E-Sangha

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: E-Sangha

Postby hrtbeat7 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:40 am

teacup_bo wrote:
hrtbeat7 wrote:
genkaku wrote:Elevating or suppressing the one in order to eradicate the other is a fool's errand.



I find a lot of resonance in this, from Nisargadatta Maharaj:

"Just realize that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out. The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of your dream and not another. Love all, or none of it, and stop complaining. "

:namaste:


Whilst I don't know much about dreams, I do know that the Buddha Way is not about suppression, stifling or fiddling personalities - it is a bit more "transcendent" than that if you can excuse my poor use of terminology. Thus, I found what genkaku pointed out a helpful pointer.

namaste.



Seng T'san, in addressing preferences ("Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart."), makes the same point as "Your problem is that you like one part of your dream and not another."
Genkaku's "Elevating or suppressing the one in order to eradicate the other is a fool's errand" points to the absurdity of the war within ourselves we are habitually waging, and simultaneously projecting out into all of our relationships, including of course the many manifestations we witness online, viz a viz the subject of this thead.

:namaste:

Note to Mods: how about that whistling smiley they had at the other place?
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:45 am

davcuts wrote: It just feels different. I suppose I am attached to it. It's the only Sangha I've got so it means a lot to me.

As one of the newbies who benefited a lot from E-Sangha, I am grateful and still check over there occasionally. But I think Davcuts nailed it when he said "It just feels different." To put it in terms that may be difficult for non-Americans, E-Sangha feels like New York city. It's huge, it's impersonal, it's tough, but it's got everything anyone could possibly need...except space. Dhamma Wheel, on the other hand, so far feels like a small town in California. It's spacious and open, most everybody knows everybody else, and mistakes can be made because it's in our mutual interests to all get along.

On the pragmatic side, I think a lot of my perception on E-Sangha came from the "Warn" level that showed on all my posts. I never got a "Warn" anything and absolutely never wanted to. I can't be in an area with heavily armed police without devoting a significant portion of my awareness to where "they" are and what "they" are doing despite the fact that I am an absolutely law-abiding person.
:spy:

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby christopher::: » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:05 am

genkaku wrote:Elevating or suppressing the one in order to eradicate the other is a fool's errand.
teacup_bo wrote:
There is no single cause for anything, and whilst I find some parts of the moderation there not agreeable to me, it does not mean that E-sangha was a write off or poor even now.

In fact it is still a valuable contributor to Buddhist discussion, community and exploration...

I would not write them off completely yet. Things change and they do play a valuable - and fundamentally sound role, I believe as I said above.

And even if one does, there are now quite a plethora of Buddhist/spiritual forums around with scatterings of good practitioners around - a community which E-sangha also helped us bring together in the first place. So we are where we are - let's look ahead.

Bless E-sangha, bless the world, bless us all.


beautiful, bo.

:bow:

hrtbeat7 wrote:

I find a lot of resonance in this, from Nisargadatta Maharaj:

"Just realize that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out. The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of your dream and not another. Love all, or none of it, and stop complaining. "

:namaste:


YES!

though it seems we humans frequently need the freedom to air our discontent first, allowing us to empty our minds of the uncomfortable thoughts and emotions that were spinning within, before we can stop complaining...

22 years of marriage and 2 children have led me to that conclusion, anyway.

:group:
Last edited by christopher::: on Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby hrtbeat7 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:06 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:I never got a "Warn" anything and absolutely never wanted to. I can't be in an area with heavily armed police without devoting a significant portion of my awareness to where "they" are and what "they" are doing despite the fact that I am an absolutely law-abiding person.


Hehe, a couple of years back I got a double warning for quoting a non-buddist source (who happened to be a well-known Advaitic sage I recently mentioned above), but now they allow me -- as long as I do it at the Tea House, although recently one of the mods changed the header there to "Shut up and Drink", which is not the way I'd host a Tea House if I wanted to keep customers, but c'est la vie, eh . . .

:namaste:
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby christopher::: » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:12 am

hrtbeat7 wrote:
AdvaitaJ wrote:I never got a "Warn" anything and absolutely never wanted to. I can't be in an area with heavily armed police without devoting a significant portion of my awareness to where "they" are and what "they" are doing despite the fact that I am an absolutely law-abiding person.


Hehe, a couple of years back I got a double warning for quoting a non-buddist source (who happened to be a well-known Advaitic sage I recently mentioned above), but now they allow me -- as long as I do it at the Tea House, although recently one of the mods changed the header there to "Shut up and Drink", which is not the way I'd host a Tea House if I wanted to keep customers, but c'est la vie, eh . . .

:namaste:


The warning system was problematic, i saw that early on. If you read social psychology literature there are a lot of studies on what happens when you give some the role of policeman, and others the role of the policed. It's not anyone's fault, it comes with the structure of the situation, the designation of roles in this manner.

The Stanford Prison Experiment was an extreme case, but it pointed to some of the relationship problems that can arise.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_Prison_Experiment

:spy: :cry: :jedi:
Last edited by christopher::: on Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby hrtbeat7 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:13 am

christopher::: wrote: it seems we humans frequently need the freedom to air our discontent first,
emptying our minds then of the storms that were spinning within
before we can stop complaining..


Well, how's that strategy generally working out for you? Is anything emptied? If we notice the mechanics of mind in the process, what is actually happening? Modification. Mind endlessly modifying itself. What freedom or liberation can there be in pursuing it?

:namaste:
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby christopher::: » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:21 am

hrtbeat7 wrote:
christopher::: wrote: it seems we humans frequently need the freedom to air our discontent first,
emptying our minds then of the storms that were spinning within
before we can stop complaining..


Well, how's that strategy generally working out for you? Is anything emptied? If we notice the mechanics of mind in the process, what is actually happening? Modification. Mind endlessly modifying itself. What freedom or liberation can there be in pursuing it?


Well, I edited that post to make reference to my specific family situation. Absolutely, we've discovered in our family each person has to have the freedom to vent their feelings, especially anger, discontent and frustration. I used to ruffle at my wife's anger, now i am much more likely to let it roll past me, knowing that soon she will be feeling much calmer. Emptied of her own anger and frustration it becomes easier for her to hear my side, see things with more clarity.

If we keep these emotions and thoughts bottled up they just keep spinning and spinning, imo. Especially when people are in a group situation. That's just my take anyway...

But- and this is essential- the person who vents has to take responsibility for transforming their anger into peace, and for apologizing when they have hurt someone else while venting. That is all I ask of my wife and sons. Venting is cool but now its up to you to let go, no one else can do that but you. Take a walk, listen to some music, hug the person you were just fighting with, find your inner calm.

As a group system strategy it seems to be working.

:cry: :jedi: ---------> :hug: :heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby teacup_bo » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:27 am

OK here it is - I will air my complaint which I haven't done so far - which is my problem with E-sangha was the way some moderators used their position/"powers" - and then a systematic banning of members in a closed-circuit manner, and then the general lack of open-mindedness which I put down to lack of maturity in their practice (and thus not an issue with the team there but is a general human populace point - hence the last point I would expect to find anywhere).

Some of the moderators who I found operated their positions in a way I found distasteful, for example basically deleting and stamping out any opposition to their interpretations and then penalising for attempts at explanation - are here on this Board as they are there so what can I say. Still, there have been changes, and change is the name of the game I guess..And I can see that retro and Ben run a different ship here which is nice.

But yes, if I think about E-sangha and the way some moderators behave/d I was angry and can still feel resentment if I think about it.

But - it is to - OK I'm bitter, now what? Despite my resentment when I remember the situation - now what? Well, maybe some acknowledgement, maybe some clearing (thankyou shoey), maybe some acceptance at last after this, and then maybe just a plain reality check.

It's a forum. It brought us together, it does a service to information, and community, and sharing no matter how imperfect it is (or perfect depending on one's angle of vision)

And as genkaku says, the teacher (or whatever) may be a liar, but zazen is no liar. Don't forgo the practice, which is genuine.

So to balance a more complaining note of my own, with some wisdom of genuine Dhamma masters, there is - I truly believe - a genuine refuge in the true Dhamma. And there are many people who have shown us what is possible.

One time Ajahn Chah pointed this out to me, when I was going through one of those phases of will power. There was one monk in the monastery who really irritated me. I couldn't bear him. Just at the sound of his voice, I would feel aversion arising in my mind. I asked Ajahn Chah what to do, and he said, "Ah, that monk is very good for you. He's your real friend. All those nice friends, those other bhikkhus that you get on so well with, they aren't very good for you. It's that one who's really going to help you." Because Ajahn Chah was a wise man, I considered seriously what he said. And I began to see that somehow I had to just totally accept that monk - accept the irritation - and let him be as he was.

As kowtaaia points out, paying close attention is important for practice. Many different words - same pointers.

Employ the tools and do our best.

Forums and their past surely have to be the least of our worries and energies, we live, we learn. And undeniably - there is a whole world out there full of real people harming and hurting, starving, being killed and oppressed because of our shared selfishness. What is our role in this world? What will we be, in this ever ceasing chain?

:namaste:
Last edited by teacup_bo on Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby hrtbeat7 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:31 am

christopher::: wrote: Well, I edited that post to make reference to my family situation. ...If we keep these emotions and thoughts bottle up they just keep spinning and spinning, imo. Especially when people are in a group situation. That's just my take anyway...


Yes, certainly, while also establishing "right conduct" codes for expression in the objective world.

:namaste:
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby teacup_bo » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:37 am

hrtbeat7 wrote:Seng T'san, in addressing preferences ("Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart."), makes the same point as "Your problem is that you like one part of your dream and not another."
Genkaku's "Elevating or suppressing the one in order to eradicate the other is a fool's errand" points to the absurdity of the war within ourselves we are habitually waging, and simultaneously projecting out into all of our relationships, including of course the many manifestations we witness online, viz a viz the subject of this thead.

:namaste:

Note to Mods: how about that whistling smiley they had at the other place?


I have been able to see the correlations in teachings across traditions generally so have no problems with comparison.

" genkaku's "Elevating or suppressing the one in order to eradicate the other is a fool's errand" " as I read it was simply an encouragement to examine and look see - all of it, the so-called good, bad, ugly and virtuous.

All of it at the end of the day, I suspect, has to be known for what it is and relinquished.

My own guess is it is first seen, first known, first examined a bit, then one is able to move to relinquishment.

Perhaps we are saying the same thing, and I would not rule that out given my poor ability for attention and comprehension many many times.

I would be happy to defer to your insights and sharings.

:namaste:
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby hrtbeat7 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:43 am

teacup_bo wrote:Perhaps we are saying the same thing.


Yes, and the wonderful thing about the correlations in the teachings is that they can ring true on so many levels and in so many ways.

:hello:
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel » Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:58 am

Let me take all this talk about what good stuff E-sangha did/does to the limit. Hitler loved little children, dogs, and the Volkswagon. So does that mean we shouldn't talk about the other things we didn't like that he also did?

As I see it most Buddhist abuse karma because they think that the current conditions are deserved or in some way warranted and don't accept that their action in response to present circumstances and conditions is what karma is about.

As I see it the teaching about not finding fault with others is based on the notion of "others". If you don't have 100% identity with even a Hitler, then a person shouldn't find fault with Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot. But if one has 100% identity with them then finding their fault is finding one's own fault and it is not wrong to point it out.

