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Money and the Buddha

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Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/3/15 6:54 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/3/15 7:19 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha This Good Self 2/5/15 4:11 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha This Good Self 2/5/15 7:19 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/5/15 7:56 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/3/15 7:11 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/5/15 4:21 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/6/15 3:23 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/5/15 8:36 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Ryan J 2/5/15 9:12 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/5/15 11:41 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Ryan J 2/5/15 11:50 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha lama carrot top 2/5/15 8:25 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Dada Kind 2/5/15 8:38 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha John M. 2/5/15 10:06 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/6/15 4:07 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha John M. 2/6/15 12:03 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/6/15 12:15 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha John M. 2/6/15 12:27 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/6/15 1:29 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha John M. 2/6/15 1:32 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/6/15 1:51 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha John M. 2/6/15 2:00 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/6/15 2:24 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/6/15 3:14 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/5/15 10:43 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/6/15 3:15 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Simon Ekstrand 2/6/15 3:21 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/6/15 11:24 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/3/15 7:39 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/3/15 8:01 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/3/15 7:44 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/3/15 8:01 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/3/15 8:12 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha CJMacie 2/5/15 5:16 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/3/15 7:38 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/3/15 8:28 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/3/15 8:33 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha SeTyR ZeN 2/3/15 8:52 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/4/15 12:04 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Simon Ekstrand 2/4/15 1:49 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Ryan J 2/4/15 10:50 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/4/15 10:45 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Ryan J 2/4/15 10:56 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/4/15 10:59 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha CJMacie 2/6/15 4:37 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Ryan J 2/6/15 9:51 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha John M. 2/4/15 2:01 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 5:11 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/4/15 10:58 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 5:30 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/4/15 12:05 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/4/15 1:19 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/4/15 3:24 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/4/15 5:46 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha P K 2/4/15 3:12 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/4/15 3:38 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha P K 2/5/15 5:55 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/5/15 8:27 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/5/15 8:36 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/5/15 8:56 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/5/15 9:22 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/5/15 11:02 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha P K 2/5/15 1:01 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/5/15 1:51 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha P K 2/5/15 3:04 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha John M. 2/4/15 3:05 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/4/15 3:35 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha John M. 2/4/15 5:08 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 5:35 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/4/15 11:31 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 5:46 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/5/15 12:56 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 5:47 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 5:47 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Fitter Stoke 2/5/15 12:12 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Incandescent Flower 2/5/15 9:22 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 5:53 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/5/15 12:30 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha John M. 2/5/15 12:56 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Andreas 2/4/15 2:05 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Simon T. 2/4/15 9:49 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Andreas 2/4/15 1:46 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/5/15 11:10 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/5/15 9:59 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Matt 2/5/15 11:50 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 5:55 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Matt 2/5/15 1:53 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/5/15 12:35 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha . Jake . 2/5/15 12:51 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/5/15 12:52 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/5/15 12:54 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/5/15 12:54 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/5/15 1:00 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha x x 2/5/15 1:06 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha x x 2/5/15 1:21 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/5/15 1:26 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/5/15 1:43 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/5/15 1:50 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Simon Ekstrand 2/5/15 2:48 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/5/15 2:55 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/5/15 2:22 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/5/15 2:49 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Matt 2/6/15 6:57 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha . Jake . 2/5/15 4:02 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/5/15 4:21 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha . Jake . 2/5/15 4:44 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/5/15 4:43 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha x x 2/5/15 5:05 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/5/15 7:23 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/5/15 4:40 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha lama carrot top 2/5/15 5:23 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Matt 2/5/15 2:12 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/5/15 4:57 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/5/15 7:24 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/5/15 7:47 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/5/15 7:58 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/5/15 8:22 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/5/15 9:10 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/5/15 9:52 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/6/15 11:02 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/6/15 1:22 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/6/15 1:51 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/6/15 4:37 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/6/15 7:39 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Jenny 2/6/15 5:07 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/6/15 5:04 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/6/15 10:52 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/6/15 5:05 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Jenny 2/6/15 5:15 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha . Jake . 2/6/15 5:52 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Jenny 2/6/15 9:26 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha bernd the broter 2/7/15 4:40 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Simon Ekstrand 2/6/15 2:22 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Bill F. 2/6/15 4:38 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Simon Ekstrand 2/6/15 5:57 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/6/15 8:02 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha ftw 2/6/15 9:15 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Matt 2/6/15 11:08 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/6/15 11:20 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Matt 2/6/15 11:57 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/7/15 12:20 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Ryan J 2/7/15 12:45 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 2:19 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 2:59 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Dada Kind 2/7/15 7:02 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 4:16 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha elizabeth 2/7/15 10:40 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 4:16 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha sawfoot _ 2/7/15 12:11 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 2:23 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/7/15 10:22 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/7/15 12:14 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 1:06 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Psi 2/7/15 1:13 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 1:46 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Psi 2/7/15 2:12 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/7/15 2:26 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 5:09 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Chuck Kasmire 2/7/15 4:41 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/7/15 4:29 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Chuck Kasmire 2/7/15 6:04 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 6:55 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Nikolai . 2/7/15 5:04 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 5:13 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Tom Tom 2/7/15 6:31 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Nikolai . 2/7/15 7:29 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/7/15 7:27 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 7:36 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 7:48 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Jenny 2/7/15 7:49 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Nikolai . 2/7/15 8:24 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 3:26 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/6/15 11:10 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha sawfoot _ 2/7/15 3:20 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 2:52 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha sawfoot _ 2/7/15 5:43 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Jenny 2/7/15 5:25 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/7/15 5:31 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Jenny 2/7/15 6:24 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha sawfoot _ 2/7/15 5:39 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Jenny 2/7/15 6:51 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 2/7/15 7:10 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Daniel - san 2/6/15 1:51 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/5/15 11:17 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha sawfoot _ 2/5/15 10:53 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha mla7 2/5/15 12:28 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Kenneth Folk 2/7/15 9:10 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Laurel Carrington 2/7/15 10:04 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Simon Ekstrand 2/7/15 10:21 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Eric M W 2/6/15 12:00 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha elizabeth 2/6/15 1:05 PM
RE: Money and the Buddha Simon Ekstrand 2/7/15 4:57 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Nikolai . 2/7/15 5:14 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha Simon Ekstrand 2/7/15 10:28 AM
RE: Money and the Buddha AugustLeo 2/7/15 4:47 PM
Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 6:54 PM
Which, if either, of these propositions is true?

1. People who charge money for dharma instruction are doomed to Buddha Hell.

2. People who perseverate about the evil of charging money for dharma instruction are reactionary nincompoops with no real understanding of either Buddhism or culture.

Discuss.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 7:19 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
Which, if either, of these propositions is true?

1. People who charge money for dharma instruction are doomed to Buddha Hell.

2. People who perseverate about the evil of charging money for dharma instruction are reactionary nincompoops with no real understanding of either Buddhism or culture.

Discuss.

3. Sarcastic and insulting OPs started in order to stir up anger are unnecessary and at odds with Buddha’s teachings on Right Speech

4. No one should be turned away from the dharma due to a lack of financial resources

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 7:11 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
Which, if either, of these propositions is true?

1. People who charge money for dharma instruction are doomed to Buddha Hell.

2. People who perseverate about the evil of charging money for dharma instruction are reactionary nincompoops with no real understanding of either Buddhism or culture.

Discuss.

Your recent posts on this forum do not seem representative of a wise and noble one with great understanding.  You seem to have become increasingly close-minded and dogmatic.  You are pontificating left and right and your brief disclaimers of lack of actual omniscience seem to be resigned to the margin after long proclamations of your beliefs.  Evolve toward omnisicence or get off the pot and stick to teaching only the technical aspects of meditation to those willing to pay the fees and who benefit from having paid them.  

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 7:39 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
The following is cut and pasted from UCLA Newsroom. The article is reproduced here in its entirety for your convenience.

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/two-cheers-for-the-buddha-astute-85231

The Buddha was a businessman. But don’t take anyone’s word for it — it’s written in stone. 


Of all the iconic scenes found in the earliest Buddhist art from India, none are more striking than the most venerable monasteries: The transaction, involving 10 million gold coins, clearly shows that, far from being an ascetic, other-worldly religious tradition, Buddhism was, in fact, “deeply entangled with money – and a very great deal of it at that,” according to Gregory Schopen, chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and an authority on ancient Indian Buddhism.

Schopen spoke March 10 at the 106
th Faculty Research Lecture at the Freud Playhouse on a topic that has much to say about why our world has sunk into a recession: “The Buddha as Businessman: Economics and Law in an Old Indian Religion.” The prestigious event was attended by Chancellor Gene D. Block and hundreds of faculty, staff and members of the public. Dressed casually in jeans and sporting a colorful tie, Schopen delivered his hour-long lecture with iconoclastic wit, verve and vitality, prompting frequent bursts of enthusiastic laughter from his audience. 

Partly because of popular culture, it’s hard to imagine the Buddha as anything other than a great sage, “seated in what appears to be serene and deep meditation,” or surrounded by students craving enlightenment, said Schopen. Neither image suggests that the Buddha, who taught that “all things are impermanent,” might, in fact, be “pondering how to avoid paying custom duties and taxes” — or that he might well be teaching his followers “how to write a loan contract and not make unsecured loans.” 

Indeed, Wall Street bankers would have benefited from being in the Buddha’s audience, said Schopen — a sobering reminder that, despite the world’s progress, much of history remains repetitive.

Neither the language nor the organizational structure of the Buddha’s monastic community suggests that it was a religious institution, said Schopen, who has been separating Buddhist fact from fiction for the past 30 years. Buddhist sources, he said, refer to their organization as a “sangha,” a term used in early India to denote a commercial guild or economic enterprise that functioned in some ways like a modern bank. 

These groups were led by a “pramukha,” or chief, which is how the Buddha is repeatedly referred to, Schopen explained. As in modern unions, the status of the guild’s members was determined by seniority — not spiritual attainment — and their training in the group was structured on a system of master and apprentices, the scholar added. 

What’s more, Buddhist guilds used seals to mark their goods, which were subject to taxes. “The Buddha, according to some sources, devised a number of clever strategies to evade them” and even admitted that they weren’t always successful, said Schopen. 

For all that, it was customary for the guilds to inscribe copies of legal documents on monastery walls or on porches. These inscriptions, like many others elsewhere, not only recorded gifts to the monastery, but also publicly advertised the fact that the monasteries held large sums of money intended to generate interest and were “therefore presumably available for both personal and commercial loans,” said Schopen, adding: “Given this kind of publicly available information, it is not surprising that Buddhism in early India was attractive to the mercantile class.” 

If the Buddha was a businessman, what stopped him from being greedy? 

Schopen’s reply to this question from an audience member squarely addressed one of the major issues at the heart of our troubled economy. 

“I think perhaps the Buddha foresaw in his wisdom what happens to greedy businessmen,” he said. Alluding tongue-in-cheek to disgraced financeer Bernard Madoff, he added: “What’s his name, now, in New York City …?” The Buddhist doctrine, Schopen noted, was also presented as the Middle Way, which is “a very good business principle.”

The Buddha’s life is a reminder that poverty, not money, is the root of all evil. In fact, modern research is making it increasingly clear that monks everywhere were overwhelmingly middle-class, and in early India, said Schopen, “the predominant ideology was not, in spite of representations in bad movies, particularly ascetic, and certainly not averse to the accumulation of wealth.” 


Despite widespread Western fascination, both scholarly and popular, with India’s wandering monks, “it has always been clear that they were never more than a tiny minority,” Schopen said. In fact, he quipped, they were often perceived as an “idiot fringe, respected in a way, but more often feared and grouped in Indian secular literature with criminals, charlatans, lunatics, spies — and probably university professors.”


http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/two-cheers-for-the-buddha-astute-85231

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 7:38 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I guess I don't think either of these statements are true. Both seem to be charicatures, and I see some value in both of the opposing perspectives that have come up on this topic.
I think that people whose lives have been vastly transformed by meditation may hold it as sacred, and think that it should somehow not be within the realm of transaction or commodity. The assumption here is that transaction is inherently a dirty word. And, in fairness, often when money is involved this can influence the way that something is presented to make it more attractive, but I do not see Kenneth doing that, i.e if he were operating as a businessman he would be promising bliss, and not talking about extinction of experience. That he is not doing so and is speaking in a way that seems open and unattractive at times, suggests integrity to me. 
I also wonder if those same people who oppose meditation instructors charging for 1:1 instruction -I've seen many over the years- feel the same sense of wrongness when paying for a dharma book or paying to go on retreat. Those teachers are receiving money as well. My own teacher, Reggie Ray, is willing to meet with indviduals 1:1 through skype/other means, does not charge and offers free meditation instruction through many instructors at his Dharma Ocean site, but he does however publish books and run retreats for which there is a charge, and subscriptions to the audio and meditations on his website. I feel no scruples about buying his books or subscribing, and I know he did not know I did either when agreeing to work with me despite his busy schedule. 
One possible downside of not charging for money may be that people who otherwise may have taught, may not teach because it is their time, and they'd rather do something else with it, or they may pursue something else financially that may not have been as useful as their teaching others.
Most importantly, we are all autonomous. There are good teachers out there who don't charge if you don't want to pay. There are good teachers who charge. And everyone can pick however they would like to respond to the options in their life.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 8:01 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Wow Kenneth that is an interesting and depressing article, thanks!
btw I googled 'dharma for the rich' and this interesting Salon article came up second 
I don't want to give it away but if you google the same phrase you can see what comes up first

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 7:44 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel: Isn't that an example of the "insulting and sarcastic" speech you said was at odds with Right Speech. Can't we challenge withut insulting? It makes me sad. And yes, I have done the same. -Bill

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 8:01 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Hi Bill,
I was trying to be funny, not insulting - google just googles, don't ask me how
And Kenneth actually does charge for teachings, so I wasn't saying anything new or controversial - it's a fact that he unabashedly defends
On the other hand, Kenneth insinuated that Katy was a 'reactionary nincompoop with no real understanding of either Buddhism or culture'
I'm sorry, I think they're different things
Whereas I don't feel very strongly about charging money for meditation teachings (I'm a capitalist) I can totally understand why others do
I am middle class, so I could swing the $125 if I chose to - many do not have that choice
I think the path that your teacher takes is commendable. 
My good friend and hatha yoga teacher teaches only donation-based classes (real donation classes with no suggested donation and true anonymity). The result is a wellspring of his student's trust and goodwill over the years - though he does live close to poverty - so it is not my suggestion that everyone do this
There is a reason why Goenka retreats (for example) strictly do not charge for the dharma
Money may not be intrinsically the root of all evil, but until we are all fully awakened and wealthy, IMO there are too many subconscious traps involved with money that it makes it a tricky business at best
Vipassana involves opening up the depths of the mind to degrees beyond any other practice that I know of, it is delicate and dangerous and so many other things, money can surely (as we see here) complicate

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 8:12 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
O.K. That reads much more clearly to me.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 8:28 PM as a reply to Bill F..
i.e if he were operating as a businessman he would be promising bliss, and not talking about extinction of experience. That he is not doing so and is speaking in a way that seems open and unattractive at times, suggests integrity to me.


I do not see Kenneth as a businessman.  I see him as highly dependent on the money from his students and thus will get very defensive when questioned about it since it is his livelihood.  There are some benefits such as increased time to help people awaken, as you have mentioned.  He can charge if he wishes (even with no free options in his "business-model"), but must accept the consequences of the decision: the knowledge that certain people will react in a certain way, the vast array of complications and personal reactions that arise when mixing money with teaching the dharma, and the lack of respect that will arise in some, etc.  

I had a few interviews with Kenneth in the past many years ago and he said they were donations which I fully expected to give when I had enough to give the suggested amount, but he became defensive and angry when he did not receive the payment in proper time and began to talk about how he needed the money to pay for his groceries, etc. I assume that he now has such a great stream of endless students that he no longer has this problem.  It seems he has also solved this problem by flat out charging which is at least more genuine of his real interest of charging to support himself instead of pretending that isn't what it is.  I felt slightly lost at the time with the false assumption that I needed a teacher, but eventually I realized I did not need a teacher as Daniel and others had provided more than enough information for me to awaken on my own.

As far as your other point:

Extinction might be attractive to some, not to others.  Certain people may be relieved, others may be terrified at the possibilty.  It should be mentioned as a possibility, but not presented as truth unless it is known as truth.  This is the same as his statements on rebirth.  Rebirth may be comforting to some, but highly frightening to others.  The bottom line is that he does not know. Kenneth does not have access to supermundane truths or psychic powers and his statements are beliefs and nothing more than simple human beliefs.  Many in this community respect Kenneth since he is seen in this community as a high-teacher and thus has the potential to influence the beliefs of many others since they assume that he might know certain truths due to his high status in the community.  He is not behaving or speaking as a "Buddha," in my opinion, nor does he have the knowledge of one.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 8:33 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom,

       Valid points. Thank you sharing them. Do you feel that money mixed with dharma is bad when it goes to pay for a retreat or dharma book, and if not, why not?  And yes, we leave ourselves open to criticism throughout life based on our actions, and we are free to pursue what options make sense to us. I think those are both important to point out.

Bill
      

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/3/15 8:52 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
1 is false
2 is a judgment

rightfull or not .. intent is the difference
2 is clinging .. .. hmm what else ?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 12:04 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Now that I have your attention...

May I be so bold as to offer some free teaching?

All of this is a distraction. You don't have time for this. Awakening is hard. It takes diligence. For most people, it takes a lot of time.

If your goal is to awaken, you don't have time to obess about how things ought to be. People will do things you don't like, and your complaints and criticisms are unlikely to change them. Like you, other people are patterns, built up over a lifetime. You don't have to fix them. Worry about yourself. You are the only one you can wake up.

Paying attention to your experience will lead to awakening. Start now. This can be done.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 1:49 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
In my mind this discussion draws parallels to health care.

As long as there are govenment run hospitals which anyone can visit to get the help they need, there is also room for private doctors that you pay for yourself but that also supply a more personalized, quicker service.

Simon

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 2:01 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I'm actually a big fan of dharma for dough -- and this from someone who's flat broke. If we'd like our teachers to keep teaching (yes, please) then it only makes sense to support them somehow. Especially in cultures where dana isn't really an established thing. Actually, separated from the soteriological implications of dana / merit, charging for instruction strikes me as a more honest exchange overall.

Side note: how is it OK to buy a dharma book, but compensating a teacher for their time and expertise in person is somehow verboten? I'd welcome the naysayers to explain that one.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 2:05 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
There is no such thing as a free meal. Dana, donations, seems to be very common. But the volontariness of giving it does not always seem so volontary. More like guilttripping ppl to give money. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 9:49 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
What is better? That teachers waste their talent at working day jobs just to put food on the table or that they find creative ways for not starving and bring benefits to the community to the best of their knowledge. Of course, some jobs provide more opportunity for a skillful living than others. Probably better to be a doctor or an English teacher than working in the claim department of a shaddy insurance company.

In SE Asia, the teachers that get recognized to have high wisdom are well taken care of by the community, unless they specifically choose to live a reclusive life, which and then contribute very little to transmission. In the time before IPhone and international flight, it probably only meant you get a better meal. But in today's world, even monks of great attainment use IPhone, travel abroad, got to hospital when they are sick.

Our western context is different and we have to adapt to it. Someone posted this talk by a monk on homosexually and it touch that very subject: culture is one thing, realization is another.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/americanbuddhist/2015/02/dzongsar-khyentse-rinpoche-talks-about-homosexuality-and-buddhism.html

My only issue with money in regard to the dharma, beside the fact that I'm broke, is that it has the potential of spoiling the teacher-student relationship by introducing some business-like rigidity, create some separation, prevent friendship to develop. I have a theory that one of the reason why psychologist believe so much in maintaining a distance between them and their client isn't only a matter of emotional protection, privacy or ethic. It is partially needed to maintain the business-like aspect of the relationship, money-wise.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:11 PM as a reply to John M..
John M.:
I'm actually a big fan of dharma for dough -- and this from someone who's flat broke. If we'd like our teachers to keep teaching (yes, please) then it only makes sense to support them somehow. Especially in cultures where dana isn't really an established thing. Actually, separated from the soteriological implications of dana / merit, charging for instruction strikes me as a more honest exchange overall.

Side note: how is it OK to buy a dharma book, but compensating a teacher for their time and expertise in person is somehow verboten? I'd welcome the naysayers to explain that one.

The interdiction reads: not to teach dharma for the purpose of material gain. 

One publishing their translations of the Nikayas or the Sattipathana, for examples, can have any income from proceeds distributed to the publisher and other causes which are not one's material gain.



For $125 you can have a phone call with Kenneth who "coaches to awaken", happy endings, (who's own website is not apparently effective enough for advertising/publicity),  or...

-- you can help an orphan of disease get educated and fed for about 10 months (see the awakened 4-year old girl Sweetie Sweetie in the article "Do you want me?" in the December 2014 New York Times and ebola);
-- you can sponsor an entire garden and its watering in a community or your own;  
-- you can bump your shopping cart with organic/local harvests and stay out of the ocean-- or buy from small net, local harvesters;
-- you can support the end of groundwater-dryingout in places like California via the almond industry;
-- you can deep-insulate your house with jeans or humane wool;
-- and you can lindy hop with friends : ) while patiently taking up the freely shared practice of just learning what mind does by watching it with the breath and seeing what promotions the mind makes are worth following and what promotions are troublesome.



_____
edited 1: les typoes.
edit 2: removal of last name

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 10:58 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Katy,

       I appreciate your input in this area, as it is clear you have given it some thought. To my mind, the list of causes at the bottom would be a far better way to spend my money, but to each their own. Except for the Lindy Hop. I had to google that. Too fast for me.
      Regarding what you wrote about the interdiction not to mix dharma and material gain, I am asking for a personal response from you: If you had bought a dharma book, and paid for a retreat, and the money went to pay for gas, or groceries, or electric bills, would you feel as strongly about it, or is there something about the way Kenneth presents his teachings and how you see that as being connected to money that you find disagreeable? I can not make out the difference for myself, so I am simply trying to understand. I know that some posters assume their positions and don't like being asked their origins, but I trust you have given this some thought, and can reply in a way that will help me to understand.
     As a hypothetical question that will help me further understand: If a man has a family and he can support the family through teaching the dharma, but does not charge high rates, and does not deny students, but also accepts money from those who can offer, do you think it would be better that he teach, or work a job somewhere where he is not able to spread teachings that may be able to alleviate more suffering, for ex. working at a factory sealing cardboard boxes for a corporation. To be clear, I am asking for your thoughts specifically, and to be clear, I am not suggesting this is an exact paralell of the situation at hand. Thank you.

Bill

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:30 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
Katy,

       I appreciate your input in this area, as it is clear you have given it some thought. To my mind, the list of causes at the bottom would be a far better way to spend my money, but to each their own. Except for the Lindy Hop. I had to google that. Too fast for me.
      Regarding what you wrote about the interdiction not to mix dharma and material gain, I am asking for a personal response from you: If you had bought a dharma book, and paid for a retreat, and the money went to pay for gas, or groceries, or electric bills, would you feel as strongly about it, or is there something about the way Kenneth presents his teachings and how you see that as being connected to money that you find disagreeable? I can not make out the difference for myself, so I am simply trying to understand. I know that some posters assume their positions and don't like being asked their origins, but I trust you have given this some thought, and can reply in a way that will help me to understand.
     As a hypothetical question that will help me further understand: If a man has a family and he can support the family through teaching the dharma, but does not charge high rates, and does not deny students, but also accepts money from those who can offer, do you think it would be better that he teach, or work a job somewhere where he is not able to spread teachings that may be able to alleviate more suffering, for ex. working at a factory sealing cardboard boxes for a corporation. To be clear, I am asking for your thoughts specifically, and to be clear, I am not suggesting this is an exact paralell of the situation at hand. Thank you.

Bill
Lindy hop --- I think it's trending, funnily enough. Someone on this site reminded me of it in December and now I see it's quite available... so I joined my mom and friends in doing that for the first time in about 20 years yesterday :] 

So about people who teach meditation for money: There's a place for that. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a well-studied brand, I think, offered through a northeast university.

And for those who don't want to pay for that brand of breathing meditation, there is a 1:48 second video by Daniel Goleman (featured by Edutopia, a product of Star Wars legacy, George Lucas, who funds a lot education studies and practice to determine and test great learning techniques and teamwork for all children) where Goleman highlights the freely availble "breathing buddies" (which technique goes anon). 

We know these secular sources of breathing meditation help the brain exit the brainstem and the amygdala (where the instincts of fight-flight-freeze action live and lock-up and prevent/restrict a lot of whole-brain creativity and connectivity). So, for me, it's nice to know that nearly everyone I run into knows the grandmotherly: "Take a deep breath... and calm down" and schools are even codifying it will pillow-beds for kids who just need a nap to de-escalate and get whole-brain again (there are about 25,000 homeless children in NYC and the disruption of shelter-hopping/no-shelter hopping causes this 'cohort' to really struggle, naps and breathing buddies can be short, free miracles to recover their potential to them and to me a lovely society of kids who know they've got the means to develop their skills).

So anyone can teach this in-and-out breathing meditation attention and anyone can use this. A few minutes can lower blood pressure and restore whole-brain thinking (unless there's TBI). And I'm glad to see it in use, this secular breathing meditation. I'm glad to be learning it, and applying it throughout the day. It is a process for me to reduce my own reactionary nincompoopism (DSM VI?)

In many way, these threads with Kenneth are like an aggitated Good-bye to pay-per-dharma folks because the clear skill in breathing meditation has gone beyond the pay-per-dharmas and its common sense saturates everywhere. 



Now teaching dharma for the purpose of material gain (Anguttara Nikaya 5.159, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.159.than.html, Udayi Sutta):
It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

"[1] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak step-by-step.'

"[2] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak explaining the sequence [of cause & effect].'

"[3] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak out of compassion.'

"[4] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'

"[5] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak without hurting myself or others.'[1]

I have found this to be an immeasurably useful tool. I am not a dharma teacher, nor do I want to be one. I'm waaaay to open to the unknown to want to suggest to anyone what is their own discovery and life. I like the investigation and the just sitting and the life that comes from this.

I hope Kenneth has a nice life and finds a nice livelihood. I think like the others he can probably fund his food,water, housing, purchases, dating, movies, what-have-you needs by just being himself. Eckhart Tolle had a brilliant and admirable awakening from massive depression and he relates his awakenings to other people (often freely though he is beholden to no traditional precepts and interdictions); as far as I know does not say he followed someone or a tradition into having his awakening. If I recall, it just happened to him on a park bench during profound and long-term depression and it was so powerful and moving, his own authentic experience  and he didn't need to recruit anyone, historical or modern, to validate him.

So it seems Tolle teaches from that and correlates it to others' awakenings, without recruiting the authority of personages like Kenneth both recruits and rejects (effectively, he cherry-picks) the historical buddha for his profit. 

[redacted: as this paragraph contains my view that there is a trinketized version of the buddhist enlightenment ideal via coaching meditation with the intent to cause awakening for $125/session and Kenneth notes my view is defamatory. Objectively, I see there is an interdiction to charge for material gain in the Theravadan system to which he accredits years of his training. But he also noted he had an drug-induced state of peak experience and in comparision to taking an unregulated drug from an illegal vendor, then I'd say a $125 sessions coached meditation sessions would be a bargain I'd prefer over illegal drugs from an illegal vendor.]

With meditation-for-enlightenment products I have drawn one analogy of the commoditization of water in bottles. Water in bottles, too, is not an evil idea-- sometimes bottled water is vital (after storms, outages, to polluted communities of West Virginia and to waterless communities in California). Today, water remains both essential to everyone and also is trashable depending on who can consume easily or not. And the source, natural waterways and the ocean host these flotillas of plastic-- the result of cheap commoditization of something truly good and vital, putting a polluting fabric around a needed source.

Edited: I feel if buddhist awakening has value, then an enlightened teacher would probably spread it freely as its founder the Buddha did. Also, I feel that if people refute the ideals of buddhism --- and they certain can ---  it would be authenic for such people who like buddhism but refute its tenents if they just taught something authentic to themselves, not re-write and cherry-pick a world religion to suit them and to suit a profit-motive.

Finally, a teacher can always accept dana, the generosity of students, which may come in any form. So if a woman/man has a family and she teaches well (to your question, Bill) then, yes, she may well be housed, feed her husband and children though monetary, food, housing, education funds-- all manner of donation, dana. He or she is not teaching for the purpose of material gains, but students are donating their generosity to their teacher's community-wise understanding and generous sharing of it. If a teacher recieves no dana, no problem; their message may be useless or the community may have other interests and the "teacher" in buddhism lacks the conceit to force themselves on others. If they have a wise understanding of causality, it will serve them well, students or not.

