This is a friendly place for Dhamma discussion
Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a temple. We, too, are a community spiritual center — a place to share insights, ideas, questions, and responses through the practice of Right Speech. This is our spiritual home, which we have built with our time, love, and expertise. We are delighted to welcome you as our guest, but we do ask that you abide by our rules.
The main theme of this site is Early Buddhism. We are interested to discuss early Buddhist texts, their meaning and historical context, how these teachings evolve and relate to later traditions, and how they may be applied in the present day. If you’re interested in a more general Buddhist discussion, there are plenty of other great forums out there.
These are not hard and fast rules, merely aids to the human judgement of our community. Use these guidelines to keep this a kind, supportive, and enriching place for Dhamma discourse.
Improve the discussion
Help us make this a joyful place for discussion by improving the discussion in any way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, reflect over what you want to say and how you want to say it. You can always contribute later.
The topics discussed here matter to us. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.
One way to improve the discussion is by discovering ones that are already happening. Please spend some time browsing the topics here before replying or starting your own, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting others who share your interests.
Be agreeable, especially when you disagree
You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine: the Buddha said we should praise what should be praised, and criticize what should be criticized. But remember the advice of the Araṇavibhaṅga Sutta: criticize ideas, not people.
Ad hominem attacks.
- Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content.
- Knee-jerk contradiction.
- Passive-aggressive tactics.
- Psycho-analysing other commenters.
- Threatening people with kammic retribution!
Instead, consider first the things that should be reflected on before criticizing another (from MN 21 Kakacūpama Sutta, and Vinaya Kd 19.5.2):
I will speak at a right time, not at a wrong time; I will speak about what is true, not about what is not true; I will speak with gentleness, not with harshness; I will speak about what is meaningful, not about what is not meaningful; I will speak with a mind of loving-kindness, not with inner hatred.
If you find yourself moderated in any way, please show respect for the moderators. You have benefitted from the kind and accepting environment that they help to create here. Be grateful. To have someone willing to correct you and help you improve is one of the greatest blessings in the Dhamma. If you attack any moderator or their actions, this will be regarded as a sign of lack of good faith.
Why is the Buddha’s speech so persuasive? It’s because he always spoke clearly, kindly, and rationally. If you do the same, you’ll find that people will be much more open to your ideas.
Skilful participation helps us all
Engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoid those that do not.
Discourse provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: favorites, bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.
Let’s try to leave our temple better than we found it.
If you see a problem, flag it
Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.
When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.
In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators don’t preview new posts in any way; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.
We might not always be wise, but we can always be kind
Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness:
- Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
- Use the forum to improve your own Dhamma practice. Don’t post anything that you would not say to that person’s face, in a temple, in front of the Buddha.
- Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit.
- Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information. Internet harassment is a crime.
- Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.
These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was being read by the Buddha.
This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends.
Keep it tidy
Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So:
- Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.
- Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics.
- Don’t post no-content replies.
- Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.
- Don’t sign your posts — every post has your profile information attached to it.
Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button. Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a New Topic.
Only post things you have a right to
You may not post anything that contravenes any copyright laws. Normally short quotes and the like are fine, but full texts and other material can only be posted with the proper licencing permission. Make sure that the terms of any licence are clear, either by including them in the post, or providing a link. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.
Terms of service
Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves — and by extension, you and your data —against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS.
NOTE: This document is based on the “Universal Rules of Civilized Discourse”, which is supplied by default with Discourse. It has been modified to make it more Buddhist!