Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
binocular
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:40 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:02 pm
Oh no! You mean you weren't being sarcastic and joking?
No.

- - -
rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:16 pm
I think the online medium is great but it would be very demanding. If there is a coaching site with an active forum with a handful of presumed Faith-Followers, Dhamma-followers and Stream-Enterers there would be a demand to create content like Dhamma-talks, articles, attending to Q/A and to moderate the discussions as well as dealing with administrative tasks. That will require more or less of a full-time dedication from some of them.

I just think that one would be hard pressed to find even one Dhamma-Follower who is willing to dedicate himself to such a project for the long term.

It would have been awesome of course but such people simply don't grow on trees. I also think that IRL it is easier to attend to the spiritual needs of a smaller community and retreat to seclusion and even that is not something that all people in training would want to get too involved with i guess.
The problem with the online medium is that the non-verbal aspects of the practice cannot be adequately expressed and assessed.
IRL, there's all the bowing, proper sitting, giving alms, and so on, and these things are anything but trivial, nor are they such that they could be adequately expressed in typed words.

Actually physically bowing or kneeling before someone (as it is done IRL), for example, has a specific effect on the bower's/kneeler's mind that is impossible to replicate in an online environment.
Arguably, these non-verbal, physical/bodily aspects of the practice (esp. the practice of respect and veneration) are crucial for the proper understanding of the teachings.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:49 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:16 pm
I think the online medium is great but it would be very demanding. If there is a coaching site with an active forum with a handful of presumed Faith-Followers, Dhamma-followers and Stream-Enterers there would be a demand to create content like Dhamma-talks, articles, attending to Q/A and to moderate the discussions as well as dealing with administrative tasks. That will require more or less of a full-time dedication from some of them.
With the practice of proper respect and veneration, there is very little demand for Dhamma talks, articles, Q&A sessions, individual consultations etc.

The "Asian model" of prioritizing the practice of respect and veneration minimizes the person's questions about the Dhamma and radically streamlines the rest.

This "Asian model", however, is not particularly suitable for the online environment, at least not for newcomers.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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SDC
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by SDC » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:35 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:28 pm
SDC wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:26 pm
Sounds like you would be better fit for a real life group or an invite-only forum.
That would be an act of defeat, as the name "Theravada" is still being blemished by others.
Buddhism is a blemish on Dhamma, but within that blemish is access. Access to the "right" things.

Buddhism is the attempt by the lineage to preserve the Dhamma, often failing to understand that any attempt to preserve or protect or describe - no matter how accurate - is going to be a layer to wade through in order to gain that access. Buddhism is an attempt to provide a Copy of the Dhamma in some form that fundamentally away from where it applies in the experience, leaving the practitioner with the responsibility of having to put things back into place when they practice. It cannot be any other way, but if we waste our time trying to preserve Buddhism, i.e. to preserve that which is already a mode preservation, we are not focusing on that access to the Dhamma. Do this over and over for a few thousand years and you have nothing but access to the access to the access to the access to the Dhamma.

And this is why the Dhamma disappears. It gets buried in the lineage's attempts to both reveal it and keep it safe. It's just like that Gemino curse in Harry Potter: if you touch it, it will multiply. The only way to counter that multiplying is to remind practitioners that the layers are there to begin with. The most dangerous thing a practitioner won't ever learn is that Buddhism is this collection of layers and that it must be negotiated with tremendous finesse in order for it to deliver anything worth while.

This is why not only will there not ever be a "great" forum, but I seriously doubt there will ever be good dialogue online or IRL. People are obsessed with Buddhism and they are only getting more obsessed with making it better.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:56 pm

SDC wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:35 pm
...
:goodpost: Post of the Week! :anjali:

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Bundokji
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by Bundokji » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:26 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:56 pm
SDC wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:35 pm
...
:goodpost: Post of the Week! :anjali:
+1
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

binocular
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:54 pm

SDC wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:35 pm
Buddhism is a blemish on Dhamma, but within that blemish is access. Access to the "right" things.

Buddhism is the attempt by the lineage to preserve the Dhamma, often failing to understand that any attempt to preserve or protect or describe - no matter how accurate - is going to be a layer to wade through in order to gain that access. Buddhism is an attempt to provide a Copy of the Dhamma in some form that fundamentally away from where it applies in the experience, leaving the practitioner with the responsibility of having to put things back into place when they practice. It cannot be any other way, but if we waste our time trying to preserve Buddhism, i.e. to preserve that which is already a mode preservation, we are not focusing on that access to the Dhamma. Do this over and over for a few thousand years and you have nothing but access to the access to the access to the access to the Dhamma.

And this is why the Dhamma disappears. It gets buried in the lineage's attempts to both reveal it and keep it safe. It's just like that Gemino curse in Harry Potter: if you touch it, it will multiply. The only way to counter that multiplying is to remind practitioners that the layers are there to begin with. The most dangerous thing a practitioner won't ever learn is that Buddhism is this collection of layers and that it must be negotiated with tremendous finesse in order for it to deliver anything worth while.

This is why not only will there not ever be a "great" forum, but I seriously doubt there will ever be good dialogue online or IRL. People are obsessed with Buddhism and they are only getting more obsessed with making it better.
To take this to the extreme, what you say would be like trusting a known liar.
Or, to use another analogy, it's like in Catholicism, where one is given a particular teaching, but has to read between the lines, but also pretend one doesn't have to read between the lines and that one isn't reading between the lines. And then there's a game of keeping up pretenses, pretense upon pretense.
We don't get a finger pointing to the moon; we get a finger pointing to a distant forest, and saying "This tree".

