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Thread: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

  1. #1

    Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi All,

    I have a matter that I would like to discuss with the Sangha. We have been invited to move the 'Sit-a-Long with Jundo' blog to BELIEFNET.COM, the very large and widely respected internet site for religious discussion and information.

    Beliefnet or Beliefnet.com is a large spiritual site on the internet that is owned by Fox Entertainment Group, a division of News Corporation [JUNDO NOTE]. It provides information about various religious and spiritual beliefs, ranging from Christian denominations to atheism to smaller faiths like Zoroastrianism. It interviews religious figures, offers articles and blogs on various creeds. It collaborates with Newsweek on a column. ... Beliefnet is a large multi-faith e-community. It aims to provide a free forum for religious information and inspiration, spiritual tools, and discussions and dialogue groups.
    They host a small collection of blogs and columns, felt that they were underrepresented on the Buddhist and Zen Buddhist side, and thought that "Sit-a-Long with Jundo" might be a good fit after watching for awhile what this place is about.

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Blogs/index.aspx

    I am thinking it will be a good fit too with Treeleaf's 'mission' ...

    Treeleaf Zendo was designed specifically as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online.
    I think it is an excellent opportunity to reach many such people who do not know about the resources we have here.

    My only concern is that I want to preserve the atmosphere, decorum and warm cosiness we have around this small Sangha. However, I think that we would still tend to attract almost exclusively folks, both new and experienced, with a serious interest in Zazen and Zen Practice ... so I do not think anything will change. I very much doubt that there will be a flood a people or anything like that.

    Let me emphasize that THIS FORUM WILL NOT MOVE OR CHANGE in its style and content.

    Also, the editors at beliefnet did make a couple of suggestions for changes to the blog. I think they are reasonable. First, they want to describe what I teach on the blog as a "guided Zen meditation". I went back and forth with them on this, and now feel that (even using such a description) it will still be clear that I am not actually "guiding a person's Zazen during Zazen (as "guided meditation" might imply)", but simply providing instruction and a talk (exactly as I do now). Second, the editors feel that, as the right mix in order not to overwhelm folks with too much content, it is best to mix "sit-a-longs" sittings about 3 times a week with short written postings in between. We will still do the "live" sitting on Saturday as now. I see their point.

    As I said, I think it is an excellent opportunity to reach many people who do not know about the resources we have here. In fact, our subject for Precepts study this week happens to be ...

    To Refrain from Being Stingy with the Dharma Teachings and All Things ... [this] refers to the treasure which is the teachings of the Buddha, as well as to all the treasures to be found in this world.

    So, the move would be as early as later this month. All things are change. What do you think?

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi.

    Sounds good.
    We have to begin somewhere.
    Who knows, this might be the beginning of something?

    May the force be with you
    Tb

  3. #3

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hello Jundo,

    I'm not sure what you mean by moving the blog. Do you mean link with belief.net or access treeleaf through belief.net?

    Regards

    Philip

  4. #4

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi Philip,

    The current blog ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/

    ... wound be discontinued, and the "netcasts" and sit-a-long activities would be moved to beliefnet.com, for example, as at this place (with this guy) ...

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/choprafamily/

    This Forum would remain just as it is now.

    Gassho, Jundo

  5. #5

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi Jundo,

    I'm sceptical about this. Being hosted by a multi-national news corporation which does not have the best reputation with regards to impartial journalism and freedom of speech gives me an uneasy feeling. Their editors have already made 'suggestions' which, to my opinion, represent a major change in the structure and content of the blog (i.e. only 3 sit-a-longs per week). Do those editors have any connection to Soto Zen or Buddhism in general? To what extent will they be able to influence what goes on at Treeleaf? When I think of the 'suggestions' you received at E-Sangha...

    Of course your desire to reach a broader audience is admirable, I'm just not sure if this is the correct approach. Sorry if I'm being a party-pooper. ops: However, I think you're doing a fantastic job running things here on your own - without any outside influence from those who may have a different agenda :!:

    Anyway, that's just my 2 cents. If you really want to give it a go, then go for it. In that case, I'd give it a try too, and hope that my concerns prove to be unfounded.

    Gassho
    Ken

  6. #6

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi.

    They sit him here.
    They sit him there.
    Is he in heaven, or is he in hell?
    No one knows.
    Not even the scarlet pimpernell.

    I was wondering why you want to move, is it to much work running this?
    Is it better to "just have three sittings" a week?
    I understand that they want to keep the datainput at a minimum, but here we go 24/7.
    Would it be possible to still have "a-sitting-per day" and do the "beliefnetthing" somehow?
    I dont know about others, but i for one will miss your daily talks...
    And what about the vow to sit online for nine years? :twisted:

    May the force be with you
    Tb

  7. #7

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi Ken,

    I certainly don't feel like I am binding myself to anything. I believe that I can terminate the arrangement at any time if it is not working out. The editors, so far, have not insisted on anything, and have limited themselves to suggestions. I have found most of their suggestions very constructive. They seem to like the content of what I have been doing and just want me to continue (no need to tone down anything). I even made a point of showing them recordings of my more outlandish and hardnosed talks ... they like it. They say I can keep on doing that.

