How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

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How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

I think the Forum is doing just fine and don't have any major suggestions for change.
12
18%
The Forum is quite OK, but a few things could be better (see below for a list of suggestions to vote on).
9
14%
The Forum, as it stands, is not great. Major changes are needed (see below for a list of suggestions to vote on).
4
6%
I don't hold much hope for this place.
1
2%
Suggestion 1: Moderation is too lax and needs to come down on the time-wasters and the rudeness.
13
20%
Suggestion 2: Moderation is too strict and needs to lay off and let posts and threads be.
2
3%
Suggestion 3: The conversation is dominated by the same voices and I can't really relate to it very much.
5
8%
Suggestion 4: I wish Teachers and more experienced folks chimed in more.
9
14%
Suggestion 5: I wish there were fewer "Teachers" and people setting others straight. I feel too intimidated by the self-appointed heavy-weights to join in the conversation or ask something.
3
5%
Suggestion 6: I don't see the relevance of a lot of what is said to Zen or to my life and practice.
7
11%
 
Total votes: 65

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desert_woodworker
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon May 28, 2018 2:11 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 10:40 am
No, Zen Buddhism is not just talking any old thing, or any quaintly Asian beliefs, folk medicine, mysticism or "whatever goes" self expression.
I see no reason to say "No", at the start of that sentence, because no one here has said "Yes" to that. You're thus having a conversation with your own prejudices, I'd say, and it's loose and polluting talk like that which can degrade forum quality and undermine participation. Won't you please reform?

You can be a bit obtuse and presumptuous, Jundo (unlike the rest of us).
jundo wrote:That is just one opinion. And, of course, Dan and everyone are trying their best.
Hear, hear.

--Joe

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Meido
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by Meido » Mon May 28, 2018 2:56 pm

I've been unable to chime in much due to my schedule. But the poll was well done, I think, and I've given some thought to it all.

At the end of the day, there seem to be two general but distinct populations in forums like this...not just ours, but many others that attempt to focus on a particular interest, field, or discipline. Here, it manifests as:

1. Folks generally interested in Zen, or what they perceive to be Zen, who primarily enjoy a place to chat: they may or may not have any knowledge of or current involvement with Zen practice, but are mostly motivated by a desire to have social contact and a place to connect with others.

2. Folks interested to chat specifically about Zen Buddhist teachings and practice: some are hoping to pursue Zen practice, some already are...they are looking for a place to learn more about the teachings and discuss details. In other words, online sangha.

Obviously someone could belong to both groups, but in general it seems folks belong primarily to one or the other.

So what to do, given the stated mission of the place as a forum indeed focused on Zen Buddhism?

One idea is that the former group can be given a dedicated space (e.g. our Lounge). The rest of the forum would be rigorously moderated. We have found that this requires a lot of effort by moderators. It also requires members who respect the forum guidelines (or, rapid sanctions/removal for not doing so...again, a lot of work).

Another idea is to exclude discussion of the first type almost entirely: one can do this through extensive, constant moderation of a kind that is not realistic here. It might also be done from the beginning through membership requirements...for example, giving persons that don't have the experience and desire to discuss the matter at hand read-only rights, as we may see in some technical/professional forums.

Another idea is to let the forum go free-form with minimal moderation...the "let the chips fall where they may" approach. Practically, though, we know the result is that the former folks will tend to dominate topics, and the latter group will tend to fade out since the kind of more technical, informed discussion they seek will be mostly lacking. This was ZFI at the end.

I'm sure there are other approaches...these are just the ones I've seen here and there. Ideas?

Given the mission of this place, what approach fits? Are members supportive of the mission...not only in idea, but in posting habits? If not, will they tolerate a return to mission focus? Would a different kind of forum be better for members who are not getting what they want here? Etc.

I do have my own feelings, but wish to hold them close for now. The poll, again, i think is very useful to raise these core issues of forum identity.

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

[Note: not reachable by PM. To get in touch please email through the website above.]

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fuki
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by fuki » Mon May 28, 2018 3:37 pm

Hi Meido.

I dont see why one would have to obstruct the other, plenty of space. But this forum is like an echo of offline life, meaning no 24/7 offline Sangha, "chatting" as it occurs I don't seperate from "clinical" Zen Buddhism, so in both groups here as it occurs, no fixed abode. I understand it's different for everyone but personally I think all this talk obstructs and divides, while again there's enough space for all divisions already to floorish, that is if ppl put seeds in the ground instead of complaining about the (perceived) weeds and grasses.

But that's just me pretty simple.
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
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jundocohen
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by jundocohen » Mon May 28, 2018 3:40 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 2:11 pm
Won't you please reform?
I have removed the "No."

Zen Buddhism is not just talking any old thing, or any quaintly Asian beliefs, folk medicine, mysticism or "whatever goes" self expression.

Gassho, J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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boda
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by boda » Mon May 28, 2018 5:52 pm

So what to do, given the stated mission of the place as a forum indeed focused on Zen Buddhism?
Post topics focused on Zen Buddhism and nurture them. If there’s only a few weeds in the garden it should not be difficult to overshadow them, and it would be more fulfilling work, I imagine, than extensive weeding. And extensive weeding may not prove to be an effective strategy anyway. I believe it was counterproductive in the early history of ZFI.

I’m not really buying the theory that folks are afraid to post topics but it’s possible I suppose. If that is the case, perhaps there’s a way to bolster their courage.

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KeithA
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by KeithA » Mon May 28, 2018 7:33 pm

bodhi wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 5:52 pm
So what to do, given the stated mission of the place as a forum indeed focused on Zen Buddhism?
Post topics focused on Zen Buddhism and nurture them. If there’s only a few weeds in the garden it should not be difficult to overshadow them, and it would be more fulfilling work, I imagine, than extensive weeding. And extensive weeding may not prove to be an effective strategy anyway. I believe it was counterproductive in the early history of ZFI.

I’m not really buying the theory that folks are afraid to post topics but it’s possible I suppose. If that is the case, perhaps there’s a way to bolster their courage.
I tend to agree with this. I folks aren't posting, it isn't because the conversation is being "dominated". I have reflected about this in my own case. I just choose not to post as much. I don't have a lot to say, but maybe just throwing some things out there would result in better conversations.

Another thing I was thinking about this morning is the role of the moderator. They have to read every post, whether it is interesting to them or not. That's a burden, and I think we all should be both mindful and thankful of this. My sense is that if we consider that effort a little, we may be less inclined to post frivolously.

Lastly, I feel like it's important to recognize that lurkers and non-posting folks are a vital part of what goes on here. Everything we do (and type!) matters. It just may not materialize in interesting conversations. That doesn't mean it is worthless. I lurk over at Dharmawheel all the time. I find it useful and interesting. I just have nothing to add.

So, in the end, I favor the approach of just letting things take their course. That's easy for me to say, though. I don't have read all of the "things"! :hide:

_/|\_

Much love,
Keith
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

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michaeljc
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by michaeljc » Mon May 28, 2018 8:13 pm

Ya don't know what you'v got until it is gone

So - you organised a party. Great food, great music but few came

So what? - go into a sulk and ignore those that came?

There is plenty of Zen here

Do the best you can with what you have got

It looks to me that some here want a greater audience to whom they can preach

If there was a system to predict human behavior even I could make millions on the stock market

External dynamics have changed. There is nothing wrong about this forum

IMO

m
Last edited by michaeljc on Tue May 29, 2018 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KeithA
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by KeithA » Mon May 28, 2018 8:38 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 8:13 pm
Ya don't know what you'v got until it is gone

So - you organised a party. Great food, great music but few came

So what? - go into a sulk and ignore those that came?

There is plenty of Zen here

Do the best you can with what you have got

It looks to me that some here want a greater audience to whom they can preach

If there was a system to predict human behavior even I could could make millions on the stock market

External dynamics have changed. There is nothing wrong about this forum

IMO

m
Yeah..this. :560:
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

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Dan74
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by Dan74 » Tue May 29, 2018 1:18 pm

Hmm... just to be very clear - I think there have been some damn good threads here (maybe worth posting a few favourites!) and there are also some issues I already mentioned. So it's not about hand-wringing for me and fretting because the forum isn't what I had wanted. It's just about doing our best.


I fundamentally agree with Meido and disagree with Fuki on this point
"chatting" as it occurs I don't seperate from "clinical" Zen Buddhism, so in both groups here as it occurs, no fixed abode. I understand it's different for everyone but personally I think all this talk obstructs and divides, while again there's enough space for all divisions already to floorish, that is if ppl put seeds in the ground instead of complaining about the (perceived) weeds and grasses.
I feel that focus and discipline are needed on (at least the parts of the) Forum dedicated to Zen Buddhism. To me, the reason Meido wrote a book that he did, and didn't just sneeze into a sheet of paper and call it the Rinzai Way, was because sentient beings mired in ancient patterns, need focus, direction and discipline. This doesn't have to be strained and forced, of course, though initially it often is. It's like like the simile of the lute https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ati/tip ... .than.html

I do agree that there should be space on a forum both for focused talk and some banter and one should not be overly concerned. It is only when the banter dominates, that some folks ask themselves whether the place is serving its purpose as a Zen Buddhism discussion forum. So I see it as being about balance.

Yes, I do feel that we should self-curate and not "sneeze onto the screen". I aspire to post not only in a respectful and kind manner but in a sincere heartfelt meaningful and informative way, engage with other posts with my whole being, as much as I can (in the sense of truly actively listening), basically give my best to the forum. If I am having a shit day, I am not going to pour out my frustrations on to another person here (hopefully). Nor will I blabber on if I feel that I have nothing of value to contribute. The simple reason for that is that I want to share in the best way that I can. Does this make me an eager beaver, a try-hard, not-Zen? (I know I fail, but as Keith says, that's why we call it practice).

Like if you come over, I will ask what you like to eat and cook my best, rather than slap some leftovers onto a plate.

When Guo Gu posted some similar advice, it was basically rejected and I haven't seen him participate much since (though maybe for a different reason, I don't know). Meido is busy but we can see how he feels about the forum from the comment above. There is too much dross and not enough Zen Buddhist content. I get that some disagree and won't be convinced by this attempt.

So what can we do?

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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by fuki » Tue May 29, 2018 1:54 pm

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the clarity, I dont disagree with what you say. The only difference is that I don't see one obstructing the other while some others (based on the poll and what I read) do. As always I can adapt where necessary, but what's necessary isn't always clear, also the issues you and others see, isn't an issue for every member. It seems to be divided, so what we get is merely opinions then. I still feel it's up to the owner to pick and choose or leaving it as it is. Discussing it with members is nice but not much different then a political poll and ppls opinions on politics. How hard can it be to just be clear about the founders intention and ppl either saying this place is for them or not, you can never please everyone. Just pick, dont leave it up to members and moderators. It's the lack of a clear direction/intention from the owner which is the issue not the conduct of members I think. That is a symptom not a cause.

And for the record I tried to think along from the start, there was the trick of putting off-topic into a designated thread to mention one, but not everyone followed, so I got lazy too. I recognize that. But ppl complaining and not putting in effort I find more dominating then any members nr of posts. Just my angle :P
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
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Dan74
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by Dan74 » Tue May 29, 2018 2:47 pm

Good points, fuki.

The self-criticism is also something that perhaps we can all do more of. Let's not get lazy.

As for the lack of clear intention from the owner - my intention, or rather hope, was for a vibrant discussion of Zen Buddhism and some banter on the side, rather than the other way around.

As it stands, I am wondering if more self-censorship (and possibly tighter moderation), less banter and dominance by a few voices would make the substance-rich threads more prominent and the culture more inviting of participation by new members, but I am not 100% sure, especially since I'd like to keep this place friendly and rather wish things evolved well largely on their own. As bodhi says, this place is very quiet and it's not like the folks are unfriendly to the newcomers either, so heavy-handed interference by the mods may just spook everyone off and spell the end of this project. Just thinking out loud.

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fuki
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by fuki » Tue May 29, 2018 3:13 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 2:47 pm

As for the lack of clear intention from the owner - my intention, or rather hope, was for a vibrant discussion of Zen Buddhism and some banter on the side, rather than the other way around.
Ah yes but then you're building a sky castle at the moment. A forum needs a strict intention/direction and tos from an owner as a foundation. Admins and mods to serve in the owners wishes instead of moderating on personal preferences, which inevitably will happen if things are not clear. Also members will be "picking" on each other if the foundation is not there, its like a big supermarket now with different sections and ppl who are distracted by those eating ice cream in the vegetable section, others are not bothered by it.

But I think a good tos and clear direction for what is lounge talk and not should be sufficient regarding (some of) your intentions, doesn't adress inactivity but thats something completely different and not related to "dominance" of those who are active in my view, the interweb is vast, this is a new place. My offline sangha has like 10 ppl, personally I enjoy small groups, big groups are fine too but this place isn't very well known to begin with. In any case I'd appreciate more clarity instead of holding this space in an endless "experimental phase"

If you want this place to be more like a strict Sangha then you need a foundation, if you say like others that the forum is fine, then it's fine. I thrive well under rules and orders, just tell me what to do and don't. If ppl ask me what I want to eat I never know, just get me a list and I'll get it. If you can't decide I most likely will bring home more "unhealthy" stuff then "zen food" ;)
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Dan74
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by Dan74 » Tue May 29, 2018 3:25 pm

Ok.

Do you think the current TOS is not good enough?

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fuki
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by fuki » Tue May 29, 2018 3:35 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 3:25 pm
Ok.

Do you think the current TOS is not good enough?
It's fine as far as I can see, yet some members get away with stuff others are tapped on the fingers for. That is somewhat confusing to me. My only concern personally is certain language used, not the language itself but how it's directed at others personally. Mods leave aggressive speech on the forum so perhaps they are not clear on what or what not to do?

Perhaps the tos is too long?

-Do no harm
-non zen related talk goes into the lounge.
-mods move (to lounge) instead of delete
-mods delete and pm those who do harm

Thats my tos basically.

When was your last IRC (or similair) chat with the staff for instance? When I owned a site we had a chat live once a month, its vital for the health and happiness of the mods too imo.

What also vital in my experience that you have at least, bare minimum, one mod who has a lot of time for a place like this and it isnt a burden on their time, one needs to enjoy the job and enjoy being active (reading or posting)
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boda
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by boda » Tue May 29, 2018 4:25 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 10:40 am
Whatever this place is, it is not living up to its function and potential as a forum about Zen Buddhism. Most people seem to recognize that fact, and do not come back or bother at all after looking around. That is shown by the relatively high number of registrations (assuming this place is protected from bots), but low participation. This is also shown by the low number of responses even to the poll itself.
Actually, the numbers show a participation to registration rate of about 25%. If you look at the numbers at dharmawheel.net, a very successful Buddhist forum which more than lives up to its function and potential, the participation to registration rate is about 2.5%. Almost 10,000 registrations there, with 250 members who have over 250 posts.

A 25% participation to registration rate is actually quite good. I imagine this is true for any online forum.

In any case, we can't speculate as to why the 75% are not participating because we have no information to go by.

Am I the only one who can do that math? And I'm terrible at it. :lol:
There are serious structural issues.
If there's any truth to this you should be able to describe these issues.

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fuki
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by fuki » Tue May 29, 2018 4:43 pm

bodhi wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 4:25 pm

Am I the only one who can do that math? And I'm terrible at it. :lol:
I knew you were going to, ppl shouldn't obstruct the function of others plus imagine some hold more value then others. (like the popular "experienced ones and teachers") To a reasonable degree ofcourse. Thanks for the math I was counting on you :106:

But percentage means little to me since I've never been result-orientated, it may be a valuable star-tistic to Dan the man.
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by Fruitzilla » Tue May 29, 2018 5:55 pm

bodhi wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 4:25 pm
jundocohen wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 10:40 am
Whatever this place is, it is not living up to its function and potential as a forum about Zen Buddhism. Most people seem to recognize that fact, and do not come back or bother at all after looking around. That is shown by the relatively high number of registrations (assuming this place is protected from bots), but low participation. This is also shown by the low number of responses even to the poll itself.
Actually, the numbers show a participation to registration rate of about 25%. If you look at the numbers at dharmawheel.net, a very successful Buddhist forum which more than lives up to its function and potential, the participation to registration rate is about 2.5%. Almost 10,000 registrations there, with 250 members who have over 250 posts.

A 25% participation to registration rate is actually quite good. I imagine this is true for any online forum.

In any case, we can't speculate as to why the 75% are not participating because we have no information to go by.

Am I the only one who can do that math? And I'm terrible at it. :lol:
There are serious structural issues.
If there's any truth to this you should be able to describe these issues.
If you look at vast difference in the number of registrations, the age and popularity of the forums the comparison doesn't hold up IMHO.

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boda
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by boda » Tue May 29, 2018 6:03 pm

When Guo Gu posted some similar advice, it was basically rejected and I haven't seen him participate much since (though maybe for a different reason, I don't know).
If we’re thinking of the same post by Guo Gu, it isn’t very similar to what preceded this quote, and though some of what Guo Gu wrote may have been questioned on a kind of philosophical basis (the possibility of no point of view, if I recall correctly), it was well received in meaning.

And he informed us why he’d be busy (and so less likely to post).

Is it cognitive dissonance? You’ve pushed the narrative that a few members are the problem for so long that you’ll use any measly morsel to continue promote it and ignore all evidence to the contrary.

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boda
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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by boda » Tue May 29, 2018 6:07 pm

Fruitzilla wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 5:55 pm
bodhi wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 4:25 pm
jundocohen wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 10:40 am
Whatever this place is, it is not living up to its function and potential as a forum about Zen Buddhism. Most people seem to recognize that fact, and do not come back or bother at all after looking around. That is shown by the relatively high number of registrations (assuming this place is protected from bots), but low participation. This is also shown by the low number of responses even to the poll itself.
Actually, the numbers show a participation to registration rate of about 25%. If you look at the numbers at dharmawheel.net, a very successful Buddhist forum which more than lives up to its function and potential, the participation to registration rate is about 2.5%. Almost 10,000 registrations there, with 250 members who have over 250 posts.

A 25% participation to registration rate is actually quite good. I imagine this is true for any online forum.

In any case, we can't speculate as to why the 75% are not participating because we have no information to go by.

Am I the only one who can do that math? And I'm terrible at it. :lol:
There are serious structural issues.
If there's any truth to this you should be able to describe these issues.
If you look at vast difference in the number of registrations, the age and popularity of the forums the comparison doesn't hold up IMHO.
I could do more research but I suspect that high registration and low participation is a phenomenon which applies to most if not all online forum. Shall I look? 25% seems high by any standard.

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Re: How is Zen Space doing - a poll for all members, active, inactive, lurkers, come one, come all!

Post by fuki » Tue May 29, 2018 6:12 pm

Dan was referring to the self-attachments in post thread right?

ps GG is leading a retreat now till June 1st, I'm sure he's always very busy. He sad so for years everytime he had time to visit zfi or zenspace.

It is unfortunate that ppl react emotionally to GG instead of taking a breath first, for instance the reactions on "tendencies of sentient beings" Although for GG it doesnt matter what is projected upon him, nevertheless he has a different approach communicating then Meido and Jundo, he tends to tickle more exposing our neurotics and delusions, I appreciate that "style"

He also isnt allergic to the word love like most Zen teachers and practisioners.
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