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[Buddha]

Author Topic: Monks on copyright material and violating the second precept  (Read 939 times)

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Offline Johann

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Monks on copyright material and violating the second precept
« on: January 09, 2016, 06:54:02 AM »
OP-Question:

Quote from: SE
Does illegal downloading or viewing of copyright material violate the second precept? As a kid I used to download a lot of softwares and movies using torrents. Even if something  illegal is done, it doesn't necessarily mean that it violates a precept. But can this be considered as stealing in Buddhism? How can this be explained according to the Buddhist view?


No, it does not. In order to steal, something has to be misappropriated from the original owner.
Copying is not theft, even according to modern jurisprudence; copyright is an artificial "right" granted to the "owner" of a specific intellectual activity to prevent the "copying" of the product of said intellectual activity. "Intellectual property" is likewise an artificial construct.
The presumption that someone has a right to restrict the copying of their ideas is suspect at best, but it should not be confused with the right to restrict the use or appropriation of one's physical property, since the latter involves singular, rather than identical, entities. You don't call it stealing if someone breaks into your house, copies down the way you set your table and goes and does it the same in their own home.
It is important to understand as well that the question of whether copyright infringement is unethical hinges not on whether the owner doesn't want you to copy, but on whether they have a right to forbid you to copy. It is not unethical doing something just because you know someone else doesn't want you to do it; otherwise I shouldn't have become a Buddhist.
The misunderstanding comes from our acceptance of copyright as a tool for monetary gain. We have come to accept that because certain people want to be able to market their ideas, they therefore have a right to do so, whereas it was previously understood that only one's potential at coming up with good ideas (i.e. their value as a person) was marketable. It is not the case that just because someone wants to be able to make money through a certain means therefore they have a right to society's protection in so doing; otherwise, pushing rocks up a hill would have to be paid proportionately.
The main reason we tend to think that copyright is an actual right stems from the massive propaganda machine of the entertainment industry (and mara, I assume) that has managed to equate people who copy the ideas of others with bloodthirsty sea-faring mercenaries (a.k.a. pirates).
Furthermore, though it's now outside of the realm of your question, a person's insistence on controlling copyright may be arguably considered unethical from a Buddhist standpoint; it can be seen as selfish (since it costs nothing to allow others to copy one's ideas), invasive (since it is not really any of your business), and hypocritical (since everyone copies just about everything they come in contact with throughout their lives from the time that they're born). Again, just because we want to be able to make a living in a certain way, doesn't mean we should be protected in it. Theft, on the other hand, does cost the owner, is the owner's business, and expecting protection against it isn't necessarily hypocritical.
tl;dr: copying without permission and theft are two different concepts; whether copying without permission can be considered immoral is suspect at best, but at any rate is not directly related to the second precept.
Q&A
Doesn't the second precept deal with more than just misappropriation?
No, like all the precepts, it really only means what it says. Anyway, if it was interpreted more broadly, where would you draw the line? Copying someone's words without their permission is stealing, but distributing pictures of them without their permission isn't? Or distributing pictures of them is, but looking at them isn't? There is no clear definition available, except the clearly bogus one of "not doing what other people don't want you to do".
Isn't intellectual property the same as real property?
First, let's get one thing straight; copyright infringement isn't theft; the law doesn't look at it as theft, the RIAA doesn't look at it as theft, no one considers it to be theft except the public who have been misinformed as a part of ongoing propaganda that it is a kind of theft (or piracy, which is really silly). It is actually more like a kind of breach of contract. To explain: the law doesn't concern itself with the physical entity that houses the information; it concerns itself with the fact that something has been copied against the wishes of the copyright holder. The issue isn't that a new copy exists, it is that a copy has been made. It is the act of copying that is illegal.
But the question remains, whether the person who has put all the work into creating a piece of intellectual property doesn't have the same rights as a person who puts work into a physical creation. The thing is, intellectual property isn't like other property in that it can't be given, sold, bought, etc. It can only ever be copied. When you tell someone a secret, you have created a copy of the information. When you publish a book, you are not selling the book, you are selling the right to a copy of the information it contains. So when a person makes money off of intellectual property, what they are actually selling (and this is how the industry really understands it, afaics) is a license; you can't actually sell information. So when concerning ourselves with the poor victims of intellectual property theft, what we should ask is "what gives someone the right to license their ideas?"
The difference is driven home when you consider that a person who creates a physical item of value is able to sell it once. They are only able to sell it because someone else wants to own it; if there are cheaper versions elsewhere (patent and copyright laws notwithstanding), their customers are free to go elsewhere. 
A person who holds a copyright over information, on the other hand, holds their creation hostage, pimping it out repeatedly and ever retaining sole ownership over it. They do no extra work for each payment obtained and can, in cases where demand for the information is high, expect to receive payment massively disproportionate to the original work performed to obtain the information (which, incidentally, most likely involved copying information from others).
In short, the real question should be, "what exactly do real property and intellectually property have in common?" The answer is: "not much."
Isn't copyright infringement breach of promise? 
In cases where you promise a sentient being of something and then break that promise, yes. Clicking on an EULA isn't a promise because you are communicating with a machine. When you buy a book, if you clearly communicate that you promise to use it in a certain way, then yes, you would be breaking your word if you used it in a different way. If you download software from the Internet, you make no such promise at any point.
Isn't it a cause for mental defilement to go against the wishes of the copyright holder?
Potentially; the situation is that you are being requested not to do something that is otherwise within your rights to do by the owner of the copyrighted work.
You have to weigh whether that request holds merit or not. If your friend asks you not to performing some action, you have to ask yourself whether performing said action is important enough to upset your friend, keeping in mind there is nothing unethical about performing said action. There is nothing unethical about copying other people's work without their permission (assuming, of course, that you properly attribute the works to the correct author and don't try to take credit for other people's work); there is something potentially problematic about upsetting people, especially friends. By the Buddha's words, we can see that upsetting others should be done carefully, but is not necessarily outside of what is wholesome.
As to whether wanton downloading of entertainment is a cause for mental defilement, I don't really think that has anything to do with the argument at hand, since it has nothing to do intrinsically with the matter of permission to do so.
Doesn't copyright infringement hurt a valid industry/artist?
Anyone who thinks this should really brush up on their history of "intellectual property". Specifically, I recommend reading anything by Cory Doctorow , Lawrence Lessig , or Richard Stallman . At the very least this would give a look at the other side of the propaganda war waged by the entertainment industry. Honestly, a lot of what these guys say sounds more Buddhist than some of the opinions of the card-carrying.
As I've said above more than once, though, those people dependent on copyright to make a living (really this is only the entertainment industry bigwigs; the majority of content creators could do better if they adopted a more crowd-friendly approach like Cory Doctorow) are suffering from the same problem scribes had when the printing press was created; they were expecting to be rewarded by a system that was no longer necessary to society. Thoreau put it best when he said:
Not long since, a strolling Indian went to sell baskets at the house of a well-known lawyer in my neighborhood. "Do you wish to buy any baskets?" he asked. "No, we do not want any," was the reply. "What!" exclaimed the Indian as he went out the gate, "do you mean to starve us?" Having seen his industrious white neighbors so well off- that the lawyer had only to weave arguments, and, by some magic, wealth and standing followed- he had said to himself: I will go into business; I will weave baskets; it is a thing which I can do. Thinking that when he had made the baskets he would have done his part, and then it would be the white man's to buy them. He had not discovered that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other's while to buy them, or at least make him think that it was so, or to make something else which it would be worth his while to buy. I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one's while to buy them. Yet not the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men's while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them. The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?
Walden, Ch. 1
It's okay to make baskets, but to force people to buy them when other means present themselves is silly. If your reason for doing something is to make money, then the onus is on you, first and foremost, to ensure that your product is valuable; copyright is just an artificial means of placing a monetary value on something (information) one cannot otherwise.
But the question remains, whether we would lose valuable content if there were no copyright laws. The answer depends on what you understand as "valuable". If, by valuable, you mean "marketable", then of course the answer is yes, we would lose a lot of marketable content. We would also lose a lot of addictive content, since the logical outcome of encouraging and protecting monetary gain through copyright ownership is content that is primarily designed to encourage demand (i.e. addictive). The entertainment industry would stop stooping to the lowest common denominators of sex, violence, and absurdity in bringing pleasure to others. I for one could live without that.
If information were free, as it really should be, there would be no powerful incentive to encourage addiction to intellectual property; there would be a reversion to the days when, at worst, one propagated information as a means of promoting one's own value as an individual. Maybe people would stop writing books and making movies on film, but really, haven't we shown already with YouTube and the Internet that these are outdated mediums? It doesn't really cost millions of dollars to create any more.


