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 Discussions with current OBC members over the internet

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Isan
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PostSubject: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:22 pm

Friends,

I’ve been thinking for some time about how to foster more communication between former and current members of the OBC. This forum has been useful for many of us, however to continue moving forward it seems necessary to engage with current members more directly. A group of us came up with the idea of using Skype for video conferencing over the internet. To date there have been four calls, attended by different combinations of current and former OBC members including Rev Master Seikai Luebke, Rev Berthold Olson, Rev Master Meian Elbert, Rev Master Daishin Yalon, Rev Master Haryo Young, Rev Master Saido Kennaway, Pam Johnson (currently a lay minister) Steve Kozan Beck, Henry Kaizan Esformes, Bill Ryan (a former lay minister) and myself. I feel confident now that this is an effective way to promote dialogue. Skype has made it possible for us to have face to face conversations in a neutral space, and also eliminates the complications of actually traveling to a physical location.

What has become clear is that members of the OBC are taking note of the matters we discuss here and share our desire to resolve conflicts. They continue to feel however that the forum is not the best venue since it is not dedicated to that goal. Rev Master Meian has preferred to reach out to people by making them welcome at Shasta Abbey, and also by contacting individuals directly (see Laura’s thread describing her recent phone conversation with Meian). The Interim Board is also now up and running, and in the process of evaluating ways that the OBC can become more responsive.

While the above efforts are good they do not address the need that some feel for meeting on neutral ground. Video conferencing is one way to meet that need and it has helped to humanize and normalize the conversation. In time I hope to be able to report more concrete changes occurring in the OBC. For instance the formation of a dedicated committee to handle the grievances of former members is under consideration. For the moment there has been a considerable increase in good will amongst the participants. There is also a better understanding that the OBC is no longer the monolithic organization it was in Rev Master Jiyu’s day. It is seen more as an umbrella organization serving to support, govern, and bind together in one Sangha its’ now more autonomous temples, and is going through a process of evolving certain aspects of the organization. They are in fact changing and open to input from others.

Although there is much work to be done to continue the healing of separation, the process seems to be underway, and the challenges surmountable.

Edit: Disclaimer...

Apparently there has been some misunderstanding about this post and I will do my best to answer the questions that have been raised. First off I initially created this post, however it was presented to all the participants for approval and some changes were made. In particular the section describing the current definition of the OBC was largely provided by RM Haryo. As a result the post reflects the feelings of all of the participants. However the content continues to fully express my own thoughts, and my choice to place the post here is a personal one. I am not posting on behalf of the OBC and there is nothing in the post that represents an official communication from the OBC. I am representing only myself.

The idea of using video conferencing over the internet was mine. I pursued it for personal reasons and also because I believed that it could help all former members of the OBC if a dialogue could be established. At a certain point it became clear to me that continuing to discuss my past experiences at Shasta Abbey without including current members of the order was no longer of much benefit. I invited others to join in the calls who I believed felt similarly. I must say that I have benefited from overcoming my reluctance and reaching out to members of the order. It has helped me deal with the sense of unfinished business that I have felt for many years.

It’s important to note that during these proceedings I have never stated or implied that I either represent the OBC Connect forum or any specific member of the forum. I have been acting solely as an individual. It was my choice to not share information sooner about the fact and content of the calls on the forum. In part I did so because it was initially a condition of participation from the monks, but regardless I would have waited until I felt confident that real benefit was resulting from the calls. I wanted to be able to just walk away from the project if I came to believe that nothing of value was being accomplished. I’ve heard that some people see this “waiting” as intentional secrecy, but I feel this is a misperception and I don’t understand it.

It’s important to note that the calls have been conducted in a very informal manner. There has not been a prepared agenda, and after each call we’ve put our heads together to decide what will happen next. We are in that situation again now. Talking about the calls on the forum is a significant step and we want to allow time for everyone to give us feedback. I hope you will accept what is happening here in the positive spirit in which it is offered. That said this process deserves scrutiny and I hope people will speak freely. If you have concerns you are welcome to post them in the thread or contact me privately and I will do my best to address them.


Last edited by Isan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:03 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : addition of disclaimer.)
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:28 pm

Isan,
Thanks for all your work in this effort.
Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:26 am

Nicely done Isan.

It was good to see you say that the OBC is no longer a monolithic organisation. I've been involved with the UK sangha since 1987 and have seen much diversity and flexibility develop since then. Shasta might have been the OBC once but hasn't been for many years.