______
edit: removal of last names and generic restatements

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 12:05 PM as a reply to Bill F..
@Bill & John,
I think buying a $10 to $20 dharma book is much different than spending $125 for a 45 minute session with a meditation teacher (again I am not anti-money for teaching necessarily but I see it as problematic to say the least)
It's different for a couple of reasons, one the cost alone excludes people. Many can afford $12.50 for a book while less can afford $125 for 45 minutes of instruction. 
Also, there are libraries, where I usually get my dharma books from bc I'm cheap
It also costs money to edit, publish, manufacture and distribute a book, the author sees a small percentage of the total (too small maybe)
Retreats are similar (but different still). Money goes to one's own food and housing (and/or the food and housing of future students) as well as the facility itself and the maintenance involved. A small amount (most likely not even $125 per student) goes to the dharma teacher
It's a tricky subject - donations are a lot cleaner, but the income would surely suffer
I think Daniel Ingram (and others) have built up a lot of goodwill by offering their books for free online. There is a long tradition that the dharma was given freely to us, and it should be given freely to others, with the open hand of dana
Listen, if we're commodifying everything than, yes, why not charge for Buddha's (or Kenneth's) teachings. But I am one of those liberals that think that clean water, education and health care should be provided to all people regardless of financial resources or any other measure
Dharma (as we know) is even more basic sometimes than those most basic needs. 
Spirit Rock tries to get around this by having programs for minorities and those with financial hardship, but it's limited and far from perfect. Goenka threw the whole mess out and said, you will not pay for food or housing or teachings if you come to my center. People said he was crazy and it would never work (he started in poverty stricken India!). Still, the Goenka Vipassana tradition may be the largest and most expansive promulgator of buddhadharma the world has even seen - it is a successful model. It also produces very strong feelings of gratitude in the students and strong paramis of compassion in the volunteers - a big support for the eighfold path. Money is by it's nature transactional and promotes other (many times non-virtuous) thoughts and feelings
I am not insisting all teachers follow Goenka's lead, but I think very creative and broad measures need to be taken by serious dharma teachers so that those without money are not excluded from the teachings. Smart people could come up with a range of solutions I'm sure
Writing dharma books (as income for oneself as a teacher) is a very happy medium and IMO possibly a part of that solution 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 1:19 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel,

       Thank you for writing that out. I really am seeking to understand. I don't feel any great need to defend Kenneth, I am just curious where people's ideas come from. 
        To clarify: You don't have a problem with money mixed with dharma. You have a problem with the cost of the teaching sessions, because you see this as excluding some people? If cost were lowered, you would not oppose? Since no one should be turned away from the dharma you perhaps see this as putting money before teaching? I just had this thought, I don't know if it's yours, and the dharma is available elsewhere free of charge, so perhaps you are denying there is anything unique or worth paying that money in Kenneth's teachings? Not putting words in your mouth, just thinking out loud.
         How did you deduce that around $125/student goes to a teacher at a retreat? I actually was thinking the number might be smaller, but I don't know why I thought that.
        I have heard many negative complaints about Goenka's retreats, and the instructors. Happy to provide sources. Not being snarky, but just for source material: How are you defining successful, and how many different programs are you aware of to compare it to?
        Regarding the books as a happy medium, do you think if someone wrote an amazingly transformative book they should give it out for free to meet the needs of the most people, or should they keep some around for those who can't afford it, and sell some? How is selling some better than giving it out for free? Or some other method I haven't thought of?

Bill
      

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 1:46 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
If one charges for money there should be a money back guarantee orr atleast store credit. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 3:12 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
I wonder what percentage of people bitching about Kenneth financial model do some services for free.
How much people would be left to throw stones if only those who do offer services for free remained?

What is the goal of this holy war against pay4dharma ? Just bitching for bitching?
There is more Dharma books to last lifetime. There is lot of meditation teachers who can help and are either cheaper or free. There are retreat centers. Lastly there are Internet communities. There is place for Kenneth with his $125 per hour price for those who have the money and want someone with good references. Like really, world is big, information access better than ever. Stop bitching, it is not making you more enlightened, just more bitter.

I would only wish Kenneth to render himself more available on DhO, maybe just so focus of this site shifted back toward Mahasi Noting

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 3:05 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
That there are other things one can do with their money and that you might deem them more worthwhile strikes me as a total non-point. Also, it's not your money.

As far as material reward and the interdiction against this, this seems entirely out of touch with what being a lay teacher in western culture realistically entails. I find it a valuable admonition against exploitation, but that's about it.


It's different for a couple of reasons, one the cost alone excludes people. Many can afford $12.50 for a book while less can afford $125 for 45 minutes of instruction.

Precise values aside, it's still paying for dharma. Yes, free publication services exist. No, they do not support lay teachers whatsoever.

Further, I cannot afford individual instruction. But it doesn't seem to follow that I should expect it for free, or to rightly expect that those that can afford it ought to be excluded along with me.

I understand the gut impulse toward equality. And in a perfect world, yes, all sentient beings would have access to free and individual dharma instruction. Unfortunately, one has to touch base with reality. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 3:24 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
Daniel,
       Thank you for writing that out. I really am seeking to understand. I don't feel any great need to defend Kenneth, I am just curious where people's ideas come from. 
        To clarify: You don't have a problem with money mixed with dharma. You have a problem with the cost of the teaching sessions, because you see this as excluding some people? If cost were lowered, you would not oppose?

Sure thing Bill. As I said, I don't really have a problem with any of this, but I can understand why those with less may, there's an excluded feeling to being poor in general (I've been there) and things like this may exacerbate those worthless type of emotions. Of course, we can just observe the thoughts and sensations and all is ok - but someone must teach us how to do that, ideally with no money changing hands

Since no one should be turned away from the dharma you perhaps see this as putting money before teaching?

I would give Kenneth the benefit of the doubt that he didn't become a dharma teacher for the money. I disagree with many ultra conservative capitalists that money is the prime motivating factor for most people, although of course it is for some - hence all the F-ing lawyers everywhere. I think if school teachers got paid more we'd have better ones, but it's probably not the number one motivation why people become teachers in general. Same goes for health care workers, though if we paid them like school teachers we'd be in a pickle

I just had this thought, I don't know if it's yours, and the dharma is available elsewhere free of charge, so perhaps you are denying there is anything unique or worth paying that money in Kenneth's teachings? Not putting words in your mouth, just thinking out loud.

I think there are many paths and (newly acquired view for me) more than one destination. I think Kenneth has a unique voice like any other teacher worth their salt and I appreciate those teachings of his that have been made available to the public free of charge (such as batgap, youtube vids, and the time he's taken here). The free stuf is my only knowledge of Kenneth's teachings and I respect him as I would anyone that has immersed themselves in the dharma for such a long period of time - which is plenty

How did you deduce that around $125/student goes to a teacher at a retreat? I actually was thinking the number might be smaller, but I don't know why I thought that.

I pulled it out of my ass, but I think you're right

I have heard many negative complaints about Goenka's retreats, and the instructors. Happy to provide sources. Not being snarky, but just for source material: How are you defining successful, and how many different programs are you aware of to compare it to?

Successful in that the centers flourish, new students become old, and people there (IME) seem to be immersing themselves in the eightfold path. I've done three Goenka retreats and served on one, and I can say they were extremely powerful and transformative of my life in general, and I'm not exaggerating.
Goenka's actual teachings, and those of his teacher, and teacher's teacher, are hard to argue with, IMO it is straight buddhadharma. Goenka also demonstrated (through video) many of the strong paramis within himself that we are meant to cultivate, like joy and compassion and dana. 
The major knock on Goenka's method, as I've been one knocking myself, is that the assistant teachers are undertrained and under-empowered to deal with what comes up for retreatants when they've been practicing such a powerful method for days on end. It's a tragic flaw really, and the quality of teachers may be directly related to the fact that they (the few I have personal experience with anyway) do not have enough cushion time or scriptural knowledge or personal attainments to lead others. The traditional approach was obvioulsly the monastic organization, and Goneka's retreats rely on worldlings that are able to donate some time to teach. Spirit Rock teachers came up with another method (pay for it) and Kenneth followed their lead, but without building in anything (that I know of) for the financially less-fortunate. It's too bad for them

        Regarding the books as a happy medium, do you think if someone wrote an amazingly transformative book they should give it out for free to meet the needs of the most people, or should they keep some around for those who can't afford it, and sell some? How is selling some better than giving it out for free? Or some other method I haven't thought of?

I think selling books is ok because mostly everyone can afford a book and those that cannot can go to the library, as I said, $12.50 is different than $125 in the same way the $125,000 is different than $12,500

I believe this is a worthwhile subject and a good argument for mediation teachers earning their living from psychotherapy since the overlap is kismet. Whole other ball of wax of course...

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 3:35 PM as a reply to John M..
John M.:
It's different for a couple of reasons, one the cost alone excludes people. Many can afford $12.50 for a book while less can afford $125 for 45 minutes of instruction.

Precise values aside, it's still paying for dharma. Yes, free publication services exist. No, they do not support lay teachers whatsoever.

Further, I cannot afford individual instruction. But it doesn't seem to follow that I should expect it for free, or to rightly expect that those that can afford it ought to be excluded along with me.


Hi John,
I'm replying because you quoted me above even though you were replying to katy
It's not a matter of expecting things for free - we expect to pay for things in the west, almost everything
When people give freely (or highly discounted) we have the opportunity to develop strong paramis of gratitude and the teacher has the opportunity to develop in dana. That is one benefit among others that does not exist so much in a transactional relationship where money changes hands. There's actually quite a bit more expectation involved in general when there's money
Do you expect clean water for 'free' or healthcare, sidewalks and roads? Sure you pay taxes, but what if you were unable to work, should you stil get clean water? Should orphaned children be cared for for free? Do you consider healthcare and education rights of all people regardless? We may simply differ politically, or you may just be drawing your lines in another location than me. I put dharma in the same category as healthcare and education, higher even
Also there is clearly a difference in how much things cost, whether a $10 book or a $100 teaching session. If the cost was not an issue how about charging $1000 per teaching session? Clearly more lines are drawn and we all have our own ideas of where those should be

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 3:38 PM as a reply to P K.
I am not bitching Pawel, and I don't think katy is either, I actually hear you bitching
I consider this a worthwhile subject, on a thread that Kenneth started with an insult
My recent posts have just been to answer questions and I've repeatedly said I don't personally have a big problem with charging money for dharma either, but I understand why some do. There is an argument that the practice conflicts with Buddhist teachings for one thing

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 5:08 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Do you expect clean water for 'free' or healthcare, sidewalks and roads?

These are false equivalencies, no point in comparing or ranking whatsoever.

Also there is clearly a difference in how much things cost, whether a $10 book or a $100 teaching session. If the cost was not an issue how about charging $1000 per teaching session? Clearly more lines are drawn and we all have our own ideas of where those should be

There is a difference, but that difference is purely monetary. Please understand that I'm arguing against the absolute "thou shalt not" attitude that is sometimes held toward paid dharma instruction -- when, in fact, in certain forms it's already well established and accepted. Your points re: pricing, exclusion, and the potential for exploitation are well taken, but seem to represent a more nuanced discussion that can only take place after the basic acknowledgement that it's happening anyway.

When people give freely (or highly discounted) we have the opportunity to develop strong paramis of gratitude and the teacher has the opportunity to develop in dana.

Absolutely. But here in the west, the closest thing we have culturally to dana and merit are credit ratings. Try explaining to a landlord that forgiving this month's rent is a great opportunity to generate merit. Ideals are lovely and fine things to aspire to, but again: reality beckons.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 5:46 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel: OK. Thank you for writing that up.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:35 PM as a reply to John M..
That there are other things one can do with their money and that you might deem them more worthwhile strikes me as a total non-point. Also, it's not your money.

As far as material reward and the interdiction against this, this seems entirely out of touch with what being a lay teacher in western culture realistically entails. I find it a valuable admonition against exploitation, but that's about it.

Yep, you totally can shop meditation teachers, John M. and I've said this several times.

Kenneth credentials himself through the Theravadan lineage (Mahasi notage and years of training in Theravadan centers), so it's reasonable to question a teacher who credits that system with their training but who refutes their standard (Anguttara Nikaya 5.159) and beliefs (like rebirth and non-oblivion) and I do see that I have plenty o' right to state me olde opinion on this.  I tend to think such a teacher who has such strongly different conclusions about awakening than from Theravadan, that those teachers could advertise themselves more accurately outside of the system with which they are at odds.



[removed; Kenneth might redact some unskillful/harmful comments he made as well]



Crud, look at the time! We've both missed the Church of Stop Shopping meeting tonight...
_______________________
edit2: generic restatements

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 10:50 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon Ekstrand:
In my mind this discussion draws parallels to health care.

As long as there are govenment run hospitals which anyone can visit to get the help they need, there is also room for private doctors that you pay for yourself but that also supply a more personalized, quicker service.

Simon

This.

The point is that people awaken and that they have appropriate teachings to facilitate this.

If we really care about having teachings available to people then I suggest giving credit where credit is due. Particularly to Arpanet, the US defense department, the scientific revolution and the European enlightenment figures that influenced the founding fathers to create a society in which we can so casually share information so freely without being burned at the stake from the religious institutions that be. I suggest adding some statues of Ivan Sutherland to worship, maybe some people who worked at Xerox Parc too. I'm being fascisous. 

I mean to say this, if you really care that much about teachings for awakening being available, see the bigger picture. Teachings have never been so available and at such a high quality before. Never have so many people taken up awakening, which historically appears to be for only a very very select few. It's thanks to science that we get to have the best of both worlds, an increasing plethora of teachings for all shapes, colors, sizes of people, and more dedicated teachers that one can pay for.

I would bet the free teachings I have available to me so vastly outclass everything available 50 years ago it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Furthermore, I want absolutely nothing to do with recreating the feudal theocratic systems of the past that once held all the power and information that would have given one a serious chance at awakening. How tame paying some money for coaching is compared to this history that just happened, is still happening somewhat.

All of this doesn't even address we are talking about a text that was written in the BC era, 400 years removed from the man in question, who, if he existed, was a man, who only speaks for a part of world mysticism. I will not debate this. I'm saying, I think we live in an increasingly golden area of teachings for awakening our ancestors could never have even imagined, so the discussion itself is just so god dammed irrelevent. I would much rather someone who is well versed in serious industrial strength meditation involved with money than not, because if such people don't then the really shitty sociopaths will abuse people's lack of discernment of what's quality and what's full of shit. And with meditations increasing popularity, these people will com with increasing frequency and manipulative skill. I'm more concerned with cluster-B personality traits, because that's where the real trouble lies.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 10:45 PM as a reply to Ryan J.
I would bet the free teachings I have available to me so vastly outclass everything available 50 years ago it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

+1! Oh my lord, I look at my lightbulbs and my computer and think these siblings are both binary and in such a shorty-pants frame of time. Strikingly amazing. And I can just go right on over to MIT or Stanford and have a class for free. Amazing. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 10:56 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
You mean like coursera.org, which I signed up for a Stanford class in algorithms? It's great, from Stanford, and free! Albeit, Tim Roughgarden of Stanford won't answer my questions in depth because the scale doesn't permit him to do so. But nevertheless, it's world class teachings made available because of science, maybe honorable mentions to western philosophy?

Sorry if I'm a little dense, are you being sarcastic or happy there's a lot of available quality information out there thanks to the internet?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 10:59 PM as a reply to Ryan J.
Ryan Kenneth Johnson:
You mean like coursera.org, which I signed up for a Stanford class in algorithms? It's great, from Stanford, and free! Albeit, Tim Roughgarden of Stanford won't answer my questions in depth because the scale doesn't permit him to do so. But nevertheless, it's world class teachings made available because of science, maybe honorable mentions to western philosophy?

Sorry if I'm a little dense, are you being sarcastic or happy there's a lot of available quality information out there thanks to the internet?

No, no. I'm happy. I'm actually behind in that class at the moment. Love it. I totally agree. People are sharing information so freely.

When you see the discrepency between views of science-technology and American society, it's big. So I love that universities and professors realized, "Hey, our best life and the best life of our children and their children is in sharing the knowledge that is great. We are all better for it and we'll figure out the economics as well go." I love a MOOC.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/4/15 11:31 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Katy, why the hostility? Rarely in my life have I been subject to such a sustained personal attack, beginning on the Q&A with Kenneth Folk thread and continuing here. What is going on for you?

As far as I know, you and I have not met. Certainly you are not one of my students. You are criticizing the quality of my meditation instruction, but you have no experience of it.

Have you spoken to my students or former students about the quality of my instruction? To criticize something without first experiencing it firsthand or at least thoroughly researching it by speaking to those who have, is not a responsible act. It is, in fact, a breach of ethics. When done by an influential member of a public forum, it might even be seen as an abuse of power.

There is also the question of religious beliefs and coercion. You believe money and dharma instruction should be separate. I get it. You are free to believe that. But you cross a line when you seek to enforce your religious beliefs on others through intimidation or public personal attacks, or to destroy the professional reputation of someone who does not share your beliefs.

I call on you to stop these attacks on my personal integrity, my reputation in the community, and my professional competence as a meditation instructor. Your recent behavior is unethical, irresponsible, and cruel. I do not deserve it. The community should not have to be subjected to it. And you will almost certainly feel remorse later as you begin to understand the harm this kind of behavior can bring to a human being and to a community. 

Let's put this behind us now.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:46 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth:
Katy, why the hostility? Rarely in my life have I been subject to such a sustained personal attack, beginning on the Q&A with Kenneth Folk thread and continuing here. What is going on for you?

As far as I know, you and I have not met. Certainly you are not one of my students. You are criticizing the quality of my meditation instruction, but you have no experience of it.

Have you spoken to my students or former students about the quality of my instruction? To criticize something without first experiencing it firsthand or at least thoroughly researching it by speaking to those who have, is not a responsible act. It is, in fact, a breach of ethics. When done by an influential member of a public forum, it might even be seen as an abuse of power.

There is also the question of religious beliefs and coercion. You believe money and dharma instruction should be separate. I get it. You are free to believe that. But you cross a line when you seek to enforce your religious beliefs on others through intimidation or public personal attacks, or to destroy the professional reputation of someone who does not share your beliefs.

I call on you to stop these attacks on my personal integrity, my reputation in the community, and my professional competence as a meditation instructor. Your recent behavior is unethical, irresponsible, and cruel. I do not deserve it. The community should not have to be subjected to it. And you will almost certainly feel remorse later as you begin to understand the harm this kind of behavior can bring to a human being and to a community. 

Let's put this behind us now.

Kenneth, 

I reply to you again, idenifying myself as secular as before*. 

Why do you teach a model you are at odds with? Why do you attack (or even use) the tenents of a religious system like the Thervadan system then accredit yourself through it and try to teach its models?

Why are you trying to initimidate people who ask real questions about your teaching and its effects?


Never in my life have I seen a person so determined to validate himself by a system he does not value, one which he negates, and one in which he violates its dear principles.



Why don't you value yourself enough to then leave behind what you don't believe in (Theravadan) and teach whatever is your teaching and teach it authentically? 

I have seen your teaching for years now, Kenneth. I have heard from people who've left your system, paid a fee and struggled and has less money for it. I have also read as much here. I have heard you state your own embarassment this month by your own process. 

I wonder why you are embarassed by your own practice, the witness? Perhaps if you would just not keep claiming enlightenment in new cloaks, and just accept yourself for your old processes (not being embarassed by your learning and learning from your mistakes along the way, as the rest of us do).  If you would take it easy and without grandiose claims to enlightenment, then perhaps  you wouldn't feel embarassed with yourself when you don't feel "enlightened". A lot of us go through goofy misteps and we support each other, we call each other out, and we practice, we share practice.

So why be embarassed, Kenneth? You said this about yourself and your own process. Why be embarassed. We all goof up, brush off and try again. Many people practice and also never need to claim themselves enlightened, and they live full, satisfied lives. Perhaps in overselling to yourself (claiming enlightenment) you keep cause embarassment to yourself.  

This is a tiny calm practice. It is the undersell, the smalling of ego to be practical and less harmful/more helpful in the world. A practice is full of mistakes; that's the nature of practice and why it's called "practice".

I welcome your hand in that, Kenneth, and wish you strength and kindness with yourself.
Try just the simple practice, no grandiose claims that leave you embarassed to yourself falling from your own claim, no one else's.

I think you'll find good people stand by you in this.

But you are welcome to teach and if you have were good, you'd thrive on dana. I've seen that, too. Perhaps a better editor and a book.  I don't know what's going to work for you, but I know if you need x-income to be happy and you make that your goal, having that goal is going to make you much more likely to get it.

So go for it, if that's your happiness. Try to do it on what's you, though maybe not through the credentials of a buddhism you don't like or agree with.*

I call on you to stop these attacks on my personal integrity, my reputation in the community, and my professional competence as a meditation instructor.

I know this is important to you. It is a pity you conducted yourself today and this week and name-called, for example, insinuated persons here are "reactionary nincompoops".

You see, no matter who you blame for your failings, your competence and reputation as a meditation instruction depend on your conduct not mine or anyone else.  No one forced you to communicate as you have here. This is your mind, forerunner of your actions. "Choices".

Just as I didn't force you to become a meditation teacher or to argue here and to post insults at people, I don't force you to pass or fail. You inherit the outcomes of your own actions. Just take responsibility, learn and move on. This is the same as taking payment for services rendered; you deposit outcomes of your mind paying up its chosen actions. To chase others with blame for your teaching you show your teaching to be blameworthy.

So many of us do this here over the years of practice and community. If someone arrives with a bombast of enlightenment, they are welcome if they backtrack. Everyone has an 'oopsy' in learning. Oopsies are learning. Who is enlightened then?

And so, too, when you succeed you can credit yourself and friends whose support you've earned through trustworthiness, which is hard to buy.

I challenge you to go back and learn to teach on your own merit, not use historical figures and schools for your validation and manipulation, not to insult people here and elsewhere and do offer yourself something reliable of mind and to thrive accordingly. Then offer what is good and reliable to whoever finds you authentic and true. 

Best wishes. 


Edit x3
*Edit x4 redacted in response to defamation threat. Yes, I am secular (as in here in the world) -- I'm also trained in the sciences and can take a materialist view when it's practical, attend houses of theistic worship, and I also am in the Theravadan system to study their science of mind-- so someone can say I am religious and that's okay. But I reject the gender bias in that system, so I can also call myself secular. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:30 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Mercury retrograde.  I'm going to blame all of this on that. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:56 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Katy,

My reason for participating here on the DhO is to express my views on dharma, even when they are unorthodox. I believe this is a fair hope, given that the DhO was founded for this purpose.

I am not asking for your blessing or your advice. I am not asking for your permission. I am asking you to stop attacking, so I can share my views with those who may be interested, without them having to wade through dozens of venemous rants whose only purpose is to hurt me and create confusion.

What you seem to be missing is that if you are allowed to shout down anyone who disagrees with your rather narrow interpretation of Buddhism, this forum will become increasingly uninteresting to those of us who are interested in exploring other points of view. Most importantly, some of us believe that hands-on practice is more important than beliefs, and that hands-on practice leads to a kind of transformation that does not come about through thinking alone. Orthodoxy is directly opposed to this pragmatic understanding. In order for the DhO to fulfill its stated mission, people like me must be able to speak without being constantly hectored by the self-appointed thought police of dharma.

I get that you don't like me. I get that you don't like my teaching. I can accept that. What I have difficulty accepting is your trolling. Your repetitive attack campaign is unethical and intellectually dishonest. Again I ask you to stop.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:56 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Suddenly we've gone from a general discussion of the monetization of Buddhism (which is interesting and useful) to straight-up personal invective (which is anything but). No thanks.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:47 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth :
Katy,

My reason for participating here on the DhO is to express my views on dharma, even when they are unorthodox. I believe this is a fair hope, given that the DhO was founded for this purpose.

I am not asking for your blessing or your advice. I am not asking for your permission. I am asking you to stop attacking, so I can share my views with those who may be interested, without them having to wade through dozens of venemous rants whose only purpose is to hurt me and create confusion.

What you seem to be missing is that if you are allowed to shout down anyone who disagrees with your rather narrow interpretation of Buddhism, this forum will become increasingly uninteresting to those of us who are interested in exploring other points of view. Most importantly, some of us believe that hands-on practice is more important than beliefs, and that hands-on practice leads to a kind of transformation that does not come about through thinking alone. Orthodoxy is directly opposed to this pragmatic understanding. In order for the DhO to fulfill its stated mission, people like me must be able to speak without being constantly hectored by the self-appointed thought police of dharma.

I get that you don't like me. I get that you don't like my teaching. I can accept that. What I have difficulty accepting is your trolling. Your repetitive attack campaign is unethical and intellectually dishonest. Again I ask you to stop.
Kenneth, 

Did you troll today deliberately? How dare you be sanctimonious.

You purposely brought in the UCLA article as bait and then got very bouyant to grab a stage justifying your teaching for material gain: "Now that I have your attention..."

You state in print that I have feelings that I don't have, that I don't like you. You are slandering. You clearly have no regard for your own name or reputation risk and are reckless with everyone's name including yours.

How dare you do this to a person, Kenneth?

People have noted here today that you made them feel bad about money and you ignore their posts. You fully ignored Sawfoot's questions.
Apparently, you wanted a fan club staged in a home other than your own and what you got was genuine interest in who you are and what you do. 

You have ignored several people's concerns about your speech and business and you've targeted me.  

So you're slandering me, you've patently written lies about me in the face of what I've said for myself. You be quite careful with that now, Mr. ___. 

If you're enlightenment, yours is a real call to anything but what you've got.

_______________________
edit 1: removal of last name

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:47 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I suggest, Kenneth, you start a new thread and be specific about what you want to do and I, for one, will not enter.

If you insinute insults or slander and the like or encourage it, that would be another matter.


edit 1: removal of last name

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 4:11 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel Leffler:
Kenneth Folk:
Which, if either, of these propositions is true?

1. People who charge money for dharma instruction are doomed to Buddha Hell.

2. People who perseverate about the evil of charging money for dharma instruction are reactionary nincompoops with no real understanding of either Buddhism or culture.

Discuss.

3. Sarcastic and insulting OPs started in order to stir up anger are unnecessary and at odds with Buddha’s teachings on Right Speech

4. No one should be turned away from the dharma due to a lack of financial resources

Let the market decide if your classes/talks have any value.  Charge whatever you like.  Number 2 rings true for me.

As a prince, Buddha had a shit load of money, assets and pussy before he flew the coop.  He didn't go to Buddha hell did he?  And anyway, the story of Buddha might not even be true.  When the good book says "don't charge for dharma", they obviously mean "don't screw people in attempt to become rich whilst peddling dharma".  Right?

Consider that enlightenment might not even be possible for most people on the planet. Guys on meditation forums assume that it is possible for everyone, but they might be completely mistaken with that belief.  That never gets discussed.  If you want a discussion, that would be a good topic:  "should I charge money when 999 out of every 1000 students will not get anywhere"... or whatever the stats are.  The success rate on Dho is woeful.

I leave this place for a few months and look what happens.  You all get more and more entangled in your own buddha bullshit.  DHo has become extremely cloistered and weird.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 5:16 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:

The following is cut and pasted from UCLA Newsroom. The article is reproduced here in its entirety for your convenience.

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/two-cheers-for-the-buddha-astute-85231

The Buddha was a businessman. But don’t take anyone’s word for it — it’s written in stone. 


Of all the iconic scenes found in the earliest Buddhist art from India, none are more striking than the most venerable monasteries: The transaction, involving 10 million gold coins, clearly shows that, far from being an ascetic, other-worldly religious tradition, Buddhism was, in fact, “deeply entangled with money – and a very great deal of it at that,” according to Gregory Schopen, chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and an authority on ancient Indian Buddhism....


Quite a fitting citation -- a revealing choice of evidence.

For a lengthy analysis of this scholar's positions, strengths and weaknesses, and relevance to the whole picture of what is known and how of history of Buddhism ... see

https://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/the-ironic-assumptions-of-gregory-schopen/

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 5:55 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Yes, I am bitching.
You and Katy are the good ones and this money talk is absolutely within parameters of what Daniel intended DhO to be about. We need more talk about money and dogmatic views about morality and such, and less talk about actual dharma...

This pay4dharma war cannot give any positive results, it just cannot. It is obvious, it is also obvious that it is unskillful and produce dukkha for both sides, even if subtle. Source of bad karma, which truly moral Buddhist would not produce in such way.

Skillful thing to ask Kenneth would be if he considered some cheaper of free of charge ways he could help others, not ranting about hundred bucks. What is $125 for U.S. citizen? Just gimme a break. U.S. is not some third world country where people cannot afford it. Many people are glad he charge some money because that make him more available for them when they need advice. Ofcourse this is kinda Osho-like issue all over again and I am 100% behind his reasoning. There are gurus for poor people and those for those with money. Self regulating law of market.

Now trying to fight laws of market is at least silly if not just purely stupid. But go on, if you do not know what will come out of it then try it out. Just be sure to notice all the bad things this kind of behavior bring.

I am not even going at issue that to have any effect everyone have to practice and that Kenneth from what I see is not promising anything for anyone, just advices in meditation. With general attitude "there is no ultimate state, just multitude of states of mind" he can talk about witnesses and other nice states and not feel even slightly guilty of misleading anyone. If someone mistaken "this is NOT ultimate state" for "this is ultimate state" then it is not Kenneth fault.

See, I am bitching again. I should be morally more like you guys and gals, frustrated at my own practice and financial status and blaming Kenneth for all of it ^_^

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 8:27 AM as a reply to P K.
People can and do pay for whatever they want, as I've said before here.

If a person teachers and claims within the Thervadan system, they can be queried about transgressing its own standards for who can teach.

I don't know why such a teacher doesn't just easily answer questions straight-up, "Because I want to be paid money to coach enlightenment and I can." That is a simple, authentic personal position and it's easy for others to fullow suit.

Versus attemping to mount a massive justification for industry, "You must be a religious zealot if you think in this era..." To try and build a broad, impersonal industry wide justification is always going to be in a position of broad debate. 

