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 Assessment by FaithTrust

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Lise
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PostSubject: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sat May 07, 2011 1:08 pm

First topic message reminder :

This was received this morning:

"From: [deleted
Subject: Fw: For the etree please
To: [deleted
Received: Saturday, 8 May, 2011, 17:16 p.m.

--- On Fri, 5/6/11, Reverend Helen Cummings <revhelencummings@gmail.com> wrote:
From: Reverend Helen Cummings <revhelencummings@gmail.com>
Subject: For the etree please
To: [deleted]
Date: Friday, May 6, 2011, 5:07 PM

Dear friends, we have posted a Special Announcement from the OBC Steering Group for the Faith Trust Institute (FTI) assessment at Shasta Abbey on our website http://www.shastaabbey.org. You may get the full text through the News and Announcements on the Opening Page or on the News Page.

In gassho. The Prior"
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Ol'ga



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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sun May 29, 2011 12:02 am

Mark, good for you - I take my hat off for you and Henry for taking a firm stand this way. Whatever it will accomplish, it's sooo right to speak up.
Only as a point of discussion that I couldn't resist:

Indeed, who guards the guardians? Who would guard the guardians of guardians? What would be the criteria? How would investigations be conducted? Would all religious institutions be supervised, overseen?
Would you say, Mark, that if there were such an overseeing institution, Shasta Abbey should have been shut down in the 70s? Or rapped on the knuckles?
Would this not open a can of worms, such as political correctness in schools, families?
Naturally, I feel strongly about this as you do - what happened in Shasta was ghastly (even minus the occult stuff - all the vicious manipulation etc), but to oversee this kind of stuff...I honestly don't know how.
At the beginning of your letter you wrote,
the contributors are a disparate group ranging from those who seem
to have totally turned against the OBC and would not seem be satisfied
until it was disbanded

I don't know if we do - I guess some do? I am not sure, myself - am I uncharacteristically [banned term]-footing? I knew only Roshi's set-up, and I don't think I would want a system where her show would be shut down, could be shut down. I think I would worry very much about the Big Brother, you see. Getting rid of one kind of evil (just social evil, nothing satanic), we could be opening the doors to much worse one. Or no?
I already said good night, so what am I doing here?
Luv, as always,
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sun May 29, 2011 8:10 am

Henry and mark great letters.I have to sit behind you Mark and say your letter does and has to represent me too. My Mum seems to be having quite large strokes every other day,the koan of time is very relevant to me now,the faster Itry to write the more spellins and jumbled it gets. Please do write these letters and draw attention to our pertinent issues,and our love of the true way
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sun May 29, 2011 5:48 pm

Hey Chisan,

I'm really sorry to hear about your Mom. I took care of my mother until she died and it was the hardest thing I've ever done but perhaps the best as well. I think a lot of karma got cleaned up during those months. Hope you can manage and that you have help. It must be really disturbing to have big incidents on a frequent basis. Full crisis mode is sooo hard. I'm thinking of you.

Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon May 30, 2011 2:11 am

Michael/chisan ,
Thank you for coming into this with your words , and I too am thinking about you and your mother , and all that that brings up ,love Nicky
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon May 30, 2011 2:42 am

Thanks Nicky and Polly I appreciate it,we had ambulences out last night although it is a bit difficult we are alright today. Your love is so charming and wonderful to feel.It is I guess something we all go through xx
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon May 30, 2011 12:33 pm

Henry and Mark,

I applaud your efforts in this regard. Your emails to the Institute are excellent. It is really shocking how much latitude our society gives to so-called "religious" institutions. I am very disturbed to learn that the law has no recourse for those harmed by charlatans and abusive organizations. I also agree that withdrawing non-profit status from religious groups that violate human rights is at least a beginning. However, as we all know from reading the posts on this forum, let the "believer" beware.

Chisan, I do hope that your mum is doing better today.

Machik


Last edited by Machik on Mon May 30, 2011 12:37 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : sentence level error)
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PostSubject: Marie Fortune's response to my email   Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:39 pm

I emailed Dr. Fortune to ask about the scope of her assignment, and her reply confirms that FTI is focused on issues around Michael Little, which could have quite a few offshoots and tangents, actually. It's good to hear, also, that she is aware of the forum.

For those folks who have been wondering what to do with comments and issues about other monks, non-Michael Little-related, you might consider sending them to the OBC Ethics Committee once they publicise how to do that. I understood they should be announcing more about the Ethics Committee this month.
Quote :
Ms. Kern:

thank you for contacting us at FaithTrust Institute. we are familiar with OBC Connect and appreciate access to this information.

in regards to your question, we were asked to assess the impact of Michael Little’s misconduct on Shasta Abbey and the sangha and to suggest ways that such misconduct could be prevented in the future. thus the scope of our inquiry is limited. those who are contacting us often express concerns beyond Little. but we are not seeking this additional input.

thanks for your concern.

Marie Fortune and M.L. Daniel

FaithTrust Institute
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:25 pm

I understand that Shasta has asked them in because Mike left a bit of a mess behind him,and they do have a limit remit.
Whilst it is good to help sort out any problems, and I can see lots of broken trust problems, It does not say much for the patriarchal line. In conjunction with the mass of critical concern voiced here spanning 3 or 4 decades, that what started with great promises falls down with the next in line and an outside investigation is called in to help, an alarm bell does ring
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:55 am

In Lise's post MisFortune was quoted as stating the following:

we were asked to assess the impact of Michael Little’s misconduct on Shasta Abbey and the sangha and to suggest ways that such misconduct could be prevented in the future. thus the scope of our inquiry is limited. those who are contacting us often express concerns beyond Little. but we are not seeking this additional input.

This truly is a misfortune and demonstrates the shallowness of the the OBC's endeavor. Just to let people know, I never got a response from Dr. Fortune, and after reading the above quote, I expect none.

To Michael:
Thanks for your your private message. I also want to express from my heart my sympathies for what you, your mother, and your family must be going through. I have taken care of my mother and know the heartfelt anguish we can experience doing so.

To all:
I again will be gone for some time, maybe not returning at all. I like to play and tease and also sometimes push the envelope to make a point. There is no room for that on OBC Connect and rather than conform to something I believe is misguided and overly controlling, I will leave the site to those who either believe in its premises or tolerate it for their own reasons.

Wishing you all well,
Henry
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:11 pm

Henry,
what do you mean ? about this sites premises - and being overly controlling ?
Please dont go until you've explained a bit , or if you prefer mp me .


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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:15 pm

Thank you Henry,my friend, for your very kind words regarding looking after Mums all over.

I have been expecting your comments to everyone, I have to say when I originally read you last 2 posts I enjoyed them, felt that they were very appropriate ,and was encouraged to see you had support in reappearing on the forum.When your comments were deleted I was very surprised, as nothing seemed wrong or offensive in them,at least not to me.I thought we were all having a great debate about what was very pertinent to all of us. So seeing your comments or some of them deleted, I took it a bit personally for you,and completely understand that you have taken it personally.

I think your comments have been a great mixture of fun, thoughtfullness, and came with great wisdom based on natural compassion. I would like you to know that these qualities,I hold in high esteem.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:43 pm

OK ,
and Oh dear , i've obviously missed something .

Thanks Michael for a sort of hint - about deletions .
It's a bit uneasy making .
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:49 pm

Nicky wrote:
OK ,
and Oh dear , i've obviously missed something .

Thanks Michael for a sort of hint - about deletions .
It's a bit uneasy making .

I don't remember anything about posts being deleted, however there was some conflict around the issue of "banned terms". Henry's need to convey the intensity of his feelings has sometimes come up against the forum's etiquette, that's all - nothing sinister at work.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:57 pm

hi Nicky, and everybody -- if you ever have a question about what is deleted from a post, an admin can tell you what it was and why it violated a rule and was removed . The admins keep track of what is deleted and they leave a note in the admin log when editing a post, and they also send a message to the person who posted, to explain what the problem is. We rarely have to do this anymore but we will, when necessary to support a civil environment on the forum.

best,
Lise

Updated -- I just saw Isan's post.

To clarify, Henry's post was edited by Watson to remove name-calling, which is not allowed here. The terms were the same words removed once before, months ago, from another post of Henry's. Not a new issue nor was the outcome different than before.

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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:15 am

Lise wrote:

Quote :
Ms. Kern:

thank you for contacting us at FaithTrust Institute.....and to suggest ways that such misconduct could be prevented in the future.



FaithTrust Institute

That bit sounded good and suggests the assessment could lead to beneficial changes. Though I still don't know what Mr Little did wrong. What's wrong with having a girlfriend?

Concerning the tizzy fits over banned terms: It's very usual for a forum to have a terms of use policy. It's also common for admins to take action on those who break those terms. Often people just take it on the chin in good humour when they have had their rude posts deleted. When people get all reactionary and make far-out accusations about this forum it really does make me wonder about the validity of the things they say about the OBC. And I'm experiencing this kind of thing alot here.

Personally I think the admins should take down all the rules. Then we would get a more accurate sample of the true character of the anti-OBC brigade.

Another thing: why have so much respect for a self-inflated, ranting (insert banned term of choice here) when much of this forum is about the character assassination of another self-inflated, ranting (insert banned term of choice here)?

Ok guys, lynch me. I've got my riot shield up so it wont hurt

study


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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:08 am

The Faith Trust's remit maybe relatively narrow, much narrower than many of on this forum would like but their concerns seem to be much wider. I have had a reply from Ms Fortune to my email. For clarity here is my email again:

Quote :

Dear Ms Fortune,
I wish you well with your enquiries at Shasta Abbey and the OBC, and hope that you can help them . I was Prior at Throssel Hole Priory for a number of years and left many years ago in 1974 when on a visit to Shasta Abbey I found practices and beliefs being developed that I profoundly disagreed with. But that is not what this communication is about. I am a contributor to the OBCconnect forum, which I am sure your are aware of, the contributors are a disparate group ranging from those who seem to have totally turned against the OBC and would not seem be satisfied until it was disbanded, through to those who seem to feel that there have been one or two bad eggs and once they have been dealt with all will be fine. But you can read all our opinions on the forum. If you need some background on the OBC may I recommend ‘Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain’, David N. Kay, RoutlageCurzon, 2004. This is basically Kay’s PhD thesis and appears to be well researched and unbiased. Half of the book is devoted to the development of the OBC, with only a mild British bias.

But this is not what this email is about. I would like to provoke you and you organisation, the Faith Trust, to a much wider debate which might be subsumed under ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’, ‘Who guards the guardians?’. It seems to me that as soon as the word religion is used the state and society in general both in Europe and the US throw up their hands and abandon any attempt to police the behaviour of those involved. In consequence religious organisations seem to have become a haven for charlatans, abusers and exploiters of all hues, to the point where the bad often drives out the good. There are few enforceable standards, fewer sanctions and no external guardians except the law which tends to abdicate its responsibilities at the mere mention of the word religion. There are organisations such as yours, but you are without sanctions, except for breaches of the law, and only advisory, even then only well after the event. This would not be tolerated in any of the other caring professions from social workers, to doctors and teachers. There are often some kind of ‘parish’ council but these are often easily subverted, or completely ignored. In the case of Soto Zen there is an umbrella organisation but it has no teeth having been writing for years to one person to try and get him to relinquish his position and appalling behaviour, but not willing to report matters to the authorities when there is behaviour that goes way beyond the merely scandalous. We all need some form of external validating and policing authority which has the authority, the power and the will to investigate at their own instigation and publicly publish their findings. One which has real teeth and can ultimately withdraw the right for someone to hold office and ultimately disband or with at the very least withdraw charitable status from organisations.

