the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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marc108
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby marc108 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:24 pm

I would be interested to see what the Sayadaw would say if he knew his students were charging 150$ an hour for Meditation lessons!

The more I receive teachings from my (lay) Teacher the more abhorrent I find charging for the Dhamma. My Teacher has not even -mentioned- Dana to me, he's instructed, given phone, email and in person interviews as well as weekly sittings and monthly day longs completely free with no strings attached... In fact he pays a large portion of the cost of renting our building himself!
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:21 am

As it is often about "while living on the food offered by the faithful..." I guess the wrong livelihood for Bhikkhus (recluses and brahmins) might be very related to this.

Ven. Sayadaw would not say much, he had declared such things very often already. One can not change others.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:02 am

I find the whole idea of lay teachers a little weird - it seems to me that if you want to make a livelihood out of teaching the Dhamma, you should become a monk. To my knowledge, the idea of a "lay teacher" who makes cash off teaching and guiding retreats is a totally western, capitalistic invention. There are tons of great lay teachers out there, but I think that it does have the side-effect of making monasticism seem unnecessary or even unideal.

Just my two cents.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Hanzze
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:13 am

if you want to make a livelihood out of teaching the Dhamma, you should become a monk

Dear LonesomeYogurt,

That one would not be different to a layman teacher you like to critice. Dhamma is something given freely without strings. When ever there is a dependency (food for teaching) the teaching would be not clean and free as it should be.

A Monks task is not to teach. A Monk who teaches does it out of compassion and nothing else.

So a compassionated motivation would be, frist being free of defilements by one self, independent from desire and then able to teach.

How ever, everybody would find his teacher or his pupils in dependency of his karmic possibilities. There is nothing wrong on the journey to the path, as long the journey is not called (mistaken) as the path.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby marc108 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:41 pm

Video: Selling the Dharma
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2012/11/vi ... -container


gotta love it... self-righteous justification for selling the Dhamma! please also read the last bit of comments where Vince Horn justifies charging 50-100$ an hour for meditation instruction by saying the Dana-based teaching structure is a 'fundamentalist, literalist interpretation' :clap:
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:10 pm

marc108 wrote:Video: Selling the Dharma
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2012/11/vi ... -container


gotta love it... self-righteous justification for selling the Dhamma! please also read the last bit of comments where Vince Horn justifies charging 50-100$ an hour for meditation instruction by saying the Dana-based teaching structure is a 'fundamentalist, literalist interpretation' :clap:

I got to 5:54 and turned off.
that vince fellow obviously doesn't understand the beauty of non-preformance.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:55 pm

We live in the information age. As my son recently put it, "information is no longer a commodity." We live in an age with quick and easy access to information with the internet, wikipedia, Access to Insight, Dhamma Wiki, Dhamma Wheel, and numerous other sites offering information and instruction and access to the Suttas at no charge.

As a result, the lay teachers and centers charging exorbitant fees may find fewer and fewer customers over time. There is certainly nothing wrong with charging for facilities such as room and board, meals, etc, but the high fees for simply information about the Dhamma? That appears to cross a line that the Buddha did not want crossed. And perhaps the information age will take care of that and the allure of paying high prices for it will fade away.

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby carlosm » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:56 pm

marc108 wrote:Video: Selling the Dharma
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2012/11/vi ... -container


gotta love it... self-righteous justification for selling the Dhamma! please also read the last bit of comments where Vince Horn justifies charging 50-100$ an hour for meditation instruction by saying the Dana-based teaching structure is a 'fundamentalist, literalist interpretation' :clap:


that's a really disturbing video :-/

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby SamKR » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:12 pm

Come, give me money and only then I will teach you how to get rid of your greed...
Something doesn't sound quite right. :thinking:

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby dhammaprotectors » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:35 am

What about monastic organisations or sangha :buddha1: asking directly for donations for their so-called charity projects instead of by way of dana?

What about Ajahn Brahm asking for a fixed upfront money to participate to bid in an auction sale to book him ("Ajahn Brahm for sale")?
Is this right livelihood of monastic although it says it's for raising fund for his bhikkhunis sangha?
Cannot help thinking why a Bhikkhu Sangha is involving in the affairs of a Bhikkhuni Sangha & why is the money donating to a Bhikkhu Sangha and not directly to the Nun monastery?
Why is Ajahn Brahm in control of the Bhikkhuni Sangha & their affairs? It's complicated.

Find it indeed shocking :jawdrop: that monastic is allowed to do such thing.
Isn't their authority the Dhamma Vinaya :rules: and is this not against the Vinaya or the spirit of dana?

Any thoughts on this? :juggling: :thinking: :namaste:

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby polarbuddha101 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:02 am

There's a whole thread on that issue dhammaprotector

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=16465&start=0
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby reflection » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:07 am

Haha, awesome.

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby dhammaprotectors » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:22 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:There's a whole thread on that issue dhammaprotector

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=16465&start=0


Thanks. (Noted).

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby marc108 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:17 am

Ajahn Brahm is clearly the frontman because the Bhikkhunis want it.

This is not comparing apples to apples. The amount of Dhamma teaching Ajahn Brahm has put out into the world
Is perhaps unmatched in a thousand years. Ajahn Brahm isnt charging for his teachings. He isn't trying to fund himself or his own monastery, he's trying to fund the Bhikkhuni Sanga. This isn't the same as charging 150$/hour for meditation lessons.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:25 am

Just a note: This thread will not be for re-litigating the Ajahn Brahm for sale question.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby alan... » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:55 pm

the buddha and his disciples and so on and so on never charged so much as a single masaka so...

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby manas » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:17 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Zom, Pilgrim,
Idealism doesn't fill bellies.
If a teacher starves, he can no longer teach.

:namaste:
Kim


This/isnt/about/idealism.
The/Buddha/said/that/Dhamma/is/to/be/given/as/a/gift,
NOT/bought/and/sold/like/a/commodity.
It/was/given/freely/to/humanity/by/the/Buddha
so/he/has/the/right/to/expect/that/from/us.
Its/not/ours/to/sell;/nor/can/we/make/any/claim/of/discovery:
only/the/Buddha/can/make/that/claim,/not/us.

If/a/lay/teacher/needs/to/support/their/life
nothing/is/stopping/them/from/working/at/a/job.
As/for/Dhamma/instruction,
it/would/be/acceptable/if/a/student,/out/of/gratitude,
gave/of/their/own/free/will
and/that/lay/teacher/then/accepted/it;
but/to/REQUIRE/payment/ie/charge/is/not/correct!

metta/ :anjali:
Last edited by manas on Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:18 pm

Greetings,

Well said, manas.

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Nyorai » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:58 am

If you had achieved a stage of considering yourself having the ability to impart wisdom teaching of Buddhism, means one is able to live simply and moderately with ultimate joys of basic foods and simple shelter. There is no reason to charge for meditation lesson as this is inherent quality of all. The generous sharing and teaching of true dharma will develop even more insightfully beyond materialism. If the condition is not favorable to share with minimum expenses or without donor, there is no requirement to set up meditation class. Most essentially is to keep an extremely low cost so that everyone can enjoy and experience their inherent peace. The most favorable buddhism institution for meditation is those that does not charge a single cent as it does not give rise to any burden and welcome even the pauper :broke: to experience their own joys of meditation. There is nothing most precious than assisting anyone to become buddha :buddha1:

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” :toilet:
― Gautama Buddha
ImageTo become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self.Image

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby alan... » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:06 am

manas wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Zom, Pilgrim,
Idealism doesn't fill bellies.
If a teacher starves, he can no longer teach.

:namaste:
Kim


This/isnt/about/idealism.
The/Buddha/said/that/Dhamma/is/to/be/given/as/a/gift,
NOT/bought/and/sold/like/a/commodity.
It/was/given/freely/to/humanity/by/the/Buddha
so/he/has/the/right/to/expect/that/from/us.
Its/not/ours/to/sell;/nor/can/we/make/any/claim/of/discovery:
only/the/Buddha/can/make/that/claim,/not/us.

If/a/lay/teacher/needs/to/support/their/life
nothing/is/stopping/them/from/working/at/a/job.
As/for/Dhamma/instruction,
it/would/be/acceptable/if/a/student,/out/of/gratitude,
gave/of/their/own/free/will
and/that/lay/teacher/then/accepted/it;
but/to/REQUIRE/payment/ie/charge/is/not/correct!

metta/ :anjali:



is my computer not coding correctly or is this written with hundreds of back slashes interspersed between the words???


anyway. getting money by donation is totally legit, even if it's strongly suggested. the only time i see a problem is if it's a standard business style transaction: "pay X amount of dollars for X amount of dhamma. no money means no dhamma for you!"

that's not okay.

but even if a teacher strongly hinted that they needed money: "i'm really short on cash these days..." i would probably just give them some as long as they didn't say or imply that they would refuse teaching if they didn't receive payment. if i could walk out and return again for more lessons without paying, i would donate some money. however if they blatantly said that they would not teach if they were not paid i would walk away without giving it second thought. i'm pretty sure there's even sutta support where the buddha (or some important canonical figure) clearly states that the dhamma should not be charged for.


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