Basically, we can only identify faults that we have for ourselves otherwise we wouldn't be able to even conceptualize the fault. If the criticism becomes a pretence to deny having the fault, then sure, don't even mention it. But if the criticism is done with the awareness that it is one's own fault too, then the problem needs to be stated openly.

Simply looking at the world and saying, "that's everybody's karma so I don't have to do anything about it and I shouldn't say anything about it" is just more karma making acts that will lead to more of the same.

Obviously we won't "change" other people by criticism, but in the right circumstances criticism must me stated.

The biggest shadow dark-side to Buddhism is the failure of appropriate criticism against authority figures: kings, emperors, dictators, etc. This has happened and is happening in all so-called Buddhist countries, from Sri Lanka, to Thailand, to Tibet, to Japan, etc.

Today the criticism that Esangha deserves is a grain of sand compared to the criticism that the Buddhist hierarchy of Thailand deserves. The treatment of Buddhist women in Thailand by the male Buddhists is deplorable and shameful to Buddhists all over the world.

The Dalai Lama is making great efforts to reform Tibetean Buddhism's abuse of the reincarnation/rebirth aspects of karma over the objections of many of his followers who want to continue the silliness of the literal belief and worship of a reincarnated leader.

If we can't criticize ourselves, then sure, we shouldn't criticize Esangha. But what I see at Esangha deserves criticism no matter how much "good" Esangha has done. Allowing a person who is totally committed to one branch of Buddhism to be a global moderator of all branches and to be able to tell people of other branches what is acceptable speech in their branch is just wrong.

_/|\_
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby teacup_bo » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:56 am

hrtbeat7 wrote:
teacup_bo wrote:Perhaps we are saying the same thing.


Yes, and the wonderful thing about the correlations in the teachings is that they can ring true on so many levels and in so many ways.

:hello:


Yes it is quite wondrous how many words and perspectives and ways it can be brought to bear ie pointers to Truth/Dharma (whatever word is used)

:namaste:

PS Just noticed your location - sounds really nice. Best to M and A also. :bow:
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby Anders » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:22 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:
davcuts wrote: It just feels different. I suppose I am attached to it. It's the only Sangha I've got so it means a lot to me.

As one of the newbies who benefited a lot from E-Sangha, I am grateful and still check over there occasionally. But I think Davcuts nailed it when he said "It just feels different." To put it in terms that may be difficult for non-Americans, E-Sangha feels like New York city. It's huge, it's impersonal, it's tough, but it's got everything anyone could possibly need...except space. Dhamma Wheel, on the other hand, so far feels like a small town in California. It's spacious and open, most everybody knows everybody else, and mistakes can be made because it's in our mutual interests to all get along.


Ha. Quoted for truth and amusing simile.
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby Nonin » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:25 pm

Hello all.

It' not good practice to attack people personally. However, a person's public behavior is open to criticism. Also, if power is abused and if people are being treated badly, unfairly, or inequitably, it's our duty to speak out, especially if the negative behavior originates from within our own sangha.

I was recently banished from E-sangha, and other Soto Zen practitioners have been also. I have written a brief statement outlining my experiences on that board. The dharma question discussed is a Mahayana one, so it might be out of place on a Theravadan forum, but here's the statement anyway:

PERSONAL STATEMENT BY NONIN CHOWANEY
http://esangha.110mb.com/index.php?p=1_2

[EDIT: Please note... the full transcript of Reverend Nonin's story has been removed from this thread - not because it is from a Mahayana perspective, but because it is not in accord with the well articulated framework for discussion specified by Jechbi at the initiation of this thread. It was only on those very specific and restricted terms that we have permitted discussion on E-Sangha. See original post: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=519#p5756 . Apologies for any inconvenience caused - Retro.]

Nonin Chowaney
Soto Zen Priest. Transmitted disciple of Dainin Katagiri Roshi. Member of American Zen Teachers Association; Chairperson of AZTA Membership Committee. Member of Soto Zen Buddhist Association; Member of SZBA Priest Training Committee.
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby bodom » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:35 pm

I for one am glad to see you here Nonin. Welcome!

