Paid dhamma teachers

Organisational work, teaching, Sunday school syllabus, charitable work, outreach, sharing of resources, artwork, etc.

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:53 pm

kirk5a wrote:What's the problem with how things are now, as you described above? Are there more demands for this teacher's time, being made by students? If not, why does she need to spend more time on teaching, and thereby have a financial problem?

The demands have gradually increased over the last three (to my knowledge) years and there are constantly opportunities to do more that she has to let pass because her 'spare' time is already over-committed.
Even without such new commitments, the current state of affairs is barely satisfactory. You probably know yourself that someone whose time is chronically a little over-committed (whatever they are doing), is usually a bit stressed and often a bit rushed. When you see someone in that state because of the community work they are willingly accepting, the impulse is to help, isn't it? That's why I'm interested in your (i.e. everyone's, not just kirk5a's) answers.
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3045
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:52 pm

Hi Kim,

Look at Piya Tan, full time lay dhamma teacher, fully supported by the Singaporean lay community:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piya_Tan

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby kirk5a » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:08 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Even without such new commitments, the current state of affairs is barely satisfactory. You probably know yourself that someone whose time is chronically a little over-committed (whatever they are doing), is usually a bit stressed and often a bit rushed. When you see someone in that state because of the community work they are willingly accepting, the impulse is to help, isn't it?

I appreciate the wish to help, however is her stressing and rushing truly a matter of external conditions?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:21 am

kirk5a wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Even without such new commitments, the current state of affairs is barely satisfactory. You probably know yourself that someone whose time is chronically a little over-committed (whatever they are doing), is usually a bit stressed and often a bit rushed. When you see someone in that state because of the community work they are willingly accepting, the impulse is to help, isn't it?

I appreciate the wish to help, however is her stressing and rushing truly a matter of external conditions?

No, in that she freely accepts the dhamma teaching role and the wife role and the wage-earner role.
Yes, in so far as the demands of those competing roles slightly exceed the time available. Another (similarly over-committed) friend of mine used to joke that she would do the extra stuff on 'Tuesday B' but we all know there is really only one Tuesday in each week.
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3045
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby kirk5a » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:39 pm

Yes, of course, who has time? Who has time? But then if we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time?

- the Merovingian in The Matrix Reloaded
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby unspoken » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:15 pm

hope he/she got a job for supporting his/her life. And give dhamma teachings in the other half time
unspoken
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:41 pm

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby morning mist » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:39 pm

I would say that she is doing a good job and lives for the welfare of both herself and others as the Buddha mentioned in the sutta below. A role model lay practitioner . More advance lay practitioner can follow her example to share the dhamma with others. If people benefit from her gift of the dhamma then they should donate to show their support for her time and effort. But I don't think it is a good idea to set a price or fee.

“And how, Lord, does a lay follower live for his own welfare but not for the welfare of others?”
“If, Mahānāma, a lay follower has faith, virtue and generosity himself, but does not encourage others in gaining faith, virtue and generosity; if he himself likes to visit monks and to listen to the good Dhamma, but does not encourage others to do so; if he himself retains in mind the teachings heard and carefully examines the meaning of those teachings, but does not encourage others to do so; if, having understood both the letter and the meaning, he himself lives in conformity with the Dhamma, but does not encourage others to do so—in such a case, Mahānāma, a lay follower lives for his own welfare but not for the welfare of others.”

“And how, Lord, does a lay follower live for the welfare of both himself and others?”
“If, Mahānāma, a lay follower himself has faith, virtue and generosity, and also encourages others in gaining them; if he himself likes to visit monks and to listen to the good Dhamma, and he also encourages others to do so; if he himself retains in mind the teachings heard and carefully examines their meaning, and he also encourages others to do so; if, having understood both the letter and the meaning, he himself practises in accordance with the Dhamma and also encourages others to do so—in such a case, Mahānāma, a lay follower lives for the welfare of both himself and others.”- Anguttara Nikaya

With metta,
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:18 pm

Thank you, morning mist and unspoken.
morning mist wrote:If people benefit from her gift of the dhamma then they should donate to show their support for her time and effort. But I don't think it is a good idea to set a price or fee.

The difficulty here - in Australia - is that we have no tradition of donating to the teacher in circumstances like this, so donations, as I said before, go to charity once expenses (photocopying, venue hire, etc) have been paid, although I'm sure the students would be happy enough for some of their money to go to the teacher.
Piya Tan's example (thanks, rowyourboat) is inspiring but is not a close parallel: as a ex-monk he was basically continuing his existing work, starting from a high-profile position and with a strong support base.

