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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   Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:16 am

First topic message reminder :

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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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:11 pm

I wait with baited breath... Or at least, breath...

:-) Many thanks (-:
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:36 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
... I find it hard enough remembering where I put the car keys, but I look forward to the bit when I forget who I am

I can't wait for that to happen to me --
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:55 pm

Anne
I think that Jiyu would have learnt what I was saying by direct report from some of those I spoke to, as some of the monks from Throssel went over to Shasta. I explained this in my posting /OBC Connect/OBC Experiences/My experience and leaving, Mark (Daiji) Strathern. I am not sure of the timings involved but I would presume that Jisho, the monk that had been sent over from Shasta to run Throssel when I went back to Shasta, would have reported back to Shasta and Jiyu what I had said to the monks at Throssel, so maybe this would have been the first she heard of it. But there Jimyo or Daishin or someone else at Throssel at the time would be better placed to tell you. As to timings, did Chisans letter in Shasta arrive before the news via Throssel? I don't know but one of those at Shasta at the time may be able to clarify it (Josh, Isan, Kozan, etc.). They may also be able to shed better light on what exactly was reported back from Throssel, or at least how Jiyu saw it.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:54 am

Oh yes, been keeping track of the Shimano stuff.
I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to Josh, Mark and everyone who has posting lately! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
!Diana
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:15 am

Now back to Kennett and the Enneagram.

Kozan asked if I only saw Kennett exhibiting the most extreme aspects of the Eight type. Certainly, the last years I was there, she did. In the early years, she was more expansive and less constantly in the mode of dictator. And her boss nature was more moderate.

One positive example of Kennett's Eight typology was her handling of the train crash in Japan - at least according to the story she told.

"The preferred state of existence (of EIGHTS) is high amped, fully energized towards motion. Bosses have learned to follow their own impulses, and to go toward what gives them pleasure, without being overly concerned about their motivations. Consequently, they are relatively uninhibited and have a good deal of physical energy at their disposal that might otherwise be tied up in introspection of self-questioning. Once a desire takes hold, they move quickly into action before frustration develops. The time lag between impulse and action is short; and once a desirable goal is fixed in mind, a Boss moves into the kind of inflexible attention that underlies a battle stance." Helen Palmer

So when the train crashed, I imagine that Kennett moved into action instantly - no hesitation, no considerations -- just lept into motion and got the job done. She certainly had never handled a train crash before, but Eights don't care about that -- they know / assume they are totally competent, no matter what, and they will just do it. They don't waste any time "figuring it out" - they just act.

So this is the positive side of Eights in action. And when Kennett came to America, she had no experience creating a new organization, building a monastic institution, etc but she just did it. So this shows the Eight in action. And during the first years, Kennett was certainly less stressed out. She could be playful in her own way. Eights have this "full-bodied earthy charm, superabundant drive and energy and often a broad sense of humor.... Cocky, outrageous, unorthodox forces of nature. Eights have an aura that says, 'the action's happening here."

So we can see the more positive side of her fixation during the first five years or so of her time in America.

Now a few Enneagram-related thoughts.

Even in the best of situations, Eights always feel the need, even obligation to take control, to be the top dog in any situation, project, office, campaign. They know what's right, they love to tell others how wrong they are, they are not introspective and they don't believe in democracy.

Now when Eights are really smart and competent and somewhat playful -- they can sometimes get away with this strategy. But one of their weak points - even in the best cases - is that they have very poor or zero social intelligence. They often don't care what others think of them and they are oblivious to negative reactions around them -- even when it is obvious to everyone else.

So, in Kennett's great narrative of her life, the London Buddhist Society character is there as one of the bad guys, the dunderheads who didn't get it, rejected the true Dharma, rejected Kennett, and so on. Also, remember Eights never take the blame or responsibility when anything goes wrong or doesn't work out -- it is always "their fault." Eights are always 100% innocent.

So with the London Buddhist Society, the part of the official story we are not hearing from her is that when she was part of this group in the 1950s, there is a high likelihood that she annoyed lots of people, pissed them off, didn't play well with others, probably frequently told other people how wrong they were, etc. The reason is not part of official narrative is that primary that Kennett could have been oblivious to how she was being perceived.

As disciples, we had to love her, adore her and find her every remark funny and charming, etc. But at LBS, she wasn't a "master" but just a member and if she exhibited her Eight nature (which of course she did), she would habitually be trying to take charge or impose her view on many situations and be too blunt and loud for many people. Like the rhino in the jungle or a bull in a china shop. And it would be entirely understandable that many members didn't like her or even felt like she had totally pushed them aside or ran them over in a truck. Eights do this - and they think they are just communicating honestly and then are astonished, shocked to find out some people had a negative reaction to their behavior. What?? I was just expressing myself.

Recent example. Some months ago, I went to a film premier of a documentary about nuclear arms - a very good film. I went with one of my PR colleagues who is a very effective PR leader and an EIGHT. Neither he nor I were involved with the PR or promotion of this film, but knew the film's backers and the anti-nuclear organizations that were involved with the film. No sooner had the film ended and the lights came on then my friend decided that the film's promotion was all wrong, he knew the right way to sell the film and highlight some key political issues, and immediately ran around during the post-screening reception telling everyone associated with the film that he knew the right approach, they were all doing it wrong, they had to do it his way, etc. His main idea actually was a bad idea - after I thought about it for a few minutes - but he locked into this approach instantly and then that was the answer.

And the more the film's producers and the organization leaders there told him that his idea wouldn't work, the louder and stronger his insistence became. He thought he was communicating honestly and passionately, but actually most of the people he was talking to were having a very negative reaction to his strong lobbying for his concept. He was really annoying many people and he had NO IDEA. I am very sensitive to these kind of social interactions and I could see it in their faces and i certainly heard about the next day through emails. About 30 minutes into the reception, I actually suggested he tone it down and do some research before pushing this campaign, but that was actually a silly thing to say to an EIGHT in heat, so to speak. Stop, hold back,introspect, re-think your position -- IMPOSSIBLE. What was I thinking? Waste of time to talk that way to an Eight who knows what's right.

So as we are considering Kennett's personality and how it affected OBC/Shasta, i thought I would throw these speculations into the mix.

Kennett also always struck me as a loner, someone who had few friends. When I spent those six months with her in the UK, my general impression was that she had few friends from before she went to Japan. I could be wrong, but i was left with the feeling that few or no friends from the earlier days came to see her.

Many Eights become loners and they don't blame themselves for this -- others just don't get them, can't keep up, can't handle their expansive energy and passion, can't deal with their blunt and honest communication, whatever. People don't like them because they are [banned term], fools, weak, and so on.

Also, I don't recall that Kennett ever had any romantic relationships. Other people may remember this better. Maybe there was one guy before the war? Of course, because of war and deaths of so many young men, there were many women in that generation who never married. But in terms of intimacy, I don't think Kennett every experienced any sort of romantic relationships or intimacy really of any kind. If you study the Eight type, you will find that many Eights push away intimacy, are afraid of being vulnerable, and instead become consumed with passion or lust for their key issue or cause - which may not be romantic love.

And if indeed she had childhood where there was little nurturing and affection, that points to a deep feeling of being unloved. For more discussion.



Now, obviously, none of us were there, so this is just conjecture.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:40 am

From: www.enneagraminstitute.com

EIGHT: Average Levels --

Level 4: Self-sufficiency, financial independence, and having enough
resources are important concerns: become enterprising, pragmatic, "rugged
individualists," wheeler-dealers. Risk-taking, hardworking, denying own
emotional needs.

Level 5: Begin to dominate their environment, including others: want to
feel that others are behind them, supporting their efforts. Swaggering,
boastful, forceful, and expansive: the "boss" whose word is law. Proud,
egocentric, want to impose their will and vision on everything, not seeing
others as equals or treating them with respect.

Level 6: Become highly combative and intimidating to get their way:
confrontational, belligerent, creating adversarial relationships. Everything a
test of wills, and they will not back down. Use threats and reprisals to get
obedience from others, to keep others off balance and insecure. However,
unjust treatment makes others fear and resent them, possibly also band
together against them.

Eight: Unhealthy Levels

Level 7: Defying any attempt to control them, become completely
ruthless, dictatorial, "might makes right." The criminal and outlaw, renegade,
and con-artist. Hard-hearted, immoral and potentially violent.

Level 8: Develop delusional ideas about their power, invincibility, and
ability to prevail: megalomania, feeling omnipotent, invulnerable. Recklessly
over-extending self.

Level 9: If they get in danger, they may brutally destroy everything
that has not conformed to their will rather than surrender to anyone else.
Vengeful, barbaric, murderous. Sociopathic tendencies. Generally corresponds
to the Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Note: by 1975, leading into her "lotus" period, Kennett became more and more psychology unhealthy -- and based on this description of the levels of type Eight, Kennett hung out in what they call "Level 8" of type Eight. She never descended to the lowest level.

During the later years of my time at Shasta and after I left, I taught meditation in many prisons - in California, Washington, and Texas. A few years ago, I taught a meditation class at San Quentin. The prisons are filled with type Eights.

They are men who simply cannot control their impulses, they become angry, feel attacked, and they act on their feelings without any consideration of the consequences - the consequences to their victims or themselves. They strike, shoot, knife, kill and rape -they can't control their energy. And as they do it, there is no sense that this is wrong or there is any problem. They are in full response mode. Later, there are consequences.... this represents the lowest and unhealthiest expression of their type.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:58 am

:-) Many thanks, Mark (-:


My apologies to anyone for whom my inadvertent previous misspelling of "bated" caused a measure of confusion and/or concern... confused scratch Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:56 pm

"When teachers break the precepts, behaving in ways that are clearly damaging to themselves and others,
students must face the situation,
even though this can be challenging, criticize openly,
that's the only way."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:47 pm

Quotes from The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power
by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad - Frog, Ltd., Berkeley, California; 1993

"If an authority not only expects to be obeyed without question, but either punishes or refuses to deal with those who do not, that authority is authoritarian." (p.15)

"Gurus can arouse intense emotions as there is extraordinary passion in surrendering to what one perceives as a living God." (p.33)

"In ‘spiritual’ realms fear and desire can become as extreme as they get. When a living person becomes the focus of such emotions, the possibility of manipulation is correspondingly extreme." (p.41)

"In the East a guru is more than a teacher. He is a doorway that supposedly allows one to enter into a more profound relationship with the spiritual. A necessary step becomes acknowledging the guru’s specialness and mastery over that which one wishes to attain. The message is that to be a really serious student, spiritual realization must be the primary concern. Therefore, one’s relationship with the guru must, in time, become one’s prime emotional bond, with all others viewed as secondary. In fact, typically other relationships are pejoratively referred to as ‘attachments.’" (p.49)

"So although most gurus preach detachment, disciples become attached to having the guru as their center, whereas the guru becomes attached to having the power of being others’ center." (p.50)

"When abuses are publicly exposed, the leader either denies or justifies the behaviors by saying that ‘enemies of the truth’ or ‘the forces of evil’ are trying to subvert his true message. Core members of the group have a huge vested interest in believing him, as their identity is wrapped up in believing in his righteousness. Those who begin to doubt him at first become confused and depressed, and later feel betrayed and angry. The ways people deny and justify are similar: Since supposedly no one who is not enlightened can truly understand the motives of one who is, any criticism can be discounted as a limited perspective. Also, any behavior on the part of the guru,no matter how base, can be imputed to be some secret teaching or message that needs deciphering."

"By holding gurus as perfect and thus beyond ordinary explanations, their presumed specialness can be used to justify anything. Some deeper, occult reason can always be ascribed to anything a guru does: The guru is said to take on the karma of others, and that is why his body has whatever problems it has. The guru is obese or unhealthy because he is too kind to turn down offerings: besides, he gives so much that a little excess is understandable. He punishes those who disobey him not out of anger but out of necessity, as a good father would. He uses sex to teach about energy and detachment. He lives an opulent life to break people’s simplistic preconceptions of what ego-loss should look like; it also shows how detached and unconcerned he is about what others think. For after all, 'once enlightened, one can do anything.’ Believing this dictum makes any action justifiable.

'People justify and rationalize in gurus what in others would be considered unacceptable because they have a huge emotional investment in believing their guru is both pure and right." (p.52)
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:06 pm

Dont think I could entirly trust the Dalai Lama either, as he seems to be applying the same methods of control that you are unfolding here Josh. And I would say is oblivious to the consiquences as well.I find his suppression of the Dorge Shugden relgion deeply disturbing.And from what I have come to understand, in goverment there is little opposition to him, or else. I feel deep affection for the persona he projects but very uncomfortable of what lies underneath and the pain he seems to be unaware of, that he is causing or is that also in the name of right training.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:41 pm

John, you have a very valid point of view on this. The Tibetans need to modernize and become more democratic. They still operate too much as if they were still running old Tibet.

I was actually just talking about the Shugden issue this morning. I know quite a bit about that. And I am just reading my friend Tom Laird's book, The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama. Tom sent me the book 4 years ago when it came out, but I only glanced at it then, but now am reading it - fascinating history, far more violent than I knew, so complex. The picture painted totally dissolves this fantasy most westerners have about the perfect enlightened world of Tibet. Yikes, nothing like that.I think 6 of the Dalai Lamas died before they reached the age of majority, probably all poisoned by their regents. Not a pretty picture.

I have personally known and worked with the Dalai Lama for like 25 years, helping on PR for some of his visits to the U.S. So I have spent time with him and I do experience him as deeply compassionate, brilliant, a true Dharma scholar, always kind and balanced. AND I do have many problems with some of the old attitudes. I think they will change, but SLOWLY because that's just how they do things. I am especially critical of their attitudes towards gay sexuality, so medieval and old tribal. And getting that to change may take a few generations.

The quotation from the Dalai Lama I posted i think is valuable - and counteracts the idea that you are breaking your vows if you publicly speak out against a teacher who is doing harm. I thought it was a good quote and we certainly don't need the Dalai Lama's permission or any external authority figure to speak our minds.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:21 pm

Josh said of the Dalia lama,I do experience him as deeply compassionate, brilliant , a true Dhama scolar, always kind and balanced. I think Rev Diashin of Throssel described his teacher RMJK similarly. Isnt it a case of the elephant in the room. Im not critical of what you experience as true for you, but it just seems to hit me more and more that things are not always what they seem to be, always an undercurrent for some true good reason or other. Feeling a bit wobley at the moment with all this, such a lot to digest. And thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:29 pm

john, i agree that things certainly may not always be as they seem or as they are promoted. One thing i learned from leaving Shasta was to go to my own inner experience and wisdom and trust that, not believing that it has to be "perfect" - but that's the linchpin for me. For many years, i stayed away from all forms of organized religion and Buddhism, but decided to get back into Dharma because I still resonated with some of the core teachings and meditation- but i totally understand people who don't go that route. Many of my friends find the Tibetan stuff way too much on many levels and I honor that.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:24 am

John and Josh,

Wonderful discussion. Thanks to you both!
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:00 pm

Back to the Enneagram type EIGHT:
This is from Peter O'Hanrahan, a well known teacher of the system - www.enneagramwork.com

EIGHT: he calls this type "The Protector" - probably the most positive name for this type. And when Eights are self-aware, they can be protective and very focused on justice. (The comments in the parentheses are of course mine)

Strengths: Enthusiastic, generous, powerful (Kennett was certainly more like this the first few years I was with her)

Problems: Excessive, angry, dominating (she always had these issues and they got much more pronounced and louder as time went on)

Speaking Style: Eights usually speak assertively and exert strong leadership. They tend to be bossy and when things go wrong, they often get angry. (Yes, and when things go "wrong," Eights are never responsible, at least that's how they see it. Everyone else is always to blame.)

Lower emotional habit: Anger and excessiveness, with a revengeful attitude toward people

Higher emotion: Innocence, which means to face life with an open heart and without cynicism (For Eights to rediscover their innocence, their soft inner nature, they need to be confronted, go through a crisis of where they are no longer in control, where they face how harmful their abusive behavior is, and regularly get therapy or at least have good friends who can confront them.)

Psychological defenses:
Eights use the defense mechanism of denial to avoid vulnerability and maintain a self-image of being "strong." Denial is a kind of forceful re-directing of attention and feeling based on willfulness and control. (Denial was one of Kennett's biggest unconscious dynamics. I am going to talk more about how this functions and how pathological it can be.)

Somatic patterns: Eights tend to keep a high level of bioenergetic charge in their bodies. They are attracted to intensity, and they get bored or impatient very easily.This can led to over-exertion and/or over-consumption.

Quick to anger, they may have trouble with impulse control.

Their armor shows up as tension or density more or less evenly distributed around the body.It's easy to be tough, hard to be vulnerable although softer feelings and needs are often present deep on the inside.

Eights are known for the fierceness that they (may) express through their eyes.

Peter O'Hanrahan also talks about how to deal with an Eight.

To handle conflict: Stand up to them and confront them directly (in your own style). Accept their angry energy while challenging them to not go off the deep end. Be tough on destructive or threatening behavior, empathetic to underlying hurt feelings.

(OK, this was another big reason why Kennett did "go off the deep end." She simply would not allow anyone to stand up to her. At least, not when I was there. If anyone did even slightly disagree with her, there was immediate retaliation, rage, banishment, even expulsion. No exaggeration here. So by not allowing even her close circle of seniors to confront her, she cut off a crucial process that would have kept her more balanced, provided her honest feedback and helped her stay sane. The system she created -- and many Zen teachers do NOT create this same system - some create these kind of hyper-authoritarian systems, many others don't -- became actually quite self-destructive. That's my analysis.)

To support their growth:
Support them in using their energy in constructive ways. Confront them on unconscious aggression or their use of anger as a comfortable habit. Help them get in touch with their vulnerability. Assume that they need love and care even when they don't show it. (Kennett would never acknowledge her vulnerability - that was too scary. This is where the denial came into play.)

Back to the basic points I am making through the Enneagram. Kennett's behavior was an expression of her personality structure and entirely unconscious and uncontrollable emotions - and NOT expressions of enlightenment or tough love or skillful means. She was a clear EIGHT and behaved like it.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:27 pm

"The spirituality we encounter in institutions is not always benign. It is just as likely to be pathological." Walter Wink.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:49 pm

In 2002, Miramax Films was releasing a feature film called "The Magdalene Sisters." They called me to ask if I could create and implement a special outreach campaign to the media that covers religion, religious organizations, academics, divinity schools, etc. I might have mentioned elsewhere on this site, but one of my special areas of expertise in my role as a PR guy was controversial films and films that had religious themes. My most famous campaign was defending Universal Pictures when they released Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ." (there was a book written about what happened around that film called "Hollywood Under Siege.")

"The Magdalene Sisters" was a film about the infamous Magdalene Asylums, also called the Magdalene Laundries. Frankly, I knew almost nothing about this aspect of Christian / Catholic history. I did a little research, but really went to see the film without much knowledge.

The film was very disturbing. In the name of religion, of God, of Jesus, of holiness, tens of thousands of young women were basically imprisoned and abused. All "for their own good."

And when I saw the film, even though I am NOT suggesting that Shasta was the precisely the same as the Magdalene Asylums, there were some things that resonated with me about my Shasta experience. Some of the scenes, the characters reminded me of some aspects of Shasta, of an authoritarian religious system.

I am sure you can find the film on Netflix.