I look forward to hearing how your Skype conferences develop.

With bows,
George
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:06 pm

Isan, thank you for posting about this. I hope you'll continue to update this thread, as appropriate.

I'm interested in how these meetings work from an administrative standpoint -- do members propose discussion topics for the next call and then work from an agenda or is it more free-form than that?

A point of curiosity for me -- I would like to understand the official, public position they take in regard to the harm that happened to former monks as a result of Kennett's actions. Does the formation of a committee to address "grievances" suggest a possible outcome other than "we can't change the past and will not apologise for it" - ?

Lise
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:31 pm

gnorwell wrote:
Nicely done Isan.

It was good to see you say that the OBC is no longer a monolithic organisation. I've been involved with the UK sangha since 1987 and have seen much diversity and flexibility develop since then. Shasta might have been the OBC once but hasn't been for many years.

I look forward to hearing how your Skype conferences develop.

With bows,
George

Your welcome George, and you're correct about Shasta Abbey no longer exclusively representing the OBC. I believe it's helpful for everyone to understand this going forward. During the years I trained at Shasta Abbey it very much was a monolithic organization and it has taken me a while to "recalibrate" my thinking. In particular I've learned that it's important to approach the current OBC members as individuals and appreciate the range of perspectives that exist.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:14 pm

Lise wrote:
Isan, thank you for posting about this. I hope you'll continue to update this thread, as appropriate.

I'm interested in how these meetings work from an administrative standpoint -- do members propose discussion topics for the next call and then work from an agenda or is it more free-form than that?

A point of curiosity for me -- I would like to understand the official, public position they take in regard to the harm that happened to former monks as a result of Kennett's actions. Does the formation of a committee to address "grievances" suggest a possible outcome other than "we can't change the past and will not apologise for it" - ?

Lise

You're welcome Lise. I will definitely post new information as it becomes available. Regarding "content" so far the calls have been quite informal, but we have touched upon a number of important topics. We've tried encouraging the OBC to participate on the forum, pointing out that their absence from the discussion leads to many unanswered questions, but they continue to feel that the forum is too hostile. We've also talked about the problem of grievances and the need for a neutral venue in which former members can feel safe to have their needs addressed. RM Haryo and the other interim board members appear to agree that a dedicated grievance committee is needed, however it's too early to say what it will look like. Regarding:

"the official, public position they take in regard to the harm that happened to former monks as a result of Kennett's actions"

we haven't tried to explore that topic. I do believe though that in time a good faith effort will be made to help injured parties. For the present video conferencing is a real way to advance the conversation, but it's not a venue to formally air grievances.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:29 am

Isan - whilst I welcome the skype contacts that you and OBC members have been having, and hopefully it will lead to a greater understanding of the needs of those who presently are members, it does not address the central concerns expressed by some, but not all, of us here. This is not a case of individuals within the OBC harming other individuals, though of course this is of necessity how problems manifest. For me it is not a problem with individuals but a systemic problem within the OBC that is my concern. There were always problems with the ZMS-OBC, of course, its a human organisation and reflected the human failings of its members, but prior to the mid 70s the overall tenor and direction seemed OK. In the mid 70s the was a sudden lurch and change of direction and tone, this led to me and a number of others leaving. I now feel that there was a systematic perversion of the dharma and abuse of the sangha. I had thought that the OBC might overcome this in time, but by their fruits you shall know them. This is an organisation that was run by someone, Jiyu, who I fear became deranged, at least that is how she now seems to me. By the time that she died her mistakes had been systematically incorporated into the teaching and organisation. Not all the teaching not all the organisation but at its heart a dark shadow that manifested itself in the way it taught and was run and the confusion and hurt that it has often spread. An organisation whose head abbey was for many years was run by someone in a manner that many of the monks seem to have disagreed but which they could do nothing about has systematic problems in its organisation and teaching. And this shows elsewhere in the other pats of the OBC too where the same overbearing behaviour and abuse seems all too common. All trainees, even those who are enlightened, have had myriad kenshos, are transmitted and dharma heirs, have no special knowledge, no knowledge that is different from anyone else.They are at best a little less confused and sometimes see things clearly, but not always, not even the patriarchs look at Nansen. It is natural for people to look up to those who teach them but it is a grave mistake when the teachers believe they are better or in any way different than the taught and then use their position of trust to lord it over, abuse or prey on those who trust them.

The OBC needs to address the systematic problems, apologising to some of the more obviously hurt and harmed is merely to treat the symptoms and not the cause.Just to paper over the cracks. Keep up the contacts Isan hopefully they can help the OBC to come to a realisation that many of the faults are not just with individuals but within the organisation itself, only then will reformaton be possible.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:34 am

I would be astonished if these OBC masters agreed to examine Kennett's legacy or behavior. But i love being astonished......

Most organizations like this who have operated in a highly cutlic manner -- won't examine seriously any of the shadows of the founder who they glorified and worshiped for decades -- no matter what is here. The most they will do is repeat some halfhearted version of a vague statement that might say that Kennett wasn't perfect, she was after all still (slightly) human, some mistakes might have been made - without going into any detail or admitting anything. On the other hand, they might demonize Eko.... but the glorious founder will mostly be off limits.

I totally agree with you, Mark. Unless current OBC leaders are able to face the full reality of Kennett's legacy, much underlying systemic problems will remain alive and well under the surface.

As to the OBC folks seeing this forum as "too hostile." I understand their defensive reaction - but this is coming from an organization that can't handle even the slightest criticism. i don't have a problem that they are absent from this site.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:49 pm

I am surprised and pleased at this development in attempted communication.. It's like watching someone who has been wheelchair bound make an attempt to stand up. Baby steps are hopefully to follow.
BUT
Standing beside the wheelchair saying run is not only lacking in skillful means but speaks more about our own ego's voice than anything else. Standing beside their wheelchair asking why they can't run like you while loading them up with an armfull of spiritual demands also demonstrates a lack of empathy and a real lack of interest in any healing at this time and thread.

I was once in a pool game watched by a large audience. Playing well and feeling full of myself I responded to someones question of what ball I had just sunk with a "what's the matter, you blind". The resulting hush of the audience told me that the guy with the white walking stick, the guy I hadn't bothered to look at when I answered him was of course blind.

There is no shortage of print on this forum of the conditions that will need to be met for healing to manifest and if baby steps towards it do not follow, then have at em but I would submit that this thread is just not the time or the place for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:29 pm

mstrathern wrote:
For me it is not a problem with individuals but a systemic problem within the OBC that is my concern.

Keep up the contacts Isan hopefully they can help the OBC to come to a realisation that many of the faults are not just with individuals but within the organisation itself, only then will reformaton be possible.

I have to say that I don't see a difference between addressing the problems of individuals Vs the system. Especially now that there is no one person who unilaterally represents the OBC the only way forward is one individual at a time. To the extent that distorted thinking is caused by separation anything that reduces separation contributes to improvement. I don't feel I can know exactly what others need to come to a better understanding of themselves. In general terms what helps me is to feel safe and accepted instead of judged.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:30 pm

Howard, I don't mean to speak for Isan, and I hope he'll correct me if I'm off-base -- but I doubt he posted this here expecting to get only cheerleading comments in return.

Is it your position that this thread should not be a dialogue about the Skype calls, but only a registry for pats on the back?
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:41 pm

Jcbaran wrote:

I totally agree with you, Mark. Unless current OBC leaders are able to face the full reality of Kennett's legacy, much underlying systemic problems will remain alive and well under the surface.

This statement is like pointing at the top of a mountain, but not revealing a way to actually climb. Do you believe it helps to keep saying that people need to do something without showing them how?
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:47 pm

Lise wrote:
Howard, I don't mean to speak for Isan, and I hope he'll correct me if I'm off-base -- but I doubt he posted this here expecting to get only cheerleading comments in return.

Is it your position that this thread should not be a dialogue about the Skype calls, but only a registry for pats on the back?

For the record while I appreciate Howard's supportive comment I do invite everyone to step in and say whatever they feel needs to be said.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:21 pm

Lise
Howard, I don't mean to speak for Isan, and I hope he'll correct me if I'm off-base -- but I doubt he posted this here expecting to get only cheerleading comments in return.
Is it your position that this thread should not be a dialogue about the Skype calls, but only a registry for pats on the back?


Lise, I don't know how I gave you the idea I was in favour of any cheerleading.
I thought mistakenly that my posting was pretty basic.

