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CANADIAN BUDDHISTS ON THE WEB Push, Pull & Practice JOHN NEGRU Karma Yönten Gyatso Buddhism in Canada: Global Causes, Local Conditions October 15-17, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "CANADIAN BUDDHISTS ON THE WEB Push, Pull & Practice JOHN NEGRU Karma Yönten Gyatso Buddhism in Canada: Global Causes, Local Conditions October 15-17, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 CANADIAN BUDDHISTS ON THE WEB Push, Pull & Practice JOHN NEGRU Karma Yönten Gyatso Buddhism in Canada: Global Causes, Local Conditions October 15-17, 2010

2 Buddhists on the web Any area of study of the internet can and should be applied to Buddhists AS Buddhists. To understand Canadian Buddhists on with the web, we must look at issues affecting Canadian web use in general… …and then apply those assessment criteria to Canadian Buddhists as a sub-set of demographic groups.

3 What is the internet? A medium not a thing Multi-modal Continually evolving Generational Ethnic Regional Consequential Portal Aggregator Electronic brochure Soapbox Disruptor Collaborative work space Archeological site Icon Marketplace Espionage target Alternate reality Social network Knowledge base Crime De facto standard Celebrity-maker Entertainer Trickster

4 Push and pull media Push media is mass marketing. Its about creating a strong brand and making it well-known through advertising and public relations. Pull media is one-to-one custom marketing. Its about meeting the needs of individual customers and building strong relationships through that process.

5 Push The web as a channel for Buddhist centres to DELIVER information. Organization websites Buddhist portals + aggregators Buddhist news in mainstream media

6 Pull The web as a place individual Buddhists and others go to FIND information about Buddhism and Buddhist community. Centre website contact information Centre event news Social network dimension Hacker subversion dimension

7 Practice The web AS practice. Time on the web in a Buddhist frame of mind An expression of ones faith A place to learn Worldly action in service of Dharma Blogosphere E-commerce

8 Education isnt about finding the right answers. Its about learning how to ask the right questions. Questions

9 How are Canadian Buddhists using the internet? The same as any other Canadian, on a daily basis. Look to analytics for traffic data. Look to the Way-back Machine for evolution data.

10 Who are the people making best use of web technology to get their Dharma message out, and what can we learn from them? Buddhist centre sites, portals and blogs Groups with/without websites Language, ethnicity, settlement and other demographic issues Ways of assembly and Sangha issues The evolution of Dharma in Canada before 1996

11 How is the internet changing the way people seek out Buddhist teachings and Sangha connections? Lineage affiliations Contact modes Direct contact Phone but not fax E-mail Social network Geo-tagged Real-time

12 Where are the fault lines between digital immigrants and digital natives within the Canadian Buddhist community? Ethnicity? Ordination? Age? Livelihood? Lineage? Location?

13 Shadows in the Cloud Nobel Peace Prize Dalai Lama Panchen Lama Dossier Tibet Aung San Suu Kyi Burmese Democracy Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia Afghanistan, Pakistan Insurgencies, Refugees, Disasters Buddhist scandals Sex, booze and cash Cults Hijacked lineages Interfaith dialogue Canadian bloggers in jail Where is the boundary between practice and politics on the web?

14 Embracing the web Rejecting the web Ambivalent about the web Academic remove Meets personal need Authentic experience Misguided and/or shallow Slack-tivism PUSH – Buddhist OrganizationsPull – Buddhist Practitioners Is the web a substitute for practice, a new way of practice, or nothing to do with practice?

15 What are the new opportunities and threats presented by social media, collaborative open-source computing, e-books and mobile computing? Universal global access Teacher/student relationship New Sangha relationship E-Commerce, Second Life, Wiki What is real? Would Buddha tweet?

