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Karma/Vipaka in Blog Comments

Look, I’m doing an actual Buddhadharma post.

I had a piece at PJM a few days ago on Brit Hume and Tiger Woods.  Now, that attracted a number of, um, interesting commenters, including one guy from My Old Home Town (extra credit to anyone who catches that literary reference) who I’ve run into off and on for years.  He’s a commenter who lurks on the edge of trollery most of the time, but manages to be somewhat interesting.  He also, sadly, becomes sufficiently obnoxious and obsessive that I’ve seen him, over the years, get banned in a number of places.

For some reason, he’s getting caught, sometimes, in various spam filters.  And therein lies the lesson, which I’m going to repeat from comments at PJM.


Chuck, as long as you continue under the delusion that I have some control of the comments, you’re going to remain unsatisfied.

It’s actually a nice demonstration of some of the teachings of the Buddha: you start in ignorance, not understanding that this isn’t my blog. (See the list of editors over there? They’re called “editors” because they edit PJM.)

Out of ignorance arises illusion, samsara: since you think it’s my blog, you think I’m modding your comments, and worse modding them in ways you can’t grasp.

Out of illusion arises duhkha, frustration, and from that frustration arises anger: you get pissed off at me for modding your comments.

Out of anger, then, arises action (karma): you start posting the same comments repeatedly, six or seven times, and get more intemperate in your phrasing. As some of them are rejected — I know, for example, that akismet looks at repeated reposting as a sign of spamming, so I suspect that you are training akismet to reject you — this reinforces your feeling that you’re being maltreated and at that maltreated by me personally. So here’s the fruit of the action, the result of the cause, the vipaka: your illusion leads to anger which leads to action which makes it more likely that you’ll be filtered again.

Sure enough, the Buddha has good advice for how to get out of this: resolve the ignorance, and see I’m not in control. Then you can resolve the illusion and wonder what else might be involved. That might then lead you to wonder if the combination of your idiosyncratic posts with extra headers, your multiple postings of the same post, and your history of having been banned on multiple other blogs might be leading to your posts being caught by automated spam filters here and (as we know) also at Anchoress. So you could modify your behavior to no longer do those things, which would lead to your not being filtered so much, which would mean you’d be more satisfied at your ability to say these things you think are important.

So, from the end of ignorance, you have the opportunity to end the frustration, the duhkha. You stop doing the things (karma) that lead to the bad fruits (vipaka) of what you’re doing, which leads to greater peace of mind.

I think everyone should thank you for this lovely illustration.

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