    I sure don't think that Rupert Murdock gets into the day to day operations of the place. In fact, I am pretty sure he cares about little more than that he is not losing too much money on it.

    Look, I'm not making any money out of Treeleaf. I do it because my heart tells me it is what I should do. But I would not mind if folks knew about the resources we offer. This is a good way to do that.

    Frankly, I think very little will change from all of this ... and this place will remain about the same. All that will happen is the ability to tell people about it a bit better. That's why I am thinking to do it.

    Hi Tb,

    Yes, what I am thinking about now is to have a "talk" only three times a week or so, and more "silent sittings". The spaces between the words are just as important as the words in what we practice here.

    Gassho, J

  8. #8

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Yes, I would not tone down, or hesitate to say what I want to say. I made that clear with the editors. Anyway, they have a lot of very controversial, open minded religious types on Beliefnet, treading on dangerous ground far beyond me. For example ... here is a Christian columnist writing the Biblical case FOR Gay marriage ...

    The Religious Case for Gay Marriage
    By: Paul Raushenbush
    Tuesday December 9, 2008
    Lisa Miller at Newsweek writes this provocative, excellent case for gay marriage

    Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel--all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments--especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple--who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love--turn to the Bible as a how-to script? Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.

    .
    And Here is an attack by a blog columnist on Fox Star Bill O'Reilly ...

    One of the the most depressing aspects of the Advent season is the perennial reappearance of the "War Against Christmas" argument in some conservative political and religious circles. This story-line, most visibly associated with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, is based on the idea that Christians are being mortally offended, and perhaps even threatened in their religious liberties, by department-store decisions to peddle their wares under the slogan of "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas."
    http://blog.beliefnet.com/progressivere ... ge-wa.html

  9. #9

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    I agree that the Buddha-dharma and especially Zen are very under-represented at beliefnet.

    I don't see any real problem with the move with the exception of the 3 text only entries per week. I mean the idea is "sit-a-long with Jundo" not read along. Sure I may have fewer nightmares with text only entries...

    Seriously though, I don't think you would have submitted the idea to the group if you didn't see it had merit. Perhaps you could suggest a timer be inserted along with the text only entries, since the sitting is what makes the Leaf Blog unique.

    Besides you are driving this bus...I'm just the kid hanging his arm out the window.

  10. #10

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi Jundo,

    OK - since you've had personal contact with them you're obviously in a better position to judge the situation than I am. Let's give it a go and see what happens.

    Gassho
    Ken

  11. #11

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Frankly, I am surprised by all the supportive comments for everyday talks with "sit-a-long" sittings. I did not know that people actually liked it. Frankly, I always thought (especially as a Zen guy) that it was a bit too much blabbing on. More silence and space was called for between the words, and that it was better if I did not talk every day or even most days. But, I will speak to the Beliefnet folks again and see what they say. Gassho, Jundo

  12. #12

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi.

    First.


    Second.

    I "like" your "little talks". I often sit for about 30 min "just listening" them through (imagine my sumise as the "old ones disappeared" ) and then "just sit" for about 30 min.
    I think they somehow "complete the whole shebang" and it would be sad if they "weren't there".
    But as Rev R said, you're driving the bus, im just hanging out the window howling at babes...

    May the force be with you
    Tb

  13. #13

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi,

    I can't speak for other Treeleafers, but I watch all of the sit-a-longs and get a lot out of them. I usually just tune-in in the evening for the talk and don't do the sitting afterwards, though, since I prefer to sit in the morning for longer periods and in a different room (free of all distractions and electro-smog ).

    Having said that, I think reducing them to 3 a week would be OK, too. I shouldn't get too attached to them and I do appreciate that they must be very time consuming for you with their preparation and all that goes on 'behind the scenes'. Deep bows for that. I guess what alarmed me was that the editors wanted to make some seemingly radical changes right from the start. Based on the beliefnet.com articles you've posted since then, though, it doesn't look like there'll be all that much potential for conflict. I'll be interested to hear what other Sangha members have to say.

    Gassho
    Ken

  14. #14

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Iím not convinced the losses would outdo the gains.
    I have looked at the belief.net before but thought it was made with a middleclass North American audience in mind (I donít mean that to be offensive to any middleclass USA residence here :? ). The layout, adverts (of which are too many) as well as general news articles are all very limited in a global friendly way. To be honest Iím pretty sure I would have never found treeleaf if it was there from the beginning.

    I think one of treeleafís strengths to be the fact that it is its own thing with the potential of a global audience. Anyone anywhere could fit right in the moment they sign in. There are even enough multilingual people here to include none English speakers. I think the risk of submerging treeleaf in belief.net would either dissipate or sink this strength.

    Alternatively as we all have a certain responsibility to treeleaf maybe some of us could act as ambassadors where we are based and to try and promote Treeleaf. I am sure I could get a few articles printed in some magazines or papers in Spain and Gibraltar? This way maybe we could take some of the work load away from Jundo and hopefully provide the chance for new readers to see the site? (just a thought).

    Sorry to sound so negative and I look forward to other peoples thoughts.

    Philip

  15. #15

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    On first read i was like OMFG NO!! -FOX??! Nooooooo!

    Seriously that was in my head. Interestingly the topic in our Jukai discussion was about being stingy with the Dharma assets right? So my initial voice needed to stfu and take a seat while i thought about it some more.

    So Far reaching is good, the format we currently have is Awesome and I reallllly do

  16. #16
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hello all,

    I don't feel that sharing our sittings with others is a bad thing. However, I am not as familiar with beliefnet as others of you are. I'm okay with the move as long as, if it doesn't work out, we can return here for the sit alongs...But I'm sure Jundo will be careful not to be trapped into continuing anything with them if it becomes uncomfortable or if they start to try changing Treeleaf's mission.

    I do enjoy the talks before we sit though and would be saddened to only have three sit alongs a week, as I sit with them now most everyday. I'm open to trying it out with the written talks mixed in, but it makes me uncomfortable to think that (like some of you have also shared) beliefnet is already wanting to make these changes to something that has worked for us for so long. I don't find sitting everyday and the talks overwhelming and never have since I started not even a year ago.

    If others are overwhelmed on the beliefnet site, they can simply choose not to "sit a long" everyday.

    I tend to agree with Philip regarding the content I've found on beliefnet. It seems too western, too cold and too 'new age' so to speak. I live in North America, but I believe that as a "westerner" we need more of the eastern influence and philosophies that so enrich the Buddhist culture.

    But I trust Jundo and his judgement. I am not opposed to the change, as I've mentioned. I just hope it doesn't take anything away from what you've (Jundo and all of the Sangha members) worked so hard to build up here.

    I really wasn't very helpful, was I?

    Gassho,
    Kelly

  17. #17

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    I panicked at first reading, but with further thought settled down. A little. a few random thoughts:

    1. I've subscribed to the B-Net 'daily buddhist readings' for a while now, to get my daily sound-bite of Buddhist writings. I've never seen much in the discussions, forums or blogs otherwise that interested me much. Looking carefully a the current B-Net blog list, Jundo will be in with some major famous names, which is a complement. On the other hand, most of my impressions are that the writings there are for casual readers, shallow content, and a way to spout personal opinions. I wouldn't want Jundo to devolve into just another 'talking head'.

    2. I probably use the daily 'sit with Jundo' less than anyone else here, since I can't access the blog at work, and I can't sit at home. But, I go into the blog at night to catch up on the readings there. So, in that respect, having fewer sitting and more readings would actually work to my benefit.

    3. The people who come here, IMHO, are serious seekers who want a depth of study or teachings not found elsewhere. What I'm hearing is that moving the blog would be 'good advertising' for Treeleaf. First, if people aren't interested enough to find it as it is now, are they interested enough to become part of the family? Second, I still worry that the floodgates would open--I'm assuming that all new people would still have to register and be admitted by Jundo's moderation, but to say that there won't be that much of it is perhaps naive. Finally, I see B-Net as a home for seekers, dabblers, and curiousity folks. Treeleaf is for those who have gone beyond those stages. Okay, I'm being a parochial close-minded snob here, but those are my honest thoughts...we don't need advertising--the people we want are the people who have gone through the trouble to find us.

    4. B-Net already has a zen forum. If I were to find Jundo's blog there first, I would look at the zen forum there first. How will it happen to know that the forum there and the forum here are totally different, and that Jundo has no part in that forum already? and, in admittedly direct contradiction to my concern in item 3 above, perhaps people there would find Jundo's blog, then look inside B-Net and find that forum, and whether they realize it is or is not related to Jundo's blog, just stop there thinking they are home. I've frankly never found that forum very interesting.

    5. Treeleaf is like going to Jundo's cabin in the woods (very figureatively). B-Net is the biggest shopping center in the largest urban city. I live a fairly isolated life, and this is the only 'community' of any sort that I've been a part of in decades. I love and trust the sangha, and feel warm and comfortable here. I deeply worry that putting any part of treeleaf into the middle of that shopping center will unavoidably change other parts of it, somehow. It's easy for us to share our lives on a personal basis. Advertising is done with the objective to get more people involved. At some point, the more people are here the more public it gets and the less personal it could be. I'm frankly scared of crowds. If this results in the forum getting too big, or somehow otherwise shifting (despite Jundo's assurance that won't happen--with more people some type of qualitative change is inevitable) then I'll probably go back to just reading, and hunker back down in my little heritage-home.

    okay, those are my thoughts and fears. I thought about doing this in an email to Jundo, but I'm just a little too curious what other peoples thoughts would be.

    thanks, Ann

  18. #18

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    my primary reason for being with treeleaf is to sit with others in the zen hall, just as i would if there was a physical zen center down the street -- unfortunately, this has not happened -- but i continue to hope that it will, and i will continue to sit in the hall(currently having a wifi antenna problem, so no webcam today) -- this is the major feature that i would not want to see altered, i.e., please keep the zen hall

    i am not as attached to daily talks -- weekly is fine, more ok - but again, i really like sitting with others, including jundo -- yes, for me, all the talk, definitely including my own, is blah-blah-blah, re:zen -- i need to practice zazen

    gassho, bob

  19. #19

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    after giving it some thought i must say as most of the sangha have said.... i like the sit along and i really do like your talks Jundo, as i have said many times, i feel you speak from the bottom of your heart and it touches me, thank you so much for that... Gassho!