Sorry for the rant but I feel strongly that something needs to be done and frustrated as to the lack of any sign of progress.

I will post a copy of this email on the OBCconnect forum in the thread ‘OBC Experiences/ Assessment by Faith Trust’. Hopefully it will draw further comments that may be of use or interest to you.
Yours in faith

And her reply:
Quote :

Mark: thanks for your comments. I certainly agree that this is the challenge for any faith-based group. I still believe that we must find ways for faith-based groups to self-monitor leadership, with checks and balances in place in order to preserve independence of thought and teaching. BUT with clear limits and with the option of recourse to external intervention when the internal accountability fails.
we do try to address this challenge at every turn and will continue to do so as we step into consultations with particular groups.
and as we try to provide critical thinking in this whole area of leadership and accountability.
thanks for sharing your concerns and your suggestion for our work in this area.
onward,
Marie Fortune

I am coming to the view that anyone setting themselves up as a spiritual teacher / director / mentor should be formally trained and licensed. They are in a closer relationship of trust than even a doctor, social worker, etc. all of whom are licensed or publicly regulated. Why is it only in religion that we tolerate intolerable behaviour, often performed in the name of teaching! There will of course be the siren cry of 'self-regulation'. We've seen how that works in the Catholic Church, tele-evangelists, White Plum Asanga, etc., etc., etc., etc.! This list is tedious and endless. I would argue that if money is solicited or taken, or there is a relationship of spiritual direction / mentorship, then regulation and transparency is needed IN LAW. The transparency should cover all financial matters and be fully audited, but also the relationship and 'duties' of the teacher and the disciple, should be written down and openly published, with particular reference to how and to whom suspected breaches should be referred to. This should all be actively monitored for compliance and a small charge levied against the organisation. Unregistered organisations should not be allowed except for a short startup period whilst hey apply for recognition, and even then they should be legally bound to a skeleton code laid out in the regulations. Sanctions would ultimately come down to withdrawal of a licence and removal of charitable status. I believe that this also would give courage and teeth to those working within organisation seeking necessary reforms.

I know, this would be a bureaucrats charter. But better that than an exploiters and abusers charter which is what we seem to have at the moment. This would necessarily be a light touch process as clearly we, well at least I, would not want to regulate beliefs. In fact I think that actually this would be its strength. Imagine a charter drawn up to satisfy the majority of religions. It could in part be a wonderful proclamation of part of our common ethical standards.

So how to reach such an ideal? I hardly think that this one post will lead to it directly. But this post is in part a provocation to discuss it, and I would also make a call to action. Let us wait a few weeks until we have all had a good chance to think about it, agree, disagree and think of modifications. Then those who are in broad agreement I would urge to lobby: their representatives (senators, mps, etc) but more importantly their own 'churches' and other spiritual leaders. If the churches ask for it to happen rather fight or try to bury it it is much, much more likely to happen. In fact if there is a general public discussion and awareness it will in the long run only do good. I could suggest letters to newspapers whenever the subject comes up locally or nationally, and the same for radio and TV discussion programs, etc.

I don't think that this would necessarily have changed things at Shasta in 74, that was partly a change of beliefs which general regulations could not touch, a matter of orthodoxy and heterodoxy. But the clear and public laying out of the 'clergy - laity' relationship would have fostered more openness and transparency and might have restrained what I would see as some of the worst excesses and mistreatment.

Well I've had my say (or rant as some might call it!) now lets see if we can't get something done rather than just wringing our hands.

(In a few days I'm also going to send this to Ms Fortune as it is in part an answer to her an comments and an invitation to Faith Trust to participate.)
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:56 am

glorfindel wrote:

That bit sounded good and suggests the assessment could lead to beneficial changes. Though I still don't know what Mr Little did wrong. What's wrong with having a girlfriend?

Concerning the tizzy fits over banned terms: It's very usual for a forum to have a terms of use policy. It's also common for admins to take action on those who break those terms. Often people just take it on the chin in good humour when they have had their rude posts deleted. When people get all reactionary and make far-out accusations about this forum it really does make me wonder about the validity of the things they say about the OBC. And I'm experiencing this kind of thing a lot here.



Glorfindel, do you really not know what the problem is for a monk in the OBC to "have a girlfriend"? I'll just wait for your answer before I elaborate.

Regarding people getting up in arms about having their terms banned that has really only applied to a small minority - very much the exception, not the rule. I agree that that vocal minority doesn't tend to have the most balanced view, but even they often have sometime valid to say. Since you're "experiencing this kind of thing a lot here" perhaps you could get more specific so it can be discussed?
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:31 am

mstrathern wrote:

I am coming to the view that anyone setting themselves up as a spiritual teacher / director / mentor should be formally trained and licensed.

I agree with you in principal, but how could it be implemented? The current "separation of Church and State" is a response to centuries of government interference in religion that had disastrous consequences. Government had already demonstrated its' utter inability to effectively regulate religion. I think private organizations such as FaithTrust are the best bet. There is also the powerful effect of simply making the hidden unhidden. Much of the abuse that occurs in groups is possible only because of the conspiracy of silence. Making abusive behavior public is a powerful first step in stopping it.


Last edited by Isan on Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:17 pm

Hello everybody.
Separation of Church and State is in response to Church meddling in the affairs of State (in fact being the State), rather than the other way around.
Still, I concur with Isan's, 'How would it be implemented' - I would add, 'without causing more harm than good'. I already waxed eloquent on the subject - 1984 and all.
A lot was written about institutional religion, institutional Zen - do you wish to make it more institutional?
Sojiji is a well-established institution, following its tradition, and there is abuse galore - Jiyu Kennet's pales by comparison. She used to say, "In Sojiji they beat you physically, I am busy (her stock phrase) doing it psychologically". All that in the service of crushing the ego. You may be tired of my saying this: You can't do away with ego by crushing it. All you'll end up with is a frightened, miserable and utterly confused ego.

