Some Thoughts About the Ethics of Reserving Seats for Shen Yun Shows
(Minghui.org) Our country is preparing to host Shen Yun for the first time. In order to target VIPs, the sales team came up with the idea of reserving a selected number of seats for them. I thought that this was unethical, and brought it up for discussion.
Other practitioners also thought it was rather unethical but considered it a minor issue. Some felt that there was nothing wrong with it, since people are different and we should use different approaches to attract them to the show. Some thought that it was just common practice and that we should just conform. Some said that reserving seats for VIPs was unavoidable; otherwise, they would not come. Some felt that even though the idea did not sound quite right, in the end it would serve its purpose–if people came, they would be saved.
I believe the issue can be viewed from different angles. For me, personally, the bottom line is whether what we are doing is ethical or not. What does it mean to truly save people? In my understanding, it means that their hearts turn to goodness and they are truly moved.
If someone does not want to attend the show just because they cannot get the best seat, then is it certain they will be saved if they do get the best seat? Can we determine with our human minds who is more worthy of attending a show and buying the best seats? There are places in the Fa where Master has said, “People are not the same.” (Zhuan Falun), but there are also places where Master said, “Sentient beings are equal” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching”). In my understanding, it really depends from which angle you look at it.
When I did an online search for the ethics of reserving seats, I found articles about companies that did automatic electronic seat reservations. The creators of those products themselves admitted that the practice was unethical and not fair, but since the market demands it, that is what they do.
In some countries, bribery is the norm. If a bribe is not offered, people find it strange. But just because an unethical practice becomes the norm, does that make it ethical?
In my understanding, when we reserve seats for certain VIPs, we are not treating the people that the show is targeting equally. Perhaps we are trying to use human thinking to determine who should attend the show and who deserves those best seats, rather than allow the free market (the different prices for the tickets) to do its job. Obviously, the best seats are the most expensive, and they naturally target people from high-end society.
Making an Ethical Choice – Refusing Financial Help from Family
My husband and I were recently pressured by his family to move to a new and bigger apartment. In our family, he is the only breadwinner, and his salary is not high. We are expecting a second child, and our current apartment is not large, but we are content with what we have. I was visiting my mother-in-law just yesterday, and again the topic of moving came up. She was trying to convince me how wonderful it would be for our family to move to a bigger place, and that they would be willing to pay the difference. She said it was not a big deal for them. Listening to her plan, I was somewhat moved by zealotry and thought that perhaps the plan did not sound too bad. After all, “they are doing it for their grandchildren” (a justification in my mind).
When I came home and told my husband what had happened, he simply said, “Taking extra money each month from anyone, including family, is simply not ethical.” When he later talked on the phone with his mother, he remained firm and refused her offer very kindly.
I, on the other hand, often succumb to pressure. If someone in the family hands me money, I will “not want to fight back, create a conflict, and make people feel uncomfortable” and will reluctantly accept it. My mother-in-law's main argument was, “Everyone is doing it.” She gave examples of their best friends, neighbors, and people she knows who have been paying their children’s rent for years. She said that we don’t know how to accept help and that it is normal for parents to help their children. My husband said that it is normal to help young children, but not grown-up children.
We practitioners know that everyone has his or her own fate, and we know the principle of “no loss, no gain.”
The bottom line is, as practitioners, we can’t just copy what is going on in society. We have to make ethical choices, and that includes the way we promote the best show in the world.
My understanding is limited. Please kindly point out anything not in line with the Fa.
Category: Improving Oneself