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 marc108 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:41 pm

I dont think we can compare giving a Dhamma talk after a meal to charging 150$ an hour :rofl:

from here: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=8491&start=20#p132799

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"[4] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'"


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"One should not make the Dhamma a trade."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Monks, there are these five forms of stinginess. Which five? Stinginess as to one's monastery [lodgings], stinginess as to one's family [of supporters], stinginess as to one's gains, stinginess as to one's status, and stinginess as to the Dhamma. These are the five forms of stinginess. And the meanest of these five is this: stinginess as to the Dhamma."
"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."
User avatar
marc108
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:58 pm

One thing that hasn't been pointed out is at the time of the Buddha India had already had a long tradition of people feeding and generally looking after the needs of "spiritual seekers". So Buddhist monasticism was built on this tradition and it spread throughout SE Asia.

We don't have this tradition in the West, in our culture it's more about standing on your own two feet and a days pay for a days work. Many western Buddhists/meditators try to incorporate dana into their practise but most of us aren't very good at it.

If it weren't for the asian immigrant community probably most monks in the West would starve, and if you consider this then what hope do lay teachers have?

I think it's really quite wonderful that in some cases some western lay teachers can live on dana, so l think better to look at this as a glass half full.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1912
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:52 pm

Thanks Marc for some good quotations, and Goofaholix for some excellent observations about various models of support. As I said above, genuine, sustainable Western Buddhism not dependent on immigrant dana, is not a simple matter and models of support is not a simple issue.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby pilgrim » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:28 am

Goofaholix wrote:One thing that hasn't been pointed out is at the time of the Buddha India had already had a long tradition of people feeding and generally looking after the needs of "spiritual seekers". So Buddhist monasticism was built on this tradition and it spread throughout SE Asia.

We don't have this tradition in the West, in our culture it's more about standing on your own two feet and a days pay for a days work. Many western Buddhists/meditators try to incorporate dana into their practise but most of us aren't very good at it.

If it weren't for the asian immigrant community probably most monks in the West would starve, and if you consider this then what hope do lay teachers have?

I think it's really quite wonderful that in some cases some western lay teachers can live on dana, so l think better to look at this as a glass half full.


Perhaps, as an adaptation to the circumstances, lay teachers could use the "Suggested dana" model. But this should not cause him to reject students who can only give less or nothing at all. The Goenka centres seem to be working well on a dana basis, and the teacher is not even physically present, and people give only after the course when they have every opportunity to leave. So the dana model is possible but I think the teacher has to explain how the system works as an ongoing education.
User avatar
pilgrim
 
Posts: 943
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:56 pm

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:37 am

pilgrim wrote:The Goenka centres seem to be working well on a dana basis, and the teacher is not even physically present, and people give only after the course when they have every opportunity to leave. So the dana model is possible but I think the teacher has to explain how the system works as an ongoing education.


The Goenka model is a very good example of how to make it work.

Mind you DVD's don't need to eat, and don't require international air tickets, this helps a lot.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1912
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Ferox » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:19 am

I don't think i'd ever go to a facility or deal with a teacher who wanted money out right.. it just seems totally the opposite of the dhamma being an exoteric teaching. Now every time I go to a monastery I usually give money, because I want to support them, but I wouldn't pay for a retreat.

Starting this Thursday I'm doing a 8 day meditation retreat with Bhante Gunaratana at Bhavana Society in West Virginia. Sometimes the Lay coordinator of the retreat will talk about how the place is supported by donations at the end of the retreat, but other then that you are never even hinted to donate.

what is wrong with a lay teacher getting a job? if your gonna be a teacher full time, why not become a monk? I in all honestly do a little teaching myself to very beginners and I also have a job and a business, I couldn't imagine charging for the dhamma or my insight.
-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-
User avatar
Ferox
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:16 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:02 am

Ferox wrote:what is wrong with a lay teacher getting a job? if your gonna be a teacher full time, why not become a monk? I in all honestly do a little teaching myself to very beginners and I also have a job and a business, I couldn't imagine charging for the dhamma or my insight.

It's great that you are able to do what you do, but your work does limit the time you can make available to teach the dhamma, whether you have butted up against that limit yet or not.
The problem arises at the crossover point, e.g. when someone like yourself wants to teach more but can't afford to let their income drop too much because of pre-existing commitments to wife/children/mortgage etc., or (for the same reasons) drop everything and ordain.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the endless permutations of individuals, obligations and societies, but where dana doesn't adequately support the basic physical needs of teachers then we need to accept other means of supporting them or we won't have teachers.

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3040
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby pilgrim » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:39 am

Kim,
I think most people feel there is no issue with people voluntarily giving money for teachings . Its when the payment becomes a necessary pre-requisite that we have problems with. Do you really feel that it is OK for a teacher to turn away a student who is to keen to learn the Dhamma because he cannot pay the required fees?
User avatar
pilgrim
 
Posts: 943
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:56 pm

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:05 am

pilgrim wrote:Kim,
I think most people feel there is no issue with people voluntarily giving money for teachings . Its when the payment becomes a necessary pre-requisite that we have problems with. Do you really feel that it is OK for a teacher to turn away a student who is to keen to learn the Dhamma because he cannot pay the required fees?

