There is no business like religion business.

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Genjo Conan
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by Genjo Conan »

I'm on the finance committee of my Zen temple. We ask (but don't require) regular practitioners to pay dues, and ask (but don't require) that folks pay for classes. If we didn't, we wouldn't be able to keep the doors open. It's really that simple.
gelukman
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by gelukman »

The sutra and tantra man should be honest and say "I do it for the money".
I need to pay for my food, women, housing etc. There is no fault in that.
Then we know we are customers.

But a genuine guru who has realization. He dont have any need for any ones
offerings. Otherwise it would be upside-down.
Malcolm
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by Malcolm »

gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:11 am The sutra and tantra man should be honest and say "I do it for the money".
I need to pay for my food, women, housing etc. There is no fault in that.
Then we know we are customers.

But a genuine guru who has realization. He dont have any need for any ones
offerings. Otherwise it would be upside-down.
That’s just plain bullshit.
Vases, canvas, bucklers, armies, forests, garlands, trees
houses, chariots, hostelries, and all such things
that common people designate dependent on their parts,
accept as such. For Buddha did not quarrel with the world!

—— Candrakīrti. MAV 6:166
gelukman
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by gelukman »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:26 am
gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:11 am The sutra and tantra man should be honest and say "I do it for the money".
I need to pay for my food, women, housing etc. There is no fault in that.
Then we know we are customers.

But a genuine guru who has realization. He dont have any need for any ones
offerings. Otherwise it would be upside-down.
That’s just plain bullshit.
It may taste like that for you. But we all have right to our opinions, like you, and like me.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:31 am
Malcolm wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:26 am
gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:11 am The sutra and tantra man should be honest and say "I do it for the money".
I need to pay for my food, women, housing etc. There is no fault in that.
Then we know we are customers.

But a genuine guru who has realization. He dont have any need for any ones
offerings. Otherwise it would be upside-down.
That’s just plain bullshit.
It may taste like that for you. But we all have right to our opinions, like you, and like me.
…but, is it the opinion of your own ‘genuine guru’? That’s the real question. (I must assume that you are speaking from personal experience!)
If it is, then please let me know how to reach this genuine guru, as my funds are low these days.
EMPTIFUL.
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Aryjna
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by Aryjna »

gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:11 am The sutra and tantra man should be honest and say "I do it for the money".
I need to pay for my food, women, housing etc. There is no fault in that.
Then we know we are customers.

But a genuine guru who has realization. He dont have any need for any ones
offerings. Otherwise it would be upside-down.
jet.urgyen wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 3:23 am but imo, it's definitely a horrible crime to charge for sutrayana teachings.
So, how do you think the costs of the the teachings should be covered?

One idea(?) that could match what you are saying is that teachers should be living as homeless people in alleys so that students can be visiting them there to receive teachings in person.
gelukman
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by gelukman »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:30 am
gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:31 am
Malcolm wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:26 am

That’s just plain bullshit.
It may taste like that for you. But we all have right to our opinions, like you, and like me.
…but, is it the opinion of your own ‘genuine guru’? That’s the real question. (I must assume that you are speaking from personal experience!)
If it is, then please let me know how to reach this genuine guru, as my funds are low these days.
That statement was from me, it have nothing to do with any one. No one asked me to write it here.
Well if you practice and study well, how could you NOT meet genuine gurus?
But if your motivation is personal monetary gain. I doubt you can make it.

My topic is not about trolling, like you are doing here. A very painful topic for many
buddhists even in western countries.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:45 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:30 am
gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:31 am

It may taste like that for you. But we all have right to our opinions, like you, and like me.
…but, is it the opinion of your own ‘genuine guru’? That’s the real question. (I must assume that you are speaking from personal experience!)
If it is, then please let me know how to reach this genuine guru, as my funds are low these days.
That statement was from me, it have nothing to do with any one. No one asked me to write it here.
Well if you practice and study well, how could you NOT meet genuine gurus?
But if your motivation is personal monetary gain. I doubt you can make it.

My topic is not about trolling, like you are doing here. A very painful topic for many
buddhists even in western countries.
Make a point or something.

Yes yes it’d be great if we lived in a utopia where funding is not needed to do stuff, but that is not reality.

There are better and worse ways to do it but acting like it should all be free I’d just juvenile.
Don’t you see what’s wrong with the world today? Oh Everybody wants somebody to be their own piece of clay.

-Marvin Gaye
Soma999
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by Soma999 »

There are places where you get the dharma for a very reasonable donation, and even if you don’t pay, you won’t be turned away.

That being say, it is also a matter of priority in life. If really dharma is important for you, if it is a priority, you may save money for that. I was surprised to see someone don’t pay for teachings, but paying for a new computer and a great audio system very expensive. There are people also paying a lot for the new iphones and so on. So, check your priorities also.

In western world, things need money. So it is something to take into consideration.

A sadhu in the mountains is fully detached of everything. But when the same sadhu come to america, he learn how to generate money and use it efficiently. It is just logic, working with the circonstances of the place where we live.

I know people who organised a big mantra concert. It was all by donation. The concert was full, but the amounts of donation was like 20 dollars. Where is the consciousness of people ? They take, take, take, but they don’t think about giving.

A healer asked for people to pay what they want, if they want. Even thought many people came, he stopped this way of collecting money as he got nearly nothing. Look at the level of consciousness of people.

A center need money. Food is expensive. Travel expenses are quiet something. It has to be paid. A lama does not eat prana and sleep on a cloud in the sky. They need money.

I participated to the coming of a guru, i can tell you this is very expensive. If people does not participate financially, this is because other people pay for it.

When you pay, make that an offering to the three jewels. It will create auspicious things.
Dedicate the money use in the servive of the dharma. Money is an energy, you dedicate this energy in service of the dharma. Everything can be dedicated to dharma, money also.

There are people who give value to things only if they pay for it. They would disregard a jewel if they don’t pay for it.

Where does this idea that teachings should be free is coming from ?

I have deep consideration for teachers who gives the dharma for free. It is so generous, so pure in their attitude. Still, if you find those persons and your circonstances allow for it, if you can offer a donation, however little, it supports and help them. Because they also depends on money for living.

In an ideal world, there would be no price. People would come and those who can participate financially would do, no one would be turned away. But as a whole, do we have this level of consciousness for such an ideal world come ?

From my experiences, those who make problems with the necessity to pay (i don’t mean those who have *difficulties* to pay), because of all kind of ideas, don’t get much of what they receive, and often bring problems with them. If they make problems with money because of their ideas and concepts, they generally don’t value what is offered to them.

I am 100 % ok, and find it great, that no one is turned away for lack of money. But if you can contribuate, even 1 dollar, do it. And if you can’t, you can do some seva, or at least offer your smile and good energy.

People have all kind of ideas, concepts and conditions about teachers. They should be male only, with a beard, with this age, they should speak softly, they should not drive, they should wear this, they should or should not have children, it can’t be a woman, or if it’s a woman she can’t wear beautiful dress, she can’t laugh, he or she can’t have a family… the conditions we put are endless. And unless we let go of those conditions, we might miss precious opportunities. There are teachers single, married, divorced, remarried. There are some with children, some who travel, some who play music, those who are very traditional, those who are very modern… and guess what, whatever their conditions, they also need money to live. If they never ask for financial participation, then they need to work, and they will have less time and energy for teachings. It’s as simple as that.
Last edited by Soma999 on Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
Kai lord
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by Kai lord »

Doing dana is not because guru needs it. Realized masters do not need Buddhist centers or vehicles. They have no worldly concerns and can literally stay at their home and their existing students and interested parties eager for teachings, will still visit them.

