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

  1. #51
    I keep coming back to the slogans taught by Atisha Dipankara, who brought the complete Bhodichitta teachings to Tibet in the eleventh century.
    Among the precepts he taught were these:
    1) FIRST train in the preliminaries
    2) Regard all Dharmas as dreams.

    and # 19) All Dharmas agree at one point.

    It seems to me that the very man who brought Tibet the teachings they've embraced taught in no uncertain terms that we should major in the majors and minor in the minors, and that any time the teaching becomes the object of veneration rather than its subject, one has traded Dharma and truth for a "religious" counterfeit. If that was the goal, Bussha could have achieved enlightenment through his austerities rather than through nothingness.
    THEREFORE, Tibetan Buddhism (as presented by E-Sangha) has utterly missed its own mark. Their own earliest teachings taught the core of Zen... which they've rejected in favor of religion.
    Amazing.

  2. #52
    I'm reminded of a story that is so fitting to both sides of this situation.


    There were two monks who were forbidden from having contact with women. Whilst out walking one day a woman approached them and asked if they could help her across a river.

    One of the monks hesitated, but the other one picked her up and carried her across the river and put her down on the other side. The monks continued on their way.

    After a few hours, the monk who didn’t assist the woman was unable to hold his silence any longer and spoke out in anger. “Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women. What you did has bugged me for hours and I can’t stop thinking about it. You shouldn’t have done that, you know it is forbidden”.

    In reply, the monk said “I put that woman down hours ago, why didn’t you?”
    If we continue to harp on the flaws of the e-sangha administration, do we not fall victim to the same flaw?
    :twisted:

  3. #53
    Oh, are you guys STILL talking about E-Sangha? I put that subject down a couple of days ago. :wink:


    (we may go ahead with the 'educational webpage' suggestion though)

  4. #54
    I still think, though, that there's got to be a way to post the "educational" thing by saying something positive abiut Zen and our expression of it rather than saying something negative about theirs.

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by KvonNJ
    I still think, though, that there's got to be a way to post the "educational" thing by saying something positive abiut Zen and our expression of it rather than saying something negative about theirs.
    I absolutly agree there.

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by KvonNJ
    I still think, though, that there's got to be a way to post the "educational" thing by saying something positive abiut Zen and our expression of it rather than saying something negative about theirs.
    Well, I hope that is precisely what Treeleaf Zendo is and shall continue to be for some time.

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by KvonNJ
    I still think, though, that there's got to be a way to post the "educational" thing by saying something positive abiut Zen and our expression of it rather than saying something negative about theirs.
    Not to mention that an extended hand to the newbies from those who have been around the block a few times (900 each in the case of the two Juns) says something very positive.

  8. #58
    Been away at my vacation home in Oregon but still need to just say my peace and I ain't gonna go for touchy feely.

    Jundo, I'm very glad you have decided to simply walk on from further participation.

    As for the "educational website"...bah!!! Smells of "sour grapes." A la, getting divorced and feeling that it's "only right" to "warn" women off the guy you just split from based on your sense of some kind of "justice" and "just wanting to help." :roll: Do not couch this in the package of "right speech." That's a crock. If you put that up you are just perpetuating the situation and looking for right points, not helping anyone. Put up a newbie FAQ regarding what it is you do here at Treeleaf, but forget mention of what anyone else is getting up to.

    Let it go, Jundo. Really and entirely. Open the hand of thought and LET IT GO. Get on with the examination and liberation of what is going on in your own mind. The universe is self-correcting.

    My $0.02, MNSHO, YMMV &c.

    In Gassho~

    *Lynn

  9. #59
    Sorry to dredge this business up again so late, I only just now discovered this website. I ran into the blog of Yuttadhamma, apparently a Theravada monk who has also been expulsed from eS under rather curious pretense, and I thought it might lend a bit of perspective to the issue, and also offer another contact point to bounce ideas off of.

    The blog is at:

    http://yuttadhammo.sirimangalo.org/post ... -e-sangha/

    The text of the blog is:


    Beware The Esangha (E-Sangha)

    Aug 7th, 2006 by yuttadhammo

    Here’s a funny story.

    I’ve been involved for the past few years with the Esangha, an Internet forum claiming to represent all accepted schools of Buddhism. Since it attracts such a large number of visitors, I was happy to get involved in what seemed to be an accepting sort of environment.

    Of course, I restricted myself mainly to posting in the Theravada forum, but soon found that though it claimed to be a forum for “discussing the teachings of Theravada Buddhism”, it was being used by the administrators as a means of pushing Mahayana Buddhist doctrine on those not otherwise so inclined.