Mark:
I wouldn't call your post a rant; but I would say that your argumentation is uncharacteristically not thought through to its consequences.
I rather like Mz Fortune's 'I still believe that we must find ways for faith-based groups to
self-monitor leadership, with checks and balances in place in order to
preserve independence of thought and teaching
.'(Italics mine).
Controling such independance of thought has been done on a huge scale. No prices given for guessing what I am talking about.
Even now, Britain's urging universities to teach relevant subjects may be damaging (it happens elsewhere).
Gotta run, typos or not.
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:52 pm

I want to do as Mark suggests and make some noise about this issue, even given the murkiness of church & state separation. I don't think the separation argument puts an end to the enquiry, at all, it just makes us think harder about the angles to pursue.

I wish there was a way to tie the 501(c)(3) tax status (U.S. tax provision exempting churches from tax that a business pays) to some governmental right of oversight over organisations who request exempt status. They're getting a significant benefit from the government by not having to pay taxes, and presumably they are holding themselves out to be a bona fide church (that meets the definition of such for tax code purposes), so . . . why could we not lobby for a better definition of "church" that would include standards and required participation in some type of accreditation and regulatory oversight? I would frame this as, not an attempt to restrict any group's religious practise, but rather a requirement that they demonstrate, and continue to demonstrate that they are a legitimate religious group, by being willing to engage with oversight agencies, and submit to scrutiny and evaluation. Isn't that fair?



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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:19 pm

I don't see any problem with church and state speration. The idea would be to regulate behaviour not faith. If the oversite organisation is set up with a legally binding covenant to that effect then anyone who felt that their faith was being impinged on could go to the courts, and ultimately in the US the Supreme Court for redress. I think that the courts would be quite capable of maintaining the separation.

Who would make up this organisation? Well quite simply all those recognised 'teachers' in good standing, and one of the rules should be that anyone who is qualified can be a member unless they are not in good standing for breach of the rules of behaviour. The latter could also include breaches of their published covenant with their laity.

Olg'a what you suggest is what we have at the moment, and much to the pity it does not work or we would not be discussing it now. Where people have disagreed with their oversight committee they have just moved on and started a new organisation and made sure that they remained in control of any new oversightcommitte.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:55 pm

Hi Mark et al,
Mark wrote:
Olg'a what you suggest is what we have at the moment, and much to the
pity it does not work or we would not be discussing it now. (italics mine)
I don't know about you, Mark, but I joined this forum because of what has been done to me by Roshi, and her teaching 'methodology' (and am staying on because I share similar experiences with others in the forum). Well, I don't think any oversight by the state could touch that. For one thing, I could not prove any of it. I also believe, as you probably know by now that the 'methodology' springs out of how ego is viewed in Roshi's version of Buddhism. How much her version is true to Buddha's teachings, I am not prepared to say, and the state could not determine or examine at all. But I have seen this same view of ego in contributions of many people on this forum, people who are dear to me nonetheless.
You didn't seem to address my caveat - you don't have to, naturally. But the discussion remains rather incomplete.
Anyway, I think I have said my piece, and to repeat it would be tiresome.
Luv, as always,
O.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:00 am

I don't know. It's a huge concept with ramifications and consequences that are hard to foresee. (Kind of like Obama-care.) But on the whole I agree with Mark, and Lise, and feel it is a concept at least worthy of careful consideration. I have long felt that our U.S. jury system would benefit by having professional jurors. As Mark said, the trust given to one's religious leader is greater than that given to one's doctor, (and the money often in greater sums.) The harm they do can be just as devastating. In the case of organizations like the OBC, we pay these people, we bring them offerings, we labor for them. And they have no rules in place for fiscal responsibility, no rules of conduct, no specific duties or responsibilities even. Travel, including international travel was common in the name of "retreats", for instance. And yet they beg on the streets. Oh, don't let me get started.

I have to think about this a long time in a constructive way instead of just from the seat of my pants, but I think you're on to something, Mark. And Lise's approach seems like a good place to begin.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:15 am

polly wrote:
on the whole I agree with Mark, and Lise, and feel it is a concept at least worthy of careful consideration. As Mark said, the trust given to one's religious leader is greater than that given to one's doctor, (and the money often in greater sums.) The harm they do can be just as devastating. In the case of organizations like the OBC, we pay these people, we bring them offerings, we labor for them. And they have no rules in place for fiscal responsibility, no rules of conduct, no specific duties or responsibilities even. Travel, including international travel was common in the name of "retreats", for instance. And yet they beg on the streets.

I'm definitely open and interested in this. I do not know what the current rules are in the US for religious organizations - they must need to meet certain criteria to qualify for tax exempt status and whatever other benefits they receive as non-profits.

When Shasta Abbey was first started Jiyu Kennett managed to get it licensed as a school to make it possible for the UK and European members to come over on student visas. I seem to remember that the Abbey was visited on occasion - maybe once a year? - by someone from the State who assessed that we were meeting their requirements. This process didn't meet the need for monitoring in the way that's being described here though. It was cursory at best and not meant to look for abuse. I wonder if the Abbey still has this status as a school?

Regarding begging, can you say more about this? It is of course a traditional ritual in Buddhism, but it was never practiced by the monks at SA because of the cultural prejudice against it in the "West".
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:42 am

Hi Isan,

Actually there was a picture of monks from Shasta Abbey begging on the streets of a California town in the National Geographic a few years ago. (They did a spread on Buddhism in America.) Someone was putting potato chips in all their begging bowls. And my teacher spoke fondly many times of going out to beg, she also asked me if I would accompany her in begging more than once but I always just blew it off. Where we live I figured it would create a ruckus. Am very surprised that you aren't familiar with it as she made it sound like a common and favorite activity. Maybe they started it after you left?
Polly


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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:48 am

polly wrote:
Hi Isan,

Actually there was a picture of monks from Shasta Abbey begging on the streets of a California town in the National Geographic a few years ago. (They did a spread on Buddhism in America.) Someone was putting potato chips in all their begging bowls. And my teacher spoke fondly many times of going out to beg, she also asked me if I would accompany her in begging more than once but I always just blew it off. Where we live I figured it would create a ruckus. Am very surprised that you aren't familiar with it as she made it sound like a common and favorite activity.

