Thread: Selling the Dharma

  1. #1

    Selling the Dharma

    This is an article from the Patheos website by Dr. Jay N. Forrest:

    Making a Business of the Dharma

    ..and here's the sutta which ends with the Buddha saying: "one should not live trading in Dhamma.”

    Any thoughts ?

  2. #2
    Forums Member dwlemen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Lebanon, Indiana
    I think it is... complicated. At a high level, I agree, and it is disappointing that Jack K. seems to be capitalizing, tho there could be more to that. It also feels like the author is spreading the "look at poor me" a bit, but maybe I am reading too much there.

    I don't know that I agree with the part about statues and paintings. I believe those are placed around homes, and elsewhere, to serve as reminders. So they seem to have a legitimate purpose.

    The reality is that we do live in a capitalistic society. As he points out, even to produce electronic media costs real money, both directly in actual cost and indirectly in time and effort. In order to spread dharma effectively, one must use the tools at hand.

    I suppose at the end of the day I have to hope that it'll work out... If someone is trying to spread the dharma, and using capitalism to do it, I'd hope their "right view/action/livelyhood" would show in their products. As would someone trying to just make a personal profit.

    But all is just my $0.02, and given rather late for me!



  3. #3
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    London UK
    Yes it seems expensive for a mainly online course. It seems a lot to pay for a certificate which seems not to derive from an established educational establishment. Perhaps if it were just $100 for two years tuition, it would appear not to have any more value than yesterday's newspaper.

    I can't end up with a firm conclusion for or against. I just don't know enough about the course content or the aims of the promoters to make a judgement. I hope it doesn't just attract 'rich kids' because no-one else can afford to follow it.

  4. #4
    Moderator justusryans's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Buckingham, Virginia
    Even though they are both lay people and have to have a somewhat steady income, I think that charging six thousand, seven hundred dollars per person, with nothing included except the actual teachings themselves is a little much.
    Most other sanghas I have visited manage to get by, if not thrive just on Dana alone. Look, I can understand upkeep and and staff, but surely you can find volunteers to help keep your costs down. Then after two years you get a certificate from a school I’m not sure if it is accredited. I’ve read Jack Kornfield as well as Tara Brach and while they know what they’re talking about, I don’t think I would spend that kind of money for a class like they are offering. Not even if we had it.

    What’s the certificate for anyway? I’m not sure it will be worth much. I guess it depend on what you were trying to do with it.. again it comes down to selling Dharma. It’s very clear that is a big no no!

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