Sunday, July 15, 2007

On-line Forum

Lurkers may have noticed that almost all the content of the Forum we established a few years back - in the flush of enthusiasm for such things -has been deleted.

Forums are either alive or - if they're dead - a sad encumbrance. Ours had a brief and quite heady existence, but moderated top-down Forums have had their day, superceded by weblogs and new-wave ephemera such as FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube.

It's hard to stay abreast of the new technologically-driven styles and modes of peer-to-peer communication and exchange. And, of course, there's no "must" to be obeyed, no follow-the-pack imperative we have to heed. But if the Trust is to survive beyond its current corpus of mainly elderly (or at least maturely middle-aged) supporters, I do believe we must find a way of engaging with the wider world, the younger world, for whom scepticism is everything, and disengagement with established institutions is the chosen option, perhaps on a "wait-and-see" basis, with which I have a lot of sympathy.

I'm immensely lucky, because ~ old as I am in years ~ I enjoy a priviliged place amongst a work-group of young people, 65% under thirty years of age. This affords me a perspective on their attitudes, their concerns, their aspirations, their energies. I don't advertise my "Buddhism" at work or elsewhere, but these things inevitably get around, and there is a real interest in the problem of suffering, and in the everyday approach "we" take to it, which attracts questions and challenge. Like everyone else, I suppose, I do what I can to point others to the dharmic medicine that offers ease, without dogmatising or introducing culturally alien concepts into what I say.

I live and work in South Essex: this is a part of the United Kingdom well-known for its cultural homogeneity, its social conservatism, and its assertive secularism: think Wat Tyler (see image above). A Buddhist stronghold it ain't, but a dharmic citadel it could be!

I referred earlier to the young nurses - a new generation of socially sceptical and evidentially trained carers - who might represent a new strand in the Trust's work. At present there are but two, possibly three, such young people to form a nucleus: we need, they need more peer support, and enablement from us. I need urgently to know how to do that. Do you know? Please comment if you can, and want to.

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