Interesting. Jiyu Kennett did not allow it (and I never participated in it) during my time there, so it must have been started after 1984...? Perhaps someone else has the story regarding this?

Edit: Using the great Google I found this:

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma6/shastalms.html

Clearly the ritual for alms is now performed.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:40 pm

Yes, it's been done for several years, at least since '05 - 06' maybe? Others who were more frequent attendees can correct me as I'm not sure when it began. I heard that Mike Little approached the city officials in Mt. Shasta, explained what it was about and they were okay with it, so the monks started doing it once a month. There are pictures of an alms round on the SA website I think.

I find something discordant in the idea of monks going out to beg when they are part of a very well-funded organisation -- but then, maybe not everyone thinks about this, maybe donors would still want to give, and they wouldn't care to know the net worth of the group they're supporting. The exchange can of course be meaningful for the donor and recipient just at an individual level, leaving aside the bigger picture. I do think people shouldn't assume that monks who beg are doing so because of financial need. Some may be, but not all, certainly.


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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:12 pm

I have to agree with Lise. The begging rounds that have been in existence since ancient times, mostly in Southeast Asia were there to provide the monks with their every day sustenance, and there is a lot written about in in Buddhist literature about accepting whatever is offered and not to make distinction between good and not so good offerings, as well as not discriminating between what is offered by rich and poor householders. As in the case of the Shasta Abbey monks going on begging rounds, there is something a little bit off since there was no need to go beg. What I remember hearing about it was that it was tried out to acuaint people with Buddhist customs, and to allow people to practice generosity and perhaps earn merit while at it, and also perhaps to generate a bit of publicity.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:16 pm

As far as separation of church and state, I don't think it will happen in this country; however, a couple here in the Portland, Oregon area was convicted today of criminal mistreatment for not seeking medical care for their infant daughter. They believe in faith healing, but they are now under court order to provide medical care. This particular church also had another couple convicted for not providing antibiotics to their son who subsequently died. I imagine the government steps in when a minor is involved, though the church contends that is religious persecution.

I don't know what could have been done legally about RMJK and Shasta. No laws were broken, all taxes were paid, etc. We entered the community, perhaps with a sense of enchantment and magical thinking -- we were young -- and a willingness to do whatever, believing that here we would find what we were looking for, even if it was something we couldn't even articulate. Sometimes I'm sad that my dreams were dashed, but profoundly grateful to be out.

mokuan
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:08 pm

Olg'a to clarify what I am thinking here are a couple of documents from spiritual direction organisations that give a flavour of what can be done without impinging on matters of faith, though in both these cases God is talked about I don't see that as an insurmountable problem.
The first is a code of ethics for spiritual directors from Australia:
http://spiritualdirection.org.au/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=26

The second is a sample agreement for spiritual direction from the US:
http://sdiworld.org/uploads/2_/jy/2_jyQn4nZj02d-iyMD9T-w/Sample-Engagement-Form.pdf

I think that these are examples of what could be done. They don't fit perfectly what is needed but they do indicate what could be done without impinging on individual beliefs. If mandatory and enforceable documents of this nature were drawn up by each organisation / teacher to a common standard, made publicly available, along with the contact details to report violations, with some form of sanction available for violation, it would go a long way to inhibit the behaviours that we have been concerned with.

This would all need a great deal of work and setting up and I also think should go hand in hand with some form of training which would involve even more work. But in many churches there are already 'seminaries' for the training of clergy. It does not sound like to great a matter to include mandatory, and semi-standardised training in clergy ethics and their responsibilities to laity, a lot of which I'm sure is done already. The body I have been talking about would draw up skeleton standards and deal with infringements.

As I said all very bureaucratic but with care it need not get in the way of the spiritual message / teaching whilst bringing in very necessary safeguards for both the clergy and the laity.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:34 pm

Thank you very much, Mark. I'll study them tomorrow. Now I am under orders to turn in. YOU TOO! You're five hours ahead of us, man!
On your marks, Mark...
O.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:55 pm

Hi Mark,
It appears that the organisations you listed are not governmental bodies. Belonging to them is probably voluntary.
Shasta Abbey was at my time a Seminary. That helped me in obtaining US visa (I was not a Canadian citizen then yet, so it was rather tricky for me.) I don't know how anyone was overseeing it.
I think that there certainly should be some mechanism that would protect gullible believers from assorted faith healers and such. Even that is not done - I guess political will is lacking - there would be an uproar.
As far as health care is concerned - yes, there are associations that do oversee practitioners of western tradional medicine (MDs). I don't know how much chiropractors, homeopaths, Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine practitioners are overseen. I would think that outright crooks are always a step ahead. There are then those that are not outright crooks but still cause harm.
My only negative religious experience was Shasta. I don't know how proper standards there could be enforced. There was a suggestion on the forum that monks should get some psychotherapy training. I think that itself could be a double-edged sword. Little knowledge is often worse than none. How much beyond Psychology 101 could they get - and who would train them? The problem seems to have been less a lack of training than a cretinous belief that any psychotherapy upholds delusion and is incompatible with Buddhism. Becoming a monk for me was principally to find truth. That process takes as long as it takes. I don't know how anyone could legislate that. Of course, we were trained as priests, too. I don't think we got anything approaching satisfactory formal education for that. In my time we hardly at all studied Buddhist texts. Rather we futsed around with The called and the chosen, and - much worse - Crowley.
I don't want to be a wet blanket. It is at times necessary to be an activist. For now I simply don't know where I, personally, would begin.
Ol'ga


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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:28 pm

Olg'a, you are right, there are no government mandated organisations. Some churches have their own disciplinary procedures but they are often more concerned with matters of orthodoxy rather than behaviour. Even when there do concern themselves behaviour they are often hopelessly inadequate. Hiding misdemeanours, or worse in case the 'damage' the faith of the faithful, look at the recent history of the Catholic church. What I am advocating is the setting up of a government over site body, an example of this from the UK would be the UK General Medical Council which has the power to censure, and in the final resort suspend those who transgress against it's code of conduct. Page 2 of the GMC 'Good Medical Practice' (http://www.gmc-uk.org/static/documents/content/GMP_0910.pdf) gives a good impression of what I would like to see. It would of course take time, perhaps not in my lifetime, but we need something and the only way that we will get it is to start lobbying for it and pressing church leaders. The latter are likely to be reluctant to act, hanging on to the failed nostrum of self-regulation. The body I envisage would licence clergy and regulate behaviour. Their arena would clergy behaviour not faith. Matters of orthodoxy and heterodoxy being the right province of the churches. The two documents I referred to in my previous post were merely examples of the style of public documents that each church or member of the clergy would be required to produce and publish public ally. I must away to bed now, sleep tight.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:56 am

Just wondering, exactly where would you begin, Mark? Would you start with a document outlining how you want things to be, a "Code of Conduct" or whatever, and then send it to your political representatives? I would think you would need a lot of punch to start with, large groups in accord backing the thing, or else it would be round-filed in a heart beat. It would have to be presented with lots of ammunition in the form of examples to show how the current system is failing (shouldn't be hard) and how the Code or Charter would prevent such criminal acts.

In this country there are plenty of laws against things that other bodies with power can circumvent. Illegal aliens can get student loans and medical coverage for things ranging up to drug rehab centers, just for instance. So even if something is against the "the law", if it's a hot-button topic the law doesn't mean a lot. The ACLU gets into the mix and it's all over but the crying. Bottom line, the most powerful political body involved is going to get their way. And considering the incredible mess this country is in right now, I don't think that many politicians would get into this less pressing but potentially volatile issue. Nobody's blowing up churches with predominantly black congregations so unless you've been burned yourself this is going to be a non-issue for people who can't afford their groceries or the gas to get to the grocery store.

I think it's a heck of a good idea but that in this political and economic climate it would be a waste of time to pursue. Wish it weren't so.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:36 pm

Polly you are quite right but just because a thing is difficult does not mean that it shouldn't be attempted. My personal feeling is that the nothing will happen unless the major religions are interested and that if the majority are behind it then it will be difficult to stop. To start I would see a four stage process:
1. Formulate and agree a simple one page document outlining the problem, suggesting a solution and bullet pointing the code.
2. Circulating for comment and support to those known or thought to be sympathetic to such a project.
3. Revising and circulating more widely to interested parties of all faiths with the support and backing of those agreeing from stage 2
4. A public campaign to raise awareness, put pressure on those who are reluctant, and get the necessary bodies and legislation setup.
Looking at this now it does seem extremely daunting, but something must be done. We can't just sit and wring our hands and tut-tut every time something goes wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:46 pm

Too true, no point in tut-tutting at all. Well, I think your plan makes good sense. I am glad you spelled it out for me. I must confess that I had one eye on the Saturday morning economic news when I was reading this thread which made me feel that it was time to stock up the bunkers and hunker down. I got into full disaster mode there for a bit. I can never decide whether I need every bit of information I can glean, or if ignorance is bliss, regarding the news.

I would be really interested in seeing the document you propose.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:20 am

Isan wrote:
glorfindel wrote:

That bit sounded good and suggests the assessment could lead to beneficial changes. Though I still don't know what Mr Little did wrong. What's wrong with having a girlfriend?

Concerning the tizzy fits over banned terms: It's very usual for a forum to have a terms of use policy. It's also common for admins to take action on those who break those terms. Often people just take it on the chin in good humour when they have had their rude posts deleted. When people get all reactionary and make far-out accusations about this forum it really does make me wonder about the validity of the things they say about the OBC. And I'm experiencing this kind of thing a lot here.



Glorfindel, do you really not know what the problem is for a monk in the OBC to "have a girlfriend"? I'll just wait for your answer before I elaborate.

Regarding people getting up in arms about having their terms banned that has really only applied to a small minority - very much the exception, not the rule. I agree that that vocal minority doesn't tend to have the most balanced view, but even they often have sometime valid to say. Since you're "experiencing this kind of thing a lot here" perhaps you could get more specific so it can be discussed?

Just a quick reply because I don't want to derail this good thread:

Regarding the tizzy fits, I wrote that I see this "kind of thing" alot. So while the inappropriate reactions are not always in response to forum policy, they are still rife. I've not the time to go digging out references atm but I'm guessing you see what I'm getting at (if not a search for the threads I've appeared in will serve as referencing for now Smile )

Now about Mr Little and girlfriends. I know almost nothing about the circumstances but I would never criticise someone for falling in love. I don't see that there is anything wrong with consenting adults having feelings for each other. Perhaps if he continued being a monk and teacher it would be problematic, but he didn't. He stopped being a monk and laid down his professional relationship to whoever it was that captured his heart. (alot of assumptions in that, I know).
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:46 pm

I have not given up on my suggested plan (2 posts up), in fact quite the opposite. However I think that it needs very careful preparation. I have talked to a few friends and received a little encouragement, but not much, and I think most thought "Mark's finally taken ft planet earth". Still I'm away now for three weeks on holiday which hopefully will give me time to sort my ideas out and then I'll ask for further help and suggestions. I'll report back.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:36 am

Dear Mark,
I think your proposals for a method of protecting trainees against wrong actions and excesses by religious organisations are excellent.
Have you thought of speaking to Rev.Mast.Daishin Morgan to see what input he might have ? From my knowledge of him I will stick my neck out and suggest that he would not take a negative stance....With gassho, Lesley
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:00 am

I recieved the following from Marie Fortune of the Faith Trust today:

Mr. Strathen:
the Steering Group has asked that we forward this message to those of you who contacted FaithTrust Institute directly regarding the assessment of the OBC and Shasta Abbey.
"To all of you who have contributed to the recent FTI assessment of Shasta Abbey and the OBC, we want to say a heartfelt Thank You. We appreciate that it was not an easy thing for anyone to do, and we are glad to be able to say the report is well underway to be presented and discussed at the upcoming Conclave (in September 2011). The findings and recommendations will be seriously considered and made good use of, and we expect to share these with you soon after the Conclave.
With best wishes and gratitude, the Assessment Steering Group:
Rev. Master Phoebe van Woerden, Pine Mountain Buddhist Temple
Ellen Cleaver O.B.C., Lay Minister, USA
Rev. Aiden Hall, Throssel Hole Abbey
Julie Taylor-Browne O.B.C., Lay Minister, UK
Rev. Serena Seidner, Shasta Abbey
Rev. Master Oswin Hollenbeck, Eugene Buddhist Priory"


Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
Founder and Senior Analyst
FaithTrust Institute
Working together to end sexual & domestic violence
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:08 pm

It will be good to find out whether the groundwork is being laid that will address specific problems and sketch out a plan for improvement.


I hope the information will be shared on an equal basis with laity. Especially since they are the reason this exercise was necessary, they have a right to know what was found and what needs to be done.
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:47 pm

I agree with Lise (world comes to an end)--The report should be available to everyone, without any deletions or sections only for monastics, and preferably it will be posted on the OBC or Shasta Abbey web sites (or both).

However, prepare yourselves, oh OBC Connectees, for not finding every single thing that your heart desires in the report.

It may be that the FTI and OBC have agreed to a round of comments by OBC before the report is completed. This is a normal order of business when one entity writes a report on behalf of another. But if this occurs it will tempt some to complain (naively, not to say stupidly) that the OBC is trying to tone down the report, get FTI to whitewash over some real problems that their first draft highlighted. In fact, the proper use of these comments and responses is to make the report more accurate, and that is what I see in the normal course of my business.

Also, draft documents prepared by consultants are usually NOT made public prior to the client making comments and the consultant responding to those comments as they feel necessary.

However, it's also normal to include those comments and responses in an appendix to the final document that goes public. If that process is to occur then I would encourage OBC and FTI to make the comments and responses public as well.

It's also somewhat possible that the public will be allowed to make comments to which the FTI will be asked by OBC to formally respond. This isn't as common, however.

I say all of this to forewarn those who want to know: there might be a couple of excuses for the anger junkies (thank you, Howard) to completely flip out during the roll-out of this document, and a couple of reasons for those who don't work in a consulting business to possibly be very concerned about what's going on, even if everyone is totally acting in good faith.

Also, I'm writing all this from the benefit 10 years of experience in environmental consulting. That may not qualify me to predict FTI's process. Also, for all I know, there may be a lot of information online about how this "end game" is scheduled to proceed on the FTI or OBC websites. I am guilty here of not trying to track any of it down.

--Dan
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:00 pm

I agree with Dan (proving that Hades has indeed frozen over) and I thank him (even more galling, but I must Razz) for that very good process explanation above.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:05 pm

ddolmar wrote:
It may be that the FTI and OBC have agreed to a round of comments by OBC before the report is completed. This is a normal order of business when one entity writes a report on behalf of another.

Also, I'm writing all this from the benefit 10 years of experience in environmental consulting. That may not qualify me to predict FTI's process. Also, for all I know, there may be a lot of information online about how this "end game" is scheduled to proceed on the FTI or OBC websites. I am guilty here of not trying to track any of it down.

Dan, this is helpful to know even if the FTI process is not exactly the same. I did a quick look through of their website and could not find anything about how they go about their assessment process, so we will have to wait and see.

ddolmar wrote:
I agree with Lise (world comes to an end)--The report
should be available to everyone, without any deletions or sections only
for monastics, and preferably it will be posted on the OBC or Shasta
Abbey web sites (or both).

Isn't there something in Buddhism about the Apocalypse and the coming of Maitreya?...
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:46 pm

Yes, but the original Sanskrit is hard to interpret. Most scholars agree, the closest translation is --

Maitreya is coming. Look busy.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:58 pm

By the way, folks, I found this at the OBC Interim Board web site:

"Shasta Abbey Assessment

The FaithTrust Institute submitted a draft report on the 17th July for the attention of those who were directly involved in their study so that these people could ask for amendments and clarifications to the report before the final report is delivered some time in August."

Apologies if this is old news to anyone. But August is almost over with, so if the comments process went as anticipated then we should have FTI's document available soon.

(It wouldn't surprise me if responding to comments took longer than they anticipated...hard to predict how many good suggestions people will provide, and more generally how much time responding to their comments will require).

I appreciate Mark's wishes for a more general debate about religion's privileged place in our laws and public discourse, and it's good to see Henry pop his head up here. But despite their, or anyone else's, reservations, I think it's still pretty great that light is being shed at all, and I hope that FTI's report will be thorough and accurate within the assigned scope.



Mark, I don't have a sense of the European view, but the Catholic and evangelical sex scandals in America have really made a lot of folks more skeptical about the inherent "purity" of those in religious ministry.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:49 pm

ddolmar wrote:
By the way, folks, I found this at the OBC Interim Board web site:

"Shasta Abbey Assessment

The FaithTrust Institute submitted a draft report on the 17th July for the attention of those who were directly involved in their study so that these people could ask for amendments and clarifications to the report before the final report is delivered some time in August."

FYI, I saw Seikai today and he mentioned having a copy of the final FTI report. He couldn't say when/if it would become public, or if it would be edited.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:27 pm

Isan wrote:
FYI, I saw Seikai today and he mentioned having a copy of the final FTI report. He couldn't say when/if it would become public, or if it would be edited.



IF it would become public?! I don't honestly see how it could be morally optional for SA/OBC to keep the final FTI report to themselves, or to edit it except to preserve anonymity for victims.



It's one thing to keep secret a commissioned report of alternative future plans, quite another to claim insider's privilege for a documentation of wrongdoing against outsiders.



--Dan
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:08 pm

ddolmar wrote:

IF it would become public?! I don't honestly see how it could be morally optional for SA/OBC to keep the final FTI report to themselves, or to edit it except to preserve anonymity for victims.

It's one thing to keep secret a commissioned report of alternative future plans, quite another to claim insider's privilege for a documentation of wrongdoing against outsiders.

--Dan

Sorry Dan, I only meant to say that Seikai couldn't provide additional information. I didn't mean to suggest the negative.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:57 pm

Oh there's nothing to apologize for, Isan.



But your reply still begs the question, will the FTI report be released in an essentially unedited form? On the web?



If I get to SA this weekend then I certainly intend to ask one of the RM's.
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:22 pm

I would think that OBC is under no obligation to release the report in unedited form. I would be rather surprised if it is ever done in comparable situation.
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:57 pm

Whenever a public agency or private company has a contamination problem and wants the public to trust that they're doing the right thing, they release the results of their investigations (usually prepared by a consultant) for public review. Of course, that may be most often done because they are obliged by law.

If OBC/SA don't release an essentially un-redacted version of the report, then they miss an opportunity to show the rest of us that they are unafraid of facing the facts, or of having their future conduct judged in the light of FTI's findings.

How could they possibly benefit more by hiding things, at this late a date, than by being honest and open about what occurred (again, details within reason)? How can we ever evaluate whether they've subsequently done the right thing? Do they want us "filling in the blanks" with the most lurid details that we can imagine?

Again, I point to the scandals in the Catholic Church, or rather, the scandal that the Catholic Church has become ("No child's behind left," someone quipped). The hiding, the protecting, the secrecy, and the insistence that the clergy will always do the right thing without prompting from outside, has brought them scorn, lawsuits, and dwindling attendance and contributions.

Only by continuing to be open about the abuse can SA/OBC really expect those paying attention to move beyond it. I have faith that they will do so.

**********************

Oh yeah, in Mark's post above he quotes the Assessment Steering Group as follows: "The findings and recommendations will be seriously considered and made good use of, and we expect to share these with you soon after the Conclave. "

So there's our timing, and our promise that the "findings and recommendations" at least from the report will be shared with those who participated in the investigation. I hope that means that the whole report will be shared with all who are interested, whether lightly edited to protect identities or no. Maybe that's for the Conclave to discuss. But it feels right to me that the monks should get to review it first and talk about it as a group, prior to a more general release.


Last edited by ddolmar on Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:41 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : reading above)
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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:48 pm

ddolmar wrote:
How can we ever evaluate whether they've subsequently done the right thing?
You've nailed it. If the report isn't fully disclosed, no one can.
ddolmar wrote:
Do they want us "filling in the blanks" with the most lurid details that we can imagine?
They may be banking on the assumption that the faithful won't do this, and truly don't care. (The rest of us aren't on their radar.) The "everything is wonderful" fiction takes monks and laity both to keep that facade from crumbling, and releasing the report would put an end to the "wonderful" bit, for sure. That they might create something better and more honest, in place of "the wonderful", well, it would take a lot of humility. And guts.

I wish them lots of both.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:44 pm

Humility and guts Lise. The essential cornerstones of of Zen Buddhism. We like to discuss and experience emptiness, oneness, wisdom, enlightenment,love,compassion. However I think humility and guts is the driving strength behind all spiritual practice.

I have to go back to the first big break up problem of when Mark, me Bill. Alan, Josh left . It was not a simple walk out by new recruits, we we all senior monks, we walked out under a cloud of allegations, that needed looking at, discussing , and sorting out.This needed humility and guts. With humility and guts there could have been resolve, peace, truth and a moving on.

What one has now, is a situation 36 years later when the transmission line has been contaminated by the behavior of Eko the ex Abbot the descendant. his behavior was not checked and stopped.

For anyone with serious intentions,or who has involvement, or a simple wish in wanting to see the growth and natural development of Soto Zen.It simply is not good enough. These actions and non actions have let the whole sect down.

I agree with you Lise I wish they have both humility and guts, I do not feel it healthy if the report is not revealed,and I feel it will be very harmful if the 'everything is wonderful' is allowed to be fictionally told ,and allowed to permeate to people and new people far away from the epicenter .

I personally believe the root cause is the incredible lack of humility and guts,and at this particular time they, along with some simple truth are needed

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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: Assessment by FaithTrust    Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:27 am

If the investigation concerns only Eko's behaviour, then there is not much point in it. Eko's gone.
The only meaningful approach is - how this situation was allowed to arise, who shares the blame, what in the general basis of the institution needs to be looked at and corrected. This is not such a simple thing, obviously. I don't know if it is possible to take the world-wide public into their confidence. The public, including us, don't really have voting rights here.
There are actual 'flesh-and-blood' individuals concerned here: e.g. Haryo who, I imagine, has been the head of OBC for some time; Meian, who had been Eko's vice-abbess; and others, obviously. If memory serves, it would appear from Diana's and Laura's testimonies that they had an opportunity to act when problems with Eko arose, and they swept them under the rug.
If they genuinely want to 'search their soul' and change, it is not so easy. Having the public breathing down their neck might not be all helpful. Public includes well-meaning people and malicious ones, too; and a lot of people who know b-all about monastery life but think they know it all.
It seems to me like washing their dirty laundry in public. Sometimes it must be done, but I can't help feeling that it is not quite so simple.
If the OBC intend to give only lip-service to any kind of mea culpa, then sure, it's easy. But in that case the only result of the whole exercise will be, that they will cover their buts better in future.
But I may be wrong on this. I have no experience in this kind of process at all.
Perhaps I am just more cynical than you guys. Or something, I don't know...
O.
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