The board and its direction (if any)

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The board and its direction (if any)

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:00 am

Ironically, considering my stance against mysticism in general, I am one of those that came to Buddhism via Theosophy and the occult, reading such authors as I. K. Taimni and Dion Fortune in my youth. Although I have absolutely no interest in these traditions now, I agree that their part in bringing Buddhist ideas to the West is an interesting topic for discussion, but wince at the idea that either Theosophy or the occult could have any relevance to Western Buddhism now.
Last edited by dharmagoat on Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Buddhism about spirit guides

Postby plwk » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:01 am

Ya know catty, sometimes I dunno if I am on a Buddhist or rainbow forum in here anymore these days...
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Re: Buddhism about spirit guides

Postby catmoon » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:09 am

Ok, I'm going to split the thread and move the meta-discussion to the Lounge. Seems worth pursuing.
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby catmoon » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:28 am

Hokey dokey here we are.

plwk said:

Ya know catty, sometimes I dunno if I am on a Buddhist or rainbow forum in here anymore these days...


I get the same feeling sometimes, but then I think well there's plenty of right wing eccentricity too. And that's hardly what you would call rainbow forum stuff. Buddhists often seem to want discuss the oddest things. But then I think, what does it cost us to be generous and allow a few threads on Alistair Crowley if people want to to talk about him? Most of the authors in these threads do write about other things as well, some of it is very mainstream and very well done, and I wouldn't want to lose that part.

What would you like to see happen?
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby catmoon » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:33 am

PS do goats really wince? I'd like to see a picture of that. A more serious point is that well, if one can start with this stuff and end up with such a sterling paragon of slightly goat-whiffy Buddhism as yourself, do you really want to interfere with others who tread the same path you did?
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:04 am

catmoon wrote:PS do goats really wince? I'd like to see a picture of that.

It seems that you have never seen a goat eating gorse. They wince as they get their mouths around the thorns, but they manage to bite and chew it okay.

catmoon wrote:A more serious point is that well, if one can start with this stuff and end up with such a sterling paragon of slightly goat-whiffy Buddhism as yourself, do you really want to interfere with others who tread the same path you did?

No, I wouldn't. But I did drop it as soon as I discovered the original Buddhist source, and find myself recommending others do the same. I would not like to think that this is interference, but am willing to accept that it may appear that way.
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby KeithBC » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:09 am

It is one of the hazards of Buddhism in the west that it attracts New Age folks because they recognize parts of their beliefs in Buddhism. And why wouldn't they? New Age philosophy is a syncretion of various religions (including Buddhism), with a specifically eastern flavour to it that brings Buddhism to the front of its list of sources. They think they recognize what they see and they make themselves at home.

I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with that. After all it might bring a few people to the Dharma.

However, there is danger in allowing the New Age folks to think that what they believe IS Buddhism. It is my opinion that dilution by New Age beliefs is one of the greatest dangers to the preservation of the teachings. The Dharma risks being diluted with extraneous stuff, while essential teachings go neglected because they are too hard. That is why the preservation of intact lineages is important, and why declarations of what is and isn't Buddhism are important. Formulations such as the Three Seals as a means of determining whether a teaching is or isn't Buddhist need to be applied.

The counter-argument that such standards smack of elitism, and that we shouldn't pay so much attention to labels are nothing more than weak, politically-correct rationalizations, and are a characteristic of New Age thought. Someone needs to be telling those folks that, while they are entitled to their beliefs, and while we can have interesting and respectful dialogue with them in a suitable forum (which is not necessarily here), those beliefs that don't meet the traditional standards are not Buddhism.

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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby catmoon » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:22 am

dharmagoat wrote:
catmoon wrote:A more serious point is that well, if one can start with this stuff and end up with such a sterling paragon of slightly goat-whiffy Buddhism as yourself, do you really want to interfere with others who tread the same path you did?

No, I wouldn't. But I did drop it as soon as I discovered the original Buddhist source, and find myself recommending others do the same. I would not like to think that this is interference, but am willing to accept that it may appear that way.


Hm. Maybe "interference" was a bad choice of terms. For instance, it would be interference if I were to kill the discussion... But I do not think that injecting a little solid Dharma into the stream would be interference. Quite the opposite actually.
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby plwk » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:39 am

I agree with what keith raised but ya know catty, if a forum section is titled 'Exploring Buddhism' and u get 3-4 pages of rainbow stuff, wat does dat tell ya? Then might as well change it to 'Exploring Rainbows'... I don't mind at all if such stuff goes into the Lounge...its a free for all thingy there but in sections of the Forum site which are dedicated to proper Buddha Dharma, last thing I wanna see is a degeneration into what for example Freesangha allowed a dubious poster to start talking about his/her fetish for channeling/communicating with spirits in whatever temple/place that h/she goes into and even uses the provided link to Buddhist cosmology to fit into that fetish in the 'Beginner's Buddhism' section...

Is the profound and liberating Buddha Dharma these days been accorded an honorary seat with Madame Zorra and reduced to sound bites on rainbow stuff?