Quote from: Bhikkhu Subhuti on SE
Copyrights:
For stealing to take place we can look at the definitions of pārājika 2 on stealing.  The original edition of the BMC 1 declared copy theft as stealing.  However this has changed in later editions.  Because of this, it is controversial and should be avoided especially if one is a monk. The pārājika rule is below: (Ven. Thanissaro)
"Should any bhikkhu, in what is reckoned a theft, take what is not given from an inhabited area or from the wilderness — just as when, in the taking of what is not given, kings arresting the criminal would flog, imprison, or banish him, saying, "You are a robber, you are a fool, you are benighted, you are a thief" — a bhikkhu in the same way taking what is not given also is defeated and no longer in affiliation."



Another quote below:
"The Vibhaṅga defines the act of stealing in terms of four factors.
 
  • Object: anything belonging to another human being or a group of human beings.
  • Perception: One perceives the object as belonging to another human being or a group of human beings.
  • Intention: One decides to steal it.
  • Effort: One takes it. Stealing under any circumstances is always an offense. However, the severity of the offense depends on another factor, which is —
  • The value of the object. ".
(BMC 1 pg48)[/bockq]

All four factors must be present for there to be theft.  The 5th factor defines strong stealing specific for monks and automatic expulsion.  #1 and #2 are the debatable items for copy theft, and they come together in most cases and that is where the controversy comes. The issue is on misappropriation and the laws.  Most know it belongs to others, but refuse to recognize this as an object of theft.  There are cases where not paying customs taxes is considered stealing.  While Ajahn Thanissaro argues against using court cases to decide if something is stealing, it is in the pāli rule itself.  It is important because a court of law can cover perception and define it according to the king's law.  Copy theft is defined by law and enforced in the courts.
Some, monks and communities have considered copyright infringement to be a pārājika (defeat) offense for monks and therefore is stealing since that is what the rule is.  There are two criteria for a pārājika defeat offence.  One is money value, the other is whether a king would fine, imprison, or banish you.  These criteria make a "stealing" a serious "stealing.". Money value only makes it a serious stealing, but it is still stealing and wrong if it is a small value. 
Misappropriation is similar to tax evasion and Visa Fee invasion. Sneaking into a theatre and crossing a bridge illegally comes to mind. Some of these cases are mentioned under P2.
I have copied misappropriation subheading from "Copyright law of the United States" under "infringement" subheading, wikipedia 2012 kiwix. Zim file.

