E-Sangha

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
fijiNut
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby fijiNut » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:50 pm

With so much discussion on E-Sangha and DhammaWheel forums I must at least give my contribution.

E-Sangha was my first taste of Buddhism in real life from real people who were practicing, after having read several books from Ajahn Sumedho and other books from Buddhanet.net. I feel very much appreciative of the help in terms of pooled resources and combined years of practice that the forum with it's users had to offer, it has saved me years and years of groping in the dark with possibly traditions and practices that were not suited for me.
This has in turn set me on a path to search out real teachers (in the flesh) to actually go on retreat.
So for this, I am very indebted to E-Sangha.

I compare E-Sangha to a giant mango tree laden with delicious fruits on the top. You shake the tree, lots of good mangoes and lots of bad mangoes fall to the bottom. One must wisely pick up the good fruits and discard the rest.
It is one's own fault, if one sits and cries in a pile of rotten fruits and is still hungry, failing to pick the good mangoes.

I haven't had misunderstandings with any of the moderators or users there, so I am not in a position to comment on any bad moderators or abusive users but my sympathies for those who have had bad experiences there. I feel to a certain degree, to correct one's wrong view, one must lay it open for those who are wise and learned to see, and to have a restrictive environment where posts are unnecessarily deleted or modified is definitely not on.

Moreover, there is certainly no compassion in having anybody banned from any forum whatsoever, that is certainly not in line with the Dhamma.

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby christopher::: » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:09 pm

Just would like to explain to those who are wondering "where did all these Zen Buddhists come from?" that we have a ZFI start-up group working elsewhere on the net. We hope to have our new forum up before the end of the week, have been discussing many things and the topic of E-sangha was raised, in terms of how do we give people a space to talk about it, without violating right speech? Hrtbeat7 spotted this discussion as a great example of just how this can be done, how to allow a difficult and controversial topic to be discussed, compassionately and mindfully. He provided a link, and so after that we just started pouring in here out of nowhere, like Zen Time Bandits or Alice jumping thru the Looking Glass...

Hopefully not like 50 clowns getting out of a tiny car...

:group:
"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 retrofuturist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Greetings Christopher:::,

Good luck with finding the balance.

:buddha1:

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:44 pm

fijiNut wrote:With so much discussion on E-Sangha and DhammaWheel forums I must at least give my contribution.

E-Sangha was my first taste of Buddhism in real life from real people who were practicing, after having read several books from Ajahn Sumedho and other books from Buddhanet.net. I feel very much appreciative of the help in terms of pooled resources and combined years of practice that the forum with it's users had to offer, it has saved me years and years of groping in the dark with possibly traditions and practices that were not suited for me.
This has in turn set me on a path to search out real teachers (in the flesh) to actually go on retreat.
So for this, I am very indebted to E-Sangha.

I compare E-Sangha to a giant mango tree laden with delicious fruits on the top. You shake the tree, lots of good mangoes and lots of bad mangoes fall to the bottom. One must wisely pick up the good fruits and discard the rest.
It is one's own fault, if one sits and cries in a pile of rotten fruits and is still hungry, failing to pick the good mangoes.

I haven't had misunderstandings with any of the moderators or users there, so I am not in a position to comment on any bad moderators or abusive users but my sympathies for those who have had bad experiences there. I feel to a certain degree, to correct one's wrong view, one must lay it open for those who are wise and learned to see, and to have a restrictive environment where posts are unnecessarily deleted or modified is definitely not on.

Moreover, there is certainly no compassion in having anybody banned from any forum whatsoever, that is certainly not in line with the Dhamma.


Hello fijiNut, all,

Nice to "see" you! :hello:

I think Dhamma Wheel is an admirable site for Theravada discussion and for members with goodwill from other traditions.

Presently, like all small organisations, there is a sense of ease and familiarity between the members and the admins ...... but there will, in all likelihood, be changes in rules and policies as Dhamma Wheel grows in numbers. If, like E-sangha, there were to be sub-forums for other Traditiions and Schools,the changes would be more pronounced.

Dhamma Wheel has 15 forums for members, and E-sangha has approximately 70 forums for members.
Dhamma Wheel has about 180 members at this point. And E-sangha has about 35,000 members, constantly growing even with trolls, double nicks and members inactive for a year being discontinued.

Most posters have no comprehension of the workload of Admins or Mods. of a very large board.

Some well-intentioned members contravene the TOS - either because they do not read or, at least, do not remember them.
Some members who mostly seem to be quite pleasant people, are still afflicted with "The so-precious me'" syndrome, and become outraged and righteously angry when breaches of the TOS are corrected
Some members join large boards to gain the free pubicity from a large membership base in order to promote themselves and their own agendas.
Trolls are numberless and reincarnate immediately after each execution, under another alias.
Even with the best of motives, the huge throughput in posts and threads means that there cannot be the back and forth chat about 'why did you remove my post from view?'.

However - the collegial relationship between the management of Dhamma Wheel and E-sangha is healthy, much appreciated and valued.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

fijiNut
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Re: E-Sangha

Postby fijiNut » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:58 pm

Chris & All,

It is good to see you too. And thank you for your post.
Much appreciation and gratitude to the moderators and admin who keep the forum in good order. :)

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:05 am

Greetings Chris,

Thank you for providing a perspective from "the other side of the fence" as it were, which I feel nicely complements what I wrote at the bottom of the first page of this thread.

I think Brandon from Buddha Chat put it well when he explained that at a particular point in a board's evolution you start to come across "big city issues", many of which you've articulated very well in your post.

I believe it is far better if people are in a position where they can see and understand these issues for themselves... acknowledge they exist, and to understand and appreciate that administrators require a strategy for navigating those "big city issues" which arise. Just like any decision or approach to a situation, there are some who will be happy with it, and there are some who will feel aggrieved by it. To expect otherwise is unrealistic.

I hope your post has gone some way to helping people understand the nature of some of the deeper issues that come with leading or guiding any community, online or offline, once it hits a certain size.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

Element

Re: E-Sangha

Postby Element » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:36 am

retrofuturist wrote:I think Brandon from Buddha Chat put it well when he explained that at a particular point in a board's evolution you start to come across "big city issues", many of which you've articulated very well in your post.

From experience, I would say many if not most issues are created by moderators abusing power.

I can recall when I first began posting on E-Sangha, one of young moderators said about Ajahn Sumedho's book Cittaviveka: "I read it and it is crap".

I was quite shocked reading that sort of language.

The same with Buddhachat. If one follows the history of intimidation & using swear words there, it began with friends of a moderator.

These kinds of websites always have issues when through wanting to control opinion and not looking bad when defeated in debate, the moderators abuse their power. I trust this site will evolve without exception to this rule.

I think the wisest teaching for moderators to regard is as follows:
Victory begets enmity; the defeated dwell in pain. Happily the peaceful live, discarding both victory and defeat.

Dhammapada


:lol:

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:58 am

I like the small town feel here. It seems many of the people i enjoyed hearing from have moved here as well. I still pop into the beginners Forum on Esangha sometimes.


Metta


Gabriel
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:12 am

Greetings Element,

Element wrote:From experience, I would say many if not most issues are created by moderators abusing power....

These kinds of websites always have issues when through wanting to control opinion and not looking bad when defeated in debate, the moderators abuse their power. I trust this site will evolve without exception to this rule.


On this point, I'd like to say that our door is always open to comment or review.

If you perceive a problem like this arises at Dhamma Wheel, you have several channels by which to raise your grievances. One is via the Report Post function attached to each post. Another is the public Suggestion Box (please use this rather than post in the offending thread as such meta-discussion tends to derail topics). Another option is a PM to myself and/or relevant members of staff. We value transparency and believe that through openness, people will understand what we do and why, and through this process we will earn their trust.

Your diligence in observing and critiquing the behaviour of Dhamma Wheel staff helps everyone, since as Thomas Jefferson reportedly noted, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:41 am

Thomas Jefferson also purportedly said to Benjamin Franklin, "i see you've taken to consorting with savages." :jumping:

J
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

Element

Re: E-Sangha

Postby Element » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:50 am

retrofuturist wrote:On this point...

Thomas Jefferson reportedly noted: "Old habits die hard." (Or was it Clint Eastwood?)

Element

Re: E-Sangha

Postby Element » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:11 am

On E-Sangha, often one could not have a meaningful discussion without moderators aggressively interjecting and pasting in unrelated stabs of Abdhidhamma or other commentaries.

This kind of behaviour does not promote discussion.

The purpose of Dhamma discussion is to promote one's understanding. It is to investigate one's own experience.

MN 32 is a wonderful example of Dhamma discussion held by the Buddha's close disciples. The discourse states:
Each has spoken well according to their inspiration.


If we are posting things that we do not understand plus have no sense in themselves, then that has no benefit.

A classical example is AN X 58. This had been posted here but also on E-Sangha, with the same non-sensical replies from moderators.
"All things are rooted in desire." A rock or the body does not have desire thus this statement is non-sense.

"All things are governed by mindfulness". Nibbana is not governed by anything thus the statement is non-sense.

"All things culminate in Nibbana". Is the world full of arahants, including the rocks and trees?


Yet the moderator on E-Sangha felt it correct to post some non-sensical commentary on the matter, screaming: "You are wrong! Bhikkhi so and so said so and so".

If a teaching is not going to be discussed with a modicum of investigation and intelligence then it is not Dhamma discussion.

Buddha said yonisomanasikara is the foundation for the path. Buddha said investigation of dhamma is the fourth road to success (iddhipada).

Yet often these forums are run by moderators not for the purpose of discussion but blindly following some sort of sacred rote learning.

Image
Last edited by Element on Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby Nonin » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:14 am

All,

I'm sorry that you found it necessary to delete my post. Thank you, however, for posting the link to the article on E-sangha Watch. For those of you who missed it, here is the link: http://esangha.110mb.com/index.php?p=1_2. We need to speak out against injustice.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
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 kc2dpt » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:Just like any decision or approach to a situation, there are some who will be happy with it, and there are some who will feel aggrieved by it. To expect otherwise is unrealistic.

Well said.

People need to get over themselves. If a particular website isn't to your liking then why not just move on? :coffee:
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:38 am

Regarding E-Sangha...

I do not think it is the right time to have one forum cover all traditions.
Maybe there will be such a time in the future. I don't know.
That's all I really have to say about that.

Frankly I find all Buddhist discussion forums to be horrible. Some are more horrible than others. None come anywhere close to being a resource I'd recommend to someone wanting to learn about Buddhism. Unfortunately for many, some form of horrible is the best they can get. In this sad situation I try to help where I can. :toilet:
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby cooran » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:55 am

Hello Peter, all,

Peter said: People need to get over themselves. If a particular website isn't to your liking then why not just move on?

Yes, I agree. I think many people ought to learn the basics of what the Buddha taught about māna:
māna
'conceit', pride, is one of the 10 fetters binding to existence (s. samyojana). It vanishes completely only at the entrance to Arahatship, or Holiness (cf. asmi-māna). It is further one of the proclivities (s. anusaya) and defilements (s. kilesa). "
The (equality-) conceit (māna), the inferiority-conceit (omāna) and the superiority-conceit (atimāna): this threefold conceit should be overcome. For, after overcoming this threefold conceit, the monk, through the full penetration of conceit, is said to have put an end suffering" (A. VI, 49).
"Those ascetics and brahman priests who, relying on this impermanent, miserable and transitory nature of corporeality, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness, fancy: 'Better am I', or 'Equal am I', or 'Worse am I', all these imagine thus through not understanding reality" (S. XXII, 49).
In reality no ego-entity is to be found. Cf. anattā.
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/g_m/maana.htm

I think it would be best for us to follow the example of the Buddha in the Akkosa Sutta.

Insults and denigration belong to the speaker, not the one denigrated.
The Buddha also taught that someone telling here what they say they have heard there is Wrong Speech, .... kammasakata.

Akkosa Sutta - Samyutta Niikaya 7.2
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

metta
Chris
Last edited by cooran on Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:58 am

Chris wrote:'conceit', pride, is one of the 10 fetters binding to existence (s. samyojana). It vanishes completely only at the entrance to Arahatship

Well then I guess I'm expecting too much if even an anagami could get pissed at E-S. :lol:
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:15 am

:jumping:
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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: E-Sangha

Postby christopher::: » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:17 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Element,

Element wrote:From experience, I would say many if not most issues are created by moderators abusing power....

These kinds of websites always have issues when through wanting to control opinion and not looking bad when defeated in debate, the moderators abuse their power. I trust this site will evolve without exception to this rule.


On this point, I'd like to say that our door is always open to comment or review.

If you perceive a problem like this arises at Dhamma Wheel, you have several channels by which to raise your grievances. One is via the Report Post function attached to each post. Another is the public Suggestion Box (please use this rather than post in the offending thread as such meta-discussion tends to derail topics). Another option is a PM to myself and/or relevant members of staff. We value transparency and believe that through openness, people will understand what we do and why, and through this process we will earn their trust.

Your diligence in observing and critiquing the behaviour of Dhamma Wheel staff helps everyone, since as Thomas Jefferson reportedly noted, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

Metta,
Retro. :)


No discussion forum will ever be perfect but Retro & Company are really doing the best that anyone can do, imo, to try and cultivate a respectful, open and comfortable online Buddhist community. The administrators set the tone for a forum, they are in the best position to influence the community culture, protocols, values for communicating. These are things that you can put into TOS but it also has to be modeled and practiced, by those in positions of authority. I think the Dhamma Wheel is going to do just fine as she grows. She has a good team of people who's values are clear to everyone who interacts with them, cause they mindfully practice what they preach.

As for e-sangha, there are many many excellent moderators there. I think the majority of moderators set a very respectful tone. Problems arose, imo, when moderators did not follow the basic protocols they expected from everyone else. There is a paradox with these social networking technologies that people in positions of "authority" have to be mindful of. This technology is "democratic" by nature, potentially anarchistic. If you try to control that in a top-down authoritarian way you set yourself up for problems, sow dissent and rebellion. There has to be a balance of rules and respectfulness shown, imo.

Everyone has an opportunity to speak here on the Internet, as everyone's words spill onto the page. A respected Buddhist teacher posts something, and is followed by a 17 year old who is only half way thru Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums. There is no way to control what happens, and yet its also a wonderful opportunity.

Anyway, I take my hat off to all the E-sangha mods and admins for trying the best they can to run such a difficult experiment. All of us who have been a part of that community have been participating in a bit of Buddhist history. Perhaps, as Peter said, the time isn't right yet to have one forum cover all traditions. Maybe. But one forum has been attempting just that, and with a lot of very very positive results.

If we focus on the positive, each accept our responsibility in all these dynamics, respect one another and learn from what failed I think we'll all do alright.

:group:



"The results of karma cannot be known by thought, and so should not be speculated about. Thus, thinking, one would come to distraction and distress. Therefore, Ananda, do not be the judge of people; do not make assumptions about others. A person is destroyed by holding judgments about others."

-Anguttura Nikaya


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Adverse circumstances test our courage, our strength of mind, and the depth of our conviction in the Dharma. There is nothing exceptional about practicing Dharma in a good environment and atmosphere. The true test is if we can maintain our practice in adverse conditions.

-Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, "Advice From a Spiritual Friend"


: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 tiltbillings » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:46 am

This is, as many of us know, a very touchy area, which could have easily slipped into unnecessary negativity, and while there is much that could be read between the lines of some of the posts, the thoughtful, considered responses have been worthwhile. With the last msg by Christopher, this is a good place to end this thread.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson


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