That's why I totally support the sister site at DWT in their 'Discovering Theravada' section where there is enforced moderation on what goes into that section so that due respect and proper content is maintained for a consistent upholding of what 'Discovering Theravada' is all about...

Of cos, this is just me, who am I to disagree with anyone...
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby catmoon » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:47 am

@Keith

I agree more or less. However this little conundrum has popped up. It goes like this:

Everyone agrees that the Dharma is the thing, and that it needs to be advocated or at least defended from time to time. Trouble is, people's ideas of what is and is not Dharma - well- they differ. So if we follow that idea down the road we tend to get highly sectarian moderation. Persecution, even.

In response to this, the current moderator culture at Dharma Wheel has drifted towards the position that moderators are not here to defend the Dharma or to decree what is or is not Dharma. We're here more to keep things civil and more or less organized. Maybe help out with questions here and there if we can do so without offending half the planet.

So what do you see as the moderator's role in a thread like the one we just split from?
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby catmoon » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:55 am

@plwk

I dont think they are exploring rainbows. I think they really are looking at the very early entrance of Buddhist thought into the West and as I have said the entrance was passing strange.

But aside from that, your points are well taken. The forum is supposed to be introductory, and an examination of the arcane roots of Western Buddhism is hardly introductory, and not reflective of basic Dharma as it should be in that forum.

Decision time. I'll move the thread to the lounge.
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:00 am

Role of the Mod? Easy.

Mods just need to keep threads on topic and ensure ToS are not being broken. The team of Mods and Admins can determine broad direction if required by amending ToS. This is best done as problems arise, though, IMHO.

The 'direction' of the forum is hardly being derailed by a thread or two, and we have enough categories to allow for discussion of something other than the majority view. I favour the move to the Lounge.

As with the DC issue, if member really want to give the forum direcion, stop whining and start some threads of your own!

After all, people can't discuss topics which you find interesting if nobody starts the threads.

Threads on the Occult (which actually simply means 'hidden') and on the Dozgchen Community only gain importance relative to the rest of the content. You want different content, create it!

It's not for Mods to create the topics, simply to provide ToS and a ensure the best possible experience for members.
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby KeithBC » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:16 pm

catmoon wrote:@Keith

I agree more or less. However this little conundrum has popped up. It goes like this:

Everyone agrees that the Dharma is the thing, and that it needs to be advocated or at least defended from time to time. Trouble is, people's ideas of what is and is not Dharma - well- they differ. So if we follow that idea down the road we tend to get highly sectarian moderation. Persecution, even.

In response to this, the current moderator culture at Dharma Wheel has drifted towards the position that moderators are not here to defend the Dharma or to decree what is or is not Dharma. We're here more to keep things civil and more or less organized. Maybe help out with questions here and there if we can do so without offending half the planet.

So what do you see as the moderator's role in a thread like the one we just split from?

A site's culture is what the moderators choose to make it. If the culture is that anything goes as long as the dicussions are civil, then you no longer have a Buddhist forum; you have an anything goes forum. FIne if that is what you want, but then the site should probably be renamed to avoid misleading advertising.

I didn't see the thread that this was split from, so I can't comment on that. But I can imagine it. A moderator's role would be first to determine that it was off-topic. If, after cautioning, the discussion remained off-topic, the options would be to close it, delete it, or move it to a designated off-topic area.

I was certainly more comfortable on a forum where the moderators' job was to defend the Dharma and to decree what was or wasn't Dharma. It is not really all that controversial, since the guidelines have been around for centuries. Sure there will be squawks from those who find themselves on the "wrong" side of that definition. I don't have a problem with that if the Terms of Service are clear about it. It is a free Web - they can form their own forum.

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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby Nighthawk » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:42 pm

KeithBC wrote:It is one of the hazards of Buddhism in the west that it attracts New Age folks because they recognize parts of their beliefs in Buddhism. And why wouldn't they? New Age philosophy is a syncretion of various religions (including Buddhism), with a specifically eastern flavour to it that brings Buddhism to the front of its list of sources. They think they recognize what they see and they make themselves at home.

I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with that. After all it might bring a few people to the Dharma.

However, there is danger in allowing the New Age folks to think that what they believe IS Buddhism. It is my opinion that dilution by New Age beliefs is one of the greatest dangers to the preservation of the teachings. The Dharma risks being diluted with extraneous stuff, while essential teachings go neglected because they are too hard. That is why the preservation of intact lineages is important, and why declarations of what is and isn't Buddhism are important. Formulations such as the Three Seals as a means of determining whether a teaching is or isn't Buddhist need to be applied.

The counter-argument that such standards smack of elitism, and that we shouldn't pay so much attention to labels are nothing more than weak, politically-correct rationalizations, and are a characteristic of New Age thought. Someone needs to be telling those folks that, while they are entitled to their beliefs, and while we can have interesting and respectful dialogue with them in a suitable forum (which is not necessarily here), those beliefs that don't meet the traditional standards are not Buddhism.

Om mani padme hum
Keith

Well said. I've noticed this new age mentality is much more prevalent in mahayana/vajrayana circles than theravada ones for example dharmawheel compared to dhammawheel. There doesn't appear to be much dilution of the teachings by members on the latter site.
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:43 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
catmoon wrote:PS do goats really wince? I'd like to see a picture of that.