    so i would like to have a talk everyday... but you 3 a week is alright too.

    also as others have said if it doesnt work out we can always go back to what was before or even find something else... i dont think that the core of this sangha can be dissolved by something. we will always sit together even if we are so many kilometers apart.

    as for the talks themselves i was wondering will we still be using ustream? or do they have some other thing that lets you preload the talks ( in my opinion the only problem with the talks are the technical ones ). i would love to be able to preload them or even download them and view them at my own time... without the need to pause every minute or so to watch and listen to them ( sometimes it took me 30 minutes to here a 5 minute talk ).

    as for new people coming to the forum it would be nice... as much as i like the old and familiar it is always nice to meet new people who are truly interested and wish to join.... so far everyone who came here are getting along very well and it really feels like a sangha to me... Thank you everyone i really do hold you all in very high regard... may you be well and happy!

    bottom line is i am not against it, i would like to see what happens and how it goes if it doesnt work out.... well in that case we will work something out

    Gassho.

  20. #20
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi all,

    I had been checking the forum about once a day this past week and things were generally quiet, but I get in today and see all the buzz! So, my $0.02.

    My inital reaction is to be not very enthusiastic about the change. I have visted Beliefnet here and there over the years and I have never found it a useful place to visit regularly. It serves a very large population which is potentially a good thing, but some of the forum discussions get downright nasty. A friend of mine once volunteered to run a board but quit after a month due to all the strife. Hearing that it's run by Murdoch's cadre doesn't really surprise me or give me any more enthusiasm for the change.

    With all that said, I have come to trust Jundo's judgment in how he runs things and to let him find his own way without too much complaining. I do worry about losing the family feel we've created around here but that's always the case when something is growing and changing. To cling to what is and to not be open to what could be is very un-buddhist in my opinion.

    For me, I have really enjoyed the daily sit a longs and always wish there were more of them. I can see why Jundo wouldn't want to commit to one everyday since there may be days where he doesn't have that much to say (that's where the silent sittings have come in nicely). However, putting a limit of 3 a week would make me sad and I just wonder if Beliefnet's suggestions would soon become "strong suggestions" and so forth.

    Ultimately, I think Jundo can keep the feel he has created even at Beliefnet and I assume there is no ironclad contract that says he can't resume what Treeleaf has been if things don't go as planned. I do like that we seem to be out on our own island here at Treeleaf and I would actually encourage any plan that prompted more ferries and folks stopping by, but this feels like moving the whole operation to the mainland and adding it to a very busy street. I think there is some value in the fact that you have to do some searching to find us but I can't quarrel with Jundo's desire to open us up to more potential visitors.

    If I had a vote, I'd vote no, but 1) I don't have a vote and 2) there's a reason for that. It's Jundo's show and I support him in anything he decides he'd like to do. I do thank him however for opening up the topic for discussion.

    Gassho,
    Scott

  21. #21

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Jundo I'll respect and abide by the yours and the majority decision.
    My only thing with them is that their web page is "busier" than a teen's MySpace profile. :shock: :mrgreen:

  22. #22

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    I vote to give it a shot. We won't really know the downsides and upsides until the move, and Jundo would move it back from beliefnet if this move causes significant problems. I've been to beliefnet before but never spent much time there because there wasn't much there I was interested in. I admit, I like that we are a little of the beaten path. Not so much that people can't find us, but just enough that we aren't blasted by large amounts of traffic.

    There was an old farmer in the country. One day, his stallion broke its fence and ran away. His neighbors said "that's so bad!" The old farmer just shrugged and said "Maybe".

    The next day, wanting some oats, the stallion returned. And, it brought three wild fillies with it. His neighbors said "that's great luck!" The old farmer just shrugged and said "Maybe".

    The farmer's teenage son went out to break one of the new horses. It bucked him, and he broke his leg. His neighbors said "what horrible luck!" The old farmer just shrugged and said "Maybe".

    The army then came around, conscripting young men to fight in a war. Because of the broken leg, they didn't take the farmer's teenage son. The neighbors said "what great luck!" The old farmer just shrugged and said "Maybe...."
    Gassho,
    Bill

  23. #23

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi Fellow Leafers,

    Okay, let me make then four promises to everybody ...

    1- I intend to keep doing what we do on the blog here ... just over there. No change in the content, seriousness, or timeless profundity of what I try to discuss on the blog. Serious Zen Buddhism for serious zen folks (except when it is silly and crazy Buddhism for silly and crazy Zen folks, like on many days!). Just like now. As far as I am concerned, it is just a change in web address so more folks doing Zazen alone at home can know about that.

