The What Now? blog is getting a different name, and we’re moving to a self-hosted site so that I can set up Search Engine Optimisation, which means that the reference content here will be easy to find via search engines even into the future. We’re presently on a free WordPress.com blog and they don’t have much visability in search engines.
Why the name change?
The practical reason is the domain name. On a self-hosted website you need a domain name and WhatNow in any of its versions (.com or .org or .net) is taken. However Beyond the Temple domain name wasn’t, so it now belongs to me, and the URL for this site will change in a few days from https://wordpress.com/post/whatnow727/ to beyondthetemple.com.
The other reason is because, as we all know, things change. This blog started out as a group effort, but it ended up being basically my blog (Moonfire aka Tahlia) with occaisonal guest posts by the wonderful Jo Green (who I hope will continue to write for us occaisonally).
People’s interests change, and when that happens blogs naturally develop, and in this case, it’s not just me, it’s the community we’ve developed here. I and lots of other people are wanting to leave Rigpa well and truly behind us. So to reflect that, I feel we need a slight change of focus. I don’t want this blog to be defined by its relationship to Rigpa. I want to get beyond that and relate to you all outside of that context. We aren’t just Rigpa, ex-Rigpa, Tibetan Buddhist or ex-Tibetan Buddhist people, we are people walking the spiritual path in some form or other. What brought us together was spiritual abuse in Tibetan Buddhism, but that is only the ground of our community, it doesn’t define us.
And we are a community. Regular commenters here and on Facebook know each other well. I think we even accept our differences these days. If someone you love dies or is sick or injured, where do ex-Rigpa folk turn? To the Beyond the Temple or What Now Facebook groups. That’s where you find the support of a community and a bunch of people who will pray for or send some love and healing to your loved ones. We are your sangha now. And it helps if a sangha has a name.
What Now on Facebook is unfindable and only for Rigpa and ex-Rigpa folk, and it’s focus is on spiritual abuse, primarly in Rigpa and Rigpa’s efforts to deal with it, so that’s too limited a focus and not open to many who would like to be part of a sangha for Tibetan Buddhist refugees. So that leaves us with Beyond the Temple and we already have a Facebook group by that name which I set up when people started leaving the What Now group because they didn’t want to talk about abuse anymore or they found the tone too ‘negative’ – which is isn’t, by the way. We’re an incredibly supportive group who engage in very deep discussions.
But back to the Beyond the Temple group. This group is focused on us as a community with a shared ground of spiritual abuse but not defined by it. In other words, we try to talk about other things related to our ongoing spiritual path. And we try to keep the conversations from falling into too much bitching about stuff. That doesn’t mean we never refer to abuse, it just means that we try not to talk about it all the time. There are other groups now for that.
The Survivors of Vajrayana Abuse and Allies group is really good for talking about the spiritual abuse issue in any vajrayana context, and no abuser-defenders or justifiers are allowed. A lot of the people in that group are also in Beyond the Temple, and most of the What Now people are also in Beyond the Temple. So Beyond the Temple is kind of a central meeting point where kindness to each other is valued above all else and the focus is on our spiritual path and being a sangha to each other no matter where our path takes us.
Walking the spiritual path
My spiritual path is no longer related to Rigpa – and I suspect that’s the same for most of our community – and I like to talk about anything that inspires or concerns me as I travel the spiritual path. And that urge I sometimes have to share such things is why I have the Living in Peace and Clarity You Tube Channel and Facebook page. (I had them long before all this shit hit the fan.) So changing the name, and adding ‘Living in Peace and Clarity’ to the subtitle also gives me a place where I can talk about spiritual stuff that inspires me that is not related to abuse. And it allows that Facebook page to link in with this blog – another place for comunity memebers to hang out.
How will the blog change
It will move away from primarily criticising Rigpa and Lamas to including posts that are unrelated to Rigpa or even Tibetan Buddhism. I and guest authors will still criticise them when they do stupid stuff that needs to be criticised, of course, but there will be other kinds of posts as well. I don’t know what the balance will be, or even what the new kinds of posts will be about. At this stage it’s just opening us up to a wider range of topics related to the spiritual path. Hopefully, we’ll change people’s perception of us as ‘negative’ to something more realistic – after all, we’re only ‘negative’ when something needs to be criticised.
So I hope you’re all okay with that. I ran this by a reliable friend before getting it all moving, and she agreed that it was a good move.
