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 Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian

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geoffrey



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PostSubject: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sat May 07, 2011 8:56 am

This is Geoffrey/Reian. I went to the Abbey for an intro retreat in 1976, returned for lay terms in 77 and 78, was ordained in 79 and stayed for seven years. I left the OBC in 1986/87. I wandered in the wilderness for a few years before returning to school and now work at a university.

Reading through almost all of the posts on this site the past two weeks, I am astonished and overwhelmed by the powerful mix of wisdom and pain, insight and confusion, gratitude and bitterness, -- feelings I easily recognize in myself and through which I likely still view those seven plus years at the Abbey and another decade of recovery after. My heart reaches out to those who have clearly been damaged so much by their experience with different teachers of the OBC. The time from 1984-86 was very difficult for me, as so many of the seniors I had viewed as my teachers seemed in clear conflict with RMJK, my transmission master. At this point in my life, I reflect more easily on my own naivete during these years, and on the illusions and fantasies I brought with me to the Abbey (and to relationships since then!). I see my own culpability in my own issues within the OBC difficulties of that era. But there is a deeper and sadder strain running through some of the posts on this site – grouped together they give shape to a pain and suffering that rises above individual level to an institutional one. This is very, very troubling.

But let me start small, on the personal level, and strike a happier note in this one post. It is so wonderful to see so many dear dharma brothers and sisters (lay and monk) on this site. Names, faces and memories I had consigned to a closet in one far corner of a dark basement room have now not only escaped but are sunning themselves brazenly on the front porch! I remember community teas at the Abbey, lay and monk teas with Mokuan, Shosans with Isan, baking pastries with Sansho, walking Komei’s dog Winston, dinners with Howard, a hike along railroad tracks with Kaizan, my early years with Kyogen, Gyokuko’s kindness, writing silks in Meian’s room, Jimyo’s Kessei, the British monks tea club, milking goats – now that the door is open the images keep charging out. Let me begin by saying thank you to all of you. It is great to see my memories of you emerge from the darker recesses of my mind. I delight in your presence on my front porch! More to come, the former Geoffrey, now Robert
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sat May 07, 2011 9:46 am

geoffrey wrote:
But let me start small, on the personal level, and strike a happier note in this one post. It is so wonderful to see so many dear dharma brothers and sisters (lay and monk) on this site.

Welcome Robert,

I remember you as both Reian and Geoffrey, as you were on the cusp of the change to western ordination names. I'm glad you found OBC Connect. It appears to be having the same effect on you as it initially did on me. It has been very healing to find so many old friends here, to go over past events and in general to break the taboo of silence surrounding what so many of us experienced at Shasta Abbey and other OBC centers. All families have there taboos/secrets, and it is necessary to acknowledge and share them to come to a more balanced understanding and acceptance. I look forward to more thoughts from you.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sat May 07, 2011 11:05 am

Hello Robert,

You will bring a new perspective to the forum that I am interested (greedily interested) in hearing. Glad you are here. As I think Winnie the Pooh said, or maybe it was Owl..."Writ Sone" (write soon).
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sat May 07, 2011 11:44 am

Hi Robert, and welcome from me too, I'm glad you've joined us. I hope you'll participate when and as you like, even comment on some of the older threads if you feel moved to. Even if a topic has gone dormant for awhile we do enjoy revisiting the discussions and getting a new member's perspective.

best,
Lise
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sat May 07, 2011 12:22 pm

Dear Reian Geoffrey Robert,

It's wonderful to see you here. Like Polly, I'm looking forward to further posts.

By the way, thank you again for making me an honorary goat monk. Good times!!!

mokuan

PS: Do you mind if we call you Geoffrey, so we don't confuse you with our UK Robert?
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sat May 07, 2011 8:22 pm

Hello Geoffrey/Robert

Great intro.

While your porch picked up a mess of brazen sun worshippers, I'm guessing that all of our porches have suddenly found you on the chaise lounge with a big smile on your face in a sunny spot.
On my porch I see you've already cracked a cool one..

Nice to hear from you again

Cheers
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sun May 08, 2011 6:44 pm

Hi, Robert,
Glad to see you here. I am a former lay minister and the time of my tenure of OBC affiliation somewhat parallels your own. I left the order in 1987 also. This forum can offer a space to process unfinished experience and to make peace with it, to heal and find freedom. That's a worthy endeavor.
Blessings,
Bill Ryan
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Mon May 09, 2011 12:37 pm

Reian, I remember you as that, so I hope you don't mind if I use that name. Good to hear from you! I'm rarely here for all sorts of reasons, but my main aim in joining was to meet old friends, so it's good to know you're around.
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geoffrey



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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Mon May 09, 2011 9:45 pm

Geoffrey part two,

As part two of my introduction I would like to speak of something harder and darker, of leaving the Order, and longing, and absence, and hurt, and loss of community, and all the feelings that have come with yet. In the early years I was encouraged to think of the separation as a divorce, as a friend who was a therapist suggested. A few years after leaving the Order, when telling him it was still difficult at times, I remember him saying that it might take one year to move on for every one year in the monastery. So as I was there for seven years, it might take another seven to move on. It was helpful for me to think of it this way as it acknowledged the naturalness of a recovery period. But even as he said this I knew something was slightly amiss and did not fit. For a lot of people are divorced, and there is some shared understanding here of what the process might be like. So to make sense of my feelings I searched for intellectual or emotional commonality with a wounded group elsewhere, and for some reason I began to think of my years in the monastery as "two tours of duty in Vietnam". You may laugh now, and I confess I am embarrassed in sharing it now on this site, and certainly did not seek out any Vets groups, but I am very serious in saying that I thought of my leaving and the separation this way for about 20 years, and still do at times and it worked for me. It worked for me in being able to somehow convey to myself the anger, and confusion, and frustration I felt at my inability to share the power and importance of my experience with anyone. I should say that I have not fought in combat, so have no right to claim the comparison, but there was something about this comparison that resonated so strongly with me - the intensity of the experience, the complete foreignness of "inside" and "outside" (or here and there) of "being in" and "being out" and --seemingly -- the knowledge that people who had not 'served" would really have no idea what I was talking about. And that I would have an immediate bond with anyone who had "served." Like we were brothers and sisters to the death. I do not know what to think of this now, and hope any veterans on the site are not offended by the comparison. But I am being truthful is saying that this is how I came to work with it all. It was all too powerful to talk about it with anybody //// And I thought about this way until just recently, when I added yet another metaphor to this divorce/Vietnam set -- and again risking offense I share it with you now And this last metaphor is the comparing the separation from the only spiritual community I had known to the loss of a child. And what a painful thing to say. Still so painful to just say this. As if some part of me related to the deepest love was somehow deeply and irrevocably wounded and damaged. And the memory of this part is so sad and mournful to write that I know there must - for me -- still be some truth in it. Under the very mixed feelings of hurt and gratitude, the deeper sadness of something loved very much and lost. The power of this loss has fueled and opened other parts of my emotional life, and perhaps opened up a richer capacity for love and joy (and sadness and grief) -- and made possible a deeper connection with family and friends. For me, there is a point with these very deep feelings, and I learned this too at the Abbey when I was guided by many on this site -- where I learned that if I can hold the intensity of the emotional space with love and compassion and patience, that things will eventually turn inside out, like being drawn into and coming out of a black hole, and the darkness of grief gives way to the presence of a luminosity that embraces all and can be carried with me into my relationships with others.
And yet still there is the loss of the child.
I ramble now, and know that each of us has our own experience of separation and loss. These words are part of it for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Mon May 09, 2011 10:45 pm

@ Geoffrey -"here I learned that if I can hold the intensity of the emotional space
with love and compassion and patience, that things will eventually turn
inside out, like being drawn into and coming out of a black hole, and
the darkness of grief gives way to the presence of a luminosity that
embraces all and can be carried with me into my relationships with
others."
*************************

Thank you, Geoffrey, for this summary expression of the interior process of spiritual healing. I have learned that for me sustaining spiritual injury in life is seemingly inescapable, and being willing to "hold the intensity" of the pain of these injuries, through the years, being "with it" while not being either consumed by it, or building a crust of defense around it, makes the experience of healing and moving through it, and transformed by it, possible. The paradox of it all seems to be that the injuries we sustain become the means of our transformation as we practice with them. And practice (praxis=realization) is, in truth, a life-long process of healing. Among the injuries that are most devastating are those within spiritual community where our deepest longing for intimacy and completion are exposed and offered. Thank you again, for expressing your journey with it and your experience of practice with it.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Mon May 09, 2011 11:18 pm

Thank you Geoffrey. You communicated well the profound sense of grief and loss you've experienced leaving Shasta Abbey and becoming a former monk. As a lay Buddhist who has left, I feel but a fraction of what you do however I can certainly gain a sense of what it feels like to be a former monk. Unlike monks, Lay Buddhists are busy with family life, careers, education and making a living. We have other things in our lives whereas a monk is totally devoted to being a monk. You had a bond with other monks of your order which goes to the very root of one's being. I think your analogies to the miltary and to the loss of a child fit perfectly the situation.

I think some monks are terrified to leave because they know it will involve much pain and loss. I can understand staying "in" due to sheer fear of leaving!

You have been brave. I wish you healing and peace, Claire
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Tue May 10, 2011 11:31 am

Robert,

I find your analogies quite apt. In particular I identify with the military comparison. During the years immediately after l left Shasta Abbey a friend of mine told me once that I was like a POW suffering from PTSD. I suffered intermittent acute sleep disturbance, repeating dark dreams where I found myself back at Shasta Abbey and unable to escape, anger, depression...it went on and on. After about five years of this I broke the taboo of silence and wrote RMJK a letter. For the first time I told her exactly what I thought and in the process reclaimed my life. Things got steadily better after that. Another noticeable shift occurred when I crossed the fourteen year mark. For years after I had left I continued to feel that I was living in the shadow of my monastic experience. I had been in the community for fourteen years and when I reached the point of being "out" for as long as I had been "in" the sense of part of me still living in the past gradually went away.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Tue May 10, 2011 11:41 am

All these feelings Isan and Reian are talking about...they didn't happen to me. I never had a real problem with being an ex-monk. I wish I could pinpoint why; maybe it would help some people. Or...would it be as unhelpful as many of my earlier posts seemed to be, according to some people? You tell me. If people think it might be helpful, then I'll look back and try to remember...
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Tue May 10, 2011 12:20 pm

Jimyo, it's not that your earlier posts were unhelpful -- you were lucky not to carry more trauma away from the OBC years, same with me not getting drawn into the Shasta scene or later feeling it was a cult I had to escape from. I didn't, and I'm thankful. I'm not sure we could ever get to an answer that explains why people react differently. Your Intro would be interesting for new people to read, especially, and we do have a handful of those -- you could give your thread a bump maybe, with new comments?

Geoffrey, as with many who've come here, what you've written is going to help others, far more than you know. Thank you for doing this.

Lise


Last edited by Lise on Thu May 12, 2011 9:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Thu May 12, 2011 6:40 am

Lise, someone - and I can't remember who - specifically said that my posts were unhelpful. It doesn't matter, but I didn't want to further hurt traumatised people further, and anyway, I was feeling a bit like a fish out of water on these forums at the time, so I stopped posting much.

I'll go back and read my Intro since I can't remember what it said - and I'll maybe add some new comments, since I now have some idea why I reacted so differently from some people.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sat May 14, 2011 1:33 am

Geoffrey, you must have arrived at Shasta just as i was leaving.

It certainly took me years to sort out my Shasta experience, and the first few years were intense as I went through the re-entry process. Of course, I realized later that you can never really "leave the world." Shasta was just a very isolated version of life.

I also had the thought that since i was also involved with Kennett for something like 7 years, it might take me that long to fully digest what had happened. Of course, what we discovered on this forum is that each of us had our own journey, our own variations on our relationship with Kennett, or later various senior teachers, or with the community.

I think the intensity of the trauma that so many people did experience was the result of the severe isolation and repression at Shasta, the demand for total obedience, the suppression of essentially all authentic communication, the lack of intimacy, the fear of leaving or being kicked out and the inner sense that many of us sensed through it all - that something was just not right, that what was going on felt painful and often even cruel. We were living in a very toxic dysfunctional world that was totally controlled by the whims of one person. To me, it felt terrible, especially the last few years i was there when Kennett had severely lost her way. Everything in me said that I had to get out - for my spiritual / mental sanity.

Also, for me, for the three or more years after I left, the theme was taking back my adulthood, my personal integrity, finding and expressing my own truth again, and to never again deny my own inner integrity, insight, sense of what is beneficial and what isn't. I even had a few "theme" songs that I would hear on the radio during the late 70s that really spoke to me. It was a song I think from Billy Joel where he sings emphatically, "I'm moving out." and there was a Fleetwood Mac song about going your own way.

And what was also healing for me was to openly and fully acknowledge what had gone on, how I felt about Kennett and her actions, what my feeling were - and stop suppressing or denying them. I think part of the pain / stress / inner turmoil was facing down or standing up to what was a really a form of brainwashing - that to question or criticize Kennett was tantamount to killing the Buddha. It took a few years to fully cut through this foolish notion.

I did miss some of my Dharma brothers and sisters, but I did not miss the community - which to me had become a strange prison.

Geoffrey, I don't know if you read the sections i wrote on SORTING IT OUT, but those might be useful. Talking to leave-takers from hundreds of other groups / cults / guru-based groups was incredibly valuable to me, since i saw how much of what went on at Shasta had absolutely nothing to do with the Dharma or Zen, but was just Kennett's shadow running rampant.

Anyway, enough for now.
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geoffrey



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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sun May 15, 2011 9:21 pm

Bill, Claire, Isan, Jimyo, Howard, Josh, -- and others! -- thank you very much for your insightful and very useful comments. Reflecting upon different experiences here and in other places, I find the sameness here and differences there not at all problem but quite the reverse, somehow enriching, stimulating, growth producing. It helps me greatly in sifting through what might be my stuff and what might be institutional. Posting and receiving feedback has helped uncover whole other layers within me and stimulated new lines of thought in an area of my life I had not visited for a long time. After reading a few hundred posts I wish I had the time now to respond to the wonderfully provocative points raised on some of the other threads. Who knows how many other closed closet doors I might find in the basement of my mind? I might have to make room for yet another cohort of ghosts who now choose to come into the light. Agreeing, disagreeing, supportive or argumentative, I say lets bring it all on in the hope of reaching some greater clarity and some deeper understanding. Thanks again to all who post, here and elsewhere, Geoffrey.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Wed May 18, 2011 10:05 pm