The reasons for donations are to facilitate the spread of buddhism even faster and wider so more people can be benefitted from it. Buddhist centers are there for the convenience of students so that we don't have to travel all the way to other parts of America, nepal, Europe or India every year just to receive the teaching, etc. Also guess who are the ones that need more practises in generosity? Thats right, its us not the gurus

Its always fascinating to see people can have no qualms paying thousands for a few hours of legal advise over trivial worldly matters. Yet expressing their displeasure over donating less than a hundred bucks for teachings that would end our sufferings for good.

In the past, masters like Marpa accumulated massive amounts of gold before each of his trips to India and even then He knew the true value of Dharma is beyond what this world can offer.
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tobes
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by tobes »

Kim O'Hara wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 4:44 am
tobes wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 3:51 am
Kim O'Hara wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 3:35 am
Everyone has been explaining that events do cost money to run, and presenters do need to pay for transport and food. That's true whether it's vajrayana or sutrayana, so how do you justify that distinction?

:namaste:
Kim
He did justify this, via the notion of tradition. i.e. there is a precedent for this in the Vajrayana, in a way that there isn't in other traditions. ...
The trouble with that as a sufficient explanation is that we don't live in that world any more.
Back in the good old days, monks of all traditions were supported by the community in which they lived and taught.
That doesn't happen - or not reliably enough - in our own times in non-Buddhist countries. If we want teachers, of any tradition, we have to make provision for their food, housing and (often) travel.
Suggesting that students should support vajrayana teachers because of a precedent somewhere long ago and far away, but not sutrayana teachers because there is no similar precedent, seems totally disconnected from those realities.

:namaste:
Kim
Exactly, we're changing other stuff, connected to gender, sex etc. As we should.

For me, a cultural precedent does not trump the fact the Vajrayana is born from the Mahayana. And in the Mahayana, giving Dharma is the highest dana. For people who cite Marpa, why ignore the Buddha Shakyamuni?

There are costs, they need to be met with a fee. No gripe there.

But this extra thing of 'giving all one has for something so priceless' - well, for that to be a genuine giving, it can't be a commodity that has a fixed price.

And the notion of ownership: I can't see this justified in any Buddhist tradition anywhere. There is little more contrary to Dharma than taking possession of something. We give away this notion at every level.

So, on this basis one should donate, big, left right and centre. But that has to be the axiom.
jet.urgyen
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by jet.urgyen »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 4:25 am
jet.urgyen wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 3:43 am
in vajrayana the guru owns the teaching. in sutrayana the preceptor doesn't.
No, that’s not the principle.

The principle is that the guru is embodiment of the three jewels, so,offerings to the guru is of greater merit.
I agree, the guru. Not the preceptor.

Giving ateaching on sutra doesn't make one the guru of anyone, afaik.
jet.urgyen
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by jet.urgyen »

Aryjna wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:44 am
gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:11 am The sutra and tantra man should be honest and say "I do it for the money".
I need to pay for my food, women, housing etc. There is no fault in that.
Then we know we are customers.

But a genuine guru who has realization. He dont have any need for any ones
offerings. Otherwise it would be upside-down.
jet.urgyen wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 3:23 am but imo, it's definitely a horrible crime to charge for sutrayana teachings.
So, how do you think the costs of the the teachings should be covered?

One idea(?) that could match what you are saying is that teachers should be living as homeless people in alleys so that students can be visiting them there to receive teachings in person.
idk, maybe it would be good to give a free and open event on what's not yours, and another charged and closed one on what's yours. This way the purpose of teaching will be accomplished and no one can complain. It is possible that mixing the things ain't so good after all.
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Aryjna
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by Aryjna »

jet.urgyen wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:25 am idk, maybe it would be good to give a free and open event on what's not yours, and another charged and closed one on what's yours. This way the purpose of teaching will be accomplished and no one can complain. It is possible that mixing the things ain't so good after all.
It's not a matter of ownership. It is a matter of this kind of events costing money to organize. Someone has to pay for them. So who is going to pay if the people who attend the events do not want to contribute?

In the case of e.g. Christian religious events, in countries where the Christian church is rich and powerful, the church can easily pay for everything. This is really completely different to the situation with Dharma teachers and centers in most countries of the world.
jet.urgyen
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by jet.urgyen »

Aryjna wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:41 am
jet.urgyen wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:25 am idk, maybe it would be good to give a free and open event on what's not yours, and another charged and closed one on what's yours. This way the purpose of teaching will be accomplished and no one can complain. It is possible that mixing the things ain't so good after all.
It's not a matter of ownership. It is a matter of this kind of events costing money to organize. Someone has to pay for them. So who is going to pay if the people who attend the events do not want to contribute?

In the case of e.g. Christian religious events, in countries where the Christian church is rich and powerful, the church can easily pay for everything. This is really completely different to the situation with Dharma teachers and centers in most countries of the world.
It doesn't take much to spare 30 to 45 min for* a free sutrayana teachings prior to any vajrayana teaching. As engineer i can tell it just wont rise the cost of the event, even if it does it won't affect it at all. If something like this can't be done then the problem lies elsewhere, like in our attitude *and such.
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Aryjna
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by Aryjna »

jet.urgyen wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 12:57 pm
Aryjna wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:41 am
jet.urgyen wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:25 am idk, maybe it would be good to give a free and open event on what's not yours, and another charged and closed one on what's yours. This way the purpose of teaching will be accomplished and no one can complain. It is possible that mixing the things ain't so good after all.
It's not a matter of ownership. It is a matter of this kind of events costing money to organize. Someone has to pay for them. So who is going to pay if the people who attend the events do not want to contribute?

In the case of e.g. Christian religious events, in countries where the Christian church is rich and powerful, the church can easily pay for everything. This is really completely different to the situation with Dharma teachers and centers in most countries of the world.
It doesn't take much to spare 30 to 45 min of a free sutrayana teachings prior to any vajrayana teaching. As engineer i can tell it just wont rise the cost of the event, even if it does it won't affect it at all. If something like this can't be done then the problem lies elsewhere, like in our attitude.
It is not a dilemma between adding a 30 minute free teaching to a different event and not adding 30 minutes. I'm talking about standalone events, regardless of whether they are mostly sutra focused or not.

In what building is the teaching going to take place? Who is paying for the building, the bills, who are the people who will help organize the event, arrange the seating, make sure the audio and video is working correctly, etc.

If every person who considers attending thinks they should give no support whatsoever, just show up and attend, then there is no way to have an event at all in the first place.

The donations suggested for a day's teaching/event often are roughly the same cost as ordering a pizza, which many people order without second thought, but they don't want to contribute the same amount when attending an event that is presumably important to them.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:45 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:30 am
gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:31 am

It may taste like that for you. But we all have right to our opinions, like you, and like me.
…but, is it the opinion of your own ‘genuine guru’? That’s the real question. (I must assume that you are speaking from personal experience!)
If it is, then please let me know how to reach this genuine guru, as my funds are low these days.
That statement was from me, it have nothing to do with any one. No one asked me to write it here.
Well if you practice and study well, how could you NOT meet genuine gurus?
But if your motivation is personal monetary gain. I doubt you can make it.

My topic is not about trolling, like you are doing here. A very painful topic for many
buddhists even in western countries.
I don’t know how you practice and study, but since you brought up this topic, It is logical to assume that you have not met any genuine gurus. Because, if you had, then by your own reasoning, ‘genuine’ means they are already teaching you for free, so there would be nothing to complain about in the first place. If that’s the case, I hope you will meet one.

If you have met a genuine guru and they are demanding a fee, then by your own definition, they are not really genuine at all. And in fact, there are a lot of people posing as genuine teachers, who are just spiritual scam artists.

