"Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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binocular
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"Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by binocular » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:41 am

This is from another thread:
mikenz66 wrote:So you've concluded from some of your experience online that RL Buddhist would not be worth interacting with. That seems an unfortunate conclusion.
/.../
Do you find the the Non-RL on-line Buddhists to be less annoying than the RL ones?
Those Buddhists who don't have much access to RL Buddhist groups generally seem nicer, while those who have both RL and online access tend to be less so. The latter sometimes have the attitude that "online Buddhism doesn't really count" and behave as if karma doesn't operate online (so they can be mean online while IRL they have to be more careful?).

And, to be clear, I'm not saying this is a bad thing, not yet. Maybe there is a method, a purpose to the contempt that those Buddhists who have access to Buddhist groups both online as well as IRL sometimes show for those who don't have so many options IRL. Perhaps those who don't have relatively convenient access to Buddhist groups and teachers IRL should distance themselves from Buddhism altogether, as they are clearly not fit for it, don't have the necessary karma for it.

- - -
Should people who don't have relatively convenient access to Buddhist groups and teachers IRL distance themselves from Buddhism altogether?

Exactly
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by Exactly » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:27 am

This reminds me of that simile about 2 brothers who decided to get enlightened. One of them found a woman living with her mother with no man in the house an decided to marry the woman and help them out and try to get enlightened on his own. The other wandered around the world searching for a teacher. After years of wandering, he payed a visit to his brother and realized he became the most advanced of all the teachers he had visited in those years of wandering. And he decided that his brother will be his teacher.

From my understanding, advancement on the buddhist path depends more on you than on visiting monasteries or teachers. Those who have access to them will try to inflate their importance so they feel more advanced than those who don't have access. But in the end, it all depends on yourself rather than on others. Any one of us can read the Pali Canon by himself and practice accordingly. It's best to become your own teacher rather than rely on others.

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No_Mind
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by No_Mind » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:45 am

binocular wrote: Those Buddhists who don't have much access to RL Buddhist groups generally seem nicer, while those who have both RL and online access tend to be less so. The latter sometimes have the attitude that "online Buddhism doesn't really count" and behave as if karma doesn't operate online (so they can be mean online while IRL they have to be more careful?).

And, to be clear, I'm not saying this is a bad thing, not yet. Maybe there is a method, a purpose to the contempt that those Buddhists who have access to Buddhist groups both online as well as IRL sometimes show for those who don't have so many options IRL. Perhaps those who don't have relatively convenient access to Buddhist groups and teachers IRL should distance themselves from Buddhism altogether, as they are clearly not fit for it, don't have the necessary karma for it.

- - -
Should people who don't have relatively convenient access to Buddhist groups and teachers IRL distance themselves from Buddhism altogether?
On the whole not correct, there are many nice RL Buddhists online but ..

What I have found is those with lot of access to RL Buddhism (lot of stress on the lot of access) are sometimes incapable of independent thought and more spoon fed while those who have learned Buddhism by themselves have learned to interpret it better. RL Buddhists on the whole tend to believe that the Buddhist Nikayas are pristine and monolithic, absolutely as Buddha had said it .. as if what was said in 400 BCE was inscribed in titanium plates, put into a time capsule and dug up in 1980.

But Buddhism began to split from 400 BCE, 84 years after death of Buddha. Here is a short account of the splits within the original sangha before Mahayana --
Serious quarrels arose amongst his disciples or rather amongst the successive generations of the disciples of his disciples about his doctrines and other monastic rules which he had enjoined upon his followers. Thus we find that when the council of Vesāli decided against the Vrjin monks, called also the Vajjiputtakas, they in their turn held another great meeting (Mahāsaṅgha) and came to their own decisions about certain monastic rules and thus came to be called as the Mahāsaṅghikas. According to Vasu-mitra as translated by Vassilief, the Mahāsaṅghikas seceded in 400 B.C. and during the next one hundred years they gave rise first to the three schools Ekavyavahārikas, Lokottaravādins, and Kukkulikas and after that the Bahuśrutīyas. In the course of the next one hundred years, other schools rose out of it namely the Prajñaptivādins, Caittikas, Aparaśailas and Uttaraśailas.

