Thanks for your kind sentiments and I know you mean very well.
Flame-throwers (please credit Yong Peng with this word) are good people deep
inside. However, due to our unwillingness or inability to help (yes help)
them we ban them. Excuse: this is a Pali site, or whatever.
Perhaps consistently ill-intended flame-throwers wihtout any interest in
Pali should be banned quietly or otherwise from the group. Undemocratic but
it works for the purposes of such a dedicated group.
However I address the matter as we are Buddhists on various levels of
practice. I feel we can also play a positive role in the lives of
flame-throwers. If someone is obnoxious online to people they do not even
know well, what more a Buddhist website at that (I hope we do include
Buddhist in the Pali), obviously he has some issues no matter what his age.
We have had flamethrowers before but they were sometimes gently, sometime
strongly, but patiently, told off. (I remember there was even a monk who
once nearly blew his top because of a rude person, but after a gentle
reminder, he responded kindly.) I think they and we all have something to
Most such flamethrowers are excellent resource people. So if you think what
the Buddha would do to such people (be very patient to them, think
Angulimala), I think we can learn something from them about our own selves.
Ugly speech is a handicap. If someone is speech-handicapped online, I'm sure
this reflects his daily life, too. I would feel compassion for such people.
What we dislike in flamethrowers may be something in our own selves that we
dislike. Truth helps people better than mere politeness (think the parable
of the man wounded with a poisoned dart).
I don't think we can ever start a separate website for flamethrowers and
flamethrowing. It tends to happen when and where we least expect it. As
Buddhists we should be ever ready in responding positively. The Buddha helps
flamethrowers, so should we. I'm not saying it's easy but we can try.
We can still be focussed to what this website is about if we allow some
human frailties, and try to deal with them in a way that learning Pali
ultimately points to.
Flamethrowers are trying to communicate, but not good at it. They are not so
refined or well groomed like most of us, or the rest of us. Yet they choose
to haunt or lurk this website, there is something here they can relate to: I
think we can try to help them in some way.
This can also be our skillful means. This is a chance to put into practice
all that we have learned from Buddhism.
Worse than flamethrowing is trying to hurt others behind their backs, like
what some "anti-Buddhists" did to the National University of Singapore
Buddhist Society notice boards recently. I was told in class yesterday that
a few of their notice boards were destroyed, others vandalized with rude
graffitis against the Buddha.
May all flamethrowers and non-flamethrowers, the flaming and the cool, the
moving and the still, be well and happy :)
On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 9:18 AM, John Kelly <palistudent@...> wrote:
> Dear all,
> Having read some of the recent back-and-forth posts under the heading
> "Re: Simu", as a one-time frequent contributor to the list and now
> more of a lurker, I would just like to say that this Pali group is a
> wonderful resource, and I heartily commend Yong Peng for his yeoman
> work on it and all the different Pali projects he has undertaken here
> and on his website.
> I'd also like to commend Piya for his excellent work on the sutta
> translation project - an extremely worthy goal. If I had the time
> right now, which I don't, I would be keen to offer my help on it.
> Perhaps one day, I will be able to.
> There are a number of people that this list is very blessed to have
> participating, but two others that deserve a special mention are Nina
> van Gorkum and Jim Anderson. Nina is always ready to help when
> someone posts a question, always humble about her own expertise (even
> though it seems quite large), and despite her message only being mere
> "pixels" on my computer screen, I can always feel the metta that she
> posts with.
> I love having Jim around because his expertise in Pali truly is vast
> and he is always most generous with his time in responding to
> questions posed online, and in explaining things clearly even when the
> questions are very basic.
> All the questions on Pali are valid - beginner, intermediate, or
> advanced. It always pains me a little when someone new to the list
> feels they need to apologize for asking a simple question. Please
> don't - your questions are valuable to many other lurkers too. So keep
> 'em coming!
> I feel sad when this list is polluted by flame-throwers as has
> happened recently, and hope that these will continue to just be
> ignored and if the person persists in spewing bile, then best if our
> wise moderator, Yong Peng, quietly bans that person from further posts.
