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 Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades

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steven777400



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PostSubject: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:43 pm

I found this forum while searching for info on Eko's departure. The real reason, that is, the "differences" which have been somewhat discussed, not the so-called romance. I'd be interested in knowing more about the differences that he feels are forcing him out.

My history starts with the Eugene priory and the excellent RM Oswin. I spent a few retreats at Shasta, knowing that some people believe it is "cultish". The only concern I ever felt there was a sense of "closedness" that RM Jiyu's work was the only work one would ever need.

Moved up north, went to the North Cascades priory once (without having heard about some of the claims about it) and had an absolutely intense feel of "wrongness" about the place. Did not and will not ever return. (Later, I did some searches and found out about some of the other claims).

Just another nod of support for Eko; great guy, not sure how he's going to handle the transition to lay life. Maybe if there really is a lady friend she will be helping with that. If anyone finds out more about his structural/procedural/doctrinal/etc differences I'd be interested in hearing about it.
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sugin

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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:10 pm

It sounds like you still are involved and practicing with the OBC...am I right? Shasta Abbey helped me through some difficult times and I am very grateful for that. I absolutely never felt any threat or hurt from them.
I am wondering what was the "wrong feeling" you had at Cascade?
sugin
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steven777400



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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:40 pm

sugin wrote:
It sounds like you still are involved and practicing with the OBC...am I right? Shasta Abbey helped me through some difficult times and I am very grateful for that. I absolutely never felt any threat or hurt from them.
I am wondering what was the "wrong feeling" you had at Cascade?
sugin

I have not been to Shasta in about three years now; although I do still plan to attend in the future. The timing is difficult for me. I don't get to choose my time off; it is assigned. And so only when my time off aligns well with a retreat do I normally go.

Besides the somewhat closed nature, I haven't had any bad experiences or seen anything at Shasta that would concern me. Actually, on the contrary, they are one of the few center that does NOT charge for retreats. Charging for retreats, especially the rather exorbitant fees some teachers/facilities charge, seems to directly contradict some scripture.

I went back to my old blog entry to review what I had written, trying to refresh my memory (my visit to Cascade was in 2006) and I guess I was feeling diplomatic and didn't write about any of the weirdness, probably because it was so ambiguous. I don't like to criticize if I don't have something specific to say...

I guess, in my memory, which is now getting old and stale of the event, I do recall seeing various monks treated in perhaps derogatory or demeaning ways. But really there was just a "feeling". I subscribe to the "if it feels wrong, get out" philosophy. Even if you don't know what's wrong.
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June99



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PostSubject: North Cascades   Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:43 am

I've been there once and found it very serious. Unless you know about it through one of the priories, it's difficult to find and not particularly inviting. It seems they want it that way so that the public doesn't disturb their silence. I was wondering how that works as a means and a philosophy. They must have a pretty good savings if they don't rely heavily on a lay congregation. It also seems that the idea is that they are doing their own deep work and that's enough for them. Am I right?
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:23 am

My understanding of North Cascades is that they want to do their own work in their own way. I may be unfair in saying this, but I think they prefer not to have lay people around. They would of course disagree with this and there are a handful of lay people who have been around a long time. Many of the lay people have become monks at North Cascades. I think it is fair to say that the lay life is considered by them to be lesser than the monastic life.

I always appreciated RM Eko's teaching that the lay congregation and the monastic community are part of the same sangha only with different roles. The monks give teaching and the lay people provide food, housing and medical care. That is not the feeling you get at North Cascades at all.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:40 pm

Also, I would be interested in hearing why Steven found North Cascades "weird" and what "wrongness" you felt. This is important!
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steven777400



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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:10 am

violet wrote:
Also, I would be interested in hearing why Steven found North Cascades "weird" and what "wrongness" you felt. This is important!

Well it's been a number of years and so I can't recall it in exact detail. Of course, even at the time I wasn't sure. But here are some random thoughts. Of course, each of these has an explanation, or can be explained away, or could be nothing at all.

1. The priory website does not list their location. When I called and asked for directions or an address, they refused to provide their physical location and required that I follow someone else to their compound.

2. The compound is unmarked; no signs. It is sealed with a tall solid fence and gate. There is nothing welcoming about it.

3. Inside the compound I felt like we were being herded or moved in some way... There was definitely an issue of "appearances"...

4. The abbot/lead of the compound has his own special house, away from the others, and on the tour the monk leading us described it as if the abbot was somehow superior to everyone else. Tough to nail this one down.

5. A neighboring property had been owned by a layperson, who had donated his/her house and ordained (not a problem). When we toured the house, a younger female monk was cleaning a part of it. The tour guide spoke in a disrespectful tone to her about the quality of the cleaning, in front of us lay people.

So of these things that stick out in my memory, which of them are actual factors of the wrongness/weirdness? Like I said, it was a gut feeling, and I trust those types of feelings. I think the "hiddenness" of the place - that is was without an address or signage, etc, is a big factor. If I needed to tell someone where it was -- what would I say?

Every other temple I've ever been to has had clear directions and address both. This place didn't want to be found. And I usually assume that people and places that don't want to be found may have a reason for that... be it a good reason or a bad reason, it puts me on guard.
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:07 am

Steven, Violet, and June--I've been silent so far on this thread--but these are ALL such good observations that I am compelled to chime in!

My first thoughts are specific to the issues at hand, but at the end, I will be veering off topic towards some more general (though related) issues, as I am all too inclined to do ;-). And I am NOT suggesting that these general thoughts apply to the North Cascades Buddhist Priory any more than they do to other institutions.

I have a strong personal bias that disrespect for others, especially by a "senior" towards a "junior", has no place--EVER--in spiritual teaching, practice, or institutional culture.

When it does occur, the first thing that I wonder is--what has this person experienced that leads them to feel that disrespect towards others is an appropriate response to begin with?

The simplest answer (it seems to me) is that we have all been conditioned by our culture to believe that we are inherently inadequate until we prove our worth--and that survival and success (and enlightenment) require an adversarial struggle (against others or ourselves) to do so.

(As a designer focused on these issues, I have also become convinced that this collectively inherited misunderstanding underlies our current economic process--which appears to have been designed for the purpose of maximizing power, status, and profit for the few--through the domination and exploitation of global resources, other species, producers, consumers, and capital.)

This underlying, culturally conditioned belief (survival and success require an adversarial competitive struggle) is a profound misunderstanding of the way that existence itself actually works. Success at anything is only possible by acting in cooperation with its potential and the way that it works. Ecosystems forinstance, evolve to achieve an optimum with a relative minimum of resource, without waste, through synergetic cooperation between all resident species.

Nevertheless our "dog-eat-dog" worldview misunderstanding seems to have increasingly pervaded our global cultures for some 6,000 years--from the advent of war, conquest and empire--and it can permeate even the best of institutions.

The concept that spiritual practice requires a "boot-camp" beakdown of the ego in order to achieve enlightenment, is a direct outcome of our collectively inherited misunderstanding--and I believe that it is profoundly misguided.

The "spiritual boot-camp" is the concept and practice that RM Jiyu encountered in Japan--and was determined to avoid bringing to the West. (Japanese Zen has a long and inappropriate connection with Bushido--the art of the warrior--which in fact was used by lords and emperors as a means of conquest, domination, and exploitation.)

But--consider the context and the odds. She lived through the V2 bombing of London during WWII--to then join British Naval Intelligence (as a code-breaker). And only a (relatively) few years later entered a male Japanese monestary as the only female monk, together with monks who had been in the Japanese military during the war!

I think that this is a long and roundabout way of proposing that an understanding of the overarching issues, and TRANSPARENCY, are ESSENTIAL! And--trusting the integrity of our own perception.

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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:25 am

(Sugin--my apologies!! I had meant to acknowledge your thoughts in the above first paragraph as well.)
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:51 am

steven777400 wrote:
Every other temple I've ever been to has had clear directions and address both. This place didn't want to be found. And I usually assume that people and places that don't want to be found may have a reason for that... be it a good reason or a bad reason, it puts me on guard.

This would be enough to dissuade many, I think (me included). I wouldn't be able to accept the security risk in going somewhere not easily describable to someone else, short of carrying a GPS and sending back a text message with lat/long coordinates.

I have also seen monks speak to each other as you describe, although not at North Cascades.

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steven777400



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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:26 am

Lise wrote:
This would be enough to dissuade many, I think (me included). I wouldn't be able to accept the security risk in going somewhere not easily describable to someone else, short of carrying a GPS and sending back a text message with lat/long coordinates.

Actually, that's almost exactly what I did. Minus the text message part. I set the GPS to log the journey and placed it slightly out of sight.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:54 am

The head monk at North Cascades is quite secretive and doesn't want the general public to know where they are. He refuses to let the monks who live there under his discipline use email. Lay people can't email the priory. (Check out their website.) I don't know why, but this way of keeping secret and staying hidden is not the world I live in. He'd be really unhappy to know that someone scoped his place on their GPS!!
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deweyboy



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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:31 pm

I was looking at the North Cascades web site and notice that they refer to themselves as a monastery. I also notice no pictures. Now, after reading the other posts, I wonder what really is going on up there. It has been a while since the allegations against Mr. Schomberg were made, where is the result of the investication that Mr. Young promised as head of the OBC? It's beginning to sound like the Catholic Church. I don't want to be strident, but I wonder if the woman who was sick has reported this to the police.
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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:56 pm

I think there was a posting on one of the cult forums (by Rev. Haryo? someone correct me if needed), basically a short statement that the OBC had investigated and found no wrongdoing by the NCBP staff. No details, if I remember right.

I haven't heard if the police were notified but I think it would have been helpful, just to turn the spotlight on whatever NCBP practices may have contributed to this situation.

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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:07 pm

Some daylight on the circumstances at the North Cascades Priory would be good, but it's not likely to happen.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:58 pm

This post originally appeared elsewhere on the forum, but someone suggested it might be helpful to copy it over here. So here it is!
A while back, Henry said:

Quote :
Quote:
In some other thread, I inquired if there were any other monks in the OBC other than Rev. Kennett, Eko, and Koshin that were acknowledged arahants (by the OBC anyway)--no sense in using the third kensho designation used only by the OBC. This was not just idle curiosity. This whole authoritarian personality type being acknowledged as the most spiritually advanced is quite interesting to me.


I too having been thinking about the authoritarian personality type of the zen master and it seems like a good time to relate my experience with Koshin. I have hesitated to do this because he was once my teacher and a friend. Also I don't like to say harsh words on the internet about someone unless there's a good reason. Anyway, you can now read my story at http://northcascadesbuddhism.org/My-Experience-with-the-North-Cascades-Buddhist-Priory.php

There are several reasons for finally telling the story. First, my experience with Koshin is relevant to the many discussions on this forum about the personality of the zen master and what happens when the authoritarian part takes over. It also shows that the legacy of Jiyu Kennett lives on in a big way today.

Second (and more important to me), Amalia suffered great and perhaps permanent damage under Koshin's watch, yet no one in the OBC seems willing to acknowledge that or apologize. Amalia (with my help) has done everything under the OBC's own rules to bring about a resolution of the thing, but no one seems willing to give anything. You can read about her efforts at resolution at http://insidersguidetozen.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-obc-serious-about-reform.html?showComment=1296780442045#c1935624286043301229

(Thank you, Isan, for the information about not putting periods after the links. I hope these work.)

I wonder if the OBC refuses to recognize Amalia's issues because Koshin is so highly respected due his high-level spiritual experiences. He is also extremely stubborn and I can't imagine him ever apologizing. But the OBC has a responsibility to oversee and guide the conduct of the masters they send out into the world.

Finally, North Cascades is very secretive and little is known about what goes on there. The OBC has a responsibility to oversee what is happening there, especially with the vast amounts of property and wealth that North Cascades is accumulating. Maybe they know and approve of what is being done out there.

Maybe all this is OK with the OBC senior monks. I don't know, but I'd be interested in hearing from the forum on all this.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:00 am

You must keep trying to resolve your issues,I do not think it will be over for Amalia until you do.
I get the feeling that the OBC take is to ignore the forum hoping we might go away.
Direct communication was never a great characteristic of the OBC.
There was always communicate on our terms,free speech and thought were not allowed.
This in a life time has seriously been tat the OBC's expense,as the vast majority of people who post here,I believe have learnt more about themselves,and their humanity since leaving the OBC.
The People here are actually quite good at communicating directly and being open. Part of the history of Shasta is made up of shunning and discrediting thoase that disagreed.
I tried to post a comment on Amalias website and could not do it I will contact you later about it,but as you know from over the seas take care
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PostSubject: Re: Eugene, Shasta, and North Cascades   Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:59 am

The amazing NON SEXUAL relationships from Shasta how weird is that,Eko had a girlfriend which I think he tried to keep secret,because he banned his disciples from having family relationships,but once out in the open,he said that the meetings he had been having was not sexual. And here we have Koshin having a 3 month retreat where the special UK female monk could be the only one to eat the cake,ooh dear. they shared visions and previous life experiences, someone is having a laugh here aren't they. They went on holiday together with their special cake , Sounds like good zazen to me This previous life stuff and visions seems a bit rooted in the the old Shasta practice to me.
Personally I don't want the cake or the visions or the 50 grand
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