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 Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan

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mokuan



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PostSubject: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:19 pm

First topic message reminder :

[Admin note: Because we had another update, this thread was split from posts in Howard's thread "Could the OBC Connect use some balance?" under the category "Suggestions for the OBC". It lists Mokuan as the "author" because her post was the first in sequence to be moved; this is a function of the forum software.]

Mokuan wrote:


I just looked at Haryo's personal website -- I guess that's what it is -- and tomorrow, Jan 15, he says he'll be addressing the local lay community.
I think this is out of the ordinary for him, and I'm wondering if it has anything to do with this forum. If it were only Shasta concerns, I would think those would more be probably addressed by Meian as the communities, and how they are run, are independent.
So in anticipation that the forum may be discussed, here's my note to RM Haryo:

Dear RM Haryo,

If there are any questions by the congregation members tomorrow about this forum, would you please acknowledge that there may be some credence to what's being said here and not just shrug off this forum and its members as disgruntled, unenlightened, precepts-breaking-whatevers.
Please remember, RM Haryo, we were all once part of the OBC. And for however long or short, we did love and care for the community and RMJK.

Yours sincerely,
mokuan



Last edited by Lise on Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:58 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to clarify thread origin)
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:10 am

As Mark knows my own dilema of being told by Bill Picard to write his life story after he died.Fortunately I wrote it soon after he died,and it has been sitting in a drawer eversince,simply because of my problem of revealing information about why he and I left our association with kennett Roshi. I sent a copy to Mark,and told Josh (jitsudo) they both said up to me to say what I want,which sort of threw it back on me. It is getting close to release time now,I think the web site has helped me clarify things,and helped me see that actually there was an aftermath of events I knew nothing about,But Mark is right we were trained to drop criticism,and complaint,we gave up our ability to speak. I was very pleased when gensho told me in private email that he resigned his Jishsaship,it meant to me he did do what he could to say hang on,rather than do nothing. When one is involved in a group,it is difficult to find ones way,realise training and enlightenment are independant of all things, even teachers...... shame struggle ....... no one kills your dignity
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Henry



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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:31 pm

Chisan,
I hope you do release your story of Bill. It seems like there is something in you that wants, perhaps needs to. It is funny how the story of you original folks, then the people who came after, and now the most recent crop, including Laura, all speak of the same pressure to be silent, to stifle what we think, believe and feel. Always leaving criticisms, genuine concerns, "on the back burner" supposedly until we are dead and silenced for good. All in the name of those in the hierarchy knowing better than we do. Why do they get to speak of their righteousness, correctness, and enlightenment and our misguidedness, delusion, and folly, and we must remain silent? But how is this different from any other church? I guess we just thought we were joining up with something very different, but in the end we had joined the same old, same old. I guess the important thing is that we take what was good and leave the foolishness and delusion for the OBC to play with. Here we can speak our minds and let others decide for themselves if what the OBC offers is good for them or not. At least they will hear another side.
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:49 pm

Henry I will
it is written in book form, Maybe a few bits to put in,His time with south American Indians,Time in Africa,time in the Hymalayas.
The there is some very personal stuff,which needs thinking about.
Bills transmisson,that needs to be written by Mark and or Gensho
when I visited him just befor he died,he felt troubled by something it was someones death a long time ago, he was very troubled by it, I said I would light some incense and do a a Buddhist chant.Which I did. He did not like it,not what I was doing,or my sincerity anything like that. he just did not like Buddhist form in any way.Yet he was a devoted Buddhist.

There seems a lot of depths to the story which do unfold for me, I feel I have a great sense of responsibility and perhaps talk about it with Mark maybe lots of other people first.

Bill was not one for heirarchy,or anything other than pur zazen,if we all felt the same,we would not have the same problems that we talk about.
We must make sure we stand by our beliefs,and do not fall into what we feel is erroneous views
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Laura



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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:54 pm

Gosh, Henry, I think you've hit the nail right on the head when you say:

Quote :
I guess we just thought we were joining up with something very different, but in the end we had joined the same old, same old.

This is certainly the way I feel. Religion has played a very large part in my life from an early age, but I was never able to work my way past the blind faith, believe it because we say so attitude I found in every Western religion I encountered. I wanted to know the truth for myself, not as second-hand, but as first-hand knowledge. When I read that the Buddha said, "Don't believe anything just because I say so; believe it when you know it to be true for yourself", I knew I had found the religion that I was looking for.

I still believe in the Buddha's teaching, but my experience at Shasta Abbey has taught me that organized religion appears to be the same old, same old. I can honestly say that I will never have anything to do with organized religion again after my experiences there. But I will always treasure the Buddha's trust in our own ability to question and thus discover the truth for ourselves.
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:10 pm

Henry wrote:
"I wonder how the organization, the Zen monastery, that all of us 20 somethings in the 70s went to to devote our lives to evolved into this secretive place that appears more concerned with self preservation than the truth. Why can't what happened be openly discussed between spiritual adults to find a solution to mistakes made....
But when it comes to religious organizations this all appears par for the course."

Laura wrote:
Gosh, Henry, I think you've hit the nail right on the head when you say:
"I guess we just thought we were joining up with something very different, but in the end we had joined the same old, same old."


"I still believe in the Buddha's teaching, but my experience at Shasta Abbey has taught me that organized religion appears to be the same old, same old."

Laura and Henry, I think that you have identified a central issue, or perphaps the central issue, underlying the obstacle to communication with the OBC.

I have come to think that in many ways, organized religion, as the institutionalization of spiritual teaching and practice, always evolves to become a form of delusion no matter how enlightened the original teaching may be. (I explored this idea in several early posts.) The essence of the concept is that spiritual teaching always entails paradox, which is not easily retained by language. Religious organizations tend to choose whichever side of the paradox best supports their own institutional needs, and teaching and practice thereby tend to become onesided. RMJK did this routinely. The change in her position on celibacy is only one of many examples.

However, religious institutions can (and should) provide an essential vehicle for ensuring the continued Transmission of teaching and practice. And yet, they arguably cannot achieve this purpose should they become a form of delusion, as seems to be their nature!

It occurs to me that a way through this dilema might become possible if a religious institution recognizes, as a first principle, that it itself is inherently a form of delusion--and that its purpose for existing is only to serve as a vehicle for teaching that is nothing more than a finger pointing to the moon.

A religious organization that accepts the fact that the institutionalization of spiritual teaching and practice will always constitute a form of delusion has nothing to lose by subjecting itself to the same scrutiny of awareness that it is promoting for individuals. And it will be more likely to recognize the importance of doing so continuously.

On the other hand, a religious organization that fails to recognize its own inherent potential for delusion and dysfunction is likely to find that it has a great deal to hide, and will probably become very resistant to change!
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:45 pm

Kozan,
I am afraid that the OBC is so steeped in preservation--preservation of tradition; preservation of only the positive side of Rev. Kennett; preservation of their livelihood; and preservation of their institution--that true examination of why the things that have occurred to people writing on this site did occur is almost impossible. Meian and Haryo were assisting Eko in his third kensho--so they thought--when they were actually assisting him in augmenting his ego. Can they look at that? What does it mean to be so off base? What does it say about one's clarity of vision? I wouldn't be surprised if they actually stick by their 3rd kensho story, and say, "Oh, it is truly sad that Eko went off the rails in the midst of his 3rd kensho." So they maintain their clarity of vision and lay the blame at Eko's door. This truly would not suprise me. The longer I am on this site, the more I wonder how truly off the rails many at Shasta have gone. Like everything else, when it is a gradual accumulation of delusion, it is not even noticed, until people from the outside look in at a charade beyond comprehension. I'd truly love to know how Meian and Haryo and others now view their 3rd kensho theory. How do they maintain their position as clear eyed masters with that error? If they say he was having one, people on the outside looking in will see how far off they've gone. If they say he must not have been, what then do say about their own support of him in this perhaps mass delusioin? Has anyone at Shasta even asked these questions? Or is everyone like we were when we were there--silent and compliant?
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:22 pm

One more point regarding the episode of the further augmentation of Eko's already substantially augmented ego (i.e. his 3rd kensho): have monks at the OBC now entered the "it's time to let go of this unfortunate episode and get on with our training" allowing it to slip into the rear view mirror like a tragic accident one sees on the highway? Except many monks (in a sense all monks) at Shasta were supporting or acquiesing to this delusion. If they are eager to "let go" and move on without the careful examination of what this all means, what does it say about Shasta as a whole, then this is not Buddhism. Letting go without examination is will not allow anyone to see the dysfunction thinking and group dynamic that allowed this to occur. Can there be a discussion where everyone can equally express their concerns, thoughts and insights about this whole matter publicly with Shasta? I'd be interested to know. Or if there was such a discussion was it all on the surface. Were there questions like those raised on this site about the history of silence, repression, tongue lashings, abuse of power, etc? And the big question: Why are the most authoritarian personalities--Rev. Kennet, Eko, Koshin--the ones with the biggest kenshos?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:13 am

Because kensho is used as a way of attaining power and authority
You know it starts young

'I have had a kensho'

'So have I'

'Not as big as mine'

'Tis'

'Tisn't'

'I am going to get you later'

''Go on then'

'Anyway I was Jesus once'

''Well I was God'

'Well I am someone bigger whoever that is'
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:34 am

Well Henry
There is no stopping your holding of them tender little Shasta toes to the fire.
I liked what you're saying but I'm not sure of the last & big question.

And the big question: Why are the most authoritarian personalities--Rev. Kennet, Eko, Koshin--the ones with the biggest kenshos?

That last question is a bit of a tough one. The size of an awakening is conditional to both the size and the degree to which the ego is transcended.
So what?
Nobody on the inside of the Shasta walls is going to bring that up in relation to Eko & Koshin because it will also smear Jiyu with the same brush. Plus, It is not the size of the ego that is important but the priority they put on not feeding it.

The state of awakening can also be frozen, twisted, and subverted with the arising of an attachment to it. The reason it's recommended to reside in a safe environment during such an awakening (being surrounded by those who respect the Dharma which amounts to it's protection) is to keep the foolish and deluded away from hindering it's full flowering and digestion.
Because of this, it is difficult to deny the arising of any level of awakening from just looking at the corresponding wake. You could say that it was squashed, claimed for the ego's crown or whatever but that doesn't prove that it wasn't unfolding to some extent.

Shasta can claim the full responsibility for this type of difficulty for two reasons.

The first difficulty comes from their bizarre deification of Kensho which they seem to hold up as the validation of Shasta's teaching instead of treating it like any other arising meditative phenomena.

The second difficulty is that the Shasta environment which supports moral blinders and closed mindedness to the level that has been written about on this site are enough to stunt or twist the unfolding of that very awakening.

He might of been having an awakening but he probably also helped create the conditions to stunt it. Karma rules.

Others might of seen the start of an unfolding awakening, which must feel like the vindication of much of Shasta's myopic views and poor behaviour but their initial assessment could still of been correct.

For the grace and simplicity of everyones meditation practise, I for one would like to ignore the whole Shasta Kensho shingle for all the averice, inadequacy and confusion that I've seen following in it's wake.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:56 am

Not bad advice Howard,
These huge kenshos did not do them much good
kennett Roshi's was followed by division and argument.
Eko was shown the door
and Koshin aledgedly seems to have run a centre that caused harn to Amalia

Anyway, read my book

how to quantify and number a kensho,

There is a great picture of me on the front cover,with a peculiar grin
it did not sell very well I might have a few left over in the attic for you

(By the way my Mum was born in White Rock had a road named after them somewhere,where their pioneering ranch was,Her dad died early after being gassed in the trenches in WW1 she moved to UK and had to work through WW2)
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:52 am

Howard,
Rev. Kennett used to say she wasn't a magician and couldn't just spot whether someone had a kensho or not; she needed to observe them. I am just observing that the biggest kenshos are experienced by the most authoritarian monks. I think it reasonable to ask why Shasta produces or perceives kenshos in those most authoritarian. Buddhism is about examination through non judgmental awareness. Koans are questions of everyday life. It seems reasonable to observe and ask. I think Shasta has stopped this inconvenient practice when it comes to their organization and hierarchy.

Chisan,
Excellent point about divisiveness. Rev. Kennett: Divisive. Eko: Divisive. Koshin: Divisive. This site speaks to Rev. Kennett's divisiveness. What is happening at Shasta speaks to Eko's divisiveness. I'm sure the older monks at Shasta who are now in power are well aware of Koshin's divisiveness.

If the younger monks look at my latest few posts and start to ask these questions publicly. My question is: How will their inquisitiveness be received? Will these questions get a public hearing? Will they be allowed to be spoken of apart from discrete quiet conversations between 2 or 3 people? If it is not so, please let us know. If it is so, is any one there asking why this is so? And what is the answer to this? Put it on the back burner? After a while there is so much on the back burner that the stove tips backwards from the sheer weight.
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:26 am

The Buddha was the great harmonizer. Where there was conflict, he brought reconcilliation, without judgment; where there was discord, he sowed peace, without judgment; where there was doubt and confusion, he sowed inner resolution, without judgment. Have we seen this at Shasta. How has the triumverate of kensho power dealth with conflict, discord, and doubt? Has it been done without judgment? Has it sown harmony? What I have seen of Rev. Kennett, Eko and Koshin's handling of conflict, discord and doubt is through suppression and sternness. Crush and eliminate. Suppress and discredit. Koshin would not allow Eko's lectures in his temple. God knows what Eko thought of Koshin. These are the two big kensho achievers at Shasta. They could probably barely talk to each other. What does this mean? Does this concern the junior monks? Is this what they hope their spiritual practice will lead to?

How controlled is Koshin's temple? If they are unable to hear Eko's lectures, what are they allowed to hear and read? What would happen if Koshin saw one of his junior, or even senior monks reading OBC Connect? Would he speak to them as the Buddha spoke, going through point by point the question I and others have raised and respecting the person's doubt? Or would that person be isolated and shunned if they continued to have doubts? Would it be an acceptable part of their meditation, or would they become suspect? Only those at Koshin's temple would know for sure. I just have my questions, which I feel are legitimate to ask.
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:56 am

Hi folks,

I think the comments on institutionalisation are well made...just read an article in the current Tricycle issue ('Blazing with Wakefulness'), by Reggie Ray, basically saying that this also happened with Chogyam Trungpa and the Shambala organisation. Initially, there was, by all accounts, an incredible energy; vibrant, living spirituality and teaching in which he was able to accommodate all of his students as individuals. Over time, though, it seems like the large numbers of people involved, the need for structure, and the inability to respond on a spiritually 'intimate' level to each of this students, ended in a degree of institutionalisation and stultification, at least while Trungpa was alive. This is in Ray's opinion, at least.

I can't help also think that the level of charismatic power held by an individual teacher - and this must apply to RM Jiyu-Kennett as much as Trungpa - is negative in the long term, in most cases, for both students and the teachers themselves.

I always liked something I read in a book by Gombrich (I think), about Therevada monks, that they hold a fan in front of their face while reading from scripture/preaching, to ensure that the listeners focused entirely on the dhamma, not the speaker, his/her charismatic power etc. At least, I think this was in Sri Lanka anyway, and possibly entirely symbolic, but I liked the idea...

Cheers,

Stu
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:36 am

Henry I really struggle with the word kensho achiever
If it makes sense I think you are right and wrong at the same time.
Right because it is always the Shasta take ,kensho achiever..... using greed positively..... me and my kensho My third kensho

wrong in the sense what is achieved when theer is nothing to achieve, how do we gain something when it is all here. Who has this kensho? I dropped my mind!!! what mind

A cathartic experience is relative...I experienced this and changed my way
zen experience is realising what is already here, nothing to add on nor take away

The Buddha was the great harmoniser was this because first he really harmonised himself? the OBC will never be harmonised unless it is in harmony with itself, or at least individually.

I feel we must follow the Buddhas example and try for harmony,very difficult when there is an us and them,very difficult when it seems they think they are right and we think they are wrong

Apart from that Good Morning America
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:25 pm

Chisan
"kensho power/kensho achiever" are tongue in cheek. It goes along with the practice of those with the "biggest kenshos" apparently knowing what is best for the kensholess--what it's best to read, what websites not to visit (I can't see Eko, Koshin or Rev Kennett tolerating anyone reading this), and in Koshin's case, what other OBC monk's lectures they should listen to.
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:55 pm

You had me worried for a minute I thought you were trying to say you had a bigger kensho than mine
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:04 pm

I am sorry I can not take the Big Kensho, the third kensho too seriously, the koan way is quite good straight away another koan.
However I remember having a letter from a friend who told me he had passed mu,and I should come join him, there were plenty of girls, and he had a room next to the zendo and was making out in time with the inkin bell. I never wrote back, great bit of mu eh.
I was very lucky to be close to Bill Picard as he had no sense of ritualistic nonsense.

And by the way I have thought about your comments about his story and me writing it.
It is really a very natural koan, especially the parts that overlap Ikko Roshi, as he is included in the book,it is not so difficult the story,it is me that becomes difficult , I mean it in a real way
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:59 pm

Hey Henry
I think it reasonable to ask why Shasta produces or perceives kenshos in those most authoritarian.

Why? I must not be understanding your question.

Anything that allows one to let go of one's hold on personal identity can produce an awakening.
Those who have an authoritarian nature can let go of their identity and experience an awakening just like anyone else. They will manifest a soft, flexible, accepting and unhindered nature.

Meditators in their presence can observe this unfolding. This awakening can unfold for moments or decades. Left alone, it is a description of grace. Clinging to it at anytime beckons the ego's return clothed in spiritual certainty. Now there's a definition of the most authoritarian.

I can't fault Shasta for also perceiving the awakening of the most authoritarian.
The real fault comes from anyone treating such an awakening as having anymore permanence than anything else. Everyone has to put up with the smell of an awakening at some time. Your question puts a spin on it that presupposes that Shasta favours the kenshos of those who are the most authoritarian.
Any evidence for this?
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:37 pm

Howard,
I think you are correct. I think I got a little carried away with myself early this morning and made some assumptions. Thanks for the reality check.

My understanding of how the OBC understands the 3rd kensho (though I've heard that term no where else) is that it is equivilent to becoming an arahant. My assumption is that an acknowledged third kensho is very very rare in the OBC, perhaps (operative word and my not using it before belies my assumption) being bestowed only on Rev. Kennett, Koshin, and recently Eko. If that assumption is true (yes a big assumption), then the big, big kenshos go only to the most authoritarian. Though as you said any personality type can experience kensho, it is concerning that those with an acknowledged 3rd kensho all share a personality type that creates and fosters the type of problems we've discussed here. It places the most authority, spiritual and temporal, in the hands of a personality type that can create and exeptional amount of mischief. Especially if the achievement is specious or lost to the machinations of the ego.

Laura or others that would know,
As you are of much more recent vintage at the OBC, was my assumption accurate or was it off base? Were there other acknowledged arahants at the OBC of the more humble variety or was this honor reserved for the more authoritarian?

PS Thanks again Howard. I do get on a roll at times.
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:56 am

Really and trying to be serious for a moment. The important thing is who you are right now.
Is ones life full of ego and opinion? is there a religious ego instead of a normal ego.?Is one causing more harm than before? Surely a spiritual experience attracts.I think that the style of practice of a teacher saying let go of your ego is so dangerous because it is purely a way to conrol the masses,and from a spiritual view who is letting go of what? Did Amalia feel she had to let go of her automony. The moment I heard kennett Roshi say I have had a big Kensho I left
I must tell you a story when I was at Shasta I told everyone a joke about a huge stretch limosine turning up at a catholic monestry,the car stops by a monk sweeping leaves,and as a the electronic window winds down a guy with a huge hat and smoking an even bigger cigar leans out,the monk still sweeping says Brother Adam,how nice to see you return after your enlightenment

I remember Kozan coming up to me and saying I like the story of the Texan, I thought I was telling a story of an American! sorry guys

I must tell you my follow up and latest book written under my Sanscrit name is selling well check it out
The BIG Kensho by avinalaff
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:19 am

Chisan, you have an impressive memory!!

I don't remember identifying your story as a story about a Texan--although I may well have--since I can still see in my memory-minds eye, the posted cartoon as I remember it. (And I could swear that the dude in the limo with the cigar was obviously a Texan!)

What I do clearly remember is the actual cartoon that someone had cut out and posted on a bulletin board in the main house (at the landing of the stairway leading to the second floor). The image was that of a limo pulling into a monestary (identified as a Zen monestary as I remember it)--and the caption was essentially as you stated: "how nice to see you return after your enlightenment" (or, how nice that you've come back to pay us a visit after your enlightenment).

However, I think that your telling of the story, both then, and now, was way better than the cartoon version!

And, I can tell you, that I will enthusiastically read anything written by someone with the impressive name of Avinalaff!! (Well done Chisan!)

you wrote:
"...is there a religious ego instead of a normal ego.? Is one causing more harm than before? Surely a spiritual experience attracts. I think that the style of practice of a teacher saying let go of your ego is so dangerous because it is purely a way to conrol the masses..."

Indeed so. I think that the creation of the religious institution gives rise to the religious ego. Kensho, without existential healing, leaves the root cause of ego-formation unchanged. After kensho, the unhealed root of ego-formation coalesces around the religious institution, and the identity of the monk, or lay practitioner, that it provides. A religious institution that has removed itself from scrutiny provides the perfect refuge for the authoritarian ego!

(Thanks also to Henry for introducing the link between kensho and authoritarian egos!)
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:38 am

All beings are from the very beginning Buddhas.
It is like water and ice:
Apart from water, no ice,
Outside living beings, no Buddhas.

Thanks kozan I am sorry to quote my favorite poem it highlights for me that my practice is here as a human. Human beings have great capacity to love,to be tender, to be wise and kind............. Talk of being special,wih a big enlightenment is not for me

(Texan or American I am sure he was not English....Take care)
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:06 am

Hi Chisan
Is there a religious ego instead of a normal ego?

I would submit that this is one of those Yes and No answers.
I see the Ego as the source of the delusion that we are separate from everything else. We give it energy & inertia, while it gives us identity & security. The difference between the normal ego and a religious ego is a little like the difference between straight delusion and compounded delusion. Both have the same energy & inertia but the disguise of the religious ego is re enforced with certainty, righteousness and myopic sight.

I think that the style of practice of a teacher saying let go of your ego is so dangerous because it is purely a way to control the masses..."

I can't fault a teacher or organization for saying "let go of your ego" if they really practise it too. If you were teaching and you said "let go of your ego" would you just be saying it purely to control the masses?

Hello Kozan
I think that the creation of the religious institution gives rise to the religious ego.

It's not that I disagree with you but the reasoning of this statement seems a bit specious since man really does not need a religious institution to have a religious ego. I think the soap box speaking venues in parks are proof of this. ( or perhaps the computer forum has replaced the old soap box)
The inherent hardening or softening of the individual egos within a leader based religious institution is dependant on the practise of those leaders, with the form of that institution really only being the inertia of that practise.

A religious institution that has removed itself from scrutiny provides the perfect refuge for the authoritarian ego!
Oh YES! I think this is what most of the participants of the OBC connect have experienced.

Cheers all.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:29 am

Religious ego normal ego all ego isn't it,
Religious ego is me thinking I am religious or pious, or in some way superior,It is conducting a pararell life with the same ego ,but different values etc. training one's self.
Again the subtlety of letting go of your ego, would I tell anyone to,well I do not want to be in that psition anyway, and I would not either . The subtlety is whether I drop my ego or does the ego naturally drop away.
I believe spiritual practice highlights our individual self or ego ,and training can help us not be so self obsessed, or running with the ego , but can the ego drop the ego is another question
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:42 pm

Hello Chisan
I was trying to say that religious ego is just ego in spiritual clothing.
Ego in spiritual clothing is so much more insidious to address because it is actually the Ego presenting itself as the Ego having been let go of. The ninja of delusion that Dogen called a "something" rice bag.

The subtlety is whether I drop my ego or does the ego naturally drop away.

For a practitioner of zazen, placing words "I" and "Ego" in the first part of this sentence is already pretty delusional, so this question was already answered before it got started. NO!

or does the ego naturally drop away. in the absence of support, YES!

Can the Ego let go of the Ego.
One definition of Ego I like is that which can not let go.
If it could of let go of itself, it would not have been by definition, Ego.
And No, also not in my experience.

Well, Another cry for a plumbers tools and these computer pinkies sure won't pay the rent!.
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:23 am

Kozan, I may not have understood some of your meaning in the following:
Quote :
Kensho, without existential healing, leaves the root cause of ego-formation unchanged. After kensho, the unhealed root of ego-formation coalesces around the religious institution, and the identity of the monk, or lay practitioner, that it provides.
As I understand RMJK/OBC usage of the term “kensho”, as awakening deepens with further training after the initial liberative insight into not-self, further elements of that root are eradicated, not just temporarily. The entire eradication of the semblance of a “person in the skandhas” (of which degrees continue to function at a deep reflexive level, until eradicated, after the initial liberative insight) is completed at entry to the fruition of arhat stage: which seems to be what is called the “third kensho” (or part of this) by some in the OBC. This eradication doesn’t have a “return ticket”, to the best of my knowledge, but there is still plenty of baggage to unpack and stuff to sort out*, hence the Mahayana does not stop there, and it is definitely not time (whatever ones wish and urgent sense of obligation to help others) to forget Dogen’s words, “When we wish to teach and enlighten all things by ourselves, we are deluded; when all things teach and enlighten us, we are enlightened” (not that it is ever time to forget these words but one may need to recall them as a counter to well-meant overbearing behaviour, getting stuck and thuswise-avoidable blindness). Could you expand a bit on what you had in mind by the kensho leaving the root cause of ego-formation unchanged [my italic]?

* If the first round took one X-many years, then dealing with the worst of the rest might take (with a following wind) X-many years x 2, or more. I am just playing with my arithmetic here and not quoting an official figure!
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:13 pm

Chisan and Howard--great discussion!

Anne, my apologies for taking so long to reply to your question! My full answer involves a large part of a longer essay that I have been working on, and have been hoping to post as my reply to your question. I'm still not quite through with it--and it keeps expanding in scope--so I will try to give a shorter response here. This short response may still depend on the longer essay in order for some of the details to actually make sense.

You (Anne) wrote:
"Could you expand a bit on what you had in mind by the kensho leaving the root cause of ego-formation unchanged [my italic]?"

What I was attempting to convey was the concept that the experience of dropping the ego, without also healing the root causal dynamic by which the separate self becomes a 'selfish' self (which I proposed and refered to as being linked to existential crisis), leaves the root cause unhealed and untransformed within the psyche.

Kensho frees awareness from identity as a separate/selfish self. But as long as we are alive as human beings, our own local awareness will retain its identity with our particular mind-body-self. Identity as serves to alienate awareness from the ground of Awareness. Identity with leaves awareness free to be aware simultaneously of the transcendent, and of manifested existence.

If there are aspects of the pre-kensho ego that remain unhealed within the psyche, then the selfish self will, I think, re-form around them. Healing requires bringing those aspects into awareness--healing into whatever trauma may be involved, in order to heal the trauma back into Awareness itself. Awareness can only heal what is allowed to come into awareness.

I think that a problem arises in the course of training when the separate self is unable or unwilling to allow aspects of itself to come into awareness. This applies especially to those aspects of our self that we have denied, 'dis-owned', or dis-identified with so completely that they have entered the shadow side of our psyche and become unconscious. Identifying one's self as a spiritual practioner, or as a monk, can compound this process because we tend to want to appear and behave in the ways that are 'approved' for our new identity.

This is the dynamic that I think can become further compounded when a religious organization removes itself from scrutiny. The religious identity that it requires for its members can lead to the denial of unacceptable behaviors and their causes within the psyche. This denial then tends to lead to the projection of dis-owned aspects of the psyche on to others--and the acting out of repressed feelings. If these behaviors, however inappropriate, can be passed off as 'enlightened' behavior, or teaching, then the unhealed shadow side of the ego has found a refuge, a cloak of invisibility.

It seems to me that this dynamic is especially likely when training is believed to require an adversarial struggle against the ego--rather than being seen as a process of allowing awareness to heal back into Awareness itself.

And finally, in an effort to return to the topic of this thread (!), I think that all of this pertains directly to the OBC's efforts to come to terms with these issues.

As always, I hope this makes sense. It is still only a short summary.
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:37 am

"It seems to me that this dynamic is especially likely when training is
believed to require an adversarial struggle against the ego--rather than
being seen as a process of allowing awareness to heal back into
Awareness itself."
**************************************
Elegantly stated, Kozan. I have often thought that the appropriate posture toward the egoic self is one of befriending rather than making war with. The egoic construct is a creation of the mind that has a function in this life. When we learn to walk with this construct and lead it, welcome it, rather than be led, it becomes more and more porous, especially as you so beautifully point out, when there is less to wrap itself around. It is awareness healing into Awareness. The Christian mystic might call it "love healing into Love."
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:18 am

Sounds like leading the ox to me
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:00 pm

Mark, You lost me. Can you, would you, elucidate?
Thanks,
Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:22 pm

Polly I was referring to the ox in the ox herding pictures. There are lots of variations but what I was referring to is probably most clearly seen in the version used in The Manual of Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki. You can find it on the web at:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/mzb/oxherd.htm
The ox being the self and through training being slowly brought under control by the boy, the trainee. The ox slowly comes under control, progressively changing from black to white until it finally disappears and the boy gets older in each picture as he spiritually matures.

This version clearly illustrates the befriending of the ox, but I personally prefer a later version:
http://www.iloveulove.com/spirituality/buddhist/tenbulls.htm


Last edited by mstrathern on Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Shasta lay sangha meeting of 16 Jan   Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:39 pm

Thanks Mark, finally I get an allusion that has escaped me for too long. I've heard of the ox-herding pictures but never found them. I'll agree that the second is a gentler depiction. Thanks also to Bill R's beautiful last post. This is really helpful stuff being discussed here.

Polly
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