Monastics and the Internet

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Monastics and the Internet

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:37 am

I would like to share a personal experience.

I've heard stories of the past in which people traveled great distances on foot to receive teachings. These days,we have this world wide web. Some monastics have chosen to make themselves accessible via the Internet to teach, answer questions, and discuss dharma.

To have a precious human birth, be born with the means to have money to have a home computer and Internet service, and be able to access a monastic with just a few clicks even the most basic or tedius question, I feel immeasurably fortunate. This is such a great time for information and communication.

I don't know how often people pause to consider the Bhantes and Venerables who make themselves available this way and maybe it's often. It must be somewhat time-consuming. It's a bonus at several we forums, blogs, dharma center sites, etc.

I am glad for this awesome age of information and that I was born into it.

:buddha2:
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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:34 am

Well just solely my personal opinion and conjecture.

The continual saturation by media to ourselves acts in a very similiar manner to the effects of stress or stressful situation upon the human mind. The stressed mind in a stressful situation is very very oversaturated with stimulus usually of the negative kind but not necessarily.

Stress of prolonged period and intensity does, it has been proven, produce actual brain damage.
To my personal take this media/communication saturation(most prelevent in America), produces a situation of stress. This stress produces a actual brain damage over time. The brain damage accounts for things like the American publics inability to make proper choices politically, economically and in other areas. They are brain damaged. More than one anthropologist/historian attests to the fall of the Roman empire being due to lead and its negative effects on cognitive ability of the Romans and connected to their useage of lead in water pipeing of the day.

So by my personal take there is good and bad to things in this current situation. Our lead is media and communication oversaturation. The average American is totally unable to maintain concentration for more than 30 seconds or so, and perform many basic cognative functions. And it is progressing.

So me....I'd take less of this, its very sad to see what is happening to these peoples. Though yes, there is more access to teachers.

The teachers that do participate in this fashion(monks lamas sensi's gurus etc)... on the internet, are wonderful examples of bodhiccita in action by my take. I am very grateful for their participation. They do not produce the negatives I mention only positives.

Just to add a flip side to this coin.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby muni » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:12 am

"We built more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but we have less communication. We have become long on quantity but short on quality." Dalai Lama.

The opportunity of internet is of course great as we meanwhile watch own mind. By that the opportunity to surf in mind and see its' dreamlike creations for what they are.
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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ground » Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:06 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:I would like to share a personal experience.

I've heard stories of the past in which people traveled great distances on foot to receive teachings. These days,we have this world wide web. Some monastics have chosen to make themselves accessible via the Internet to teach, answer questions, and discuss dharma.

To have a precious human birth, be born with the means to have money to have a home computer and Internet service, and be able to access a monastic with just a few clicks even the most basic or tedius question, I feel immeasurably fortunate. This is such a great time for information and communication.

I don't know how often people pause to consider the Bhantes and Venerables who make themselves available this way and maybe it's often. It must be somewhat time-consuming. It's a bonus at several we forums, blogs, dharma center sites, etc.

I am glad for this awesome age of information and that I was born into it.

:buddha2:


I share your view as to a precious birth and the age of information. I also appreciate when monactics participate and provide access to their knowledge in forums or elsewhere in the net.

But there may be titles which appear to be "monastic" to laymen although the holder of the title actually does not lead a monastic life. This I find utterly misleading and I would like to have transparency here.

Furthermore we cannot equal wisdom and titles (see also Kalama sutta). E.g. I have seen title holders (evidently monastics) disparaging and/or ridiculing the views of other buddhist schools and I have seen "title holders" broadcasting views without providing any scriptural reference or other sources thus engaging in the same way laymen usually do (which I find okay) the crucial difference in their case being that they ornament their personal opinions with titles.

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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:58 pm

Well as they say...never say never.

Strangely enough, as I rarely do; I agree with this..."I have seen title holders (evidently monastics) disparaging and/or ridiculing the views of other buddhist schools"

To my personal opinion this is a error of seriousness, it leads to bad thing occuring as effect upon object and effects the person who does so, in a negative fashion as well. It is prohibited in some forms of Buddhism specifically to my knowledge.

