Since 2011 we have had this bold vision of integrating Vajrayana and technology. It is a highly contested issue amongst Vajrayana communities, how much, if at all, can online programming and Vajrayana education be utilized. All the concerns are legitimate, such as concerns about the quality of transmission, so sacred to Vajrayana. There are concerns about the personal relationship between teacher and student. There are concerns about the quality of study and practice. I acknowledge all these concerns as real. We are all right, people who can’t see technology for the possibility that it offers could not experience it the way that I have – because I also have seen that so much of Vajrayana online depends on how it is used. An online course can be an alienating talking head, or it can be a lively, dynamic, intimate, engaged experience. For me it has been an opportunity to showcase the aesthetics of Vajrayana, the art, the music, and the integration with the natural world. When I teach online I can use images, video, sound all integrated with my thoughts in real time as well as with my planned lesson. It’s so engaging for me and for my students because we are visual, somatic, and auditory, we need all the senses engaged and that is our tradition, to use the senses for liberation.
In my time of teaching online I have taught students the bardo teachings as they sat at the bedside of a dying mother. I have taught students dying instructions while they were on their own deathbed, waiting for their terminal illness to complete its unfolding. I have taught teachers, therapists, and business leaders who had only one hour and used that one hour to raise bodhichitta or sharpen their mastery by learning cutting-through practice. I have taught single mothers who attended yidam instructions with their child on their lap. These are advanced practitioners yet they never would have been able to leave their home, travel to an expensive retreat center and leave their child behind. I have seen that people build community online, they form bonds, and get to know each other. They find best friends, they find belonging, some of them get married and have kids. Deep relationships can be fostered through online community, keeping the sangha jewel alive, I have seen it.
It isn’t for everyone, but it is for us. We will continue with our in person and local events but it is my goal to offer the full array of Vajrayana practices to my online students as well.
I invite you to help me make this possible by supporting our fundraising effort with a donation this year, to celebrate the embrace of Buddhism and technology and to enable the continual unfolding of this benevolent, generative effort that we have made. Our goal this year is to revamp our online platform to fulfill this potential at the next level. We can’t do that without you. We are a grassroots organization and all of our funding is based on individual donations.
Please help us reach our goal of raising $50,000 by December 31, 2023. To make a donation, you can click the donate button below or mail your check to the address listed below. No amount is too small or too large. Every gift counts and makes a difference.
As a token of appreciation, you, a cause you hold dear, or your loved ones in need, will be included in the Dedication of Merit that will take place at the annual celebration of Losar (the Tibetan new year) which will happen in February. This is a great way to spread the blessings and to practice one of the essential Buddhist teachings – dedicating the merit of your good actions to others. You can easily include your dedication of merit request with your online donation or include a note naming those to whom you wish the dedication to be made with your mailed donation.
http://buddhiststudiesinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/2021_BSI_gyekhil-logo-title_v3.jpg00Buddhist Studies Institutehttp://buddhiststudiesinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/2021_BSI_gyekhil-logo-title_v3.jpgBuddhist Studies Institute2023-11-16 10:15:002023-11-16 10:15:00Vajrayana + Technology = A Worthy Cause to Support