The Theravāda or the Sthaviravāda school which had convened the council of Vesāli developed during the second and first century B.C. into a number of schools, viz. the Haimavatas, Dharmaguptikas, Mahīśāsakas, Kāśyapīyas, Saṅkrāntikas (more well known as Sautrāntikas)and the Vātsiputtrīyas which latter was again split up into the Dharmottarīyas, Bhadrayānīyas, Sammitīyas and Chan-nāgarikas. The main branch of the Theravāda school was from the second century downwards known as the Hetuvādins or Sarvāstivādins. The Mahābodhivamsa identifies the Theravāda school with the Vibhajjavādins. The commentator of the Kathāvatthu who probably lived according to Mrs Rhys Davids sometime in the fifth century A.D. mentions a few other schools of Buddhists. But of all these Buddhist schools we know very little. Vasumitra (100 A.D.) gives us some very meagre accounts of certain schools, of the Mahāsaṅghikas, Lokottaravādins, Ekavya-vahārikas, Kukkulikas, Prajñaptivādins and Sarvāstivādins, but these accounts deal more with subsidiary matters of little philosophical importance.

A History of Indian Philosophy Vol I, Surendranath Dasgupta
Also see the diagram Twenty Sects of Hinayana

Any person in their right mind would doubt if the suttas at all survived these schisms intact or if some were lost or suppressed.

Online Buddhists have greater power to fill in the blanks, greater capability of critical thought while RL Buddhists because they attend a particular monastery or Ajahn's teachings will hold on to obvious flaws.

RL Buddhists probably feel slightly threatened by the rebellious nature of online Buddhists (because online Buddhists figure out a whole lot more .. be it right or wrong) and thus seem less nice to the latter.

What adds fuel to the fire is ehipassiko -- the Buddha encouraging his disciples to "come and see" his teachings for themselves -- which gives license to the thought that my interpretation is as valid as your interpretation no matter if I am studying it for two years and you are a famous Ajahn's disciple for ten.

But this is by no means restricted to Buddhists .. Any autodidact is chided and censured. The very fact that you have taught yourself 1,000 pages of a subject by your own effort without help of an Ajahn or without any guidance is its own reward. Why compare yourself with RL Buddhists?

Note -- Venerables who write in Dhammawheel are not included in my description of RL Buddhists. Elsewhere I have commented that Western Bhantes living in Thailand who contribute to DW display an exceptionally strong grasp of Dhamma .. probably because they learned from scriptures as well as from Asian teachers and did not study it in a vaccum, devoid of the cultural context that Western RL Buddhists do.

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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chownah
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by chownah » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:52 am

What does "RL Buddhist" mean?
chownah

Exactly
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by Exactly » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:58 am

I agree with what you say about RL and free-thinking buddhist No_Mind. But regarding the suttas, I don't think there are too much corruptions regarding the fundamental doctrine. You're quote there is about vinaya pittaka not about sutta pitaka. In fact, even the commentaries were able to preserve the fundamental buddhist doctrine without too much corruptions. The parts where they differ most from the suttas are in regards to practice and what counts as "meditation".

And I don't think it's accurate at all to say RL buddhist put high value on suttas. Except the "australian camp" of Ajhan Sujato monastery, there are not much others that put high value on suttas.

PS: I would be interested to hear about alleged corruptions of the suttas. Do you claim they extend to sutta pittaka or just vinaya pitaka ? From what I know, there are some corruptions to sutta pitaka but they are small and not dealing with the fundamental doctrine.

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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by cappuccino » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:07 pm

tend to believe that the Buddhist Nikayas are pristine and monolithic
Such is faith.
(See the five spiritual faculties.)
Last edited by cappuccino on Sun Oct 30, 2016 3:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Assaji
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by Assaji » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:21 pm

Hi Chownah,
chownah wrote:What does "RL Buddhist" mean?
"Real Life"
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/IRL

binocular
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by binocular » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:22 pm

chownah wrote:What does "RL Buddhist" mean?
RL -- 'real life', in internet speak the life that is not on the internet/online
(IRL -- 'in real life')

A "RL Buddhist" is a Buddhist who goes to Buddhist establishments in person, to a physical location, where there are other people, all physically present in said location.
Although recently, the distinctions virtual/real and online/real life are sometimes being quesitoned, because the line between them is not so clear anymore.
M-W isn't freely available in whole, so from the Cambridge dictionary:
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/irl

IRL
adverb /ˌaɪ.ɑːrˈel/ /ˌaɪ.ɑːrˈel/

abbreviation for in real life (used in email, on social media, etc.):
I've loved meeting you online, but do you think we'll ever meet IRL?

