pilgrim wrote:The website states that some payment is expected from those who make use of the teachings and facilities at the Centers. Can we then assume that the management of the center then pays some money, however small to the teacher? I believe it'll be difficult for a layman to commit so much time to teaching, if his expenses directly incurred in teaching, plus perhaps additional sums to cover normal expenses of living a lay life are not taken care of.
Cooran wrote:When we hear these teachings we are touched and moved, and the feelings of appreciation and gratitude naturally express themselves in the act of generosity by offering dana to the teacher, thus circulating and completing the gift. This natural response marks our entry into the economy of gift, where buying and selling are replaced by giving and receiving, and where the defining relationship is one of spiritual friendship.
The problem, as I see it, is what happens to a teacher in the gap between these two models.
The 'economy of the gift' is a lovely idea but a structure for it has to be put in place by (or for) each lay teacher who wishes to commit a large amount of time to teaching, in a society which has no tradition of dana for teachers.
I know one lay teacher of Buddhist meditation whose commitments have gradually spread into chaplaincy work. She is putting in maybe ten hours per week (maybe a bit more - she doesn't talk about it much) and juggling her shift work around it. Students in the meditation class give donations but the teacher has never even considered accepting anything for herself so the donations cover administrative costs and the remainder goes to Buddhist charities overseas.
As things stand, the teacher is meeting the demands upon her time but she can't give much more time to it, no matter how willing she is, without giving up (some of) her paid work - with the usual consequences for her family. I don't think it is fair that she should to do that unless she can replace that income.
There are two sides to being able to put some money in her hands: (1) she has to accept that it is 'all right' to take some money, after years of not doing so, and (2) the group which helps organise the classes has to change the financial arrangements so as to pass some money her way.
Is there any fundamental difference between the group saying, "Dear teacher, please take for yourself half of the money in the donations jar after each class," and, "Dear teacher, the average amount of money in the donations jar is usually about $50. We would like to pay you $25 out of it for each class" ?
The first is nominally a gift, the second is apparently a fee. Does it matter? If so, why?