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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   Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:59 am

Well Mokuan, you certainly cut me in two, I laughed and laughed at your story,
still am and will do all day
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:54 am

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

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

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

Yesterday i met a master monk in my local posh deli, i told her I'd left the OBC, she said yes she knew from reading this site , i told her how useful and good i found it , she replied in a sad voice : they are all breaking the precepts , i answered - rather babyishly ; "No they're not ," she then said " well some of them and , anyway its all 40 years ago" . I looked at her and felt it was all hopeless , any communication . And i realized then how the past is with us , and i still have much undoing , and much to thank you all for .
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:28 am

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

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

I suspect that the monk you spoke with knows there is more going on here that cannot be reduced to a summary of "breaking the Precepts".
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:48 am

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

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

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

What precepts were they keeping?

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

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

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

Show me those precepts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In some of the next posts, I am going to talk much more about the structure of Kennett's shadow. Is this breaking the precepts?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:03 am

Nicky,

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


Last edited by Kaizan on Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:05 am

Also, aren't these monks reading accounts from Keizan from 2,000 years ago? Aren't most Zen stories from the distant past?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:07 am

Nicky, I always take a great interest when you write,I do not mind if you write and say hey Chisan you got that bit wrong, we can talk it over,and learn. I was going actually to write,I will wait till josh writes as I knew he would, as i clicked over here was his reply.
I agree with Josh what a stupid thing to say we are breaking the precepts,it is the old curse routine,it is the same as saying drop it,it is the same old mind controll. I will be honest,my main reason for being here is the appalling way Daiji was treated,he was told me on his return from Shasta, alot Eko being Jesus,that is being honest and truthful about someone elses delusion,Kennett told everyone not to believe it that is called lieing.
This is not the moral high ground,because I do not walk there,this forum is full of peoples stories,and the master thinks we are wrong to say them. I actually do feel in the course of exchanges, that humor comraderie, compassion, understanding, love and wisdom has been shared by us all. I have to admit i do break the precepts often I am human,and i do get a bit mad by this form of control. Nice to hear from you again Nicky
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:09 am

Well Kaizan I agree with you too,Kennett was allowed to think she was Bodidarma and St John of the cross
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:36 am

Nicky wrote:
Thanks again Chisan , about conceptual religion , and Mokuan too ,
Yesterday i met a master monk in my local posh deli, i told her I'd left the OBC, she said yes she knew from reading this site , i told her how useful and good i found it , she replied in a sad voice : they are all breaking the precepts , i answered - rather babyishly ; "No they're not ," she then said " well some of them and , anyway its all 40 years ago" .

I find this comment and the similar claims by Seikai to be interesting. I can't find a good Buddhist basis for the claim that truthful criticism is "breaking the precepts." The Buddha himself criticized those he thought taught harmful wrong views. I assume he was being truthful. Some of the criticism wasn't flattering or soothing at all.

If Buddhism is about truth, then I can't see any precept that is being violated by honest investigation, doubt, or discussion. The Buddha did recognize that useful truth could be very unpleasant. He recommended that in those circumstances, one should consider the timing of the unpleasantness. I don't see any indication in what is written here that truth as people have seen and experienced it is being used as a weapon to inflict harm and injury. Rather it seems more like a surgeon's knife cutting into a festered wound to remove the rot and infection such that people have a chance of healing. Even ordinary eyes can see the difference between a sword and a surgeon's knife.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:02 pm

I want to address this issue - that criticizing your former teacher is somehow breaking the precepts. By the way, I was with the Dalai Lama once when this came up and he was quite clear, although respect for the lamas and teachers is very important, it is totally appropriate to speak out when you see any teacher doing harm or "breaking the precepts," etc. He urged people to go public.

I mentioned somewhere else on this site that I had written an article for Tricycle Magazine in 1998 on issue of Japanese Zen and war. They published an edited version - my full article was too long. My article was a review of both books - ZEN AT WAR and THE RAPE OF NANKING.

http://www.darkzen.com/Articles/zenholy.htm

The full article included three sections that were interviews / discussions with -- Shodo Harada Roshi of Sogenji (Gensho Alan Florence is a student of Harada Roshi and set up the interview), Masataka Toga Roshi of the Institute of Zen Studies in Kyoto, and Lester Yoshinami, a Soto spokesperson at the Soto Zen HQ in Tokyo.

For those interested in modern Zen history, recommend you read the full article and Brian Victoria's books - there are two out. There was also some recent controversy how he portrayed D.T. Suzuki in his books - Tricycle ran some stories about this earlier this year - also worth reading.

But I wanted to bring your attention to the section of my discussion with Toga Roshi and how the Rinzai tradition then related to their complicity in the Japanese war machine. This relateds directly to the KOAN IN THE DELI - the concept that criticizing your teacher is breaking the precepts. And we shouldn't be talking about the past.

When I asked Toga Roshi if the Rinzai tradition was going to address their war past, have some conferences or meetings, issue any statements, he said absolutely not. First, there are too many head temples, so no coordinated action is possible, but second he says that there would never be any open dialogue. He tells me that the war is still too recent, too fresh too alive, and that is impossible for them to say anything that would be critical of any of their teachers -- and some were still alive - in their 90s. He said a few times - there would never be any kind of open or public discussion. It would be disrespectful of their masters.

Then he says that loyalty is the most important virtue. He says clearly that loyalty to one's teacher and to the tradition is more important than Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. I asked my translator to re-translate what he said. I then asked him to repeat it so I was clear. Loyalty to these teachers -- no matter what -- was above Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

I then responded that what he had just said was NOT Buddhism, was contrary to basic Buddhist teaching. My translator looked as if she was going to be sick. You just didn't talk this way to such an exalted master. Who was I, this random western guy, telling this Zen roshi that what he said was contrary to the teachings of the Buddha? But she translated it back to him and looked very annoyed and uncomfortable.

Just to be clear, the Rinzai Zen establishment for nearly a century was part of the Japanese war machine and they promoted imperial power and aggression. This was no small matter and frankly represents the most egregious misuse of Dharma in Buddhist history. They used Dharma teaching to promote killing and obedience to the emperor. Read the books. This is no exaggeration. Some of the Rinzai teachers were major war promoters, even called killing the activity of the Bodhisattva.

So back to Toga. He says that if he ever questioned any of his masters, he would have to leave the tradition entirely. Then when i mention and quote from some of the more extreme statements by famous Rinzai masters during the war period, he just dismisses them and says that no one ever said that.

False. Denial.

Loyalty is above Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha? What is that??? So for this "master," keeping the precepts means staying in denial, supporting a machine that was complicit in the deaths of literally millions of Chinese, support for imperial power. But that's OK -- just don't speak out or tell the truth or criticize any old teacher. THAT is breaking the precepts, that is much worse than mass slaughter.

What is this? Is this any different than how the Catholic Church behaved regarding pedophiles or priest abuse?

On the other hand, the Soto sect issued a major acknowledgment of their complicity - publicly and openly. They apologize deeply for their participation. They realize that they have to face their past. And Harada Roshi is very open about discussing the past and facing it.

And by the way, a few years after my article comes out, one of the abbots of one of the Rinzai head temples does hold a public meeting, does acknowledge openly the Rinzai traditions participation in the war machine, does face the past.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:15 pm

another point -- in Japanese Zen, Zen teachers frequently attacked each other. Hakuin was extremely critical of Soto Zen, even vicious. Dogen said terribly negative things about some of his contemporaries. There were all kinds of rivalries. Typical human nature stuff.

And in the Tibetan tradition, much sect-based attacks on each other - even murders took place.

So it is an illusion that there was no criticism in the past, that Zen folks didn't have lively discussion and disputes. Yes, the Japanese have this obsession never to criticize their elders, but we don't need to follow that psychopathology, do we?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:29 pm

Question Josh,
I had brought this up in another post, but nobody knew the answer. Eko told me that Koho Zenji used to "bless" the kamakazi pilots before they flew out on their missions. I think he said that K. Zenji used to do this fron either the aircraft carriers or the harbors. Basically, the soldiers, pilots, etc..., had the "blessings" of the Soto church in doing what they were doing. Have you heard anything about Koho Zenji's part in the war?

I'll tell you, when I heard this I really had some stuff come up- mostly I thought about "WHAT AM I DOING, following these people's teachings, reciting the ancestral line every morning without knowing who these people really were?" It seemed so ANTI-Buddhist. All this stupid bowing to monks who behaved like a bunch of power-hungry children. The responsibility lays with the student to discern the truth. I could not blindly follow these people.

Back to Koho Z., I read "Zen at War" to try to find out more, hoping that K.Z. was in there, but I didn't see anything about him. In the process of reading that book, I became a critic of the Japanese way of practice. When I was able to step back and take my ego completely out of the practice, I was able to see the harm it has. I think the ego of the "Zen Master" is what maintains this harmful practice. And it is the ego of the trainees that keeps them oppresed. They are buying into the VERY THING that the Buddha was trying to cut through.

Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:48 pm

One other thing, the first time I saw a group of monks was at a public place and they were sharing their practice and culture. They were Vajrayana. The most impressive part of the "show" was the Dharma Debate! They were so intense! I'm sure some of you have seen this. I was also impressed to learn that these monks had spent years studying, practicing, and debating the Dharma. It seems like such a healthy way to live a religious life. To live a religious life, one HAS to look at truth and not-truth to be able to see what goes beyond those two things. If you can't see not-truth, you are just a baby and certainly should not have any power over the laity, be a "master", or be a teacher. "Breaking the precepts?" This is also an infantile way of looking at things. Anyone who reads this forum and thinks that it is just a bunch of people breaking the precepts should go buy some diapers and a pacifier. A teacher who thinks this way SHOULD NOT BE TEACHING. Why? Because they are too attached to their own egos and ideas to see the truth. They can't even see SUFFERING. They can't even begin to grasp the concept of COMPASSION if they can't HEAR what we are saying. If they think we are breaking the precepts by speaking about the harm that was done to us by THEM and THEIR way of teaching, then there is no hope for them and THEY are the ones who are delusional and ignorant and will suffer many lifetimes in hell. Now how does that feel, teachers? To hear that? That's what you are saying to us. Condemning us to hell for speaking our truth and experience.

Had to get that out there, guys. This "breaking the precepts" thing really gets under my skin. It is just another form of mind control. We are all adults here; we know we shouldn't lie, kill, etc... What a load of waffle to act as the moral police and wag a finger at us for being here on the forum.

Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:49 pm

When I was at Shasta, I never heard much about Koho Zenji period. Kennett barely knew him and she told so few stories. I felt like she had no personal connection to him - since he was this imperial temple abbot. Frankly, I don't think she spent more than a few dozen hours with him her entire time at Sojiji - that might be a slight exaggeration, but not much.

He could have been a great sage, he could have been just a political appointee, i have no idea.

In terms of the war story and Koho Zenji, I never heard that. It was certainly possible. Both the Soto and Rinzai sects were very involved with the war and Kamakazi pilots were blessed by Japanese Buddhist priests. Zen teachers used Dharma language to inspire the kamakazi to give up their lives for the Emperor who was said to be the same as the Buddha. They were told that when they died they would immediately go to heaven or the pure land.

There were Japanese Buddhist chaplains stationed along with the troops everywhere. And certainly Sojiji and the Soto sect was very involved in the war effort. The Soto sect totally acknowledges this.

To be fair, in Japanese society, all these institutions had no real choice. If they didn't support the imperial war machine, they would have been wiped out. They did have a choice, but in Japanese society, everyone goes along with the big plan.

The Japanese considered the Chinese to be less than human, "pieces of lumber." Killing them meant next to nothing in their minds. They felt the same way towards all the non-Japanese they were fighting. Their goal was to establish this great Japanese true empire throughout Asia, the only truly enlightened civilization.

Talk about delusion. Talk about group mind.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:12 pm

Yes the war.
When I was in the temple in japan, I had many thing I suppose on my mind when I arrived in the evening, I think the main one was what was the Abbott like.Who was he. I was unsure who he was even after moerning zazen and service. but at some early hour we assembled,in the ceremonial hall,to the sounds of a big drum being beaten,the beat got faster , and when the crecendo was reached, a sliding door was pulled back, and there was this very small japanese monk, who was clearly the Abbot. We all bowed to each other,and sat or knelt formally ,when we were settled, he welcomed me to the temple. and was I tired from my journey. He then asked me what I thought of Japanese people ,because we fought a big war, against each other.

Bill Picard had fought in Burma, and my uncle was special service officer,who led a feared regiment,who fought close combat, he personally killed a lot of Japanese people at close range. His main mission for a large part of the war,was to engage ( that is the politest word I can use) the japanese general, who was one of the top ranking land officers. He never got to him, but nearly did,30 years ago he rented his house out to in New york state to a japanese man who was the head of a japanese bank, I am sure you can get what I am going to say. The banker, was either the son or nephew of the general,my uncles first reaction, was to get on a plane, and fly over to Japan, the general, met him off the plane,they shared their feelings, and became friends.I helped my uncle through the last years of his life,and helped him talk though his nightmares of killing people. When the atomic bomb went off Bill said great, we can all go home.
I replied, to the Abbot for me it was over, I suppose I had more problems with Germans,as it seemed closer, but for me it was time to build bridges, and I wanted to learn zazen. We bowed to each other mutual respect.
So for me, my personal experience was very good, I met someone, who did help me find the road to my heart, I met quite simply a man full of love for mankind,this is nothing to do with race or color it is to do with depth of spirituality. I am sure there are always people with different, views and aspirations, personally like in the case of kennett, and other funny 'teachers. I met' i bowed and moved on
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:33 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
I want to address this issue - that criticizing your former teacher is somehow breaking the precepts. By the way, I was with the Dalai Lama once when this came up and he was quite clear, although respect for the lamas and teachers is very important, it is totally appropriate to speak out when you see any teacher doing harm or "breaking the precepts," etc. He urged people to go public.

I mentioned somewhere else on this site that I had written an article for Tricycle Magazine in 1998 on issue of Japanese Zen and war. They published an edited version - my full article was too long. My article was a review of both books - ZEN AT WAR and THE RAPE OF NANKING.

http://www.darkzen.com/Articles/zenholy.htm


Josh, thank you for posting the review link. Although I was aware of the matter in general terms I was shocked by the depth of outright war-mongering by major Japanese Zen figures - definitely deserves more study. By the way, I was able to reserve Zen At War through my public library website.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:43 pm

Diana,

In Iain's post on Sept 27 he wrote of Koho Zenji's life during WWII and addresses your very question.

It's a good read.

Take care,
mokuan
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:47 pm

where is that post? which topic?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:07 pm

Iain Wrote

In Theory and Practice Subject: Institutional Trauma Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:18 pm
Diana wrote:
Hi Isan,

A senior monk once told me that Keido Chisan used to actually send off
the Kamakazi's with a prayer. I'm not sure of the details, but I think
the troops would line up before they were to go and fulfill their orders
(commit suicide), and would be blessed by Zen priests before they flew out. I'm not sure if Keido Chisan was on the carriers or at home on the
mainland.

Diana

I almost choked on my supper when I read this.

I'm currently in the UK so I can't check my detailed notes on Koho Zenji's
biography which are in Japan, but he was a very considerable and gifted academic. From memory he was acting as headmaster at a Soto-shu run
girl's high school towards the end of World War II. Far from being a carrier-borne warrior stalking the Pacific he had actually never even
done his own military service back in the Meiji era because he suffered from a serious lung complaint as a young man (he had been brought up
effectively as an orphan in Koho Hakugun's temple in Ishikawa Prefecture from about eight years old due to his mother's remarriage after his
father's death).

During the last year of the War he was also
resident priest at a small temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo. This was incinerated, together with his library of 3,000 books and
everything else in a five mile radius, in the big American air raid of 9-10 March 1945 during which around 100,000 people died in the capital.
He was very fortunate to have survived that firestorm.

Koho Zenji's experiences of war at this time were what made him so utterly determined to work for a better international understanding, a commitment that eventually led amongst many other things to his invitation to Rev. Master Jiyu.


Last edited by mokuan on Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:12 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : formatting)
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:53 pm

Based on the above account, Koho Zenji was able to stay out of participating in the support of the war -- good for him.

As I mentioned, Kennett had very little information on Koho Zenji so I don't recall ever hearing more than a few words about his background.

It seems that those priests opposed to the war effort went to country temples and kept their heads down. Very few openly opposed the war as is understandable in that situation.

As we see in Brian Victoria's book, there were some Zen leaders who became major war promoters.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:19 pm

Thanks Mokuan,
You're right, Iain did know the answer, but I guess I was still looking for an explanation as I always do, to why I was told this. Lol! It is just one of the many things I was told that left me confused. Basically, either Eko was lying or Iain is misinformed. I feel like probably Eko was just projecting some stuff on me. I remember the conversation better know that I've been thinking about it and I remember that he was disturbed by the book (Zen at War) and gave me one of those "what ever you do, don't read this book" paradoxical messages. Oddly enough, he was also the one who told me about David Kay's book. Eko was not able to withhold his disdain for some things and was very arrogant. I once heard him speak very negatively about some Dharma teachers and authors. After my experiences with Eko, I can see how some of these old Japanese monks could become power-hungry war-mongers.

Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:54 am

I want to get back to some deeper exploration of Kennett's personality -- the "self" that she was not supposed to have, the shadows that were assumed to have vanished / evaporated in the light of enlightenment experiences and transmission.

As we have noted in other posts, this kind of discussion is considered by the true believers as breaking the precepts, rude, inappropriate, our own impure imagination, and in any case, Kennett is dead and it happened a long time ago.

To reiterate, many of us posting on this board feel that telling our insights and speaking about our experiences is not breaking any precepts, but a rather an honest and human thing to do. This is an expression of basic emotional intelligence and adulthood. Followers at Shasta are so unaccustomed to honest, open and clear communication that anything in this arena seems totally foreign.

We feel that much harm has been done in the name of Dharma - and not just in the distant past -- but up until quite recently.

And as I have said, the shadow of the founder - Kennett's unresolved psychological issues - has a strong influence on the culture of this organization and does not disappear just because she died. The shadows live on and continue to be unrecognized. They were alive and well in the Deli the other day.

And regarding the issue of the past. If the current Abbess of Shasta can tell glowing tales of Taso Eka -- a Zen personage from the 6th century -- who probably is entirely myth - lovely story I suppose (or maybe not) - but a story nonetheless, why isn't it appropriate to share our own real life experiences from a few decades or years or months ago?

I understand the "masters" of the OBC can't handle these discussions and they make them uncomfortable - well that is a good indication that there is something they need to examine.

UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY: Some years after I left Shasta, I went back to school to complete my undergraduate degree through Antioch University - which gives some credit for interesting life experiences. I mostly studied psychology. This was the San Francisco bay area in the late 1970s and early 80s. I was exposed to various forms of psychology including an evolving system of personality typology called the Enneagram.

Many of you may have bumped into this, because over the last three decades, the Enneagram has attracted a large following of therapists, counselors, corporate management consultants, and so on. Many Buddhist teachers and therapists studied and use the Enneagram as a part of their understanding the structure of self. The Enneagram even became quite popular in the Catholic Church and the current pope tried to stomp it out because it originated from non-Catholic sources.

I personally find the Enneagram deeply useful in both understanding myself and others, as a tool of both insight and compassion. From all the various systems of understanding how our self-awareness is wired, structured, the Enneagram to me is the most profound and constantly worthwhile.

I just did a search on Amazon.com, and it says there are over 500 books referenced on the Enneagram, so there are many good sourcebooks. So if you really want to go more deeply than what I will post - recommend you pick up some of the books of Helen Palmer or the many other authors of the Enneagram.

The Enneagram is a complex system that describes nine different personality structures or types. Ennea means nine in Greek and gram is model. The system describes in great detail a whole range of expressions of each type - from being very awaken and mindful to being very neurotic and self-absorbed.

In these posts, I certainly cannot go into great deal about Enneagram - please refer to the many books on the subject. I understand that people have different reactions to systems that type people -- i get that. I had those reactions when I first heard about the system, but when I attended some early classes and saw the depth of understand that the system illuminated, I decided to pursue studying the approach.

There are also many articles and websites on line that describe the Enneagram.

What I would like to do is use the lens of the Enneagram to talk about Kennett and Shasta. Some people might find this useful.

Kennett is an Enneagram Type 8.

Type Eight has been variously named "the Boss," "The Challenger, and "The Master." One of the original creators of the current system called this type "Ego-Venge" - for Revenge or Vengeance as one of the core aspects of this type is the tendency to get even.

On the high side, Enneagram Type Eights can be great and powerful leaders, loyal friends, energetic defenders of the underdog, bigger than life advocates. However, on the lower side - when they are less self-aware, Eights can be overpowering bullies, dictators, oblivious to the needs and feelings of others.

More on the Enneagram and Kennett in future posts.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:47 am

Eights in Childhood:

Here are some general insights about Eights in childhood:

Eights quickly develop a hard shell. Eights are often emotionally or verbally abused as children. Most Eights felt neglected, ignored, unloved. Sometimes there is physical or even sexual abuse.

The most common scenario is lack of nurturing or love. At least, that's how they experience life at an early age. That's how it feels to them, no matter what is actually happening. There can be major abuses or even just minor abuses, but they all fit into the narrative of their feeling abused or neglected or unloved.

Many common scenarios include a distant or unemotional father, a mother who is not very nurturing or kind - sometimes even alcoholic. This story is commonly reported by Eights. Another Eight scenario that is often reported is a brutal and domineering father and a mother who both withheld love and did not defend the child against the attacks of the father. At least, that's how life is experienced.

Eights see the world around them as hostile or even malevolent. People, authority figures cannot be trusted, you cannot depend on them. Eights often feel they are alone, on their own, must stand up for themselves. They cannot depend upon others. They defend the weak, stand up for others.

Young Eights often idealize their fathers and denigrate their mothers. Whether they are boys or girls, they identify with the masculine and deny or diminish the feminine.

At any early age, they learn that it is dangerous to show any vulnerability or weakness or softness. Underneath, they feel very vulnerable, but externally, they need to be tough, strong, loud, defiant, in control.

The see the world as a jungle, survival of the strongest. From the beginning, life is a battle. Life is war. It is all about survival. You get them before they get you. Life is unjust and Eights are the victims of this unjustice.

In the Enneagram, Type Eights are the blamers. They blame the world, society, their parents, their teachers, their loved ones -- everyone is to blame for whatever is amiss. The Eight's job is to set things right.

From an early age, Eights feel something terrible has happened to them. There can be this pre-verbal and pervasive sense that something not right has happened, something bad has been done to him/her. And the response is not withdrawal or depression, but defiance, anger, retaliation, and blame. Blame is a word that nails the Eight approach -- who is to blame, who must be punished? Someone is responsible for this negative situation and that must be avenging. Avenging the wrong is a core focus of the Eight mindset.

Specifically regarding Kennett's childhood, as i mentioned elsewhere, I do not remember many specific details. Others who post on this board may have more specifics.

Frankly, the specifics are not important. From what i can recall, when she talked about her parents, they sounded distant and there was little affection. I recalled a father that was older, perhaps emotionally disconnected and a mother Kennett barely talked about. There was a brother that she had little contact with. There was zero sense of love, affection or nurturing.

Kennett exhibited all the aspects of an Eight. So regardless of the details of what precisely "happened" in her early years, her experience was of a non-nurturing hostile world.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:54 am

Yes Josh, it seems to be the thread that runs through the system ,it comes up a lot in the posts,it feels to me that it has actually been passed down the line, like a transmission.
One ends up with a neuroisis of snapping at peoples heels, and a desire to tell them off,and be an authoritative figure. It is a bit like any institutution, stay with the big people and you wont get hurt. Stay the grey man and you will not get the goat shed. This seems to be spiralling in on a root cause
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:11 am

On Koho Zenji the only stories that Jiyu told that I remember are that once towards the end of a midwinter seshin he came into the zendo with a tray of donuts - to the delight of the trainees and the consternation of the disciplinarians. On another occasion he was asked a question about what the Buddha would have thought about something and retorted: 'We have nothing to do with Shakyamuni here!'

On war crimes I think we have to be very careful about calling the kettle black.
10 March 1945 Tokyo fire bombing - officially 100,000 mainly civilian dead (some say closer to half a million)
17 March 1945 Kobe fire bombing - over 8,000 mainly civilian dead
6 August 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing - 90,000 to 160,00 mainly civilian dead within 4 months
9 August 1945 Nagasaki atomic bombing - 60,000 to 80,000 mainly civilian dead within 4 months
13-15 Febuary 1945 Dresden fire bombing - 27,000+ mainly civilian dead, read Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughter House Five' for a vivid descrition by a US POW who was there.
24+ July 1943 (8 days) Hamburg fire bombing - 52,600 civilian dead
etc., etc,.


And I'm sure that they all flew blessed by their Protestant, Catholic and Jewish chaplins. Of course the Nazi's were a particularly nasty bunch look at the 'final solution' in places like Dachau (I had a Dutch teacher of german, Herr Captain Hanower, who spied for the British who was in Dachau under sentence of death and escaped twice, when he made it back to England he was treated apallingly!) And the Japanese were not paticularly nice in Nanking, etc.

However at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal the Indian judge, Justice Radhabinod Pal, argued that that the exclusion of the use of the atom bomb by the United States from the list of crimes signified the "failure of the Tribunal to provide anything other than the opportunity for the victors to retaliate." And Justice B. V. A. Roling stated, "[o]f course, in Japan we were all aware of the bombings and the burnings of Tokyo and Yokohama and other big cities. It was horrible that we went there for the purpose of vindicating the laws of war, and yet saw every day how the Allies had violated them dreadfully". - see Wikipedia: The International Military Tribunal for the Far East

So I think we should be careful abour pointing the finger at the purely military crimes. There was plenty of self-serving, militaristic, jingoist tosh spouted from our pulpits and by our churches.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:25 am

Josh, do you think that people may switch from one to another enneagram, depending on role and system? Of the OBC, Jiyu was "the Boss".

Like some of us with starry ideas about "Zen masters" in the '70s, might she too have acted partly on ideas of how the ideal "Zen monastery" would be, based in Zen mythos? (There were no competing cross-currents like Manzan and Gasan.)
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:39 am

In responding to issue of Japan and the War --

In terms of the war, absolutely in terms of religion's involvement with war, certainly that occurs in every society. Christianity, especially the Catholic Church has quite an horrific history in this regard.

In terms of the Zen establishment's involved in the Japanese war culture, most of us had no idea at all of what went on. There was a collective amnesia and denial in Japan about what happened. Most of us westerners probably assumed that Zen being a religion of peace would have had nothing to do with the war. Of course, after some research and basic thinking, this could not be the case.

Zen at War was a very important book - just to set the record straight. What does stand out was how many leading Zen teachers did become war promoters and used Zen teachings and Dharma language to promote killing and aggression.

In the west, we still have this dreamy idealized version of eastern religion and culture - not so much about Japan anymore, but certainly still about Tibet. Many times i have heard the common ideas that when Buddhism came to Tibet, the waring tribes were pacified, they set down their arms and this enlightened peace came to the land. I have heard many people talk about Tibet as this "enlightened kingdom" - the only such place on earth - equating it with the mythical realm of Shambhala.

Recently, i picked up my friend Tom Laird's book, THE STORY OF TIBET: Conversations with the Dalai Lama. Tom spent dozens of hours with the Dalai Lama getting his memories and take on Tibetan history. And when you read the book, you realize that the Tibetan sects and monasteries were at war with each other for literally hundreds of years. War. Fighting, burning down each others temples, forced conversion of monks and temples from one sect to another, Mongul and Chinese war lords were brought in, leading lamas were murdered. Maybe this was an improvement from the past, but this was hardly a peaceful land.

Human nature playing itself out. I think things did calm down in Tibet once the Gelugpa sect - the Dalai Lama's tradition - took more complete control, but there were all kinds of sectarian conflicts, suppression and so on. Frankly, in exile, all the sects are now forced to get along - at least on one level.

And for me, knowing all this, does not diminish my respect for Tibetan Buddhism's teachings. Clearing out enchantments and illusions and wishful thinking is a positive process in my book.

Also, i stay out of the sectarian politics.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:07 pm

Yes Josh if we had thoght a little we would have knoen that Zen, the religion of the samurai, was likely to have got its hands dirty in the nationalism of the world war.

On the Tibetan front I once heard Trunpa say that the Chinese invasion was the best thing that could have happened to Tibet and the Tibetans. He may have been a very flawed character but he made a very good case out about the feudal seriously repressive regime in many parts of the country.

My main point is that we all have dirty hands and feet of clay. I became a monk because I was imperfect not because I was perfect. I learnt about my imperfections and sometimes did something about them, so hopefully I was getting better, and hopefully still am. When I was ordained unfortenately all my faults did not just fade quitely away, that's why I need(ed) to train.

The final koans in Rinzai (and everywhere else I think) after they have gone through the whole of the koan book are the precepts. We end where we started off. I would say that they start off as proscriptive, go through prescriptive and finally are descriptive; not descriptive of the person, that's the guru cult, but descriptive of the life trying to be led.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:53 pm

So now back to more reflections on Kennett and her personality.

Anne asked - "Josh, do you think that people may switch from one to another Enneagram, depending on role and system? Of the OBC, Jiyu was "the Boss".

No, Kennett's personality type, the structure of her "self" was set early on in her life and was not related to any job or role, per se. The Boss is just one simplistic name for this typology -- some other names applied to Eights include The Top Dog, the Leader, Solution Master, Maverick, Protector or Intimidator.

No one type is better than another -- they are also limitations on how we experience the world and ourselves, a partial lens. But within each pattern, there is an essentially infinite continuum - from being very contracted and psycho-pathological to being very awakened. But, from a huge amount of experience, Enneagram experts agree that people do not change types, no more than a carnation can become a rose.

When I took my first Enneagram class, when the teacher, Kathleen Speeth, presented the panel on Type Eight, i knew immediately that this was Kennett. It was painfully obvious. And what also was clear was that she was a particularly unevolved version of this particular character type.

As I said, Eights can be powerful and effective leaders. Those that are more self-aware are able to moderate their tendencies towards being dominating and abusive, allow themselves to be challenged and even criticized, surround themselves with friends and allies with whom they can be more vulnerable and soft, and find ways to constantly work on themselves. Good Eight leaders are often in therapy or have corporate coaches who can help them see how they affect people, how to work with their anger, etc. Eights have a particular hard time at being honestly self aware, but some manage to do it - with constant effort.

Those Eights that are less self-aware, become the over bearing bosses and tyrants, the bullies and live in a constant state of attacking others, maintaining their power, and manipulation. They must win at all costs and are oblivious to the feelings and needs of others. They become grandiose and vindictive.

When I had my PR firm in Los Angeles, I worked with many film studio executives and top producers who were Type Eights. Some of them were screaming, demanding bullies - totally out of control. And they took great pride in behaving this way. Their staffs were in a constant state of terror. Dawn Steele was a famous example. I worked with her on a number of projects. She had been the President of Columbia Pictures - so she was the most powerful woman in Hollywood for quite a few years. She was dubbed, "The Queen of Mean" and at one point, one of her assistants collapsed and was rushed to the hospital after a particular brutal screaming session with her boss. Dawn later died of a brain tumor.

When I was running PR at Microsoft, I worked closely with Steve Ballmer, the current CEO. He was famous for his anger, rage, his roaring could be heard across the building. He dominated any space he was in. He was IN CHARGE and it was his way or the highway.

Eights live for power and control. They create personal empires and spend a great deal of time protecting their territory. They rule their universe. For Eights, even the slightest affront or misstep and they retaliate, attack. Eights are famous for massive over responses to even a minor event - for everything is seen as part of the great battle. The slightest affront can be seen as a major betrayal - which they will never forgive. And often, they plot revenge internally.

The Eight style of leadership is autocratic, blunt, totally in charge, forget about democracy, other opinions are irrelevant. They know what's right and you better go along with it.

What I experienced with Eights - in my professional world - was that they are always attacking and they want to see how you will respond, how tough are you, will you cave in, will you stand your ground? If you cave in, they will never respect you. So when I had an Eight client, i would need to be over prepared and if i was going to present an idea, I better be ready to fight to the death to defend it. Eights who are effective leaders invite strong encounters with smart people - those who are poor leaders are threatened by any challenge and attack manically, viciously.

For Eights, everything comes down to controlling their universe. Their stance is aggressive and they openly display anger, even at the smallest provocation. The act fast, immediately, respond aggressively without any self-reflection or concern for others.

They make contact through confrontation and fighting. They act "bigger than life." It's my way or the highway. You are okay only so long as you are in control of your situation. Weakness is death. Their big fear is that others will have control over them. It does not matter if they are in charge of nation, a big company, or a street corner, they rule.

More than any other Enneagram type, they stand alone. They isolate themselves - from a very early age. They do not care about the opinions or feelings of others and even if they are aware of them, they will not be swayed them. It is only their way and their feelings that matter. Their steely single-minded determination can be intimidating and some people are awed by this. When a guru is en Eight, his/her devotees see all these personality traits as expressions of divine energy.

Underneath it all, Eights are terrified of being emotionally hurt by others, so keep others at a distance. There is vulnerability but it is protected by layers of armor.

And because they fear rejection -- whether it is being left, abandoned, divorced, criticized), Eights defense mechanism is to reject others first, be in control, and do it with huge force. Eights can become excessively focused to every slight, even imaginary slights. The stronger they make themselves, the more cut off they are from real human contact.

Notice how Kennett responded to people who questioned her, criticized her - even though at Shasta hardly any of the monks dared do that. If even the slightest criticism arose, there was massive retaliation, huge drama, banishment. We saw this over and over again.

And I again point out from my point of view, her responses had nothing to do with Zen training per se -- it was a clear expression of her personality pattern, or her shadow. Now, yes, the way she behaved could have been influenced by her time in Japan and what she thought it meant to be a Zen abbot, but mostly I don' t think that is true. Especially as she became more and more stressed out, her behavior and attitudes are completely and clearly expressions of this personality type - which came from her early childhood. Calling it Zen or Japanese doesn't change its essential nature.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:14 pm

Gosh, this sounds just like Eko.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:15 pm

Lol, Laura! That's what I thought!
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:17 pm

I could not really comment on the eight but certainly kennett showed these traights.
I think she desire to be big was in itself part of her down fall. |Bill used to cll it empire building.
Kennett went for the big Abbey, ( she was not the only one) rather than quietly sitting and getting on slowly with the practice.I think Mark was right when he pointed this out with the story of the visiting Catholic monk. The pressure on Kennet to perform must have been immense. People were hungry for something and she gave them tiers, levals, shown in coloured raksus, people here write about this on the lay minister post. There were the titles, From over in the UK out of the system it was easy to see,Bill always pointed it out.It seemed like a peculiar temple, when everyone wanted power, and not to be outside the inner circle.
The peculiar thing about it was, I do not believe the that the means did not matter ,because they do the means is what one learns,and the means are the ends.
SoI agree with you Josh,actually what kennett taught was how to be an eight
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:23 pm

Laura But is not that why it sounds like Eko because that is what Kennett showed him, itis like cloning.I remember the early days of one Buddhist group,mark knew them too at the same time,they would all speak the same, and all say yes ( in a lovey dovey way) to express themselves. it was soooo wondderrfulll (sorry)
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:36 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7_6rTGSyvw

Tom Condon - an Enneagram expert - on the "Wound of Neglect" - describes how childhood neglect creates the Eight mindset
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:46 pm

I don't know Eko's Enneagram type. I only knew him for a few years as a young student. Just because he emulated / copied Kennett's behavior doesn't necessarily mean he was also an Eight.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:57 pm

On Dec 16th, Kaizan wrote:

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

I'm curious as to your thoughts on this.


Kaizan, I fully agree. As you, myself, Josh, and others have observed, the above dynamic that you describe can almost certainly be traced back to RMJK's early experiences of abuse and trauma, her fear of rejection, and a resulting desire to control. Josh's description of the Enneagram's eighth mindset provides interesting additional insight in how the dynamic can manifest itself. (Thanks Josh!)

It seems to me that the big question in all of this is:

Will the OBC be able to recognize, acknowledge, heal, and transform this, now institutionalized, dynamic?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:56 pm

More on Eights:

The God Jehovah in the old testament myth is the great EIGHT. He took care of his own and slaughtered everyone else. Everyone else didn't matter, had no rights, no feelings. Kill them all. Women, children - all nobodies. No mercy.

He protected only his chosen loved ones. And he loved and protected them only on the condition that they totally served and obeyed him. If they disobeyed, they too were drowned or wiped out.

He was a vengeful and jealous god. Talk about bigger than life. And he said you could not worship any other god except him. He was the first Mafia Don, the first Godfather - not a bad use of that word.

This is EIGHT. the Revenge, the jealousy, the total domination of those he "loves." And there is no middle ground with Eights. Either you love and serve me or you are dead to me. Either you're my friend or my enemy.

Isn't this the way Kennett viewed her disciples. She possessed them. What does she say in that letter about Daiji? Once she gives a person transmission, they can never stop being her disciple? But the minute they left, they were dead to her. They disappeared. Either you serve me and adore me and do precisely what I say or you are no more.

Now, for many people this kind of dominating "love" is very powerful, seductive, overwhelming. So much attention. So much energy and passion and lust, really. This is Zorba the Greek on steroids. This can feel bigger than life, greater than any other kind of relationship. Some people find this kind of attention addicting. But if you do anything to displease the Eight God, you are done.

Eights often have this intense glare in their eyes. Kennett had this. Many Eights have this. This intense glare is is not a sign of divine wisdom.

Of all the types of the Enneagram, Eight embodies most our animal natures. Eights can respond instantly, instinctively, without thinking. They act, they move, they respond. They don't consider consequences or what others might think. In certain situations, this can be breathtaking and in other situations, hell making.

The animal symbol for Eight is the rhinoceros. The rhino has poor eyesight - they do not see clearly what is in front of them or around them. They don't care. Rhinos attack blinding things he does not understand or perceive. They are thick-skinned. They are color blind and see the world in black and white. And when a rhino sees a fire in the forest, he runs towards it and stomps it out.

When most Eights enter a room, they dominate the space - they take up all the oxygen, the seize control of the situation. It is habitual. It is the way they want it and it must be. I have seen many Eight gurus do this - and their disciples interpret this dynamic as an expression of divine energy, but it is nothing of the kind. Eight CEOs and actors and generals do this also. It is an aspect of human nature.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:53 pm

"If placed in a leadership position, an Eight will want to secure the borders of a personal empire. The strategy will be a full-out takeover, rather than seeking out alliances that depend upon delicate negotiation or diplomacy." Helen Palmer

"Have lunch or be lunch." For Eights, life is one big power game.

This may help explain Kennett's relationship or lack of relationship with the Soto head office, with the Japanese in general, with other Buddhist groups. She created her protected realm. She didn't want to answer to anyone. She didn't want any seniors or anyone above her. Of course, there could have been some politics with the Soto organization - she was a western woman - no doubt there were issues. But that is secondary to the mythological hyper-significance that the Soto headquarters played in her narrative. How many thousands of times did she talk about the Soto office, her disconnection and fears of it, and so on? It became an enormous aspect of how she defined herself. The Soto office was just another character in her Eight narrative / life story / mythology, not unlike the London Buddhist Society - another character. And all these chapters of her story reinforced the main drama that she needed to be independent, that these people would never understand her or love her, that they were out to get her. They were guilty, she was innocent. They were to blame. THEY are always to blame. She had to be strong to survive.

"Eights are the epic heroes of the Enneagram. Life for them is a series of showdowns where they use their power to crush the ruthless and the unkind, the dunderheads and the pretenders to the throne, while protecting the worthy who cannot protect themselves. The Guardian Angels are a typical Eight outfit." Michael Goldberg

The Soto head office, the London Buddhist Society, her brother, all those monks who left her -- all dunderheads, all guilty of all kinds of crimes. Her rage at them - totally justified. She is righteous, one hundred percent.

But inside, she was quite insecure, so she didn't even want to be around other Asian male teachers. Occasionally she ventured out for a meeting or two, but it was always strained and stressful and she would quickly retreat back to her safe place.

But within the confines of her protected and gated kingdom, she was the absolute ruler who controlled every last detail of her realm. Who is in charge here? Eights are always in the driver's seat.

One example. 1971 - Her book was in the last stages before it was going to be published by Pantheon Books. There were not that many Zen books out in the marketplace and the fact that she secured a major publishing house - Pantheon was a very prestigious division of Random House - was a big deal. Pantheon did not like Kennett's title, Zen is Eternal Life. Frankly, the title was terrible. Very Christian and the promise of "eternal life" did not appear in Dogen or Keizan. People did not seek out Zen because they wanted "eternal life," did they?

So the publisher said she must change the title. She really did not like to be told what to do - but in this case, they may have insisted and she had decided to go along with it.

She asked for suggestions, and I came up with "Water by the River" which we changed to "Selling Water by the River: A Manual of Zen Training" A far better title, but frankly if we had taken more time we probably could have come up with some even better. So the book was published under that title.

The hardcover edition of the book was gorgeous - beautifully produced, strong well designed cover. First translations of Dogen and Keizan. It was something to be proud of. You can still find used copies on the internet.

But I could tell she hated being told what to do and she simply could not let herself be pushed around like that. In fact, I think she really didn't love the book because she had been forced to change the title.

So when the book finally went out of print some years later, she got the rights back, had it republished and of course immediately changed the book title back to Zen is Eternal Life - and then had a cover designed that was simply awful. But she was in charge. It was a very clear example that under no circumstances could she ever lose control of anything ever.

Eights can be great CEOs and organizational leaders -- but only when they let go of some of this obsessive need to control and micro-manage, when they can surround themselves with a good senior team and listen to them and let them do their jobs. And when they have a few people close to them who they allow to speak up, confront them, keep them in check, and help them see when they are being a bulldozer and then help them put the brakes on.

Unfortunately, for Kennett, instead she chased away those kind of people -and instead surrounded herself with the true believers and those that enabled her to remain contracted and closed off.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:45 am

Josh, I think that the Enneagram #8 Personality type information that you are providing is extremely useful.

I have no disagreement at all with your most basic assessment of RMJK.

And yet, I can't help but feel that you seem to be suggesting that Jiyu, as a type 8, is therefore implicitly guilty of the intentions and behaviors that only the most extreme Enneagram type 8 personalities engage in.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:39 am

Good points and I am going to talk more about some of the early examples where Kennett exhibited a higher side of the Eight pattern.

But I do feel that as time went on, certainly by 1975, she was living the more extreme side of EIGHT. And she was in a state of constant stress - which adds another dimension to the pattern which we should address.

EIGHTS can be wonderful allies, friends, leaders. There is a very expansive, exciting, passionate dimension of Eights. I saw that in Kennett in the first few years I was with her -- and that's what drew many of us to her -- but it did start to fade or evolved downward.........

And I do want to make a kind of admission. What stays with me certainly are those last few extreme years I was with her -- where things got VERY distorted, weird and harmful. Those memories and experiences do tend to eclipse the early years.

So I am happy to hear from others how they saw Kennett in the early years -- how they saw her more dynamic and kind and exhibiting the higher side of this personality style. I welcome that.

By the way, if people find the Enneagram a useful way to think about Kennett and Shasta, please don't just rely on my postings here. Get some of the books - I recommend Helen Palmer, but there are many other brilliant authors - and you can find these books in libraries and used on amazon.com. And read the full chapters - not my short summaries of the types -- and also find your type and the types of your family members and loved ones.

The Enneagram is about insight and compassion and should not be used just to demonize or attack anyone.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:16 am

I would love to say the abetter title would be ' selling out by the river' but I won't it is too early in the morning. #I see the personality typea

For me the key moment was picked up bt Gensho.
he said prior to is leaving that Kennett was on the verge of a big Sange, contrition, repentance, and teh Daizui, interupted it and said no it was all 'our fault'. and the natural, process of contrition, was stopped, and a hard self was allowed in.
Natural repentance is a spiritual experience, allowing insight and our little selves to be dropped.
So my point is regardless of being an eight or whatever number we are or are, because of something that has happened in our lives
; there are natuaral spiritual ways, we can find deliverence from ourselves, and our stupidity,and indeed our separatness. Without contrition, and wisdom occuring in our meditation practice, we do indeed sell, ourselves out, by the river
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:47 pm

As some of you may know, the Zen Studies Society / Dai Bosatsu Zendo is going through a serious crisis. The New York Times ran a major article on Eido Shimano and his sexual exploits some months back. Although Shimano officially relinquished his role as Abbot, the crisis continues and many former members are very critical of how the organization has and is handling this.

What we see here is not just a sexual scandal, but an on-going abuse of power and authority along with cover-ups and delusional thinking. As I discovered through Sorting it Out, it can be illuminating to hear about what happens in other organizations so you begin to realize that it was not just the OBC or Kennett, but human nature - that operates in all organizations, with all authority figures.