Here is a link to a general description of the Magdalene Asylums:

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

Emotional abuse can be just as painful as physical or even sexual abuse.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:55 am

I agree emotional abuse is just as painful ,and harmful.
Over here there is a lot more understanding now of emotional abuse,in domestic violence cases.
The UK has woken up a little, about domestic concerns, that there are different forms of violence.
This is similar to what I have read here, that people tend not to want to hurt the person that has committed the abuse, because they know them, or once loved or had a relationship with. This is the same as us saying we had a relationship with Kennett,and felt we it was wrong or against our practice to criticise.
Breaking taboos are vital, in domestic violence,and spiritual violence.
Look at Eido Roshi,difficult to come forward and say have been wronged.
The other word that is cropping up here is isolation.

The north Cascades place were isolated, Shasta isolated itself, from Japan, other teachers, old friends and deciples,,Kennett isolated herself from any one who disagreed.

Interestingly if a normal ( cant think of better word) social worker or someone who worked in the field of domestic abuse, they would certainly draw strong comparisons with Kennett
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:12 am

When an organization isolates itself, trouble always follows.

They only look inward, cut themselves off any kind of feedback, and only talk to themselves.

Small concepts and illusions grow, grandiosity takes root. And when anyone comes in from the outside and shows the slightest bit of independent or critical thinking, they are quickly expelled. Not healthy.

And here we have an organization that has been doing this for now 40 years. Of course, some religious groups do it for centuries..... Tibet isolated itself and it lead to all kinds of disasters.

And such groups then develop this paranoia of "outsiders" and also the opposite, they drown in this enchanted sense of their own specialness.

I was just visiting the website of Upaya, Joan Halifax's Zen group, and this organization seems to be much more open. They have many different kinds of programs, are very engaged in social action, and many teachers from different Buddhist lineages comes to visit and teach. I can't comment on the Upaya community per se, but certainly in terms of more openness, this is one good example.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:36 am

Is there much intermingling with the different centres or is there rivalry in the States?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:34 pm

I spent some time at Upaya. I did like Joan's style. She seems like a good teacher. I spent Thanksgiving with the community a couple of years ago, when I moved to Santa Fe. That experience was much more comfortable for me than formal sitting and Dharma talks. In the formal sitting and Dharma talks, there seemed to be that same-old "I just drank the kool-aid" behavior coming from the lay people. What can I say? That stuff really freaks me out now- I just can't handle it. The lay people who wore robes had the same behavior I saw at the Abbey. They had that smile and look in their eye- trying to catch a glimpse from Joan, looking to be perfect in their pressed and perfect robes. Yuck. Maybe it's just me at this point; I just can't stand the whole thing.

I do think I would like to go for a hike or something with Joan. I know she's real down-to-earth and out-doorsy. I think she has a doctorate in anthropology- I find that reassuring somehow. She does not carry any air of superiority or authority and she has a genuine smile. I wish I could just head up there and go sit with those folks sometimes, but I just can't do it.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:15 pm

I wasn't recommending Joan Halifax or her organization by the way. Just noting that their community allowed other teachers and traditions to teach there, etc. I agree that its human nature - groups get culty and sometimes very cultic. And the guru / zen master story is very strong.

Even though I am quite involved with some aspects of Tibetan Buddhism, I try to stay away from much of the group dynamics.

Probably many of us who have come out of these authoritarian groups feel the same way or some version of this. Understandable.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:59 pm

I guess this is a good place to start this train of thought...I could make a separate thread, but I think it will fit here. We can move it though if needed.

So, I am very interested at this point in looking at Jiyu's personality to once-and-for-all figure out whether or not she was psychotic. That might seem like a strange thing to want to do for some and I'm sure current OBC members will be threatened by that, but there are just too many indications that she was psychotic to ignore the issue. I know you all can help answer some of these questions and I'll try and draw from other threads as well.

There is a difference between psychotic and psychic. One of the main differences is if the person displays defective reality testing. Here's a definition of reality testing:

"1. In general, any means by which an individual determines and assesses his or her limitations in the face of biological, physiological, social, or environmental actualities or exigencies. 2. the objective evaluation of sense impressions, which enables the individual to distinguish between the internal and external worlds, and between fantasy and reality. Defective reality testing is the major criterion of PSYCHOSIS." -APA dictionary.

What was Jiyu's level of reality testing? Was she able to distinguish between reality and fantasty?

I think part of the problem is she was in an environment where her delusions and fantasies were accepted and even encouraged because they were thought to be religious or spiritual. This is where it could be identified or defended as "psychic" not "psychotic." The difference is in the reality testing and the level of insight. The fact that Jiyu came up with different doctrinal meanings to an established religion is a red flag and the fact that none of her "Dharma" was ever acknowledged or accepted by any other Buddhist sect shows that it was and remains to be, deviant or even false. Because she isolated herself from the other schools, she was left to run amok and make her new religion, or cult.

As an aside, I know this has been mentioned, but some believe she WAS a Buddha. Some people have denied that this was ever an opinion of the OBC, but I was told straight-out by Eko once- he said she "was a Buddha." And he meant it, believe me. This also shows that her (possible) psychosis has a huge effect on those that remain involved in the OBC. When the ancestral line flows through the founder of the organization and that founder is (possibly) psychotic, how can that possibly be a good thing?

I hope to hear more stories of Jiyu and some examples of her faulty reality and what some of her "teachings" were.

The more I learn about her and the deeper I look, I don't see anything resembling Buddhism or the Dharma.

Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:28 pm

Interesting,I have not heard any of these things.
Interestingly also was the photos Mokuan suggested I look at,I was supposed to find the stained glass windows, but I pretty much looked at them all.
there was a portrait of Kennett.
portraits are interesting as they are hard to do, faces are difficult unless the painter is naturally gifted, and simply paints what he/ she sees.
There is a tendancy to interpret what one sees,which is fine, but different. Also there is a tendancy to paint a bit of oneself in what one sees.
It is getting a bit technical and Nicky could certainly join in as she has trained at I think Chelsea and Slade.
There are no rules of course it is what the eye appreciates.
However the portrait of kennett was interesting.
No a bad portrait at all, but it had a glowing light behind her head a bit like a halo or divine light
Either she had a halo ( that did not appear in photos ) or it was interpreted that she had.
I think it would be a bit of a joke if you asked any recognised teachers if Kennett was a buddha,outside of the meaning that we all are. What is that the highest rank? You're having a laugh
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:29 pm

Diana, i believe that understanding Kennett's mental situation is an important part of this puzzle for everyone and anyone who has stopped drinking the kool-aid.

I don't know about a term like "psychosis." Certainly, you could look at Kennett through various psychological lenses, using some more conventional psychological terminology. But I am not an expert. I am going to post some more details on the Enneagram Eight type since that is a useful way to examine her behavior -- and very accurate.

Religious delusions / mania is a very common mental state -- both in terms of people who exhibit the Buddha or Messiah complex and their disciples / followers who proclaim them and worship them. You find this syndrome in all cultures and religions. It is seductive. When a person claims with great passion and certainty that they are THE ONE, there are many people who will go along with it rather easily. It is this sense of certainty that can be so seductive. The messiah claimant is so powerful and certain - so IT MUST BE TRUE. And so many people are uncertain, filled with doubt and confusion, someone comes along and says I KNOW and FOLLOW ME and DO AS YOU'RE TOLD and everything will be OK, well, that sounds like a pretty good deal.

At any given time, there are untold thousands, even tens of thousands of people in the world who believe they are the new Messiah, the Maitreya Buddha or the highest Buddha / most enlightened person in the world, the World Teacher, the perfect master, the Avatar of the age, the Prophet, and so many other titles and ranks. Most of these folks claim exclusivity - they are the only one on the planet - very much in keeping with the myths of monotheism -- there can be only One True God, one true path, one chosen tribe, one true book, one true messiah, one true redemption, one true forgiveness, one true church. So there can't be TWO messiahs or TWO enlightened people at the highest rank.

Especially when some of these Buddha wannabes have some kind of spiritual experiences and visions or altered states, they can easily slip into all sorts of religious mania and fantasies and then of course surround themselves with an adoring throng happy to believe they are in the company of the TRUE ONE - because it makes them all terribly special, chosen, elite, blessed, exclusive. So it wouldn't be surprising that people at Shasta would tell themselves over and over again that their master was the most enlightened person EVER or of the age or on the planet or whatever. So sure, they might say she was "a" Buddha or even "the" Buddha. Makes them feel special.

Kennett could have suffered from a form of psychosis or borderline personality - bring in a team of psychologists who are expert in this kind of grandiosity or inflation to figure that out.

The cult around the guru is of course a key part of the game. If the guru went out in the "real" world without the scene around them, they might easily fall apart, collapse. Who are they without the adoration? Who are they without this grandiose story?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:02 pm

Add one more thing about doubt and certainty.

When I was doing SORTING IT OUT in the early 80s, one of the former top EST trainers came to see me for some guidance and share his stories. Does anyone remember EST - Erhard Seminar Trainings. EST was incredibly popular in the mid to late 70s and early 80s - hundreds of thousands of people paid a lot money to go these big group meetings, be yelled at, they weren't allowed to go the rest room. The EST trainers were these very dynamic, good-looking powerful leaders who would break down people's defense, promote Erhard's philosophy about taking responsibility for your life, stop playing the victim, keep your agreements, and so on. Erhard was a very charismatic character who had a kind of powerful insight experience, had been involved in Scientology and maybe a little Zen, and then set up EST.

Anyway, this former EST trainer / leader came to see me and confessed that the secret of the system was this false certainty. When a person in the training would get up to ask a question or have a dialogue about their life, the trainer would start going at them hard, questioning them, even attacking them - telling them they were full of [banned term], berating them, and then telling them what they must do to wake up.

And the former trainer said that half the time he had no idea really what the person he was attacking should do, but it didn't matter. As long as he came at the person with total certainty and was loud and passionate, it "worked." The person broke down, started sobbing, agreed that it was all true, etc. The former trainer said that it was all about the CERTAINTY. The false certainty. Just pretend you absolutely know, for sure, that you are certain. That's what people desperately want.

