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).

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:22 am

danieLion wrote:This is only a dilemma for those who believe they need a teacher; but even then, there are plenty of good free ones. IMO, ordained teachers are more trustworthy because they don't charge. So, if you feel you can't live without a teacher, find an ordained one and prevent the issue of payment from even arising.


Ordained people need to eat too.
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby sankappa » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:02 am

I recently attended a retreat that was led by a lay teacher. While the cost of the food and accommodation was a set cost, any payment to the teacher was by dana. The teacher gave a very inspired talk explaining that Dhamma is not part of the orthodox economy, but part of the economy of the gift (dana) that was central to Dhamma and which can never have a price attached, as I'm sure most of us are aware is because it is essentially priceless.

This is an excellent example of how teaching the Dhamma needs to be approached IMO. By lay teachers making people aware that they survive by dana, you will find most people are more than willing to give generously, and importantly it enables people with limited funds not to be excluded. Once a price is put on Dhamma, it's on the slippery slope to becoming a commodity and losing it's purity.

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:13 am

Goofaholix wrote:Ordained people need to eat too.

Exactly. Anyone who thinks that the Dhamma is provided without someone paying is kidding themselves. At typical monasteries in the West the immigrant community (Thai, Sri Lankan, etc) provides enough support so it really doesn't matter to them whether those doing retreats contribute anything. Which is great, since different people have different capabilities for paying.

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby sankappa » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:25 am

mikenz66 wrote:Exactly. Anyone who thinks that the Dhamma is provided without someone paying is kidding themselves.


Hi Mike,

I don't think anyone is saying that there should not be some form of payment for Dhamma, but that this transaction needs to occur by dana and not be part of the orthodox worldly economy of set prices.

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Zom » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:57 am

Buddha refused to give Dhamma for food.
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:03 am

Zom wrote:Buddha refused to give Dhamma for food.

How do you know, Zom?
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:05 am

Greetings,

Ben wrote:How do you know, Zom?

It's in the suttas.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Ben wrote:How do you know, Zom?

It's in the suttas.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Thank you Retro, I was just encouraging Zom to provide a citation with his comment rather than just an unsupported assertion of what the Buddha did or did not do.
kind regards,

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:12 am

There are many suttas where the Buddha accepts an invitation to a meal, has the meal, then teaches the Dhamma.
See, for example: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:18 am

Greetings Mike,

Exactly - a gift is offered, and then a gift is offered in return.

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 mikenz66 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:29 am

But there is a fairly clear expectation that the invitation means to come and have a meal then have a chat about Dhamma...

And as for refusing food, is this the Sutta that is being referred to?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
It doesn't really seem to be refusing to take food in exchange for teaching. It's a bit more complex than that...

But perhaps there are other suttas being alluded to...

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:34 am

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:But perhaps there are other suttas being alluded to...

Yes, there are... and that's not one of them.

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 Cittasanto » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:41 am

danieLion wrote:This is only a dilemma for those who believe they need a teacher; but even then, there are plenty of good free ones. IMO, ordained teachers are more trustworthy because they don't charge. So, if you feel you can't live without a teacher, find an ordained one and prevent the issue of payment from even arising.
Goodwill
Daniel

lack of charge does not mean they are trustworthy, or know what they are talking about.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:But perhaps there are other suttas being alluded to...

Yes, there are... and that's not one of them.

OK well it would be good to refer to some then, since I can only recall ones like the one I linked to where the Buddha accepts an invitation for a meal and a chat...

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:04 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:OK well it would be good to refer to some then

Sorry, I can't be bothered digging around the suttas just to prove this to you. If you care enough to look, the general theme is that someone who wasn't a follower of the Dhamma is convinced by the Buddha on matters pertaining to the Dhamma and then they make offerings which are rejected because they are interpreted by the Buddha as 'payment' for received teaching. That is not the basis upon which the Buddhadhamma is taught.

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 mikenz66 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:05 am

OK, I'll await someone who cares to support their assertions with facts then...

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:09 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:OK well it would be good to refer to some then

Sorry, I can't be bothered digging around the suttas just to prove this to you.
Seriously.

If you care enough to look, the general theme is that someone who wasn't a follower of the Dhamma is convinced by the Buddha on matters pertaining to the Dhamma and then they make offerings which are rejected because they are interpreted by the Buddha as 'payment' for received teaching,
It would be interesting to actually see the text (or texts, if there is, in fact, more than one in question). What presents itself immediately is that this concerns a person who was initially a non-follower, so it would interesting to see the full context. Sorry you cannot be bothered, however.
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.

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:13 am

Greetings Tilt,

Seriously.

Yes, seriously... I know Zom is correct. It's not going to bring me any closer to enlightenment to hunt around through the Sutta Pitaka for the benefit of those who don't believe him. I have other things to do.

tiltbillings wrote:Sorry you cannot be bothered, however.

If I could think of a combination of unique keywords to search by I would... but I can't think of what would return the sutta(s) in question. I'm pretty sure it is multiple suttas too...

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 tiltbillings » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Seriously.

Yes, seriously... I know Zom is correct. It's not going to bring me any closer to enlightenment to hunt around through the Sutta Pitaka for the benefit of those who don't believe him. I have other things to do.
I don't disbelieve him. I'd simply like to see the text(s) for myself. It has been the common courtesy here to provide the text one refers to. I'd hate to think that that is changing.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:29 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Seriously.

Yes, seriously... I know Zom is correct. It's not going to bring me any closer to enlightenment to hunt around through the Sutta Pitaka for the benefit of those who don't believe him. I have other things to do.

But this issue is important in thinking about the possible shape of Buddhism in the West, so it would be nice to have some sutta references to support opinions.

The Sutta I quoted, and many others with the same scenario, appear to indicate a symbiotic relationship between the laity and the Sangha, where the laity supported the Sangna, expecting them to not only practise for their own awakening, but to communicate Dhamma to the laity.

As in this case:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"There is the case, Bharadvaja, where a monk lives in dependence on a certain village or town. Then a householder or householder's son goes to him and observes him with regard to three mental qualities — qualities based on greed, qualities based on aversion, qualities based on delusion:
...
When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on delusion, he places conviction in him. With the arising of conviction, he visits him & grows close to him. Growing close to him, he lends ear. Lending ear, he hears the Dhamma.
...

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