OBC Connect

A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 
 

 Mark (Daiji) Strathern

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2  Next
AuthorMessage
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 73
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:04 pm

I have recently found this forum and found it interesting, if somewhat depressing reading. I was an early English member who followed Jiyu Kennet back to the US after her first visit to England as a teacher. I was ordained in Oakland in the first US ordination ceremony along with about half a dozen others that included Kozan, Josh Baran (Jitsudo) amongst others, some who I can see are members of the forum. We then all helped to set up Shasta Abbey. I returned to the UK when my visa could no longer be renewes tasked by Jiyu Kennet to see if it would be possible to set up a UK centre. I found Throssel Hole Farm and purchased it with my own money. And then I'm a little unclear as to precise time tables at this point so if someone with a better memory knows better please correct me. I then returned to Shasta and returned sometime later to Throssel Hole as Prior where I remained for about 3 years until I returned to Shasta in '76(?) what I found happening there disillusioned me with the training at Shasta and having explained my reasons to Kennet, I disrobed and left. On returning to England I explained my decision to those at Throssel, and to Mike (Chisan/Hofuku) Hughes' group in London, and a little later after some thought sold Throssel to the community.

Since then I have got married, had two boys and ended up as a Senior Research Fellow in Complex Systems Science at Cranfield University.

This is very much the bare bones, I will flesh them out in later posts.
Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:46 pm

Welcome Daiji. I also find this reading interesting, but not really depressing. But then again, I help people sort things out for a living, so I come from the perspective that sorting out can have good results for people, even if unpleasant stuff comes up along the way. I'm curious as to what disillusioned you about what you saw at Shasta that prompted you to disrobe.
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:58 pm

mstrathern wrote:
I have recently found this forum and found it interesting, if somewhat depressing reading. I was an early English member who followed Jiyu Kennet back to the US after her first visit to England as a teacher. I was ordained in Oakland in the first US ordination ceremony along with about half a dozen others that included Kozan, Josh Baran (Jitsudo) amongst others, some who I can see are members of the forum.

Hello Daiji,

I'm glad you found your way to OBC Connect. You're right there's depressing material here, but it has also been really helpful for many of us to break the silence and give each other reality checks. I hope you will stick around and share stuff from the early days. I actually remember the day you left Shasta Abbey and in retrospect I admire that you could just face Jiyu Kennett and say [I paraphrase] "sorry but this doesn't work for me". That's not something that most of us could do initially in the process of leaving.
Back to top Go down
Kozan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 670
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 67
Location : Sonoma County CA

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:21 pm

Daiji, I will add my welcome to that of Kaizan's and Isan's. It is great to see you here--and wonderful to hear a bit about what you have been doing! I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts!!
Back to top Go down
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 66
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:08 pm

lovely to see you jumping in here.

I want to start a topic on Kennett's early years, maybe some thoughts on her background even before going to Japan, her personality and personal issues, that sort of thing.

Also I will share more stories about the mid-70s and my leaving, etc.

I think this forum is useful since it opens up some fruitful discussions and ends this culture of silence.

Hope Alan / Gensho starts to post also...
Back to top Go down
Jimyo

avatar

Posts : 172
Join date : 2010-09-24
Age : 68
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:16 pm

Welcome, Daiji. I often wondered what happened to you.
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1412
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 42

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:36 am

Welcome, Mark, it's nice to have you here.

The forum can be a tough read, but we have our uplifting moments every now & then, even some comic relief from certain people (they know who they are).

Looking forward to your posts --

Cheers,
Lise
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 73
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:32 am

Sorry depression was perhaps too strong, saddened would have been better. Yes there are many uplifting stories here but they are of individuals. The picture that comes across to me of the OBC as an organisation is that it is too often backward looking, blocked by its inability to accept and see its past clearly. Some of my part in that past I'll post later in the 'OBC Experiences' thread.
Seikai in a post said something along the lines that 'there are some who have made mistakes in their training and their lives' as if there are some that haven't! The sangha is surely just a group of like minded people all making their own mistakes in their training and lives but who support, help and encourage each other. However it is possible for individuals and groups to become blocked when they get stuck in a mistake which they can't or won't see, work through or face, and I'm afraid that to my mind is what happened at Shasta in '76, which is why I left. And I now know this has all too often happened in other groups where they also believe they have some privileged access to the Truth. As for me I have never failed to make mistakes not then, not now. That is what my training is about - sometimes seeing the mistakes for what they are, sometimes not, but hopefully always open to the possibility of being wrong. It is the dangerous time when mistakes get taken for the unquestionable truth. The other day when I was reading I came across the precepts again, looking at just the major ones I could see that I had broken them all! But thats my training.
Even good things can lead astray. Kensho's shed light, if you grasp them (or after them) they just block you, in the Tibetan tradition you are said to fall into the realm of the gods and thence into the realm of the hungry ghosts. Kenshos illuminate training but they do not take the place of it. Less colourfully the 14th century Flemmish mystic Jan van Ruysbroeck puts it rather nicely in 'The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage'. He says of someone who has experienced the three great enlightenments (Kenshos) early in training: 'It may also come to pass, that a man may be enlightened at the beginning of his conversion, if he yield himself wholly ... and renounce all selfhood; all lies in this. Such a man, however, must afterwards pass through those degrees and ways of the outward and the inward life which have been shown heretofore; but this would be easier to him than to another, who mounts from below upwards, for he has more light than the other man.'

