Blogisattva BS Again

I am informed that I am not allowed to re-gift the award.

“that’s not how this works. “

And Sujato’s kind response, is deemed “it seems his intention is to keep stringing this award on” even though it is perfectly in keeping with Buddhist practices in which he has been trained.

OK obviously someone knows better.

Apparently it was decided to make up a bunch of new rules after the fact.

Maybe you should work for elephant journal.

Fine. Keep your award.

Keep your nominations.

Remove my name from this ridiculous venture completely.

Addition: A post on the Awards site states “Due to one of the 2010 nominees requesting to disqualify themselves for personal reasons…”

I did not disqualify myself-on what grounds? I am both Buddhist and blogging-what other criteria is there besides sycophancy? and certainly not for personal reasons. I declined both the nominations and the award for reasons I’ve stated very clearly time and again on this blog. I think saying “Keep your award. Keep your nominations.” is a pretty clear statement of declination.

I left a comment there to that effect but it has been erased. And you wonder why I declined?


More Adds I did not at any time request that my regifting of the award be acknowledged in any way by the Blogisattva Boys Club as is being spread around in comments on various blogs that are writing about this tempest in a teapot. I did not communicate with anyone connected to those awards before I wrote the last post. Nor did I contact the administrators after making any sort of request to substitute anyone’s name for mine. They contacted me to give me a slap for spoiling their party as it were. It’s also rather interesting that in cases of awards being declined in other venues the administrators do not give the awards away to others but simply note that they are declined. Check out the Nobels, Oscars, Pulizers, British knighthoods, government medals and about a thousand others etc.  Only where there is serious competition (like the olympics) do the medals change hands as enforced by a committee.

17 comments on “Blogisattva BS Again

  1. I wonder what they’d do if you’d said “Neener neener, I’m giving it away anyway, and you can’t stop me?” Send in the Blogiyakshas to repossess it?

    (It probably reflects some deep character flaw of mine, but I’m starting to find this whole thing rather humorous.)

  2. my only input here is what I e-mailed to Marnie… read into it what you will.. quote from it if you like, but this is verbatim what I e-mailed to her this morning, causing this post to be made.


    How are you? Good I hope.

    I’ve followed your comments for a while now re: the Blogisattvas. I see your points and understand why your thought process is working the way it is. While to some it is an ego boost, to others it’s an opportunity to have their blogs exposed to a wider readership. Or better yet, for readers to find out about some great bloggers they may not have know about before, but you know all this already.

    As far as your “re-gifting” the award, that’s not how this works. I do agree that Sujatos blog is great, I stop by and read it from time to time. But, he was not nominated and was not chosen as the recipient of the award. From the comments I see on his site, it seems his intention is to keep stringing this award on as well, and “re-gifting” it himself. Again, that’s not how this works.

    If you do not want the award, please let me know. If you do not, we will then move up the vote recipients in the categories you were nominated for and or “won”.

    None of this was intended to become a pissing match, so I am not going to get involved in any of that. So please, if you would like to “step down” let me know and we will take care of it.

    Thanks for your concerns and have a great day.


  3. Maybe my Bullshit detector wasn’t so wrong after all… competitions in Buddhist blogosphere is just… funny.

    Supporting you NellaLou! I think your decision to forward your award was wonderful. It’s really strange it’s not possible after all…

  4. Hmmm…no award, eh?

    Too bad, not because I think that an award necessarily makes any difference one way or the other for the writer personally.

    I just happen to feel that this particular post, “Sex and the Sangha” should get the widest readership possible, and for that purpose an award is helpful. Link-worthy and viral.

    There is so much confusion on the subject of sexual abuse, from the Buddhi-world of Eido Shimano to the Wiki-world of Julian Assange. And so many closed-end opinions on the subject.

    Your post on the matter was unusually well thought out and it allowed readers to recognize themselves and others, wherever they fall on the spectrum of viewpoints.

    It was refreshing and valuable to read all the stances in one post; it really was the Post of the Year.

  5. This whole thing has gotten ridiculous to me. I thought the re-gifting idea was refreshing, and loved that Bhante Sujato thought to keep sending it around.

    Honors with strings attached are not honors. The sands around these awards are shifting far too much for my taste.

  6. “NellaLou
    2010/08/01 16:23
    The title of my blog is deliberately chosen to demonstrate that often people use spirituality in a frivolous way. It is called irony in that regard.”

    No, it is not irony. It is crime of hate: religious intolerance.

    Nella Lou cabaret’s mind cannot grasp religious tolerance.

    • Oh panchenlama you do go on…and on…and on….I’ve never banned a commenter on this blog but you have really got me considering it.

