Why was E-Sangha controversial?

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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:25 pm

So are there plans to include a belief in Rebirth in the TOS of Dharma Wheel to avoid further debate ?
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Jikan » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:32 pm

Astus wrote:If anyone is interested, the major trouble in the Zen section of eSangha was about rebirth, a subject that was put into the TOS in order to avoid further debates. Both Jundo and Nonin got banned in the course of that issue, and of course personal heated debates with mods. The interpretation of buddhahood was never a subject of regulation as far as I remember.


The one I've been alluding to on Buddhahood centered on two related aspects: one, the notion in some circles that awakening might be temporary; two, the notion that seated meditation is already awakening, that one is Buddha when one sits zazen (this a particular interpretation of Dogen). This opened onto a broader discussion of tradition and its value relative to contemporary practice, and it was at that point that the rebirth issue exploded.

That's how I remember it anyway. The archive is gone so what can we do? :shrug:
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:39 pm

Simon E. wrote:So are there plans to include a belief in Rebirth in the TOS of Dharma Wheel to avoid further debate ?
Why don't you do a site search using the term "rebirth" to get an answer regarding your question? Go on, I dare you! :twisted:
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One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:49 pm

:smile:

I was wondering why it was seen as a necessary inclusion to the TOS on E Sangha but not here...
Was it because the debate there was particularly vehement ?

:namaste:
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Jikan » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:19 pm

Simon E. wrote::smile:

I was wondering why it was seen as a necessary inclusion to the TOS on E Sangha but not here...
Was it because the debate there was particularly vehement ?

:namaste:


It became very... antagonistic, dogmatic, even simplistic on both sides in my view (and I mean this in part as a criticism of my own behavior too). Not unlike this (but sans the oedipal stuff):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_%28psychology%29

I think it's healthier to discuss it in a frank and open way, on the merits. That's how learning happens. That's one thing I've taken away from the e-sangha experience: the point of a discussion board should be learning, people interacting in a way that everyone is learning and growing and making positive connections with each other. That objective gets bogged down if it's all about I'm-right-you're-wrong, or why-you-always-pickin'-on-me (bullying and playing-the-victim, respectively).
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:13 pm

Thank you for your reply Jikan..

:namaste:
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Anders » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:14 pm

Astus wrote:If anyone is interested, the major trouble in the Zen section of eSangha was about rebirth, a subject that was put into the TOS in order to avoid further debates. Both Jundo and Nonin got banned in the course of that issue, and of course personal heated debates with mods. The interpretation of buddhahood was never a subject of regulation as far as I remember.


Neither were banned over rebirth issues.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby shel » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:48 pm

Anders wrote:
Astus wrote:If anyone is interested, the major trouble in the Zen section of eSangha was about rebirth, a subject that was put into the TOS in order to avoid further debates. Both Jundo and Nonin got banned in the course of that issue, and of course personal heated debates with mods. The interpretation of buddhahood was never a subject of regulation as far as I remember.


Neither were banned over rebirth issues.


Astus wrote that Jundo and Nonin Chowaney were banned in the course of that issue, not over that issue.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Fruitzilla » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:17 pm

shel wrote:
Anders wrote:
Astus wrote:If anyone is interested, the major trouble in the Zen section of eSangha was about rebirth, a subject that was put into the TOS in order to avoid further debates. Both Jundo and Nonin got banned in the course of that issue, and of course personal heated debates with mods. The interpretation of buddhahood was never a subject of regulation as far as I remember.


Neither were banned over rebirth issues.


Astus wrote that Jundo and Nonin Chowaney were banned in the course of that issue, not over that issue.


Heh, maybe they had the gall to mention another buddhist forum in one of their posts. That would get you banned before you could say ZFI!
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby songhill » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:51 pm

Each time I went into E-Sangha it was kind of like the Seinfeld episode "The Soup Nazi" (Season 7 Episode 6). One had no idea what they could be kicked off of E-Sangha for on any given day.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby wayland » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:33 pm

I was on it many years ago. There were some very knowledgeable members but towards the end the atmosphere became quite repressive and dark. I ultimately used it as a read-only resource or to pose the blandest of possible questions. It was never worth venturing your own opinion. I moved on, so I didn't witness the legendary gore-fest and final hack.
We'll never see it's like again. In its day, it was the place to go for any Buddhist information.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Anders » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:35 pm

shel wrote:
Anders wrote:
Astus wrote:If anyone is interested, the major trouble in the Zen section of eSangha was about rebirth, a subject that was put into the TOS in order to avoid further debates. Both Jundo and Nonin got banned in the course of that issue, and of course personal heated debates with mods. The interpretation of buddhahood was never a subject of regulation as far as I remember.


Neither were banned over rebirth issues.


Astus wrote that Jundo and Nonin Chowaney were banned in the course of that issue, not over that issue.


Actually, that is not what happened either. The dust on the rebirth issue had by and large settled by then.

But at any rate, I don't like to get into particulars on this. If people who were banned wish to comment on why they were banned they are free to do so, but we extended the basic courtesy of privacy on such details to banned posters then and I prefer to retain that, even if it makes the mods from then look bad sometimes.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Yudron » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:09 pm

The mods were volunteer human beings from all over he world who were doing the best they could with the mental and emotional skill set they had at the time, handling a lot of stressful situations and decision-making. I don't hold a grudge against any of them. But, it was--as the above poster pointed out above--extremely dark towards the end.

I definitely do not think it is the best forum we will ever have. Personally, I feel that these standard prefab templates for discussion forums--which has been around for more than 20 years--are largely to blame for the huge amount of conflict on most on-line forums. I'm sure they will be soon replaced by much better formats that are more flexible, collaborative and positive. It's inevitable that some creative programmer will do that. Then we can harness all these human hours to really benefit the Dharma and sentient beings. :applause:
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby shel » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:57 pm

Anders wrote:
shel wrote:
Anders wrote:Neither were banned over rebirth issues.


Astus wrote that Jundo and Nonin Chowaney were banned in the course of that issue, not over that issue.


Actually, that is not what happened either. The dust on the rebirth issue had by and large settled by then.

But at any rate, I don't like to get into particulars on this. If people who were banned wish to comment on why they were banned they are free to do so, but we extended the basic courtesy of privacy on such details to banned posters then and I prefer to retain that, even if it makes the mods from then look bad sometimes.


It seems to have the opposite effect. Transparency is being open and honest. I do love a good mystery though. :tongue:
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby songhill » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:34 pm

Moderated Buddhist discussion groups are overrated. The need to have moderators has not been proven, at least by the historical evidence, except to remove SPAMers and totally off topic stuff like sex, for example. I was on Google discussion groups for many years. No moderators; no restrictions. A lot of great information came from Namdrol on Shugden, more came from Tang and Dr. Richard Hayes who always managed to get into wonderful fire-fights with other discussants. You could find a great discussion about June Campbell who claimed to be Kalu Rinpoche's "sex slave". The humor was great, too. By comparison, I found E-Sangha to be too controlling which narrowed what could be discussed about Buddhism. It was all unnecessary.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:39 pm

songhill wrote:Moderated Buddhist discussion groups are overrated. The need to have moderators has not been proven, at least by the historical evidence, except to remove SPAMers and totally off topic stuff like sex, for example. I was on Google discussion groups for many years. No moderators; no restrictions. A lot of great information came from Namdrol on Shugden, more came from Tang and Dr. Richard Hayes who always managed to get into wonderful fire-fights with other discussants. You could find a great discussion about June Campbell who claimed to be Kalu Rinpoche's "sex slave". The humor was great, too. By comparison, I found E-Sangha to be too controlling which narrowed what could be discussed about Buddhism. It was all unnecessary.


The Buddhist Google groups (Usenet before Google essentially destroyed them) were overrun with bad information and they very typical interpersonal stuff that predominated on many groups online at the time.

This behavior and low signal to noise ratio in part sparked the birth of eSangha.

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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby songhill » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:25 pm

kirtu wrote:
songhill wrote:Moderated Buddhist discussion groups are overrated. The need to have moderators has not been proven, at least by the historical evidence, except to remove SPAMers and totally off topic stuff like sex, for example. I was on Google discussion groups for many years. No moderators; no restrictions. A lot of great information came from Namdrol on Shugden, more came from Tang and Dr. Richard Hayes who always managed to get into wonderful fire-fights with other discussants. You could find a great discussion about June Campbell who claimed to be Kalu Rinpoche's "sex slave". The humor was great, too. By comparison, I found E-Sangha to be too controlling which narrowed what could be discussed about Buddhism. It was all unnecessary.


The Buddhist Google groups (Usenet before Google essentially destroyed them) were overrun with bad information and they very typical interpersonal stuff that predominated on many groups online at the time.

This behavior and low signal to noise ratio in part sparked the birth of eSangha.

Kirt


I don't find your claim to be persuasive with regard to unmoderated Buddhist groups being "overrun with bad information." Even on Buddha-L before the Internet took off with Netscape (I was on Unix), scholars disagreed with each other over very critical philosophical matters. They pointed out omissions, and oversights and tore each other apart, in a friendly way of course. Debate is always going on in any good forum—Buddhist or Christian. Having a moderated (overly moderated ) Buddhist discussion forum doesn't insure that bad information will not be disseminated. The legacy of E-Sangha is beware of zealous moderators. They can have a chilling effect.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:49 pm

songhill wrote:... before the Internet took off with Netscape (I was on Unix) ....


Of course the Internet has been going technically since around 1972 and can even be traced to December 1969. The infamous Morris worm was, what?, 1988. People were exchanging ideas and working together at least since 1985 on Usenet, probably well before that (Minitel began in 1985 for example, and there were numerous online forum providers at the time - Compuserve and Delphi from the really old days for example although these weren't part of the Internet).

So you are talking about the period from 1993-1996 when the Netscape browser was released and the Web, the browser based hypertext overlay of the Internet came to the fore. However Buddhist Usenet groups precede the 90's.

I don't find your claim to be persuasive with regard to unmoderated Buddhist groups being "overrun with bad information." Even on Buddha-L before the Internet took off with Netscape (I was on Unix), scholars disagreed with each other over very critical philosophical matters. They pointed out omissions, and oversights and tore each other apart, in a friendly way of course.


Friendly exchange was not the norm on the Usenet groups. It was generally on the academic forums some of which were moderated. But the Buddhist forums were a free-for-all and often not in a nice way. There was a fair display of problematic behavior and a good deal of misinformation. Some Buddhist teachers at the time commented on the misinformation.

Correctly moderated groups have a higher signal to noise ratio and much less misinformation.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby songhill » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:07 am

kirtu wrote:
Correctly moderated groups have a higher signal to noise ratio and much less misinformation.

Kirt


First of all, what are the specific elements of a "correctly moderated" Buddhist forum? Misinformation is certainly not one of them—not in the TOSs I have read over the years. How do you determine misinformation? The term is too abstract. On one forum, I commented that Dogen's succession certificate (shisho) was a medieval forgery; I even included the citation. I was kicked out of the group. That wasn't about misinformation—it was censorship. Getting back to the subject at hand. E-Sangha's moderation tended to the quirky and censorial. It made some unhappy campers, to say the least. The lesson it did not learn is that moderating can be a double-edged sword. Owners need to do a better job of vetting and supervising their moderators. There should even be a term limit imposed upon moderators. There are ways to improve Buddhist discussion groups but, so far, I have not seen any good moderated discussion groups. They are being run as lite E-Sanghas.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby futerko » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:25 am

Jikan wrote:It became very... antagonistic, dogmatic, even simplistic on both sides in my view (and I mean this in part as a criticism of my own behavior too). Not unlike this (but sans the oedipal stuff):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_%28psychology%29

I think it's healthier to discuss it in a frank and open way, on the merits. That's how learning happens. That's one thing I've taken away from the e-sangha experience: the point of a discussion board should be learning, people interacting in a way that everyone is learning and growing and making positive connections with each other. That objective gets bogged down if it's all about I'm-right-you're-wrong, or why-you-always-pickin'-on-me (bullying and playing-the-victim, respectively).


In my experience, its the oedipal stuff - claims to authority because one sutra says this, or my Lama says that - that seems to feature quite heavily in the black and white absolutist thinking of many un-Buddhist "Buddists".
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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