Things to be aware of when propagating Buddhism and what’s considered Forbidden
The subject of Embezzlement in Propagation activities
Original Chinese link: http://www.xlfmwz.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=75177
台长开示怎样算集资、敛财（2014 年 6 月 6 日《玄艺问答》）
Master Lu explains what’s considered as fundraising and embezzlement
Male enquirer: 2OR and Master typically do not advise us to do fundraising activities nor commit embezzlement. And we must obey the laws of the nation we reside in. There are some fellow practitioners who don’t know what activities are considered fundraising or embezzlement. There are times when they think that their intention is upright and what they’re doing are considered meritorious deeds and so shouldn’t be an issue. They believe that the Dharma protectors and Bodhisattvas will protect them. Master, could you please share your wisdom regarding this matter?
Master: It’s very simple, whenever you use an improper approach to take other people’s money, or you take it in an unlawful or rightful manner, it counts as embezzlement. What entities are considered to have the right to do so? Charitable organisations are allowed to do so. If you are not a charitable organisation and you take other people’s money as an individual, doesn’t it count as swindling? It’s not lawful. Could you give other people receipts? Are you a charitable organisation? Have you communicated with a regulatory body? Are you registered? What right do you have to take people’s money? Even if you bought a trivial thing, the seller would give you a receipt. If you ask other people for money empty-handed, if it’s not considered fundraising or embezzlement, what do you call it? Charitable organisations can donate. Do you know that 2OR is a charity organisation? The printing of books and the financing of Dharma conventions are all part of the expenses of a charity organisation. All charity organisations are regulated by the government; every income and expenditure must be clear. If you are telling others that you are printing books and ask for financial aid, isn’t that considered fundraising? It is unlawful and inappropriate. You could ask local lawyers. If it violates national laws, then it’s illegal. You must abide by the laws of the country you reside in, you understand? Ok, if it’s legal, then it’s fine. (Ok, I’m grateful Master).
弘法度人与销售工作挂钩绝对不可以（2012 年 9 月 2日《玄艺问答》）
When propagating Buddhism to others, you mustn’t harbour any intentions to sell
Female enquirer: Master, recently, when I was propagating Buddhism, I committed a serious mistake. Because I work in sales, I wasn’t aware that when I was propagating the Dharma to others, I would unconsciously think about converting fellow practitioners into a customer. And I felt that it made my action of propagation impure.
Master: That is very bad! (Yes, I realised after I returned from Malaysia. On the 3rd day, I quitted my job). You must take note; there are times when you mustn’t use Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s energy for your personal things, you understand? It must be for the good of others; there mustn’t be a shred of selfishness. If you do, then you’ll encounter misfortune! You won’t accumulate merit-virtues, and instead, there will be outflows. Why’s that? It’s because Buddhists of Guan Yin Bodhisattva and changed into a selfish ‘chess-piece’. (Yes). You must properly change; the act must be absolutely selfless. If there’s even a hint of selfishness, it won’t be good. What is considered meritorious deeds? Deeds are considered meritorious when you completely act for the sake of others for no reciprocation in return. If you’re always thinking of reciprocation, who wouldn’t realise it in today’s society? Am I right? (Yes, originally I was in sales, and I kept thinking that if I could sell a product to my fellow practitioners… I kept relating propagation with selling). That’s absolutely not acceptable. I can tell you, if you harbour selfish thoughts when you propagate, there are outflows, and there is absolutely no benefit. If you are working and it’s unrelated to the propagation of the Dharma, then you can do so. Otherwise, you must never promote one’s private interests under the guise of serving the public. Do you understand? (Yes).
刊登广告度人不允许集资（2014 年 10 月 10 日《玄艺问答》）
When advertising to propagate Buddhism to others, fundraising is unacceptable
Female enquirer: Master, currently you could easily propagate the Dharma to a lot of people online. We want to promote and advertise our propagation website online, could I ask other interested fellow practitioners to raise funds to advertise?
Master: You mustn’t raise funds. If you want to advertise and you use your own money, then your merit-virtues are boundless. If you raise funds, that’s unacceptable, you understand? (Ok. If fellow practitioners see that I’m advertising Guan Yin Citta and they want to get involved, can we let them do so?) You can, he does his promotion, and you do yours, so in aggregate terms, it’s fine. But the money must not move from their hands to yours. For example, if you are prepared to advertise to propagate, you could ask the fellow practitioner, “Are you willing to be involved?” But you must take a single penny from them. If they’re willing, then at the time of paying, all 4 or 5 of you pay together. The issue is that you mustn’t say, “You can hand me the money, and I’ll pay for you.” That is unacceptable. (Ok, I understand).