    1. I still struggle with the issues of inside and outside, of communities and leaving and why this might be so. And over and over again I run different analogies through my mind to see if they fit with my experience. Most recently, a few days ago I was listening to a tape of the poet David Whyte discussing “language worlds” – that you cannot enter a world in which you do not have a language. And yes, India, China, Japan, but – I think - also the language of the monastery, or the language of the practice; a language that I learned gradually and experientially over the years, and came to treasure, share and enjoy with others. And in leaving I could no longer speak or use the language in which I was highly trained. Instead I found myself entering worlds in which other languages were used, languages I did not know and with which I had little experience. David Whyte mentions the language of relationship and the language of affection – relatively foreign to me trained as I was in a tradition that valued the ability to sit in a cave for seven years! And maybe related to this and maybe not, thinking too of the three levels of questions and three worlds of Shosan, the asking ceremony on the 1st and 15th of the month. One of the Roshis would stand in front of the altar, and all the monks, beginning from the newest monk, would walk forward, bow and ask a question from the heart of meditation. And the teaching was that there were always three questions being asked: the one the monk actually asked, the one he or she wanted to ask but was afraid to ask, and the question of the monk’s life, that they might not even be aware of. And it was the Roshi’s task to answer the last question, not the first. And perhaps in a larger sense each of these three questions represents a different language world, and part of the difficulty in leaving a spiritual community is that the priority among the questions changes, and I found/find myself working in a different realm, one which now stands against rather than promotes intimacy and relationship. And a third analogy, again of different worlds, an analogy introduced to me by a friend who heard me struggling with these issues. Imagine a stained glass window with two or three of the panes missing. If we focus on the missing panes, then we may need nurturing or support to repair them, to become functional, and this is a therapeutic or psychological task. We wish to fix ourselves. But perhaps we are less concerned with fixing and replacing the missing panes and more concerned with accepting ourselves just as we are an working towards moving forward gracefully with that. This is the act of learning to flow, to be at ease and comfortable with our nature, however broken it is. Finally, in the third world, we may focus not so much on the window, broken or not, but on the light coming through the window. And it is this access to light, and our ability to allow it to shine through our parts, and all things, that is primary and governs our actions. And at this point it does not matter if the panes are missing. And while David Deida uses this to explain the relationship between therapy, sexuality and spirituality, I think again about three quite different conversations, or languages, or what is important, or foundations for practice. And how being proficient in one may not at all help in the others. Or perhaps how someone who works with light might also be broken. Decades after leaving the monastery, I wonder now about the priority of these different worlds. And reading through posts on this site, I wonder too about where we stand when we write, and meditate, and think, and feel, and love, and go to the monastery, and leave, and get married, and have children. And how the different worlds connect and collide. Let’s call these initial musings draft one of ten, and hope all will allow me the opportunity to re-write it a number of times, and to disagree with myself strongly at some future date.

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Wed May 18, 2011 11:43 pm

Geoffrey,
You write beautifully.
In your simile of the window with broken panes and light, I'd like to tell you how I see it. It needs to be seen that the light is not separate from the window. The simile seems to have a certain hierarchy, the 'spiritual' being on the top. I think that is not sustainable. There will always be tension between the ideal and the actual, and so it doesn't help anybody. If I may be so bold, you are the broken, imperfect (body, mind), but you're much more than that. If you want to fix that which is broken, you'll fall short - you can go only so far. Still, accepting oneself as incomplete, is not an option either, because it's not enough, we can't really accept ourselves as broken. (If someone disagrees, it's perhaps only because they have not hit the breaking point. I have, and it's brutal.) We need to see we are complete - and see how this is so; and then see it clearly over and over, and see how it is a fact, until it becomes our everyday reality. I would say this is possible - it's not blind faith. It is a matter of coming to know this is so, and then letting it sink in, and letting it soak through all one's tissues, so to speak.
I have already mentioned elsewhere that I like the simile of wave/water. The wave can be scattered, weak, 'pathetic', insecure wave. If it knows, it is in fact water, than there is no problem. Water doesn't have any smallness, or bigness in it.
Luv,
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Thu May 19, 2011 12:32 am

Oh Ol'ga, that last sentence is perfect. Thank you.

Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Thu May 19, 2011 2:39 am

Hello Geoffrey
I find that heart you wear on your sleeve pretty inspirational.

This post is a few simple lay notes of what I think I've seen of monks coming & going from Shasta over many years, while the rest has come from a variety of those horses mouths. I bring this stuff up to kick around and see if there is any truth to be found in it.

I wonder if the inside /outside question may have more fundamental roots than language can hold.

Everyone who perseveres in a spiritual practise experiences some form of spiritual realization. This realization embodies an acceptance of who, what, where, why & how you are. Nothing prepares you for it, nothing compares to it and yet it fades like everything else. Monks on the "inside"seem to experience much of the monastic life as a worldly mirroring of that spiritual experience. The spiritual and practising monastic experiences dovetail and support each other.

