Looking ahead...(split from ZFI topic)

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boda
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Looking ahead...(split from ZFI topic)

Post by boda » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:59 pm

Mod note: split from, Zen Forum International.

I feel sorry for Koshin, the dude that’s been posting his sitting history every day for the last decade at ZFI. Maybe someone should start a sitting diary thread for him here. On the other hand, he could have stopped at any time in the last ten years and no one would have noticed.

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anjali
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by anjali » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:02 pm

Dan, thanks for the update.
Dan74 wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:45 am
This is a shame, since as of now, there is no actually place online (AFAIK) where Zen/Seon/Thien Buddhists actively discuss the Dharma.
That's unfortunate, if true. I don't have any insights into the health of Zen in general, but from what little I do know, the Zen tradition in all it's flavors seems to be doing well, if the next generation of teachers like Meido and Guo Gu is any indication. It's unclear to me why the Zen community seems under-represented online. Maybe there is just a lot more info out there about Zen these days and it's easier for people to get their questions answered. Also, maybe the Zen community is utilizing other online platforms like facebook more effectively. :shrug:

Much like ZFI, Dharma Wheel has a small group of regulars, and our Zen forums are often quiet. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Quality over quantity. ;) However, if there are any members from other forums out there reading this, I think I can speak for the mod team, we'd be happy to welcome all flavors of Zen practitioners to DW to help grow a flourishing online community here, and if anyone wants to contact me with ideas how to do that, my PM door is open.

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Dan74
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Dan74 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:24 pm

anjali wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:02 pm
Dan, thanks for the update.
Dan74 wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:45 am
This is a shame, since as of now, there is no actually place online (AFAIK) where Zen/Seon/Thien Buddhists actively discuss the Dharma.
That's unfortunate, if true. I don't have any insights into the health of Zen in general, but from what little I do know, the Zen tradition in all it's flavors seems to be doing well, if the next generation of teachers like Meido and Guo Gu is any indication. It's unclear to me why the Zen community seems under-represented online. Maybe there is just a lot more info out there about Zen these days and it's easier for people to get their questions answered. Also, maybe the Zen community is utilizing other online platforms like facebook more effectively. :shrug:

Much like ZFI, Dharma Wheel has a small group of regulars, and our Zen forums are often quiet. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Quality over quantity. ;) However, if there are any members from other forums out there reading this, I think I can speak for the mod team, we'd be happy to welcome all flavors of Zen practitioners to DW to help grow a flourishing online community here, and if anyone wants to contact me with ideas how to do that, my PM door is open.
I wouldn't want to speculate about the health of the Zen tradition, but the specific question of online presence is something we can definitely discuss.

Some folks have expressed an opinion over the years that it would be better to have no online presence than one that gives a poor or misleading impression. It's worth considering, perhaps.

Then this 'quality over quantity' notion concerns me in the context of the fora, since it is often an excuse for a poorly run place that is getting progressively deserted. DW seems to have significantly less activity than a few years ago and hardly any on Zen, so it is of little Dharma interest for me personally. Is it indicative of the general trends, the way such places go, the way the Forum is run, or some combination of the above? I don't know, but I wouldn't cover up this phenomenon with the 'quality over quantity' figleaf. Although maybe you are right, and it's just the Zen folks that have gone, while the Vajra folks are happy with the way things are?

In any case, I have little hope for ZFI. I kinda hoped that a senior student would take that as a project and build a serious practice-focused place with a few solid teachers from a diversity of traditions and also a place for students to share.

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anjali
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by anjali » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:00 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:24 pm
Some folks have expressed an opinion over the years that it would be better to have no online presence than one that gives a poor or misleading impression. It's worth considering, perhaps.
There is certainly truth in that, not only for Zen, but for all the Buddhist traditions online. The remedy is having knowledgeable people around.
Then this 'quality over quantity' notion concerns me in the context of the fora, since it is often an excuse for a poorly run place that is getting progressively deserted. DW seems to have significantly less activity than a few years ago and hardly any on Zen, so it is of little Dharma interest for me personally. Is it indicative of the general trends, the way such places go, the way the Forum is run, or some combination of the above? I don't know, but I wouldn't cover up this phenomenon with the 'quality over quantity' figleaf.
Fair points. It's worth noting that the high point for most users online for DW was just last year with 1061 on Sat Oct 22, 2016. Not too long ago. As a moderator, I occasionally look at the number of users online. It's varied widely from the low 300s to upper 800s, mostly in the 500s+. For example, a quick look says there are 599 users online. A lot of guests seem to read this forum.

