FTP site: sunsite.unc.edu
Last modified: January 28, 1996 by Barry Kapke
DharmaNet Frequently Asked Questions
Table of Contents
1. What is DharmaNet
2. What does DharmaNet offer
3. What does it cost
4. How can I access DharmaNet
5. What conferences does DharmaNet provide
6. How can I retrieve files
7. How can I join DharmaNet
8. What is the Dharma Book Transcription Project
9. How can I help
1. WHAT IS DHARMANET
DHARMANET is an international computer network, operated by volunteer BBS
system operators (sysops) and organized to promote and facilitate communication
between Buddhist communities, groups, and individuals, in sharing and putting
into practice Buddhist teachings and values. Through telecommunications and
computer technologies, DharmaNet is intended to provide a means for Buddhists,
of various schools, lineages, and practices, to be able to communicate with
each other and to form a global online sangha or community of Buddhists. To
this end, DharmaNet hopes to facilitate neutral ground for communication and
sharing amongst Buddhist monks and nuns, lay teachers, laypractitioners, and
scholars, as well as interested non-Buddhists. It is further hoped that we can
all learn from each other, and support each other in human community,
minimizing and/or transcending artificial boundaries of age, gender, race,
ability, class, nationality, or religious sect.
DharmaNet is a public service of DharmaNet International, a not-for-profit
charitable and religious organization.
2. WHAT DOES DHARMANET OFFER
Through this voluntary networked interlinking of individual BBS sites across
the world, information resources can be shared. These resources include:
Topical public message areas, known as "echomail conferences" or "newsgroups",
are multi-site discussion groups where people can engage in discussions, post
announcements, read reviews, etc. To suggest an analogy, echomail conferences
might be likened to a global interactive magazine, or perhaps the visual
equivalent of a conference call. DharmaNet presently shares international
message areas devoted to BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY AND PRACTICE, ZEN, THERAVADA,
VAJRAYANA, PURE LAND, WOMEN IN BUDDHISM, AHIMSA, MEDITATION, TIBETAN NEWS,
ENGAGED BUDDHISM, BUDDHIST STUDIES, RACE & BUDDHISM, DANA, SILA, BUDDHISM IN
THE WEST and others.
Private mail ("e-mail") can be transmitted electronically from one person at a
DharmaNet site to another person or persons at another DharmaNet site or sites;
such communications are usually significantly faster than that afforded by
Many DharmaNet sites also provide BBS users with free access to text files, or,
in some cases, graphics, audio, or multimedia files. DharmaNet, in cooperation
with an international host of Dharma teachers and authors, as well as selected
publishers, provides free "electronic editions" of many canonical Buddhist
texts, books, articles, newsletters, bibliographies, Dharma talks, etc.
DharmaNet also publishes an electronic journal called GASSHO (ISSN: 1072-2971).
GASSHO is a non-sectarian publication and does not represent any particular
school of Buddhism. GASSHO is available for download or file request (f'req)
from most DharmaNet sites, or, for Internet access, from the DEFA archives at
sunsite.unc.edu (See "How Can I Retrieve Files" below). Internet users can also
receive GASSHO in mailing list format, by sending a request to Barry Kapke at
firstname.lastname@example.org asking to receive the newsletter.
WEB INFO RESOURCES:
DharmaNet maintains a World Wide Web (WWW) information center, where Buddhist
centers, organizations, and not-for-profit projects can freely disseminate
information from one global access repository. The URL for the DharmaNet WWW
page is: http://sunsite.unc.edu/dharma/defa.html
If you'd like information added to this resource, or if you have a resource
that you'd like linked in here, please email Barry Kapke (email@example.com).
DharmaNet is also working on developing an online database of Buddhist events
and listings of monasteries and lay Dharma centers, that may be interactively
accessed via Internet, DharmaNet BBS sites, and/or subscription to the DBase-
compatible files for use in your own database program. This project is called
DharmaBase and will be available in 1996.
DharmaNet is also investigating how best to create a hypermedia online
encyclopedia of Buddhism that will be called Dharmapedia. This resource will
include text, images, sounds, and will allow the user to define subject
parameters for online queries. This project will begin development in 1997.
