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The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution - Dhamma Wheel

The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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retrofuturist
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The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:26 am

Greetings,

A few days ago I came across a site called...

Buddhist Torrents
http://buddhisttorrents.blogspot.com

Without a doubt, this site contains links to many downloadable resources... the free distribution of which would be clearly in violation of copyright laws. However, it seems as if the owner believes the actions are justifiable on the grounds that the Dhamma should be free, and that the benefits arising from this unauthorised distribution exceed the negative consequences.

What do you think?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Dmytro
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby Dmytro » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:11 am



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tiltbillings
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:32 am


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Rui Sousa
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby Rui Sousa » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:42 am

I would say the taking what was not given, even if then it is offered to others, is not a skilful way of doing things.

Entering a book store to steal a dhamma book, even if to offer it to someone else, is stealing.
With Metta

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gavesako
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby gavesako » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:57 am

If it was done with the "bodhicitta aspiration" (helping others to attain enlightenment) then it might be justified. But in Theravada terms, there might be some problems with it, even though in the Bhikkhu Vinaya there is no such thing as "stealing intellectual property" (a modern idea).
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
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- Sutta translations

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Cittasanto
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:03 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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karuna_murti
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby karuna_murti » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:32 pm

I like to follow the spirit of what Buddha said, for the good of many. Sites like buddhanet and accesstoinsight, and forums such as dhammawheel and e-sangha is very useful resources.

Me and my friend published books (in Indonesian) for free. We have provide hundreds ebooks, and publish 10.000 copies Digha Nikaya in Indonesia (off course by paying royalties). We don't have any problem (yet) by not setting price label.
We are planning to provide the whole Tipitaka for free. Samyutta is currently on the editing process.

I can't really imagine what happened if all the people since Buddha's time until around 100 years ago ask for money to spread Dhamma. I still think the real thief is the one who set price label on what Buddha said.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:19 pm

Image




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David N. Snyder
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:22 pm

I always liked what our Bhikkhu Samahita wrote at one of his websites:

THE DHAMMA IS FREE. THE BUDDHA DID NOT HOLD COPY RIGHTS EITHER.

THE SHARING OF THE BUDDHA DHAMMA IS SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE
OF PROLONGING THE BUDDHASASANA THROUGH RELEASE.

This site does not commercialize nor restrict the sharing of Dhamma materials.

However, if this sharing does contravene any existing laws then these materials will be removed unconditionally.

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/copy_right_issues.htm

But that of course does not mean that people should go against an author's wishes or rights and that is why Bhante Samahita put that last sentence.
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kc2dpt
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:27 pm

- Peter


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kc2dpt
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:34 pm

Looking over that website, it is not clear whether he is distributing material which he does not have permission to distribute. His grammar is poor so it's not clear but it seems he removes links to material when asked to do so by the copyright holder.

Of course, if he really cared about ethics, he would ask the copyright holder first before posting the link. That is the proper thing to do. For example, I recall Bhikkhu Bodhi mentioning that Wisdom Publications usually gives permission when asked.
- Peter


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mikenz66
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:36 pm


Individual
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby Individual » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:19 am

The best things in life aren't things.


Individual
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby Individual » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:24 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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appicchato
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby appicchato » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:57 am

Well stated(by the Individual)...if I were asked... :coffee:

:thumbsup:

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karuna_murti
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby karuna_murti » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:37 pm

I don't mean to offend anyone. I should have put it clearly that my view is the thief is the one who takes profit from what Buddha taught. My view used to be stricter, but after Bhante Dhammanando rebuke my view on e-sangha, I gain a little respect for translators.

I remember the saying one of the greatest thief is the one who claim Buddha Dhamma as his own property. I cannot remember where the reference is, and not sure if it is Theravadin teaching.

I believe getting funding from voluntary dana and give the result for free is much better than getting funding donation from fixed price. Selling Dhamma books, even not taking any profit, is not what Buddha taught. What Buddha taught is generosity.
Perhaps selling books is not "stealing" according to modern law, but I still believe that is unskillful. Like saying Bhikkhu can take money since the time has changed, and one cannot live in modern society without money.

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kc2dpt
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:51 pm

I disagree. I think of all those people who discover Buddhism from browsing at the local bookstore. The books you find in bookstores are printed using the model of "pay for the printing, recoup the costs by selling the books". The fact is, many people get their books by going to bookstores. Other people get their books by visiting temples and finding stuff given out for free. It is really skillful to ignore the first group and only focus on the second group?
- Peter


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David N. Snyder
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:21 pm

In the case of Bhikkhu Bodhi and Thich Nhat Hanh, there clearly is not unwholesome desires or profit. Or if there is profit, they sure are not "enjoying" it. They live as monks in basically voluntary poverty, with barely a roof over their heads and a simple room with simple meals.

Just north of San Diego, California there is a monastery called Deer Park run by Thich Nhat Hanh's group. The cost of the land and structures was almost entirely paid from Thich Nhat Hanh's royalties / profits from his book sales. A brochure at the monastery showed that he made $1.1 million from all of his book sales and he used all of it (nothing left for "himself") for the opening of this monastery. This is how monks like BB and TNH live and use their funds, if any, from book sales.

Other monks and some lay teachers sell the books just for the cost of printing and shipping or they get sponsors to pay for the printing and distribute the books for free. I see nothing unwholesome in any of the above arrangements.

There are some lay teachers who do sell Dhamma books for a profit and that is a different issue. Perhaps if they did not do that, there may not be as many Dhamma books on the shelves at stores or as much information out there. The Buddha did advise against profiting off the Dhamma, so that is a more difficult issue.
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mikenz66
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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:05 pm


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Re: The Ethics of Dhamma Distribution

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:58 am



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