Thank you to everyone who contributed to our recent poll and discussion on the "News, Current Events & Politics" section. As we all saw, there was no clear consensus on how such topics ought to be addressed and managed here at Dhamma Wheel. Similarly, amongst Dhamma Wheel staff there have been different perspectives raised, and different views put forward on how we could and should proceed. Nonetheless, as a team we have considered and worked through these different perspectives, and have come up with a path forward that we believe represents the best interests of this forum and its members.
Impending closure of Dhamma Wheel's "News, Current Events & Politics" and "Lounge" sections
It is with a degree of sadness and disappointment that we announce that at some time in June (exact date TBD) we will be closing down discussion in the "News, Current Events & Politics" and "Lounge" forums indefinitely, and converting those forums to read-only archives. This will be done so that we, as a forum, and as a moderating team, can improve our focus on Dhamma Wheel as "a Buddhist discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Theravāda".
It had formerly been our intention, since the inception of Dhamma Wheel over nine years ago to "provide a time and place for all discussion of interest to Theravāda Buddhists". Unfortunately in recent times, the inability of certain members to tolerate and abide the presence of political views that differ from their own, means that discussions which had a political bent tended to generate more heat than light, and this inability to engage and communicate in a healthy manner tended to spill over into other areas of the forum. We accept that this political polarization is not specific or unique to Dhamma Wheel in 2018, but we have deemed that the intolerance and disdain that was being expressed towards other members and towards staff was not conducive to an effectively functioning on-line Buddhist community.
Similarly, the "Lounge" will be closed because the discussion that takes place there is tangential to our mission of being "a Buddhist discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Theravāda", and much of it could rightly be described as "idle chatter". We will however be keeping the "Personal Experience" section, so to whatever extent such topics may relate to "your personal experience with the Dhamma. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?", such discussion may be had in that section instead.
So, have we abandoned our intention to "provide a time and place for all discussion of interest to Theravāda Buddhists"? Not quite, because contemporaneous to these changes, we are pleased to announce...
The Upcoming Launch of "Dharma Wheel: Engaged Buddhism"
To complement the highly successful Dhamma Wheel: Theravada and Dharma Wheel: Mahayana & Vajrayana forums, we shall be launching a third Dhamma Wheel forum entitled Dhamma Wheel: Engaged Buddhism at some time in June.
To give you an indication on the scope and breadth of the new forum, here is a preliminary first cut of the proposed forum structure...
- Social Justice Dharma (Applying the Dharma to social justice issues – race, religion, sexuality and identity)
- Environmental Dharma (Applying the Dharma for the preservation of planet Earth and its inhabitants)
- Political Dharma (A place to bring a contemplative perspective to current events, politics and economics)
- Charity and Dana (Charities that are doing great work, and opportunities to serve)
- Get involved! (Petitions, protests and activism)
- Self-care (Using the Buddha’s teachings to preserve and enhance our well-being, as we engage with the world)
- Personal Experience (Sharing our journey and experiences with others. You are not alone)
- Lounge (Taking time out to connect with others)
Dhamma Wheel: Engaged Buddhism will be pan-Buddhist in the sense that it will neither be exclusively Theravadin or Mahayana, and will be focused primarily on bringing together a community of people who are interested in the worldly application of the Dharma for social, global and environmental purposes.
We believe that across the Dhamma Wheel: Theravada (DWT) and Dhamma Wheel: Engaged Buddhism (DWE) platforms, we will be able to simultaneously achieve our objectives of "providing a time and place for all discussion of interest to Theravāda Buddhists", whilst allowing DWT to remain focused on being "a Buddhist discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Theravāda".
With the launch of the new forum, we will be seeking volunteers who wish to manage and shape the new forum, to enable it to successfully support an online community of Engaged Buddhists. If you believe you have the skills, time, temperament, interest and tolerance for such an undertaking, please contact David and myself, outlining how you believe you would be able to contribute towards the growth and development of such a community. If you know of any past or present members of Dhamma Wheel (DWT) or Dharma Wheel (DWM) who you would like to see considered for such a role, do please get in touch with them and direct them towards this announcement, so that they may express an interest in volunteering, if they feel the inclination to do so.
Dhp 256-257 wrote:Not by passing arbitrary judgments does a man become just;
a wise man is he who investigates both right and wrong.
He who does not judge others arbitrarily, but passes judgment impartially according to the truth,
that sagacious man is a guardian of law and is called just.