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Buddhist Geeks Dojo

Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
5/26/16 1:27 AM
I was wondering what people think of the BG Dojo. Part of me wants to join, but part of me is a little put off by certain things. Like you have to give them a credit card to sign up for a free trial, and then you're on that auto-renew preset. Or they say the price is 75 dollars a month, but when you click the button it is actually 100 and 75 is the scholarship price.

Is anyone a member? If so, do you find it worthwhile?

Edit:
 They've actually changed the way they describe the pricing now. They clearly state that the cost is $100 and that $75 is the scholarship price. I thought that it was worth mentioning because it was one of my criticisms, and is now no longer relevant. 

Edit: I mentioned that I would report back on my experiences with the Buddhist Geeks Dojo, so here it goes.
Overall, it was a very positive experience. I'm still a member, and I think I will remain one for the foreseeable future.  So why?

First a little exposition: I signed up as a core member. That means I had access to the main forum, which was mostly used for peer to peer group meditions and teacher led sessions. In addition, I had access to their library of previously recorded teacher led sessions, and a once a month one on one session with a teacher. 


My two favorite things about the Dojo and my major reasons for staying a member were the one on one sessions with a teacher and their archive of classes/dharma talks.

I chose to work with Emily and found her to be an excellent and knolwedgable guide. Having an outside point of view really helped deepen my practice. She helped me see my practice in ways that I wouldn't have on my own.

Their growing archive of teacher lead sessions was also of huge benefit to my practice. They have sessions from outside teachers like David Loy and Daniel, as well as their own series on the topics like mindfulness. My favorite was a series on mindfulness that Vince did.

Personally, I'm not attracted to meditating with a large group of people, so I didn't do any peer to peer meditation sessions. But it did seem like plenty of members enjoyed that facet of the Dojo.

The user experience (the design of the dojo, exerience of using it) of the Dojo is pretty good, but can be a little bit confusing. Though I will say that is has been improving steadily. Since this is a first generation product, I think it's something they will work out. 

If you're looking for a way to deepen your practice, I'd reccomend giving the Dojo a shot.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/17/15 10:10 PM as a reply to Causes & Conditions.
The baseline price is $15 dollars and $75/100? if you want one-on-one teacher training on top of the rest.

I'm not a member, but having been on BGeeks in its previous incantations it was an extremly high quality community, all things considered, when dealing with Homo sapiens sapiens. I'm floating around with lots of changes in my life so maybe someday I'll sign up, maybe I won't, I'm at a crossroads in my life, so I have no idea.

If you want to be like this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP3MFBzMH2o
But for the mind instead of the body, I'd recommend them and pay $15 dollars, or $75 dollars. I'm split between getting on this debate train of why there being money involved (Which it will no matter what) is not a huge issue and why Vincent Horn is not a manifestation of Mara and the great Satan of Capitalism, destroyer of liberalism, harbinger of ignorance, progenitor and causal factor for the downfall of The Dharma and forboding of Meitrya.

In other words, to someone looking for a community that's less of a wild west than the DhO, in the spirit of open discussion of meditation, with a mature dialogue of community and world class leadership and teachers and the mosts absolute cutting edge ideas, I'd recommend it and personally value the offer far above what they put the price at. Their time is worth vastly more than that imo, which is why I see it oppositely than many more diehard Buddhists who reject anything besides strictly donation based models.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 1:21 AM as a reply to Causes & Conditions.
LOL I just looked at this. Why a dojo? Do we have to martialize the Dharma now to sell it? imo if this trend continues Pragmatic Dharma Movement is becoming a laughing stock.

Other than that, they may well be genuine. If their program is helpful for you, then the price is fair (then, again, a bread wouldn't know shit about dollars), and since there is free trial month, this is not so different from a Dana-based system; If you get to know the teachers in that month and find they are really helpful for you, great.

The 75/100 confusion may be explained by this
Buddhist Geeks, Box that says one on one teacher meetings:

Schedule a one-on-one teacher meeting over video chat to share what’s happening in
your practice and get personalized feedback and instruction. Special
discounted rates apply during the training period.


The only thing that I don't like about this is how this description:
Buddhist Geeks, teacher-led sessions:

Teachers are those people who are a little less afraid of the path and who are willing to join you on yours.

fits... me. You see, your favourite bread is really reckless lately.

No, really, I then went to the teachers' and facilitators' descriptions and found... well, not so much. Compare it to MCTB's still highly relevant checklist:
  • what they may actually know
  • which traditions they draw from
  • their attitude towards scholarship and the standard dogmas
  • which techniques they are masters of or teach
  • what they have attained or claim to have attained
  • what their personality is like
  • what their strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and person are
  • who trained them
  • the lineage or lineages by which they are claimed
  • their level of availability to their students (though “teaches internationally” is often an ominous clue)
  • why it is that they teach
  • what they expect from their students, particularly as regards money, vows and exclusive loyalty
  • how many students they already have
  • whether or not they will talk about real practice directly
  • if you run into trouble with them, is there a governing organization that can address this
and you'll recognize that they still left most of that out.
Well, at least we now know that Jane Rainbow
uses Apps to support her practice
Your favourite bread has some doubts about how far we really have come.
But then its cynicism parami is still somewhat > 9000.


If you decide to do the program, come back and tell us about it. Might be useful for some.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 5:34 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
There's no mara emoticon
One who needs to get something in return (e.g., status, money, role) for teaching these things has one type of learning. 

One who gives freely understands the unconditioned, knows to share that in action.

Imagine being a kid in elementary school (you know, with civil rules). At one table some kids say, "If you give us your chocolate (soy =) milks, in exchange we'll tell you ways to use the playground." Maybe another person at the table gets an extra chocolate milk as they are nearly authorized to have their own table for organizing groups to use the playground. On the play ground people may collect up around their table group, "Is this how they said to explore the playground?" "We'll group up tomorrow and give our milks and discuss." The teachers receive their milk payments, listen and may weigh in on their plaground experience or advise the group to share as they listen; perhaps they discuss how their teachers played. Okay.

At another table (same school, prosocial rules) there is a group of people collected around eating their lunches together, drinking their chocolate (soy ;) milks, describing how they play on the playground; among them different levels of playground experience sharing equally, listening. A person who really knows the playground well and what can't be known/beyond playground is learning with a group of explorers on the playground. Next day, chatting over lunch together, drinking their drinks together the one with a lot of experience on the playground listens/ shares, too. Lots of ideas, no vetting, perhaps they discuss how other generations played, how a parent or aunt or someone who was really playful use to come up with the most-of-the-blue ideas. Each person understands, "We're all really looking for ourselves and sharing as a group." Eat lunch, drink beverages. Okay.



(Both groups can pitch into the school effort to plant a sustainable garden, protect wilderness areas, and to use less gasoline and use solar from responsible manufacturers. Maybe one group has learned 'we charge for things of this utmost value'. Maybe another group pitches in because they understand that what's beneficial is really great to share and encourage.)

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 7:16 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
Thanks for the response Ryan! I also think it could be worthwhile. Thanks for sharing your experience in the previous BG community.

I just wanted to clarify something about my criticisms. I wasn't trying to insinuate that BG is somehow morally wrong for charging money. However, I get how my comment could be misconstrued.

I don't think Vince is doing anything pernicious in wanting to be compensated for his time.

My criticisms were broader concerns about particular choices made in the payment system and the ad copy. They were isses that I would have with ANY service utilizing them.

1. I don't like when any service asks for my credit card during a free trial. This sets me up for the possibility of forgetting to cancel, if I decide it's not for me, and being on the hook for paying for something I don't want.

I don't like that Apple Music did this, and the only reason I still subscribed was that I was confidant I wanted to subscribe. So anytime I run into a service asking for credit card info up front, I'm a little hesitant. 

This is actually a generally recognized concern that people debate all the time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=836167

2. I didn't like that the service was advertised as costing 15 or 75 dollars, but actually costs 30 or 100 dollars.  I decided to try it at the 75 dollar  level, and I click and all of a sudden it's saying that it actually costs 100, but if you're poor/cheap you can pay the advertised price.

- Neither of these things make Vince some kind of capitalist super villain. Vince is fucking awesome. But they did make me at little less interested in joining.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 7:15 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
I actually think the name is cool, though it is maybe a little twee. If I decide to try it, I will definitely report back!

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 7:39 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
To me, the term Buddhist Dojo is almost as off-putting as Buddhist Bootcamp.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 7:55 AM as a reply to Causes & Conditions.
They had some kind of promotion a couple years ago, where you could pay something like $100 to become a yearly member. I don't remember how it was structured exactly, but I think you just had access to a Google+ group and could post to it, access to teacher and student run Google Hangouts. and could peruse the archive of interviews and articles they had on tap.

Before the year was out, they had come up with the idea of this incarnation (Buddhist Geeks Dojo) and had closed down that group in favor of working on this new venture. So, all I got for my $100 was a few months of access to a Google+ group, a few Google Hangouts with some (rather nice) folks, and watching old interviews that Vince and the site moderator (forget his name now, but he has posted here on DhO) had done.

I don't regret trying this out as I found it helpful in improving my own understanding of online communities and personality dynamics a bit. I do wish they would have made more of an effort to migrate paying customers to their new site. Maybe they did, and I missed out because I wasn't hanging out there so much near the end when content was sparse and it felt like people were bailing because "the end was near." After they had started working on the dojo, you could no longer log on to the old G+ group to read old messages, even ones you started or commented on.

I respect all that Vince and Emily and others have done to make Buddhist Geeks a success, and have certainly gotten a lot out of their efforts over the years. They may be good buddhists and good geeks, but still growing as business people.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 8:03 AM as a reply to Jeff Wright.
Jeff Wright:
To me, the term Buddhist Dojo is almost as off-putting as Buddhist Bootcamp.

Would you prefer "Buddhist Woodshed", "Buddhist Practice Studio",...?

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 8:10 AM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
In keeping with a Japanese motif, you could just call it "BG zendo." I suppose that would be a bit confusing, however, since the practice they are promoting is more along the lines of Western Insight dharma.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 8:42 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
Buddhist Gymnasium!

or in keeping with the thought of 'stream entry'

Buddhist Natatorium!

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 9:29 AM as a reply to Causes & Conditions.
Ah, you've explored it more than I have. To that I have no comment as I'm not familiar with it as you are.

My post was to clarify that the BG community and Vince/Emily Horn are highly competant and therefore their worth the value, and in terms of 'informational value' much more than that. I want to offer my voice in their support as many here do not like any money system besides donation based. So to kinda frame how I see Vincent, BG:

In terms of value offered to The Dharma, whatever that is, Vince has brought more to it, particularly pragmatic dharma than everyone here combined because all the Podcasts they've done and the conferences that brought together the people that they did, which has brought people togther that otherwise never would have or learned things that simply don't exist elsewhere. Marie Ramos might not have ever met Shinzen Young, that changed her life. I never would have found David Chapman, I learned a lot about the world from him.

I consider the informational value I've gotten out of the Buddhist Geeks project the highest informational value I've ever received, and I've received a lot of education in my life.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 9:33 AM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
Scott Kinney:
Buddhist Gymnasium!

or in keeping with the thought of 'stream entry'

Buddhist Natatorium!
ARGH The Bread can feel its ancestors turning in their graves.

The Dharma ain't no damn competition and I officially despise that association! Take some food colouring and write that on your nearest loaf of bread.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 9:42 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
This is another thought that I had about the payment system: Buddhist Geeks exists online. And unlike offline, you can't simply throw paper bills like $5, $1 at them at a physical center. Online lacks a simple payment system where you can drop money and forget about it. In 15 years when blockchain technology matures, people like artists and meditation teachers can be compensated in a form of micropayment versus big blocky payments with credit cards.

With the financial technology that exists online now, donation based probably isn't really feasible even if you wanted it for trust reasons.

That's another thing, Vincent is on board with cutting edge ideas like that. You'll never hear the usual Buddhist Hippie version talking about ideas like blockchain, decentralization as means to improve society. Maybe policing gender pronouns as that fits western (Should say New Left) Buddhist narratives of good behavior, but not technology that exists today as a means to improve society. So for people in that demographic who resonate with that stuff, I recommend BG.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 9:55 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
I see no reason to defend Buddhist Geeks on the money/fee system issue. This is not ancient India any more. Society and mediums for exchanging value have changed quite a bit since then  ;-)

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 11:48 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd the broter:
Scott Kinney:
Buddhist Gymnasium!

or in keeping with the thought of 'stream entry'

Buddhist Natatorium!
ARGH The Bread can feel its ancestors turning in their graves.

The Dharma ain't no damn competition and I officially despise that association! Take some food colouring and write that on your nearest loaf of bread.
Right, it's not a competition. I tend make the association as a "place to train" and not a reference to competition.

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/18/15 12:21 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I agree with this sentiment. I actually admire BG for the new trails they are blazing (podcast, community, testing models of support, etc).

With the evolution and emergence of this techno-modernity we're in, I think we should anticipate and see some corresponding evolution in the traditional models of support between teachers, practitioners and the way the sangha works.

btw, the latest episodes of the BG podcast is a conversation between Vince and Emily about what they have been up to in the last few years. It's worth listening to if just to appreciate how much of their heart and soul they have put into their various projects.

They also just had a new baby, so it surely sounds like the candle is being burned from both ends emoticon

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/27/15 3:22 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
I think you put it perfectly. 

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/27/15 3:53 PM as a reply to Causes & Conditions.
I'm been a member of the Dojo, although I don't participate there much or spend much time in it. They post regular live meditation videos on a variety of topics, and from the few videos I saw I learnt a lot of new things. Vincent did a guided meditation on posture and I learnt a couple of useful things about approaching that aspect of practice that I didn't know yet.

I agree re: the sentiment about how asking for money for support for their endeavours is a good thing. Dana can evolve with the times

Also want to put in a voice of support for what an amazing job Vince and Emily have been doing with the Buddhist Geeks project and how much they've contributed through the podcasts to bringing so much information to so many people. I learnt so much through the podcasts and am incredibly grateful to them and feel glad to pay to support the dojo even if I don't use it very often. I agree with the idea that they've been some of the greatest contributors to the pragmatic/modern dharma movement.

Re name: dojo means "Place of the way" in japanese and in japan it can be used to refer to any type of training area. "Buddhist Geeks Training Facility"? emoticon

RE: Buddhist Geeks Dojo
Answer
9/27/15 6:32 PM as a reply to Andrew K.
Also want to put in a voice of support for what an amazing job Vince and Emily have been doing with the Buddhist Geeks project and how much they've contributed through the podcasts to bringing so much information to so many people. I learnt so much through the podcasts and am incredibly grateful to them and feel glad to pay to support the dojo even if I don't use it very often. I agree with the idea that they've been some of the greatest contributors to the pragmatic/modern dharma movement.


That is nice to read. Thanks for sharing it.  I think as new parents they have a whole new learning for themselves, recalling what their own parents have done for them, and learning with their little one.*


I agree re: the sentiment about how asking for money for support for their endeavours is a good thing. Dana can evolve with the times


Yeah, it sure can. To me, there's a difference of, say, one person is given a warm sweater on a cold night by someone who made that sweater himself, "Here, please have ths sweater, I'm warm and have learned how to sustain the warmth." That's one kind of teacher.
The recipient of the sweater gets the chance to share the sweater with another person later, but decides they need to sell the sweater to the cold person and keep selling it.
So one person has enough and has become reliable and independent of their sweater, and another person has a dependency on selling the first gifted sweater.
It's okay. Just a practice. There are lots of practices.


___________
* I wonder if they've considered starting a new parents' forum in their business?
Poco Dojo?