The intention of rebelbuddha.com is to provide a space for dialogue about our personal experience of the path of awakening, as well as issues relevant to the Buddhist spiritual journey in modern-day, Westernized cultures. It’s a place for spiritual inquiry, for questioning our assumptions and preconceived ideas in an environment of mutual respect, tolerance, and empathy. It’s a place to take off our glasses and inspect the lens itself, the filter through which we’ve been looking at ourselves, each other, and the world at large.
What’s “buddha” about “rebel”?
Perhaps here is the place to mention that “rebel buddha” is not a person. As explained in Dzogchen Ponlop’s book, rebel buddha is the active, awakened intelligence of each and every mind. It is the quality of awareness within us as individuals that breaks through states of mind—thoughts, emotions, fears—that keep us trapped in unhappiness and suffering. Rebel buddha is that part of us that urges us to resist a life of illusion and seek our own inner truth. Understanding our own mind also helps us to help others, to work with the confusion, conflict, and injustices that are widespread in our world. When we are in touch with our own discriminating intelligence and listening to its voice, then we are bringing together the power of our awakened mind and our intention to use that power consciously and wisely. Instead of perpetually fighting with ourself and others, we learn to pacify aggression within and without, through knowledge, understanding, and compassion.
Commenting: I’m right, therefore you’re wrong.
We’re here to share our experiences and exchange ideas through a series of blog posts and comments. This back and forth talk can open up communications or shut it down, as most of us know. So what do we do in our discussions when conflict arises because we have different opinions? We can usually see what divides us more clearly than what connects us, but unless we stop to look at both, we’re unlikely to get past partisan sound bites (which can lead to name-calling, blaming, and self-righteousness). Then where has our intelligence gone? “Rebelling” in this case means to oppose those tendencies toward incivility, unkindness, and harmful speech. It’s much harder and often takes more courage to say something positive—to give voice to our generosity, to act with a sense of discipline and patience—but these are the qualities and conduct taught by the Buddha (and other spiritual teachers) to be powerful means for restoring balance, peace, and harmony within and without.
Rules of the Road
It’s not in the “rebel” spirit for the editors of this web site to be “censors” of views, and that is not our intention—but it is our responsibility, right, and intention to publish only blogs and comments that further sincere and constructive discussion.
This means that we will not publish blogs or comments that are intended to (or would in effect) cause harm to any individual or group. This website is not a platform for political agitation or for spreading gossip. It’s not a place to push an agenda, dominate a conversation, or win an argument. What does this mean specifically?
We will not publish posts or comments that:
- spread or invite gossip
- abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
- are libelous or knowingly false
- call out individuals or communities by name in a way that encourage ad hominem attacks on them
- promote personal or political campaigns
- violate an obligation of confidentiality
- violate the privacy of others
- intentionally or unwittingly do harm
Our definitions of unacceptable content are not limited to this list. We reserve the right to delete any comment we deem offensive, inaccurate, or misleading.
It’s a family gathering.
An online community is a family of sorts, where there will always be different points of view, and it’s certainly fine to be passionate about those points of view. As Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche says, it is just this meeting of differences that can spark our intelligence and lead to new insights.
Family gatherings are full of sparks—from those at your house to those
played out on the national stage and documented by CNN and Entertainment
Weekly. But when the sparks from this rubbing together of opposites
ignite in an atmosphere of openness, it makes all the difference.
Then, instead of pure friction, we get a lively dance that generates a very
creative energy. (Rebel Buddha, p.16)
We invite you to bring your sincere questions to the discussions on RebelBuddha.com. There will be hot button issues, and although they’re challenging to talk about, they may be the ones we learn the most from. This is especially true if we can explore and share ideas in a respectful and constructive way, one that takes us beyond prejudice and into the realm of wisdom.
Yours on the road,