Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

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Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby Element » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:35 am

Dear Forum,

I have gained the impression the Buddhist on-line community has been scattered due to sectarianism.

For beginners or newcomers, there is no net to catch them (apart from E-Sangha).

All of these various new sites such as DhammaWheel do not rate highly on the Google list.

How can beginners start with the right steps?

What do we think?

:group:
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:17 am

no idea.... but there wasnt really anything like this when most of us started though was there? and i guess most of us have done fine...
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:04 am

Element wrote:Dear Forum,

I have gained the impression the Buddhist on-line community has been scattered due to sectarianism.

For beginners or newcomers, there is no net to catch them (apart from E-Sangha).

All of these various new sites such as DhammaWheel do not rate highly on the Google list.

How can beginners start with the right steps?

What do we think?

:group:


Element, I am trying to understand your comment. When you are referring to sectarianism are you referring to the different schools of Buddhism, for example the Mahayana and Therevada, for example. Or are you referring with disagreements within the broad traditions themselves?

Are you suggesting that there are some forums, for example, just on Zen or ones on Therevada and so on?

I am not trying to be disagreeable or agumentative. I think you may have a good point. I am just trying to clarify what you are referring to.

I guess your fundamental question is this, "How can beginners start with the right steps?"

I'm not trying to put words in your mouth or anything, but I think you are asking the question on what is a good way a person new to Buddhism and interested in it can gain more knowledge on the on-line forums out there. I think you are suggested (please correct me if I am unrepresenting what you are saying) that with the different types of forums for the different traditions it makes it difficult.

I guess a new comer to Buddhism could easily become confused with all the various types of Buddhism. Is this the basic idea you are getting at?

I hate to say it, but I have a feeling that some people new to Buddhism may get turned off by a lot of the posts we do, which we seem to argue and stuff. Argument is not bad per se, but a new comer maybe totally confused and not understand at all what we are talking about.

I think maybe a good suggestion is maybe to have a sub forum specifically for those "New to Buddhism." There it is meant to be just for beginners. In this subforum, it is not meant to be a place to dispute and argue things. Here you would have a post (maybe that could not be changed), that gives a brief summary of Buddhism that all the traditions agree upon and then offer some links and or suggestion of books. Also here (as this a Therevada forum) we can have something of the same (it appears we have something like it on the "Introductory Resources" post on discovering Therevada) which not only has links but books.

There people can ask the most basic questions, and I think the monks (who are the most representative of the tradition) could answer those. For example, it would be the type of questions like, what is the Pali Canon? What does impermanence mean and so on. This would be just a place to educate and not argue. It

If people ask debatable questions (do devas really exist) then they can be referred to the other forums.

This way people could learn about Buddhism and hopefully not get turned off and learn about the particular tradition the forum represents. To me this seems the proper way to go about things. Regardless if the person does not like the tradition, or thinks Buddhism is nonsense or whatever, at least that person will leave with at least a positive impression.

That's my idea.

--DarkDream
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:28 am

Greetings Darkdream,

That's what the Discovering Theravada forum is for.

:buddha2:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby nathan » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:57 am

My fellow netizens.
Ask not what the google can do for you.
Ask what you can doogle for the google of yougle. :smile:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:39 pm

Element,

It certainly seems some days like I'm the only rookie here. Having no practical access to local teachers, I read what I can (and not all my early choices were the best), and listen to recorded Dhamma talks on an almost daily basis. These activities gave me a good start, but there is a very real need to listen to others actively discuss and to ask my own questions from time to time. After all, it is the Triple Gem, not a duo. Recognizing this need, I searched for an online Sangha and, of course, found E-Sangha. It was only there that I truly came face-to-face with sectarianism. Before that, I knew there were differences, but it certainly wasn't an issue.