    Upon complaining, I was told privately of how the majority of the admin are Mahayana, they’ve been threating the few Theravadin moderators with expulsion whenever they disagree with the way things are run, and are completely unconcerned with how their actions are perceived by the forum members. Indeed, my complaints were replied to with statements like “Administrators have power over life and death.”

    Expressing concern over this, and the potential for legal action against the Esangha forum as a result of their fraudulant use of the Theravada, I was accused of threatening the administrator and promptly suspended from the forum.

    What a funny thing. Luckily there are other good Buddhist forums out there:

    Web Sangha:
    http://www.websangha.org

    Sirimangalo Forum:
    http://forum.sirimangalo.org/

    The latter is Theravada-only… it’s always quieter that way


    ------------------------
    (Me again)
    I also thought it significant that Malcolm Smith denigrates the ordination of Zen priests with respect to the five lay precepts in light of the pointer that can be found on Bhikkhu Pesala's page warning about eS ( http://www.aimwell.org/Forums/forums.html ) showing an eS thread in which Smith admits to imbibing in alcohol. My own experience has shown no evidence of an effort to abstain from harmful speech, as well, in his interactions with those he disagreed with on doctrinal terms.

  10. #60
    Hi,

    I apologize to everyone who offered such good advice a few weeks ago, when this issue bubbled up. I rather just let this matter sit for awhile, seeing what time would bring and letting the storm die down.

    To make a long story short, the administrators were eventually persuaded (by some outside pressure, I believe) to re-invite my joining, and I decided that the best course of action would be to go back to E-Sangha (otherwise, there would be no Soto Zen voice there at all). However,my doing so has a twist: I vowed that I would continue to speak my mind and present Soto Zen teachings in an honest fashion, but I would oh-so-narrowly thread their rules of behavior. When I get to a controversial topic, I do it in a way by which my meaning is perfectly clear without need to say so (for example, when I hit upon some sacred cow, I start talking about "sacred bunny rabbits", and everyone gets the picture. Remember, folks, I was a lawyer before I was a Buddhist priest!). So far it has worked on some very delicate discussions (although, granted, we are only talking about a couple of weeks and I may someday be kicked off again).

    Anyway, better to be there and speak the truth, then to have nobody there to do so. I think.

    Gassho, Jundo

  11. #61
    Excellent news Jundő.

    Anyway, better to be there and speak the truth, then to have nobody there to do so. I think.
    Absolutely.

  12. #62
    Hello Enchentez,

    I, too, have often been quite unpleasantly surprised with the tone of Mr Smith's posts. However, I don't believe that his consumption of alcohol violates his precepts. Tibetan Buddhists (at least Mr Smith's sect, and some others) include alcohol in some rituals.

    Not sure why I felt the need to defend Mr Smith here (I really don't like him).

    I'm glad you managed to work out a reconciliation, Jundo.

  13. #63
    Good luck in that, Jundo.

    My experience has been that the admins make up and break their own rules as they go along, and don't care whether one is careful to not cross the line when speaking the truth. They just move the line closer and call it a foul anyway.

    They also will act as agents provocateur and post baiting questions or statements in the forum or privately under aliases or by proxy. Be careful.

  14. #64
    Hi, Paige,

    The context I remember Mr. Smith's mentioning his use of alcohol in the forum was not as a part of ritual forms -- though any such rituals would not have been something that the Buddha taught, encouraged, or engaged in -- rather, Smith was expressing his love for wine for personal enjoyment. I normally wouldn't give something like this a second thought, but Mr. Smith and those of his cadre hold themselves out to be in a legitimate position to judge others' practice and understanding, and to judge what is and is not Buddhism.

    At work, gotta run...

  15. #65
    For purposes of personal disclosure, I see no problem with moderate wine and beer consumption, if in moderation and not anywhere near Zen sitting time (or while operating heavy machinery). I believe that a glass of red wine or two is healthful. We can get to this in greater detail when we get to our discussion of the Precepts. There are various interpretations on the degree of strictness there, and the meaning of the Precept. Of course, if someone has a problem with alcohol, they should not imbibe at all.

    Gassho, J

  16. #66
    Hi Jundo,

    I'd heard that Japanese Buddhists, in general, tend to be pretty tolerant of moderate consumption of alcohol. I'd also heard that this was largely due to rice wine being a sacrament in Shintoism. Does that sound right?

  17. #67
    Hi Paige,

    Yes, it sounds right to me. I have filled the beer glass of the "Pope" of the Soto sect at a New Years party at Soji-ji head temple, and also shared drinks with other Zen priests in Japan. I am not sure about the direct "Shinto" connection, but there is no hard rule about alcohol in Japan. (My own teacher, Nishijima, does not drink, and opposes drinking).