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Aloka
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by Aloka » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:48 pm

Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

How can anyone possibly answer such a question about thousands of Buddhists both online and offline?....and what is the definition of a "real" Buddhist anyway ?

.

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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:03 pm

binocular wrote: - -
Should people who don't have relatively convenient access to Buddhist groups and teachers IRL distance themselves from Buddhism altogether?
From experience I think it is generally useful to have face-to-face contact with other Buddhists, at least occasionally. If that's impossible then online contact with other Buddhists is worthwhile.

I'm not really clear what question you're asking though.
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robertk
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by robertk » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:16 pm

Do RL buddhists have lobha, tanha and dosa? Do internet Buddhists?

If there is some understanding from studying a buddhist text or a forum post are those moments any different from understanding from hearing a Buddhist teacher in RL?

if there is some misunderstanding from studying a buddhist text or a forum post are those moments any different from misunderstanding from hearing a Buddhist teacher in RL?

Do people in RL/internet world have wrong view - and consequently send people who listen to them in the wrong direction?

Do people in RL/internet world have right view - and consequently send people who listen to them in the right direction?

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cjmacie
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by cjmacie » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:29 pm

Yes or no?

To any position on the issue -- "I couldn't possibly fail to disagree with you less!"

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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by ToVincent » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:37 pm

Aloka wrote: what is the definition of a "real" Buddhist anyway ?
Maybe someone that relies on the similarities between all schools, and that weeds out anything that is not common to them.
Doing this, not only does he not impair the fundaments of each schools; but he also places himself as a non-schismatic Buddhist.

Also he relies on the (common) texts to learn and teach the Dhamma.

Let me take an example.
In one of your late post,
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 94#p401394
ajahn Jayasaro, who I suppose is a Theravada monk, speaks about sampajāno (alertness, clear comprehension, clear awareness) in a strange way.
Indeed, the following is the definition of sampajāno in the Theravada texts:
Feelings are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Thoughts are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Perceptions are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu exercises clear comprehension. This is how a monk is alert. (SN 47.35 – no parallel).

As you notice here, there is no parallel to this pericope.

So we seem to be confronted here, with some clear dilution in the Teaching.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
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In this world with its ..., māras, ... - In this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
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_anicca_
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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by _anicca_ » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:47 pm

Aloka wrote:
Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

How can anyone possibly answer such a question about thousands of Buddhists both online and offline?....and what is the definition of a "real" Buddhist anyway ?

.
As Aloka said, it would be impossible to answer this question without overgeneralizing...

From my experience, interacting with Buddhists in real life is much different than interacting with online Buddhists.

Of course, online vs. real life interaction is much different no matter what the context is...
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia

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Re: "Online Buddhists aren't real Buddhists" - Yes or No?

Post by Exactly » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:57 pm

Maybe someone that relies on the similarities between all schools, and that weeds out anything that is not common to them.
Doing this, not only does he not impair the fundaments of each schools; but he also places himself as a non-schismatic Buddhist.

Also he relies on the (common) texts to learn and teach the Dhamma.
Imagine if Buddha applied this method... He would have picked what is common between hinduism, jainism etc and chose that to be right view.
In my opinion, contradicting opinions can not be correct at the same time. One has to use his own discernment to find out witch opinions are right and witch opinions are wrong. Only by relying on discernment can we find the truth, not on finding common elements between diferent sects or different religions. If one does not have strong discernment, then he should rely on a teacher that looks reliable and try to develop discernment for another lifetime:
"There is the case where a woman or man when visiting a brahman or contemplative, does not ask: 'What is skillful, venerable sir? What is unskillful? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? What, having been done by me, will be for my long-term harm & suffering? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?' Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in the plane of deprivation... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she will be stupid wherever reborn. This is the way leading to stupidity: when visiting a brahman or contemplative, not to ask: 'What is skillful?... Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?'

"But then there is the case where a woman or man when visiting a brahman or contemplative, asks: 'What is skillful, venerable sir? What is unskillful? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? What, having been done by me, will be for my long-term harm & suffering? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?' Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in a good destination... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she is discerning wherever reborn. This is the way leading to discernment: when visiting a brahman or contemplative, to ask: 'What is skillful?... Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?'

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