I recently bought this Ayya Khema Ebook Bundle.

I bought the bundle for my own interest in the first place but after reading in them I would now like to share them with my friend, who is just starting out on the Buddhist Path.

Can I share the books I bought with my friend or should I buy the Ebook bundle again in order to share it?

Thank you for your time.


4 Answers 4


As you know this is a controversial topic which has been discussed before, e.g. here: Does illegal downloading or viewing of copyright material violate the second precept?

One answer (the accepted answer) to that topic says that "copyright is an artificial right" and isn't theft.

I think a safe or safer answer would be that if you keep to the terms (copyright agreement) under which you acquired your copy, then you're OK.

It's not clear what the copyright terms are for Wisdom Publication's Digital Editions. Perhaps it's in some fine print of the copy you received? There may be a copyright notice?

One tennet that's usually accepted for physical books is the First-sale doctrine. IMO someone selling books implicitly agrees to the First-sale doctrine. I'm not a lawyer but I think the First-sale doctrine says that you can't copy the book, but you can sell or lend your copy of the book to someone else.

If that's a valid analogy (and I think it has been used for copyrighted software), then the answer would be that you can give or lend your copy to someone else. And/or you can lend them the hardware on which your copy is stored. But you can't make a new copy. So yes you can give your friend your copy, if you delete your own copy. Or if you want two copies (one for your friend and another for you to keep) then you should buy a second copy from the copyright holder.

I suggest this answer regardless of what type of copyrighted material it is (i.e. regardless of the fact that you're asking about paid Dhamma material).

  • I wonder why my comments were being deleted? The censor police patrolling? Likely this one will be deleted too LOL Commented May 21, 2017 at 21:25
  • The purpose of comments is to request clarification or perhaps suggest some improvement to an answer. I read your comment about the GPL and didn't see how that might affect my answer (I didn't see it as a question about my answer, nor see it as a suggestion for improving my answer), so I deleted it as irrelevant/off-topic (it was "Secondary discussion or debating a controversial point"). Normally I might suggest you post your comment as a separate answer of your own, except that this comment didn't even address the OP's question.
    – ChrisW
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 21:35

I doubt sharing things is a transgression of the 2nd precept; otherwise how could we practise generosity?

I would be more concerned about the kamma of selling the Dhamma for money since the Pali suttas state the Dhamma should be taught with "benevolence" & given (freely) as a "gift".

And what, monks, is the power of benevolence? There are four ways of benevolence; by gifts, by friendly speech, by helpful acts and by bestowal of equity. This is the best of gifts: the gift of Dhamma.

AN 9.5


If you can afford to, by all means support the author and Wisdom Publications by buying the bundle a second time.

As westerners we tend to look at money issues from the perspective of buying, but if you look at it from the perspective of 'offering' or 'donation' the topic changes considerably:

All through Buddhist history people have offered dharma-teachers donations - shelter, food etc. In our time money makes more sense. It's an unfortunate truth that life costs money - even if you're Sangha. So it makes sense that the donation is 'scripted' to a specific amount.

Since you would have asked the question in a different way if you could not afford to pay, I would say: by all means pay. It is a practice of generosity - both to the author / compiler / publisher AND to your friend.

  • 1
    That is not practicing generosity but simply rightous trade under worldlings, if it would not be Dhamma they sell and buy, Katinka. Its of no merits to appreciate greed on both side and its of no merits to steal from the Tripple Gems for a livelihood and destroying the path for many.
    – user11235
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 11:53
  • You don't know that there is greed. That is your judgement - it is not possible to judge motive by action. That is basic Buddhism. We don't think a therapist is motivated by greed when they get paid for their services, why would someone who is asking money for a book automatically be motivated by money? By those standards NO modern Buddhist author can be any good. Neither the Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, nor Sharon Salzberg . Commented May 20, 2017 at 11:56
  • 1
    Yes a therapist is moved by greed, otherwise he would not charge money. Thats it. And yes, there is NO, not a single person having right view on the market, trading with Dhamma. That was introduced by jewel deales, nver have been before. Not a single person buying Dhamma will ever get the first step done, gratitude and goodness, and no way to grasp Dhamma. All you mentioned are thieves of the Tripple Gems and you might participate, because it fits to your greed and what you like. Thats how marked goes and growd.
    – user11235
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 12:00
  • LOL - so you expect people to live off air, do you? That is VERY judgmental. Commented May 20, 2017 at 12:01
  • Dhamma is very judgemental, no space for gray. There is skilful and unskilful. You live without "air", but go on.
    – user11235
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 12:03

Ayya Khema was a dealer of Dhamma. Althought she stole Dhamma, was not shy to found printhouses and commercial retreat centers, was one of the main misleader and introduced Business of monastic in Europe, following other Sri Lanka originated Monks ans BPS, its not good to do the same, and take and use what is not given. Some had found how ever into Dhamma in line with Dhamma and you might find here, Ayya Khema.

It's neither legal not any wholesome or neuter deed to take or make, what is not given. And if associating with bad friend, who lead you and advice you to have no shame, you suffer a long time. (How can one not even stick to basics teach such as Vipassana...)

You people are not aware of how less goodnessis left and of how less dhammadana accures in this world, used to steal and buy Dhamma. That's really foolish and crazy and great poorness is really already right. You can walk the way of demanding nd claiming this or that and do you "social", "communist" revolution of those out of any merits. But there you are and from there it goes more and more down, having upanissaya and maintaining it to bad friend.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial use or other wordily gain.]

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