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby Element » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:34 pm

The fact is religion is sectarian. Each has a different market segment. There are varieties of people.

It is difficult to discuss higher truth and mundane teachings together.

Modern Buddhism tries to do this but I cannot recall the Buddha doing this.

I cannot recall a sutta off hand where Buddha discussed a higher teaching such as anatta and a mundane teaching such as kamma & rebirth together.

This is where the conflict & protectiveness begins. There are those who insist on explaining the higher teachings such as the Four Noble Truths & Dependent Origination as mundane teachings. This issue did not only exist on the Mahayana forums on E-Sangha.
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby Tex » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:42 pm

I started taking Buddhism semi-seriously in the summer of 2007. I was reading about "the basics", and then a bit from each tradition, and all I could figure out was that I found a lot of truth in what I was reading, but I had a lot of questions.

I tried several sites and settled at e-Sangha for the simple reason that it had a lot more traffic than the other sites, so I found quicker answers. I felt very comfortable asking those questions in the Beginners forum at e-Sangha, and I received a lot of helpful input -- from Theravada, from Tibetan, from Zen, and from some whose tradition wasn't even apparent to me at the time. I could have likely found fora for each tradition and gotten the same answers, but the presence of so many different voices on one large site was a wonderful resource for a beginner.

The main page at e-Sangha advertises the site as a place where Buddhists can discuss all matters relating to Buddhism. I think it is a great thing to have a "General Buddhism" forum with members from all the various traditions. I also wonder if such a thing is really sustainable, given the wide gulfs between what different traditions believe, accept, and teach. And at the end of the day e-Sangha is owned and operated by members of one tradition who have the final say. And that is fine, it's a private site, but perhaps that fact should be more transparent.

If I were able to speak as freely as I'd like to on e-Sangha, I would like to suggest that if a site that portrays itself as a General Buddhism site has lost so many well-learned and even ordained Buddhists from two different traditions then perhaps that's something to look at. But the problem is that you can't even suggest that there is anything that needs looking at, and that's a real problem.

I intend to continue reading and posting at e-Sangha (if this post doesn't get me banned, lol), partially to continue learning and partially to pass along to other beginners the helpful links and answers that were passed along to me. I still think e-Sangha is a great resource, I just wonder if it couldn't be improved if it were a little more open to constructive criticism?...
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby Jechbi » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:40 pm

Tex wrote:I still think e-Sangha is a great resource, I just wonder if it couldn't be improved if it were a little more open to constructive criticism?...

There's absolutely no question about that. You're right.

I realized today that I feel more inspired to push the envelope at E-Sangha than I do here, even though that board is more tightly controlled than this one. But I feel more comfortable posting here than I do over there.

With metta to our friends at E-Sangha
:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby genkaku » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:47 pm

I have never known a good teacher who turned anyone away based on The One True Faith. Each voice was an opportunity to present, perhaps, a more useful point of view. If that point of view had to be repeated a hundred times to a hundred different voices -- well, a good teacher was patient.

Not that s/he wouldn't say "no," or suffer insulting language, but each voice offered an opportunity within a living, changing world. Positing some One True Faith would run counter to life -- actual-factual life that is, as Buddhists like to point out, impermanent. It would also run counter to anything resembling compassion, regardless of the definition used.

The good teachers I have known spoke from experience or, when not from experience, with a willingness to concede that a statement had not yet been experienced, but was mentioned in scriptures or sayings they found credible or hopeful or believable.

And the good teachers I have known have been willing, when circumstances warranted, to concede that they had fallen into the pit of The One True Faith ... and then resumed their practice ... just like the rest of us.

Maybe I have never known a good teacher -- maybe I just imagined it -- but whether or not they were good, all of them encouraged me to practice. How bad could that be? :)
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