The site will be down for a couple of days as the transfer to self hosting takes place, but then we’ll be operating on the new doman name, beyondthetemple.com
10 thoughts on “From What Now to Beyond the Temple”
I personally think having a blog at all has outlived its usefulness and it’s no longer helping people, imo. Like everything else humans touch, it has become hostile and unfriendly to people with differing views. Humans don’t seem to be capable of having a civil discussion for very long without it degenerating into personal attacks and accusations. This seems to happen in any group where humans congregate. No lofty ideologies, religious aspirations, or wishful thinking seems to be able to change basic human nature, no matter how much people want to believe it’s going to change. I personally will not be joining your new blog and this will truly be my last post. Good luck with keeping it civil. I think to do that, you will need a mod who can police the blog 24/7.
Once the move is done, I think I’ll change the settings so that I have to moderate all the comments. That will stop it. It will slow conversation down, but I do want to be more hands on, and it’s not like there will be a lot of posts.
This is a very good move, extending the scope and hopefully shifting the focus may draw more contributors in and may, as you say, make it less fractious. Although I don’t think that matters so much as long as more people get involved and continue to communicate.
I know I tried to encourage you to keep contributing only for you to be accused of being a Nazi immediately afterwards. ( A melodramatic first here I think
demonstrating that Godwin’s Law applies even to discussions about Buddhism…..who would have thought it? )
I’ve annoyed a few people myself ( possibly an understatement) and also been accused of racism…….and spreading false propaganda, fomenting hatred and wanting to destroy Buddhism entirely. Some people get easily offended and it makes them lash out that’s all, it’s just a clumsy attempt at censorship and you don’t need to take it seriously……unless it really upsets you a lot of course.
I hope you change your mind.
I hope @catlover changes her mind too. I plan to be more hands on with the moderating in the future and I will try really hard to catch such things before anyone reads them – not always possible, unfortunately, in which case I recommend putting a pencil in your mouth crossways and smile. It’s so ridiculous it helps me not take such things too seriously.
bye catlover.good luck with human beings for the future…..
The discussion/articles on this site has been very valuable for me to follow, but it looks like it’s now going to Facebook only? I’m not on Facebook and don’t plan to be, too much else to do. Hope I’m wrong, that this will still be readily available
No, that’s not true. Everything will remain here as it is, we will just add to it. All that’s changing is the name really, and we’ll be posting a wider range of topics on the spiritual path, but the abuse issue will still be a central focus, and we’ll still comment on any events that require comment.
The Facebook group is a place for private discussion; here whatever you say is public. And whatever we write here will remain here and be accessible to anyone who searches for such things as ‘Sogyal Rinpoche’ or ‘Rigpa’ or ‘Tibetan Buddhism’ along with the word ‘abuse’. On Facebook whatever is said gets lost as it goes down the timeline, and we don’t want all this to be lost, so there will always be a blog. Not to mention the fact that, as you said, not everyone is on Facebook.
All we’re doing is expanding the range of topics on which we’ll post. Reviews for instance will be one thing. Reviews of books, of teachings, courses, and so on. I hope also to have personal stories from people as to what they’ve done with their spiritual life after Rigpa, Shambala or whichever sangha they were in.
I think it’s important to realize that Facebook is any academic researcher’s (think: historian, sociologist, anthropologist, (social) psychologist, et cetera) and investigative reporters’s nightmare. It’s archival utility is as good as non-existent: collecting data is possible in theory, perhaps, but impossible in practice.
Abstracting from Facebook’s own uncertain future, any written testimony or discussion published there is highly likely to disappear in the mist of time. Within a couple of years, it’ll be as if most every post and comment never happened, no matter how well-informed or penetrating they were.
So, as far as future generations are concerned, Facebook ‘records’ simply don’t exist. The long-term conscious raising effect of discussions outside dedicated groups’ membership is negligible, especially when groups are closed. So, as a means of special prevention (against specific abusive teachers) and general prevention (against abuse as such) Facebook is of little use for the public at large.
In other words: the accessibility, immediacy, privacy and transience of Facebook have definite advantages—for its shrinking user base, that is—but they have distinct drawbacks too.
Besides being a great emancipator, Facebook is a great leveler. One of the risks that derive from this, at least in my experience, is that Facebook is immune to true expertise and historical accuracy: as a rule, the most verbose, impudent and unruly rather than the most knowledgeable members reign.
I’ve stopped using Facebook altogether myself, and I think many researchers and reporters won’t even bother to join and/or consult it at all.
For academic and journalistic purposes, I’d much rather see self-hosted websites than blogs hosted by WordPress and pages hosted by Facebook. Even if such blogs are deleted, the odds that their content can be retrieved through the Wayback Machine of Archive.org are more than decent.
And not to forget: Facebook, Instagramm Whatsapp have the right to use all your contents in license forever worldwide. You keep the right of a picture but instagramm can use it for free forever.
They could do a lot of funny things….
Is it possible for the admin of a Facebook group to export ALL details to excel:
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