commodity with a price.

If you can't see a distinction there, there is little point debating.
The value of things purchased always exceeds the value of things obtained for free. The culture of patronage, in many ways, is far less honest and far more corruptible than the fee for service culture, which in fact is the defacto model Tibetan Buddhism actually runs on and always has.
:good:
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tobes
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by tobes »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:57 am
tobes wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:38 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:19 am

84,000 pays $250 per folio side. People pay, are getting paid, etc. Nothing is free. In this case, since the main donor for this project is a millionaire several times over, it is no sweat of his or her back since most of those millions were donations anyway, to begin with. Someone always pays. The metaphysics we attach to this or that economic exchange is not the measure of whether someone paid something or not.

If you try to buy books from the BDK, you have to pay for them. If you want to download the PDF, well, that is "free."

Thus far, 84000 has avoided printing its books. If they were to print them, it is like that they would have to charge for them. Nothing is free. Someone always pays.
At the end of the day, there is in fact a difference between making Dharma a gift or a commodity with a price.

If you can't see a distinction there, there is little point debating.
The value of things purchased always exceeds the value of things obtained for free. The culture of patronage, in many ways, is far less honest and far more corruptible than the fee for service culture, which in fact is the defacto model Tibetan Buddhism actually runs on and always has.

In Buddhist history, patrons have had inordinate input on just what Dharma gets promulgated, and that has not always been kind to Dzogchen teachings, not to mention Vajrayana in SE Asia, etc.
Okay, so now you're making an argument about value......

It is easy to refute: if you're giving with various kinds of corrupting/dishonest motives, that is not truly giving Dharma is it?

You seem to be asserting: there is never such a thing as truly giving Dharma (i.e. free of corrupt intentions).
empting
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by empting »

i personally think that it should be paid but free for serious students

if you give it all free, people will not be serious in learning and will turn your class into chaos by gossiping other students

i have experienced this before, where people come to learn with a cheap fee but turn out coming to talk nonsense, spread ego, and turn the place into hierarchical structure worshiping the teacher and blaming others over their own failure
Tolya M
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by Tolya M »

tobes wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:38 am or a commodity with a price.
I assume that this approach has no future in our society, since no one is able to demonstrate the result for which they would be payed. The situation in the Dark Ages was very different from today. For ex I would pay a bag of gold to the teacher if I returned to my locality after being trained as an object of offering and the sourse of teachings. My descendants and I would have been provided with food and work throughout the sequence. But there is no such thing today. Who will pay for just tips on what and how to think and visualise that does not have a stable verifiable result? For ritual perfomances songs and dances? There is no way and in poorer than America\Europe non-buddhists-societies Buddhism has already stalled after a surge in popularity in 1990-00th. The only way is education. As a result of education, it will become clear why this is necessary to support. The tantric model is not even adapted to the long-term existence apart from cultural features. Maybe I'm wrong, because I do not see the whole picture, but I observe exactly what I wrote.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by tkp67 »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:57 am The value of things purchased always exceeds the value of things obtained for free.
How much is a mother's love or the cost of refuge in the 3 jewels these days?
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PeterC
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by PeterC »

tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:49 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:57 am The value of things purchased always exceeds the value of things obtained for free.
How much is a mother's love or the cost of refuge in the 3 jewels these days?
Come on - surely you know what he meant. The offering is for the benefit of the student. If the student offers a lot for something they are more likely to value it and get the most out of it, than if they just received it for free.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by tkp67 »

PeterC wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:15 am
tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:49 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:57 am The value of things purchased always exceeds the value of things obtained for free.
How much is a mother's love or the cost of refuge in the 3 jewels these days?
Come on - surely you know what he meant. The offering is for the benefit of the student. If the student offers a lot for something they are more likely to value it and get the most out of it, than if they just received it for free.
Yes I do but please consider a deeper look.

It accepts conditioned thinking that altruistic intent is relatively valueless, especially where it was the basis of the teachings in the first place.

From a modern perspective "paying it forward" pays dividends it just becomes difficult to calculate the opportunity costs.

Once again not to devalue the efforts and merits of the translations whatsoever. I hope he is blessed 1000 times over in his endeavors and merits by the buddha of the ten directions and three times.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by PeterC »

tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:36 am
PeterC wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:15 am
tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:49 am

How much is a mother's love or the cost of refuge in the 3 jewels these days?
Come on - surely you know what he meant. The offering is for the benefit of the student. If the student offers a lot for something they are more likely to value it and get the most out of it, than if they just received it for free.
Yes I do but please consider a deeper look.

It accepts conditioned thinking that altruistic intent is relatively valueless, especially where it was the basis of the teachings in the first place.

From a modern perspective "paying it forward" pays dividends it just becomes difficult to calculate the opportunity costs.

Once again not to devalue the efforts and merits of the translations whatsoever. I hope he is blessed 1000 times over in his endeavors and merits by the buddha of the ten directions and three times.
I read your posting twice and can't decide whether you're replying to my point or saying something completely different: the way you express yourself is extremely unclear. No offense meant, but I honestly can't figure out what you're saying.
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by tkp67 »

PeterC wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:42 am
tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:36 am
PeterC wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:15 am

Come on - surely you know what he meant. The offering is for the benefit of the student. If the student offers a lot for something they are more likely to value it and get the most out of it, than if they just received it for free.
Yes I do but please consider a deeper look.

It accepts conditioned thinking that altruistic intent is relatively valueless, especially where it was the basis of the teachings in the first place.

From a modern perspective "paying it forward" pays dividends it just becomes difficult to calculate the opportunity costs.

Once again not to devalue the efforts and merits of the translations whatsoever. I hope he is blessed 1000 times over in his endeavors and merits by the buddha of the ten directions and three times.
I read your posting twice and can't decide whether you're replying to my point or saying something completely different: the way you express yourself is extremely unclear. No offense meant, but I honestly can't figure out what you're saying.
I am not offended, It was a reply.
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PeterC
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by PeterC »

tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:01 am
PeterC wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:42 am
tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:36 am

Yes I do but please consider a deeper look.

It accepts conditioned thinking that altruistic intent is relatively valueless, especially where it was the basis of the teachings in the first place.

From a modern perspective "paying it forward" pays dividends it just becomes difficult to calculate the opportunity costs.

Once again not to devalue the efforts and merits of the translations whatsoever. I hope he is blessed 1000 times over in his endeavors and merits by the buddha of the ten directions and three times.
I read your posting twice and can't decide whether you're replying to my point or saying something completely different: the way you express yourself is extremely unclear. No offense meant, but I honestly can't figure out what you're saying.
I am not offended, It was a reply.
OK, but if you want a reply from me, you'll need to explain what you meant. For instance - "From a modern perspective "paying it forward" pays dividends it just becomes difficult to calculate the opportunity costs."? It feels like you're engaging in superfluous circumlocutory obfuscation.
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tobes
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by tobes »

I'm not precisely sure what tkp67 is saying, but I think that considering the nature of opportunity cost/utility/instrumental rationality against altruism is exactly the point, and strikes at the heart of this thread.

Asserting that things are inherently more valuable if and only if we can ascribe a price to them, in my view, totally violates the logic of danaparamita.

The moment we think "I am giving this, in order to get that" we have left the Mahayana.

It might be dana.

But it cannot be danaparamita.
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tobes
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by tobes »

PeterC wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:15 am
tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:49 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:57 am The value of things purchased always exceeds the value of things obtained for free.
How much is a mother's love or the cost of refuge in the 3 jewels these days?
Come on - surely you know what he meant. The offering is for the benefit of the student. If the student offers a lot for something they are more likely to value it and get the most out of it, than if they just received it for free.
I just disagree with this 100%.

The most precious of all things, are precious precisely because they are given freely.
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PeterC
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by PeterC »

tobes wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:31 am
PeterC wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:15 am
tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:49 am

How much is a mother's love or the cost of refuge in the 3 jewels these days?
Come on - surely you know what he meant. The offering is for the benefit of the student. If the student offers a lot for something they are more likely to value it and get the most out of it, than if they just received it for free.
I just disagree with this 100%.

The most precious of all things, are precious precisely because they are given freely.
I think we're using a different definition of the word precious here

Let's think in terms of the benefit that the student derives from receiving the Dharma. Now the Dharma is exactly the same whether given freely or for an offering. However let's assume that the student who makes an offering is more committed, because they've made a greater investment in the process. So that student has a higher probability of actually practising the teachings than does the student who endures much less cost/effort/hardship to receive the teachings. Thus the expected benefit to the student who makes the offering is higher. That's what I meant in my post above.

When you say the Dharma is precious because it's freely given, I think you mean that the institution of the transmission of the Dharma is a wonderful thing because it is not bought or sold, and indeed the fact that it's transmitted in this way rather than being treated as a commodity and tarnished by the profit motive. If that's your meaning I would completely agree with you.

I don't think our statements are in conflict. Why? Because in the situation I outlined, the person giving the Dharma isn't doing it to make money. I agree that if that were the motive then it would be incompatible with danaparamita
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tobes
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by tobes »

Peter C, I think you're conflating economics with karma.

Obviously these two intertwine in various ways. However, they are not the same thing, as you surely know.

How much benefit person x receives from Dharma, depends upon their previous karma, the karma of the receiving (i.e. how diligent, attentive etc), and most especially, the karma of their subsequent study and practice.

It has nothing (or very little) to do with how much they offer.

Someone with an awesome amount of merit may not have many material resources - such as many monks and nuns - and yet, receive far more benefit from a Dharma transmission than someone with an awesome amount of wealth who 'invests' in the teaching with a big offering.
Malcolm
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Re: Selling the dharma

Post by Malcolm »

tkp67 wrote: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:49 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:57 am The value of things purchased always exceeds the value of things obtained for free.
How much is a mother's love or the cost of refuge in the 3 jewels these days?
While both are invaluable, many beings have no appreciation at all for the former, and most sentient beings do not have the merit to hold the latter.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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