Weboards, the new Mara?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:10 pm

Last night I had a splendid meditation session. I got deeply relaxed. Then I got a huge shot of bliss. I felt like I could float through my ceiling. Then I went to a web board where someone left me an unprovoked and slightly rude reply to a message I posted. I felt a sudden impulse to rip that person apart. LOL! :).

I decided to watch it pass, like a sudden surge of stiffness in a lower leg haven fallen asleep during meditation.

That doesn't always happen :)

The internet has been a great boon for communicating information about meditation and Buddhism. I also think it has a compulsive element to it that goads people into getting lost over petty things.

I mean, if I can feel like that fantastic from meditation one second and feel full of rage from the internet the next second, it either says very little about the Dhamma or it says a lot about the compulsive nature of web boards
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Nibbida » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:25 pm

Or the web board is a teacher in disguise, showing you where hidden faults lie. It's doing you a favor by showing where you need more work. By working through those areas, your practice will strengthen even more and you will reap the benefits.
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Jechbi » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:35 pm

For what it's worth, I think meditation periods can be a good reality check, and it doesn't matter to me personally if there is bliss or physical pain or both or neither. Then at other times, things crop up that also present an opportunity for being present, including annoyances. Whatever underlying reactivity occurs, it's a chance to notice what's happening within, and to engage it directly with equanimity and awareness. That's part of ongoing practice. We're not always going to get it right.

If I can feel fantastic during meditation one second and feel full of rage the next second, it says very little about the Dhamma, and it also says very little about the nature of web boards, but it says a lot about the underlying pyschophysical processes that we all have experienced for as long as any of us can remember.

People say and do things on web boards that can be helpful or unhelpful. The best we can do is respond authentically with an attitude of friendship, leaving our expectations at the door. Either that or disengage, I suppose.
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Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:42 pm

Nibbida wrote:Or the web board is a teacher in disguise, showing you where hidden faults lie. It's doing you a favor by showing where you need more work. By working through those areas, your practice will strengthen even more and you will reap the benefits.



That sounds similar to a rap an acquaintance of mine had in college. The guy was very intelligent, very well read, very into philosophy of all kinds and very into Buddhism. He also had problems with OCD he was in denial about and he was an attention whore.

He would blather off a barrage of twenty dollar words, off tangent, in class and on a number of Buddhist forums at the time. He instigated many fights and spoiled many discussions. When people complained, he mentioned many good points like yours, but then perverted those points into some sort of psuedo zen lesson about an enlightened master who acts like ass to help people. With the implication of him being the enlightened master/ass, being pleased with himself and chuckling at you.

He lives in my area and he is still pulling that shtick.

He hasn't changed, let alone grown. He has just gotten older.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:02 pm

Hi Jhana4

No one is claiming perfection here. But we are here to help each other. Buddhist practice must necessarily include giving as well as being able to take advice from your peers (due to the absence of a God whispering in your ear :tongue: ). If we presume that someone is judging us each time he/she gives some advice we didn't figure out by ourselves, we will not get very far.

Returning to a technical point- the development of calm, concentrated mind states simply suppress defilements and sometimes they simply break through if they are provoked hard enough. This is why there is the whole eightfold practice (noble eightfold path) to cultivate and develop, not just meditation. I have had much benefit from practicing this and will continue to do it in the future. It is far superior to any form of therapy currently available.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:17 pm

Jhana4 wrote:The internet has been a great boon for communicating information about meditation and Buddhism. I also think it has a compulsive element to it that goads people into getting lost over petty things.



People are full of crap, conceited and always looking to put someone down for being stupid or belonging to the wrong sect or having the wrong politics blah blah blah I can only think that it stems from some sort of presumed inferiority.

As much as i have learned on buddhist forums over the past few years, in my experience to date, they are absolutely unexcelled crap delivery systems. :jumping:
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:18 pm

Why post on them then? I agree with you about the roots of the bickering.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:21 pm

rowyourboat, point taken. Like I wrote, it just sounded too close to an old left handed slam pulled by an OCD jerk I used to know.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:21 pm

I'm starting to think that its a problem when a web board reaches a certain critical mass — number of members or posts per day perhaps. What started off as mostly polite and helpful discussion, easily degenerates into a slanging match.

Many people equate moderation with censorship, but it seems to be something that is unavoidable on web boards that become active and popular.

My school music teacher put it well — if you don't discipline yourself, someone else will have to do it for you. :rules:
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:24 pm

Jhana4 wrote: it either says very little about the Dhamma or it says a lot about the compulsive nature of web boards
Actually, it says something about you. Bliss is nice, but it is just a rising and passing stuff, just as is rage and neither are worth hanging on to, but both can be an occasion for insight as one pays attention to (but not intellectualize about) the transitory natures of these emotions/sensations.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:38 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
That sounds similar to a rap an acquaintance of mine had in college. The guy was very intelligent, very well read, very into philosophy of all kinds and very into Buddhism. He also had problems with OCD he was in denial about and he was an attention whore.

He would blather off a barrage of twenty dollar words, off tangent, in class and on a number of Buddhist forums at the time. He instigated many fights and spoiled many discussions. When people complained, he mentioned many good points like yours, but then perverted those points into some sort of psuedo zen lesson about an enlightened master who acts like ass to help people. With the implication of him being the enlightened master/ass, being pleased with himself and chuckling at you.

He lives in my area and he is still pulling that shtick.

He hasn't changed, let alone grown. He has just gotten older.
And he has obviously annoyed the bejesus out of you. There is something to learn from that.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:48 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:My school music teacher put it well — if you don't discipline yourself, someone else will have to do it for you. :rules:


That sounds like something a music teacher would say! Hah!
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:51 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
He lives in my area and he is still pulling that shtick.

He hasn't changed, let alone grown. He has just gotten older.
And he has obviously annoyed the bejesus out of you. There is something to learn from that.


LOL! Not for about 15 years. I avoid socializing with him directly. Given the way he still acts it wouldn't surprise me if he is still on talk.religion.buddhism just with a new alias. Point taken. Don't let myself get annoyed by what a mentally ill person has to say, because that is what it is.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:54 pm

Jhana4 wrote: Don't let myself get annoyed by what a mentally ill person has to say, because that is what it is.
Easier said than done, of course, but it can be a learning experience on any number of levels.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:11 pm

Jhana4 wrote:Why post on them then? I agree with you about the roots of the bickering.


Lately i pretty much try to keep it to providing support and whatever in my experience might help with a problem someone has. Another good reason may be to offer what ever academic knowledge someone has requested. Its ideally about support and mutual aid in helping each other along the path.

Many tho seem to think that causing discord in the sangha to flatter their own intellectual vanity is what buddhism is all about.

There seems to be little sense that encouraging virtues like equanimity in others is of any importance, instead the object for some seems to be to draw others into conflict. We are inhabiting a common environment here and many seem to think that its about smearing shit on the walls to mark their territory.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:09 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:Many tho seem to think that causing discord in the sangha to flatter their own intellectual vanity is what buddhism is all about.


I think that is what it is about too, but I don't think people consciously think that. I think they turn their awareness off and get up in the compulsion of it. With their thinking mind shut off....the mind with the discipline, they get offended when someone doesn't think like they SHOULD, then they react and get caught up in the petty bickering as if they never studied.

I still do this too.

I think people and especially meditators should approach web boards the way an alcoholic would approach entry to a bar....with their hand on their wallet.
Last edited by Jhana4 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
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Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:26 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
I think people and especially meditators should approach web boards the way an alcoholic would approach entry to a bar....with their hand on their wallet.

Words of wisdom :clap:

If you are sitting on your cushion and thinking about the boards .... :rolleye:
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Nibbida » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:53 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
Nibbida wrote:Or the web board is a teacher in disguise, showing you where hidden faults lie. It's doing you a favor by showing where you need more work. By working through those areas, your practice will strengthen even more and you will reap the benefits.


That sounds similar to a rap an acquaintance of mine had in college. The guy was very intelligent, very well read, very into philosophy of all kinds and very into Buddhism. He also had problems with OCD he was in denial about and he was an attention whore.

He would blather off a barrage of twenty dollar words, off tangent, in class and on a number of Buddhist forums at the time. He instigated many fights and spoiled many discussions. When people complained, he mentioned many good points like yours, but then perverted those points into some sort of psuedo zen lesson about an enlightened master who acts like ass to help people. With the implication of him being the enlightened master/ass, being pleased with himself and chuckling at you.

He lives in my area and he is still pulling that shtick.

He hasn't changed, let alone grown. He has just gotten older.


Good point. My response is along the lines of what Tilt said. Yes, intentionally acting in a way to provoke people and then whipping out a bit of philosophy to create the sense of feeling superior certainly seems like unskillful actions/speech. If that is what he was doing then it is something he will have to deal with. It's his choices and consequences, i.e. kamma & kamma vipaka. So this is not to try to justify or overlook anything on his end.

However, you can't control his choices or anyone else's, only your own. His actions are his kamma, your responses are yours.
In focusing on other peoples' behavior as a cause of your annoyance, we divert attention away from what is within our control to something that is beyond our control. What's within our control is whether or not to respond to others (and how), and whether or not we look more closely at our own reactions, notice our own patterns. You can reify him into a over-simplified caricature of what he actually is and get annoyed at that, or you can look at him with compassion as he's yet another sentient being in the grip of craving, aversion, and misunderstanding, not unlike us (and a few billion other people).

In no way am I criticizing you here, only pointing out choices that you may not be fully aware of or exercising. I'm certainly not above making this mistake myself, and I have countless times in the past. But I cannot find any exception to this. No matter what another person is doing, if I feel hatred, irritation, etc., I am making choices (even if only habitually and unconsciously) that are contributing to it. Directing awareness to this process makes it less unconscious. The Buddha said that even if bandits hacked our limbs from our body, to get angry with them would not be following his instructions. I don't know, but I think I might harbor some resentment in that situation. However, I know that it would be because I haven't yet developed sufficient skill in compassion, mindfulness, etc.

“Since kamma is your own, you are the architect of your life….In addition to teaching self-reliance, knowledge of kamma teaches a sense of individual responsibility."
--Sayadaw U Silananda (Volition: An introduction to the law of kamma)

Actually, valuing difficult people as a means to develop one's practice didn't start with Zen. Shantideva articulated it: http://www.shantideva.net/guide_ch6.htm

That chapter is worth a read. I wish you well.
:anjali:
Last edited by Nibbida on Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby PeterB » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:58 pm

I think you might find that The Buddha had something to say along those lines too Nibbida.... :smile:
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Re: Weboards, the new Mara?

Postby Nibbida » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:20 pm

PeterB wrote:I think you might find that The Buddha had something to say along those lines too Nibbida.... :smile:


I have no doubt about that. If you know of any specific references in the suttas of the top off your head, please let me know. :smile:


[Edit: spelling correction]
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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