> May we all keep the real purpose of learning Pali firmly in mind, and
> always try to practice according to the noble teachings of the Buddha.
> With metta,
> --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com <Pali%40yahoogroups.com>, "Ong Yong Peng"
> <palismith@...> wrote:
> > Dear Piya,
> > thanks for your message.
> > > My point is that not every can help you the way you want them to. I
> > > may help to answer certain questions posted when I think I can give
> > > a good answer and when I have the time to.
> > I think that's just as good. After reading your entire post, I do
> > realise how busy your schedule is. This is actually the first time I
> > know about your translation goals.
> > > However, I hope you are aware that long before you even started
> > > Buddhism or Pali, I have had an interest in Pali Suttas. My
> > > approach is Sutta and Dharma first, Pali is just a tool, but I am
> > > almost always last-worded by you about such things as "the Kalama
> > > Sutta and open mindedness" and the like (but if you care to examine
> > > the Sutta as whole, it actually says something qute different). You
> > > are welcome to read it at the http://dharmafarer.google.pages if
> > > you care to, or any other link you are better disposed to.
> > As a person from an engineering background, I tend to emphasise on
> > mastering the tool, even though it is a mean to an end. I think
> > personalities differ, which is why some people produced great
> > commentaries and others great Pali grammars.
> > I like to thank you for your link which I believe should be
> > http://dharmafarer.googlepages.com/ It is good to read the Kalama
> > Sutta again. And yes, when I mention the Buddhist spirit of free
> > enquiry, I was referring to Kalama Sutta, but not exactly as what you
> > think I meant.
> > > Not once did you even say something wholesome about the Sutta
> > > Discovery translation project or the link, that has been going on
> > > for the last 8 years in SIngapore. On the contrary, you seem to
> > > object even at the mention of this local project like it would be
> > > detrimental to your website. But I keep an open mind about it
> > > and still lurk at this website.
> > Frankly, I do not monitor what is going on on your website. I applaud
> > your efforts, and would recommend people to visit the site. The files
> > you sent to the group are still on the link:
> > http://www.geocities.com/paligroup/ And the messages you send us
> > contain the links to your sites.
> > Certain parts of tipitaka.net are outdated, and I just do not have the
> > time to update them. Most of these pages, I have planned to renew them
> > with an automated process, but it will be a while before that can
> > > I remember once years back telling about the Sutta Discovery
> > > project; now I realize why you were cool then. You had "bigger"
> > > plans, which is fine. Do what you are best at, and that is what I
> > > am doing too. It might take another generation before more
> > > qualified and enthusiastic like ourselves really work
> > > together for a greater common good, like a Pali university or
> > > Dharma colleged in this region. And people will be more civil than
> > > Teng Kee and myself (I think we are both old coots, so allow our
> > > cantankerous eccentricities--for goodness sake, we are humans, not
> > > just talking pixels!)
> > I have to clarify that I never consider myself a Pali expert of any
> > kind. I think learning Pali is a very personal interest of mine, but I
> > am happy to share what I know through this list, and also compile the
> > collective knowledge in a way useful to others.
> > Your work on Sutta Discovery is way beyond my means, in terms of time
> > and resources, and also topical knowledge. The sutta translation
> > exercises we do, though ambitious, are really in bits and pieces. Even
> > the Pali exercises, I always ask for review and comments, and have to
> > seek Florent and others' help to share the load.
> > > The point is I too badly need people to help in the Sutta Discovery
> > > translation project, which is now in its 27th volume (4 vols a year
> > > consistently ). (Anyway I must thank those who have given me an
> > > occasional feedback to my SD sutta translation.) This is important
> > > when I use these texts teaching them most of the days of the week.
> > > This is my life's work. I am 60, and if the SIngapore lifespan
> > > works for me, yathaa,kamma.m yathaa,baala.m I will have about 25
> > > years more. If mental lucidity continues, I can complete up 100
> > > volumes of Suttas and essays by 2030, if I live to that time.