To address your question, I think sites like Dhamma Wheel that focus on a particular tradition meet a very real need. You never knew whose toes you might step on when posting on the larger sites. As for what can be done to increase awareness and decrease dispersion, the web is self-governing. Google will pick up on the sites with the most traffic and move those to the top of its search results. So...I'd suggest any who want to promote Dhamma Wheel do a Google search for it every once in a while just to "tick the counters" in Google's databases. A Google search is how I found Dhamma Wheel, but I only went looking after someone posted about there being "another site" over on E-Sangha. Certainly, recommending the site via other means such as e-mails, personal blogs, etc, will do much to move this site's traffic levels up on the web's traffic maps. The benefit to that, of course, is that it is more likely to be found first by rookies such as me searching for an accessible Sangha.

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:43 pm

Element wrote:All of these various new sites such as DhammaWheel do not rate highly on the Google list.

Actually Dhamma Wheel is already ranking very high.

Google: Dhamma Wheel and we are the second hit-result

Google: Dhamma forum and we are the FIRST hit-result
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby Dan74 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:19 am

Hi Folks, :hello:

I share the concern expressed in the original post - wouldn't it be great to have an inclusive non-sectarian solid online sangha?

Over the years I have seen quite a few people who appeared to have been genuine seekers come over to ESangha and be put off either by wrangling or by an overbearing tone of some moderators/admin.

So one question is whether we have an appropriate forum for the curious and the beginners?

Another is the deep issue of sectarianism. I heard from a number of teachers here (in Melbourne) how insular the various groups are and how difficult it is to bring them together. A lovely example of non-sectarian open attitude was when my teacher (a Korean Zen nun) was recently invited to stay and teach at a Theravada nunnery in Western Australia.

After all whether it is Dhamma or Dharma, we are all after the same thing.. Yes, there are some differences, but is that what it's really about?

That said, from what I've seen I think this is a great forum, interesting discussions, generous attitude and a lovely place to hang out! A fantastic effort all round. Now couldn't we also have a similar Buddhist forum?

_/|\_
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby Element » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:26 am

Dan74 wrote:Yes, there are some differences, but is that what it's really about?

What is it really about? Many believe beginners to Buddhism must be indoctrinated with the doctrine of rebirth.
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby DarkDream » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:49 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Darkdream,

That's what the Discovering Theravada forum is for.

:buddha2:

Metta,
Retro. :)


Retro, I did think I did mention the "Discovering Theravada" forum but I did suggest it would be useful to list some books there and the possibility that it would be reserved for the monks to reply there (I don't know if this is feasible at all).

The problem is that a new comer may not even know what Therevada is at all. I guess I was trying to suggest the possibilty to have a subforum like, "New to Buddhism Here" where anyone could easily go to and ask general questions on Buddhism that is non secetarian, and explain that this is a Therevada forum, the differences between the other traditions. Basic Buddhism 101.

Forgive, me I am not being critical here. I do think the format of this forum is set up. I am just making a suggestion.

Thanks,

--DarkDream
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby DarkDream » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:56 am

Element wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Yes, there are some differences, but is that what it's really about?

What is it really about? Many believe beginners to Buddhism must be indoctrinated with the doctrine of rebirth.


My personal opinion is that this indoctrination has got to stop. Many westerns (including myself) find the whole notion of literal rebirth after death a very difficult concept to come to terms with.

In my opinion, people need to make up their mind about it and not told to a more a less degree that this is really essential to Buddhism and so on. To paraphrase the Kalama sutta, that no one should take thing as true just because of authority, or tradition or the scriptures. Only one who has investigated for themselves and know it to be true should accept a teaching.

As such those things of that can not be verified experientially need to be left aside for the good, or at least not emphasized. To me the cosmologies and literal form of rebirth is really just Indian baggage borrowed from the prevailing popular religious thought of the day.

--DarkDream
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:03 am

DarkDream wrote:
Element wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Yes, there are some differences, but is that what it's really about?

What is it really about? Many believe beginners to Buddhism must be indoctrinated with the doctrine of rebirth.

My personal opinion is that this indoctrination has got to stop. Many westerns (including myself) find the whole notion of literal rebirth after death a very difficult concept to come to terms with.
...

