Mindful online in the Digital Era

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By Bhikhuni Chan Vi Nghiem

In modern life, information technology has become very important. It connects people and the world is seemingly smaller. On the Internet on social media in particular,  we can know ur friends’ activities anywhere in the world. We can also search for information in any field. These are the advantages of  Information Technology

The downside of Internet

In the Digital Era, with its information explosion, the charm of social media and the excitement of the online games, we can be pulled into an unreal world.

There is a slogan: “Facebook is unreal but feelings are real”. We are happy and sad with Facebook, losing many hours in its kingdom. It features both wholesome and unwholesome information.

One the Internet culture trashes, black webs, toxic products pollute our minds. Unhealthy websites only water the bad seeds in our deep consciousness such as desire, violence, anxiety, and despair,…

 I know many teenagers who have become addicted to online games, they don’t eat or sleep, submerged in an unreal world, they have lost themselves, have lost reality.  They have literally lost contact with who they are and where they are- they have “forgotten” the real world around them and lost the immediate present.

Violent games and sexual blogs have watered  seeds of violence and desire  in their consciousness. Anger blossoms easily and irrationally, and other strong emotions surface without control. Forgetfulness on the Internet has stolen some young people’s future and has directly impacted on the increase of social evil in the world. Today there is so much violence in families and schools, sexual offenses, and crime.  Surely, it is likely that the alienation of young people through internet addiction along with increased exposure to violence and depravity has been a major contributor to our current social malaise.

The Dharma-net on the Internet

The Dharma-net means the net of the Buddhist teachings.  It is smaller than the Internet but very important. It establishes balance in the information world.

As in a symphony, where silent moments deepen the impact of harmony, melody and rhythm, Dharma– net brings about the necessary silent moments in our daily life and thereby enriches the non-silent… It can nourish, heal and transform our minds and our world.

We can study Dharma on the Internet, listen to the Dharma talk on the YouTube, and watch Buddhist events on live streams, … The Dharma-net helps us touch the Buddha’s teachings more easily.

 Most of the famous Zen masters such as Dalai Lama, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Ajahn Brahm… also use the Internet as a vehicle to transmit Dharma, they have made Dharma-net on the Internet.

Electronic pagodas

Nowadays, there are so many Buddhist websites or Pagoda websites- I call them: Electronic pagodas. A lot of young people don’t want to go to Pagodas, but they really want to know the Buddha’s teachings to guide their lives in a better direction. Others don’t have time to go to Pagodas to study and practice the Dharma, they have to work, and take care of their families.

There are many Electronic Pagodas on the Dharma-net, thousands of devotees visit them every day. Their Abbots give Dharma Talks or answer the questions of devotees.

In the Buddhist knowledge forest, we should have Right View in order to choose appropriates soul nutrients. Right View and Right Thought are the lamps shine on our way, that assist us to follow the Noble Path and reach the happy shore. Right Mindfulness is key to open the  “liberation door”. If we are equipped with those tools, we will not be lost in the knowledge forest.

Mindful bell on the computer or smartphones

Often when we are on our computers or smartphones, we become completely lost in our work and completely disconnected from our body in the here and now.

If you install a program ” bell of mindfulness’ program” on your computer or smartphone and every quarter of an hour (or as often as you like), the bell sounds so you have a chance to stop, breathe and relax. Breathing in and out three times is enough to release the tension in the body and smile, and then continue your work.You can download the program with the link:

Download Mindful Clock (for Windows only)
Download bell sounds

The sound of the bell as the voice of the Buddha calls us back to the present moment. Turning on the mindful awareness reminds you to choose the healthy food for your souls. One should be as the goose king and just drinks from the pure water in the middle lake.

The Internet is only the means, is not the end.

We can search and study Dharma on the Internet. But that is only knowledge, it is not wisdom or the wisdom of others, not ours. Collect the knowledge like we have a map go to Nirvana, we can know clearly how is it, but we have never stepped a step on the Enlightened Path.

Apply the Dharma into your daily life, transform your suffering into happiness, living in the Dharma, that is the true wisdom which attains through practice.

This explains why most of the famous meditation centers advise us not to use the Internet or smartphones during a retreat. We have to turn off all of the electronic equipment to learn how to live in the present moment, to get in touch deeply with  Buddhist teachings, living with Dharma, enjoying the simple and slow life. Only Living Dharma can heal the diseases of the Digital Era. Dharma-net gives us a map or the means, but Living Dharma will is the first step leading you to true happiness.

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