People are so filled with uncertainly, they don't know what the "right" thing to do. Some people want to be told what to do -- by an authority figure - so they don't have to decide. Just tell me what to do and make it sound like it is the true way. Isn't that what's at the heart of many orthodox religious systems.

Certainly that's true of extreme Orthodox Judaism. Salvation is through following the law, the rules and then you are right with God. Just do precisely what is written, revealed by the one true and only God, and you will be OK. You might have to follow hundreds of rules - big and small - but it's really pretty simple. You really don't need to figure anything out for yourself, stop thinking for yourself, HE tells you and you obey. Jehovah. and really Kennett, since, as we discussed earlier, the biblical character / myth of Jehovah and Kennett share the same personality style.

My way or the highway. My way or eternal suffering. My way is eternal life - and your way, well that's eternal something else. Go against me and you are going against the TRUTH, since I AM the truth and the way and the light. And you aren't. Criticize Kennett and you are breaking the precepts, i.e., going against the true law. What are the consequences? Well, some form of [banned term], hell. How do you know? Well, maybe you don't really know, but pretend that you do know, pretend to be certain. That's the trick. There is only one true response to Jehovah or Kennett, and every other response is error, sin, off the mark, wrong, confused, misunderstanding, breaking the precepts/law/commandments.

The Enneagram type EIGHT that lives in this delusion of certainty does have this really powerful charismatic intensity, this glare in their eyes, this strong physical and mental energy. They have zero doubt. They had no hesitation.

And this can be very seductive to their followers and potential followers. Because those followers who live in much more doubt and uncertainty equate this intensity with truth. Because it is so strong, it must be true, divine. How could it not be? It must be God, enlightenment. And I want that certainty, that energy.

but such energy is anything but enlightened. It is no more enlightenment than the computer keyboard or the door knob.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:06 pm

I do remeber EST but not nuch about it.
I think you are now getting close to the fundamental point of why people need groups. religious groups, to reinforce beliefs,
What we have all talked about actually is how easily we can and have been fooled
Again someone is Jesus you be Thomas and you Barabus,I will be St John of the cross.
it needs a lot of reinforcing a lot of bullying to keep it together, mainly a lot of control kennett and Shasta was full of control, form a sytem of superiotiy divide the group, different colors, numbers,'they will not stick together break the individual'.
In a crisis you take the leader out everyone else falls into place,
A true teacher aint interested in control,as they do not have that insecurity
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:30 pm

I'm in no position to even attempt to think about a diagnosis, but the word grandiose did often enter my mind when I was with RMJK. And then there were the outbursts of anger I didn't know what to make of.
Now, let me state very clearly, that I never expected to see her walk on water or raise the dead. And, of course, everyone has to blow off steam, but some of her outbursts were beyond the pale.

Here's one example -- one of many -- that happened to me. RMJK was down in Berkeley and she had asked me to pack some things for her and send them down. It was a large trunk full of stuff. When the trunk arrived, she flew into a rage because the toys for her new kitten had been opened and she had wanted to open them herself.

She called me on the phone and started this horrendous tirade about the toys being opened and how she had wanted to do that herself and I had no business unwrapping the toys without her permission, and on and on and on. Well, I wasn't the only one who had access to her trunk, and I didn't know anything about cat toys.

I was dumbfounded. I had no idea what she was talking about, and yet here I was on the other end of the line getting an unrelenting third degree over cat toys. I tried to tell her I didn't know anything about cat toys, but she wouldn't listen. At that point, I really knew there was something wrong with this picture. And I saw this happening to others. Strange tirades.

On the other hand, when RMJK was just being Peggy Teresa Nancy Kennett she could be quite fun. Okay, personality-wise she was a bit of an odd duck, but when she was just herself, I rather enjoyed her company. And there were even times, like when her brother died, I so wanted to be able to put my arms around her and console her, but I knew that she was not someone who knew what to do with touch.

Sometimes I wonder if we didn't partly create the beast. I do remember her saying in all sincerity that all she had wanted was to be a simple monk. I believed her. But maybe when people started to follow her, she lost sight of her original intent or she didn't know how to cope, which I think is probably more accurate. I mean, heck, if I had fifty or so people hanging on my every word and doing whatever I wanted without question, I might take advantage of it and turn into a beast myself.

I believe her social skills were poor. I'm not sure she'd ever had a lot of friends in her youth or as a young woman. Maybe the sheer volumes of people that attached themselves to her was more than she could handle. Maybe she tried to become what we wanted her to be, but that never works. I know I have always failed myself and others when I've tried to become something I'm just not.

mokuan
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:00 am

Back to the EIGHT type in the Enneagram.

Michael Goldberg, one of the better writers on the Enneagram, talks about how Eights see things only one way. They have one eye and see only straight ahead. Eights are not much interested in seeing things laterally. Don't want different perspectives. They way they see it is the way IT IS. It is there job to make sure that everyone sees it there way and if they don't, dump them.

General Normal Schwartzkopf in Operation Desert Storm's plan was just invade the country with guns blazing. Simple. Problem solved. Operation Accomplished. Eights reject complexity nor do not tolerate ambiguity. The world is black or white, you are either friend or foe, loyal or disloyal, following the true way or falling into hell. No middle ground.

Eights are not only about fighting, but winning is everything. And not just win, but pulverize their opponents. When I was at Microsoft in 1995-96, Steve Ballmer, the COO under Gates talked about totally destroying Netscape - not just winning, but he talked about annihilating his competitors. That's how they see the world. And he had no doubt at all in the wisdom of his strategy. Might not only makes right. This is "L'etat c'est moi" - from King Louis XIV. For Kennett, Dharma/Shasta - that was "c'est moi." She was Buddhism incarnate. Disagree with her and you were rejecting the true Dharma.

This was former President Richard Nixon in Nixon/Frost -- "If the president does it, that means it is not illegal." He is the law. Kennett is the Dharma, at least in her mind. No doubt.

For Eights, anger feels justified and righteous, which is the reason Kennett was so easily and frequently enraged about so many things, how she seemed to seriously over react in anger at the smallest thing. Good quote from author Goldberg, "But for all her explosiveness, her internal experience is actually one of restraint or frustration, of being pushed to the limit by fools. Eights ask, 'Why me?' " But unlike other Enneagram types that might make themselves miserable when asking this question, Eights quickly and simply dispose of the offender. Eights have no constraint.

"For all their vitriol, Eights are out of touch with their real anger. Unevolved Eights don't own their anger, they just act it out. Although they may characterize it as 'letting off steam,' in fact their anger NEVER discharges. Rather, Eights get angry as a defensive habit, to scare others off, and as a ruse to cover up their real feelings, vulnerabilities, and issues." Goldberg

"When you have been wronged by an Eight, don't wait around thinking the Eight will surely see the error of their ways. It's not likely to happen." Goldberg

A few years after I left Shasta, I was talking to my mother about Sorting It Out and Shasta came up. My mother was actually a very well known psychotherapist in Los Angeles and one of the most naturally intuitive people I have ever met (and a terrific compassionate mother - i lucked out). She said, "You think that one day you're going to get a call from Kennett apologizing or admitting the error of her ways. IT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. Never."

Eights have what one family therapist calls, "destructive entitlement." Goldberg wrote, "As a result of the abuse they've taken and the good fights they've fought, Eights feel they have accumulated a credit balance in their moral account that entitles them to take revenge and not feel remorse. They feel justified."

"Destructive entitlement" - quite a strong and accurate phrase. This is how Kennett could behave as she did for so many years and not feel the slightest remorse. She seemed to be incapable of self-reflection. She was the Dharma. She was the Truth. And her responses, no matter how extreme, were always justified, always in the right. End of discussion.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:15 am

More Enneagram Eight:

Mokuan's story about the cat toys is a perfect Eight example of leadership. They are more than just micro-managers and "control freaks." Eight bosses feel entitled to barge in on their employees, subordinates, since they see all these people as merely extensions of themselves. Yes, as dolls in their doll house. They dolls have no feelings at all, no rights, doesn't matter what these dolls think, do they think? They go where I put them. They do what i tell them to do. Any disagreements, complaints, off with their heads.

Eights are absolute masters of their domains. So if the cat toys have been unwrapped, well in the mind of the Eight boss, the slightest transgression is HUGE, unacceptable. Who are you to unwrap the cat toys?? And they don't want to hear any excuses or stories. And they think it just fine that their rage sends all their disciples / employees into a frenzy of trying to make it right, of trying to calm them down somehow. They rule by terror and they love it, enjoy, even celebrate their emotional terrorism. They are entitled to behave this way.

And if their devotees or employees feel humiliated, well that's their feelings are just their shortcomings or lack of understanding. The Eight boss is just expressing their entitled feelings. For most Eights, the opinions and feelings of other people seem distant and pale and small, as if seen through the wrong end of a telescope (Goldberg).
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:03 am

Mokuan--thank you so much for your last post. I think that it is both insightful and compassionate. Your observations resonate completely with my own experience and perception of RMJK.

Josh, once again, I have to say that I am delighted with the perspective and information that you bring to this discussion--and yet, I can't help but feel that you are attempting to prove a point by:

A) Asserting that Enneagram type 8 personalities usually dominate and exploit others in some way;

B) Identifying Kennett as a type 8;

And then, as a result of this general association:

C) Convicting her by equating her motives and behavior with what is exhibited at the most extreme end of the type 8 personality exploitation-of-others spectrum.

I think that you are making what philosophers, logicians, and psychologists would refer to as a series of catagory errors (i.e. arriving at a judgement based on a comparison of different catagories, behaviors, or conditions, as if they were the same).

I have no argument with your own perception, since you have every right to your perception and conclusions.

And in fact, I certainly agree with much of what you are saying--although I perceive the crux of RMJK's behavior as stemming from serious, unrecognized, unresolved, unhealed, trauma issues.

