Hello Cara, thank you, all the other mods and monastics for the incredibly amazing job that you do.
I was actually thinking something along this lines earlier today. This may not be a sangha or an actual temple, but we are in the presence of monastics, therefore, we should observe our behaviour accordingly.
Right Speech is of paramount importance in this forum, is part of what differentiates it from other places, it is a great opportunity to practice from great distance and learn. Our utmost respect must be displayed in each line, in each word as if we where is the physical presence of the Monastic Sangha.
The guidelines may not have to mirror the ones in the temple, but our personal behaviour must. In body, speech and mind.
Our duty as lay followers is to support the Monastic Sangha, not to drive them away, insult or harass them, specially such a great Sangha as the one we have in here.
Every time we access this website we should be nothing but grateful for receiving the teachings that we do. Anything less is disrespectful to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
Thank you again for your great efforts in spreading the Dhamma, from thousands of kilometres away I say a big thank you!
Please do not equate actions taken by the moderators with lack of compassion. The moderators are some of the kindest and wisest people I know, and take action only after careful and considered deliberation. It is essential to the survival of any open forum such as this that people who cannot communicate properly are excluded. This is our choice: we either ban people or we become Twitter.
I would strongly recommend that anyone who disagrees with banning people to please start your own forum and see how it goes. Go to all the effort to set up the software and build the community. Different people come, most of whom behave well, and a few of whom do not. It’s all roses and sunshine, for a while. But let me scry three years into the future: you either start banning people or you preside over a cesspit of nastiness. Everyone who runs forums understands this.
My goal is not to please everyone, but to ensure that the 95% of kind, pleasant, and wise people who use this forum should feel safe and comfortable and happy. And the only way to achieve that is ensuring that people who misbehave are not allowed to continue to do so. They are most welcome to exercise their freedom of speech in the literally whole rest of the universe. Just not here.
The last days have shown me that we have a bunch of wonderful people on this forum, who help and support us to build a website and a community and who are interested in furthering our knowledge of the Buddha’s teachings and the Early Buddhist Texts.
The moderators are all volunteers who give their time freely to keep this a place where we can discuss the Dhamma. It is often a difficult job and I don’t think I would able to do it.
Many of the people on this forum have over the years shared very valuable input on the Early Buddhist Texts and the translations we have on the site, and I feel privileged to be able be part of this wonderful project called SuttaCentral.
Actually I consider SC and DW as my virtual temple. Even though there are hundreds of temples around me, the only contact with Sangha are these forums. I think we should consider SC as a virtual temple and remind people about it. If people know this is a temple they will behave accordingly.
…I thought I’d round things up and add my own two cents.
So the three of us often don’t agree with each other. Yet, we come to consensus, we give way to each other. With love, acceptance and deepest respect for my sister mods, I write the following… We’re 3 very different people with similar (because of the whole Buddhism thing) values; but not exactly the same.
One of us is more libertarian, calm, analytical, intellectual, equanimous and very, very, very funny and unfraid in taking action and in being true and courageous in telling us when she’s in disagreement or when she doesn’t approve of something.
The other is feminist, liberal, progressive, artistic, open, and fearless in her desire to be true to herself and courageous in speaking up and acting even when she knows she might be the lone voice.
The third is devotional, emotional, both traditional and progressive, serious but easily moved by humour, and she also seeks to challenge her fears and seek what’s true.
When one of us is down, the others lift us up.
When one of us is wrong, the others set us right.
When one of us is feeling righteous, the others give us balance.
When one of us is feeling upset, the others calm us down.
When one of us is biased, the others call us out.
We’re doing the best we can, not just so we can keep this a pleasant place, but so we can face ourselves in the mirror and sleep at night with peace; so we can grow our Practice too - this business of Moderating has become a space of challenge and growth, of support and love and service. I’m very grateful for it. If you’re ever asked to take this up, here, all I can say is that it’s been a gift that I’m glad I opened my life to.
Now to give a specific example of how one can disagree and yet be open to a
I am not entirely certain that I agree with everything Ayya @Vimalanyani said. Part of me agreed with parts of what @Vstakan was saying. Because I have an emotional, uninformed (because I don’t know all the specific rules and the chronological development in Buddhist history - like Ayya does) perception based on seeing and feeling what it’s like to be around monastic communities that create peaceful atmospheres in their monasteries; I mean, one of the Dhammasara nuns was saying the other day how strict their rules are - yet this woman, who I’ve known for years, is giving off a deeply peaceful, serene vibe. Does my experience with them, with her, mean I shut down Ayya Vimalanyani? No, because I recognise in Ayya Vimalanyani a knowledge worth hearing that I am ignorant to.
There were three things I would have liked to do in that thread:
Question respectfully or listen as others did
Acknowledge my own assumptions - bring them out into the open air, shake them out and see, which of them served me well, served others well, and which would I perhaps consider challenging.
I did want, very much, to hear what she had to say. It was a shame her voice, her understanding of EBTs and Vinaya in particular was drowned out. This is a woman who’s made a study of such things, she knows what each rule is. I don’t. There was more she could have said and we all missed out.
First , Metta to ayya @vimalanyani , to everyone also !
Ayya , you do not have to leave , just like @DKervick not long ago happens to be in some similar situation .
The main thing is about the Dhamma/Vinaya !
Then , let’s take it slowly ,
now we are all Very Emotional !
The whole discussions is concerning the long live of Buddha sasana , I am not saying the mods of anything , but , whether anyone has any biases or acting out of angers , that is another thing . But , please reconsider does the topic could have been wrong and hence created this situation ?! I am not saying the “Person” , but “Topic” !
