OBC Connect

A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 
 

 A Public Conversation

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: A Public Conversation   Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:47 pm

Here is my idea, which of course is subject to modification and public skewering:

I propose a debate on a dedicated forum for just this purpose. Rules could be pre arranged. My suggestion is about 5 members of the OBC and about 5 members of this site could participate. It would be open for all to read.

The reason I suggest limiting the number of people who could contribute is:

1. it would be manageable
2. it would have a better chance of being acceptable to the OBC, as the more people the more chaotic and unfocused it can get.

I don't mind unfocused and chaotic, but I suspect the OBC would.

Of course much would be lost in such a limiting format: namely many voices with as much valid to say as anyone else. This is just an idea. I hope it doesn't offend anyone. At the slim chance of it being acceptable to the OBC and members here, there would be much to figure out to make this work.

I don't like what Meian has proposed. It's always come to us. Well, we're all over the country and you're all in one spot. Any meaningful dialogue must be just that: dialogue. It can't be one suggestion at a time in a suggestion box. (What's that buzzing sound I hear. It sounds peculiarly like a shredder.) Nor can it be one person at a time going to discuss their ideas with 200 OBC members.

No. It is a forum format that would provide an equal footing and a dynamic free exchange of ideas. Meian's ideas, while a start and showing some openness, suggest a stagnant format that is prejudiced heavily to the side of the OBC's perspective.

Again this is a first idea, open to the idea's of others. I hope that all continue writing on this site and revealing more what makes it obvious and imperative that the OBC deal more honestly and openly with people's concerns.


Last edited by Lise on Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:06 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : changing title per Kaizan's request and removing some text, also at his direction)
Back to top Go down
jack



Posts : 165
Join date : 2010-06-29

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:54 pm

One simple suggestion -- don't call it a debate. A debate is about winning or losing. A debate starts from the premise that each side has a position it will maintain.

Perhaps terminology such as "a deep conversation" could capture more the essence of discussion and willingness to listen and be changed without glossing over differences.

I know it's just words, but debates always seem to never end up changing participant's minds.
Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:19 pm

Great idea, Jack. I much prefer it to mine. I tried to change the title of this thread to "A Conversation" but it didn't allow me to edit the title or my post to reflect your idea.

To Lise:
Can you allow me to edit my post and change the title of this thread. After 1/2 hour, it wouldn't let me edit.
Back to top Go down
john

avatar

Posts : 80
Join date : 2010-11-21
Location : uk

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:37 pm

The obc obviously doesnt have a written constitution on how it treats its people.
Sorry if I have missed something in past posts.
But could that be something of a focus of attention to thrash out around the table.
I think it may feel like having their wings clipped,not sure.But there is a certain peacefull reassurance for me about having something like that in place. For me personally it would help instigate trust again.I need to see true intention in writting.
Back to top Go down
Howard

avatar

Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 62
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:53 pm

Kaizan

Another good call for the hope of bringing about some awareness and healing. I think we need to do it and I'm glad you suggested it but.....

I doubt that you've offered enough serious incentives to get any seniors head to pop up above the castle wall. At this point they can still say dignifying such an exchange would be a breakage of precepts, be the slamming of their teachers memory, give credence to a small group of misguided malcontents and is completely unnecessary since they already have all complaints under careful review and on and on...

Now if you could offer, on your knees, inside the castle Shasta, a public apology for many of your misguided OBC criticisms with a writ obsolving all claims of damage against them, then perhaps they might consider a carefully orchestrated monologue ......with conditions to follow.

Everything points to siege mentality. What changes that?

Like many of my other postings, this is just another view that I hope is wrong.
Back to top Go down
http://hrmitchell54@yahoo.com
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1408
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 42

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:31 pm

I used to think RM Meian might be the one who could right things. Not so sure anymore.

I think her message was meant as a polite decline of Seikai's suggestions sent to the Interim Board recently, in which I think he proposed more engagement by other OBC seniors. His proposal wasn't printed here nor I have seen it, I'm just speculating based on what he said in one of his posts here.

Kaizan, your idea is excellent though. If the OBC should agree at some point, the moderators here will do whatever we can to make it work. For instance we can temporarily disable all users' posting abilities except the conversation participants, to cut down on the chaos. Lots of things we can do from the admin side to help this.

staying tuned,
L.
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Laura

avatar

Posts : 124
Join date : 2010-07-30
Location : Portland, OR

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:03 pm

Hello all,

I seem to be voluntarily fading into the shadows on this forum, but I'm still lurking out there, and now and again I feel moved to make a few comments. I have a few today.

One, I'm very glad to see RM Meian say that "all are welcome at Shasta Abbey." But I wonder what she actually means by these words. Those words are part of the official, written ceremony for the induction of an Abbot/Abbess as translated from the Japanese. Please remember that Eko spoke those words too, while concurrently denying the Carlson's request to attend RM Jiyu's funeral and memorial ceremonies. I was present at some of the discussions that justified that type of behavior. There seems to be a distinction made between having an open door in one's heart (despite very convincing appearances to the contrary) while simultaneously maintaining a closed door to the monastery grounds. The usual example given was having an open heart for a drunk, but not allowing them on the temple property until they sobered up. This sort of thinking was then used to exclude people from the temple whom the Abbey seniors believed to be following a path of delusion, which is how the Carlson's were usually described. I can specifically quote Eko as saying he did not want them on the property to "prevent them from spreading their poison" to the monastic and lay community. Meian, as usual, completely supported him in this at the time. The reference to poison, by the way, was in context of the three poisons of greed, hate and delusion.

Second, and in response to Lise's comments particularly, I am so amazed to hear you and others who think that RM Meian "might be the one who could right things". She was Eko's primary supporter, enforcer, advocate, justifier, I've run out of descriptive terms to describe her utter complicity in the abuses that occurred under his abbacy. If you think there were problems under Eko, she was part and parcel of them. What were you thinking would change with her in charge? I grant you, there were some things she did not specifically know about on a first-hand basis, but that was usually because she refused to believe or investigate them when other people told her about them again and again and over again. In my experience, her primary skill in problem resolution was to turn a blind eye and justify anything a senior did.

Perhaps the shock of Eko's departure has opened her eyes a bit. I don't know. But having been subject to her blind loyalty and unwillingness to listen with an open mind for so long (I was there for 11 years), I find myself completely unable to trust her willingness or, frankly, her ability to actually listen now. I sure hope I'm wrong.

I feel like I need to apologize for being such a nay-sayer. I feel a bit like the Grinch who stole Christmas. wah
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1408
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 42

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:20 pm

Laura, I don't think you're a grinch or a naysayer. I know you saw and experienced things that none of us did. I don't discount that, and your history with Meian is a much better predictor than my own impressions of her. I am struggling to explain why I thought she might have had the "stuff" to break free of Shasta mind and set all this right. I didn't get to know her, am not sure I ever spoke with her beyond responding to a pleasantry in the kitchen once or twice, something like that. My impressions were formed from watching and listening to how she was with other people, the things she said and did. I thought she was honest, intelligent, direct. She didn't seem to be one to hide from a problem or take the coward's way out.

In another post I think you said that for Meian the problem was her mindset of "Master is always right". I can see how she might have talked herself into that and kept it up for 40 years. It would have to be the only way a decent person could stand by and do nothing whilst seeing Kennett and Eko abuse some of their followers. We can't know what was in her mind or that of the others who chose to do nothing. Seikai's posts indicate there was nothing he felt he could have done to influence Kennett's actions or change the course of anything she did. Maybe most of the OBC think the same, and would do the same, still. Or maybe they will eventually feel free to make another choice, to look at what these past masters did and acknowledge how today's OBC might make amends. If they ever needed permission to begin thinking "maybe Master isn't always right", well, Eko's given them that. If they're still chained by loyalty to an idealised version of "Master" that never existed . . . that, to me, would be the saddest part.

I could be stuck in a way I don't understand. I must have a reason for wanting to believe in Meian. Maybe I'll figure out why -
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Kozan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 668
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 67
Location : Sonoma County CA

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:56 pm

Kaizan and Jack--great ideas!

John--excellent point about how people are treated. I think that the change can begin with how we conduct this conversation with the OBC.

Howard--bingo! I think the solution lies in how we frame and propose the conversation--so that it becomes an offer that can't be refused!

Lise--I think you're right about Meian's message being a polite decline. I don't think that the OBC will engage in discussion, or in a genuine effort to change, until: A) change is viewed as beneficial; B) a doable process for effecting change, that will not be harmful to themselves, is recognized; and C) actually engaging the process of change becomes urgently necessary.

Laura--so good to see you posting again! And, in my opinion, you don't need to apologize at all for your observations! I can easily believe what you describe, since, like you, I know the dynamic from the inside--and yet, this does not diminish my trust in the potential for healing and transformation wthin the OBC--or in RM Meian.

Some brief preliminary thoughts on framing an approach, for making a proposal, to engage in conversation with the OBC:

1. Express trust (if only by me) in the ultimate inherent integrity of everyone concerned, in the essence of the teaching (beyond and prior to any distortion that may have occured through trauma and institutionalization), and the potential for healing and institutional transformation. This integrity is not diminished by the truth (no matter how unpleasant it may sometimes be); and it is strongly confirmed by the willingness to recognize and acknowledge detrimental behavior and the consequences that result.

2. Present observations--documented in detail by many on this forum--of behavior, teaching, and policies, that have been experienced as harmful, abusive, and traumatizing. This experience, and the consequences that have resulted, make it possible to recognize an underlying causal dynamic of trauma and its perpetuation. This in turn, makes healing and transformation possible--and confirms the fact that without genuine change, the trauma will inevitably continue.

3. Provide encouragement, and express the expectation that healing and transformation will be actively pursued. The OBC can confirm their intent by developing and sharing a plan for how they will engage the process of healing and transformation. A plan is an important component of this effort, since it will, I think, need to include open discussion, both within the OBC, and between the OBC and former members and participants.

4. Engage in discussion for the purpose of facilitating truth, healing, transformation, and reconciliation. This itself will require an agreed upon framework. I propose, as part of this framework, the use of Non-Violent Communication (NVC). Respectful open discussion, focusing on experience rather accusation, judgement, or blame, can be profoundly healing for everyone concerned.

Anyway, these are just a few thoughts, whos purpose, as always, is to to spark further discussion!
Back to top Go down
Carol

avatar

Posts : 364
Join date : 2009-11-10

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:15 am

I may be the ultimate naysayer, but I'll naysay it anyway. I like this forum the way it is now. If some people feel a need to talk out issues with active monks of the OBC, perhaps a separate forum would be a good idea. I like the idea of limited participants but open to the rest of the world to see what is going on.

At the same time, I don't want this forum to disappear or for it to turn into some sort of closed forum where we can only see what a select few have to say. I learn a great deal from participants who only write occasionally or from people like Josh who have a great deal to teach but probably wouldn't be one of the "chosen" few to join an OBC-type forum.

So, Lise and others -- I hope you won't shut down the ability of the rest of us to post and read what is written here. I don't see how temporarily shutting it down would be helpful for anyone, as it takes a long time to develop some ideas.

I also don't understand why active monks of the OBC are so afraid of this forum or find it too distasteful to read and participate in. The truth is the truth even if it's stated in a way someone doesn't like.
Back to top Go down
Kozan
Admin
avatar

Posts : 668
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 67
Location : Sonoma County CA

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:29 am

Violet, I'm with you. I would go even further, and say that I don't think that a meaningful discussion with the OBC could even take place without the continuation of this forum as it is.

I assume that what Lise is talking about, with respect to facilitating a discussion, could be managed without limiting anyone's participation on the forum itself.

Although I must admit that I don't particularly like online chat, the forum's Chatbox might be a potential venue for Kaizan's proposed conversation (?).
Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1408
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 42

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:34 am

Violet, to clarify -- this won't become a private forum nor will membership be limited. My comment about temporarily disabling the posting function was only in regard to the conversation that Kaizan is proposing. I think he is suggesting a limited number of participants (OBC and otherwise) so the conversation stays manageable. If the discussion took place on this forum it would be visible to all, but only the participants could actually post on that thread and/or for a set period of time, however the organisers want it structured. I think it's sensible to have only a handful of participants, otherwise it could be a babbling match and not a coherent discussion.

I hope this clarifies, but let me know if you have any questions --

L.


p.s. I just saw Kozan's post -- maybe the Chat function is something to consider.
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Laura

avatar

Posts : 124
Join date : 2010-07-30
Location : Portland, OR

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:20 am

Hi Lise,

I completely appreciate that you would like to believe in RM Meian's ability to change the way things are at the Abbey. That's why I felt so bad; I don't like destroying people's hopes and I felt like I was doing that a bit.

And I understand very well your point about Rev. Seikai feeling unable to change the culture there. I felt the same way myself while I was at the Abbey. But the difference is that neither Rev. Seikai nor I (nor most anyone else) were one of the monks in power at the monastery. You need to understand that RM Meian was the Vice-Abbess, hand-picked for the job by Eko, and that she was his most trusted and influential advisor, not to mention a close friend for decades. They met almost every single day to talk about issues at the monastery and how to handle them. There wasn't any one else in the monastery he did that with on a regular basis, and only one or two others that he turned to on occasion. I realize that folks outside of the monastery would have had no way of knowing that.

In the end, I agree that she is as much a product of the Shasta Abbey monastic culture as Eko was and that much of what she did she learned as a survival skill within that setting. Unfortunately, that perception doesn't bode too well for positive change either.

Nevertheless, people can and do overcome their conditioning, at least to some extent, when they feel the need to do so strongly enough. And I believe this forum is making the need felt. I can't begin to thank you enough for starting it, not to mention all the ongoing work you do to maintain it. This is really helping a lot of people.

Back to top Go down
Lise
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1408
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 42

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:37 am

thanks for that, Laura, I appreciate it.

I know what my problem is. I absorbed too many stories as a kid where a hero or champion appears to slay the dragon and free the terrified villagers.

Will we have a hero in this story -


Last edited by Lise on Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:24 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net
Diana



Posts : 206
Join date : 2010-06-11
Location : New Mexico

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:26 am

Lise wrote:
"I know what my problem is. I absorbed too many stories as a kid where a hero or champion appears to slay the dragon and free the terrified villagers."

I love this. I can totally relate. When I was a kid, I thought the hero was Jesus. I was a devout Catholic and went to Catholic school. I would actually get up early to get to school so I could sit and watch the nuns do their morning service. I found so much peace sitting in the dark, in the pews, smell of insense... I wanted to be a nun. When I read the bible, I thought, "okay, this is all I need to do, sounds pretty easy." But the more life I lived, I saw that noone, not one person in my life, was living this way. Not my parents, not my teachers, and slowly over time I found that the religion I followed was corrupt. And then my parents divorced and my mother was so destroyed by it, the guilt was so intense, that she took me out of Catholic school and we weren't allowed to go to church. Devasting for me at the time to have the only source of peace taken away.

BTW, my love and admiration (as a child) for Jesus and Christianity, still remains and is still present, although I certainly do not identify as a Christian. But, this is one reason why I found Eko's identification as Jesus so completely disturbing, as was his declaration that Jesus was to blame for all the problems in the world.

Anyway, my own deep suffering from my past was the main reason I went searching for the truth in Buddhism. I thought Buddhism must be different, that it offered a new way, a direct way, to realise and live the truth. So my years at the Abbey started with that pure experience I had as a child, but ended up in the same bin. I was devastated.

So now I wonder, is all this religion stuff a totally infantile need? When we see the power, corruption, and lies, have we simply just "grown up." Should we just accept, "there is no hero, there is no one to save us?" Are there no "true teachers?" Is there no one that we can follow as a good example? If we open ourselves up to be taught, are we just going to be abused or exploited? Is "beginners mind" dangerous? Are we, am I, just completely naive and ignorant?

This feeling of "devastation" is why, I think, I am here right now and why I think we are all here. I guess it just has to run its course. But at what point can I let it go? I don't know. Maybe it's not the devastation that is the impetus after all, but the hope that there is truth somewhere to be found. Hmmm. Maybe there is no hero, no one to save us and we must simply save ourselves, be our own heroes, and defiantly keep searcing for the truth.
Back to top Go down
john

avatar

Posts : 80
Join date : 2010-11-21
Location : uk

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:21 pm

Deep Peace Of The Running Wave To You.

When I was a small child I grew up with woods and fields all around me, I still remember that utter peace on hot summer days chaising butterflies, the smells on the air so vivid, the delight and curiosity of a small child, the wonder of it all. Just being.
Then as I grow division and judgement appears, squeezing out that niave truth and innocence.
I think its the ever present call, to return to that which truely loves us, and ever waits for our return....
Back to top Go down
Henry

avatar

Posts : 398
Join date : 2010-08-28
Location : Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:14 pm

There is something to the message we get from the OBC: there is a place beyond harm (please don't confuse this with my legitimizing how they've used that as a means to avoid accountability). There is disillusionment with oneself, the world, religion and teachers. There is a truth within us that we don't have to let that disillusionment touch. We can just make disillusionment another cause for compassion to self and other. If a teacher comes along fine. If not, fine--there is so much to learn from anyway. After all we are learning from each other. We don't have to buy into the belief that learning from one master within a religious community is a better way than what we're each doing now. We don't have to buy into the belief that we should never take a teacher again. In the end I think we have to trust ourselves and the path we're on and not worry about what decisions we may or may not make in the future.

Business:
I would not want to see this forum shut down even temporarily. Should this pipe dream a tally occur, I'd like to see another forum set up. I think all of Kozan's ideas are excellent and would love to see them communicated to the OBC.
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: A Public Conversation   

Back to top Go down
 
A Public Conversation
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» A Public Conversation
» MANIFESTATION - Uggh! Embarrassing Public Cleansing (Graphic - Hold Your Nose)!
» public bidding for staggard purchase of goods.
» public bidding of approved ABC
» other requirements for public bidding

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
OBC Connect :: OBC Connect :: Suggestions for the OBC-
Jump to: