Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

"The Internet is Not Your Teacher"

Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal DhammaWe(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

A talk by Ethan Nichtern via Buddhist Geeks (with transcript in case you can't listen to it). Thoughts?

I greatly appreciate having virtual sanghas and relationships like those on NB. It allows me to connect with like-minded people and their points of view across the globe that I may not otherwise encounter.

However, I do really see the value in Nichtern's point here. To really dig deep into Buddhism we can't rely on these channels. The sangha is a great source of teaching as well. Whether it's a Buddhist sangha or the greater sangha of humanity, we need to really engage in these personal relationships for the Buddha's teaching to really flourish and strengthen. Otherwise all we may be left with is McMindfulness and a focus on what makes ME feel good.

lobsterAjeevakDharmanaVastmind

Comments

  • The internet does have it's function. But I do agree that it is not the place to go to get an in-depth study of Buddhism. Whomever is making the internet presentation is coming from a specific viewpoint. It can easily turn into a version of the televangelism so prevalent on the television or, as you said, McMindfullness of the 'Me feel good' school.
    Live action with real people and open dialog/discussion and open interaction is best.

  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited November 2015

    I greatly appreciate having virtual sanghas and relationships like those on NB. It allows me to connect with like-minded people and their points of view across the globe that I may not otherwise encounter.

    I agree. If it were not for the internet, I would have been totally oblivious to Buddhism or any other meditative tradition. I'm a son of the soil. I was a farm boy. And all the generations before me the same. You were either Catholic or Baptist. That was the extent of your choices. In Lawtell Louisiana such things were unheard of.

    "Booty- ism" what's that? Would be the common response.

    "That's the devil! Stay away from that."

    To really dig deep into Buddhism we can't rely on these channels

    I don't know.

    About 95% of all discussions I've had about the meditative life has been via the internet. I've only had continuous discussions with a handful of people outside of the internet.

    There were many very personal one on one relationships formed, via internet, as a result of those long-winded monologues. Many spiritual friendships formed. We don't always need be face to face to be beneficial to each other. We were very open with each other. I appreciated that openness. There was a lot of vulnerability created as a result. But none took advantage. There was trust (earned over time). And we all benefited.

    I truly feel that It is because of this that progression along the path has faired well.

    All of the questions and comments I've encountered have been catalysts for my digging deeper into myself in order to try and understand. I could have never uncovered all which I've uncovered without this cause.

    It would have been impossible, for myself, to encounter so many people from all different walks of life and ways of thinking.

    So in this sense, I owe whatever I've understood, not just to my own effort. But also because of questioning which others have done, who are also on the path.

    lobsterKeromeRuddyDuck9
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I think internet can be a very valuable tool. I am grateful that in my small community I have other Buddhists, or at least meditation practitioners, I can be with. But a few years ago this would not have been possible (almost everyone has moved here in the past 5 years or so that is in my local sangha). Internet would have been all I had, and I suspect that is the case for many.

    But, it is also (it appears) quite common for Buddhists to be very introverted. I am no different. But I also know that for me to be balanced, I need to go outside of my personality and do things that feel uncomfortable, rather than just shrugging and saying "Nope, I'm an introvert." that only means you have to recharge after being with people, not that it's ok to never, ever be with people under any circumstances. I've seen some people post here who suggest that is how they live, and I find that really unfortunate. You don't have to go to parties or give speeches, but to me, being a Buddhist, sharing myself with the world in however small ways I can is how I carry Buddhism into the world. Even if people don't realize that is what it is, I think we need more of it in the world in general. By now, most people I associate with know that I am Buddhist, and they ask about it sometimes. It is motivation for me to behave in a manner becoming to the Buddhist "title."

    People get lost so easily in the online world. They make themselves and so many times that created, online persona isn't much the same as the real person. Only engaging online enables them to fool themselves into thinking they are this person they created and ignoring the facts of life staring them in the face.

    lobsterInvincible_summer
  • I would suggest that a retreat is something many of us can work towards. In cases of extreme isolation, monks can be provided to do home visits, if travel and accomodation is sponsored.

    Be realistic.

    Dharma can change us. The three jewels exist online and offline and in combination. The three jewels exist internally and externally.

    http://www.integralchicks.com/2012/08/diy-buddhism-whats-new-now/

    Invincible_summerShoshinDhammaDragonRuddyDuck9
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Internet can be a great tool, we don't have to travel to another continent via a donkey and then climb half the Himalayas to see a guru.

    I just hit him up on skype!

    silverseeker242dantepwVastmind
  • The internet, like any other tool is just that, a tool. Properly used, it can be of great assistance. But it can also be a trap of sorts. As with any other tool, it is important to use it properly. If you are stuck 300 miles from nowhere, it is a fantastic tool. Still, caviat emptor.

    We are using the internet right now. I see different points of view on this site, for example. It has it's place and I am very appreciative to have access. However, I won't bet the farm on what I read on these posts. That is the point. Also, on the internet, we often do not get real time interaction.

    Use the internet by all means. But, we can not use it as a proxy guru, master or mentor without question. We must be being willing to question, to challenge, to verify and , sometimes, to eat humble pie.

    It comes down to something like what a certain former Pres once said: "Trust but verify".

    Just sharing a bit of my ignorance.

    Peace to all.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2015

    @Lionduck said: Whomever is making the internet presentation is coming from a specific viewpoint. It can easily turn into a version of the televangelism so prevalent on the television or, as you said, McMindfullness of the 'Me feel good' school.

    On the other hand you do get exposed to lots of different views on forums like this. Most of the Buddhists I know in "real life" stick with their own local sangha and don't know that much about other schools and approaches, so it can get a little insular.

    I'm fortunate to have a small local sangha and reasonable access to larger events if I want that, but I know not everyone is in that position.

    lobsterLionduckInvincible_summer
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2015

    @Earthninja said:we don't have to travel to another continent via a donkey

    Is that how Advaitans travel then? ;)

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Earthninja said:we don't have to travel to another continent via a donkey

    Is that how Advaitans travel then? ;)

    All the labels... Sheesh. Na that's just how I roll. Way tougher than any thoroughbred. Mules are the way to go when seeking gurus

    Lionduck
  • ZendoLord84ZendoLord84 Veteran
    edited November 2015

    Without internet i would never learned so much about buddhism in the first place.
    Sometimes I find teachings/teachers in real-life, sometimes on the internet.

    I've come to the conclusion that being a wise buddhist sometimes means letting go of buddhism and just do the right thing in the real-world. Not a sangha-safe-heaven.
    That's a lot harder then practise with and find fellow buddhists.

    When I feel alone or lost or unguided I read the rhinoceros sutta
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.03.than.html

    Maybe i'll help starting a local sangha, that would be awesome.
    I'm teaching (an introduction to zen) meditation tonight after jiujitsu-practise.

    I log in to this forum maybe once a week.
    Sometimes not for a month or more.

    Sorry for the vague post I have mixed feelings and thoughts about internet-buddhism.
    About buddhism in general actually haha.
    Proberly a good thing.

    lobstersilver
  • MetaphasicMetaphasic NC, USA Explorer

    My son once said, "the truth can come from anywhere, including the mouths of liars".

    ZendoLord84
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    On the other hand...

    Yup! You definitely caught me with my' thunking cap' ajar.
    A little ice cream with expresso should set it right. ;)

  • I am lucky enough to have a local Buddhist group and someone who is willing to give me a lift there ... but ... they meet on a Wednesday evening and a Sunday morning. As luck would have it, those are usually the only opportunities I have to spend time with my partner of eight years (we don't live together as we are both in small flats with teen/adult children at home). So I'm making a choice to be with my beloved rather than go and meet other Buddhists face-to-face. For now, anyway. Tenzin Palmo said something along the lines of "If a woman has made the choice to have children, she should develop a practice that makes the family the dharma path". Maybe it's an analogous situation. At any rate, I find this forum enormously helpful and interesting.

    lobsterInvincible_summerRuddyDuck9
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    I am rather new to the online world.
    Three years tops.
    My first exposure to an online Buddhist sangha was here on NB.

    Then came forums on Insight Timer, and very recently Twitter and Facebook.

    And I have to say I am positively surprised at the wonderful material that can be accessed through the net, especially since I am a perishing dinosaur who sticks to her Victorian Buddhist rare books.

    If when the Student is ready the teacher appears, when we are ripe for inner growth, nuggets of wisdom can come to us from any source.
    Whether through the net or my dusty rare books, the spark of Dharma is still alive under any guise.
    I have liked different Buddhist groups on Facebook and the material I get on my News Feed every day is breathtaking.

    silverlobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited November 2015

    Well, OP, I don't think it's a matter of either/or. It can be both/and. And personally, I've learned a lot more about Buddhism from this forum than I ever did by attending sangha, with the one exception of a year-long course I got in the Lam-Rim.

    I think it's a question of different strokes for different folks. And the way to learn about Buddhism is to do it, engage in it. Meditate, and practice random acts of kindness and compassion. Practice letting go of ego-clinging and attachment. Reading books is also good.

    lobsterVastmindkarasti
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    I think one point that's being missed is that by "sangha," it doesn't necessarily mean a Buddhist sangha, but rather Nichtern (and I in my original post) does also use the word more broadly to mean humanity in general.

    We may be able to learn from our Internet-mediated experiences, but there's nothing quite like when the rubber hits the road. Basically what you're referring to, @how and @dakini. Do it, engage with the world as a Buddhist, not just use it as some sort of internet persona.

    Reminds me of a Louis CK bit, (here, starting at 2:15) where he talks about people using phones to record their kids' performances instead of experiencing it firsthand.

    Vastmindkarasti
  • @how said:
    When one really becomes a student of their own meditation, is there any phenomena of the moment that does not teach?

    Ay curamba!
    Can it be true? [lobster faints]

    When I was a member of the Krill, we would float through the oceans of Samsara, not even sure what we were learning ...

    Well said! I better repeat, so it goes in ...
    When we become a student of mindful meditation, is there any experience that does not teach?

    We does haz plan!

    karasti
  • @lobster said:

    @how said:
    When one really becomes a student of their own meditation, is there any >phenomena of the moment that does not teach?

    Ay curamba!
    Can it be true? [lobster faints]

    When I was a member of the Krill, we would float through the oceans of Samsara, not >even sure what we were learning ...

    Well said! I better repeat, so it goes in ...
    When we become a student of mindful meditation, is there any experience that does >not teach?

    We does haz plan!

    I'll have a slice of that humble pie now. :3

  • @DhammaDragon said:
    I have liked different Buddhist groups on Facebook and the material I get on my News Feed every day is breathtaking.

    Good news. <3

    My experience is that some paths CAN be taught or transmitted by the written word. Some dervishes became enlightened Sufis through being taught by letter.

    How so? The listener.

    It is not sufficient to sit at the feet of the wisest monk/dakini/bodhi if we do not listen AND assimulate.

    We are very fortunate, amazingly so, to have many wise women, experienced practitioners, incredible experiential diversity on NewBuddhist. It is the diversity that makes the cyber-sangha but it is the capacity to find, discern and learn that is our potential.

    Bravo. Group hug. <3

    DhammaDragonVastmindhowkarasti
  • Learn online practice offline; that is how it goes for me!

    Invincible_summerRuddyDuck9
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited November 2015

    @how is so often my teacher. Gratitude to you. =)

    Good thread!

    lobstersilver
  • @how Indeed, I am not sure :)

  • We indeed learn from every source. On-line, off-line between line, over line under line and around line. We learn from truth tellers and tellers of lies. We learn from puppies and kittens, friends and strangers. We learn from rocks and from the water and wind.

    Peace to all

    lobsterRuddyDuck9
Sign In or Register to comment.