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 Small signs of change?

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Lise
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PostSubject: Small signs of change?   Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:18 pm

This is minor but I thought it was interesting. A lay person sent an e-tree email last week asking if people wanted to help cover the cost of pizzas to be served at the monks' medicine meal today, 7/19, for Rev. Daishin's 60th birthday. This caught my attention b/c I heard more than once that individual birthdays are not important in the OBC view, rather, the ordination day is the one to mark.

If this is changing I think it's a positive sign. There's something very human in wanting to offer good wishes on someone's birthday, and I can't help but think a recipient would be pleased too by such a simple act.




--- On Thu, 7/15/10, {deleted} wrote:


From: {deleted}
Subject: RM DAISHIN'S 60TH
To: {deleted}
Date: Thursday, July 15, 2010, 7:48 PM

Dear {deleted}, Thanks for sending this out. Bows, {deleted}

IN HONOR OF REV. MASTER DAISHIN'S 6OTH BIRTHDAY ON MONDAY, THE 19TH, WOULD ANYONE LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THREE X-LARGE PIZZAS FOR THE MONKS' MEDICINE MEAL THAT DAY?? HE LOVES PIZZA!! PLEASE EMAIL ME OR CALL ME AND LET ME KNOW IF AND HOW MUCH YOU'D LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE...I BELIEVE EACH PIZZA IS ABOUT $28 OR SO (X-LARGE)...THANK YOU,ALL!! BOWS, {deleted}


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sandokai



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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:18 pm

That is so sweet
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Lise
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PostSubject: another change -- website refresh   Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:02 pm

Many changes, including plans to include blogs by monks and laity. It will be interesting to see if that comes to pass.


http://www.shastaabbey.org/index.html
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helen66



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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:51 pm

If you are a part of the organization fine. If you are not a member than get on with your life . Why are you clinging to the past? Somehow this all borders on gossip at its worst, world wide internet.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:15 pm

Helen, I hope you understand that this forum is not organized for the purpose of furthering OBC doctrine or applying its rules. I am not evaluating posts, including my own, on the basis of whether someone else may consider them to be gossip. The intent is to share information freely so long as it is truthful and expressed in respectful terms.

Those of us who post here are not necessarily clinging to the past. I do it as a form of purging and catharsis; to express and set down some of the disturbance I carry as a result of OBC teaching and actions. Posting is a way to reconcile my conflicted feelings about the good and not-so-good things I saw, heard and felt. Eventually I will have said all I need to say & I'll probably just be listening to others after that.

My comment about the monks' and laity's blogs was not intended to be disparaging. I think it's a big change for them to attempt this and I'm curious as to if/when/how it will happen. I imagine there is dissent in the community even now as to whether they should go forward with blogs.

My question for you -- can you tell us a bit about why you are coming to this forum?

Your voice is welcome also, to the extent that you are not trying to silence others.

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helen66



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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:04 pm

I came to this forum to see what was being said and why it was necessary to have a forum of people who are no longer members of the OBC
community or a monk. I go to an OBC Temple but I am not a member. I have been going for over 15 years. I find the grounds to be a place of refuge and retreat. I do not find it necessary to get concerned about anything that is said to me or what I might observe. It is a community of mature adults that do not need to be validated etc. My spiritual journey is mine, my sitting time is the most private activity even when it is a shared time with many members sitting together. I think you are complaining about matters that you have not taken care of yourself. I do not know why you became a victim. You cannot give your spiritual development over to another person. You may have others in a community that you consult with but I believe I have to manage my own journey and be able to discern what is the direction I need to go and not fault anyone in a community or organization unless they have done something against the civil law or the rules of the community. I find I do have a chip on my shoulder about what you say you are attempting to achieve by maintaining this site.
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jack



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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:50 pm

helen66 wrote:
I do not find it necessary to get concerned about anything that is said to me or what I might observe.

I disagree. If Buddhism has anything to offer it is the means of transforming one's own life. If it has not or cannot transform the lives and behavior of those who "claim to know" or those who have been practicing for decades, then either of claims of Buddhism or wrong or those who "claim to know" are wrong. The Buddha very explicitly asked people to examine his life and practice to see if he lived the truth he claimed to find. That's the acid test. Otherwise Buddhism is just another belief system that, while more to my liking than Christianity, is without redemptive power.

It seems fair that monks of experience who claim they know should be able to behave with clarity, kindness, equanimity, and maturity. Those are sort of foundational elements of wisdom. If they don't know for themselves, then they should have the personal integrity to simply say they don't know and abandon a claimed role of leadership until they do. At least in that they would appear to have the wisdom of knowing themselves with honesty and integrity.

I think you are quite right that your practice is your own responsibility. But I also presume you don't claim that you know Buddhism you really don't, or teach others what you do not know for yourself. Some aspects of Buddhism I have found to be true for myself. Others like the teaching on karma, I hold in abeyance as a sure belief. Whether that is true or not is not material to my practice. Perhaps some day I will have convincing evidence or experience to suggest that it is really true. I am much happier being honest about that than trying to come up with some sort of "faith" to override my doubts. And whether or not I believe that doesn't materially affect my practice. I don't meditate or act in accordance with the precepts because I think will surely reap some karmic reward.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:05 am

Helen, I hope you find peace in your journey.

I'm not sure what to wish for you -- that you continue to read what appears here, or that you refrain from increasing your own suffering. I guess it will be for you to choose.

Take care.
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helen66



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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:17 am

Lise, I have peace this very moment. I just had a piece of key lime pie made by my daughter. I do not want you to wish anything for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:20 am

helen66 wrote:
I do not find it necessary to get concerned about anything that is said to me or what I might observe.

I've been thinking more about this. I did receive manipulative and inappropriate teaching, and see harmful behavior to others, that I needed to speak up about. If those things hadn't happened, I wouldn't have started a forum. The acts didn't violate civil law but it seems to me they would have violated the community's internal laws regarding contact with laity -- but only they would know that.

To me this forum is like hikers leaving trail notes at rest stops for those who follow. If they don't want the information, that's fine; they have no obligation to read it. I am at a distance now where I can look at what happened and understand it a little better, yet I still think about those who might be getting into the same type of confusion I did with the OBC. These posts may help them.

jack wrote:
The Buddha very explicitly asked people to examine his life and practice to see if he lived the truth he claimed to find. . . .
This is the crux of it.
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helen66



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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:20 am

Lise,
No one else's confusion is going to be the same as yours. Your attempt to unravel what happened to you may be of some value to you . Members do need to check on each other and question activities and actions and words that create confusion at the time and then it is over no need to hold on to the event and pass it on. No one else may ever stumble in the same way.
I have done a considerable amount of backpacking in the Sierra and in Baja and I have never found a note telling me anything. I have met other hikers that have said hello and where are you going etc. Each hiker rests where they need to. I do get your point about leaving notes but I may not understand what you are attempting to tell me because of my pre-set idea or opinions that I formed in the planning stages of the trip etc.
Right now there is much more snow in the high sierra than there was last year so hikers are being advised to be prepared, to have a compass and topos and a GPS if they have one. Some hikers will not pay attention to the advise and some will find it helpful and keep them from getting lost when the trails are still covered with snow. Onward.............
Have you seen the documentary "Touching the Void"? It is on instant play on netflix.


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Lise
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PostSubject: commonalities in experience   Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:13 pm

An example of why we share information with others:

Several women on this forum (Diana, Mary, June) share my experience of some OBC monks (not all) trying to "teach" us away from relationships towards celibacy and other forms of renunciation. Read their posts if you haven't yet. I have also heard by private message from three women and two men with the same story who aren't comfortable posting about it here.

I wonder how many others this happened to and whether it is happening still. It's wrong to teach this and it can harm people's lives, perhaps permanently. Leaving a public warning is not only appropriate, it is compassionate and to me, it is clearly a form of right speech. We want to do that for each other, don't we? I do. And I'm grateful when someone else does it for me.

I believe the Abbey's new leader, Rev. Meian, does not agree with denigrating emotional love and lay life. I believe she'll correct the errant monks' behavior if and when she can. In the meantime, the word needs to get out on this issue, along with others, and this forum will remain here to do so.

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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:38 pm

I am seeing a pattern here on the forum. The current OBC members or affiliates seem to be the ones who exhibit a lot of anymosity, irritability, defensiveness, lack of compassion and kindness, confusion, and impatience. Snarky or negative remarks stand out. It's easy to read between the lines. Lise admits she has been threatened by some forum members. Even though I find this all disturbing, it is also very predictable.

All this is very telling to me because I am looking for examples of members or former members who have integrated and used the teachings in a positive way to enhance their lives. I never had what I would call a psychologically, socially, or interpersonally succesfull and happy member model what succesful training is or can be. The snarky comments reinforce my belief that the OBC does not produce desireable or healthy results and that it consistently reinforces the negative characteristics described above.

I think this forum's most precious offering is that it is an OPEN forum to discuss whatever we want. I'm sure there will always be trolls and people who are struggling with their own stuff, no matter what side of it we are on and THAT is welcome also. But what stands out for me the most with this forum is that it provides very clear examples of the negative results of "training."

I am trying to convert all those negative results I have experienced into a workable learning experience. I am trying to live my life as best as I can and I want to be happy and healthy. This is a lifelong commitment.
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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:00 pm

helen66 wrote:
If you are a part of the organization fine. If you are not a member than get on with your life . Why are you clinging to the past? Somehow this all borders on gossip at its worst, world wide internet.

I appreciate this forum because I've been trying to come to terms with the serious harm some senior monks have inflicted upon sincere followers. I myself have seen some deeply disturbing behavior by OBC monks, ranging from petty issues to truly damaging "teaching" and conduct. Some of the harm that was inflicted upon vulnerable individuals is vividly described in detail in this forum.

This information is not gossip, but coming to terms with what is.

Leaving the OBC has left me with a huge sense of loss. To me, being part of a community was an important part of spiritual life. Silent retreats and meditation were good, but interaction with other people in the sangha -- both monks and lay people -- was also important. There are, after all, three parts to the Triple Treasure.

I and others who post in this forum would like to "get on" with our spiritual lives, but the process is neither fast nor easy. This is not "clinging to the past," but trying to make sense of the past. This forum is an important part of that process for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Small signs of change?   Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:35 pm

helen66 wrote:
I came to this forum to see what was being said and why it was necessary to have a forum of people who are no longer members of the OBC community or a monk. I go to an OBC Temple but I am not a member. I have been going for over 15 years....
.
You stated that you are not a member and that explains a lot. I would not expect someone who has not been a member and taken the profound risks membership requires to understand the feelings of those who have.
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Jiko



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PostSubject: Don't throw it all out   Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:45 pm

I think the worst thing that can happen for any of us is to be thrown off the Way because of the behavior of other people. Of course we are ultimately responsible for our path, but we are also responsible for how we treat other beings - especially suffering and vulnerable beings. We come to spiritual practice out of need, and for a long time may be deeply vulnerable. It is absolutely incumbent upon seniors to treat new trainees with kindness, compassion, and friendship, along with clear boundaries.

Please don't assume that all Soto Zen organizations or temples follow the same mistaken (institutional, human) ways. We all make mistakes, of course. But I know of many strong, wholesome sanghas, very small to quite large, with strong, ethically sound teachers and responsible senior practitioners. I feel so sad at the fear people have to seek another spiritual community because of a past event. Understandable, but sad. - Jiko
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