I didn't think that the OBC would pay much attention to the OBC complainants.
I am pleased that something is happening in that direction and I hope that real communication can occur.
I hope that they are starting to make the moves outside of their comfort zone that most of us have been asking for.
As possible baby steps, these efforts are moves that must make them feel vulnerable.
With this in mind I see a better possibility of success by first letting them get their
sea legs with this communication before loading up their backpacks with our demands for facing Jiyu's foibles. There is time for that later.
I am almost never in favour of cheer leading when dealing with adults.
It is also not a question of thinking that the posts saying where this communication will eventually need to go are incorrect, just poorly timed if one is in favour of seeing the OBC remain motivated at this stage to continue to try in this direction.

Hell, I wasn't even aware that my posting was supportive of Isan's, just that this seemed like a thread about some tendative communication that had a real possibility of bringing about some of the healing that we've talked so much about, if that is what people really want.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:30 pm

I can only imagine there might be many different individual responses to this door that is opening. In my world view, any initiative that facilitates more understanding, more listening, and more I-Thou communication is for the good. Some individuals may at some point wish to avail themselves to this virtual living room conversation and listening session. Some may avail themselves of other doorways. Others may not wish it for themselves but support it as a avenue for healing for others. And some may think it's a waste of time.

For myself, having participated in it, I found the encounter personally helpful in this way- it helped me re-establish connection with a sangha network that was once valuable to me, and I found myself warmed with, and reminded of the affection and respect I have held for some individuals in that sangha in a safe, face to face exchange, while looking into faces like my own, that are much older and humbled by human vulnerability and the passage of time and trial. Most important of all, it helped me to communicate my experiences, both injurious and nurturing, with a point of view in a way that I felt heard. All of this lends itself to a more complete claiming of the treasure of those patterns of practice and teaching I received that have lasted and been life-giving to this day. Too many persons did not have the opportunity for a healthy separation from this spiritual network. And having these kind of exchanges can assist in completing that process in a way that our journey becomes whole cloth, rather than filled with unhealed fractures.

Blessings,
Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:11 am

Howard wrote:
I didn't think that the OBC would pay much attention to the OBC complainants.
I am pleased that something is happening in that direction and I hope that real communication can occur.
Howard what a truly dreadful thing to be able to say, that you thought that the OBC was so far gone that it would not pay attention to complainants, I had not felt that things had gotten this bad, that it had turned into such a closed and cultic organisation. However this is exactly the kind of organisation wide behaviour that I meant when I have referred to systematic problems within the organisation rather than there just being a few rogue souls.
Howard wrote:
I hope that they are starting to make the moves outside of their comfort zone that most of us have been asking for.
As possible baby steps, these efforts are moves that must make them feel vulnerable.
With this in mind I see a better possibility of success by first letting them get their
sea legs with this communication before loading up their backpacks with our demands for facing Jiyu's foibles. There is time for that later.
Yes, yes, yes ...but, but, but. Yes it is great that they are talking to some of those with complaints and appear to be addressing their concerns; yes we should do whatever we can to help those who have been harmed or hurt to heal, and yes we should help those within the OBC prepared to dialogue and address these issues and help in the healing. But, important though this is, it only addresses the problems of some individuals; but, if I am right and the problems are systemic, it is only treating the symptoms and not the causes; but if the causes are not recognised and treated and reformation undertaken the damage, the hurt and harm which we can see from the past will just be ongoing. Healing for the individual is important but it must go hand in hand with treatment for the organisation if the harm is to end.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:23 am

Friends,

Please note the disclaimer that I've added to the top post which addresses some concerns that have been expressed to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:43 am

Isan I think you have acted entirely properly and commend your efforts to engage with the OBC. If you can, keep us up to date with occasional reports of how things progress.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:40 am

Isan,

Thank you for posting the disclaimer. I think it will address the questions I have received via PM and I hope those who contacted me will reach out to you with any further issues. As I've said before, I'm not able to answer questions about it.

I think it is helpful that you've provided details about the ground rules the OBC set for these calls, in particular, the need to have your statements approved by them before posting, and their editing of your comments. This may not seem like a major issue, but to me it is significant. For clarity I think it is better that forum readers understand how your report statements are crafted and whose thoughts went into the final draft.

I have a question, if you're seeking input in general -- I'm interested in why the OBC will not allow the content of calls to be discussed. If we assume each participant joins the discussion with openness, good will, an intent to be forthright, respect for others . . . what is the risk in identifying the topics that were discussed?

If it's your preference that the information stay confidential, I understand that completely, as you might be discussing things that are personal to your situation and just prefer to keep them private. But if this is mainly a ground rule set by the OBC, I have more trouble understanding why --
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:24 pm

I have been a participant to these conversations. And I can tell you that I requested that the content be private. Lise,how in the world can there be any sort of honest exchange in a personal and private conversation if it's going to be content in a public forum like this? I certainly wouldn't want my private communication to be subject to the scrutiny, nor open to commentary by any drive-by visitor, or ongoing discussion participant on this forum. The matter of any participation is an individual choice, and personal individual communications by any participant in these encounters need to be held the same consideration that any private conversation should have, or it's not a private conversation. The requirement of privacy makes the freedom of honest listening and exchange possible. I am speaking for myself alone here and undoubtedly Isan can address these questions more fully about the group process.
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PostSubject: AB   Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:07 pm

cmpnwtr wrote:
I have been a participant to these conversations. And I can tell you that I requested that the content be private. Lise,how in the world can there be any sort of honest exchange in a personal and private conversation if it's going to be content in a public forum like this? ...

Bill,
There's no need at all for anyone to expose personal, private matters
to a public forum. I wouldn't ever ask that or expect it. When Isan posted the update of his own volition, it wasn't clear to me (nor to three others who PM'd me) the circumstances under which the calls were organised. The tone of his message seemed to be that he was trying to advance one or more common causes of forum members generally. If this had been true, it would be reasonable to ask why the content of calls could not be public. However, as he and you have clarified, this isn't the case.

I think we all understand now that the calls organised by Isan are meant to be private conversations between a small group of forum members and a small group of Shasta/Throssel monks, with no intent to represent anyone else's interests. In order to get this clarified, I needed to ask these questions. I'm sorry if the way I did this was offensive to anyone.

I am still troubled by the fact of current monks reviewing and approving a statement prior to a forum member posting, if this is not disclosed at the outset. To my knowledge this is a first here, at least that I'm aware of. I think it does matter to know who is contributing to a statement posted under one person's name.

That's all I have on this, thanks.

Lise

Except for one correction -- it was Bill's message that clarified the call content was private and personal info; I didn't get that from Isan's information. Thanks.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:56 pm

@ Lise-"I think we all understand now that the calls
organized by Isan are meant to be private conversations between a small
group of forum members and a small group of Shasta/Throssel monks, with
no intent to represent anyone else's interests. In order to get this
clarified, I needed to ask these questions. I'm sorry if the way I did
this was offensive to anyone."

Lise, I'm glad that point is now understood. This is simply a means for those who wish it, to have an access point for a private conversation and listening session.

'I am still troubled by the fact of current monks
reviewing and approving a statement prior to a forum member posting, if
this is not disclosed at the outset."


Instead, I would be troubled if parties to an invitation to a private conversation were not consulted about the wording prior to making that invitation. I don't understand why you should be troubled about that. I was consulted, and so were others. It should have been implicitly understood, and now it is explicit after suspicions were voiced. It would be a healthier environment here if there weren't so much suspicion about an effort to simply provide avenues of communication and so much focus on criticizing the persons trying to support that effort when obviously there was no effort to mislead or misrepresent that effort.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:39 pm

Bill,

The first post in this thread was not an invitation to a private conversation; it was a report to the general community. Why would anyone suppose the message had been vetted and edited by current monks? To me the converse would be true.

I have no suspicion about the worth or purpose of fostering communications, or the intent or goodness of those trying to do so. When it comes to publishing communications, we need to understand who is sending the message. If that doesn't make sense to anyone but me, maybe I'm the odd one out -- I can live with that. But I won't stop bringing this issue to the forefront when I see it on the forum, because to me it matters very much. If that's overly suspicious, I'll own that label.

Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:59 pm

Hello,

If no one is opposed, tomorrow I will split this thread beginning with Lise's post dated 8:40 am Pacific time today, to preserve the original post's theme.

Thank you.

Watson


Edited: per request the thread will remain as is. Please let me know of questions.


Last edited by Watson on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : update)
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:50 pm

Lise, you've raised some extremely good points and questions. Isan and Bill have answered some of them. I will chime in with a little more of the history of our Skype conference calls, which I hope will add some additional clarity.

You wrote:

"I think it is helpful that you've provided details about the ground rules the OBC set for these calls, in particular, the need to have your statements approved by them before posting, and their editing of your comments. This may not seem like a major issue, but to me it is significant. For clarity I think it is better that forum readers understand how your report statements are crafted and whose thoughts went into the final draft.

I have a question, if you're seeking input in general -- I'm interested in why the OBC will not allow the content of calls to be discussed. If we assume each participant joins the discussion with openness, good will, an intent to be forthright, respect for others . . . what is the risk in identifying the topics that were discussed?"

Isan and I are the only two people who were present for all four of the conference calls to date. I lost internet connection (on my end) during the third call for about 30 minutes, so I have no idea what dastardly plots might have been hatched during my absence (;-), but I can vouch for all of the rest of the time during all of the other calls.

Prior to our first call, I had been in email correspondance with RM Seikai; and Isan had met with him. We collectively reconfirmed the confidentiality of our communications (which I had initially proposed to Seikai during our email exchange), and that conversation and content would only be made public if and when we all agreed the time was right.

I believe that our practice of confidentiality, and our mutual trust, were significant factors in the speed with which RM's Meian, Daishin Yalon, and Haryo joined in the conversation, as well as Pam and Rev. Berthold as members of the Interim Board, and RM Saido as the Chair; but, they were definitely not ground rules set by the OBC or any of its members.

The practical advantage of confidentiality is that it has allowed us to remain informal, open, and frank in our conversation--and without the topic constraints that a required prior agenda can impose. I don't believe that Isan, Henry, Bill, or myself have been at all reserved in the issues that we have brought up! In my perception, responses have been consistently open and honest, and without defensiveness or deflection, even when the response did not entail an immediate decision or action.

Near the end of our third call (and as I remember, in response to a where do we go from here question), I proposed that we might consider posting an announcement on OBC Connect, of the fact that we had been engaging in Skype conference calls. And I proposed that we should not post content of our conversations, unless we all agreed that a particular piece of content was appropriate for posting. Everyone agreed to this proposal. I then suggested that the announcement would be less abstract and more tangible, if everyone were comfortable with having their names posted as particapants. Each person agreed. (During the fourth call, with three new people present for the first time, I raised the same questions again, to which all agreed.)

During the third call, after I made the proposals, one of the monks present suggested that I should be the one to write and post the announcement on the Forum. Since I am extremely busy in my off-forum life, and because Isan has had a primary leadership role in establishing our conversations, I immediately nominated him for the job. Thankfully, he accepted! At no time during this exchange, did any member of the OBC ask to review the announcement before it was posted on the Forum. Isan made the offer to send the announcement to everyone for review, before posting, on his own, in the spirit of our conversation itself.

Isan wrote a first draft of the proposed announcement and emailed it to all of the participants, asking for suggestions. To the best of my knowledge, only Haryo and I suggested changes. These were minor and for the purpose of clarification. Isan incorporated them in the final draft posted.

Lise, in response to your final thought (in the quote above): I think that your idea for us to identify topics discussed is a good one. I think that it is entirely in line with the procedure we have established in that we don't have to mention all topics discussed, only those we agree to identify; and mentioning the topic does not, in and of itself, identify what was discussed (which is a separate issue to consider).

I, personally, have been delighted with the conversations we've had. Of course, I cannot speak for anyone else, but my perception is that we all feel they are an initial step in a beneficial direction.

There is more that I could say in response to other issues raised here, but it's time (now that the rain has let up) for my twice weekly, 8 mile round trip walk to buy groceries!
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions with current OBC members over the internet   Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:31 pm

Kozan, thanks -- I appreciate the time and effort you've taken to explain this. It's been a bumpy path to get to this point of clarity. Thank you for making clear that the OBC did not require approval of Isan's statement before it was posted.

I haven't done well at explaining myself, above. Confidentiality is completely the right and prerogative of those acting on their own behalf, and is usually the best means to making progress in situations like this. I would not even want to know the topics presented in private discussions; it isn't my business, at all. No one is required to report on private activities, defend them, explain them . . . but we need to know that "private and on my own behalf" is what they are, when the information is brought to us unsolicited. The key is to be open and clear.

And I absolutely believe it's important to be clear when one's statement is the product of a workgroup effort. There is nothing wrong with getting group input; we do collaborate with people, form a consensus, write up conclusions and share the results with others. The one thing I want to say, which has gotten lost in all the kerfuffle here, is that we just need to disclose it, then all the rest will hopefully be understood as the writer intended it to be.

thanks,
Lise
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