Ben wrote:Hi Drolma
There is nothing to apologise for!
Perhaps I was the one in error. My wife tells me that I, without meaning to, can be extremely direct to the point of rudeness. I'm thinking you may have interpreted my directness as being offended? At no point was I offended by anything you said.
Goodness no, it's not you! Me and my big mouth, I wish I had PMed you with my curiosity about the cost.
Reading back, what I wrote doesn't sit quite right with me. It's not that I don't know the general cost of various activities in TB. It's more that I was sort of astonished when I put two and two together and realized I had received my tickets without having given a dime at this point. But it just sort of reads badly, my questions.
One time I had this neat opportunity. A group of monks and lamas came to stay at my house for a week, and I planned and carried out all of their events. I even got to choose what they did, like what teachings, what blessings/wangs (if any), etc. This was my first time doing anything like this, and it was quite a lot of work! But I was astonished at the cost of some of the venues. Just to rent for a few hours, nearly everyone I called asked for what I thought was a ridiculous amount just to rent out some space for a little while. Finally I stumbled upon a church, I think it was Uniterian Church. All they asked for was 10% of the profits which I believe is like tithing. The monks were so happy with me, and I was happy too!
But the cost of advertising for the events was a lot too, when I took out a small add. Aside from that I got them some press at no cost. They're Tibetan refugees who were touring to raise money for a hospital in India for refugees. I got the channel 11 news out to interview them, got them in the local papers, etc. talking about the situation in Tibet. After they were on TV the turnout for the dharma events was a lot better and we received a lot more donations. Those who came to the events and didn't donate were welcomed in anyhow, and some people were very generous in what they gave.
All in all I was so grateful for the experience. And it was a wonderful time having the monks and lamas live in my house for a week. But I know all the cost that went into the events, (and how much more it could have been if I hadn't worked so hard to find something nearly free) and they really relied upon people's generosity in their travels. Of course I handled all the money stuff for them in terms of receiving the funds from people and paying the church for their hospitality. They've been doing this tour in the US for about ten years, and when people don't host them they camp.
So what I mean to say is that I know first hand-the cost involved with much lesser-known monks who are providing teachings or doing sand mandalas or giving blessings or empowerments. The costs involved for HHDL to travel and teach must be more than I can imagine! So what are the chances that my very broke self would have the HHDL coming right to where I live, and that I would be asked to give whatever I can? It's just so auspicious and I feel really grateful. And on top of it, it's at a dharma center so I imagine the gatherings will be on the smaller side.
So I guess if my posts don't sound negative, we can leave it as is. I just wanted to make sure that I don't sound like I'm criticizing him or his travel companions, or anyone involved with HHDL. Or TB in general. Feedback appreciated!