Debts

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Re: Debts

Postby andre9999 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:26 pm

kirk5a wrote:Wait a minute now - bankruptcy is a legal matter, not a moral one.

<snip>

I see no reason why someone seeking ordination without any realistic way to pay off their debt should not investigate bankruptcy.


Oh? So I can borrow money from you and then choose to not pay you back because I want to go ordain? Doesn't that affect you in any way?

Why would a business be different? That business is owned by actual people, and it also pays its employees. In the case of bankruptcy (simplified), the money that the business uses to pay it's owners and employees never comes in.

<Rumsfeld voice>
Now does a lender take on risk when it loans money? Of course. Do some lenders overcharge their borrowers? Absolutely.
</Rumsfeld voice>

But does that absolve a borrower of choosing to not follow through with their obligations? The BMC seems pretty clear here. The aspiring monk needs to have someone agree to take on his debt, not ditch out on the lender or force the lender to take on the debt (by bankruptcy).

I don't know where this falls on the big moral scale. Maybe it's low, maybe it's high. But the rules for ordaining discuss debt explicitly, and I don't see how bankruptcy fits.
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Re: Debts

Postby Annapurna » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:37 pm

andrer9999 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:Wait a minute now - bankruptcy is a legal matter, not a moral one.

<snip>

I see no reason why someone seeking ordination without any realistic way to pay off their debt should not investigate bankruptcy.


Oh? So I can borrow money from you and then choose to not pay you back because I want to go ordain?


I think that he was simply describing the legal situation in an impersonal way, that adressed the OPs situation with a large sum that he would like to pay off but can't, -while you are creating a hypothetical scenario with ill will and whims.
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Re: Debts

Postby Annapurna » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:44 pm

ashtanga wrote:...this is true. I have been out of IT for too long now. I never had any intentioin on getting ito debt, it was a negative result of embarking on a more compassionate career so late in life. |Maybe I should have stayed in IT making ££££'s but doing little for anyone but large corporations :stirthepot:

I am not in MASSIVE debt but what I owe I manage each month as a 'gesture'. This however, means that it will never be paid off - there's a green dot next to my account which means its in hand lol

I am not being impulsive either. I have been a Buddhist for over 20 years now. My daughter is 17 and ithin a couple of years probable looking to get her own place. Perfect time for me to consider ordination. If I cannot be accepted with the Forest Tradition maybe I will have to look to other more leniant traditions?

Tony...


Tony, it sounds to me as if you were only able to pay off the interests of the owed sum, but are not able to sigficantly reduce the owed sum itself to an extent, that in ~10 years you will be out of debt.

I wonder if you read my post about the counsellor?

Will you do that? I'm sure there are solutions.
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Re: Debts

Postby andre9999 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:56 pm

Annapurna wrote:while you are creating a hypothetical scenario with ill will and whims.


I was using an analogy to illustrate a point - that choosing to not make good on your debts is actually a moral issue. It affects real people down the line.

Now if someone cannot pay their debts and there are no options left, then bankruptcy is as fine an idea as any. But we're discussing a situation where the debt is more-or-less manageable, but someone feels like doing something else with their life... seemingly twice. Felt like getting out of IT for a lower paying job, and now feels like getting out of the lower paying job for a no paying job.

I got out of IT a year ago and have made way less money since then. I also have debt and support a family. If I found that I couldn't keep my head above water I would probably have to go make more money, possibly back in IT. If it came down to it, I can understand a situation where I would need to file for bankruptcy...

But I would do that out of necessity, not choice.
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Re: Debts

Postby andre9999 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:59 pm

Now somewhat more on topic...

Tony, the option that I took to get my high interest debt under control was to take a debt-consolidation loan from a bank. I was able to get more around 7% instead of the ~15% average I was getting from everything else. These days I bet those bank rates are far better than 7%.
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Re: Debts

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:59 pm

Annapurna wrote:I think that he was simply describing the legal situation in an impersonal way, that adressed the OPs situation with a large sum that he would like to pay off but can't, -while you are creating a hypothetical scenario with ill will and whims.

Correct. But as Peter said, I would think one's potential preceptor would be the one to really confer with regarding this.

In the abstract, it is quite presumptuous to ascribe bad intent to those who file for bankruptcy. As a business owner myself as well as a friend of someone who just went through bankruptcy, it is quite clear to me that it should be regarded as a legal matter. The court sifts out those who are abusing the system. Imperfectly, but we have to have a system of this sort. I regard the availability of well-regulated bankruptcy both for individuals and businesses as a social good. The alternative is debtors prison. One makes the choice, knows the consequences for ones credit, and it just goes forward. It's not a problem, I think it is both rational and compassionate legal code.

And when it comes to someone declaring bankruptcy so he can ordain, well, in my view there is no question this is for the good! Since obviously the intention here is not to ordain in order to escape debt.
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Re: Debts

Postby andre9999 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:20 pm

Kirk, I agree with you on most points here.
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Re: Debts

Postby Annapurna » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:23 pm

andrer9999 wrote:
Annapurna wrote:while you are creating a hypothetical scenario with ill will and whims.


Now if someone cannot pay their debts and there are no options left, then bankruptcy is as fine an idea as any. But we're discussing a situation where the debt is more-or-less manageable, ..


Is it really?

He said it more than once now that he CAN'T EVER pay it off.

but someone feels like doing something else with their life... seemingly twice. Felt like getting out of IT for a lower paying job, and now feels like getting out of the lower paying job for a no paying job


Obviously, money was not his motivation.

He said he wanted to live a job with more compassion.

I can understand that.

Making good money is one thing, not being in it with your heart or hating it is another.

I got out of IT a year ago and have made way less money since then. I also have debt and support a family. If I found that I couldn't keep my head above water I would probably have to go make more money, possibly back in IT. If it came down to it, I can understand a situation where I would need to file for bankruptcy...

But I would do that out of necessity, not choice


Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Why did you get out?
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Re: Debts

Postby andre9999 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Annapurna wrote:Is it really?

He said it more than once now that he CAN'T EVER pay it off.


That does make it tough. Are there other options? Is getting a second job an option... will it even help? Is it truly impossible to go back to IT? If the debt is really never ending, then bankruptcy is probably no longer a choice.

Annapurna wrote:Obviously, money was not his motivation.

He said he wanted to live a job with more compassion.

I can understand that.

Making good money is one thing, not being in it with your heart or hating it is another.


It may not be the motivation, but it should probably be a factor.

Annapurna wrote:Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Why did you get out?


I got out because I realized that my job was ethically cloudy. Companies used to pay me to break-in, and that involves a lot of lying to people. Yes there's a greater good, but it doesn't feel good for them nor me.

So I realized one day that I could go and sell IT, and quite possibly make more money at it. It would be less frustrating and more morally sound (if I sell ethically). So far I have made tens of thousands of dollars less, and my family has made many sacrifices for it. If I can't turn things around in a year, then it will be time to go back to being an IT engineer so that I can better fulfill my obligations.
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Re: Debts

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:37 pm

This is my opinion.

The rule making one undesirable (but it doesn't invalidate ordination) regarding debts is most likely rooted in political and social context of ancient world in which the Buddha lived in.

In ancient India, there probably weren't humane rules where you could go bankrupt and write-off ALL unsecured debts, and have creditor protection (creditors can't touch you legally, and you are no longer in debt to them). Bankruptcy probably didn't exist back then as it does now. If one were in debt and couldn't pay, one could have become someone's slave, or be assassinated (or tortured) for punishment.

The Buddha probably didn't want creditors to hunt down members of the sangha, and He probably didn't want the laity to view monasticism as an escape from slavery or debts.

Bankruptcy is for the reason to terminate the unsuccessful business and to write-off unsecured debts. Life happens and sometimes you can't pay off borrowed money. Bankruptcy is for that reason. You are no longer in debt (at least after 1 year or so) when you go bankrupt, and could start a new business later on.

One has more possession as a bankrupt person than as a monk. So I don't think that bankruptcy as it is today in western society is equivalent to having debts as it was in ancient society.


Should there be more value placed on paying off debts, or on ordaining (for a valid reason, maggaphala)?

Is one considered to be in debt if one declares bankruptcy and writes-off unsecured debts?

IMHO.



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Re: Debts

Postby cooran » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:56 pm

Pros and Cons of Bankruptcy Filing United States of America:
This provision of filing bankruptcy has been provided as an aid and not as an escape route. One should seek bankruptcy advice from specialist lawyers before filing it. Use the bankruptcy filing option wisely and only under extreme case of emergency, as its has repercussions on everything that you do in the future!
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/bankrupt ... uptcy.html

What consequences are there when filing for bankruptcy in Australia?
http://www.badcreditpersonalloans.com.a ... ences.html

Top ten questions about filing for bankruptcy in England:
http://www.bankrupt.co.uk/bankruptcy-top-ten-faq.htm
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Re: Debts

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:35 pm

Hello Cooran,

from your link

Debt Free Status: Once you have paid a certain number of prearranged monthly payments, set by the court, you are completely debt free, according to Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules!
...
No Further Legal Action
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/bankrupt ... uptcy.html


Great. So one becomes very quickly debt free (not a debtor), and no further legal actions against one, so nothing to make one undesirable for ordination.

As for assets being taken away: One will give away more assets by ordaining than by filing bankruptcy. One keeps much more stuff by being bankrupt than by ordaining. One is going to let go of worldly things as one ordains anyways, so assets being taken away by bankruptcy doesn't matter.


Depending on individual circumstances and local rules, it may be possible to quicken the process. It seems that if bankruptcy is in corporation, and there is no personal guarantee, then one is off the hook as soon as bankruptcy is filed. So one can ordain much quicker.
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Re: Debts

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:43 am

The moral thing to do is to pay off your debt before you go for ordination. It will provide you with a more stable foundation for future ordination and a return to lay-life should being a bhikkhu not suit you. In the meantime, continue to practice as a lay-person until your financial and family situation changes. I also second Cooran's excellent suggestion of identifying long retreats that maybe suitable for your means. My own tradition (SN Goenka) provides 10-day and longer courses* on a dana-only basis. And I am sure there are other traditions that offer similar 'dana-only' courses. Being a lay-person isn't second rate by any means.

* Long courses are only available to 'old students' who meet the course pre-requisites.
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Re: Debts

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Ben wrote:The moral thing to do is to pay off your debt before you go for ordination.


That doesn't work in all cases. What if, lets say, one has $10 million USD debt (this is tiny amount that one could have gotten oneself into, even with no money down of one own)? One ain't gonna ever be able to pay it off even with a good above average $100K salary. The interest alone would be too much (even at ridiculously and unrealistic low interest of 1% it would be 100k per year) to pay off.

What then?

When one goes bankrupt, one is no longer obliged to pay creditors (beyond a certain, usually tiny, amount. And it is paid to a bankruptcy trustee, not to creditors ). Depending on how the business was structured and bankruptcy carried out, one could declare bankruptcy, loose that business (which you would loose anyways if you ordain) and not legally owe anything to anyone and have no legal action against you? So you are not in debt anymore.

IMHO leading the holy life as a bhikkhu is much more moral, and some monetary debts may never be paid off. So why prefer paying off monetary debts over leading a holy life as a Bhikkhu?

Ultimately business is risky, and can fail. Too bad for creditors, they should have known better. This is samsara, eat or be eaten. It is much better to live a holy life. When it comes to business, it is not charity. What I've learned from experience of others is that either you rip them off, or they rip you off.
Being nice is bad for business. If you are nice, then they will say or imply that "if your a good guy, then you owe me. You're good guy, aren't you?."



I understand that in Buddha's time the rules were much harsher, and one could be liquidated (or taken as a slave) for debt. So Buddha perhaps didn't want members of the sangha to be hunted down by angry creditors. But this isn't 5BC India. Creditors usually don't hunt down debtors, and laws are much more humane. So no such bad situation can occur and a bankrupt person is legally protected against creditors and all his unsecured debt can be written off.
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Re: Debts

Postby torqz » Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:37 pm

I am in a similar situation, I have debts up to my eyeballs of about £20,000 :-(

Does anyone have any good, ethical ideas about how to make some HARD CASH?!
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Re: Debts

Postby Ben » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:20 pm

PeDr0 wrote:Does anyone have any good, ethical ideas about how to make some HARD CASH?!

Get a job.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Debts

Postby Viscid » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:22 pm

Ben wrote:
PeDr0 wrote:Does anyone have any good, ethical ideas about how to make some HARD CASH?!

Get a job.

:goodpost: :rofl:
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Re: Debts

Postby andre9999 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:31 pm

Ben wrote:
PeDr0 wrote:Does anyone have any good, ethical ideas about how to make some HARD CASH?!

Get a job.


And get off Ben's lawn! :)
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Re: Debts

Postby Annapurna » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:33 pm

Ben wrote:
PeDr0 wrote:Does anyone have any good, ethical ideas about how to make some HARD CASH?!

Get a job.

:lol:
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Re: Debts

Postby ashtanga » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:19 pm

I have to say as the original poster here i am shocked at recent posts. whats with this 'get a job' attitude??? How remarabley opinionated! I can only gather you mumble that when walking past 'beggars' on the street too?!

Many of us are in debt not through choice, but as a result of divorce, career changes etc. If we decide that we would like to make a change to a more dedicated life to the Dhamma then I would hope that we would be better recieved with a more 'compassionate' attitude than 'get a job'...!

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