I also believe (as I think you do as well) that RMJK's trauma and abusive behavior have now become institutionalized within the OBC itself.

What I disagree with you about is what I perceive to be the extremity, the extreme condemnation of RMJK, that seems to be at the heart of your assessment.

On the other hand, I certainly could be wrong, and my sincere apologies if I have misperceived your statements or intent in any way!!
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:24 am

Interesting point Kozan,I am not going to reply for Josh,but I think you could have said that about some of my comments too,and with me you may have been right.
There is an however, a fine line, the forum has given people the chance to say what they were not able or allowed to say before. I am surprised that very few people could confront Kennett,she must have sewn us up well,created a system that was watertight and allowed,no imput. I certainly have had private correspondence from people who still feel uneasy about voicing their concerns, becaause the propergander has been pummelled into them...drop it was a favorite, it is your ego, let it go,you are only a junior or a lay person.None of these issues would have arisen if we were allowed full debate.So I think with us joining in in various ways, including humor,we are allowing a good look at what we held up high,and seeing it for what it is.
Having said all of that,you must balance out the points of view with saying hang on. Again interesting you say about kennetts trauma issue,and all this being passed on through the OBC,i would like to see you expand that,in your very reasoned way,because that would throw considerable light on the affair
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:16 pm

Thanks everybody.
Mokuan,
Your accounts say so much. It is these kinds of stories that support everbody's experience of Jiyu. For those people who never met her, like me, she wasn't "real," so to hear these stories provides a reference and uncovers the truth about who she was. It is scary to think that so many people join groups or cults without even wanting to know who it is that they are following or what it is that they are doing! I give credit to all those that have seen it for what it is and have left. For those still involved, well, all I can say is that there is a level of ignorance there and one of the main tenets of Buddhism is to try and see through ignorance, desire, anger. This ignorance might be totally okay- I think many of these people function in an acceptable way and if they aren't harming themselves, then who cares? But, people are also harmed and are imprisoned by their own ignorance.

I look forward to continuing on with uncovering more of Jiyu's psyche and seeing how it influences others and is still acted out by others in the present.

Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:52 pm

In response to Kozan --

I am using the Enneagram as one lens to look at Kennett and Shasta. As I said at the beginning of this exercise, there are many other ways to look at her and how things unfolded at Shasta. But what I am absolutely rejecting out of hand is the party line - which has caused some much harm and illusion. To me, the idea that Kennett's behavior was mostly an expression of a deep realization / enlightenment is total nonsense and based entirely on wishful thinking.

So once we stop drinking that kool-aid, we need to ask ourselves what happened, what did she behave that way, why was there so much emotional harm experienced, why was this place so repressive and unkind, what did many of us run for our lives to leave there. Why were people shunned who left? And so on.

So I am using the Enneagram because I find it one of the most insightful systems of personality study available -- and I studied it.

And, I would love professional psychologists who are much more schooled in understanding inner and group dynamics to take a crack at Kennett and Shasta. I am sure there are many other ways to look at what happened. A smart psychologist who was an expert in the psychology of organizations and leaders would have a field day with interviewing people currently at Shasta as well as former members. Quite the study.

Now, using the lens of the Enneagram, it is fairly clear to me that Kennett is a TYPE EIGHT. Yes, I made that decision. If people who are reading these posts find the Enneagram of interest, I invite them to pick up a few books and explore for themselves. Maybe you will see Kennett as a different type? I think it's pretty clear she is an Eight, but people disagree on typing, so let the discussion begin.

You are right in that I am looking at her more extreme behavior. I do NOT think that she behaved like that all the time. Clearly, there were times when she was a more moderate version of the Eight mode - not enraged all the time, not just storming around, and so on. So you are quite right, I am not presenting the full spectrum of all her behavior. Certainly she had a more "normal" or softer side - and that was much more operational in the earlier years. And I left after seven years, so have no idea what she was like after that. But as I said, the last few years, Kennett's behavior was quite extreme - at least that was my experience. I don't feel I am exaggerating it, but maybe Kozan you had a different experience.

But I would say all the issues and problems and pathology at Shasta comes from Kennett's more extreme behavior, comes from her unconscious shadow, and that's what I want to talk about here and now. That's where the problems lie.

This discussion of her personality has never taken place before - except privately between a few people who left -- and almost in whispers. So I wanted to open the flood gates to a much more honest, open, real exploration of this group, teacher, and way beyond that, how the Dharma was distorted because of these deeply unconscious dynamics. This is important.

Now, I am not worrying about doing this perfectly. My stories and examples are not perfect, they can't be. Memories are not perfect and most of the stories from those years I have thankfully forgotten. I don't have time or the inclination to write a book about Kennett and the OBC. If it had become bigger and more influential in the Buddhist world, a book might be a good idea. But because it became so inwardly focused and isolated, the group has almost no influence outside its gates. Most of the harm and confusion was confined to inside the gates of this organization - thankfully.

Part of the deeper value of this website / discussion board is that it does give former members the platform and the permission to openly acknowledge their feelings, tell their stories, think for themselves, and take back their adulthood, which many people did give up. When Kennett is screaming at Mokuan for unwrapping the cat toys -- that is a perfect example of the most pathological side of an Eight boss -- and also a good example of how Kennett turned her disciples into dependent children.

Now if you feel I am being too extreme or harsh, jump in and share you own stories and examples and assessment. I welcome that. But I will to continue to use the Enneagram -- and have a bunch more postings -- and will continue to look at Kennett as someone who was seriously unconscious about her inner shadows and demons. And yes, I agree, much of her behavior does come from the way she was treated in childhood. Our personality structures are created there - for all of us.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:03 pm

Mokuan,
Thank you so much for posting your experience of Rev. Kennett. I saw such things over and over, and experienced a few myself once I became ill. I also saw Meian berated like that many times by Rev. Kennett. In one of her lectures she spoke about how grateful she was for Rev. Kennett being "tough" on her and making her a better person. This rather sad and self-destructive personality trait of being able to blame oneself--and fully believe it--for Rev. Kennett's own personality flaws seemed to me to be a very desirable trait to rising to the top at Shasta. So many of Rev. Kennett's tirades appeared to me to be just that: tirades. They were not enlightened action designed to help others, they were venting. We all vent at times and get a little out of control. Most of us don't have the luxury of being deemed enlightened for doing so. Thank God for that. How easy it would then be to convince ourselves of the truth of our own vast spiritual achievements, while in fact being quite ordinary people. How does one grow and improve under such conditions?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:07 pm

Hi Kozan,
Josh has already responded, but I can offer a little more from the psychology perspective. I am glad that Josh explains that his view is just "one lense" from which to view Jiyu. The same could be said for using a particular theory such as Jungian versus the standard DSM diagnosis. Nothing is complete or perfect and nothing can explain Jiyu's behavior or personality perfectly.

It is difficult to identify trauma as the cause in Jiyu's case. So far, we have not heard of any one particular traumatic event that occured in the past. And, looking at it this way is on one end of the extreme- it is the clinical way to see it. To be diagnosed with PTSD or Complex Trauma, there needs to be a root cause of some kind. What is traumatic to one person may be not be to another. And the traumatic event may or may not cause a change in personality or cause a personality disorder. There is a reason why the "Axis V" diagnosis exists- it is impossible to only look at one aspect of a person and the personality traits are separate from the clinical disorders.

Even though it is very much (and likely) possible that Jiyu's behavior and personality were influenced or caused by trauma, there is still the issue of looking at her personality and behavior along with possible clinical disorders or pathology. It is not enough to only look at trauma in any case, you have to look at how it operates. In the case of Jiyu, the only way to do this is through observation of past behavior and events, so in a way, we are limited here.

We all have different ways of working through our individual opinions. For Josh, it sounds like what he is saying is that he absolutely rejects Jiyu's behavior as a sign of enlightenment and he uses one model (Enneagram) as a way to operationalize unenlightened behavior. I agree with him wholeheartedly, btw. For me, I use what I know and study; I can use the DSM diagnosis to do the same thing. If I can "prove" psychosis, I can prove unenlightened behavior. I have to reject the "Psychic" diagnosis in order to diagnose the "Psychosis." This is a process. It could be said that "diagnosis" is a condemning act. I know you have accused Josh of "convicting" Jiyu. Well, I think "convict" is a little strong and sounds a little defensive on your part. I also think you tend to take a bit of a defensive side and use "trauma" to justify her behavior. That's just what it sounds like to me, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I it is something to think about. I think that Josh, rigthly so, uses his critical thinking skills and since this is what is destroyed in people who are in cults, it can be seen as an extreme thing to do. And it is precisely what we teach in exit counseling for former cult members; they have to learn how to think again and discern because the thought-reform process had destroyed their ability to think critically. It's okay that Josh can say he thinks Jiyu's enlightenment is "total nonsense" even though this may be extremly disturbing to some people. This is why it is so important to have this forum.

None of this would matter of course if no one was being harmed. If I spent this much time dissecting every wrong that had ever been committed against me, I would be probably be diagnosed with a clinical disorder! However, my new profession has trained me to analyze personalities and cultic studies are my specialty, so Jiyu is an excellent case study.

There are tons of studies and research out there on trauma, so much so that it is going to take me another 3 years to get through it. I'll try and offer what I can, but it is a slow process. And yes, I have thought about writing my dissertation on all this, but I'm not there yet. We'll see what happens.

Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:40 pm

Using the Enneagram, the Eight dynamic does not need to be based on some major traumatic event. Many EIGHTS suffer from what they feel is general neglect and a lack of love, attention and nurturing. That's the way life feels to them at an early age. Yes, some were abused either emotionally or physically, but most probably weren't.

Sometimes EIGHTs describe their childhood as combative - they were always fighting with their siblings or childhood friends - so the world became a place of struggle, fighting, where the strong survive and the weak lose.

From an early age, EIGHTs feel they have been cut off from "being" or the source of love and protection. This is of course a delusion. You can't be cut off from being or essence - because that is all you are - but that's how they feel. Cut off from IT.

Now, based on that core EIGHT assumption -- we can then look at Kennett's attempt to reconnect and talk with "The Cosmic Buddha" in a new light. I am going to talk more about that later in the section on "The Cosmic Buddha". But when you feel cut off -- and you believe that thought or idea -- then you want to reconnect and that connection becomes something EXTERNAL, so outside of you, outside of your being -- so it feels like trying to find and then connect to God, or the Cosmic Buddha, or higher consciousness, or whatever you want to call this projection.

Also, Eights blame others for this feeling of being cut off. Something terrible happened - way back -- they can't pinpoint it - and someone is to blame. And this becomes the main unconscious activity, getting even or revenge on those responsible, the universe, others.

This is actually a huge topic - this aspect of the EIGHT personality structure.

More on this later.



At her core, she feels disconnected.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:48 pm

Diana,
From a personal and professional perspective, I don't believe Rev. Kennett was psychotic. While she did suffer from poor social skills and a variety of other problems, her reality testing was quite functional. I can't say whether her visions were true or false. I think that goes well beyond my competency level. However, even if they were false, they did not impair her ability to function in a manner in which a psychosis would.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:43 pm

I'm not sure about Jiyu's mental state. Some of the Lotus Blossom stuff seems quite over the edge. But those states seem to have been temporary.

Whether she was type 8 or not doesn't seem particularly important. That type may be right, but it doesn't explain the long term harm. I've seen type 8 bosses. They came. They went. Their successors brought their own experience and types to the table without qualms about differing from their predecessor's behavior.

Even Jiyu's actual behavior and immediate harm, under different conditions, would have been self limiting or benign. It is the power other people gave her that mattered - their wills, mind, devotion, and actions complicit with her mischief. The elevation of her unkindness/misbehavior to "acts of a Buddha" were the most damaging of all as others willingly and actively modeled her behavior -- out of fear or from their own aspirations. This was not a solo dance. This modeling has evidently continued as a dominant defective meme in the memepool.

I think the value of this thread may be that some few who read it will finally see Jiyu as a very flawed human being -- not an arahant, not a Buddha, not anything special including a reliable authority on Buddhism. Once somebody recognizes that, the music stops and the dance is over. The poison of the devotion extended to Jiyu daily in OBC temples is that it keeps the dance going -- dancing with whatever zeal is necessary to keep doubts at bay.

Her behavior was often very hurtful and harmful, and it is sad to see that harm replicated by devotees as malpractice of their own.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:04 pm

Hi Henry!

I'm not so sure I agree with you. I think she could not distinguish between reality and fantasy and basically could not function in the "real" world and she never had to function in a real world as she created her own world and lived there instead.

Her descriptions in "How to Grow.." and other's peoples accounts of some of her "experiences" show that she would periodically become dysfunctional for days on end. The accounts here on the forum of her elaborate fantasies involving not only herself but of those around her, point directly to fantasy, not reality. If she really believed she was Bodhidharma and Eko was Jesus, well, I think that is obviously fantasy.

Psychosis might just be a feature of another disorder for Jiyu, but I believe she periodically displayed signs of psychosis even though she may have appeared to also act "normal."

One way to distinguish between her experiences would be to ask "is this how an enlightened person acts?" If we chalk-up her experiences in the "psychic" collumn and say that her expereinces were religious ones, then her behavior should reflect that and essentially she should be cannonized or recognized as a saint. I think you would definitley have to take a lethal dose of kool-aid to think she was a saint or a Buddha. A saint would not have acted the way she did, a saint is not tryranical and unstable.

I am starting to really hear a whole different side of her. According to Josh, she was severely dependent- she could never be alone. Why? She showed signs of narcissism and attachment disorder. Man, I'm telling you, I am going to be studying this for a long time. I've already dragged out my old books. Now that I am not drinking the kool-aid, some of her writing is very suspicious.

Nevertheless, I'm totally open to debating this issue. One question- why did the OBC stop publishing "How to Grow...?" Some of the former monks I knew used to say that book was her downfall; she should have never written it. I find that very interesting.

Cheers,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:31 pm

Diana,

Belief is a strange beast. One can be quite engulfed in strange beliefs and fantasies and not be psychotic. Just look at Scientology and the Mormon church. I was in close proximity to her for 15 years and would have noticed if she entered a psychotic episode. There are other ways to account for her behavior. We can always agree to disagree on this one.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:33 am

Responding to Jack's post, the whole point of my enneagram postings is to change the music and derail the harmful polka that's been going on. The enneagram descriptions does shift the conversation and demonstrates that her actions were clear, banal psychopathology, the acts of an Enneagram Eight, the boss typology, and NOT the acts of the Buddha. The Enneagram details show over and over again how her behavior was part of her unresolved psychological issues.

Now as to why the dance does continue, cultic organizations that isolate themselves can keep the pathology going for decades, even generations. I guess through my experience with Sorting It Out and hearing the accounts of so many leave-takers from so many different kinds of authoritarian communities, it was clear how seductive and enchanting these scenes can be. Just look at Scientology and you can see that people can believe anything. Also, i think people are desperate for community, connecting, and want some certainty - so they easily descend into all kinds of unhealthy situations. People too freely give up their adulthood, their power, their independent and critical thinking in exchange for the promise of some grand higher consciousness or eternal life -which never comes.

I guess I am not surprised that Kennett's oppressive culture continued long after her death.


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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:46 am

More quotes from the Guru Papers:

"So disciples believe they are loved unconditionally, even though this love is conditional on continued surrender. Disciples in the throes of surrender feel they have given up their past, and do not, consciously at least, fear the future. . .

Feeling totally cared for and accepted, at the universe’s center, powerful, and seemingly unafraid of the future are all achieved at the price of giving one’s power to another, thus remaining essentially a child." (p56)

"Traditional gurus teach what they were taught. Most gurus’ training in dealing with disciples is through example – watching their own guru. They learn to recognize, reinforce, and reward surrender, and to negate non-surrender. Aside from the more tangible rewards, they reinforce devotion with attention and approval, and punish its lack by withdrawing them. Though some gurus say that doubts are healthy, they subtly punish them.

Doubt is not the way to get into the inner circle. Believing surrender is essential for transmitting their teachings, some gurus could be aware they are manipulating people to surrender, but think they are doing so ‘for their own good.’ (If this were in fact true, it would mean that deep truths are only accessible via an authoritarian mode.) This can not only justify manipulation, but also justify dissembling in order to eliminate people’s doubts – all this being done in the name of fostering spiritual growth." (p.62)

"The power of conversion experiences lies in the psychological shift from confusion to certainty." (p.65)

"People whose power is based on the surrender of others develop a repertoire of techniques for deflecting and undermining anything that questions or challenges their status, behavior, or beliefs. They ridicule or try to confuse people who ask challenging questions." (p.66)

"To be thought enlightened, one must appear not only certain that one is, but certain about most everything else, too." (p.70)

"Gurus undercut reason as a path to understanding. When they do allow discursive inquiry, they often place the highest value on paradox. Paradox easily lends itself to mental manipulation. No matter what position you take, you are always shown to be missing the point; the point being that the guru knows something you do not." (p.74)
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:13 pm

More on Ennea-type EIGHT: based on some of the work of Sandra Maitri:

At a very young age, most Eights feel that they have been completely stripped of Being. An Eight's innermost feeling is that something terrible has happened, although on this pre-conceptual level, he does not even have the concept of loss of contact with his depths. There is just this pervasive sense that something not right has occurred, that something overwhelmingly bad has been done to him, and that his nature (essence) has been corrupted in some way. The Eight feels this vague sense of having lost his original and natural state, a sense that he has fallen from grace. The deepest and paramount truth about himself has been wiped out of his life, his awareness. Gone. And his ego crystallizes around this sense, this core story, this lie.

His sense of oneness is gone, a distant memory, duality arises along with the absolute conviction that there is someone responsible for this horrible state of affairs. BLAME becomes the main pathology in the mind of an Eight - finding out WHO is at fault and how the wrong must be avenged and this becomes the central life preoccupation as he grows up and moves through life. The type Eight was originally called Ego-Venge or Ego-Revenge since vengeance is the main driving inner story.

But he actually holds himself culpable. He should have been strong enough to stop this wrong, even as a infant, to prevent this fall. Inside, he feels that he is bad for having let this happen. This story feels a lot like the biblical concept of original sin. he has been thrown out of the garden for something, and he blames himself for both his essential badness and for being weak, but this self-blame is too painful, so she turns the blame around and from early childhood on, he projects the blame outwards. It is the fault of OTHERS. His parents, his siblings, the adults around him, the world itself, everyone -- they are all responsible, they did this to him, and this deep wrong must be made right. He must be vindicated and restitution must be exacted. So he becomes locked into this anger pointed outwards and this prevents him turning the anger inward, from hating himself. And it also protects this vague memory of the pure garden, the original nature that he once knew as himself.

In this strange manner, he imagine that he protects the goodness of his original nature. This life behavior has been referred to as the Eight's personal jihad, holy war - the constant battle against others. Righteous war. Emotional terror. Justified rage.

This stance protects him from experiencing any feelings of powerless -which would be the worst feeling imaginable to the Eight. So he is now living a continuous battle with reality as he holds other accountable - blame -- and is always trying to set things right. This becomes the psychological survival strategy. Even though he then lives his life punishing and blaming others, inside a far greater battle goes on of self-punishing.

If only he would have been stronger and more powerful, this terrible state would not have happened. If only. The way he remembers his childhood is that he was punished for no good reasons, he was abused, neglected, ignored, unloved and humiliated. Many Eights tell stories of an unloving mother who did not protect him from a brutal father. There is a profound sense of injustice in the center of the Eight psyche and the universe appears to be a jungle, a battleground, malevolent.