Misappropriation (from Wikipedia )
A copyrighted work may contain elements which are not copyrightable, such as facts, ideas, themes, or content in the public domain. A plaintiff alleging misappropriation must first demonstrate that what the defendant appropriated from the copyrighted work was protectible. Second, a plaintiff must show that the intended audience will recognize substantial similarities between the two works. The intended audience may be the general public, or a specialized field. The degree of similarity necessary for a court to find misappropriation is not easily defined. Indeed, "the test for infringement of a copyright is of necessity vague."[46] Two methods are used to determine if unlawful appropriation has occurred: the subtractive method and the totality method.
The subtractive method, also known as the "abstraction/subtraction approach" seeks to analyze what parts of a copyrighted work are protectible and which are not.[47] The unprotected elements are subtracted and the fact finder then determines whether substantial similarities exist in the protectible expression which remains. For instance, if the copyright holder for West Side Story alleged infringement, the elements of that musical borrowed from Romeo and Juliet would be subtracted before comparing it to the allegedly infringing work because Romeo and Juliet exists in the public domain.
The totality method, also known as the "total concept and feel" approach takes the work as a whole with all elements included when determining if a substantial similarity exists.[48] The individual elements of the alleged infringing work may by themselves be substantially different from their corresponding part in the copyrighted work, but nevertheless taken together be a clear misappropriation of copyrightable material.[49] Modern courts may sometimes use both methods in its analysis of misappropriation.[50] In other instances, one method may find misappropriation while the other would not, making misappropriation a contentious topic in infringement litigation.[51


Is it lying to a machine when the license agreement shows up? It is a "lock" set up by the owner.  You are granted entry if you agree. If you do not agree, it does not let you use the program.
A quote from BMC I (page 45):

"Copying computer software. The agreement made when installing software on a computer, by which one agrees not to give the software to anyone else, comes under contract law. As such, a breach of that contract would be treated under the category of "deceit," described above, which means that a bhikkhu who gives software to a friend in defiance of this contract would incur the penalty for a broken promise. As for the friend — assuming that he is a bhikkhu — the act of receiving the software and putting it on his computer would be treated under the precedent, mentioned above, of the bhikkhus receiving fruit from an orchard groundkeeper not authorized to give it away: He would incur no offense. However, as he must agree to the contract before installing the software on his computer, he would incur a penalty for a broken promise if he then gave the software to someone else in defiance of the contract. "


 Some comments:
 
  • I have heard of people getting "busted" from sting operations that trace IP addresses.  The victims of the sting who steal by downloading need to get a real lawyer and pay real fines.  (a monastic friend from Germany had a friend who was fined several thousand Euros.  He was able to reduce it to hundreds with a lawyer).
  • The original Napster and other sites get banished from the internet and it was a key case in copyright laws and enforcement.  Notice the keyword, "Banished"
  • BMC 1 (original edition) declared copyright theft a pārājika.  That has been changed, but it should stand as controversial and warned against. 
  • There were two personal cases listed in Wikipedia where a person went against several cease or desist warnings and again fought his right in court.   
    The two large cases on Wikipedia are:
     
    • Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum
    • Capitol v. Thomas
About the BMC:  While I have heard of monks stating that copyright does not count as pārājika (defeat),  it is usually classed under "wrong use" and clearly says it is wrong.  It should also be known that the pārājika rule calls for "in the village or forest"  where forest is a place where there are no laws.  It was because of this that Pa-auk follows copyright laws.
Wikipedia lists this under "Fair Use", under a subheading of "Common misunderstandings"

Common misunderstandings
Noncommercial use is invariably fair. Not true, though a judge may take the profit motive or lack thereof into account. In LA Times v Free Republic, the court found that the noncommercial use of LA Times content by the Free Republic Web site was in fact not fair use, since it allowed the public to obtain material at no cost that they would otherwise pay for.


 My own opinion is that it is difficult to judge copy theft as stealing or not stealing but to present the information that is out there and to promote abstinence when coming to copy theft.
I prefer to apply the information below:
We should follow the King's law and put it as sīla as a factor in addition to the law.  The law comes first.  Whether the king is righteous or not, we need to follow his ways and make it a habit.  A king can make one's life very difficult and destroy a calm mind for most people.  He can torture people all the way up to the death moment. From there it is likely that a hell realm will be next even though the king was wrong for doing it.  Life is not fair and neither is rebirth. So it is best to follow the King's law as the top level rule..  Unless of course he has rules that would cause one to kill, etc. like requiring one to participate in the armed forces.  Usually one can get around that legally by doing other services.  Habitual Kamma followed today will also help to be a habit of the future.  This is common sense in the Law of Kamma and cause and effect.  Samsara should always be an issue in doing anything.  This is the proper way of looking at things.  It is the Buddhist way of looking at things.
This is important for habitual kamma and for one's well being in the future.
Therefore if it is seen as wrong by others one should not do it.
The Dasadhamma sutta says:

Kacci nu kho me attā sīlato na upavadatī?” ti
 “Can I myself find no fault with my virtue?”
pabbajitena abhiṇhaṁ paccavekkhitabbaṁ.
 [4] one who has gone forth should frequently reflect on this.
“Kacci nu kho maṁ anuvicca viññū sabrahmacārī,
 “Will my wise companions in the spiritual life, after testing me,
sīlato na upavadantī?” ti
 find no fault with my virtue?”,
pabbajitena abhiṇhaṁ paccavekkhitabbaṁ.
 [5] one who has gone forth should frequently reflect on this.


 The last line for the reflection on food can set a precedent for all craving objects.

yātrā ca me bhavissati, anavajjatā ca phāsuvihāro ca.
 [2] and I will carry on, being blameless, and living comfortably.


Greed is the main factor.  Copy theft is a form of action related to greed.  It also disturbs others who own the intellectual property.  This can cause kamma in the future. 
Samsara is so dangerous.  Therefore one should not take chances in acting in greed.  One can do without or settle for open source or creative commons media.  To protest these laws by making freely available media and software is the best solution.  When that happens, other companies will need to compete in a different way.  Ven Yuttadhammo has created some free software and books as a proper way of protesting.  Ven. Thanissaro has done the same with his books.  Someone recently gave a donation so PTS would release a creative commons noncommercial licenses to their entire Mula English Translated Texts. Ven. Anandajoti arranged donors to help buy back his rights from BPS so he could  publish and give away his book for free.  The last one is not so fair, but he complied with the laws and perceived ownership. 
It is certainly controversial among monasteries and individual monks. I have never heard of it being completely free from wrong up until reading an answer here on stack exchange.  I bring up the "change in opinion" of the BMC to show how serious it is.  It can be changed back and then many monks would worry.  However, Ajahn Thanissaro is only a single monk and not a sangha council.  There are things in the BMC or elsewhere that many would not agree with:
 
