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Lise
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PostSubject: On bullying   Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:36 am

Picking up on Olly's comment about the occurrence of bullying --

I did see this happen at Shasta Abbey between lay people, sometimes in the presence of a monk who did not intervene. I remember thinking at the time that monks have a duty during retreats, community work days, etc., to manage the environment and take action to stop hostile behavior by one layperson to another. I don't know if the monk thought it was a form of teaching to the individuals involved, to let the situation unfold however it would, but I found it very uncomfortable to be present and have to watch what was going on.

I didn't see or experience bullying by a monk toward myself or other laity, but I saw some of that by certain monks toward each other. I know about the "rocks polishing each other through friction" explanation, but is this deliberate? Do the monks create situations of conflict with each other, to further their training?
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Mon May 24, 2010 6:26 pm

Just to gloss what I meant by bullying when I posted here a couple of months ago; a recurring problem I experienced at my local OBC Temple was the resident monk's habit of reacting with intense irritation to relatively minor issues. One of the lay ministers seemed to imitate her in this respect, and I have a number of memories of having my faults pointed out to me in respect of minor aspects of the practice (the way I was cleaning an incense bowl; being snapped at just for asking a question).

These incidents in and of themselves would not have constituted bullying, but for the fact that there I felt that the intention behind them was not kind (intended to help me become more mindful) but rather scornful - my practice was never 'good enough' and in the end I was just made to feel 'in the way'. And nobody ever seemed to smile at you! This built up over time to the point where the thought of going to the Temple made my heart sink.

I just feel that if your practice centre itself is watering such negative seeds (let alone what karmic baggage we all bring with us anyway) then something has gone wrong somewhere. At the end of the day, Buddhism should water the seeds of love, wisdom and compassionate, but I was left feeling sad, angry and inadequate.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Mon May 24, 2010 8:41 pm

Olly, just a quick note of sympathy and confirmation. What you experienced was, in my opinion, completly inappropriate behavior on the part of the resident monk. And the only saving grace is that you were able to see through it, and recognize that it was not your training that was lacking!
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Tue May 25, 2010 4:09 pm

On top of being sad and angry about things that happened to us, or others, those feelings had to be concealed to a large extent. I struggled with the idea that feelings were to be suppressed and ignored due to the teaching that we had no real self who could, or should, be upset by whatever was happening. I can sort of grasp the principle behind "no self", but it goes too far to say that our feelings don't matter. At least for me, and I suspect some others might agree, they are real. My experience of the teaching is that there IS an "I" or a "me" who is upset by meanness and we are not out of line to object to it.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Tue May 25, 2010 5:23 pm

Kozan: thanks for the words of sympathy, they are appreciated.

Re. "no self": We do have a notional 'self' or subjectivity; we just need to learn not to grasp at it. Feelings etc feel 'real' enough that's for sure (which is why compassion is necessary) but meditation should (at least in my understanding) help us see how our subjectivity and internal formations are the result of specific cause and conditions. I.e. we don't have a 'soul' in the sense of a separate unconditioned entity - we are beings that have an intimate connection to (ultimately) the entire universe, but we are at war with this and do not wish to accept that this is so. Thich Nhat Hanh;s teaching of 'Interbeing' is a different way of expressing the traditional Budhhist teaching on emptiness (which includes "no self"): it says that we do have a 'being', but our 'being' is not what we think it is. None of us are ever separate or alone and the recognition of that behooves us always to treat others with compassion, especially those who cannot see this.

I do hope any of this makes sense!
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Tue May 25, 2010 5:48 pm

Lise, you are absolutely correct. And this issue is, in my opinion, another perfect example of the tragedy that results when the full teaching, with its inherent paradox, is reduced (however unconsciously or unintentionally) to a one-sided duality. I am also glad that you brought this up because I should have included some response to this issue in responding to Olly.

I would say that feelings are actually a manifestation of inherent wisdom. The focus of meditation practice should not be to belittle, denigrate, ignore, or suppress feelings--but to seek the wisdom they contain. This not infrequently may entail learning how to sit still with them, in order to allow the causal dynamic, that our ego has established with the experience of any specific feeling, to relax a bit--in order to more accurately discern the selfless wisdom at its heart.

I think that it is always our responsibility to pay attention to sadness and anger, and to be upset by meaness. (As Dogen said, "we must always be disturbed by the truth".) The challange in spiritual practice, in my experience, is (again) the paradox of letting go of ego-centered response, in order to find the serenity and detachment that makes a beneficial and skillful response to the situation itself more likely (which of course, sometimes means leaving!).

And now, as an example of my own feelings--I am particularly disturbed when a onesided teaching (as in this example from your experience) is used to coercively suppress the recognition of harmful institutional behavior, in the name of fostering good training and the harmony of the Sangha! The consequences are invariably tragic for everyone.

(This issue also relates closely to your recent posting, on another thread, concerning the Master-Disciple relationship, which I will try to get to soon.)
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Tue May 25, 2010 5:53 pm

Olly, excellent points! (I was still writing my previous post--while you were posting yours).
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:08 pm

Lise wrote:
I have also seen monks speak to each other as you describe, although not at North Cascades.
[This was copied over from Steven777400's thread in Introductions called "Eugene, Shasta and North Cascades."]

Bumping this thread up in order to do a little more mental housecleaning --

I'm still trying to understand something I saw at Shasta. Two senior monks were talking to a junior who appeared to be upset. I was near enough to hear the tone and parts of the conversation, and it seemed like they were "baiting" her, trying to push buttons. I don't know how to describe it better than that -- it was one of those "this doesn't feel right" things that Steven talked about. The older monks were very composed and appeared to be overly nice, solicitous, etc., but there was such an undercurrent of passive/aggressive "something else" going on, like they were goading her into losing her temper. I wasn't trying to listen to this but I couldn't help it -- leaving the area wasn't an option. It seemed to me that the junior monk had valid points about what she saying. I also think she wanted to end the conversation but the older monks kept it going much longer than it needed to.

This particular junior monk was known for being "chatty" and I had seen her "training in silence" more than once because she had been asked to do so. Given that I didn't go to Shasta Abbey often, this seems significant.

If the older monks were baiting her, why would they do that? Isn't there enough opportunity for junior monks to train themselves, without people adding to it?
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PostSubject: chitt chatt   Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:25 pm

Since I am one of the lay trainees that seems to be too chatty at retreats...and have gotten other monks chatting with me, I understand why I get called down often. I am chastised, sometimes with a warning look and other times with verbal admonishments. I think I have to say "I had it coming" and bow and accept it as a help. I have been to Chinese Chan retreats where they will yell at you and even hit you on the back to help you... so if you accept the teaching then it has to be with gratitude. The yelling and hitting do not work for me so although I respect their beliefs and techniques, I could not practice with them.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:39 pm

Hitting? I don't think so either. I don't blame you for not going along with that.

I probably confused the issues in my previous post -- I didn't mean to suggest that the junior monk's chattiness was related to the treatment she got in that incident. I was there when the interaction began, and she had been working in the same general area as me, both of us quietly doing our chore. I was out of sight in an alcove when the two older monks came in and engaged her in conversation. She tried to respond (respectfully and with logic) but they kept at her in a way that didn't acknowledge anything she said -- they just kept prodding & poking, it seemed to me. It looked cruel. She was trying so hard not to get upset but it clearly showed that she was. I felt so sorry for her. I wanted to do something but felt completely at a loss -- to speak up would have been wrong according to the Abbey's internal culture, but not speaking up was worse, according to my own understanding of right and wrong.

If anybody knows why the more senior monks seem to deliberately provoke and upset someone, can you share your thoughts on this? I would really like to understand why --
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PostSubject: questions about behavior...   Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:29 pm

First, I have a question about perfectionism. When I've worked in the Abbey kitchen I'm sometimes surprised at how vigilant they are about dicing things to the absolute perfect size. I've been corrected to cut my carrots just centimeters smaller at times. In addition, I've seen the chief cook get pretty bent out of shape if someone accidentally cuts 6 slices instead of 8 of something etc. It was funny to see a lay trainee calm them down once. It might just be this monk's perfectionistic tendencies. But I also saw the Abbot ask novice monks to pick up little pieces of lint off of the floor in the middle of a ceremony and then berate them publicly for placing their bowing mats in an inexact spot (we're talking inches). Is this supposed to be the breaking of the ego so to speak?
Second, there is one senior monk who has a particularly confrontational style with lay trainees. I've seen this monk call out a trainees weakness in public, such as asking them "Why are you hesitant in doing this?" "How can I help you if you won't tell me...." This monk was even a little confrontational with me and I found myself confused by 1. the discomfort and slight shock I felt from the confrontation and 2. the rational thought that well maybe this is how it's supposed to be. But after reading so many entries on this blog, I'm convinced that I just don't want someone digging into me like that--esp. when I don't even know them. It's disrespectful and assumes a power dynamic that I haven't agreed to--or maybe it's assumed that I did when I stepped in the door.
In conclusion, I know that not all the monks are like this. There are many that I respect and that are well-rounded and sensible. My question is, however, are the above behaviors some of the leftover institutionalized teachings and approaches of RMJ?
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:39 am

June, what you describe is exactly the sea-change in culture that I witnessed in the year preceeding RM's death. I would locate the problem in some of the personality quirks of some seniors that grew as the institution became more introspective. My perception is that R. Master had a broader understanding of human nature--and sense of the great love the Eternal has for us in our humaness--than some disciples trusted. Before her last year or so, she was able to keep some of this at bay with jokes about "A Type personalities".
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:59 pm

June99 wrote:
But I also saw the Abbot ask novice monks to pick up little pieces of lint off of the floor in the middle of a ceremony and then berate them publicly for placing their bowing mats in an inexact spot (we're talking inches). Is this supposed to be the breaking of the ego so to speak?

Giving in the human impulse to add these:

* Junior monks measuring and recording the floor placement of a small wooden table/altar (the one RM Jisho made) after Eko complained of it being off-center and had them move it to the place he specified. The next day during a service, he nudged it to a different place and indicated that they had failed to place it as told. I was present when they later discussed it and agreed they were being messed with. Priceless.

* Eko interrupting Morning Service to ask all the monks present to keep "economy of movement" in mind and stop making "magical motions" with their hands as they were rising from their mats after bows. I wondered if they were really rising any differently after years of doing the same thing . . .
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PostSubject: My Grandmother's house   Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:53 pm

I always have felt, when I am at the monastery, that I am a visitor at my Grandmother's house. She was very kind and loving but...very set in her ways and did not hesitate to point out to me how things were to be done at her house. If they said wash the lettuce leaves and save all the aphids...hey! I am the visitor so I save the aphids. I really do love the quirkiness of the place.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:50 am

Yes, some of the quirks are interesting, even funny.

I take your point about being a visitor when people go to a monastery. In some ways it seems like a breach of etiquette on our part re: their hospitality and willingness to open their gates to lay people, to point out any negatives.

On the other hand, fostering contact with lay people means laity are going to witness some of the harmful quirks, bullying, personality issues, whatever we want to call them, and be affected by them. It doesn't help to pretend the negative aspects don't exist -- that's part of why this forum is here. We know some of the monks are now reading the forum, which in a way, is a kind of mirror that we are holding up to them. If they occasionally see themselves and their actions in some of our stories, well, it can only lead to good, IMO.


Last edited by Lise on Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:41 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammar, as usual)
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:17 am

I get the feeling that there are some monks that are really good with people, very welcoming and excellent teachers---but some seem to be angry and bothered by their perceived violation of their space. I saw an older monk (who I had never seen before) come into the kitchen and have a "hissy fit" because her cup was in the wrong place. (I found it embarrassing for everyone) They should probably sort out which monks should be in contact regularly with the laity and which should stay behind closed doors. Once a gentle monk came to give a talk on the precepts, she entered and sat in the monks chair and looked kindly around the room for 15 or 20 minutes without saying a word --she then said "I guess I can not talk about the precepts" and left. Best lecture I have ever attended. Smile
Just to say that involvement with and teaching to the guests is probably not for all the monks.
Lise, maybe this will be a helpful for forum for the monks because I do hope that do well in the future.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:25 pm

sugin wrote:
They should probably sort out which monks should be in contact regularly with the laity and which should stay behind closed doors.

