Ytrog wrote: Ben wrote:
Ytrog wrote:IMHO this forum was founded to be the teacher for those who don't have acces to one in any other way.
No it wasn't.
Ok, maybe I'm wrong about this. What is the "mission" of this forum exactly? I thought it would be mainly to provide an online place for people to exchange experiences, help each other out with their practice and provide a platform for discussion of the Dhamma.
Especially the "helping each other out with their practice" part would mean that some here would teach others and guide them.
I don't think we've formally provided a mission statement for Dhamma Wheel. The intent was to provide an online environment for the discussion of the Dhamma and for those seeking companionship on the path with like-minded people. Membership of Dhamma Wheel is open for all those who have a genuine interest in the Theravada. Implicit within that is mutual support. Dhamma Wheel was not set up to give a platform for those who are eager to wear the mantle of teacher, ariya or a latter-day buddha. Dhamma Wheel was never intended to bring together people who are interested in the Dhamma so that others can take advantage of them emotionally or financially.
We have been eager to advise members who are seeking the advice of a teacher to do so outside of the cyber-environment. In the absence of a teacher then the counsel of long-standing practitioners within a particular teacher's "lineage" or teaching method, or to attend retreats within a particular respected tradition or to access printed material available from respected authors. If you are wishing to discuss your meditative experience and if it is in the absence of a student-teacher relationship, then I suggest you do so with someone that is much more experienced than you within the particular tradition or methodology you are practicing in whom you have a great deal of confidence.
The great benefit of the Internet is that it has increased access to the Dhamma to everyone that was unimaginable twenty-five years ago. You are also able to contact respected teachers via email, monasteries, meditation and retreat centres and places like Dhamma Wheel, co-habit the virtual space with people from all around the world from every spectrum of Theravada practice who have different levels of practice and understanding.
The problem with the online environment is that it is very easy for charletains and the deluded to fraudulently misrepresent themselves and convince others of their status as monastics, as someone having this or that "attainment" and/or their role as teachers. Claims of attainment are something that is impossible to verify or completely discount and becomes an appeal to authority that can be almost irresistible among those who may be a little naive, or beginners or those are also desperately seeking similar attainments or meditative experiences. And there are forums for those, that I mentioned earlier, are full of people who are fooling themselves by self-referentially claiming and acknowledging each other's bogus claim.
Just this weekend we had one person join this site who claimed himself to be a "buddha". When I investgated the individual I noted his website where he was promoting himself as a self-help guru, having two awakenings and was selling copies of his self-help manual. On another Buddhist discussion board I noted that he joined so that he could help others and teach them. For most practitioners the person in question would be an amusing curiosity but for others who maybe less experienced, he has the potential to take them down a wrong path.
My apologies for the long-winded reply.