HomeAll PostsCyber monks – Ven Pannyavaro


Cyber monks – Ven Pannyavaro — 4 Comments

  1. I remember when my wife (a Thai) and I met Phra Pandit 8 years ago, while he was studying at the Buddhist University in Bankunnon. He invited us to see his dorm room at the wat and lo and behold! there was a PC connected to internet. Not only that, he had tricked the box out with several fans to cool it in the non-aircon room. My wife was at first surprised or a little shocked that a monk would be allowed to surf the net. But it soon made a lot of sense.

    Ever since, we have referred to Pandit as the ‘cyber-monk’. I think he represents that new class of tech-savvy, East-meets-West Sangha who will be critically important to translating the dharma into a 21st Century form.

    • “cyber-monk” otherwise known as a ‘Panthip-Phra’ …

      Although, I am still on that tricked out computer case. New ones are much more quiet.

      Without the internet we would have no group – and the group is a great thing. We just held two weekend retreats in the last couple of months, both full up.

      I think I will see you next month too, Tristan.

      • Late comment, as I just stumbled upon this blog now.
        Completely agree with Ven Pannyavaro, and I greatly admire monastics who can keep up with technology. Without Buddhism presence in the Internet, there will be much less people who get the chance to learn Dhamma, and Sangha members who traditionally are the role models for everyone else will certainly find themselves even more in spotlight than before. People would expect some representatives of Sangha members who are savvy enough, and not only able to teach through the new medium, but even more importantly, can help everyone choose and pick the true teachings out of all those noise in the Internet.

        Isn’t that they say it’s all in the intention? Nothing wrong with a monastic using Internet with noble intention. People have to learn to trust.

        I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t come across some sweet Buddhism sources on the Internet, and I believe there are millions like me.

        As a beginner, I stick to those in the Internet who have titles like Ajahn, Bhikkhu, Ayya, Venerable, Bhante, etc, just to be safe, until I know a little bit more 🙂

  2. In 1996 I started the Cyber-Temple referred to in this book. Also several of the old Cyber-Temple articles are still available along with several of the Thai publications

    Without the Internet there would have been no American community.

    Now 12 years after disrobing, and just getting back into teaching via Applied Awareness, I can say that a good Internet presence is a must. When I started the Cyber-Temple and Acharn Pannyavaro started BuddhaNet things were much different than they are Now. People use the Internet for so much more than ever before, and it’s snowballed into the first place people look for information. Now with so many wireless ways of connecting, People use the Internet to look up topics on their netbooks or phones. They browse Online content to read more while waiting in lines, riding buses, eating lunch, etc.

    Now do monks need Internet access, and does the persona of a recluse cause problems? If a monk is in the position of being a teacher I would say using the Internet is a very good practice. Emails, instant messaging, facebook chat are all excellent ways to keep in touch, and what a large portion of the world population uses as their main means of communication. When a monk can incorporate modern communication methods it shows that they are still in touch, at least to some extent, with the lives of those they teach.

    If a monk is not teaching the laity then there is really no need for the further distraction. In all honesty, if I had been Online at the Thai monastery instead of meditating in my open hut, which was strategically built 30 ft away from the funeral pyre, I would have never attained the understandings I am so fortunate to have today. The ability to actually be a recluse and devote yourself to your own practice, knowing the basics of food and clothing will be provided, can turn a monks entire existence into one big meditation. As an example, going for alms becomes a walking meditation with brief stops to challenge our cravings as alms are offered.

    In my experience as an American monk, and US citizen, there is also a difference between SE Asia (or administering to a transplanted Asian community) and teaching Americans in the US. Here in the US most would be “students” are lay-folk who come to learn meditation. If you can be available to them in the same ways as their circles of friends (email, facebook, IM, SMS) there are plenty of opportunities to teach and learn. Without using these new technologies the meditation teacher/monk tends to come into play only outside of the realm of their normal every day life.

    If anyone may wish to discuss this further feel free to contact me via voice, text, IM, or Email.

    Todd Robinson
    (formerly the Monk Suwattano)