Just consider addressing everyone equanimously, honestly and authentically and move on: "I chose to charge because.. I chose not to divulge by business about number of students needed, but I understand the interest you and others have... I don't take questions about my business, thanks," whatever, personal, authentic.  That is not a debatable terrain and shows the teacher who operates as such does not feel the need for a big, whole-culture recruitment defense. Analogy: just be your own little buttercup, not amplify as giant imposing field.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 8:36 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Okay, Katy, we get your point. I got it days ago. The mods stepped in, which gave you further fuel for a meltdown, so all your posts were reposted. Now I would like you to look at the definition of "repetitive rant" as it appears on the home page. Then, review the meaning of "right speech." You have violated both the rules for this forum and an important tenet of "sila," for days and days. And no, I will not reply to any shrill responses to this post. Any disagreement or discussion with you is obviously hopeless. Even if Kenneth were Donald Trump, I would not see that as justification for your attacks. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 8:56 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Okay, Katy, we get your point. I got it days ago. The mods stepped in, which gave you further fuel for a meltdown, so all your posts were reposted. Now I would like you to look at the definition of "repetitive rant" as it appears on the home page. Then, review the meaning of "right speech." You have violated both the rules for this forum and an important tenet of "sila," for days and days. And no, I will not reply to any shrill responses to this post. Any disagreement or discussion with you is obviously hopeless. Even if Kenneth were Donald Trump, I would not see that as justification for your attacks. 


Here is that royal "We" again, that big recruitment.

Just let Kenneth handle this as himself and answer as himself, "Hi, thanks for the questions on business." "I get it. It comes with terrain." "I don't get into that sutta." "I get paid because that's my system."  Just the personal, authenic reason. That realy answers a questions and moves on.. 

To front a big, cultural-historical justification to his decisions, that's always losable because not everyone is "his culture".


Edit:
And really Jane Laurel, who are you to  judge the Trump. Seriously, why do that? As far as I can see he doesn't want or need his name here, and yet you're demoting that person and through no fault of their own. What do you learn at Kenneth Folk Dharma anyway?  

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 9:22 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Katy, I just don't a get a sense of any sincerity in your post beginning, "I reply to you again, identifying myself as secular as before." Granted, Kenneth probably could have thought of a more skillful way of initiating this topic, which for sure is somewhat interesting, but the attention it's gotten thus far has been, in my opinion, disproportionate to its relevancy to anything actually useful. What's said has been said; I don't think there's much more to be gained in pursuing this any further, but obviously that's up to you.

-Kyle

EDIT: In fact, I'll say the same thing for Kenneth. This desire to get the last word in would probably feel great if it were flat out dropped, no?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 9:22 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Okay, Katy, we get your point. I got it days ago. The mods stepped in, which gave you further fuel for a meltdown, so all your posts were reposted. Now I would like you to look at the definition of "repetitive rant" as it appears on the home page. Then, review the meaning of "right speech." You have violated both the rules for this forum and an important tenet of "sila," for days and days. And no, I will not reply to any shrill responses to this post. Any disagreement or discussion with you is obviously hopeless. Even if Kenneth were Donald Trump, I would not see that as justification for your attacks. 

Thanks, Laurel. You said it better than I could.

The conventional wisdom is to ignore personal attacks, but it's not always so simple. Smear campaigns are effective because the target of the smear is hurt either way. If s/he engages the attacker, s/he is reduced to the level of the attack. If s/he says nothing, even the most unreasonable of allegations are assumed to have some validity by others who read the attack posts but don't have time to find out if they are justified. This is what makes online invective so dangerous; everyone is guilty in the court of public opinion by virtue of having been charged. Both accuser and accused are sullied by the exchange.

I've called on the moderators to review this thread. I'd like to bring it back to the discussion of money and dharma. I don't mind a little mordant humor (after all, I began this thread with a snarky comment), and I encourage provocative or contrarian discussion. But I hope we can move beyond the targeted personal attacks and defamation.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:53 PM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
Incandescent Flower:
Katy, I just don't a get a sense of any sincerity in your post beginning, "I reply to you again, identifying myself as secular as before." Granted, Kenneth probably could have thought of a more skillful way of initiating this topic, which for sure is somewhat interesting, but the attention it's gotten thus far has been, in my opinion, disproportionate to its relevancy to anything actually useful. What's said has been said; I don't think there's much more to be gained in pursuing this any further, but obviously that's up to you.

-Kyle

EDIT: In fact, I'll say the same thing for Kenneth. This desire to get the last word in would probably feel great if it were flat out dropped, no?
Kyle, 

This is becuase despite my saying this elsewhere Kenneth has misrepresented me in print here as a religious zealot.

And, frankly, any Theravadan person or any person -- no matter how they self-identify -- has every right to ask,

"What? You say you're enlightened through the Theravadan processs, you purport that you teach its methods to 'awaken' and yet you are somehow the teacher outside its parameters when it suits you???" 

Further, somehow the modern era makes breeching their financial rules okay, but the modern era still depends on its techniques for awakening?

Like, how did you work that legal trade? "The clause about no material benefit for teaching is too old; the awakening methods, oh, they're fine; we'll keep that."


And you pay for that kind of cherry-picked, obviously self-interested guidance?


The thing speaks for itself. 


Further, Kenneth, to your requirement to be paid --which is certainly your right no matter-- versus to be a teacher of dana (the system you choose with its generous donation tradition). Edit: I think the buddhist ideal of enlightenment was probably taught for free, or dana, but its founder because the reward of having a great awakening of wisdom and compassion spread throughout the community is probably worth morw than any coaching fees.

Not trusting them or your own teachings' merits, do you encumber a Thervadan model with the requirement to pre-pay in case the lessons don't add up to awakening? What happens if "enlightenment/awakening" like your technique, as exhibited in your own admission, results in a community of willfull snarkiness? 

Looking at some people's exhibit of "awakening" makes me quite happy to be a regular person practicing.  


Edit:
1x  Good luck, folks.
2x removal of last names, edited 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 11:10 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
One interesting aspect of the money for dharma discussion is the matter of religious coercion. A thought experiment will illustrate what I mean:

Imagine a small but vocal minority of French Muslims who believe that all French Muslim women should cover their face and/or hair in public. For this group, it's perfectly obvious that the Muslim tradition demands this. So they seek, by various means, to force everyone to abide by this rule. One of their methods is to attack non-compliant women on public internet forums, calling into question their piety, integrity, professional competence, and understanding of Islam. They even demand that the non-compliant dissociate themselves from Islam, as they are not true Muslims.

Most of us would say that this is not OK -- that it is fine for individuals to interpret their religion however they like, and it's fine for them to wear headscarves if they choose. But it's not acceptable for them to intimidate or legislate the use of headscarves for all Muslim women. (It's interesting that in real life, almost the opposite has happened; French law now prohibits covering one's face in public, citing security concerns.)

I contend that something similar is happening in Western dharma. A small but vocal minority of Western convert Buddhists believes strongly that money should never be exchanged for dharma instruction. They seek to enforce this by publicly attacking teachers who are directly compensated. Is this something we should encourage and even participate in, or is it the beginning of a move toward a rigidity of religious interpretation that stifles change and ostracizes those with unorthodox views?

edit: typo

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 9:59 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I contend that something similar is happening in Western dharma. A small but vocal minority of Western convert Buddhists believes strongly that money should never be exchanged for dharma instruction. They seek to enforce this by publicly attacking teachers who are directly compensated. Is this something we should encourage and even participate in, or is the beginning of a move toward a rigidity of religious interpretation that stifles change and ostracizes those with unorthodox views?

While I cannot speak for the orthodox or the religious, I have to ask: how are you stifled in your ability to charge prices for your material gain?

Does acknowledging there are rules in your traditional system of enlightement against receiving material gains somehow impede your ability to be paid? Have you not been paid to-date since their rule precedes you?

It seems like you can and do get paid, unstifled. What do you mean?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 10:53 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Hi Kenneth,

I raised two questions in the other thread which didn't get picket up on. While AugustLeo didn't explicitly state that the thread was meant to be a practice thread only, it appears that this might be a better place for them:

1) Your phrasing appears to indicate that you used to believe that meditation practice gave you access to some kind of "ultimate" reality. Now, in your interview you still talk about liberation and awakening, and describe them as appropriate terms. While you profess to not holding a belief that meditation practices can give access to the "ultimate", it appears that you advertise yourself as someone who has access to special knowledge and/or insight (i.e. you are "awakened" or "enlightened"), who has taken steps that are "hard, and rare" and you can train clients to access that kind of special knowledge or insight - which you describe currently as "experience as process". Given that there is nothing in this world you can be sure of, do you worry that you profit (or profited in the past) from offering what might end up (or has ended up) being "fool's gold" - beliefs which while initially hugely attractive (paraphrasing your words) are devastatingly and horribly wrong? Profit in this instance can refer to both financial but also factors such as respect or status.

2) Do you (or have you) take(n) on clients with mental health issues (e.g. those that have suffered or suffer from depression or anxiety) who are looking to find a cure/happiness? And how have your decisions here relate to using your own testimonials of curing suicidal depression and drug addiction and finding "happiness beyond conditions" to advertise your services (currently at $125 per 45 min session)?

I appreciate the wording might be a little loaded, but I am genuinely interested in your responses, or at least, your thinking surrounding the general issues and your awareness of them. These are somewhat different questions about "selling the dharma" - I think there is some confusion in these discussions here due to confounding a "technical" meditation teacher with a "Dharma" teacher.

Just to note to Katy and others who may be interested, there was some discussion about this a while back following Kenneth's encounter with SNB which are worth reading, with some comments from some of "us" in the comments section.

http://mumonno.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/is-kenneth-folk-major-western-buddhist.html
http://mumonno.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/some-questions-for-kenneth-folk.html

Mumon asked a series of thoughtful questions for Kenneth, which I reproduce here:

What code of ethics would you adhere to? Is it published? If someone has a dispute with the services you rendered, how is redress effected?
How does the client know when he no longer needs your services?
From a Buddhist perspective, are you concerned with the ethical quandaries of teaching meditation without the corresponding instruction in right conduct? If you feel it is not necessary, why is that so, and why or why not, from your perspective, is that a Buddhist right livelihood?
Aside from time constraints, under what circumstances would you refuse services to a client?
Do you offer pro bono services to those who cannot meet your fees?
How does the client have assurance that your claims of enlightenment are genuine? How can you ensure that these claims have no bearing on any potential exploitation of the relationship between you and your clients?
Regarding your fees, are you aware that the motivation for certain pricing schemes and business transaction methods are structured precisely to encourage a sale? For example Publisher's Clearing House makes people go through a lot of effort to enter into their contests because they have found that it makes one more likely to subscribe to a magazine if one goes through a lot of effort to register for a "free, no obligation" contest. Then there is the well-known pricing with prices ending in "9," and there's more recent results on the use of numbers in context with other things to encourage certain behaviors. Are you aware of how your "coupon code" discount might be construed?
How were your fees set at the levels they are? What factors, such as cost-structure and retirement planning were considered in setting them?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 11:02 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Okay, Katy, we get your point. I got it days ago. The mods stepped in, which gave you further fuel for a meltdown, so all your posts were reposted. Now I would like you to look at the definition of "repetitive rant" as it appears on the home page. Then, review the meaning of "right speech." You have violated both the rules for this forum and an important tenet of "sila," for days and days. And no, I will not reply to any shrill responses to this post. Any disagreement or discussion with you is obviously hopeless. Even if Kenneth were Donald Trump, I would not see that as justification for your attacks. 
Actually the mods have not, as yet, stepped in. Katy's disappearing posts appear to have been/continue to be a technical glitch.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 11:50 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
I contend that something similar is happening in Western dharma. A small but vocal minority of Western convert Buddhists believes strongly that money should never be exchanged for dharma instruction. They seek to enforce this by publicly attacking teachers who are directly compensated. Is this something we should encourage and even participate in, or is the beginning of a move toward a rigidity of religious interpretation that stifles change and ostracizes those with unorthodox views?

.....It seems like you can and do get paid, unstifled. What do you mean?

Katy,

Ken said "stifles change", clearly talking about how loud public attacks inhibit *conversation* about getting paid.

You say "you can and do get paid, unstifled", clearly talking about whether or not Ken *got paid* yesterday, or today or tomorrow.

I think some kind of process in you is preventing clear and helpful conversation.  Could you please think about that?

Edit: trying to leave less to guesswork:  Katy, I think I get that you feel each question and point you bring up are connected to your train of thought, I want you to try to include Kenneth in the conversation, i.e. stick to the line of discussion, not just the line of thought going on in your head.  In this way, there is a chance that you or Kenneth will be changed by the conversation, as opposed to further polarized by the exercise.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:12 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
What you seem to be missing is that if you are allowed to shout down anyone who disagrees with your rather narrow interpretation of Buddhism, this forum will become increasingly uninteresting to those of us who are interested in exploring other points of view. Most importantly, some of us believe that hands-on practice is more important than beliefs, and that hands-on practice leads to a kind of transformation that does not come about through thinking alone. Orthodoxy is directly opposed to this pragmatic understanding. In order for the DhO to fulfill its stated mission, people like me must be able to speak without being constantly hectored by the self-appointed thought police of dharma.
For the record, "Katy" is the reason I do not participate here anymore - for all the reasons on display in this thread. I also know I'm not the only person who has stopped participating here for exactly the same reason.

This is the first I've logged in to read things here in a long time, and I'm happy to see others are as disgusted with her "Take No Prisoners/Make Absolutely No Concessions/Torch The Infidels" behavior as I was. And why shouldn't they be? DhO was set up to combat precisely the kind of dogmatism evident nearly every time "Katy" sits down at a keyboard.

Unless "she's" banned or radically changes "her" behavior, I will not share anything of myself or my practice here.

Arhats, not asshats, people. C'mon.

(edited a few times for humor)

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:55 PM as a reply to Matt.
matthew sexton:
katy steger:
I contend that something similar is happening in Western dharma. A small but vocal minority of Western convert Buddhists believes strongly that money should never be exchanged for dharma instruction. They seek to enforce this by publicly attacking teachers who are directly compensated. Is this something we should encourage and even participate in, or is the beginning of a move toward a rigidity of religious interpretation that stifles change and ostracizes those with unorthodox views?

.....It seems like you can and do get paid, unstifled. What do you mean?

Katy,

Ken said "stifles change", clearly talking about how loud public attacks inhibit *conversation* about getting paid.

You say "you can and do get paid, unstifled", clearly talking about whether or not Ken *got paid* yesterday, or today or tomorrow.

I think some kind of process in you is preventing clear and helpful conversation.  Could you please think about that?

Edit: trying to leave less to guesswork:  Katy, I think I get that you feel each question and point you bring up are connected to your train of thought, I want you to try to include Kenneth in the conversation, i.e. stick to the line of discussion, not just the line of thought going on in your head.  In this way, there is a chance that you or Kenneth will be changed by the conversation, as opposed to further polarized by the exercise.
Hello Matthew Sexton, 

Will you be policing Ms. Jane Laurel and the avatar "Fitter Stroke" or do they offer "clear and helpful convesation"? Are they stifling ("making one feel constrained or oppressed")? I would say so.

Jane and Fitter and Matthew, have you each trained in the system noted in the BATGAP.com interview of mid-January 2015 and is this conduct what you're taught there? 

Wow, Kenneth, I ask you why you charge money against the tenents of your particular tradition and some interesting things come out of the woodwork as per the money and buddhism thread you set up, admittedly snarkily. 

Do you just criticize me or can you critize your clients and their conduct as well?  

Or do you advocate that your students intimidate?
_______
redacted, last name removed

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:28 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
   I think the practice of paying for meditation teaching, whether Buddhist or otherwise, is generally a good idea.  

The main reason why I am for it is that it brings to light and formalizes motives of gain and exchange that are already occuring in relationships between students and teachers, priests and laity etc..

I think that in many cases, people who give  donations to their church or sangha are NOT acting from a place of total selfless generosity, but rather, are hoping to get some sort of spiritual gain through the transaction whether that be a place in heaven or the accumulation of some sort of merit or something else altogether.  

Charging for teachings brings these (often not entirely conscious) motivations for spiritual gain right up to the surface where they can be seen for what they are, and in my opinion, dealt with more ethically and effectively.  

Also, I think that formalizing the student teacher relationship into a customer/ service provider type format might do away with some of the creepy "guru-type" b.s that sometimes accompanies teacher/student relationships (such as: power trippping mind games, seeing the teacher as a god, pointless mystification etc..)

 It sort of brings the teacher back down into the dirt of normal human interaction which I guess can seem like a real bummer to some but to me feels like a bit of a relief, actually....
  


   mike

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:35 PM as a reply to Matt.
matthew sexton:
Katy, I think I get that you feel each question and point you bring up are connected to your train of thought, I want you to try to include Kenneth in the conversation, i.e. stick to the line of discussion, not just the line of thought going on in your head.  In this way, there is a chance that you or Kenneth will be changed by the conversation, as opposed to further polarized by the exercise.
What's the line of discussion? Keep in mind Katy is the one that brought this topic up. Perhaps Kenneth's deflections are not transparent enough for you. Here's how the interactions between Katy and Kenneth have gone so far. Keep in mind that "to deflect" means "to avoid addressing (questions, criticism, etc.)":

In the Q & A With Kenneth Folk thread:

Katy 2/2/15 7:29 AM: Questions to Kenneth
Katy 2/2/15 5:40 PM: Questions to Kenneth. 
Katy 2/2/15 7:04 PM: Questions to Jane about Kenneth
Katy 2/2/15 9:19 PM: Response to Ryan about her position
Katy 2/2/15 9:39 PM: Response to Ryan about her position
Katy 2/3/15 5:10 AM: Response to Pawel about Kenneth (note the lack of Kenneth's involvement so far)
Katy 2/3/15 11:18 AM: Response to Jane calling Katy's post "a rant"
Katy 2/3/15 11:29 AM: Response to Jane clarifying her position
Katy 2/3/15 11:46 AM: Response to Jane clarifying her position
Katy 2/3/15 12:40 PM: Response to AugustLeo asking her questions not to be moved off-thread

Kenneth's first response.

Kenneth 2/3/15 4:43 PM: Deflection: "If your goal in a discussion is to communicate, educate, or understand, and your interlocutor's goal is to hurt, discredit, or humiliate, you will fail and your interlocutor will succeed. Best not to engage."
Katy 2/3/15 6:19 PM: Response to Kenneth's deflection

Kenneth starts this new "Money and the Buddha thread":

Kenneth 2/3/15 6:54 PM: (Opening post) Deflection via a self-admittedly snarky comment
Kenneth 2/3/15 7:39 PM: Posts an article
Kenneth 2/4/15 12:04 AM: Deflection: "All of this is a distraction. [...] Awakening [...] takes a lot of time. If your goal is to awaken, you don't have time to obess about how things ought to be. [...] Worry about yourself."
Katy 2/4/15 10:24 AM: Response to John M
Katy 2/4/15 12:00 PM: Response to Bill F
John 2/4/15 3:05 PM: Posts: "That there are other things one can do with their money and that you might deem them more worthwhile strikes me as a total non-point. Also, it's not your money."
Katy 2/5/15 5:02 AM: Response to John M: "Yep, you totally can shop Kenneth Folk's dharma, John M., and I've said this several times".
Katy 2/4/15 10:45 PM: Answer to Ryan
Katy 2/4/15 10:59 PM: Answer to Ryan
Kenneth 2/4/15 11:31 PM: Deflection yet again: "Katy, why the hostility? [...] What is going on for you? [...] I call on you to stop these attacks on my personal integrity, my reputation in the community, and my professional competence as a meditation instructor. [...] Let's put this behind us now."
Katy 2/5/15 12:25 AM: Response to Kenneth's deflection, more questions (read: more attempts to engage)
Kenneth 2/15 12:56 AM: Deflection yet again: "I am asking you to stop attacking, so I can share my views with those who may be interested [...] I get that you don't like my teaching. I can accept that. What I have difficulty accepting is your trolling."

Note that by this point Kenneth has yet to reply to a single point Katy made or question that Katy asked.

Katy 2/5/15 1:15 AM: Response to Kenneth's deflection, calls him out on his slander
Katy 2/5/15 1:53 AM: Gives Kenneth an out via starting a new thread she would not participate in
Katy 2/5/15 8:27 AM: Reply to Pawel, calls Kenneth out on his deflections: "I don't know why such a teacher doesn't just easily answer questions straight-up [...]"
Jane 2/5/15 8:36 AM: Jane deflects on Kenneth's behalf: "Okay, Katy, we get your point [...] I will not reply to any shrill responses to this post.")
Katy 2/5/15 8:56 AM: Calls out Jane's deflection on Kenneth's behalf: "Just let Kenneth handle this as himself and answer as himself"
Kenneth 2/5/15 9:22 AM: Voices his approval of Jane's deflection on his behalf. More deflection: "I hope we can move beyond the targeted personal attacks and defamation."
Katy 2/5/15 9:49 AM: Answer to Incandescent Flower explaining some of her points
Kenneth 2/5/15 11:10 AM: Deflection yet again: "Is this something we should encourage [...] or is the beginning of a move towards a rigidity of religious interpretation that stifles change [...] ?"
Katy 2/5/15 9:59 AM: Asks how Kenneth is being stifled

Now that the proper context is established, how does your suggestion sound to you?

Matthew 2/5/15 11:50 AM: "Katy, [...] I want you to try to include Kenneth in the conversation."

Cheers,
Claudiu

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:51 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Very nice summary actually. I suspect your work will be for nothing but it's appreciated.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:52 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
It is greatly appreciated by me. 
With that I leave. Best wishes.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:54 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
Very nice summary actually. I suspect your work will be for nothing but it's appreciated.
Thanks! I'm glad it was appreciated, then it was not all for naught. And it might even help some people see the situation more clearly.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 12:54 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Jake and Claudiu: Does either of you think it's okay for someone to scream repeatedly at someone, ask rude and downright nasty questions over and over, and go on a long stampede against anyone trying to call her out? Jake, a few months there was an example of just this kind of thing, and you expressed your horror at what the perpetrator was doing. He was a man, screaming at a woman. Here we have a woman screaming repeatedly at a man. Is it any less reprehensible? Or are women such fragile beings that we must he protected from other people's bad behavior and excused for our own?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 1:00 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
And onward: If someone confronted you in this way in person, would you respond to that person's questions? Her questions were originally presented in a hostile and offensive manner, and escalated from there. Kenneth deflected in order to avoid engaging in a discussion that began on the premise that he was not worthy of basic human courtesy. He chose a straw man strategy as a means of opening this thread, perhaps to dispel some of the tension. Obviously it did not work. But what exactly are our standards here, or anywhere?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 1:01 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Hi Katy

What kind of effect do you want to accomplish here?
What exactly is it in for you?

I ask because so far it seems you are destroying only your own reputation and Kenneth is just fine. Was that the intended outcome of this whole thing you started?

If your little war did somehow caused few less clients for Kenneth then would that made your existence somehow more bearable?

I ask because I really do not get your angle...

With metta
Pawe?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 1:06 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
It's interesting that Ken McLeod also found the consultant-client approach as the most applicable system for western students. So no need to fund big churches, big monestaries, to allow for "free dharma". Instead, one on one work with the senior teacher and a clear system of fees to allow it to happen with minimal infrastructure.

"Ken's private practice model of one-on-one consultations roiled the Buddhist world in the 90s only to become an accepted way of working with students."

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 1:26 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Jake and Claudiu: Does either of you think it's okay for someone to scream repeatedly at someone, ask rude and downright nasty questions over and over, and go on a long stampede against anyone trying to call her out?
Well, those are fairly loaded terms. Can you quote some things Katy has said that you would classify as screaming? If not (for example by saying it's obvious or you won't put in the effort) then all you're doing is framing Katy's posts in a negative way without any actual basis behind it.

I don't see Katy as having been abusive. Just insistent, and asking questions that everybody would rather sweep under the rug. Which people are free to do, but then when people tried to pretend that that isn't what was happening, at some point I decided to step in.

---
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Jake, a few months there was an example of just this kind of thing, and you expressed your horror at what the perpetrator was doing. He was a man, screaming at a woman. Here we have a woman screaming repeatedly at a man. Is it any less reprehensible? Or are women such fragile beings that we must he protected from other people's bad behavior and excused for our own?
Gender has nothing to do with it.

---
Jane Laurel Carrington:
And onward: If someone confronted you in this way in person, would you respond to that person's questions? Her questions were originally presented in a hostile and offensive manner, and escalated from there.
Actually her questions were originally presented in a straightforward manner:
katy:
Kenneth

-- Question?
-- Question?
-- Question?
-- Question?
-- Question?
and
katy:
Kenneth,

Question?

Question?

Question? Question?

Question?

Question?
Now since when is "I got offended" a valid argument that someone is being hostile?

---
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Kenneth deflected in order to avoid engaging in a discussion that began on the premise that he was not worthy of basic human courtesy. He chose a straw man strategy as a means of opening this thread, perhaps to dispel some of the tension. Obviously it did not work. But what exactly are our standards here, or anywhere?
My point was it was ridiculous for Matthew to ask Katy to "try and include Kenneth in the conversation", because there was no conversation, and the reason for that was that Kenneth never actually engaged in a conversation. He instead went the route of trying to discredit Katy. It didn't work on me because Katy questions are actually good ones, and also she wasn't abusive, just insistent. Also his attempts were too transparent. For example:
Kenneth Folk:
If your goal in a discussion is to communicate, educate, or understand, and your interlocutor's goal is to hurt, discredit, or humiliate, you will fail and your interlocutor will succeed. Best not to engage.
In saying that he was of course implying that his goal was to communicate, educate, and understand, and Katy's goal was to hurt, discredit, or humiliate. Implicit in that is that it is bad or a negative quality to hurt, discredit, or humiliate. However, in the factuality of making that statement, he was not communicating, educating, or understanding, but rather at the very least discrediting - which he just implied was a bad thing to do!

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 1:21 PM as a reply to x x.
An article on Ken Mcleod's approach:

http://www.unfetteredmind.org/relationship-teacher/

The information is from an article in Mandala magazine:

http://dmubpsa54q5i5.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2002/06/wake_up_call.pdf

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 1:51 PM as a reply to P K.
Pawe? K:
Hi Katy

What kind of effect do you want to accomplish here?
What exactly is it in for you?

I ask because so far it seems you are destroying only your own reputation and Kenneth is just fine. Was that the intended outcome of this whole thing you started?

If your little war did somehow caused few less clients for Kenneth then would that made your existence somehow more bearable?

I ask because I really do not get your angle...

With metta
Pawe?

Hi Pawel:

My point why does Kenneth Folk teach in a system with which he is so at odds (to re-cap two point only that have already been mentioned: his position on oblivion despite that annihiliation is refutted in Theravadan sutta (MN 22)  and his position to teach dharma for the purpose of material gain, an interdiction in Theravadan sutta (AN 5.159).

As I have said: if his own enlightenment grants such a vastly reliable awakening, he could easily teach that well and without leaning on historical figures and cherry-picking their canon. Many do well sharing their awakenings authenically.

Two, if his purported enlightment is such a wortwhile awakening, he would be the first beneficiary to tell it as far and as widely as possible so that many, many humans would be awakened in his way: he would have a community around him that cannot be bought for $125.

Do I want to reduce Ken's clients? You tell me. Last night a long-dormant DhOer wrote me, unaware of the current debate, about possibly returning to the site and also possibly returning to Kenneth Folk Dharma. Here is my reply verbatim and timestamped (no other content of the email is relevant here):

My reply to a DhOer in abstentia about Kenneth Folk
Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 12:44 PM
"About DhO and practice, well, I've been there a long time and I think new blood and new folks need to come up. And I'm also in a debate with Kenneth there right now about his teaching Thervadan systems and claiming enlightenment while disregarding the Therevadan system's interdiction against teaching for the purpose of material gain (Anguttara Nikaya 5.159) and my own feeling that if there's a full enlightenment to be had then the teacher of that is best served by spreading it far and wide as fast as possible so that all are enlightened. But, outside of the Theravadan explicit interdiction, I also get that lots of traditions in buddhism and without are paid and that's okay, too. 

So that said, if Kenneth Folk's teaching and his personality work well for you, I say go with your instincts! And I have told people this before: it's a personal choice and the requirement to pay versus the exchange of dana-- it's up to the teacher and student or the client and customer. So if he works for you, that could be very helpful and I wishyou both the best working together. Also, I've never called {anonymized other teacher}, also a paid provider, I think; one friend reports to me and swears by him and another friend reported to me that he was unhelpful." 



Now each may always consider doing what practice works  reliably when alone or with others.


_______________________________
edit: anonymizing another paid teacher mentioned in my email.
edit 2: trying to get indent to work
edit 3: okay, color and quotes where indent won't work
edit 4: Pawel, as seen many times and stated openly by myself here, what's in it for me: In addition to my practice-study of anapansati sutta method of simple breathing medititation I consistenly and directly contact dharma providers about both i) dark money in dharma non-profits (when 501( c ) 3s do not disclose or are not properly disclosing, and ii) paid systems of dharma. There is one other aspect (iii) of dharma communities I track that is not relevant here, but all three that I watch and inquire directly about them from the providers. These areas (i-iii) can strongly impact newbies.

Now unless there is slander/misrepresentation or the like, that's my last post. Some of you may bust out the champagne now =]

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 1:43 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Claudiu, since you've asked me to be more explicit, I will do so. I am scrolling through the original discussion, and see nothing objectionable on the first page or so, but then she gets into the blunt questions about Kenneth's "power pose." I myself chimed in about his problems with his neck, after an interval. I will concede that her series of questions was not yet over the line, although it communicated an attitude of suspicion. The next series of questions, however (which showed her as "anonymous"), did cross a line. Here they are:

"How many students do you need to keep subscribed to your products (app and meditation product) to make your monthly or annual bills? 

"When you backtrack on a product-- when you state for yourself that a product you pitched for years such as your "witness" product is an embarassment to you, do you issue a refund for that product to all clients?  

"Did you hire a consultant to help you re-brand after the failure of your paramount "witness" product such that people continue to buy your product? What percentage of your "witness" product clients have returned to buy your new "quality of life; experience as process" product?

"Did you ask that the interview be edited (film 'cut') in any places where it is cut?

"How much did you pay Bill Hamilton per hour each time you met with him?"

