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Thread: (NOT QUITE) PEACE IN E-SANGHA: Need your advice

  1. #1

    (NOT QUITE) PEACE IN E-SANGHA: Need your advice

    Dear All,

    I need the advice & wisdom of everyone at Treeleaf regarding the best course to take.

    Just prior to my re-joining E-Sangha, I received a list of rules and warnings that I am expected to abide by at all times if I am allowed to rejoin their forums. A few of these are extremely restrictive and, I believe (and many other Zen Buddhist teachers I have spoken to today in the Western Zen world firmly believe), are intolerant and discriminatory. Some are based on false information and narrow (biased) historical interpretations. It is sad. It is silly!

    For example, based on an ancient historical interpretation, I would be forced to admit that certain Tibetan, Chinese and Vietnamese lineages are superior, and more historically "true", than any lineage of any priest of any school of Buddhism in Japan, including Zen Buddhism of course. This is based on a old historical interpretation that the only lineages authorized to "officially" ordain died out or were never present in other countries. To give you some context, it is much like Catholic believers asserting the superiority or greater legitimacy of catholic clergy over Anglicans or other Protestants based on historical events during the 16th century Reformation.

    Oh, so silly! It is basically a step short of a claim of national and racial superiority for Tibetans and Chinese.

    For a second example, I would be forbidden from challenging, in anything I write for their Forum, the "official" interpretation at E-Sangha, and the infallibility of the content of, certain early Sutta's that they have selected. This is not only limited to the question of "post mortem rebirth", but that is one among the central issues. Again, this is just like my being forbidden as a Protestant to challenge the Catholic interpritation of the Book of Daniel.

    And you may have thought that Buddhists were beyond arguing over the Trinity and the Virgin Birth?

    Oh, if they only realized that this wide and grand universe is big enough to hold everybody!

    I do not believe that it would be right for me to rejoin. I do not believe that I can, in all good conscience, agree to these things (it is not that I deny other people the right to believe in them, but they would deny me the right to not believe in them in the way they do). I also think it likely that I will end up saying something, at some point, that they will object to and they will soon kick me out again.

    So, I have decided not to rejoin. I am sad.

    However, I also believe that certain forms of social intolerance and discrimination can be met with peaceful, non-violent, passive resistance and protest. Therefore, I am doing more than just letting this matter drop (they are entitled to what they believe, but they are very powerful as a source of information in the Buddhist world). I am considering (with some others) initiating a peaceful campaign regarding E-Sangha, uniting several Buddhist schools, under the slogan "Religious Intolerance is Un-Buddhist - PLEASE BOYCOTT E-SANGHA, An Intolerant Buddhist Community".

    The campaign would be publicized and organized and talked about across Buddhist Schools, and would include placing banners on homepages, blogs and such that read as above.

    I do not believe in violence, I do think we are all entitled to our own beliefs however much others may find them strange, I do not like religious tensions ....

    However, I think that this is the right thing to do. I believe that it is fully in keeping with the Precepts, especially with regard to "Right Speech" (maybe the slogan needs to be toned down a bit?).

    But, it has effects on all of us, and effects beyond us ... what do you guys think??

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2
    Hi Jundo

    I've never been involved in E-Sanga but I can see your predicament.

    Personally I think I would just ignore them and get on with what is important to me.

    To start any sort of a 'so and so is un-buddhist' campaign would seem un-buddhist in itself to me. I know you may feel that in your position you can not stand by and let this sort of thing happen, but where would it stop? I'm sure there are more groups/organisations out there that the Buddha police could chase up too?

    One reason I came to Soto Zen Buddhism was that it doesn't seem to evangelical in it's approach and people just get on with sitting.

    You've told them and others what you think, may be it's up to people themselves to now make their own choices, to activily 'dis' them may come across as you thinking you're infallible.

    People on E-sanga are just as responsible for their own training as everyone else is. That's koan of living isn't it?

    My two penneth worth anyway.

    In gassho, Kev

  3. #3
    "Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest woman whom you have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to her. Will she gain anything by it? Will it restore her to a control over her own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and yourself melting away." -- Mahatma Gandhi

    Leave the e-sangha to the e-sangha. With the treeleaf create light and not heat. I believe the seekers who come here are seeking light. E-sangha will continue to create its own problems.

  4. #4
    Jundo,

    I am inclined to support this endeavor. However, I would like to see the actual stipulations to your return. Not as a matter of distrust mind you, but rather because I would prefer to see the evidence with my own eyes.

    Is this an issue that is solely related to e-sangha, or is it a common line of thinking in schools that e-sangha's interpretation are tied to?

  5. #5
    Hi Rev,

    I will put the offending sections below ... the rest are not controversial.

    I am still leaning toward taking this step. Perhaps "Please Boycott" "Kindly Boycott" "Avoid" or "Beware" of E-Sangha??

    I feel that religious intolerance and discrimination, in such a powerful and influential forum, must not be allowed to go unchecked. This "looking the other way" would have effect on the poor old lady. THAT WAS A QUOTE BY GANDHI, for gosh sakes. Not exactly a "take no action" guy, was he?

    Scholars I have contacted today in the Zen community, of course, do not concur in many of the following historical interpretations ...

    Gassho, Jundo


    FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR OF E-SANGHA:

    Fifth: E-Sangha is not democratic, never has been, and never will be,
    no more so than any private corporation operating in the United
    States is a democracy or is run as a democracy. Neither is E-Sangha a
    business, though the owner of the site does accept donations in
    Singapore to pay for the server. Nor is E-Sangha a non-profit or any
    other kind of corporation at all. It is a strictly volunteer, at-your-
    own risk venture.

    Sixth: Regarding the question of your ordination and ordinations in
    general: the position of E-Sangha is that ordinations such as yours
    are lay ordinations, and that you are a member of the Buddhist lay
    clergy. This means, that as far as we are concerned, you are not a
    monk of any kind.

    The point of view of E-Sangha is that the only monks and nuns
    existing in Buddhism today are those men and women who have been
    ordained into one of three three surviving Vinaya lineages i.e.
    Theravada, Mula-sarvastivada [Tibetan] or Dharmaguptaka [China,
    Vietnam and Korea]. The Tendai and Shingon priests who are presently
    members of E-Sangha cede that this is so, they agree with this
    assessment, and in fact they helped us formulate it.

    ...

