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Dear Members

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:34 pm
by clyde
Dear Members;

From the time Dan first asked me if I would take ownership of Zen Space I’ve been considering what to do. Given that the forum is not heavily populated or used, I initially framed it this way: If Zen Space was a blank, what would I do?

As I considered this, I found three main points: the purpose, the rules, and the structure. I’ve sat with these points for some time and feel reasonably settled on the first two points, so I’ve posted (and locked) the purpose here:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=561

As stated, the purpose of Zen Space is to talk about Zen, not the forum; but given the changes, it seems best to give members an opportunity to express themselves. I hope you understand my reasoning for the changes, that they have a positive effect, and that you will continue to participate at Zen Space.

Regarding the focus on lay people, I understand that Zen Space will lose the knowledge and respected views of teachers. But that, “respected views” is both appropriate and the problem; i.e., it creates a situation where forum members are not all equal, some are students and some are honored teachers.

There is also a personal reason. As the owner of Zen Space, I will be responsible for moderating the forum and I do NOT want to moderate teachers. In my experience on forums, including the early years at ZFI (as one of the Founders and Omnibudsperson), I have observed that teachers are sometimes in need of moderation. Members are sometimes trolls and sometimes troubled, and this comes with open forums, but having teachers adds member-teacher and teacher-teacher interactions to be moderated; I’ve seen it - and I don’t want to do it.

Before making this announcement I contacted Meido and Guo Gu, and even Jundo, and shared this with them.

Now it’s your turn. (But please, remember to be kind :) )

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:02 pm
by loves' the unjust
clyde wrote:But please, remember to be kind.
No problem...clyde.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:48 pm
by [james]
clyde wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:34 pm
Regarding the focus on lay people, I understand that Zen Space will lose the knowledge and respected views of teachers. But that, “respected views” is both appropriate and the problem; i.e., it creates a situation where forum members are not all equal, some are students and some are honored teachers.
Thanks Clyde.

A few thoughts from me concerning the above paragraph, for now.

Teachers, students and the curious all equally participate here to the extent that they have something to contribute. Based on the cumulative content of a particular member’s contributions we are each capable of deciding, for ourselves, how we wish to view that person’s body of posts. Everyone’s contribution merits interest, respect and honor if it arises from the circumstances of their zen practice or from their sincere curiosity about zen practice. Similarly, it is incumbent on each of us to focus our comments through the lenses of our own practice and sincere curiosity. There is no need or benefit in any real or implied hierarchy of member status. Teachers should be as welcome here as anyone else to participate as equal members of no rank.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:40 pm
by WoodsyLadyM
I hope this doesn't mean no Zen teacher will be allowed to participate in any way. If so, it seems unfair. Will they be allowed to post events and such? I agree with James, teachers should at least be allowed to participate on an equal footing with everyone else.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:45 pm
by Kaya
[james] wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:48 pm
clyde wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:34 pm
Regarding the focus on lay people, I understand that Zen Space will lose the knowledge and respected views of teachers. But that, “respected views” is both appropriate and the problem; i.e., it creates a situation where forum members are not all equal, some are students and some are honored teachers.
Thanks Clyde.

A few thoughts from me concerning the above paragraph, for now.

Teachers, students and the curious all equally participate here to the extent that they have something to contribute. Based on the cumulative content of a particular member’s contributions we are each capable of deciding, for ourselves, how we wish to view that person’s body of posts. Everyone’s contribution merits interest, respect and honor if it arises from the circumstances of their zen practice or from their sincere curiosity about zen practice. Similarly, it is incumbent on each of us to focus our comments through the lenses of our own practice and sincere curiosity. There is no need or benefit in any real or implied hierarchy of member status. Teachers should be as welcome here as anyone else to participate as equal members of no rank.
What he said. Exactly.

But having teachers on the roster means zilch if they don't participate, especially when a wise and experienced helping hand would aid learning or understanding.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:41 pm
by clyde
James; Thank you for your thoughtful response. I understand your view and have considered it. While I agree that it’s an admirable principle (the equality of “no rank’), my observation has been that consciously or unconsciously, expressly or implied, teachers are teachers and both members and teachers respond to the difference. Teachers recognize this distinction when they form teacher organizations which have membership requirements.

Beyond that, as I noted, I do not want to moderate teachers or members reacting to teachers, and I especially do not want to moderate teacher-teacher interactions. I have seen this happen here and at other forums. There are other forums and social media where lay people and teachers commingle (DharmaWheel is an example), so having a forum dedicated to lay practitioners should not be problematic. In fact, my experience has been that practitioners often form groups of Dharma friends who regularly get together to talk about their practice - that is what I hope Zen Space will become.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:00 pm
by desert_woodworker
Clyde, it's good to be in at the start of things, I'd say, and I send kudos to you for helping refine and redefine the purpose and rules of a forum such as this, and in fact this very one.