Hmm, as far as I can see no-one appears to have been particularly successful with this so-called "indoctrination" process so far... :popcorn:

Mike
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby green » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:06 am

DarkDream wrote:
Element wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Yes, there are some differences, but is that what it's really about?

What is it really about? Many believe beginners to Buddhism must be indoctrinated with the doctrine of rebirth.


My personal opinion is that this indoctrination has got to stop. Many westerns (including myself) find the whole notion of literal rebirth after death a very difficult concept to come to terms with.

In my opinion, people need to make up their mind about it and not told to a more a less degree that this is really essential to Buddhism and so on. To paraphrase the Kalama sutta, that no one should take thing as true just because of authority, or tradition or the scriptures. Only one who has investigated for themselves and know it to be true should accept a teaching.

As such those things of that can not be verified experientially need to be left aside for the good, or at least not emphasized. To me the cosmologies and literal form of rebirth is really just Indian baggage borrowed from the prevailing popular religious thought of the day.

--DarkDream


As a westerner, do you object to the notion of "going to heaven"?...that too is rebirth, since it is obvious it's not your body that's going there.

I agree that the notion of rebirth out of the context of patitya samutpada is absolutely useless.
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:21 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
DarkDream wrote:
Element wrote:What is it really about? Many believe beginners to Buddhism must be indoctrinated with the doctrine of rebirth.

My personal opinion is that this indoctrination has got to stop. Many westerns (including myself) find the whole notion of literal rebirth after death a very difficult concept to come to terms with.
...

Hmm, as far as I can see no-one appears to have been particularly successful with this so-called "indoctrination" process so far... :popcorn:

Mike

I guess there is some in-house humour in this statement. But on another tack, in some traditions I believe it is important to accept rebirth quite earlier, while in others it's not. My teacher (in Korean Zen tradition) while clearly believing in rebirth has never asked me to accept it and has said (as far as I can remember) that it is not important to accept it (especially for beginners) and that ultimately it is a lot more subtle that we usually understand.

I like Stephen Batchelor's agnostic line. Do not reject it. Practice diligently and if insight reveals it - great!

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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:54 pm

Dan74 wrote:I like Stephen Batchelor's agnostic line. Do not reject it. Practice diligently and if insight reveals it - great!


I think this is the standard line in buddhism

Come and see for yourselves!

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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby Wu-Wei » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:18 am

E-Sangha has definitely got some major problems.

Not all Dharma forums are that bad. Still, sectarianism ( playing favourites ) is undoubtedly a problem.

Spiritual pride is said to be among the greatest of sins.

Metta.
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby cooran » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:51 am

Wu-Wei wrote:E-Sangha has definitely got some major problems.

Not all Dharma forums are that bad. Still, sectarianism ( playing favourites ) is undoubtedly a problem.

Spiritual pride is said to be among the greatest of sins.

Metta.


And very few are that good either. Strange post you make Wu-Wei - for a first post to a new forum. You could well take to heart your last sentence.

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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby appicchato » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:43 am

DarkDream wrote:...it would be useful to list some books there and the possibility that it would be reserved for the monks to reply there (I don't know if this is feasible at all).

Reading this, to me, seems to imply that monks are the most knowledgeable...which, take it from me, is not (necessarily) the case...my ability to quote suttas, abhidhamma, or even string two coherent sentences together, is lost in the dust compared to some of those (good lay followers) found on these pages...if it resonates, instructs, or 'enlightens', it doesn't matter the source...

Be well...everyone... :smile:
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby nathan » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:33 pm

Wu-Wei wrote:E-Sangha has definitely got some major problems.

Not all Dharma forums are that bad. Still, sectarianism ( playing favourites ) is undoubtedly a problem.

Spiritual pride is said to be among the greatest of sins.

Metta.
Ah, more grapes. There is a thread on that. Read it and move on. People seem as keen to fixate on idealistic perfection and permanence on the internet as they ever were.