Nice to hear from old friends Jimyo, Isan, Kozan, Josh

-----
Looking at this after posting it seems a bit preachy - sorry
Back to top Go down
Jimyo

avatar

Posts : 172
Join date : 2010-09-24
Age : 68
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:09 am

"Looking at this after posting it seems a bit preachy - sorry"

No, it doesn't, and much of it makes a lot of sense. However, concerning the OBC as a whole, I think we all need to bear in mind that these forums are becoming somewhat self-selecting in the sense that people who want to criticise the OBC stay here, while those who don't, leave. I've seen that happen even in the short time I've been here. I sometimes feel a little like a lone voice in the wilderness - I left monastic life and the OBC, have no plans to return, but still feel that on balance they have done more good than harm for many, many people.

Since you left, Daiji, the organisation has grown dramatically. It's not just Shasta and Throssel; there are priories and groups throughout America, Canada, and Europe. There's even an offshoot in the Caribbean. I still get the Journal, mainly to find out what's happening (God, I'm so nosy!) and despite the fact that many have left, very many have joined. On a very simple level, logic would say to me that the OBC must be doing something right, if so many people find it helps them enough that they stick with it. People aren't stupid or masochistic, on the whole. That's not to say all the monks, or any of them, or perfect, but not much in life is. Neither is it to say that the OBC is right for everyone - I'm not sure right or wrong really comes into this anyway.

Perhaps we ought to bear in mind that there are actually very, very few people on these forums - though the dissatisfied ones do post a lot (that's not intended as a criticism).
Back to top Go down
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 66
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:32 am

I am glad this forum exists so people who left can share their experiences. And people who are considering joining have a place to go to hear more than the party line on this organization.

It is a positive thing that there is now a place for leave-takers and critics to speak. It is about time.

The new Shasta abbot made a point of saying she wanted to hear criticism. Well, she should read every post on this forum and take them to heart. And before she rejects and denies what is said, she might want to just sit with each post and criticism and find out if there is any truth in it, at all?

She said she wants there to be outside people to give them feedback, well here is quite a crop of outside people who went out for very good reasons.

Any forum like this is self-selective, how could it be otherwise? That's fine.

Not sure what "OBC must be doing something right" means? Do more members mean an organization is more right? Some people are always hungry for spiritual meaning and/or community / church / sangha. Often an increase in members means there is better marketing frankly.

Scientology has some millions of members and I don't think they are dong anything right, but people join, why? What Scientology is doing is spending millions of dollars on marketing, building beautiful centers, and providing community for many people who are desperate for connection and friends. So in that sense, they are doing something effective at gathering converts.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:08 pm

Jimyo, I've got to say this, otherwise I'm going to pound my head on the wall.

I've worked for and with some very good and very bad doctors and hospitals in my years as an RN. The very worst doctors did not even have good intent but most did. However, although they successfully treated many patients of simple ailments and routine conditions, the bad doctors also commonly missed obvious diagnoses, were hostile and resistant to nurses who questioned their judgment, threw tantrums, and ended up causing the deaths of many many people who could have been (often) easily treated by a better diagnostician with a better work ethic.
Do you want to go to one of the doctors who cures more patients than they kill but nonetheless continues to misdiagnose and mis- treat, with disastrous consequences for those for whom death was not necessary? You wanna pick that guy? You wanna pick the hospital that has such horrendous cleaning standards that nosocomial infections are rife just because the MAJORITY of patients don't get MRSA and die?

Doing more good than harm is great but hardly a recommendation I would follow if better odds were available. It's not a line of reasoning that works for me anyway.
Back to top Go down
Jimyo

avatar

Posts : 172
Join date : 2010-09-24
Age : 68
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:31 pm

Josh, scientology is spending millions of dollars on marketing....but the OBC isn't. So why are people going there? You tell me.

Polly, please don't pound your head on the wall! You have a very valid argument. I just haven't found a better spiritual 'doctor' than RMJK. Have you? Maybe you prefer not to go to any 'doctor' at all, and I can understand that too. It's a valid point of view. But in this case, based on my own experience, it's not one I intend to go along with. Sometimes you have to listen to your own heart, not other people.

I intend to go on putting the 'other' point of view (that's the easiest way of putting it, and I don't have a lot of time right now), on here, whether anyone likes it or not, for the sake of balance. I may not put it very well, but it still feels right that I do so...though leaving these forums or shutting up would be a whole heck of a lot easier.

But in case anyone accuses me of having a closed mind, I do listen to what everyone else is saying, even though I have been known to miss the odd important word or two. I just haven't yet heard anything to make me want to change my point of view.

Greetings from the lone voice in the wilderness.... ;-)
Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:49 pm

Jimyo,
I'm glad you're here and I appreciate what you have to say. This forum is not only self selecting, but also self rejecting. I wish more people with your point of view and Seikai's point of view would self select rather than self reject. (No higher spiritual meaning intended).

I'm on vacation this week and popping in an out between catching up on overdue chores around the house.
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1412
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 42

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:56 pm

Mark, I didn't see your post as preachy either.

Josh, I think you've hit upon the primary drivers for why people come to a church initially -- hungry for spiritual meaning and/or community / church / sangha, wanting connection and friends. Some of those were true for me, and I would add curiosity and convenience to the list. I was curious about the Zen approach to meditation, I lived within driving distance of Shasta and the community spoke English as a first language which was helpful in getting instruction.

If they could be measured, turnover rate and length of members' association with a church might yield more information than a raw headcount at any given point in time.

L.
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Jimyo

avatar

Posts : 172
Join date : 2010-09-24
Age : 68
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:17 pm

Kaizan wrote:
Jimyo,
I'm glad you're here and I appreciate what you have to say. This forum is not only self selecting, but also self rejecting. I wish more people with your point of view and Seikai's point of view would self select rather than self reject. (No higher spiritual meaning intended).

Thank you for that, Kaizan. You've possibly no idea how much I appreciate it. Despite what I said earlier, I was putting on my mental armour before coming in here again, fully expecting something which might feel like a personal attack.

Someone (Lise, I think) said a while back that attacks on here weren't personal, but they sure as heck feel like it at times. I know Rev Seikai feels that too. After all, he was told a bit back something like "I don't know if you know how patronising you sound". (I may be quoting inaccurately.) Then, when he protested that was hurtful, someone else commented that monks were thin-skinned, despite the fact they often said things which hurt others....and I'm fairly sure Seikai never hurt anyone intentionally. Ouch! I found myself wincing in sympathy for the poor guy.

I myself feel as though I've been accused of having fixed opinions or something similar, although I don't have the time to find any specific posts saying that. I certainly wasn't feeling welcome.

Perhaps these things weren't meant that way. Or maybe they're just good examples of how easily people can hurt each other, even when they don't mean to. It happens often; it's just a sad fact of life. Realising that might be useful for some of those on here who've been hurt in the past, maybe. Or maybe not; it's not for me to say.

At any rate, I admit to being an over-sensitive soul who only at times pretends to be tough. And I think that applies to a number of us with...shall I say...'minority' opinions on here. If you really honestly want us to stick around, and to get more points of view on here, maybe you should bear that in mind.
Back to top Go down
mokuan



Posts : 265
Join date : 2010-08-29
Location : West Linn, Oregon

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:45 pm

Dear Jimyo,

Let me echo Kaizan's appreciation. I think point/counterpoint is a vital component to the "big picture." And you know what? I want to see the big picture.

Not too long ago i heard someone say that we have lost the art of debate. I think that's true -- actually, I never learned it. It was one of my high school classes that i sorely regret not paying attention in! But I know what you mean when you say it's hard to present your ideas for fear of being lambasated.

And I have to say as far as Seikai goes, I'm learning quite bit about my point of view from hearing his.

warm regards,
mokuan
Back to top Go down
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 73
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:53 pm

@Jimyo - the lone voice in the wilderness, it's a good if difficult place to be; I've been there. What you got from the OBC is different from what I got but when I left I felt that there was something fundamentally wrong.

Yes of course the site is self selecting but one of the common themes is that people feel that they were/are not listened to so now that we have found an outlet we are sounding off. People who praised the OBC were rather more welcome through more orthodox OBC channels but criticism, if it was possible to raise, was not something I found Shasta took on board easily if at all.
The OBC should make an effort to understand the rather varied comments here and where there are/were mistakes admit and correct them where possible. A difficult thing to do but that's training for you.
But please continue to post and point out our failings, you may be surprised to learn that everyone won't always agree with you! but I always felt that you were quite tough enough to take something like that on board.
Back to top Go down
Jimyo

avatar

Posts : 172
Join date : 2010-09-24
Age : 68
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:35 pm

You're right, Daiji, what I got from the OBC was very different from what you got, in that I felt despite their failings, there was something fundamentally RIGHT. However, I understand what you mean about feeling the need to sound off, so feel free...

By the way, there's something I've only just remembered since you came on here. I learned something extremely important when you left, and I'm pretty sure you don't know about it...

When Jisho told us you were leaving, I was more or less in shock! After all, you were my ordination master, and more or less the reason I was at Throssel. When you arrived back, and looked...troubled, I think was how I saw it...I remember saying to Jisho that I didn't know what to think any more. He told me to talk to you. I did, and you just told me I'd have to make up my own mind.

I decided I had no idea who was right and who was wrong, and no way of knowing. But maybe it didn't matter; I'd just learn from everyone and everything that I could. And I had a pretty good idea that something in me would know if what I was learning was real.

That decision has always worked for me, right up to the present day. So, for a lesson you never knew you gave me...thank you.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:32 am

Dear Jimyo,

I apologize for coming on so strong, regarding the "they do more good than harm." It really wasn't meant personally and unfortunately I was short on time right then and posted when I should have drafted so I could edit out my intensity. I've been told I come off really intensely in general (even though I think I'm being mellow,) but even I can tell that saying things like I want to bang my head on the wall is going overboard. I actually really enjoy your point of view. Don't armor up on my account, I will throttle down.

Best regards, Polly
Back to top Go down
Kozan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 670
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 67
Location : Sonoma County CA

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:15 am

Polly--your intensity is a good thing--as is Jimyo's!

