There are plenty of teachers around who teach on a dana basis so if a teacher is charging a fee one can vote with your feet and go to somebody else.marc108 wrote:right, here exactly is my issue. I have less of an issue with teachers receiving money, because as was mentioned, teachers need to eat too and if they can spend more time teaching by being paid then its probably better. the issue is holding back the Dhamma or turning away a sincere seeker because they cant pay, which is poor ethics of the highest caliber imo... and I'm not saying they do that, because I don't know for sure, but it sure seems implied that you will not receive teachings if you cant pay..
I guess it's only a problem if you live somewhere where you have little choice.
One thing to bear in mind is that charging a fee does make a teacher more acceptable to a different audience. Some people won't engage your services if you don't charge a fee because you're not considered professional enough, or they are scared you are just interested in proselytising religion.
An example is that most Theravadin Dhamma books are given away free, if you go to a "spiritual" bookshop you'll find almost all are Mahayana so that's a potential audience lost, lets face it a "spiritual" bookshop is often the first place people start looking into Buddhism. For this reason the forest sangha publish a book for sale through normal channels from time to time, because that way they will reach a different audience.