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 Some thoughts

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deweyboy



Posts : 17
Join date : 2010-03-23
Age : 68
Location : San Francisco

PostSubject: Some thoughts   Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:17 pm

I began to attend Berkeley Buddhist Priory in the mid 80's, took the Precepts in the 90's and eventually lost interest. It did seem that the whole structure of OBC is very centered around the monks and exclisively centered on reaching Enlightenment. Most of the monks seemed unable to offer guidance with everyday life since they are very inexperrienced and naive.
One thing that really bothered me was all of Peggy Kennett's visions. As a registered nurse who has extensive expeience with Diabetics, it bothered me that a diabetic who needed insulin and refused, was heading an organization and having "Visions". I remember once asking why we never see her and was glared at by Rev Basis as if I had no right to ask such a question. It seemed a perfectly natural question in light of the fact that she was putting out publications and claiming to be a Zen Master.
At other times, there were Lay Ministers and Monks who seemed genuinely
nasty people. They reminded me of Catholic Nuns.
In every organization like this, there are great saints and great sinners. Rev Alden Fulcher was a favorite of mine and seemed genuinely sincere.

At any rate, those are some thoughts John
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Olly



Posts : 18
Join date : 2010-03-23
Location : Devon, UK

PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts   Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:46 pm

Hi John,

I have recently made a decisive break with one of the OBC's temples in Exeter, UK, after somewhat difficult experiences (unfriendliness from resident monk and lay minister, members of the sangha being treated like children, generally 'stiff upper lip' unsympathetic attitude to people's suffering). After reading your post I was left wondering how much of this might be due to the way the OBC was set up by Jiyu Kennett - I now attend a different Zen group that follows the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and the warmth and gentleness I am experiencing could not stand in sharper contrast to the seeming austerity of the OBC.

On a separate note, I was curious to read the Rev Master Jiyu refused insulin in spite of her diabetes; do you happen to know why she did this? Do you think it could even have brought about the visions she experienced?

Olly
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deweyboy



Posts : 17
Join date : 2010-03-23
Age : 68
Location : San Francisco

PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts   Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:10 pm

Dear Olly,

Greetings from California, it's warm and sunny here today and Spring is popping out all over!

First, thanks for the information about the difference between the OBC and Thich Nhat Hanh's Sangha. I had been so turned off by the OBC that I was reluctant to try out any other group. I agree totally with what you say
and how people are treated. The last time I was at Shasta Abbey for a week long retreat, I left after one day. It seemed very cult like.

I do believe that those visions could very well have been swings in her blood sugar levels. She refused Insulin because it came from slaughtered pigs. However, there has been synthetic insulin for quite a few years. I am not sure if she started taking synthetic Insulin. The secrecy that surrounded her was bizzare.

Thanks for responding to my post! JOHN San Francisco
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Olly



Posts : 18
Join date : 2010-03-23
Location : Devon, UK

PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts   Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:19 pm

Hi,

Glad to hear it is so sunny where you are. Alas, Exeter like much of the UK at the moment is pretty grey and dismal but the daffodils are (finally!) out so Spring is definitely on the way.

Thich Nhat Hanh's order (the Order of Interbeing) is worth looking into, if only just so you know that what the OBC presents isn't the 'be all and end all' of Zen. But do some reading first: the usual 'first book' to read by Thich Nhat Hanh is 'The Miracle of Mindfulness', and you will see that he emphasises things like breathing, smiling and appreciating the joys of life we tend to ignore because we are so lost in anxieties / fantasies etc. Very different from the OBC's 'life's tough so sit on your butt, look at a wall and let go of everything'!

As for Rev Master Jiyu's rationale for not taking insulin ... maybe she thought she was observing the precepts. But by damaging her own health (and probably shortening her life) was she really observing the precept 'do not kill'? Even the Dalai Lama eats meat because he found that he suffered health problems when he tried abstaining form it. What is a kensho and what is a nervous breakdown? All I know is, the Buddha always emphasised avoiding extremes such as austerity, and I feel that by martering herself in this way Peggy Kennett may have set the blueprint for the OBC's present outlook on life and Buddhist training.

Olly
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Carol

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Posts : 364
Join date : 2009-11-10

PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts   Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:18 pm

I'm getting into this thread late but just read the comments of John and Olly. Kozan calls what happens in the OBC "fear-based institutional policy." I didn't realize how much I had bought into that fear until I read your comments on Peggy Kennet. I had thought those things too, about her diabetes and visions, but believed that any such ideas were "wrong" and something awful would happen if I verbalized those thoughts. Thanks to both of you for putting into words what I have long been afraid to do! (And as far as I know, neither of you have been struck by lightening yet!)
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sugin

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Posts : 43
Join date : 2010-06-15

PostSubject: OBC personal journals   Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:13 am

I usually kept a journal of my time spent at Shasta Abbey. I was wondering if others did this also and if it might be interesting to share some of our journal entries.
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Lise
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Posts : 1412
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts   Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:25 am

That could be interesting, for sure. I'd suggest starting a new thread so that this one continues to reflect John's original post.

cheers,
L
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Kyogen

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

PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts   Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:58 pm

Hello Olly and John,

I'm responding to some pretty old posts, but in the interest of clarity I thought I should. Jiyu Kennett was a type two diabetic who didn't need insulin shots. The story I heard, and it makes sense to me, is that she developed diabetes after her operation in Japan in which she lost part of her pancreas. Most likely due to language problems she didn't catch on that she would be all right if she watched her diet carefully. It's also possible that the Japanese doctors didn't do all they could to convey what she needed to know. She was pretty ignorant of some basic health issues around diet anyway, so it was some years later that she realized she had been damaging her health by eating white rice and sweets. All of that led to further trouble down the line, I believe, so it was a serious matter.

Kyogen
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