These are some of the resources that are shared amongst DharmaNet sites, and
which are available at no cost (other than possible toll phone connection
costs) to any individual who has a computer, communications software (many of
which are available free or at low cost), and a modem.
DharmaNet is also in the process of developing parallel service to the vast
Internet community which links educational and research institutions across
the world. There is no direct Internet access to DharmaNet at this time, but
it is hoped that this will not be long in coming. There is currently a
DharmaNet file library (DEFA) accessible by anonymous FTP, Gopher, or WWW,
and an automated mailing list for the DharmaNet e-journal, GASSHO. Future
development will include establishing a DharmaNet organizational domain, and
gating the echomail conferences for Usenet distribution.
3. WHAT DOES IT COST
All DharmaNet resources are offered freely in the Buddhist tradition of
The sysops who operate DharmaNet BBS sites have volunteered to offer these
services to their local communities and they do so at their own expense. If
you appreciate these services, please help support your local online Dharma
center through contributions or by volunteering to help. It is this tradition
of giving, of freely-offered generosity, that has kept Buddhism alive for over
If you are a Sysop interested in bringing DharmaNet to your community, and
helping to further the global network, all DharmaNet resources are made freely
available to you; the only costs involved are those your telephone company
charges you. All DharmaNet asks is that you do not pass these costs on to your
users; you may, however, accept freely-offered contributions.
DharmaNet sysops (and other friends and supporters of the work that DharmaNet
provides) are invited to join our Affinity program -- a long distance provider
which guarantees *at least* a 10% savings in your phone costs over whatever
provider and program you are currently participating in. Moreover, Affinity
will donate 5% of your reduced monthly bill to DharmaNet International. DI
feels very proud to participate in this method of fundraising as it truly
benefits everybody! For more information about participating in the DharmaNet
International Affinity partnership, write to: DharmaNet International Affinity
Program, PO Box 4951, Berkeley CA 94704-4951.
4. HOW CAN I ACCESS DHARMANET
DharmaNet now has BBS sites throughout much of the United States, as well as in
Canada, England, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Australia, Singapore
and Hong Kong. To find a DharmaNet site in your vicinnity, or to become a
DharmaNet site, please contact the International Coordinator, Barry Kapke.
Direct dial-up BBS access (download the file DHARMA.ZIP):
BODY DHARMA ONLINE
Barry Kapke, sysop
E-mail to any of the following addresses:
INTERNET: firstname.lastname@example.org (Barry Kapke)
FIDONET : Barry Kapke, 1:125/33
Postal communication should be directed to:
Barry Kapke, Director
P.O. Box 4951
Berkeley, CA 94704-4951
5. WHAT CONFERENCES DOES DHARMANET PROVIDE
Echoes currently under the DharmaNet umbrella include:
AHIMSA Practice & Philosophy of Non-Violence
BUDDSTDY Buddhist Studies
BUDDWEST Buddhism in the West
DHARMA Buddhist Philosophy & Practice (MANDATORY)
DHARMANET DharmaNet "Town Hall"
DHARMASYS DharmaNet Sysops (MANDATORY)
DN_FILES DharmaNet File Distribution Network
DN_SERVE Dharma Services & Classifieds
HAIKU Haiku Poetry
HUM_RACE Race & Buddhism
PEACEWORK Engaged Buddhism
PURELAND Pure Land Buddhism
SAKYADHITA Women in Buddhism
SANGHA Int'l Dharma Events & Community Listings
SILA Buddhist Ethics
THERAVADA Theravada Buddhism
TIBET_NEWS Tibetan Buddhism & Culture
VAJRAYANA Vajrayana Buddhism
VINAYA Monastic Community
ZEN Zen Buddhism
DharmaNet conferences are not currently accessible via the Internet. Messages
*can* be sent *TO* DharmaNet from the Internet. For those who have information
that they'd like to distribute through DharmaNet, email can be sent as follows:
To post a notice about: E-mail to:
Dharma-related products or email@example.com
services (commercial or not)
Retreats, dharma events, on-going firstname.lastname@example.org
class or sitting schedules, etc
Dharma center or organization email@example.com
listings for DharmaBase (please
use the dbase format suggested in
Gassho and at DEFA)
News or events of particular firstname.lastname@example.org
interest to Buddhist women
News or events of particular email@example.com
relevance to Tibet
News or events of political or firstname.lastname@example.org
cultural interest to Buddhists
or about Engaged Buddhist and
Academic positions available, grants, email@example.com
conferences, publications, etc.
relevent to Buddhist Studies
In 1996, DharmaNet will begin experimenting with using the mailing list
format as a way of promoting dialogue between Internet and DharmaNet.
SAKYADHITA-L will be one of the first "tests". An announcement as to how
to subscribe to this list will be posted to INSIGHT-L in Spring 1996.
6. HOW CAN I RETRIEVE FILES
DharmaNet International maintains the largest online file library of Buddhist
resources on the Internet.
Users who have Internet access through commercial providers, campus networks,
or other Internet access sites, can retrieve DharmaNet files via "anonymous
ftp." To access the DharmaNet Electronic File Archive, FTP to sunsite.unc.edu
Login as "anonymous" and use your Internet mail address as your password.
Change directory ("cd") to the subdirectory "pub/academic/religious_studies/
Buddhism/DEFA". (The capitalization in the pathnames is significant.) Use
GET (or MGET) to retrieve whatever files you are interested in.
Similarly, you can use PUT to deposit files at the DharmaNet Electronic File
Archive. Files should be deposited in the subdirectory "pub/academic/religious
_studies/Buddhism/DEFA/Inbound". Any file intended to be added to the DharmaNet
Archive must be accompanied by a message from the author or publisher granting
permission for electronic publication to DharmaNet International.
DEFA is also accessible via gopher to sunsite.unc.edu and via World Wide Web.
The URL (Universal Resource Locator) for DEFA is: http://sunsite.unc.edu/
DharmaNet File Libraries are BBSs which have all DharmaNet files available
for download or file request (f'req). Official DharmaNet File Libraries
BODY DHARMA ONLINE THE BODHI TREE THE ELECTRIC FOX THE FUNNY PAPERS
Richmond, CA Boise, ID Memphis, TN Lodi, NJ
1-510-234-9431 1-208-327-9916 1-901-327-1008 1-201-478-8476
Other DharmaNet BBSs may have all or some files available. The DharmaNet
nodelist (DHARMLST.###) is a weekly compilation of all current DharmaNet
7. HOW CAN I JOIN DHARMANET
To become a DharmaNet BBS, obtain the file DHARMA.ZIP from BODY DHARMA ONLINE
or any other DharmaNet BBS. Read the DharmaNet Policy document, as this file
contains important information about what you can expect from DharmaNet and
what will be expected of you. Also in DHARMA.ZIP is a text file entitled
DHARMA.APP which contains all the information we need to know to approve your
system for a node number. To avoid confusion (or overwriting someone else's
application), please rename the application to LASTNAME.APP, where LASTNAME is
the first eight letters of your last name. There are then TWO steps that must
be followed in order for your application to be processed.
(1) Complete the application and send it via netmail file-attach to either:
Barry Kapke at BODY DHARMA 1-510-234-9431 -- (Fidonet 1:125/33), or
to your local DharmaNet HUB;
(2) Print out the completed application, affix your legal signature to it,
and mail (yes, Postal Service) it to the International Coordinator:
BODY DHARMA ONLINE
P.O. Box 4951
Berkeley, CA 94704-4951
8. WHAT IS THE DHARMA BOOK TRANSCRIPTION PROJECT
Many of the files that are distributed via DharmaNet as electronic books were
originally conventionally published books by publishers such as the Buddhist
Publication Society in Sri Lanka or Amaravati Publications in England, or print
journals like SAKYADHITA and INQUIRING MIND. With the permission of the original
authors or publishers, these texts are reformatted for electronic media and
distributed freely via computer networks such as DharmaNet and Internet. Much
of this reformatting involves tremendous amounts of volunteer labor -- manually
retyping (or scanning) these texts, making adjustments to better fit the
electronic format, proofreading and comparing, cataloging and archiving, etc.
