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 On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's

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Jcbaran



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PostSubject: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:16 pm

I decided to start a topic that focuses on Kennett's personality and by extension the "personality" or style of Shasta and the OBC.

As I had said elsewhere on this site, the unrecognized shadow of the founder of religious organizations (cults) is fully lived out and expressed in their communities and organizations. The more the guru's shadow is unacknowledged, the more harmful it becomes in its expression -- for years, decades, for ever actually. Until it is consciously and fully faced and engaged.

This statement is not just philosophy or conceptual. When I ran SORTING IT OUT -- when i talked and counseled well over 1,000 people who had been in various religious / spiritual /cultic organizations, what became overwhelming apparent was that the shadows of the gurus were running rampant and causing all sorts of suffering in the lives of their devotees and students. And Shasta was a prime example of this strange and convoluted drama.

In all cases, the main narrative in these organizations and communities was that the roshi / rinpoche / guru / perfect master had no self, no ego, no persona, no personal desires or wants, no shadow and that everything the master did was an expression of the divine, of the Buddha Nature, of selfless perfection, of God.

This was the great narrative, the mythology, the hope, the dream, the fantasy.

And in every case, without any doubt, this narrative was an illusion, an enchantment, a childish fantasy -- that caused sadness and harm and confusion in the hearts and minds of the followers.

Welcome to reality.

This grand story was supposed not only to be a GREAT TRUTH but also a powerful skillful means - the idea was that the followers, by seeing only truth and beauty in the actions of their guru -- would become quickly or instantly enlightened.

Another fantasy. Illusions lead to more illusions.

Now, back to THIS TOPIC. Over the next postings, I am going to talk directly about Kennett's personality, her unresolved issues, her history, ego, self, and how her personality affected her students and her legacy -- all the aspects of her life that were not supposed to exit anymore -- after she became an official Zen "master." She had a kensho, she received transmission, she was certified by a Zen abbot -- and from that moment on, the story goes, she had no self, no personality, no shadow, no negative aspects. Well, maybe she was still a tiny bit "human," maybe she had a few eccentricities or slight flaws, but for all practical purposes, she was a living Buddha and not really human.

So, in this topic, I am going to address the my reflections on her personality / shadow / human nature as I experienced it, not the fantasy, not the myth. I am going to talk honestly about what I saw and what I experienced in living closely with Kennett for those seven years.

I know how rude and inappropriate this is -- from the point of view of the current followers - how dare I talk like this!!!! Well, from my point of view, many decades long gone from the cult, I don't play by those rules anymore and anything else seems dishonest and frankly crazy. Tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Isn't the truth supposed to set us free? Ignoring reality leads to ignorance - doesn't it? You want to stay ignorant, ignore what is in front of you.

And, to be clear, I don't care that current group members believe that everything I say is some misunderstanding, that i didn't "get it," or whatever their spin is. As we know, they are in no position to have any independent thought or insight. That would just be too destabilizing.

Carl Jung said that one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

So that's the point of the coming stream of posts. Please join in..... as i start to post stuff.
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:29 pm

I'm in, Josh.

mokuan
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:46 pm

Josh, at some point can you talk about what it is that Kennett appeared to have in the beginning, to draw people as she did? I've wondered if she was just one more charismatic, exotic figure wandering around the Bay Area during the hippie years, someone who idealistic youngsters might "imprint" on, but there had to be something more. From the stories it seems clear something went badly wrong for her after just a few years, which became coded into the OBC's DNA, but was there something genuine in the beginning?

On another thread I said I couldn't have followed Kennett, but that's an easy assertion to make now, supposing I had met her after the authoritarianism and abusive behavior took hold. I wonder what I would have thought if I had met her at the beginning when you & the others did --
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:00 pm

I think we must talk freely about it. I agree with you about the guru shadow etc,and also view a bit differently.
What I found most beneficial about Shasta or the way it was , was actually 2 other things.
1 i found the whole sanga was the best teacher,seeing how people,had worked through their situations, and come up with the makings of a spiritual life.Seeing how they had changed was inspirational. When other people were allowed to voice their take, their understanding, I found this the most benefit
2 I found the most positive part of my involvement was when I was in London, my struggle to practice for myself,,i have to also say that i spent a lot of time communicating with Bill Picard. he was very 'anti formal religion',he did not like the names,the colored raksus,the positions. All he knew was sitting,as it was all he had done. So he was always quick to point out and challenge any odd view I had.
This sort of reinforces what you said, but because of these aspects, I was able,early on, to say no to kennetts shadow,but this was and is very difficult on ones own, as the pier pressure was enormous.
Interesting too I got on really well in Japan, with the temple the sanga, the Abbott, because my positive influences of sitting on my own and with Bill, was the norm there,the Abbott did not interact like Kennett, The practice was the focal point, he could not,and would not interact, or manipulate with me anyway like kennett did, (personality quirks did not happen) we could not communicate verbally, and there was not the same set up as Kennett established at all. Nothing like it, so much so I really wonder (not a lot ) what kennett actually did do in Japan. I think she missed it, and had to create her own interpretation of it, a bit like the story of Gutai's finger.
Yes a bit of a waffle,but don't lets be afraid of openness, discussion and Dharma debate
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Nicky



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:14 am

Yes Josh , Hard reading,

i want like Mokuan , to say simply : I'm in .
I'm not sure though if i can face all this dreadful Jiyu stuff . I'm trying to get right out - away - and even wondering if i can cope with this site at all. Of course I'm grateful to it , to all of you , moved by many of the postings ,but i find participating in it is hard in every way . so , not entirely clear what i feel , or how best to let that shadow fade - go . I love that sentence ; .............making the darkness conscious - ive been thinking , painting about that a lot - so thank you .
I know ,Josh, you say : ' welcome to reality ,' but can we approach it in different ways ? better stop ,

Chisan
i liked your 'bit of waffle ' too, especially the anti formal religion bits , wish id met Bill Picard .
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:41 am

Nicky I read on here yesterday about eating meat, I was going to reply to it, but i will tell you privately, on the basis that you don't tell anyone else, they all know I have been to japan and I think I am getting away with it they might think I am holy.
However between you and me, the food in Japan took a bit to get used to, after a while it was normal. My situation was if I did not recognise it, I would throw it down,just get it down without a taste. All the meals were formal, apart from an afternoon tea, which was semi formal. Pilgrims would often leave food for us to eat, sushi rolls were the favorite. One day I was first in to the tea room and there on the table was a beautiful box of hamburgers, wrapped up as only Japanese people do, the wrapping is as good as the present. The burgers smelt good, really good,I opened the wrapping, and there was a burger bursting with salad, sliced egg ,I did my best to eat it with no mind, it was delicious, I drank my tea and left. leaving behind a box of incredibly tasty burgers, the best I had ever tasted. I was walking back to my log pile to chop,and with my best attempt of having no self, thought it would be such a waste to see them get cold, as no one else had gone for the tea break,. I have to admit to you Nicky, I sneaked back, walking in the traditional quiet way I moved as fast as I dare through the shadows, passing only the Abbott. The plan was just to have one, and then back to work, I had only been away for 2 minutes, and on my return the room was to my relief still empty, but so was the box someone had had the lot.
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:17 am

Thanks Josh for this thread I think it can serve a very useful purpose both in helping those who have left understand better and come to terms with the good and the bad of their experiences with the OBC, and tell the good from the bad. But also to help those who remain in it to a better understanding and to glean clues for a way forward to an OBC that does as an organisation nurture the bodhicitta and its fulfillment. I have a longer post to formulate but must away to the dentist (ugh!) and will try and post later.
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john



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:52 am

Hi Josh,
I like to think I never bought into the whole obc package I always
held back a bit,but thats probably to do with my issues over intimacy,
not letting anybody get to close always having to be my own person
which has I believe protected me from mass hysteria.Even so this forum
has caused me some degree of painfull discomfort with a shift in what I believed I believed. Id like to believe in absolutly nothing but know that that is impossible, always the mind takes a view, but we dont have to buy into it.
One of the biggest problems I see when a person is in the position of being adored, which can come from the gratitude of othes,and as much as the adored person tries to dismiss it, it can come in through the back door. And power takes to the head.I remember listening to one of Rev Jiyu talks on kensho, saying that having experienced it the person thinks they are pretty clever. That she said needs shooting. I have often wondered who does the shooting at the top level in the obc and came to the conclusion it cant be done. To much face to lose.
Do you think the world is an improved place for RMJK having been in it and I do realise for some that answear is absolutly not. For me, if it wasnt her teachings I came across, then something else would have been used.
I Just needed to find resolution and have a debt of gratitude for having been helped.
And I know ultimatly we have to help ourselves.
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Nicky



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:10 am

Chisan , thank you , I'm smiling with your story .
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:32 am

Good one Nicky, and you are participating,and you have lots to say too
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:53 am

Jcbaran wrote:
I decided to start a topic that focuses on Kennett's personality and by extension the "personality" or style of Shasta and the OBC.

As I had said elsewhere on this site, the unrecognized shadow of the founder of religious organizations (cults) is fully lived out and expressed in their communities and organizations. The more the guru's shadow is unacknowledged, the more harmful it becomes in its expression -- for years, decades, for ever actually. Until it is consciously and fully faced and engaged.


Carl Jung said that one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

I'm interested in what you have to say about this, but I'd like to see you place it in a larger context. We all internalize the shadow of our parents and families, school teachers, cultures, governments, Ad infinitum. It is the nature of Samsara and not something limited to the dynamics of spiritual groups with Masters/Gurus/Rinpoches. It is the nature of relationship that we embrace the light and shadow of the "other", so I'd like to see you speak to a larger question, which is when done properly what could the process of awakening look like in the context of dedicated spiritual communities? And by properly I mean being able to engage the process understanding that there is (always) a shadow component, learn to identify the shadow and eventually transcend the teacher/system to arrive at autonomy.

The danger I see with debunking teachers and groups is there may be nothing left when you're done. The main stream western culture of materialism, mass media, obsession with youth, etc, is not satisfactory to anyone with a spiritual longing.
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:03 am

Not sure I have read you right Isan, your last paragraph,is not that the big question, to find the spiritual where one is?
If I misunderstood,please explain again the last paragragh
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Jcbaran



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:01 am

I will start focusing on this topic more in the coming weekends - when i have more time. I agree that the point here is not just "debunking" but understanding -- and that includes of course compassion for everyone in this drama - including Kennett.

And in the wider situation, understanding and compassion for all the various spiritual teachers that get trapped or place themselves in these situations where they play the game of being perfect, when they aren't. And their communities and followers - what they go through.

And sure, we can address how this fits into the bigger story of Zen in Japan or Buddhism in general.

And I hope people will join in here - with their own memories or insights also. As I said, i have forgotten many details over the years - a good thing -- but the gist of what I will write about is the best of my recollection.

One other point -- when we see more clearly, question everything, and see what is not true directly - see what is false for ourselves -- what remains? From my experience, what remains is the essential, things as they area -- the unborn as the Buddha called it. So this process of questioning, challenging which is not afraid of some "debunking" -- to me, this is not cynicism or nihilism. I understand how some people go in that direction. It is the great process of dis-enchantment.

Ideally, the great spiritual traditions and teachers were supposed to be the master dis-enchanters - but when spirituality becomes institutionalized religion, instead of disenchanting, these leaders are frequently establishing churches, seniority, hierarchies, patriarchies, empires, defending their turf, politics and factions are created, dogmatism grows, and so on. What we see is human nature playing itself out - but under the guise of the divine or holy or truth. Not saying that there is not some truth still in there, but clearly it gets all mixed up, confused. And as we know, all that glitters is not gold.

Anyway, need to focus more on the Kennett / OBC story and personality and see what we can learn from that exploration.
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:53 am

Well done Josh ,keywords are compassion, and disenchantment, I think there is a great tendancy to feel disenchanted , when going through this type of thing, disillusionment too. So to keep a balance, I think you must highlight the positive too. We have a rsponsibility to face what we did not find right, and likewise responsibility to face what we feel is right. sorry like you i am rushing too.
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Carol



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:28 am

Anne's post on another thread is relevant here. She is discussing the meaning of "delusion." Isn't that exactly what Josh is saying? By refusing to consider (or worse yet censoring) any criticisms of spiritual leadership because such a critique would violate a precept, aren't we creating delusion?? Anne's scholarly examination of the word "delusion" concludes that it means something like "dulling out."

Here is what Anne said:

Quote :
The word that gets translated as "delusion" is moha in Sanskrit. The Buddha’s words were not written down in his original dialect, and unfortunately I do not have a Pali dictionary, but I looked up moha and its root in my Monier-Williams Sanskrit dictionary.

According to this, moha comes from muh, the latter meaning to become stupefied or unconscious, be bewildered or perplexed, err, be mistaken, go astray, etc; to become confused, fail, miscarry, etc. Meanings for moha itself are given as loss of consciousness, bewilderment, perplexity, distraction, infatuation, delusion, error, folly, etc; fainting, stupefaction, a swoon, etc; darkness and delusion of mind; ignorance; a magical art employed to bewilder an enemy; wonder, amazement; infatuation personified as the offspring of Brahmā. (I do not know if the above sequence, by Monier-Williams, is significant; the etcs are his.)

As a physical condition, and so perhaps as figurative for a mental condition, the implication seems to be that one had consciousness then lost it.

Although translation as confusion or delusion has been perhaps the more common in English, it is not ubiquitous; for example, Paravahera Vajirañāña Mahāthera in Buddhist Meditation (first publ 1962) translated it as dullness. In lists of the kleśas, moha appears as separate from false views (dŗşti) that include the view of self.

On one hand, though greed or hate formations might arise involuntarily, continued indulgence implies a degree of conscious complicity; and one might deliberately engender them in oneself. On the other hand, for decades, I had assumed that moha was more like an unfortunate outcome, something from which one suffered, did not do deliberately to oneself, might not even know about, and (even if one did know) could not just decide to end, although one might undertake action to improve the situation. However, there were many contexts in which this understanding of moha seemed strained or unhelpful.

I first came across translation of moha as dulling down or dulling out several years ago in the writings of Shenpen Hookham (and I think that her husband Rigdzin Shikpo may also use this term or similar). This moha implied something one did quite actively, not something that had happened to one, and I thought back and recalled having done this quite self-indulgently, prior to taking up Buddhist training, as a method of unwise escape or hiding, like trying to hide something behind ones own back or not see it. It was very interesting to remember this and to realise that this had indeed been a very unskilful kind of conscious and deliberate action; not one that overtly hits the newspapers like scandals of greed and reports of violence, but one quite worthy of noting by the Buddha as a common root vice. This kind of moha is something one can desist from, which would be quite a liberating thing to hear. As aversion (or turning from), it would be flight not fight. Buddhist mindfulness and insight practice, where one looks into ones tendencies, opposes it.

To test the value of any of this, if you come upon a passage of Buddhist teaching where translation of moha as confusion/delusion does not seem quite to fit, you could try to see if substituting the implications of dulling out or stupefaction makes more sense or is more helpful. (-:
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:17 am

Josh
No Kennett does not need our compassion, she is dead and way beyond that. Compassion is for the living. What is due to Kennett's memory and legacy is the unvarnished, unbiased truth, that would be compassion for the living. Undoubtedly some of her legacy is good and some not so good. If we hide behind compassion for the dead, including all of our lineage, we are adopting some kind of dreadful necromantic ancestor worship. We will end up drawing a veil over what was bad and perpetuating it. That would distinctly not be compassion for the living.
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Jcbaran



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:33 am

absolutely, let's tell the truth and not hide behind any concepts. good point.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:19 pm

Just a thought, I know these threads aren't easy for people who have never questioned or wanted more info than the slight history they've been told about Kennett and OBC early days. I get messages from those who feel there's no need to look back, and clearly they're upset. Some seem to be struggling with the "crumbling of OBC-mind", and they're working as fast as they can to slap mortar into the cracks and catch bricks as they fall. I do feel compassion for them. But looking back is important. For some of us it helps put the pieces in place and the end result is going to be much greater understanding and, possibly, sympathy and acceptance, than we would have found without it.

L.
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Jcbaran



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:22 pm

Some other thoughts here, just to finish "setting the table."

We all have heard that Dogen quote many times: To study the Way (Dharma) is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.

So, isn't Zen practice and training first and foremost the study of the self? And when we are talking about Zen teachers, masters of "awareness," how is it conceivably possible that they lacked what we would call basic self-awareness? How does that make any sense at all?

Shouldn't they be super self-aware? After all, they meditated deeply, had various enlightenment experiences, and so on - after all that, how could they be lacking in basic awareness of their inner psychology, feelings, issues????

Well, that's a reasonable question. Now, based on my personal experience not only with Kenentt, but with many other spiritual teachers / gurus / roshis -- and through the experiences of all those folks I saw through Sorting It Out, I would say that most of these gurus / masters had / have a serious lack of basic emotional intelligence. Yes, they were woefully un-self aware.

It became clear that many forms of meditation - and forms of what is called spiritual training do NOT increase basic awareness of your everyday "self" - your feelings, reactions, stories, emotions. In fact, most forms of meditation and practice DECREASE this awareness. Too much time is spent in ignoring your feelings and thoughts, avoiding your reactions, trying to transcend, go above, leap into a higher state of consciousness. And there is usually the belief that by meditation alone, all those messy human feelings will just evaporate, dissolve in light, bingo, gone. Self gone, feelings gone, ego gone, history gone. Awakening dawns and the story is over.

In most traditions, that's what is taught - some form of ignoring - ignorance -- and avoidance. I have seen this over and over again. And most spiritual communities - especially coming out of Asian traditions -- do not address personal feelings, you are not supposed to talk about anything personal, they are considered of low stature, not spiritual. Ignore your thoughts, your reactions, meditate, chant, visualize and your attachments to your self and feelings will dissolve. Feelings -- just get over them.

This doesn't work. Never has.

So it is entirely possible to have transcendent experiences, enlightenment moments, and actually lack even the most basic understanding of your own inner psychology. I know this from the hundreds of reports and stories i heard. It may seem bizarre - but frankly, lack of emotional intelligence is endemic amongst all these gurus and masters.

And to make matters even worse, by ignoring your feelings and reactions, they become even more unconscious, more unexamined, stronger -- and truly far more dangerous because they are entirely unacknowledged. So whatever inner unresolved issues you have just become all the more intractable - and active - but even less understood.

And certainly in societies like Japan and Tibet, people do not open up about their feelings. Maybe except when they are drunk? I have been on Tibetan meditation retreats - where there were many lectures and Q&A periods and not a single personal question was asked. Only questions about "dharma." And the lama, who is an excellent meditation teacher, by the way, at one point started making fun of westerners who "moan about their mommies and daddies." So the message was keep your personal suffering to yourself and don't share it and it's not big deal. However, we know clearly how much people suffer - that can come from their past, from their families, from their daily lives, from their relationships. Samsara is not in the sky - it's not some big concept. when we suffer, it's about our existence right now including how it shows up in relationships, etc. And to avoid and ignore everyday issues is to ignore the path to true awareness. More on that later.

Many of us have read Zen books and texts and all the stories of the famous masters. Of course, what we read were great stories, myths of this tradition - and couldn't possibly be factual. Impossible. Human beings are much messier, less perfect, not quite so holy and radiant all the time. Not so different than the Catholic lives of the saints or most holy scriptures. Stories cleaned up for good marketing. And myth making doesn't have to wait until a teacher is long dead -- some gurus are great at marketing themselves as they live their lives - they are constantly cleaning up the story, re-casting the characters, manicuring the drama to fit the narrative. Not unlike politicians or celebrities. Kennett certainly did that. The whole Lotus period was her spinning.

And for most Americans, we have absolutely no sense of the history of the Zen tradition -- except from the myths. That's why the book Zen at War was such a shock to many of us. We had no idea what went on in the Zen tradition for nearly 100 years in terms of their active support of war and aggression. And way beyond that, we have no idea about the politics of the various sects and schools, and all the other things that turned Zen into the imperial state religion. Instead all we know are the idealized fantasies.

And then in terms of Kennett and OBC, we had almost no sense of Kennett's teacher, Koho Zenji. I realized I heard almost zero stories about him and no idea what kind of person or teacher he was. Kennett barely knew him. He could have been a great sage. He could have been an administrator. No sense of him as a person. And this issue will factor more into Kennett's psychology and behavior.

I am rambling and will stop for now.
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Jcbaran



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:28 pm

"We don't need to look back." Well, first why not?

Also, Kennett's reality is alive and well and still being actively lived out by her devotees. Right now. Their denial is alive and well. I understand why they want to suppress this kind of exploration.

And the past certainly has not been examined or understood -- and now is the very first time that anyone associated with this organization is making an attempt to truly understand what happened.

If some people don't think this is worthwhile, they don't have to read these posts. Ignorance is bliss? I don't think so. Ignorance is ignorance.

What can't be discussed? What can't be addressed?

and Why?

And this discussion somehow harms the dharma or breaks some precept?

The main precept is TRUTH. So let's share what our truths are - and let people disagree or share their own.

But no more denial and no more suppression and no more fantasies.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:47 pm

Kennett's Childhood:

OK, I would like to talk a little about Kennett's childhood and how her upbringing formed her personality. Very Freudian way to get into this, but have some thoughts in this area.

Unfortunately, I don't remember lots of the details of precisely how she told her family story. So, Mark maybe you do and could fill some in.

From what I recall, she had somewhat distant father, wasn't there a mean or unkind step mother? And didn't she have a brother who she was not close to? Didn't he die or completely cut off from her? Or did I get this wrong?

Before I launch into more thoughts on this, would love to get some more of the facts right.

Certainly, the organization refers to her childhood as "difficult' and didn't someone use the term "tragic." or something like that?

So, if anyone has a better memory, please share.......
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:08 pm

I can't help stepping out of my observing post to agree publicly (and not only in my little self...) with what you what you are writing Josh:

We should be seekers of untruth: By looking for what is untrue about ourselves, Truth will finally shine forth of its own, not as so made-up idealization.

"I have been on Tibetan meditation retreats - where there were many lectures and Q&A periods and not a single personal question was asked. Only questions about 'dharma'."
It is my experience as well: 'Dharma' should be centred around our lives AND we should centre our lives around 'Dharma'. Very often spiritual groups ask only the latter of their trainees.

Josh, please keep rambling like that.
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:10 pm

Well excellent points, and not for the first time mark and josh i find myself nodding and shaking my head at the same time!
Compassion for the dead, I had never thought about that in that way, every year on the day for 25 years I have been to the crematorium where my dad was cremated,It is out of love not compassion . In japan they have a tradition of remembering a dead person every certain number of years,I think that is love too,I certainly want to go to japan and visit the Abbots grave.I struggle with the compassion,I agree with what you say ( now you have said it Mark ) but I like the positivity of what Josh says,maybe for me a better word would be love for kennett, I do not have this but I go along with Josh's sentiments,maybe a bit more clarity or pinpointing Josh.
The looking back, I am fine with that,I am sure Lise you have had quite a few comments, saying I wish we would all move on and not mention the war ( English joke) But the lotus period did form the OBC for me it is important as I am surprised that any meditator would not have alarms ringing when Jesus and Bodhigarma, come round for tea.
And Josh's point about stuff of the self,I do not think that teachers are expert on dealing with personal stuff,and I think, could feel threatened to answer questions, on personal Momma dadda issues,because they do not have the solutions,and they have been put in or have put themselves in this stupid situation of being god, and knowing all the answers. I feel the credibilty, or real wisdom of the 'gurus' 'teachers' is precisely how they answer these questions,they may well not have the answers but a good teacher would give a good answer, and also show some compassion.
I wrote in an earlier post I was friendly with RD Lang,he was so good at answering personal questions,he had more insight into personal problems than any one else I have ever met. I think the reason for this is he was so experienced in mental problems and issues, that he could come up with possible causes incredibly quickly. But it was his job, I never heard anyone ask him a question on enlightenment or meditation, as I do not think anybody would expect him to have a clue
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:24 pm

Josh, if what you are saying is that people who have various degrees of kensho (as Jiyu Kennett used the term) still have learning to do about themselves - "inner psychology, feelings, issues..." - I agree with you. This does not mean that various levels of awakening (gradually or suddenly) shed no light on this, or no more than the person had before, but that more is yet to be unearthed. One might be surprised at how much more!...

"Investigation of phenomena" (dharma-vicaya) is one of the "factors of enlightenment" (bodhyanga), and works like a knife in conjunction with the "fork" of mindfulness. Undertaking to enlighten darkness (rather than simply flight into light) will not reveal all rapidly, alas...
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:41 pm

Hi Josh,

I don't know about a step-mother; that doesn't sound familiar. She did have one brother, Reginald, who died in the early '90s, when I was still at the Abbey. I don't believe he ever married, but he did remain in the family home up until his death.

It appears from a letter that she wrote to other family members and friends that they had a strained relationship. The letter was very caustic. I'm hoping she just wrote it more like "notes to myself" as opposed to something she was going to send. She did ask me to read it for grammatical errors -- I was one of her jiishas -- and I remember thinking, please don't send this to anyone. She blamed him for many things, though now I couldn't even begin to remember what they were.

But after the monks from Throssel crated up the contents of the house and sent it over, RMJK gave me this little notebook that she'd had as a child. I know she opened it, but I'm not sure she was able to read it due to her poor eyesight. In this notebook, in a little girl's handwriting, she wrote, "Peggy loves Mummy. Peggy loves Reggie."

My heart went out to her like never before when I read that. A child's love is so tender and precious, and she once loved like that. Perhaps, over the years, her love was crushed one too many times from those who should have cared for her and protected her and she just forgot what it was about. I don't know.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:35 pm

Josh
My memories of what Jiyu told me about her early life are very vague I took alot of what she said about it with a pinch of salt after it seemed to change depending on her mood. I can remember her talking in general and rather disparaging terms about her brother. And I remember going out to lunch with her and a friend from her Buddhist Society days of whom she said after we left that he had wanted to marry her. But I'm afraid I took that too with a pinch of salt. The one fact about her life which strangely seems to be rarely mentioned is the part she played in the aftermath of the great 1969 Tsurumi train crash that happened right next to Sojiji. Irmagard Schloegl, not a natural ally of Jiyu's, who was in Japan at the time said when I talked to her that Jiyu 'had worked tirelessly for three days without sleep' helping to lay out the bodies and body parts on the railway line embankment and helping with Buddhist ceremonials for the dead. I seem to remember that Irmgard also said that much was made in the press about the foreign female monk helping at the crash site.

The rest as I said is rather vague, but by and large agrees with Kay's 'Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain':
"Kennett recalls her school days as an important formative time, tracing her beliefs in sexual equality, her disenchantment with Christianity and her initial interest in Buddhism back to this period. After the Second World War, she entered higher education, studying medieval music at Durham University and obtaining a fellowship at Trinity College of Music, London. Although she claims to have ‘converted’ to Buddhism as a child, she remained a committed Christian into adulthood, believing that her deep calling was to become an Anglican priest. The Anglican Church’s policy on female ordination and the sexism Kennett encountered as a church organist contributed further to her growing sense of disillusionment and she eventually renounced Christianity, becoming actively involved with Buddhism, which she believed afforded greater respect and opportunity for women. Her initial interest was in Theravada Buddhism, at that time the most prominent form of Buddhism in England, and she became involved with the London Buddhist Vihara. Kennett also became a member of the Buddhist Society in 1954, and she studied and lectured at the society and even wrote for The Middle Way on the subject of music and Zen. Her strong personality would later clash, however, with some of the society’s more prominent members, including its founder and president Christmas Humphreys. During the 1950s, Zen was very much on the upswing within the Buddhist Society. Kennett’s attentions gradually shifted away from Theravada Buddhism and she became an enthusiastic member of Humphreys’ popular Zen Class. She met and was ‘greatly impressed’ (Oliver 1979: 180) by D. T. Suzuki, and her view of Zen Buddhism, like that of Humphreys, was strongly tinged by Suzuki’s modernist interpretation. More important than her meetings with Suzuki, however, was her introduction, in 1960, to Koho Keido Chisan (1879-1967), the chief abbot of Sojiji, the head temple of the Soto sect in Japan. Koho Chisan was touring Europe and America and Kennett helped to arrange his visit to England. Their encounter resulted in his extension of an invitation to her to become his disciple at Sojiji, an offer she readily accepted. His tour of the West must be contextualised against the historical and social changes that forced the Soto sect to reform itself, to open up to the modern world, and to instigate missionary activity, both in Japan and in the West. These ‘push’ factors combined with important ‘pull’ factors, including the calls of Japanese emigrants abroad for a priestly representation and the growing Western interest in Zen. When it comes to reconstructing the trajectory of Kennett’s life in the East, we are heavily dependent upon her own diaries from this period. These were revised and edited following her return to the West and were eventually published in two volumes as The Wild, White Goose (1977a and 1978). These texts reflected Kennett’s progress through the Japanese Soto system, initially as a trainee in one of its principal monasteries and later as a temple priest. We must remember, however, that as an autobiographer, Kennett was concerned less with historical accuracy than with providing legitimation and identity for herself and her movement. The autobiographical aims and purposes behind The Wild, White Goose will be examined in detail later; for the present, we will concentrate upon abstracting the facts from what is largely, to use Kennett’s own words, ‘a work of fiction’ (Kennett 1977a: xi)."
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:38 pm

Funny again I woke up thinking about the train crash, so was not surprised to see you write about it, I agree a great part she played in a catasrophe,nice that Irmgard (not a natural ally) felt to mention it too. I would not mind knowing more of Kay and where he sourced his information which what I have read is surprisingly accurate. I was up early I assume you were watching the cricket
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:10 am

On early years, from the obituary that appeared in the Buddhist Society's journal, The Middle Way:
Quote :
Reverend Master Jiyu was born in 1924 at St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, and baptised Peggy Kennett. Her first encounters with the Dharma came from a copy of The Light of Asia by Edwin Arnold and a statue of the Buddha, a relic of Empire, that stood on the mantlepiece of her first school. Even earlier as a small girl, on seeing a person in monastic robes in the street, she told her mother that this was what she wanted to be when she grew up.

With World War II came the death of her father after a long illness and then her evacuation to Oxfordshire. The sight of the red night sky - London in the Blitz - stayed with Peggy Kennett all her life...
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:42 am

Her father died of dropsy, which is what they used to call congestive heart failure.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:34 am

mstrathern (Wed 15 Dec - 11:17) wrote:

Kennett does not need our compassion, she is dead and way beyond that. Compassion is for the living. What is due to Kennett's memory and legacy is the unvarnished, unbiased truth, that would be compassion for the living. Undoubtedly some of her legacy is good and some not so good. If we hide behind compassion for the dead, including all of our lineage, we are adopting some kind of dreadful necromantic ancestor worship. We will end up drawing a veil over what was bad and perpetuating it. That would distinctly not be compassion for the living.

I agree we should not use compassion for RMJK to deflect an honest appraisal of her legacy. I would disagree though that she is beyond needing compassion. I believe there is value in transferring merit to the deceased - it helps the living as well as the dead.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:51 am

Jcbaran wrote:



It became clear that many forms of meditation - and forms of what is called spiritual training do NOT increase basic awareness of your everyday "self" - your feelings, reactions, stories, emotions. In fact, most forms of meditation and practice DECREASE this awareness. Too much time is spent in ignoring your feelings and thoughts, avoiding your reactions, trying to transcend, go above, leap into a higher state of consciousness. And there is usually the belief that by meditation alone, all those messy human feelings will just evaporate, dissolve in light, bingo, gone. Self gone, feelings gone, ego gone, history gone. Awakening dawns and the story is over.

In most traditions, that's what is taught - some form of ignoring - ignorance -- and avoidance. I have seen this over and over again. And most spiritual communities - especially coming out of Asian traditions -- do not address personal feelings, you are not supposed to talk about anything personal, they are considered of low stature, not spiritual. Ignore your thoughts, your reactions, meditate, chant, visualize and your attachments to your self and feelings will dissolve. Feelings -- just get over them.

.

At one level I agree, and at another I don't.

Meditation/mindfulness is about keen awareness and that includes the awareness (and acceptance) of one's feeling, one's motivations, faults, and strengths in an unvarnished form. It is a jolt the first time, one realizes the range of potential evil within one's psyche and personality, and it is a huge step forward when one accepts that without being intimidated or shocked by it. It is part of awareness to see when those elements arise, demand attention, center stage and control, and to see their foundations (usually some some elemental fear). It is the beginning of freedom when they can arise without having the power to seize control of behavior. The crux of awareness is awareness of behavior. For me, that's best captured in the statement that "people's behavior is generally the most reliable statement of their beliefs." Until people become aware of the incongruence between what they think they believe and what they actually do, they are generally doomed to repeat the behavior

Part of the real problem is that people believe they are something consistent, an image of themselves. They may believe themselves to be good people who for some unexplicable reason fall into occaisonal meanness and mischief. The BTK serial killer thought of himself as a normal, good person who was overcome by some unexplainable force sometimes. In a much less severe, form that malady is repeated throughout the experience of mankind each day.

Mindfulness of what one actually does, and how one actually behaves is a crucial step in seeing the conditioning that controls one such that one at least has a chance of escaping it.

Zen does a poor job of teaching the above. It can unfortunately reinforce a new age mantra of "go with the flow," be "one with whatever is." Perhaps for a real Buddha that may be useful advice, but it is a disaster for most who try to get that feeling and put it into practice without being fully enlightened. (And I've not met a fully enlightened being yet.)
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:15 am

jack wrote:


Meditation/mindfulness is about keen awareness and that includes the awareness (and acceptance) of one's feeling, one's motivations, faults, and strengths in an unvarnished form. It is a jolt the first time, one realizes the range of potential evil within one's psyche and personality, and it is a huge step forward when one accepts that without being intimidated or shocked by it. It is part of awareness to see when those elements arise, demand attention, center stage and control, and to see their foundations (usually some some elemental fear)...snip...

Jack, I agree that what you're describing is meditation done correctly, however Josh is talking about how meditation is influenced by the context created by the teacher and community in which it's practiced. When there is no support for the development of emotional intelligence (EI) it doesn't get developed. Specifically with regard to meditation practice at Shasta Abbey while I was there, I did develop awareness of "feelings, motivations and faults" however I did not develop any assertiveness which is an essential component of EI. To the contrary the urge to be assertive was actively suppressed in the face of the over-arching directive to conform. From my observation this model produced people with a lot of internal awareness and almost no permission to express themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:41 am

Hi Isan

Your post-
I would disagree though that she is beyond needing compassion. I believe there is value in transferring merit to the deceased - it helps the living as well as the dead.

My meditation is simple and is most easily expressed as " What can I do to face my ego and stop feeding it". I figured I'd move on when I got good at it but here I am still working the front counter after 38 years and the food just keeps coming.


While the effort to create general merit makes sense in my experience with meditation, early warning ego bells always sound when people attempt to direct merit towards a specific individual. It just feels like an oxymoron. I have mostly seen it manifest as more of a feast for the ego than a diet program. This of coarse puts me at odds with much of the way Buddhism is practised.

Any suggestions to the front counter guy on dealing with the difference between my experience with it and most of the rest of the Buddhist world.
Note # All my other back burners are occupied.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:33 am

Howard wrote:


While the effort to create general merit makes sense in my experience with meditation, early warning ego bells always sound when people attempt to direct merit towards a specific individual. It just feels like an oxymoron. I have mostly seen it manifest as more of a feast for the ego than a diet program. This of coarse puts me at odds with much of the way Buddhism is practiced.

Have a look at this:

An Overview of Loving-Kindness Meditation

http://www.buddhanet.net/metta_in.htm

This is perhaps a better description of what I mean.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:05 pm

Emotions are a relational in nature. Even if one is a hermit for an extended period, a person will create or experience some “other,” be it deities, the dead, beings met in astral travel, or whatever or whomever, with whom there will be an emotional exchange. Mixed in with emotions are one’s values and a need to express oneself. An aspect of emotional intelligence is how we express our inner emotional state in the world with others and how our values and experience modify how our emotions are expressed in order to minimize harm and maximize good (or not depending on our values).

The problem arises when there is a situation like at Shasta, in which one becomes acutely aware of one’s inner emotional state while at the same time having the paths to communicate and express those emotions and values associated with them blocked or severely limited. Without a means of expression, the relational aspects of emotions are cut off. What ensues is confusion or delusion. Without a means of expression, there is no reality testing either of our emotions or values. We tend to then doubt the validity of our own emotional experience and our own values. There becomes a stormy, volatile, and intense interplay between overwhelming self doubt and anger at the people and system that negates our own inner experience.

Those who succeed in such a system are those: 1. who can live with the suppression of their own and others values and emotions, or 2. whose values and emotions happen to sufficiently conform to what is acceptable within the organization. For those who don’t fit into either of these, there are emotional and/or physical consequences to pay. Either way, this is not an environment that supports the development of emotional intelligence. With such a limited range of what is acceptable to express publicly regarding one’s own emotional reactions to events and one’s own values judgments regarding those events (and believe me, within the vast spectrum of possible views of and reactions to life at Shasta while I was there, the range of acceptable expression was severely limited), developing an understanding of those emotional responses outside the acceptable range is rendered difficult at best. Why bother to understand what is considered "wrong views" and "misguided judgments", which it is believed lead only to delusion, other than to develop ways to further suppress them for the protection of the community. When such “misguided judgments” and emotional reactions were expressed, they were quickly suppressed. People were told not to listen to those aberrant views, and the person was told that creating disharmony in the Sangha created eons of karma in hell. We’ve seen the similar attempts at repression on this site when criticisms about the OBC or Rev. Kennett are made: there’s no self to harm, why don’t you move on, I’m fine why aren’t you, etc. At Shasta there was the added degradation of being shunned and possibly having the wrath of Rev. Kennett upon you.

For many of us, living in that environment was like being a robot programmed with two conflicting prime directives: one was our own emotional reaction to things we saw Rev. Kennett do or policies enacted and how that conflicted with our values, the other was the values and actions of Rev. Kennett and the monks who assimilated those as their own. To make matters worse, one of the prime directives was openly supported, while the other was openly suppressed. If you were in the suppressed camp, there was no way to reality test your own emotional responses and values. It became very difficult not to doubt and question oneself, one’s emotions, and one’s values in a very unhealthy manner, because they were all contained, with no outlet, within our own minds and hearts.