The two of you DEFINE the Three Treasures--(in my opinion of course).
Back to top Go down
Jimyo

avatar

Posts : 172
Join date : 2010-09-24
Age : 68
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:20 am

Thank you, Polly, but there's really no need to apologise for saying what you felt, despite what I said earlier. You made a good point even if I didn't completely agree with it. And armour on internet forums is always a good idea, in my experience...and I spend too long on internet forums of various types so I should know. Don't worry; I remain my usual pussycat self underneath...but with claws at times :-)
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:41 pm

Oh Kozan, You made my day. Thanks.
Polly
Back to top Go down
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 73
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:31 am

Jimyo
You said in a post 'I had a very hard time at Throssel, felt I was badly treated, and could definitely have left many times'. There are three things here, hard times, bad treatment and wanting to leave. Since I was prior at the time I must take overall responsibility for any bad treatment and apologies. The only time that I that sticks in my memory was when the new building was started. I think you were relegated to the kitchens (proper woman's work) and had to badger me till I let you out on the building site where you turned out to be our best bricklayer (proper mans work), ti tum, ti tum. I'm sure there were lots of other occasions, I was always a very imperfect monk, so can I say a belated 'very sorry'.
As to hard times and wanting to leave, Throssel was trying to be a Zen training monastery, it was supposed to be hard. I remember talking to one of the monks at Mount St Bernard Trappist monastery and him saying that for the first two or three years of his novitiate he woke up every morning and did not think he would make it through till lunchtime; there was a murmur of agreement from the other monks present.
For hard times there is the good, the bad, and the ugly the trick is to be able to tell them apart. When I left I was troubled and confused and I probably spread that around, again my apologies, but you seem to have able to transmute my bad and ugly into gold, fantastic, but I can't claim any credit ,quite the opposite.
Back to top Go down
Anne

avatar

Posts : 408
Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Dorset, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:46 am

:-) Hello Mark

I hope all is going well with you.

Our latter dealings at Throssel were sad times for me: in your view then, I extruded like an inflamed digit (my paraphrase of your similitude) and had “gone off the rails” (your very idiom!) If experience, information and reflection have done nothing to change those perceptions, I would like to know your reasons for them, if you feel able to share.

This is not a recriminatory enquiry: I do not seek to embarrass or shame you in any way, and bear no ill-will about the matter but wish you well. I have always thought of you as a compassionate person who tried to do the hard job of Prior responsibly.

(To readers, Mark as Daiji was Prior of Throssel Hole when I was a postulant (1974-5).)
Back to top Go down
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 66
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:45 pm

Thanks Mark for posting your account.

Yes, the past life stuff became quite bizarre -- and what was going on were more like guided visualizations - not visions and not meditations per se. And no spontaneous enlightenment - not from what i saw first-hand.

These "experiences" were artificial and contrived and corresponded to Kennett's particular fantasies and feelings she had about the various monks at the moment.

Yes, at one point, everyone at the monastery had been in a past life Jesus, Mary, Judas, etc. And yes, Kennett imagined and declared she was St. John of the Cross, Bodhidharma, and I forget who else. And one day because i had been ever so lightly disobedient about something -- she said in a past life i was an evil pope.

And why did most of this not appear in her Lotus Blossom book? In fact the Lotus Blossom book is NOT an accurate depiction of her emotional breakdown and chaos during that period. Instead of honestly facing her doubts and shadows, she went the opposite direction, dressed them up in silvery white gowns -- just like dolls - and made the story fit her inflated sense of her self.

By the way, this kind of behavior is common in other cultic new age groups -where the guru is isolated and becomes incredibly grandiose. There are so many gurus that claim they were of course Buddha or Jesus or Maitreya, but also various kings and emperors. There are inflated fantasies - big elaborate ego doll houses.
Back to top Go down
Gyokuko

avatar

Posts : 24
Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Portland OR

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:31 pm

mstrathern wrote:
That is what my training is about - sometimes seeing the mistakes for what they are, sometimes not, but hopefully always open to the possibility of being wrong.

@Daiji, I still remember this quote in RMJK's voice: "Always remember, I could be wrong."
I find it useful both when I think I know something and when I think I'll never understand.

Welcome to this forum, Daiji. I doubt if you remember me at all. I was very junior and very shy when you and I crossed paths. I remember you cut quite a figure striding through the cloister in your cloak.

in gassho
Gyokuko

Back to top Go down
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 73
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:03 pm

Yes of course, if I have everything 'right' then I would spell my G. O. D. No we are all human, but what I witnessed I have recounted as best I could. The rest is necessarily my opinion.

However it is my exerience that the mark of the 'true man' (or woman) is that they are simple, unified and direct, not complex. I take confirmation of this view from the writings of all the great traditions, just look at the tenth oxherding picture. And I fear that from my experience and what I have read on this forum that simplicity is not, and has not been for a long time, the hallmark of many of the senior OBC.

No I'm afraid I don't remember you, but that is my failing not yours.
Back to top Go down
Anne

avatar

Posts : 408
Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Dorset, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:13 pm

Elsewhere, Mark wrote:
Quote :
Anne
...I'm sorry I have not replied to your direct questions to me about my behaviour towards you at Throssel. I' am very sorry but I do not remember you, I should but time, trauma and increasing age means that much of then is very foggy. If I was remiss or hurtful in any way I apologise, I certainly was not perfect then or now.
:-) Perhaps it was that my enlightened action left no wake (cough!)

A long time ago, in a kitchen far, far away (unless one lives in Northumberland), I twice substituted chillies for capers in a recipe (thinking they were the same thing; and on the second occasion, forgetting the exact nature of my previous error), which had people reaching for the water-jugs. (This is my opportunity to apologise to any readers whose memory of either incident is untouched by time, trauma or increasing age ~ I hope none of you suffered lasting damage. It was not meant as hardline “Zen” training – heaven forbid!) But mentioning the chillies is as close to playing with fire as I will get in any effort to remind you, Mr Strathern! I am sure you are happier for forgetting…

Now about that £10 you owe me from 1974…(only joking!)

Seriously, no worries (-:
Back to top Go down
Kyogen

avatar

Posts : 141
Join date : 2010-07-23
Location : Portland, OR

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:01 am

Hello Daiji,

I'm sure you go by Mark these days, but I always think of you as Daiji. I was your Anja when you were vice abbot at Shasta. Do you remember that? Roshi Kennett gave me the charge of cleaning your room whether you liked it or not. We danced around about that a little bit, in pretty good humor, as I recall.

Welcome to the forum. I like your balanced, well thought out perspective.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
Back to top Go down
http://www.dharma-rain.org
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1412
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 42

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:41 pm

Kyogen, you might be interested to hear that Mark has told us that his office looks like a bomb went off in it (twice, I think he said). So. perhaps some things don't change that much over time, do they --
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 73
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:51 pm

Kyogen, yes I remember, though I'm afraid much is clouded by the mists of time. I fear my messiness was probably sometimes quite difficult; still training two problems for the price of one. Both you and I: How to deal with Daiji's mess! As to my 'balanced, well thought out perspective' I fear you haven't seen all my posts. I have sometime let off a bit of steam.
Fondest regards to you
Back to top Go down
Kyogen

avatar

Posts : 141
Join date : 2010-07-23
Location : Portland, OR

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:05 pm

Hey, Daiji. As for letting off steam, so have I.

K
Back to top Go down
http://www.dharma-rain.org
Anne

avatar

Posts : 408
Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Dorset, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:14 pm

:-) Hello Mark

(I don’t think I’ve asked this “aloud” before…!)

Concerning the life that Eko regarded as that of Jesus, do you recall what Eko reported of events in that life? Or on what basis the inference of identity, as Jesus, was made? (Jesus’ name in his mother-tongue would probably have been something like “Yeshua”, “Jesus” being the Greek form.)

Some events would be very traumatic (distressing/painful) for anyone experiencing them, such as arrest, trial, scourging, execution by crucifixion. From my reading of history, such things would not have been uncommon in Roman-occupied Judea. However, for many people, Jesus might be the most famous example of this: thus if Eko recalled a life in which he experienced these things, perhaps as a group-leader apparently in the same area and era as Jesus, then he might have inferred that he had been Jesus; and once “identified” as such, people would naturally wonder about other events and persons in Jesus’ life, in relation to Eko… Yet though the identity might differ, the remembered events might have occurred.

I would be grateful for your input on this, or from anyone who recalls having heard anything about it. (-:
Back to top Go down
mokuan



Posts : 265
Join date : 2010-08-29
Location : West Linn, Oregon

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:03 pm

Dear Anne,

I just have to chime in here. Every time Eko as Jesus comes up -- as mentioned many times by ChisanMichael -- I just cringe and here's why:

Any theologian worth his or her salt will tell you there is no historical proof that Jesus existed. Although there were many scribes and historians in the day, no one mentions Jesus as a spiritual leader or otherwise, which is odd as the Bible proclaims many followers. And surely the accounts of miracles and large gatherings would spark some notation in the historical records There is also no record of Pontius Pilate releasing one prisoner in exchange for another. Many Biblical accounts don't hold water against the historical data of the time like the taking of the census and Herod's killing of male infants.

The only accounts of Jesus are in the New Testament -- and later-found manuscripts - but no one claims to have known him personally. The Gospels were written well after his alleged demise, but they don't know who the authors are. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, all names give posthumously to individuals unknown.

Resurrection from the dead and ascending into the heavens was part of the common mythology at the time as was virgins and gods producing offspring together. The story of Hercules is also an example of this.

It's not to say the Bible, the New Testament in particular, isn't a fine book with many good lessons. It is. And there were people around that time preaching the end is near; we just know who or how many or what his life or their life was really all about. So for Eko to say he was Jesus just smacks of total delusion.

And if per chance we find out that Jesus really did exist and that he "was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the
virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead,
and buried;" and that "he descended into hell and on the third day he arose again from the dead, and he ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand
of God the Father Almighty from whence he shall come to judge the quick
and the dead," then why would anyone think he would be reborn?

Like Laura said in another post: If I had known that was what was being touted at Shasta Abbey, I never ever would've gone.

mokuan
Back to top Go down
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 73
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:25 pm

Anne I'm afraid that my reports of Eko claiming to have been Jesus in a previous life are strictly speaking hearsay. However the hearsay was from the hoses mouth, as it were, since I was told of it with some ernestness and even pride by Jiyu, but I'm pretty sure I also heard it mentioned in Eko's own presence without him contradicting it. Again I note that Josh who was present at the 'vision' confirms it, and of those at the abbey at the time and also contributing to this forum none has raised any objection. Nor has anyone from the OBC denied it, a simple matter as we know that some read the forum and have contributed to it.
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:09 am

mstrathern wrote:
Anne I'm afraid that my reports of Eko claiming to have been Jesus in a previous life are strictly speaking hearsay. However the hearsay was from the horse's mouth, as it were, since I was told of it with some earnestness and even pride by Jiyu, but I'm pretty sure I also heard it mentioned in Eko's own presence without him contradicting it. Again I note that Josh who was present at the 'vision' confirms it, and of those at the abbey at the time and also contributing to this forum none has raised any objection. Nor has anyone from the OBC denied it, a simple matter as we know that some read the forum and have contributed to it.

I was present when that past life experience unfolded for Eko and I feel it is being taken out of context. I never heard Eko claim that he was or had been Jesus nor did I observe any bizarre behavior during that time which would suggest a delusional state. He simply had a past life memory arise. Such memories do not belong to anyone. Buddhism teaches rebirth, not transmigration. There is no linear progression from life to life and no one can really claim to have been anyone else. There are only memories and why they arise only the individual can know. I don't know why Eko had that particular experience. Frankly, at the time I wondered if even he knew why. It was difficult for him and something he had to figure out. Unfortunately I never spoke with him about it afterward, so I don't know how he came to understand it. He had serious issues which became apparent over time, but I don't see how any of it traces back to that experience.

I saw many people have such experiences and in virtually every case there was no identifying information nor any interest in figuring it out. In fact it was very important not to identify with the experiences since in most cases there was nothing that could be considered attractive or desirable in them. They were for learning the way one studies the shadows of ancient history with the hope of not repeating it - nothing more.

I was not present nor did I ever hear about RMJK having been Bodhidharma or Teresa of Avila. RMJK could be theatrical at times and exaggerated things unnecessarily. Perhaps she was a frustrated thespian at heart. What I'm saying is that far too much is being made of the matter of past life experiences, and the fact they occurred is not an example of what went wrong at Shasta Abbey.
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 62
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:27 am

Hello Isan
Your posting was a clear representation of past lives, their arising memories and how to approach them. This was also Jiyu's approach and teaching on past lives.

Everyone here has some predictibility with their postings. Most of your postings have seemed to have had the purpose of balancing some of the more extreme views with counter views. I have found this to be personally helpful. You have time and time again written with the view to help others with healing.

With this in mind I find it strange that with your personal witnessing of Eko's jesus event, the varying postings about if it was or wasn't true and how many times it was brought up as evidence of Jiyu & Eko's craziness, is why you stayed silent until now to write about it???


respectfully


Last edited by Howard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:02 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
chisanmichaelhughes

avatar

Posts : 1638
Join date : 2010-11-17

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:49 am

Yes Good morning Howard
I was thinking the same thing
I think a good explanation here would be helpful
My queries are
The previous lives just arose it is a bit like Bill clinton blowing grass when he was a kid and not inhaling.
These experinces did they happen in zazen?
or were they in small groups of people doing another practice?
Was Jiyu present when Eko happened to have an expereince of jesus previous life?
Isan saw many people have these previous life experiences, were thay kicking off throughout the Abbey?
Gensho had said he was Barabus an I think Josh said he was a pope was it very extensiv?Isan says they were not important,why did so many people experience tham?
If they were not regarded as important why did Kennett write a book about them?
I thought this whole big experience was called the third Kensho
If it was as you say Isan why was it not spoken about more openly why when I wrote to Josh for an explanation,was my letter intercepted,and I was absolutely told I was doing something wrong in daring to ask.
Why were people in England told not to believe anything other than what kennett said?

These practices happened at Shasta and I have not been told of any other Zen organisation where there have been alot of previous lives experienced by so many people en mass
Back to top Go down
chisanmichaelhughes

avatar

Posts : 1638
Join date : 2010-11-17

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:46 am

I will just add that when Mark returned to England,actually his first comment to me was he felt the Abbey was into gedo Zen.
From memory I had tp prise out of mark all the details,because he had been made to promise not to tell. It is a long time ago but I remember having quite a few meetings with mark to discuss all this.
I would go along with the teachings of kennett prior to these experiences and say I felt it was gedo zen and did follow her advise and walk on and not pick it up.
It just happened is not quite right for me,and we need other people to come in and say,at least Isan has said he was there the Jesus story is not make belief
Back to top Go down
mstrathern
Admin
avatar

Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 73
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:13 am

Howard said of Isan
Howard wrote:
Your posting was a clear representation of past lives, their arising memories and how to approach them. This was also Jiyu's approach and teaching on past lives.

That is not how it was presented to me at the time. At the time Jiyu and the inner circle who were going through these experiences expressed them to me as real. Indeed the reason for saying that I was lying seems to have been that I said that they were not real but as they were real experiences I was lying. This may have been the doctrine in later years but it does not seem to be in HTGLB. Jiyu's story of the white tigress is told in the most personal terms, not allegorical ones. The Mahayana is full of allegory it is one of its great beauties. Look at all the great non-historic bodhisattvas like Kanzeon. They are wonderful allegorical personifications of idealised attributes. I would have been uncomfortable with allegorical experiences but that is not what was purported to be happening.
Back to top Go down
chisanmichaelhughes

avatar

Posts : 1638
Join date : 2010-11-17

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:08 am

For the first time my post was knocked back so I will try again.

I wonder why they would like to make out that you lied. It is the same reason that, we were all discredited to make us impotent,invalid. the letter I sent to Josh that was intercepted, was full of how I must not dare query the teaching,and who was I to in the first place as I had no importance.
The reason is simple,if the story of jesus had come out inti the public domain, Shasta would have been over, the greater public would not have gone with it. Buddhist around the world would have put the mass leaving of senior monks and the Jesus incident together, and voted with their feet
Back to top Go down
Anne

avatar

Posts : 408
Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Dorset, UK

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:38 am

:-) Mark, thank you for explaining.

Isan, many thanks for your post ~ may we have more of them (if you can spare the time and stamina!) I would just like to comment on the following…

Quote :
[Past life] memories do not belong to anyone. Buddhism teaches rebirth, not transmigration. There is no linear progression from life to life and no one can really claim to have been anyone else.
While it may be possible for someone to “experience” events from a past not theirs (such as mediums having visions and sensations from someone else’s time of death), I would say that some past life memories may “belong” to a person, in the same way that we mean when we say, “When I was young…” or “In my post above…”! I think that Buddhist terminology has sometimes bent over backwards to deter clinging to a conceptualised “me” as an actual entity (illusoryself-grasping) conceptually “travelling” through conceptualised “time”. Then one may have to clear confusion inspired by antithetic concepts! uhoh

Please feel free to comment on that, Isan, or anyone…

Chisan, you wrote
Quote :
Isan says [past life memories] were not important, why did so many people experience them?
Please would you point out where you see Isan saying they “were not important”, as you mean this?

RMJ included them in How to Grow a Lotus Blossom but they are not the whole of the book. Most of what she wrote about them referred to effects in the present life from which release was needed. However, such release does not always provoke a past life memory.

Being open to the possibility that a cause of a particular problem lies before this life can somewhat facilitate the arising of such memories, which is not the same as deliberately creating them. (“Believing is seeing” as I remember one dowser catchily writing some decades ago.) In many ways, one may have changed considerably from the individual to whom the events occurred (and thank goodness, one might say!) but sometimes one suffers chronically an inexplicable pull or effect that reasoning doesn’t seem to budge and for which one can find no reasonable explanation in this life, that may apparently reveal itself as connected to past situations and events, for which remembering (when followed by insight) can help eliminate quickly the habitual reflex or affliction in the present.
Back to top Go down
chisanmichaelhughes

avatar

Posts : 1638
Join date : 2010-11-17

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:22 am

I think he said too much is being made was made of them I can't do this lifting off of exact quote
What ever the exact words does not alter what I said in the slightest. I feel the start of the problems at Shasta were here at this time,maybe when Gensho felt kennett chose not to go down the path of sange
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:59 am

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:

I was thinking the same thing
I think a good explanation here would be helpful
My queries are
The previous lives just arose it is a bit like Bill clinton blowing grass when he was a kid and not inhaling.
These experinces did they happen in zazen?
or were they in small groups of people doing another practice?
Was Jiyu present when Eko happened to have an expereince of jesus previous life?
Isan saw many people have these previous life experiences, were thay kicking off throughout the Abbey?
Gensho had said he was Barabus an I think Josh said he was a pope was it very extensiv?Isan says they were not important,why did so many people experience tham?
If they were not regarded as important why did Kennett write a book about them?
I thought this whole big experience was called the third Kensho
If it was as you say Isan why was it not spoken about more openly why when I wrote to Josh for an explanation,was my letter intercepted,and I was absolutely told I was doing something wrong in daring to ask.
Why were people in England told not to believe anything other than what kennett said?

These practices happened at Shasta and I have not been told of any other Zen organisation where there have been alot of previous lives experienced by so many people en mass

Hello Chisan,

You're quite right that these experiences did not happen while we were practicing traditional zazen. They were triggered when Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) was added to the mix.

Yes, RMJK was present when Eko was experiencing the Jesus memories.

Yes, quite a few people at Shasta Abbey in 1976 were having experiences triggered by JSJ. One theory put forward at the time was we had all been practicing meditation for five years and had built up a lot of inner pressure that was ready to be released by JSJ (think Champagne cork), but who really knows why? It became clear after a while that things needed to be calmed down and RMJK restricted JSJ practice to the "day off" and shifted the focus back to more traditional training.

I've also not heard of anything similar happening at other Zen organizations. We can't know if it simply hasn't happened elsewhere or if other centers have had the sense to keep quiet about it.

People in England were told not to believe anything other then what RMJK said because she needed to control the message. RMJK did not support free speech. That's something we all pretty much agree on, and it's a different issue.

And for the record, I never said (nor do I believe) that past life experiences are unimportant. I said that too much is being made of them with regard to what went wrong at Shasta Abbey. If JSJ had never been introduced and we had gone along doing traditional Zen practice the essential outcome would have been the same, because that outcome was caused by RMJK's need to control. That brief period in 1976 was a breath of fresh air to me, because for a time she was not trying to control things so much.
Back to top Go down
chisanmichaelhughes

avatar

Posts : 1638
Join date : 2010-11-17

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:08 pm

Well done Isan a good bit of honesty,this is what we needed and need then we can talk normally as friends, we can disagree and work it out.
My underlying feeling, is actually sadness, that you were in a situation that you felt you were being controlled in. You, my friend are worth more than that.
I am rushing as usual and have to be at two places at the same time,difficult even for someone with a dualistic mind!
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:26 pm

mstrathern wrote:
Howard said of Isan
Howard wrote:
Your posting was a clear representation of past lives, their arising memories and how to approach them. This was also Jiyu's approach and teaching on past lives.

