An Obituary of the Dharma eNews. A Reflection
This Dharma wallah launched and edited the Dharma eNews for 12 years from its conception in late 2003 to early 2015. The Dharma eNews was posted online two or three times per year. We made available 32 issues. We started off with around 1000 subscribers and the number of subscribers built up to 4000 subscribers. Every issue had between 10 – 12 different items.
People in the Sangha worldwide contributed a range of articles exploring expressions of the Dharma from money to meditation, from practice to politics, from love to liberation, from work to wisdom, from sex to Sangha. The Dharma eNews also included a range of essays from myself, as well as information about upcoming retreats and new information on my websites. New books, book reviews, and favourite books were included as well pointing to some of my items in my weekly Dharma blogs.
I wish to express a big thank you to all the women and men who contributed to the Dharma eNews. Your reflections and insights in the eNews triggered discussion points with friends from coffee shops in the West, to chai shops in India, as well as centres and monasteries.
Early in 2015, I decided to take a break from the preparation, editing and responding to the Dharma eNews and put more priority into other projects. At the end of 2015, I decided to allow the rise, stay and fall – to use the Buddha’s language – of the Dharma eNews.
The Dharma eNews generated much correspondence while preparing an issue and much correspondence following an issue. I employed Alan Lewis, a former Theravada Buddhist monk for 17 years, now living with his wife on the edge of nearby Dartmoor, to take care of the technical side of the Dharma eNews. Alan (www.calmIT.org ) runs an IT support business, including support for the computer network at Gaia House retreat centre. Alan’s exceptional and calm skills ensured the smooth outgoing flow of the Dharma eNews from its first issue.
Arising and Passing
There are frequently immense blessings when we experience a falling away of something, a passing away, a conclusion. Birth usually leads to death and death usually leads to birth. How could it not be like this?
Obviously, the passing away of the Dharma eNews is as modest an event imaginable in the scheme of things in terms of its appearance, staying and passing, as with much else. Obviously, this is not always the case.
After death, the emptiness provides the opportunity for the birth. We easily forget this in the field of a relationship, such as the departure of someone close to us. In certain cirucmstances, we might only feel the devastation of loss, of the ending. Some sadness expresses a natural outcome of such a loss or death. Any exaggeration of an ending generates suffering to the point of despair, mostly through identification and grasping onto the person or object of interest.
We then blind consciousness to the blessings of the emptiness revealed. There is nothing sanguine or negative about this emptiness. Far from it. It is the truth of the matter. This emptiness offers a pregnant opportunity for something fresh, new and creative to come through, even burst through, or a sublime enjoyment of the emptiness without a fresh arising, staying and passing.
Instead of the Dharma eNews coming out a couple of times a year, I will send out a single item of news to the current 4170 subscribers. The item might refer to upcoming retreats, an outline of the expansion of information on one of my websites, new books, poems, essays, items on the blog and the occasional essay, critique or polemic. I may send to subscribers an interestingl essay from a reader.
‘Christopher News’ will go out about once a month with its single item of information and hopefully land in your inbox. The first Christopher News went out yesterday (Thursday, March 30, 2016) with information about the upcoming retreats in Spring and Summer in Germany. See previous blog.
Readers also have the power to see the ending of Christopher News in your inbox. You simply go to the foot of the Christopher News page and click on the precious Unsubscribe button. Once unsubscribed, the eNews is truly gone for the future. The email distributor does not permit one to subscribe again.
I can only encourage readers to consider launching your own eNews on a theme of benefit to life on Earth. You would not even have to approach people to write an article or receive offerings, as with the Dharma eNews. You can simply search for and select articles, reviews, essays or sections of them from the Net and make an eNewsletter out of them. The best is direct action in the world and meeting people face to face.
One of the Dharma teachers in California used to be a radio commentator in a former life. After reading the daily news, he would famously finish up with the immortal line. “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.” Cool.
THANK YOU TO ALL SUBSCRIBERS.
Keep in touch.