JohnK wrote: ↑
Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:05 pm
Okay, so at this point, Buddhist communication is just an instance of the processes and difficulties of any language community (especially when one is not born into it -- I'm imagining someone emigrating to a country where they do not speak the language).
... which has important implications for the individual who hasn't mastered the language.
Okay, so this a further statement of the difficulties of not being born into a language community -- Buddhist or otherwise. All I might say at this point is that there may not be a single, shared, non-problematic language community of "actual Buddhists" as there are many different sub-groups (and sub-groups w/in sub-groups) -- that is, even actual Buddhists probably have some of the same difficulties you are pointing out. And most language communities don't have "acculturation programs" so all this happens haphazardly and implicitly.
Indeed. And the people who are members seem to have little understanding of this.
This also sounds typical of such situations where offense may be taken by native speakers or by the learners due to the learner not fully understanding the new language and the subtleties of its use. One might expect Buddhists to be better than average at attempting to understand the situation and not "disrespect" the learner and not take offense at the learner's attempts to understand and even be helpful -- maybe this is part of what you are getting at here?
Indeed -- with all that Buddhist emphasis on introspection, knowing your mind, being precise, practicing discernment, and such, I think that expectation is justified.
It's like the Buddhists and I are living in totally different worlds. It makes me doubt whether I have understood any of the terms correctly.
I don't know if there is something especially problematic about Buddhism in this regard or if it just a matter of the learning curve and seeking clarification. It does seem to me that participating in an online forum is not the best way to get acculturated into a language community -- especially when so few are actually "native speakers" (and there is a lot of disagreement about what terms mean and how to behave).
I think a forum like this is actually a fool's paradise, in which one can develop all kinds of delusions about what is possible. The real world is much more limited, offers far fewer options for communication, the selection and discrimination are far more intense, and things cost a lot more time and money.
Again, all communities have "unspoken rules of communication,"and I suspect trying to make them "spoken" makes native speakers a bit uneasy (one reason being that they don't necessarily experience themselves as following any rules -- they are just taken for granted) -- attempting to unpack the unconscious of a person or community w/o being asked to can be perceived to be offensive (is there an expectation that Buddhists should be more open to that?).
I certainly have that expectation -- which I think is based on a delusion I've developed based on reading Buddhists texts and communicating on Buddhist forums, while having only little interaction with Buddhists in person.
Ah, I think the most potentially "specific to Buddhism" point you make is that you think the unspoken rules go against the teachings. This might be worth being more specific about. Again though, I might be careful about taking the behavior of individuals on an online forum to represent some larger "Buddhist communication rules." It seems like the teachings on "right speech" are the place to start -- recognizing that "right speech" ain't easy and that individuals on a forum have different ways of dealing with that, have their own interpretations of what it looks like in action, and are at different stages of their training.
Actually, I've noticed that the way many Buddhists speak at Buddhist forums is consistent with the way that many Buddhist teachers speak in their Dhamma books and talks. So my concern isn't focused on the quality of communication at forums per se at all.