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 Buddhist 'whitelist'

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Olly



Posts : 18
Join date : 2010-03-23
Location : Devon, UK

PostSubject: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:58 am

Hi all,

I've had an idea for another topic which I hope may be of help to people looking to stay with Buddhism but avoid harmful experiences they may have encountered in certain organisation. I will start a list of the Buddhist organisations which I would personally recommend based on the quality of teachings, absence of abuse or coercion etc and then others may add their own suggestions as they wish.

Zen

The Order of Interbeing (Vietnamese Zen following the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, represented by The Community of Interbeing in the UK)

San Francisco Zen Centre (Soto Zen but to my mind far more humane than OBC - anything that produced Edward Espe Browne must be good! Represented by the Dancing Mountains Sangha in the UK)

Western Chan Fellowship (Chinese-style Zen, polymath approach drawing on Soto and Rinzai approaches but throwing in some Tibetan Mahamudra for good measure! One of the 'agnostic' Buddhisms as far as I can tell.)

Theravada

The Forest Sangha (follows traditional Thai practice according to the teachings of Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho. Wonderful, humane, gentle - students of Thich Nhat Hanh will find much common ground here.)

Tibetan

Dechen (very traditional Tibetan practice following an English Lama, Jampa Thaye. Supports Karma Kagyu and Sakya practice.)

Secular Buddhism (for want of a better name)

Stephen and Martine Batchelor (for those who wish to practise but are really very uncomfortable with the 'religious' elements of Buddhism, look no further!)

Olly
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Lise
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Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 42

PostSubject: Re: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:35 pm

Olly, lovely idea -- thank you. I will get my own list together (short though it is) to add to this.
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Machik



Posts : 31
Join date : 2010-12-17

PostSubject: Re: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:35 pm

Yes, Olly, I think this is a great idea. I don't know about Zen or Theravada but as far as theTibetan tradition, one younger Spiritual Teacher or Friend that I really liked was Tsoknyi Rinpoche (Pundarika.org). I know that he travels a great deal and does come to England, I believe. He holds yearly retreats in California and Colorado in the U.S.

He is married, has two daughters, and is genuinely interested in Western thinking and culture. It would be great to attend a retreat with him, I think. The one time I had the good fortune to do so, was very special for me. He is just so kind and loving...his close disciples seem to manifest compassion toward each other as well. I just wanted to include his organization on your white list for sure.
Thanks,
Machik
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:13 am

Let me add my support! So much is said on the forum about what doesn't work, or about religious organizations that may be toxic. It's a great help for some positive statements about what does work.

These two communities are both located in Oregon, and I have experience with both.

-In the realm of Zen Buddhism I would like to add:
Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland, Oregon.

-A "blended" community of Christian, Buddhist, and non-sectarian Zennists:
Seven Thunders, connected with the teaching line of Pat Hawk and Willigis Jaeger, who were both students of Yamada (Yasutani line), and Robert Aitken.
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Jimyo

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Age : 68
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Re: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Sun May 01, 2011 4:21 pm

I hate to [banned term] in here with anything apparently negative but I have to. I would strongly suggest you don't try to follow Theravada Buddhism if you're female, and yes, I'm speaking from personal experience here.
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 pm

@ Jimyo

I'm assuming your negative view of Theravada doesn't apply to Western adaptation of Theravadin practice called the Vipassana school of Buddhism, where females are quite prominent in the leadership and where the Vinaya rules are not in effect.
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Hisoka



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Join date : 2010-10-17

PostSubject: Re: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Mon May 02, 2011 7:14 pm

Jimyo wrote:
I hate to [banned term] in here with anything apparently negative but I have to. I would strongly suggest you don't try to follow Theravada Buddhism if you're female, and yes, I'm speaking from personal experience here.

I too am in the UK and have heard that the Abbott of the Theravaden "Forest Hermitage" is especially anti-female and from personal knowledge he also has "no sympathy for those who claim they can't sit in a formal meditation position on the floor". I am a western woman in my 60s and was told that if I went to one of their "Dharma evenings" I would have to prove to him that I needed a chair! However, looking at his website just now I see that it is now possible to share these meditations and talks live online so I might give them a try.
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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Tue May 03, 2011 7:41 am

Bill, I should have been more specific. I was referring specifically to some contact I had with Ajahn Sumedho and some of his followers back in the 1980s. Other groups may be different, and his may of course have changed. However, it's hard to forget the amazement and almost disbelief that I was "really a monk" - and I was Vice-Abbot of Throssel at the time. I also remember him telling a true story about a young child who was burned to death in a car in front of his parents...and then making a joke about it!!!!!! I think it was meant to show how detached he was!!!! It made me feel quite ill and I haven't forgotten it after around 25 years.

However, these are simply my experiences and opinions and everyone should make up their own minds.
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Tue May 03, 2011 9:29 am

@ Jimyo

Thanks for sharing the background for your opinion. I would also have such an opinion and judgment given that story. The cultural baggage of imported Buddhist teachers from the East is too often filled with the misogyny like that you experienced. As an observer I have noted the rise of gifted female teachers and writers connected with the Vipassana movement of Buddhist practice in the U.S. which has done well in its cultivation of the timeless practice of meditation arising in the Theravada tradition while weeding out the often destructive cultural teachings associated with that same tradition. The Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the Insight Meditation Society have been centers of that movement. Among some prominent female teachers are Sylvia Boorstein, Ruth Dennison, and Joanna Macy, who has been prominent in eco-spirituality writings.
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Olly



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Join date : 2010-03-23
Location : Devon, UK

PostSubject: Re: Buddhist 'whitelist'   Wed Jul 06, 2011 5:57 pm

Jimyo: not having been present when you met Ajahn Sumedho I don't know what the context of his 'joke' was or whether there was a point to it in terms of something he was trying to teach at the time. All I can say is that, having read him extensively and listened to dharma talks, he has never come across as callous - or sexist - to me. Re. sexism it is true that there is no Theravadin equivalent to the male monastic lineage and male-dominated traditionalism seems to stand in the way of this - I see this as an issue pertaining to the lineage rather than to Sumedho specifically. If he was genuinely disrespectful towards you then I wouldn't defend that though and I don't regard him or any other teacher as perfect. My inclusion of the Forest School in my 'whitelist' is because I feel they are a safe tradition for people to practice within - there is no scandal attached to them or any evidence to date that they have abused or exploited people financially, emotionally or spiritually.
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