Young Buddhist Associations in Indonesia and Malaysia Collaborate to Study Dharma Spread in Print and Social Media

- through Henry Oudin

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Images courtesy of Indonesia Buddhist Youth Association

The Young Buddhist Association of Indonesia (YBAI), together with the Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM), convened an online meeting on August 26 to discuss spreading the Buddhadharma through traditional media and social media platforms. During the session, YBAI members and samanera (novice monks) shared their insights on how to deal with toxic activity online and how to address concerns about thoughts of self-harm.

Two senior Buddhist journalists from Malaysia attended, as well as two Buddhist content creators from Indonesia. The four shared their experiences in spreading Buddhist teachings through the various channels in which they were engaged.

The editor of Horizon East, Benny Liow provided an overview of this non-academic post from YBAM, a non-profit, non-sectarian organization. By emphasizing the practice of Dharma in daily life, Horizon East faces several challenges. These include a decrease in interest in reading and finding ways to present content that is relevant and engaging for different age groups. "However, the prospects for this publication are increasing through technology and the presence of digital formats (e-magazines) to reach a wider audience globally," Liow said.

Dato Keoh Lean Cheaw, President of Pu Ai Komuniti and Editor-in-Chief of Buddhist Collection magazines and Yu Hu children's magazine, explained that the Buddhist Collection had been in circulation since 1972. The main objective of the Buddhist Collection, he said, was to spread the Buddhadharma through Buddhist articles from various countries, including China and Taiwan. " In the mood of time, Buddhist Collection is not just a print publication, there is also a digital version with attractive, high-quality designs to appeal to young people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Samanera Abhisarano, a teacher at the STAB Kertarajasa Buddhist studies program, explained that her organization has two projects aimed at spreading Buddhist teachings: the Kertajasa podcast and the GoMindful ID YouTube channels.

“The purpose of the Kertajasa Podcast channel is to bring Buddhist teachings to a wider community, with an emphasis on applying Buddhist principles in daily life. This is more common in fundamental Buddhist teachings. While GoMindful ID is more focused on meditation,” the samanera.

He also shared tips for dealing with toxic activity on the internet, noting that in his role as manager of several YouTube channels he has been the target of comments about his appearance, in particular being called "bald" on several occasions. THE samanera said comments like this were interesting and a useful exercise in cultivating patience and resilience. Moreover, he found them intriguing because they could spark new discussions. These comments often prompted him and his team to offer fuller explanations on topics that might not be clear to some viewers.

“Toxic people on social media actually provide the comments that are most helpful to us,” Samanera Abhisarano said. “Without them, our channel would not grow. It's things like that that make our content more viral. That's why it can be helpful to address sensitive topics that drive more engagement.

On the other hand, he noted, toxic engagement can also be a warning to the content manager that there are limits to what can be discussed, no matter how true. “So we use these engagements as inspiration and information for future content. . . . we should not be afraid of such people; in fact, they are very precious treasures for us,” he explained.

The Chairman of the Publications Committee of the Indonesian Buddhist Youth Association, Jessclyn Tjandra, acknowledged that if there were toxic users who refused to communicate properly, he and his team would take firm action so that the message conveyed not be compromised. "But if we can still find a way to move forward with the discussion and it's not too serious, of course we will be more tolerant," he said.

Tjandra confirmed that the YBAI is an association of young Buddhists who enjoy social media and share the Dharma through social media, and as such the YBAI is very open to welcoming different people and viewpoints. , and was ready to collaborate with anyone, anywhere. “We are not only a platform for uploading and sharing content, but also a place where all groups can share and seek advice,” he said.

Tjandra gave the example of one of her followers who talked about some of the issues in her life and even contemplated suicide. The team responded immediately and received the disciple at a nearby monastery for further counselling.

“In essence, what I want to convey on this occasion is that the print media, such as magazines, and the social media that we manage will continue to collaborate and go hand in hand with the propagation of Buddhism and the propagation of compassion,” he concluded. .

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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