Note to a Buddhist bulletin board moderator who expressed concern in the new year about wandering away from the topic of "Buddhism." Not sure it makes sense or is even apposite, but I thought I would save it:
I have a hunch that no matter how wondrous or rarified or specific, everything gets plain, ordinary and generalized. Put another way, if you visit a place often enough, it is bound to encourage a sense of "been there, done that." If "Buddhism" is roughly an effort to settle and stop fretting about the matter of "self," still there is only the "self" to work with. And if this is the case, personalized incidents -- with a side order of "Buddhism" -- is understandable.
In the send-up movie "Zen Noir" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_Noir), there is a half-remembered scene in which a woman monk tries to explain what a "lay monk" might be. It is, she explains as best I recall, "a monk who can still get laid." Getting laid, to stick with that example, is a very personal experience that is rife with what is beyond the personal, a self-no-self situation. No one thinks about "Buddhism" when getting laid and yet getting laid pertains to or touches on or is redolent with Buddhism. It's a mash-up....
How can anyone remain "on topic" when it comes to Buddhism? Yes, there are disciplinary pointers and yet what, in the end, is NOT Buddhism? And yet this question is simultaneously offensive and vague. Meandering away from the discipline and into a realm in which the dog pisses on the kitchen linoleum is too damned un-Buddhist in one sense. Let's stick to Buddhism, right? Your offending cuticle or mine is too self-absorbed ... and yet who can help but be self-absorbed when studying the self or an offending cuticle?
If there is a desire to "remain on topic," well that feels too tight. If there is a tendency to meander away from the topic, well, that feels too loose. I think the best you can do -- and you do it pretty well -- is to make sure no one gets unduly offensive to another. Otherwise the best you can do is to let the water flow downhill. If the task becomes too onerous, then stop. All of us have been through phases of interest and commitment. There is no over-arching imperative to defend and promulgate The Dharma: The Dharma will take care of itself. Or, as I like to say, "Just because you are indispensable to the universe does not mean the universe needs your help."
Does any of this make any sense? I can't tell, but I hope I will be forgiven for posting it. Meandering is my middle name.