How long is the suspension and banning is another thing , however , Could anyone give it a another thought about “intention” of santa ? Despite of santa “speech” , he was Over Concerned of the Whole of Buddha Dhamma Sangha ? Has anyone considered his Motives ? And not acted out of Selfishness , he could save Buddha sasana from splitting !
If he is confronting other religions
he could have been killed for his Foolhardy/ recklessness !
Now , what I can sense is , the leader
and some mods of the SC In a state of angers . So , what about the teachings of the Buddha dhamma point us to practise kindness , compassion , equanimity , which I could not see it in action , considering that santa is not your enemy !
If he is your enemy , then this situation could get worse .
It’s fairly simple, as long as we are mindful of the fact that we are guests here, and behave as such there should be no problem. Just be aware that this site is owned by a particular school of thought and it’s being used to propagate it’s doctrine . Whether you like it or not, agreeing or not, it is your problem, not theirs.
I’ve had my own learning curve with online sila (and still have). Sometimes I write in the moment and just want to be clear and direct, without BS. Then I read posts of other people and think ‘oh my, how can they just be so rude?!’ And then realize that they probably wrote in that same ‘mode’. Seeing the effect of this ‘directness’ on me as a reader makes me go softer next time as a writer (or so I think ).
As for the mods, I know that feeling of not quite knowing if it’s the right thing to react, or not, or how. Just the mere fact that moderators take this responsibility and try their best (within reasonable limitations of time and effort) is very honorable in my eyes.
A bit closer to this topic: Personally I always feel more comfortable when people are exploring. The argument of ‘If you think that then you are not a real Buddhist!’ is just silly. There is a place for purism, but free thinkers who are not preaching but actually investigating - especially when they are respectful to others - must be able to express themselves without being accused or slandered.
I would like to express my deep respect and gratitude to those who built SuttaCentral and this forum, and those who invest their time and energy in order to keep it a friendly place. Dear moderators, I don’t think I would be able to do the work you do! Sadhu!
I am by my nature rather a shy person, and I am not easily posting on any place in the internet. Here on this forum I’ve already said much more than I would have expected myself to do , and usually I felt safe and confident in doing so. That’s thanks to the, as others already mentioned, 95% of very nice people here!
I’m by far not as eloquent as Ayya @vimalanyani is, and to see this wise, learned and courageous person silenced on this forum is really sad! It makes me ask myself: Should I open my mouth again here? I’m not quite sure about the answer yet, but you see me say this here now…
Bhante @Dhammarakkhita: I’ve never come across an act of “forbidding” nearly as sweet as yours here! Thank you!
Just to clarify, mine wasn’t a statement of expectation; my experience has shown me to expect a fair amount of rudeness, so I do, but for the while that it is my job to curb the worst excesses of that I will endeavour to hold people to their agreement (by virtue of participation) to abide by the guidelines. The guidelines are basically a long winded way of saying, “please be reasonably kind”.
It is, however, so uplifting and inspiring to see that many do bring a much higher level of care to their engagement here, very well expressed by Gabriel’s comments:
To my mind approaches like this, which seriously and thoughtfully taken on the invitation in the guidelines to use the forum as “an opportunity to practice Right Speech”, is one factor (among others) that makes the the bother of being involved with this forum worth it. It is a little indicator (among others) that the forum can, indeed, serve the Dhamma, can support Dhamma practice rather than just generate a lot of pointless noise.
Returning to the issue of expectations, though, I should also note that in addition to expecting rudeness, I have come to trust reasonably regular outbreak of, some beautiful expressions of kindness, friendliness and support and much of that can be witnessed in this very thread. As such, thanks to all.
But isn’t that obvious already to those who heed it and will fly over the heads of those who don’t? My point is that, at a certain point, it doesn’t matter what one requests of others. Rude people will be rude. Tactless people will be tactless. You could request they avoid rudeness and tactlessness for a million years and they still would not understand what you’re talking about.
That’s not to say being polite and kind and pointing out politeness and kindness isn’t useful. It’s a good reminder and call to mindfulness, at least. My point is there are some who are not amenable to self reform and expecting them to behave any different than the way they do is setting oneself up for disappointment.
First of all, here is a virtual and thereby Vinaya-allowable hug for the moderators and admins (it’s been a rough week hasn’t it?). And here is a virtual hug for the whole community .
I want to commend the mods on how patiently you’ve handled the past few days, I can’t imagine how many hours you’ve spent dealing with flags and messages from users who are for/against moderation. I also want to remind people (because the mods are far too polite to do so) that what you are seeing from them is only the surface level of deliberation, and that there is so much that happens behind the scenes to allow for this community to function. So thank you, anumodana! (Go have a nap!).
Lol! I can’t handle much more talk about Pali declensions! I also deeply implore Ayya @vimalanyani not to leave this forum, you are an absolutely wonderful contributor who brings so much perspective and ingenuity to our community.
I am finding myself somewhat in agreement with Ilya on this (), in that I think we need to be very careful in how we use the community flagging protocol, as it could be used to subjugate users whose comments are right speech but also not consensual or ‘popular.’ For instance, I think there were some of Santa’s posts that were communally flagged that didn’t necessarily need to be flagged/hidden. Maybe we all need to gather with with marshmallows and hot chocolate around the Guide to Flagging (?).
I was going to suggest reviewing the flagging , many are unnecessary and I sincerely think if you don’t agree with it just say you disagree . For the members No need to flag and overeacting . As for the mods I would suggest the same . Look at how many my post was hidden which I believes were very sensible .
Don’t take me as against anyone in this forum , I was questioned by few who
think I do . I disagree with your point but not against your self !
I am sincerely and truthfully wishing everyone here in the state of well being .
I will buy you a cup of coffee if I could !