Are you promoting attachments to particular kinds of temporary, unsatisfactory and essence-less things (in this case internet forums) and that they should be some particular way or not somehow is what buddhism is about? I suspect that this is the perception only in the event that the thinking is that buddhism is all about someone or something else's being and becoming somehow that is the main concern. I am confident that human beings will steadfastly continue to refuse all external efforts to conform them. So I think that kind of thinking leads to permanent discontent. The discontent is great (bring it to fullness and completion with all things, it takes a load off), projecting discontent is always like farting in an elevator, justified or not it stinks.

Those who seem to "get" the primary concerns of buddhism think that it is all about understanding their particular and personal "being and becoming". Anytime someone suggests that social conditions "should be" X,Y or Z or that 'so and so' or 'such and such' should be X, Y or Z then I think they are missing the whole point as well. The point as I see it is to simply know what is X, Y or Z when it arises and know what is X, Y and Z when it ceases; all of this in an effor to free oneself from the being and becoming, not to change the the whole world somehow on that basis. Whatever good comes of being a buddhist comes to that person first and for the rest of the world may come to have some meaning as a result or it may not. How altruistic or how selfish people are is up to everyone as individuals and doesn't always present a moral dilemma. Whatever other choices and determinations people make is up to them and these may be on the basis of one's buddhistness or on the basis of their beingness. People who have problems with buddhism or buddhists would have the same problems anywhere. People who have found solutions in buddhism have those solutions anywhere.
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Re: Destruction of Buddhist on-line community via sectarianism

Postby Individual » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:08 pm

Element wrote:Dear Forum,

I have gained the impression the Buddhist on-line community has been scattered due to sectarianism.

For beginners or newcomers, there is no net to catch them (apart from E-Sangha).

All of these various new sites such as DhammaWheel do not rate highly on the Google list.

How can beginners start with the right steps?

What do we think?

:group:

Variety and diversity is a good thing. The Dhamma is spread through right speech and mindfulness. You can only control your own right speech and your own right mindfulness. Trying to spread the Dhamma through propaganda and proselytizing is like the story of the king who wanted to cover the world with leather to protect his feet. What he should do, his counsel suggested, was wear shoes (the point of contact between him and the ground).

I do not think Buddhists should be trying to trap people in nets of any kind. That is a subtle form of proselytizing. It's what could be called "passive" or "passive aggressive" proselytizing. An active or aggressive proselytizer is one who goes door-to-door, stands on the street corner, goes on radio and TV, and belittles and attacks every view he disagrees with, whenever he comes across it, like a hunter with a gun or a bow & arrow. A passive aggressive proselytizer instead sets up communities and organizations (both online and offline) where they can gather with like-minded people, and while they are respectful or ambivalent towards other views outside of these gatherings, maybe even within the gatherings to some extent, in the cases where they gather, they do not allow freedom of opinion, the types of views critical of theirs, and will tend to attack and belittling views they disagree with. This is like a hunter who lays traps. In either case, the activity is the same, whether actively hunting or laying traps, but the manner in which it is done is slightly different, more subtle.

It has often been said that Buddhists are not dogmatic or sectarian, and it isn't true. The way they are dogmatic is simply very cute, compared with western religion. In western religion, dogmatics and sectarians simply blatantly say to your face, "You're an idiot, a heretic, and you're going to hell." With Buddhist dogmatics and sectarians, they might hold the same view, but don't explicitly state it, and it's simply subtly implied by what they say they believe... In the open, they are respectful to one another, but in private circles, among like-minded people, or hidden within the literature they publish, suddenly the respect for other views ceases to exist.

For a similar mindset, as an analogy: I once told my father of a psychology experiment where researchers intentionally bumped into people in major cities to see how they reacted (apologetically or rudely). They found a sharp contrast between New York City and London, whereas New Yorkers tended to react more rudely, Londoners tended to react more apologetically. I told my father of this (who is British), and he said that doesn't mean English people are nicer, only superficially more polite. They'll be deeply apologetic, then walk 10 feet and mutter to themselves, "Friggin' clumsy idiot". When it comes to religious dogmatism, western religion has more of the mindset of the New Yorker, but Buddhist dogmatics tend to have the mindset of the superficially polite English.
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