    • Some might say that the category was Empty to begin with…

      I am happy that Blogisattva is posting links to Buddhist blogs I can explore. I saw their “awards” page after SBC was already removed, but found Dangerous Harvests there, and found here from there. And now, SBC is bookmarked and I intend to read it from time to time, thanks to Blogisattva. Yay!

      I am also happy that NellaLou is messing with them over the “awards” thing. It’s way too easy to take awards too seriously.

      I am also happy that NellaLou awarded (even without permission) her empty award to Sujato, another blog that would have taken me longer to find if he hadn’t won SBC’s award, and another one I intend to read from time to time.

      This site has been a very pleasant find for me! Gassho :-)

  7. Dear Marnie,

    It’s Dec 25, and I have a few hours before going to spend the rest of the day with friends and friends of friends. There are two great dogs here whose owners are away for the holiday, and one dog was left with a present that said – “do not rip apart until Christmas”.

    Over the years I’ve become accustomed to people knowing little to nothing about my time as a resident at Dai Bosatsu Zendo in NY where Eido Shimano served as Abbot. Today will be the same but this year is different. I go and feel content. I’ll be swimming around the surface with the rest of the fish along with being sensitive to any possible bottom dweller whose life is burdened in ways we don’t know.

    About seven months ago I discovered Aitken Roshi’s blog and soon after, your post “Sex and the Sangha”. Having never posted a comment on any blog – ever, anywhere – I emailed you personally to both thank you for your post and attached what I didn’t quite yet have the nerve to add to Aitken’s blog. Your response was beautiful and patient and encouraging. I paced around some more, but eventually posted as Joy.

    Since then I’ve connected to others whose lives have been similarly impacted and several who work to make significant and long awaited change. Some have become dear friends. Not only has this bottom dwelling aspect of my life moved to the surface, it’s jumping out of the waters appreciating sky, light, and the views of others. It even landed in protest in front of Shobo-ji, NYC, at sunrise on Dec 8. A long way from the woman who “dared not post”! Your post, Sex and the Sangha, speaks to every woman or man who has experienced being sexually exploited and has been hit with the responses that you identified. It’s a work that adds to a greater movement within western Buddhism.

    I respect your reasons for not accepting the award and smiled when reading that you passed it along. But if I could personally give an acknowledgement of “heart-felt thanks for the year” that I know is shared by many others, you would be at the top of the list.

    Take it and pass it along.

    Happy Holiday to you,

  8. I find this whole thing puzzling, because “the award” is being treated as a “thing”. What I assumed the Blogisattvas were doing in giving an award was saying something like “this is the blog, out of those we considered, that we thought did an outstanding job of communicating dharma practice” (as I say, something like that, not necessarily that exact sentiment). So an award is an opinion.

    NellaLou treats the award (the opinion) as a “thing” which can be passed on to another person. But you can’t pass on someone else’s opinion. If I think this blog is the best blog I’ve ever read you can’t say “No, I disagree, you think this other blog in the best you’ve ever read.” You can do that with a “thing” but not with an opinion. You can say “No, I think there’s another blog that’s more deserving than mine,” but again that doesn’t affect the fact that the Blogisattva crew didn’t consider that blog because it wasn’t nominated.

    I have to say, though, that if you are going to treat an opinion as a thing that can be given away, NellaLou’s “regifting” was beautiful and generous. But I don’t think it that can really be done.

    I think Nate is right — if NellaLou doesn’t want to be considered in the pool of blogs from which the Blogisattva crew is going to pick their favorite, then they should “move up” their next choice. It’s their opinion, and they’re free to do what they want with it.

    This really is a tempest in a teacup. It’s a controversy based on a flash of lightning, a dewdrop, a mirage…

  9. ““the award” is being treated as a “thing”.”

    That has been part of my point from the beginning. I’m glad somebody got it.

    The reification of abstract concepts and the concomitant clinging to those objects of mind is not particularly helpful. When this situation appeared many posts and notes also appeared with “Pick me, pick me.” type of sentiments.

    Ideas/concepts as tradable and profitable commodities is hardly new. Am reading Chris Hedges book “Empire of Illusion” and he goes into that in some detail.

    We might also consider that most of what we deal with on a daily basis has only an agreed upon symbolic value and little actual practical value or use. Examples might include money, status, a lot of the work people engage in (ie hedge fund manager-getting into the meta-symbolic realms there). Divested of the attached imaginary value things (of all sorts) are quite different than we imagine them to be.

    Someone I know on Facebook just wrote this regarding the holiday season which I think is pertinent “gift giving in popular culture has shifted from the tangible, like a sweater or a football to the abstract, gift cards or money. it came about through radical individualism and affluence, private discretionary spending. ” Lots of ways to analyze that.