If there have been changes, I don't understand clearly about "teachers", and I hope they are still aboard. If not, that's OK, too, and perhaps they will come in again anyway as just "members". Members like that are members with whom we can still disagree and engage with, but who can be trusted to have great information by much practice and by much experience guiding others, and, before that, by brilliant quality-control by their own teachers from whom they've inherited this Dharma which we value above all things. Now, teachers can go bad, certainly; it's up to students to keep them on the straight and narrow (who else can do it?). Bring 'em on. :116:

Many blessings, in our Year of Lord Buddha 2562!

(sounds so futuristic: I would have thought that some of us would be living on Mars by then/now)

:namaste:

--Joe (Tennen)

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:16 am
by fuki
clyde wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:41 pm
In fact, my experience has been that practitioners often form groups of Dharma friends who regularly get together to talk about their practice - that is what I hope Zen Space will become.
Sounds good Clyde.
Though I have to say that even in an offline setting we never talk about practise, since our practise consists of having nothing to do and nowhere to go, We share photos of walks basically or little stories about a sudden cry of a Heron while sitting on a bench non-dwelling. Talks are more inspirational and supportive in nature. But my offline dharma friends come from all paths, zen, sufi, "hindu" christian/muslim. Actually we hardly talk at all, my best friends are those who never 'speak' with me, in fact I enjoy not speaking with them all the time! :106:

I like your ideas though and am supportive of them, I would suggest if you don't mind that people then are mindful in what category they put their threads, most threads started in zen buddhism/beginners space etc are mostly lounge material, to 'rule' the forum more strict then chaotic as it is now might help in reaching your goal.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:11 am
by Dan74
The intention to create a free space for Zen friends to share and interact without the presence of the teachers is understandable and I hope you succeed.

For me, the teachers not only shared valuable insights, but helped focus the place on Zen. I never felt any of the teachers here 'lord' it over other members or throw their weight around.

Now I fear the place will fill with just more nonzence.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:12 am
by loves' the unjust
Dan74 wrote:nonzence
beautifuly described.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:59 pm
by fuki
Dan74 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:11 am
For me, the teachers not only shared valuable insights, but helped focus the place on Zen. I never felt any of the teachers here 'lord' it over other members or throw their weight around.
Far as I understand they are still members right and can be just as active or non-active as they see fit?
Come to think of it the 3 different type of members;
The intended members are (These are ‘working’ definitions and are not meant in any official way.):

Zen students: They are studying and practicing Zen Buddhism under the guidance of a Zen teacher.

students of Zen: They are studying Zen Buddhism and practicing the Dharma without a Zen teacher.

the curious about Zen: They are not practicing Zen, but have an interest in learning about Zen’s teachings and practice.
will have the same moderating issues Clyde was concerned about I believe, as on all forums the moment we lock up someone's rank in a mental picture the forum will have unnecessary arguments based on rank/position instead of content, I remember on zfi some members couldn't view certain 'subforums' based on not having listed their sangha/teacher, I didn't like that, I think the whole with/without a Zen teacher is distracting to any forum, all labels are actually. It's pretty obvious what Meido's or Guo Gu's additional value to this forum is, with or without the (forum) teacher rank, I think it's more of a moderating reason as Clyde said he was uncomfortable moderating them, they're still known as teachers ofcourse, just without a forum rank/privileges.

Let's just give Clyde a chance manifesting the whole thingy, if he can make such an abstract idea a reality

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:04 pm
by Dan74
No, fuki. guo gu and meido will have no place in the new Zen Space. They are teachers, you see

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:36 pm
by Meido
Hi Folks, Dan beat me to it, but he's correct. Please read Clyde's announcement in the "Each one helps..." topic (https://www.zen1.space/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=561), as he has been clear regarding the new direction he'd like to chart. Specifically:
This forum is specifically for lay-people and not for Zen monks, priests, or teachers. I have the utmost respect for Zen teachers and the special relationship they form with students, but an informal and open forum is not conducive to such relationships and the presence of Zen teachers is not conducive to an informal and open discussion of students and the curious talking about “Zen”.
RE the idea of teachers coming in as "just members" note that teachers have not ever had any special status here, unlike what was set up at ZFI. In other words, they were already just members (I was a mod, true, but that was unrelated to my teaching activity).

