Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39450

    Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi All,

    I have a matter that I would like to discuss with the Sangha. We have been invited to move the 'Sit-a-Long with Jundo' blog to BELIEFNET.COM, the very large and widely respected internet site for religious discussion and information.

    Beliefnet or Beliefnet.com is a large spiritual site on the internet that is owned by Fox Entertainment Group, a division of News Corporation [JUNDO NOTE]. It provides information about various religious and spiritual beliefs, ranging from Christian denominations to atheism to smaller faiths like Zoroastrianism. It interviews religious figures, offers articles and blogs on various creeds. It collaborates with Newsweek on a column. ... Beliefnet is a large multi-faith e-community. It aims to provide a free forum for religious information and inspiration, spiritual tools, and discussions and dialogue groups.
    They host a small collection of blogs and columns, felt that they were underrepresented on the Buddhist and Zen Buddhist side, and thought that "Sit-a-Long with Jundo" might be a good fit after watching for awhile what this place is about.

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Blogs/index.aspx

    I am thinking it will be a good fit too with Treeleaf's 'mission' ...

    Treeleaf Zendo was designed specifically as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online.
    I think it is an excellent opportunity to reach many such people who do not know about the resources we have here.

    My only concern is that I want to preserve the atmosphere, decorum and warm cosiness we have around this small Sangha. However, I think that we would still tend to attract almost exclusively folks, both new and experienced, with a serious interest in Zazen and Zen Practice ... so I do not think anything will change. I very much doubt that there will be a flood a people or anything like that.

    Let me emphasize that THIS FORUM WILL NOT MOVE OR CHANGE in its style and content.

    Also, the editors at beliefnet did make a couple of suggestions for changes to the blog. I think they are reasonable. First, they want to describe what I teach on the blog as a "guided Zen meditation". I went back and forth with them on this, and now feel that (even using such a description) it will still be clear that I am not actually "guiding a person's Zazen during Zazen (as "guided meditation" might imply)", but simply providing instruction and a talk (exactly as I do now). Second, the editors feel that, as the right mix in order not to overwhelm folks with too much content, it is best to mix "sit-a-longs" sittings about 3 times a week with short written postings in between. We will still do the "live" sitting on Saturday as now. I see their point.

    As I said, I think it is an excellent opportunity to reach many people who do not know about the resources we have here. In fact, our subject for Precepts study this week happens to be ...

    To Refrain from Being Stingy with the Dharma Teachings and All Things ... [this] refers to the treasure which is the teachings of the Buddha, as well as to all the treasures to be found in this world.

    So, the move would be as early as later this month. All things are change. What do you think?

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Tb
    Member
    • Jan 2008
    • 3186

    #2
    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

    Hi.

    Sounds good.
    We have to begin somewhere.
    Who knows, this might be the beginning of something?

    May the force be with you
    Tb
    Life is our temple and its all good practice
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

    Comment

    • Undo
      Member
      • Jun 2007
      • 495

      #3
      Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

      Hello Jundo,

      I'm not sure what you mean by moving the blog. Do you mean link with belief.net or access treeleaf through belief.net?

      Regards

      Philip

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39450

        #4
        Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

        Hi Philip,

        The current blog ...

        http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/

        ... wound be discontinued, and the "netcasts" and sit-a-long activities would be moved to beliefnet.com, for example, as at this place (with this guy) ...

        http://blog.beliefnet.com/choprafamily/

        This Forum would remain just as it is now.

        Gassho, Jundo
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • Bansho
          Member
          • Apr 2007
          • 532

          #5
          Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

          Hi Jundo,

          I'm sceptical about this. Being hosted by a multi-national news corporation which does not have the best reputation with regards to impartial journalism and freedom of speech gives me an uneasy feeling. Their editors have already made 'suggestions' which, to my opinion, represent a major change in the structure and content of the blog (i.e. only 3 sit-a-longs per week). Do those editors have any connection to Soto Zen or Buddhism in general? To what extent will they be able to influence what goes on at Treeleaf? When I think of the 'suggestions' you received at E-Sangha...

          Of course your desire to reach a broader audience is admirable, I'm just not sure if this is the correct approach. Sorry if I'm being a party-pooper. ops: However, I think you're doing a fantastic job running things here on your own - without any outside influence from those who may have a different agenda :!:

          Anyway, that's just my 2 cents. If you really want to give it a go, then go for it. In that case, I'd give it a try too, and hope that my concerns prove to be unfounded.

          Gassho
          Ken
          ??

          Comment

          • Tb
            Member
            • Jan 2008
            • 3186

            #6
            Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

            Hi.

            They sit him here.
            They sit him there.
            Is he in heaven, or is he in hell?
            No one knows.
            Not even the scarlet pimpernell.

            I was wondering why you want to move, is it to much work running this?
            Is it better to "just have three sittings" a week?
            I understand that they want to keep the datainput at a minimum, but here we go 24/7.
            Would it be possible to still have "a-sitting-per day" and do the "beliefnetthing" somehow?
            I dont know about others, but i for one will miss your daily talks...
            And what about the vow to sit online for nine years? :twisted:

            May the force be with you
            Tb
            Life is our temple and its all good practice
            Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39450

              #7
              Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

              Hi Ken,

              I certainly don't feel like I am binding myself to anything. I believe that I can terminate the arrangement at any time if it is not working out. The editors, so far, have not insisted on anything, and have limited themselves to suggestions. I have found most of their suggestions very constructive. They seem to like the content of what I have been doing and just want me to continue (no need to tone down anything). I even made a point of showing them recordings of my more outlandish and hardnosed talks ... they like it. They say I can keep on doing that.

              I sure don't think that Rupert Murdock gets into the day to day operations of the place. In fact, I am pretty sure he cares about little more than that he is not losing too much money on it.

              Look, I'm not making any money out of Treeleaf. I do it because my heart tells me it is what I should do. But I would not mind if folks knew about the resources we offer. This is a good way to do that.

              Frankly, I think very little will change from all of this ... and this place will remain about the same. All that will happen is the ability to tell people about it a bit better. That's why I am thinking to do it.

              Hi Tb,

              Yes, what I am thinking about now is to have a "talk" only three times a week or so, and more "silent sittings". The spaces between the words are just as important as the words in what we practice here.

              Gassho, J
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39450

                #8
                Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

                Yes, I would not tone down, or hesitate to say what I want to say. I made that clear with the editors. Anyway, they have a lot of very controversial, open minded religious types on Beliefnet, treading on dangerous ground far beyond me. For example ... here is a Christian columnist writing the Biblical case FOR Gay marriage ...

                The Religious Case for Gay Marriage
                By: Paul Raushenbush
                Tuesday December 9, 2008
                Lisa Miller at Newsweek writes this provocative, excellent case for gay marriage

                Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel--all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments--especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple--who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love--turn to the Bible as a how-to script? Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.

                .
                And Here is an attack by a blog columnist on Fox Star Bill O'Reilly ...

                One of the the most depressing aspects of the Advent season is the perennial reappearance of the "War Against Christmas" argument in some conservative political and religious circles. This story-line, most visibly associated with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, is based on the idea that Christians are being mortally offended, and perhaps even threatened in their religious liberties, by department-store decisions to peddle their wares under the slogan of "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas."
                http://blog.beliefnet.com/progressivere ... ge-wa.html
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Rev R
                  Member
                  • Jul 2007
                  • 457

                  #9
                  Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

                  I agree that the Buddha-dharma and especially Zen are very under-represented at beliefnet.

                  I don't see any real problem with the move with the exception of the 3 text only entries per week. I mean the idea is "sit-a-long with Jundo" not read along. Sure I may have fewer nightmares with text only entries...

                  Seriously though, I don't think you would have submitted the idea to the group if you didn't see it had merit. Perhaps you could suggest a timer be inserted along with the text only entries, since the sitting is what makes the Leaf Blog unique.