    We all have our opinions. They can change like the weather too.

    • This is kind of an add on to the previous comment as I thought about your words a little further Bodhipaksa.

      About the “thingness” of concepts, opinions, words and other mental formations/fabrications. I mentioned Chris Hedges. His latest column underlines one of the biggest “things” that has taken shape as desirable. That is power. Now that has always been some*thing* that many have sought usually though for material reasons (land, resources, objects, etc) but power in itself has become less abstract and a goal for it’s own sake. I don’t want to paraphrase the whole article so here it is:

      Another *thing* that occurred to me (English is fraught with the materialist viewpoint isn’t it?) particularly in relation to ideas, opinions and words is the willingness of people to validate those *things* or not.

      For instance, and I’m not trying to spar with you on this as I appreciate that you step up and discuss the matter, fake Buddha quotes. Fake or real is often applied to material things. Fake or real utterances or written words are in and of themselves, without cognition or symbology simply noises or squiggles. What constitutes fake or real noises or squiggles depends upon a level of ideational understanding. Now Buddha quotes belong to no one. Not even Buddha. His copyright ran out quite some time ago. So discussing their fakeness or realness presents the same sort of problems I’ve brought up. [But please keep discussing them despite that]

      I’m sure you get where I’m going with this. Ideas/words/opinions are temporary and provisional, like everything else. But with all things provisional, timing is everything.

      Had all the additional conditions of awards been made known to me either at the time I was nominated or at the time I won then I would have done as you suggested and bowed out. Had I known that it was not “mine” as in being gifted to me, but remained the *property* of the Blogisattva corporation then I would have refused it outright. Had I known that the judges decisions regarding both awards and nominations were not final but subject to override by the administrators I would have declined from the beginning. But I did not know that, nor did anyone else. So I tried to do the best I could with the information available in the situation. That’s all anyone can do.

      This is not some personal thing against Nate, who I think is a really good guy with the best of intentions, nor Tom who I greatly esteem as well. Nor is it anything personal against any of the judges who, without exception I admire and feel had the best of intentions and did a great deal of work on behalf of bloggers who write about Buddhist related topics. Just so that’s abundantly clear.

      I’m talking about policies, rules and other institutional things. These *things* are not attached to the people involved in a personal way. They are, as paradoxical and even ridiculous as it sounds, *things* unto themselves and have to be dealt with as such. For example if a workplace has a complete turnover of staff do the rules, procedures etc. go away with the people. Of course not. We live in a culture (perhaps all humans do) where the symbolic or ideational is taken as real. A corporation is a “person” under the law. What is a corporation? A symbolic entity. So if I say Blogisattva corporation or whatever designation of it, I am discussing the symbolic entity not the individual people specifically involved.

      To simply remove myself from the whole thing is probably what I should have done the minute some link was made but I decided to ignore the nominations with the notion that I would not win anything and it would just be a little blip on the radar, life goes on and so forth. I could have put a big sign on my blog, as I’ve seen others do “Please don’t nominate me for awards” but that would be pretty presumptuous I think. Same with making some kind of statement about consideration. I just don’t think I’m all that to make such a statement. And it would feel very uncomfortable to do so.

      Now the situation has passed as far as I’m concerned but the issues in a more abstract way continue and are interesting considering my recent reading. I intend to blog about those issues in the future, not this specific situation any more.

  10. “Maybe my Bullshit detector wasn’t so wrong after all… competitions in Buddhist blogosphere is just… funny”

    Thanks Uku. Likewise.

    It’s not polite to say “I told you so”, but I’m going to anyway. When this whole ‘Buddhist Award’ thing was resuscitated I made a few comments on Nate’s blog why I thought the idea ridiculous, but it was very clearly not a popular opinion in the Buddhist blogsphere at that time.

    So thank you NellaLou for revealing through your action what you have.

    In fact, it was just as the awards started that I dropped “Marcus’ Journal”, my old Buddhist blog, after years of writing. Not in response to the awards, and not in some self-denying way, but, as I deleted it, I WAS aware of a sense of relief that I wouldn’t be bothered in the slightest by the outcome of the awards!

    Still, I do very much appreciate the list of links that the awards created. That is very useful – if it is kept updated. But if the aim was to promote lesser-known blogs, that list does it all by itself. No need for awards and little prize-winning badges and acceptance speeches and what not.


    • I doubt anyone will have the time necessary to keep up the link list. One can use a link checker to automate the process of discovering which have been deleted but if they change focus or something that has to be done on an individual basis.

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