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TOPIC: Learning about money

RE: Learning about money 25 May 2010 16:26 #59361


I'm proud of us, too. I think it's just plain freakin' cool to pave a new way that suits this culture at this time.

  • cmarti
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RE: Learning about money 25 May 2010 16:27 #59362

Kenneth you mention "Why have students been willing to receive this precious gift of dharma lessons while giving so little in return, watching their old, broke teachers approaching retirement?"

I'm wondering how many students are aware that this is the actual situation. Given the retreat model of practice of the vipassana community how many students have contact with these teachers outside of these formal settings. Out of sight out of mind perhaps? So perhaps it falls on the teachers twice? Once for propagating a model of compensation that doesn't fit to our culture, and a second time for not publicly admitting there is a problem.
  • gsteinb
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RE: Learning about money 25 May 2010 17:02 #59363

"Addressing fears that people have (the points about "good taste," etc.) in an upfront way would indeed help reduce the reactivity and shadow stuff."-jgroove

Right!

"I think it's just plain freakin' cool to pave a new way that suits this culture at this time."-cmarti

Me too!

"So perhaps it falls on the teachers twice? Once for propagating a model of compensation that doesn't fit to our culture, and a second time for not publicly admitting there is a problem."-gsteinb

Amen. It's time to stand up, and it's not in me to remain silent about this. I was recently at a retreat at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. The new executive director is adamant that the support staff there, the people who clean the rooms and work in the kitchen, should be fairly compensated for their time; they should be paid a living wage, including healthcare and retirement. When the E.D. talked about this, the assembled yogis practically cheered with enthusiasm. Those of us who were there on scholarships, including me, had a chance to really think about it; who was bearing the burden of our reduced rate? Were we riding on the backs of the local poor people? That wouldn't be okay with us. But if no one tells the truth about who is footing the bill, how will anyone find out? There has to be honesty, transparency, disclosure and lots and lots of straight talk and discussion.

So, finally, after all these years, someone had the stones to speak up about how the yogis are riding on the backs of the retreat center staff. But until now, I haven't heard anyone suggest that the teachers should also be treated humanely.

Thank you, fellow pioneers, for discussing this together.
  • kennethfolk
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RE: Learning about money 25 May 2010 17:05 #59364

"Could any reasonable person object...
-Kenneth"

Yes they could. That's the very nature of values that are based in concepts. Without the concept 'everyone should receive a living wage for whatever goods or services they offer' there is no basis for attributing the value. There is a very real cognitive dissonance at the heart of this that is dependent on where people are in the process of as you would put it 'dis-embedding from their experience' that goes well past simply the mis-perception of a self and on to the mis-perception of lasting values based in concepts attached to patterns of changing conditions of whatever scale and duration.

As reasons and reasoning is based on these concepts and values it would be reasonable for those who are being instructed to dis-embed from this mispercieved house of cards to then go on to ask on what basis one house of cards should be considered more reasonable than another.

Which is why I don't care if someone gives away all their time or makes a fortune every day because that is their business. What I'm pointing out is that for Dharma teachers, either the issue has to be dealt with in a reasonable way in relation to ultimate truths or else the way it is dealt with is an illusion regardless of whether they are penniless or prosperous. Failing to bring it back to how it relates in absolute terms to real dharma is what leads to the cognitive dissonance that people feel regardless of whether they donate to traditional monastics or buck up big time for the pricey seminar.

So the challenge for the teacher of Dharma is to connect the real dots to the perceived dots in a fair and honest way without avoiding either the superficial or the very deep aspects of this. Otherwise the suggestion that we see through our own conceptual constructs is naturally at odds with the suggestion that we accept new constructs that are fundamentally no different.
  • triplethink
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RE: Learning about money 25 May 2010 17:56 #59365

"What I'm pointing out is that for Dharma teachers, either the issue has to be dealt with in a reasonable way in relation to ultimate truths or else the way it is dealt with is an illusion regardless of whether they are penniless or prosperous."-triplethink

This has nothing to do with Ultimate Truth and that is the point I am trying to make. My point is that every human being has a right to be fairly compensated for his or her time, whether he or she is a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, or even... a dharma teacher. To introduce the Absolute into a discussion of the economy would be a category mistake.

I'm saying that it is important to stop bringing the Absolute into the discussion because that is what is preventing us from seeing how simple the solution is. There are norms in our culture for what professional teachers, tutors, coaches, and therapists make. It's strictly a time-bound, mundane issue, a simple issue. It is nothing less than absurd to value a teacher's time less, simply because he has made the (apparently economically unwise) choice to dedicate his life to teaching dharma instead of English.

Above all, this is about pragmatism. We are pioneering a model whereby dharma teachers can earn a living by being dharma teachers. When that is possible, there will be more dharma teaching. For me, that is a good thing, a pragmatic thing. If teachers with wives, husbands, families, and responsibilities are not able to make a living teaching dharma, they will teach English instead. It's that simple. Nobody wins in that case (except possibly the English learners). :-)
  • kennethfolk
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RE: Learning about money 25 May 2010 20:49 #59366

""What I'm pointing out is that for Dharma teachers, either the issue has to be dealt with in a reasonable way in relation to ultimate truths or else the way it is dealt with is an illusion regardless of whether they are penniless or prosperous."-triplethink

This has nothing to do with Ultimate Truth and that is the point I am trying to make.
-Kenneth"

Is it still reasonable then? Still reasonable to expect a teaching that will lead to ultimate truths from those who can't see clearly how that truth relates to the day to day issues of their lives?

I don't think it's reasonable. I would think it was reasonable if you could explain how you see these things in any way more reasonably than someone with no meditative insights would. I can see the issue in a lot of ways and I'm not anymore hide bound to definitions of reasonable middle class incomes than I am to definitions of arahatship.

If dharma teachers like yourself refuse to relate these issues to the ultimate truths as readily as any other issues it does more to undermine your credibility as dharma teachers than a lot of things will. I recognize it is a real hassle to deal with this in those terms but I don't see how you can sidestep this and expect to be considered credible.

I just got excoriated on a traditional forum for suggesting that people give Daniel's thinking a fair hearing but so long as you guys refuse to tackle the tough underlying issues about clinging to concepts and expectations it is never going to change. The mainstream is going to continue to prefer mushrooms with all the sauce as opposed to straight goods with a little evasion when that approach also becomes uncomfortable.
  • triplethink
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RE: Learning about money 25 May 2010 21:03 #59367

"I recognize it is a real hassle to deal with this in those terms but I don't see how you can sidestep this and expect to be considered credible."-triplethink

What is your question?

  • kennethfolk
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RE: Learning about money 25 May 2010 22:19 #59368

""I recognize it is a real hassle to deal with this in those terms but I don't see how you can sidestep this and expect to be considered credible."-triplethink

What is your question?

"

Thanks for asking. It's a biggie and easy to oversimplify. I'll suggest up front that you move it to a separate thread so as not to derail the important discussion here.To round up this tangent here I'll try to sum it up briefly. It comes down to how teachers like you and Daniel view the trad. teachings on craving and clinging. I think everyone would benefit from a more complete explanation of how people like you and Daniel understand this. It's not enough to dismiss it as mushroom thinking. It is deeply embedded in the traditional teachings and not merely a cultural accretion as typically suggested.

I would like to think one can be free from clinging to and craving for compounded conditions, states of consciousness, concepts, compounded feelings, et al, and still be aware that all of these things are continuing to happen in ways not unlike they did before they could be seen for what they are. However, the traditional teachings are very strict in terms of how the fully awakened respond to these conditions. I tend to agree with your and Daniel's more rational views about the real state of affairs for the awakened but I am less comfortable with the suggestion that one can be free of the illusions bound up with the fabricated conditions and still get caught up in them in any way. I understand how tiresome and frustrating it must be to have to contend with the allegations that are typically made, that you guys and others in the same position are simply deluded and I am very disheartened about how mainstream dharma students and teachers approach these issues. I think that if you were willing to treat the subject with all the real care and attention that it is crying out for it would be of real and lasting benefit to everyone.
  • triplethink
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RE: Learning about money 26 May 2010 02:24 #59369


Please start that thread, Nathan. I have something to say about the issue, too.

  • cmarti
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RE: Learning about money 26 May 2010 08:28 #59370

"It comes down to how... you... view the traditional teachings on craving and clinging... I think that if you were willing to treat the subject with all the real care and attention that it is crying out for it would be of real and lasting benefit to everyone."-triplethink

I'm working on a response to your question, Nathan, and will post it on another thread. Meanwhile, this is interesting timing because I have at least set the stage for this discussion in the article that was posted today on Buddhist Geeks magazine:

bit.ly/b3jnCy
  • kennethfolk
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RE: Learning about money 27 May 2010 07:49 #59371

""So my advice is to stick to an open, honest, prearranged relationship based on an exchange of value with your students. This tells them what to expect of you and in turn presents them with a model they know well and can relate to more easily. Also, I've been working with you under your current operating principle, in which I pay for your time based on what my time is worth in my work. I think that's very, very fair and sets a reasonable expectation that, once again, fosters an honest exchange. It also gets you paid, which is of no small importance.""

I agree with what cmarti says below. I have not read this entire thread - just some of it. I often say to psychotherapy clients after they lose their insurance or lose their jobs or run out of insurance or never had insurance something like - let's figure out what works for both of us... what can we both afford. Then we talk about it and figure it out together. Usually we can come up with something that feels right for the two of us. That means my fees are all over the map. It does mean that I need a parttime "day job" for now. I think your honesty and straightforward approach kenneth is important and I like that you can put your own needs out there. This is appropriate in my view.
  • PeonyIris
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