I have never known a teacher to turn away a student for lack of money, unless there is a reason coming from wisdom. But that is a tactic to benefit a stingy student, not the greed of the teacher.

Here is the method I use to ease the pain of money: save .25 dollar or euro or yuan or whatever money you use each day. In one year, you will have 91.25 that you can spend on live dharma teachings.

This is really a golden time for Buddhist teachings. It is called the age of decline, but I think it is just the opposite. If you have a computer, you can get genuine teachings from all over the world, for free. You can talk to genuine teachers in real time on Facebook, for free. If you want free Buddhist teachings, they can be found all over the Internet.

Only 60 or 70 years ago, this was all impossible. A person would need to go to Japan or India. They would have to speak that language, not only casual conversation, but Buddhist concepts. They would have to travel to a remote area to find a temple. They would need to be welcomed and not turned away. Maybe the guru is there or maybe the guru is in retreat for 3 years. Maybe the guru does not want to take on a foreign student. And then add to that, if you insist on finding a teacher who will teach for free, good luck with that too.

I think most dharma centers offer volunteer opportunities to people who want to give but can’t give money. The issue then is Dana, generosity. If a person can’t afford to give, that’s one thing. If a person who can afford to pay simply refuses to pay or donate based on some abstract principle, then dharma medicine won’t help them anyway.
EMPTIFUL.
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Domingo
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by Domingo »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 1:46 pm This is really a golden time for Buddhist teachings. It is called the age of decline, but I think it is just the opposite. If you have a computer, you can get genuine teachings from all over the world, for free. You can talk to genuine teachers in real time on Facebook, for free. If you want free Buddhist teachings, they can be found all over the Internet.

Only 60 or 70 years ago, this was all impossible. A person would need to go to Japan or India. They would have to speak that language, not only casual conversation, but Buddhist concepts. They would have to travel to a remote area to find a temple. They would need to be welcomed and not turned away. Maybe the guru is there or maybe the guru is in retreat for 3 years. Maybe the guru does not want to take on a foreign student. And then add to that, if you insist on finding a teacher who will teach for free, good luck with that too.
Especially this pandemic resulted in a huge boost of zoom/webcast teachings, which I'm really grateful for. In the past, often my main problem hasn't been the pricings for seminars/retreats, which I almost always found very reasonable, but all the additional costs for travelling, accommodation etc. In this respect, the pandemic was a real blessing for me. I had more leisure time, and undreamed-of possibilities to participate in online teachings with wonderful teachers around the globe.
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by stoneinfocus »

gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:45 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:30 am
gelukman wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:31 am

It may taste like that for you. But we all have right to our opinions, like you, and like me.
…but, is it the opinion of your own ‘genuine guru’? That’s the real question. (I must assume that you are speaking from personal experience!)
If it is, then please let me know how to reach this genuine guru, as my funds are low these days.
That statement was from me, it have nothing to do with any one. No one asked me to write it here.
Well if you practice and study well, how could you NOT meet genuine gurus?
But if your motivation is personal monetary gain. I doubt you can make it.

My topic is not about trolling, like you are doing here. A very painful topic for many
buddhists even in western countries.
You do realize that there is a line between personal greed and needing enough money to live, right? It's not as black and white as you seem to think.
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tobes
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Re: There is no business like religion business.

Post by tobes »

Something very controversial, and I don't expect much (or any really) agreement. But: if a teacher is not ordained, then why not contribute to their own livelihood via paid labour like everyone else? There are many precedents for this in the Vajrayana too.

I know I'll be slammed for this!

I get the refrain: because they need 100% of the time in retreat, practice etc. But the issue is that we end up setting up a Brahmin caste. Maybe some can be Brahmins, dispensing this or that for a fee. But some can be outcasts, and some can be workers.

The idea that all should be Brahmins seems inconsistent with the range of possibilities heralded by the Vajrayana tradition.
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