Buddhist schools I would add..... with lineage. Some on the internet have established their own personal "schools" and have no lineage and usually no qualifications in academia or scholorship which allow for such a possibility as establisheing their own "school" of Buddhism. I would add that, as to my opinion, such homemade "schools" are fair game by anyone for criticism by monastic or layperson.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ground » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:31 am

ronnewmexico wrote:Buddhist schools I would add..... with lineage. Some on the internet have established their own personal "schools" and have no lineage and usually no qualifications in academia or scholorship which allow for such a possibility as establisheing their own "school" of Buddhism. I would add that, as to my opinion, such homemade "schools" are fair game by anyone for criticism by monastic or layperson.


I cannot fully agree because this is open to interpretation. What is "school"? Sometime this term is applied as synonym of "tradition" and sometimes as synonym of "lineage".
In my understanding "school" necessarily means "lineage" and is different from "tradition" which - and this may be a characteristic specific of the tibetan traditions (Nyingma, Kagyu, Gelug, Sakya) - combines several lineages.
Therefore we have to differentiate between established lineages within established traditions and the combining of lineage teachings done by individuals. The latter is completely legitimate if the resulting system of conventional dharma is consistent and does comply with the basic buddhist principles like 4 NT. E.g. one may very well combine madhyamaka dialectics developed within tibetan buddhist traditions with the Theravadin dharma practice as taught in the pali canon or with practice of zen schools without deviating from the corresponding school (= lineage) of madhyamaka dialectics. Thus one may say that one adheres to the school or lineage of XY although the (outer) dharma practice may be very different from the practice in the tradition of AB which hosts the school or lineage of XY.
The crucial point is whether the whole system complies with buddhism.

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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:14 am

Geeze Louise I can't believe it..

You make reference to schools in this context...."I have seen title holders (evidently monastics) disparaging and/or ridiculing the views of other buddhist schools"

And then when it is responded to in that context reference some other context.....???

What the fork??
I won't respond to most of that nonsense, what I will say is every school of Buddhism has a means to convey transmission of belief/teachings of what that school believes in. This is called generally within Buddhism as the lineage, or lineage of transmission, though other terms are used depending upon school. Peoples cannot generally start their own versions of Buddhist belief wihout having such transmission being present. It's really not a very complex concept. If a school of Buddhism is valid it will have a identifyable lineage which traces back the particular school of Buddhist belief to eventually the Buddha. The Buddha or teacher Buddha in some traditions. If no lineage is available to be seen.....it is not considered valid as Buddhism.

Personal belief and what a person expresses in a personal manner is not in this frame of reference or context. Peoples may believe whatever they want whenever they want to. They may write books on their beliefs which may combine traditions and call it all Buddhism. People may write whatever they want and call what they want Buddhism....and there is nothing wrong with all that. If they however on their own without receiving some sort of transmission from a teacher (called most commonly a lineage holder), start a school of Buddhism with no lineage or transmission...it is not considered a Buddhist school.

Flat plain and simple....that is the way it is.
It is never a testing of a schools or traditions beliefs to see if it complies with a particular interpretation of Buddhism to qualify as a Buddhist school or tradition. This is not Christianity, it doesn't work that way. Personally of course we may make that determination and say.... well this seems like Buddhism and this does not. If a school has lineage/transmission and can trace it back to the Buddha....it is Buddhism. See any new schools of Buddhism around lately? Well if you check any new schools of Buddhism they may have particular interpretation of the Buddhas words but invariably you will find they trace their teaching through some established school. Shambala....a new form....its lineage hails from Kagyu, existing Tibetan monks are actually spiritual directors in some centers. It is new but not. That is the way it is. Bernie Glassman and others, those who participate in these new american forms of Buddhism as teachers/leaders, they are new strange and different, but they, the teachers hold lineage. As new strange or novel or americanized, it all may appear...they are forms of Buddhism. Like it or not. There is no outside authority going around stateing...well this appear Buddhist and this does not. The authority is a transmission, of teaching authority/leadership in a lineage of Buddhism. So it allows for variance yet core principal is retained. That is how it is done. Personally....that is not the context being described.

Now I fully suspect you will bring some other context such a particular semantically oriented interpretation of school tradition, lineage or perhaps entertain some notion of ultimate understanding to "win" a argument.
Feel free to do so but be advised it is a nonsense way to discuss things.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ground » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:04 am

ronnewmexico wrote:Geeze Louise I can't believe it..

You make reference to schools in this context...."I have seen title holders (evidently monastics) disparaging and/or ridiculing the views of other buddhist schools"

And then when it is responded to in that context reference some other context.....???