    Eighth: In terms of doctrine: the base level of Buddhist teachings we
    assert as properly Buddhist, canonical and acceptable are those found
    in the Pali Canon and the Sanskrit Agamas. This is why such things as
    dependent origination, rebirth [punarbhava] and so on are non-
    negotiable items at E-Sangha.

    E-Sangha is _Buddhist_ before it is Tibetan Buddhist, Chinese
    Buddhist, Japanese Buddhist, Theravadin, Zen or anything else. Given
    that this is the case, the basic criteria by which we, the moderating
    staff, judge any Buddhists' statements on E-Sangha is whether it
    accords (or not) with the basic teachings in the Nikayas/Agamas. The
    heuristic we then apply depends upon sect and what the founders of
    those sects state.

    I have never found a single founder of any sect who denies literal
    rebirth categorically, and in fact, found that they all uphold it as
    a basic tenet, including Dogen.

    Any objection that Soto does not agree with rebirth in a literal
    sense will be met with citations where Dogen without questions
    affirms the Agamic position on rebirth i.e. that without rebirth, one
    could not have the four fruits of shravakas, i.e. stream entrants,
    once-returners, never-returners and arhats. The first three are
    defined precisely by the Buddha in the Agamas/Nikayas in terms of the
    number of actual rebirths they experience as well as places where
    they experience rebirth in the desire realm and form realm before
    they become Arhats i.e. seven lifetimes, one lifetime, rebirth in the
    form realm etc, and then there are various categories within these.

    My point is that Dogen explicitly affirms these and condemns those
    who reject rebirth as those who also reject the four types of
    Shravaka realizers. You may read this in Englightenment Unfolds
    around page 263, towards the end. Whatever Modern Soto Buddhist may
    claim, it is very clear what Dogen's position is.

    Of course I am also aware that in Mahayana Buddhism there are two
    truths, relative and ultimate; two types of teaching, definitive and
    provisional and so on, and I am extremely familiar with all the
    discussions around these issues.

    It is not my intent to go into these issues with you in this email, I
    am merely providing these for the sake of clarity and so you know
    where I am coming from.

    Ninth: the E-Sangha middle way is to reject the existence of any
    permanent identity [the extreme of permanence] and to reject the
    assertion that there is no rebirth [the extreme of annihilation].
    This is the middle way to which we expect all members on E-Sangha
    will adhere. I hope you will find it possible to tread this middle
    way as well.

    Best wishes,

    Malcolm Smith


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    Is this an issue that is solely related to e-sangha, or is it a common line of thinking in schools that e-sangha's interpretation are tied to?
    Yes, it is part of a wider "holier than thou" thing in the Buddhist world. Some Chinese, Tibetans etc. tend not to think of any Japanese lineage (Shingon, Tendai, Jodo, Nishiren, Rinzai or Soto Zen Buddhist) as Kosher.

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #7
    Ok forgive my French but that sounds like total bullshit to me.

    Since my last post I've been thinking that perhaps singling out e-sangha as an organization maybe going a bit far. As the others have mentioned it could be taken as just an attempt to bad mouth e-sangha and the vinyana traditions. But in essence, they disregard anything but the vinyana traditions as having any merit. To censor anyone who disagrees with this view is a terrible thing. Particularly with the status as a large resource for Buddhist thought.

    Perhaps something along the lines of "Be Lamps Unto Yourselves: Encourage Free-thought in Buddhism!" as a broad stroke with the behavior of the e-sangha administration as an example (since it's not the entire community being indicted here).

  8. #8
    Jundo wrote:
    Yes, it is part of a wider "holier than thou" thing in the Buddhist world. The Chinese, Tibetans tend not to think of any Japanese lineage (Shingon, Tendai, Jodo, Nishiren, Rinzai or Soto Zen Buddhist) as Kosher.

    Gassho, Jundo
    I vote to drop it as well unless a much more positive way of countering their ignorance can be envisioned. I find a most all of the e-sangha terms objectionable, but I see very little chance of resolution or peace coming from a campaign against such beliefs. Jundo's statement above leads me to believe that this is an issue that will survive any website because it is about fear, ignorance, even racism, and self-elevation by discounting others' views (which by the way are mostly metaphysical questions that are unanswerable by the living). I see nothing but divisive speech and anger coming from any conflict with e-sangha.
    Like Jim, I would prefer us to lead the way positively, though I understand Jundo's reluctance to leave such baloney unchallenged. Ideally, e-sangha would remove any discussions that fall outside of lineages they approve of/respect. That is a pipe-dream I'm sure.

    Sorry, no solutions from me.

    Bill

  9. #9
    On the Internet many things can appear legitimate that are illegitimate, and these things can appear legitimate for long periods of time. E-sangha questions (even attacks) your legitimacy because you are a threat, but I see nothing to provide proof of their own legitimacy. Who are they to write such things to you about Soto Zen? The boycott or campaign will make them appear legitimate to some and they do not deserve the recognition or exposure the campaign would provide. Nameless Tendai and Shingon priest name dropping, bah!

    Therefore, I'm still sticking with my first post and instinct however wrong I might be. E-Sangha is not some powerful foreign government, and we've done far less as a Sangha in response to other causes that impact more people in more significant ways.

  10. #10
    Perhaps something along the lines of "Be Lamps Unto Yourselves: Encourage Free-thought in Buddhism!" as a broad stroke with the behavior of the e-sangha administration as an example (since it's not the entire community being indicted here).
    Yes, this is closer to what I had in mind . . . you're on the right track Rev.

    Bill

  11. #11
    Jim has a great point.

    Therefore, I'm still sticking with my first post and instinct however wrong I might be. E-Sangha is not some powerful foreign government, and we've done far less as a Sangha in response to other causes that impact more people in more significant ways.
    We are not getting worked up over the millions of other issues that are world-changers but we are spending a lot of time worrying about a group of folks who have offended us. We can't fix everything, but we CAN ignore the people who run e-sangha.

    Bill

  12. #12
    Hi Guys,

    Well, this organization is already one of tremendous influence, with a larger readership than magazines such as Buddhadharma and Tricycle. I cannot easily turn away from religious intolerance in my own back yard. Passive resistance, and a campaign with a positive theme of "Tolerance" should not be easily rejected. Is not to ignore the problem, and to take no action, the same as countenancing the problem? All I wish to do is get the information out, and this seems like the best way.

    You know, I cannot easily solve the problem of Darfur or wars on foreign shores, but I can do something here. That does not mean that we are not equally concerned with intolerance wherever and however it appears (I think a Darfur ribbon should be put on the blog, by the way, and I will do so ... unless someone disagrees?).

    My heart is telling me that this is the right thing to do. Okay, it is not the March in Thelma Alabama, or Burmese monks refusing to accept alms, or Gahndi taking on the British. It is a small thing, but the same steps are required. I do not think that I should remain silent, and that a "call to boycott" is a legitimate, Buddhist step ...



    Gassho, Jundo

  13. #13
    Hi, me again. I'm still of the 'forget 'em and get on with my own practice' school of thought for all I think that what they say stinks.

    Any proclamaition on your own site homepage or that of others critising E-Sanga is not a good first impression for you to make. Surely it falls under the precepts of critising others and also saying that we're better than them.

    If the question is of up holding right speech then that has already been done hasn't it? Hence the 2 threads on it here and I pressume some mention on E-Sanga?

    Listening to todays talk again (before the zazen) made me think of this issue.

    In gassho, Kev

  14. #14
    Hi Guys,

    As I have always said, the Precepts are made for living in a life/world with many ambiguities and gray areas. We must try to do, as we can, that which (from our available vantage point and educated guesses) reduces harm and increases benefit ... But some actions, like the one we are discussing, have mixed results.

    All we can do is try to stand back and choose, as best we can, the "right" course. "Right Speech" is the same.

    So, if there is so much feeling in the Sangha that we should do nothing more, then we shall do nothing more on this.

    I will let other people in the Sangha chime in and express their opinions over the next day. But, if the consensus is this, I will limit my actions to writing E-Sangha a letter expressing my objections, and leave it at that.


    Gassho, Jundo

  15. #15
    I am considering (with some others) initiating a peaceful campaign regarding E-Sangha, uniting several Buddhist schools, under the slogan "Religious Intolerance is Un-Buddhist - PLEASE BOYCOTT E-SANGHA, An Intolerant Buddhist Community".
    Something doesn't sit right with me in the bolded part, Jundo. Seems to kind of stoop to their level. I'd prefer if you found a way to use this as an education tool. I asked a few questions in the other thread on this. I'm sure there's lots of people out there who would benefit from some answers to those questions from the Soto Zen point of view. Maybe your campaign should be simple: something along the lines that people new to Buddhism should be forewarned that not all Buddhist sects are properly represented at e-sangha (particularly Zen, Tendai, etc.). Then link people to legitimate texts on the internet that are considered mainstream Soto Zen. You could even bullet point some of the points of contention: rebirth, other earthly realms (and associated beings), etc. Stress that the main point of Soto Zen is zazen, etc. etc.

    I hope I'm not being too demanding for a new person. :lol:

  16. #16
    Hey Jundo
    I applaud your decision not to return. I think the fact that you were considering it and the fact that you're even now asking for advice show tremendous humility, which in turn I find humbling.
    However, a return there, in my opinion, would be wrong. I've got a few reasons, chief among which are these:
    A return and a submission to the arbitrary rules they've established would indicate tacit approval of their fundamentalist stance, which, in tyour position as a Sensei would be wrong. you cannot give the appearance of supporting something you just don't, and can't submit to someone you believe to be wrong.
    Secondly, such a return would indicate to those people that their errors are actually correct, and you might be the cause of further wrongful action on their part by appearing to agree with them. The Bible offers the advice, "As much as it lies with you, be at peace with all men." But that doesn't imply that you just roll over and accept the supposed authority of just anyone who wants you to submit.
    Lastly, we are Soto Zen bcause we believe this to be the right path for us. How could a teacher submit to a "rule" that says basically that we're okay, but essentially wrong, and more correct and "better" buddhists ought to hold sway over us?
    If I'd wanted to be a Tibetan Buddhist, I would be. But I'm not. I'm a Zen Buddhist. I'm Zen because it's what I believe and feel in the depths of my soul... not because someone from another tradition who beieves himself and his beiefs to be superior to me and mine said I was allowed to.
    I'm not going into a long list of why I find Soto Zen superior to other forms of Buddhism, or why even within the Mahayana community I find Zen to be the best approach. But I will say tha I DO, and I don't need the approval of a Lama, Monk, or anyone else to feel what I do.
    If you return to E-Sangha under the conditions they demand, you'll be giving tacit approval to the superiority they already seem to believe they have, and while no fight or debate is really necessary, your submission to people who are in no way in authority over you would be wrong. And it would be an even worse mistake because in your position, it's assumed that in such matters you also speak for your students. Unless you'd feel comfortable telling one of us here to submit to those bizarre regulations, I don't think you going back yourself is a good idea.
    Lastly, those rules are COWARDLY. Unless you want to teach that fear of the "other" is a good thing, the example they're setting isn't one you ought to be a representative of.
    These are just my own thoughts, but I've been through something similar and had to reason this stuff out myself in the past.
    I hope something I said was written so it made some sense.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by TracyF
    I am considering (with some others) initiating a peaceful campaign regarding E-Sangha, uniting several Buddhist schools, under the slogan "Religious Intolerance is Un-Buddhist - PLEASE BOYCOTT E-SANGHA, An Intolerant Buddhist Community".
    Something doesn't sit right with me in the bolded part, Jundo. Seems to kind of stoop to their level. I'd prefer if you found a way to use this as an education tool. I asked a few questions in the other thread on this. I'm sure there's lots of people out there who would benefit from some answers to those questions from the Soto Zen point of view. Maybe your campaign should be simple: something along the lines that people new to Buddhism should be forewarned that not all Buddhist sects are properly represented at e-sangha (particularly Zen, Tendai, etc.). Then link people to legitimate texts on the internet that are considered mainstream Soto Zen. You could even bullet point some of the points of contention: rebirth, other earthly realms (and associated beings), etc. Stress that the main point of Soto Zen is zazen, etc. etc.

    I hope I'm not being too demanding for a new person. :lol:
    Hi Tracy,

    Thank you for your scientific mind and analysis of the problem. :-)

    Maybe a "A PUBLIC CAUTION REGARDING E-SANGHA BUDDHIST COMMUNITY" webpage would be a good public service, doing what you say: Providing a description of the problem and various alternatives. It would be a service to people who are, for example, new to Buddhism and are not aware of problems with the information available there?

    Gassho, Jundo

  18. #18
    I believe that individuals and organizations that practice wrong speech and take wrong action will eventually author their own failure.

    I do not believe that anyone's immortal soul will be in peril by participating in discussions at e-sangha. I also do not think that many people will turn their backs on finding a path to practice if they are frustrated by an experience with e-sangha.

    What is at question is how much time someone may waste before deducing that some representatives of e-sangha follow a narrow path.

    As such, I tend to echo Rev's statement..."Be lamps unto yourselves". We can best shine a light on intolerance, wrong speech and wrong action through continued open and honest discussion. Signs and slogans calling for boycott serve to entrench sides.

    Jundo: Please continue to do your work. The universe needs examples of intolerance to teach tolerance. I second Harry's motion. If any of us see an intolerant post from e-sangha, yell "SPLITTER!"

    In laughter,

    Steve

  19. #19
    Hello Jundo,

    Honestly I would have to say, "why bother?" and agree to what Rev. has said.

    In earlier days I had many a heated argument with Tibetan and Chinese followers - and it got nowhere. They believe they are right - let them be. If "Buddhism" to them is all about who is a "real" Buddhist by way of which precepts they have taken then they have lost the plot as far as I can see.

    Who cares which precepts Saicho had all later Japanese sects adopt? Are the precepts solely what constitutes Buddhism? They are getting their kesa all knotted up over which monastic rules one follows! How silly, how childish.

    Let them be. Nothing can be gained by arguing with them. Tell them why you disagree with their attitude and let them be.

    To them Buddhism is a fixed and unchanging teaching - I say that Buddhism is not a finished product. It is being constantly re-evaluated and modified to fit the cultures and followers it encounters.

    As for boycotting E-Sangha - I would have to say no, don't stoop to their level.

    In the Suttanipata the Buddha says, "Live in the world relying on the self alone as foundation, be freed from all things, depending on nothing." In the Dhammapada Buddha says, "The foundation of self is only self."

    Monastic types with all their bickering and arguing over who is truly "ordained" and who is truly "Buddhist" should be locked away to let those of us more concerned with PRACTICE get on with it.

  20. #20
    An old saying is that one has to learn to crawl before one can walk. Sure we haven't taken a stand as a sangha against any of the major problems of the world, but we have taken stands as individuals. Now we have been asked to take a stand as a group against an intolerant mindset and it seems that people are just looking at it as "ho-hum" maybe as Jundo's petty vindictiveness.

    Sure e-sangha is an internet forum, but it is an influential group and reflects a mindset in the international Buddhist community that I feel very strongly is against the values that we claim to uphold. You can accuse me of seeing things in black and white all you like, but I see no degrees of intolerance.

    I see no difference in the mindset that certain Buddhist methods are second class (this includes Jundo, Nishijima, me and each and every one of you), and the mentality that caused man to commit atrocities throughout history. It establishes that certain people are inferior to others based on what they believe. While e-sangha may not be using bullets and death squads to silence the "inferior" belief, they are using censorship and censorship is the enemy of the free-thought that I feel is the core of the Buddha's teaching.

    Jundo so far has not asked us to do anything but support him in this course of action. Is this going to solve the world's problems? Not in the slightest, but it is doing something to help make the world a better place starting in the larger Buddhist community.

    As an avalanche starts with the movement of a single flake, drawing attention to the ugly face of intolerance within the greater Buddhist community can only lead to attention paid to intolerance elsewhere. We have to start somewhere our own back yard is as good as any.

    Rodney

  21. #21
    oh before I forget...good to see you back online Junpei old friend.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    An old saying is that one has to learn to crawl before one can walk. Sure we haven't taken a stand as a sangha against any of the major problems of the world, but we have taken stands as individuals. Now we have been asked to take a stand as a group against an intolerant mindset and it seems that people are just looking at it as "ho-hum" maybe as Jundo's petty vindictiveness.

    Sure e-sangha is an internet forum, but it is an influential group and reflects a mindset in the international Buddhist community that I feel very strongly is against the values that we claim to uphold. You can accuse me of seeing things in black and white all you like, but I see no degrees of intolerance.

    I see no difference in the mindset that certain Buddhist methods are second class (this includes Jundo, Nishijima, me and each and every one of you), and the mentality that caused man to commit atrocities throughout history. It establishes that certain people are inferior to others based on what they believe. While e-sangha may not be using bullets and death squads to silence the "inferior" belief, they are using censorship and censorship is the enemy of the free-thought that I feel is the core of the Buddha's teaching.

    Jundo so far has not asked us to do anything but support him in this course of action. Is this going to solve the world's problems? Not in the slightest, but it is doing something to help make the world a better place starting in the larger Buddhist community.

    As an avalanche starts with the movement of a single flake, drawing attention to the ugly face of intolerance within the greater Buddhist community can only lead to attention paid to intolerance elsewhere. We have to start somewhere our own back yard is as good as any.

    Rodney
    I, for one, don't think Jundo is being petty or vindictive. What happened to Jundo would get to anyone because it is unjust. However, look around, has Jundo commercialized his site, is he setting up not-for-profits? Is there a motivation to get Jundo's goat (may be a southern expression)? This isn't about intolerance as much as power and materialism. There I said it, Bud told me to.

    The response needs to be proportionate.

  23. #23
    Is there a motivation to get Jundo's goat (may be a southern expression)? This isn't about intolerance as much as power and materialism. There I said it, Bud told me to.

    Oh, I think there's a motivation, all right. Same reason that in the Christian world, certain high profile ministershave to hack and slash at anyone who's not just like them... but under their authority.
    Basically, it's a case of bad diamonds.
    Ever see a Zircon? It's a man-made diamond. Same basic thing... carbon under pressure yeilds pretty, shiny crystals. Zircons just happen to be pressurized by man instead of millions of years of geology.
    Now, a zircon may look pretty, flash the light nicely, and all that good stuff. You might even find it beautiful.
    Until you see a zircon next to a real diamond. When THAT comparison is made, only the real diamond seems to shine. No jeweller will display the zircon next to the real diamond; the diamond will outshine it and make the zircon look cheap and fake every time.
    that's the same reason people like Pat Robertson had to speak against Mother Theresa. It's the reason the Chinese are so afraid of his Holiness the Dalai Lama. And it's the reason the folks at E-Sangha want to silence Jundo. they talk a good game about exploring faith and adhering to Buddhist ideals, but when push comes to shove...
    Nothing makes a counterfeit stand out like the presence of the genuine article.

  24. #24
    Speaking of pretty rocks...I wonder if the word "Zen" sells more T-shirts than the word "Loppon"?

  25. #25
    Maybe a "A PUBLIC CAUTION REGARDING E-SANGHA BUDDHIST COMMUNITY" webpage would be a good public service, doing what you say: Providing a description of the problem and various alternatives. It would be a service to people who are, for example, new to Buddhism and are not aware of problems with the information available there?
    Perfect! The problem with e-sangha is not their views per se (although they don't work for me), it's that they write as though they speak with authority for all Buddhism. That's very misleading for impressionable new people. Some people may think those views fit theirs but a lot of people (like me) would look at e-sangha and say to themselves, "That's Buddhism? Fuhgetaboutit!" :wink:

  26. #26
    Jundo, for what it is worth I agree with and stand behind your discision to turn down E-Sangha.

    As for your campain, I agree with Rodney:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    An old saying is that one has to learn to crawl before one can walk. Sure we haven't taken a stand as a sangha against any of the major problems of the world, but we have taken stands as individuals. Now we have been asked to take a stand as a group against an intolerant mindset and it seems that people are just looking at it as "ho-hum" maybe as Jundo's petty vindictiveness.

    Sure e-sangha is an internet forum, but it is an influential group and reflects a mindset in the international Buddhist community that I feel very strongly is against the values that we claim to uphold. You can accuse me of seeing things in black and white all you like, but I see no degrees of intolerance.

    I see no difference in the mindset that certain Buddhist methods are second class (this includes Jundo, Nishijima, me and each and every one of you), and the mentality that caused man to commit atrocities throughout history. It establishes that certain people are inferior to others based on what they believe. While e-sangha may not be using bullets and death squads to silence the "inferior" belief, they are using censorship and censorship is the enemy of the free-thought that I feel is the core of the Buddha's teaching.

    Jundo so far has not asked us to do anything but support him in this course of action. Is this going to solve the world's problems? Not in the slightest, but it is doing something to help make the world a better place starting in the larger Buddhist community.

    As an avalanche starts with the movement of a single flake, drawing attention to the ugly face of intolerance within the greater Buddhist community can only lead to attention paid to intolerance elsewhere. We have to start somewhere our own back yard is as good as any.

    Rodney
    E-Sangha was the first forum I joined when I began practicing. Not knowing much about any particular tradition, I would post many questions in the non-sectarian sections such as 'Beginner Buddhism'. Of course, I would never get a straight answer. One reply would be from a Tibetan monk, the next a Zen practitioner, the next could be a new-age person who only read a few chapters off of Buddhanet.net. I found this to be very confusing :? .

    Then I began to notice the arguing. Constant bickering about a rebirth, vegetarianism, sutras etc. etc. etc. Again, I could not understand at that point why there was so little consensus (neither could many of those doing the arguing I suspect).

    Then I began to see the useless chatter (people using E-Sangha as a dating service etc) and the never-ending attachment to opinion (each person trying to out-meta the next; each trying to be more profound than the last).

    Now I see this in-bred attachment to religion leading to this blunt discrimination. And this is not the only example. Even the vegetarians Buddhists in the vegetarian forums will bash meat eating Buddhists.

    I was lucky as I became disenchanted with E-Sangha rather quickly. But I believe that website has the potential to do harm to beginners. And it has a lot of beginners! It seems to have a never ending flow of newbies (myself included) asking the same old questions, seeking the same advice, and many (from my observations) seem to get sucked into the same stagnant waters of misinformation, over-opinionism and discrimination.

    I personally don’t think that I smear campaign is in anyone’s best interest (as gratifying as a little piece of me thinks it would be :twisted: ), but I can vouch from personal experience that an education program warning of the 'Three Stagnant Waters’© (that’s right Jundo, I’m coining my own term here :wink: ) would be a great service- not just with regard to E-Sangha, but Buddhism as a whole. Especially now with the popularity of on-line Buddhism.

    That my opinion anyways, as someone used E-Sangha extensively as a raw newbie.
    Gassho,
    Kelly

    PS- I once purchased a book titled “Buddhism for Beginners” expecting that such a broad title was probably going to provide a broad introduction to the subject… nope; it was exclusively an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Us newbies need to know what they are reading!

  27. #27
    ill chime in late here. I personally dropped e-sangha after Jundo's ban. not because they banned - thats thier own thing.. let them have at it. I have witnessed overzelous use of admin power and watched it ruin a great thing...The same will happen for that matter, it was the behaviour AFTER the ban.. the admins took a TAKE THAT PUNY ZENNIE! stance. not very "Right" speech or actions.. shit i know kids that play nicer than that
    Many good points raised and i have a list of stuff i have issue with but Ill keep it short and sweet. Although I owe some one @ esangha 1 favor and that is posting about treeleaf, I do not think we need a presence there that is censored and constantly under threat of some form of punishment... im with the rev on the above, BTW. on all points.

    Gassho
    one great big flake :P

    Dirk

  28. #28
    My post was a little preachy, so I deleted it. From your experience and practice J, do feel this is the right thing to do?



    G,W

  29. #29
    "The problem with e-sangha is not their views per se (although they don't work for me), it's that they write as though they speak with authority for all Buddhism."

    Hate to say it, but that is the Tibetan attitude speaking there. How many Websites, books, DVD's, and talks by the Dalai Lama and other lama-dama-ding-dongs posit that THEIR version of "Buddhism" is the TRUE™ and CORRECT™ Buddhism - nearly all.

    But this attitude is not just within e-sangha - it is right across the board and can be seen within and between all sects of Buddhism from the earliest days to now. (Saicho's pointed criticisms against Shingon-shu, Kegon-shu, Sanron-shu, and Hosso-shu and his opinion that Tendai and the Lotus sutra were the MOST SUPERIOR teachings of Buddhism come to mind.)

    I've been called a "fundamentalist Buddhist" a few times for trying to point out what are clearly cultural trappings within various Buddhist traditions. I've tried pointing out that much of the religious regalia that many cling to is against the teachings of the Dharma only to be told that I should shut my heretical mouth!

    Some take the outward cultural trappings and the outdated views of the ancient teachers as being THE teachings - not to be questioned or criticised.