His weakness and vulnerability, his receptivity and openness - those things are what's wrong with him. Those qualities are responsible for his predicament. Being strong is what he needs. He idealizes strength and power. He idealizes the male energy. He becomes forceful, tough, hard, inflexible, immovable, so no one can ever [banned term] with him again. He creates the outer skin of a rhino, tough and leathery, an armor that protects his soft inner core.

But this is not real strength or power. It is false, artificial, an imitation, counterfeit. The Eight becomes static, rigid and inflexible. The Eight is always tough and strong. He cannot moderate his power and be soft when necessary.

So Eight develops this artificial toughness which compensates for his lack of contact with his real strength -- it is a dark armor covering his essence. He attempts to protect his heart by rejecting all emotions that feel weak to him - sadness, doubt, vulnerability, fear, caring or remorse. The consequence is that he cuts off the capacity to experience tenderness, intimacy, affection, love, kindness and innocent joy.

Karen Horney, the great psychologist, describes this neurotic state as "moving against others." Horney wrote, "The choking off of tender feelings, starting in childhood and described as the hardening process, is necessitated by the actions and attitudes of other people and is meant to protect him against others. The need to make himself insensitive to suffering is greatly reinforced by the vulnerability of his pride and is climaxed by his pride in invulnerability."

The Eight has numbed his heart and so has little or no empathy, compassion or sensitivity to others, just as he has little for himself. Extreme Eights care little about what others feel or how they feel about him, since inside he feels that he is completely incapable of being loved.

Because of his lack of empathy, he is usually unaware of the hurt feelings of others, and he is oblivious to the effects of his own blunt and callous manner. And when he does notice, he does not feel guilt or remorse for what he has said or done - just the opposite - he feels contempt for the vulnerability that the other person is exhibiting.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:52 am

I had another Kennett Enneagram thought. Consider this some speculation.

Type Eights hate to work for anyone, they are not good employees, or second in command. They are actually not very good disciples. They like to be top dog, in charge, running the show, in whatever situation they find themselves in.

When Kennett goes to Japan, she becomes an entry-level disciple. Her official main teacher is Koho Zenji - an imperial abbot, so a person that she rarely sees or has only a minimal personal connection to - probably not unlike her father or Christmas Humphreys at the London Buddhist Society. Another example of the distant father figure, emotionally distant, lack of intimate connection.

Kennett's actual teacher is Suigan Yogo, another Zen teacher there. This is the person she sees regularly, who she translates Dogen and Keizan with, who teaches her the basics of being a trainee, etc. And as I think i mentioned elsewhere, the first mimeographed editions of Zen Is Eternal Life that we read / studied in 1969-70, was dedicated "to my master, Zuigan Yogo." Not to Koho Zenji -- so obviously her story changed. She saw Yogo as her actual or functional master, not Koho Zenji.

Now, keep in mind, the Eight type puts up with this subservient role, but actually hates it. May even resent it. However, for Kennett in Japan, there is obviously no choice. She is suddenly a monk/nun, in a strange culture of both Japan and the monastery, where she does not know the language, so of course, she can't function as the boss. But underneath this, based on everything i know about the Eight mindset, Kennett is planning for the day where she gets out from under the control of anyone.

So she goes through her few years of training there, has her kensho, transmission, etc. then goes off to run her temple and then eventually come to the U.S.

Now my point. Her main teacher was Zuigan Yogo, but when Kennett comes to America, she has essentially cut herself off completely from Yogo. When i went on line recently, trying to remember some of this history, I saw amazingly that Yogo was alive and well into the mid-1990's, even became abbot of Sojiji and in one entry i found on google, he said nice things about Kennett to someone - or he is quoted as saying so. But isn't it interesting - she totally cuts herself off from someone who gave her transmission and was for all intents and purposes her master. I certainly remember hearing about him - in her narrative -- early on - but then his name mostly disappears from her story of her time in Japan -- and i think there was some problem with his wife or something. (Isn't that in the Wild White Goose, or do I have that wrong? His wife was jealous or said something bad about Kennett?)

But for her to completely disconnect and have no contact with someone who was her spiritual mentor and teacher, isn't that ODD?????? For decades, she demanded total adoration and obedience, demonizing those who leave or cut themselves off from her, but that's what she seems to have done with Yogo.

OK, there could have been some politics or whatever, who knows. We just heard her version of her story which did seem to change over time. So who knows what to fully believe. But back to using the Enneagram as the lens. Since Eights need to be top dog and do not like to answer to anyone, from that point of view, it is clear why she would cut herself off from a living teacher and shift all the narrative and adoration to Koho Zenji who is dead. Dead masters can't tell you what to do.

Also, even if she had some unresolved issues with Yogo, certainly when I was there, i was not aware that she made any attempt to communicate with him, contact him, heal the problem. Also typical of Eight. If she felt he had said or done something "wrong" to her, she would cut him off in her mind. He would be dead to her. But we are talking about someone who was basically her "master" for many years.

Also, even if there were issues with the Soto head office - very possible -- the Eight boss absolutely hates answering to any such authority - and frankly, would make trouble. rebel, sabotage or make sure any such relationship fell apart. They would demonize any organization or person that tried to have authority over them. I have seen Eight bosses and leaders do this countless times. Eights answer to no one.

Oh, except her version of "The Cosmic Buddha' - another amorphous male figure that will only tell you what you want to hear.

I am sure there are folks on this board who know much more about the history than I do. And I could have gotten some of this wrong, etc. But for me the key point is the Kenett's mind set. Just some speculation here.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:41 pm

It is fascinating to me that Rev. Kennett actually dedicated her book to her "master" Suigan Yogo and that he lived until the mid '90s. There was never any mention of this in my time at Shasta, and yet, like you say, Rev. Kennett always spoke of never going against one's master and never being able to leave one's master, etc. etc., and yet you say that it was Yogo that transmitted her? Are you sure of this? This is pretty amazing too me, if true. Is there anyone else out there that can corroborate Josh's memory on Rev. Kennett dedicating the first version of her book to Yogo and that he transmitted her? I always thought Koho Zenji transmitted her. Did Yogo do it in his place? I'd appreciate any info out there on this.
thanks
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:28 pm

Henry wrote:
It is fascinating to me that Rev. Kennett actually dedicated her book to her "master" Suigan Yogo and that he lived until the mid '90s. There was never any mention of this in my time at Shasta, and yet, like you say, Rev. Kennett always spoke of never going against one's master and never being able to leave one's master, etc. etc., and yet you say that it was Yogo that transmitted her? Are you sure of this? This is pretty amazing too me, if true. Is there anyone else out there that can corroborate Josh's memory on Rev. Kennett dedicating the first version of her book to Yogo and that he transmitted her? I always thought Koho Zenji transmitted her. Did Yogo do it in his place? I'd appreciate any info out there on this.
thanks

I have a vague memory that Rev Yogo transmitted her first followed by Koho Zenji, but I can't remember why it happened that way. Perhaps another of the old timers can fill in the blanks?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:37 pm

i think she had two transmissions, but you know that fact was not clear to me when I was at Shasta. I only remember her talking about receiving transmission from Koho Zenji.

I think Kyogen has a lot more details about this than I do. I do remember this dedication in the original manuscript to Yogo as her master - it may have been dedicated to both of Yogo and Koho, Others might have some better memories and I am sure there are other ways to tell this story.

I do not claim to have this exact. Also, given that what we heard came through Kennett, it was not objective history or truth either. People who disappointed her were routinely deleted from history and memory in any case.

My main points above were more focused on her psychological patterns expressing her underlying Enneagram Eight typology. That would be relevant regardless of some of the historical details.

Eights totally resent any authority above them, whether it is a boss, an organization, a board of directors, a master, or any set of rules. They are always the ultimate authority and decision maker, they act from their gut, end of discussion. They make the rules, change the rules, reinterpret the rules. They are the rules. They hate hate hate being told what to do. They do not like being managed.

So this psychological stance - that comes from her childhood -- had to effect her relationship with the Japanese - whether it was Yogo or the Soto Head Office - that is certain. As it affected her relationship and the way she viewed and interacted with the London Buddhist Society.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:10 pm

When Daiji came back from Shasta all those years ago, he told me an interesting story.
There must have been some sort of discussion about the previous lives activities.
Someone asked Kennett what Koho Zenji would have made of all the previous lives,and what was going on.
Kennett said that'Koho Zenji would not have understood it'
This was meant that his understanding was too limited to understand it.

Was it Diana who told the story of Eko being able to read people,and Eko said that the Abbott of Sojiji did not have an understanding,or had not had a kensho.

A bit of clarity from Mark would be helpful.

My last contact with kennett was she sent me a signed letter saying I had her permission to study with another teacher. When I went to Japan, I took the letter with me( I had to admit a bit nervously) I was never asked for anything,They did not want to see anything on a piece of paper. It was always heart to heart ,always face value there
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:26 pm

Here is something that might be of interest. When sorting out what happened to many of us at Shasta, it is useful to get perspective by looking at other authoritarian religious organizations -- it provides a wider perspective since you realize that many of the dynamics were not unique to Shasta, where not expressions of Dharma, but aspects of human nature and group dynamics.

Note: Trungpa's official successor was Osel Tenzin, an American. Tenzin had AIDS and infected at least one of his students and later died of AIDS. This created an enormous crisis in their community.

This is from -- http://www.kheper.net/index.htm. The material is not copyrighted and the website's owner gave me permission to post this entire essay.

A Review of Stephen T. Butterfield - The Double Mirror

The following material was sent to me by a friend. I have decided to reproduced it as is. This seems to be a very important book in understanding the phenomenon of the abusive and ambiguous intermediate zone gurus Butterrfield was a follower of Trungpa,and was ostracized by the community because of this book - MAK.