Given the authoritarianism (and the intense contempt) with which this is usually done, it all gets ... silly on a good day, and disheartening on a bad one.

/.../ Buddhism is the attempt by the lineage to preserve the Dhamma, often failing to understand that any attempt to preserve or protect or describe - no matter how accurate - is going to be a layer to wade through in order to gain that access. /.../
Are these ideas your own, or have you heard of them from someone else? If the latter, could you provide some references?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Sam Vara
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:00 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:54 pm
Given the authoritarianism (and the intense contempt) with which this is usually done, it all gets ... silly on a good day, and disheartening on a bad one.
Is it really usually done with "authoritarianism and intense contempt", or is that merely something you may have experienced and are generalising from?

Of course, such things may exist, but I've been practising for a long time now in a wide variety of contexts and not only have I not seen this, I've not heard of it - except from you, that is.

binocular
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:23 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:00 pm
Is it really usually done with "authoritarianism and intense contempt", or is that merely something you may have experienced and are generalising from?

Of course, such things may exist, but I've been practising for a long time now in a wide variety of contexts and not only have I not seen this, I've not heard of it - except from you, that is.
But then again, my skin is only 1 nm thick ...
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

SarathW
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by SarathW » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:26 pm

no matter how accurate - is going to be a layer to wade through in order to gain that access.
This is a very good point.
Any person who criticise Buddhist rituals, stories, Vinaya etc. should understand this protecting layer.
Perhaps this is a natural protection.
You can't find a banana without a peel.
A child who does not know how to eat the banana will eat the peel.
This is the same with any religion.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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SDC
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by SDC » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:30 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:54 pm
/.../ Buddhism is the attempt by the lineage to preserve the Dhamma, often failing to understand that any attempt to preserve or protect or describe - no matter how accurate - is going to be a layer to wade through in order to gain that access. /.../
Are these ideas your own, or have you heard of them from someone else? If the latter, could you provide some references?
Many have touched on this to a degree, but what I have said has been my experience. Almost no one mentions it as a problem because they don't understand that it is the problem. The hierarchical arrangement of the contents of Buddhism is unavoidable, but the difficulty in understanding the scope compounds when people try to find out how to structure it to best understand it, i.e. what is essential? All of it? Part of it? This school? That school? Half the battles we witness are people's attempts to quantify it and organize it, i.e. interpret it properly. Do you disagree?

What do you think the result of that is going to be? Proper mindfulness? No. It just increases the scope for the next person. Almost every attempt just broadens the picture, because even if you present something more streamlined, you cannot erase the past, a past that everyone can access from the different perspectives. You can't stop the next guy from going back to yet another point and attempting to streamline it from another perspective. It never gets simplified as a whole. It could get simplified for the individual, but that has no bearing on the degree to which Dhamma is accessible in Buddhism. Why? Because the individual cannot prove it. The understanding is private and cannot ever be included in Buddhism. Oh he can write about it, and that writing might point at the "right" things, but that writing itself will just be more Buddhism - his understanding can never affect scope, ever. The words are just words, the understanding is elsewhere. Again, history cannot be erased, and that is what buries the Dhamma.

This post is a layer, but since it addresses the compounding nature perhaps it can serve as a negation layer. Like tetris or something.... :rofl:

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Sam Vara
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:31 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:23 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:00 pm
Is it really usually done with "authoritarianism and intense contempt", or is that merely something you may have experienced and are generalising from?

Of course, such things may exist, but I've been practising for a long time now in a wide variety of contexts and not only have I not seen this, I've not heard of it - except from you, that is.
But then again, my skin is only 1 nm thick ...
That's why I often comment about your generalising.

binocular
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:39 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:31 pm
That's why I often comment about your generalising.
Then I should often comment about your lack of sensitivity.

And what I do is not generalizing; generalizing would be to take a small number of examples of something and unduly assume that all members of the category are like that. I don't do that.
I'm noticing things that most people apparently don't notice because they are too insensitive; or they do notice them but have a way to ignore it.


Edit: added "often".
Last edited by binocular on Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by binocular » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:16 pm

SDC wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:30 pm
The hierarchical arrangement of the contents of Buddhism is unavoidable, but the difficulty in understanding the scope compounds when people try to find out how to structure it to best understand it, i.e. what is essential? All of it? Part of it? This school? That school? Half the battles we witness are people's attempts to quantify it and organize it, i.e. interpret it properly. Do you disagree?
I suppose many people do that. Perhaps it's even supposed to be done that way. But personally, I think those are hopeless endeavors that can only be engaged in with a political agenda, and the result is a political agenda. Of course, I cannot exclude that a particular political agenda might equal the Dhamma.
This post is a layer, but since it addresses the compounding nature perhaps it can serve as a negation layer. Like tetris or something....
Like they say -- In its proper application, the analytical mind exhausts itself.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Sam Vara
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:02 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:39 pm

And what I do is not generalizing; generalizing would be to take a small number of examples of something and unduly assume that all members of the category are like that. I don't do that.
What you did was to take your own unfortunate experience and claim that it was "usual". I'm happy to substitute a different word if it does more justice to that process.

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salayatananirodha
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Re: Will we ever find a good Theravada Forum

Post by salayatananirodha » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:45 am

If the internet is bothering you then its probably your lack of practice
I dont deny some shortcomings in modern american buddhism, but the good stands out from the bad in my opinion (at least today)
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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