Do you assume that there has been different meanings referred to by my applying the term "school"? If yes, why? If I try to clarify how the term is defined that is just a try to make the meaning clear for further communication and it is a matter of conventional convenience. What is your problem if any?

ronnewmexico wrote:What the fork??
I won't respond to most of that nonsense,

With that you are showing me that you are not really interested in communication. So be it.

ronnewmexico wrote:what I will say is every school of Buddhism has a means to convey transmission of belief/teachings of what that school believes in. This is called generally within Buddhism as the lineage, or lineage of transmission, though other terms are used depending upon school.

So obviously you are applying the term "school" distinct from lineage. You seem to refer to the institutionalized traditions which may host several lineages (at least the tibetan ones definitely do so). You see ... if not defined and not agreed upon a definition that is convenient of course. You are free to do so.

ronnewmexico wrote:Peoples cannot generally start their own versions of Buddhist belief wihout having such transmission being present.

"Own version" in terms of combining different lineages does not preclude having received transmissions via the lineage.
We are talking about buddhism not instutionalized traditions.

ronnewmexico wrote:If a school of Buddhism is valid it will have a identifyable lineage which traces back the particular school of Buddhist belief to eventually the Buddha.

Actually "school" meaning tradition like e.g. "Nyingma" has several lineages.

ronnewmexico wrote:The Buddha or teacher Buddha in some traditions. If no lineage is available to be seen.....it is not considered valid as Buddhism.

This is not valid since it is not the existence of a lineage that proves buddhism but it is the presence of buddhist core principles in a lineage that makes it a buddhist lineage.

ronnewmexico wrote:Personal belief and what a person expresses in a personal manner is not in this frame of reference or context.

Actually the context I mentioned was personal practice which cannot be equated with "schools" or "traditions" since the understanding of any teaching is individual anyway in all individual minds.

ronnewmexico wrote:If they however on their own without receiving some sort of transmission from a teacher (called most commonly a lineage holder), start a school of Buddhism with no lineage or transmission...it is not considered a Buddhist school.


Flat plain and simple....that is the way it is.

That is right since the Buddha died long ago. However one may start combining different lineages. But since it is a start it cannot be called "tradition" but it may become one in the future.

ronnewmexico wrote:See any new schools of Buddhism around lately?

new "School" in the sense of "lineage" would be a contradiction in terms. but "School" in the sense of "group that may become a tradition", yes there are such "groups".

ronnewmexico wrote:will find they trace their teaching through some established school.

if you mean "lineage" here then we agree.

ronnewmexico wrote:That is the way it is. Bernie Glassman and others, those who participate in these new american forms of Buddhism as teachers/leaders, they are new strange and different, but they, the teachers hold lineage.

See "lineage" ... that is what I say. This allows also a potential combination of different lineages which is valid.

ronnewmexico wrote:Now I fully suspect you will bring some other context such a particular semantically oriented interpretation of school tradition, lineage or perhaps entertain some notion of ultimate understanding to "win" a argument.
Feel free to do so but be advised it is a nonsense way to discuss things.

You appear to be biased.

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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:15 am

This..."...."I have seen title holders (evidently monastics) disparaging and/or ridiculing the views of other buddhist schools"

is not referencing all those other contexts you now mentionL
And quite remarkably..... That's your quote not mine....so now you disagree with your own quote.
Are you reading anything that you are writing? That is what you are adding....things that are requalifying your own post.

It is nonsensical.

YOu have quite managed a point of agreement to disagreement. Quite remarkable.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ground » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:35 am

ronnewmexico wrote:This..."...."I have seen title holders (evidently monastics) disparaging and/or ridiculing the views of other buddhist schools"

is not referencing all those other contexts you now mentionL
And quite remarkably..... That's your quote not mine....so now you disagree with your own quote.
Are you reading anything that you are writing? That is what you are adding....things that are requalifying your own post.

It is nonsensical.

YOu have quite managed a point of agreement to disagreement. Quite remarkable.


Why is the following wording not equivalent?? :?
"I have seen title holders (evidently monastics) disparaging and/or ridiculing the views of other buddhist lineages"

I do not get your point, sorry.
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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:50 am

There is no reason to be sorry. I am quite sorry I bothered to engage in this thread. I am very sorry I did agree with another poster, as it has led to this....a discussion which is based in semantics.
Which is a complete waste of time and time is precious I hate to waste it.

Here it is again....you used schools not lineage in your quote. AS to your quote, in the context of your quote, they are not equilivent.The wording you used was school not lineage.

A person or groups of peoples may attempt to start various religous schools of Buddhism with no transmission of teaching, no dharmic transmission from teacher to teacher, no lineage of transmission, no transmission of teaching capacity or leadership role. That will in a concensus fashion within Buddhism, (all other schools of Buddhism) not be considered of equal status to any other school which is established and does contain such things. There is variance of terms as different schools use differing terminology, but the exactly equal concept is expressed in this fashion.....you give teachings to another, than they may give teachings to another(very very generally).

That school, will not be considered a Buddhist school and thusly will not have any prohibitions put when a monastic or layperson talks about that school. That "school" is not considered to be reflective of dharmic thought and thusly prohibitions which apply to not causeing disruptions in a sanga do not apply(the basis of such prohibitiions applying to disparageing other schools of Buddhism) since the school is not considered Buddhist.

It is probably a good idea to not disparage other schools of religion regardless if they are Buddhist or not, but a Buddhist monk disparageing a "recognized" school of Buddhism is in a greater catagory of error. It leads to confusion amongst Buddhists and thusly may lead to some abandoning their faith. Disparageing a outside religious group or school of religion does not have equal effect. It just ticks people off.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ground » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:34 am

ronnewmexico wrote:There is no reason to be sorry. I am quite sorry I bothered to engage in this thread. I am very sorry I did agree with another poster, as it has led to this....a discussion which is based in semantics.
Which is a complete waste of time and time is precious I hate to waste it.

Here it is again....you used schools not lineage in your quote. AS to your quote, in the context of your quote, they are not equilivent.The wording you used was school not lineage.

But this does not matter because you completely ignore that after I have recognized the ambiguity of the terms "school" and "lineage" I have written
I cannot fully agree because this is open to interpretation. What is "school"? Sometime this term is applied as synonym of "tradition" and sometimes as synonym of "lineage".
In my understanding "school" necessarily means "lineage" and is different from "tradition" which - and this may be a characteristic specific of the tibetan traditions (Nyingma, Kagyu, Gelug, Sakya) - combines several lineages.

in order to find a common definition which you are rejecting which is okay since you are free to do so.
So because I have clarified "In my understanding "school" necessarily means "lineage"' the alternative wording I provided is completely consistent.

ronnewmexico wrote:as it has led to this....a discussion which is based in semantics.
Which is a complete waste of time and time is precious I hate to waste it.

Semantics is the heart of "communication" therefore it is the heart of any conventional teachings. You should not underestimate it.
Also whether you engage in a communication or not is completely your decision.

ronnewmexico wrote:A person or groups of peoples may attempt to start various religous schools of Buddhism with no transmission of teaching, no dharmic transmission from teacher to teacher, no lineage of transmission, no transmission of teaching capacity or leadership role. That will in a concensus fashion within Buddhism, (all other schools of Buddhism) not be considered of equal status to any other school which is established and does contain such things. There is variance of terms as different schools use differing terminology, but the exactly equal concept is expressed in this fashion.....you give teachings to another, than they may give teachings to another(very very generally).

That school, will not be considered a Buddhist school and thusly will not have any prohibitions put when a monastic or layperson talks about that school. That "school" is not considered to be reflective of dharmic thought and thusly prohibitions which apply to not causeing disruptions in a sanga do not apply(the basis of such prohibitiions applying to disparageing other schools of Buddhism) since the school is not considered Buddhist.

It is probably a good idea to not disparage other schools of religion regardless if they are Buddhist or not, but a Buddhist monk disparageing a "recognized" school of Buddhism is in a greater catagory of error. It leads to confusion amongst Buddhists and thusly may lead to some abandoning their faith. Disparageing a outside religious group or school of religion does not have equal effect. It just ticks people off.

I feel that we agree on the significance of lineage but do not so agree on the meaning of "school". That is fine since the meanings of "school" we both prefer in this context are actually the meanings of "school" as this term is applied elsewhere.

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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:05 pm

NO....we have said the same things since I first commented. School was identified by you in your initial post in a certain context, lineage was not mentioned. You responded by putting the context you established into question on a semantical basis.

That is a absurd argument. We cannot state a position and then state the way that we stated a position is no longer valid as we do not like the response and then decide to change its context. The context is already formed with the initial statement.