  • Co-signing checks, accepting checks,
  • Eating of dark chocolate or cheese, smoking cigarettes and drinking tea as medicines to cure a disease. 
  • The BMC also counts juice as a seven day medicine if it is pasteurised where fresh unheated juice is clearly said to be only allowed for one evening. 
Patents: Patents help a company get exclusive manufacturing rights so they can recoup their investment in R & D.
Some mention "medicine.". This is based on patent laws which is different, but also under "intellectual property.".  I am not sure, but I think most countries allow for personal use of patented stuff. Commercial manufactures are another story. I think the U.S. has a clause against personal use... certainly for software patents.  That would make VLC and "usable" Linux, like the standard Linux Mint illegal in the U.S. even though it is not copied.  Most other countries allow this but a few others do not like this.  Mint has a special download for US citizens.  Basically, one would need to tolerate such inconveniences and pay Fluendo the patent fees or do without.
Monks should not teach people to do things that would "upset" another.  This is in the Metta Sutta.

Na paro paraṁ nikubbetha, nātimaññetha katthaci na’ kañci,
 No one should cheat another, nor should he despise anyone wherever he is,
byārosanā paṭighasaññā nāññam-aññassa dukkham-iccheyya. [6]
 ° he should not long for suffering for another because of anger or resentment.


One should not cause mental or physical suffering especially if society accepts the laws.  Early in 2001, when Pa-Auk was learning about this world view, it obtained a donation of an education version of PageMaker which was a grey area for a monastery with 600 "students" at that time. They were prepared to pay the difference under P2 exceptions ( bhaṇḍadeyya ) while I wrote to Adobe.  I wrote to Adobe and asked them if an education license was considered stealing for a large monastery that "educates.". I also asked what we should do if it was not OK.  They said it was "stealing" referred me to their piracy web page which said so and also said "they do mind" but gave permission to continue using it.  Pa-Auk took a very strong policy after that letter was received.
Conclusion: One must have a "stealing mind" in order to steal.  One must have all four factors listed at the top of this answer for stealing to occur. Perception is key, but it seems as though acceptance of the copyright rule is more of the issue.  Acceptance and perception are different and should not be confused.  A person who believes the speed limit should be higher and drives fast anyway may feel he is not "speeding" and justified.  However, he knows what the law is by perception.  Lastly, it is considered wrong whether it is seen as "stealing" or not and the copyright owners usually do mind.  One should ask them to be sure.  One should always take the safe side of controversy.
Loving-kindness and respect for the king's laws will always be your friend. 
Notes:
 
  • Although many suttas are referenced in the context of what bhikkhus should do, one who is not a monk would apply this advice just as well for their own practice, benefit and protection.
  • All pali translations are by Ven. Anandajoti.  All non-vinaya pāli is simply from a daily chanting book.  All vinaya quotes are from the BMC.  Original BMC is not available for quoting.

Quote from: Johann on SE
Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami "Abstaining Taking of what is not given" that is very simple and does not give an, not any place for pretending and rationalization .

To understand rationalization here in two ways:
Modern sociologists have identified five basic strategies that people use to avoid accepting blame when they've caused harm, and it's noteworthy that the Pali teaching on moral responsibility serves to undercut all five. The strategies are: to deny responsibility, to deny that harm was actually done, to deny the worth of the victim, to attack the accuser, and to claim that they were acting in the service of a higher cause. The Pali responses to these strategies are: (1) We are always responsible for our conscious choices. (2) We should always put ourselves in the other person's place. (3) All beings are worthy of respect. (4) We should regard those who point out our faults as if they were pointing out treasure. (Monks, in fact, are required not to show disrespect to people who criticize them, even if they don't plan to abide by the criticism.) (5) There are no — repeat, no — higher  purposes that excuse breaking the basic precepts of ethical behavior. Reconciliation, Right & Wrong


The circumstance that even Monks bend this simple precept is, because they are themselves not able to stick to simple precepts and still breaking it, because they have certain other aims (no 5.) and task with which they justify stealing and even encourage others to do so.
How they normally justly such is in ways like this . They even do not hesitate to steal form the Sangha in making the Dhamma, for example, public domain, which actually means that it is owned by a certain group of people and no more Sangha property. Of course they could not righteously by in means of common law they did.
Ownership does not end with material things. Think for example on land. Is the land gone or taken when somebody holds the right on it and deprive one from his/here use? You can still walk and lock at it. Is your life your own? Nobody can take it for him self. Is body your own? So its merely silly to argue "because" one can not take it with him/here its not stealing. What about water right? A monk would not be able to even drink form a lack, knowing that it has an owner. And in read of going into the forest and taking what one whats, that is the way of villagers and also not the way of people who are living on the alms of the country.
And the strange argument that something aside of material things it is not really own-able on a metaphysics level would make even material things declare being not ones own.
There is merely the fact that especially this copyright and taking via internet is the most thieving going on in the world and if anybody would say that such things are not based on simply greed without one conscience and concern he is far away form anything that can be called virtue or even Dhamma.
What ever is not given, is simply stolen. There is nothing to argue.
The most usual situation, since people today are not even capable to give conscious, is taking on trust.
Taking on trust, if it has its reasoning, would not count as stealing:

To rightly take an object on trust, Mv.VIII.19.1 states that five conditions must be met:

a. The owner is an acquaintance.
b. He/she is an intimate.
c. He/she has spoken of the matter. (According to the Commentary, this means that he/she has said, "You may take any of my property you want.")
d. He/she is still alive. e. One knows that he/she will be pleased at one's taking it.

 The Commentary to this rule states that in practice only three of these conditions need to be met: the fourth, the fifth, and any one of the first three. As the Vinaya-mukha notes, there are good practical reasons for adopting the Commentary's interpretation here. There is also the formal reason that otherwise the first two conditions would be redundant.


If anybody would like to tell that others would be happy with there downloads or have given it explicit to do so, he/she would not be aware of what he/she is saying, if such has not been given in that way.
It also shows fine that, in regard of precepts, taking something the owner died (certain laws give older things for public), such is actually not possible to take, especially if it is then owned by the public (which is also an ownership of a group, and in cases of monks and those having left society, not their.)
As for monks, where thief is even a Downfall precepts (and therefore there is a lot of nonsense taught), it is very simple:

Should any bhikkhu, in what is reckoned a theft, take what is not given from an inhabited area or from the wilderness — just as when, in the taking of what is not given, kings arresting the criminal would flog, imprison, or banish him, saying, "You are a robber, you are a fool, you are benighted, you are a thief" — a bhikkhu in the same way taking what is not given also is defeated and no longer in affiliation. BMC1


That means if something is done (here explicit also a matter of judgement of law!), which counts as thieving in a certain society, is a downfall and actually there is no reason that one would have the need to do such.
Which normal person would feel save if monks think in ways they to here and there. If Atma would be a person who still holds ownership on anything, Atma would try to keep them far away for house and farm. A danger for every society and nothing as approach like stone age communists take on to "liberate" the folk. Such ideas are very dangerous and are sometimes only seen if the backward hit one self, even only later. What they call for is actually dispossession in large, like this group which calling their dispossession acts even central, a known notion of communist ideas.
Atma can only urge you, 1. to keep the law and/or trust simply roles and you will have the best and righteous results.
The fact that most do wrong does not limit the results of deed. Poverty has its cause and one does good to reflect how wealth he/she really is and how much of that was amassed righteously and with own effort.
In fact stealing of intellectual property can cause one even to be executed, thinking on military things and state security in some countries and that thieving of intellectual is the biggest common crime and takes dimensions of Billion of Dollars makes it merely a joke when so called Monks tell that such is no breaking the precepts.
If one wished to give something for everybody that is fine and good, but to demand that everything should be/or is every-bodies property, that is what Buddha called the biggest thief in the world: The thief of truth.
Is your girl friend/ boy friend your own? Would people kill for something that is in reality (according the Dhamma at least) not their own?
So forget such silly thought and run away from people with strong wrong view and no virtue. One does not need to study and learn laws, if simply staying by 5 precepts, which are all about stealing, at least. And lying is the most dangerous taking what is not given and destruction of welfare for many.
As for leaders and also monks and to understand in which ways the Buddha formulated his rules in regard of certain thing which can harm a lot if people adopt it, Atma likes to share one story of book "Protection for living beings"

Stealing Beauty
There was a beautiful princess from the Wei dynasty who liked to dress up fancy. She had an embroidered gown with feather on it. The sparkling shine made her look like a fairy. One day, the king saw her in this dress and spoke to her in a serious tone: “Take off this gown right now and never wear anything with a feather.” The princess laughed and replied: “How many feathers do we need for a dress?” The king said: “You are the princess of the country. I am afraid that the royal families will all take after your example. Even more, the common people will do the same as well. The merchants will do anything they can to catch birds for the feathers as long as there is money to be made. If so, the countless lives would be taken because of you. The sin would be unimaginable.



Atma is not sure of how those "sin"full people will ever get out of there confusion, but to confess and to change his ways will be good done. It will be a lot of work that they will fill up all the pitfalls they had made all over the net. At least is encouraging others to take what is not given, the same as one would act for him self. So there will be less cases where the act is actually not fulfilled in this or that way.
Atma also needs to add that although Ven. Bhante Thanissaro in normally more discerning and wise, he absolutely failed in regard of his "modern interpretation" in his BMC1 and it would be good to inform him if one has the possibility.
At least, don't forget that there is such as taking on trust. Although you are very heedful and conscientious, it could happen that your taking on trust was a fail or different as you thought. Such is not really a breaking of the rule. How ever, its good to make such undone, confessing it and make others have no damage from it.
Many things that feeds such Companies like SE here, actually live form people how have good intentions but are not so informed, yet such companies try to give the responsibility to the user and at the same time they make his/her share their own or change the boundary marks of it. So please be careful, since most think "Doing Evil Knowingly and Unknowingly " is not a matter. You are even more in troubles for your self, if you do things unknowingly.
(Note: this answer has not been given with the agreement to be means of trade or the purpose of/for trade and/or keep people trapped and bound. How you handle it lies in your sphere, but does not excuse the deed here either.)


Certain comments have been deleted. They have even be more worse like a Layperson asked if clicking the button that give one access is a lie. Bhikkhu Yutthodhammo answered "no, it's not a lie, its just pushing a button..." (in it's sense) and many other other things.

Of course making people to delete there comments is nothing else than a further stealing with the reason to hind ones mistakes.


Quote from: most temporary, like most, moderator comment
I think it's time to delete all the comments on answers to this topic. If you disagree with someone's answer then you think there could be a better answer -- so post an answer of your own. In your answer, explain what you think right view and wrong are; but please don't criticize other people by name. – ChrisW

That is also an act of taking what is not given (although you may had gained the right to do so). And it is wrong to do not criticize people if they have to been criticized, especially if they are monks and people assume that they have certain virtues. So you are doing not good in your believe that harmony is more of value that righteousness. This is not the Dhamma of the Buddha. – Samana Johann

« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 07:09:55 AM by Johann »
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

Offline Johann

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Antw:Monks on copyright material and violating the second precept
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2016, 03:26:38 PM »
to give it a little more assumed nicca, here an add. to the previous text (moderated)

Practical and simple (in later addition)
As it seems that there are still growing "Chris.-Like " thoughts about stealing (and killing), like righteous stealing (killing):

There are hundredths and thousands of laws dealing with "taking what is not given", in normal language is "not stolen" defined by certain agreements = common stealing. The different between common laws and common agreement and Dhamma is, that simply "taken what is not given" means "taken what is not given" and there is no space. One would know it exactly for one self. As for the Vinaya, it deals much about the weight of offense and of course it has adopted certain flavors, since it turns also a boarder on the value.

But as from the Dhammic aspect and the meaning of this precepts, which is of course "A Training", there is actually no break and rest, till one is absolutely free of greed, desire, that one could not even take what is given. It's said that a Streamwinner gains certain virtue of this kind.

That means, aside of laws, which are a communal and community thing (whether state, group or monastic Sangha), the training precept is simply formulated, so that there is no change to corrupt it: "Not taking what is not given (with body and language)"
It is usual and happens everywhere, when people see that they are not perfect now, rather to put an effort be become perfect, start to argue and seek for ways to gain a good conscience by lowering the borders to their common ability.

But if such would be the way to actually still bad conscience even on a level that it would be a base for any samma samadhi, we should simply declare everything take-able and put away precepts, so nobody would have to have trouble with his conscience.

Think about that, do you like to paint a pile of dirt golden, dancing around, singing this is "Mount Nibbana", and we are perfect as we are, or to you like to gain perfection, which, if it would be not possible, the Buddha would not have told you, that is is possible. But since it is possible, to abound unskillful mental Qualities and develop skillful qualities, he told you, that it is possible.

Not to speak that Sila and sticking with it, is always the reason for peace within a community. You would not like to get the fruits of what has been taken by you, not one minute wouldn't you like.

If you train your self, simply in more and more "abstaining from taking what is not given" according to your awareness, you will learn about your defilement and modify also your mode of live (right livelihood). And you should not, as long as you don't have a cetain trained mind, ever start to think much about certain factors and abhidhamma-concepts or even Vinaya-Commentaries, since (in regard of Dhamma) your mind would simply act like every advocate, simply trying to get the task done and slack to the formal declarations of it. Since you simply cheat your self, or give your defilement ways to cheat your mind, there will be no benefit at all. At least the path is simply unreachable, may you study what ever Dhamma you like and try what ever wellness meditation. You forgot the raw stuff and would easy become really a problem for others as well as for your self.

You are your judge to bring you on a honest and fruitful line.

So remember the different: - For the personal practice: Taking what is not given, and even the slightest, you should correct and abound. - For your community (country, Sangha...): The same, and confess it, if it had happened. So that you can be well putted back and be able to walk on. And you even have certain reputation is and be sensed as a trusted person, if you are over sensitive and ask often if that is ok or it it was a fault.
As for the vipaka, no worry, it does not haggles. And this training, will 100% cure things you never assumed to cure: The Healing Power of the Precepts

As for judging a single case and or confess it, simply stay with your admirable friend and teacher, of whom you know that he actually does not only talk but has such virtues and who is not dependent from you, so that he can be a honest and really helpful source. All that, like the keeping of precepts are simply on your own choice, so why cheat your choice and make not best use of it in every possible way.

You will not fear anything and have nothing to fear (aside of old stuff that nobody could change you), even not death, if you have trained your self to walk on the right (samma) side and your much will also grow straight, able to go everywhere.

If you still stick and think that you find arguments to justify taking what is not given, feel invited to take on the challenge. There should be no doubt, even a little, since it is the even first step into Dhamma, staring on Saddha, since you might not have seen yet. As the "freedom" (=responsibility and being aware of it without a change of disclaimer, kamma) to discuss the matter is certain limited here, your are free to share your though here: Monks on copyright material and violating the second precept or where ever you wish.

(Note: this answer has not been given with the agreement to be means of trade or the purpose of/for trade and/or keep people trapped and bound. How you handle it lies in your sphere, but does not excuse the deed here either.)

The Poison of "rights" and "licences" and Right view

Right virtue, right action has either wisdom (right view) or faith/conviction (right view as saddha, intellectual) as prerequisite. If there is no saddha, there can be no training. When the training is done till right view, having straightened virtue (incl. right livelihood), having developed the Meditation section, it becomes right view and with it the merely rites and ritual doing style of virtue is no longer needed and virtue is something natural you would even no more think about it.

If people live in countries or places where there is no more worldly right view, believe in cause and effect, seeing "there is what is given, there is what is scarified, there are fruits of bad and good actions", but start to believe in such things as "I have a right", I have the license to do this and that, and even think that they have such as inherent right, the path can no more been seen and one would even have a hard to survive to practice such. Such things like gratitude and generosity, goodness and so on are gone and everybody fights for his rights. Which means to demand something he actually has neither a right nor demand at all. To fighting for rights is also taking what is not giving and its more that sad that even monks are mostly such as leaders in such movements, calling for fruits without having given it a cause.

You should be aware, that such as thinking in "rights" is hardly against right view has nothing to do and no foothold in the Dhamma at all. That does not mean, that it is not a meritorious deed if somebody shares what he owns or looks over and give others this or that freedom. That is great. But to demand, that is wrong view. Like to demand that one mother gives one birth and nourishes one. There is no such. If she does not like, then what ever "right law" would say she needs, could not execute it. So everything since you are born, even your body, all has been given and scarified by others. So rather to go around and thing of what right your have, is to be very aware and grateful of what is given to your and its wise, when you pay back, what ever goodness has been done to you or even do such in advanced.

So please be aware of people who are trying to catch you with such stuff like "rights" or "licenses", which they mostly do not own by them self, have no power been given to do so, but simply like to earn your gratitude in advanced to be able to simply pressure and take it from others. That is cheap politic, what ever "Rights-Movement" it might be, and to run with such people means to extorting other with them and one has the same share of kamma.

Its not wrong to ask, it's not wrong to make a deal, but expropriate others, if under violent or nor or lesser bodily or verbal "non-violent" pressure (which is only outwardly different, but not form the intention and has the same kammic effect), is simply wrong actions and the world is full of such actions as it is full of gigantic taking what is not given, never have been such in this world.

