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Online Buddhist Communities

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#1

My main question/topic is:

What are the most fruitful, worthwhile, helpful, valuable, rewarding, and of course happiest online Buddhist communities to be a part of currently available today?

I ask so that I may look into, carefully consider, and if suitable, to join all of them.


Background context of this question:

I have recently joined a slew of Buddhism-related facebook groups (~20) to get an exposure to online Buddhist communities.

Even though I am not completely surprised, I feel quite sad about the way the Buddha is inaccurately misrepresented on social media and in pop culture.

Often, when one speaks out against the mis-representation, one is often accused of being sectarian, dogmatic, arrogant, pretentious, etc.

Furthermore, there seems to be simply too much misrepresentation out there to attempt to correct them all one by one.

One solution that came to mind is simply:
to try to suitably disassociate from individuals and groups to the extent that they are unwise
and instead
to try to suitably associate with individuals and groups to the extent that they are wise

It seems less antagonistic and stressful this way.

It is not really that them members of those groups are rude or vicious or insulting - to the contrary, most of them are really nice.

However, the extent to which many of them are so willing to tolerate and perpetuate false, misrepresentative views regarding Buddhism with impunity and carelessness is very - unhappy?

The experience with the facebook groups led me to (happily) join this community in SuttaCentral, which seems to be a sort of a “cream-of-the-crop” community (just sharing the phrase that came to mind).

The subjective experience of being a part of this community seems sooooo drastically different than in the facebook communities (and with some of their moderators too!) - much less jarring and uneasy.

Having happily joined the SuttaCentral community, I would like to expand/branch out and join and hopefully contribute to other such relatively harmless, beneficial, and suitable communities as well.

Any helpful recommendations of such online Buddhist communities would be very welcome!


#2

There’s also the BSWA forums: https://bswa.org/forum/

If misrepresentations and accusations of dogmatism are a concern, I’d recommend staying away from the Buddhist community on Reddit. They’re a great bunch, and I learned a ton from them, but these issues are sadly rather frequent on there.


#3

Thank you for the recommendation! If you think of any other ones, please let me know.

Misrepresentations are my primary concern.

Accusations of dogmatism is a concern mostly as a by-product of the first one - it just seems to be an indicator that the individual/group in question not only doesn’t really care about accurate representation, but themselves clings tightly to “philosophical relativism” - while pretending that they hold no views.

Oops, I didn’t mention Reddit. But yes, exactly. It seems that way to me too.

The atheism/agnosticism community also seems to do a good job of misrepresenting Buddhism too.


#4

Yup…
The mods and many regulars are pretty good, knowledgeable and often citing sources.

But there’s regular influxes of new users who have… strange views. Also people claiming they’re enlightened :smiley:


#5

The difficult thing is that it’s hard to blanket criticize any of the communities, since there are always those who are responsible and helpful.

And even many of the people who misrepresent are generally nice people who often genuinely think the are doing something good for others. I often feel bad for even saying anything, but misleading others does have real consequences even if it’s not immediately obvious.

The problem seems to be when a group tolerates and lets misinformation and misrepresentation slide, what can we do? There’s only so many times you can point it out before becoming “that guy” lol.

At some point, I began to feel like it would just be easier to find more suitable online communities. Hence my post here on SC.

I actually just recently joined, so it was difficult for me to tell who are the regulars and the newcomers.

:sweat_smile:

…but what if they really are? :grimacing::sweat_smile:


#6

Yeah, it’s tricky, and they had a big discussion on censorship vs misinformation.
The outcome is, more or less, if you present a view as what Buddhism teaches, and it’s wrong, it gets removed. If it’s just your opinion, that’s fine.

I think this place is great, because only super nerdy dedicated people who read Suttas end up finding it, rather than random people who just heard about Buddhism from a new age article.

Most of them state that it was a temporary experience, after taking psychedelics.
But they’ll protest vehemently if anyone suggests that’s not what Buddhism means by “enlightenment” :upside_down_face:

TBH those posts aren’t that frequent, and the mods delete them most of the time.


#7

Sounds interesting! And important too.

Sounds about right. And in accordance with Buddhism too.

So true, what a wonderful and lovely screening process.

:sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

Do you mean the mods for the Early Buddhism subreddit, or mods for the Buddhism group as a whole?

I ask because I rarely find mods capable to moderating to the level that SC is (though quite likely because the weeding-out process that you mentioned before).


#8

I meant the ones on the Reddit sub.

I actually haven’t seen a whole lot of crazy stuff on here…


#9

Thanks for clarifying.

What do you mean when you say “here”?
I would think the Early Buddhism subreddit would be more well-moderated than the Buddhism reddit as a whole.


#10

Sorry, my communication skills aren’t the best :sweat_smile:

In my mind, “here” is Discourse.suttacentral.net, and “there” is Reddit’s Buddhism sub.

Sort of. The Early Buddhism sub is not very active. It only has 1k users (compared to Buddhism’s 200k), most of the posts are articles without much discussion, and the last post is from 13 days ago.

Theravada is a bit better, though also not very active, and with the occasional strange post.


#11

Right right, I see where your loyalties lie :rofl:

This is sad.

:rofl::man_facepalming:t4::sweat_smile:


#12

The community that has developed around the Dhamma and has Insight Dialogue as its primary practice is inspiring. Full disclosure: I am part of, the guiding teacher, of that community. The Dhamma as represented in the early Buddhist texts is the reference point. And the focus is on practicing and living the teachings. Because Insight Dialogue is so deeply experiential, and so rooted in direct teachings rather than derivatives, the Dhamma in this community comes alive in beautiful ways. You can go to www.metta.org, and the new URL of www.insightdialogue.org.


#13

Sounds wonderful!

Just in line with what I am looking for!

I can imagine. I hope to see soon.

Lovely! Thank you for sharing with the rest of the SC community!


#14

I attended an Insight Dialogue with Jill Shepherd in Newcastle last March, and found it a very excellent experience. Thank you for it. I am looking forward to being part of your Kincumber retreat in December.

The metta.org link is now defunct?