Author Topic: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?  (Read 16686 times)

Manjushri

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2012, 03:45:28 PM »
This is a topic that I'm sure can attract a lot of debate.

For me, downloading something illegally can be considered stealing. At least by law it is stealing. Many sharing sites are being shut down because what they do is considered illegal. But then again maybe the motivation behind it also determines whether you are breaking your vows. If your motivation is solely to steal from them, resell their movies and make money from nothing, then I am quite sure that this would break your vows.

But if we are downloading to a film, or music with someone to help them, by helping them relax, by helping them learn something good; then it would be a different motivation and perhaps it would not be considered stealing, but sharing.

In my world, the western world, illegal downloading is a criminal offense and you can be fined for it, if not go to jail. However I have heard in the asian world, many people do this and get away with it.

In my opinion there is no clear and cut answer as to whether you will break your vows. It is stealing in some ways, but in a very indirect aspect. And in some ways it is not stealing, because it is available for free, for you to download. It it said that for you to complete the act of stealing, you must have the motivation to steal, the act of trying to steal, the success of the theft, and the rejoicing of your action. I don't see all these steps in illegal downloading.

Let me know what you think. I am interested to know.
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Dear Jeremyg,

I agree with what you said about motivation, and for one to complete the act of stealing, they must have the intention, motivation, act and how they feel after they have carried out their act. Indeed, there won't be any clearcut answer on this topic but lets use another analogy for this.

You said that "if we are downloading to a film, or music with someone to help them, by helping them relax, by helping them learn something good; then it would be a different motivation and perhaps it would not be considered stealing, but sharing.".. What if say, you were at a bookstore and you know that your friend really wants to read this book. But you have no money to buy it, so you decide to "borrow" the book out of the bookstore for your friend without paying, becuase you know it would realy make them happy and help them learn from reading the book. In this case, would you be considered stealing then? Would you be breaking your refuge vow? It is the same situation as downloading (ps. btw technically it is not "free" per se although it is widely available for free download)..you do it at someone else's expense but for the motivation to help another being. Motivation is the same. So what's the difference between downloading and walking out of the bookstore with a book (or cd shop with a cd). Will it reduce your negative karma if:

1. You return the book?
2. You don't return the book?

I guess whatever it is the negative karma is already accrued, but whether you are breaking your refuge vow or not, I don't know. What do you think?

Carpenter

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2012, 04:32:30 PM »
This is a topic that I'm sure can attract a lot of debate.

For me, downloading something illegally can be considered stealing. At least by law it is stealing. Many sharing sites are being shut down because what they do is considered illegal. But then again maybe the motivation behind it also determines whether you are breaking your vows. If your motivation is solely to steal from them, resell their movies and make money from nothing, then I am quite sure that this would break your vows.

But if we are downloading to a film, or music with someone to help them, by helping them relax, by helping them learn something good; then it would be a different motivation and perhaps it would not be considered stealing, but sharing.

In my world, the western world, illegal downloading is a criminal offense and you can be fined for it, if not go to jail. However I have heard in the asian world, many people do this and get away with it.

In my opinion there is no clear and cut answer as to whether you will break your vows. It is stealing in some ways, but in a very indirect aspect. And in some ways it is not stealing, because it is available for free, for you to download. It it said that for you to complete the act of stealing, you must have the motivation to steal, the act of trying to steal, the success of the theft, and the rejoicing of your action. I don't see all these steps in illegal downloading.

Let me know what you think. I am interested to know.
.

Dear Jeremyg,

I agree with what you said about motivation, and for one to complete the act of stealing, they must have the intention, motivation, act and how they feel after they have carried out their act. Indeed, there won't be any clearcut answer on this topic but lets use another analogy for this.

You said that "if we are downloading to a film, or music with someone to help them, by helping them relax, by helping them learn something good; then it would be a different motivation and perhaps it would not be considered stealing, but sharing.".. What if say, you were at a bookstore and you know that your friend really wants to read this book. But you have no money to buy it, so you decide to "borrow" the book out of the bookstore for your friend without paying, becuase you know it would realy make them happy and help them learn from reading the book. In this case, would you be considered stealing then? Would you be breaking your refuge vow? It is the same situation as downloading (ps. btw technically it is not "free" per se although it is widely available for free download)..you do it at someone else's expense but for the motivation to help another being. Motivation is the same. So what's the difference between downloading and walking out of the bookstore with a book (or cd shop with a cd). Will it reduce your negative karma if:

1. You return the book?
2. You don't return the book?

I guess whatever it is the negative karma is already accrued, but whether you are breaking your refuge vow or not, I don't know. What do you think?


I agree with Manjushri, a movie or music has it’s copyright, when we download it from a ‘ok to download’ website, they encourage people to download for free, this is not illegal? In this case download is not stealing, means no breaking vows, but what about the person who uploaded it? whether they got prior permission from the owner of that movie or music, are they uploading legally or illegally? If they uploaded it illegally, and we downloaded it (for a good cause let’s say), are we still encouraging them to do it more by the amount of support (number of people downloading it) we gave?

I do believe Merits and Karma are coming into place accordingly, we help people, we benefit people, we collect merits from such actions. But when we steal, Karma takes place, so whether our motivation are right or wrong, karma does kicks in.


Positive Change

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2012, 01:39:47 PM »
Interesting thread indeed. It is very pertinent as I am sure we are all guilty of this directly or indirectly... The question is simple I think. What is the motivation behind the download... what are we downloading... and what are we using it for?

Surely all these play a role in whether or not we break our refuge vows. It is not as absolute as clicking the download button surely!

For example, if I bought some dharma e-books online and wanted to share them with my friends who could not afford them... would this be breaking my refuge vows? Surely not... Hence the act of downloading should not be seen as something bad... it can also be a good thing.

ratanasutra

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2012, 03:01:10 PM »
For the action of taking other people things without permission its consider stealing, hence downloading music, movie from internet without paying is stealing too. But how the heavy of this negative karma action is depend on our motivation, action and how we rejoice it. So this can be very minor if we have a good motivation ie to sharing people who need.

In everyday, we conduct many actions which is combine with good and negative actions, so i will say that if we did 20 good great things and one minor bad thing so that should be 'alright'. As long as we are aware of what we are doing, have a right motivation and don't do it to harm other.

In reality, I think it quite difficult to not have any negative acitons in our daily activities as we are not stay in the cave alone, how many people we meet up and have the interaction with so how many people we have upset them, we angry with them, we use harsh speech, lie etc.. I mean if any of us can do it the best then do and i don't encourage people to just don't care about the minor negative action but since we could not avoid it then we should try to control ourself and make all those negative actions to be lessen and how to have a good habitual which benefit other more that will be better than worry about this right??
     

bambi

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2012, 07:57:49 AM »
It could be stealing but we can download if the site was put up by the owner for people to download or purchase it online. That wouldn't be stealing right? Like what was mentioned, the motivation of downloading should be for the benefit of helping people and not using it for pleasures. Like when we download the red brochures, books and photos here http://dorjeshugden.com/wp/ for giving away to people who can't afford to purchase it. Like what Positive Change said, it can also be a good thing.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2012, 08:27:01 AM »
Taking anything without the expressed permission of the owner is considered stealing. Say a burglar breaks into your house and carts away the TV that you bought.  This is stealing.  But if the TV was left out in the pavement with a sign that says "FREE - help yourself to it" then that is not stealing.  There was a free offer.

In the case of downloading, if it is not expressed as Free for downloading, then we are infringing.  However, for any downloading you could always attribute the source of your information so as not to run foul of any rights.

Theft is theft.

sonamdhargey

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2012, 08:35:02 AM »
I would say it is stealing if you download someone's intellectual property. Some may argue that if our motivation is to benefit others then it's not stealing. I think it is wrong view. If you want to benefit others, don't download for free but buy it from a legitimate source and after that give it to whoever you want to benefit others. The buying itself is benefitng the owner and giving it to others is also benefiting. If the downloads are supposed to be free then it's ok, as it is meant to be given away free.

Big Uncle

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2012, 09:27:49 AM »
Perhaps, it would be good to consider bigger and more damaging thefts that happen every day. Doubt is considered the biggest theft of our devotion to our Lama and 3 Jewels. If we are in the Dharma and we don't study the Lamrim and we prefer to do empty rituals to avert personal obstacles, we lose all the chance to learn the Dharma so we are better equipped to handle doubts.

If we prefer to read Dharma books and discuss meaningless philosophical subtleties of the Dharma than to heed the advice of our Lama and senior Dharma brothers and sisters, we make ourselves vulnerable to doubts and other causes that steals us away from the Dharma. Doubt is often likened to a thief that creeps up to us and robs us of all our merits and good karma. Therefore, true refuge and practice of Tara is said to offer supreme protection against doubts and physical thieves.

Midakpa

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2012, 04:11:25 PM »
Intellectual property is governed by a certain set of rules. If we download a movie or music with the intention to sell, distribute or make a profit, then we are breaking the rules. This is a form of stealing, and thus will create bad karma.  As someone has already said, most of the things uploaded are meant to be shared unless it is stated that payment is necessary. I think it is all right if we download something for our own use and not for commercial reasons.

ilikeshugden

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Re: Breaking of Refuge Vows by Downloading?
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2012, 01:47:22 AM »
We do not break the refuge vow of refraining from stealing when downloading. Why? Because stealing requires the other person's possession to be yours. It is not stealing when they still have the original copy. Then, that is sharing. However, if the person sharing it gets a form of profit from it, then it is stealing because he is stealing potential profit from the original person. In short, you are not breaking the vow unless you are gaining profit from it.