Such as asking is totally unknown today. Its even so as if people feel trapped or exposed if you ask them straight forward, so strange has it grown. And most, most (from 1001 tests on field) are Buddhists most like to be even not able to ask or to answer like a normal person on a request. Not to speak that obligatorily behavior is simply something unknown. That falls under "that is not my task and not you right to request such".

Stay away from people of thinking and arguing in means of "rights" and "licenses" and give and receive righteously.

Atma can tell you that even 80% of Monks (Atma came across in modern worlds) are not able to receive something nor to give something in a way one would do, if have certain right view, certain moral, certain gratitude and goodness.

Last but at least, Atma likes to share two short Essays written some years ago, to make the matter more understandable bending it from "normal" live to way of thinking in psychologies and then turning it back to Dhamma (Atmas english is not good at all, so it might miss some nuances, but give it a try, such makes also own creativity necessary and is food for the heart):

 
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 04:23:14 PM by Johann »
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

Offline Johann

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Re: Monks on copyright material and violating the second precept
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 07:15:57 AM »
“If I were the khenpo of a big monastery, I would probably have to declare all the monks to be vow breakers. Some people think the only way a monk can be disrobed is by inserting his thing into one of the three holes, but it’s just as much a violation of his vows to download pirated films or software. There is a rule: do not take anything that is not offered. If something taken is worth more than the cost of a meal, it is considered stolen. A movie download costs a few dollars, so in my view, all those monks who watch pirated movies have broken their samaya vow. And just think of all the pirated versions of Microsoft Office in India—that’s a few hundred dollars each.”
Sadhu!

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa

Should any bhikkhu, in what is reckoned a theft, take what is not given from an inhabited area or from the wilderness — just as when, in the taking of what is not given, kings arresting the criminal would flog, imprison, or banish him, saying, "You are a robber, you are a fool, you are benighted, you are a thief" — a bhikkhu in the same way taking what is not given also is defeated and no longer in affiliation.
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

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Johann

September 05, 2017, 01:21:44 AM
Gerestet: funktioniert tadellos. Nochmal alle Zugangsdaten gemailt, Nyom.
 

Sophorn

September 04, 2017, 02:06:42 PM
Kana hat mit U. Chamroeun das Login mit neuem Passwort erfolglos versucht.
Daraufhin versuchten kana das über die Veränderung über E-mail, aber da erschien, dass die E-mailadresse nicht gültig war (die hatten Bhante auch an kana in der Mail bestätigt)
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Johann

September 04, 2017, 11:52:03 AM
Sollte email im Posteingang haben, Nyom Sophorn.
 

Johann

September 04, 2017, 11:41:14 AM
Kann nicht antworten auf was, Nyom Maria? Was und wo genauer?

Nyom Sophorn. Nyom Chomroeun kann kurzlich email Daten bekommen. Mal annehmend das PW auch vergessen, (abgesenhen von der Möglichkeit, link zu drücken wenn) wird Atma ein neues anlegen und ihm mailen.
 

Maria

September 04, 2017, 11:30:41 AM
 :-*
Werther Bhante , selbiges Problem was ich schon einmal hatte, Login geht aber kann nicht antworten, bin am Nachmittag bei neuen Computer, dieser hier ist schon über 12 Jahre alt.
 

Sophorn

September 04, 2017, 11:23:14 AM
Kana hat das File runtergeladen und U. Chamroeun gegeben,  der sich um die Kprrektur annehmen möchte. Kana wird auch gern das File den anderen Schülern zum Lesen teilen. Ev. sehen mehr Augen mehr.
 :-* :-* :-*
 

Sophorn

September 04, 2017, 11:17:06 AM
Verehrter Bhante, Chamroeun kann sich nicht einloggen. Ist das Passwort für E-mail oder sangham.net? In beiden Fällen haben kana das erfolglos probiert.
 :-* :-* :-*
 

Sophorn

September 04, 2017, 11:08:26 AM
 :-* :-* :-*
 

Johann

August 20, 2017, 01:37:40 AM
Es ist vielleicht gut eine Pause zu tun, doch kann es gut sein, daß man nicht zurückkehrt, für ein gutes oder schlechtes, für sich selbt und andere. Gut dort wo gut genährt und unterstützt und for allem Konzentration steigt, oder dort wo satt in jeder Hinsicht.
 

Johann

August 10, 2017, 11:31:40 AM
Wenn jemand Lust hat, oder anderen etwas Gutes oder Besseres tun kann und möchte: Korrekturlesen http://sangham.net/index.php/topic,1018.msg9625.html#msg9625 Baue nach und nach, so gut wie möglich ein auf ZzE.
 

Johann

August 07, 2017, 02:24:55 AM
Einen ausübungsreichen Vollmond-Uposatha and Gelegenheit die Mönche zu besuchen wünscht meine Person.
 

Sophorn

July 25, 2017, 03:59:03 PM
... versteht und womöglich sieht, wenn er nicht den Weg hierher
findet.

Großer Dank an alle im Hintergrund.

Mögen all diese Früchte vielfach zurückkommen und inspirieren.

Ayu vanno sukkham balam

 :-* :-* :-*
 

Sophorn

July 25, 2017, 03:55:25 PM
 :-* :-* :-*
karuna tvay bongkum Preah metschah

Herzliches Hallo an alle nach sehr langem!

Ein herzliches Dankeschön aus tiefsten Herzen an alle, die sich hier aktiv und indirekt hier beteiligen. Vor allem ein großes Sadhu an Bhante, der unvergleichliche Arbeit leistet, die kaum jemand ver
 

Johann

July 24, 2017, 03:15:56 AM
Fehlinvestition: Was immer man nicht in die Juwelen, in den Pfad investiert, ist vergeude Mühe, schnurrr einen fest im Rad des Leidens. Prüfen Sie es!   :) Wiederholungstäter...
 

Johann

July 17, 2017, 01:50:17 AM
Moritz
 

Moritz

July 16, 2017, 02:28:02 PM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_
 

Johann

July 14, 2017, 07:07:17 AM
Moritz. Gut ihn früh Morgens und nicht bis in den frühen Morgen zu sehen.
 