    Oh, and thanks for the welcome Rodney.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by will
    My post was a little preachy, so I deleted it. From your experience and practice J, do feel this is the right thing to do?

    G,W
    Not sure if you are asking me Will, but I'll hazard an answer.

    As practising Buddhists I believe it is the right thing to correct misconceptions and untruths about our practice. I offer a caution however from my own experience.

    For quite a while I tried to correct the commonly held misconceptions and untruths that abound about Buddhist practice. But it comes with a price. Sometimes those commonly held misconceptions are hard for others to give up, and some would rather not know that what they have come to believe in is perhaps a perverted or incorrect version. Some will get hostile when they find that what they have believed in is being questioned or corrected.

    My (typically Japanese) teachers advice - "Better to shut up and know that what YOU do is correct."

  31. #31
    Dear Everybody,

    Thank you again. These types of decisions should be made by discussion and consensus of the Sangha, I think. (In fact, they always have been in Buddhist history ... It was one of the Buddha's first rules he set out)

    There were pros and cons on both sides, and the old card carrying ACLU retired lawyer in me had his trigger tripped. I do not care for social intolerance in its many forms. "Right Action" can have so many gray areas, and that was the case here. As Buddhists, we always need to ask ourselves when to keep quiet, when to voice opposition, when to undertake a boycott or a sit-in (or call Kung Fu Kane to clear the room). Based on the wise input from you guys, this seems like a case for the former, with a little bit of the middle ... but not the latter boycott and such. (Tracy's idea, however, really is good and sensible ... I need to think about that one).

    A couple of comments really touched me ...

    Kev said ...

    One reason I came to Soto Zen Buddhism was that it doesn't seem to evangelical in it's approach and people just get on with sitting.

    We have to keep that spirit.

    Jim said ...

    Leave the e-sangha to the e-sangha. With the treeleaf create light and not heat. I believe the seekers who come here are seeking light.

    Yes, let's keep trying to do just that.

    Tracy wrote ...

    I'd prefer if you found a way to use this as an education tool. I asked a few questions in the other thread on this. I'm sure there's lots of people out there who would benefit from some answers to those questions from the Soto Zen point of view. Maybe your campaign should be simple: something along the lines that people new to Buddhism should be forewarned that not all Buddhist sects are properly represented at e-sangha (particularly Zen, Tendai, etc.). Then link people to legitimate texts on the internet that are considered mainstream Soto Zen. You could even bullet point some of the points of contention: rebirth, other earthly realms (and associated beings), etc. Stress that the main point of Soto Zen is zazen, etc. etc.

    and

    The problem with e-sangha is not their views per se (although they don't work for me), it's that they write as though they speak with authority for all Buddhism. That's very misleading for impressionable new people


    There is something positive (not aggressive, and very constructive) about this idea, and I will give it thought.

    a return there, in my opinion, would be wrong. I've got a few reasons, chief among which are these:
    A return and a submission to the arbitrary rules they've established would indicate tacit approval of their fundamentalist stance .... you cannot give the appearance of supporting something you just don't, and can't submit to someone you believe to be wrong.


    That is why I told them I am not coming back.

    Steve said ...

    What is at question is how much time someone may waste before deducing that some representatives of e-sangha follow a narrow path.

    As such, I tend to echo Rev's statement..."Be lamps unto yourselves". We can best shine a light on intolerance, wrong speech and wrong action through continued open and honest discussion. Signs and slogans calling for boycott serve to entrench sides.

    Jundo: Please continue to do your work. The universe needs examples of intolerance to teach tolerance.


    Steve and Rev, let's keep the lamp lit on our own windowsill.

    Jun wrote ...

    Let them be. Nothing can be gained by arguing with them. Tell them why you disagree with their attitude and let them be.

    To them Buddhism is a fixed and unchanging teaching - I say that Buddhism is not a finished product. It is being constantly re-evaluated and modified to fit the cultures and followers it encounters.


    Very nice, Jun.

    Kelly said ...

    Then I began to see the useless chatter ... and the never-ending attachment to opinion (each person trying to out-meta the next; each trying to be more profound than the last).

    It is so very fine that we have avoided this at Treeleaf. Let's do everything to keep it so.

    You know, guys: This is the first time we made a "familial" decision like this. I think we did good. I think this is how we best should have handled this..

    Now, let's get back to our sitting.

    Gassho, J

  32. #32
    Hi Folks!


    That's what happens when one doesn't log on to Treeleaf for a few hours

    Although the decision has been already made, please allow me to add some of my own brief thoughts on the subject.

    Before I became a Zennie and took refuge in the three jewels, I had been very much involved in a different religious sub-culture for almost a decade (I still am involved, but for cultural, not for theological/religious reasons anymore). To cut the long story short, situations like the one described above by Jundo surfaced there as well, and not only once but a few times during my "active" time there. I learned one lesson: No matter how justified any kind of boycott or (for lack of another word) negative/defensive strategy is, it won't get you anywhere in the long run, unless you are prepared to put loads of time and resources into it (and even that can still lead to sometimes dubious results). Through making the Treeleaf tree stronger, we can accomplish a lot more than to try and pool resources in order to oppose something outside our own gates.

    Leading through example. Whatever you want to call it. Just my experience for what it's worth.

    Gassho,

    Hans


    P.S. Conan! What is best in life? Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women. ...

  33. #33
    [i]Hate to say it, but that is the Tibetan attitude speaking there. How many Websites, books, DVD's, and talks by the Dalai Lama and other lama-dama-ding-dongs posit that THEIR version of "Buddhism" is the TRUE™ and CORRECT™ Buddhism - nearly all. [/i]


    Tibetan Buddhism is our own, Buddhist version of Roman Catholicism.
    Heavy on regalia, ceremony, and dogma, and light on personal experience and deep meaningful personal practice. Get the words and ceremonies right. who cares what kind of THOUGHT goes into it?
    That said, I loved John Paul II, and I love His Holiness the Dalai Lama. But though I do, I feel no need to submit to the absolute authority of eithr, nor do I feel a need to subscribe to the denominations they represent.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by KvonNJ
    [i]Hate to say it, but that is the Tibetan attitude speaking there. How many Websites, books, DVD's, and talks by the Dalai Lama and other lama-dama-ding-dongs posit that THEIR version of "Buddhism" is the TRUE™ and CORRECT™ Buddhism - nearly all. [/i]


    Tibetan Buddhism is our own, Buddhist version of Roman Catholicism.
    Heavy on regalia, ceremony, and dogma, and light on personal experience and deep meaningful personal practice. Get the words and ceremonies right. who cares what kind of THOUGHT goes into it?
    That said, I loved John Paul II, and I love His Holiness the Dalai Lama. But though I do, I feel no need to submit to the absolute authority of eithr, nor do I feel a need to subscribe to the denominations they represent.
    Remember, the Dalai Lama WON'T be reincarnated into an area under Chinese control (he claims) as the People's Republic recently issued a proclamation banning tulkus from reincarnating without government permission! :shock:

  35. #35
    Hi guys,

    Sorry for the late reply, my wife is feeling a bit under the weather and requires my attention.

    Those conditions posed to Jundo by E-Sangha are simply ridiculous. (BTW, after having posted that thread 'Free Speech in Soto Zen Buddhism' I was also banned from E-Sangha and that thread was deleted). I guess for me the question is, what is more beneficial and less harmful, action or non-action? It’s not an easy question, but I think the latter may be the best route. I think people who are drawn towards highly idealized world views filled with myths and legends will ultimately seek out places like E-Sangha where they can live out their fantasies. If E-Sangha were to suddenly disappear, those people would simply go someplace else. On the other hand, people who reject the rigid dogmatism, supression of free speech, misconceptions and fairy tales propagated by those folks at E-Sangha will quite soon run into trouble there and leave (or be thrown out...) anyway. The universe has it’s way of sorting itself out.

    Gassho
    Ken

  36. #36
    Maybe I'm just inexcusably naive, but I used to care rather little about different traditions and practices. After all they're "just the finger" ... yadda yadda. That doesn't mean one shouldn't stick to one's preferred tradition's forms and methods but it does mean I looked at the quirks and magic of Tibetan practice for example as just some kind of "very elaborate bowing". This does of course not include abuse of power and religious chauvinism which no tradition is safe from.

    Ironically, the Dalai Lama himself contributed greatly to my understanding of religious fundamentalism. During a lecture in Hamburg he answered a listener's question on religious fundamentalism (roughly): "What religious fundamentalists have in mind is obviously not religion." Simple, isn't it?

    Jundo, I think that "offer" from E-Sangha is really a shame, unworthy of anyone who considers himself Buddhist. Any kind of public opposition or campaign would attribute an authority to E-Sangha that it obviously does not deserve. To beginners it might even nourish the misconception that Buddhism once more is about "believing the right things". I don't say this as a Buddhist only but also as an advertising professional.

    I am not yet convinced that E-Sangha's conduct resembles the attitude of the Buddhist schools involved but I'll gladly learn if someone cared to guide me to further online sources of "Buddhist" intolerance. Thanks.

    Off for sitting now,

    Mensch


    PS: It's nice to be among reasonable people. Really.

  37. #37
    E-Sangha was first (foreign) Buddhist forum I stumbled into. I noticed many of the same things people have mentioned here and also got myself a little trouble when I tried asking precise questions about rebirth (after reading Nishijima's take on it for example). They practically threw that "Dogen writes so, so you must believe it too" to my face.

    One of the Soto Zen moderators (Anders something...?) was kind enough to discuss the issue with me a little further through private messages (though I was left unsatisfied with his explanations of why we should believe in literal rebirth), but anyway I stopped visiting the site soon after that (and fortunately found my way here a little later, it's always nice to have more people with different cultural backgrounds).

    Even though Jundo has made the decision against an outright boycott I still think that some kind of a "warning" for newbies might be in order. Like for myself E-Sangha is the first place many people seek out when they start googling for Buddhist discussion forums and even though some see the truth about them sooner or later it certainly wouldn't hurt if there was a website out there that told the other part of the story and discussed a bit of the many shortcomings of E-Sangha (and showed that there are indeed other views out there too that are just as legitimate as what they proclaim).

    It doesn't have to be (directly) linked to Treeleaf, but if anyone is willing to take it upon themselves to build such a page I'm sure this sangha could contribute to it's contents.

    I would volunteer but I already have too many "to be done soon" projects underway. 8)

    And even though we won't as a community go into war against E-Sangha then individuals who want to take up actions against their intolerance could point people to that "Learn the Horrible Truth About E-Sangha" page. :twisted:

    Ok, just kidding with the name. I think the "Lamp" metaphor would be really good to use for this kind of cases.

  38. #38

    Re: (NOT QUITE) PEACE IN E-SANGHA: Need your advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    under the slogan "Religious Intolerance is Un-Buddhist - PLEASE BOYCOTT E-SANGHA, An Intolerant Buddhist Community".

    (maybe the slogan needs to be toned down a bit?).

    ... what do you guys think??

    Gassho, Jundo
    i think that "PLEASE BOYCOTT E-SANGHA" is too strong.

    i suggest a banner (linked to a page whre all this sad things are explained) with the words of the slogan but without the boycott advice, if someone wants to join them after he has read what happens in that community he is free to do it.

    i am happy to be here and do not be there

    for you, i'm sure your zendo and forum will become more known and your words of wisdom will be listen worldwide :wink:

    and.. don't be sad, because your sadness is also mine!!!

  39. #39
    Nice to see that we can come to a reasonable opinion here (and without my input! imagine that (0_^) ). I am not a fan of confrontation, at least not until one's preferred options are exhausted, and an educational FAQ here sounds like a good idea.

  40. #40
    Jun
    Not sure if you are asking me Will, but I'll hazard an answer.
    Sorry. That was for Jundo Jun. I guess I'll use full names next time. Thanks for the answer though.

    Gassho Will

  41. #41
    So I guess it's settled.

    The solution is: Let this one be. Fair enough.

    With second place: education
    A few words: I liked Tracy's idea. It's something that I think should be implemented across schools and lineages. A unified front of the more "progressive" ideas if you will. It doesn't need to be in opposition to anything nor does it need to be an endorsement of one tradition over another.


    Junpei,
    You're quite welcome for the welcome. Also I would like to apologize for not catching your back during the last round of "fundie Buddhist bashing" at that other place. Though two voices probably wouldn't have done a bit of good since the knee-jerk response was already in high gear by the time I got to the discussion. Once again, apologies.

  42. #42
    I love the idea of being more proactively educational on the forum. Some of these topics are confusing and a bit of clear explanation on them (even if the explanation is "we're not sure") would help newcomers as well as vets.
    I think maintaining a positive voice, even in opposition to e-sangha, is critical. Their knowledge of the world is incomplete and so is ours. We, with our particular collection of faults, should forgive them for their particular collection of faults, while simultaneously being vocal about our views when they are challenged or misunderstood.

    Bill

  43. #43
    Hi everyone. Jundo, I must admit I was saddened to hear of your new problems with Darth Namdrol & e-sangha. Myself, a few days back, I quit the place over personal insults. But was asked to reconsider my decision. I did so, partially because I heard peace had been made. Now I'm reconsidering my reconsideration. lol

    I actually feel a boycott is a good idea. The reason why I don't agree with just ignoring them is that it does not work. Everybody who has been banned from there, or left over their hyper-orthodoxy, has ignored them. In the meantime, their internet clout has increased. A lot of new Buddhists are getting some rather warped ideas about Buddhism.

    I agree that any boycott must have a positive message, otherwise we might see this backfire. Something such as "Celebrate Over 2500 Years of Buddhist Diversity."as a slogan, then a description of the boycott.

    I realize that this is apparently over & done. However, I hope this issue would be reconsidered at some point in the future.

    Gassho,

    Kukai


    p.s. As a lay follower of Shingon-shu & a Zen newbie, I find Namdrol's comments on Japanese lineages to be a crock of BS (Please excuse my Tibetan :lol: )

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R

    Junpei,
    You're quite welcome for the welcome. Also I would like to apologize for not catching your back during the last round of "fundie Buddhist bashing" at that other place. Though two voices probably wouldn't have done a bit of good since the knee-jerk response was already in high gear by the time I got to the discussion. Once again, apologies.
    Ah, not to worry my friend. All is good.

    I like this idea suggested by Walter -

    i suggest a banner (linked to a page where all these sad things are explained) with the words of the slogan but without the boycott advice, if someone wants to join them after he has read what happens in that community he is free to do it
    .

    I do believe education is the best cure. Misinformation can be destructive.

  45. #45

    e-sangha

    Hellos to all:
    I'm late to the party here, but I did have a few comments, more like a post script, I guess:

    Narrow interpretations-- I've always found them to be very helpful for me. I've watched myself get all caught up in the 'smallness' and the obvious 'wrongness' of someone elses limiting/limited view but I've come to see the self-made trap that it is.
    After all, precisely what is a view?
    When I have time and energy seems like there are no end of windmills to tilt.
    I'm sure here in cyber space, there are umptillions of odd places where people post authoritatively about every religion under the sun.
    As far as I know, cyber space is big enough to handle it all.
    As far as rebirth goes....I ask myself "OK, what if it's true?" What if I can remember my most recent previous life? So? So what! And what if I can remember dozens of them? So? So who cares anyway? It still comes down to this rightnowmoment, righthere, rightnow. Like having a dream in which certain things were understood and realized, and then you wake up, and can't remember the dream, but you do remember how the dreamfelt.
    When exposed to narrow mindedness I get to experience again what narrowness feels like. Someone else's narrow views stifle, but my own narrow thoughts--feel so 'right' I can see the seduction of them--why people spend time and energy defending them--they get more 'real' when defended--but it's like pretending to have something in your hand to entertain your child--when the fingers are finally pryed open and there in the open palm is nothing--that there always was nothing there...there is the wondering about all the intensity and all the excitement--just where did it come from?

    So much to catch up on, I'll just leave this thought here....

    keishin

  46. #46
    Hello Jundo and everyone....Long time no see


    I've been hovering around the blog and forums , just kind of looking and enjoying the posts that come up from time to time. However, I feel I must respond to what has happened recently and put in my two cents.

    I believe the main argument with posting a banner or whatnot is whether we should alert people new to Buddhism ( like myself) that the E-sangha forums are a bit one sided in their views and re-direct them to more helpful websites . However, it must be said that without the E-sangha Forums, I would have never found Jundo and the treeleaf zendo! I just don't want to see something so simple blown out of proportions.

    In the end, people really don't need a banner or a sign or anything..they'll just eventually find wonderful places like this on their own. Just go with the flow

    If you build it...they will come

    P.S. This is just an opinion of an 18 year old...nothing more , nothing less. ha ha

    -Murah (Rcc)

  47. #47
    I'm so late in chiming in here, but I'll go for it anyway. . .

    that "offer" from E-sangha was disgusting, it's pretty sad to see such intolerance being demonstrated by "Buddhists"

    I think I have to agree with Kukai, ignoring this issue does not work, we ought to raise our voice over this a little and shine our light.

    I'm very concerned about the the dearth of misinformation that is affecting Buddhism. I'm all in favor of attempts to educate people about this. Perhaps a full blown anti e-sangha campaign would be a bit much, but I do like Harry's idea of a regarding E-sangha sticky.

    In closing Jundo, keep doing what your doing here, shining your light it's having a bigger impact and doing greater good for the dharma than you imagine. Don't let the close mindedness of a few "Buddhist" jerks get you down.

  48. #48
    Instead of harsh wording about boycotts, or even naming anyone specific on the "banner," how about something like, "Buddha is as Buddha does. Any time someone tells you what Buddhism 'HAS to be,' put one hand over your wallet and back slowly toward the door. Love your faith. Beware people selling a religion."

  49. #49
    OR, even more simple:




    LOVE YOUR FAITH!
    REJECT RELIGION!

  50. #50
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    I've been "away" for a couple of days due to work and looking after my son after his operation (he's doing really well) so I’m adding my thoughts late.

    I think the consensus reached here is spot on. It's difficult, because many newbies to Buddhism do visit e-sangha first, so e-sangha do have the potential to mislead and scare people off Buddhism altogether.

    Like many others here, I went to e-sangha first, but was soon scared off by the bickering, posturing and intolerance. And whilst, by definition, no one who made it here was put off permanently, there may be others who are put off Buddhism permanently. But even if so, who is to say they didn't find a path outside Buddhism that leads to the same place? And if, as a newbie, I'd come across a Protest or Movement to boycott e-sangha, I might just have viewed that protest as further evidence of Buddhism being divided and that might have made me go elsewhere outside Buddhism to join the church of the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or whatever.

    Whereas by maintaining Treeleaf, Jundo, you are making a difference. What a contrast to e-sangha! I think it was Gandhi who said that if you want to change something, you must first be the change you wish to be.

    Gassho

    Martin

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