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 Introduction - albertfuller

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albertfuller

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Join date : 2011-01-04
Location : Toronto, Canada

PostSubject: Introduction - albertfuller   Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:57 pm

Well I came across this site by accident (on google) and was surprised by the roster of names.

My name is albertfuller. I was born in Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies: my religious name (Houn Myogetsu)
1 - I arrived at Shasta Abbey in January 1974 and left in late 1977
2 - went to university in Canada and did two degrees: in philosophy and then in sociology
3 - returned to Shasta Abbey around 1986 and left around 1989

Leaving for me was traumatic and it was only after several months that I realized I had come out of a depression.

I am of mixed (4) race and so I have some experience with the realities of inferiority and subordination as a self-definition you are given. If you are female, gay, poor, dying, hated by fashionistas, chained to an addiction you have come to despise, deemed to be low status, unemployed, victimized by bored/boring youths, living in a country where security is life in some foreign country, been raped, mugged, shot but did not die and/or you are white uhoh I feel you know what I mean.

anyway on with my story:
4 - I settled in Toronto, Canada, and looked after my mother until she died of leukemia
5 - I also got married and we adopted two boys who have significant physical and mental challenges.

I am not a great or even good dad ... but that's not the point: I always want to be a better dad than I was yesterday. Last year I took to much time off to attend youth court.

6 - for the last 19 years or so I have worked for the city of toronto. I currently work in the IT area where I am a supervisor doing office support and lead a small software development team.
7 - for the last 18 years my spiritual practice is in the ch'an kung-fu heritage


When I was at Shasta Abbey, I had a lot of beautiful time alone ... and people mentioned stuff like family and community. I wrote this at the time (late 80's):



a summer walk

on Monday I went for a walk
in the foothills around Mt. Shasta

amidst the rugged flowers
silence a subtle fragrance

in the shade of trees
I felt united --
my heart projecting
ring upon ring
of solitude

I felt the patient endurance of gentleness
as each leaf fanned me

did I hear a murmur
an inspiration taking years to reach me
or was it just the tender shoots of my heart
pushing through the earth

I close my eyes:
what I see is the blue sky



I have read through a lot of posting on this site and on the topic of authority I want to say this:
In the context of the OBC and on this forum, authority has been abstracted from violence which is impossible. It's a lie. Authority is the YANG and violence is its YIN. THE VIOLENCE, THE ABUSES, IS DONE FROM SAFTEY. If the person hurting you was aware that, regardless of opinions and interpretations, in your pain you would turn from a domesticated cat to tiger and have him for lunch, then I sure that ninety percent of this non-sense would not have gone done. We were suppose to be living in the tiger's lair were we not ... or was that just artful abstractions?

The peace of buddhism does not come from believing in peace, but from the visceral insight that it is the far better path than vicarious violence (physical or emotional). The security and manners of middle class life alienates its participants from too many aspects of life ... replacing it with mere abstractions.

There was a time when Ch'an/Zen Masters taught warriors. And when your student could "take your breath away" you had better know the art of pushing that person. The self-indulgent would not last in this kind of trade. When our very life is not the edge we work on, we get flabby; we become insignificant.

I remember the slogan use to be:
do no harm
then if you can do no harm, do only good
then if you can do no harm & do only good, do good for others

Where did all this harm come from? .... how could it arise in Zen training!?!?!?!

One of the things my Grand Master is trying very hard to impart to us is:
1 - community is the most advanced form of training
2 - strike with kindness

But our central mandate is that when attacked you must subdue your attacker in 3/4 of a second or less.

Man has demonstrated the complex artificiality of conflict: but nature also teaches us that conflict is a natural occurrence. So although we need to avoid it's complex artificiality, we must not fear it's naturalness. To tokenized and abstract aggression (through rules) to the merely physical is false instruction and does not lead to perfection: because when you get down to the business of power it is rooted in the breath and emotions.

No one should be powerless, it is simply unnatural. And those who are powerless must always be protected.

It is not enough to have a code; you must give your life to your code, for the benefit of living beings.

In the Art of kung-fu, the student is powerless and the teacher is profoundly powerful. But the training (discipleship) is not merely the teacher teaching the student how to transform his/her life for the cultivation of power, the Master must also give the student energy to establish the student in a self-sustaining process. For the teacher, the student offers the invaluable opportunity to refine, expand and develop both his skill and their common humanity.

Surely, it is no demonstration of skill for a teacher to injure a student. Each student is a teacher's karma. There is nothing beyond this, except mere opinions.

The late Jiyu Kenneth, Roshi was my teacher and I will always love her. And what I DESIRE for her and for all of you is power of serenity, both in peace and in adversity.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - albertfuller   Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:26 pm

Albert, just a quick hello and welcome to the forum -- I'd like to say more when time allows. Thanks very much for your wonderful first post. "A summer walk" was beautiful!

Lise
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - albertfuller   Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:02 pm

Albert, welcome. It is great to see you here! I clearly remember your first period of time at the Abbey. (I was with an affiliated meditation group when you returned in 1986 and only visisted a few times each year at that point).

One of my more vivid memories of your time at the Abbey, is the day that you calmly and gently captured the rattlesnake that I had discovered in a woodpile (outside of one of the houses), while on nightwatch the night before.

(Well, actually, the rattlesnack discovered me as I was making the rounds in the cloister--and was kind enough to say hello before I intruded into his space!)

It is good to hear some of your story, and about how you are doing now!

And, you have asked a very good question:
Where did all this harm come from? .... how could it arise in Zen training!?!?!?!

This is a question that we ponder daily, in various ways, on this forum!
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - albertfuller   Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:01 pm

Good one Albert I liked the paragraph I am of mixed (4)race It seemed to have a bit of black rythm to it.
What does the (4) mean.
I worked with delinquent black kids,all from Jamaca,they were pretty radical I made some good friends. I have met very few from Trinidad and Tobago,I think a quieter type of islander. The mixed race is an unusal problem, as from my experience there is not much acceptance from black and also from white
Anyway interesting introduction, and I will be interested to see what flows out of your experiences of life
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albertfuller

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - albertfuller   Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:00 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:

What does the (4) mean.

4 means:
on my father's side - my grandfather: a causian from England
on my father's side - my grandmother: indiginous native of the Carribean
on my mother's side - my grandfather: Asian from Canton, China
on my mother's side - my grandmother: Portugese/Italian

so correction ... not 4 but either 3 (if you use the old concept of race -- I guess the academics changed it on us) or 5 (if you count it by ethnicity or nationality).

However, who I am is a complex issue: in my teenage years, every summer, my parents took us travelling (Europe and United States). That was when I discovered that I was what the people around me thought I was. For example, in the West Indies I was a mulato (brown: part white, part black) ... but it's not quite true and not entirely false; in North America I was black when amoung whites, but West Indian when among American blacks. It was difficult in high school (in Canada) when the asians and whites, the asians and blacks or the whites and blacks got into "racial" conflicts as I was suppose to align with one side against the other. Can you imagine this incident ... I have two nephews (same parents) one looks south asian the other looks causian, who have verbally assaulted each other with racial slurs ... and yet each loves the other! they are brothers, biologically not metaphorically.

Anyway, many years ago, I simply gave up on the whole identity project ... it's a complete waste of my time.

as an aside (not) ... the first lecture I attended with Jiyu-Kenneth, Roshi after my monastic ordination was on Nagarjuna. .... and though out all these years ... I have come to appreciate sunya is the quintessential expression of buddhism, ch'an/zen, whatever you want to call it. ... Nothing is something I have come to deeply enjoy and identify with: I can completely relate to nothing. It is more than everything .... it is my life.

The world can be a profound teacher: intentionally or otherwise....


Last edited by albertfuller on Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:28 pm; edited 2 times in total
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - albertfuller   Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:17 pm

well Albert I like that. I think the world is an excellent teacher

I think what you say is really the old koan

'What colour is Mu'
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albertfuller

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - albertfuller   Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:04 pm

Kozan wrote:

One of my more vivid memories of your time at the Abbey, is the day that you calmly and gently captured the rattlesnake that I had discovered in a woodpile (outside of one of the houses), while on nightwatch the night before.

I enjoyed reflecting on your response and appreciate it's true elegance.

Kozan wrote:

And, you have asked a very good question:
Where did all this harm come from? .... how could it arise in Zen training!?!?!?!

This is a question that we ponder daily, in various ways, on this forum!

as you make clear ... all is one, all is different.

your actions reminded me of something I was taught in kung-fu: disputes among teachers are not resolved through conflict; but in silence, time will reveal what is true and what is false

you continue to tend your's master's garden

though your actions, I see there is only one sangha, the sangha of all sentient beings: the bodhisattva path that is mahayana zen.

you keep cutting the cat into one ...

I imagine that the members of this forum realize the significant amount of support available by the presence of so many of teachers. Reminds me of a field of blueberries: at first you notice the bare clearing and uninteresting ground cover; then with attention you notice the blueberries.
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - albertfuller   Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:53 pm

Hello Albert. I remember you well. You were my shuso at the Berkeley Priory as I recall. Welcome to this forum. I've been absent for a while, but I'll poke back in from time to time.

Kyogen
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albertfuller

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - albertfuller   Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:33 pm

Hi Kyogen

looking at your picture, I see that the years have been good to you. Keep smiling ... you have a lot to smile about.
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - albertfuller   Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:57 pm

Hello Albert,

Your comment prompted me to change my profile photo. I'd been thinking about it. This new one is more recent, just a few months ago. I'm at my computer. You look well too.

Kyogen
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