There is missing from this line of questioning any kind of common courtesy or respect. We were supposed to be having a discussion of dharma in that thread. Instead, she started in on his finances. How is he supposed to answer--post his household budget? Put up a link to his Quicken account? These, really, are not honest questions, but provocations. "Did you hire a consultant . . " -- do you really think that was anything other than a rhetorical question? Or "how much did you pay Bill Hamilton"--was that a serious question? Did she expect him to say, "$40 a session, but there has been a significant amount of inflation since then"?

The purpose of such questions is not to have an honest discussion, but to provoke. If in fact she disapproved of his charging money, she could have said so. Instead, she tries to rope him into an admission of some kind of guilt, and then she presses on when he refuses to be drawn in.

I don't want to go into every other post, but I'm fully prepared to do so, if that would shed any light on what honest and respectful discourse is.

ETA: If Katy had said in this forum what she said in the email to her correspondent, straightforwardly and with no loaded questions, then I would have had no problem with her approach.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 1:50 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Hi Beoman.

Beoman is the moderator for the AF yahoo group, where the following are instructions for posting that he wrote out:  "This group is moderated to create a place where those in alignment to what and/or open to what is actual can discuss without having to constantly deal with those opposed to what is actual. Members who demonstrate a consistent track record of unproductive discussion (e.g. being insulting with no cause, making assertions without backing them up, showing a disregard for and/or denying and/or refusing to acknowledge facts, etc.) will be asked to leave. For unmoderated discussion about actual freedom and actualism, see the actualfreedom_ffagroup"

Here are Beoman's most recent thoughts on moderation posted here at the DhO:

"The moral of the story is this: it's up to you to choose how to interact with people. If you choose to be abrasive, mean, post just to stir people's emotions up and have fun while doing it (the definition of being sadistic), or simply evasive or off-topic, then don't be surprised when people stop wanting to interact with you and ban you. And I would suggest the people on the sides not put up with it either. If you don't put up with it in your daily life, then why put up with it online? If you do put up with it in your daily life... why?

Actually, the latest version of Reality already supports this feature. It's called freedom of association! The way it works is, you don't interact with people whom you don't want to interact with. Have that friend that always brings up politics and starts yelling at you if you disagree? Stop picking up the phone when they call. A person rings your doorbell to tell you the good news about Jesus Christ? Simply close the door and call the cops if they don't leave. A friend of a friend does nothing but complain all the time and get upset when they don't get their way in exactly the way they want it? Don't hang out with them anymore. You own a bar and a patron is overly drunk, disturbing everybody, causing a ruckus, yelling? Get your bouncer to kick them out!

Of course, only unenlightened, run-of-the-mill people would ever choose to use such a feature. A true saint would continue interacting with anybody, no matter how loud they yell, how much they smell, to what degree they try to test your patience, the true saint remains stoic in the face of it all, unperturbed, does not move, and just sits there as they continue to prod at his supple, ever-yielding body. A true saint would let anybody stay in their bar, no matter how much they may be disturbing all the other patrons. So what if other patrons choose to leave? That just shows they aren't fully enlightened yet, it's their choice. So what if all you are left with is a bar of loud drunks yelling over each other? The true saint remains unperturbed."

Beoman is a moderator at Dho. Katy was a moderator until recently. The other moderators are Jenny, Daniel, Nikolai, and Florian. If anyone else is a moderator, I am unaware. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 1:53 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
Hello Matthew Sexton, 

Will you be policing Ms. Jane Laurel Carrington and the avatar "Fitter Stroke" or do they offer "clear and helpful convesation"? Are they stifling ("making one feel constrained or oppressed")? I would say so.

Jane and Fitter and Matthew, have you each trained with Kenneth Folk Dharma and is this what you're taught there? 

Wow, Kenneth, I ask you why you charge money against the tenents of your particular tradition and some interesting things come out of the woodwork as per the money and buddhism thread you set up, admittedly snarkily. 

Do you just criticize me or can you critize your clients and their conduct as well?  

Or do you advocate that your students intimidate?
Hi Katy,

[Here is an example of what I call 'engaged conversation', responding to exactly what's offered, leaving out random brain bursts, letting others talk for themselves.  I consider the effort to communicate this way good practice in the meditation sense: noticing what's going on inside of me, responding to those events in the most helpful way]

Nope, I haven't had an urge to police Jane or Fitter at all.  I have not noticed either of them being unhelpful.  I do believe they are trying to get you to tone it down, you could call it 'stifle' the way you choose to participate, I would say you are right about that.

I've never trained one bit with Kenneth. I did show up at a public Dharma-ish event and ran into him, had a conversation.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 2:12 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
[To Me, Matthew] What's the line of discussion?
...
Now that the proper context is established, how does your suggestion sound to you?

Matthew 2/5/15 11:50 AM: "Katy, [...] I want you to try to include Kenneth in the conversation."

Cheers,
Claudiu
My comments were intended to refer to the context, the quotes I included.  I can see that my generalization understandably propelled you to a ton of research and cutting/pasting.  Sorry about that.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 2:22 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Claudiu, since you've asked me to be more explicit, I will do so.
Thanks for putting in the effort!

Jane Laurel Carrington:
The next series of questions, however (which showed her as "anonymous"), did cross a line. Here they are:

"How many students do you need to keep subscribed to your products (app and meditation product) to make your monthly or annual bills? 

"When you backtrack on a product-- when you state for yourself that a product you pitched for years such as your "witness" product is an embarassment to you, do you issue a refund for that product to all clients?  

"Did you hire a consultant to help you re-brand after the failure of your paramount "witness" product such that people continue to buy your product? What percentage of your "witness" product clients have returned to buy your new "quality of life; experience as process" product?

"Did you ask that the interview be edited (film 'cut') in any places where it is cut?

"How much did you pay Bill Hamilton per hour each time you met with him?"

There is missing from this line of questioning any kind of common courtesy or respect. We were supposed to be having a discussion of dharma in that thread. Instead, she started in on his finances. How is he supposed to answer--post his household budget? Put up a link to his Quicken account? These, really, are not honest questions, but provocations. "Did you hire a consultant . . " -- do you really think that was anything other than a rhetorical question? Or "how much did you pay Bill Hamilton"--was that a serious question? Did she expect him to say, "$40 a session, but there has been a significant amount of inflation since then"?

The purpose of such questions is not to have an honest discussion, but to provoke. If in fact she disapproved of his charging money, she could have said so. Instead, she tries to rope him into an admission of some kind of guilt, and then she presses on when he refuses to be drawn in.
Alright, that's not evidence yet of screaming or going on a long stampede, but I do see why these can be considered rude questions. I do think it's okay to ask rude questions, provided there is a point (screaming and stampeding, not so much). I don't think Katy was just wanting to provoke Kenneth. From the discussion as a whole, I thought she very much wanted to discuss these things with Kenneth.

As to respectful discourse, it's a bit tricky. Respect can be used as a way to avoid certain topics. E.g. it can be disrespectful to ask someone with some authority (like a teacher) how much money they make, or details about their finances and their past products that they no longer teach (going by what Katy said here, I don't personally recall Kenneth teaching the witness). In that case, no matter how the question is asked, the "let's be respectful here" flag can be raised and the discussion is over. But then respectfulness is just a mask for avoiding topics.

I contend that the very topics Katy was asking about were disrespectful, not the way she raised them (or at least not just the way she raised them). Hence why I am not so willing to give Kenneth a freebie for deflecting. But maybe in a different situation with different words it could have panned out differently.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 2:48 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Hi Bill,

I read your post with Beomans thoughts on moderation (and stuff relating to the AF yahoo group). However i failed completely to figure out what that was in response to, or what the point of it was. Could you please clarify? I am curious.

Thanks,
Simon

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 2:49 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman at the Dho:


"As to respectful discourse, it's a bit tricky. Respect can be used as a way to avoid certain topics. E.g. it can be disrespectful to ask someone with some authority (like a teacher) how much money they make, or details about their finances and their past products that they no longer teach (going by what Katy said here, I don't personally recall Kenneth teaching the witness). In that case, no matter how the question is asked, the "let's be respectful here" flag can be raised and the discussion is over. But then respectfulness is just a mask for avoiding topics."



Beoman at AF Forum, messages that warrant banning of a poster:

"
MIKE: Ed.  Nobody knows.  You may be better off dropping AF altogether.

Mike, keep in mind this is a pro-actualism forum. If Ed loses interest in actualism he can stop posting here of his own accord. Your messages on the virtualconvivium forum three months ago clearly indicate your position:
MIKE: By the way... actualism is far more cult-like than many of you will admit.

MIKE: A word to the wise... Beware of Actualism.

Feel free to post on other forums such as the DhO or actualfreedom_ffa if you'd like to continue to critique actualism. If you ever have a change of heart then let me know via email and I will re-enable your posting privileges.
Cheers,Claudiu"

 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 2:55 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Hi Simon,

      See last post.

Bill

Edit: Sorry if that all seems obtuse. I am just cutting and pasting Beoman's words as a moderator since we are discussing the approriateness of discourse and moderation. You are free to interpret it however you want. I don't want to put ideas in his head, or project ideas onto this thread that may not be there. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 3:04 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Hi Katy

Two, if his purported enlightment is such a wortwhile awakening, he would be the first beneficiary to tell it as far and as widely as possible so that many, many humans would be awakened in his way: he would have a community around him that cannot be bought for $125.

Enlightenment as state goes like this: you think up a state of mind, wait for it a while... here it is.
If it somehow didn't work then you have noisy and untrained mind and have to meditate some more to quieten it. Nothing more to it, no ultimate state other than dissolving bunch of lies you cling to. Just practice concentration and mindfulness without trying to fit any system and rather see what is possible. Here you go, no more need for any teacher, they are not needed. Will put their own experiences to your mind like it was only way to attain something. Kenneth seem to go either in similar direction or exactly the same direction. There is nothing special or unique in it because experience reveal it if you are open to various possibilities.

Whole point for paid teacher is that people believe they can buy anything, even mind states. So they pay and feel better afterward and this works because they believe it works like that. Some however pay to prove "you cannot buy happiness" and remain sad and miserable. Their loss. Kenneth is there only to cash out the money, he can have little practical knowledge, actually the less the better because he can relate more to people when he talk in language they understand.

My point why does Kenneth Folk teach in a system with which he is so at odds (to re-cap two point only that have already been mentioned: his position on oblivion despite that annihiliation is refutted in Theravadan sutta (MN 22) and his position to teach dharma for the purpose of material gain, an interdiction in Theravadan sutta (AN 5.159).

That is strong argument. I do not know however how Kenneth advertise his views. I got impression that he was rather implying that his views evolved, so that mean typical Theravada dogma was superseeded by more experiential knowledge and that is his advertisement, not "I am teaching pure Theravada". Does he really need to start another 'tradition'? If anyone want pure Theravada teacher then there are countless monasteries with real deal Theravada teachers monks in them, no need for the likes of Kenneth without proper monaistic tradition and without proper titles. If someone intent to buy healthy groceries then he goes to food store with certified healthy food and not to mall where everything have more chemicals than vitamins. Not cutting Theravada cord is maybe some omission on his side but why make such a big deal out of it?

Now unless there is slander/misrepresentation or the like, that's my last post. Some of you may bust out the champagne now =]

That kind of behavior strikes me as kinda childish. I can understand it though. Hope you get over whatever cause your agitation and such emotional reactions as this.

With metta
Pawe?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 4:02 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Jake and Claudiu: Does either of you think it's okay for someone to scream repeatedly at someone, ask rude and downright nasty questions over and over, and go on a long stampede against anyone trying to call her out? Jake, a few months there was an example of just this kind of thing, and you expressed your horror at what the perpetrator was doing. He was a man, screaming at a woman. Here we have a woman screaming repeatedly at a man. Is it any less reprehensible? Or are women such fragile beings that we must he protected from other people's bad behavior and excused for our own?


Hi Jane emoticon
I think you may be putting words in my mouth... was it horror or disgust? I think the latter lol. (ETA: Just being silly here, not really arguing... I just don't see the connection to that situation, they seem so blatantly different, that I'm gonna let that drop). Listen, I don't want to add smoke to this thread. Personally, my preference would be for Katy to start a separate thread addressed to Kenneth in which she asked her questions, and allowed Kenneth to interact with people interested in his teachings without the to-my-mind off topic stuff. My comment in response to Claudieu's summary was just that. I really think he did a good job summarizing.

You see, this whole thing has now become at least three conversations to me.

One, there is the conversation that Kenneth is trying to have with people interested in his current teachings. This seems totally valid to me and my preference would be for him to be able to have that conversation with whomever wishes to engage with him on that level. I wish that conversation had its own thread.

Two, the conversation Katy is trying to have with Kenneth about some of the ethical implications of some aspects of how he presents himself, how that changes over time, what exactly his role is, what the implications of that are, the ethicality of charging for 'dharma' and whether it might be better to re-brand his teachings to avoid the appearance of ethical questionability, etc. This seems totally valid to me too, in its own way, and my preference would be for this to be a separate thread. Kenneth could respond or not as he sees fit. I wish it had gone down that way. Also, beleive me, I feel frustrated with how Katy sometimes comes off online when she goes after a topic like a bulldog. It's especially frustrating for me because I've interacted with her irl and she has come across as nothing but gracious, kind, humble, clear, open and frankly awake. This seems to happen to some of us, this apparent discrepency between online and irl personas, and this itself is an interesting issue. That said, I want to simply conclude this section by saying: but I think her questions are valid. AND I think, from what I know of Kenneth, that some of her questions may be based on assumptions she's making that aren't valid. They are however assumptions that many people probably make. That means engaging those questions could be a good opportunity for Kenneth to clarify some of those issues. And also also, perhaps some of her questions could provoke reflection on Kenneth's part and he may learn something. That's  between Katy and Kenneth. I wish they could communicate directly.

Three, the conversation ABOUT the conversation. About the power dynamics, the nature of assumptions, rhetorical gestures, etc. all of which can be fairly subtle. In regards to this, Bill, I want to say I don't understand your purpose in quoting and contrasting Claudiue's moderation comments on two different forums, unless it is to point out that different forums have different rules for moderation, and one human can be a moderator on two forums and thus implement two different sets of moderation protocols. If you're implying something else I'm having trouble picking it up and I'd respectfuly ask you to be more explicit emoticon In conclusion on this front, I think there is a valid conversation to be had about interaction styles, rhetoric, etc. and I personally feel Katy and Kenneth could both reflect on their conduct in this regard. That said, Katy's 'shit' is a little more obvious (strident, repetative, etc. in my own subjective personal impression) while Kenneth's is a bit more subtle (deflection, provocative set-ups, quoting that article...). I thought Claudiu did a good job of pointing out some of these subtler dynamics, and I think they are important to be aware of as a community. I wish people paid more attention to these dynamics, especially 'authorities' like Kenneth. 

All that said, 'if wishes were wings, beggars would fly' haha! I'm an adult and I don't expect the world to conform to my wishes, nor do I assume that my point of view is always valid. Clearly some people are getting worked up about all this. I've so totally been there at times and surely will again. I don't happen to be right now. I respect you a lot and didn't want to engage too much in this situation, but I didn't want to leave your question hanging. Also, to be fair, I did post my comment in response to Claudiu and put myself into the situation that way. I didn't really want to put my thoughts out there in the way I've done in this post, because they are after all merely my own impressions and wishes-- and, more importantly perhaps, my concern for how issues of authority, power and communication play out in this space. So there it is. Take care Jane!
--Jake

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 4:21 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:
Kenneth Folk:
Which, if either, of these propositions is true?

1. People who charge money for dharma instruction are doomed to Buddha Hell.

2. People who perseverate about the evil of charging money for dharma instruction are reactionary nincompoops with no real understanding of either Buddhism or culture.

Discuss.

Your recent posts on this forum do not seem representative of a wise and noble one with great understanding.  You seem to have become increasingly close-minded and dogmatic.  You are pontificating left and right and your brief disclaimers of lack of actual omniscience seem to be resigned to the margin after long proclamations of your beliefs.  Evolve toward omnisicence or get off the pot and stick to teaching only the technical aspects of meditation to those willing to pay the fees and who benefit from having paid them.  
Hi Tom Tom,

These are valid concerns. Your use of the phrase "wise and noble one" interests me, as it is archaic language, poetic and evocative of the kind of special person often mentioned in ancient texts. There is no question that Buddhist suttas and commentaries speak extensively about noble ones who have purified their consciousness, come to the end of dukkha, and gained not only magical powers, but omniscience, which means "the capacity to know everything there is to know." I believe it is our responsibility to think critically about whether such people exist, or are likely to have existed in the past.

In my own experience, people are just people. Some are wise, yes, but not in any magical way. In some cases, they are unusually gifted or well-trained in working with other people, or in understanding the likely consequences of actions. This is a very real kind of wisdom, but not at all magical, and not directly correlated with meditation practice. Another understanding of wisdom is deep insight into impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and our inability to find an abiding self within experience. This is the Buddhist interpretation of wisdom, and it does indeed come from hands-on practices like meditation, especially vipassana meditation, which aims at finding out the true nature of experience. (Many types of meditation aim at putting the meditator in an altered state, or communing with a unversal consciousness, but these do not lead directly to either of the kinds of wisdom I'm describing here.)

Both kinds of wisdom are valuable beyond measure. But neither depends on magic, or purification of consciousness. Rather, they depend on processing information in an unusually efficient way and/or gaining access to perspectives that most people don't have by default. Both are influenced by training and innate ability.

It is tempting to believe in magical or perfected "beings." In fact, the word "being" is often used in the context of highly advanced practitioners of religious or spiritual traditions, maybe to separate the special beings from the ordinary ones. However seductive, though, the ideal of the spiritually perfected being does not pass the test of reality.

Having spent a great deal of time around some of the most accomplished spiritual practitioners of our age, I can tell you that I don't believe any of them were free of ordinary human emotions like irritation, anger, craving, pride, and so on. All of them were/are special in their own way; some showed unusual wisdom in the first sense described above, some were especially gifted at accessing and stabilizing altered states, some had penetrating insight into the three characteristics of early Buddhism. And they were/are all flawed, each in his or her own way. Ironically one fairly common flaw is the tendency to consider oneself without flaws, or to believe that even though flaws exist, one has transcended them. This so often goes hand-in-hand with abusive behavior that it becomes possible to form a practical rule of thumb: the more a teacher claims to be flawless, the faster you should run in the opposite direction. Claims of infallibility (including failure to deny it when someone projects infallibilty upon you) and abuse of the student/teacher relationship are so tightly correlated that the first might even be an inevitable consequence of the second.

As for the "nobility" of awakening/enlightenment, it probably has to do with the Indian caste system of the Buddha's time. Brahmins, the scholar/priest caste, were considered nobles, and Dalits (untouchables) were considered the lowest caste. As I understand it, the Buddha was a reformer in this regard, and declared that someone who practiced the Noble Eightfold Path and succeeded in attaining one or more of the Four Paths, was noble, even if that person came from a lower caste, even if that person was a Dalit.

In other words, when we say "noble ones" today in a Buddhist context, we are simply referring to people who have attained to at least one of the Paths. The question of what is meant by the Four Paths is a vast discussion, and I won't go into it here. Enough to say that the term is circular; one is noble if one has attained a Path, and if one has attained a Path one is noble. It has no further descriptive power, and as such, I would argue, isn't very relevant to us. Nowadays, it is mostly tossed around by Buddhists to praise someone, as in "this person is a noble one," aka enlightened, or to insult or criticize, as in "your behavior does not seem representative of a noble one."

Then there is the question of omniscience. Do you believe omniscience is possible for humans? I don't. Let's imagine what that might look like. Let's say there is someone on this Earth who knows everything there is to know. Since she knows everything, she must know how to make better solar panels and super-efficient batteries. If we could make better solar panels and had super-efficient batteries, we wouldn't have to burn much fossil fuel. We could stop pumping so much CO2 into the atmosphere. This would be a boon to humankind and the planet. If there is such a person, and she hasn't come forward to tell us how to solve fossil fuel dependence and a thousand and one other technical, social, and governmental problems... you see where I'm going with this. I conclude that there is not and never has been an omniscient human, because if there were we would know about it. We would see the wonders everywhere. 

Most of all, I want to point out that our belief in magical enlightened people who know all there is to know, and could not violate the Buddhist precepts, is standing in the way of our own awakening. There is research to suggest that vague or unattainable goals are highly correlated with depression. This makes sense; if we set impossible goals, we experience only failure. If we set reasonable, attainable goals, our mental health improves along with our self-esteem. Perfection and omniscience are vague and unattainable goals. We've never seen anyone who has attained these goals, so we wouldn't know how to go about attaining them for ourselves.

The real awakening, the kind that happens in real life to real people, is much less glamorous, at least from the outside. It doesn't make you perfect, it certainly doesn't ensure that everyone will like you, and it doesn't solve your problems. On the other hand, it is attainable, and there are real people you can talk to who know a very systematic way to attain it. What is more, if you ask people about it, they are very likely to tell you that although they aren't perfect, they believe that the kind of enlightenment they have is, in its own way, even better than perfection; acknowledging reality in each moment is a wonderful way to live, even though reality is as likely to disappoint as to inspire.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 4:21 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
"Three, the conversation ABOUT the conversation. About the power dynamics, the nature of assumptions, rhetorical gestures, etc. all of which can be fairly subtle. In regards to this, Bill, I want to say I don't understand your purpose in quoting and contrasting Claudiue's moderation comments on two different forums, unless it is to point out that different forums have different rules for moderation, and one human can be a moderator on two forums and thus implement two different sets of moderation protocols. If you're implying something else I'm having trouble picking it up and I'd respectfuly ask you to be more explicit emoticon In conclusion on this front, I think there is a valid conversation to be had about interaction styles, rhetoric, etc. and I personally feel Katy and Kenneth could both reflect on their conduct in this regard. That said, Katy's 'shit' is a little more obvious (strident, repetative, etc. in my own subjective personal impression) while Kenneth's is a bit more subtle (deflection, provocative set-ups, quoting that article...). I thought Claudiu did a good job of pointing out some of these subtler dynamics, and I think they are important to be aware of as a community. I wish people paid more attention to these dynamics, especially 'authorities' like Kenneth."-Jake

Jake,

      A very respectful response, and perhaps more gracious than deserved. In my world of wishes we could have an honest conversation about the acquisition of authority and certainty, and the ways that we project or disempower others on that front undeservedly, but my perception, which I'm open to revising, is that many who post as authorities lack the self-awareness or honesty in areas of self-criticism to reflect on that in a way that would be useful. Since I can not at this point in time decide the most skillful way to say explicitly what I mean without being accusatory, or pointing fingers, I will go back to peeling potatoes and then go for a wallk by the ocean and practice a little. 

Bill

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 4:40 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Thanks, Jake. I'm not with you 100%, but I don't think either of us can expect that. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 4:44 PM as a reply to Bill F..
The ocean sounds nice! I'm going to go chop some potatoes and onions and whatever other roots I have handy for a roast. I'm thinking breakfast for dinner. A stroll sure does sound nice too. ETA: Laurel, what fun would life be if we agreed 100% of the time? I actually prefer to have respectful disagreements, and I know I can count on you for those 9 times out of ten if not more, which is all I could hope or wish for ;) Take care!

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 4:43 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill: peeling potatoes, a simple manual task (although maybe not all that simple), is so therapeutic. Walking by the ocean is even better! What I have to return to is wading through old emails that I should have answered or deleted days and weeks ago, which is not so good. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 4:57 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Note that by this point Kenneth has yet to reply to a single point Katy made or question that Katy asked.

Cheers,
Claudiu
There is no mystery.

I enjoy answering questions when I believe the person asking the questions is sincere. When, on the other hand, I think the questions are motivated by hostility, I don't feel obliged to answer, and indeed I feel it would be unwise and counterproductive to do so.

Claudiu, are you a moderator? With all due respect, you are doing a very poor job of moderation in this case. Is there another moderator you can speak with about this, perhaps get a new perspective on what is actually happening here?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 5:05 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
My hope for DhO is that when people want to have a conversation, they will ask a simple question, one that they are most interested in, and wait for a reply, then respond to that reply and ask another question, and so on and so on. You know, like how people actually talk to each other. 

There can also be posts where people just want to say something (like this one). Just say it and own it and try to be a kind as possible while still stating your point.

A long list of questions is actually more like stating an opinion. If that's the goal, just say it in the form of statements and try to be as kind as possible.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 5:23 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
The beauty of perspective.  Nice post.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 7:23 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
@Jane: There are always some areas where I still find myself just waiting to be done, and peeling potatoes is one of those. Occasionally when I'm eating fruit or peeling potatoes the process just seems to be doing itself and it's all very vivid, but mostly I'm waiting to be done so I can go practice;) Hope you're well.

@Jake: That sounds good. I am in the mid-atlantic area, so cold here, but not as cold as your region. Thank you for not pressing the issue and requesting further explanation.
               
As for what I was pointing towards earlier, I was questioning the roles that have been assigned on Dho as I have before. Specifically, as it pertains to Beoman, it seems difficult to believe that his own biases do not affect his role as a moderator. Can someone who believes that awakening or enlightenment is delusional (from 1/20/2015, Beoman: "Or at least fully deluded/enlightened") effectively moderate a site filled with individuals asprining or interested in something considered a form of delusion. Even if in this instance he is not exercising moderator priviliges by deleting posts, this last became an issue after he immediately deleted a post from James Yen that was critical of AF. We were told that this was an agreed upon policy among the moderators, but Katy herself said over the last couple of days that she opposed the policy of banning without discretion. I am also somewhat disturbed at the implications that a poster could be banned and never know it. I do not feel certain that there is not a moderator who would abuse that privilige.
As it pertains to this specific thread, many might confer on the moderators a degree of respect, or respect for their views, based on the idea that they have been appointed to moderate, or at least assume they are acting in a more objective role on the message board. Someone who believes that buddhist practice is a form of delusion will inevitably reflect that belief in the way they write, and how they present certain situations, so they might agree in a biased way towards those who oppose the teachings/methods of someone promoting awakening. And all of that with no insults. I am feeling somewhat noble;)

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 7:19 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
As a potential customer, my main concern is "can you deliver what I want/need?"

I don't care about lineage or strict adherence to scripture.  I care that the person is honest and skillful and I care about results.  So if someone advertises "hey I can teach you how to get to 3rd jhana", I'd be in that.  I'd pay for that, maybe $1000 if I could readily reproduce it and get into full blown bliss/ecstacy. 

But it would have to be under certain conditions, like if I do the work and it doesn't happen, I'd expect to pay only a small fraction of the cost.  And I wouldn't undertake the training if the teacher said "you have to work hard for 3 years", because I don't have the patience to do that sort of work.  And I would want to be able to define that we're talking about real jhana, not just a calm, spacious mind.

How about an answer Ken?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 7:24 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
Claudiu, are you a moderator? With all due respect, you are doing a very poor job of moderation in this case. Is there another moderator you can speak with about this, perhaps get a new perspective on what is actually happening here?

I'm not a moderator but I'd say what's happening here is two people disagree on something and both think that they are correct (as usual)
btw Claudiu is a moderator, and I'd say a fair one in general and a pretty cool cucumber when under fire (unlike many of the rest of us)
It's funny when people say 'with all due respect...' and then say something straight disrespecful afterwards
It's like when people say 'to be honest...' as if the rest of the time they are full of it
Although katy's tone may have been harsh I think many of her questions were substantive Kenneth, and worth addressing
I also think everyone is viewing this through their own skewed lense (including you and me)
As a wise dharma friend of mine said to me once, 'everyone in the world follows the same religion, believing their own thoughts to be true'
My perspective is that Claudiu's moderating is down the center here and I have no dogs in this scuffle
off to the hot tub...

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 7:47 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Good lord--walks on the beach, hot tubs--some people are having way more fun than I am. I just had to go visit my mother and damn near froze my arse off getting there and back. Envy is arising. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 3:23 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Hi Tom Tom,

These are valid concerns. Your use of the phrase "wise and noble one" interests me, as it is archaic language, poetic and evocative of the kind of special person often mentioned in ancient texts. There is no question that Buddhist suttas and commentaries speak extensively about noble ones who have purified their consciousness, come to the end of dukkha, and gained not only magical powers, but omniscience, which means "the capacity to know everything there is to know." I believe it is our responsibility to think critically about whether such people exist, or are likely to have existed in the past.

In my own experience, people are just people. Some are wise, yes, but not in any magical way. In some cases, they are unusually gifted or well-trained in working with other people, or in understanding the likely consequences of actions. This is a very real kind of wisdom, but not at all magical, and not directly correlated with meditation practice. Another understanding of wisdom is deep insight into impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and our inability to find an abiding self within experience. This is the Buddhist interpretation of wisdom, and it does indeed come from hands-on practices like meditation, especially vipassana meditation, which aims at finding out the true nature of experience. (Many types of meditation aim at putting the meditator in an altered state, or communing with a unversal consciousness, but these do not lead directly to either of the kinds of wisdom I'm describing here.)

Both kinds of wisdom are valuable beyond measure. But neither depends on magic, or purification of consciousness. Rather, they depend on processing information in an unusually efficient way and/or gaining access to perspectives that most people don't have by default. Both are influenced by training and innate ability.

It is tempting to believe in magical or perfected "beings." In fact, the word "being" is often used in the context of highly advanced practitioners of religious or spiritual traditions, maybe to separate the special beings from the ordinary ones. However seductive, though, the ideal of the spiritually perfected being does not pass the test of reality.