    2- The fact of the matter is that technological limitations have meant that, for all practical purposes, I cannot get a video posted at least 2 or 3 days a week, even now. Unless the connection is perfect, it cuts out or will not connect at all. This past week, my family and I were in a place where internet conditions were primitive. There are many many sittings that never get posted because, after the sitting, I find it just did not record or disconnected near the start. I still manage to get about 4 or more sittings up each week, even if it means repeating two or three times my talk and sitting, or walking around town for a strong connection. (Truly, the fact that we got the Rohatsu Retreat recorded without a hitch ... something of a ROHATSU CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! ) Oh, and life does have its say too ... sick kids, sick me, unexpected work emergencies. I sometimes cover this by reposting a special sitting from the past. Anyway, I still vow to sit each and every day which the universe (and the world wide web within it) allows! Other days will be a "re-sit" or a written posting.

    3- I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS FORUM TO CHANGE IN ATMOSPHERE OR WARMTH OR SERIOUSNESS OR COZINESS. Even if some "just curious" folks stop in ... they never stay. In fact, to limit people from entering our gates (an old Zen trick ... they used to keep prospective monks sitting Zazen outside in the snow for a week before letting 'em in), I will require anyone joining the Forum in the future to commit to sitting Zazen (and that means Shikantaza) daily, or they should not come in (with special exceptions, such as people who strike me as truly with a need).

    4- I promise to try the beliefnet thing for, for example, 6 months or a year. If it does not work, we will come back to the old format. (One thing about my being a retired lawyer ... I will read the fine print of the contract closely to make sure we are protected).

    Okay, please know how much this place means to me as much as everyone. I will not let it degrade or go down the drain. You'll see.

    I am not Deepockets Chopra, I am not looking to make any money from this. Nor do I have the charismatic personality (or good looks) to do more than we are doing here, or to attract a wide non-Zenny audience. There is a small payment that may come from Beliefnet at a certain point, and I have already told them that it is going to be donated to charity.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - And however you feel about Rupert Murdock, you gotta give him one thing ... He did bring the world the Simpsons!


  24. #24

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Man
    Deepockets Chopra
    Oh snap! :lol:

  25. #25

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Iím new here so please take my comment with a grain of salt butÖ.. One of my primary concerns would be as Ann has statedÖ.

    Quote Originally Posted by chessie
    Treeleaf is like going to Jundo's cabin in the woods (very figureatively). B-Net is the biggest shopping center in the largest urban city. I live a fairly isolated life, and this is the only 'community' of any sort that I've been a part of in decades. I love and trust the sangha, and feel warm and comfortable here. I deeply worry that putting any part of treeleaf into the middle of that shopping center will unavoidably change other parts of it, somehow. It's easy for us to share our lives on a personal basis. Advertising is done with the objective to get more people involved. At some point, the more people are here the more public it gets and the less personal it could be. I'm frankly scared of crowds. If this results in the forum getting too big, or somehow otherwise shifting (despite Jundo's assurance that won't happen--with more people some type of qualitative change is inevitable) then I'll probably go back to just reading, and hunker back down in my little heritage-home.
    Although there may be a gate to be able to post, I am not sure how comfortable I would be in having personal comments posted on such a large forum for others to read. Yes I know we are all on the web at Treeleaf, but it does feel a bit off in the woods. Just my two cents....
    Gassho,
    BrianW

  26. #26
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    I'm with Bill.

    Ron

  27. #27

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi Jundo and Treeleaf folks.

    This morning when I read the post exploring the possibility of moving the virtual Sangha to a more commercial venue, I jotted lots of thoughts down intending to write this evening. Wow you guys have been busy, reading over all the posts that have been written today just about addresses all my negative and a few positive thoughts.

    A couple of things that are important to me. When I first started looking at Treeleaf last April, I wanted in because of the manner Jundo lead the Sangha and his down to earth teaching. For years I have read several Buddhist journals and was put off by what seemed to be sort of a supermarket Buddhism. Pick a few eggs from this basket, a bagel from that basket etc. and then pretend it is a meal.

    I was getting discouraged, until I found Jundo and Treeleaf. It is simple, direct and holds to a single lineage. I look to Jundo as a teacher, guide and over the last months a friend.

    I do not want to loose this.

    The second thought may not be valid, only Jundo can decide. Out here in West Texas (way out) there are not an abundance of Doctors. Those that are good, have well over a thousand patients. A situation that equates to long waits, short to the point visits, and a feeling that the Dr. really did not remember you from the last visit.

    So Jundo, what if this becomes a landslide of folks joining Treeleaf? Can you find some way not to be overwhelmed? I donít know how you do it all now.

    I sure would hate to loose this close relationship because Jundo is simply snowed under.

    As far as daily talks, they are very important if for no other reason that we get to see his smiling face and a reminder to keep our practice up front in everything we do for the day, from our time on the zafu, to our interpersonal relations with those we contact.

    Not too worried about commercial aspects of the new site. Did any of you see those pop up advertisements in the last few weeksí right under Jundoís face? Easy to click the X and ignore.

    Finally, the only negative issues I have found with maintaining an on line Sangha are the technical problems. Perhaps this can be a blessing in that we no longer would wonder where Jundo went or why his lips arenít moving or why a blank white screen in the Zendo!