16 Online tools for research into, and assessment of, Buddhist organizations in Canada Analytics

17 is the definitive directory of Canadian Buddhist organizations 400+ organizations currently listed 2010 edition Created and maintained by The Sumeru Press Inc. Replaces, which is now

18 Sumeru is a Canadian Buddhist news blog Sumeru 800-1000 visitors/month The Sumeru Press is a Canadian publisher Publisher of Buddhist books and art By, for and about Canadian Buddhists Books, e-books & ephemera

19 Analytical Tools The first four online tools allow you to monitor and assess web traffic. Web.Archive is also known as the Way- Back Machine, and allows you to view websites as they existed in the past. 7zoom Alexa Compete Google Analytics Web.Archive

20 Fault lines in the Buddhist firmament Dialectics

21 Traditionalism vs Modernism Fear that technology will erode values Emphasis on physical experience Ear-whispered lineages Guru-disciple relationship The cult of the new The myth of progress Social validation Its all about me Spiritual materialism

22 Digitally disadvantaged communities Tibetan Chinese Japanese Vipassana Vietnamese Zen Vietnamese Pure Land Lao Khmer Sri Lankan Thai Vibrant web presencePoor web presence

23 Empowered but uninterested youth Religion, ritual + relevance Generation gap Secularized society Linguistic tar pits Here vs back home Not your parents immigrant experience Welcome to the Daily Show generation Dharma Punx DIY Dharma Martha Grey Buffalo Tzu Chi Girls vs boys Activist focus

24 Cultural mis-appropriation? Buddhist celebrities (Steven Seagal, Tiger Woods) Buddhist interior design ( Visvavajra backdrop on Jay Leno show) Martha Wetaskiwin Grey Buffalo (Facebook) Personal empowerment (Allan Knight) Health + Wellness (Dr. Deepak Chopra) Ghost stories (Ghost Whisperer) Quest movies (Matrix, Batman Begins) Dragon tattoos

25 Fluid group identification We exist in multiple dimensions simultaneously Relativistic value sets Shopping around and the loyalty problem No commitment messages (cell phone ads) Bounce rate, click-throughs + unique visits Understanding a mile wide and an inch deep

26 Authority vs the Wiki model Ordained teacher Vertical hierarchy Charismatic leadership Succession issues Gender segregation Buddha Dharma focus Formal web presence Resilient Orthodoxy Lay teachers Horizontal management DIY focus Succession issues Gender neutrality Sangha focus Ad hoc web presence Chaotic, ephemeral Innovation Established institutionsFlat, open, democratic institutions

27 No-Self vs Celebrity Branding Can you brand no-self? Identity as branding (eg. teens on Facebook) Intimate strangers Second Life avatars Is the web sambhogakaya? I the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Leonard Cohen, the Panchen Lama, Richard Gere, Tina Turner, Alanis Morissette, Adam Yauch… Following celebrities is easier than actual practice

28 Giving freely vs Commercialism How can we reconcile Dharma with commerce? Dharma websites hobbled if they try to sell something Practitioner supplies stores E-Bay vs the Snow Lion model What is a fair price? Proceeds to charitable causes Fund-raising (and lack thereof) in various communities

29 Retreat versus Engaged Practice Does practice require withdrawal from society? Can the forest model work in Canada? Since most of us MUST work, cant we find some way to practice engaged Buddhism? Practice and daily life as not-two Trending toward egalitarian, lay Sangha Canadian immigration laws and ordained Sangha

30 Local Activism vs Global Citizenship Support Tibet, but ignore native Canadians? Disaster activism instead of constant attention Little activist focus on most Canadian Buddhist websites Little linkage with contemporary issues in society Fund-raising, vegetarianism, environmentalism, health + wellness, political action, pro-peace, gender equality, universal access, etc.

31 Inter-community Alliances Growth of lineage and ethnic associations Weak local associations across lineage/ethnic divide Associations have no web presence

32 Exclusions and Norms New Kadampa Novayana Non-English websites Centres that no longer exist, and their web shadows Do you exist if you are not on the web? Practice vs academe

33 Buddhism in Canada: Global Causes, Local Conditions Thanks for being here!

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