A War Fought with Hugs

Last Sunday, in a very nice chat with Rev. Danny Fisher I heard about the Tricycle article called “Dharma Wars.

Much of the article concerns a particular situation that I don’t know much about. But it moves on to try to make pretty broad claims about Buddhists and the internet.

After describing a comment section dialog over at James Ure’s blog, the author claimed:

Twisted Branch had a point, though. In cyberspace, we can craft whatever persona we choose and call our blog whatever we want, and Buddhist bloggers often inflate their experience and understanding.

The funny thing to me was that Twisted Branch apologized for his comments and everyone, to my knowledge, moved on – except for the article writer.

In my experience, this happens from time to time. I too get frustrated by some people’s claims or apparent lack of reasoning here or there. Sometimes I can say so skilfully, other times I come off sounding like a jerk. In pretty much every case, we got over it and luckily our conversations end there. Also, in my limited experience no one has inflated his or her experience and/or understanding. Having received multiple transmissions including the awesome Dharma name: “Sublime Dwelling of the Source,” and being omniscient, I would KNOW if they had. :)

On a positive, and serious note, the article does reference many wise teachers warning of the potential pitfalls of the internet, including blogs like this one. As readers and contributors, we need to be mindful of what we are putting into our minds and what is coming out. It also helps to be humble, keep a sense of humor, and be charitable (to those little people who aren’t quite omniscient yet). Am I a hypocrite? Sure. Have I failed in these little bits of advice a hundred times or more? Of course. Should you do as I say and not as I do? Sounds good to me.

In the end, the Internet, just like other media such as books (research “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” and you’ll see how much harm a book can do) and the radio (watch “Hotel Rwanda” to see the horrors of radio in the wrong hands), is a mixed bag. We all have a responsibility for making it a beautiful place, for calling out the rubbish, and being called out as well. Sure, people can try to craft a fancy persona online, but the smell of shit does come through keyboards too – and who out there hasn’t met someone in real life that turned out to be pretty darned fake?

So, a big [virtual] hug to all the classy folks I read (over on the right), even those I happen to disagree with from time to time – hell, especially them!

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