It seems that you have never seen a goat eating gorse. They wince as they get their mouths around the thorns, but they manage to bite and chew it okay.


As evined by the following video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVnzZndOAsY

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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:55 pm

treehuggingoctopus wrote:As evined by the following video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVnzZndOAsY

New Zealand goats too! Cousins on my mothers side.
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:09 pm

Nighthawk wrote:Well said. I've noticed this new age mentality is much more prevalent in mahayana/vajrayana circles than theravada ones for example dharmawheel compared to dhammawheel. There doesn't appear to be much dilution of the teachings by members on the latter site.


Ever tried talking about Vajrayana on a Theravadan site?

The answer is usually that you are told it was not taught by Buddha and is superstitious nonsense. It has nothing much to do with the Mods and everything to do with people defending their position due to attachment and insecurity.

If someone on this forum is secure in their own practice of what they define as Dharma they would not be trashing the beliefs of others, including their Bonpo friends.

As I say, the remedy is to move the forum in the direction you desire by producing new threads and posts, not by seeking to curtail others. The ToS here are already proscriptive enough with this and that banned from the site.

Maybe we should all decide en masse to ban everything we don't personally define as Dharma or Buddhism. Oh, wait a minute, we can - we simply 'ignore' other members or their threads and start using the forum to promote that which we value and which we believe will be the forum content we desire. Nobody is prevented from brining about the change they desire, are they?
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby Tara » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:59 pm

Apologies to everyone for my recent lack of involvement here at Dharma Wheel, my absence was due to the death of a very good friend, a Bhikshu who died last Saturday unexpectedly.

The team moderate this site using the Terms of Service as a framework. Sometimes topics are started in the wrong forum and this could be misleading. A guide on how to get the most out of your new topics This particular section, The Lounge, is where
Anything goes (almost).


In recent months the direction of this website has been questioned on more than one occasion. At one point there was concern being expressed by some members that Dharma Wheel was feeling more and more like Dzogchen Wheel and now it seems some are beginning to think Dharma Wheel is morphing into New Age Wheel.

Providing members adhere to the Terms of Service, topics are placed in the correct forum or sub forum and the team moderate this board using the Terms of Service as the framework then Dharma Wheel has the potential to flourish as a Buddhist discussion board. The team does an excellent job for example in keeping trolls at bay, banning spammers and dealing with members who contravene the Terms of Service by issuing warnings/suspensions/bans etc. All members are responsible for what they write. If anyone objects to what is written by others there is a procedure to follow i.e. reporting a post Terms of Service-Reporting Procedures or if someone objects to an act of moderation then there is a procedure for that too (see previous link).

As I have not been around for a week I will take it upon myself to check that topics are in the right forum and if I find any which are not I will move them. I will also check as many posts as I can to see if anyone is contravening the Terms of Service and act accordingly.

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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:05 pm

When it comes to the appropriateness of subject matter, I believe that the best form of moderation for a site like this is one that follows the consensus of its members. This means that it is the responsibility of each member to maintain the integrity and Buddhist identity of this forum by pointing out when they believe discussions cease to adequately represent the essence of what the Buddha taught. No action need be taken, as long as it remains clear what is considered by most to be authentic Buddhism and what is not.
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Re: The board and its direction (if any)

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:47 pm

dharmagoat wrote:When it comes to the appropriateness of subject matter, I believe that the best form of moderation for a site like this is one that follows the consensus of its members. This means that it is the responsibility of each member to maintain the integrity and Buddhist identity of this forum by pointing out when they believe discussions cease to adequately represent the essence of what the Buddha taught. No action need be taken, as long as it remains clear what is considered by most to be authentic Buddhism and what is not.


Nobody knows what that consensus is.

If they did, would that make it OK to insist others shared that belief?

What the Buddha taught and what comprises the 'authentic' 'essence' of it also varies according to your chosen school of Buddhism.

Of course, report what seems to breach ToS but reporting someone because they do not share your view is daft.

As I stated, you do not know what the consensus view is, so your argument is baseless in that respect. You have the right to complain, of course, but you are basing it on not knowing what the wider membership thinks, then seeking to claim your view as right and the view of others wrong- again without evidence. (Logically, Mods, you must now rid the forum of Bonpo and Dzogchen as someone may think they are not 'authentic Buddhism' and therefore banned from discussion, or that they are authentic and anyone disagreeing should be banned. )

Right, now we're in the mood, out goes the Dalai Lama - don't recall any record of Shakyamuni naming him as a chosen leader, nor his spirit oracle and the weirdness of Chod, not to mention all these 'terma' thingies, walking in circles and making offering to spirits to create rain - damned shameless shamans the lot of em! LOL :)

If you have a problem with the forum reflecting the popularity of beliefs you do not share, then I repeat - the answer lies in your hands. Create threads and interesting discussions and if they prove popular the nature of the forum shifts in your direction. If the consensus agree, your threads will be certain to be hugely popular.

Simple - job done. ;)

This is a large and active forum and has room for all.
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