Having spent a great deal of time around some of the most accomplished spiritual practitioners of our age, I can tell you that I don't believe any of them were free of ordinary human emotions like irritation, anger, craving, pride, and so on. All of them were/are special in their own way; some showed unusual wisdom in the first sense described above, some were especially gifted at accessing and stabilizing altered states, some had penetrating insight into the three characteristics of early Buddhism. And they were/are all flawed, each in his or her own way. Ironically one fairly common flaw is the tendency to consider oneself without flaws, or to believe that even though flaws exist, one has transcended them. This so often goes hand-in-hand with abusive behavior that it becomes possible to form a practical rule of thumb: the more a teacher claims to be flawless, the faster you should run in the opposite direction. Claims of infallibility (including failure to deny it when someone projects infallibilty upon you) and abuse of the student/teacher relationship are so tightly correlated that the first might even be an inevitable consequence of the second.

As for the "nobility" of awakening/enlightenment, it probably has to do with the Indian caste system of the Buddha's time. Brahmins, the scholar/priest caste, were considered nobles, and Dalits (untouchables) were considered the lowest caste. As I understand it, the Buddha was a reformer in this regard, and declared that someone who practiced the Noble Eightfold Path and succeeded in attaining one or more of the Four Paths, was noble, even if that person came from a lower caste, even if that person was a Dalit.

In other words, when we say "noble ones" today in a Buddhist context, we are simply referring to people who have attained to at least one of the Paths. The question of what is meant by the Four Paths is a vast discussion, and I won't go into it here. Enough to say that the term is circular; one is noble if one has attained a Path, and if one has attained a Path one is noble. It has no further descriptive power, and as such, I would argue, isn't very relevant to us. Nowadays, it is mostly tossed around by Buddhists to praise someone, as in "this person is a noble one," aka enlightened, or to insult or criticize, as in "your behavior does not seem representative of a noble one."

Then there is the question of omniscience. Do you believe omniscience is possible for humans? I don't. Let's imagine what that might look like. Let's say there is someone on this Earth who knows everything there is to know. Since she knows everything, she must know how to make better solar panels and super-efficient batteries. If we could make better solar panels and had super-efficient batteries, we wouldn't have to burn much fossil fuel. We could stop pumping so much CO2 into the atmosphere. This would be a boon to humankind and the planet. If there is such a person, and she hasn't come forward to tell us how to solve fossil fuel dependence and a thousand and one other technical, social, and governmental problems... you see where I'm going with this. I conclude that there is not and never has been an omniscient human, because if there were we would know about it. We would see the wonders everywhere. 

Most of all, I want to point out that our belief in magical enlightened people who know all there is to know, and could not violate the Buddhist precepts, is standing in the way of our own awakening. There is research to suggest that vague or unattainable goals are highly correlated with depression. This makes sense; if we set impossible goals, we experience only failure. If we set reasonable, attainable goals, our mental health improves along with our self-esteem. Perfection and omniscience are vague and unattainable goals. We've never seen anyone who has attained these goals, so we wouldn't know how to go about attaining them for ourselves.

The real awakening, the kind that happens in real life to real people, is much less glamorous, at least from the outside. It doesn't make you perfect, it certainly doesn't ensure that everyone will like you, and it doesn't solve your problems. On the other hand, it is attainable, and there are real people you can talk to who know a very systematic way to attain it. What is more, if you ask people about it, they are very likely to tell you that although they aren't perfect, they believe that the kind of enlightenment they have is, in its own way, even better than perfection; acknowledging reality in each moment is a wonderful way to live, even though reality is as likely to disappoint as to inspire.


Kenneth you have made the mistaken assumption that my language is coming from Buddhist scriptures.  My statement is coming from direct personal experience with a person I know who has access to total omniscience and she is not a Buddhist. If someone has a question about it they can private message me. 

All I see is that you have spent a great deal of time around the "most accomplished reductionist materialists" of all time.  You are not seeing beyond your western biases which lead you toward the notion that matter is dead and life arises from "the brain."  You spend your time going to buddhist events, but avoid pagan or magickal-type communities which I highly recommend you immerse yourself in to see beyond your biases.  Given that you largely believe that Buddhism is only a religion you should have no problem seeing what other religious and spiritual traditions see and their commonalities with the Buddhist notions of awakening.

The reason I engage you on this topic is only because you are THE Kenneth Folk.  Rebirth is very real and you are doing a great disservice to the dharma as explicated by countless others (Buddhist/Hindu/Pagan/Occult/Shaman/etc)  by promulgating your false views under the guise of Buddhadharma.  This is only because you are THE Kenneth Folk and many people assume you to be a wise and great sage.  When a wise and great sage of the dharma starts positing the truth of all kinds of nonsense this nonsense will trickle down into the entire community of practitioners who will assume you are telling them the truth when you are not.  

If you wish to continue your reductionist-materialist teachings then I urge you to cease the notion that you are teaching the dharma and create your own system as Richard and the Actualists have done.  If you do not desire to do this then please claim agnosticism on rebirth and parinirvana or other metaphysical questions and stick to teaching only the technical aspects of meditation.  I am only saying this because you are THE Kenneth Folk and what you are doing is dangerous to the spiritual evolution of your students and anyone listening.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 7:58 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Good lord--walks on the beach, hot tubs--some people are having way more fun than I am. I just had to go visit my mother and damn near froze my arse off getting there and back. Envy is arising. 

Ha! It's because I chose the high class lifestyle of remodeling contractor Jane, it's ok money, not dharma teacher money, but ok
jk...jk...noting...snarky...snarky...itchy...snarky...emoticon

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/5/15 7:56 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
As a potential customer, my main concern is "can you deliver what I want/need?"

I don't care about lineage or strict adherence to scripture.  I care that the person is honest and skillful and I care about results.  So if someone advertises "hey I can teach you how to get to 3rd jhana", I'd be in that.  I'd pay for that, maybe $1000 if I could readily reproduce it and get into full blown bliss/ecstacy. 

But it would have to be under certain conditions, like if I do the work and it doesn't happen, I'd expect to pay only a small fraction of the cost.  And I wouldn't undertake the training if the teacher said "you have to work hard for 3 years", because I don't have the patience to do that sort of work.  And I would want to be able to define that we're talking about real jhana, not just a calm, spacious mind.
This is interesting, CCC. I don't know if a business model like that would work for meditation instruction, but I appreciate that you are thinking creatively about it.

The model I use is very much like that of a personal fitness trainer, so let's run with that metaphor, which will turn out to be surprisingly apt. My job is to help you get physically fit. I give you proven techniques and conceptual frameworks, we work out together, I observe your form and give you feedback. You work out on your own and come back in a week or two, or a month, or a year, and we talk about your progress and how to keep making progress from where you are now.

Since it's up to you to do the work, and since your progress will depend on many factors, including your talent level and the level of fitness you came in with, I cannot guarantee your success. Maybe your goal is to do ten pullups. You may or may not succeed. But I am committed to helping you become as physically fit as you can possibly be, given your unique strengths and weaknesses.

Substitute "contemplative fitness" for physical fitness in the paragraphs above and you have my meditation training model.

There is some very well-vetted research showing that one-on-one academic instruction outperforms one-to-many instruction by an absurdly high margin. This makes sense to me, and in my observation, meditation instruction is no different. I'm very pleased with the progress students make in individual sessions and I think it's great that it exists for those who can afford it. It is expensive, very much like personal fitness training. I wish it were possible for everyone to get private tutoring in all sorts of activities, but I don't know if that will ever be feasible. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 8:36 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Then there is the question of omniscience. Do you believe omniscience is possible for humans? I don't. Let's imagine what that might look like. Let's say there is someone on this Earth who knows everything there is to know. Since she knows everything, she must know how to make better solar panels and super-efficient batteries. If we could make better solar panels and had super-efficient batteries, we wouldn't have to burn much fossil fuel. We could stop pumping so much CO2 into the atmosphere. This would be a boon to humankind and the planet. If there is such a person, and she hasn't come forward to tell us how to solve fossil fuel dependence and a thousand and one other technical, social, and governmental problems... you see where I'm going with this. I conclude that there is not and never has been an omniscient human, because if there were we would know about it. We would see the wonders everywhere.


I will be disregarding your questions about "perfection" because your questions about being a "perfect" human was a misinterpretation of what I was saying.  I was only talking about someone with the power of omniscence and/or great psychic insight into supramundane reality.  Once you see this for yourself it is beyond beyond beyond beyond beyond the level that anyone in this community has even come close to being able to see, that I know of.  

There is a great arrogance in this community that I now see everywhere among more advanced practitioners. This arrogance I now see is entirely unwarranted.  No one on this forum even comes remotely close to being able to see and know what the Buddha saw.  People with the power of omniscence are very real since I have already stated in the above response that I have seen it and you are quite simply mistaken.  Your eyes are open Kenneth, but you do not see.  

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/5/15 8:22 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel Leffler:

I'm not a moderator but I'd say what's happening here is two people disagree on something and both think that they are correct (as usual)

You are mistaken, sir. What is happening here is that one person has attacked another, repeatedly and systematically.

The person being attacked has asked the attacker to stop. This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of record.

Understanding this basic dynamic is so fundamental to civil online discourse that it absolutely terrifies me when otherwise intelligent people seem unable to grasp it.

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/5/15 8:25 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Alright, I'm getting some popcorn.

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/5/15 8:38 PM as a reply to lama carrot top.
Same. This is gettin' good

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/5/15 9:12 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom, 

I'm going to quote one little piece of your text as it summarizes much of what I have found the heart of the issue at hand in this thread and many others, even many on BuddhistGeeks and many other sites I could list.

You say, "No one on this forum even comes remotely close to being able to see and know what the Buddha saw."

To me, such certainty of this statement speaks as if you and the Buddha hang out every Thursday night at the local dive bar for happy hours to hit on all the nice looking ladies while shooting the shit, cuz ya just know the guy like he's your bro. Ya get what I'm saying dawg? All the people hating on Droll in the Tantra thread, and the many other topics, hinge on this core assumption which cannot possibly be true. I would expect this Dhammawheel, but not this site.

Now, let me agree with you. I think there is a little bit of arrogance with the more hardcore practitioners. I don't really think in terms of the progress of insight maps. I think we have yet to see some really cool things and I agree with you that the ocean is probably much larger than the hardcore practitioners believe, whoever that audience is?

Will you grant me the possibility that you just aren't quite sure what the Buddha asserted and also that perhaps he could have been wrong or simply outside our context on a few things?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 9:10 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I'm with Kenneth in this one. I think part of the problem is that most people just want to get along and make nice with people, plus we're sophisticated enough to think that everything depends on a person's perspective (unlike those disagreeable fundamentalist Christians, who think they know The Truth). And no one wants to be accused of attempting to be a heavy and lay down the law. But there is such a thing as right speech (or if you prefer, respectful discourse) and then there's speech that is contrary to that standard. 

With all this talk of money, no one has yet pointed out that Kenneth hasn't been offered any money to come on here and respond to people's questions. And he's not on trial in a court of law, where he would have been obligated to answer questions if the judge rules that it's legitimate. So if Katy poses rude and insulting questions, it's no crime, no sin against decorum, for him to refuse to answer or to deflect. It amazes me that people have acted all huffy over the fact that he deflected--what is this, a dissertation defense? It's as if he sinned against the Holy Ghost, or somehow had to prove that he had done everything he could to ward off Katy's interrogation with fully-approved counter-arguments; otherwise, he's being ungracious or silencing her or whatever (if he or I or anyone tried to do that, we were damned unsuccessful). 

People frequently have have trouble figuring out who is the bully in an interaction. It's like the Christians who claim that they are persecuted for their beliefs, because they are forced to live in a society where it's becoming increasingly unacceptable for them to oppress gay people. So when Kenneth or I try to say, this is unacceptable, Katy acts like she's being bullied, after having shellacked Kenneth with comparisons to Monsanto and corporate polluters and so on. I'd better leave it here. Hope carrot-top is enjoying his popcorn. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/5/15 9:52 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
 
People frequently have have trouble figuring out who is the bully in an interaction. It's like the Christians who claim that they are persecuted for their beliefs, because they are forced to live in a society where it's becoming increasingly unacceptable for them to oppress gay people. So when Kenneth or I try to say, this is unacceptable, Katy acts like she's being bullied, after having shellacked Kenneth with comparisons to Monsanto and corporate polluters and so on. I'd better leave it here. Hope carrot-top is enjoying his popcorn. 

Wonderful! I literally laughed out loud. (LLOL)

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/5/15 10:06 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
My statement is coming from direct personal experience with a person I know who has access to total omniscience and she is not a Buddhist. I have posted the details of this on the dharmaunderground website and you should join if you wish to read the details about it, because I will not be posting the details here on the DhO.  If someone has a question about it they can private message me as I will not be explaining the details here.


If you don't want to talk about it, why bring it up here at all? Basically you've made an outrageous and untenable claim, declined to discuss it further here, and are now holding others to the ridiculous gold standard it establishes.

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/5/15 10:43 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:
Kenneth you have made the mistaken assumption that my language is coming from Buddhist scriptures.  My statement is coming from direct personal experience with a person I know who has access to total omniscience and she is not a Buddhist.  I have posted the details of this on the dharmaunderground website and you should join if you wish to read the details about it, because I will not be posting the details here on the DhO.  If someone has a question about it they can private message me as I will not be explaining the details here.

I am interested in knowing more. However, I can't seem to select you as a recipient for a private message because of the limitations of Liferay... could you PM me and then I will reply?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 11:17 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Note that by this point Kenneth has yet to reply to a single point Katy made or question that Katy asked.

Cheers,
Claudiu
There is no mystery.

I enjoy answering questions when I believe the person asking the questions is sincere. When, on the other hand, I think the questions are motivated by hostility, I don't feel obliged to answer, and indeed I feel it would be unwise and counterproductive to do so.

That makes sense. And that's your free choice of course. But take note that this is an ad hominem attack - you are calling Katy's character into question ("I think the questions are motivated by hostility") instead of actually addressing her questions.

Kenneth Folk:
Claudiu, are you a moderator? With all due respect, you are doing a very poor job of moderation in this case. Is there another moderator you can speak with about this, perhaps get a new perspective on what is actually happening here?

I am indeed. Before I participated in this thread, I emailed the moderator list and asked what they thought. My opinion at that point was that no moderation was required. I got one reply from a moderator who agreed. Nobody else has chipped in yet.

Now that I have participated, I will not act as a moderator in this thread, to avoid conflict of interest.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/5/15 11:41 PM as a reply to Ryan J.
To me, such certainty of this statement speaks as if you and the Buddha hang out every Thursday night at the local dive bar for happy hours to hit on all the nice looking ladies while shooting the shit, cuz ya just know the guy like he's your bro. Ya get what I'm saying dawg? All the people hating on Droll in the Tantra thread, and the many other topics, hinge on this core assumption which cannot possibly be true. I would expect this Dhammawheel, but not this site.


This is actually correct.  You must be tapping into omnisicence and your Buddha-nature because we do go to the local dive bar often.  However, it isn't a he it's a she.  I will also say that everyone has the potential toward Buddhahood and that the potential for omnisicence and buddhahood is already there.  When I said the Buddha I wasn't only specifically referring to Siddharta Gautama Buddha, but to all "Buddhas."

Will you grant me the possibility that you just aren't quite sure what the Buddha asserted and also that perhaps he could have been wrong or simply outside our context on a few things?


No. Omnisience is omniscience.  "The Buddha (Gotama)" knew the ultimate truth of all just as any other Buddha does.  This is true of every other sentient being, but it is obscured.  The body of Siddharta Gautama Buddha was merely a channel for this knowledge.  To say that "he" knew everything is to posit an actual human person there who knows everything.  

I grant that any knowledge that came from that particular body that has been translated into language and then into English is going to have inherent distortions and flaws.  However, the answers are within and encoded into this reality itself and thus book knowledge is not necessary at all.

Also I realize that this post might sound like I'm trying to troll.  I am not trolling AT ALL.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 11:02 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
Daniel Leffler:

I'm not a moderator but I'd say what's happening here is two people disagree on something and both think that they are correct (as usual)

You are mistaken, sir. What is happening here is that one person has attacked another, repeatedly and systematically.

The person being attacked has asked the attacker to stop. This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of record.

Understanding this basic dynamic is so fundamental to civil online discourse that it absolutely terrifies me when otherwise intelligent people seem unable to grasp it.

I'm actually curious now as to what constitutes an attack. Could you take one example of an attack Katy made and post it along with an explanation of why it's an attack? Keep in mind I'm not acting as a moderator right now, but as a participant.

It may be common knowledge what an attack is and what makes it unacceptable but at this point it is unclear to me. (ETA: That is, in some cases it's clear someone is attacking another, but in this case it is not clear to me.) I've googled personal attack and it appears to be another term for an ad hominem: "the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument. Often the argument is characterized simply as a personal attack.". I've looked through the posts and I can't see that Katy has been doing that, so it must be something else.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 4:07 AM as a reply to John M..
If you don't want to talk about it, why bring it up here at all? Basically you've made an outrageous and untenable claim, declined to discuss it further here, and are now holding others to the ridiculous gold standard it establishes.


I brought it up because it is extemely important that Kenneth speaks the truth to others or is very clear in being agnostic when he does not know the truth.  This is because Kenneth is a major hub of "dharma"-translation and his words have extreme power to influence very large numbers of people and the future of dharma teachings.  He needs to stick to teaching meditation and only meditation until he is able to see the truth on metaphysical questions.

Because I have been delegated the task of translating for another person and various dharmic-entities I am currently maintaining her and their request for privacy at this time.  The dharmaoverground is a public forum that anyone can see and is not private.  If you wish to discuss it further you can private message me.  I absolutely did not decline to discuss it further, I simply do not want to discuss it further in this public space. EDIT: I simply do not want to discuss it further in this public space at this time

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/5/15 11:50 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom,

That's fine. My favorite example of an awakened person, Stephen Jourdain, talks about omniscience that he realized 'All there is to know'. Even though, in his own words, "I don't know a God dammed thing. I don't even know that." I believe he's telling the truth. In fact, he says it here:

"Yet, I did persist beyond good sense, showing a considerable aptitude for folly. Nevertheless, it would appear that this inner capacity to drive myself on like a madman was not without its virtues, for, all of a sudden, everything exploded. How can I describe the sudden nature, the total abruptness of the “event”? I detest using the word “supernatural,” but it’s the only one I can find that properly describes the suddenness of the awakening. With indescribable rapidity, I passed through to the other side of the mirror and found myself waking to an infinite wakefulness in my very center, in the center of that wakefulness which, itself, wasn’t an object but an intemporal act I was able to perform. I knew that I knew all there was to be known, that I had attained the infinite value, touched the essence of the essence of all things and of myself. . . I knew." https://pankajdewan.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/radical-awakening-cutting-through-the-conditioned-mind-stephen-jourdain/

The thrust of my post has been about what seems to be a sort of intellectual exploitation of awakening. Meaning, "Oh, this scriptures says we can't do x, y, and z with our lives. It's ancient, so it must be true." Type of thinking that usually carries with it a sort of hostility towards anyone who disagrees. I have all sorts of magical beliefs, that isn't my intention of discussion. I call into question the morality aspect of things.

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/6/15 12:03 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Because I have been delegated the task of translating for another person and various dharmic-entities I am currently maintaining her and their requst for privacy at this time.  The dharmaoverground is a public forum that anyone can see and is not private.


I'm sure that's all well and good. That said, you're making a very public claim (edit: concerning a public figure, to boot) whilst simultaneously insisting that the evidence for that claim is private -- I'm sure you can spot the disconnect.

Still, I'd be curious to hear what your experiences have been. If you could query omniscience for my cell number I'd love to chat.

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/6/15 12:15 AM as a reply to John M..
I'm sure that's all well and good. That said, you're making a very public claim (edit: concerning a public figure, to boot) whilst simultaneously insisting that the evidence for that claim is private -- I'm sure you can spot the disconnect.


It's not in my will (at the moment) to share the evidence publicly.  You are free to not believe with me or private message me.  That's all.

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/6/15 12:27 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
It's not in my will (at the moment) to share the evidence publicly.

Then, on balance, perhaps refrain from making public assertions until it is.

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/6/15 1:29 AM as a reply to John M..
Then, on balance, perhaps refrain from making public assertions until it is.


No.  This is part of the process of cleaning up this forum so that I/we are in a position to able to do so.  Talking to people individually first so that I/we are not misinterprated and so I/we can have a dialogue with each individual person directly if they choose to message Tom Tom.  In messaging us we can work with people directly and that will in turn create a better atmosphere for public disclosures.

I could have messaged Kenneth, but I also think it's important that the now largely avoided damage that Kenneth would have done here and across all time/space needs to be undone and needed to be explained in a public and forceful manner.  This is part of what is happening with Katy as she is sensing that Kenneth is running astray in his teachings of the ""buddhadharma"" and he is feeling the brunt of that energy through her rants. He is getting more flack than others would because he is THE Kenneth Folk and the causal ramifications left in his wake could be disastrous due to his great power on the present and the future.  This is especially true in this particular culture where such beliefs will be accepted willingly and easily.  Even if Kenneth is still firmly trenched in his beliefs and believes them true, it would not hurt him to simply stay agnostic on metaphysical questions and stick to teaching technical meditation.  If he wishes to hold and publicize those beliefs he can choose another system such as Actualism or create his own.  

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/6/15 1:32 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.

RE: Money and the Buddha
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2/6/15 1:51 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
Daniel Leffler:
I'm not a moderator but I'd say what's happening here is two people disagree on something and both think that they are correct (as usual)

You are mistaken, sir. What is happening here is that one person has attacked another, repeatedly and systematically.

The person being attacked has asked the attacker to stop. This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of record.

Understanding this basic dynamic is so fundamental to civil online discourse that it absolutely terrifies me when otherwise intelligent people seem unable to grasp it.

ok sir, - please put your white glove back on, really no need for formalities (I prefer Daniel)
I fully understand that in your mind you are the innocent victim of an attack, and like anyone (awakened or not) you seem highly invested in being the one who is correct, as well as drawing support for your point of view - you have all the gusto of someone experiencing large degrees of righteous indignation (noting righteous indignation...) but look - other otherwise intelligent people disagree with you (note terrified...terrified)
However sir (may I call you Kenneth?), you began this thread with an OP that insinuated that katy was 'a reactionary nincompoop with no real understanding of either Buddhism or culture' - I say 'insinuated' because she was the main person 'perservating about the evil of charging money for dharma instruction' in the other thread - so I'm assuming you were mainly referring to her (and maybe others like her)? Am I incorrect about that, or was it just a coincidence? 
Anyway that sounds like a high falutin' attack to me coming from you, and two wrongs don't make a right. Listen, I can see how you think katy was attacking you when she asked you (for example) if your teacher charged you money for dharma instruction (though I consider that more rudeness than an attack per se myself). I also thought it was a bit rude of you to just brush her aside with no response because you had an emotional reaction to her admitted lack of tact - IMO it's still a good question though, especially since you made this thread to discuss money and Buddhism. This practice is about self-awareness even if you don't believe in a self right? Please tell me where I'm wrong. btw I'm noting all my reactions here - right now I'm noting goodwill toward both of us and this whole crazy community. metta : )

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 1:51 AM as a reply to John M..
Turn your head and look away.  You can always look back when you're ready.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 2:00 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Hey man, I'm nothing if not open to amazement. Feel free to have your omniscient friend get in touch -- she has my info.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 3:15 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I am interested in knowing more. However, I can't seem to select you as a recipient for a private message because of the limitations of Liferay... could you PM me and then I will reply?


I messaged you.  If anyone has any trouble messaging me, then leave a post and I will message you. EDIT: try typing "vit" instead of Tom Tom into the search bar.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 2:24 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Hi Jenny,
So far I have received a private message from one person.  I have not received one from you.  Perhaps you sent it to the wrong person?  I will message you and you can reply.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 3:14 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
If anyone is having trouble messaging me you can type "vit" instead of "Tom Tom" into the search bar and Tom Tom will come up.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 3:21 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
I am interested in knowing more. However, I can't seem to select you as a recipient for a private message because of the limitations of Liferay... could you PM me and then I will reply?


There's a workaround for that, I'd create a sticky post describing this as it comes up a lot but the stickys don't show up in the recent posts view so there isn't much point. emoticon

Anyway, what you do is find a post by the person you want to message, then click their name/icon so you get to their personal profile page. There, check the url for that page, in tom toms case its:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/t-om/home

See the t-om there? That's his screen name in liferay. Use that in the recipients box when sending private messages and you should get an exact match for tom tom.

TLDR: use t-om as recipient to send to tom tom.

Simon

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 4:37 AM as a reply to Ryan J.
quote: Ryan Kenneth Johnson (to Katy):
You mean like coursera.org, which I signed up for a Stanford class in algorithms? It's great, from Stanford, and free! Albeit, Tim Roughgarden of Stanford won't answer my questions in depth because the scale doesn't permit him to do so. But nevertheless, it's world class teachings made available because of science, maybe honorable mentions to western philosophy?
...


I forwarded this to my domestic-partner, Trudy Roughgarden, as she's quite proud of her son Tim. And she went and forwarded it on to Tim, who found it gratifying -- discovering not just one, but a couple of motivated students here in this s/w out-of-the-way place.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 9:51 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
Chris,

Wow! What a small world! The world of coursera and the dharma overground are so far removed in my mind, the notion they could ever somehow interact is amazing. I'm glad you forwarded it.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 11:24 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon Ekstrand:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
I am interested in knowing more. However, I can't seem to select you as a recipient for a private message because of the limitations of Liferay... could you PM me and then I will reply?


There's a workaround for that, I'd create a sticky post describing this as it comes up a lot but the stickys don't show up in the recent posts view so there isn't much point. emoticon

Anyway, what you do is find a post by the person you want to message, then click their name/icon so you get to their personal profile page. There, check the url for that page, in tom toms case its:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/t-om/home

See the t-om there? That's his screen name in liferay. Use that in the recipients box when sending private messages and you should get an exact match for tom tom.

TLDR: use t-om as recipient to send to tom tom.

Thanks! A good trick to know. Maybe worthwhile stickying anyway..

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 12:00 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
A quick skim indicates that this is a long and perhaps slightly fucked-up thread, but I'm inclined to throw my 2 cents with regards to OP...

On one hand, we all need money to pay bills and put food on the table. On the other hand, the dharma is truly priceless, and thus I feel it is inappropriate to charge a flat some of money for teachings, instruction, or retreats. In my perfect world, all of these things would be totally free of charge, but I understand that that is an unrealistic expectation. 

I think the ancient system of dana works well. Just give what you can, like the old woman who gave two pennies in the New Testament. I think this is essentially what retreat centers try to do with scholarships and sliding fees.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 1:05 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
adding my two cents as well….

MCTB is available at Amazon and here at DhO. There are lots of books on the dharma, many available online plus an astonishing number of websites. There are more videos on BATGAP and Buddhist Geeks and YouTube than I will ever be able to watch.  There is this forum and also Awake Network.  Out of all of that I was able to find more than enough information to add some pragmatic dharma to my practice. 

But there came a point when I wanted and felt I needed experienced feedback. I was feeling too vulnerable to post about it to either forum and frankly I wasn’t sure who would respond or how helpful their feedback might be.

I contacted Kenneth.  I knew he worked one on one as a coach and that it was possible to get sessions with him. By this point, I had accessed a lot of Kenneth’s teaching on the web, videos on YouTube and Buddhist Geeks.  There are hundreds of posts from the KFD forums (via AN)  The draft of his book was online.  His teaching isn't behind some sort of pay wall.  That was helpful but what I wanted was a chance to ask questions, get feedback and do so repeatedly. I was and am happy to pay for that kind of one on one coaching. 

The information I get on our calls isn’t really different that what Kenneth talks about elsewhere. For example, much of what we talked about in the first call is in the BATGAP interview, it was precisely the thing I needed to hear at that moment. But it wasn't what I wanted to hear and I probably would not have ‘gotten it” if I had just read it someplace or watched the interview. I needed to hear it more directly.  

Why do I continue to work with him? Our sessions are interesting, fun and challenging.  But beyond that, I work with Kenneth because I recognize that I am at a point in my practice where I need outside feedback. One of the ways I get that is Kenneth’s coaching.  I am asking for his time. I get it. I am happy to pay for it and grateful that that option is available.

Elizabeth P 
(btw I am not the Elizabeth from the comment section of Kenneth’s BATGAP interview)

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 1:22 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
"Keep in mind I'm not acting as a moderator right now, but as a participant." -Beoman

Beoman,

        How do you decide when to act as moderator or as participant? Is the duty of the moderator to delete James Yen's post (which is the only intervention I have seen you apply as moderator recently), or are they to in some ways guide the forum to uphold the rules of conduct, defined on the home page as:
  • No name-calling or ad hominem attacks
  • No on-and-on repetitious, angry rants that marshal no supporting evidence, target an interlocutor, and have the effect of intimidating the interlocutor.
  • No threats of violence, even if metaphorical or aimed at no one in particular
  • No taunting, mocking, or intimidation of an individual or a group on the basis of race/ethnicity, sex, disability (including mental illness), sexual orientation, religious preference, or spiritual practice
  • No speech acts that would be actionable under US criminal or civil tort law 
I am genuinely asking. I do not know what responsibilities are given to moderators.

Further, though you have accused Kenneth of deflecting you have not responded directly to what I see as a problematic relationship you have with a forum you are charged with moderating. In light of that, and in acknowledgment that I may not see this issue clearly and perhaps you can help me, I ask the following:
1) Do you think transformations that come through meditation are valid, or useful? Do you think meditation is a worthy way to spend one's time? It has been reported that you asked Daniel to change the language used to describe the focus of the Dharma Overground, but if you look at the majority of the topics they revolve around meditation, and spiritual practice, and the majority of participants do meditate. For many, it is central to their life.
2) Given that you have equated enlightenment with delusion, it seems likely that you do not value meditation, but I am open to being proven wrong. If I am correct that it is not something you value, is it healthy for a forum to have a moderator who believes that the majority of those posting on a forum he is charged with moderating are delusional? Even if you only enter once in a while, you are still a moderator and that your perspective would not be biased in the way you relate to others here, and the positions you take, seems unreasonable. As stated before, even if you say after the fact, "here I am acting as a moderator", or "here I am not acting as a moderator", you are still listed as moderator and for some that confers a certain degree of respect on the positions and views you and other moderators hold.

Bill

P.S: If anyone feels the need to move this thread to a new topic I am fine with that, but I think the positioning of authority and problematic areas as related to positions of authority and certainty are vital to the health of this forum.


RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 1:51 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
"Keep in mind I'm not acting as a moderator right now, but as a participant." -Beoman

Beoman,

        How do you decide when to act as moderator or as participant? Is the duty of the moderator to delete James Yen's post (which is the only intervention I have seen you apply as moderator recently), or are they to in some ways guide the forum to uphold the rules of conduct, defined on the home page as:
  • No name-calling or ad hominem attacks
  • No on-and-on repetitious, angry rants that marshal no supporting evidence, target an interlocutor, and have the effect of intimidating the interlocutor.
  • No threats of violence, even if metaphorical or aimed at no one in particular
  • No taunting, mocking, or intimidation of an individual or a group on the basis of race/ethnicity, sex, disability (including mental illness), sexual orientation, religious preference, or spiritual practice
  • No speech acts that would be actionable under US criminal or civil tort law 
I am genuinely asking. I do not know what responsibilities are given to moderators.
It's simple. If I want to participate in a thread, then I do, and if I do participate in a thread, then I recuse myself from moderating it to avoid conflicts of interest. This is after I got burned in a thread I was involved in with Katy where I split the thread off myself.

This is for any moderation that would require making a decision. In the case of James Yen, no decision is required, it's simply a mechanical upholding of a previously agreed-upon moderation rule. In this thread I'd have to make a decision whether to censor Katy's posts or to warn Katy, or to censor Kenneth's posts or warn Kenneth, for example, and I can't say I would be impartial in making that decision.

Bill F.:
Further, though you have accused Kenneth of deflecting [...]
Minor point: I think "accuse" is a bit inflammatory in this context. I pointed out that he deflected and he agreed that he did. Deflecting isn't a sin or a crime, as has already been pointed out.
Bill F.:
[...] you have not responded directly to what I see as a problematic relationship you have with a forum you are charged with moderating.
That's because you didn't ask me. However, I will reply now. And I agree it may be better to move this off-thread since this is no longer about the Money and the Buddha at all.

Bill F.:
1) Do you think transformations that come through meditation are valid, or useful?
I am not sure what you mean by "valid" so I'll just focus on "useful": That would be for each person to decide, whether it was useful to them. I think it's very likely to *not* be useful, and also that it may cause a lot of harm - which people very much agree with via warnings about the Dark Night. I think ultimately one may be better off not starting to meditate at all - which people also very much agree with ("Best not to begin.") However, instead of "Once begun, best to finish." I would say "Once begun, best to find your way out of it." But again this is a should or an ought, it's really up to each person to decide, and I can't and won't try to impose my will on others.
Bill F.:
Do you think meditation is a worthy way to spend one's time?
I don't think it's a worthy way to spend my time. I think someone considering whether to begin meditating may be better-advised about the downsides, which I am happy to discuss. But if they want to meditate then that is their choice.
Bill F.:
It has been reported that you asked Daniel to change the language used to describe the focus of the Dharma Overground, but if you look at the majority of the topics they revolve around meditation, and spiritual practice, and the majority of participants do meditate. For many, it is central to their life.
Indeed, and you'll see that I don't post in the majority of the topics here.

Bill F.:
2) Given that you have equated enlightenment with delusion [...] is it healthy for a forum to have a moderator who believes that the majority of those posting on a forum he is charged with moderating are delusional?
This is actually a good point and I've thought about it myself as well. My current thinking is that it probably would be an issue if this was a meditation forum. However, I brought it up with Daniel Ingram, and as the re-write of the home page shows, he welcomes anything here that leads to "beneficial, fundamental mental, perceptual and emotional transformations", not just meditation. So I don't see it as a problem to moderate here given that I support one particular way of beneficial, fundamental transformation and not others. I am sure some people here support noting while others think it is not useful, some people here prefer Kenneth's approach while others don't, etc. As to moderating a forum where I think some of the people are delusional, I am sure that there are people here that think other people here are delusional, I think it's quite common.
Bill F.:
Even if you only enter once in a while, you are still a moderator and that your perspective would not be biased in the way you relate to others here, and the positions you take, seems unreasonable. As stated before, even if you say after the fact, "here I am acting as a moderator", or "here I am not acting as a moderator", you are still listed as moderator and for some that confers a certain degree of respect on the positions and views you and other moderators hold.
How do you mean "biased"? If you mean I support the things I think are beneficial and don't support the things I don't think are beneficial, that applies to everybody, it's called being discerning, and any moderator would be "guilty" of the same. As to respecting what I say more because I am a moderator, I don't project that image, it's up to others if they choose to accept it, and I think the fact that you bring up public perception here - essentially a version of "think of the children" - is... I don't have the words right now but there's something that is not quite right about it.

I hope that answers your questions,
Claudiu

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 2:22 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
... stuff about beoman ...


Hi Bill,

I get where you are coming from and understand your perspective. However there are a few points that are worth mentioning.

* While Beoman may not be a fan of meditation, actualism/the actual freedom method has been an accepted topic of discussion here on the DhO for a long time. And while meditation and actual freedom may be very different, they both deal with transformations of the mind, which is pretty much what all this is about.

* Beoman has been a moderator here for a long time, and from what I have seen he does a fine job of it. He is also one of the most consistently active moderators we have here which is valuable on a site where people tend to be absent for long periods.

* I have yet to see a concrete case where Beomans leaning towards actual freedom has obviously colored any moderation decisions, do you have any such examples or is this an entirely hypothetical discussion?

* Daniel is well aware of Beomans opinions on meditation and apparently doesn't have a problem keeping him on as a moderator and when you get right down to it, he is the ultimate authority here.

Have a good weekend,
Simon

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 4:37 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
" And I agree it may be better to move this off-thread since this is no longer about the Money and the Buddha at all."-Beoman

Nor was much of what came before, including your play by play of Katy's responses. That was about patterns of communication. Consistency is important.
Though you wrote that James' posts are automatically deleted, the truth is, they are not. He has posted since and his posts have remained for a while without being deleted. Again, there is not consistency regarding moderation which is why I was asking what the general terms are. Can you explain to me the general responsibiltities of the moderators in broad terms?


"This is actually a good point and I've thought about it myself as well. My current thinking is that it probably would be an issue if this was a meditation forum. However, I brought it up with Daniel Ingram, and as the re-write of the home page shows, he welcomes anything here that leads to "beneficial, fundamental mental, perceptual and emotional transformations", not just meditation. So I don't see it as a problem to moderate here given that I support one particular way of beneficial, fundamental transformation and not others. I am sure some people here support noting while others think it is not useful, some people here prefer Kenneth's approach while others don't, etc. As to moderating a forum where I think some of the people are delusional, I am sure that there are people here that think other people here are delusional, I think it's quite common."-Beoman

This is not the same. I asked if it was problematic to moderate a forum where you believe the majority of the people on the forum are delusional. I see you ducking this with word play and false equivocation. I did not say do you think it's problematic for participants who think other participants are delusional to be on this forum which is what you wrote above to justify your presence as moderator. Specifically I am asking if believing the majority of the people on the forum you moderate are delusional is a conflict of interest. Without including your final statement about lack of bias, what we believe conditions to some extent what we see. If you believe that you are interacting with individuals who are by and large delusional, you will position yourself as the sane authority amongst a group of deluded people, and assert superior knowledge about their motives that may or may not be true. For an example of how this gets played out, you wrote above:

"I don't see Katy as having been abusive. Just insistent, and asking questions that everybody would rather sweep under the rug. Which people are free to do, but then when people tried to pretend that that isn't what was happening, at some point I decided to step in."-Beoman

Here you are asserting the reasoning behind posters not answering the questions (note that others did provide responses on the general subject of money and Buddhism) and also that people are "trying to pretend".  You assume that you know the inner experience of others, their mind states and reasons for not doing something, and also assume that it is because they are ignoring certain truths, which you, perceive. Is this something can factually be backed up or is it an assumption? 

I understand that you asked Daniel to change the language, but look at the topics, and look at the majority of the postings. There is almost nothing about actual freedom, or the actualism method, which although you have been correcting others on for years, you recently found out you did not understand. Did you ask Richard to refund your money from your first trip since he was not able to convey the actualism method correctly and you spent years misunderstanding it? Is this a valid question in the spirit of this forum? That your certainty on what is correct as well as the inner experiences of others (see above where you assert that other posters who do not agree with you are merely pretending not to notice what you see) remains in place is problematic.

Regarding the language, "beneficial, fundamental mental, perceptual and emotional transformations" is so vague that it really isn't actually saying anything? If I want to share a recipe a day, and then describe superior shower products another, because I believe this is beneficial, does that make it appropriate? 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 4:38 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
@Simon: Not even on my radar. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 5:07 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
BCDEF
However, I brought it up with Daniel Ingram, and as the re-write of the home page shows, he welcomes anything here that leads to "beneficial, fundamental mental, perceptual and emotional transformations", not just meditation. So I don't see it as a problem to moderate here given that I support one particular way of beneficial, fundamental transformation and not others.

It is great to hear you've come around to my way of thinking back in September. You are now for the stricter moderation that I championed and you and other mods emphatically did not.

It sounds like you are fine now with my starting threads on
feminist theory, as well. emoticon After all, I consider that feminist theory would lead to "beneficial, fundamental mental, perceptual, and emotional transformations."

Anything goes, right?

It is interesting to me that the only bit about actualism that Daniel goes into at all in MCTB2 is rather disparaging, yet you got your rewrite pushed through his acquiescence before I and others could respond on the mod channel.




RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 5:04 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
BCDEF
However, I brought it up with Daniel Ingram, and as the re-write of the home page shows, he welcomes anything here that leads to "beneficial, fundamental mental, perceptual and emotional transformations", not just meditation. So I don't see it as a problem to moderate here given that I support one particular way of beneficial, fundamental transformation and not others.

It is great to hear you've come around to my way of thinking back in September. You are now for the stricter moderation that I championed and you and other mods emphatically did not.

Indeed, it seems to work better this way.

Jenny:
It sounds like you are fine now with my starting threads on feminist theory, as well. After I, I consider that feminist theory would lead to "beneficial, fundamental mental, perceptual, and emotional transformations."

Anything goes, right?

This is a "have you stopped beating your wife?"-type loaded question as you are implying that at one point I was not fine with your starting threads on feminist theory. However, here is what I wrote in an email to you on 9/27/2014:

Claudiu:
[Feminist theory itself] does sound like quite an interesting topic to discuss. My understanding as of now is that it isn't a valid theory [...] but I would probably enjoy discussing it. Certainly I wouldn't censor discussions about this, especially if the context in which it's being discussed is relevant and provided.


What gave you the impression I was not fine with you starting threads on feminist theory?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 5:05 PM as a reply to Jenny.
In all seriousness, I wouldn't mind a post or thread on feminist theory. It certainly fits within those guidelines, and it's something I know very little about.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 5:15 PM as a reply to Bill F..
BCDEF,

I do remember your writing that after a lot of bother over many days and a lot of heat, wherein I had to explain how poststructuralism (of which fem theory is part) and dharma were actually related (ie, I wrote my PhD dissertation on these topics).

Bill and all,

Yeah. I asked Daniel to create a "Culture and Practice" intersections section, which he did. He failed to list the subtopics, but that can't be addressed eventually. One of many suptopics I listed how to do with women, lack thereof here, patriarchy, etc.


Though what I'm talking about is theory, and not so much about actual gender and "equal rights" stuff, it has always been a cultural issue here that women seldom participate (except as lurkers). Vince Horn and Dan discuss this in an early BG podcast.

Well, I have a migraine, so some other time.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 5:52 PM as a reply to Jenny.
There is clearly a connection between 'post-modern' thinking and dharma as anyone who has studied this stuff even cursorily knows. I mean, a good case could be made for the thesis that post-modernism emerges through the encounter between rational western modernism and 'eastern' philosophy (Schopenhouer, Neitsche, Heidegger all certainly were heavily influenced by 'eastern philosophy') I think a special category that would be a good place for that sounds great (Theoreticians and traditionalists not good enough?-- either way I'm cool with it...). That said, everything after Derrida is pretty frickin academic and annoying ;) Sorry, couldn't resist! 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 5:57 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
@Simon: Not even on my radar.


I guess I'm thick because I don't understand this answer at all.

Good night,
Simon

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 7:39 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
" And I agree it may be better to move this off-thread since this is no longer about the Money and the Buddha at all."-Beoman

Nor was much of what came before, including your play by play of Katy's responses. That was about patterns of communication. Consistency is important.
Indeed. I saw a potential clear split at Jane's message asking if Katy's messages were okay. Clear topic change to moderation. My play-by-play message was another one, but it was at least about the conversation and not a different topic. It fits into the same category as Jake's message about how there are three conversations in this thread and I thought that I wouldn't want his message moved to another thread. So then I figured I will not ask a mod to split the thread.
---
Bill F.:
Though you wrote that James' posts are automatically deleted, the truth is, they are not. He has posted since and his posts have remained for a while without being deleted. Again, there is not consistency regarding moderation which is why I was asking what the general terms are. Can you explain to me the general responsibiltities of the moderators in broad terms?
Where did I write that James' posts are automatically deleted? I never said that. Whenever I see his posts I delete them and ban his new accounts. This is done manually, though robotically - no discretion is required from my part.

The general idea is that if there is a problem, people flag a post, it is brought to the mods attention, and then we decide what to do about it. The part of the front page you quoted is a basic set of ground rules that we enforce.
---
Bill F.:
"[...] As to moderating a forum where I think some of the people are delusional, I am sure that there are people here that think other people here are delusional, I think it's quite common."-Beoman
This is not the same. I asked if it was problematic to moderate a forum where you believe the majority of the people on the forum are delusional. [...] Specifically I am asking if believing the majority of the people on the forum you moderate are delusional is a conflict of interest. [...] If you believe that you are interacting with individuals who are by and large delusional, you will position yourself as the sane authority amongst a group of deluded people, and assert superior knowledge about their motives that may or may not be true. For an example of how this gets played out, you wrote above:
"I don't see Katy as having been abusive. Just insistent, and asking questions that everybody would rather sweep under the rug. Which people are free to do, but then when people tried to pretend that that isn't what was happening, at some point I decided to step in."-Beoman
Here you are asserting the reasoning behind posters not answering the questions (note that others did provide responses on the general subject of money and Buddhism) and also that people are "trying to pretend".You assume that you know the inner experience of others, their mind states and reasons for not doing something, and also assume that it is because they are ignoring certain truths, which you, perceive. Is this something can factually be backed up or is it an assumption?
Alright, a specific example!

Firstly, instead of "everybody" I should have written "some people".

As to the rest, after thinking about it, yes, I ascribed intentions where I shouldn't have. I can never know someone's intentions for sure. There were a lot of facts supporting that ascribing of intention but still, I could not have known. Your query was actually very useful, thanks, this should help me to avoid ascribing intentions in the future.

As to whether "believing the majority of the people on the forum you moderate are delusional is a conflict of interest": I don't think so. At least, I don't see that I have made a decision that I shouldn't have as a result of my understanding of meditation and actualism. I have looked back over the thread multiple times and I still can't see anything from what Katy wrote that would clearly constitute an attack. Definitely nothing that was "shrill" or a "long stampede" or "a woman screaming repeatedly at a man" as Jane wrote. Criticism, yes, rudeness, perhaps, but not an attack. Definitely nothing mentioned on the front page - no "angry rants" as far as I can tell, and all the criticisms she made were relevant to her points. If you'd like to point anything out explicitly then that would be welcome.

For another example, you cited a few times that I deleted a James Yen post that was critical of actualism and this is an indicator of bias. Well, I deleted his post in the Q & A thread as well that was critical of Kenneth Folk. If I was biased then I would surely have left that one up, no?

I certainly don't position myself as "the sane authority amongst a group of deluded people". I take what people say on a case-by-case. If I think what they say makes sense, then great. If not, then I may engage them based on that. If I engage them and point things out and they come back with another thing I don't think makes sense then I will think they are not allowing themselves to see something. This does of course depend on me being able to discern things properly. There may be biases that prevent me from discerning things properly. I am not perfect in that regard. I hope that I will be able to overcome them when they are pointed out to me.

Bill F.:
I understand that you asked Daniel to change the language, but look at the topics, and look at the majority of the postings. There is almost nothing about actual freedom, or the actualism method, which although you have been correcting others on for years, you recently found out you did not understand. Did you ask Richard to refund your money from your first trip since he was not able to convey the actualism method correctly and you spent years misunderstanding it? Is this a valid question in the spirit of this forum? That your certainty on what is correct as well as the inner experiences of others (see above where you assert that other posters who do not agree with you are merely pretending not to notice what you see) remains in place is problematic.

I did not ask for a refund seeing how I didn't actually pay him for anything. I don't see a problem with that question. Your parenthetical is misleading as it isn't because they didn't agree with me that I thought what I did. You are right that I have a lot of certainty on what is correct. I require evidence that I can be certain of in order to change my mind on what I think is correct. I may be overly certain. I don't know how to fix that right off the bat. I know I am capable of being wrong, though I don't like being wrong - that would be a place to start (no longer disliking being wrong). I don't think being less certain of what is correct, without discrimination, is the way to go because that would be silly. Some things I do know for sure. All I can do is go on a case-by-case and if I see compelling evidence then I change my mind - like in this case where it was true I ascribed intentions without really knowing.

Bill F.:
Regarding the language, "beneficial, fundamental mental, perceptual and emotional transformations" is so vague that it really isn't actually saying anything? If I want to share a recipe a day, and then describe superior shower products another, because I believe this is beneficial, does that make it appropriate?

Will your recipe a day and superior shower products lead to fundamental transformations? If so then please share.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 6:57 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
My point was it was ridiculous for Matthew to ask Katy to "try and include Kenneth in the conversation", because there was no conversation, and the reason for that was that Kenneth never actually engaged in a conversation.


I think Katy's first post pretty much closed the door on *conversation*, for reasons already put forward. 

Not really sure I'm continuing this conversation more for the ego (my own) maintenance, or because there's obviously a difference between the stated purpose of DhO and the way people (including moderators) participate and it needs highlighting.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 8:02 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Kenneth Folk:
Daniel Leffler:

I'm not a moderator but I'd say what's happening here is two people disagree on something and both think that they are correct (as usual)

You are mistaken, sir. What is happening here is that one person has attacked another, repeatedly and systematically.

The person being attacked has asked the attacker to stop. This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of record.

Understanding this basic dynamic is so fundamental to civil online discourse that it absolutely terrifies me when otherwise intelligent people seem unable to grasp it.

I'm actually curious now as to what constitutes an attack. Could you take one example of an attack Katy made and post it along with an explanation of why it's an attack? ...

It may be common knowledge what an attack is and what makes it unacceptable but at this point it is unclear to me.
I believe you, Claudiu. You and I have met in person, so I understand that you don't see things the way most people do. This is your strength and your weakness. You can add great value to a community by bringing a perspecive that most people don't have access to.

On the other hand, your inability to identify an attack leaves you unable to function as a moderator. The ability to immediately and intuitively assess the dynamic of an online discussion is the basic skill that makes moderation possible. Without it, it is simply not possible to moderate an online forum.

I don't want to explain to you what an attack is. If possible, I'd like to spend most of my time here answering dharma questions from sincere yogis and having discussions that help me in my own practice.

In the last several days, I've received emails from six people who have read this thread and the "Q&A with KF" thread. All of them expressed disbelief at the volume and venom of Katy's attacks, and at the fact that they were allowed to continue. Here on the boards, both Jane Laurel Carrington and Fitter Stoke have clearly expressed their dissatisfaction with the incivility of the discourse on the forum.

The DhO has a trolling problem. I don't expect you to fix it; fixing it will be a community effort. The cost of not fixing it is that people who don't like to be treated rudely will not post here. It's about that simple. That is a very high price to pay, as this forum is where people come to get straightforward information, education, guidance, and fellowship around their meditation practice. By and large, the people most likely to shy away are the very people who have the most to offer: people with experience, expertise, and high level communication skills. Such folks don't have to endure abuse, and they rarely do for very long.


The DhO is a fascinating exercise in democracy. In its current phase, it is a bit like Lord of the Flies. If you remember the story, it was about a bunch of boys shipwrecked on an island without adult supervision. They started out having fun, but the situation quickly devolved into murderous chaos. I understand that the DhO is not populated by children. I would say that it is populated by adults who are currently not living up to their potential in terms of a well-run forum where many people feel safe to participate.

I can imagine a future in which the best dharma practitioners in the world post here, and the threads are bursting at the seams with high-level instruction and fearless sharing. It's an exciting vision. What would it take to make that happen? Is it possible to keep the open-minded spirit of exploration that is so much a part of Daniel Ingram's original vision for this place while also building community values of mutual respect and civil discourse? I think it is. I'd love to be a part of that DhO.


As you can see, Claudiu, I've addressed this post to you, but I'm talking to the entire community. I'm talking to the active posters, and I'm talking to the lurkers most of all; people, this is your forum to make of what you will. I feel confident that Daniel will let you run this place as you see fit, because that is what he has done so far. So it's up to you all. If you choose the Wild West, there will be no surprises, as this is what you have now. If you demand civility, and self-organize to make it so, I predict you will raise the level of discourse in a way that will benefit everyone.

I have no plans to take over. I have neither the time nor the energy to invest, and I understand very well that this is a democratic forum and that no one here is looking for a boss. But I would like to be a part of it, and I will help as best I can. Here's hoping...

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 9:15 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Kenneth Folk:
Daniel Leffler:

I'm not a moderator but I'd say what's happening here is two people disagree on something and both think that they are correct (as usual)

You are mistaken, sir. What is happening here is that one person has attacked another, repeatedly and systematically.

The person being attacked has asked the attacker to stop. This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of record.

Understanding this basic dynamic is so fundamental to civil online discourse that it absolutely terrifies me when otherwise intelligent people seem unable to grasp it.

I'm actually curious now as to what constitutes an attack. Could you take one example of an attack Katy made and post it along with an explanation of why it's an attack? ...

It may be common knowledge what an attack is and what makes it unacceptable but at this point it is unclear to me.
I believe you, Claudiu. You and I have met in person, so I understand that you don't see things the way most people do. This is your strength and your weakness. You can add great value to a community by bringing a perspecive that most people don't have access to.

On the other hand, your inability to identify an attack leaves you unable to function as a moderator. The ability to immediately and intuitively assess the dynamic of an online discussion is the basic skill that makes moderation possible. Without it, it is simply not possible to moderate an online forum.

I don't want to explain to you what an attack is. If possible, I'd like to spend most of my time here answering dharma questions from sincere yogis and having discussions that help me in my own practice.

In the last several days, I've received emails from six people who have read this thread and the "Q&A with KF" thread. All of them expressed disbelief at the volume and venom of Katy's attacks, and at the fact that they were allowed to continue. Here on the boards, both Jane Laurel Carrington and Fitter Stoke have clearly expressed their dissatisfaction with the incivility of the discourse on the forum.

The DhO has a trolling problem. I don't expect you to fix it; fixing it will be a community effort. The cost of not fixing it is that people who don't like to be treated rudely will not post here. It's about that simple. That is a very high price to pay, as this forum is where people come to get straightforward information, education, guidance, and fellowship around their meditation practice. By and large, the people most likely to shy away are the very people who have the most to offer: people with experience, expertise, and high level communication skills. Such folks don't have to endure abuse, and they rarely do for very long.


The DhO is a fascinating exercise in democracy. In its current phase, it is a bit like Lord of the Flies. If you remember the story, it was about a bunch of boys shipwrecked on an island without adult supervision. They started out having fun, but the situation quickly devolved into murderous chaos. I understand that the DhO is not populated by children. I would say that it is populated by adults who are currently not living up to their potential in terms of a well-run forum where many people feel safe to participate.

I can imagine a future in which the best dharma practitioners in the world post here, and the threads are bursting at the seams with high-level instruction and fearless sharing. It's an exciting vision. What would it take to make that happen? Is it possible to keep the open-minded spirit of exploration that is so much a part of Daniel Ingram's original vision for this place while also building community values of mutual respect and civil discourse? I think it is. I'd love to be a part of that DhO.


As you can see, Claudiu, I've addressed this post to you, but I'm talking to the entire community. I'm talking to the active posters, and I'm talking to the lurkers most of all; people, this is your forum to make of what you will. I feel confident that Daniel will let you run this place as you see fit, because that is what he has done so far. So it's up to you all. If you choose the Wild West, there will be no surprises, as this is what you have now. If you demand civility, and self-organize to make it so, I predict you will raise the level of discourse in a way that will benefit everyone.

I have no plans to take over. I have neither the time nor the energy to invest, and I understand very well that this is a democratic forum and that no one here is looking for a boss. But I would like to be a part of it, and I will help as best I can. Here's hoping...


I also failed to see the attack of which you speak Kenneth. I find your post above about the nature of this forum quite disturbing. Wild west. WTF does tht mean? If it means freedom of speech I'm all for it. I'd prefer this forum to stay the way it is if you don't mind. Open with zero tolerance for BS. How can you be threatened by an online forum and a few direct questions targeted at your way which btw you still didn't answer to (appart from being bad for business - that part I understand). And please don't give me the crap about not wanting to enter into that discussion. From your posts so far, all I got is a feelling that you'd like this forum to be narrated to your likings. That sounds like censorship to me. Now that's something worth fighting against! As if we don't have enough of similar bullshit IRL from our governments? 
Where's the old Kenneth? The one I enjoyed reading posts on DhO from say 2009? In threads like this:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/84731

You said you wanted to be a part of DhO. Please be so. I'd love to read discussions similar to above between hard core long time practitioners. I'm sure it would also be good for your business. I really have no objections you doing so. It's a free world. People will decide for themselves if they're willing to pay for your tutoring. I for one was also thinking about it at one point. I'm not so sure anymore. Frankly I see your latest activity on DhO just as a self promotion. Sorry but It has an almost pathetic tone to it.

Fitter Stoke:
You left because of Katy? WTF! How can you be so easily intimidated or insulted? I don't know what happened but wtf again... You people have paths and shit and you sometimes act like my 2 toddlers.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 9:26 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Jake:
There is clearly a connection between 'post-modern' thinking and dharma as anyone who has studied this stuff even cursorily knows. I mean, a good case could be made for the thesis that post-modernism emerges through the encounter between rational western modernism and 'eastern' philosophy (Schopenhouer, Neitsche, Heidegger all certainly were heavily influenced by 'eastern philosophy') I think a special category that would be a good place for that sounds great (Theoreticians and traditionalists not good enough?-- either way I'm cool with it...). That said, everything after Derrida is pretty frickin academic and annoying ;) Sorry, couldn't resist! 

OMG, one of my people! Hahahahahahaha! What he said, y'all!

My diss was via Derrida, de Mann, etc. I wrote on zen koans and feminist interfacings in the Western literature of Henry James (The Golden Bowl) and William Faulner (Absalom! Absalom!)

Jenny

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 10:52 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
"Will your recipe a day and superior shower products lead to fundamental transformations?"

I have to admit that I am somewhat inept when it comes to shower products. I'm pretty basic (dove soap, aveeno shaving cream, head & shoulders shampoo I think, but I don't have dandruff, no, not me, just like the way it smells) with that stuff and was just throwing out something random.

I have taken quite an interest in cooking lately. I do believe that the right regiment as far as nutrition has definitely changed the way I feel mentally, emotionally, and perceptually. Look for my upcoming post series on organ meat recipes. Heart is tough to cook with, but liver is suprisingly tender if you soak it in milk for a day or so. Most people think organ meats are gross but they're very nutritious. Don't worry, animal lovers, all grass fed humanely raised meats from U.S Wellness meats. I will include link.

On a perhaps contradictory note my beloved Black Lab general passed in July of the past year. Adopting him was truly a life changing event, and it did indeed lead to beneficial mental, emotional, and perceptual changes. In that spirit look for my concurrently running series on dog adoption, and finding the right breed for you. Unfortunately me and my girlfriend live in an apartment that does not allow dogs at the present time so this will be outlet, and I believe it will help others to make decisions in that regard.

I am not kidding. I realize these discussions may not be quite what Daniel originally intended (Daniel who, right?) but they definitely fall within the guidelines presented for appropriate discussion.

Other than that, I am just stoked I got you to admit you made a mistake. I think that was a dissapointment to me, your never conceding, and it led me to take you less seriously, so I appreciate that.