You leave and what's left but fading spiritual memories that are stripped of the practical mirroring monastic supports. I can't think of two larger extremes to come to terms with. Inside is completion/ outside is completion's loss.

There are many other factors that come to play in this arena but all pale in comparison to those two titans above. This forum is filled with ex monks, who have gone through years of varying forms of therapy and still experience it as an ongoing adjustment.

I also notice that monks that have expressed their spiritual experiences as having been relatively minor have a much easier time adjusting to leaving than those that have gone through the skyrocket kenshos. I assume that less dramatic spiritual experiences makes for less contrast between the inside & the outside.

Monks who have rejected all practise with their leaving have had a harder time than those who have maintained a practise. Monks who have had spiritual experiences after leaving Shasta have also fared well. Monks with strong devotional leanings seem to have a more difficult time outside than meditation oriented monks.

And in the bizarre category... I wonder if the most insidious difficulty with the adjustment actually comes as the classic compounded delusion. You know how some of the most difficult problems persist because a very stressful event overpowers and covers an earlier more fundamental source of suffering. When one attempts to address the event that they believe is the source of their pain(the leaving) it is almost impossible to deal with because the true cause lies elsewhere(as the human condition). No matter how much attention is paid addressing the stress event (the leaving), the suffering continues unabated as a more fundamental sense of separation from everything.

Anyway...just a few late evening thoughts to drag over a zafu. & I notice that others have penned more eloquently about since I started poking away with my two fingers.

Cheers and thanks for showing us your map from there to here
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sat May 21, 2011 8:39 pm

I'm minded of my old Rizai teacher, Sochu Susuki, who used to say 'Not looking inside, not looking outside but now, now, now...NOW'. Fundamentaly there is no difference between inside the monastery and outside. How could there be, if there was then monasteries would have a monopoly of the truth. But the truth is the same everywhere, it's just that it is just here.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sat May 21, 2011 9:40 pm

mstrathern wrote:
I'm minded of my old Rizai teacher, Sochu Susuki, who used to say 'Not looking inside, not looking outside but now, now, now...NOW'. Fundamentally there is no difference between inside the monastery and outside. How could there be, if there was then monasteries would have a monopoly of the truth. But the truth is the same everywhere, it's just that it is just here.

I liked old Sochu. He taught me a thing or two and generally was a good sort. Yes, there cannot really be a difference between inside the monastery and outside, but the human experience was that of living in two very different cultures. For a time after I left Shasta Abbey I described it as changing planets. That's how dramatic the shift of returning to mainstream culture felt. We were in a real sense living in a different world there and it took me some years before I came to understand that the "ordinary" world held the same potential - I get what Robert is saying.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sun May 22, 2011 1:12 am

Isan wrote:
Yes, there cannot really be a difference between inside the monastery and outside, but the human experience was that of living in two very different cultures. For a time after I left Shasta Abbey I described it as changing planets. That's how dramatic the shift of returning to mainstream culture felt. We were in a real sense living in a different world there and it took me some years before I came to understand that the "ordinary" world held the same potential - I get what Robert is saying.

Some human experience. I expected to find things different after I left, and was amazed at just how similar it was. I'll give examples someday, but I have an early start - taking my Maine Coon cat to a show. But anyway, maybe it was because I'd had the great upheaval of moving from Shasta to Throssel - that felt like changing galaxies! So I'd learned to cope with change.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sun May 22, 2011 7:46 am

Just to contradict myself, I would hate to be consistent! I felt that the difference between the 'Life' as my Cistertian friends would call it and the non-monastic world was the 'direction' most were looking. The monastic focus was in a completely different direction to the non-monastic. In maths we would say orthogonal directions implying there is no connect between them. This also points to some ways that problems can creep in. If the direction of our spiritual gaze slowly drifts, or is (slowly) misdirected, it is difficult to notice until and we can become completely caught up in misdirection. It's why common sense and an ecumenical view can help. If no one else, or just my clique, has ever noticed that the world is going to end, or that I am the messiah, then maybe, just maybe, I've got it wrong and gone completely crackers. Again Aquinas's maxim, 'If you want the truth, look for what is', can help inject a little realism too.
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breljo

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sun May 22, 2011 4:01 pm

Jimyo

It would be interesting to hear you elaborate a little about the differences between Throssel and Shasta and in what way they were as different galaxies to you

Greetings

Brigitte
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bellclaire



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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sun May 22, 2011 4:55 pm

Jimyo

I too would like to hear about the diffences btwn. Shasta Abbey & Throssel if you're so inclined to talk about this.

I also have a cat, a black and white shorthaired domestic cat. She has lots of personality & imagination. ( For you who don't know, cats have both personalities and imagination. I know there isn't a cat thread here but Yimyo mentioned her Maine Coon cat so I figure my domestic cat deserves a few words of praise.) Bye, bows, claire
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Sun May 22, 2011 11:49 pm

I think it's way past time for a cat thread . . . must work on that, if no one beats me to it . . .
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bellclaire



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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Mon May 23, 2011 7:56 pm

Ahh, yes Lise, a cat thread would be most entertaining to us catters. There would no doubt to an outcry from dog minders, parrot minders, rabbit minders and so on. ( Can't say "owners" since thats not a pc. word amongst many animal lovers.) They'd all want their own thread. Can you imagine the arguing this could spur? Some, no doubt, would leave the OBC connect in a huff of indignation. For the sake of unity and peace, I'm not requesting a cat thread. Bye, Claire
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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Tue May 24, 2011 7:33 am

breljo wrote:
Jimyo

It would be interesting to hear you elaborate a little about the differences between Throssel and Shasta and in what way they were as different galaxies to you

Greetings

Brigitte

Brigitte, 'different galaxies' is an exaggeration on my part. However, put yourself in my place. I'd left a large monastery, in a country I felt totally at home in, with a teacher I loved, and where I had many friends. Then five of us came back to Throssel, alone. Four people to whom I wasn't particularly close, and with some of whom I had definite personality clashes. I was thousands of miles from my teacher and mentor. And I was in a country which, although my place of birth, I'd long wanted to leave, and vowed never to come back to; the reasons for this are long and complicated, and really don't matter here.

However, it was probably one of the best learning experiences of my life. In working through it - which I had to do; there was little choice at the time - I learned what was real about zen training and what wasn't. And friendships and people's attitudes, while making a difference, simply weren't that important. I think that's why I had so little trouble when I finally left Throssel. Mark, in my opinion your second post is wrong. People aren't looking in different directions inside and outside the monastery. They're all looking at how best to live their lives, and how to be happy. I found as much, or as little, spirituality outside as in. People in the world made the same mistakes for the same reasons as people in the monastery. I tried to mention this earlier (somewhere!) when people were horrified that Roshis and senior monks could do some awful things, saying they were only human - and people understandably got annoyed, so I shut up. But how I came to see it was that no-one's perfect, it's pointless for me to judge, and I get the most out of things if I simply see who I can learn from and who I can't. You see, ultimately, I'm very self-centred!

I'm not that good at expressing myself so apologies if this makes little sense. I know, I'm a writer, I should be able to use words better, but there you are.

Right, I'm now off to start a cat thread! I'll be in the lounge or whatever we call it.
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breljo

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Geoffrey/Reian   Tue May 24, 2011 12:33 pm

Thanks Jimyo for your reply, and a couple of thoughts came up for me as I was reading it, but can;t give it too much attention at the moment since at any time the doorbell is going to ring and all my electronics are going to be disconnected since I am moving in a few days and it will be a little while before everything is hooked up again somewhere else.

Have fun with the cat thread, as I left a friends house the other day the very dignified cat they have honored me with a rare appearance and meeow yet when I left to say good bye she just yawned very noticably and readjusted her position and went back to sleep. Compared to dogs, cats teach quickly about expectations.
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