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 Jim makes Diana's blood boil

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Serend



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PostSubject: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:23 pm

I thought I'd break the thread to address the assumptions and grumbles directed my way.

@ Diana: You're not happy with what I've had to say. I am not happy that you've been hostile and dismissive of what I've said, and that in your haste to register your displeasure you have misinterpreted it. Let me try again.

Please don't understand anything I've said as an attempt to defend or excuse the OBC or NCBP. I've merely told you what my experience has been. You are of course free to believe or disbelieve, as you see fit.

If my ignorance concerning the matter of Amalia's departure from monastic training offends you in some way, that is to be regretted. I've not seen the website mentioned elsewhere on this forum (I understand it is no longer available). The simple fact is I know what I don't know, and I see no point in forming an opinion on what I know very little about. Please don't think that because of this I am somehow indifferent to Amelia's and Carol's suffering.

@ Lamten:
Quote :
By the way, I’ve really found Diana’s remark
relevant in the post
about “Jim”: It’s very surprising that Jim seems to be aware of nothing
(about very important issues) while he’s evidently a close lay disciple
of RM Koshin. It shows a great lack of transparency and a very strong
hierarchical power structure which asks unflinching and unquestioning
obedience of the trainees. It’s a place where I wouldn’t want to train…

In my experience religious training requires a good deal of confidentiality on the part of teachers and students. This may be viewed as "a great lack of transparency" by those on the outside, but I don't consider that necessarily to be a problem. I would expect that my teacher (and fellow lay trainees) would respect the confidentiality regarding issues that arise in my training. For you to conclude that my discipleship somehow "asks unflinching and unquestioning obedience" is presumptuous and naive. You assume that my relationship with Rev. Koshin makes me privy to his discussions with other monks of the Order, and to his feelings on various other topics. Such is not the case.

Training within the master/disciple relationship (lay or monastic) clearly isn't for everyone. There are other ways to train and other paths to follow. This one works for me. I do not endorse that path for others. Each of us is capable of deciding what is best for him or her. Heirarchy is implicit in the master/disciple relationship, obviously. It is not a practice that is well understood by those outside it, and particularly (I find) by those in the West. Please do not demean it by implying that it requires the trainee to be a slave or mindless automaton, or that it is merely a cultish aberration.

With bows,
Jim
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:21 pm

hi Jim - I don't know if you're aware that Amalia posted a thread involving her experience at NCBP: Amalia's introduction Without an active link to her old website it's hard to piece together what she had described back then, but you may be interested in seeing the responses nonetheless.

This is not to say, in any way, that I am presuming that your own experience is not valid. Everyone who comes here is entitled to the presumption that what they describe for themselves is the way things really are, for them. Some people never saw or experienced what I did with the OBC, and I have no trouble accepting that as a fact which is true. And it doesn't negate what I saw and heard. Both can be true at the same time.

One thing jumped out at me from your post, specifically "I would expect that my teacher (and fellow lay trainees) would respect the confidentiality regarding issues that arise in my training." There is also a great deal of personal experience on this forum about confidentiality and some monks' understanding of it (or lack thereof). You will see those posts if you explore the site and go through enough of the threads. I don't want to overwhelm you with information because I know you're new, and I hope you will stay with us here. But if you want to read more about some persons' experience with how monks have handled their confidential info, send me a PM and I will send you the links to forum comments.



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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:51 am

Serend wrote:



In my experience religious training requires a good deal of confidentiality on the part of teachers and students. This may be viewed as "a great lack of transparency" by those on the outside, but I don't consider that necessarily to be a problem. I would expect that my teacher (and fellow lay trainees) would respect the confidentiality regarding issues that arise in my training. For you to conclude that my discipleship somehow "asks unflinching and unquestioning obedience" is presumptuous and naive. You assume that my relationship with Rev. Koshin makes me privy to his discussions with other monks of the Order, and to his feelings on various other topics. Such is not the case.

[The master/disciple relationship] is not a practice that is well understood by those outside it, and particularly (I find) by those in the West. Please do not demean it by implying that it requires the trainee to be a slave or mindless automaton, or that it is merely a cultish aberration.

With bows,
Jim

Jim, I feel I understand what you're saying here very well. When I was a monk at Shasta Abbey I subscribed to this point of view and I can still see why it is needed for the master/disciple relationship to work, but now I no longer see it as an absolute. I believe that checks and balances are needed in the context of Zen training, as everywhere else in life, to help keep human error at bay.

At Shasta Abbey what you're calling "confidentiality" resulted in everyone's relationship with Jiyu Kennett existing in isolation. In this key area there was, in effect, no Sangha because no one was allowed to support anyone else if they experienced difficulty in their relationship with JK. Even worse we were taught that we couldn't understand the workings of the relationships of others, and so we stood by and did nothing when those relationships went on the rocks. Many people endured great suffering when they could not work out their difficulties with JK because they had no one else to turn to. They often left the monastery in a state of pain and confusion, and, from the stories told here, the damage has sometimes lasted a long time.

I feel the above is relevant because the same dynamics appear to be the norm at NCBP. You appear to be saying that the master/disciple relationship is working for you and that's all that matters; you don't need an explanation for Amalia's difficulties and the accusations of abuse surrounding her experience. Likewise the departure of NCBP from the OBC is just "irreconcilable differences", as if this were a trivial matter having no relevance to your practice. Not only do you not feel a need for an explanation of these events, but you don't see it as problematic that explanations are not forthcoming. Regarding Amalia's circumstances I believe you posted elsewhere that you trust the monks who were charged with her care did their best to help her (or words to that effect), but you don't seem to know that for a fact. Don't you want to know, and isn't it problematic that there has not been an open process to determine exactly what did happen?

I would encourage you to read the thread here where the assessment of Shasta Abbey by the FaithTrust Institute (FTI) is being discussed. In a nutshell Shasta Abbey invited FTI to come in after Eko Little - who had been Abbot of the monastery for many years and the master of a number of students - left under a cloud of accusations of inappropriate behavior in various quarters. They are still in the midst of sorting this out and it is a good example of how things can not only go wrong, but stay wrong for a long time because no one believes it is their business to look outside of their own "training".
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:57 am

Jim,
The title of this thread suggests that you make my "blood boil," which is erroneous. In the thread titled "Questions about North Cascades," Olga said, "Carol, What was done to Amalia makes my blood boil." I was agreeing with that statement. I harbor no hostility towards you. I find your situation and position to be typical of active members of the OBC, or whatever you consider yourself as now... There is a collective ignorance of the harm that they have caused, or at least there has been in the past. I have much more respect for the OBC now that it has started to open it's collective eyes to look at the harm that it or some of their people have caused. I find the resignation of Tim Shomberg and the other monks, etc.., to be a cause for celebration and I hope that Tim is never allowed to harm another being again. One of the ways of preventing him harming another is through education and communication. Hopefully, if anyone wants to know about him, they will find out information about Amalia and this site as well. Of course, there are those that choose to be ignorant, turn away, or keep their head in the sand and pretend like nothing ever happened. It's sad that this happens, but I guess that some people's greed for power and "spirituality" is pretty great and they just can't resist. The "master-disciple" relationship is dangerous for all involved. Those that choose to follow someone like Timothy Shomberg are taking a risk. I'm sure many people wish they had learned more about their "teachers" before they got involved- Genpo Merzel comes to mind here. I am well aware of the fact that as long as you follow Shomberg or think he embodies the eternal, or whatever, that there is no way that you can understand where I am coming from and so I have absolutley no expectations of any type of succesful or positive communication between us. And I'm fine with that. No one, especially you, could actually make my blood boil, so to speak, but any situation where another person is harmed or abused will always make my blood boil. In other words, don't flatter yourself, Jim. It's really not that big of a deal.
Good Luck,
Diana
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Lamten



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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:01 am

Jim,
I was and am in a teacher-student relationship, and for a short period, I was a monk. My senior was a former OBC monk and yet,my experience seem to be completely different from yours, our
relationship was more horizontal than vertical and there was transparency and accountability. Confidentiality is crucial you are right, and it should be there to protect the disciple not the senior (as my senior used to say).

And to be honest, if I find it’s fair enough that you don’t know a thing about what happened to Amelia, I can’t help being puzzled and taken aback that you don’t know why RM Koshin split from the OBC, it’s such a major move! (or is it that you know but you were asked not to tell about it? Please tell me if I got it wrong)

So, I apologize if I hurt your feelings. Nonetheless, I’m going to reiterate what I said: NCBP is a place where I wouldn’t want to
train without the at the end, which hinted that it’s probably a sect, and it could well not be. I would have to go and train there to be sure (I was invited in a former life… by Rev Koshin to pay him a visit).

I want to train (and I train) in an open spiritual place where things are in the open and can be discussed freely. A vertical relationship would never work the way I am, but if it works for you, what can I say but “Bon voyage to the other shore…”

Best wishes Jim
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Machik



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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:39 pm

I wanted to respond to one of Polly's posts about Amalia's story, but can't find it right now. So to paraphrase to the best of my ability, Polly writes that we should all understand that, since Amalia was perhaps having an episode of mental-illness, we should take what she writes with a grain of salt.

This same logic is used by people to discount what victims of sexual abuse say. Instead of responding to their experiences with compassion, those who adopt this attitude, criticize and blame the victim. I just find this type of argument illogical and flawed.

It's like saying that because Jan Chozen-Bays admitted to having an affair with Maezumi Roshi and with Genpo Merzel, that she is therefore NOT someone to interview when discussing the topic of spiritual teachesr having relationships with their students. I concur with Scott Edelstein, author of Sex and the Spirtual Teacher, that she is precisely the person to talk to in discussing this topic.

In regards to Amalia's experience, I applaud her courage in openly discussing it on her now defunct website. I also fully support her decision to close down the website. Many of us read her experience, including myself, and my conclusion is the same as that of forum member Michael Hughes. "Someone should have put their arms around Amalia." Those in charge of her training, in my opinion, should have admitted that they didn't know how to help her and IMMEDIATELY taken her to someone who did. I think most people who've read her story have come to the same conclusion.

Machik
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:32 pm

Well said Machic
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:05 pm

Machik wrote:
I wanted to respond to one of Polly's posts about Amalia's story, but
can't find it right now.


Machik, there is a handy way of searching for posts on the forum:

Click on SEARCH;
Click on ADVANCED SEARCH;
In SEARCH BY AUTHOR: fill in the Poster (Polly in this case)
In DISPLAY RESULTS AS: click POSTS

If you know the section where the thread appeared, you can fill it in SEARCH IN: (an arrow gives you a drop-down list); otherwise leave it blank.

The Posts appear in Descending order (the most recent come foremost) by default. You can flip the order to Ascending.

Since you get the complete list of the Poster's posts, you can search by a distinctive word (say amalia) with ctrl/F.

Each post has the thread and time at the top as a hyperlink. Click on that, and you get the thread. Then you can click back to the Poster's list and if you wish, go back and forth to get a good idea of what was said.

Occasionally I use this feature to look up my own posts.

I find this useful to refresh my memory, which is fast getting past refreshing.

Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:15 pm

I find it unfortunate that this thread split away from Jim's Introduction thread. It starts in mid-air, so to speak, and is divorced from previous posts which naturally lead to the ones here. The context is then lost, and previous posts are rendered almost invisible.

Please get Amalia's name right.

Ol'ga
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polly

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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:22 pm

Machik,

What I said was that we should remember that she was having what she called a "psychotic break" when we use her story to attack someone. I found Diana's response to Jim to be too strong and wanted to point out as respectfully as possible that we cannot know all the story. If North Cascades had offered an explanation we would not be in that position. I do not nor ever have disregarded her story but I do prefer not to use as a weapon something that I cannot fully understand.

Polly
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:34 pm

Hi Polly,
You are using the words "attack" and "weapon?" I wasn't "using Amalia's story" to attack someone! Geez! You found my "reponse too strong?" Well, there's nothing I can do about that. I really wonder about the use of trying to communicate anything on this site sometimes...And where exactly did your post go, Polly? Did you delete it? I can't find it either. I would also be careful if I were you, about distilling down Amalia's story and making any kind of diagnosis such as "psychotic break." This is simply not a responsible thing to do.
Why do you feel like you have defend someone on this site? Let people learn their lessons. Jim made the decision to post and I'm sure he's finding out that it was actually very irresponsible to come on this site and say what he did without first checking it out and at least read some of the other posts. And to claim he really doesn't know anything about North Cascades or Amalia is extremely suspicious. If you look at the North Cascades site "Serend" is on it and it looks to me like he had some kind of power within the organization and so his act of playing the innocent bystander is also suspicious to me.
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:44 pm

Diana wrote:
I would also be careful if I were you, about distilling down Amalia's story and making any kind of diagnosis such as "psychotic break." This is simply not a responsible thing to do.

Diana

Diana,

Note that specifically with regard to the term "psychotic break" I believe Amalia used it in her account, but unfortunately it is not possible for me to check and confirm it. I believe Polly used it also based on recollection.
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:52 pm

CORRECTION:
I find it unfortunate that this thread split away from Jim's
Introduction thread AND QUESTIONS ABOUT NORTH CASCADES. It starts in mid-air, so to speak,
and is divorced
from previous posts which naturally lead to the ones here. The context
is then lost, and previous posts are rendered almost invisible.

Here is Polly's post you were looking for, Machik and Diana, in plain view {sorry about the formatting, I cut and pasted}:

Search
in: Introductions
Subject: Hi,
new member here: Jim
Tue Jun 14, 2011
10:31 pmI am going to risk the wrath of many here and point out
something that has struck me from the beginning of my time on this
forum. Here goes:

Amalia fully admits that she was having a
psychotic break while she was at North Cascades. People who are having
psychotic breaks cannot rely on their own perceptions during their
psychotic breaks. Other people cannot rely upon that person's
perceptions of what was happening during their psychotic breaks either.
People who have experienced psychosis rarely have a clear memory of
psychotic episodes. It is inherent in the condition.

While
Amalia's story is truly problematic, what actually happened is anybody's
guess if they weren't there. The fact that she was mismanaged is clear
but I don't know what anyone could have done for her if she didn't
allow it. You cannot force an adult to seek medical or psychiatric
care, to my knowledge. People have the right to refuse care unless they
are a danger to themselves or others, again, to my knowledge. If
anyone knows different I will gladly stand corrected.

So, at the
risk of offending, and with respect and care for Amalia's experience, I
just think it's important to remember this stuff when using Amalia's
case as ammunition.

And I'd like to say hello to Jim/Serend,
I'm glad you could join us, and I wish you could tell, (maybe you can?)
Reverend Basil that he meant/means a great deal to me.

(Ol'ga)
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:44 pm

I did not know North cascades had a site, but you are right Diana Serend is on the front page,So i feel it a bit odd the whole thing, the way of talking, the terminology, and the not knowing about Amalia and North Cascades. I find it creepy. It almost feels like there has clearly been a slpit. Shasta and them, and someone might be pointing a finger at us. Oh dear
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:07 pm

Diana wrote:
Jim made the decision to post and I'm sure he's finding out that it was actually very irresponsible to come on this site and say what he did without first checking it out and at least read some of the other posts.

Maybe Jim did see the information on Amalia's Intro thread and in other posts here.

Let's keep in mind that anybody has a right to believe or disbelieve anything that is written here; one of our forum rules even says "Keep in mind that others have the right to disagree with you."

"The forum", as such, is not one cohesive body that takes "a position" on any topic. Some may believe Amalia's account, some may not, but no one has to do so in order to post here nor are they even required to be more than civil when discussing that situation or any topic. If someone posts a contrary view, or even one that is neutral, they do not deserve to be met with comments verging on personal attack.

My view is that Jim's/Serend's comments were not irresponsible.
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Serend



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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:27 pm

Isan, you said:

Quote :
I feel the above [disfunction in OBC under RMJK related to confidentiality] is relevant because the same
dynamics appear to be the norm at NCBP. You appear to be saying that
the master/disciple relationship is working for you and that's all that
matters; you don't need an explanation for Amalia's difficulties and the
accusations of abuse surrounding her experience. Likewise the
departure of NCBP from the OBC is just "irreconcilable differences", as
if this were a trivial matter having no relevance to your practice. Not
only do you not feel a need for an explanation of these events, but you
don't see it as problematic that explanations are not forthcoming.
Regarding Amalia's circumstances I believe you posted elsewhere that you
trust the monks who were charged with her care did their best to help
her (or words to that effect), but you don't seem to know that for a
fact. Don't you want to know, and isn't it problematic that there has
not been an open process to determine exactly what did happen?

I'm not saying that things are working for me an that's all that matters. You are correct in that I don't feel a need for explanation of these events, particularly those regarding Amalia. I get the feeling that you and others on the forum want to dissect this event to find a villain or apportion blame. Many apparently have already done so. That might be gratifying for some, but I fail to see how it will be genuinely helpful to anyone.

I do believe the monks acted with good faith and tried to help Amalia, because I find that most people do the best they can, mistakes notwithstanding.

I'm trying to understand what
Quote :
an open process to determine exactly what did happen
would involve and what benefit would come of it. So I could know that this or that person made this or that mistake? To what end? To find a public enemy and an innocent victim? That is hopelessly reductive to my way of thinking.

If getting to the bottom of all this and making it public is so important, as you imply, please help me understand why? The consensus of this forum seems to be that NCBP is not to be trusted, that the OBC is fatally flawed, and that people are advised to train elsewhere, if at all.

@ Lamten: you didn't hurt my feelings. If I wanted to learn how to put shoes on horses, I would seek out an experienced farrier. In learning from him, I would assume that he would be teaching me some things I didn't know. To that extent, the relationship would be hierarchical. I would expect the relationship to be respectful, and that my role would be to listen and ask questions. Similarly, if I want to practice Buddhism, I seek out a Buddhist teacher. The relationship isn't that much different than the horse shoe example.

Best wishes to you, friend.

with bows,
Jim
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:58 pm

hi Jim - I'm not speaking for anyone but myself when I say this. And, the "admin hat" is off and I'm speaking just as one individual forum member. I personally don't want to find a villain or apportion blame in regard to Amalia's experience, but I would like to understand, more completely, what happened at North Cascades. While her link was active, I could read about her experience of it, but I have never been able to hear from the perspective of anyone at NCBP, and so it leaves a lot of questions.

To paraphrase, you ask what benefit would come of knowing whether any person at NCBP made a mistake -- here is the benefit from following that line of inquiry: a true teacher, if he or she made mistakes, would want to know this and realise it, and not make the same mistake ever again. Anyone who follows a teacher should want their teacher to do this. Do we want mistakes to be buried, ignored, then repeated? If the teacher didn't make a mistake, then there is nothing to correct, but the question should be addressed with unflinching honesty and with openness, with transparency. If mistakes were made, the responsible course of action is to acknowledge what went wrong, try to make reparations, and resolve never to do so again.

I understand from Amalia's account that she was not able to accept the OBC's terms and conditions for investigating what happened with her and Timothy Schomberg. I wish there had been a way for her to do so, in order for this issue to brought into the light of day and for Schomberg to respond to someone's questions, which he apparently has never done. Having left the OBC he no longer has any motivation to do so.

Jim, what is your position on a teacher's potential (unproven) mistakes? Is it a matter of concern to anyone, in your view?
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:23 am

I think I will drop out of this discussion re Amalia,it must be painful for Carol to read it all again,
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:40 am

Hello Jim, I've been following these threads that you've been involved in. I hope all the questions don't chase you away.

Serend wrote:
I don't feel a need for explanation of these events, particularly those regarding Amalia. I get the feeling that you and others on the forum want to dissect this event

I think it's normal, considering the severity of the claims made about what happened to Amalia at North Cascades (according to her account she became so ill that her life was in danger), to want to enquire about those events. Why not throw a few questions to Rev Koshin? What harm could it do? I also don't understand why you wouldn't want to know more about the circumstances around the severance of North Cascades Priory from the OBC. That is your wider sangha that you are leaving and, in Buddhism, Sangha is an important thing; one of the Three Jewels.

I don't think that Buddhism requires the eradication of a bright, sharp and questioning mind.

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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:31 am

Serend wrote:

If getting to the bottom of all this and making it public is so important, as you imply, please help me understand why? The consensus of this forum seems to be that NCBP is not to be trusted, that the OBC is fatally flawed, and that people are advised to train elsewhere, if at all.

with bows,
Jim

Jim,

Lise expressed many of my own feelings in her reply to you so I won't repeat them. I would only add that a sincere effort to "get to the bottom of all this" would have many beneficial effects including changing the negative perception of NCBP that many hold.

You wrote elsewhere about allowing karma consequence to be the vehicle that holds people responsible (I paraphrase). While I agree there is karmic consequence i also believe that, in the spirit of Buddhist training, we should get out in front and make things right whenever possible. We can put the focus on healing and reconciliation, not on judgement and blame.
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:32 pm

I'd sort of like to follow chisanmichaelhughes and drop out of this discussion.

Let me say that it is quite apparent that mistakes were made at NCBP concerning Amalia's training. Monks made mistakes and, I presume, Amalia made mistakes. Healing and reconciliation, if they are to occur, will do so with those who were involved. Those of us who were not involved don't need to be healed or reconciled, as I see it.

I don't see how you and I can "make things right" here. If Koshin is concerned that NCBP is being perceived negatively--and it is apparent to me that this is the case--then it is up to him and his senior monks to do something about it. I don't know how to say this any clearer: it isn't my business and it's not my problem. It's serious business for those who are involved, and it is a significant problem that they'll have to face and come to terms with as best they can. I hope they all look deeply within and find what is to be learned from this situation. I know them to be sincere and good people, and I have no doubt that they've had to face this squarely. Whether, and to what extent, they need to do so publicly I will defer to them.

Isan, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment you express:

Quote :
While I agree there is karmic consequence i also
believe that, in the spirit of Buddhist training, we should get out in
front and make things right whenever possible. We can put the focus on
healing and reconciliation, not on judgement and blame.

Is this a situation where you and I can get out front and make things right? How would you propose to do that? That's where I'm at a loss.

Glorfindel, I think you're right in that it's natural to be curious about what happened at NCBP with Amalia. A lot of people are, including me. But I recognize that my curiosity is of the idle sort, as I might be curious about other matters that aren't my business. I don't see how my inquiry into the matter will be helpful to any one of the people concerned, or myself, for that matter. I doubt that any of them need to hear my opinion about how things might have been handled differently or better. There's something not quite right about idle curiosity, to my way of thinking, kind of like idle chatter only more salacious perhaps.

As to your question about the sangha and OBC. My wider sangha isn't the OBC, it's...well, wider than that. Koshin's resignation from OBC resulted in my being asked to renounce my discipleship to him or resign from the OBC lay ministry. I resigned as a lay minister, but I didn't toss OBC into the dust bin. My sangha family includes my many friends in the OBC, including the head of the order, a bunch of monks and lay people scattered around here and there, and some of both who have left the order.

I agree with you that a bright, sharp, and questioning mind is not somehow at odds with Buddhist practice. The key is to employ it in ways that are helpful to oneself and others.

With your kind permission I would like now to follow chisanmichaelhughes's lead and bring this particular discussion to a close. I have a couple of interesting stories to tell about Josh/Jitsudo and another senior at Shasta in the old days. Is it Isan? Kyogen? Stay tuned. Very Happy

with bows,
Jim
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:22 pm

Serend wrote:

Let me say that it is quite apparent that mistakes were made at NCBP concerning Amalia's training. Monks made mistakes and, I presume, Amalia made mistakes. Healing and reconciliation, if they are to occur, will do so with those who were involved. Those of us who were not involved don't need to be healed or reconciled, as I see it.

I don't see how you and I can "make things right" here. If Koshin is concerned that NCBP is being perceived negatively--and it is apparent to me that this is the case--then it is up to him and his senior monks to do something about it. I don't know how to say this any clearer: it isn't my business and it's not my problem.

Isan, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment you express:

Quote :
While I agree there is karmic consequence i also
believe that, in the spirit of Buddhist training, we should get out in
front and make things right whenever possible. We can put the focus on
healing and reconciliation, not on judgment and blame.

Is this a situation where you and I can get out front and make things right? How would you propose to do that? That's where I'm at a loss.

Jim,

I understand that you’ve dropped out of this discussion, but there’s more that I wish to say. When you say that:

“it’s quite apparent that mistakes were made at NCBP concerning Amalia's training”

what do you base that on? Are you simply taking the word of others or have you looked into it personally?

When an injury occurs in a community it harms everyone, not only the specific individuals who were directly involved. We can get out in front and attempt to make things right by simply choosing too. One thing I chose to do was contact senior OBC leadership about Amalia’s account. I believe it made a difference, and it was the right thing for me to do. I won’t presume to tell you what you should do, but I believe you’re wrong when you say:

“it isn't my business and it's not my problem”

Apparently, during your time in the OBC you have been relatively unscathed by upheaval and tragedy. I, however, witnessed a lot of suffering, and I've had to come to terms with the fact that I often stood by and said nothing. Your position looks like indifference to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:53 pm

I agree with Isan that an injury in a community harms more than those directly involved. And it can have effects on newcomers, if the causes of harm are not addressed and similar conditions arise.

Jim, as mentioned in my PM, I had more thoughts on this and wanted to share them with the forum community also:

I agree, it isn't possible to know whether any other person has examined himself or herself and considered whether mistakes were made. I don't take the position that Schomberg/Teijo/Mokugen have not looked within themselves; I hope they have. In the absence of any NCBP comment about this, to anyone, the presumptions and suppositions about Amalia's situation go unaddressed. This unbalanced view is far from ideal but the only ones who could affect that are NCBP and they will not comment. The issue has been very public for some time, and they have had opportunity to comment if they wanted to. There is no requirement to do so, but the silence speaks in itself.

This week I heard from one more person who said he attended the 11 June meeting at Shasta Abbey. From his account, Meian told the attendees that Schomberg resigned from the OBC because he is not willing to conform to the OBC's evolving guidelines that are designed to protect monastic and lay trainees who are in master/disciple relationships. The guidelines will apply to both Abbeys and all the priories. I'm not aware of all of them, but I was told that Schomberg refused to agree to these, in particular: OBC representatives will have the right to physically visit any OBC-affiliated site, without requesting advance permission, and speak directly with monks in residence there, without first getting the permission of those monks' "master" or whomever is in charge of the site. As it was told to me, this is designed to help protect trainees in more remote regions and those who train with OBC masters who don't have much interaction with the rest of the OBC; the idea is for the OBC organisation to take more responsibility for knowing what's going on under its collective roof. To my knowledge, which is scant, the new rules are not aimed specifically at Schomberg due to the Amalia incident but that was one element that contributed to the formation; another element is of course Michael Little's inappropriate behaviour that went unchecked for so many years. Anyway, to summarise, I'm told that Schomberg told the OBC he would not agree to any measures that represent "interference" with his relationships with his disciples and followers: he will not agree to the visits nor to allowing anyone to speak to his monks, and he will not respond to inquiries about anything that goes on at NCBP. This position is not acceptable to the OBC, so they and Schomberg were left with the choice of him either resigning or being asked to leave.

I was not at the meeting; I cannot tell you how much of this is accurate, but two persons have independently contacted me with similar accounts and I've found no contradictions in their information. If any parts of this are not correct, I hope Rev. Meian or someone else will set things straight. Especially, for the good of anyone who attends NCBP or is thinking of doing so, they deserve to have accurate information.

At some point, if you feel like commenting, I would be interested to hear your perception of Isan's post and mine.

Updated to add: I have received information that Meian told the 11 June gathering that monks and laity from NCBP are still welcome at the Abbey even if not part of the OBC any longer.


Last edited by Lise on Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:28 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : fixed two typos)
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:38 pm

Lise, I am happy to hear your report about the June 11 meeting. It confirms my initial impression that the resignations of the leadership at NCBP were a good sign that there is an effort underway to exert ethics and accountability in the OBC network.

I would also like to comment on Isan's post about the ethical responsibilities of those who are present in a community, spiritual or otherwise, where the leadership is not acting in a humane and responsible way, worse, in an abusive or neglectful way. The responsibilities for keeping persons safe belongs to everyone. The responsibility for finding out what is going on in a community, or a family, is the responsibility of every member and to act in a way that is protective of the well-being of each. This is in the spirit of the Buddhist precepts and the universal ethos of all of humankind and the great Wisdom traditions. We are harmed by what we fail to do as well as what is done to us.
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:45 pm

Bill R.
You said what I was thinking re. the responsibility we all have towards one another. I don't know the young woman who has written about her abuse at NCBP nor do I know anyone from NCBP. Still hearing about this has been disturbing and so it should be. It needs to be looked into so the situation is never repeated.
It's not gossip; it's a serious allegation.

I don't know if the OBC thinks the young woman was suffering from psychotic delusions or if they believe her account as literally true. I'm confused about where they stand on this disturbing story. Have they came out and said plainly what gives with this situation? Maybe I've missed some important posts along the way and have misconstued the vagueness of the OBC's response to her allegations?
I feel like I'm lagging behind the pack in this forum. When I'm about to say something, someone says it better than I would at the moment. bows, claire
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:53 pm

Serend you say:
Quote :
because I find that most people do the best they can, mistakes notwithstanding.

First let's lay this common fallacy to rest. If this was true then there would be no need for teachers, etc., people would automatically 'do the best they can' as soon as their mistakes were pointed out. However as Dostoevsky said:
"Tell me, who was it who first declared, proclaiming it to the whole world, that a man does evil only because he does not know his real interests, and if he is enlightened and has his eyes opened to his own best and normal interests, man will cease to do evil and at once become virtuous and noble, because when he is enlightened and understands what will really benefit him he will see his own best interest in virtue, and since it is well known that no man can knowingly act against his best interests, consequently he will inevitably, so to speak, begin to do good. Oh, what a baby! Oh, what a pure innocent child!"
(Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from underground, 1864)
If people did 'the best they can' there would not be the type of behaviour over many years that has been reported of and admitted by Genpo or Maeazumi. Both of whom made public confessions at one time only to resume their aberrant behaviour again, and again. It is why I believe that we need minimum public, transparent and enforceable standards of behaviour from our clergy.

In the same post you say:
Quote :
If getting to the bottom of all this and making it public is so important, as you imply, please help me understand why?
. Well it is true that on this site Amalia's story has become rather iconic of what many people here believe is persistent aberent behavioural practices within the OBC, and particularly the NCBP. As Diana has pointed out it would not be wise to take the precise burden Amalia's story completely at face value without some corroboration (which of course we have in general from Carol). However what I believe most people here would like is the truth, not in precise detail, but in general outline, did this happen or not? Why is this important? Well for a number of reasons, for a start this story implies to us a gross and persistent and damaging behavioural problem within the NCBP, and the OBC more generally. A problem that appears to have been often repeated by members of the OBC and the NCBP, a number of cases of which have been reported on this forum. Behaviour which if true implies that the teaching and training at Shasta and NCBP is often deeply flawed and on occasion very harmful. Should we not be concerned with this? Or is it your suggestion that we should avert our eyes and 'pass by on the other side of the road'? It is the apparent unwillingness of these institutions to openly address the problems that nags at us, and which we in turn nag at. But also as time drags on with little or no response and the whole thing is apparently being ignored or swept under the carpet, it leads to our concerns growing and our negative perceptions increasing. I'm afraid that I personally find 'I don't know' or 'I'm not interested' an entirely inadequate position. It seems from the NCBP website that you are the designated point of contact for one of the groups, I would have thought that it would be a moral obligation to find out the truth before you allowed or encouraged others to become involved in an organisation that may be doing systematic harm to some. This may seem harsh, and to some extent it is, but aren't we searching for the truth? Isn't that the whole point of our training? When we deliberately avoid facing facts directly or deliberately obfuscate, or even worse deliberately twist the truth, we damage and twist the dharma, our training and the training of those around us which will inevitably lead to further hurt and harm.
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:34 am

Hey Mark--Always glad to see Dostoevsky getting his due, especially "Notes."


By the way, Haryo has written the following update on the NCBP exodus today (http://obcon.org/talks.html):

Update: July 10th 2011. In addition to the monks mentioned above, the following monastic disciples of Rev. Master Koshin have resigned from the Order: Rev. Master Basil Singer, Rev. Hector Van der Marel, Rev. Olaf Miller, Rev. Clement Siddoway, Rev. Bennet Laraway and Rev. Winola Fulcher. Also, Westerwolder Dharma Toevlucht, Bourtange, The Netherlands, is no longer a temple of the Order.

Does anyone know what percentage of KS's active monastic disciples this accounts for (including RM's Teijo and Mokushin who were announced to have left along with KS back in March)?

I hope that those who mostly know what happened and have a way to get info from inside...someone on the outside surely does...find a way to keep an eye on NCBP and the health of the people there.

I am unsettled when I think of NCBP's future...echoes of Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) in Antelope, OR? Or not...at least KS hasn't hoarded 30 Rolls Royces for his personal use.
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:09 pm

From the last time I kept track, this accounts for all of Koshin's monastic disciples. They have ALL followed him and left the OBC. The monk who runs the Bainbridge Island meditation group and the monk who ran the Victoria group are not mentioned, but I don't think they are Koshin's disciples. At any rate, he did not ordain them.

Maybe someone else knows more about what's going on at NCBP and the Northwest in general.

I understand from a report on this forum that Koshin left the OBC because he refused to accept a new OBC rule that would permit OBC seniors to visit his temple at any time (uninvited) and to speak privately to his disciples.

If true, this is truly disturbing. Without this sort of rule, his priory has NO oversight and NO accountability to senior OBC people or maybe no accountability to anyone. This isn't a healthy situation for a religious organization, as the many examples on this forum have made clear.
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:19 am

I can't remember where the saying comes from, but it is roughly

'' there will always be someone more 'senior' than you''

I think this is a good spirit,I prefer the word more experienced than you,but if it was not so it would be difficult to learn Zen Buddhism. The ideal of we have 'we are already enlightened' and
the actual 'sometimes of 'I know what I am doing I will do it my way' demonstrate the difficulties not just of Shasta but the other groups we have talked about here .

The moment we think we are important , or above way and spirit of the Sanga,we have drifted off into our own little fantasy land again.

There was a great story of I think Lao Tzu who when traveling across China with his desciple came across a very civilised town. Their were proper laws, and order was kept by the people. The disciple announced what a pleasure to see such a law abiding place, in such a barbarian country. Lao Tzu said 'It is when people start organising themselves, it is a sign that they have gone wrong'

It does appeal to my anarchistic tendancies I have to say, but when we join a Sanga we join for support for brotherhood or sisterhood or both,we brush shoulders rub each other up a bit but work it out

Carol from an old anarcist who likes to sit on his own, from the other side of the world and on top of a cliff, I need rules regulations, and the belief that their is always something greater than myself
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:01 pm

Thanks to you, old anarchist! I love the wisdom and humor of your posts.
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PostSubject: Re: Jim makes Diana's blood boil   Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:57 pm

I agree Carol, and I can't help being reminded again of that old joke of J. Krishnamurti, perhaps a remake of Lao Tzu's story, of the Devil and his friend going down the street and the friend commenting to the Devil on something the man walking in front of them having picked up and wondering about. The Devil answers, "He just picked up a piece of the Truth". The man replies, "That could be kind of bad business for you then" and the Devil says, "On the contrary, I am going to help him organize it!"
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