                  Besides you are driving this bus...I'm just the kid hanging his arm out the window.

                  Comment

                  • Bansho
                    Member
                    • Apr 2007
                    • 532

                    #10
                    Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

                    Hi Jundo,

                    OK - since you've had personal contact with them you're obviously in a better position to judge the situation than I am. Let's give it a go and see what happens.

                    Gassho
                    Ken
                    ??

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39450

                      #11
                      Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

                      Frankly, I am surprised by all the supportive comments for everyday talks with "sit-a-long" sittings. I did not know that people actually liked it. Frankly, I always thought (especially as a Zen guy) that it was a bit too much blabbing on. More silence and space was called for between the words, and that it was better if I did not talk every day or even most days. But, I will speak to the Beliefnet folks again and see what they say. Gassho, Jundo
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Tb
                        Member
                        • Jan 2008
                        • 3186

                        #12
                        Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

                        Hi.

                        First.


                        Second.

                        I "like" your "little talks". I often sit for about 30 min "just listening" them through (imagine my sumise as the "old ones disappeared" ) and then "just sit" for about 30 min.
                        I think they somehow "complete the whole shebang" and it would be sad if they "weren't there".
                        But as Rev R said, you're driving the bus, im just hanging out the window howling at babes...

                        May the force be with you
                        Tb
                        Life is our temple and its all good practice
                        Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

                        Comment

                        • Bansho
                          Member
                          • Apr 2007
                          • 532

                          #13
                          Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

                          Hi,

                          I can't speak for other Treeleafers, but I watch all of the sit-a-longs and get a lot out of them. I usually just tune-in in the evening for the talk and don't do the sitting afterwards, though, since I prefer to sit in the morning for longer periods and in a different room (free of all distractions and electro-smog ).

                          Having said that, I think reducing them to 3 a week would be OK, too. I shouldn't get too attached to them and I do appreciate that they must be very time consuming for you with their preparation and all that goes on 'behind the scenes'. Deep bows for that. I guess what alarmed me was that the editors wanted to make some seemingly radical changes right from the start. Based on the beliefnet.com articles you've posted since then, though, it doesn't look like there'll be all that much potential for conflict. I'll be interested to hear what other Sangha members have to say.

                          Gassho
                          Ken
                          ??

                          Comment

                          • Undo
                            Member
                            • Jun 2007
                            • 495

                            #14
                            Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

                            I’m not convinced the losses would outdo the gains.
                            I have looked at the belief.net before but thought it was made with a middleclass North American audience in mind (I don’t mean that to be offensive to any middleclass USA residence here :? ). The layout, adverts (of which are too many) as well as general news articles are all very limited in a global friendly way. To be honest I’m pretty sure I would have never found treeleaf if it was there from the beginning.

                            I think one of treeleaf’s strengths to be the fact that it is its own thing with the potential of a global audience. Anyone anywhere could fit right in the moment they sign in. There are even enough multilingual people here to include none English speakers. I think the risk of submerging treeleaf in belief.net would either dissipate or sink this strength.

                            Alternatively as we all have a certain responsibility to treeleaf maybe some of us could act as ambassadors where we are based and to try and promote Treeleaf. I am sure I could get a few articles printed in some magazines or papers in Spain and Gibraltar? This way maybe we could take some of the work load away from Jundo and hopefully provide the chance for new readers to see the site? (just a thought).

                            Sorry to sound so negative and I look forward to other peoples thoughts.

                            Philip

                            Comment

                            • Shohei
                              Member
                              • Oct 2007
                              • 2854

                              #15
                              Re: Seeking Sangha Views: Moving to BELIEFNET.COM

                              On first read i was like OMFG NO!! -FOX??! Nooooooo!

                              Seriously that was in my head. Interestingly the topic in our Jukai discussion was about being stingy with the Dharma assets right? So my initial voice needed to stfu and take a seat while i thought about it some more.

                              So Far reaching is good, the format we currently have is Awesome and I reallllly do

                              Comment

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