Bill





RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 11:10 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Hi Kenneth,
I agree with everything you said about the importance of addressing practice, it's the main reason why we are here, and I will add my voice to the choir that I am very happy and grateful that the DhO is a place that attracts high level dharma practitioners such as yourself, as well as once-in-awhile voices of dissention like Claudiu (via Actualism) and sawfoot (via materialist philosophy). IMO their voices are also very important, though many here would just like to talk pragmatic dharma maps and theravada suttas only. I relish that the common theme holding us all together is an interest in the truth and a (generally) striving to be more civil, honest and kind to one another where we can. I disagree with your 'wild west' concerns however, as I see the Dho as much more highly evolved when compared to your average internet forum since many here have higher levels of self awareness, or are striving to
But here is the real issue I have. Your OP was an inferred attack (or at least an insult, I think 'attack' is too strong a word for either of you) on katy. I pointed this out up thread but you did not respond to me - really, in case I misinterpreted the whole 'people that disagree with my method of charging people for dharma instruction are nincompoops that don't understand either Buddhism or culture' thing . I assume by your silence that you either don't disagree with my interpretation or you don't think me worth responding to (which I don't take personally, I have a lot of confidence, sometimes misplaced : )
Still, I think it is problematic that you yourself attacked (I say 'insulted') katy (please correct me if I am wrong) and at the same time you accuse her of 'repeatedly and systematically' attacking you, but you refuse to say where exactly she attacked you. That is not fair to her - I, and others of sound mind here, disagree with your characterization of what went down. In my view, katy just feels strongly about profiting off the dharma and may have been pretty rude and intense at times (something we've all been guilty of at one time or another) but 'attack' is another thing entirely
I think she made quite a number of good points however, such as asking you if your teacher charged you money for teachings, or questioning the fact that you self-identify as teaching Buddhism, but didn't comment on one of Buddha's teachings about money and the dharma (the subject of this thread)
I also think repeatedly questioning Claudiu's moderating abilities is out of line, because he disagrees with you on a particular point like others here do as well?  Honestly this reminds me of what politicians do all the time - blame the messenger. Claudiu simply outlined the fact, in a detailed and rational fashion, that you never addressed any of katy's points, many of which were (IMO) valid. I also find that disrespectful, even if someone's tone rubs you the wrong way. I don't think katy was out to get you, do you really feel that way? I think she feels strongly (as you obviously do as well) about this subject - apparently she is personally involved in auditing non-profit dharma institutions to see that people are not profiting from Buddha's teachings - I am happy there are people like katy that do that, I consider it a service to the dharma. I also consider coming up with creative ways to include financially challenged individuals into a dharma teacher's business model to be a similiar service, IMHO I think that is something to seriously consider
There's a lot of emotion on this thread because this is a serious subject, and I'm happy it's here and being talked about. I wish you all the best whether or not you choose to reply
Daniel (the less enlightened one : )

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 11:08 PM as a reply to ftw.
ftw:
...I also failed to see the attack of which you speak Kenneth...
WTF FTW! The attack is Katy's opening post for Kenneth:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5664257#_19_message_5665537
Sure, she and others like the questions and want the answers, but that conversation has nothing to do with what DhO is for, as outlined on the front page.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 11:20 PM as a reply to Matt.
matthew sexton:
ftw:
...I also failed to see the attack of which you speak Kenneth...
WTF FTW! The attack is Katy's opening post for Kenneth:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5664257#_19_message_5665537
Sure, she and others like the questions and want the answers, but that conversation has nothing to do with what DhO is for, as outlined on the front page.

Hi mathew,
I don't see anything even resembling an 'attack' in katy's opening post, I read it twice
Do you consider Kenneth's OP here an attack? It sure doesn't seem like a compliment 
I am taking no sides here, honestly the tone of both parties has rubbed me the wrong way at different times and the substance of the conversation has suffered. I would really like to hear Kenneth's response to many of katy's questions - he ignored them all because he detected aggressiveness and thought she was out to get him. I sensed aggressiveness, but it is our decision whether or not to take things personally. The ability to not take things personally is major part of advancing on the path(s) as far as I am concerned as says a lot about how enlightened someone is or isn't (in the moment). Isn't this why we want to see no self? Anger is just anger, it's not directed at 'me', it's an energy that humans feel from time to time. Then it changes
This is the effect dharma practice has on me anyway, one that I try to cultivate
Best : )
Daniel

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/6/15 11:57 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel Leffler:

Hi mathew,
I don't see anything even resembling an 'attack' in katy's opening post, I read it twice
Do you consider Kenneth's OP here an attack? It sure doesn't seem like a compliment 

I guess if you liked the questions, you liked the questions.  Arguing about the word attack is to just avoid engaging with the issue.  I wish people who post lists of weird questions, and quibble about 'attack' would read the DhO front page and take it to heart.

Kenneth can defend his OP himself.  Note that it was a bidirectional dig.

I agree with you that this kind of situation is a cool opportunity for study of the self.

In this kind of thread, the one who posts the most looses the most. :-|  I'm getting there.  Don't take future silence as agreement, just better practice emoticon

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 12:20 AM as a reply to Matt.
matthew sexton:
Daniel Leffler:

Hi mathew,
I don't see anything even resembling an 'attack' in katy's opening post, I read it twice
Do you consider Kenneth's OP here an attack? It sure doesn't seem like a compliment 

I guess if you liked the questions, you liked the questions.  Arguing about the word attack is to just avoid engaging with the issue.  I wish people who post lists of weird questions, and quibble about 'attack' would read the DhO front page and take it to heart.

Kenneth can defend his OP himself.  Note that it was a bidirectional dig.

I agree with you that this kind of situation is a cool opportunity for study of the self.

In this kind of thread, the one who posts the most looses the most. :-|  I'm getting there.  Don't take future silence as agreement, just better practice emoticon

I don't want to risk losing mathew (lol) but I didn't say I liked katy's questions in her OP, I said I don't understand what you are referring to when you say katy attacked kenneth in the link you provided, I don't even see an insult there - I do see one in the OP of this thread though
As for the definition of 'bidirectional dig', that's new for me, maybe depends on what your definition of the word is is ;)

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 12:45 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
If I asked you, "How do you have the audacity of calling yourself a Buddhist when you engage in what is clearly wrong speech by emotionally abusing and bullying others on this forum?" Would that be an attack? It depends.

When people say attack they don't mean directly. If you side politically with the person being passive aggressive you will more likely ignore loaded questions of the nature, "Why are you such a piece of shit?" There's more than one way to say fuck you than saying, "Hey, fuck you!"

I'm surprised no one has meticulously broken this down step by step. I'm confident I could do it. But I won't because I don't want to deal with it.

May may you all be filled with sunshine, rainbows, love, and joy.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 2:23 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
This, Daniel Leffler, is what a personal attack looks like:

I am being more clear about the willfull blindness, the short-sightedness of a teacher milking students and offering "Witness" products and new trinket novelties, the work of a businessman clearly blind to dependent origination, cause and effect.

To de-personalize this for you or repersonalize in a way you value, consider if Honda issues a defective and "embarassing" product as Kenneth Folk has stated he issued for years. Honda has to recall a lot of product and fix at no charge to the client to maintain their Better Business Bureau (BBemoticon standing (which certificatication pales in comparison to reputation risk).

So think my inquires as in line with the BBB. 

If Kenneth Folk issues 1000 students hours of defective product does he refund or repair the product?

It's just business, Jane: When pitching something for the purpose material gain there are either consumer protections (like pharmaceutical products and vehicles and restaurants) or at least inquiry into the service and product (like Angieslist and Homeadvisor and other ratings agency). That's where a pay-per-dharma business willfully places itself.

~Better Dharma Bureau~

-Katy Steger (cut and pasted from two posts on the second page of the Q&A with Kenneth Folk thread


It's important for everyone participating in online forums to understand what a personal attack is. The above is one of many such posts by Katy on this forum over the last several days.

Notice that Katy's post is intellectually dishonest and irresponsible. Katy has no firsthand knowledge of my teaching (except, ironically, the free teaching I make available online on public forums, Buddhist Geeks, and Youtube, and blogs). She repeatedly criticizes the "products" that I sell. But I don't sell any products. The only product I'm involved with is a free iPhone app that enables two people to practice noting meditation together. What I sell is my time, which is not a product.

Katy writes repeatedly about a "witness" product that she says I sell or have sold, and maintains that if I feel embarrassed about having misunderstood the nature of the witness, I should compensate my students for the money they paid. But again she hasn't done her homework. There never was a witness product. There was a time when I believed the witness state was somehow more real than ordinary waking consciousness. But this was years before I accepted money for teaching. And for a teacher to feel embarrassed because he or she understands something more deeply than s/he did before is a natural and inevitable part of the life experience of a teacher. We grow and learn throughout our lives. If we waited until we understood everything before teaching, there would be no teachers in the world. We teach, we make mistakes, we learn, we get better as teachers. I teach the witness now as one of many valuable perspectives that can be accessed and stabilized, none of which are more or less real or ultimate than any other.

So Katy is saying things that are not true as well as making harsh judgements about things she doesn't understand. And she is doing this on a public forum, using sarcasm and insults. This is unethical. It is also cruel. I am a person with feelings, just like you. Just like Katy. I don't deserve to be publicly attacked. I don't deserve to have my reputation damaged by someone whom I have never met and who has clearly not done her homework on who I am or what I offer. If she were to speak to my students and former students, I believe she would find that they find great value in what I do.

It's also important to understand that Katy's campaign to hurt and discredit me and to drive me away from this forum (
"
these threads with Kenneth Folk are like an aggitated Good-bye to pay-per-dharma folks like Kenneth") are motivated by her religious conviction that it is wrong to charge money for Buddhist meditation instruction. I believe she has been very clear about this. But here's the thing: even if you agree with her, you surely don't want people to be able to dictate your behavior based on their religious beliefs. This is something to think very carefully about. Here in the US, for example, there are religious Christians who would very much like to decide for you how you should live. And you don't want that. And rightly so. So let's be very thoughtful about whether we want to use our own Buddhist convictions to dictate other people's personal or professional lives or to pass moral judgement on them, or to try to destroy their reputations, livelihoods, and self-esteem because they behave in a way that is not consistent with our interpretation of Buddhism.

For you, Daniel Leffler, to enable and excuse Katy's cruel, unethical, and intellectually dishonest behavior is, itself, a breach of ethics and intellectual honesty. Or perhaps you just haven't thought it through. I encourage you to take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish here before responding to this post. For myself, I would like to see the Dharma Overground become a place where people like me feel safe to post. Where the religious views of a few active posters do not become the de facto rule about what can and cannot be said about Buddhism, or about how people conduct their personal or professional lives. Where people don't enable abusive behavior, and have the courage to stand up and challenge it when it happens.

edit: typos

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 3:26 AM as a reply to ftw.
ftw:

Frankly I see your latest activity on DhO just as a self promotion. Sorry but It has an almost pathetic tone to it.

Hi ftw,

This struck me as funny because it reminded me of the time Groucho Marx joked that he would refuse to join any club that would have him as a member.

I interpreted your comment to mean that you were a little suspicious of me now that I'm participating on the DhO again. As though it were beneath my dignity. (You wouldn't want to have anything to do with me now that I've joined your club.) Well, it isn't beneath my dignity. I teach dharma. I like doing it, and I like engaging with other people who care about it. I have enough paying students. I'd be delighted to work with you, but I'll be fine if you don't choose me as your teacher. I'll be fine if no one reading these threads chooses me as their teacher.

At this point, I'm still here because I'm fascinated by the challenge of learning to engage when some significant number of the posters are actively hostile. Can I stay level-headed and teach some dharma even while being criticized? Can I keep in mind that the vast majority of people who will read this post are not active posters? Can I learn from the criticism and do better in the future? It's a challenge, and I don't know how long I'll be able to stick it out here, but I have to tell you I'm into it. I truly believe there is potential to level up the discourse here, and I want to stay around long enough to see it happen.

You also wrote, "Wild west. WTF does tht mean? If it means freedom of speech I'm all for it."

No. It doesn't mean freedom of speech. By Wild West, I mean such a commitment to light moderation that members are left to fend for themselves when they are trolled or flamed. It's not cool. It's not edgy. It's not hip. It's not freedom of speech. It's a wasted opportunity. And I believe it can get better.

There are thousands of places online where people can be cruel to one another. Read any YouTube comment thread to see how people behave in the absence of a culture of civility and responsibility, without a team of people committed to intelligent moderation.

Is this just another place for us to lob insults at one another? It doesn't have to be. This is the Dharma Overground. We are here to help each other wake up. To master the core teachings of the Buddha. This means something to me. I believe it means something to you. If we work together, we can build a culture of mutual respect here. Are you in?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 2:19 AM as a reply to Ryan J.
Ryan Kenneth Johnson:

I'm surprised no one has meticulously broken this down step by step. I'm confident I could do it. But I won't because I don't want to deal with it.

I really wish you would, Ryan Kenneth Johnson. You seem to be seeing this very clearly.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 3:20 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:

The DhO has a trolling problem. I don't expect you to fix it; fixing it will be a community effort. The cost of not fixing it is that people who don't like to be treated rudely will not post here. It's about that simple. That is a very high price to pay, as this forum is where people come to get straightforward information, education, guidance, and fellowship around their meditation practice. By and large, the people most likely to shy away are the very people who have the most to offer: people with experience, expertise, and high level communication skills. Such folks don't have to endure abuse, and they rarely do for very long.


The DhO is a fascinating exercise in democracy. In its current phase, it is a bit like Lord of the Flies. If you remember the story, it was about a bunch of boys shipwrecked on an island without adult supervision. They started out having fun, but the situation quickly devolved into murderous chaos. I understand that the DhO is not populated by children. I would say that it is populated by adults who are currently not living up to their potential in terms of a well-run forum where many people feel safe to participate.

I can imagine a future in which the best dharma practitioners in the world post here, and the threads are bursting at the seams with high-level instruction and fearless sharing. It's an exciting vision. What would it take to make that happen? Is it possible to keep the open-minded spirit of exploration that is so much a part of Daniel Ingram's original vision for this place while also building community values of mutual respect and civil discourse? I think it is. I'd love to be a part of that DhO.


As you can see, Claudiu, I've addressed this post to you, but I'm talking to the entire community. I'm talking to the active posters, and I'm talking to the lurkers most of all; people, this is your forum to make of what you will. I feel confident that Daniel will let you run this place as you see fit, because that is what he has done so far. So it's up to you all. If you choose the Wild West, there will be no surprises, as this is what you have now. If you demand civility, and self-organize to make it so, I predict you will raise the level of discourse in a way that will benefit everyone.

I have no plans to take over. I have neither the time nor the energy to invest, and I understand very well that this is a democratic forum and that no one here is looking for a boss. But I would like to be a part of it, and I will help as best I can. Here's hoping...
It's a nice speech Kenneth. I have made similar ones before. I got creepy threats of physical violence from one "high-level" poster here once and when I suggested maybe this wasn't ok and asked what kind of community we want to part of, Daniel Ingram defended him (and eventually, after some outrage from the community, condoned it), Nikolai seemed to think it wasn't a problem, Florian has called my complaining about this behaviour whining, one "high level" practioner said how much they were enjoying it. And so we have these kinds of dicussions before. 

Here is the rub though - when you create a thread where the OP is trolling, and you repeatedly are hostile and uncivil and insulting and disrepecting to posters (IMHO), including Claudiu and Daniel L, and particulary Katy (yep, we get it, she hurt your feelings and threatens your livelihood so she deserves it), it kind of gives the impression that you are full of shit, no? I appreciate that question might come across as hostile so you won't answer it. But take it in the spirit from someone who knows one. 

p.s
Here are synonyms for sanctimonious:

holier-than-thou
hypocritical
judgemental
self-righeous
condesending
superior
insincere

edit: added IMHO - obviously I wouldn't want to mistake my opinions as fact.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 2:52 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

Here is the rub though - when you create a thread where the OP is trolling, and you repeatedly are hostile and uncivil and insulting and disrepecting to posters, including Claudiu and Daniel L, and particulary Katy (yep, we get it, she hurt your feelings she deserves it), it kind of gives the impression that you are full of shit, no? I appreciate that question might come across as hostile so you won't answer it. But take it in the spirit from someone who knows one. 

This is an example of intellectual dishonesty. First, it is an example of the tu quoque fallacy.

Copied from Wikipedia:

Tu quoque (/tu??kwo?kwi?/;[1] Latin for "you, too" or "you, also") or the appeal to hypocrisy is an informal logical fallacy that intends to discredit the opponent's position by asserting the opponent's failure to act consistently in accordance with that position. It attempts to show that a criticism or objection applies equally to the person making it. This attempts to dismiss opponent's position based on criticism of the opponent's inconsistency and not the position presented.[2] It is a special case of ad hominem fallacy, which is a category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of fact about the person presenting or supporting the claim or argument.[3] To clarify, although the person being attacked might indeed be acting inconsistently or hypocritically, such behavior does not invalidate the position presented.

This is not my first time on the riverboat. I don't believe that you or any of the others who have mentioned my mocking OP as somehow equivalent to or justifying Katy's behavior actually believe what you are saying. And I don't believe that a mocking OP that is directed at "people who believe..." is in any way equivalent to a targeted, repetitive, and vicious campaign of defamation spanning three threads and multiple posts. Nor do I believe that you believe this.

Furthermore, your characterization of my communications to Claudiu, Daniel L, and Katy as "hostile and uncivil and insulting and disrepecting to posters" indicates that you either don't know the meaning of those words, or that you are disingenuous. I don't believe that you don't know the meaning of those words.

So, I must conclude that you have posted this for no other reason than to cause trouble. Judging by what you wrote, it seems that causing trouble is your role on this site, and that others can see this as clearly as I can.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 2:59 AM as a reply to Matt.
matthew sexton:

I guess if you liked the questions, you liked the questions.  Arguing about the word attack is to just avoid engaging with the issue.  I wish people who post lists of weird questions, and quibble about 'attack' would read the DhO front page and take it to heart.

Kenneth can defend his OP himself.  Note that it was a bidirectional dig.

I agree with you that this kind of situation is a cool opportunity for study of the self.

In this kind of thread, the one who posts the most looses the most. :-|  I'm getting there.  Don't take future silence as agreement, just better practice emoticon
Thank you for sticking it out, Matthew. I think if enough people stand up for civility and honesty, the culture here will become more civil and honest. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 4:40 AM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
In all seriousness, I wouldn't mind a post or thread on feminist theory. It certainly fits within those guidelines, and it's something I know very little about.
Come on. This isn't even a new idea.
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4212122

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 4:57 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Perhaps it would be best to just let this thread die at this point. It doesn't seem to be resulting in much in the way of constructive discussion any more. The original discussion of for pay vs. free dharma seems very interesting however so perhaps a new thread could be started which focuses on that rather than on who attacked who and who should moderate what.

A good weekend to all,
Simon

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:14 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
These money/dharma discussions have been done a few times I think in the past number of years, mostly on the old KFD forum.

Here is one discussion I found:

Learning about money

http://awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-archive-wetpaint/12235-learning-about-money

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:43 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
sawfoot _:

Here is the rub though - when you create a thread where the OP is trolling, and you repeatedly are hostile and uncivil and insulting and disrepecting to posters, including Claudiu and Daniel L, and particulary Katy (yep, we get it, she hurt your feelings she deserves it), it kind of gives the impression that you are full of shit, no? I appreciate that question might come across as hostile so you won't answer it. But take it in the spirit from someone who knows one. 



Kenneth Folk:

This is an example of intellectual dishonesty. First, it is an example of the tu quoque fallacy (link to wikipedia)


I think it makes more sense to say that this is case of you interpreting behaviour as intellectual dishonesty. Droll had a nice post about that a while back, where we discussed the problems in viewing opinions as fact.

Kenneth Folk:


This is not my first time on the riverboat. I don't believe that you or any of the others who have mentioned my mocking OP as somehow equivalent to or justifying Katy's behavior actually believe what you are saying. And I don't believe that a mocking OP that is directed at "people who believe..." is in any way equivalent to a targeted, repetitive, and vicious campaign of defamation spanning three threads and multiple posts. Nor do I believe that you believe this.


I don't know about anyone else, but I didn't say your OP or behaviour was equivalent to Katy's behaviour, and its noteworthy that you make the inference from what I wrote. And so I don't believe this, you are right.

The bigger picture point, which find fascinating, is about what people are capable of doing when fuelled with the fires of righteous indignation. I sort of see it as the root of evil - I mean, genocides happen from the stance of moral justification, that given the actions of others, their response is appropriate.

kenneth:

Furthermore, your characterization of my communications to Claudiu, Daniel L, and Katy as "hostile and uncivil and insulting and disrepecting to posters" indicates that you either don't know the meaning of those words, or that you are disingenuous. I don't believe that you don't know the meaning of those words.
I actually edited the post to add "IMHO" prefacing those opinions before I read your post. So these are opinions, right? Of course, I could just be lying and that I didn't think those things and am insincere, but I did, for example, email Katy because it seems like she might have been hurt and offended (see the "how dare you Kenneth Folk" post above) and I felt bad for her given your discourse.

So from your writing my interpretation is that you seem to be mplying that words have "meanings" which we can objectively determine, and in a discourse we can correctly characterise as the behaviour of others as fitting those meanings. So you can correctly describe your interlocutor as "uncivil" whereas you might see your discourse as "civil". And you might look for a consensus or people emailing to support that particular characterisations. I don't share that view - in the sense that if I perceive you as being uncivil or hostile, my belief about that is a fact. I might be a poor judge of behaviour, and I might have a different understanding to you of the kinds of behaviour that I use that word to point to, but it is still my belief.

kenneth:

So, I must conclude that you have posted this for no other reason than to cause trouble. Judging by what you wrote, it seems that causing trouble is your role on this site, and that others can see this as clearly as I can.
Ok, so this is ad-hominem. But in regard to the main question of the post, it was whether you can recognise the contradiction or problems in preaching statements like this:

"Is this just another place for us to lob insults at one another?"

and writing that statements like this:

"For you, Daniel Leffler, to enable and excuse Katy's cruel, unethical, and intellectually dishonest behavior is, itself, a breach of ethics and intellectual honesty."

And so you indirectly give an answer from wikipedia "though the person being attacked might indeed be acting inconsistently or hypocritically, such behavior does not invalidate the position presented."

As I sort of implied in my post, I agree in the large part of the sentiment that you are suggesting, The reasons for raising the question are complex, but I tend to think awareness of the things I am pointing out in this post may help with the following:

Kenneth:
"At this point, I'm still here because I'm fascinated by the challenge of learning to engage when some significant number of the posters are actively hostile. Can I stay level-headed and teach some dharma even while being criticized? Can I keep in mind that the vast majority of people who will read this post are not active posters? Can I learn from the criticism and do better in the future? It's a challenge, and I don't know how long I'll be able to stick it out here, but I have to tell you I'm into it. I truly believe there is potential to level up the discourse here, and I want to stay around long enough to see it happen."

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 7:02 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I've only read through this thread cursorily, but I feel the need to interject my half-assed opinion anyway.

For the record, I had a similar run-in with Katie on a thread I made a couple months ago.

Kenneth, you claim to be interested in discussing dharma but you've skipped over several dharma questions. Presumably, you judged the inquirers to be hostile and therefore not interested in learning. Again, can't both be true? Slight aggressiveness with genuine interest in the dharma? Ignoring the questions that contain criticisms is an excellent way to never change your views. Rather "intellectually dishonest"

You keep repeating 'intellectual honesty' and 'ethics'. For me, the former concept is useless; no one is 'intellectually honest'. One can profess to be committed to 'intellectual honesty' but still be 'intellectually dishonest' nonetheless. And, 'ethics' are entirely your own to choose. Just as Katie is free to choose her religious beliefs about how you make your living, we're all free to decide the 'ethics' of 'attacking' on forums and what constitutes honesty in debate and reasoning.

Linking to fallacies strikes me as high schooler debate tactics, but here anyway. Sawfoot isn't claiming your ARGUMENT is false because he thinks you're hypocritical. He's just saying that he thinks you're critical. From my POV, judging the character of sources of information is just good critical thinking.

I'd like to point out that 'attacking' and 'being treated' both function as metaphors here. You're staring at symbols on a glowing screen. The only attacking and treatment is happening in your imagination.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 4:16 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
RE: Money and the Buddha 
2/5/15 10:22 AM as a reply to Jane Laurel
Kenneth:

Thanks, Laurel. You said it better than I could.
(...)

I've called on the moderators to review this thread. I'd like to bring it back to the discussion of money and dharma. I don't mind a little mordant humor (after all, I began this thread with a snarky comment), and I encourage provocative or contrarian discussion. But I hope we can move beyond the targeted personal attacks and defamation..
(Bold emphasis added)


Is there community / family / neighborhood value in repeating any "awakening/enlightenment" or its "meditation coaching" which awakenging/coaching contains and role-models self-admittedly "snarky" conduct?



___
edit 1: format and italics
edit 2: removing last names

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 9:10 AM as a reply to mla7.
michael andre:
   I think the practice of paying for meditation teaching, whether Buddhist or otherwise, is generally a good idea.  

The main reason why I am for it is that it brings to light and formalizes motives of gain and exchange that are already occuring in relationships between students and teachers, priests and laity etc..

I think that in many cases, people who give  donations to their church or sangha are NOT acting from a place of total selfless generosity, but rather, are hoping to get some sort of spiritual gain through the transaction whether that be a place in heaven or the accumulation of some sort of merit or something else altogether.  

Charging for teachings brings these (often not entirely conscious) motivations for spiritual gain right up to the surface where they can be seen for what they are, and in my opinion, dealt with more ethically and effectively.  

Also, I think that formalizing the student teacher relationship into a customer/ service provider type format might do away with some of the creepy "guru-type" b.s that sometimes accompanies teacher/student relationships (such as: power trippping mind games, seeing the teacher as a god, pointless mystification etc..)

 It sort of brings the teacher back down into the dirt of normal human interaction which I guess can seem like a real bummer to some but to me feels like a bit of a relief, actually....
  


   mike

This is really well said, Mike, and I agree. There is something very clean about knowing what is expected from both teacher and student. The student doesn't have to wonder how much dana to give, a guessing game I've always found uncomfortable when I am in the student role. And the student knows what to expect from the teacher; if I am paying you for your time, I expect you to behave professionally and to keep my best interests in mind. You, the teacher, are not doing me any favors; you are fullfulling your part of a clearly stated contract.

As you say, there is less likelihood that a student will project some kind of magical holiness on a teacher when they are both "down in the dirt of normal human interaction." And since that dirt is where we live, there is no freedom more profound than learning to be free in the dirt.

When you can be free in the dirt, the Buddhist term "world conqueror" takes on a brand new light, and makes sense in a way it never did when we thought it referred to a magical superbeing who never feels anxious or afraid.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 10:04 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I would like to put to rest as best I can the claim that Kenneth insulted Katy in the opening post to this thread, thereby making him a hypocrite, and thereby making his whole argument about civility invalid. He presented two exaggerated, equally ridiculous claims and asked which if either is true. Then he returned, following a brief discussion, to claim that this whole discussion of money is a distraction. It was a ploy. It may not have worked as he would have liked to make his point that the focus on money is a distraction, but this is what he meant. Daniel Leffler, please return to the beginning of this thread, reread what's there, and then if you still believe that Kenneth insulted Katy, I have no further comment. 

Second, I once again wish to point out that neither Kenneth nor anyone else is obligated to answer Katy's questions, or anyone else's questions. Even if the questions were thoroughly relevant and stated respectfully, people do not sign a pledge when posting on here to answer questions. It may be helpful if they do answer certain questions, but failure or refusal to do so is no grounds for claiming everyone should discount whatever else someone may wish to say. I actually think that Kenneth has answered the question of whether matters of finances are relevant to a discussion of awakening. He believes they are not. Others may disagree. But when you persevere in pushing such questions again and again, you are highjacking the discussion.

Fitter Stoke and Kenneth are not acting like toddlers. They are adults who object to having their time wasted by nonsense and acting out. There is a law, forget the name, that in an economic system, bad money drives out good money. The sMe is true of discussion. Disruptive, antagonistic, and irrelevant discussion drives away people who are serious.

oh, and btw, my name is Laurel. I got put in here as Jane Laurel because I took too literally the request for my first name. If anyone can tell me how to change my name here to Laurel Carrington without opening a new account, I would be much obliged.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 10:22 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Hi Kenneth Folk (btw, please just call me Daniel, no need to use my last name when your post is a direct reply to me, it makes me feel like I’m being called to the principal’s office) thank you for taking the time to respond. I really don’t think this thread needs to be about taking sides to either defend Kenneth or katy (she is right and he is wrong or vice versa), they are clearly adults with strong emotions and backbones, and I'm not sure lining up on one side or the other supports the community
I agree with you Kenneth (as I said before) on some things (some of katie’s posts were over the top) and I disagree with others, the main one being that because someone has a different viewpoint than you do they are either a ‘very bad moderator’ (Claudiu), or disingenuous or just plain dull (me and now sawfoot apparently). This is attacking the messenger because you don’t like the message. I would ask you to please consider that people have different opinions on the subject of money and the Buddha and not everyone is comfortable with making a well-paid profession out of teaching the dharma – that apparently includes the Buddha, though, as a rampant capitalist myself, I expressed repeatedly that I was relatively agnostic on the subject, though I do find it potentially problematic (hence this thread). Teaching dharma is quite different than cardio and lifting weights, IMO anyway
Like you though I would rather discuss dharma than discuss the discussion. I would simply ask you to consider (moving forward) that people can be well-informed and well-intentioned and still disagree with one another – the third assumption is that there are different viewpoints on the same subject. There is no need to be completely right about everything, it comes off as self-righteous to me and apparently others (I’m speaking to myself now as well), none of us are ever representing objective thought no matter how much we’d like to think so
I look forward to future substantive and respectful conversations about practice and the entire eightfold path (the core teachings of the Buddha) and I’m happy we are all here to participate in the community – practice well
Daniel

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 10:21 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Laurel Carrington:
oh, and btw, my name is Laurel. I got put in here as Jane Laurel because I took too literally the request for my first name. If anyone can tell me how to change my name here to Laurel Carrington without opening a new account, I would be much obliged.


Hi Laurel,

I updated it for you so it should be correct now.
I think you are able to change it yourself in the future by clicking your name up in the right hand corner of the page and then clicking My Account.

Simon

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 10:28 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
These money/dharma discussions have been done a few times I think in the past number of years, mostly on the old KFD forum.

Here is one discussion I found:

Thank you!

Simon

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 10:40 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
RE: Money and the Buddha 
2/5/15 10:22 AM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
Kenneth Folk:

Thanks, Laurel. You said it better than I could.
(...)

I've called on the moderators to review this thread. I'd like to bring it back to the discussion of money and dharma. I don't mind a little mordant humor (after all, I began this thread with a snarky comment), and I encourage provocative or contrarian discussion. But I hope we can move beyond the targeted personal attacks and defamation..
(Bold emphasis added)


Is there community / family / neighborhood value in repeating any "awakening/enlightenment" or its "meditation coaching" which awakenging/coaching contains and role-models self-admittedly "snarky" conduct?



___
edit 1: format and italics

I think there is.

I have been a lurker on the DhO for a couple of years. One of the things I value about this place is that people with some degree or quite a lot of “awakening/enlightenment” participate. 

Why do I think they are awake? I have only my opinion based solely on my impression that the ‘taste’ or ‘feel’ of what they have said matches both the ‘taste’ and 'feel’ of what I get from other more accepted/traditional/monastic awakened folks and the tentative glimmerings of my own experience.  I could be wrong but...

My observation is that they are both awake and still human and fallible. Personality, quirks, strengths and weaknesses do not magically change or disappear.  This is a delightful paradox. They are 'role-models' of an enlightenment that is somehow vulnerable, open, and immeasurably strong in its imperfection. 

I know it is not what some believe or hope enlightenment to be. But I think it is the enlightenment Daniel describes in MCTB. One that is possibly attainable -- if we just do the experiment ourselves.  

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 12:11 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
RE: Money and the Buddha 
2/5/15 10:22 AM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
Kenneth Folk:

Thanks, Laurel. You said it better than I could.
(...)

I've called on the moderators to review this thread. I'd like to bring it back to the discussion of money and dharma. I don't mind a little mordant humor (after all, I began this thread with a snarky comment), and I encourage provocative or contrarian discussion. But I hope we can move beyond the targeted personal attacks and defamation..
(Bold emphasis added)

Is there community / family / neighborhood value in repeating any "awakening/enlightenment" or its "meditation coaching" which awakenging/coaching contains and role-models self-admittedly "snarky" conduct?
___
edit 1: format and italics
If we were to consider Kenenth's personal trainer analogy, one way to pose the question is - would you want to get a personal training (and pay money for it) from a trainer who is obsese? Who, for example, lectures you on eating a healthy diet while they sit in front of you chomping on cheese burgers?

And the answer isn't clear cut though, in that, yes, the trainer might be obese, but they actually might be really good at personal training and get excellent results from their clients, and hence provide value. 

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 12:14 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
This, Daniel Leffler, is what a personal attack looks like:
Thanks for posting an example, Kenneth! I would be happy to let the thread die, but I'd like to pursue the what-is-an-attack angle a bit more if anyone is interested. You said:
Kenneth Folk:
It's important for everyone participating in online forums to understand what a personal attack is. The above is one of many such posts by Katy on this forum over the last several days.
However I note you did not explain why the examples you quoted are a personal attack. I understand why you may not want to get into this but I myself won't be satisfied until it is clear why what you quoted is an attack. As it is now you're relying on us to just agree with you that it's an attack, just because. I'll go into why I don't think it's an attack.
---
Katy:
I am being more clear about the willfull blindness, the short-sightedness of a teacher milking students and offering "Witness" products and new trinket novelties, the work of a businessman clearly blind to dependent origination, cause and effect.
If she had just said "Kenneth is willfully blind, short-sighted, milking students, clearly blind to dependent origination, cause and effect." then that would be an attack. But what she said was:

"[...] the buddha did not have the purpose of material gain for teaching and apparently there's an interdiction on having a purpose of material gain and teaching the dharma (AN 5.159)."
"Teaching for the purpose of material gain regards, in buddhist-speak, the dharma eye, aka "wisdom" eye: in plain speak: the inablity to see conditions with the knowledge of cause and effect."
"In this year, 2015, it is the very tiny, passé teacher with "pink eye" not wisdom eye who would seek payment for their newly-spun trinkets and new definitions and dependency, failing to offer seekers companionship and skill in positive mental attention to own mind and to see the causality therein and thereout. "
"In dharma, living on a income from students is also a quick way to be both broke now (a wayard idiot) and broke later (a wayward parched idiot) with few friends due to their own actions, an explotive conceited milking."
"I am being more clear about the willfull blindness, the short-sightedness of a teacher milking students and offering "Witness" products and new trinket novelties, the work of a businessman clearly blind to dependent origination, cause and effect."

Thus she has actually constructed an argument - that there is an interdiction on teaching the dharma with a purpose of material gain, that to teach for material gain is to not be able to see conditions with the knowledge of cause and effect, thus that living on an income from students is an "explotive conceited milking". These things would apply to any teacher that charges for the dharma - they are not personally directed at you. You are an example of someone who charges for the dharma so thus her argument applies to you.
---
Katy:
To de-personalize this for you or repersonalize in a way you value, consider if Honda issues a defective and "embarassing" product as Kenneth Folk has stated he issued for years. Honda has to recall a lot of product and fix at no charge to the client to maintain their Better Business Bureau (BBemoticon standing (which certificatication pales in comparison to reputation risk).

So think my inquires as in line with the BBB. 

If Kenneth Folk issues 1000 students hours of defective product does he refund or repair the product?

It's just business, Jane: When pitching something for the purpose material gain there are either consumer protections (like pharmaceutical products and vehicles and restaurants) or at least inquiry into the service and product (like Angieslist and Homeadvisor and other ratings agency). That's where a pay-per-dharma business willfully places itself.

~Better Dharma Bureau~
Katy's question that she was clarifing here was: "When you backtrack on a product-- when you state for yourself that a product you pitched for years such as your "witness" product is an embarassment to you, do you issue a refund for that product to all clients?". The passage you quoted here draws an analogy to Honda issuing a defective car, at which point they offer refunds. If you offered a defective product, shouldn't you offer refunds? It's a fair, if rude, question, and an apt analogy. Now her question is not valid because you never actually taught when you were going through the phase you said was embarrassing, but it being invalid doesn't turn it into an attack.

If the above were attacks, then wouldn't the following also be an attack? "So Katy is saying things that are not true as well as making harsh judgements about things she doesn't understand. And she is doing this on a public forum, using sarcasm and insults. This is unethical. It is also cruel." However I don't consider this an attack for the same reasons I listed about. It isn't just you saying Katy is unethical and cruel - you are making a case for why you think Katy is acting unethically and cruelly.

I did find an example of an attack though: "If your goal in a discussion is to communicate, educate, or understand, and your interlocutor's goal is to hurt, discredit, or humiliate, you will fail and your interlocutor will succeed. Best not to engage." Here, you attacked Katy's character, without making an argument or offering supporting evidence, in an attempt to undermine her arguments. This is the only clear case of an attack so far I have found.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 1:06 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

I did find an example of an attack though: "If your goal in a discussion is to communicate, educate, or understand, and your interlocutor's goal is to hurt, discredit, or humiliate, you will fail and your interlocutor will succeed. Best not to engage." Here, you attacked Katy's character, without making an argument or offering supporting evidence, in an attempt to undermine her arguments. This is the only clear case of an attack so far I have found.

No, Claudiu. That is not an attack. That is a restatement of the most basic and oft-repeated wisdom in the entire world of online discussion:

Do not feed the trolls.

Again, the fact that you cannot distinguish between an attack and a statement of best practices for online discourse leads me to conclude that you lack the most basic skills necessary for moderation of an online forum. This is also not an attack. It is a clear statement of my opinion about your competence at a specific task. It is a criticism of your performance. It is not intended to hurt you. It does not impugn your character or your intelligence. In fact, as far as I can see, your character and intelligence are of an unusually high order.

I would like to see the forum moderated by people who are skilled at moderation. You, in spite of your many gifts, are not skilled at moderation in my opinion, and I wish you were not a moderator. I believe this forum would run more smoothly with light but skillful moderation. I believe skillful moderation would enable a culture of kindness, clarity of communication, and mutual respect to emerge, with very little downside.

I'm sorry if I've hurt you. It is not my intention to hurt you. I like and respect you. If there is a kinder way to express my dissatisfaction with your moderation, I would like to learn it so I can do better in the future.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 1:13 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth Folk:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

I did find an example of an attack though: "If your goal in a discussion is to communicate, educate, or understand, and your interlocutor's goal is to hurt, discredit, or humiliate, you will fail and your interlocutor will succeed. Best not to engage." Here, you attacked Katy's character, without making an argument or offering supporting evidence, in an attempt to undermine her arguments. This is the only clear case of an attack so far I have found.

No, Claudiu. That is not an attack. That is a restatement of the most basic and oft-repeated wisdom in the entire world of online discussion:

Do not feed the trolls.

Again, the fact that you cannot distinguish between an attack and a statement of best practices for online discourse leads me to conclude that you lack the most basic skills necessary for moderation of an online forum. This is also not an attack. It is a clear statement of my opinion about your competence at a specific task. It is a criticism of your performance. It is not intended to hurt you. It does not impugn your character or your intelligence. In fact, as far as I can see, your character and intelligence are of an unusually high order.

I would like to see the forum moderated by people who are skilled at moderation. You, in spite of your many gifts, are not skilled at moderation in my opinion, and I wish you were not a moderator. I believe this forum would run more smoothly with light but skillful moderation. I believe skillful moderation would enable a culture of kindness, clarity of communication, and mutual respect to emerge, with very little downside.

I'm sorry if I've hurt you. It is not my intention to hurt you. I like and respect you. If there is a kinder way to express my dissatisfaction with your moderation, I would like to learn it so I can do better in the future.
Kenneth,

If you did not start such a dumb assed thread, Beoman would not have to moderate.  

Psi

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 1:46 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Kenneth Folk:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

I did find an example of an attack though: "If your goal in a discussion is to communicate, educate, or understand, and your interlocutor's goal is to hurt, discredit, or humiliate, you will fail and your interlocutor will succeed. Best not to engage." Here, you attacked Katy's character, without making an argument or offering supporting evidence, in an attempt to undermine her arguments. This is the only clear case of an attack so far I have found.

No, Claudiu. That is not an attack. That is a restatement of the most basic and oft-repeated wisdom in the entire world of online discussion:

Do not feed the trolls.

Again, the fact that you cannot distinguish between an attack and a statement of best practices for online discourse leads me to conclude that you lack the most basic skills necessary for moderation of an online forum. This is also not an attack. It is a clear statement of my opinion about your competence at a specific task. It is a criticism of your performance. It is not intended to hurt you. It does not impugn your character or your intelligence. In fact, as far as I can see, your character and intelligence are of an unusually high order.

I would like to see the forum moderated by people who are skilled at moderation. You, in spite of your many gifts, are not skilled at moderation in my opinion, and I wish you were not a moderator. I believe this forum would run more smoothly with light but skillful moderation. I believe skillful moderation would enable a culture of kindness, clarity of communication, and mutual respect to emerge, with very little downside.

I'm sorry if I've hurt you. It is not my intention to hurt you. I like and respect you. If there is a kinder way to express my dissatisfaction with your moderation, I would like to learn it so I can do better in the future.
Kenneth,

If you did not start such a dumb assed thread, Beoman would not have to moderate.  

Psi
Say more. What, in your opinion is "dumb assed" about a discussion of money and Buddhism?

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 4:16 PM as a reply to elizabeth.
Elizabeth P:
katy:
RE: Money and the Buddha 
2/5/15 10:22 AM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
Kenneth Folk:

Thanks, Laurel. You said it better than I could.
(...)

I've called on the moderators to review this thread. I'd like to bring it back to the discussion of money and dharma. I don't mind a little mordant humor (after all, I began this thread with a snarky comment), and I encourage provocative or contrarian discussion. But I hope we can move beyond the targeted personal attacks and defamation..
(Bold emphasis added)


Is there community / family / neighborhood value in repeating any "awakening/enlightenment" or its "meditation coaching" which awakenging/coaching contains and role-models self-admittedly "snarky" conduct?



___
edit 1: format and italics

I think there is.

I have been a lurker on the DhO for a couple of years. One of the things I value about this place is that people with some degree or quite a lot of “awakening/enlightenment” participate. 

Why do I think they are awake? I have only my opinion based solely on my impression that the ‘taste’ or ‘feel’ of what they have said matches both the ‘taste’ and 'feel’ of what I get from other more accepted/traditional/monastic awakened folks and the tentative glimmerings of my own experience.  I could be wrong but...

My observation is that they are both awake and still human and fallible. Personality, quirks, strengths and weaknesses do not magically change or disappear.  This is a delightful paradox. They are 'role-models' of an enlightenment that is somehow vulnerable, open, and immeasurably strong in its imperfection. 

I know it is not what some believe or hope enlightenment to be. But I think it is the enlightenment Daniel describes in MCTB. One that is possibly attainable -- if we just do the experiment ourselves.  

Hi Elizabeth,

I appreciate reading your reply; it's clear and direct.

When you write: 
My observation is that they are both awake and still human and fallible. Personality, quirks, strengths and weaknesses do not magically change or disappear.  This is a delightful paradox. They are 'role-models' of an enlightenment that is somehow vulnerable, open, and immeasurably strong in its imperfection
This is to me  what you've written is the great fortune of being a "normal" person, my community, you, me, Kenneth, Jane Laurel, Daniel-- humans with quirks and strengths and weaknesses, fallable, and, I would add, incredibly generosity-- in fact, having quite credible generosity because we can see how much world over people give so much and so often without personal gain and often at the cost of their very time and lives.  

So when meditation coach/claimed awakened one, Kenneth asks in his opening post here:
Which, if either, of these propositions is true?

1. People who charge money for dharma instruction are doomed to Buddha Hell.

2. People who perseverate about the evil of charging money for dharma instruction are reactionary nincompoops with no real understanding of either Buddhism or culture.

Discuss.
and later calls himself snarky here..

...then I guess I don't understand his questions or the value he purports in his awakenging

First, I'll answer his OP: I have gone to meditational retreat centers that charge a range on the monetary spectrum as well as those centers that just have a box for donation.  I can see for myself the buildings need to run when I'm gone and the roof needs repair, bills and staff need to be paid, residents need to buy food, and so on. So I prioritize some of my income, because I undertand that if I don't prioritze the retreat structure and teaches with payment or dana (donation) they will not exist.


Are you one of Kenneth meditationally coached students and/or do you share his view on enlightenment/awakening?

To his testimony now. His view is given in the BATGAP.com interview of 1/17/15:

(transcription begins around 14:45 minutes):
Kenneth: (...) To me it's all experience. So, in fact, this goes full circle to what do I think awakening is. Uh.. It's the ability to see experience as process.

Rick: The ability to see experiecne as process. We'll have to have you elaborate on that a little bit more.

Kenneth: When I look at experience and see that all of these things are happening --- there's the seeing and there's the hearing and the pressure and the coldness and the excitement, engagement, interest, nervousness --- all of this is happening, all of those are uh.. experiences. Uh.. There is also from time to time the sense that this is happening to me. This refers back to me as the identity of Kenneth; that's also an experience. There are from time to time --- and because I've been so actively training in this for so long now I can um.. more or less on demand have-- have the experience of what seems to be a kind of diffuse universal field of awareness. 

Now at first glance that might even appear, in my own experience, the ultimate um.. nature of the universe stripped down to its core. However, when I really get meticulous about-- when I get honest about noticing what's going on I find that that, too, is an experience. 

For me what has happened is the playing field just gets increasingly leveled. I can no longer privilege the awareness as being- as having somehow more significance than this itch <scratches brow> and that's simultaneously devastating and discouraging and incredibly liberating. 

Rick: Okay, (...)



So this is the awakened-person model wherein their experience is a no experience is a priority or "priviledged" as Kenneth says earlier.

That's okay, but it means that awakening is not really practical for humans who need to prioritize, for example, their children's schooling and their future with water and an natural environment, protection from Nature Deficiency Syndrome, for example (see University of Washington)  

Kenneth discovery after "actively training for so long now" means anything goes (again: that's okay, but I don't think it's practical to communities, families, neighborhoods).

Here's Werner Herzog's motivational posters: http://magazine.good.is/articles/herzog-inspirational-posters. They show a sort of practical view of evolution and of a universe which may have  no  discernment for human well-being, but which well-being human communities do have discernment and can develop. (To me, All hail effortful peacekeepers and persons acting in their personal consumptiong with respect for "seven generations".)

And back to charging money: Werner shares his thoughts on the universe for free with interesting pictures and it costs $125/session to get "experience as process" no-discernment with Kenneth. That's fine.

I'm still wondering why Kenneth still bothers credentialing himself in Theravadan buddhism, then, (such as naming his culminated time in southeast Asia retreat centers where what is taught is the Buddha's philosophy: there is stress/disatisfactoriness, there is a cause to stress/disatisfactoriness, there is an end to stress/disatisfactoriness, and there is a means to investigate stess/disatisfactoriess, its causes and its end).

Because in a system that teaches about well-being there is that personal accountability that not everything is permitted, wherein one knows that giving money or time to enable, say, children's schooling or environmental protection from commercial degradation is definitely not on a "level playing field" as, say, a meditation coach creating a snarky thread. 

How do you think, Elizabeth, that paying and/or learning from a willfully snarky teacher about "a level playing field" wherein everything is "experience as process" helps you to live well and to leave the world as nice as it was when you got here or better? Do you think it's a good idea to live well, allow others to live well, and that their children's children may also have that chance?

In other words what regulates your experience? If someone comes up to you and imposes a violent experience as process with you, is that on a "level playing field" as someone-helping-you-stand-up-when-you-fal- on-ice experience as process?

To me, and from a humanist stance, I definitely prioritize a clean air, clean water, environmental education and responsibility, working on evolving civil conduct code (and globally), for example, and I challenge the people who have "experience as process/"all a level playing" field" enlightenment to go live in, say, a uranimum mining neighborhood for a while and work with their kids.

_____
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edit x2 removing last name

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 2:12 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Say more. What, in your opinion is "dumb assed" about a discussion of money and Buddhism?


Just this:
Which, if either, of these propositions is true?

1. People who charge money for dharma instruction are doomed to Buddha Hell.

2. People who perseverate about the evil of charging money for dharma instruction are reactionary nincompoops with no real understanding of either Buddhism or culture.

Discuss.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 2:26 PM as a reply to Psi.
I feel, at this point, as if the entire endeavor here is beyond recovery. Black is white, white is black, up is down, and Katy's endless rants about Kenneth are in fact not aimed at attacking Kenneth's character at all, but are simply posing conditional statements (that only appear to a careless reader to have anything to do with Kenneth?), while Kenneth's claim that these posts aim to be hurtful rather than to educate are described as "attacking Katy's character, in fact the only attack that has occurred here." And then Psi decides to take umbrage at what he describes as Kenneth's "dumb-assed" post, and says this is why Claudiu needs to moderate.

Katy, you remind me of the Republican party, its spokespeople, its propaganda arm (Fox News), etc. And some of the rest of you remind me of the Main Stream Media ("both sides are equally responsible" blah blah blah). I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now Katy, you have no reason whatsoever to take offence. I did not say you ARE the Republican Party, I just said YOU REMIND ME of the Republican party. So if you say anything in return, or admit to a bit of snark, then you actually are discrediting yourself from this day forward, to Kingdom Come, and no respectible person should ever have anything further to do with you. Be careful, then, how you respond. And the rest of you, be careful what you say as well.

This is coming from me, (Jane) Laurel, the mindless shill for the bully-boy, bullshit artist, snarky, mercenary Kenneth Folk, he of the polluted brand, he-who-cannot-be-named, the death of true Buddhadharma in the West, me, the one who represents the bad training I've received. So beware.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 4:41 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Anyone claiming authenticity - to have awakened in line with the Buddhas teaching as Kenneth has - has every right to be questioned - seriously questioned - why? Because that is what the big guy said was our responsibility. One of the great skills of the Buddha was that when faced with angry questioners - he could not only respond to their questions but do so in a way that could slowly bring them around to understanding his teaching. As Kenneth has claimed to be 3 or 4 stages beyond the Buddha - does it not seem reasonable to expect a similar skill?

Honestly, I don't think a Buddha needs anyone to come to his/her defense as so many of you here have felt compelled to do. I would have liked Kenneth to simply respond to Katy's opinions in a calm, direct, clear, and intelligent fashion - that would have demonstrated a certain maturity of practice to me. Starting off with what appears to be an effort to bait someone who is already angry with you seems questionable at best.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 4:29 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Okay, so many of us have been defending him--me, and maybe Elizabeth? Anyone else? So many of us? And did Kenneth ask me/us to do this, or need me to say anything?

I don't see Kenneth claiming to be several stages beyond the Buddha. If you can find something he has said along those lines, then please produce it. But I would say that being able to deflect hostile questions in a manner that brings the other person around is a specialized skill. Awakening has nothing to do with it; in fact, a psychopath might be able to have that kind of skill (which is not to say that anyone who can do that is a psychopath). Having the ability to say just the right thing, at just the right time, in just the right way, is something other than "seeing self/experience as process," which is Kenneth's definition of awakening. If Kenneth gets hit by a bus, he is not going to come away from it intact any more than you or I would be able to do. So being able to defy the laws of physics is not part of awakening either.

Leaving behind all human emotions isn't part of awakening either. People post-shift can still feel anger, hurt feelings, grief, and other such emotions. They just don't go as far, or hang onto it as long, as someone with no attainments might do. A lot of this has to do with personality. I know people with no attainments, who are incapable of holding a grudge. People who are not enlightened do wonderful, selfless things. Other people, awake or not, tend to be socially awkward, or solitary, or flamboyant.  People don't stop being who they are after the big change-o. I'm not making this up; Daniel is clear about these things in MCTB, 1st ed.

Katy was critical of the definition Kenneth had presented. She is making what I regard as a fundamental error: mixing up the everyday world, in which of course people encounter injustice, outrageous violence, environmental degradation--all of these--with the view of an awakened person. These things are all part of our world, our socially-constructed world. Do you think enlightened beings are above all that? Do you think Kenneth is claiming to be above all that? If anything, enlightenment enables a person to see these mega-dukkhas more clearly than before. Again, I'm not making this up.

This is no longer really about me defending Kenneth or complaining about other people's posts or moderation. I suppose it has more to do with what it means to be an awakened person. But if people here believe that awakened people should be held to higher standards than everyone else, does that mean other people need not have any standards at all? Maybe you doubt Kenneth's awakening. Fair enough. One of the features of pragmatic dharma, however, is openness about attainments. So it isn't necessarily a terrible gaffe for someone to make such a claim.

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:04 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Chuck Kasmire:
 I would have liked Kenneth to simply respond to Katy's opinions in a calm, direct, clear, and intelligent fashion - that would have demonstrated a certain maturity of practice to me. Starting off with what appears to be an effort to bait someone who is already angry with you seems questionable at best.

I kind of agree with Chuck here.

Though I think a lot of what is read can sometimes more than not be filtered through our varied coloured lenses.



Everyone read  the following with the notion of calm and respectful in mind:


The O/P set the tone for the rest of the thread unfortunately in my opinion. It could have been a less goading O/P, Kenneth. Though I don't know if Katy would have felt compelled to post in the not so diplomatic way that she did. 


Everyone read the following with the notion of angry and self righteous in mind:


The O/P set the tone for the rest of the thread unfortunately in my opinion. It could have been a less goading O/P, Kenneth. Though I don't know if Katy would have felt compelled to post in the not so diplomatic way that she did.



Nick

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 4:47 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
To all who have replied to this thread and also to  the "Q & A with Kenneth Folk" thread:

Thank you.  Thank you for helping me to learn to see through my various cravings and delusions, thank you for helping me to focus on loving kindness, thank you for helping me see that so very much of my experience of dukkha is self-created.

Each of you are a treasure, and I hold you warmly in my heart.

Metta.

Michael

RE: Money and the Buddha
Answer
2/7/15 5:25 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth:
The DhO has a trolling problem. I don't expect you to fix it; fixing it will be a community effort. The cost of not fixing it is that people who don't like to be treated rudely will not post here. It's about that simple. That is a very high price to pay, as this forum is where people come to get straightforward information, education, guidance, and fellowship around their meditation practice. By and large, the people most likely to shy away are the very people who have the most to offer: people with experience, expertise, and high level communication skills. Such folks don't have to endure abuse, and they rarely do for very long.

The DhO is a fascinating exercise in democracy. In its current phase, it is a bit like Lord of the Flies. If you remember the story, it was about a bunch of boys shipwrecked on an island without adult supervision. They started out having fun, but the situation quickly devolved into murderous chaos. I understand that the DhO is not populated by children. I would say that it is populated by adults who are currently not living up to their potential in terms of a well-run forum where many people feel safe to participate.

I can imagine a future in which the best dharma practitioners in the world post here, and the threads are bursting at the seams with high-level instruction and fearless sharing. It's an exciting vision. What would it take to make that happen? Is it possible to keep the open-minded spirit of exploration that is so much a part of Daniel Ingram's original vision for this place while also building community values of mutual respect and civil discourse? I think it is. I'd love to be a part of that DhO.


As you can see, Claudiu, I've addressed this post to you, but I'm talking to the entire community. I'm talking to the active posters, and I'm talking to the lurkers most of all; people, this is your forum to make of what you will. I feel confident that Daniel will let you run this place as you see fit, because that is what he has done so far. So it's up to you all. If you choose the Wild West, there will be no surprises, as this is what you have now. If you demand civility, and self-organize to make it so, I predict you will raise the level of discourse in a way that will benefit everyone.

Kenneth:

The root and solution to this problem ultimately rests with the site owner, who, after all, calls himself the "Overlord" of all that you survey.

I don't know whether you saw or heard about the blowup that occurred back in September, but it was long and ugly, and I was at the center of it. I ended up leaving here for quite a while and still post much less here than I did beforehand.

In the September event, in a thread posted by Sawfoot, I took offense at some remarks aimed at me that I felt were sexist and denigrating of those with mental illness. I objected that these comments were hate speech, and I complained to the moderators via private DhO messaging since the red flags didn't even work here at the time to flag content for mod attention.

The conflict continued for a day past when Florian and Nick were made aware of it.

Nothing was done till I complained to Daniel Ingram himself after one of his long, grueling hospital shifts, and this was at 2 a.m., by phone to him at his house. After many hours working the ER, he had to log in and try to wade though that Sawfoot thread to look for the isolated comments I wanted gone. Fed up and tired, he decided to just delete the entire thread in question, citing his being being too fed up with having to wade through that mostly useless (merely contentious) thread. In short, he found the whole thread annoying, not just the comments I had objected to.

So next controversy erupted over the fact that Daniel dared to delete a thread from the forum. There were calls for it to be restored. He said and announced on here that this was indeed the first time that he had ever deleted a thread, and that it could not be restored even if he wanted to restore it, which I don't think he did. It was Sawfoot's post, as I say, and consisted at the beginning of Sawfoot's sparring with Florian over Florian's moderation of Sawfoot on another thread (and in general on threads where Florian has warned SF to knock it off).

Within hours of Daniel's deletion of Sawfoot's thread, a troll, a sockpuppet, logged on, and started attacking me on another thread. This puppet seized on one term I used in this other, provocative thread that followed up on the deleted one.

This second thread was started by Adam. The term that I had used in passing on this second thread was "feminist theory," and this post-Sawfoot sockpuppet who suddenly logged in under a new account and false name proceeded to "shout" at me, hurl invectives at me, accuse me of trying to take over the DhO with a "feminist agenda," and so on.The puppet shouted at me for days, "GET OUT. GET OFF MY SITE." Everyone here pretty much stood around and watched this happen, to my moritification. I felt, seriously, like I had been violated in front of a community that stood by and did nothing, said nothing.

Florian did try to to stop it, a little late, but there is indeed a moderator bent toward nonintervention here, and that's what went down: nothing. 

Soon after all this, on Nick's suggestion, Daniel made me a moderator (without first asking me if I wanted to be one). I turned the role down, but Daniel asked me to do it again, so I reluctantly agreed to help.

I've never taken any moderation action whatsoever on this site, even though I'm still listed as a moderator and still have special moderator controls. Officially, I resigned from the position within a few weeks (if I remember correctly) of having it rather foisted on me.

You see, at the time, the moderators (Florian, Katy, Nick, BCDEFG, and I), along with Daniel when Daniel wasn't completely swamped with his hospital hours, entered by email into intense discussions, with no little heat, about the current culture of the DhO, the trolling/sockpuppetry problems, the supposed rudeness and possible dharma uses (!) of such rudeness, the dangers of turning into something oppressive and smarmy, the vision for the future of the DhO culture, and how best to make that vision the reality.

I penned some basic beefed up forum rules, which Daniel did add to the landing page for the site. These rules are still there, although note that there is no rule against trolling or sockpuppetry, just rules against unlawful hate speech.

At the time of these off-line discussions, I said to the other mods and Daniel that we cannot have rules with any teeth if we don't also have a reporting protocol for members, an enforcement protocol, and a concerted effort among moderators to consistently apply that protocol. I stand by this view.

Now, as with any issue in life, there are differing views among people about what an ideal forum culture and moderation protocol should be. Katy happened at that time to be completely opposite in view to mine. She voiced the opinion that "moderators" should be "hands off." She was against formulating a moderator enforcement protocol, preferring to leave things "loose and dirty." If I understood her correctly, she felt that she behaved confrontationally here prepath, when in the Dark Night. She felt that we should all be nurturing and forgiving of those individual members similarly situated, because people had done her that kindness.

Katy also voiced a view that I've seen many times voiced by others here on the DhO: that we who are insulted or shouted down or otherwise hurtfully rebuked should be using these instances as opportunities for our own practice.

I could not disagree more with Katy's view of what community-supported practice is about. I attended a Tibetan Buddhist center for a year and a half before encountering MCTB. One thing I did learn from the monks and nun