Will wrote:Relax Jack, your words are not offensive to me. What does bother me is the PC police that fuss over every syllable. Buddha said kamma is cetana - that is, intention or volition - and since almost no one really knows the heart or intent of another, I refuse to get my knickers in a knot (is that the Empire-correct slang?) over shadows on this screen. And I wish our fellow posters would also not be so small-minded.
As to the point, of course the Internet has spread information about the Dhamma. But info is not practice or ethics or understanding. So I am pessimistic about the alleged transformative power of any medium, per se.
Progress needs many factors and I see the key ones, devotion to the Triple Jewel, pure ethics, vigorous practice, respect for the tradition & one's guru, all of these are getting weaker overall. Yes, not everywhere, nor everyone, which is why I am optimistic that the downward slide can be slowed in and by some groups of lay folk - though monastics are the ones most responsible.
At any rate, I have not finished study of the paper that was linked above, so I must sign off now.
Thanks for your response Will
I am optimistic for more or less the same reasons you state above. I can only take myself for example, but as I said I am sure I am not alone in the fact that it is thanks to the internet - almost entirely that I have learned the Buddha's Dhamma (conceptually speaking) and applied it to my life with rigour. I understand what you mean when you say that information does not equal practice, but without it, there could never have been any to begin with, in my example anyway.
We can't sit here and quantify the effect the rise of the internet has had on Dhamma propagation or new followers, but I would warrant that it is by no means insignificant. Just look at the success of this place
In Thailand, this 'monk on a jet' scandal has sparked widespread public outrage. It might yet be the catalyst for positive change, and a refocussing of effort on the part of the ecclesiastics to stomp out such corruption. Or perhaps not, that remains to be seen. But I think a little bit of hope is not untowards. In the West Buddhism is growing fast. Apparently it is the fastest growing religion in Australia - From 200,000 to 358,000. Chances are that because of the non-traditional nature of Buddhists in Australia, they are more likely to be practitioners of meditation and sila. I think if you took a look at the statistics in the US and Uk/Europe, they would show similar trends.
I think there are a lot of positives here.