Sorry debate, discussion, things do not work that way, you are mistaken in error and not speaking correctly. Certain ways of discussing things hold no logical water. Setting up straw men, establishing a position a opponant does not hold and then shooting down that posiiton and claiming victory is one such widely known tactic of debate. It works but only in the most simplistic of settings.

Establishing a context and then when that premesis is challenged, changing the established context to another as a defensive move in debate.....that also does not hold water. It is in essence backtracking and admitting point made. You will loose a debate on that basis.

In this specific a point of agreement was made, and nevertheless a change in context was made. I'd conjecture many reasons may be present to cause that to occur. To appear wise, baggage from a past interaction, having a bad day, a actual considered change in position due to reconsideration...who really knows it is all conjecture,it could be anything.

But it does not change a whit.....once context is established it cannot be arbitrarily diverted/changed to sustain or affirm point as regards the specific issue under consideration.

You established school not lineage; now you want to add lineage and now are stateing, (most probably it's hard to tell as your grammer has significant error at times), you agree, but still hold onto this semantical nonsense.

This..."Semantics is the heart of "communication" therefore it is the heart of any conventional teachings. You should not underestimate it.
Also whether you engage in a communication or not is completely your decision.".....

..... is complete total nonsense. You are defending your endeavor into semantics as that is the crux of your argument stateing a postion we both hold,(which is quite obvious by now), to be a differing position. And this nonsense about whether I engage in communications is quite obvious as well and goes without saying.

Your argument is deconstructed .

Here's a hint....if you want to engage in serious debate, at the very least, choose a position to which a opponant disagrees. It is simply much too difficult, to back end into a debate from a position both agree with, and hold; for other than the most experienced and calculated debator.

Such a debator is starting from a deficit position which very rarely can be overcome. If you seek a debate with a individual, usually there are significant positions of adverse nature, from which to choose. Then things are more equal. A debate such as this....it quickly becomes clear to any but the individual holding the postion(most usually) it is a exercise in futility. To prove such a negative.....that a individual claiming to agree with another actually does not agree....is almost impossible. As they can always restate the initial.

So you loose....you agree we agree. You have done so with your last posts.

See ya later alligator.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby ground » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:24 am

ronnewmexico wrote:We cannot state a position and then state the way that we stated a position is no longer valid ...

...
Establishing a context and then when that premesis is challenged, changing the established context to another ...

Your fallacy is the assumption that a position or a context is established throught applying a certain term without having defined the meaning of it. It may be established in your mind since you are presuming a certain meaning but not necessarily in the mind of the other who applied this term. Actually this touches the basis of conventional communication which is "exchange" and presupposes "the intention to understand the other's intented meaning". Projection is not compatible with this but is an error that happens very often.

The phenomenon evident here is that "tradition", "school" and "lineage", all these terms may be applied interchangeably. Any practitioner may be assigned (or identify her-/himself) with "tradition", "school" and/or "lineage".

A more "wordly" example:
In academic environment e.g. the students of a certain professor who is known for his interpretation of certain phenomena conventionally belong to the "school" of this professor. If they publish scientific papers their interpretations will bear the "imprints" of their professor's view. There may be other "schools" within the same scientific faculty/area. What is called "school" here is equivalent to the term "lineage". From generation to generation the students will transmit the view of their "school" and there certainly will be at least one prevalent opinion leader in every generation. Therefore conventionally "school" and "lineage" are interchangeable and if one wants to apply those term interchangeable or not is simply a matter of linguistic convention.

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Re: Monastics and the Internet

Postby muni » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:58 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:I would like to share a personal experience.

I've heard stories of the past in which people traveled great distances on foot to receive teachings. These days,we have this world wide web. Some monastics have chosen to make themselves accessible via the Internet to teach, answer questions, and discuss dharma.

To have a precious human birth, be born with the means to have money to have a home computer and Internet service, and be able to access a monastic with just a few clicks even the most basic or tedius question, I feel immeasurably fortunate. This is such a great time for information and communication.

I don't know how often people pause to consider the Bhantes and Venerables who make themselves available this way and maybe it's often. It must be somewhat time-consuming. It's a bonus at several we forums, blogs, dharma center sites, etc.

I am glad for this awesome age of information and that I was born into it.

:buddha2:


Yes, to see what jewels are offered in the colorful wood of appearances is great. Monastics can show how to practice. Lay people of course as well in honest practice in interaction.
Monks and nuns can be an inspiring and teaching example on internet. Very grateful and respectful for monastics and all sharing ones for the welfare of our human fellows.
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