Internet Buddhism

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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:58 pm

Glyn wrote:How do you feel about the interactions of the internet and Dharma?

On one level it seems a great way to give access to teachings which would otherwise not be available to great numbers of people, but on the other hand it's also an enabler of a plethora of fakes, and semi-fakes, to promote themselves and for material which should be secret, becoming publically accessible.

Personally, the internet has been a great blessing for me, Dharmawise. The resources available online are really incredible. That said, of course one must use one's discrimination. The internet is actually a good tool for examining teachers in many cases, so it's not clear to me what the overall impact of the internet on the proliferation of fakes has been.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby Alfredo » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:31 pm

Now those in doubt can use the internet to confirm that they've been venerating a cow's skull instead of a holy relic, and rid themselves of misplaced faith!

But seriously, Buddhism itself is the product of similar social upheavals--urbanization and empire-building, widening trade ties, etc. Often, it offered a means of linking together previously separated cultures through common symbolism, much as Christianity did for the Roman world, or Islam for its sphere. Now that we are even more wired, what new symbolic system will emerge for us to rally around? (MLP FiM, perhaps...?) Of course Buddhism has changed through this interaction, much as it has through modernization. (It matters whether Buddhism is encountered through an uncle or through a published book.) An interesting question is to what extent this has affected the masses of Burmese, Mongolian, etc. Buddhists who are not so wired, and whose Buddhism is a very localized activity--the peasants, if you will. How significant is elite, "non-peasant" Buddhism? Will it become swamped by later waves of social change?

Dzogchen is not so radical that it casts any doubt upon the institution of the lama. If Santa Claus had been Tibetan, they would have revealed the truth in a special ceremony, after years of prostrations and mantras to him!
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:40 pm

Alfredo wrote:Dzogchen is not so radical that it casts any doubt upon the institution of the lama.


No, it is after all a Vajrayāna system. If someone wants to practice Dzogchen, they must of course have teacher of Dzogchen.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:13 am

Malcolm I am not sure how many people take the Hvashang stories literally these days. Even several Geshes I have spoken to are inclined to believe much of the stuff is polemical.

That being said, I still thing the gradual approach has many benefits for those suited to it. The great majority of Buddhist paths advocate such an approach, and it is outlined clearly in the Buddhist canon. I don't think Lord Buddha would have spent so much teaching the superfluous- so I think such an approach must be appropriate for a great number of beings.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby yegyal » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:47 am

I agree. Even if you categorize Dzogchen as a non-gradual path, the extremely vast majority of it's practitioners are still the type of practitioners that make progress gradually. I doubt any of us have ever met a chigcharwa.
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby muni » Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:34 am

pueraeternus wrote:
For me, the keyword is "Ignorance". We are in Samsara because of ignorance - a cognitive dissonance. So there is nothing really wrong, it is just our (wrong) perception of things..


:good:

I see you write « ignorance » as this ignorance can be very misleading word through our habit to use Dharma as well, by cognetive obscurations. It then is sadly food for a lot of suffering.
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby Sherab » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:48 am

For me, Dhammawheel/Dharmawheel and its forerunner e-sangha have been a tremendous help in increasing my understanding and appreciation of the Dharma.

I don't care too much about other internet media as far as acquisition of Dharma knowledge is concerned.
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:54 am

JKhedrup wrote:Malcolm I am not sure how many people take the Hvashang stories literally these days. Even several Geshes I have spoken to are inclined to believe much of the stuff is polemical.

That being said, I still thing the gradual approach has many benefits for those suited to it. The great majority of Buddhist paths advocate such an approach, and it is outlined clearly in the Buddhist canon. I don't think Lord Buddha would have spent so much teaching the superfluous- so I think such an approach must be appropriate for a great number of beings.



As i said, my point for bringing up dzogchen is that it is an example of something being "secret", while in reality there is nothing truly offensive to be found in dzogchen tantras, unlike say, the laghusamvara. The main reason they are considered "secret" is, as i said, they reject the idea that buddhahood is something gradual, attained by gradually developing merit and wisdom. Ironically, dzogchen is kept secret precisely because of the responses garnered here.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby invisiblediamond » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:58 pm

So when student meets master, there will be no further passage of time between that and buddhahood?
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:23 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:So when student meets master, there will be no further passage of time between that and buddhahood?


You should start another thread.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby In the bone yard » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:27 pm

I think the internet is good for finding authentic teachers so we can meet them and become authentic practitioners.
Also allows us to send messages to our teachers which is quicker than snail mail or having to send a messenger.
Other than that I personally don't see much use for internet Dharma. Everything can be done through the teacher, including obtaining scripture.
It's personal contact which is essential.

The internet makes it easier to distribute dharma via books and website. This is good and bad. Makes it easier for "learned" people who have little understanding of the teaching itself to spread their understanding of Dharma. "Learned" Dharma is not real Dharma. I can learn all I want about woodworking and state my understanding of it, but until I actually build something and practice do I actually become a woodworker. Regardless of intention, these people can remain anonymous whereas personal contact allows karma to be of larger consequence.

I think technology is taking us farther away from each other rather than closer. We're all connected (karma) but not "technologically". There is something missing from our contact with others talking on the phone (no body/energy) or worse when we communicate with others on the internet (energy and voice).

I think the internet is more of a distraction to dharma practice than a help.
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby shel » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:55 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Glyn wrote:How do you feel about the interactions of the internet and Dharma?

On one level it seems a great way to give access to teachings which would otherwise not be available to great numbers of people, but on the other hand it's also an enabler of a plethora of fakes, and semi-fakes, to promote themselves and for material which should be secret, becoming publically accessible.
The material doesn't mean squat anyway without the gurus blessing. Anyway, your karma will determine whether you encounter the material or not and the manner in which you will encounter it. So... I've seen people been handed rare teachings and empowerments from highly qualified and respectable teachers, on a silver platter, and they have refused them.

Probably best to turn down anything 'spiritual' offered on a silver platter.
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby In the bone yard » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:07 am

It's secret... because they couldn't see the teaching.
Happens all the time. :smile:
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:18 am

In the bone yard wrote:It's secret... because they couldn't see the teaching.
Happens all the time. :smile:

The secret being that there is no secret, hidden in plain view, wood for the trees, etc. That's Dharma fer ya.
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby tobes » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:19 am

I'll be honest: the internet gave me a massive wake up call about the state of Buddhism in non-traditional places.

The e-sangha days were remarkable in the history of Buddhism - when ever before have practitioners from every kind of existing tradition been able to communicate so effortlessly with each other?

And yet, it must be concluded that the balance between pluralism, openness, mutual learning and spiritual conceit, dogmatism, sectarian superiority, was decided in favour of the latter.

Now there is Dhamma Wheel and Dharma Wheel. And on Dharma Wheel I find that balance is also consistently under threat. I'm not sure if this has something to do with the nature of Buddhism, the nature of attitudes of 'Buddhist converts' (which most of us are), the nature of the medium (i.e. an internet forum), or the nature of communication per se. Of course it is likely to be a combination of all of these things.

And from my side, the problematic desire for respectful and mutually engaged dialogue (a naive ideal?)

In short, the internet has made me far more aware of sectarian attitudes amidst Buddhists practitioners. I have to admit, that's the main thing I see now, in these waters.

:anjali:
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:41 am

tobes wrote:In short, the internet has made me far more aware of sectarian attitudes amidst Buddhists practitioners. I have to admit, that's the main thing I see now, in these waters.

Funny. I don't.

I think we all do a fairly good job of reconciling our differences here. Or maybe that is my rose-tinted spectacles speaking.
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby In the bone yard » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:05 am

Well yea, the internet is not real communication because there's no energy exchange.
No one will successfully receive the pointing out instructions over the internet. :jumping:
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:51 am

In the bone yard wrote:No one will successfully receive the pointing out instructions over the internet. :jumping:

Not even if we had the appropriate smiley?
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby Ayu » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:40 am

If you consider the internet as something the mind is fiddling with, then it is the most wonderful thing that there are buddhist boards and experienced buddhists online.
But if you think of internet as a means to connect real people it is dubious. It is too easy to lie, even at oneself, and also too easy not to recognize the person you are talking with.
But there can be some sort of energy exchange, if you meet the right or wrong persons.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Internet Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:13 pm

In the bone yard wrote:Well yea, the internet is not real communication because there's no energy exchange.
No one will successfully receive the pointing out instructions over the internet. :jumping:


So you means ChNN's webcasts are useless?
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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