Amen, brother. I think one difficulty is that some seniors should not be in contact with laity and those who might acknowledge this are not able to do anything about it. Seniors get away with quite a bit in most organizations - no surprise there.

sugin wrote:
I saw an older monk (who I had never seen before) come into the kitchen and have a "hissy fit" because her cup was in the wrong place. (I found it embarrassing for everyone).

I wonder if it's the same monk who gave Rev. Chosei what-for after he took her food out of the microwave and set it aside to heat up something else, without telling her. My goodness, that was an experience for everybody present Wink

[I promise I'll get done venting one of these days. After that you guys will only hear from me if something needs moderating or the forum software goes haywire, or whatever.]

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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:13 pm

Immature ranting, obsessing, sometimes about things imagined rather than real, fulminating over petty greivances and normal problems encountered in daily life, a general lack of ability to face life or other people with equanimity were all negative indicators about what OBC training did for people -- in some cases decades of training were claimed. The behavior seemed particularly egregious because I had mostly learned before the age of 30 to behave better than that in the grungy business world that made up my life. (One has to keep a level head in business. Immaturity is a career disaster waiting to happen.) Why would I want to be Buddhist if it would make me behave worse after "years of training" than I that I did already without touching Buddhism. I had no desire or interest in regressing to immaturity or pettiness as a result of "training."

If I'm going to follow someone through difficult training, then I really need to know that they know by actual experience the equanimity and insight I seek. I didn't find evidence that indicated it was probable I could find what I was looking for within the OBC.

To my happiness, I've found Buddhism to be much better and richer than my OBC experience of it. Perhaps it worked to my advantage to become disenchanted with those who claimed to know what they could not live. Training is my responsibility, and it has been enormously helpful to recognize that.

I'm obviously not OBC material. Maybe some are.

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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:37 pm

Friends,
Just to add a short note on this topic. I witnessed a lot of this kind of behavior in my tenure at Shasta Abbey. There were practices such as "mirroring" and " blowing people up" by priests that involved a kind of legitimizing of verbal assault and disrespect in the name of spiritual technique. There is never any excuse for this. The only reason for investing spiritual authority to individuals in a community is so that some people have the responsibility to keep the community safe and to prevent harm from happening to practitioners, and protect the boundaries. When persons invested with this responsibility are themselves the ones who assault and harm others, it is without defense. One of the resolves I had after leaving affiliation with Shasta Abbey is to avoid any spiritual community where such things happen. In the seniority system in Zen too often people who are themselves in need of great healing, psychologically and spiritually, are invested with spiritual authority over others, which turns into a license to act out the unhealed elements of their psyche. It is clear in my mind, that Jiyu Kennett, who emerged from an abusive childhood, became an abuser herself, especially as she became more impaired cognitively, more vulnerable in her aging and disease process, in large part because of her unhealed psyche. And because she was invested with spiritual authority no one was willing to call her out on her abuse, nor protect the people she abused. I can remember Doug MacPhillamay holding the phone away from his ear because she was shouting at him so loudly and angrily. Any common lay person would have been severely disciplined for that kind of behavior. Human beings are human beings, and not gods, nor fully realized buddhas. And no one is beyond being held accountable for their behavior that is disrespectful or abusive to others. Giving critical feedback and correction to others can be done with gentleness and respect. And is more helpful when it is.

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Bill
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:43 am

I wanted to add an addendum to my post above. I have had some experience in interacting with Christian monastic communities, including providing spiritual direction services to individual Christian monastics. And the phenomenon of "bullying" or persons in authority psychologically abusing those in their responsibility, is a frequent occurrence also in those communities. I have come to conclude that power differentials always have the potential for abuse. However, in the realm of the spiritual where such trust and intimacy are called for, this kind of abuse can be ever more destructive. Elevating ordinary flawed human beings to positions of spiritual authority and investing them with power, spiritual attributes, and deference that is much beyond their actual development, inappropriate and unneeded, and for which they are ill prepared, is a tragic error and leads to some of the behaviors some of us have endured or witnessed. It may be also that the model we have received from the East of spiritual "masters" or "gurus" is one fraught with dangers for abuse. One of the great red flags that went up for me with great frequency during my tenure at Shasta Abbey was the projection onto the person of Jiyu Kennett extraordinary, even supernatural powers and insight beyond what is healthy or appropriate for what I saw as an ordinary person who had made a vocation of spiritual education and support to those who wished to share the path she was on. In fairness I have to say I saw a similar inappropriate elevation given to Thomas Keating, a prominent Christian teacher of contemplative practice. Creating spiritual communities where ordinary people are encouraged to give over their autonomy and dignity, their own heart's discernment to such elevated "masters" who are simply human beings is a set-up for huge imbalances of personal power and all the abuses that can follow from that.

Blessings,
Bill
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:26 pm

I haven’t tried to address everything in this thread, but here are some related personal reflections.

I wonder if a teacher doesn’t sometimes take on the role of suffering so that we may learn from it. I seem to recall a few examples in Buddhist lore. [Edit: on reflection this is obvious to most people here who are far more experienced than me!] If they do, I think it can be a great act of kindness which must be painful to the teacher too at the time. But it would have to be done skillfully and received skillfully as well, or else surely it’s bullying.

The world provides natural challenges but in a more closed and controlled environment such as a monastery it makes sense to me that there are teaching methods which will not always be gentle. Being human and undertaking spiritual training is not always a gentle experience, and had I personally been mollycoddled at the monastery then I would have been ill equipped to practice. But people need different things at different times. To put it in context, I also saw more than a thousand acts of gentleness. (Ironically, accepting gentleness can be the hardest thing.)

The situation that Lise witnessed reminds me of a friend who always took on too much work because she was afraid of saying ‘no’. Then one day a monk decided to demand more and more of her until she finally flipped and firmly said ‘no’ to him. It was as if he had given her the opportunity to learn to assert a healthy boundary. He looked satisfied and left, and she’s been a changed woman since. Had I walked past them as it happened, I might have thought how cruel he is, poor her; but I don’t think things were what they seemed.

Could her issue have been resolved in a kinder and gentler way? It’s not for me to say but I doubt it. People learn by doing, and my guess is that she needed the opportunity to act differently.

When I’ve been snapped at publicly at the monastery, mostly it made me curious as to who it was who felt so upset (i.e. it pointed to the ego) and why. It was an opportunity to look at my attachment to social standing, and it certainly taught me control of anger impulses. I still think the monk should not have snapped, and that it wasn’t a skillful thing to do; but the only productive thing I can do with such an experience is to learn what I can and move on. When a similar situation then arose in the office a year later, because of my chance to examine it in a contemplative setting I felt much more aware of what it was that was going on in me, in the group and in the person doing it. For the first time in my adult life therefore I felt completely confident in dealing with it as firmly as I needed to without losing control or respect for the other person. Inadvertently, a temperamental monk has saved several friendships of mine. Someone mentioned that such skills are naturally learned in business practice for example, but based on the business people I know I would disagree.

As for perfectionism, it’s often been said that it’s hard to tell the difference between a person who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and a Zen monk… it does look a little crazy from the outside. I found that it worked well as an exercise in letting go of personal will. It’s hard to explain why that doesn’t mean that I was giving the will over to anyone else; and I would still have walked away had something genuinely ludicrous been asked of me. What it felt like was a great opportunity to give up personal will while maintaining good judgment, thereby coming to understand that good judgment comes from somewhere other than personal defenses and assertions. And I loved the feeling of community that came from everyone doing something in the same way. Ultimately it wasn’t the doing that tied us together, but it pointed to the real and lasting commonalities underneath the form.


Last edited by Mia on Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:38 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Edited to add comment in 2nd para as stated there.)
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:30 am

Hi Mia,

I'm not able to disagree with you on the theory of much of what you've said above, as I do think it's possible that an observer might not see or recognize very subtle forms of teaching. I can only speak to what my heart and mind, and even my body, felt when I saw certain incidents at Shasta Abbey. Being a witness to bullying, and doing nothing to object to it, hurt me on a level that I can't easily describe. Sometimes you just know, very clearly, when you are in the presence of cruelty that is being inflicted on someone who is helpless to defend herself or get away from it. I trust and accept my perception that that is what I saw.

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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:07 am

I'd like to add a comment on what you said Lise, for I agree with you completely. There was a saying that was frequently referred to at Shasta Abbey. It was "Being cruel in order to be kind." I agree that there is a time and place for "tough love" of the sort described in that saying, but in my experience, that saying was used more and more as a justification for cruelty when there were compassionate alternatives available. I hope that the monks at Shasta Abbey will learn to err more on the side of gentleness. It is sorely needed there.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:44 pm

Hello Laura, Lise, and Mia,

It's painful to hear that some of RMJK's patterns have been adopted and legitimized at Shasta. It was a very difficult place for those closest to her when I was there, but no one would dare to behave that way with the juniors unless it was at RMJK's direction. Or, if a monk was in the doghouse with her, people could pick on that person. They were fair game. I had hoped people would move away from that in aversion, and move the institution in a kinder direction. I imagine that impulse is present as well. May it gain strength.

With palms joined,

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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:35 am

For balance I think the rest of the picture ought to be mentioned. During my time at Throssel, and training with monks from many other temples, more than 99.9% of their conduct and teachings have been absolutely exemplary. I was and continue to be utterly inspired by the grace, dignity and perseverance with which they dedicate their lives to training and teaching by example. The way they choose to live their lives helped turn mine around from a very dark place. I'd like to say 'Thank you' but it isn't enough, gratitude takes the form of learning and doing my own best every day.

I wish I could leave it there, but this thread and forum is asking me to address the remaining 0.1%. I'm hoping that a layperson's perspective will help - at the monastery you may not hear them often, we didn't tend to get asked for feedback on the forms of teaching, though it happened occasionally.

One suggestion is a reliable feedback system accessible to all, which is structured in a way that nobody is beyond reproach. It's possible that this has always been in place and I didn't see it, in which case I'd suggest that it could be made more clear and open to people at the beginning of and during their stay.

The way I experienced it, the culture discouraged complaints. At the time I thought this is how it should be for the sake of focussing on training. On occasion - and this might well be a very rare occasion, I don't know - bullying took place between laypeople for example. I was in a very early and confused phase of training as many laypeople are, and tried to accept things which these days I wouldn't tolerate for a second. Unwittingly I encouraged bullying by dealing with it in unhelpful ways.

Some of what went on was witnessed by a monk, most of it was not. Maybe we were given the space to learn to figure it out for ourselves, which I think can often be good. But other times I wouldn't see any harm in taking trainees aside gently and privately and giving them a chance to say what's going on.

Many laypeople I spoke with were intimidated by their high esteem for monks and wouldn't dare to take the initiative to complain, especially if they are suffering from the common malaise of feeling insignificant. It's easy to believe in your confusion that you deserve the negative treatment that comes to you, and in an environment where all the rules are new, such people are easy quiet targets.

Monks did keep a careful eye on us, especially the incredible Guest Master, and things were said to "offending" laypeople on occasion. But as regards a feedback loop, the structure was largely one-way and non-interventionist. I think we're trying to find a way of maintaining emotional and social health within a mix of transplanted old Japanese cultural practices and the prevailing OBC culture during the 1970s.

While I have no doubt that the masters I knew have the best of intentions, most did act like they were beyond reproach. (It took me 10 minutes to write that sentence because I am so conditioned not to say anything negative about them!) Most of the time this is hopefully not a problem, but what happens when there is a genuine problem (I've given some examples on other threads)? I run communications workshops and the only reliable way that we can get honest feedback from participants, where they feel free to be honest without holding back because of worry about repercussions, is when everyone is asked to submit anonymous written feedback forms to what they know to be a fair and transparent management system where nobody is beyond reproach.

I have no idea if that particular form would work for a monastery, and there is still the issue of sorting genuine concerns from the rest. But I do think increased and inclusive communication is a good thing, which doesn't necessarily have to undermine the current teaching structure of the OBC.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:33 am

Mia wrote:
But I do think increased and inclusive communication is a good thing, which doesn't necessarily have to undermine the current teaching structure of the OBC.

I agree. Quite a few people have said that they would have greatly appreciated a means to communicate feedback. An open channel through which to have a dialogue can not be a bad thing. Questioning and offering feedback does not necessarily mean that opinions are being clung to or that teaching is being criticised and rejected, which would be the obvious counter arguement to discourage anything negative being said. However, there is a space and a need for open and two-way dialogue. That might help the question marks over the OBC being a cult to be addressed, at least in part.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:44 am

The Anger Junky..sounds like the opening of a bird show.

Bullys come in all sizes, types and ranges but the scariest one for me is the Anger Junky. They have a personality disorder that combines the destructive force of anger with the manipulative focus of an addict securing their next fix. They are part rage-aholic, part emotional vampire and part sugar & spice between feedings. They are anger addicts.

In olden days they would be the ones standing up on a soap box and trying to whip up a crowd against someone who was weaker or different. A different colour, race, religion or sexual orientation would be enough. Today they use new tactics to indulge there craft and hide inside society's changing view of itself.

Where an ordinary Bully's activity is curtailed in today's politically correct society, the Anger Junky uses society's political correctness like a surfer uses a wave. They are the Alpha's of evolving bullydom because they can create and slurp up the anger of their own creation, a sucubus fully masked by righteousness.



The only Achilles heel I see them having is their dependence on the anonymity that their disguise gives them that allows them to feed with impunity. If their anonymity is stripped away, the anger lust can be seen for what it is and they'll have to adjust their behaviour or feed elsewhere.

All it takes to spot them is the awareness of their tactics and a victim left in their departing wake. Be forewarned though... that the Anger Junky will accept anyone tracking them as the meal choice of the day.

In a public forum, their most common tactic of engagement always starts with a great puffing at some real or imagined slight. As they work themselves up into a scathing lather they'll begin emoting righteous indignation. Achieving public justification for their building rage almost always requires the twisted words, miss quotes and the deliberate misunderstandings of a posting. These often simple postings will be publicly re- interpreted by the Anger Junky as proof of an authors malicious intent to harm the defenceless in society.

The success of these tactics are always dependant on the Anger Junky convincing the audience that this mercurial rage is just a response beyond their control to the posted injustice. When the Anger Junky feels that both their anger and story line have nearly peaked, the pummelling will commence, often with the approval of the audience who believe they are seeing the justice of right triumphing over wrong. The few that see through the charade usually stay quiet in the face of such a force. Of all bullies, this alpha is a mesmerizing master of mis direction.

In the wake of an Anger junky is always a victim, surprised at the unexpected turn of events, confused at how their words could be so miss interpreted, reeling from the pummelling and what feels like societies tacit approval of it all. And all the time the Anger Junky watches in hopes that the victim might try to defend themselves so that another "high" in bullydom can be repeated.


An Anger junky usually has to rest between feedings because their drug of choice is too toxic for sustained ingesting or convincing shows. Between feedings the Anger Junky will usually portray themselves as passionately natured or liking a good argument, or walking a warriors path to justify and prepare the audience for the next performance.

Anger Junkies will rage against anyone else who might also have anger problems for they are the ugliest of all truth mirrors. The Anger Junkie also has to sell their own version of an us or them mentality to allow for the selective exclusion of empathy, compassion, tenderness and benevolence for whoever they've picked for the pummelling.



I do think that an Anger Junky has as much right to be on the forum as anyone but if you ever spot one feeding here, complete silence is probably the most evolved medicine to address it all. If you're wrong about your diagnosis, no harm was done, if you're right then you've just stopped an Anger Junky in their tracks.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:21 pm

Howard, excellent diagnosis and prescription!

I think that bullies in general are motivated by fear, and more precisely, by existential fear. I also think that they are the quintessential manifestation of our collectively inherited misunderstanding that survival and success require an adversarial competitive struggle against others.

The bully has found a way to use anger as a way to simultaneously deny their own fear, and to use their fear-based anger as a means of "winning" "success" through the domination of others. The bully follows the dog-eat-dog worldview dictum of "do unto others, before they do unto you".

I think your well-described anger-junky varient is rather like a bully on steriods!

At the same time, we all know fear and anger--both of which can provide us with important information, and even motivation, as we navigate daily life and come face to face with the existential dilemmas of change, threat, and loss. The challenge then can be to discover how to make effective use of fear and anger without becoming trapped by them.

The anger-junky needs an angry response in order to hook the victim into the fray; hence the importance of your concluding advice.

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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:16 am

Howard,

My hat, if I had one, would be off to you.

Polly
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:37 am

Lise wrote:


Sometimes you just know, very clearly, when you are in the presence of cruelty that is being inflicted on someone who is helpless to defend herself or get away from it. I trust and accept my perception that that is what I saw.

L.


It is looong time overdue we simply embrace the fact that monks are people. Monks of all ranks. The idea that someone can be certified for being wiser than others is little comfort these days. You have to listen to yourself first. "Be a light onto yourself." Monks are a tremendous help, but they are not perfect, and this help has limitations. If we stop expecting pure sanctity from them, we could easily solve most of the problems on this site.

My main point is that most people would never ever start a topic about how your boss was mean to a co-worker. That's because you don't expect sanctity from them.
Many people misunderstood the teachings and put waaaay too much emphasis on their teacher. That's a 50/50 fault on both the teacher and disciple. You made a mistake, it cost you some hard hard work. Shut your mouth, do the work. (see my new thread on "here and now" for a longer explanation).

Thanks Ya'll



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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:41 pm

I didn't expect pure sanctity. Basic politeness and kindness toward another person is what was missing, at times, and clearly something else was operating instead.

Like most people I learnt to recognise, from age 3 or so, the deliberate targeting and tormenting of another. You can feel when you're in the presence of that -- it is not like anything else.

Looking back, I kept quiet when I should have opened my mouth and said "please stop this -- what you're doing isn't right".
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:02 pm

I think you're right Lise, and that's definitively a lesson for all of us. By speaking up you could have helped that monk realize what they were doing, or it might have been an opportunity for them to clarify the situation. At the very least it would have given you the peace of knowing you acted....
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:11 pm

Hello Kid
If you think that the spiritual harm that your boss can do to you is equivalent to what your teacher/master can then I'd love to know what you do for a living. (Only as a self employed plumber, might I agree with you)
Most of my postings are actual complaints about my boss but that's not the point.

The ideal and the actual is a term your familiar with.
What you are speaking of is not really a 50/50 affair. It's 10% you, 10% master, 10% teaching to bow to them, 10 % conditioning of the harm of dissidence, 10% peer pressure, and it goes on & on until getting your little fraction of it out from under the weight becomes a humongous achievement.


Nobody would disagree about being a light onto your self, it's just the selectiveness of when that's trotted out that gives me pause.


What would you think if you went to a police commission complaint board to complain about a policeman who was behaving un professionally, and was told to put it on the "back burner" or shut up or to go on about your work?


Illumination of what was/is and will be happening is the training. Those who have not found this freedom are usually those that wish all those complaining, whining, ungrateful mouths would just shut up and quit disturbing those who were enjoying their snooze.


Personally I think that the melding of the OBC connect approach with the OBC gives everyone the best chance for wakefullness but a number of folks here might speak up and disagree.... which is just them doing their work.



Cheers


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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:12 pm

@kid

I think you are missing the point here. The contract at SA and the OBC priories is that clergy are in authority, and when you go there you submit to their direction, trusting that it is guided by ethics and respect. There are universal ethics that govern all clergy behavior and we should hold all clergy accountable to those ethics. Psychological abuse in the form of extreme verbal abuse, disrespect, and public humiliation is not acceptable in any religious community, nor should it be. Yet it was sanctioned from the top down at Shasta Abbey, even taught as a teaching tool to senior monks, the practice of "blowing up" people. Whenever there is a power differential, abuse is possible and should be called for what it is. I won't put up with it from a stranger on the street, why should I tolerate it from someone who makes claims of religious authority when it is much more damaging?
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:16 pm

Fair enough. You both do have more personal experience in the matter.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:29 pm

Hi Kid,

Would like to point out that if you want to use the boss/worker analogy, it is we who pay the monks. We support them; physically, financially, psychologically, the list goes on. So who is "the boss" in the picture? Everything else I think has already been said very well by others.

But I like your style.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:27 pm

More to Howard and Bill: (this post did come out a bit too long to read, sory bout that. If any one isn't into reading all this, just check out the link at the bottom of the page, it was very helpful when I was considering the issues on this thread)

Howard said: "What you are speaking of is not really a 50/50 affair. It's 10% you, 10% master, 10% teaching to bow to them, 10 % conditioning of the harm of dissidence, 10% peer pressure, and it goes on & on..."
The monks bow to you as well, remember. I was never conditioned on the harm of dissidence, if it happened in the past (which it sounds like it did), the training is there to clean up all the conditioning we've picked up over the years, not to be replaced by new conditioning. There was a mistake made by the monks and teachers that attempted to condition and a mistake made by the monks who allowed that conditioning to fester in them, they were blind you were blind, can't we get along... Peer pressure is all on you man, you can't go on blaming others for what they made you do.

"Illumination of what was/is and will be happening is the training. Those who have not found this freedom are usually those that wish all those complaining, whining, ungrateful mouths would just shut up and quit disturbing those who were enjoying their snooze."

I've understood the training to be about me ending my suffering by taking responsibility for it. I've thought of freedom as the ability to be happy despite my circumstances. Illuminating what was, I would replace with letting go of what was (always carefully learning from our mistakes, and remembering the precepts). I personally never understood the training to be a tool specificaly to understand or illuminating what will be happening, I may not have a clue as to what you meant though.
Also, am I supposed to be the snoozer? If it is, lemme say that I don't see any person here as a "complaining, whining, ungrateful...etc". If I didn't think you were all capable of wisdom by your own right I wouldn't be here.

Bill said:
"I think you are missing the point here. The contract at SA and the OBC priories is that clergy are in authority, and when you go there you submit to their direction, trusting that it is guided by ethics and respect"
...Clergy are in authority... i wonder if that can be taken too far, by both the teachers and trainees. I would venture to say that maybe the mistake was largely in submiting to someone's authority in the first place. If they didn't have power over you, they sure do now, I mean you just gave it to them! Maybe a better way of doing would be to accept their guidance as teachers while accepting their follies as humans, while entrusting the brunt of your training on yourself.

"Psychological abuse in the form of extreme verbal abuse, disrespect, and public humiliation is not acceptable in any religious community, nor should it be. Yet it was sanctioned from the top down at Shasta Abbey, even taught as a teaching tool to senior monks, the practice of "blowing up" people"
I am confident (not sure cause I wasn't there) that these were a minute part of the teaching, many times occurring not as teaching, but as mistakes,( i.e. situations were after a "blow up" the monk doing the blowing up apologized for the wrong behaviour.) You say it was sanctioned. Okay, but I would be willing to bet that today most monks would say that's a teaching that can easily get out of hand and be misused, and I think we would find it hard to prove that it is a teaching commonly used for most. Also, Bill, and I know our talk pertains to religious orders, I would say that if you really have a strong objection to this kind of teaching, it might be good to spend some energy trying to restructure the US military, whose training methods are not only excessive in all forms of abuse, but also sanctioned by our government and the tax payers (i.e. me and you). But thats besides the point.

"Whenever there is a power differential, abuse is possible and should be called for what it is. I won't put up with it from a stranger on the street, why should I tolerate it from someone who makes claims of religious authority when it is much more damaging?"

Abuses should be called for what they are, absolutely true. The examples are ample (hey that rhymes...teehee), and in any event, it's never okay to stand by malicious action or malicious abuse. That, any reasonable person will agree with. When a stranger is abusive, what do you do? Do you punch them? Do you abuse them back in the same way they did to you? Do you tell someone whom you believe trumps their power? Do you ignore them cause you know better? Or do you sit there and take it, and bathe in their insults, and smear more mud on you skin, and give them a stick to hit you with? I think you will answer that it's different because they are your teachers, and they have power over you, and you were just a novice and they seniors, and you didn't want to take it silently, but they made you. I would answer yes, with all the force and power you gave them, they did. I would hold them reponsible for their actions, as I would hold you for yours.

I will clarify that I understand that put in the same situation, I might react the same as the abusee in the stories that flood this site. I am not above making mistakes.

In response to the many little abuses reported in this "bullying" thread, I just heard a talk by Rev. Leon where he remembers the time a monk grabbed him( he was a novice) by the front of his robes and threw him out of the way, in the middle of a ceremony. He disscusses his take on the issue, and how he found a way to train with that. The particular section starts at minute 30 or 31 of the talk and goes on for about 10 minutes. I very strongly encourage those who have concerns with bullying to listen to it. Here's a link, but if that doesn't work, try the abbey site, the talk is under the name "the chair and the mind" in the archives.
http://www.shastaabbey.org/audio/leonChairandMind11.mp3
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:01 pm

Kid wrote:
Abuses should be called for what they are, absolutely true. The examples are ample (hey that rhymes...teehee), and in any event, it's never okay to stand by malicious action or malicious abuse. That, any reasonable person will agree with.

I will clarify that I understand that put in the same situation, I might react the same as the abusee in the stories that flood this site. I am not above making mistakes.

I like much of what you've written here, but there is an aspect of this that you haven't touched on and that's the "back burner" teaching. I believe the reason why many people put up with behavior that normally would be seen as unacceptable was because it was a "teaching" that zen masters wear masks and sometimes break the rules of respect and courtesy for the benefit of the students. If you're taught to suspend judgement in the face of what feels like abusive behavior because it's "teaching" then it becomes much harder to figure out how to respond. I experienced that it was in fact possible to view abusive behavior as teaching, but that didn't make it less abusive. I allowed a great deal of bad feeling to accumulate on my "back burner" until I finally decided to stop ignoring my conscience and my feelings. Then I had a backlog of stuff to deal with.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:00 pm

Hi Kid--One of the key facts in Rev. Leon's example is that the senior monk later apologized to him for the manhandling, and said that his own actions were "...not very good."

Of course, realizing that you can do something about suffering within your own mind is a core teaching, and is tremendously empowering.

But that's not to say that the apology is really secondary. Even when you have learned not to dwell on some harm that's been done to you, in fact even when you think you've totally put it aside, it can be a great relief to find that the person who hurt you regrets their behavior, and maybe even understands the event in roughly the same way as you. Some remnant of cognitive dissonance (did I deserve it? is the other person so special and elevated over me?) is finally put to rest.

I like the detail that Rev. Leon puts at the end, that he surely has "bullied" someone else (though I don't think he uses the exact word), and that he hopes that they can find a way to use it in their training. It's clear that he regrets the fact that he has caused harm.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:43 pm

Isan,
thank you.
I do think that whole back burner things does sound very dangerous and complex.

A big element that keeps coming up when I think about all this, is how quickly RMJK was moving monks up to teaching positions. I've seen some of the pictures from that time (70's) and many of the brown robes look ridiculously young. It seems to me that there were monks there who were tremendously ill-equipped to be teaching. It's also really hard for me to opinion on the events of that time, it does seem like a much more intense situation that these days.

The other prob is when people, like some on this site, saw someone being mistreated, and felt helpless to do something.
I think thats a reasonable complaint.
The OBC should have a more strutured way to address this sort of issue, so that if we do tell a Master, I saw REv. so and so mistreating Rev. such and such, they can't just brush it or you away without a satisfactory answer, or at least addressing the situation.

In the end, it all comes down on our own training and what we do with it. For some it may be to leave, and that's totally legitimate. You don't want to put up with something that seems wrong and won't be dealt with.

However, I do think this thread has split into those with legitimate experiences of abuse, and those with the petty gloating of a Monk's mistakes or the rigid, unforgiving, self-righteous nick picking of Monks shortcomings. I keep saying this, some here expect too much out of people. Some judge monks as if they ought to be above these human faults.

Lise said:
[I promise I'll get done venting one of these days. After that you guys will only hear from me if something needs moderating or the forum software goes haywire, or whatever.]

( I am sure you were 'just keddin') Nevertheless, I am truly amazed you find this helpful. In my experience though, the reasons to vent are inexhaustible, and on a personal level, I say whenever the reasons to vent about the OBC run out, there will be emptiness in the bit of satisfaction there comes from such things. Soon the need to satisfy that emptiness will call again, and the venting about [insert subject of your choosing] will commence.
I've found it helpful (when training for the liberation from suffering) to keep my peace, and let it go. I do zazen and keep the precepts for that reason alone, and not to elevate me into some position where I can determine and judge when someone is faulting, and how they ought not to.
Although I realise my posts here have come off as pretty abrasive to some, I take it for granted that we are all here to learn, and I have done so from many on this site. So Lise I am not acusing you of anything,only wondering if we're not getting carried away...

Gasho
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:47 pm

Hey ddolmar,

True dat, word up
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:50 pm

(Ya know what an old geezer I feel like when starting a posting with) "Hello Kid!"

OK lots of postings since I started pecking "so, Kid, ya feeling lucky?" Yeah my Clint
Eastwood routine stinks! anyway this is all in response to your 4:27 posting today. Please don't ask me to cut & paste it. This posting is unweildly enough as it is.



I don't know you so I'm feeling my way through here and I only have your words to go on but...

First and foremost is if things were the way you say they are, why the name disguise? It's entirely your business to not answer that one, but I do wonder about what it says about your posting. (I could be way out of line here)

You say you have not been subject to being conditioned to think that dissidence is harmful. Do you not realize that the belief in the harm of dissidence is what the entire body of your posting is about?

The conditioning of the harm of dissidence is not a monk sitting down saying you are not permitted to disagree with me. It is the plethora of monastic value judgements that will result in your shunning if you don't tow the line.

Calling it yesterdays mistakes conveniently belittles and excuses the responsibilities that I think are a spiritual beings due. Saying that these problems are not happening today is contrary to the evidence that arrives from Shasta today in your posting. Say all you want that your posting does not represent Shasta but it just does.

Do you think that most folks here have not all been there?

The deal here is that just about everyone on this forum once believed and talked exactly the same lines you do.......So

This is a "Matrix" blue pill/ red pill question.

If you want to explore this you can start by asking your closest Shasta brass what the last ordination number was. Divide this number by the number of Shasta Monks still waving the flag. Yeah, 20% (+or-) are left..

So either you are going to have to believe that you are special like that minority of like minded believers who think they have risen above the world of delusion, or just maybe you will start entertaining some doubts and consider exploring what most shasties have come to know. This path will probably cost you your comfortable slot in Shasta certainty as it has for almost everyone else so ask yourself why they have chosen not to return, before you choose your pill?. Perhaps being here means that you've already chosen it?

If Folks have come to Shasta for truth, seen the truth and decided to leave the center of truth, why wouldn't the suffering of the world not lead them back to Shasta to refind what they've lost?

The answer for me is that Shasta conditioning gave me the skill set to question the conditioning. The cliff that Shasta talks about stepping off, that leap of faith in training, looks like stairs after you realize that the real cliff to step off is all the conditioning. There is no landing from that!!

Most of us here probably think that you are as likely to give much credence to these words as we would of while cradled in Shasta's bosom so to finish ...

Others will have to speak for themselves but I have no time for the polarized positions that result from blame. Risking being labelled as "Love & Light", I think our ongoing attempts at being awake are more likely to illuminate everyones world than anything else. What's hard is trying to see through what we want to what is.



Perhaps that's some common ground to start on. Plus we both think zazen is the bee's knees.

PS About your (was, is, & will be question?) Just as Shasta dogma will talk about experiencing past lives, ask them about future lives for the woo woo factor. and yes, not to be approached any differently than zazen.

You've still left a number of choice bits to munch on but life with my imaginary friends does have it's limits so this all will have to wait for another day.



Have a good weekend! .....Kid!


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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:54 am

I am just jumping in here.

Kid says, "I've found it helpful (when training for the liberation from suffering)
to keep my peace, and let it go. I do zazen and keep the precepts for
that reason alone, and not to elevate me into some position where I can
determine and judge when someone is faulting, and how they ought not to."

This is certainly legitimate position - one way to approach Buddhist training....but I personally do not accept it.... as beneficial. The issue for me is "my peace." This is what many people did at Shasta. I did it for some years at Shasta, so i understand it intimately. I / We / they saw harm -- sometimes daily actually -- we/ they saw abuse -- and kept to our "training", focused on own internal "peace"....and tried to "let it go" or it is probably more accurate to say "ignore" it. On a very basic level, what that meant was suppression of conscience, denial of integrity and adulthood. Instead of being responsible, in other words, responding to the situation, we kept our silence. We "let it go." I am not talking about big, huge abuses - most of the time they were just everyday emotional and verbal bullying or excess of being the authority or the "senior" or the "master" -- and, of course, all in the name of training or for a person's own good. And in many cases, I we kept our silence, I kept my silence, out of fear -- fear of Kennett exploding in anger, fear of being banished or punished, fear of upsetting a person who was said to have no ego (how is that possible?). And, for me, this denial of being an adult .... felt terrible... and i later realized how un-enlightened the whole process was. How unnecessary. So this "peace" I was keeping..... well, i realized certainly as i was leaving and after i left, was not peace at all. And in so many cases, Kennett involved me many times in treating people with disrespect -- and i just don't accept that as "training" or even slightly Zen. Not then and not now.

But i do understand the concept of just doing your training, trying not to judge the teacher or the teaching, just focus on your meditation and keep going. Not your business, you can say. How can I judge others, you can say. Who am I to judge a teacher? I get that. I just don't accept it anymore as valuable. The Buddha himself urged people to scrutinize his behavior, his actions, to see if they were in sync with his teaching. He welcomed scrutiny. He did not consider it as inappropriate or heretical or traitorous - as Kennett did. It is not about being psychic - it is about keeping your eyes open and being sane and speaking out when you see something that could be amiss or harmful. Maybe it is harmful or maybe it isn't, but you find out. You inquire. You communicate. You question. It is about teachers who don't demand blind obedience and slavish devotion and can handle some challenging and some criticism and maybe even some course correction. It is about a community where there is a culture of respect, honesty, a community of adults, where people are not infantalized.

For the most part, I do try to focus on my own actions, my own mind states, but that does not mean that when i see harm, i do not respond. If I see it, maybe it is my business, maybe it is my peace to speak out and say NO or to ask "what's happening here?" and to communicate honestly. And I am not saying I am right, but something can be addressed, discussed, wrestled with. And maybe there is a way to do this that is much less judgmental? I fully admit that I can be too judgmental in how I respond - internally, but also sometimes externally.

There is a system that some people here my have heard of -- Marshall Rosenberg's "Non-Violent Communications." I took a few of his workshops years ago. It is brilliant teaching on how to listen and communicate more kindly. It does take some study - it's a bit complex - but no more complex than our judgmental ways of communicating. To me, his system is very dharmic. Maybe one day i will take more time to study and practice it.

I am babbling too much.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:43 am

Jcbaran:
Out of context there brotha. Missed my point you did.....
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:21 am

I think that this whole area is a place where it is very easy to get into a tangle. There is the truth. An abusive action is always an abusive action whether the intention was to teach or not; Nanzen is still a felinicide, however many people have learnt via his action. He carries the karma for killing the cat NOT for my learning from his doing it. There were many examples of those who learnt how to forgive and have compassion for their concentration camp guards, though they still called the guards sadistic mass murderers, because that is what they were - the truth, is the truth, is the truth, IS THE TRUTH. Bad behaviour is just that, bad behaviour. You may be able to learn from it but if you are expected to call it anything else run even if it was also deliberate teaching, your are being asked to take on delusion as the truth. We all subjugate ourselves to things, the law, the forum rules, the boss, the monastic order, the party line, for many reasons but when we are told that is the only unchangeable truth it is time to move on. You must be able to openly question and to call bad behaviour and mistakes what they are.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:09 pm

Speaking of tangles.

I went back 5 minutes too late to remove 1/2 of my last post.

Note to self. Consider sitting before pressing the submit button.

H
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:36 pm

HOWARD.

Pleased to hear it Howard. It didn`t sound like you.

Respect, Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: On bullying   Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:39 pm

Howard man, I like you.
I could answer much to your post,as you are a very crafty old geezer, very very dexterous in you ways.
I think that so long as we can agree on how absolutely fundamental zazen is, the rest is all just clarification, not an "argument".

Thanks for your humor and wisdom.

Ps- I choose to not take your pill, or the Abbey's (even though I am going there in a few days for an extended stay...). I rather oscillate in my own light/darkness, rather than in someone else's.
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