> > Piya, I never hear that from you before. I wish more resources are
> > available at your disposal. Your SD translations may one day be a
> > reference for our exercises.
> > > Another thing: you seem to be offended every time I make an
> > > "inspired" statement. This is saddening. While a website can be
> > > dedicated, I don't agree that it should be to restricted in
> > > expression. Sometimes practitioners may have something beautiful
> > > to share, is it wrong to share it with people here? I can't speak
> > > for other websites at this point, only this one.
> > I do not think there should be any problem, as long as it is within
> > comprehension of an average person. The message archive for this group
> > still contain traces of evidence when peaceful discussions disrupted
> > into unnecessary flame-throwing. I do not yet fully comprehend why
> > that would happen, but as the moderator I have to keep the group from
> > derailing to unknown territory.
> > > So you almost always correct me here, for example, when I say "We
> > > should remember the true purpose of learning Pali". Is there
> > > anything wrong in saying this? You even sound vindictive at
> > > times.This is a cause for some concern.
> > Not at all. We are all Kalamas, are we not?
> > > For me, having an "inspiring" engagement with Pali and the Dharma
> > > is a vital part of being a practitioner. Otherwise, we should ask
> > > if we are using the internet and our expertise as an escape from
> > > the real world or some unresolved personal issues (which is not bad
> > > in themselves, but we need to be really open minded).
> > Appropriate mix of "engagement" is good, otherwise I would like to
> > return to my personal issues and pursue other matters of interest. I
> > do spend a good amount of time on the internet, not only to learn and
> > share Pali, but also for connecting with family and friends in
> > Singapore, to acquire professional knowledge and update myself on
> > events of the world, and for entertainment too. However, if there is
> > someone who require my personal devotion, I will nonetheless do it.
> > > Please keep this website colour blind or fully coloured without
> > > any favour or preference.
> > I will do my best, your suggestions are always welcome, but keep it
> > short and sweet the next time. ;-)
> > > I'm sorry to be rather blunt in this mail, but I'm not sure how
> > > else this can be communicated to you. When we used to meet in
> > > Singapore you were quietly friendly, but you seem different online.
> > > I think something is really wrong here.
> > Those who know me long enough and in person would know that I have
> > interests in a wide range of things, not only Pali. And, I am always
> > happy to discuss all sorts of things and issues, but it is very
> > different in a group's situation when some topics can be more
> > sensitive than others. I cannot afford too much time to play judge
> > judy to resolve conflicts which can be avoided. Maybe this is not true
> > of all forums, and I believe we can improve further, but I am trying
> > to maintain some quality of the list.
> > > I say things because I hope it will make people think, and not to
> > > judge anyone merely by appearances, reputation and website, or even
> > > Sutta translation. It would be worrying if anyone hated me for just
> > > writing this: ask yourself why you have hate in you.
> > I don't see why people should hate talking pixels. ;-)
> > Each time I read the Kalama Sutta, each time I realise the nobleness
> > and timelessness of the Buddha's teachings. I believe we are all
> > Kalamas. In fact, we are Kalamas over and over again. We agree with
> > the Buddha's ten doubtworthy points and the rest of the discourse.
> > Like the Kalamas, we praise the Dharma, and go for refuge. However, we
> > keep falling into the ten doubtworthy traps. Falling short of the
> > Buddha's expectations, but we continue to judge people, looking at
> > others' faults and measure them in our own standards. Greed, hatred,
> > delusion, jealousy, prejudice, pride, etc. These negative qualities
> > are unwholesome, yet we still live by them. We accept, promote and
> > cheer on teachings of greed, hatred, delusion, and intolerance. We may
> > even pretend they are not there in us.
> > "Doubt has arisen in you over what is doubtful." I believe the Kalama
> > Sutta is rightly known as the charter of free enquiry, not vaguely to
> > choose only parts of the Buddha's teachings to my likings, but rather
> > to allow myself careful analysis and investigation on later
> > interpretations which may have fallen into any of the ten traps,
> > knowingly or otherwise, and for any reason.
> > metta,
> > Yong Peng.
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