I joined up a couple of months ago, but haven't posted anything here yet. Those from E-Sangha days will probably know me, so hopefully this won't sound too over the top for a new member on their first post. But I think that the Management here knows me well enough to bear me out on this post.
I am basically wondering about the ideas and general concept behind the layout and structure of the Forum. The name is "DharmaWheel | A Mahayana forum", "A Buddhist discussion forum on the Dharma of the Mahayana and the Vajrayana". Sounds good so far.
I see three staff members, two Admin and Mod. But as far as I know, only one of them is a Mahayana practitioner. So, that makes me wonder about a few things, but mainly just a general idea of what Mahayana Buddhist is. Whatever the case, good to see that this may indicate some cross-over amongst traditions. E-Sangha was very useful for that. However, at present, a lot of these online Buddhist Forums are single tradition. I think that a lot of context is lost. (Leave this little for another day!)
At present, the structure is this, four main Forums, with sub-forums in each:
Includes Terms of Service (please read first).
Introduce yourself to others at Dharma Wheel.
How can we improve this forum to better serve our members?
THE WAY OF THE BODHISATTVA
General forum on Mahayana
General forum on Vajrayana
Discuss and learn about the traditional scriptures
Alleviating worldly suffering along the way
Prayers and Aspirations
Requesting and offering prayers and aspirations for those in need
Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions
Post sayings or stories you find interesting or useful
Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?
The Welcome section seems straightforward, standard stuff for these forums.
Is there any reasoning behind the layout for the remaining stuff? I don't know how an "anything goes" "Lounge" is in "General Dharma". And I also can't see how Mahayana and Vajrayana in general can be separated from a Meditation Forum, and if Prayers and Aspirations includes Bodhicitta, which it should, how can that be separate again from the Mahayana or Vajrayana sections? There is a sutra section, but no Sastra forum?
How do the specific Chinese, Korean and Japanese schools (which are all related) fit in? (After all, they can be quite different at times, and may differ from, say, Indian or Tibetan Mahayana, and of course, each other.)
How do the four (or five, or six) main Tibetan traditions fit in? (After all, they aren't entirely Vajrayana, as the exoteric elements in them are often very strong, too.)
Okay, I'll leave it at that for now. I'd like to have it in this thread, but if David, Paul and / or Laura want to take this up elsewhere, you know where to find me, and how to contact me.