Seeing my recent post about Zen Studies Center
has generated some positive discussion, I thought I'd furnish a backgrounder here to the source I drew from, for those who haven't discovered it as yet. The Buddhist Channel
was founded in Malaysia, where there's a generation of Internet-savvy people. Contemporaneous Dharma practice there has much to tell the rest of the world, too.
A Buddhist there felt there ought to be an online news network, at the time of the Taliban bombing of the colossal ancient statue of Buddha in Bamiyan, to help prevent such-like in the future — and just generally network across borders -- developing the potentials of the 'Net. When the Burmese monks overturned their bowls, there was intensive coverage, including original articles from the region. More recently, when Ajahn Brahm ordained nuns, the site covered both sides of the debate that arose, to the degree that the coverage provided a channel of communication between them.
From the get-go, the site took a One Dharma policy, covering more than just the schools of practice predominant in Malaysia. There are two points therein worth amplification. 1) The initial decision to cover HH the Dalai Lama and news about Tibet involved a degree of integrity and plain courage, given Malaysia being a Islamic country, heavily monitored. 2) Had it just covered Pure Land, say, it could have easily have found ample financial backing. Instead, the site is 99% out-of-pocket on the part of the publisher, with the exception of some Google and Amazon ad revenue, + periodic fundraisers when a crisis occurs.
(3) Just FYI, the publisher himself practices in the tradition of Ven. K Sri Dhamananda ("The Chief
"). The publisher isn't trained as a journalist, but practices Right Speech, Right View, etc.
The site is entirely archived, so it can be an excellent resource for research.
The articles are 99% repurposed from other new sources. (The Zeit app
faces a lawsuit for this practice.) I've contributed to some of the 1%, but it's mostly from the publisher. Recent original material has been about the aforementioned Eido Shimano Roshi / Zen Studies Center scandal. [Caution
: the Shimano Archives (online) referred to are about 2 DVDs in length, and might read like a spy thriller were they not drenched in unconscionable, shocking abuse.]
At one time, there were hopes of creating regional news desks, with editors & reporters. Meanwhile, a Letter to the Editor with a pitch for a possible original article will always be considered.
There is a 2.0 (in collaboration with a techie in Germany donating much expertise) that's in beta, but I haven't seen it ... yet. So there you have my summary: the Internet's major online Buddhist newspaperless. At your service.