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3045
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:20 pm

I am beginning to think that any reward, material or otherwise can at some level, corrupt the message- it is not a problem if you are teaching beginners dhamma, but if it is teaching anicca, dukkha, anatta (vipassana) then the message can get watered down, diluted and loose it's ability to allow true deep disenchantment, dispassion to take place. The tendency would be to simply go with samsaric flow and dish out what the dhamma punters want to hear. :thinking:

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby morning mist » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:42 pm

rowyourboat wrote:I am beginning to think that any reward, material or otherwise can at some level, corrupt the message- it is not a problem if you are teaching beginners dhamma, but if it is teaching anicca, dukkha, anatta (vipassana) then the message can get watered down, diluted and loose it's ability to allow true deep disenchantment, dispassion to take place. The tendency would be to simply go with samsaric flow and dish out what the dhamma punters want to hear. :thinking:



This is one of my concern as well. Another thing is I am sure some have seen Indian Gurus charging 5000 US dollar for retreat. 500 dollars for a 2 day workshop or retreat. Let's keep it the way the Buddha set it up so we don't end up with this kind of thing.
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby morning mist » Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:11 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
The difficulty here - in Australia - is that we have no tradition of donating to the teacher in circumstances like this, so donations, as I said before, go to charity once expenses (photocopying, venue hire, etc) have been paid.


Hi Kim,

I bet the venue hire cost is the heaviest. What if advance lay practitioners like her hold the event outdoor in nature, similar to the teachings that the Buddha held. This is what the following group did and I thought that is such a fun idea. It was first started by Tricycle. Also, maybe she can contact local forest monasteries to let her gather with others and study the dhamma there on weekdays. Someone has done that too.

http://preciousmetal.wordpress.com/2011 ... s-smiling/

Actually, in monasteries where there are buildings available to give talks many teachers still give talks beneath the trees . It can be very peaceful and pleasant to listen to dhamma talk followed by a guided meditation session outdoors. People have a chance to spend time in nature. Also , it is very suitable for walking meditation. Even if people don't enjoy the talk, just sitting outdoor is pleasant enough.

I think the park or beach can be fun. Walking meditation on the surf is wonderful. All people need to bring is a small beach mat and cushion. Maybe someone from the group can sell some drinks and snacks for tea breaks. She might want to get together with a few other advance lay practitioners .

A group I went to offered free snacks and tea after guided meditation & walking meditation , right before dhamma talk. That makes the event even more relaxing and enjoyable. It makes me want to donate to support all the services they have given.

These days we are used to being indoors , between the four walls. We are so cut off from nature. Since there is an environmental issue going on, connecting with nature can also serve to motivate people to conserve it.

I think the idea jumpstarted by Tricycle is great, what do you think.

With metta,
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:37 am

Wow, Morning mist, that sounds amazing! I think I have found the Buddhist version of standing on a soap box in a street corner (from another angle)!

Thank you Tricycle!

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:59 am

Hi, morning mist,
I don't think you understand what our circumstances are here:
morning mist wrote:Also, maybe she can contact local forest monasteries to let her gather with others and study the dhamma there on weekdays.

I live in a provincial city in Queensland. There are perhaps 300 000 people living within a 500 km radius of us, and less than 1000 - probably *much* less - would identify as 'Buddhist' - of any tradition. The nearest monastery - of any tradition - that I know of is more than 1000 km away. We organise a weekend retreat every year with a visiting teacher, getting about thirty participants who travel as much as 400 km to attend. This is not like Thailand or Singapore; it is not even like Europe where most people are non-Buddhists but people live much closer to each other and can still get together easily. I think one of the reasons there are (comparatively) so many Australians on DW is that we are so isolated in real life.

The rest of your post is great - lovely suggestions and I will share them with others here.

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3045
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby morning mist » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:42 am

Hi Kim and rowyourboat,
I wasn't aware that there are hardly any vihara in your area. Just ignore the idea of conducting it at one of the vihara.

I am glad you guys like the idea of Outdoor Nature Retreat from Tricycle. The first time I read about it, I wish these events occur more often and in more locations each weekends. It resonates with the simple Forest style.

With metta,
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:12 pm

Here is another perspective. I was reading Ven Dhammika's "The Broken Buddha" this morning. He mentioned that at one time the average Burmese family gave 40% of their income to the Sangha via Dana. According to the book this is not odd in Asia nor is that money going to keep monastics in luxury ( a frequent complaint in this thread is paid Dhamma teachers possibly getting rich ) while many of the people in their community live in poverty. In addition to that the author claims that monastics discourage people from reading the suttas, learning the dhamma and meditating or even believing that they can be liberated.

40% of your income?

That shifted my perspective on how I would view a "suggested donation" I'm not thrilled with paying for a retreat.

My ideal would the dhamma taught through a modernized Buddhist order though.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby morning mist » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:31 pm

Jhana4 wrote: That shifted my perspective on how I would view a "suggested donation" I'm not thrilled with paying for a retreat.
My ideal would the dhamma taught through a modernized Buddhist order though.


Hi ,
Bhavana , Goenka, certain Chan ( zen) monastery, they all function based on donation basis. I wouldn't want to set a price tags because this makes it accessible to anyone.

I think renewal is a good idea. Over the years, various rituals from the culture get mixed up with the teaching until it becomes the main focus . I think the focus should be shifted back to what really matters. And that is the Threefold training of the Eightfold path. One thing we have to be very careful about though, is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. For example, I am starting to see someone suggesting that rebirth and kamma should be thrown out. Some even suggest mindfulness. I am not surprise if one day they will want to throw out the Buddha from the dhamma as well. This is even worse than it is now, not that there is no need for some renewal.
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:13 pm

morning mist wrote:
Jhana4 wrote: That shifted my perspective on how I would view a "suggested donation" I'm not thrilled with paying for a retreat.
My ideal would the dhamma taught through a modernized Buddhist order though.


Hi ,
Bhavana , Goenka, certain Chan ( zen) monastery, they all function based on donation basis. I wouldn't want to set a price tags because this makes it accessible to anyone.



Well, my point was that the idea of dhamma teachers getting paid to teach the dhamma and possibly being paid well is offensive to some Americans and Europeans. Yet, that is what is happening in some parts of Asia according to that book. People are shelling out HUGE chunks of their income to support the monks.....and they aren't even getting the dhamma lessons out of it.......or encouragement. So, maybe the people who charge for meditation lessons or who charge ("suggested donations") for expenses aren't so bad compared to other situations in the world.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby morning mist » Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:52 pm

I say some of the monks in certain regions are not doing their job of sharing the gift of dhamma. But that is not to say that they are all like that. Also , charging a set fee is not necessarily the answer. Perhaps a renewal of the sangha is needed . I don't know what they are doing when not teaching the lay community meditation and dhamma. I have to say that many of the sangha in the West are not like that. They give dhamma talks, give guided meditation, make the suttas available through the internet, give sutta study class, conduct retreats, they don't possess money. It is very different than some other places in the world .
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:23 am

morning mist wrote:I say some of the monks in certain regions are not doing their job of sharing the gift of dhamma. But that is not to say that they are all like that.


I wasn't saying all.

Also , charging a set fee is not necessarily the answer.


I wasn't suggesting an answer and I am not sure a question was asked.

I was trying to offer a new perspective into the conversation, namely that the objections people have already exist elsewhere, so paid dhamma teachers may not look as bad when comparing that situation to other situations.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Paid dhamma teachers

Postby morning mist » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:54 am

Maybe for lay dhamma teacher it is fine , who knows. It is difficult for lay dhamma teachers to live without income since they have to provide their own shelter and food. But I don't think it is a good idea for monastics to charge a set fee, because they already receive donations, the shelters are provided for them. If both lay dhamma teachers and monastics charge a set fee, then the dhamma might not be accessible to everyone.

Perhaps this can motivate the monastic sangha to keep the quality of their teaching high. Otherwise people would turn to lay retreat centers like IMS and the like if the monastics doesn't teach the dhamma properly. Ideally, the monks who have spent 10 -20 years or so would conduct retreat, guided meditation, give dhamma talks, or make the suttas available through other outlet, etc..Bodhinyana monastery is providing these services to the community in their area. However, many monasteries in other areas are not providing these dhamma services.

But then again, if it is possible for a person to live a lay life with children and spouses and become fully enlightened Arahant then why would the Buddha set up a celibate sangha with sex as a number 1 rule for expulsion. But that is not to say that lay people can't reach Non-returning and be able to teach. Non-returners are celibate though. There is a chance that lay teachers that are sexually active with a spouse can be Stream-enterer or Once -Returner, but definitely not Non-returners or Arahant. Of course, Stream-Enters and Once-Returners are capable of teaching the dhamma.

I definitely wouldn't mind seeing more retreat centers like IMS doing well in other locations as well so people with a passion in dhamma can have a place to work that is dhamma related rather than spend time working at a worldly job that is not related to their passion.
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Previous

Return to Dhammaduta (Dhamma propagation)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest