Frequently-Asked Questions about the INSIGHT Mailing List INSIGHT.FA

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Frequently-Asked Questions about the INSIGHT Mailing List ---------------------------------------------------------------------- INSIGHT.FAQ Rev 1 23 July 1995 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- * * * NOTICE ~~~~~~ This INSIGHT mailing list is a reincarnation of the former INSIGHT list that was on The overall theme of the list has not changed and we encourage people to continue their ongoing discussions. There will be some new features added in the upcoming months. The address has changed and you DO need to resubscribe if you were on the previous list - it is not done automatically for you. The moderator of this list is now Jim Lassen-Willems and the list administrator is Ellen O'Sullivan . If you have any questions about administrative issues regarding the mailing list, please contact Ellen. Any issues related to the Insight forum itself should be directed to Jim or to the mailing list. Note that you must now be a member in order to post to the list. We would like to give our thanks to John Bullitt, who founded this mailing list in January 1994, and who has given so much of his time to putting the Dhamma on-line. Sabbadanam dhammadana jinati, John. - Jim INSIGHT mailing list moderator - Ellen INSIGHT mailing list administrator * * * * * * * * What is this list all about? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The INSIGHT list is a forum for open and supportive listening and discussion about Buddhist meditation practice, primarily from the Theravada Buddhist perspective. Discussion encompasses all aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path: Right Understanding, Right Aspiration, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. The idea is simple: when you send a message to the mailing list, a copy of your message is "reflected" to everyone else on the mailing list. This list is not merely a conduit for information transfer, but is a meeting place where each of us can really *practice* and refine our understanding of Dhamma. We come together here to listen closely and deeply to each other; to speak clearly and directly, using our immediate experience -- rather than our views and opinions -- as our guide; to offer clarity, kindness, and patience to each other. In short, this list is meditation. Some recent (and ongoing) themes for discussion have been: * vipassana bhavana (insight meditation) * samatha bhavana (tranquillity meditation) * anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) * metta bhavana (loving kindness meditation) * the relationship between practice on "retreat" and in "daily life" * the importance of dana (generosity) in cultivating the Path * working with the Precepts While most of us here are best acquainted with Theravada Buddhist practice in its varied forms, perspectives from other Buddhist and non-Buddhist spiritual traditions have at times also been valuable. Do I have to be "Buddhist" to participate? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ No. You are welcome here, whether you call yourself "Buddhist" or not. What are the rules? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Keep discussions friendly. View this mailing list as an opportunity to practice both harmlessness and mindfulness. Let's use this list as a means of offering encouragement and support to each other in our shared exploration of Dhamma. Rule of thumb: If you had a particularly strong emotional reaction to a message -- irritation, ecstatic delight, anger, whatever -- consider waiting a day or two to cool down a little before responding. There is no hurry. Also keep in mind that silence often speaks louder than words. If you quote from other sources, please attribute your sources fully if you can. When replying to messages, please indicate clearly which message you're replying to. How do I subscribe to the mailing list? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Send a message to "". In the body of the message, put the command "subscribe insight" (leave out the quotes). How do I get OFF the list? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Send a message to "". In the body of the message, put the command "unsubscribe insight" (leave out the quotes). +----------------------------------------------+ | Please do NOT send "unsubscribe" messages | | to the mailing list itself. | +----------------------------------------------+ How do I send a message to everyone on the list? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Address your message to "". Why do I receive copies of the messages I send to the mailing list? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is normal. Each message you send to the list is sent to everyone on the list, including you (if your name is on the list). If you *don't* receive a copy within a day or so, then you know something probably went wrong somewhere along the way. What's a reasonable length for a posting? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A few paragraphs, or a screenful (or maybe two), is usually ample. This is NOT the place to post long transcriptions of newspaper articles, an entire chapter from an inspiring book you read, or your master's thesis. Please be as concise and focused as you can. Rule of thumb: Each time you double the length of your message beyond a few paragraphs, you *halve* the number of people who actually read it, and *double* the number of people who will find your message annoying. What sorts of messages can I post? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Please post only plain text messages of a reasonable length. Please, no UUencoded GIF image files, or anything other than a simple plain ASCII message of a few paragraphs. If you want to share a large file with someone, or engage in long, complex scholarly discussions with others, please use regular e-mail, not this list. This is a simple courtesy to those of us who have to pay for our Internet access or who already suffer from "information overload". Can I post announcements that don't have to do with meditation? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yes, if you think the community here would find it valuable. For example, it's fine to post a message describing some new Internet resource that you've discovered and that you think other practitioners would be interested to hear about. Can I post advertisements of commercial products and services? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ No, especially if the message is posted by someone who stands to benefit in some way from sales of that product. Of course, it's fine to recommend a book you read recently, or a good bookstore, or a commercial online service that offers resources that support meditation practice in some way. But please: no commercial advertisements. When in doubt, please consult the list administrator before posting your message. What's your relationship to the Insight Meditation Society? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The INSIGHT list has no formal affiliation to either IMS or the Barre (Massachusetts) Center for Buddhist Studies, although many of us are friends of, and former retreatants at, IMS and the Study Center. The list itself is maintained at Software Tool & Die (Brookline, Massachusetts, USA). There is also real interest in the life of this list at both IMS and the Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies. Why don't you refer to this online community as "sangha"? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the classical Pali texts, the term "sangha", as one of the three objects of Refuge, has two very specific meanings: 1) the community of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (monks and nuns), and 2) the community of beings who have realized some degree of Awakening. Contrary to popular western usage, it does not mean the community of practitioners, or of those who tread the path together (another term -- "parisa" -- serves that function). This distinction can have profound implications on our understanding of what it really means to seek refuge. Are we taking refuge in one another, or in the highest ideals that the Buddha -- and all those who successfully followed his teachings -- represent? How can I help support this list and the online Dhamma community? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ First and foremost, by continuing to deepen your own practice. Establish a regular sitting practice. Find a Dhamma teacher whom you trust and respect. Attend meditation retreats when the opportunities to do so arise. The wholesome fruits of your own deepening practice will quite naturally flow outward into the world, offering support and encouragement to others. Can I subscribe to this list in digest form? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At the moment, no, but this should change by late August. Stay tuned. Whom do I write to if I have more questions? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you have questions regarding administrative issues, send email to Ellen at "". If you have questions regarding anything else related to the forum or its contents, send email to Jim Lassen-Willems at "". Or, post your question to the mailing list itself. We always welcome your comments, suggestions, and constructive criticisms. - Jim INSIGHT mailing list moderator - Ellen INSIGHT mailing list administrator Sabbadanam dhammadanam jinati The gift of Dhamma excels all others


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank