I have a general money ethics/common practices scenario and question for members here:  Say there is a teacher-training program being set up around a series of books by a single author.  The training will prepare the teachers to teach the concepts and spiritual practices contained in the books.  After the teacher is trained, the teacher may have opportunities to teach the material at an organization the author has set up -- in which case, some money for the classes will go to the organization and some to the teacher.  The teacher is also free to go out and create their own classes, organize their own retreats and events and so on, based on this material, but if they do, they will need to pay royalties to the author or the author's organization.

Have you heard of this latter practice being done?  Is it common?  What do you think about it?

From my side, I have never heard of this being done.  I do not think teachers should be asked to pay royalties to anyone to teach what they have learned.

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When you teach classes at JFKU using books by anyone other than the referenced author-organization, do you have the same requirements? And when you were a student in training by JFKU, did they impose upon you any such royalties be paid to them for the use of your training after its completion?

No to both questions.  If we use articles by an author to include in a student reader (which students must purchase), we have to get copyright permissions and there may be a fee involved.  But otherwise there are no royalty fees.  And of course I would not be required to pay royalties to JFKU if I taught Integral Theory or transpersonal psychology anywhere other than at JFKU.

So...this seems like an unusual practice to me, which is why I am questioning it and asking if anyone else has heard of such a thing being done.

For instance ... while this isn't done at universities, is it done by religious organizations (or something like this)?   I haven't heard of royalty requirements, but typically, for "teachers" trained in a spiritual tradition, they tend to remain "within the fold" and work on behalf of the organization (church, sangha, etc). 

Since no such "church" or "sangha" exists for the teachings / training program I'm referencing, I'm wondering if this royalty requirement is intended to achieve something similar to the religious model: keeping teachers somewhat "within the fold" (and of course ensuring that their work continues to "feed" or support the whole organization).

I'm guessing that the referenced org is one of those evolutionarily enlightened conscious capitalist types? You must realize that they operate on the most evolved principles in the universe and thus beyond our meager understanding. It's a wonder they'd even ask you to work for them. Oh yeah, they get money for that...

:-)  It's actually not part of the integral / evolutionary enlightenment movements.  There has been some concern expressed among its members about why it has not flourished as a movement; but if this is the way things have been structured in the past, this may very well be one reason why it is languishing....


I have heard of practices like this -- but more from organizations which have an (admirable) instinct to conquer the world with their revealed truth... rather than from standard academic institutions. I know that the insidious pathologies of the marketplaces are constantly eroding and mutating our educational forms but I also think there a fairly strong need to resist and oppose such "innovations".

Of course people are open to experiment with contractual obligations but their controlling and profiteering impulse reveals a great deal... enough to make one hesitate to act on their behalf. One of the more common compromise solutions is to partially mutate the material. I think of "Avatar" popping out of "Scientology" etc. Looking at it with Foucault lenses, we must suspect this approach is actually a device designed to create a dialectical friction which can only be resolved through hybrid mutations under proliferating alternative names. However this does not help us with "maintaining good relationship with good" or "responsibly managing financial flows".

Such an approach as you describe seems undesirable and at least mildly cult-like. It is not far from "don't teach Reiki symbols to the uninitiated". People's instincts are divided. Tradition seems to be opposed by the Spirit of the Age. I lean in the direction of taking possession of one's own knowledge and spreading it by own's own judgement.

One's profit should be understood as being the profit of the group and/or author. Otherwise it is a gesture of bad faith and to that degree one's ethical responsibility to credit and coordinate with the "author" is reduced. If one is a committed member of some organization than it is possibly that tithing or some other form of financial support to the author and/or cause may be appropriate.

So, in conclusion, after rambling, I would say that while such an arrangement is not unheard of and is most likely legal, it must be considered as ethically in an inverse ratio to one's responsibility to credit and support the author. Taking, say 10% of the proceeds form the individual teacher must be considered as having been asked to provide 10% LESS fidelity.

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