Regarding the fig leaf issue. In a vibrant community, all sorts of discussions are going on, as different topics are explored and new members continue to come on board. The new member thing might be part of the problem for bulletin board decline. There are other competing platforms for people's attention. Also, it's unclear to me how many of the younger generations are interested in BBS-style discussion.
Although maybe you are right, and it's just the Zen folks that have gone, while the Vajra folks are happy with the way things are?
Obviously there have been issues with some of our Varjayana members in the past. I can't speak for the community as a whole, but hopefully a sense of good-will has returned/is returning, and people feel welcome to participate.
In any case, I have little hope for ZFI. I kinda hoped that a senior student would take that as a project and build a serious practice-focused place with a few solid teachers from a diversity of traditions and also a place for students to share.
Did you have anyone in mind. I remember there was some talk of Jundo taking ownership, but that was shot down. He did have some interesting ideas which seem to echo your sentiment. One of the innovative features implemented on ZFI was the "Ask a Teacher" forum. But it seems in decline like the rest of ZFI.

If you don't mind me asking, what would you like to see happen here on DW to improve our Zen community?

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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Dan74 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:08 pm

If you look through the moderator forum, I had put forward a bunch of proposals when I was part of the team and others have put forward theirs and there was a discussion. Also on the public side of the forum.

Frankly, I don't think Jundo is the right person to run a Zen forum. For starters, he sits on the fringe of the zen world, he is focused on his identity as a rebel and a reformer, and as much as I think that he means well and may well be a really nice guy, as a Zen teacher, I'm sorry to say, he is all tip and no iceberg. Or so it seems to me.

Who do I have in mind? One of the regular teachers, like Guo Gu or Meido could possibly have a senior student who'd be willing to take it on. A person who is a great facilitator, has a feel for what serious practice entails and is willing to give a chunk of their time. But last I asked Gregory W was unwilling to relinquish the reigns. So...

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anjali
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by anjali » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:53 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:08 pm
If you look through the moderator forum, I had put forward a bunch of proposals when I was part of the team and others have put forward theirs and there was a discussion. Also on the public side of the forum.
Ok. I'll take a look around. I just sent you a PM.
Who do I have in mind? One of the regular teachers, like Guo Gu or Meido could possibly have a senior student who'd be willing to take it on. A person who is a great facilitator, has a feel for what serious practice entails and is willing to give a chunk of their time. But last I asked Gregory W was unwilling to relinquish the reigns. So...
An interesting proposal. Do you think something like that could work here?

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Astus
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Astus » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:01 pm

anjali wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:02 pm
Also, maybe the Zen community is utilizing other online platforms like facebook more effectively. :shrug:
For one, the "Soto Zen Buddhism" group on facebook is quite active.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by passel » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:13 pm

As a longtime zennie my off the cuff hypothesis would be three factors:

1) the anglophone zen community has never been very united- communities were established well before the kind of connectivity we’re accustomed to was possible. There is not all that much on common among communities.

2) they’re all pissed off at each other. The scandals of the last held decade have been vicious, with Sweeping Zen aggressively fanning the flames. I haven’t really spent time on ZFI, but I got the impression it spilled over there too. So you have damaged relationships without much foundation, so why bother. Anglophone zen is limping, generally. With some notable exceptions.

3) zen people run out of things to say to one another pretty quickly. No one wants to study, or reflect much, and when they talk about zazen it’s just to assert personal experiences or opinions. Anglophone zen is pretty stagnant- there are some centers I love (Great Vow would be one), but on the whole they’re cut off from Asian traditions, the texts are still pretty inaccessible, and the kind of armchair scholasticism you get in some parts of the TB and Vipassana/Theravada community just isn’t there. Zen forms are a scoffolding for whatever the individual practitioner’s view already is
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by jake » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:41 pm

Astus wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:01 pm
anjali wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:02 pm
Also, maybe the Zen community is utilizing other online platforms like facebook more effectively. :shrug:
For one, the "Soto Zen Buddhism" group on facebook is quite active.
I see a lot of activity these days on Facebook for discussing Buddhist related things. I don't understand why people prefer FB though, it is just a long mess of posts and almost impossible to keep tabs on topics, quote, etc.

Why do you think people prefer FB?
“The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in the red zone."

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:30 pm

jake wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:41 pm
... I don't understand why people prefer FB though, it is just a long mess of posts and almost impossible to keep tabs on topics, quote, etc.
Agreed.
jake wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:41 pm
Why do you think people prefer FB?
Because it's integral to their 'normal' (worldly) life? :thinking:

Because more people are included in the discussion? :thumbsup:

Because they don't care about sustained discussions? :toilet:

Because it comes to them, they don't have to go it? :popcorn:

All of the above?

:coffee:
Kim

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KeithA
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by KeithA » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:14 pm

Hi all,

I hope this doesn't devolve into a "bash zen and zfi" thread. It is what it is. As has been already mentioned, with Zen you pretty much run out of things to say. It's a mystic tradition that seeks to attain that which can't be explained by words. Kind of the antithesis of a discussion forum. But the folks that engage in the discussions there do seem to have a sense of respect and love for each other, even if the banter is well, mostly just banter. I do hope things get sorted and appreciate the conversation that has occurred here.

Much love,
Keith
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New Haven Zen Center

boda
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by boda » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:41 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:45 am
I've found that ZFI had devolved into a very small club with a definite flavor that didn't quite resonate with me. Not a comment on the active participants, but as a Forum I find it to be a travesty when it shrinks from a pretty vibrant place to a little chatroom dominated by a few regulars. Not sure why this happened since I was inactive for some years.
Things tend to reflect the character of those who control them. No mystery really.

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Astus
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Astus » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:10 am

jake wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:41 pm
Why do you think people prefer FB?
A number of logical reasons have already been given here by Passel and Kim. Or we could just say that nowadays discussion boards are not trending as much as social networks.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Lindama
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Lindama » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:18 am

Interesting discussion.... can't disagree with anything although it's good to remember the view is limited looking from the outside. I'm longtime ZFI and occasional DW.... as I remember, Astus had a good appreciation of zen. I've been on both sides so I can appreciate zen, dzogchen and Tibetan. experience mostly zen with deep appreciation of my brothers and sisters.

Discussions like this arise when a death is approaching, not the first time ... I appreciate your observations. No one knows what will happen beyond this unplanned technical glitch, if that's what it is. It's been considered before in house.... zen runs out of things to say, we can call it devolving to a chat room or we can say it's about where the rubber hits the road... ie how we live our lives as part of practice. Personally, I've seen many good zen folks disappear who could contribute. In the beginning, ZFI was an important source of sutra and the basics of zen for me. Fortunately, I have an archive of saved writings tho in truth, I rarely refer to them. As far as I know, it was the motivation (to save the archive) to keep it going with declining participation. Beyond that, it's a complex web that I don't understand.... and you're hearing just a few observations from me. If ZFI continues, I know that Guo Gu and Meido will be there .... we all can walk with them. If for whatever reason, it doesn't... it occurs to me in writing this that it would be for the good of all to investigate the possibility of consolidating the rich dharma that exists at PZI with DW. .... hey, that's just me.... The key is looking at what is sustainable in our inheritance.
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:51 am

Lindama wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:18 am
... it occurs to me in writing this that it would be for the good of all to investigate the possibility of consolidating the rich dharma that exists at PZI with DW. .... hey, that's just me.... The key is looking at what is sustainable in our inheritance.
I'm not sure how that would work on the technical side but there would be a certain sense of completing the circle if it happened - see https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=499

:namaste:
Kim

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Lindama
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Lindama » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:54 am

Kim... it's just a wild idea... it's just me, I'm nobody .... it's not about solutions at this point.

step by step in the dark.... if your foot is not wet, you've found the stone.

:namaste:

ps... thanks Kim, sweet to see ZFI before it was born... it's my first forum, so no baggage to bring :tongue:
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho

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Anders
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Anders » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:18 am

jake wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:41 pm
Why do you think people prefer FB?
real identities helps to keep things real.

The same will happen to DW sooner or later.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Ayu
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by Ayu » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:35 pm

Anders wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:18 am
jake wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:41 pm
Why do you think people prefer FB?
real identities helps to keep things real.

The same will happen to DW sooner or later.
I know many young people who do not register at FB with their real name or photo of their face. At least in Germany amongst some people it is considered as not so smart to let google view into your identity and life.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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KeithA
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by KeithA » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:40 pm

boda wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:47 pm
KeithA wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:14 pm
It is what it is. As has been already mentioned, with Zen you pretty much run out of things to say.
Is that really the way it is? There was a Zen forum (zenforum.com) that preceded ZFI which was quite lively. It ran into some sort of trouble, but wasn't lacking in things to discuss.

Small online groups, of any sort, may run out of things to say. I remember after ZFI started and a 'critical mass' was achieved. The loss of that critical mass wasn't due to people running out of things to say. But hey, it is what it is.
I think the answer to the question is in the response. We reached "critical mass" and then it kind of petered out. The most popular discussion was by far the Shimano thing. I do sometimes wonder if the heavy-handed moderation contributed do the decline, as well. Even though I was on the receiving end of it (recently, in fact), I was never opposed to it. It was an attempt to maintain some sense of civility. The problem is that the internet is too unruly for that. :shrug:

Anyway, yes, I do feel that Zen doesn't provide a whole lot to talk about. Just look at the Zen section here. It's pretty quiet. :buddha1:

Keith
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New Haven Zen Center

boda
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Re: Zen Forum International

Post by boda » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:13 pm

KeithA wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:40 pm
I do sometimes wonder if the heavy-handed moderation contributed do the decline, as well. Even though I was on the receiving end of it (recently, in fact), I was never opposed to it. It was an attempt to maintain some sense of civility. The problem is that the internet is too unruly for that.
Contributors like genkaku, who is still very active online and never seems to run out of things to discuss, didn't leave because of heavy-handed moderation. But I'll stop trying to convince you of something that you seem unwilling to consider.

Hope you are doing well, btw. :cheers:

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