    So thatís my thoughts, and I think Jundo addressed them all in his posts on this thread.

    Jim (Lorax)

  28. #28

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi all,

    I trust in your judgement Jundo. I hope all will go smoothly at beliefnet. After all, I only found this place after looking at brad warners blog and my genuine interest in zen (soto) started only after reading warner's book hardcore zen. I came from a theravadin background and have not been able to go to a sitting or dhamma talk in ages and ages, so treeleaf is great. In that way if people from a broader audience find treeleaf easier to locate ,then so much the better.

    On the other hand I find it difficult to be take news corp seriously. I mean as an aussie, Rupert Murdoch being one too, you already know how biased his papers and media outlets are. It is amazing that so many of his organisations uniformly hold the one right wing views of everything. And they don't even have divergent right wing views.

    Coming from an economics background, it's tiresome to listen and see only lopsided views on any topic that is the general news corp approach to everything. Fair and balanced is the kind of orwellian newspeak you thought people would see through and still people are duped. I'm not saying this would effect treeleaf if it moved to beliefnet, which is altogether different subset of news media anyway. But it is a concern in the back of the mind.

    Mettha.

    Aswini.

  29. #29

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    so does this mean we need an acount over there now? does the forum stay here but the videos are just over there?

  30. #30

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Quote Originally Posted by jcsuperstar
    so does this mean we need an acount over there now? does the forum stay here but the videos are just over there?
    Yes, the Forum would stay here and the videos over there. You would not need any new account. G, J

  31. #31

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Mmmmm :? don't feel to good about that prospect.

    The links with such commercialism, reduced talks & sittings, is it the thin end of a wedge from their side :? Get you in and then start tightening the screws.

    It must be nice to be invited, but I very much doubt it's for their love for 'guided zen'

    From day one, one of the reasons I liked treeleaf was your talks and sittings. I have enough to just read on Zen/Buddhism.

    But it's your party and you are the one trying to manage it as best you can and you are the teacher here.

    In gasho, Kev

  32. #32
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Yes, it's a bit unsettling. I suppose change always is. I like Jundo's connection to the precept about not being stingy with the dharma teaching, though.

    Also, Jundo has often (ok, sometimes) encouraged us to sit zazen outside the home, and there have been broadcasts e.g., from a public park. I like that. I sit most of my zazen at work,and I do that mainly because it justs fits better into my schedule that way. But I also feel that if I can't sit zazen - or find the mind of zazen - in the middle of my confused and hectic life, then what good is it? It would just be an escape. And I think we can probably "do treeleaf" even on Rupert Murdoch's site, and if we couldn't, then that would be someting to work on.

    Gassho

    Martin

  33. #33

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi Guys

    just to add my two cents to this debate

    - thank you Jundo for seeking our views
    - Jundo is the driver of the bus, I am just a bozo
    - we have a couple of years worth of past Jundo daily talks, which we can dip into if we have withdrawal symptoms
    - I trust Jundo to police this forum, just as he has demonstrated in the past
    - I would suggest a 3-6 month pilot & review
    - all life is change

    Take care

    Jools

  34. #34

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    It's time to speak:

    This is a tricky one. I'm naturally very wary of anything connected to Rupert Murdoch and the profit-centred world view of large corporations... And what Chessie said about those finding Treeleaf being the people who take the trouble to find it struck a chord... BUT:
    a) I trust Jundo's judgement and am reassured by the fact that he has a background in law! Just as long as belief net doesn't end up owning the rights to Treeleaf and we can bail if necessary.
    b) Spreading the Dharma is what it's all about and this could help Treeleaf reach more people. God knows, the world needs it! We are one consciousness. If we can help drop a little more peace into that collective then we might see some real change for the better in this world. Ultimately, the political and social world is an effect of our collective consciousness. The more people sit, the better!
    c) the technology gliches must be a bit of a pain in the....

    So, all things considered, I would give it a try. If we don't, we'll never know...

    I enjoy the daily 'sit-alongs' and often check eagerly when I get back from work to see if something has been posted. They are inspiring and help motivate me to sit. However, treeleaf must be a heck of a lot of work so three 'sit-alongs' + the live Saturday Zazenkai might be more manageable and Jundo could put more into those and focus on what he really wants to say...

    Don't know if I've said anything constructive but here it is! I just also want to say that I really appreciate all you folks in the Sangha and I'm proud to be part of Treeleaf and share it with you. Knowing you guys are out there gives me a lot of strength

    Gassho,
    David

  35. #35
    Myoshin
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    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Well I must say, like others, the prospect of the commercialized guided zen with Jundo at a Fox controlled page was a bit of a startler, but after reading all the posts and thinking on the issue. I must ask one thing...Why not? It seems that if this does not work out that we can pull out of the "Happy Zen Talks from your humble gassho-ing host with the most JUNDO!"

    I do like the sit-along videos and think they are a great experience, but I also think that experience should be shared, we cannot keep this solely for ourselves.