That is not how it was presented to me at the time. At the time Jiyu and the inner circle who were going through these experiences expressed them to me as real. Indeed the reason for saying that I was lying seems to have been that I said that they were not real but as they were real experiences I was lying. This may have been the doctrine in later years but it does not seem to be in HTGLB. Jiyu's story of the white tigress is told in the most personal terms, not allegorical ones. The Mahayana is full of allegory it is one of its great beauties. Look at all the great non-historic bodhisattvas like Kanzeon. They are wonderful allegorical personifications of idealised attributes. I would have been uncomfortable with allegorical experiences but that is not what was purported to be happening.

I feel the need to say again that I'm not defending RMJK or the behavior of anyone else. Being called a liar is a profound insult and I can understand how that made you feel. I was not privy to anything that was said to you and I did not see the letter that was sent to the English congregation until you shared it a few months ago. I believe you were treated with the same disdain and disrespect that was visited upon anyone who dared to say RMJK was wrong. The fact that you spoke with her openly about your feelings and left honorably did not spare you.

Regarding past life experiences being "real", they certainly feel real when you're experiencing them, but that's different then believing you are a different person or a white tigress, etc. As I've said before I believe RMJK was a frustrated thespian. She had a tendency to exaggerate and when it came to past life experiences she sometimes turned them into theater. I considered that imprudent, but not crazy. Over time I did not see anyone at Shasta Abbey literally believing themselves to be someone from another lifetime. Everybody pretty much remained the same boring people they had been before the experiences started.
Back to top Go down
polly

avatar

Posts : 143
Join date : 2011-01-30
Age : 64
Location : Pacific Northwest

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:36 pm

I don't know why I can't figure out how to do the quote thing, it would make this so much easier. But I wanted to comment on something Anne said in her last post above about one's past lives and whether or not they "belonged" to an individual. She said " I think Buddhist terminology has sometimes bent over backwards in order to deter clinging to a conceptualized "me" as an actual entity..."

I was so glad to read that for it reflects my feelings. What Isan describes, "...no linear progression from life to life..." makes the Theory of Dependent Origination nonsensical, and I have always found that theory to be profoundly logical.

Of course, I may be missing something that makes the whole thing work seamlessly so am happy for input.
Back to top Go down
Kyogen

avatar

Posts : 141
Join date : 2010-07-23
Location : Portland, OR

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:49 pm

Hello Polly,

Quote :
I don't know why I can't figure out how to do the quote thing, it would make this so much easier. But I wanted to comment on something Anne said in her last post above about one's past lives and whether or not they "belonged" to an individual. She said " I think Buddhist terminology has sometimes bent over backwards in order to deter clinging to a conceptualized "me" as an actual entity..."
Here's a quick tutorial on the "quote thing." I assume you can copy and paste by highlighting and using <control c> and <control p> or equivalent. You put the text you want to quote where you want it, then highlight it again. The text effect icons above the text entry window includes one that looks like two little cartoon "speech balloons." Click on that, and codes for creating the quote box are inserted around the text. You can see what it will look like by clicking on the "Preview" button. Bold, Italic and Underlining work the same way.

I hope that helps.

Kyogen
Back to top Go down
http://www.dharma-rain.org
polly

avatar

Posts : 143
Join date : 2011-01-30
Age : 64
Location : Pacific Northwest

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:56 pm

Oh Kyogen, it would help if I knew how to cut and paste. I'll practice (somewhere else), get that part down and then progress to the forum. Or not. I have an ambivalent relationship with my actually perfectly nice computer.
But thanks.
P.S. When I first started posting I used all-caps because I couldn't figure out the italics thing. I was horrified when I later learned that all-caps means shouting.
I'm not this slow in all areas. I was actually a pretty good nurse. But computers...not so much.
Back to top Go down
Isan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:02 pm

polly wrote:
I wanted to comment on something Anne said in her last post above about one's past lives and whether or not they "belonged" to an individual. She said " I think Buddhist terminology has sometimes bent over backwards in order to deter clinging to a conceptualized "me" as an actual entity..."

I was so glad to read that for it reflects my feelings. What Isan describes, "...no linear progression from life to life..." makes the Theory of Dependent Origination nonsensical, and I have always found that theory to be profoundly logical.

It is hard to express this material with language. When I say no linear progression, I don't mean random or without meaning. What's your sense of it?
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Mark (Daiji) Strathern   

Back to top Go down
 
Mark (Daiji) Strathern
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 2Go to page : 1, 2  Next
 Similar topics
-
» Mark (Daiji) Strathern
» Roy n Mark
» acceptable mark-up rate
» Transhumanism And The Mark Of The Beast: Do All Signs Point To ROME?
» Is Mark Zuckerberg David Rockefeller’s Grandson?

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
OBC Connect :: OBC Connect :: Introductions-
Jump to: