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 Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:00 pm

I think it was in 1974 that Kennett did an entire class on this odd occult book called "The Spear of Destiny."

I have some things I think would be useful to discuss about this particular period, but I wanted first to see if anyone else remembers this - and what they remember.

Gensho, Daiji, Kozan, anyone else like to jump in?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:37 pm

Who wrote it?
I ask because what I do remember was someone turning up at the first Retreat Kennett did in Gloucaster,they did not turn up to sit they turned uo to see her. Sort of old friends but the guy was a friend of an occultist was it Alistair Crowley? Who was Alistair Crowley did he write a book on the occult?
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:45 pm

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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:54 pm

There was not anything sinister about the guy coming round I felt it a bit odd, and forgot about it untill Josh wrote this .I am not saying Jiju was an occultist
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:10 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
I think it was in 1974 that Kennett did an entire class on this odd occult book called "The Spear of Destiny."

I have some things I think would be useful to discuss about this particular period, but I wanted first to see if anyone else remembers this - and what they remember.

Gensho, Daiji, Kozan, anyone else like to jump in?

Yes, I remember some of it. Wasn't it part of a study about how the Nazi's surrounded themselves with occult beliefs and objects in order to enhance the hubris of themselves as the "super race"? What are you thinking about it?
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:51 pm

I'd be interested in this. Kennet and Crowley both had the same home town. They weren't entirely of the same generation (there was some overlap) but I wonder whether they knew people who knew people who Knew their respective selves.

A funny thing about Crowley is that a lot of the behaviours that earned him the honorific title "The Beast" are fairly mainstream now. He was pretty big in the Order of The Golden Dawn and the poet W.B. Yeats, who was also in this occult group, didn't like him much.

Since I'm a Yeats fan it automatically makes me worst enemies with some of my best friends who are way into all the Crowley malarkey. These are some of the sweetest, kindest enemies I've ever come across. I Love 'em.

I'd be very interested in further info on this.
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Iain

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:58 am

Don't follow this thread at all.

What is the implied connection between the author of "The Spear of Destiny" - Trevor Ravenscroft - and Aleister Crowley? They are completely unconnected as far as I know.

I didn't know that Crowley was from Eastbourne too but even if he was he would have been around 50 when RMJK was born. They were unlikely to have bumped into each other in the High Street.

I do remember her referring to him once in a tape lecture. It was in the context of drawing a clear distinction between his famous dictum "Do what thou wilt this is the whole of the law" and a proper understanding of the 'Three Pure Precepts'.
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:35 am

Iain wrote:
Don't follow this thread at all.

What is the implied connection between the author of "The Spear of Destiny" - Trevor Ravenscroft - and Aleister Crowley? They are completely unconnected as far as I know.

I didn't know that Crowley was from Eastbourne too but even if he was he would have been around 50 when RMJK was born. They were unlikely to have bumped into each other in the High Street.

I do remember her referring to him once in a tape lecture. It was in the context of drawing a clear distinction between his famous dictum "Do what thou wilt this is the whole of the law" and a proper understanding of the 'Three Pure Precepts'.

Hi Iain, The thread title is "The spear of destiny, THE OCCULT and......etc" (my emphasis). I guess that is why Crowley was brought up within a few posts.

As to the home town connection. I got my facts muddled. Kennet's home town was Hastings and that is not where Crowley was born but where he spent his final days! By the way I never suggested that the two old beans knew each other. In small towns, however everyone tends to know OF each other, and, If I remember correctly, Crowley's master ended up becoming a very devoted Buddhist.

As for "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." I asked my friends about that once and they said that the true will springs from love. I don't know how that slots in with Crowley's druggy, orgiastic life! But, as I suggested, they have been kinder to me than any Buddhist I ever met.
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Iain

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:58 am

Hi Glorfindel

glorfindel wrote:
Kennett's home town was Hastings

You are right! Why did I think it was Eastbourne? I'm sure that she had some connection there in her youth.

Mind you, as I am a Durham boy all those places on the other side of the South Downs are a bit of a blur to me. lol!
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:10 am

glorfindel wrote:


Hi Iain, The thread title is "The spear of destiny, THE OCCULT and......etc" (my emphasis). I guess that is why Crowley was brought up within a few posts.

We'll have to wait for Josh to weigh in again to see if Crowley is at all "on topic". I don't rememer RMJK teaching anything related to him, however we did study Nazism and it's obsession with the occult. I found this useful since the horrendous effects of Nazism will reverberate through the world for a long time to come and it's important to understand in the larger context of world politics. In particular Nazism appropriated the Buddhist "manji" (swastika) and has corrupted it for the foreseeable future. By the way RMJK had manji medallions created for monks as a way of taking back ownership of the image. I would never wear it in public though as it was more than enough to explain Buddhist robes and a shaven head.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:14 am

I don't remember the "Spear of Destiny" being used, it may well have been when I was in Throssel, but I do remember Jiyu using Alistair Crowley's (auto)biography to demonstrate how the choice of evil can be made whilst thinking that the choice of good is being made. I also remember her using "The Exorcist" but I don't remember the teaching point.
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:56 pm

Isan wrote:
glorfindel wrote:


Hi Iain, The thread title is "The spear of destiny, THE OCCULT and......etc" (my emphasis). I guess that is why Crowley was brought up within a few posts.

We'll have to wait for Josh to weigh in again to see if Crowley is at all "on topic"....../...... In particular Nazism appropriated the Buddhist "manji" (swastika) and has corrupted it for the foreseeable future.

The thread title should be fine for deciding which material is on topic.

The bit about the Nazis appropriating the Buddhist symbol surprises me. I was always under the impression that they were using the swastika as found on Dark Age Germanic and Anglo Saxon pottery.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:08 pm

glorfindel wrote:
The bit about the Nazis appropriating the Buddhist symbol surprises me. I was always under the impression that they were using the swastika as found on Dark Age Germanic and Anglo Saxon pottery.

Look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

http://history1900s.about.com/cs/swastika/a/swastikahistory.htm

A quick read suggests the symbol is universal. Apparently it was already being used in Germany in the late 1800's as part of the belief in the Aryan race having originated in India, but who really knows? Whether is not the Nazi's were aware that the swastika was a religious symbol of Buddhism (and other Eastern religions) is not as important as the fact that no one can look at it now without associating it with the evil of the "Third Reich". What may not be generally known is the swastika, as used in Buddhism, has two meanings depending on which way it is drawn and coincidentally (if not intentionally) the Nazi symbol turns counter-clockwise, going into the shadow Vs into the light.


Last edited by Isan on Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:01 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:56 pm

Isan wrote:
glorfindel wrote:
The bit about the Nazis appropriating the Buddhist symbol surprises me. I was always under the impression that they were using the swastika as found on Dark Age Germanic and Anglo Saxon pottery.

Look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

http://history1900s.about.com/cs/swastika/a/swastikahistory.htm

A quick read suggests the symbol is universal. Apparently it was already being used in Germany in the late 1800's as part of the belief in the Aryan race having originated in India, but who really knows? Whether is not the Nazi's were aware that the swastika was a religious symbol of Buddhism (and other Eastern religions) is not as important at the fact that no one can look at it now without associating it with the evil of the "Third Reich". What may not be generally known is the swastika, as used in Buddhism, has two meanings depending on which way it is drawn and coincidentally (if not intentionally) the Nazi symbol turns counter-clockwise, going into the shadow Vs into the light.


This is lifted from the wiki article:

"In the Western world, the symbol experienced a resurgence following the archaeological work in the late 19th century of Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the symbol in the site of ancient Troy and associated it with the ancient migrations of Proto-Indo-Europeans. He connected it with similar shapes found on ancient pots in Germany, and theorized that the swastika was a "significant religious symbol of our remote ancestors", linking Germanic, Greek and Indo-Iranian cultures.[49][50] By the early 20th century, it was used worldwide and was regarded as a symbol of good luck and success.
The work of Schliemann soon became intertwined with the völkisch movements, for which the swastika was a symbol of the "Aryan race", a concept that came to be equated by theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg with a Nordic master race originating in northern Europe"


They woulda wanted it to be German methinks. I know Wikipedia isn't exactly peer reviewed scholarship though. I remember studying those very Migration Period pots at uni, and thinking "the Nazis must have made use of this stuff".



But yea, agreed: symbol ruined.
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:10 am

Iain wrote:
Hi Glorfindel

glorfindel wrote:
Kennett's home town was Hastings

You are right! Why did I think it was Eastbourne? I'm sure that she had some connection there in her youth.

Mind you, as I am a Durham boy all those places on the other side of the South Downs are a bit of a blur to me. lol!

Sorry to double post but thought I should respond here.

Here is a quick guide to the South Coast for Northern Viking types:

Brighton: where young people go to have sex.
Eastbourne: where old people go to die.
Hastings: where heroin addicts go to ruin their lives.

Lovely place the south clapping

(sorry Lise)....BACK ON TOPIC....
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:30 pm

OK, I will jump in here a bit.

So for the first 3-4 years, all the classes were on Dogen, Keizan, or the transmission papers. And only on Kennett's translations. I think there was one class on basic Buddhism - like the Four Noble Truths, etc. But we went over the same material over and over again. I love the Tenzokyokan, but there is a limit to have many times you can study it.

Then, out of nowhere, Kennett starts doing a class using this book - The Spear of Destiny. This is not some scholarly book about the Nazis, but a nutty occult book that mixes in bad and even fabricated history, wild speculation, strange Christian mysticism, wild conspiracy theories, reincarnation. New age occult nonsense. Sort of like a really bad version of the Da Vinci Code. There are actually lots of books like in the occult or "mysteries" section of some bookstores - seeking the holy grail, secret messages in the bible, secret societies, and the belief in magical objects -- like the shroud of Jesus or the holy spear or whatever. And this book was like that.

Kennett was really into it. To me, it felt foolish, creepy and well, inappropriate. There was so much great Zen literature we could have been studying. We had never even explored any of the Mahayana sutras. There was more Dogen we could have been reading or Chinese Zen sources, but instead, we ended up with this strange book.

Of course, there was no room for anyone to object. She would read long sections from the book and then comment on them.

One thought that struck me later was, to put it bluntly, she had run out of material. She only 3-4 years of "material" to teach - that was the length of her training in Japan. So she had come to the end of what she knew to share, so we ended up diving into some odd Christian stuff - which really was her roots. I think the next book was some odd book on the Holy Grail. ????

The reason I bring this up is that I really think that a great deal of the stress and inner turmoil Kennett began to experience in 1975 was due to a deep sense that she didn't know what to do with the senior monks, didn't know where to take anyone further. And she couldn't admit this even to herself.

I remember one vacation I took with her to LA, where she wore a wig, dressed up in an Hawaiin dress, and she seemed very unhappy, depressed, said many things that indicated that she was feeling trapped.

I forget which other monks accompanied us on that vacation. Gensho, Kyogen???? not sure..... and that was just my sense of how things were going.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:34 pm

Jcbaran wrote:

One thought that struck me later was, to put it bluntly, she had run out of material. She only 3-4 years of "material" to teach - that was the length of her training in Japan. So she had come to the end of what she knew to share, so we ended up diving into some odd Christian stuff - which really was her roots. I think the next book was some odd book on the Holy Grail. ????

I can't comment on the Spear since I don't remember sitting in on that class. However I can remember a number of other books that I considered very valuable, such as And There Was Light (Lusseyran), and The Legend of The Baal Shem (Buber). I seem to remember others involving various Christian mystics, but I won't try to build a list. Why would it have been better to study Mahayana Sutras? I realize you're seeing the Spear class as another example of RMJK being off but generally I don't see her choice of literature as the best example. I appreciated the more eclectic reading (and many other things) in those earlier years before RMJK really started focusing on regimentation and obedience. That's when things began to get really bad.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:40 am

Josh and Isan,

RMJK drew on The Spear, as source material for a portion of a class in which she proposed that Hitler may well have had what she referred to as a "negative kensho".

As Josh points out, The Spear hardly qualifies as sound research material. RMJK drew on snipits of information that linked (as I recall) a young Hitler with a teacher of some kind who lived in the Black Forest, and, among other things, employed some form of hallucinogen as part of his teaching methodology. The result, she contended, was that he transcended some of the limitations of the ego illusion--and was left without empathy or moral constraint. The rest is (of course) history. (Note: the problem was NOT the hallucinogen itself).

She also linked this possible experience to Hitler's subsequent fascination with Tibetan Buddhism, the Tibetan Buddhist monks he brought to Berlin, and his use of the traditional Buddhist manji, turned in the negative, counterclockwise direction, for the Nazi swastika (as Isan pointed out previously). (And, as Glorfindel and Isan have pointed out, the swastika, by any of its many names, is virtually universal).

RMJK also talked about Alister Crowley--as an extreme example of what NOT to do. Even a cursory examination of his available history, on line, confirms her opinion.

And indeed, she used The Exorcist as a text for teaching as well--specifically to point out that in contrast to the Catholic ceremony in which the possessing entity is "cast out" (with deadly consequences to the priest in the book), the essential principle in the Buddhist version is to lovingly accept the confused spirit back into empty, immaculate, Awareness itself.

She used these texts in a relatively tight sequence, as part of what I thought of as a single theme.

The essence of what I came away with from this particular senior class series:

Occult phenomena exist, and may be encountered in the course of meditation and spiritual practice;

Indeed, some phenomena that many would regard as "occult", may become perfectly unremarkable everyday occurances as you relax into the synchronisity of the all-is-one that is our universe (see Kaizan's recent comments about dreams--other examples could be added as well);

It is important, as with any perception encountered in meditation, to neither grasp after nor push away anything perceived;

And above all, RMJK emphasized, do not cultivate a fascination for occult phenomena. It is your fascination that will suck you in--to what Buddhism traditionally agrees is a detour at best, and a potentially harmful dead end at worst--which it ALWAYS is, when pursued for the purpose of dominating and exploiting others (e.g. Alister Crowely).

Did RMJK always follow her own advice? I think not.

Did she become fascinated with the realm of the occult? Perhaps, briefly.

Has Eko become overly fascinated with the realm of the occult? Diana's perception and experience suggests that he might have.

Has Koshin become overly fascinated with the realm of the occult? Amalia's perception and experience suggests that he might have.

(My own personal opinion footnote: I think that it is essential to NOT confuse or equate the Pagan-Wiccan-Druidic traditions with Alister Crowley, or negative, occult fascination-practices. That equation (and of course, much more) was what a good part of the Inquisition and the Witch burnings were all about).
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:48 pm

The Spear must be after my time. Like Mark I do recall Kennett Roshi using Aleister Crowley's autobiography as at text book of "anti-enightenment." I also remember taking a walk with Josh and our coming across a book by Lobsang Rampa in a gutter, our taking it back to the temple, if I recall correctly in San Francisco and the roshi taking it and devouring it. I think she was always fascinated with the occult. If I reconstruct her early years correctly her early Buddhism really was Christmas Humphreys' highly occult-theosophical version. While I'm inclined to believe her visions were induced by untreated diabetes, I think much of the content dates from her time with Humphreys...
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:40 am

I think there was a great deal of confusion around Kennett teaching from these occult books. Not wisdom or insight, but a lack of discriminating wisdom. Kennett was all over the place about this occult stuff and there was always fascination. Sometimes it seemed just off the wall and way off track. Even creepy.

There was and is so much great Zen and Buddhist teaching, texts, commentary and literature to explore, so to get so fascinated and entangled in this minor and frankly irrelevant material was, to me, concerning. From the beginning. And I don't think it mattered that Kennett would would say, "don't get caught up in this" - while she herself was caught up in "this" and she was teaching from it and frequently talked about it. That what was she was actually doing - at least, that's what I saw - over some years.

Her interest in this arena could have sprung from what went on in the London Buddhist Society and in British metaphysical circles during the 50s and 60s. Certainly, what was being shared then in the UK was an amalgam of early Buddhism, theosophy, occult, Asian fascination, Crowley, Zen culture, quasi-Tibetan mysticism -- all through the lens of western religion. Would imagine Kennett would have been affected by all this stuff.

The point i have made earlier -- because she only spent a relatively short time in Japan, many of her underlying concepts weren't dissolved - which would have happened if she had spent decades in Zen training and had been more immersed in a much wider variety of teachings and teachers. Since that didn't happen, much of what she brought with her to Japan, she returned to the west with - unexamined.

and back to the vision thing - to me, Kennett's visions were not induced by Jin Shin or diabetes. From what I saw - and i was there for every minute of them (but this still is just my opinion) -- These lotus experiences / visions / kensho were contrived, guided meditations that she did with Daizui's help. They were not spontaneous.

These kind of guided meditations / visualizations / channeling are common in all kinds of new age groups, channeling psychics, and various metaphysical or mystical organizations and teachers.

You start visualizing a Christ figure or a celestial Buddha or an ancient Indian Shaman or Ganesha or the Virgin Mary or Dogen, focus on the image and then start talking to it. Start asking questions - keep it simple at first (just ask Yes or No questions), let your mind float a bit, more images arise, you ask more questions, the divine figure starts talking much more - the more juice attention you give it. And then you get more enchanted by the dreamy, quasi-mystical process, and then you start taking everything that is happening as literally true. It must be true, it is so exciting, so other worldly, so fabulous, so religious, so extra-ordinary. It must be true because it is so intense. This is the misconception that because there is deep feeling or intensity (which was part of Kennett's psychopathology - her 8 nature) - then it must be TRUE. It must be REAL. Well, it is neither true nor real.

Go to the New Age section of Amazon or a book store. Conversations with God - all channeled discussions with "God" who sounds very new age. You will find all kinds of books where angels, divine spirits, beings from other galaxies, Maitreya, Jesus, Virgin Mary, Ramtha, Emmanuel, and so on - are being talked to and channeled. That's what the Course in Miracles is - a very popular book. And there are many books of people's various visions and experiences --- all taken literally and believed to be truth. The mind can create anything.

Also, during the lotus stuff, Kennett was going through a deep crisis of doubt - which is very painful for an Enneagram 8 - and she wanted divine assurances that she was doing the right thing. She wanted divine approval, divine adoration. So rather than really face her fears and insecurities and go down into them as a human being, she flees from these feelings and she flees upward, into imagination and wishful thinking and false certainty and imaginary heavenly realms where Cosmic Buddhas anoint her. She avoids her humanity - but that never works, so you just dress up your shadows in garments of light - a dangerous thing to do.

You can also add past lives into this mix of visualizations and guided imagination - also simple to do. You can even imagine going into the future or visiting other planets or heavens or hells. Anything is possible in the imagination. and also simple to guide other people, even groups, until you can produce a collective state where all manner of group experiences, visions, past lives, and hallucinations can take place. Can seem very exciting, special, seductive. Many religions are based on this kind of process - like the Mormons or Scientology.

One last point -- this process is inherently dualistic and has shadows. A group experience of "higher realms" or "past lives" - can turn in a second - as the guru and the disciples start to see dark forces, demons, negative karma, curses, obstacles -- and then who is to blame, how can they fight the forces of darkness, and so on. In my work with Sorting It Out, I saw many cases of this happening in various organizations -and it resulted in shunning certain people, banishment, exorcisms - that sort of thing.

Anyway, this remains my analysis of what happened to Kennett. For what it's worth.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:18 am

Well Josh I think this is the best post you have done ,very clear analysis of the situation. personally I think all the paraphenalia are simply paraphenalia,nothing what so ever to do with seeing ones true nature.These mental incidents may actully be helpful in a relative way,but they will always be a relative way. relative religions are fine,the are a relationship with me ,any god , cosmic buddha,they can even make one a much better person,but they will always remain a relative experience.
Simply it may be very good for everyone who has based their life on these experiences ,but they ,are not for me or my practice of zazen
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:22 am

Josh what you describe here is what I suspected and is a well known phenomenon. It is, for instance, widely described in Christian mystical literature. The doubt and uncertainty that you say she was feeling appears to be the start of what is described by St John of the Cross's well known phrase 'dark night of the soul'. If this stage is rejected, often because of fear, then false religiosity, often in the form of visions and 'miracles', is a common outcome. It is then very difficult to find one's way back. I don't know if you know the films of Pier Paulo Pasolini, a troubled man but with deep religious insight, he investigated this cinematically in a couple of films. If you know the film Teoroma (Theorem) the maid is portrayed as succumbing to this form of religious mistake; the second section of his Decameron also seemed to explore the same ground, but I need to see that one again to be sure.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:09 pm

Josh, reading your reflection, I strongly suspect your analysis of Jiyu Kennett's visionary experiences is correct, soup to nuts...
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:06 pm

Mark- "It is, for instance, widely described in Christian mystical literature.
The doubt and uncertainty that you say she was feeling appears to be the
start of what is described by St John of the Cross's well known phrase
'dark night of the soul'. If this stage is rejected, often because of
fear, then false religiosity, often in the form of visions and
'miracles', is a common outcome."
******************************

I believe you have something there, Mark. The passage in the journey of experiencing one's own nothingness and helplessness( also known as the "Dark Night" with John of the Cross) in my view and in my reading of the literature is often where people seize on visions or the occult to take them out of that difficult passage. I wasn't in-house enough to know precisely when this transition happened at Shasta but there came a time in my tenure of affiliation when inordinate properties of power were attributed to rituals and ceremonial, which is the definition and exercise of magic, which is nothing less than trying to invent an experience of power when there is none to be had.

Around that time is when I made my exit. But reading about Amalia's experience and the use of rituals of exorcism as a substitute for real transformation and practice, employed by the "priest/mediator" of the sacred mysteries actually didn't surprise me that much. But did disgust me in its abuse and disrespect of the personhood and dignity of practitioners. And such a role for a Zen priest gives it added drama and potency not unlike the traditional role of the Roman Catholic priest who acts as mediator and pipeline for the Divine Mysteries. It is a kind of sacramental theology run totally amuck.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:46 am

Jcbaran wrote:
From what I saw - and i was there for every minute of them (but this still is just my opinion) -- These lotus experiences / visions / kensho were contrived, guided meditations that she did with Daizui's help. They were not spontaneous.

Hi Jcbaran. What did you see? What is the evidence for you thinking Kennet's visions were guided by McPhillamy?

Was it sort of like this?:

McPhillamy: imagine yourself climbing a glittering mountain of glass.

Kennet: I reached the top, what can I see.

McPhillamy: Umm....er......A cloud! Yea a dharma cloud. Imagine yourself on a soft fluffy cloud with pink smiling buddhas sitting in flowers all around.

Kennet: I'm seeing it man, I'm really seeing it!


I think you get what I mean. Or was it something more subtle?
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:54 pm

Well, you ask "what is the evidence."? If i went back and re-read the lotus book, many of the details of that time would probably come flooding back, but i am not going to do that. the evidence is my recollection, what other "evidence" could there possibly be?

Daizui was Kennett's main companion then, the absolute obedient devotee. And yes, it would be go back and forth in their dialogue in terms of the visualizations / visions / imaginary states. Not quite as you wrote above, but a version of this -- for hours a day. Kennett would begin saying something about what she was feeling or beginning to see, and then Dazui would ask her questions, guided questions that encourage more elaboration and details, and make suggestions Sometimes it was subtle and sometimes not.

And by the way, as many psychologists now, subtle suggestions and questions can alter memory or even create completely false memories, change people's reality, especially with children or under hypnosis. And if the participants are already in some kind of conscious or even unconscious agreement that a specific story is unfolding, then, surprise, surprise - that story does unfold - mentally, visually. You create your own brand of reality.

By the way, there is a psychological term that applies to this -- folie a deux. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folie_%C3%A0_deux

and this dynamic can be experienced by trios, families, and groups of people -- which happens all the time - from small guru cults and churches to entire nations. As the saying goes, we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. And two, three or more people can create a bubble around themselves and enter into group think - that can include any kind of beliefs, dogmas, vision, experience, hallucination, fantasy. Whenever there is a scandal in a spiritual organization -- like what just happened with Genpo or what is being revealed about Maezumi, it is clear that there groups were living in their own fantasy bubble.

With Kennett and her lotus period, I no longer remember most of the specifics. It was often disturbing and creepy and oppressive. As soon as I left Shasta and began to come out from under Kennett's influence, memories of that time naturally faded.

And as I said, this is my interpretation of events.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:42 pm

I have heard from various people that there was quite a lot of auto suggestion,I was not there though,What I heard was as Josh describes it.
A related nasty story,
I saw a very unpleasant fight a few years ago,. A guy hit a young lady in her face near the beach where I live, and right in front of me. The punch was so hard that the bone in her nose splintered and actually came out of her nose. The guy was restrained and the girl looked after until the ambulence came.
When the police came no one was prepared to give a statement. I did,and was called to the trial , as the witness.
I had to walk through about 20 big and tough looking very intimidating guys, outside the court, many right in my face,I could see why no one was prepared to be witness, as the guy had an un-pleasant reputation.
When I was called to tell my version,I described the attacker who had tattoos all the way up his arm. His barristor asked him to roll up his sleeves and there were no tattoos at all,I was staggered ,I felt sure that there were. Fortunately it did not alter the verdict.
I have heard this before that the mind rewrites things. In the case of the previous lives, we know they happened as so many people were witness, not only to the events but the aftermath as well. In Buddhism it is very serious when desciples are critical of their teacher, as they know the teacher best, in Kennett Roshi's case, no one was allowed the freedom of expression to query and be critical, we were allowed to teach and run temples,but not thought worthy to express a cautionary alarm
Interestingly with my court case, the biggest and toughest of the attackers mates,came looking for me,it took him a week or so to find me, and when he did he shook my hand, and said 'That was the right thing to do ,act as witness and it took a lot of guts to walk through the middle of us all outside the court,we all respect you' I was quite relieved that he said that to be quite honest.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:52 pm

Dear Chisan,

I'll bet you were relieved. I am relieved as well because that sort of memory thing happens to me as well, and I think probably to everyone, perhaps over the age of 50. But maybe not. I have heard people say things that they swear they did not, and vice versa. Unfortunately it was a common thread in my conversations with OBC trying to sort out my issues. I would respond or react to something someone said and they would come back every time with, "I don't remember what I say in conversations but I know there are certain things I would never say, and I would never have said that."

Where do you go from there? Really? Just get everything in writing maybe, take notes all the time. Sigh.

Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:26 pm

Hey Polly
Part of the difficulty with the law that "everything changes" is that it requires a moment to moment reaquaintance to behold. Sometimes I've thought that the ego is little more than the denial of this uncomfortable theory.
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:16 pm

Thankyou Jcbaran. That clarifies very well what you meant by "guided meditations." And what you said about group collusions is fascinating too. I've recently been reading lots of William Golding and he seemed to have that as a major theme (isolated groups going nuts together with heqartbreaking consequences).

Cheers.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:50 pm

Good point, Howard. I really like that. (Well, my ego doesn't.)

Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:14 am

Glorfindel I agree with you regarding William Golding,I have only read Lord of the Flies,but it does show a nastiness of group mind. I think it happens more than we think.A year or so ago a young gothic boy was killed, by a gang of lads,simply because he dressed differently.

What some of us here have tried to explain,im relationship with a Zen Centre, is how difficult it was to stand up and say 'Hang on a second this is not going quite right for me'

A lot of what we rattle on about happened 35 years ago,we have all got on with our lives,but now with internet instant communication and the new stories of Eko, we find we have the opportunity to say openly what was denied us then. For us it is important that the truth of the circumstances that we saw is out in the public domain. The reason for this is so new people can make clear decisions about their lives and spiritual directions. The Dharma or the true way must always be challenged or it is allowed to go off on tangents.

There are many sad aspects about the events of Shasta,and the events surrounding Maezumi roshi. If Kennett Roshi had listened to her desciples and not fought for her own position she would have had a fantastic legacy,instead people round the world, look at the situation with at least one eyebrow raised. the same with Maezumi,if he had managed to stop drinking and sexually wrecking peoples lives (like he said he would) he too would have been regarded as a great teacher . The teaching that has come through them has been 'not like this'. The positivity of this is it will help guide but in an unexpected way
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:40 pm

The following record of sange appears in the second edition of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom: the sange occurred in Oakland during the first twelve days of the events described in HGLB. Also perhaps of interest is that RMJ does not appear to have divulged her visions at this time to Daizui. (In the first edition of HGLB, the event is summarised quite briefly at the end of the chapter for Plate V “Entry to the Abyss”, with no mention of the visions.) If from the plates and descriptions of imagery one cannot help but think that these visions were no more indicative of a process of profound personal change than someones report of seeing a scary movie, RMJ does point out elsewhere in HGLB that “always it seems one feels what happens” and, though she does not always describe feelings, considering the process from this angle may be helpful. For example, the feeling of being in complete darkness and in actual danger of tumbling to ones doom…the feeling of dread…the feeling of culpability…the feeling of helplessness, and so on. Trying to approach these from the angle that they were simply sensations to be experienced mindfully would not have sufficed, as they were indicators of initially-opaque deeper issues ~ matters of spiritual life-or-death ~ that needed to be faced, penetrated, clarified and resolved.

Quote :
The blackness is intense. Suddenly, just in front of my feet, I see a great chasm. The black lotus has opened to reveal a hell. Within it a red hot inferno blazes; there are sheer cliffs on either side that arch up as if they were the grasping fingers of an infernal pair of hands trying to clutch me should I falter. I am carrying a great boulder of karma on my back for none of it has, as yet, been cleansed [in the plate, the boulder bears the words “Disciples”, “Temple politics”, “Government officials”]. I must cross this chasm but I do not know how for there is nothing whatsoever that I can see that will make a bridge. A voice says, “Remember the kensho:” - I remember it and there, before my feet, I see a narrow plank which makes a dangerous bridge across the chasm. Balancing my huge boulder of karma, I put my foot upon the plank - I have always been terrified of heights having suffered from vertigo for most of my life. “Trust in the kensho,” says the voice - I trust and immediately am on the other side. If I had fallen into that pit with my load of uncleansed karma - the thought is horrendous - I must go on. If only I could confide in my disciple as to what is going on but I dare not: he is a psychologist and could so easily misunderstand. Better by far that I wait until he too knows what can happen. In any case, I can barely speak so I could not clearly explain these events to him - it is best as it is. I will cleanse my karma come what may.

I am barely across the chasm when I perceive a colossal cliff in front of me in which there is a cleft so thin that it is barely more than a chink. I am no longer carrying my boulder and this is as well since there is no way I could possibly go on with it. Behind me I am being urged on by huge beings one of which has the head of a horse and the other that of an ox*. I can see only their shadows but note that they have the form of human beings except for their heads. They urge me on towards the cleft in the cliffs and I have no alternative but to go forward. Can I possibly get through so thin a cleft? Trust in the kensho: you know for certain - trust totally. Oh, wonder of wonders! The cleft and cliffs are gone; faith and trust in That Which Is, the Lord of the House, are absolutely essential in this place. I am so close to death here - I dare not tell my disciple or he will rush for doctors. I must go on alone - I must not die - I will cleanse all my karma and see That Which Is face to Face.

So this is the way in which one cleanses ones karma of body, mouth and will. I am obviously going through the hells that I have created for myself as a result of the evil karma I have created during this lifetime. If I do not face it before I die, I will have to pass my karma on to another and I am not willing to do that. I created it - I must cleanse it. I must also remember that, even if I cleanse all of this, I must still be ready to go through these hells again should I commit more wrong actions of body, mouth and will at a later date, always presuming that I survive now. I am now in total blackness except for the shadowy figure of the bull-headed being. I am on the ground and the being is tearing out my tongue with a huge pair of tongs. I am gagging for breath and my disciple is wringing his hands with worry. The being wants me to admit to something, but what? Then, suddenly, I realise that I must tell the truth concerning every secret wrong that I have ever had on my conscience from the beginning of my present existence in this world. All lies and exaggerations must be admitted to, however small. I admit to all that comes up for me. It is as if I am seeing everything that I should never have done as in a mirror. As I admit to each thing, and feel shame and horror for having committed such acts, they fade into shadows and disappear. I speak of these things to my disciple who understands that he is receiving the confession of the dying and accepts what I say as totally, and for ever, within a veil of secrecy between the two of us. I must trust him absolutely in this way - I do not have a choice as to whether he is thus totally trustable - and if he is not, it will be he who will bear the horrendous karma for breaking the secret. Always one must trust both That Which Is and man. If one makes a difference between them, then there is no real understanding of the Lord of the House. But, - to trust a psychologist? The terror wells up in me. I can barely speak for the pain in my throat from the rending of my tongue - I cannot explain to him - I must trust him absolutely. In placing such trust in him I am placing him and myself in grave danger - him in that his head could be turned - me in that I could be betrayed. Trust in the kensho, go on, go on, I am again in black darkness - the bull-headed being has gone - I am alone. My disciple is looking at me with obvious deep concern - I can tell him nothing for my strength is so low that it barely keeps my heart going.

There must still be something to which I have not admitted for suddenly there is another shadowy being with a head something like that of a lion except that it has one horn, the body and limbs of a man and, I think, a tail. It has me by the throat and is shaking me whilst it also throttles me. I gag and gag and my disciple is terrified that I am about to die. The being demands that I tell the truth, the whole truth, concerning a certain incident. I struggle to do so and my disciple hears this also in the same spirit as that which he heard yesterday. I am kneeling as I am being strangled. When I have finished gasping out what happened - and my disciple helped by prompting me - I sink back, as it were, onto the floor although I have actually not moved from the bed as this world understands movement. Only vague shadows appear in the “mirror” - all is now still. It is not enough for me to merely admit to what I have done to beings; everything that can be set right must be set right. The only way I can go on is if I try to put right every wrong act that I have ever committed, tear into my past and drag it naked and trembling into the light. I cleanse my karma of body, mouth and will with the tears of repentance and actual reparation for that which has not been taken care of since my first kensho. This is the deeper meaning of the first of the Buddha’s Noble Truths, Suffering Exists. No act of omission or commission, covert or overt, must be left out if I would go on - and I will go on - no matter what the cost, the pain or the shame. Days have passed and the searching of my heart continues, as it must always continue, even should I survive this, for this cleansing is not something that ceases - always there will be things I have forgotten - as they are remembered I will deal with them - this is my solemn oath.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ox-Head_and_Horse-Face
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:08 pm

Why oh why did I take the blue pill
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:54 pm

Yeah me too Mike - how terribly sad.
Quote :
When I have finished gasping out what happened - and my disciple helped by prompting me
I wonder how many of these fevered visions were prompted and how much came from an over vivid imagination stirred by sickness and an overindulgence in occult literature.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:53 am

Over the years Mark we have discussed many things, the one thing that stands out is that you always felt that depth of understanding( as in experience )was secondary to moving in the right direction.
I felt that Shasta;The Reformed Soto Sect; our practice; up to this time was going in the right direction. At this time though the direction moved or changed.
I would like to add to your comments above by saying the west had an unquenchable desire for kensho experience. What you emphasised was the long enduring mind ,the kensho appears as the quick fix,that cuts through the daily grind of practice,the pratice of seeing our own footprints of our limited minds. The daily practice, not only shows the footprints , but also that they are as impermanent as anything else. Gradually one sees the Impermanence of self, this allows one to naturally,and gradually see and experience the oneness we share with all life.
My experience in Japan,is that the practice is, the enduring mind,with no mention of Kensho,Bill Picard explained the depth of his meditation as the consciouness of the present moment being conscious of all things ( the aspects of forming an individual mind allowed to drop away)
At Tathata centre Kennett Roshi was completely fascinated by Bills experience of vast oneness ( who would not be) . However these writings make me feel that at this time she wanted religious or spiritual experience and forced every limit to experience the same as Bill,but only coming up with another relative, and limited commentary of her own mind and mental state. ..... Can you see the bright lights....Yes I can see the bright lights... have a title then, or a colored robe.
What we were all saying,was the same as said in Japan, in that not everybody has these vast experiences, not everybody is a great teacher or even has such an experience, It is not important. It is the going going going on that is the important thing. Labelling mental conditions, visions thoughts and dreams with religious and important sounding names, Apart from influencing others, is not too much of a problem,other than it creates more of a sense of self, that has now indeed become enlightened, than any sense of self that was possibly there beforehand
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:29 pm

Chisan wrote:
Why oh why did I take the blue pill
:-) Chisan, I am puzzled ~ Did you mean that you had visions similar to those quoted when you "dropped" Viagra? Or were you encrypting a comparison between the quoted passage and a part of your anatomy? Or...? Please feel free to PM me if you think the answer might get you banned from Lise's "living-room"...! (-;

RMJ wrote:
There must still be something to which I have not admitted for suddenly there is another shadowy being with a head something like that of a lion except that it has one horn, the body and limbs of a man and, I think, a tail...The being demands that I tell the truth, the whole truth, concerning a certain incident. I struggle to do so and my disciple hears this also in the same spirit as that which he heard yesterday...When I have finished gasping out what happened - and my disciple helped by prompting me - I sink back...
:-) Hi Mark ~ You might be right that the prompting referred to the vision. I've take it as referring to whatever the "something" was to which RMJ had not admitted. (I don't suppose it can be checked now.) (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:14 pm

The reference to blue pill is from Alice In Wonderland, is that correct Michael?

"You take the blue pill and the story ends.
You wake in your bed and you believe
whatever you want to believe."

Watson
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:38 pm

You are well read Watson,It is now also a well known graffiti over here .

But I thought for a minute that my reputation was reaching the forum,and maybe just maybe I might be scaring the girls .

That is the trouble with the fantasies of an old man they disappear into dust.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:53 am

Aha! Thank you, Watson.

This trivial tale began when I googled for a “blue pill” video to amuse Chisan, thinking perhaps I would see someone submerged in a sea of Smarties. Despite having received hundreds of junk emails offering me cheap Viagra, I had no knowledge that it commonly came in blue, and had originally thought the reference might be to some well-known hallucinogen (with which I am not familiar, and no one has offered me any cheap). So while I discovered a JabbaWockeeZ tribute and an excerpt from the Matrix (it's a steal on Alice!) during my Google excursion, I saw plenty about “Viagra blue” (less turquoise than “kensho blue)... Then I thought you (Chisan) might have been alluding to a well-known phrase meaning "This is a load of rubbish", but which, in the original language, reads like what one might get as a result of taking Viagra. I guess you were but not quite in the way that occurred to me!... This ramble is yet another demonstration that the mind can create anything. My apologies.
drunken

Skipping from another thread, Chisan, I'm sorry but I'm not familiar with the "Not Yet Zen" poem: I wish you good luck in finding it.

Addendum to my post above (you can tell I've not taken the hint):

This is just my conjecture and cannot be checked but I infer that RMJ did not tell Daizui of her visions at this time, feeling it better to “wait until he too knows what can happen”, as she wrote in the previous paragraph. I think she wished to avoid telling him prematurely, as he would not benefit and she could find herself misunderstood and at risk of inappropriate interventions ~ at least, this is how I would feel, though not being able to communicate ones experiences also can result in others’ misconstruing ones mental state. Don't I know it...

In the chapter titled “Vast Emptiness”, RMJ wrote:
Quote :
For some days now my disciple and I have been noticing differences in our appearance in fleeting glances. A line of people and one tiger, whose karma I have inherited, appears. Since I have cleansed and purified my karma of this life it is now necessary to clean the impregnations that the karma of past lives has left upon my skandhas. This is one of the deeper meanings of the second Noble Truth of the Buddha, suffering’s cause; to this end we are both noticing these differences. He looks at me and for a fleeting moment sees a very old European Christian monk…
This seems to be before her return to Shasta and, I estimate, a few weeks after the “hell visions”. It is the first occasion in HGLB where a verbal exchange on visions appears explicit (I am assuming that Daizui told her what he saw and that she did not pick it up telepathically!)

Again this is my speculation, but Daizui’s experience and acknowledgement of visionary events, coupled with improvements in her mental and physical situation, may have given RMJ confidence to share details with others at Shasta. Two may seem easier to believe than one, and perhaps she thought people would feel better able to leave their doubts (I know some might say “brains”) behind, and have a go. I think her deliberations would equally have involved concern for whether this information and involvement would benefit their spiritual welfare (though of course one can make mistakes here).
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:27 pm

Anne, In my experience these practices limit zazen they actually hinder the practice. What I was saying was a vision is a vision and as a practice or sign of anything else it means nothing to me. I think the genjo koan is a good koan to consider.Practice in daily life.

I have always found two difficulties in practice, one is having a relevance,meaning and depth in practice in a temple setting,when there is a practice that is pretty much 24 hour practice,zazen,all the time.

Secondly I find daily life practice, outside of a temple setting, very difficult. In finding, stillness, depth, meaning in normal circumstance. Normal circumstances needs a little thought too. I certainly do not have a quiet lifestyle,that mirrors Zuoiji Temple, It has been incredibly taxing and difficult at times. Zazen though I believe reaches to everyone and every circumstance.

Bernie Glassman, a desciple of Maezumi helps the homeless in New York,and has run a retreat on the streets, A desciple of Ikko Roshi runs prison visits. I think that many people actually do many secret good deeds to help other people. Sometimes putting your arm around someones shoulder can possibly do as much good as offering incense.

Seeing the Buddha and the teachings and the folowers of their hearts in all circumstances is hard for me. But that is my practice,the basis of my practice is zazen.That is why these stories and dreams regardless of explanation have no meaning or relevance for me
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:13 pm

Anyone know which pill Shakyamuni Buddha took on his night beneath the Bodhi Tree when all that crazy shizta went down? That's the pill I wanna eat.

Anne wrote:
no one has offered me any cheap

Any number of psychotropics are far far cheaper than the suggested donations of most Buddhist retreats. Its a much cheaper way to get outa your head.
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:38 pm

I ve been waiting for my man a long time, tell me what that crazy shizta that went down was and I will ask him what the right pill is
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:45 pm

Yeah Glorfindel but by and large they only make matters worse as far as long term seeing clearly is concered. And in any case as Douglas Harding would say- 'What head?'
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PostSubject: Re: Kennett, the Occult and the "Spear of Destiny"   Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:49 pm

Ah 'The headless one'
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