    In all seriousness though, I must say that I trust Jundo in this matter, as many others have said, this is his bus, I am just the semi-quiet one in the back who chirps in every once and a while.

    So all in all, I say we should give it a go, if anything happens or some extreme suggestions occur Jundo has assured that he can get out of it, so I see no harm in giving something new a try.


    Just my opinion. I look forward to see what comes out of this.

    Gassho from the back of the bus 8) ,

    Kyle

  36. #36

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hey Folks!

    Let's just give it a try, Jundo is a lawyer after all. The "worst" that can happen is that everything stays the way it is...although I do think that a few new challenges could await. The fact that the overall mood here at treeleaf is able to sustain its healthy and welcoming balance is also due to the fact that at this moment in time not tooo many people are involved, I mean we've been going for a quite a few months now and haven't had any truly nasty troll attacks here... let's just see what happens. I'm sure we won't be exposed to Jundo Chopra or something

    Gassho,

    Hans ( a media muppet himself)

  37. #37

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi, Jundo...

    don't forget to tell us the address of your talks in beliefnet. And it will be better if you post the link of your talks in to our treeleaf blog... so it will not make some folks become confuse for searching your talks in beliefnet, remembering there are a lot of other's blog in beliefnet, i think....

    Thanks..

    Gassho, Shuidi

  38. #38

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hello Jundo and Sangha:

    I think this would be an allright change, real Buddhism and Zen are under represented (even misrepresented) in our society and this would be a wonderful way to reach out to so many people with Dharma.

    Sounds like the sit-alongs will remain, silent sittings would be great, three talks a week would be great too. I love the talks they are very useful and informative -- but as a Dogen style Shikantaza based group I think we all understand that while words and itellectualization are a guide to the way; practice is the way :P

    I understand the concerns that have been expressed and they are legitimate. However, If things don't work out Jundo can always switch back to the blog on blogger.

    Let's not be afraid --- Belief.net actually seems to have a high quality of information and we have something to offer them as well. I think we should embrace the opportunity. Overall I think there is not much to loose, we can always change course if things go the wrong way, but it might turn out to be a really good thing ---- let's try it.

  39. #39
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    I do not want to repeat much of the ground that has been so well covered and issues that have been so well expressed.

    Two points:

    1) Consistent with the precept study this week regarding stinginess and the dharma - we do not wish to be stingy, but what is the intention of those who receive, or in this case, host, the teaching? Fox represents the Wal-mart of news outlets - driving smaller, local, independent outlets out of business. The independence of our Sangha and the freedom of our discussion is paramount - freedom may not be circumscribed just by restrictions on exercise of speech but by access as well-if it is difficult for us to access the blog due to traffic, etc., our freedom of speech is being curtailed. I value the dharma talks, and I feel their frequency provides the currency and vitality of the sangha, at least to me.... three a week I could accept, but the trend worries me....

    2) Which leads me to the second point - if the decision is to reevaluate after several months - does the terms of service agreement allow for the blog, its content, and membership to disengage? Jundo is the attorney, and I am not, but there are parallels to Intellectual property law in this space. Does any of the content, discussion history, private messaging, member information, etc., become property of the new host, and therefore unretrievable in the event the decision is made to withdraw after several months? I may be making much of nothing, and I stress again that I am not an attorney, but I would like to make sure this issue is covered. If individuals continue to post with the same level of honesty and inquiry as they have in the past, these posts might be more easily available to those conducting background checks via the internet for employment, etc. These posts can be found now if the right combination of keywords are employed, but it is difficult. A higher profile host and enhanced membership identification requirements might threaten the level of openness that exists. We must understand that anything we post on the web is public content...

    Gassho,
    Alex

  40. #40

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi Guys,

    I emphasize again that the only thing I foresee really changing is the URL (internet address) of the blog ... not anything about the blog itself, or content of the blog or the style, no limitations on what can or will be said by your charming host. I will continue to be the same silly billy as always. And as I said, about the same number of talks per week as until now (given technical realities) .

    There are no issues of limited access because of heavy traffic. And this forum is not moving or changing in any way. So, no question of impact on the content here, discussion history, private messaging, member information or anything here. This forum is untouched.

    If it becomes a concern, I suppose there is a way to set up a private "members only" area of this Forum, password protected, for somewhat more sensitive discussions (I really have not considered the issue).

    You'll see.

    Politically, I am no fan of Foxnews in any way. But, gee, you guys never go to see a 20th Century Fox movie, never watch a Fox tv show? I promise you that I will not become the Bill O'Reilly of Buddhism ("Hey, what about that war on Rohatsu?") *

    I promise you Fair and Balanced Zen! * :shock:

    Gassho, J

    *Not sure that joke will make sense outside the US.

    PS- And haven't you guys heard of the famous "Fox Koan"???

    The wild fox k?an, also known as "Pai-chang 's fox" and "Hyakuj? and a Fox," is an influential k?an story in the Zen tradition dating back as early as 1036, when it appeared in the Chinese biographical history T'ien-sheng kuang-teng lu. It was also in The Gateless Gate (Japanese: Mumonkan), a 13th century collection of 48 k?ans compiled by the Chinese monk Wumen.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_fox_koan

  41. #41

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hey guys,

    I think a lot of this concern over Beliefnet suggesting that Jundo change the content of his teaching is a bit unwarranted.