My account will be deleted when Clyde or other staff gets around to it, but wanted to make sure folks know I won't receive any PMs going forward. If you'd like to get in touch any time see my sig below. Also, though I have very little time these days to be present in any forum, I still check in to DW when I can. Some of you are also there, so see you around...

I've enjoyed the conversation with everyone, and especially working with Dan and other staff during the initial setup of Zen Space. Please support each other going forward, and I hope you will all work together to create something useful. Wishing all the best!

:namaste:

Meido

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:39 pm
by fuki
Dan74 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:04 pm
No, fuki. guo gu and meido will have no place in the new Zen Space. They are teachers, you see
I 'thought' they were living beings, the rest is only in reference to the world of knowledge, which ofcourse as Zen teachers is quite handy to navigate the objective world. So you are saying they will leave the forum? :107:

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:43 pm
by fuki
Meido wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:36 pm

My account will be deleted when Clyde or other staff gets around to it,
:o
I've enjoyed the conversation with everyone, and especially working with Dan and other staff during the initial setup of Zen Space. Please support each other going forward, and I hope you will all work together to create something useful. Wishing all the best!
Thanks for everything you did for zenspace and its inhabtants Meido.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:46 pm
by WoodsyLadyM
Meido, I'm really sorry to hear you won't be around. You'll be sorely missed. Thanks for all your contributions to this forum.

Gassho,
Maria
Meido wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:36 pm
Hi Folks, Dan beat me to it, but he's correct. Please read Clyde's announcement in the "Each one helps..." topic (https://www.zen1.space/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=561), as he has been clear regarding the new direction he'd like to chart. Specifically:
This forum is specifically for lay-people and not for Zen monks, priests, or teachers. I have the utmost respect for Zen teachers and the special relationship they form with students, but an informal and open forum is not conducive to such relationships and the presence of Zen teachers is not conducive to an informal and open discussion of students and the curious talking about “Zen”.
RE the idea of teachers coming in as "just members" note that teachers have not ever had any special status here, unlike what was set up at ZFI. In other words, they were already just members (I was a mod, true, but that was unrelated to my teaching activity).

My account will be deleted when Clyde or other staff gets around to it, but wanted to make sure folks know I won't receive any PMs going forward. If you'd like to get in touch any time see my sig below. Also, though I have very little time these days to be present in any forum, I still check in to DW when I can. Some of you are also there, so see you around...

I've enjoyed the conversation with everyone, and especially working with Dan and other staff during the initial setup of Zen Space. Please support each other going forward, and I hope you will all work together to create something useful. Wishing all the best!

:namaste:

Meido

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:14 pm
by clyde
Thank you all for your comments. I especially want to thank Meido for his understanding and to express gratitude to all the teachers for their past participation at Zen Space.

Whether Zen Space “fill[s] with just more nonzence” or not, is a function of the members. I’m here because Zen Buddhism has had an important place in my life for 50 years and forums gave me an opportunity to ask questions about Zen teachings and practice, to share my experiences, and to express my (limited) understanding. It’s for each member to determine their reason for being at Zen Space and to post accordingly.

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:05 pm
by Mason
I don't think any student in their right mind would want to be deprived of the insight and (online) embodiment of Meido or Guo Gu. Personally, I think the forum would be much better if only Meido and Guo Gu were allowed to post. Yes, it's a little (or, a lottle) embarrassing to attempt discussions about Zen when true teachers are there, watching. We must all appear quite confused and lost - even the best of us. Thankfully such teachers have a remarkable compassion and tolerance for our bullshit Zen-pretending.

I understand the motivation to do this, and I look forward to the fun. But, methinks the cost is too great.

:namaste:

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:33 pm
by lindama
Thank you 10,000 times Meido and Guo Gu. :111:

For me, this is most unfortunate turn of events.

all the best
linda

Re: Dear Members

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:35 pm
by fuki
Mason wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:05 pm
We must all appear quite confused and lost - even the best of us. Thankfully such teachers have a remarkable compassion and tolerance for our bullshit Zen-pretending.
The way I see it, there is no error in appearances other then our grasping, hence when (the discriminating) mind comes into being the various conceptions come to be, as so all dharmas are the very mind of sentient beings. It reminds me of referees they always penalize the 'second' error, which in this metaphor is not what appears but the internal narrative to whatever appears, i.e. emtional reactivity, making "thisness" and "thatness" thought about so called dharmas (phenomena) Let's not overanalyze and just see what happens, thus present thoughts/activity remaining fresh. I'd hate to see Meido and Guo Gu "go" too, however let's support Clyde, not being conditioned by the past (and the forums history) and give it a shot. Meido himself was supportive in his speech, let's take that as an example.