    Interestingly, the Precept is often literally translated with amphasis on --selling-- wine or alcohol or other intoxicants, not personally imbibing. However, it is also interpreted to mean selling any "line of baloney" that deceives or "intoxicates" the mind. Here is a typical example of this reasoning if you are interested, although a little long (it is from Austin Zen Center) ...

    http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cacheD ... d=28&gl=us

    Gassho and Bottoms Up, Jundo

  18. #68
    In our "tradition" we don't consume alcohol at all - zero, zip, zilch, nai - not even sakẽ.

  19. #69
    Interestingly, the Precept is often literally translated with amphasis on --selling-- wine or alcohol or other intoxicants, not personally imbibing. However, it is also interpreted to mean selling any "line of baloney" that deceives or "intoxicates" the mind. Here is a typical example of this reasoning if you are interested, although a little long (it is from Austin Zen Center) ...


    Don't you sort of figure that it just... means what it says? Like... where it says it's a vow not to use intoxicants, that's really all it is- a vow not to ue intoxicants?

  20. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by KvonNJ

    Don't you sort of figure that it just... means what it says? Like... where it says it's a vow not to use intoxicants, that's really all it is- a vow not to ue intoxicants?
    Have to run today (I am in a retreat), but wanted to say quickly that I agree that it probably means "do not use intoxicants". I also think, though, that the Precepts are not Commandments from on high, but arrows or frameworks for a healthful, helpful and harmless life. So, there is some flexibility to interpret these things within moderation. Some schools of Buddhism are strict constructionists, and also emphasize a degree of denial of the senses more than others (expecially in a monastic setting where, of course, it is appropriate). We had a couple of nice threads on this in the past, and will go into all this in great detail when we begin our study for Jukai in the coming weeks.

    viewtopic.php?t=127&highlight=precepts

    viewtopic.php?t=169&highlight=precepts

    viewtopic.php?t=40&highlight=precepts

    Gassho, Jundo

  21. #71
    Have to run today (I am in a retreat), but wanted to say quickly that I agree that it probably means "do not use intoxicants". I also think, though, that the Precepts are not Commandments from on high, but arrows or frameworks for a healthful, helpful and harmless life.

    Of course. I see it more as advice, (except that there is a vow involved in some instances) than unbroachable law, and of course it's open to interpretation. I just figure if it says that if you want good results from your experience with meditation, don't drink, then that's pretty much what it means.
    If I tell my kids, "Don't run headlong into the brick wall behind the garage," and they do it anyway, or find ways to do it that minimize the resultant damage, then I'm not going to despise, abandon or (usually) punish them, I'm going to look at them after they ram the wall and say, "Well, that was really stupid, wasn't it?"
    I see this particular vow more or less the same way.

  22. #72
    I'm not sure if I was clear about my empasis on this issue -- it's not at all the interpretation of the precept itself, but the selective literalism that is applied by the administrators of that forum as they deign to decree by caveat and enforce their rather arbitrary and self-serving interpretations of what Buddhism is and is not upon unfortunates who wander into their territory.

    Another example is that several moderators, including a moderator-bhikkhu, in that forum have admitted -- word for word -- to ascribing to Sati's heracy that "consciousness transmigrates from life to life, and is that which thinks and feels and receives the fruits of previous deeds", for which the Buddha soundly thumps him in MN 38. I find it rather disturbing that this group is attempting to shape the face of Buddhism in their own image by force through their presence on the internet, even as they ascribe to speculative beliefs that are not even in line with what the Buddha actually taught.

    BTW, I was under the impression that moderator Lisa Mann was a Soto practitioner -- was that mistaken...?

  23. #73
    Hi,

    Malcolm [Namdrol] wrote and asked me to post the following. No reason to criticize. Gassho, Jundo


    Dear Jundo:

    How are you and happy new year.

    Please correct this misperception:

    "To make a long story short, the administrators were eventually persuaded (by some outside pressure, I believe) to re-invite my joining"

    There was no outside pressure to readmit you. Zero. I decided to readmit you myself against all protest of all moderators at E-Sangha. No one else expressed an interest in having you reinstated apart from your supporters at e-Sangha.

    The reason you were reinstated is that I have shown clemency to others and personally felt it would be unjustified not to extend that clemency to you. In short, as a Buddhist, I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt until they prove to be utterly recalcitrant.