If you want to follow the Dai Bosatsu crisis, Tricycle Magazine has set up a blog where former members are posting their experiences, there are open letters, and updates. This might be too much information for many people here, but some of it may be instructive.

http://www.tricycle.com/p/2271

There is also a Shimano archives where many former members have posted their stories and include Aitken's letters to Japan warning them many decades ago - and nothing was done.

Also, there was a letter just posted on the site - i include a few paragraphs from the letter below - since it does reference the abuses of power and how the organization continues to be locked into a "loyalty trap." I think that is a good phrase to keep in mind. And it relates back to my posting about the Rinazi Zen leader in Japan who told me that loyalty was more important than Buddha, Dharma or Sangha.

Here is the first few paragraphs of this letter. The full text can be found on line:

December 16, 2010
An Open Letter to
The Directors of the Zen Studies Society,


From Zogen

Dear Directors of
the Zen Studies Society,


I want to add my voice to the on-going discussion of your recent choices and the long history of the abuse of power by the titular leader of Zen Studies Society, Eido Shimano Roshi. This most recent prolonged surge of indignation, and moral revulsion, brings to the fore the decades-long history of suppressed instances of unacceptable behavior by your Teacher and, it reveals an astonishing degree of complacency demonstrated, and continued in evidence, by all of you.

You, and your many predecessors, understandably, were, and are still, reluctant to confront your beloved Teacher, let alone condemn and remove him. No one among us, lay practitioners, can imagine what it might be like to do that. After all, your own most intimate experiences of practice and memories of Dharma teachings are forever bound with your Roshi. Some of you have more intimate memories, associated with him, and derive your authority from Zen training, ordination and, for some of you, Dharma Transmission received from Eido Shimano Roshi. Existing "official" structures, i.e. statutory and procedural, "lock" you into a "loyalty trap", leaving not much space between acquiescence and withdrawal.

Your position is no less than tragic -- even more so now, when "all" has been exposed on the world-wide web. But, your Teacher's position is no less tragic than yours: Eido Shimano Roshi systematically destroyed everything he wanted, originally, to create and, compromised everything he was entrusted to keep and protect. His reputation, as a practicing Buddhist Teacher and Abbot, is gone; the standing of The Zen Studies Society within the American Buddhist community has been destroyed; all donors, and most of the former supporters-- any possibility of financial support from them is gone. ZSS "membership" is a sham; and, the first Buddhist Monastery, created de novo in America, stands essentially empty.

Your silence and your way of "proceeding as if nothing untoward has ever happened" decisively grant Eido Shimano Roshi a license of moral and practical impunity. Permitting your Teacher to conduct Jukai in October of this year is only the most recent example of your habitual default. In that, you are being disloyal not only to our Sangha but, above all, to your own Roshi -- leaving him at the
mercy of his own contemptuous arrogance and his voracious appetites. Who can trust you unless you are prepared to make a "break" with your complacent attitude and unfetter yourselves from the "loyalty trap"?


This letter is intended as an appeal to your Dharma-inspired sense of moral obligation and as an invitation to all practitioners concerned with the state of affairs within ZSS, to move our discussion beyond expressions of moral indignation alone. The recommendations of The Faith Trust Institute were an excellent start but did not extend to a series of practical suggestions which might help us to move towards the restoration of integrity and dignity to ZSS.





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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:29 pm

Wow. It's like two peas in a pod, and it's all so sad.

I think I can safely say arrogance is a wine of delusion. That much I know for sure.

Thanks Josh, for posting this.

~mokuan


Last edited by mokuan on Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:32 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:16 pm

Yes sad and not sad
Sad for all the hurt people, not sad he resigned.
I am afraid one must question the core of the teaching. I f the desiples did not see theerrors of the teacher, then of course the whole teaching was flawed. the comparison with Kennet is there in some ways, not for a moment sexual, but delusional, and mental. Now look at some early warning signs...Quite a big one was te previous life of Jesus,it is fairly obvious, but not everyone wanted to see. Kennett actually tried to get Mark to promise not to tell,and then the discrediting started,if one spoke out.
The good thing is we did leave and we did speak out.
All these incidents although very harmful to people,can point in the right direction too, simply by making it abuntantly clear,that that particular path is not the right one. I take absolutely no pleasure in reading these things or writing about them too, personally my desire is to encourage everyone ,my self included to look for and follow the right path to our hearts
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:35 pm

Does anyone know how news reached Jiyu of what Mark was saying ~ what words were used? (I know this is a lot to ask, given that it's such a time ago.)

A dodgy word here, a slight exaggeration there... Then there are her perceptions of what was said... I am wondering if what reached her appeared distorted to her?
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:54 pm

Anne wrote:
Does anyone know how news reached Jiyu of what Mark was saying ~ what words were used? (I know this is a lot to ask, given that it's such a time ago.)

A dodgy word here, a slight exaggeration there... Then there are her perceptions of what was said... I am wondering if what reached her appeared distorted to her?

While I was at Shasta Abbey I remember seeing a document, though I cannot remember if it was a personal letter or a public journal/magazine, where the position of the (dissenting) members of the English congregation were stated regarding RMJK's visions, etc, so it was not just hearsay. Chisan (Michael) may be able to speak more directly to this.
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:05 pm

Cor you have pricked my memory, at first I could not remember, a group of friends from that time do zazen practice tonight and our joint memories are a bit inadequate.
However there may have been a journal that I wrote,and there may have been a letter explaining why I was leaving kennett,and it may have been from Bill and me or just me, I can not remember . It would have said pretty much what I have said here, but I would not have mentioned Jesus by name. Is that what you read Isan. The only other article I remember seeing was Internation Times, anarcist jounal, which wrote about necromancy at the Abbey. The middle Way journal of the Buddhist Society, I do not think wrote anything,although they were fully aware of the situation
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:40 pm

Isan I did send a letter over to Josh at Shasta, this letter was intercepted,and replied by someone else not a nice reply
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:09 pm

Sorry about this my memory keeps getting jogged, the letter to Josh I think would have mentioned Jesus,and I think Gensho would have been mentioned, 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
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PostSubject: Re: On Personalities and Shadows: Kennett's and Shasta's   Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:58 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
Isan I did send a letter over to Josh at Shasta, this letter was intercepted,and replied by someone else not a nice reply

I don't remember reading the letter, only hearing that it existed. Anything I could say would only be hearsay and not worth repeating. I mention it because it's the only "document" I heard about that might be able to help with Anne's question. Perhaps Mark might remember something?


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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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