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 Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more

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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Thu May 12, 2011 8:01 am

First topic message reminder :

[Admin note: this thread was split from "Assessment by FaithTrust" under the "OBC Experiences" category. Michael's name appears as the "author" since his post is the first one split, but this is a function of the forum software.]


I think the question is ' Was Mike Little wrong or incorrect in his spirituality or was he the product of spirituality that had gone wrong or was incorrect. For me when a vision of being Jesus Christ, or St John of the Cross or Bodhidarma, is sold as a kensho experience, something has drastically changed and decayed very early and quickly the end result is really what Josh says . It is a new religion, in this case known as the reformed Soto sect,aka the OBC, or the beliefs and views of Jiyu kennett. A long way from what we were shown in the beginning. The bullying shunning and control are all systematic of wrong way Zen. So for me good that Shasta has gone to faith trust, I think the process may well put the blame on Mike Little , I do not personally feel that is all fair.
My mum has moved in now her Alzheimer's has deteriorated,and she can not live on her own,we have built in roof spaces to provide room for everyone else. We have a delightful young girl also moved in who,when she is not dying her hair red, she self harms, and talks of killing herself.
Even on the cliffs of Cornwall, I can't escape the gentle teachings of the Buddha
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Howard



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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Fri May 20, 2011 1:07 pm

Hey Ol'ga..... More bear kibbles
You use the word 'illusion' (as in illusion of separate self). I think a more accurate word would be error.

The substance and manifestation of my ego is often experienced as a distortion of my senses of the truth. This fits my definition of illusion. The degree that this is shared by everyone I meet makes the distortion feel normal and so discerning that distortion requires some objectivity between what is taken for granted as truth and the truth that can stand on it's own, free of our investments & manipulations.

Meditation has been my vehicle for doing this.

Choosing the word error over illusion is not wrong but it does bring judgement into an equation that is hindered by our own identification to it. When experiencing life as a simple binary experience of billions of yes/no questions, the distortion of ones senses of the truth is aggravated by identity investments. One can choose at each question to stop and note the error or you can let go of the identity so that each question is little more than the answer flying by. Zen for me is being the path which today is an unhindered flow of possibilities flying by. One of those possibilities as I write is probably dipping it's toe in a water bear's pool.

PS -Ol'ga, you once wrote about catching some flak from hubby about your late night "puter" time. In my home it's "When are you going to be finished playing with your imaginary friends".

PPS Hi Lise
Thanks for the new digs. These feel so much more...Haight Ashbury without that FaithTrust (Man) poping in & out..

Cheers


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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Fri May 20, 2011 2:35 pm

I certainly seem to have 2 minds at the moment as i reply here to what Dan said last ( I think)
ithink at the various stages of people leaving Shasta,that quite reasonably we left for different reasons.there was a point that it did not gel,or seem quite right,or simply felt very wrong.
For me it was with Eko being Jesus in a past life, For me it was a point I had no wish to continue,mark has too speak for him self but i would say it was by and large the same. I do not think that it would be strictly fair to say that these were the only issues,there were other less pronounced aspects which were tolerable, but when the cookie crumbledthey seemed to reinforce the belief that for me it was over,I wanted to sit zazen and did ,but did not want the side shows.

Josh mention he felt the issue oflord of the house was an important aspect going forward. this for me was a non starter, I was not into it,I was surprised that it became a part of the practice. Is it still being practiced? I last heard that the visions were, in North Cascades I believe, and there were now doing joint visions, maybe they were way back too for me it is all weird stuff
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Ol'ga



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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Fri May 20, 2011 3:54 pm

Hi Howard,
Quote:
I wonder what happens if I poke a water bear with a short stick.

Well, the Bear, with some dismay in her eyes, went to sit in a field full of daisies, but now she's pricking her ears, and even though she doesn't eat human flesh and so you're safe, she is ready to fight back.
You said,
Your efforts to help those who have been needlessly hurt is tempered by
an approach which is more than forceful. It comes with
the evangelical zeal of a reformed Buddhist who has found another path
and teacher that represents the truth, the light and the way for you.

Well, that cuts deep. I went over some of my posts. I don't want this to sound as some apology. Maybe it's a defence.
I discovered this forum googling Gensho, my old friend. I found a bunch of my other friends (Kozan, Josh, Mark, Isan, Kyozan), and made some new ones. I don't have any Vedantin community here. I'm perhaps somewhat lonely and thirsty for a debate on some topics central to me.
Unlike most, or possibly all, contributors on this forum, I question some basic tenets of Buddhism, as I know it (possibly erroneously), and particularly, I question usefulness of some Zen teaching methods, again as I know them.
I am not into trying to convert anyone. That's what evangelists do. I did discover certain 'insights', or a certain view of the world and our existence in it, and found them helpful. I bring them into discussions here. It is possible that others are not interested in them. If so, then that's a pity because this kind of debate could be fruitful. Still, I think there is some room for my non-Buddhist contributions.
That I make my points forcefully, is a fact. You say my approach is more than forceful. Well, that's a pity you find it so. I don't like wishy-washiness, what can I do. Still, many of us have strong feelings here. In Shasta and elsewhere, we went through something that was not trivial, you see. My posts are not simply justifications for my leaving. I don't seem to have that hang-up much. If I find my view to be wrong, I easily switch. I have seen enough death around me to know, in my bones, that life is short, and clinging to some views because I can't abide being proven wrong is such a waste of life - wonderful life.
I wrote in my previous post that I do not wish to hurt anyone. We all have our beliefs, and we have to respect that. Having one's beliefs attacked can be painful, or at least uncomfortable. So I try not to do that. I am aware that my posts may challenge some people's beliefs. I think that that is OK, until I am told to back off.
About kensho. I don't think it's a kind of vieux jeu in present-day Zen. But even if it were, should I be muzzled because I was in Shasta those umpteen years ago? Aren't we discussing Kennett Roshi and her legacy here? Look what Isan, who knows a lot, wrote:


The
core of RMJK's teaching was intentionally wounding the self in order to
move the student to the place of no-self.
(

Subject: Re: After the Conclave: First Steps
Fri
Oct 22, 2010 9:43 am
)
There has been some substantial discussion here about kenshos. Some people mention they've had them. They mean a lot in Zen.
I like debating. I might even be showing off a bit, too. Et alors, and so? Aren't you? I like my mind, and enjoy seeing other minds at work.
Finally, I am not sure if I am here trying to save others from similar suffering I went through. We all have our lives to live. It would be presumptuous for me to try to shelter others here. I know I am rubbing only part of the elephant. But we share this world, common language, and basically common life experience. It's nice to talk to one another.
Ol'ga
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Ol'ga



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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Fri May 20, 2011 4:02 pm

John,
Thank you so very much for your post of Today at 5:31 am. It gave comfort to my wrinkled heart.
Unfortunately I have to run now. Life is not a bowl of cherries as the Bard said, he he.
Much love,
Ol'ga
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Fri May 20, 2011 7:49 pm

Howard wrote:
PPS Hi Lise
Thanks for the new digs. These feel so much more...Haight Ashbury without that FaithTrust (Man) poping in & out..

"Poping", is that sort of like "pontificating" funny I like it (and no, I'm not going to fix your spelling for the bazillionth time, so don't ask)

Haight Ashbury? Suspect I'm with Eric Cartman on that hippie stuff.

Ok, seriously. This is a great thread, I've followed most of it (some of it is over my head) and been generally in agreement except for the item about needing to be taught -- I don't think so, for me anyway, if this means "needing to be taught by one who claims to teach". I'd rather cut out the middleman (or woman) and think/see/experience whatever-it-is all by myself. Hermit crab, scuttling up and down the beach, dodging some waves, floating on others. Don't need no other crabs for that Razz
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 1:25 am

Okay people, time to get serious! It's rapture time, effective Sat. May 21, 2011. So fasten your seat belts! http://www.christianpost.com/news/harold-campings-may-21-rapture-prediction-50312/
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 5:14 am

Bill our time is in front of you, nothing has happened yet,the moment it does you will be the first to know.
With phone in hand I am waiting
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 9:23 am

Do you suppose the raptured ones will get a head's up, like a divine boarding pass sent to them in the post or something?

It would be nice to know ahead of time so you could clean out the fridge, at least. And I'd get after those dust bunnies in the front room -- wouldn't want the neighbors talking after I was gone.

Raptured. heeheehee







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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 9:29 am

Yes, Bill, it is!!!

Makes me wonder why I'm busting my buns to get all my work done before I go to Boston later next week. I guess I'm doing it because deep in the recesses of my being, I kinda sorta know I'm not going to be one of the Chosen.

Anyway, to the rest of you, have a nice trip.


mokuan
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 9:56 am

OFFICIAL NOTICE

The following rapture was just a test of heavens emergency broadcasting center. All actual raptures are to be cancelled due to the space restrictions untill buddhists learn not to rapture out of turn. Further tests will follow the collection plate.
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 10:10 am

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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 10:14 am

Just in case, I have put on a change of clean underwear. My mom always warned me that I should do that in case an emergency happened. Heaven only knows, what heaven would do, if I showed up without clean underwear.
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 10:24 am

Buddhists (Mokuan) are also to be reminded that to minimize religeous jealousy, double dipping is to be discouraged.


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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 10:36 am

Due to flagrant abuses during the last rapture, Bill & Howard are reminded that anyone arriving commando or wearing clean underwear on their heads will no longer be admitted.
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 9:10 pm

2 minutes to go before the Rapture! Once my daughter said to me, re. my plastic hole shoes, (Holy shoes, those comfortable but ugly colourful, plastic shoes which one can buy shoe jewelry for, and yes I have some, sunflowers.)`` You can`t wear that! What if today is Armagedden?!!`` ( She was of course joking.)
Now it`s joke we have btwn. us, if one or the other doesn`t approve of an outfit.``

Oh, oh! 6pm has come and gone and I am still here typing......guess I am one of those [banned term] to eternal suffering or, if I am lucky, simple destruction. Nice knowing you all; hope there are at least a few of you who have made it through. As for those who have not: type on until the internet gets sucked into the swirling void of nothingness. Bye, Claire
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sat May 21, 2011 10:54 pm

Ol'ga you said a bit back
Quote :
You use the word 'illusion' (as in illusion of separate self). I think a more accurate word would be error. I'm not being picky.
When I was studying Zen I was very bothered by a question that no one seemed to be able to answer. The 'awaken one' (buddha means that, of course) was portrayed as someone beyond dualism. Then my question was, does he remember what was before, is he aware of the contrast of before and after? Awakening belongs to the world of dualism, obviously. Then how did he leave dualism behind, if dualism is an illusion.
On your first point the Buddhist scriptural term for error/illusion is usually translated as 'ignorance' which I rather like because of it carries an implication of willfulness in that we are ignoring something.

On the second point, Gautama Siddartha, the historical Buddha, on his enlightenment supposedly said 'I am enlightened with the universe' so we are all 'enlightened' already we just don't seem to recognise it. Surely in the 'holy ground' there are no Vedantists, Buddhists, Christians, etc they are just the teachings we clothe our imperfect realisations in so that we can express them. Then of course we squabble and bicker over whose interpretation is correct.

And I must take exception with Howard, whom I normally agree with, when he says 'more than forceful', direct yes, forceful not really. This forum is about those who were/are with the OBC or are just interested. As long as we can find our way towards the truth who cares about the tradition. There is an old Buddhist saying that the Dharma is like a thorn used to take out a splinter when the splinter is out you throw both away. The Catholics have a similar teaching saying that dogma is a gateway to the truth, when you have passed through it you leave it behind.
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 12:42 am

I wanted to jump back to some previous themes.

Recently picked up a book called FACING THE DRAGON: Confronting Personal and Spiritual Grandiosity by Robert L. Moore. Moore is a psychoanalyst in the Jungian tradition. I am just getting into the book, but from my experience, grandiosity comes with the territory of religious experience and the quest for enlightenment. In one way or another, we all can stray into periods of moderate or even extreme over-estimation of our "attainment" and unfortunately, for some messiahs/masters it becomes an incurable state. Especially, when you are a "master" and surround yourself with adoring devotees. But for many of us, we can work through these illusions of spiritual fabulousity, self-enchantment and learn from them.

One thing that Moore brings up in his book is the Jungian practice of "Active Imagination" which he thinks is much more important than studying one's dreams. He sees active imagination as a powerful form or prayer or meditation. He talks about how this practice was used in the Roman Catholic tradition, in the spiritual exercise of St. Ignatius. In this practice, you frequently have internal dialogues with Jesus, Mary, Saints, and so on --- but you know that these inner sages are not "real" or "literal" - but that does not make the interactions / dialogues any less powerful or profound. In Jungian therapy, you can have dialogues with archetypal characters, your inner magi, the inner king or queen or sage or whoever.

But the point is that you don't make these character literal or "real" but they do have a powerful reality as aspects of your personal psyche / mind / consciousness - whatever you want to call it. Now, imagine a scenario where Kennett, during her mid-life crisis, was fortunate enough to seek outside guidance and found a skilled psychoanalyst to work with, her lotus blossom process could have been a valuable personal journey of self-discovery. Then she can talk to the Buddha or Kanzeon or Dogen or the devil or Zeus or whoever. When this is guided skillfully by a therapist, the person does NOT identify his/her own ego with the Buddha or King or Saint, you don't project them into the real world, nor demand that others take your journey. You are not asking these archetypal figures to protect you from fires or answer your prayers and tell you what to do. Moore notes that it is important for his patients to know clearly that this is imagination and that you always need a kind of metaphorical rope or lifeline to find your way back, if or when things get intense.

One way to understand Kennett's deepening confusion was that was indeed working in her imagination, but took it literally and dogmatically and her ego identified with these archetypes and she entirely lost her way. We could analyze her until the cows come home, as they say, and perhaps i have done this too much on this site already. But process of active imagination is something that i thought was worth interjecting into the record, so to speak.

But i do think that grandiosity is a natural arising aspect of this quest for enlightenment. Even though we are trying, working, striving to see that there is no "self" or to reduce this imaginary self, the process as described by many traditions, is this journey to be the sage, the saint, the fully enlightened one, the guru, and so on. So even though the core of the narrative is that there is no self, the conventional story somehow comes out as trying to become a great one, a great self, a Mahatma. And so, when there is some insight or spiritual experience or fireworks, the self-mind is still operational and uses that experience as proof of being special, of being great, as part of the me story.

We even see this with Dogen. According to the traditional account, when Dogen was on his pilgrimage in China,before he met his main Chinese master, he became discouraged by the teachers he was meeting and the teaching he was receiving. He was considering leaving China early. It is reported that Dogen said to himself,

"No one in China and Japan are my equal."

This was before he had his famous enlightenment experience. So before he was "enlightened," he thought of himself as the greatest living Zen teacher in the world. Now that is grandiosity, that is arrogance. How could he possibly know something like that? There were thousands of monasteries, probably hundreds of thousands of monks, thousands of senior teachers and many wandering and solitary mystics in China and he had met only a handful, yet he makes this statement. He sees himself as the greatest, most enlightened one in the known Buddhist world?

I would say that this is part of the guru-syndrome, this kind of thought. I am incredibly special. I am the mot enlightened person in the world and so on. This kind of story is not an example of insight but of self-aggrandizement.

(much of the specifics of Dogen's history is discussed in the book, DID DOGEN GO TO CHINA? by Steven Heine.)

We just survived the latest Christian judgment day. Here in New York, there were ads on all the subways and thousands of billboards all over America. This evangelical cult seemed to have spent tens of millions of dollars advertising the end of the world. As we say, this turkey did not fly. Didn't see any Christians floating up to heaven. What a surprise.

The minister behind this prophecy gave lots of media interviews and when he was asked what if the rapture / end of days didn't happen, what then. He answered, "IT WILL HAPPEN, GUARANTEED." and then said that at 6pm on May 21, no matter where you are, the rapture would happen. FOR CERTAIN. It was this absolute certainty that attracted so many followers to his group. As we discussed elsewhere on this cite, many of us are seduced by the spiritual authority who exhibits this trait. The guru / master says with great power, absolute knowledge,they have no doubt whatsoever, they KNOW. Wow!! Most people don't know what's going on, they are filled with questions, uncertainty, self-doubt, perplexity. And then a teacher comes along with no doubt, he / she knows for sure. He / she talked to God or became fully enlightened and knows for sure what is true. Just follow along, do what you are told, all will be well. After all, since he proclaims with such single minded power, it must be true. He couldn't just be making that up, could be? He couldn't just be believing in some delusion, could he? Well, yes, yes he could. Certainty is not an expression of wisdom, but of just a deeper level of confusion and self- promotion.

end of my thought for the evening.

josh
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 1:14 am

Well that is an entirely different slant on the whole vison and Jesus affair. If it had been looked at in this way,it might well have been a valuable time, I think you are right the ego jumps in ( as it does) and comes out with it own interpretation of importance, finality of experience , kensho, then you get the ,believe me or else , or as you say demand that others take your journey
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 1:16 am

Rats! Cheated again! I guess I will have to wait for the next Rapture.

Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 1:27 am

Hi Mark,
On your
the Buddhist scriptural term for error/illusion
is usually translated as 'ignorance' which I rather like because of it
carries an implication of willfulness in that we are ignoring something.


I also like ignorance (avidya, ajnana), the term used in Vedanta also. I would disagree with connecting ignorance with ignoring, though. Ignorance is beginingless, and so there is no guilt. (I've declared a war on guilt - lifelong.) I don't know how much we actually ignore what is in front our noses, how much the will is involved. I sometimes can't find my slippers and very much want to, and there they sit, brazenly staring at me. Don't know what Buddha meant by being enlightened with the whole universe. This smartalec here says, yes, we are, obviously, essentially the same as Buddha, but not necessarily yet awake to our nature.

Otherwise I would on the whole agree. As to Christianity, my original home (Lutheran, very mild and rational, mainly because of my lawyer Mom; Dad was even more relaxed about religion), I love it, and it pulls at my heart strings, but there are problems.
I have to run, or will face a divorce.
Oh, and thank you for your characterising my posts as direct vs forceful, (and, I should hope not presented with evangelical zeal - I was ready to smash the furniturehaving read it, or at least kick a waste-paper basket, as I like doing - anyway, I'm over it with the help of friends - I have terribly thin skin, amen)
Nighty-night to the whole world, enlightened or not.
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 7:14 am

Ol'ga - Ah! the zeal, the zeal, I'm already in Rapture!
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 10:20 am

Congrats, Mark, so one of us made it, eh?
I didn't, but at least David and I are in it together. I was told I am not pious enough. They're getting the pitchforks ready for me....ooh, nice, me like pitchforx
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 1:21 pm

Jcbaran wrote:


But the point is that you don't make these character literal or "real" but they do have a powerful reality as aspects of your personal psyche / mind / consciousness - whatever you want to call it.

Agreed. The problem with calling this "imagination" though is the connotation that it is trivial. Interacting with, as you say, the personal psyche or archetypes is not trivial. These words we use to identify inner experience are our own invention, labels we create to make the unknown a little less so. It requires care to navigate safely and understand where the boundaries are. Projecting the inner world onto the outer results in things like the recent Rapture non-event.

In RMJK's case I would say that she crossed the line when requiring that her students adopt her personal symbol set. Everyone's inner world is populated with a unique set of images/personages and imposing someone else' pantheon does not lead to edification, but as I've said before I don't feel that invalidates her journey which I believe was authentic. I don't see a conflict between indulging in grandiosity and an authentic underlying process.
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 1:46 pm

Hi Isan,

Why wouldn't there be a conflict between indulgence in grandoisity and an authentic underlying process, especially when the grandiosity is kept alive?

To me, my understanding of grandiosity, is not seeing things as they are, not seeing yourself as you are. And with that, you lose the unmistakable beauty of being in the here and now.

Maybe I missing something in what you mean.

thanks,
mokuan
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 2:34 pm

I do agree with you Isan about kennet Roshi crossing the line and have her students abopt her own her personal symbols set.

I think that was what Josh calls the LORD OF THE HOUSE theology. The Church of Kennett / Anglican Zen / and monotheism .

That pretty much explains whyI chose to move on,and left

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 3:08 pm

Hi, is the term, or concept, of the Lord of the House contrary to Buddhism? How about the Iron Man? I have found it very helpful - that's what helped me to leave, and it is something that I still 'harken' to in difficult moments, when I need to take responsibility for my own decisions.
Roshi, at least in my time, talked about responsibility for one's own actions. I think that that was clean.
I like what Gensho said:
That ageless 'place' sits within us all, unmoved.
( OBC Experiences Subject: Kennett and Meditation Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:39 am)

Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 3:16 pm

Responsibility for one's own actions I go with too,It has been a tough one for me as I have been beat up by it a bit,but still right with with me.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 5:05 pm

Sorry Isan, it's either andropause or just my week for annoying folks.
I don't see a conflict between indulging in grandiosity and an authentic underlying process.

Grandiosity is one of the polar opposites of meditative understanding.

Not seeing a conflict between indulging in grandiosity and an authentic underlying process is perhaps kindly but is it not more likely a product of ones own spiritual investments?. Can someone call into question the legitimacy of Jiyu's underlying process without it equally calling into question the similar experiences of the disciples who followed her?

I believe you can but it's a muddy path to wander..

If a spiritual awakening becomes immediately transformed into a support structure for that individuals ego, or the disciples, you can call it many things except a spiritual awakening. It could be authentic as a phenomena but looking at its overall fallout, what was it's real transmission for the monks, laity and the OBC as a whole?.
Would not the same forms of openings, cleansings and freedoms have eventually arisen from forms of meditation that didn't pander to an individuals spiritual specialness? As a history lesson now, it just looks like a perversion of the truth, the whole truth and anything that works, teaching.

If a meditative process doesn't actualizes the futility of ego aggrandizement, it's just supporting every ones sense of separation from everything. It becomes the antithesis of renunciation.

I am not saying that this invalidates the legitimacy of any of her disciples experiences. We have all seen questionable masters who end up with disciples that go on to become wonderful teachers. It never seems to be about the thing (in this case Jiyu's journey) so much as ones relationship to it.

And just as some people have investments in the legitimacy of Jiyu's journey, others seem to have equal investments to tear it all apart.
I'm not sure which side would weigh more heavily on the scales of blindness. The word investment is always so heavily loaded.

I just hope we don't foster our focus on Jiyu's agenda as the medium by which we avoid looking into the heart of our own.

Cheers.. no really.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 5:23 pm

Howard wrote:


Grandiosity is one of the polar opposites of meditative understanding.

Not seeing a conflict between indulging in grandiosity and an authentic underlying process is perhaps kindly but is it not more likely a product of ones own spiritual investments?. Can someone call into question the legitimacy of Jiyu's underlying process without it equally calling into question the similar experiences of the disciples who followed her?

I don't see anything special about Jiyu Kennett's situation. She was a flawed human being and having a spiritual insight didn't instantly correct her flaws. Spiritual insights seem to temporarily make things worse to the extent we imagine we are more advanced than we are. In Jiyu Kennett's case she had a need to be seen as "right" and she pointed to her experiences as proof of being right. I see that as a misuse of the experience, but I don't see that it invalidates it. It seems to me this is always true - grace is what it is and what people do doesn't change it.

The continuing problem seems to be the belief that if her experiences were legit she wouldn't have had the problems she had. I think this is simply wrong.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 5:58 pm

not sure about this investment in tearing apart.
I think the internet and this website,has actually given some of us an opportunity to say what we could not say a long time ago. Rememebr I did try to write in those days to Shasta but my letter was intercepted. The issues surrounding Mike little and North Cascades seemed to say there still is a problem.
I think one forms an opinion, or goes with personal belief,and says it was not for me,the third kensho, stained glass, lord of the house, I have not got an argument,and not really interested in one, it simply is not for me.
Communication, and understanding has grown enormously in 30 years,I personally think Zen is much wiser especially in America from strongly objecting to all the abuses that we have read here. You know after leaving shasta I visited Maezumi roshi,asked him some advice I put him on the spot and he did not like it,later on that day when he was off his head he attacked me and grabbed my adams apple,saying I was scared,well I was not scared ,I had worked with violent alcoholics so it was a silly thing for him to do.I am not sure now if all these abuses are so readily accepted.I think Josh who has experience of a lot of group activities,has written well about how we subtely do accept what perhaps we should not or what we definitely should not accept. But by and large I think we have come though well it is like a first stage of understanding, don't put people on pedestals, we must find our own paths,find what is right for us
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Sun May 22, 2011 6:34 pm

Hey Isan

Jiyu's story for me is just a lot of old history compared to today's grocery shopping, paying the bills, hugging my daughter or parking the zafu. A typical lay life. My entry, life within and exit from the OBC was much more gradual than most. There was never much shock of adjustment at exiting so perhaps much of my OBC stuff has yet to surface.

I notice that your expression of Jiyu's foibles is compassionate while mine seems to smell of rigidity and absolutism.

I have never been able to see much separation between a religious awakening and the individual. A religious insight is the universality that renders the individuals status to one molecule among billions but you make it sound like an evening make over that is gone in the morning. Even without the insight, if ones steadfast meditative attention to a diet program for the ego over many years doesn't end up manifesting as compassionate & love then people have a right to call it BS. It is not a case of Jiyu's flaws being instantly corrected, this forum is the record that this "correction" just never happened.
All the beautiful terms like "grace" does not change this story like I've seen it do for so many others.
But
I still prefer your view of it. It just hasn't been mine. The munching continues.

Cheers
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 4:19 am

I am puzzled by the use of the word grace.
Is this the term used for kennett Roshis experience?
I like what Howard says that if it does not manifest as compassion and love then it is BS. I agree,there was no compassion and love when we were being discredited and derided,I seem to remember that it all got a bit nasty
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 10:40 am

My take on the concept of "grace."

"Grace" is defined when you are talking about religion / spirituality:
the freely given, unmerited favor and love of god, the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them. a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.

Spiritual experiences coming from grace would mean they come down from above, from a higher power or source, from God, from heaven, from the holy spirit -- they are mysteriously bestowed on you. you might pray for them to happen, but they are given to you in their own good time. Like you are given a gift - something you don't have, but are given.

Kennett used to say -- a lot -- "many are called but few are chosen." This is one of those Catholic monastic sayings, very Christian, monotheistic. Part of the reason I have said that Kennett never really left Christianity.

Who is doing this "calling"? Who is choosing? Who is bestowing this grace? these experiences, this divine connection? In this narrative, what you do, who you are doesn't matter so much. God calls many and God chooses a few to be saints or enlightened. If he chooses you, you become special, chosen by heaven. One of the elect. You can substitute the name "Lord of the House" or "Cosmic Buddha" for God if you like. which Kennett did. Same basic belief system. IT comes from above.

Grace can seem like a benign or even a holy positive concept. Indeed, for many, the idea that buddha nature, true self, and god and the holy spirit and oneness are just all the same thing - just words that point to the same big feeling / sense / consciousness / oneness / reality. I understand that point of view. I don't think it's true or at all. I used to generally feel that way, but not anymore. Not on this planet - not in practice.

Monotheism is very different from Dharma. Which is why the Buddha's teaching was very precise, sharp, and why he kept on correcting his followers in understanding his radical approach that did not rely on beliefs like God, Lord, Self, Soul, and so on.

Buddha did not teach anything about grace as far as I know. Buddha did not enlighten people by blessings or grace or energy or transmit anything. He pointed out the causes of suffering and the end of suffering and his followers entirely through their own effort or insight woke up - or didn't. He wasn't one of those Indian gurus who gives their disciples these deep stares and bingo, they are catapulted into an altered state or samadhi and then think they are fully enlightened.

In Tibetan Buddhism, that's another story. Since their system is so much based on "guru yoga" and the guru is central to everything they do, and they believe that it is so incredibly difficult to become awakened, you need all the help you can get. So the Tibetans are constantly invoking the names of the all the gurus and bodhisattvas, reciting their mantras, and asking and praying for their blessings, to send down good karma, to remove obstacles. Many Tibetan monks chant for hours a day invoking the blessings of their lineage and teachers.

So in the tantric tradition, they are into lots of variations of grace - but from thousands of sources. In fact, the idea of getting blessings / good karma from only one source would be to them ridiculous - like going trick or treating on Halloween and only going to one house to ask for candy. The Tibetans go to hundreds of houses and want as many different kinds of candy as possible. Which is why many in the Tibetan tradition will attend hundreds of initiation ceremonies, as many possible, over and over again. And the blessings are not about securing any kind of enlightenment experience, but just part of this overall process of the bodhisatrva path which takes hundreds of thousands of lifetimes to perfect in any case. At least, that's their story.

end of my babbling about grace.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 11:25 am

I have to admit I assumed grace to be pure zazen,
I never quite got all the terminology of lord of the House or Cosmic Buddha,they are quite clearly concepts,or mind created.
To me the terminology is basic practice, If you have a concept of zazen,it is a concept and no ammount of clever talk makes it zazen.
I remember Bill Picard telling me 40 odd years ago,"don't even try and sit, zazen is just done"
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 12:27 pm

Hey Josh & Chisan

I'm with Chisan on this. We mostly live within our own ego's perspective. The lord of the house, the iron Man, the Cosmic Buddha and a great variety of other tastes in meditative exotica are nothing more than experience beyond our own ego's limitation.

The need to embellish such experiences by impuning them with personalities or character is just the marker of our ego's adversarial essence because without maintaining the perception of a them and us,(in any form) there is little validity for the ego' existence.

I use the term grace as the expression of this experience of truth. Everything that gets added to it later is just part of the ego's veil falling back into place.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 1:19 pm

Josh,
Actually the called and chosen passage is from Matthew 22:1ff
"And Jesus
answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which
made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants
to call them that were bidden to the wedding"
.
"And they
would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants,

saying, Tell them which are called, Behold, I have
prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed,
and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But
they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his
farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took
his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew
them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and
he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers,
and burned their city. Then saith he to his servants, The
wedding is ready, but they which were called were not
worthy.

"Go ye
therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall
find, call to the marriage. So those servants went out
into the highways, and gathered together all as many as
they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was
furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see
the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding
garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou
in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was
speechless.

"Then said
the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and
take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are
called, but few are chosen."

I just got this from the internet, don't know its provenance.

Roshi did use Christianity to illustrate some points she was making. She discouraged any Christian hangovers in us (at least in my experience).

As for grace, well, our practice, attainment, is that of an individual; and as individuals we do depend on the universe in various ways (oxygen, food, human contact, culture, Buddha's guidance and inspiration, etc). We probably bring different 'flavours' to our practice, different things help us along. We don't do any of it in a vacuum. The truth is here already, uncreated. I am deeply grateful for its existence, and for any help I have received anywhere. If I get to see reality as it is, the possibility for it already exists. I am grateful for that. Grace is not necessarily a Christian concept. I heard a definition - grace is but a graceful way of saying karma. Why not.
Ol'ga


Last edited by Ol'ga on Mon May 23, 2011 1:21 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correcting typo's)
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 1:58 pm

"Grace is but a graceful way of saying karma. Why not?"

Couldn't disagree more. Grace, I believe, is a gift. It is not a product of cause and effect, we cannot bring it about by any effort on our parts, although we can be as prepared as we are able if we wish. So, if grace is a gift, if those miraculous spiritual openings and blinding seconds of true perception are gifts, we can do anything we want to with them. That includes deciding that as the recipient, we are deserving of such gifts, that we are special and superior and maybe even Christlike, or Buddha's baby brother. We can do every silly thing we can imagine with the gift but that doesn't change the gift at all. The gift remains pure.

Hindu's, at least those I studied with, don't believe in discussing your spiritual experiences. It's in bad taste, and tempting our egos and asking for delusion in regards to the response of others. They do not tell you to ignore them though, far from it. You may take that gift and treasure it in your heart of hearts where gratitude can grow. Even though the immediate thrill of the thing fades in one way, your understanding can blossom from the reality of the grace you were given as time passes. But of course, you can turn it into a circus too. You choose. You can also ask, "Who gives?' Or, "What gives?" That's where it get's really interesting. But I don't think I'll be answering that question any time soon. That would require....grace.
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 2:21 pm

Well lovely discussion,clearly a meaningful word for us, for me it is without concepts, without words,transcendant, zazen. It is wonderful is see our lives are touched by meaning
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 3:26 pm

Hi Polly,
I agree that grace is a gift. So is everything else. Even if there is a law of karma, I didn't create it, and so it is a gift.
If I receive grace, I may have earned it sometime somewhere. The law of karma, if one believes in it at all, is inscrutable - we can't know which action lead to which result. (If I am healthy, it's certainly not only because I live a healthy life. There are many who do and still get sick. Just an example.)
If grace is completely a gift, not earned in any way, then the question arises, why Jack and not Mac? There would then be certain injustice at the root of it.
I find that seeing everything that comes to me as gift, is helpful - for me. I am grateful for my lungs, my brain, my background; even for trials and tribulations, once they are over, ha ha.

There are very many forms of Hinduism. In the form I study, the question is not having any special form of experience. The point is to see that I, as awareness (consciousness), am the content of every experience. But I won't go into this, to the relief of some of you.
Ol'ga


Last edited by Ol'ga on Mon May 23, 2011 3:28 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correcting a typo. Why don't I see it when proofreading. Must be lack of grace.)
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 3:44 pm

Michael wrote:
I remember Bill Picard telling me 40 odd years ago,"don't even try and
sit, zazen is just done"

Wouldn't you say that there was a fair amount of effort done on the cliffs of Mousehole?
Isn't effort intermingled with what we didn't cause? Say, I may concentrate hard on solving a problem, but the solution actually happens, it comes to me.
I can in some way invite experiences or hinder them, but can't actually cause them to happen. Even a thought in my head: I don't decide, 'hey I am going to think of an apple' - I already did.

I would agree, just sit....or just live.
Effort in itself is in a way a gift. I can't lift my arm, if I don't have the muscles needed to lift it, and I didn't create them. It's also useful to have a bum to sit on.
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 4:03 pm

Olga there was an enormouse ammount of enery and effort done on the cliffs,as Bill wrestled with his koan,it's true he would sit for hours,on this particular rock.Over a couple of years the tension and pressure got worse or more intense. Bill even used to swim out to sea hoping to drown,he would swim so far he could not see the land, and each time swim back. The last time he did it he was woken up by a skipper on a fishing boat,slapping his face. Bill said ' what you doing here?' the skipper said 'What am I doing here?,,,What are you doing here I pull you out of the sea unconscious.'And yes he did then sit to resolve it. But actualy his realisation of unity happened ,happened by itself,he dropped his concern,his search, his desire to find something,or answer his questions.Unity was always there,he learnt not to do anything rather than tieing himself up in knots trying to do something,with this spirit zazen is just done
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 4:26 pm

Oh these are tasty snacks today. When I look at the variations and similarities of experience and mentality here, I marvel at the "grace" you all bring to my spiritual livingroom. Thank You!
I wonder if one could say that the variations just come from the different boundary perceptions between self and other?

cheers ..any one need another frosty one while I'm up.
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 4:34 pm

Thank you very much, Michael. That's very beautiful.

(It's kind of nice I can imagine the place. We travelled in Cornwall in 87, stayed in Penzance, even walked for miles along the cliffs to Mousehole (pron. mauzl) - I had misread the map.
Love,
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 4:43 pm

Sure Howard, I'll take one. What's the hold-up?

Oh, oops, I forgot that it's a gift.

Cheers yourself.

And Ol'ga,

I get your point, I think so anyway. It's a good one but I'm hanging on to mine, as far as spiritual insights or whatever you want to call them are concerned. I guess I don't classify them along with the "gift" of good health or wealthy parentage, that sort of thing. Because they seem to me to have nothing to do with the past, only the present. That's one reason at least. I could go on but...Nah.
Polly


Last edited by polly on Mon May 23, 2011 4:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 4:56 pm

Yes Olga it is pronounced mauzl or mauzel the cliffs there are spectacular. from moushole,one walks to lamorna,which was very special to Bill, it is where he first met Biddy his wife,as he walked there from Penzance, to start his retreat, she was sitting on the small sandy beach there. Bid was a wood chopper or pacifist, they married a few years later when Bill wanted to return to society,after his time as a hermit.Where Bill sat is just around from lamorna a cliff known as Tata du. I live on the North coast ,and the amazing thing about the cliffs is one can be on ones own. Where I go is a little trek,and there are old smugglers paths that lead over what appears a sheer drop of cliff edge,down to a little beach or lower platforms. When I can I takes my dogs up there I go over the edge down to a little ridge and sit. The dogs sit quietly with me, without being too poetic,we seem to embrace the world together,and then we get back to being humans and dogs.
I am pleased you liked the story
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 7:01 pm

Howard, tasty snacks indeed! I would say that they also reconfirm that all spiritual teaching, as with reality at any level, is inherently paradoxical and cannot be accurately reduced to any one-sided position.

Josh wrote:
"Kennett used to say -- a lot -- "many are called but few are chosen." This is one of those Catholic monastic sayings, very Christian, monotheistic. Part of the reason I have said that Kennett never really left Christianity."

Back in the early 70's, RM Jiyu-Kennett did a class using the book: The Called and the Chosen--A Nun's Life Inside Convent Walls, written by Monica Baldwin. This was a fictional account of Sister Ursula Auberon, in the form of a diary. It focuses on her experience of entering a (fictional) convent, going through the stages of training as a nun, and then her process of leaving the Order.

Monica Baldwin wrote another book as well (which I haven't read), entitled: I Leap Over the Wall: Contrasts and Impressions After Twenty-Eight Years In A Convent, about her own experience as a nun of 28 years--and then leaving the Order on October 26, 1941. Most of this book is (apparently) about her experience after leaving, with occasional flashbacks.

In retrospect, I find it ironic that RMJK chose to use The Called and the Chosen for a class, because it focuses simultaneously on the experience of recognizing an inner spiritual longing, or quest, or vocation--and on the ways in which institutionalized religion can so thoroughly intrude on, interfere with, and undermine this calling.

I believe that religion arises when spiritual teaching, springing from direct experience of the transcendent, becomes institutionalized within a human organization and culture--in an effort to preserve it as a vehicle for spiritual practice. Institutions, however unconsciously, tend to reduce the paradox inherent in all genuine teaching to what ever one-sided interpretation best suits their own institutional needs. RMJK did this frequently as she became increasingly concerned with establishing the OBC as an organization. I think that whenever this dynamic is forgotten, religion begins to become an obstacle to spiritual practice, if not an outright form of delusion, rather than a vehicle. (I also believe that the process of institutionalization is reversible--by recognizing it for what it is.)

Tragically, in my opinion, Monica seems to have concluded (in I Leap Over the Wall) that she had no calling, rather than recognizing that it was her spiritual calling that prompted her to leave the institution! As so many of us have pointed out, in various ways, on this Forum--no teacher or religious institution, can accomplish, or has the right to interfere with, our own spiritual quest. Spiritual practice requires (even, or especially, when we are an active member of any religious order) a continual process of taking back our own practice, for ourselves.

One of the primary points that RMJK continually made was that the concept that "many are called but few are chosen" is entirely wrong when applied to the nature of spiritual practice. The phrase that she actually often said was, "all are called--but few choose".

And she used this teaching in connection with awakening, or the experience of grace. Her point was that we have to be present, we have to pay attention--in order to be able to recognize and experience grace when it shows up! (I think that Polly and Ol'ga touch on important related aspects; and Chisan makes a similar point, in quoting Bill's experience above).

I would say that grace is ever present, as the inherent nature of Awareness itself. And that engaging in the spiritual quest is simply a matter of bringing ourselves into synch with what it is and the way it works--by relaxing back into awareness--and by dwelling in harmony and balance with all conditions.

Or at any rate, this is one way of describing the undescribable that resonates for me--even though all descriptions are only marginally useful, and at least somewhat misleading, at best.

Still...I think the fun lies in making the effort anyway!
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 7:48 pm

Thank you for making the effort, Kozan!

"I would say that grace is ever present, as the inherent nature of Awareness itself. And that engaging in the spiritual quest is simply a matter of bringing ourselves into synch with what it is and the way it works--by relaxing back into awareness--and by dwelling in harmony and balance with all conditions."

This especially resonates with me as do other parts of your post. Bows, bye, claire

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Mon May 23, 2011 11:55 pm

Thank you Claire.

I appreciate your response and thoughts, as part of this grand discussion that I think we are all involved in!
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Tue May 24, 2011 12:11 am

Yes very well said Kozan. Institutionalised religon,or conceptual religion running parallel with ones practice,can be very supportive of the very reasons that hinder realisation, It is reversable as you say,the difficulty of this is the special blindness that it indeed caused by creating the illusion that one is on the right path. But 'what path?' 'What practice?', and 'What is one training for?' Indeed 'Who is doing all these things?'
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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Tue May 24, 2011 11:38 am

"My personal belief is the legitimacy of visions in spiritual practice is a completely personal matter and relevance can only be determined by the individual in question. One way in which RMJK created serious problems was sharing her experiences indiscriminately. The content of her practice was really no one else' business. Her need to make her practice public and demand validation from everyone in the organization while apparently not seeing how she exposed herself and the organization to ridicule is an indication of the extent of her insecurity.

The much greater problem, which I consider the core problem, was her need to control. The demand for unconditional loyalty and obedience, and the taboo against speaking out when we felt that something was wrong lie at the heart of the matter. RMJK had established this paradigm before HTGLB. The direction had been set and if the "visions" had not happened the course would not have been different. In fact the visions were used to further justify the direction RMJK was already taking the community - Shasta Abbey would have wound up where it is now regardless."

I think the above quote from Isan is very sensible. Those of us who are casual readers of this forum such as myself are probably more interested in the issues which apply to many spiritual seekers rather than just ex-members of the OBC. The issue of control or the need to control disciples is an important one in my view. Frankly the issues of the visions etc. and whether or not so and so was Jesus in a past life aren't very interesting to me. So I agree with Isan that emphasizing this incident to such an extent seems overblown to those not involved especially. Aside from the people who were affected, it is somewhat irrelevant to the larger view of the history of Buddhist groups and their transmission to the west. I concur with Isan's view of this.

Machik

Machik
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Teachers, visions, past lives, Zen methods . . . and more   Fri May 27, 2011 4:58 pm

I agree with you Martha, I think the pertinent point for me is what is the transmission to the west. Alot of what has been critisised here not just kennett Roshi, but Genpo Roshi and his seuxuality. Maezumi, Roshi for his sex with a minor, and alcohol problems, Eido Roshi with his sexualyity with female students, these are not really the transmission of Zen Buddhism that I want to see, and we should discuss and expose it. You know I have been so pleased . to seethe quality of lay people , who practice outside the temple gates, who show fantastic faith and diigence, and do not expect anything tangible for it. That fo me is a great transmission of the Dharma, but you know Martha, it is never really talked about or praised, but sincere people who want no recognition, for me are the foundations of the transmission of the Dharma.
Have a nice week end Martha.
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