I would hope that it needn't happen but if there are conflicting needs, one of them must give way.
Should the teacher go without food so that the student can have both food and dhamma?
Or should the student go without food so the teacher can have food and the student can have dhamma?
:juggling:
Perhaps the teacher can direct the student to another teacher who has other means of support and doesn't need to charge?
:juggling:
As I said, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3040
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Ferox » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:29 pm

admittedly for myself, I'm moving towards ordaining eventually, preparing myself for no debt etc. So I will be able to teach more obviously. I agree with people here saying that there are many ways to go about this, but imo it just feels wrong to charge for meditation and dhamma instruction. There is just a core thing that gets lost, a trust not seen much in this society today and an openness to all beings, regardless of if they can afford it or not.
-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-
User avatar
Ferox
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:16 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:35 pm

I have never heard of a centre (whether Theravada or Mahayana) who turned away a person who was genuinely unable to pay. Have people heard of such places?
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2626
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby santa100 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:35 pm

And if there're such places or teachers like that, then you'd better not get involved with them at all. You could be pretty sure that they'd only bring more suffering to you instead of lessening it as you originally wished... :tongue:
santa100
 
Posts: 1516
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby locrian » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:52 pm

I used to be a firm believer that one does not charge for spiritual purposes, but I and my world have changed. I am not a teacher, but I see teaching just as I do any relationship and can see why people would be in a position where they have to charge. Now I'm not talking about people who choose to make a commodity out of what is generally given freely, but people who are being asked to give of their time and selves to pay extra close attention to one person (or a few or whatever the case may be). It's like this with everything...if a friend asks me to go to movie and a diner and I've just put in 9+ hours at my job, want to finish that piece I've been working on and am tired as hell I might say "no" or "not right now." If they then offer to treat (aka pay the tab) and express a strong desire to speak with me I might shift my schedule about at my own expense (knowing I might be worn out tomorrow, or may not get my personal projects completed as quickly). When you accept anyone into your life in any capacity you accept all of them and sometimes a person can't see how to make room or it would be too costly on a personal level. Money can sometimes balance that out. I mean, don't monasteries even have people cook or clean in exchange? In my world that is as good if not better than money. I mean, these relationships aren't as cut and dry as "I'll meet with you for an hour on Monday." They can really penetrate every aspect of one's life and *sometimes* money can help balance that (aka, well...I'll hire someone to clean the house this week which frees 3 hours for other stuff...).

To sum it up, it's not the money I have a problem with...it's what is being exchanged for what and why...
locrian
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:27 pm

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby danieLion » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:44 am

Goofaholix wrote:
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.

Oh, I'll feed 'em. Sorry I left that out.
Goodwill
Daniel
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby befriend » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:48 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Here is Ven. Dhammika's opinion, which I agree with:

During the Buddha’s time people knew that teachers of other religions charged a fee (ācariyadhana) but that those teaching Dhamma expected nothing more from their students than respect and attentiveness (A.V,347). There is nothing wrong with charging for the food, accommodation etc. used during a meditation course. Nor is it improper for a teacher to accept donations. But to charge a fee, even if it is called ‘sponsorship’or to announce that a ‘donation’ of a certain amount is expected, contradicts the most basic ethics and ideals of Buddhism. Those who teach the Dhamma should see what they do as a rare and wonderful privilege and an act of kindness, not a means of livelihood.


from: Charging for Dhamma

:twothumbsup:
befriend
 
Posts: 794
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Maarten » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:15 pm

In the book eight mindful steps to happiness Bhante Gunaratana describes a sutta where the Buddha was on his almsround and he came across a man who was feeding his workers. The Buddha asked the man if he had some food to spare, to which to man responded: “What work have you done?” the Buddha pointed to his followers and said he had been teaching those people all day. After hearing this the man agreed to give the Buddha some food but the Buddha declined saying: “No thanks, I work for free.” And he did not eat that day.

Maybe someone knows the actual sutta?
Maarten
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:14 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:27 pm

Seems to be more a nice story/but not sure (there are many who believe that there is a teaching for alms dependency). Maybe it comes from the To the Plowing Bharadvaja Sutta.

Here are tow essays which make the stringless Dhamma giving more understandable:

No Strings Attached -The Buddha's Culture of Generosity
and
The Economy of Gifts
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 _()_
User avatar
Hanzze
 
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:47 pm
Location: Cambodia

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby morning mist » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:42 pm

Dhamma was intended to be a gift and should remain a gift. It should be given freely to all who wish to receive it. Lay people who wish to share the gift of dhamma to others are more than welcome. Please consider it an offering of dhamma, a meritorious work, a selfless voluntary work . Whether it is spending time to volunteer in Tzu chi or sharing dhamma, it is considered wholesome actions. If an organization wishes to support the person's mission in sharing the dhamma , they can do so in the form of donation and it should be voluntary.
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby kiwi » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:07 pm

I do wonder how much the lay teachers that want payment , paid for their dhamma teachings .
User avatar
kiwi
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Hanzze » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:59 am

A good question, I guess it's more rarly that disiples do different then there teacher. But there are three kinds of children in this world. Some do better, some do equal and some do worse then their parents.
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 _()_
User avatar
Hanzze
 
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:47 pm
Location: Cambodia

PreviousNext

Return to Ethical Conduct

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests