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 Blog from former OBC member

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Diana



Posts : 206
Join date : 2010-06-11
Location : New Mexico

PostSubject: Blog from former OBC member   Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:04 pm

Hi all,

I just found this on the web. I hope it's okay to send the link. Some of you may remember Don from the Abbey. He was one of my favorite people. It was so heartbreaking to watch as his wife left him and their family to become a monk at the Abbey. Don left the area and I know I missed his presence. Around this time it started to really hit me how Buddhism can rip apart families and how the teachings of how sufferings cause is linked to attachment can destroy lives. Anyway, here's a link to his blog:

http://iconoclastia.com/?cat=5

I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I'm working on it.

Peace,
Diana
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Isan
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Posts : 917
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Blog from former OBC member   Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:28 pm

Diana wrote:
Hi all,

I just found this on the web. I hope it's okay to send the link. Some of you may remember Don from the Abbey. He was one of my favorite people. It was so heartbreaking to watch as his wife left him and their family to become a monk at the Abbey. Don left the area and I know I missed his presence. Around this time it started to really hit me how Buddhism can rip apart families and how the teachings of how sufferings cause is linked to attachment can destroy lives. Anyway, here's a link to his blog:

http://iconoclastia.com/?cat=5

I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I'm working on it.

Peace,
Diana

I knew Don quite well from the days of living at Kannon Dell. I would agree with his blog entry (The Ideal and the Actual) that Kannon Dell was never a community in the usual sense, and was never meant to be. The Dell never had a "center" of it's own. The center was Shasta Abbey and the Dell was in effect a satellite. I don't think that was inherently wrong, but certainly it was important to understand. People looking for a community where the focus would be on bonding with their neighbors and creating something together instead of looking outward at the monastery needed to look elsewhere. In fact any intention to create a community apart from the monastery was actively discouraged.

The matter of one partner in a marriage becoming a monk and thus dissolving the marriage is a serious one. While I lived at Shasta Abbey I never saw attempts to intentionally draw married people into the priesthood, however it was not actively discouraged either and perhaps it should have been. The problem was that marriage wasn't respected as a commitment on equal footing with ordination. As I've written elsewhere this played out amongst the early group of married monks as well.


Last edited by Isan on Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:26 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : 1st - correction of grammar. 2nd - privacy concerns)
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j.trivelpiece

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Posts : 16
Join date : 2011-05-22
Age : 69
Location : Palouse WA

PostSubject: Re: Blog from former OBC member   Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:58 am

My experience training as a married monk was one of utter frustration. Roshi's expectation appeared to be that the primary relationship for all monks was the relationship with her. That puts terrible strain on a marriage. I spent a great deal of my energy trying to NOT see the elephant in the room. That is, to maintain a marriage requires that one have the primary relationship with the partner.
In my experience, training as a monk at Shasta and maintaining a marriage were incompatible. When I think of this I am greatly saddened. Both for the strain I put on our marriage, and the subtext of how lay training is somehow inferior.
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Lise
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Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Blog from former OBC member   Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:27 pm

Jim,

That subtext was clear to me during the time I was involved with the OBC. The oddest thing was that the public message ("the four classes of buddhists are equal") didn't match what some monks would say privately, one-on-one, or in very small groups of people. Being a monk was described as a "higher aspiration" and the way to seek something "more pure" than what could be found "in the world". This bizarre conflicted message was one of the main reasons I looked elsewhere to learn about buddhism.

Lise
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mstrathern
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Posts : 602
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 74
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Blog from former OBC member   Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:05 pm

Ah yes! It's back to that wonderfull cautionary tale of the subversion and corruption of idealism and freedom "Animal Farm" by George Orwell, 'All' people 'are equal, but some are more equal than others'. When it crops up it is very nearly always a warning sign that things have gone wrong, or are just about to.
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Machik



Posts : 31
Join date : 2010-12-17

PostSubject: Re: Blog from former OBC member   Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:09 pm

Hi Everyone,

Does anyone know why many Buddhist organizations, at least in the US, are so focused on creating monasteries and retreat centers when, at least in my experience, so few members of most Buddhist centers are committed to a life of celibacy, ordination, or long-term solitary retreat?

Why do these, centers and the Teachers who guide them, focus solely on creating Asian style institutions and practices that, for the vast majority of the sangha, are impractical and don't fulfill their needs for love and belonging and other important emotional needs? I have been involved with one sangha for many years and what I have observed is that the sangha is seen by those in positions of authority as a group of people that are supposed to support the institution. The lay people who are single, who are unmarried, or ordained are the ones held up as the ideal disciples.

These days I see the disciples who achieve real adulthood and spiritual maturity as the examples I wish to hold up to the world as true followers of the Buddha. They are the ones I most admire and who are doing the most good for others in my opinion. As Dharma centers continue to grow and flourish in the West I would like to know more about those that are truly supportive, loving, and helpful places to go. I believe some of the most mature speakers on this forum really ought to be out there teaching and creating alternatives for new students. Many of you are already doing this, but from my reading here, much much more needs to be done.


Machik


Last edited by Machik on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:22 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sentence level error)
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cmpnwtr

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Posts : 418
Join date : 2010-08-16

PostSubject: Re: Blog from former OBC member   Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:39 pm

Thank you, Machik, for bringing up a topic that has been close to my interest,(as expressed in previous threads) alternative and more healthy, life-giving models of spiritual practice and community. At a distance I have appreciated the Vipassana networks in their emphasis on lay practice and on not creating privileged classes of people who are monks or clergy, on helping people develop a daily practice without unnecessary hiearchies or making financial demands on people to support staff and bricks and mortar buildings. (It's possible that I am not well-informed or naive in that regard.)

I witnessed first hand the subversion of marriages and families (and friendships) at the hands of Jiyu Kennett and others, and the denigration of human relationships to the realm of delusion, made easily expendable for the sake of ecclesiastical ambitions. In my own life my wife and daughter have been no obstacle, but rather the most profound teachers in the path of love and devotion. And all three of us have found the practice of zazen and an ethical life as nurturing to our familial and marital relationships, not a source of conflict. I feel fortunate and blessed, but I am saddened at what has actually happened in the way of betrayals and destructive acts and choices for others. I look for healthy models of circles of spiritual practice to develop that nurture our sacred and also fragile relationships of friendship and family in life. That is my hope.
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Machik



Posts : 31
Join date : 2010-12-17

PostSubject: Re: Blog from former OBC member   Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:28 pm

Hi Bill,

Thanks for your response to my post. I know from your previous posts that this is a topic that greatly interests both of us.Many of us here on this forum seem to be looking for something new and more in tune with our needs as Westerners to evolve. We are searching for something, I think, with less hierarchy and more empowerment for the lay sangha. Are we going to see this develop? I sure hope so.

Machik
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