    A few points:

    1. Jundo has given his word that this won't happen. Some of you old timers know that if Jundo ever slips on his word, we are encouraged to call shenanigans. (aside: speaking of which, what happened to Harry?) Personally, I don't think the old man ever takes a promise lightly.

    2. To use his own metaphor, Jundo sells fish. If you are looking for something other than fish, you are talking to the wrong guy. It applies to folks coming to Treeleaf for instruction in Soto Zen, it applies to his current teaching method on blogspot, and it will apply to what is presented on Beliefnet.

    3. I've seen with my own two eyes that Jundo will go from teddy bear to hardass in .3 seconds if he is told that he can't teach a certain way. If other "Buddhists" can't push him around, I seriously doubt the staff of Beliefnet can.

    To the point of looky-loos:

    Honestly, I think that concern is a bit elitist. It's almost like folks are saying, "Please Master, keep the doors locked! Do not allow that unwashed rabble in our sacred space!" Although the precept of Generosity keeps getting tossed about, the vibe I'm getting seems like it's being kept begrudgingly and not with a heart of genuine compassion. Every one of us was curious or a looky-loo at some point.

    My opinion is that the Way is open to everyone, period. This fear of some horde of new members flooding this forum might as well be taking a big dump on the Triple Gem.

    The lotus grows in mud.


    R

  42. #42

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    If it becomes a concern, I suppose there is a way to set up a private "members only" area of this Forum, password protected, for somewhat more sensitive discussions (I really have not considered the issue).
    This is an excellent idea! Even in Treeleafís current form, I have thought that it would be nice to have the opportunity to post some comments in a somewhat less public mannerÖ..a bit more like discussions one might have in a non-virtual sanga. Probably 99% of posts could be left in the current public form, but one or two threads could be available for more private discussions.

    Change can be a bit threatening, but if handled wisely positive outcomes can result. This not only eases my concerns over a move to BELIEFNET.COM, but improves Treeleaf as it currently exists.

    Gassho,
    BrianW

  43. #43

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    "I promise you Fair and Balanced Zen!"

    Gassho, J

    Cool with me then.

    Gassho, Tina

  44. #44
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    For me, it comes down to whether or not I trust Jundo to make decisions about his own life...of course I do! I appreciate him asking us, but as the teacher and founder it is his perogative.

    One thing that did occur to me though: Is it really necessary to completely end the current blog to start the other? I'm guessing it's just less work and for that I can't find any fault, but even Chopra has his own blog on his website that seems apart from the one on Beliefnet.

    Just a thought. I'm up for anything teach!

  45. #45

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Unfortunately I think it's starting to get a little sour.
    Jundo asked all treeleafers what they thought about the changes he has in mind. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and to say their bit. They are also allowed to change that opinion, and more than once if they like.

    When people start suggesting others are being selfish or not getting to grips with the idea, because they hold a different opinion, it starts to become rather insulting and will not help the situation. I understand some people are very protective over this sangh and feel the changes Jundo is thinking of making might not be the best. On the other hand maybe some people are a little too protective over Jundo too. Either way is understandable and fine as long as it can be dealt with nicely.


    Gassho and fingers crossed,

    Philip

    Personally either I stay, go or come and go. It has always been like that.

  46. #46

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    hola emptyzen,

    My post was a general one. Just to make it clear you did not insult me and my post was not aimed at anyone in particular. Just an observation and a concern that judgements over other peoples opinions could snowball into petty arguments (this is a Sangha after all ).
    I am sure everyone who has posted here has thought through their concerns and what they want to say. This applies to all opinions.

    All the best,

    Philip

  47. #47

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi again

    I think I probably had the most negative, whiny and complaining reaction to this of anyone here. So, after more thought, I just wanted to add that of course, I also support Jundo and will quietly take my seat towards the back of the bus with the rest. I like the forum staying as it is, right here, and I like the 'lawyer' protection as well.

    It occured to me that since this is the only place I get out amongst people, really, then how can I begrudge the possibility that a B-Net blog would help other 'invisible, hidden' reclusive people to find the path to zazen, just as I did? Jundo's mission is both noble and passionate, and I really don't see this move as quite the threat to what we have, as I perhaps did at first.

    Another mind changed, just for the record--I'm in support.

    Gassho, Ann

  48. #48

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    While I share the reservations of many regarding the ownership of beliefnet.com, this is a good opportunity, as Jundo says, to not be "stingy with the Dharma..."

    If it was more than just the blog being moved, and if Jundo didn't have a background as a lawyer, I'd be more concerned. Intellectual property is such a commodity these days, and it would be a shame to see these efforts to share the Dharma become the property of someone else.

    If this move makes it easier to reach more people without compromising core values, it's certainly worth a try!

    Gassho
    A.

  49. #49

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Don't worry. I will remember all the 'little people' after I've gone HOLLYWOOD!


  50. #50

    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Gassho


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