I just now finished reading a book by Stephen Butterfield, entitled The Double Mirror. Butterfield published it in the mid-1990s, about six years after Tendzin's AIDS diagnosis was revealed. It should be on any reading list for those researching Trungpa--and his legacy.

I am sorry to report that Butterfield is no longer here. He died young, and on in the Amazon.com review of the book, Butterfield's brother reported that Trungpa's organization refused to send anyone to officiate at Stephen's funeral--and SB had reached a high rank before he left the organization--which he did soon after they learned that Tenzin had AIDS and had infected others.

Tenzin alleged that Trungpa had told him that his Buddhist practice would neutralize the virus. But even if one takes the position that Tenzin lied, this still left devotees with the grim truth that Trungpa had appointed this man to be his successor, which demonstrated that a guru could indeed make mistakes.

Devotees have been pretezling their minds around this one ever since. Butterfield was a committed practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, studied for years under both Trungpa and Osel Tentzin and was initiated to do the higher tantra practices. He literally put his body on the line by doing years of prostration practice--despite having reduced lung capacity due to sarcoidosis. The practices benefited him greatly. But he decided in the end that the whole system of Tibetan practice, whether transmitted through Trungpa or someone else, no matter how virtuous--the whole system is a catch-22 It is supposed to liberate us from desire, yet the ranking system and the hidden secrets foster hankering at another level--for magic. And a lot of this stuff works. It can't be written off as phony.

This is not your usual cult survivor memoir. Butterfield was deeply appreciative of Buddhadharma. He saw how it benefited him, both physically and emotionally. And he did some background research and came to the conclusion that Trungpa did indeed teach authentic Tibetan Buddhism. It is his gratitude, along with his capacity for doubt (which he partially suppressed by his years of practice and then reclaimed)--it is Butterfield's gratitude that makes this such painful reading. Trungpa, according to Butterfield, warned that loving your guru is an unrequited love affair.

It appears to have been the case for Trungpa's students. It is Butterfields loyalty and compassion that make his descriptions so disturbing to read. He described how for him and others, Tibetan practice promised relief from craving and then subtly inculcated craving at another level by fostering the very spiritual materialism that Trungpa had described and promised to remedy. For the Tibetan system, whether taught by Trungpa or by others, is hierarchical, runs on rank, and you cant help but look up to your guru--and to those who have been given the green light to practice the powerful stuff--tantra. Indeed the physical settings force you to look up--the guru or teacher is up on a throne and the celebrity teachers are often guarded by entourages--gaining access to them is a prize--and causes yet more craving.

What gave me the chills was Butterfield's description of the way Trungpa created an elitist society. He gave people pins marking their grades in rank--just like Scout badges. And....Trungpa became a rather snobbish Anglophile. He not only had married an aristocratic English girl, he required his American students to take elocution lessons and try to acquire an upper class English accent.

The students initiated to do tantra were like the prefects or head boys at an old style public school. They even strutted in a particular manner and showed similar condescension when talking to those of lower grade. And, though Butterfield does not use this terminology, he does describes what others would call a fagging system: the lower ranking students doing the entry level practices waited on and did the housework for the high ranking tantric practitioners.

Butterfield mentioned Trungpa's disdain for democracy. The guru once stormed out of a meeting when a student suggested taking a majority vote to see if the others approved of the way Trungpa kept them up all night at meetings. Trungpa did that a lot. You'd be kept up all night only to find that the lecture was cancelled. All this was supposed to break down a student's assumptions. That Trungpa was rude, ungrateful or merely sleeping off an alcoholic binge--only a perverted dharma destroyer would think in such a manner. People with that viewpoint go to hell.

Oh--if you took tantric initiation, you were told that if you gave up the practice, you'd go to hell. Butterfield does not say so, but Trungpa's disdain for democracy demonstrates a lack of political wareness--and a lack of gratitude. For it was American democratic institutions, and generous immigration policies (thirty years ago that is) and its tax exempt status for religions that permitted Trungpa to reside here and rapidly accumulate wealth by being free from taxation that secular institutions and private citizens did have to pay.

Butterfield is loyal to this tradition but saw its dangers. As he put it, when you see everything nondually and that the guru is always right, you have no way to step outside the system and ask if it is meeting its stated goal. The invocations, visualizations and prostrations have genuine benefit for physical and inner health. They are profoundly emancipatory in many, many ways. But our author also concluded that these left the practitioner vulnerable to indoctrination. You were supposed to eradicate doubt. Butterfield became convinced that you needed to include doubt in your practice in order to stay sane and decent -- and to ensure that this was genuine practice.

He asks the vital question: why was it important to follow the Buddhist ethical guidelines in the early stages of practice and how then did these suddenly become irrelevant as soon as you were practicing at tantra level? Butterfield also mentioned something that was news to me: that Trungpa made a distinction between his followers versus 'heretics' and preferred that his students avoid consorting with 'heretics.'

Butterfield refused to follow this guideline--he found more support in his friendships with those outside Trungpa's system because they saw him as a person not as an embodiment of Trungpa's system. He could not help but notice the peer pressure in this organization, that certain questions were off limits and that laughter tended to be at other people's expense. Butterfield describes how often he clammed up and failed to ask questions for fear of being laughed at.

The thing that really stuck in my craw were Butterfield's disclosures about Trungpa's liking for English upper class lifestyle at its snobbish worst. I'd known for years that the man had problems with sex and alcohol, but his demand that students take elocution lessons to acquire more refine accents--that was just too much.

Butterfield quotes Trungpa as saying 'Do what you are good at.' But, according to Butterfield, one thing Trungpa happened to be quite good at was being a trickster. To me, tricksters tend to treat people as objects.

Anyone who finds that kind of thing fun is IMO seriously deficient in humanity. In the end, Butterfield opted for human kindness and human doubt—and he roots for science, for art, and for the dignity of human labor. One thing he disapproved of was the way servant-students (aka fags) were accused of deficient guru devotion if they did not perform the task in a pleasing manner. As Butterfield put it, this put all the blame on the underling. It failed to take into account that a hard working student may well have desired to please, but might have been tired or distracted--with no trace of disloyalty.






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jack



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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:47 pm

Yeah. I read some of Trungpa's books too. Even read one of his son's books which tried to be profound about how mindfulness would improve your golf game or something like that. Not impressed.

Montaigne wrote in the 1500's something like the "The wealthy had the grave misfortune of being able to afford doctors." (Given the state of medical knowledge and the ghastly remedies prescribed, I think he was quite right.) I guess I've never been advanced enough to have the grave misfortune of finding a guru.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:38 pm

Jack

I had one of his books too, time ago, can't remember the title, but it was on Guru devotion. And since we're at it, how about the story about Marpa the translator and Milarepa, a test of ultimate Guru devotion, exept that that was written to demonstrate the evil consequenses of the uses of black magic and that the hardship that Marpa put Milarepa through was to expiate him from the resulting Karma thereof. I had always been suspicious of Tibetan type of Buddhism, mostly because of the frequent mention of uses of Magic, Tantra, etc., which now is easily available to be read on the internet, but which was talked of, documented even by very early travelers, forages by the adventurous into Tibet. I think any traces of darkness, negativity, even minor ones such as coldness, disdain, slight, contempt, etc.have no use and need to be completely avoided in any practice because they are not harmless.

Brigitte

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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:10 am

It'll be interesting to see the movie "Crazy Wisdom"- the documentary on Trungpa. I heard it will be premiering next month.

Thanks yet again, Josh for posting this kind of stuff.

I must say that it doesn't help to keep ones head buried in the sand. If anyone believes that just because someone says they are a Buddhist that they will not harm you, they are being naive. It is our responsibility to find a place where we will not be harmed. The combination of the burning desire for practice and a crazy guru is a recipe for disaster. And what Josh continues to show us is this is a framework or a model that repeats itself over and over again. All the cultic studies agree with this as well and prove the same exact model. The sad thing is, there are even more sangha's out there that haven't even been mentioned yet that have some serious problems as well. I really question Buddhism in America and in general now and yet I hold those profound teachings that I have experienced close to my heart.

Keep your eyes open people! And don't take any wooden nickles!

Peace!
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:18 am

Trungpa is a very complex situation. Much of what he wrote was quite brilliant. Clearly, he had some deep insight and was able to translatejit into western terminology and psychology. I still refer to many of his teachings.

AND, at the same time, there were lots of shadows and abuse of authority, besides the open alcoholism and his having sex with literally hundreds of his female students, all of which was well known and not hidden. Now, of course, his followers, see all this as just examples of "crazy wisdom," enlightened activity, but i don't buy it. This could get into a much larger discussion, but that is not something useful here or now frankly.

I knew dozens of former members of Shambhala and actually know and interacted with hundreds of current members of the organization. Because I often do PR for the Dalai Lama when he comes to New York and managed the communications for the head of the Kagyu tradition, the Karmapa's visit to the U.S. a few years ago, I occupy an oddly respected position in the Tibetan Buddhist world, but i am a weird independent duck to many of them. They treat me with deference even though I have at times openly criticized some of the Shambhala practices and even made fun of them a few times.

The upcoming documentary film Crazy Wisdom will be mostly a valentine to Trungpa, from what I saw. It will acknowledge his drinking and womanizing, but in the context that it was all wild crazy wisdom.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:30 am

Josh,
While I find your posts to be thought provoking and educational, I have to admit that, as a whole, I am getting the feel from you as an enneatype eight yourself. You grab the reigns of the conversation and head it in precisely the direction you want. When anyone tries to steer it differently you dismiss them and redirect your posts to exactly what you want to say. Your approach also reminds me very much of that of Daishin M. and Haryo. They came to proclaim, not engage. I get a clear picture of you ideas, but your posts show very little of who you are, other than someone who knows exactly what they want to convey and not convey. Exactly what they want to reveal and not reveal. Exactly where the conversation should go and exactly where it should not go. I'm no expert in enneatypes, but from what you've educated us about them, you're looking a little like an eight.
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