    As far as wine goes-- I happen to like very good wine-- wine that is far too expensive for me to afford on a regular basis. You may please clarify on your forum on my behalf that in general, in the Tibetan Buddhist view, it is only intoxication that leads to mindless behavior which involves an infraction of one's lay vows. Even so, drinking in general is considered a non-virtue, even if it is not a breakage one's vows. So yes, I like a _good_ glass of wine on occasion, and would never pretend to anyone that it is a virtuous activity, even if drinking wine does not involve a necessary infraction of lay vows.

    Best wishes,

    Namdrol

    ______________________

    P.S. I would also add it has never happened that any moderator or admin at E-Sangha has used a sock-puppet account, that is posted anything under a false account for any reason, Whatever people may think of the management policies, or my person, at E-Sangha, none of us would ever do such thing. If I ever discovered that such a thing was happening, that moderator would be immediately banned per our policiy against dual nicknames.

    Have a great new year,

    N

  24. #74
    :lol: Well it doesn't surprise me that people are watching the conversations it is the great world wide web after all and you can read the threads here without sanga membership (can't you?), only have to be a member to post. I know e-sanga you can't even read the treads if not a member, cos I'm not (or planning to be) and I can't.

    May be you'll be proved to be utterly recalcitrant yet with your sidewinding 'lawyer speak' :lol:

    Good on you for posting his message to you anyway and good on him for clearing that one up.

    And a very good and clement new year to all (even on e-sanga )

    Kev

  25. #75
    The reason you were reinstated is that I have shown clemency to others and personally felt it would be unjustified not to extend that clemency to you.

    ...did anyone else find this "I have shown clemency" bit to be a little... over the top? Like... someone did something wrong, everyone agreed, and it was just mercy that allowed continued conversation?
    Images of Papal inquisitors...

    No one actually said or did anything wrong. I think it's important to keep that at the forefront.
    HAVING DIFFERING OPINIONS IS NOT WRONG, IS NOT A "SIN," AND CANNOT BE "JUDGED" BY ANYONE IF WE'RE ALL EQUALS.
    ...and we ARE.
    Ugh. Just gross.

  26. #76
    I don't know much about the Tibetan tradition myself. It seems to use different methods to achieve pretty much the same thing. However, I'm not really sure about that. Not an expert. Really my first exposure to it.

    Here are a couple of links related to Malcolm. For your comment. I listened to Samadhi and part of Prajna (while typing, might relisten).

    Keep sitting and don't forget Dogen.

    Gassho Will

    http://dharma.org.ru/board/topic343.html

    http://www.luckymojo.com/esoteric/relig ... isdoms.txt


    [Re-Edit]

  27. #77
    KvonNJ,

    Not for Agent Smith, it's not. He seems to consider himself the be-all-end-all authority and judge of what is and is not Buddhism. And the comparison to the Papal Inquisition isn't off base at all; that is basically how they run things over there in their little fiefdom.

    Which would be just fine if they kept it to themselves, but they advertise and promote themselves heavily on the internet as being a "Buddhist" forum and lure many unsuspecting people who don't know that they have a hidden agenda -- those who have seen a little bit of the teachings of the Buddha, who can see the truth beyond all the superstition and want to know more, for example -- into their little fascist snake pit and proceed to use cult-indoctrination tactics and manipulation on them to push their own extremely narrow interpretations of the Buddha's teachings onto them.

    They do a terrible disservice to the Buddha's Dharma and to everyone who unknowingly falls into their trap. Many people get sucked in and leave there with a bad taste in their mouth and a warped misconception of what Buddhism is. They see the dogmatic tyranny, the abuses of "authority", and the demands for blind obedience and submission, and get the impression that this is what Buddhism is, what Buddhists are about. Too bad, because the Buddha's Dharma is a philosophical, psychological, and religious system whose time has come in the post-Enlightenment world of today. It's just a travesty that unsuspecting people wind up Googling "Buddhist forum", click on the first link they see, and come away with the sad impression that Buddhists are more like Fred Phelps than Thich Nhat Hanh.

  28. #78
    How about we let this matter just settle down again? Keep to positive speech and thoughts?

    Let's talk about other things better?

    Gassho, Jundo

  29. #79
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    How about we let this matter just settle down again? Keep to positive speech and thoughts?

    Let's talk about other things better?

    Gassho, Jundo
    Agreed, I see no point in discussing this at all. Just leave it be.

  30. #80
    Fine by me. At one point there was some discussion of possible solutions, which is really where my interest lies.

    What needs to be said has been said. I agree that further discussion of the problem is not really necessary here.

  31. #81
    I just posted that as a matter of interest and to possibly learn something.

    I don't really know too much about that tradition.

    Anyway, Have fun guys.

    Gassho Will

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