The goals of the Dharma Book Transcription Project include eventually making
the Pali, Chinese and Tibetan canons available for online access, as well as
helping to preserve texts that have gone out-of-print. Additionally it seeks to
catalog and to make accessible teachings by contemporary lay and monastic
In order to respect copyright, we will only consider the following materials:
1. Books which, on the publisher's information page, explicitly give
permission to copy and redistribute on a dana basis
2. Books for which the author and/or publisher has given explicit
permission for transcription and redistribution on DharmaNet.
We always need volunteers to help with this project. If interested, please
contact Barry Kapke (BODY DHARMA ONLINE).
9. HOW CAN I HELP
One of the greatest helps right now is just spreading the word that these
electronic resources exist and helping others who may not be computer literate
to learn how to avail themselves of the electronic sangha. I really would like
to see "global access" become a reality for all people and it seems like one
of the biggest hurdles right now is overcoming people's fear of the technology.
So, on a local level, you can certainly help by helping other people in your
area to use these tools.
Also, if you belong to a Buddhist center, please let them know about DharmaNet.
I'd like to eventually see Dharma centers around the world linked in and
talking to each other, but again one of the largest hurdles is the technology.
If you can help others understand the value of online communication and
encourage them to participate in any way -- via Internet or by setting up a
DharmaNet BBS site -- that would be of immense value to the online Dharma
There are numerous opportunities in DharmaNet to help and to serve --
transcribing books, proofreading, contacting authors or Dharma centers,
compiling resource listings, reviewing books, writing articles for //Gassho//,
sharing insights and investigation on the Insight mailing list or DharmaNet
conferences, and much more. The cultivation of generosity is fundamental to
Buddhism -- and it is one of the central operational principles on which
DharmaNet is organized. Please help us practice generosity and build global
And, of course, financial or material offerings are another way you can help
support the work of DharmaNet International, helping us to grow, and to expand
our offerings of free Buddhist resources. We have a growing need for a powerful
dedicated computer with substantial storage space and memory and a high-speed
modem to handle DharmaNet/Internet connectivity, a dedicated phone line, and
minimally a SLIP/PPP account with an Internet provider. We need a fax. A
scanner would be helpful. We need a Postscript printer to resume hardcopy
publication of //Gassho//. We need stamps. In terms of basic operational
needs, everything helps.
DharmaNet needs help to let people know of our existence. Our "Adopt-An-Ad"
program needs sponsors -- individuals or organizations willing to make a
commitment to donate the cost of one advertisement per year (or contribute
towards those costs). Currently, we have an ad in //Tricycle// magazine.
We need sponsors to continue this advertisement, and to reach other Buddhist
DharmaNet International is *still* needing help in organizing as a 501(c)(3)
not-for-profit corporation. This is an important step. If you can help,
or offer advise, with respect to legal questions, accounting, fundraising,
etc, we need you.
May this work benefit all beings.
May all beings be happy and free from suffering.
Special thanks to:
John Nguyen (cnguyen@arthur.CV.COM), for the inspiration and the initial
prototype for this FAQ.
Fonzy Broussard, sysop of THE THREE JEWELS BBS in Los Angeles, who provided
the spark that led me to create DharmaNet.
John Bullitt, sysop of ACCESS TO INSIGHT, for his boundless enthusiasm and
All the DharmaNet sysops whose generosity and lovingkindness enables DharmaNet
The Board of Advisors of DharmaNet International -- Robert Aitken Roshi, Amaro
Bhikkhu, Carl Bielefeldt, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ven. Thubten Chodron, T. Matthew
Ciolek, Roger Corless, Rev. Karuna Dharma, Christina Feldman, Gangcen Tulku
Rinpoche, Ven. Maha Ghosananda, Josph Goldstein, Joan Halifax, Ven. Ayya Khema,
Anne C. Klein, Jack Kornfield, Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Jacqueline Mandell,
Ken McLeod, Andrew Olendzki, Charles S. Prebish, Alan Senauke, Christopher
Titmuss, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu -- for giving us roots and keeping us grounded
end of file
Barry Kapke, Director | "All that we are | INTERNET: firstname.lastname@example.org
DharmaNet International | is the result of | WWW: http://sunsite.unc.edu
P.O. Box 4951 | what we have thought." | /dharma/defa.html
Berkeley, CA 94704-4951 | (BUDDHA) | DIAL-UP BBS: (510) 234-9431