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 SamKR » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:50 am

Teaching Dhamma is Dana: the greatest Dana. When someone is asking money for teaching Dhamma, he/she is trading Dhamma. It may not be "unethical" but it does not sound right.

It does not make any sense because teaching about Dana including Dhammadana is itself a part of Dhamma-teaching.

"Selling Dhamma" is such a terrible idea, I wonder how it can arise in the mind of a Dhamma teacher. There must be some conditions for its arising. :thinking: :?
Last edited by SamKR on Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:38 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby SamKR » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:13 am

I feel if any "Dhamma-teacher" is charging money for teaching Dhamma, he/she is not a genuine Dhamma-teacher; need to avoid them. This criteria makes the number of genuine Dhamma-teachers even less when we already have a dearth of Dhamma-teachers.
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby dhammaprotectors » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:37 am

SamKR wrote:I feel if any "Dhamma-teacher" is charging money for teaching Dhamma, he/she is not a genuine Dhamma-teacher; need to avoid them. This criteria makes the number of genuine Dhamma-teachers even less when we already have a dearth of Dhamma-teachers.

Agree. Dhamma is to be given as a gift not to be traded or as a favor expecting donations or support in return for the monastics, as lay ppl have returned their gratitude by providing them with the 4 requisites i.e. food, monastery, clothing & medicine. So, how can they charge for their time & teaching Buddha's dhamma? Sounds to me like salemanship. Today there are many other lay teachers charging using buddha's dhamma & meditation method but that is their business but for sangha members wearing the robes to charge is unprecedented & imo wrong livelihood! Buddha didn't charge a penny only out of his compassion & at the request of a brahma deva to teach. Btw, they are not expected to teach if they are not willing to teach for free. The 4 requisites are given free to sangha not expecting a teaching in return but in the spirit of dana. They should teach without any expectation of support, to gain followers, material gains & possessions or to pursue their ambitions or agenda (if any). Trading dhamma in the name of for the fun of it, is giving a bad impression on the Sangha & corrupts the spirituality of the Sangha. I respect the previous thread is closed, so no further comments. Thank you. :namaste:
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Beautiful Breath » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:27 am

No excuse for charging, its disgusting!

If you're short of cash get a job for goodness sake, don't charge for imparting the Dhamma.

How anyone can excuse this is beyond belief...it stinks of moral bancruptcy.
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Vakresvara » Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:40 am

Hello everyone and this is my first posting. I felt the need or compelled to write an opinion over this matter, due to my own previous experiences in life. Coming from other religion schools, and discovering Dhamma as the greatest gift, provided me with the great realization, in my search for true practice.

The greatest teachers, whom are well known to be enlightened beings; Arahants, have not ever charged for teaching the Dhamma (Teachings of the Buddha), they gave themselves without reserves to others, by walking the path with huge sacrifices, and when they attained the greatest levels of self-realization, they distributed to others freely, without materialistic conditions, and we should remember, that Lord Buddha said prior to his passing away; “One who sees the Dhamma sees me and one who sees me sees the Dhamma”.

They understood their responsibilities, and carried them out by Eating a Little, Sleeping a Little a Chatting a Little, a life of renunciation, reducing every possible way to infringe on others the burden of taking care for them. Dhamma is not a mean to get support; Dhamma is a way to benefit and offer support to others.

With no intention to offend anyone, and with the only purpose to share my experience with others, I wrote this posting, please, forgive me if in any way I caused you any discomfort.

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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby cooran » Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:53 am

Well said Vakresvara!

Some teachers are lay practitioners - as is my teacher Patrick Kearney - and, although having to support himself and wife - he only takes donations, and does not charge a fee.

With metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: the ethics of lay teachers who charge money

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:21 am

I said this very early in the thread ...
Kim OHara wrote:We're negotiating our way through a meeting of cultures (I was going to say 'clash' but it's not that bad).
In (most) traditionally-Buddhist countries, the sangha were overwhelmingly the source of dhamma (and wider education and medical services) and were supported by donations from nearly everyone in the community, so it was unnecessary and unfair for them to ask for payment from individuals for any of their services.
In the west, there are multiple sources of religious teaching, education, medical services, etc, and none of them is supported by more than a minority of the population they serve, so asking for payment is both necessary and fair.

I doubt that the traditionally-Buddhist system will ever replace the western system in the west, so we are going to have to get used to different ways of supporting our teachers, lay and ordained. And I suspect we will be working them out on a case-by-case basis, as we are here.

:namaste:
Kim

... and I still reckon it's true.
In an ideal world, no-one would have to pay for any knowledge - but we're a long way from that.
In a very-good world, students would be so grateful for the teaching they received that the teacher would never have to worry about where his/her next meal was coming from - but I don't see that happening either.

I do agree that teaching the dhamma/dharma in order to get rich is a bad thing. I am not at all sure that it is never a good thing for a lay teacher to charge so that they can afford time to keep teaching the dhamma.
YMMV ... and probably will, going by the general trend of opinions expressed here. So be it.

:namaste:
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