PorkChop wrote:I've been kicked off of other forums before just for having been associated with Pure Land practice and posting on this forum.
One of the admins even followed up with an email saying "go back to DharmaWheel!" before I ever even typed the words "Pure Land," "Amitabha," or "Mahayana".
I think getting openly dismissed and ridiculed by other "Buddhists" online can make people a little gun shy.
Therefor I think we should do whatever we can to provide a friendly environment and encourage dialog.
You really got kicked off other sites for discussing Pure Land Buddhism? Wow, that's surprising!
I didn't even get to discuss Pure Land Buddhism.
I went to "Buddhism without boundaries" (ironic forum name). They used to have a Mahayana subforum before they locked it.
On one of the threads in the Mahayana subforum a guy asked some questions about Pure Land, said he liked it but he also liked the Pali Suttas.
On that thread, I guess a moderator pretty much told him Pure Land ain't buddhism and just stick with the Pali Suttas, then shortly thereafter they locked down the whole subforum.
After I saw the thread, I figured that the original poster wanted some questions answered and I figured I could help.
I posted a thread on the main forum (think it was called "Teachings of the Buddha"), asking the original poster if he got the answers that he was looking for, because it seemed like he was getting some contradictory responses. My thinking was that the 2 are not *completely* incompatible, and if one wants to stick with a more Theravadan interpretation, they can do Buddhanussati with the "Iti Pi So" chant and read the Pali Suttas all they like (a similar practice with a similar destination), but I never got that far.
As soon as it went up, my thread got deleted, I believe I got banned, and the moderator started harassing me with emails. One of those said that the forum is called "Teachings of the Buddha", that Pure Land is not Buddha's teaching, that I don't know anything about the Pali Suttas, and "go back to Dharma Wheel!". Well, I shot him back a nice little email with Pali Sutta references and never heard back. Interesting fact, that moderator posts on DhammaWheel and I think is considered a "respected member". After catching some of the major currents at DhammaWheel, I don't really have a whole bunch of respect for a lot of those folks, and stopped going.
In the west Pure Land seems to get it from all sides - from the hard core, fundamentalist, western Theravada converts, from Vajrayana guys like Robert Thurman who basically said it was "only for less educated people", and even from a lot of Mahayana people (Nichiren folks, western Zen folks, etc). The mechanism of the practice (buddhanussati - mindfulness of the Buddha) is/was THE recommended form of practice for householders in the earliest forms of Buddhism and has parallels in just about every form of Buddhism since, but is probably the most widely disparaged type of practice in the west. Also, I don't see a lot of Pure Land Buddhists running around attacking other forms of Buddhism, yet when Pure Land comes up around Buddhists who only know the kindergarten version of the story, the insulting & dismissive comments start.
I've seen a lot of online instances like the guy in my example who came on the forum to ask some questions and only got a huge diatribe in return. It's easy to get into a mindset of having to defend yourself whenever you go online. I think it'd be nice to at least make this place a bit of a safe haven where people don't feel they're under attack for openly discussing the dharma door they prefer. I think one of the great things about Pure Land is that there is a great deal of humility involved with people who don't assume they're going to be rocking great siddhis (powers) or that they can do everything all by themselves; creates a more laid back atmosphere.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask on the forum or in private.
A lot of guys like plwk, Sinweiy, and others are very, very knowledgeable and I'll help if I can.