Moritz

July 14, 2017, 07:03:53 AM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_
 

Johann

July 13, 2017, 08:12:46 AM
Moritz.
 

Moritz

July 13, 2017, 07:42:39 AM
Chom reap lea
_/\_
 

Moritz

July 13, 2017, 07:40:46 AM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_
 

Johann

July 08, 2017, 02:26:09 AM
Vor mehr als 2500 Jahen wurde a diesem Vollmondtag das Rad des Dhammas in bewegung gesetzt. Anumodana!
 

Mohan Gnanathilake

July 02, 2017, 08:24:13 AM
Sehr ehrwürdiger Samanera Johann,

ich bedanke mich bei Ihnen für Ihre nette Erklärung.

Dhamma Grüße an Sie aus Sri Lanka!

 

Johann

July 01, 2017, 07:43:41 PM
Nyom Mohan. Besser: "Ich hoffe, daß es Ihnen gut geht." und bestens (ohne suggerieren, wenn interessiert) "Wie geht es Ihnen." Oder: "Möge es Ihnen Gut gehen." (wenn metta ausdrücken wollend)
 

Mohan Gnanathilake

July 01, 2017, 10:43:15 AM
Sehr ehrwürdiger Samanera Johann,

ich glaube, dass es Ihnen gut geht.

Dhamma Grüße an Sie aus Sri Lanka!
 

Mohan Gnanathilake

July 01, 2017, 10:32:46 AM
Werter Micro,
herzliche Grüße aus Sri Lanka nach Deutschland!
 

Johann

July 01, 2017, 10:32:17 AM
Nyom Mohan.
 

Johann

June 25, 2017, 01:38:38 PM
Alles Zufälle. Nissaya. Und wenn da keine starke Grundlagenursache aufkommt, upanissayapaccayena, na dann war's das, und alles is weg. Lebewesen sind Erben ihrer Taten (im Geist, Wort und Körper).
 

Johann

June 25, 2017, 01:27:24 PM
Schwupps und weg. Waffen und Nahrung geholt.

Oh, was sag ich. Wenn man's doch nehmen kann, auch ohne das Gefühl zu nehmen... Unsinn hier. Hat doch keiner interesse Verdienste zu tun.
 

Johann

June 25, 2017, 01:21:28 PM
Mirco. Wie geht es?
 

Johann

June 25, 2017, 01:20:43 PM
Es ist doch viel angenehmer, wenn man sich nehmen kann was und wann immer man will, oder? Warum sollte man sich so viel antun, da sind genügend die Anbieten.
 

Johann

June 14, 2017, 06:45:07 PM
Jetzt aber vorerst. Möge jeder guten Unterhalt (ung) im Dhamma und Stärkung finden uud sich davon reichlich nehmen.
 

Mohan Gnanathilake

June 11, 2017, 08:24:45 AM
Werter Harry,

ich freue mich darüber, nach einigen Monaten wieder auf sangham.net Sie zu grüßen.

Herzliche Grüße aus Sri Lanka nach Deutschland!
 

Johann

June 09, 2017, 05:05:59 PM
Mögen sich alle, möge sich Guest der Uposatha-Einhaltung nicht nur heute annehmen, und glücksverheißende Zeit verbringen.

May all, may Guest not only today observe the Uposatha and spend auspicious time
 

Mohan Gnanathilake

June 03, 2017, 01:48:08 AM
Sehr ehrwürdiger Samanera Johann,

es geht mir zur Zeit gut. Ich glaube, dass es Ihnen auch gut geht.

Dhamma Grüße an Sie aus Sri Lanka!
 

Johann

June 02, 2017, 11:19:32 PM
Wie geht es Upasaka Mohan?
 

Mohan Gnanathilake

June 02, 2017, 10:51:50 PM
Wie sehr ehrwürdiger Samanera Johann geschrieben hat, hatte ich am 10. Mai 2017 meinen  Geburtstag, an dem Tag  in diesem Jahr das Wesakfest gefeiert wurde.
Beste Grüße an Sie aus Sri Lanka!
Mohan Barathi Gnanathilake
 

Johann

June 02, 2017, 12:33:54 PM
Wußte doch, daß so Nahrung immer gefressen werden will.  :)
"Sehr gut, weiter hungern."

Freut das Nyom Marcel wohlauf ist.
 

Marcel

June 02, 2017, 12:20:52 PM
weil "keines" immer noch die bezugnahme auf eines hat!
 

Johann

June 02, 2017, 10:23:46 AM
Wenn zwei mehr als eines sid, warum ist dann keines auch eines?
 

Johann

May 20, 2017, 04:30:26 PM
Moritz
 

Moritz

May 20, 2017, 03:42:08 PM
Namasakara, Bhante. _/\_
 

Johann

May 18, 2017, 09:56:06 AM
Sadhu und Mudita.
 

Moritz

May 18, 2017, 09:53:33 AM
_/\_ _/\_ _/\_
 

Sophorn

May 18, 2017, 09:22:19 AM
 :-* :-* :-*
Wünsche allen einen guten Silatag.
 :-* :-* :-*
 

Johann

May 16, 2017, 01:45:43 PM
Erfreulich
 

Maria

May 16, 2017, 12:09:45 PM
 :-*Werte Sophorn noch am Flughafen getroffen :)
sitzt im Flieger :-*
 

Johann

May 16, 2017, 02:20:58 AM
Ein Dhammatalk, über ein paar Audiofiles, sicher auch gut für ihre Familie, Mutter... http://sangham.net/index.php/topic,7997.0.html
 

Sophorn

May 16, 2017, 02:17:07 AM
 :-* :-* :-*
 

Johann

May 16, 2017, 02:11:44 AM
Vielleicht möchte Nyom Maria sie noch gerne am Flughafen verabschieden, wenn sie von der Gelegenheit weis.

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