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 My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern

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mstrathern
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PostSubject: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:12 pm

First topic message reminder :

I left Shasta in 1976, I had been, like Josh Baran and some others on the forum, one of the first group of those ordained in the States. I am English and had followed Jiyu back from England when she had come over very shortly after she come to the States. At this point in time she had been a Soto Zen monk for only seven years. What Jiyu taught at that time was a very orthodox Soto with some minor adaptations to western needs. She was a powerful and authoritarian figure but had a few personal foibles, a minor paranoia about English and Japanese authorities persecution amongst them. But nothing that got too much in the way of our training which followed the lines of her own training in Sojiji.
I stayed with her in Oakland and then Shasta for about eighteen months at which time I could no longer get any further extensions on my visitors visa. I returned to England with Jiyu urging me to find somewhere to set up a centre there. I found Throssel Hole farm, a hippy commune, for sale and bought it with money I had inherited. Then Jiyu came over for three months and I went back with her to States where after some time I received transmission and was declared a dharma heir being given her original Sojiji bowls in recognition of this. After about 18 months was sent back to Throssel as prior with full rights to bestow ordination and transmission. During my stay Jiyu health was not always good and her in retrospect I can see that her behaviour was becoming more erratic and autocratic.
After running Throssel for a few years very much in line with the outline of practice in 'Selling Water by the River' which Jiyu had written in conjunction with one of her teachers Suigan Yogo Roshi and a South African disciple Myozen Miyagawa, I was asked to come back to Shasta for a period. When I arrived at Shasta I found it superficially the same, however at the centre there was a clique around Jiyu that had started to practice with her a kind of massage called Jin Shin (I believe also referred to at Shasta as mudras and flows) that she had started and said that had been instrumental in her having a third kensho, though I don't exactly recall her second. The result of Jin Shin was that Jiyu and a number of others had visions and experienced former lives. I did not see the relevance of this to Soto Zen, or any Zen for that matter, I had sat with Sochu Suzuki Roshi's group for a number of years before joining Jiyu. But, whatever, who was I to know so I threw myself back into things and took the advice I had given to others on a number of occasions - that is to set a time limit at some point in the future and to suspend disbelief and judgement till then and see how I felt at that later time. However as time went on the experiences became more and more outlandish. I believe it was Eko who had been Jesus, others including Jiyu had been, Bhodidharma, St John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and any number of inmates and guards from German WWII concentration camps. My touchstone at the time was'Does this lead to the truth?' and this sure wasn't leading me on the path to the truth, it was blocking it. There came a point when I felt that it would be quite hypocritical if I stayed so I arranged a meeting with Jiyu where I explained my misgivings and that I thought that the visions and previous life experiences that were so prevalent were makyo (delusions) and antagonistic to true training. I left within a few days after a number of monks, I think at Jiyu's behest, came to try and dissuade me.
When I returned to England I was in some quandary as to what to do. In my absence a senior Shasta monk had been installed, but I felt that I owed a duty of care to those at Throssel who I had taught and ordained to explain my actions. I went to Throssel, still deeply confused and troubled, and explained. I said that it was of course up to them to make their own minds up. Now looking back on this period I feel that I could have handled this better, especially as I had a duty of care, indeed did care deeply, for those at Throssel. I also told Chisan/Hofuku Hughes and his wife, Kyosei, and Bill Picard who had received transmission from Jiyu and ran a meditation group in Cornwall. Some believed and split with Shasta and some did not. Unfortunately Hofuku went one way and Kyosei another and I feel badly about the part I may have played in the break up of their marriage.
A few months later I received a letter from one of the monks who had decided to go over to Shasta saying that she repudiated me because I had lied to her about what was happening at Shasta. I later learnt that the inner clique at Shasta had decided to say that I had lied because whilst I had said that those at Shasta believed that they had experiences of previous lives as Jesus, Bhodidharma, etc. this was not true because they had had previous lives as Jesus, Bhodidharma, etc.This level of casuistry confirmed my belief that Shasta had gone down a wrong path, which it looked as if it would be difficult to turn back and sadly that seems to true. A further confirmation saddened me and told of how badly things had gone wrong even at my beloved Throssel when I read a published history of Throssel and its founding in which I was not mentioned at all. If you go to Germany you will find Hitler and all his lesser cronies mentioned in the history books despite the difficulty and guilt this causes, but if you had gone to Hitler's Germany you would have found many people who written out of the history books. This is standard practice where they fear and cannot face the truth.
I have on occasion over the intervening years pondered why this all happened. At one time when I was at Shasta we were visited on a number of occasions by the father confessor and spiritual director of a group of Augustinian nuns. We all got on well with him, I particularly like discussions I had with him on the dutch mystic Jan van Ruysbroek. One time we were all sat in Jiyu's cottage and he said 'It is o good to come to a monastery where so much training is going on. Everyone seems to be in training, except of course you Jiyu.' Jiyu, clearly outraged, explained to him that he did not understand the training of an Abbess (despite the fact that he was spiritual director to one!). He never came back. I realised at the time that he was right, Jiyu was a teacher but no longer a trainee. In the pressure cooker atmosphere of a training monastery without the backbone of training, or the insight and honesty to admit that she had stopped, makyo stepped in as the outcome of falsified training and took the place of authentic experience, as she herself had taught that under those circumstances it would. Outside scrutiny might have helped but Jiyu was never one to brook outside interference or even any real criticism.
The real tragedy is the number of people that have been damaged by this. Those who where there at the time and followed down the path that she led seem to have been caught ion the same trap believing that whatever they are doing is true training and brooking no criticism to the contrary. There are those who have managed to slip through the holes in the net of Mara that was woven and hopefully in the long run they will prevail and true training become the norm again.
Gasho to all of our little sangha here.
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:45 pm

thanks for the personal info Anne.
Your posts always leave me smiling ( especially the you tube ones )
I tend to get letters a little jumbled and I do not always understand what you say, or find it a bit hard to read, so if I say I do not fully understand you that is why,I do not mean to be rude
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:58 pm

If I am interpreting you correctly, Anne, you seem to be feeling some regret for occasionally proselytizing a bit, and for holding expectations for others. Am I getting it? Forgive me if I mistake you, for what comes next is based on that understanding.

I think that most people react with some degree of repugnance or at least resentment toward anyone who tries to "convert" or inspire them with their spiritual insights or beliefs. Certainly my "born-again" in-laws made me turn away from Christianity with much greater emphasis than I would have otherwise done. So perhaps we who are involved and delighted with our spiritual life and with the best of intentions offer to spread the wealth around a bit are encountering less of a negative reaction to religion than a negative reaction to our efforts to introduce them to it. Anybody who asks me if I've made my peace with Jesus yet today is likely to hear something more profane than I really feel on the subject. Still, wanting to offer the best one has is hardly a criminal offense, and maturity generally mutes the offering into a more acceptable and helpful form.

Me, I am more and more amazed at how wonderfully vast a majority of beings are searching earnestly and honestly for truth, meaning, and God in whatever form they wish to perceive him/she/it. To speculate on the depth of another's understanding or commitment is to venture into realms which are, if I may say it, none of our business. In the end, (in my way of thinking) the magnet pulls us all home. No one gets left out, they can't be, they are interwoven, like it or not, with everything else. Of course our ego's are howling away for a long time, insisting on our unique and special attributes, and of course, this is right. We all do have unique and special attributes, we can count on them just as we can count on the necessity of their contribution to the integrity of the whole. Nothing is lost, we just add, and add to the whole. So now, I have done my bit of proselytizing. And if I've completely missed your point, Anne, please do set me straight.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:19 pm

Chisan,

Well, it certainly isn't hard to find a rebellion or two lately. whether its of a religious or political kind, although sometimes I feel much more like a great big sheep than a rebel, to be honest. May be it's just aging,

I'm noticing the posts stack up quick if you don't keep up, and it really is a great conversation that is going on here, and whatever sort of comes into my corner that with my little understanding I am able to "add my cents worth" to , I'd like to do it as thoughtfully and thoroughly as possible. I have learned so much from everyone that has posted here, about peoples feelings, experiences, and also of the history of the Abbey, etc. and the various "styles" of individual posters, too. Some are the "hard hitters", some are more of the peacemaker, conciliatory kind, and all speaking from their personal perspective. Again, I had to think of something in Dogens Uji, something about "continually arranging bits and pieces of what we experience into a whole universe and to look upon this"welter' of living beings and physical objects as sometime things," and yes, it is all just for such a short time, all so transitory and "empty", and yet we have to live it out, joyful or painful as it may be for the time being. I know I am not saying much here, just sort of ruminating, but I sort of have this very simplistic kind of a vision of everyone sitting around a great big round table and ironing things out to everyones satisfaction, and this vision may be far fetched but the possibility, unlikely as it may be, is sort of enticing.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:43 pm

Anne

Thanks again for clarifying a bit more, I really appreciate it very much.

Greetings

Brigitte
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:51 am

Brigitte wrote:

"...it really is a great conversation that is going on here...and yes, it is all just for such a short time, all so transitory and "empty", and yet we have to live it out, joyful or painful as it may be for the time being. I know I am not saying much here, just sort of ruminating, but I sort of have this very simplistic kind of a vision of everyone sitting around a great big round table and ironing things out to everyones satisfaction, and this vision may be far fetched but the possibility, unlikely as it may be, is sort of enticing."

Brigitte, beautifully expressed! I share your vision.

I think that this is what spiritual practice is all about. One aspect is individual, grounded in our own meditation. Another aspect is collective. The collective aspect manifests itself in many ways. One such way is when someone says, with insight, integrity, and heartfelt sincerity that, 'something is not right here'. It becomes increasingly confirmed as more of us say the same thing, each from our own perspective. And I think that it is only this kind of feedback that can keep us, both individually and collectively, on course.

However, I also think that this feedback can only actually effect change if, and when, it can be offered, with respect for all concerned, through a dialogue that takes place around (as you say) "a great big round table"!
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:10 pm

Kozan

I didn't think about it when I wrote it, but perhaps somehow subconsciously I could have been thinking of the noble ideals of the "Roundtable" of legend when I wrote it and wished that somehow it might be possible to demonstrate, that with everyones co-operation it might be possible to come to a resolution that might work for everyone,and yes, with due respect to all concerned.

I imagine that this might be a good time to demonstrate that Buddhism can work if all are willing to give and take a little compared to what else goes on in the world out there, and remind ourselves of all of our good intentions which are encapsulated in the precepts.

Already having said more then I ever meant to say, I now promise to shut up unless I have something of real value to say.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:42 pm

Thank you, Brititte. It's a privilege to sit around this great big round virtual table!
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:56 am

:-) Hi Polly!

I did not actually have proselytising in mind, but you make a good point! I remember, in 1972, unsolicitedly and out-of-the-blue eulogising Buddhist practice to a couple of friends unaffiliated to any particular religion. At that time, I had little expectation that people I knew would want to train, but for some reason on that occasion I felt it worth making this “pitch”. Barely had the brief blast of sales-talk left my lips than one of them zapped me down! (I think he had experienced something pretty heavy religion-wise in his youth.) As you said well:
Quote :
I think that most people react with some degree of repugnance or at least resentment toward anyone who tries to "convert" or inspire them with their spiritual insights or beliefs…So perhaps we who are involved and delighted with our spiritual life and with the best of intentions offer to spread the wealth around a bit are encountering less of a negative reaction to religion than a negative reaction to our efforts to introduce them to it.
When I look at some of my well-intentioned foot-misplacements in terms of variety, it’s a bit like looking at a rainbow and wondering where exactly yellow separates from green: I can distinguish, in an imprecise kind of way, between yellow and violet but don’t ask me where either begins and ends! The 1973 instance, that I referred to, seems somewhat akin to proselytising, with some perhaps-superficial differences.

It will take me some time to gather, sort and organise what I can say on the matter. Inadvertently, I have treated Mark’s thread like a hotel, and he may feel as if ignored at his own party ~ so perhaps my “true confessions” should go elsewhere. What do you think about it, Mark? The question is, where to post? If I were to suggest a new topic heading, it might be something like Training Experiences, where people can go in for own-exposés Shocked ~ but will we speaking to one another afterward?! uhoh Of course, such a heading need not be only about errors; but can anyone else imagine themselves as maybe contributing at some time?
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:06 am

:-) Isan, when quoting, how do you adjust what appears, or does not, instead of the default “Quote”?
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:05 am

Anne wrote:
:-) Isan, when quoting, how do you adjust what appears, or does not, instead of the default “Quote”?

After you push the quote button, and the quote in it's entirety is entered in the new message, you can edit the quote. You can place the cusor anywhere in the text and backspace to erase or use the mouse to select/highlight text and delete. As long as you don't disturb what I call the "quote bookends" - the bits that look like this [quote="Anne"] - then the quote will remain separate and properly attributed to the author. Hope this is reasonably clear :^)
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:44 am

Isan said:
[ Hope this is reasonably clear :^)]

After two tutorials I think I may have it (the quote thing). Not the finer points, but maybe the basics. Thanks Anne, for bringing it up again so I didn't have to. And thanks to Isan and Kyogen before him, who tried to teach me. You just can't learn some people nuthin', (or at least it can be pretty hard.) But how come mine quote didn't get highlighted, I wonder. Blast. Back to the drawing board.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:01 pm

polly wrote:
Isan said:
[ Hope this is reasonably clear :^)]

After two tutorials I think I may have it (the quote thing). Not the finer points, but maybe the basics. Thanks Anne, for bringing it up again so I didn't have to. And thanks to Isan and Kyogen before him, who tried to teach me. You just can't learn some people nuthin', (or at least it can be pretty hard.) But how come mine quote didn't get highlighted, I wonder. Blast. Back to the drawing board.

Your welcome Polly. RE highlighting it looks like you lost the quote bookends (aka quote thingies) when you edited the text. At the beginning of a quote there is always some bracketed text that identifies who the quote is from, eg [quote= "polly"] You see the same thing the end of the quote but without the person's name. That's how the forum software determines that the text should be treated as a quote and properly attributes it to the original poster. As long as those quote bookends are not disturbed you can do as you wish with the text betwixt them.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:06 pm

Isan wrote:


Your welcome Polly. RE highlighting it looks like you lost the quote bookends (aka quote thingies) when you edited the text. At the beginning of a quote there is always some bracketed text that identifies who the quote is from, eg [quote= "polly"] You see the same thing the end of the quote but without the person's name.

Like this?
Edit: Yesss!!


Last edited by polly on Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:06 pm

Anne you can also play around with the "quote bookends" a bit. If you have just '[quote]' then just the word Quote: will appear. If you have '[quote="nnn"]' then what appears is nnn wrote: . When you press the quote button on a post the system will generate the original posters name as the nnn part, but you can replace that with anything you like (within the forum rules, Henry!). The other bookend is
Code:
[/quote]
which just ends the quote. It is perfectly possible to put put quote bookends in manually and the cut and paste what you want quoted in between. Just as it is possible to edit the text that the system has supplied for a quote. There is also the quote button at the top of the text entry box, fourth from the left looks like two 'bubbles' this just enters the bookends so you can add the quoted text youself and modify the bookends yourself too. The important things to remember are the double ", with or without something between them, after =, and the close quote bookend. More info on this and all sorts of other stuff on the help button above the text entry box when in edit mode; that is after you have posted a message and then decided to edit by clicking the 'edit' button on the message, then its a ? in a blue cicle, third button from the right.
Phew, I hope you understand all that - not sure I do!
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:48 pm

:-) Many thanks, Isan and Mark. Brilliant sunny
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:46 pm

~Hello to you all. I found this site after a search for Mark Strathern, and very educational I have found it to be. You won't recognize me from my username. I became a Christian in 1974 so my nic is a Christian one. That conversion was a release from grerat darkness, a darkness which some of you witnessed and suffreed from yourselves, in that my behaviour between 1970 and '74 was vile. An examople, the first morning of Jiyu's second Sesshin, the one at Sarum House, where I was living at that time, I went up to the bathroom and Shreiked Jefferson Airplane's song 'White Rabbit' in a fortissimo falesetto. Jiyu came out of her room, looked up and put her hand to her forehead. I subsided, and the Sesshin was played by ear from then on, as the plan to discipline me was abandoned when it was thought such a course would only make me worse. Mike Lesser abnd Mark Strathern took me under their wings, and I am in close touch with Mike's nephew, Nicholas Victor, to this day. Sadly, I lost touch with almost everybody else over the years. Why was I such a mess; and did Soto Zen help me? Well, in 1969 Sagharakshita had used me sexually, and in the summer of that year a well known film maker and black magician and historian of Hollywood raped me; so I was angry and hallucinating all the time when I met Jiyu, Mokurai and others. My insanity was largely cured on the moment of my conversion to Jersus Christ; but before that my hallucinations stopped after that first Sesshin (I sat through half of two more between 72 and 73, after which I was told to leave the Throssel); but I had a masive nervous brwakdown in April of 71, and numerous relapses since. I am now known as 'the sanest schizophrenic you'll ever meet', and, though I need meds to survive, I have little mental trouble. I married a Chinese bipolar woman in 83, later divorced, still look after her, and we have two fine, sane sons. My greetings to all who knew me, especially Edward Mokurai, Aubrey, Mike Hughes and Mark. My apologies, too, for all the rudeness and anger I dealt out in those days.

chris fairnington
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:17 pm

I remember you very clearly Chris with great love and affection I hope life is treating you well
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:30 pm

chrismetanoia wrote:
~Hello to you all. I found this site after a search for Mark Strathern, and very educational I have found it to be.

My greetings to all who knew me, especially Edward Mokurai, Aubrey, Mike Hughes and Mark. My apologies, too, for all the rudeness and anger I dealt out in those days.

It has been a long and winding road for many of us. Glad to hear that you are doing well and have found your path. Feel free to hangout and reminisce.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:26 pm

Thanks to Mike and Isan. I do still do Zazen, except I now have to use a chair. Some experiences remain permanently.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:27 pm

Hi Chris,
I did not know all of the difficulties that you had experienced, I believe that Sagharakshita is well known now for his sexual practices,but it must have been enormous issues for you to come to terms with,especially when you were so young,if I remember right you were 17 in 1970.
Anyway it is very open and brave of you to tell your story here.
I personally am very pleased that Christianity has helped you and pleased that you still sit zazen,the fact that you have such a strong desire for the true way I am sure will be of great comfort for many people. It sounds awful I have a very busy life and hardly come here on the website, I am pleased that I had a notification of your post,and I would not like you to think i just disappeared with a quick hello.
I am so pleased you have come through your considerable hardships.
I remember you, Aubrey, Bill wyatt, jasmin teas, with many smiles
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chrismetanoia



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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:47 pm

Do you remember the Liebfraumilch I shared with everyone on my 19th birthday at Sarum House, Mike?
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:32 am

Unfortunately not but I bet it went down well!

I remember lots of laughing, Aubrey reading, the garden,,the meditation room,Smudge and Bob who interested in Tibetan Buddhism,he took me to different places to meet different teachers,and Brenda and Paul from FWBO
Then I am getting sketchy.
what was with the Liebfraumilch did we all get drunk?
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chrismetanoia



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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:08 am

Well, I can still see Bill sitting cross legged, twirling his empty glass around like a Tibetan Dorje, and I said "You look cosmic" and he replied "I feel cosmic", so I guess it did go down well. Unfortunately, when I contacted Brenda and Paul, soon after I got married, (in the mid 80's) though they were polite, they both said they did not want to see me again. Some of the ways I had behaved at Sarum house seem to have burned deeply into them.
I can also still remember a visit several of us paid to a Theravada teacher who by sheer mind power, massaged us all into a delightful state of sunny relaxation as we sat. What was his name? Kau Chun? His chief junior was into football.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:39 am

Hi Chris,

Good to meet you. I think the name you`re thinking of is Chao Khun Sobhana
Dhammasuddhi...if I`m not mistaken. Quite a mouthful.
He later on disrobed, got married and continued teaching as Dhiravamsa. I really
respected him as a teacher.
I remember the old days when Mike and I would travel down to hear him lecture.
See if we could cop a stray `state of bliss from him`. Happy days.
Best wishes to you...hope your life goes great for you.

Stan Giko.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:10 pm

yes Stan is correct is was Chao Khun Sobhana Dhammasuddhi who disrobed and became Dhiravamsa.

He felt that being a Bikkhu was too restricted so he explored and taught the transpersonal realm of spiritual experience. Which is an interesting point as Buddhist practice as we see today looks very restricted sometimes.And can give the appearance of holding people in check,rather than being limitless, and the ones who say they teach the limitless seem to have fallen a little with limitless personal behavioral problems.We have talked about it all here, I go with the Japanese saying that very often it is the personal interpretation of in the Japanese case Zen Buddhism.

I liked the 'Bill saying'. he is a sincere Buddhist and now a well known poet,he has not been too well and I owe him a letter, not only did he come out with great zen sayings he mixed them up with Captain Beefheart sayings.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:00 pm

Hi Chris - I'm very glad that you are manging to keep on a fairly even keel, even if it does wobble a bit occasionally. Looking back it seems to me that given your state of mind then, and all that you had been through, Zen, and especially the intensity of seshins, was probably not the right practice for you. But back then we all thought that Zen, and Jiyu in particular, was the magic pill that would cure all our ills. Ah! well, delusion, delusion. And true repentance is always good; leading to a fundamental shift in heart and mind.

Take care and live in love.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:48 am

Thank you all for the loving messages. I'd love to see you again! Any way to make a visit possible? That includes Bill, as well as those already mentioned. I live in London, in a lovely flat atop a tower block overlooking two parks and all of central and south London, the north downs on the horizon. Plenty of teas and coffees always available.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:07 pm

Is anyone in touch with Penny? I never knew her surname; but she had long, blonde hair, and was a member of the fwbo then threw her lot in with the Throstle. She would be in her early to mid sixties now.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri May 10, 2013 9:57 am

Rather late on this one but Hi.

Back in the early 70's I was in a bad place and went to a local bookshop looking for self help. Selling Water By the River jumped out at me so I bought it, read it and visited Throssle Hole when Daiji Strathern was in charge. Thinking to return almost 40 years on I Googled the name and came upon this interesting forum. And LO! Here I am.

It would be trite to say a week or so at Throssle Hole changed my life, but it did allow me the peace and space to get my priorities in order. I seriously considered returning but life ensnared me. A decision I still wake up at 4.00am and mildly question.

In a long and interesting life I have met many inspirational people often in the oddest places. If I had to list them Daiji Strathern (although on short acquaintance) would be very near the top of the list.

I cannot be the only person to have had a brush with Daiji's teaching and come away with a slightly different and better world view.

I would just like to say 'Thank you'.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri May 10, 2013 10:38 am

TallPaul wrote:
Rather late on this one but Hi.

Back in the early 70's I was in a bad place and went to a local bookshop looking for self help. Selling Water By the River jumped out at me so I bought it, read it and visited Throssle Hole when Daiji Strathern was in charge. Thinking to return almost 40 years on I Googled the name and came upon this interesting forum. And LO! Here I am.

Welcome to OBC Connect TallPaul. There's a lot of information here which may or may not be of interest, but for starters it's nice to know that Mark (Daiji) had a positive effect on you (he did on me too) and you still have kind thoughts all these years later.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue May 21, 2013 11:56 am

chrismetanoia

I see Penny Holden from time to time.

She is a bit batty,full of life and silliness.

We reminisced about Mark Strathern who we both remember with great fondness from his days as Abbot at Throssel.

She came off her motorbike badly injured and he took her to hospital.

Sorry it took 10 months to get to you on this!

maisie
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue May 21, 2013 12:01 pm

If you see Penny give her my love..I lived in her cottage for a bit
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue May 21, 2013 4:01 pm

mark I can not remember asking you
Was JK's third kensho her eperiencing herself being Bodidharma,
St John of the Cross, and Teresa of Avila?
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue May 21, 2013 4:21 pm

Michael, to the best of my memory, and I was at Shasta Abbey throughout the time of her third kensho (as Vice Abbot), RMJK never claimed to have had past life experience of Bodhidharma, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, or any other historical person of note.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue May 21, 2013 4:33 pm

What about Eko bing Jesus? did that happen or not?
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Tue May 21, 2013 5:36 pm

Michael, yes, I believe the suggestion was made, although I'm not sure that it was Eko who made it.

In any case, as with all apparent past life memories, the emphasis was always that a past life memory does not mean that you were the person concerned, but that you may have inherited a karmic memory.

I, personally, did not believe the suggestion that Eko might have inherited karma from an historical Jesus.

I have not experienced much in the way of past life memory, but I have no reason to doubt the possibility. I guess I'm just not very interested in the issue. The real question I think, regardless of origin, is what karmic consequences, of past choices, might we be tangled in at this moment?

In a general, and scientifically confirmed sense, we have all inherited the cause and effect consequences, or 'memories', in a sense, of stars that died when they became supernovas. (Which is to say, that the heavier elements, which we depend on for our very existence, can only come into existence in stars that collapse under the pressure generated by the conditions of a supernova). And we have certainly inherited, at both a personal and collective level, the karmic consequences of our collective behavior down through the centuries.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Wed May 22, 2013 4:02 am

Yes i think the suggestion was indeed made I do not believe you were present when the jesus events occured i go with Marks take as I have known him for 43 years and what he says has been talked about quite openly. The feeling I got was the experience was Jesus on the cross I certainly agree I do not think for a moment that eko inherited jesus's karma.
Interpretation is very important ,non more so than the emotive word kensho,seeing into our nature, well what does that mean.
It can mean all sorts of things, kenshos sanctioned by a teacher, well maybe, maybe a nod, maybe another koan,maybe this maybe that, but most probably a flowing intuition . claiming a kensho is an odd thing to do.and deepening or continuing meditating with experienced insight of an uncreated,un born unlabelled,is starting a fresh a very difficult path, that is only made difficult by our exceptionally clever and cunning selves.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu May 23, 2013 12:21 pm

Quote :
Michael, to the best of my memory, and I was at Shasta Abbey throughout
the time of her third kensho (as Vice Abbot), RMJK never claimed to have
had past life experience of Bodhidharma, St. John of the Cross, St.
Teresa of Avila, or any other historical person of note.

I wasn't there until a year later, but I can't remember any of this being EVER mentioned, and it's certainly not in "How to Grow a Lotus Blossom", which is RMJK's account of her third kensho experience in detail. In fact, I never heard of it at all until I came on these forums, where it turns up frequently , repetitively and monotonously, on threads of varying and totally diverse topics. I find this, to say the least...odd.....
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu May 23, 2013 2:29 pm

Jimyo wrote:


I wasn't there until a year later, but I can't remember any of this being EVER mentioned, and it's certainly not in "How to Grow a Lotus Blossom", which is RMJK's account of her third kensho experience in detail. In fact, I never heard of it at all until I came on these forums, where it turns up frequently , repetitively and monotonously, on threads of varying and totally diverse topics. I find this, to say the least...odd.....

I can confirm that it did come up for Eko during one of the Jin Shin sessions in Jiyu Kennett's house. I can't remember anymore, but it may be you didn't hear about it because it wasn't shared with the larger community. I've never ascribed much importance to it - nor for that matter did JK or Eko - but for some reason Michael does...
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu May 23, 2013 7:25 pm

JK did not ascribe much importance to this? Really? Not my experience.... and i was there for every single second of that circus.

But each person who was there will have their own take on what happened and how mystical the whole affair was. Talking about this here on this forum is the odd part???

And by the way, to restate it, we, her close disciples, were not passive observers. Kennett involved us all constantly in her guided ruminations and visualizations and "experiences" and her chatting with the Cosmic Buddha and seeing past lives and auras and columns of imaginary light - so I have every reason to have my own take on this - both as it was happening and later as I digested it and now in retrospect. Discriminating wisdom is a good thing.

The fact that some aspects of her "kensho" story were edited out of the book - lots of the elements were selectively not included - for good reason - and the fact that it was not talked about.... in many closed groups like this, they keep the more out there experiences /stories / myths secret or within the inner circle. But in this case, frankly, I think Kennett and Dazui realized that some of this stuff had better be kept secret - either because they realized it was wacky (or mostly imagination) or they figured out that if they talked about it, even more people would walk out the door. It may have been some version of the later - keep this esoteric truth secret because most people "couldn't handle it."

From my point of view, I did handle it... by leaving.

And by the way, my experience was NOT that some of the wackiest past life stuff came up casually during one Jin Shin session. That's not what I saw. It came up many times, it was talked about, Kennett fully believed it - including the whole Jesus story - it was even more fully fleshed out, who other people were - and her other grand past lives came up over many weeks, again and again. And as I said, she even said in a past life I was an evil pope because i disagreed with her on some very slight matter... and frankly, there were many more elements like this that did not make the book, that were lost in the fog of time, but were part of this unfolding episode.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu May 23, 2013 8:49 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
JK did not ascribe much importance to this? Really? Not my experience.... and i was there for every single second of that circus.

But each person who was there will have their own take on what happened and how mystical the whole affair was. Talking about this here on this forum is the odd part???

And by the way, my experience was NOT that some of the wackiest past life stuff came up casually during one Jin Shin session. That's not what I saw. It came up many times, it was talked about, Kennett fully believed it - including the whole Jesus story - it was even more fully fleshed out, who other people were - and her other grand past lives came up over many weeks, again and again.

When I say that I don't feel it was important I'm referring to the Jesus story specifically. By "important" I mean that Eko and everyone else involved didn't walk around imagining that they were living in a Bible story or acquire camels and put on a Christmas play. Much stranger stories emerged in that process than the story about Jesus, but it has been focused on because it is an easy target for mockery.

Yes, JK took the process of exploring past life memories seriously. Although I can now see that JK was often indulging her need for theater and exaggeration that doesn't invalid the whole thing for me. I look at those experiences differently now, but I don't see them as less valuable. I gained important insights that have stood the test of time. I realize that's quite different than your experience.

We have already discussed at great length that the whole past life exploration at Shasta Abbey fell well outside the boundaries of traditional Zen practice. I don't think there is, or can be any disagreement about that. Anyone who feels that there is no benefit in this kind of exploration will deem the whole process a waste of time, or worse.

Regarding "talking about this here on this forum is the odd part??" I assume you're referring to Jimyo's comment. I don't see anything odd about talking about it, but I would agree with her that it continues to be brought up over and over for no apparent reason.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Thu May 23, 2013 9:59 pm

True or not, these are old stories which have been repeatedly beaten to death here.. Those feeling obliged to bump them repeatedly are just demonstrating how thwarted they feel at not having anything more current or relevant to criticize the OBC over.

Was there much craziness in the past? Definitely!

Is that past craziness still continuing ? Judging from how dated the complaints are...Unlikely!

and in disagreement with Isan,
I think these stories are being brought up over & over again for the very apparent reason of some folks just being unable to forgive or come to terms with their own roles in those transgressions.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri May 24, 2013 12:30 am

Howard, excellent points (as always)!

The only thing that I would add is that I don't think that trauma (however egregious or subtle it may have been) has a 'sell by' date.

I think that it remains current no matter how long ago it may have occurred.

Perhaps the kicker is figuring out what we need to do to heal.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri May 24, 2013 2:57 am

Hey Kozan

I did not mean to infer that trauma and its associated suffering should have a particular shelf life but rather the age of these stories says that whatever delusion initiated this trauma has probably since become more benign or we'd be seeing newer folks here with current OBC trauma causing issues.

And yes, Perhaps the cause for the repeated bumping of this particularly mockable Jiyu story has less to do with anyones interests in healing but is instead simply the expression of their continuing hurt from it.



I'm not sure that real healing occurs from figuring anything out.

Buddhists who seem to have experienced healing from trauma speak of spiritual injury as a densification of identity whereas healing is simply our releasing of identity. Not much to figure out there except that healing leaves us with nothing at all whereas a figuring will always choose something when nothing is the only offered alternative.

H
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri May 24, 2013 4:24 pm

I was simply asking Mark a question

What do we really have is not mockery,but a story of wrong practice deception and cover up.
The actual Jesus previous life took place in kennetts house it was stage managed,it was suggested jesus would be the previous life that would be experienced,4 monks knelt religiously around Eko witnessing and asking questions . This is wrong practice and choosing who to tell and who not to tell is being deceptive,it is a case of lets make sure the English and new people don't find out because they would not understand.lets write a book but not include important parts that may be criticised. Dont take the Lords name in vain but I think you did, we can see that in the world there is a lack of respect for religion, and people take huge exception to their religion being violated. It most probably hurts when the previous lives are mention as no one stopped it, only a few people after years of practice knew it was not right practice,only a few knew, after all that 'zazen' it was time to go. Who stood up and said I dont think this is good zen i think when Mark said he thought it was Gedo a sort of halt or wind down was made, but make no mistake wrong practice like this is not zazen. It is weird stuff
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri May 24, 2013 5:48 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
The actual Jesus previous life took place in kennetts house it was stage managed,it was suggested jesus would be the previous life that would be experienced, 4 monks knelt religiously around Eko witnessing and asking questions. It is weird stuff

I was there Mike, and you were not, so I really cannot understand what you're talking about.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri May 24, 2013 9:12 pm

Hi Mike,

From the way you speak about the `past lives` issue, I
thought that You must have had a stay at Shasta. I can`t
remember what year I was there although, I recall Jimyo and
some other Brits at the time of my stay...my sister included.
Whilst I was there , which was not very long, I never saw or
heard anything odd regarding the past lives of anyone.

I did hear her say that one or two people had experienced
past lives involving being crucified. She went on to say that
crucifixion was such a common capital punishment in Roman
times, that it wouldn`t be wise to think that it made you
Jesus if it happened to you. She said it in a manner that made
me think that she was referring to someone in particular....in
that way she had of pointing out someones faults publicly.

She would say that past life experiences were compassionate
teachings "par excellence"....(which I don`t agree with), and
past life experiences were not at all essential to make
progress on `the path`. The mistaken thing would be to assume that they were "your" past life...never mind taking it
so far that you could then think you were carrying on from
where you left off ! She called that total delusion.

I think I arrived at least a year after her "lotus Blossom` time
and had a distinct feeling that the whole past life experiment
generally, had wound down. Before my sister and I set out
for Shasta, we had heard that Mark had left and that there
was talk of a split in the community mainly due to the past
lives issue. I can`t say it bothered me too much...maybe
added a little `frisson` even ! Do you recall the time we
went to Nottingham because some Theravadin monks were
due to come over and would do a past lives regression ? They
never did show , and I recall our disappointment !
For me, the whole past lives issue taken on it`s own, is no big
deal at all. After all, the Buddha was supposed to have
recalled countless past lives...including animals ! Many people
are of the opinion that Zen is not orthodox Buddhism anyway
! I left because I was convinced after some time that what I
needed to put to rest in myself would not happen in Shasta.
I spoke to Jiyu a couple of times and said that I couldn`t see
how more of the same would make any difference and she
could not give me a useful answer. I learned a lot...really,
and will always be grateful to Jiyu and the community for the
sincere help and efforts of sharing a sincere practice. It`s
just a pity that Zen teaching has a very small toolbox and an
over vague teaching...my opinion.

In one way, it`s a pity that you didn`t go to Shasta to see
first hand what was going on...even if it confirmed your worst
fears. Perhaps you could have had it out face to face with Jiyu as opposed to resigning by letter. Knowing Jiyu, if she
thought that if she was being `attacked`, she would come
back at the attacker big time. I imagine that she thought
that if it was not only Mark but, yourself and possible others
that had `turned against` her, she would have to cut you off
publicly with full force. No doubt she would have thought
that you were under Mark`s influence, as you were not
present. I imagine it must have been a time of upheaval to
you. Difficult to be certain 100% as to what was happening.
I know I would have felt that I was torn between two sides if
I was placed in your position.

Don`t get me wrong Mike, I have nothing but fondness and
respect for Mark..probably more so now than in the old days.
sorry to talk over you Mark Smile .....

It would be nice if we could go back and revisit what
happened all those years ago with the benefit of hindsight. It
isn`t going to happen of course so we try and do that on this
forum. Long may it live....

Personally, and it gives me no pleasure to say so, I believe
Jiyu got a dose of `enlightenment sickness` at some point
during or just after her kensho. The ego co-opted the
enlightenment part at some point for who knows how long ?
It was a common warning in the `old days` that this tends to
happen and a period of a few years in isolation was
recommended till the understanding matures and the
nonsense falls away. It`s a pity she didn`t follow the old
warning. Ignorance is hard wired and has a way of entwining
itself with the truth and the whole thing gets swallowed
whole.

Anyway, these are just my late night thoughts..... I hope
that you and your good lady are keeping well. I hope that
business of yours is providing much rest and relaxation....Ha
ha !
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri May 24, 2013 9:55 pm

This is a curiosity question. Are there many here who believe in past lives? From a personal experience of some kind?

At least one person I know to be reliable and sane had a compelling experience that led her to investigate Buddhism as an answer. I weight that much more heavily because the experience was not "suggested" to her, and was quite unsettling and thus unpleasant. There was no exotica attached. Another person with such a compelling experience came (and still comes) religion-wise from a agnostic/skeptic framework. His experience is very authentic to him, but he has and offers no explanation for it.

I do not doubt these two experiences (one which could, through a series of unexpected coincidences, be correlated with the circumstances of a minor historical personage falling into infamy and debauchery).. Both people were reluctant to talk about their experience, and to my knowledge have not talked of it since then. The occurrences in those circumstances are far more intriguing to me than those occurring when such experiences are expected, valued, or seen as some sort of confirmation of awakening, etc.

But while I believe some people have such "authentic" experience, even outside the suggestible framework of a Buddhist temple, I'm not convinced that such internal experiences show anything except the sort of phenomena the human mind can create for itself to experience.

Christians hear God speak to them, have visions of the Blessed Virgin, see angels and demons, visit heaven and hell, etc. Some changed their lives as a result of this experience. Some are very sincere and honest people. But their stories within the context of Christianity conflict with Buddhist ones. As an objective observer, why should I discount these Christian stories more heavily than the Buddhist ones?

The only reasonable resolution of the conflicting accounts I can see (given the fact that I think these people experienced something), is that it is phenomena of mind -- probably not much more.

Nothing is more unshakable to most of us than our own personal experience. I think its OK for a Buddhist to even be a bit skeptical of that experience as authentic truth.
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Fri May 24, 2013 10:41 pm

Maisie, it was good to here of Penny again, give her my warmest regards next time you are in touch. But I must add that I don't remember Penny's accident in quite the terms you tell it, especially not my apparent angel of mercy act. But hey, my memory is getting pretty hazy and I'm always happy to bask in glory!

Mike, I was not present at the Jin Shin sessions so I cannot comment on the detail of what happened; Josh, Kozan, Isan and others were present and are therefore better able to do that. All I can report is what I remember being told at the time, and the tone and importance that it was given. I was certainly told, by JK, that Eko had been Jesus in a previous life. St Theresa and Bodhidharma cropped up, and I thought attributed to JK. I was only at Shasta for a relatively short time when this was going on so others will have a more reliable memory of the details. But I am sure that these experiences were at the time presented to me, by JK and others, as experiences of real past lives, unique to the person involved. JK gave me to understand this quite directly and was emphatic about its significance when I told her I was leaving because I thought what was happening was gedo.

Howard you are right that the past lives, Lotus Blossom period is a long time ago and as you, Stan and others point out was quite quickly downplayed and reinterpreted, and now I think quietly forgotten (HTGLB is no longer available on the Shasta web site.) And yes some of us have banged on and on about it, but as Kozan suggests there is no statute of limitations on trauma. I'm not sure though that I take your point about this all being nothing but history. There are those here, and elsewhere, who have complained of behavior by members of the OBC, culminating in the Eko affair. My reading of matters is that there were underlying problems that the led to the 'past craziness', including the Eko affair and these don't yet seem to have been adequately addressed. My real fear is that rather than being addressed they have in some sense become OBC orthodoxy. However you are absolutely right for most of us, though not necessarily for all those under more direct OBC influence, this is all in the past and hopefully for most of us presently only a minor irritant, just thorns in our zafus now!
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat May 25, 2013 3:27 am

Quote :

This is a curiosity question. Are there many here who believe in past lives? From a personal experience of some kind?

Since you ask....

I have remembered fragments of past lives, during meditation sessions and at other times (NOT during Jin Shin as it happens). It was much like remembering things from this life, though I think a little different too. I can't actually remember details, but - in the same way as other things that come up during meditation - such memories often explained something to me, for instance, why I found it so hard to relate to a particular person who had actually never been anything but kind to me. As such they were helpful. I learned from them and moved on. I don't think I ever even told anyone else about them...I'm a bit of a private person really, and they were no big deal. I don't talk of them now, and I absolutely don't understand the harping on about past lives in this and other threads; as I said before, I find it very, very VERY odd! The only reason I'm mentioning it at all, Jack, is that you asked. I probably won't be back to comment on it any further, so if you were thinking of carrying this on, please don't bother asking. As you know, I don't come here much anyway, and I'm going on holiday in less than a week - a small boat with no internet access or place to charge my iphone!
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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat May 25, 2013 5:23 am

Hey Jack

Think of the most profound mistake that you've ever made. Imagine the unresolved karmic inertia of that mistake continuing on unencumbered by your death. Now consider some new being with the tendency to make a similar type of mistake, experiencing on a visceral level, the full shared karmic inertia of your mistake.

It is never pleasant!

The question of is it real or imagined, is kind of irrelevant to the meditater who understands that meditation is simply where we allow all arising phenomena, their own birth, life and death..free of our fiddeling intent.


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PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat May 25, 2013 5:25 am

Hi. Past lives are a core part of the Buddha's teaching. He taught rebirth as opposed to reincarnation. The reason for this is anatta, no self. Therefore it isn't an individual who goes from life to life, but bits of no self. One lifetime can therefore split into many future lifetimes, or none, and if your really lucky many lifetimes can converge in one body for a party, or hate session depending on stuff (stuff being a seriously technical word I shall not divulge any more on cos I'm more enlightened than you).

For me past lives are a natural part of life, and nothing to be afraid of. They can be opened to with love in the same way that our childhood can be.

My experience of past lives began during my first big 4 year sit. I spontaneously re-experienced dying in a 1st world war muddy hole. I sat there too terrified to move til a man walked slowly up to me and bayonetted me. I sat in a corner of my room for 3 days reliving that one. No pictures, just emotion and paralysis. This happened in the context of me opening and letting out my childhood pain, and was in keeping with this.

Many years later I relived the 1st ww memory again in a cranial session, with full pictorial splendour. It was as really as remembering what I had done the day before.

I have had girlfriends clients and friends spontaneously regress into past lives 100's of times. Initially I felt incompetent in dealing with this, so trained with Roger woolgar, and lovely man who was an acknowledged expert in this field. He demystifies it for me and gave me the tools and compassionate non-panicking awareness that have made past lives an easy thing for me. I have relived 52 of my "own" past lives.

A key part of past lives is they feel real to the person reliving them, they are re enacted as if they are happening now, and feel totally personal to the person reliving them. "it happened to me!"

I'm still not sure if past lives are real and I live most of my life as if they are not!

The implications of past lives being real is fundamental and huge. If past lives are true, then we cannot be killed, and so we have nothing to fear. If past lives are not true then we are all going to die, life is meaningless beyond the biological, and we cannot escape our terror of dying no matter how hard we try.

When I was 19 I realised this so decided to explore the "past lives are true" option, as the "not true" option wasn't so appealing... Hee. Buddhism was the natural first port of call....

This thread is a remarkable answer for those who say "past lives are rubbish cos I don't remember them". Have you all noticed how difficult it is for us to remember exactly what happened to us in this life, as adults let alone children! The different versions of big events at shasta written here are fascinating to me.

The meaning and reality for them of what Jiyu and eko were experiencing at that time isnt touched on. I have experienced most of what I have read that they experienced. Not a problem, very cool even hee. And maybe evidence that past lives are true... HORRAY!

HORRAY HORRAY!

I don't want to just be biogical. No no no no no no. And no.

Scary!

Carl jungle called "just my imagination" the gate to the unconscious.

Let's all take acid turn on tune in and drop out.

The messiah's handbook : "imagine the universe as wonderful and perfect as you can, and rest assured that the IS has imagined it better than that."
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jack



Posts : 165
Join date : 2010-06-29

PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat May 25, 2013 8:41 am

Jimyo,

Thanks for noting your experience. I quite respect that people would not want to discuss it more in a public forum. Have a good quiet boat ride away from the phone.

Howard wrote,

Quote :
The question of is it real or
imagined, is kind of irrelevant to the meditater who understands that
meditation is simply where we allow all arising phenomena, their own birth, life and death..free of our fiddeling intent.

Good point. Being able/willing to experience phenomena without being forced to label it as real or not is a helpful degree of freedom. I have occasionally dreamed things with useful emotional experience and insight that were totally unrelated to any real life history. Interpreting those as karma, a visit from an angel, tapping the collective unconscious, some nocturnal kensho, etc really seemed a frantic embellishment that detracted from value. Without those embellished explanations it was much easier for me to let the experience, as you say, "live and die" without embalming it by rationalizing it with an explanation.

David wrote

Quote :
... depending on stuff (stuff being a seriously technical word I shall not divulge any more on cos I'm more enlightened than you)

For some reason J found that seriously funny. But it made it hard to distinguish clearly between irony and seriousness in what followed. But it's OK not to know for sure.

The Buddha did teach rebirth, and the literature claims he experienced his past lives. For a true believer, that in itself is sufficient. I'm more of the "faith to doubt" sort of Buddhist.
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Stan Giko

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Posts : 353
Join date : 2011-06-08
Location : Lincolnshire. U.K.

PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat May 25, 2013 11:10 am

Jack,

" The Buddha did teach rebirth, and the literature
claims he experienced his past lives. For a true believer, that in
itself is sufficient. I'm more of the "faith to doubt" sort of Buddhist."

I really like that ! Doubt in the beginning, Doubt in the middle, and Doubt
right up to the end. Why ?, because experience is definitely not to be
relied on to put one on solid ground. Two people can have a similar
experience and come to different conclusions about it. As all experiences ,
including past life experiences have a start and end, they can be said to be
in the final analysis, not real. The definition of Real being that which never
changes. They can be said to exist, which is not the same thing. I can for
example have had the experience of falling in love and, the next person
may not have ever had that experience but It doesn`t in any way define
who we really are. I would never be able to prove that there is an
experience of being `in love` to someone without that experience, no
matter how hard I tried. Similarly with `past life` experiences.

As you asked earlier, I have no problem in saying that I have had past life
type experiences. Not many and ranging from mild and fleeting to `full on`
and rather `overpowering` in the sense of feeling that I was the person
who was living the experience. This included definite physical feelings of
pain which disappeared after the experience ended. For me such
experiences of the `major` type would start coming on slowly in intensity
over a period of time until the `main events` would play out. Afterwards
there would be a definite feeling of lightness and tension released and
physical pain, if any, having completely gone. One particular experience
immediately repeated itself as I couldn`t quite accept it the first time
around. I know what I learned from it and it never returned in any way.
At all times, I knew `in the background` that the experiences were
occurring within me and I didn`t feel that there was a danger of losing my
identity altogether in the experience....which is nice !

Over the years, my understanding has come to be that the past life lives
have nothing whatsoever to do with me as my true identity. I don`t
identify with them, and am free of them. I don`t think that the teaching
of past lives holds any major importance. The majority of people don`t
have these experiences and have ..mercifully...no idea who they apparently
were in their apparent past lives. The memories are deleted, a new birth
takes place in a different time and place and given a couple of `go rounds`
, any sense of continuing identity is lost.
There may be some use to the past life teaching in giving encouragement
that any training and understanding will not be lost after death. Well, ok.

I think that a better way of viewing past lives would be to see that we are
acting them out all the time. Whilst we see ourselves as separate
individuals, doers of action, we are all the time reaping the results of past
actions without break. suffering and enjoying the results. The past lives
are here and now and we always have the opportunity of working out our
`stuff`....all the psychological baggage.

It could be tempting to think that if we have past lives, that we can get
a leg up on the spiritual ladder...a status thing really. Spiritual folks seem
to be just as obsessed with status as worldly people. Maybe more so. The
spiritual world seems to be full of cranks, false gurus and their teachings.

You said that the Buddha taught rebirth and that for a true believer, is in
itself sufficient. The trouble is, that belief is only an unexamined opinion.
It is religion. I believe that there is the existence of true faith but it is a
faith pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry.

Where are our past experiences now..including past lives...All gone. There
is only one thing that has been present through them all, and that is the
main point .
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david.



Posts : 124
Join date : 2012-07-29

PostSubject: Re: My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern   Sat May 25, 2013 11:50 am

Hi Stan, how do you know what Stuff means I never told you. Now you've told everybody!

I think people are trying to get their leg up and over as well.

And while we're on the subject of time, who says the past is gone? Who says the future isn't here yet? Maybe that thingie that is constant through it all is still constant through it all.... Now we're getting deep....

Hi Jack.

I'm glad J found it seriously funny cos I was serious about the stuff term, as every 5 year old should be!

And I'm not one for irony and I don't do ironing either.

Everything I wrote after about me and my experience is true.

Except Carl jungle is really Carl jung. Sorry Carl.

Something learnt 1st hand from being with Roger woolgar and the people around me is past life memories are very close to the surface of our concious awareness. They are very easily accessible. You don't have to be a zen tart to experience them, just to be willing to listen...


"love is listening" tic what a nit hahn

"listen a little deeper, below the surface world of "you" and discover the vistas of your entire life, of lives before. Then open in the same way to others, and the gulf between you and me dissolves, loneliness is conquered. Then let the fires of the intensity of being engulf you and inflame you until only ash remains" Sri Lampash Boti

"The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it" Stephen LeVine

"I was trying to get my leg over" zen teachers anonymous



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