This is a recipe for a tremendous lack of emotional intelligence in both the suppressor and suppressee. Acute awareness of one’s own emotional state developed through meditation in such circumstances is useless, at best, and utterly confusing, stressful, overwhelming, emotionally destabilizing, or illness inducing at worst. It is like watching a caged bird die, helpless to do anything. Even empathy for our own emotions and values becomes difficult and conflicted, because, we are told, if expressed they lead to disharmony in the Sangha, which leads to hell for ourselves and those we infect

Where is there room for the development of emotional intelligence in this environment? Is it any surprise that Rev. Eko could do as he did with the active support of the upper echelons of the OBC? There was no emotional intelligence to perceive the obvious. But this has a cause. Though we were acutely aware of our inner emotional state through the meditation we were taught, Rev. Kennett’s OBC was not an environment conducive to developing emotional intelligence. To my mind, it was quite the opposite. The OBC is paying the price for that now in the Rev. Eko debacle and in their inability thus far to respond thoroughly and effectively to OBC Connect. With Rev. Kennett and her suppressor in chief gone, at least the OBC is making its first small efforts. At this point we can’t expect more than baby steps.

I am grateful to Josh in that through the work he has done, and the writings he’s shared, that the patterns I and others have written about have been shown to be in no way unique to the OBC or unique to our own experience. They are standard patterns enacted over and over again in religious communities in which the founder has been invested with enormous authority, both temporal and spiritual, and dissent has been very effectively suppressed.

What is so good about this forum is that we have the opportunity to share our experiences, emotional and otherwise, with others who went through the same, without having to worry about being silenced from those who wish to deny these things happened or minimize their devastatingly harmful character. In their world and their minds, Eko is an aberration and has no connection, or a minimal one, to the environment Rev. Kennett cultivated to deal with dissent. To that I say, "Good luck with that."


Last edited by Lise on Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:39 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : attempt to re-size font)
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Carol



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:30 pm

Thank you to Kaizan and Josh and the rest of you who have spoken so eloquently about emotional intelligence. For me, suppression of my inner emotional states and observations about what was going on in the temple led only to self-criticism. What was I doing wrong? How had my meditation failed? Honestly it didn't occur to me until this forum began to shine the light on Rev. Kennett's legacy that perhaps I wasn't the one who was off course. I was too busy denying my perceptions of the mistakes that were being made right before my eyes.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:41 pm

Lise wrote:
Just a thought, I know these threads aren't easy for people who have never questioned or wanted more info than the slight history they've been told about Kennett and OBC early days. I get messages from those who feel there's no need to look back, and clearly they're upset. Some seem to be struggling with the "crumbling of OBC-mind", and they're working as fast as they can to slap mortar into the cracks and catch bricks as they fall. I do feel compassion for them. But looking back is important. For some of us it helps put the pieces in place and the end result is going to be much greater understanding and, possibly, sympathy and acceptance, than we would have found without it.

L.
I'm afraid I see the statement 'there's no need to look back' as self-serving and harmful. The present is the product of the past if the past was wrong and entails the present then not to face up to it, i.e. look back, is to perpetuate the wrongs of the past. The wrongdoing that we have committed with our body, speech and mind cannot be confessed if it is swept under the carpet and not faced. Then it just festers. I seem to remember chanting the lineage of ancestors during morning service and studying the Denkuroku, was this not 'looking back' to the positive shadow cast by the past into the present. Institutional repression begets repression until the boil is lanced by all in the institution facing up to it and standing upto it only then is 'confession' possible. We can recite 'I now confess everything wholeheartedly' until we are blue in the face but unless we have opened our hearts to accept our wrongdoing of commission and omission we will be blocked by it. It is a wrong to not stand up to repression, though it is more wrong to engage in repression. It is wrong not to admit the mistakes of the past, though it is more wrong to have perpetrated them. At least that's how I see things. Oops, I can see Joshu disappearing into the distance with his sandals on his head.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:10 pm

Yes, it is self-serving in a way to say "why look back". And yet I think I understand this a bit better now than when this forum first got going.

The people who say to me "leave it alone" are frightened, they don't know how to meet the fear of hearing things that might ring true, and they want the fear to go somewhere else where it won't trouble them. I had hoped to find what I was looking for, when I got involved with the OBC, but the warning bells went off and I kept my distance. I did not get in deep, but I can well imagine what it feels like for those who did. If you've looked for something to believe in, put your hopes in, and you think you've found it . . . but then you trip across information that upsets that, and what you thought was rock-solid might not be . . . wel, who wouldn't be upset.

I do think most people who keep coming here will understand that openness is what helps us, saves us actually. We have to look back and front up to what was done. It really is just as you said Mark, the present is a product of the past.

Who is Joshu, and why did he put sandals on his head . . .

L.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:20 pm

Lise wrote:


Who is Joshu, and why did he put sandals on his head . . .

L.

Read the koan of Nansen's Cat:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/glg/glg14.htm

I could try to explain it, but it might cause Joshu to put his sandals on his head again
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:35 pm

I'm no good at this, lads, I don't understand it. Nansen ought to have cut part of himself in two, if he sought to give teaching through a dramatic display, and left that poor cat out of it. I love my moggies, can't imagine anyone even thinking of such a horrid act.

God I hope this story is just another fiction in Buddhist literature.

I'm off to pour another glass of pinot, cheers, All -- signing off, L
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:58 pm

Lise wrote:
I'm no good at this, lads, I don't understand it. Nansen ought to have cut part of himself in two, if he sought to give teaching through a dramatic display, and left that poor cat out of it.

Actually Lise, you have just solved the koan.

Nansen made a terrible mistake in the name of teaching--by setting up a situation in which no one was able to either answer or contradict him. Accordingly, he did what he said he would do, if no one could respond--and killed the cat in question by chopping it in two.

Joshu, one of Nansen's chief disciples, returned to the temple. Nansen, in a state of deep remorse (I think his remorse is clear in his subsequent reply even though this is not part of the story) asked Joshu how he would respond. Apparently, without replying verbally, Joshu left the room, picked up his sandles, placed them on his head (not on his feet) and walked out.

Nansen yelled out (my dramatization), "if you had been here, you could have saved the cat"!

What does all of this mean? (In my opinion of course) Joshu was telling his teacher Nansen that, "you totally blew it"! You responded to a relatively minor disagreement between the monks in the "east hall" and the monks in the "west hall", over their affection for a cat--by killing the cat in question!!!

Joshu expressed his opinion that Nansen had blown it--and had turned the situation upside down--by similarly putting his sandles on his head (rather than his feet), and walking out. Joshu did not have to contradict or attack Nansen for his failure. By avoiding judgement and blame, Joshu made it possible for Nansen to actually learn from his disciple.

Joshu "cut the cat in one". Nansen cut the cat in two.

For decades, I have wished that I could have done what Joshu did: to respond with similar skill to the mistakes that my teacher, RM Jiyu made, and that now seem to have become institutionalized within the OBC.

I am convinced that we can still save the cat.
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Henry



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:46 pm

Kozan
Nansen was open to seeing his error of using the creation of harm as a method of teaching. My perception is that Rev. Kennett was too enamored with the short term effectiveness of these methods (it kept monks in line) to see the destructive nature of both their short term and long term effects. In the short term you have the difficulties I described in my last post. In the long term you pass on the destructiveness to your successor, the silence and self doubt to his disciples, and the lack of emotional intelligence to a community who learned too well to set aside their own perceptions to perpetuate an ideal that never existed.

I'm curious as to your thoughts on this.


Last edited by Kaizan on Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:50 pm

Kaizan, your post is very thoughtful, I wonder if this is a case of institutional zen. Zen with out depth or heart,but individuals being forced into a world, of concepts, and having to beleive them or 'Watch Out'. Of course this is another cold place to be, as it lacks warmth and feeling, and also prevents us from really discovering the way for ouselves.The concept of the way is thrust upon us by the organisation, or head of the organisation. The trouble with conceptual religion, is that a collective understanding is consciously or sub conciously agreed. As we know true meditation is experienced free of concepts,. Now that is a lot of words and I cant remember where I left my shoes
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:55 pm

Chisan
I'll have to think about that later. I awoke at 2am, had a bowl of cereal and made the mistake of checking my email while munching. Common sense is setting in and I'm off to bed.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:35 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:

Zen without depth or heart, but individuals being forced into a world, of concepts, and having to beleive them or 'Watch Out'.

Dear Chisan Michael,

When I was at the Abbey, I used to think that if RMJK looked out her window and declared that pink gumdrops were raining down from the heavens, we'd all run outside and look.
Some of us would exclaim, "Oh, yes, I see them.
Others would say, "I think I see some over behind the trees."
The third group would silently berate themselves for not being able to see them at all because their training was so inferior, and
Then maybe, just maybe, there might be one who puts their sandals on their head and walks away.
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:59 pm

Well Mokuan, you certainly cut me in two, I laughed and laughed at your story,
still am and will do all day
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Nicky



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:54 am

Thanks again Chisan , about conceptual religion , and Mokuan too ,

Ever since posting way back about not wanting all the old Jiyu stuff , wondering if i cant ' do it' in a different way - I've never the less been reading all the posts .
Marks one about the present being the product of the past particularly hit , I've been wondering what i meant , and where my unease is centered . I have this terrible image of a sort of rag doll jiyu being endlessly shaken, and i don't want anything to do with it . It was myself i wanted to carefully look at , and this site is perhaps inappropriate for that - Especially as all you xmonks and sekai are very intellectual , i don't mean that rudely , but you are good with your words and do go on - well of course this is this , and I've found other ways of understanding , painting , walking, music ,or plain silence . So, i havnt wanted to force myself inappropriately onto this site in the name of truth and facing myself , but ,ive had 2 jolts that help me to accept that perhaps understanding other peoples past - jiyus in this case will help this very present . Am a bit slow ?
I was jolted by Mark mentioning the chanting of the ancestral line , i used to love that , and now i find that memory unutterably sad . Much there .

Secondly ,On a different level:( is this allowed Lise , ordinary here say ?)

Yesterday i met a master monk in my local posh deli, i told her I'd left the OBC, she said yes she knew from reading this site , i told her how useful and good i found it , she replied in a sad voice : they are all breaking the precepts , i answered - rather babyishly ; "No they're not ," she then said " well some of them and , anyway its all 40 years ago" . I looked at her and felt it was all hopeless , any communication . And i realized then how the past is with us , and i still have much undoing , and much to thank you all for .
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:28 am

hi Nicky -- it's fine to say what you want, you won't be forcing anything on us. I come here to help myself, always have, and listening to others is a huge part of that. Please do use this place as you want to. It's yours, you know.

I read these threads lately and can't quite believe the good fortune of so many people coming together in openness.

I suspect that the monk you spoke with knows there is more going on here that cannot be reduced to a summary of "breaking the Precepts".
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Jcbaran



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:48 am

So let's talk about this "breaking the precepts."

First, that's the first and main thing this "master" said. Here many people are sharing what happened to them, addressing decades of harm and by speaking opening, this is breaking the precepts.

What about what was going on at Shasta and the OBC for those decades?

What precepts were they keeping?

And by what this "master" said - it was 40 years ago -- that proves right there in the deli that what is being discussed here is all about the present, not about the past.

This is now the koan in the deli. Someone should write this up. This is a better koan that any old story about dead cats.

When telling your truth, sharing your insights and feelings -- what that is "breaking the precepts," than those precepts are pretty limited and not something i want to keep. Where was it that I promised that I would go along with harm, suppress my inner integrity?

Show me those precepts.

I never ever promised that i would follow Kennett no matter what she did or how she did. Never.

Now I understand the Japanese obsession with never criticizing or challenging your father, teacher, master - ever. And yes, in Buddhism, there is the importance of honoring and respecting your senior teachers -- but that is not unlimited. Above all these "precepts" or rules is the overarching point that the refuge is in the truth - in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

From my point of view, when Kennett became overwhelmed by her own shadow and unresolved issues and her teaching became confused - it was my obligation to continue my training and follow my heart. THAT to me was following the key precepts. To stay would have been spiritual suicide.

So now we have the koan of "The master in the deli."

You don't have to believe my story about the three dimes. We now have the deli example that demonstrates that this cultic organization still persists in systemic denial and enchantment. In their mind, anyone who speaks out against what happened or shares their feelings are precept breakers, going to some Buddhist hell, their concerns and experiences don't matter.

I would point out that this attitude is Kennett's shadow is full operation. This is totally her personal psychopathology showing up over and over again.

Right now in the deli. Kennett is not dead, at least not her shadow. Alive and well.

In some of the next posts, I am going to talk much more about the structure of Kennett's shadow. Is this breaking the precepts?
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Henry



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:03 am

Nicky,

Do you find it interesting that the monk you spoke with very likely would be rather pleased to have a past life experience from centuries ago that shed light on the karmic patterns in her life today, and yet she dismisses a wealth of information about things that happened a mere 40 years ago that strongly influence karmic patterns playing out today in the community she lives in and more than likely in the way she perceives things and behaves towards others?


Last edited by Kaizan on Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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