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 How this forum may have saved my son

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OreDAD



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PostSubject: How this forum may have saved my son   Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:31 pm

I am the father of an 18 year old who recently decided to go to a retreat at Shasta Abbey. I would have to say that my son is somewhat fragile, due to a physical disorder that has left him scarred physically and emotionally.



Raising him in a non-christian, open minded environment, and teaching him about meditation at an early age, drew him into learning about budhism.



About a month ago, he told me one morning that he was going to a retreat. I thought that this could be good for him, to help him sort things out in a non-judgemental setting. He had already packed for his trip and had bought supplies to donate the day before, so we hugged and he headed out on his 2-3 hour journey to Shasta Abbey.

I made him promise to call when he arrived, so that I would know he made it safely.



As soon as he left, I went online to see where Shasta Abbey was so I would know how long it would take for him to call me.

One of the first things I saw were "Cult Warnings" for Shasta Abbey, I scanned thru some of them just to see what the hype was, and then clicked on this forum.

In 20 minutes I read enought to know that this was not the place for my son! I tried calling him on his cell but it was off.



I jumped into my car and drove very illegally all the way to Mt Shasta, luckily he had stopped for a sandwich which gave me the precious seconds I needed. I arrived as he was standing at the gate about to go in. Needless to say he was shocked to see me. A female monk had come to let him in, as I motioned for him to come in the car.

We talked and told him what I had learned, and with tears in his eyes agreed not to go in. When we got home, we read thru almost all the threads here.



We both believe that this website and the experiences shared by others saved him from making a very bad decision. While we both still believe in budhism, it is a shame that insecure, egotistical, flawed individuals can ruin something that could be so much more. It all seems so contradictary to what the Abbey should be about.



From a grateful DAD,

Thank you all
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:52 pm

OreDad,

Welcome - I'm glad you find the forum helpful. As you look through the posts you'll see that there are diverse views on Shasta Abbey and the OBC, and the whole of it taken together is likely to be the most instructive. One thing we like to remind people of, though, is to take what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt, always, including what you see here. Knowledge-gathering is good, so is caution -

I hope all goes well with your son -

Regards,
Lise

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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:40 am

OreDAd,

I rarely contribute to these forums. That's true of many of us who have gained a lot, often a huge, huge amount, from Shasta Abbey. The reasons are many and varied, but in my case it's because I'm a sensitive soul and didn't like some of the annoyed comments, almost flaming, that I was getting on here. I saw no point in contributing when I had a full and happy life and didn't need this forum.

I owe that full and happy life to very, very large extent to meditation, Rev Master Jiyu, Shasta Abbey, and the OBC as a whole. I too was once a fragile and confused 18 year old, though for different reasons from your son. I grew into a confused and not very happy twenty-something. Then I found the OBC and...well, it's a long story, but it really helped me sort my life out. I owe them more than I can ever say, or ever repay. It wasn't easy, people weren't perfect, mistakes were made...but what in this life is perfect? For me, it worked!

I am 110% certain that the organisation is not a cult. I don't intend to argue with anyone on this site, or with you, as arguments are pointless. But as Lise said, be careful about what you read on the internet. People aren't always what they seem. Even with the best of intentions, some may have misinterpreted events and actions (and yes, I know that could include me).

I'm not alone in what I feel. I've already had an email today from one old friend from my OBC days, whom I know feels similarly. He may post, but trust me when I say for every one of the OBC supporters who sticks a head above the parapet and posts here, there are many more who won't post on here, for a variety of reasons. I wasn't going to, but I felt you needed to know the above.

Please, think again! Let your son go to an introductory retreat, and see how he gets on. Of course keep a wary parental eye on what's going on. You don't need me to tell you that. Of course find out all the information you can. But at the moment I think you've only heard from the disgruntled. They exist in every organisation. That's life. Thee is another side to all this.

Let your son find out from experience and be ready to help when needed. It may be Shasta Abbey which saves your son. He can only find out about life by trying it. He can't live it second hand.

Please feel free to discuss this with me, and in this case I'll break my self imposed rule and post on here...as I have already.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:37 am

OreDad,

I feel you could not have read any of the posts with the polar opposite view
of the detractors of Shasta Abbey and the OBC in general.
This in itself is not really surprising. There are 225 registered users here and as a proportion,very few make a posting.
There are an awful lot more readers who remain silent as well. This results in a tightly focused view of merits and failings of the OBC.
The majority of the posters seem to be detractors. This is however not a true cross sectioned view of the majority. That is unknown at this point.

I put myself in the camp who are in support of Shasta. I have been a monk there and in Throssel Hole in the U.K and have followed the Buddhist teachings
of the OBC for about 40 years now, most of this time as a lay person.
In all that time now, I have never been mistreated or abused in any way.
I would in fact say, that in a very real way, I owe my life to Buddhism, Rev
Master Jiyu and the OBC as this has led me to find true meaning in my life.

I support completely Jimyo`s statement above and could not have put it better. I can truly understand your great apprehension and concern for your
son after a quick 20 minutes reading of the forum. There is much more to it
than that though.
A small amount of people saying the OBC is a dangerous cult could be seen as
a service and a warning to sincere seekers. It could also be seen as people
causing true harm by maligning a genuine religious organisation and causing
great harm. It just depends where the truth lies.

Having said all that, in your position after a quick trawl of this site, I would
also have stopped my son but checked out more fully. There are no perfect
organisations and that applies to the OBC too. Where will you find one ?

I sincerely ask you to take more time to investigate. I myself was at first
convinced that this is purely anti OBC site. I have a more balanced view now
but it took a bit of getting there. This is a large and varied site if you have
the time to fully investigate.

Sincere best wishes to you and your son. Whichever way he settles on, there
is nothing more wonderful than finding peace and fulfillment in life.

Regards, Stan.

ps apologies for the formating.
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Nicky



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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:56 am

Oredad, i was moved by your story ,
i think you were brave and clear and did the right thing .
I'm unsure how to label the obc , i did learn something vital there ,but I'm relieved to have left. .
I absolutely wouldnt recommend a fragile teenager getting involved with their teaching .
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polly

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:15 am

Dear Oredad,

I too think you did the prudent thing, if for no other reason that the OBC is currently in some turmoil. (There are other reasons as well, but if you have read this forum you will already know some of these.)

I would not risk my fragile teenager in a place that has OBC's history, or its present upheaval, as a starting point in religious training. Jumping in at the deep end seems a poor choice or anyone if they already know they don't swim well. There are other Buddhist organizations out there that have weathered some storms and seem pretty stable at this time, like Spirit Rock on the central California coast. (That's to the best of my knowledge, you would of course need to check it out too.)

I would whole-heartedly recommend reading "A Path With Heart" by Jack Kornfield, for both you and your son, for some really positive ways to sort out what to look for both within a spiritual path and in your own heart when searching for one. Good luck!
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:05 pm

OreDAD wrote:

We both believe that this website and the experiences shared by others saved him from making a very bad decision. While we both still believe in budhism, it is a shame that insecure, egotistical, flawed individuals can ruin something that could be so much more. It all seems so contradictary to what the Abbey should be about.

As you can see there is a wide range of opinions. I fall somewhere in the middle in that I now see my years at Shasta Abbey as helpful in some ways and unhelpful in others. When reading posts here it's important to put them in context chronologically. I resided at SA from 1971 - 1984. It has been changing since then, and quite a bit just in the last year. While I cannot yet recommend that people go there (I would have to visit and see for myself before I could do so) I believe the mentality has changed significantly for the better since RM Meian has become Abbess.

Instead of considering our opinions perhaps you could share what you are specifically concerned about? We may be able to speak more directly to that.
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breljo

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:34 pm

After abandoning a lay practice of many years with a branch of the OBC, I feel pretty confident in saying that the OBC is not a cult, but that the teachings, views and practices are pretty "orthodox" and that there isn't much room left for any kind of doubt, dissent. For a sincere "seeker" this can have a great appeal since it demonstrates great certainty, the certainty we all would like to have and to be assured that we have found the right path we should follow. Problems come along and conflict arises when it is eventually revealed that the teachings, behavior, views that are being demonstrated don't quite coincide with what one believes is worthy or true of a great religion. To be able to discern that can be very hard and depending on ones own perceptions, life experience and views can be infinately confusing to sort out and leave one with more questions then answers before one started practicing which then may take years to sort out, or even come to terms with, if at all. So, in any case, caution is always advised, but we can't wrap ourselves in protective clothing forever but have to live life as it presents itsself at the moment. In my experience there are many that have found happiness within the OBC as well as many others who for one reason or another have found quite the opposite.
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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:21 pm

Oredad, ( I am an Oregon Dad too)

You made a good choice. At an earlier time in my life I found the discipline and support I needed through Shasta Abbey to get a meditation practice going in my youth. Then things took an authoritarian and unhealthy turn there, and I left my involvement. If I had an 18 year old son, I would not want him to be going on retreat there at the present time. From your description I would probably consider finding a locally based sangha with an active meditation group to help your son find the kind of support that can help him develop a grounded meditation practice and sound ethical values. I would avoid any group, frankly, that asks an inordinate amount of commitment and loyalty.
Bill Ryan
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OreDAD



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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:01 pm

Thank you Bill R.,

And thank all of you that have responded. I would agree with what Bill said and his advice is the direction I am heading. My son is a bit disillusioned by the whole thing right now, but I know he will get over it.

I have done a lot more front end research on different temples, and have not been able to find any with the level of conflict that exists at Shasta Abbey and the OBC in general. (I will probably be enlightened to the contrary by some of you) This too makes me a little nervous, because I wonder if they just dont have anyone willing to talk about problems. But honestly, I would have never expected the level and depth of discontent voiced by former OBC members.

A couple of responders mentioned that twenty minutes was not enough to make a fair judgement, but to clarify; when I initally went online to find out where Shasta Abbey was, I saw multiple sights with very negative viewpoints. I was a shocked to say the least, but I did review these with a grain of salt. It seems someone always has something bad to say about just about anything.

I did a quick review of several sights and then landed on this one, then I spent twenty minutes reading both sides of various issues. It was at this point I realized I had read enough to jump in the car and stop my son until we could better assess the situation.

When we got home I showed him this site and we read posts and responses for over two hours. He had seen enough to convince him that my fears were justified. I spent the rest of the night reading almost every relevant post and replies. I knew that I had made the right choice.

To be specific, here are the things I did not like:

1. The purpose of the retreat seems to be a recruitment into a four year program to become a monk.

2. It would seem that the masters have lost sight of what this is all about, too many spoke of monks on power trips that would not allow you to question, it also seemed they were consumed by proving to each other who is the most enlightened, and who has the most power.

3. It sounds as if the OBC is making their own religion that has strayed from the original. Many of those that were involved in the early years feel that it has changed for the worse.

4. The facility itself was far from what I (or my son) expected, it seemed very much like a compound in my opinion. My son even said that it kind of scared him when he got there.

Anyway I do feel that I gave all the information a sound review, I would also note that many of the replies in favor of the Abbey were very telling, they did not dispute many of the problems, instead they tried to justify them with obscure quotes and weak arguments of why their way was right no matter what. Those were the most convincing arguments on why we made the right decision.



Thanks Again to all
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:08 pm

Oredad, I would generally concur with your worries for your son, but for slightly different reasons. My main concern for your son would be that you said that his physical and emotional state was fragile. I think the rigours of a Zen retreat, at least as I experienced them, might put him at risk. Zen retreats are not for everyone. Bill gave good advice about finding a local sangha (of whatever hue) that your son found congenial and that could accept and work with his fragility to build his strength.

As to Shasta, well, I think you have to separate matters of faith or doctrine and matters of behaviour or action. I left Shasta mainly over matters of faith. I felt that doctrines had changed in a way that I could not accept. But others here, whose opinions I would respect, like Stan Kubliki and Helen Krasner, obviously accepted the changes and seemed to have got benefit from the OBC. It is true that faiths like all 'living' things change and evolve, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Today's heretics occasionally becoming tomorrow's saints. But here you must judge for yourself there is plenty of material to form a judgement from, 'How to Grow a Lotus Blossom', 'Zen is Eternal Life', 'The Wild, White Goose', etc. And incidentally there is a lively discussion heresy in another thread.

Whilst faith matters are generally universal to a group, behaviour is less so. So it is not uncommon for some to go through a corrupted institution relatively unscathed by it. Here you need to judge by the general tenor and the particular incidence and nature of aberrant behaviour, particularly where this involves those in charge. So far at Shasta the ex-head of the institution, Eko Little, appears to have misconducted himself for many years, and I am reliably informed that there is more that could come out. He also seems to have ruthlessly supressed any questioning of his behaviour. This went on for a long time and the other seniors appear to have supported him when his behaviour was questioned. This is not good, and leads to an aberrant culture that is best steered clear of until it is corrected. Correction, where possible, normally takes radical action and a number of years to transform a suppressive, secretive and authoritarian culture into an open, transparent and accountable one.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:38 am

OreDAD,

I think you made a wise decision. While your son at some point might benefit from the kind of rigorous, doctrinaire training promoted at Shasta, he is young and you say somewhat fragile. My experience as a parent is that such a child can be too easily influenced by the monks.

A mature adult might benefit from a week at Shasta, but I think it could appear strange and scary to a young person such as your boy. It really is a "compound" surrounded by a fence and protected by a gate. The rules are extremely strict and the behavior of guests is tightly regulated. It might have appeared prison-like to a fragile young person -- even though the monks will tell you that you're free to leave at any time, it doesn't feel that way when you're there. Good for you for protecting him from what could have been -- at best -- a questionable situation.

By the way, I don't think the monks are trying to recruit people at guest retreats to become monks. For the most part, the monks try to be kind and helpful to guests. But still -- you can be thankful that you pulled your boy out of there!
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:42 am

Let the seeker beware -- or more precisely, let the seeker be aware. Less fear, more mindfulness.

I love that you did your homework, didn't just read the promotional websites and brochures, but sought alternative and critical viewpoints. Clearly, this site is a valuable resource, even if the Shasta apologists dismiss the whole thing. No surprise there.

The spiritual scene may at first seem simple from a distance - lots of well intentioned seekers and mystics gathering together for self-improvement or awakening guided by many enlightened, wise and selfless sages who only exist for the welfare of others. That's a nice story, but in reality, on this planet, at this time, the spiritual scene is a much more complex environment. And there is ample, voluminous evidence that proves this over and over again. I know this from decades of personal experience. Let the seeker be aware, keep his eyes open and assume that human nature is alive and well in the gurus and their scenes.

So many Zen communities have be racked by crisis, emotionally abusive teachers, alcoholic masters, sexual predators, megalomaniacs. And most groups shunned and even persecuted their critics, tried to suppress dissent, demonized the leave-takers, and so on. These things happened over and over again. And of course, we all "misunderstood," "didn't get it," "failed at being good disciples," were somehow defective / defectors, broke the precepts," and so on. We have axes to grind because we speak out about what we saw and heard.

Buddhism,Zen, meditation has a great deal to offer and there are many organizations that come with far less baggage and a far less confused history. There are organizations that do not demand absolute obedience, that do not suppress criticism or questioning, that do not shun leave-takers and questioners, that do not glorify their teachers.

Someone here recommended Spirit Rock in Marin County - and they have lots of introductory programs on meditation, mindfulness, Buddhism in daily life. There are many organizations that are based on simple forms of vipassana and mindfulness, and cleaner and simple forms of zen. There are also off-shots of Zen like Adyashanti and others that some people find useful. But even as I recommend these, don't take my word for anything. Find out for yourself. Also there are many more eclectic new age / yoga / holistic centers that offer introductory days or weekends on various forms of meditation that could be useful.

But regardless of where you go or your son goes, always come and go as an adult, keep your eyes open. Any organization can descend into becoming cultic,authoritarian, self-aggrandizing. Any teacher can become inflated and grandiose. Pay attention, engage in the practice, keep your mind open -- but NOT too open that you deny your own gut feelings.

And no matter what, you can try something and then change your mind. Yes is sometimes a good answer, but so is NO. Yes, i will take that advance seminar in meditation. NO, i will NOT commit myself to that six week program, not yet. Let me think about. And if they tell you that this is your one chance at enlightenment and that to leave is to kill the Buddha, run for the hills.
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:52 pm

Dear Oregon Dad,
I'm just tuning in after a stressful time - hubby in the hospital, now back, - things are looking up for now.
I may not be saying much new; and you may already know my bear personality from reading the forum extensively.
It seems to me that we are not only addressing you, Oredad, but polemizing with each other as well.
I am glad you and your son made the decision you did outside the gates of Shasta Abbey. My main concern is that your son may be too vulnerable to expose himself to a risky venture that Shasta Abbey is. This does not mean that he is also not a mature young man. We may be mature and vulnerable simulataneously. Josh advises to approach 'spiritual' institutions as an adult. It may be easier said than done. Someone who discovered alluring promise, 'sacred' hope, is not inclined to hold oneself back. Is it not beautiful to give everything, throw the caution to the wind! I can't speak for everybody but am possibly speaking for many others. Joining a group, who profess to have keys to truth and liberation, is often done precisely with eyes=critical judgement 'wide shut'. One approaches these things as a child - trusting, leaving caution outside the door. The quality of trust, faith, is, in my Shasta experience, very much encouraged, praised, rewarded, and the opposite is disapproved of.
I left Shasta Abbey in 1974, after having gone very deeply into it, burning my bridges behind me. There was no thought of experimentation in my mind, - this was IT for me. I can offer (and have done so on this site) only my experience of training under Jiyu Kennett. How much things have changed, I can't fully judge but JK is clearly viewed as a profoundly revered founder of the present Stasta Abbey and OBC. As far as I know, Jiyu Kennett's teachings and methods are not corrected, much less repudiated. She is portrayed as someone who, though human and thus fallible, was always acting out of compassion, and wisdom.
I can report an experience of a new monk (in early 1971-72), and a so-called senior monk, 1973-74. Throughout the time I was given mixed messages about my person, more frequently negative, even hurtfully, devastatingly so. There was no discussion - rather there were claims, unfounded, bizarre, about my behaviour, even my motives, made in front of the whole community, sometimes formally, censoriously announced by JK during the solemn period of morning mediation. Particullarly during the first months after ordination I was given messages of harsh disapproval, threats of being 'kicked out'; some more senior monks were also co-opted to join in this. I was clearly NOT the only one who was given this treatment. That did not make it any easier to bear - rather, it gave legitimacy and weight to this treatment and prompted me to bear it, believing that, painful and utterly confusing though it was, it was for my good. What it seemed to aim to accomplish was to break one's will, silence one's judgement, even conscience (where treating others similarly was concerned), take away one's responsibility for oneself, one's autonomy as a human being. I can't stress enough how much negativity was present there, and how much natural human emotions, aspirations, longings, were put down. JK's favourite sayings, for example, were, "Sex is a dirty necessity", and "I don't beat the trainees physically, but am busy beating them psychologically". And she did!
I am not the kind of a person who dwells on the past. Life is an fascinating - and at times difficult - journey, frequently rich and beautiful. Why throw it away, forever licking one's wounds, seeing oneself as a victim. Still, one's past co-shaped our psyche. We, who see many negative aspects in our SA experience, have been re-visiting it on this site, not because we are 'disgruntled' as Jimyo put it. It is - at least in my case - because there is a lot in that experience that remained unresolved, and as such was keeping us unable to live freely - NOW.
I am now adding my voice, because I certainly feel concerned for your son, who at eighteen, is very young, and vulnerable. I cannot recommend him to even as much as experiment with Shasta Abbey, unless he is able to view it very critically, with a lot of doubt at the back of his mind, and all defences up. In that case, however, I would very much question whether there is much point in going there, even for a retreat. One can spend one's time more profitably elsewhere. Very good suggestions were made by a few in this very thread.
Open mind is good, certainly, but not so open that one's brains fall out (not my dictum). There are, obviously, very varied views expressed on this forum. There is, also, a silent majority, whose voice can't be tallied on either side of the pro/con Shasta discussion. Truth is, however, not accountable to democracy; the majority view is of little consequence when truth is sought.
I wish the best of luck to your son. He has a good dad!
Ol'ga
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:44 am

The rules of checkers only apply on the checkerboard.

One of the signs of a cultic organization is that critics -- those who challenge or question -- are almost always accused of "maligning" not only the organization or the teacher, but maligning the Dharma, the truth, the Buddha, attacking the very fabric of the universe, and so on. Criticism is cast as evil, as dangerous, as supremely harmful, as doing harm to others. It is about the worst thing you can do, question, challenge. "Causing true harm" what is "true harm" as opposed to what?

And this was especially true with regard to Shasta - certainly when I was there. As I have said elsewhere, Kennett had a severe pathological over reaction to even the slightest questioning. Many people on this site -- who were there when i was there - confirm this.

So I question this story -- that any of these words, thoughts, discussions on this site does harm to anyone, let alone "true harm," let alone maligning the dharma. How is that even possible? I treat people as adults. They can think for themselves. They can consider alternative points of view. I question blind faith. And if something on this site upsets some people, well that's interesting isn't it? Why are they upset? What an opportunity to look at their own minds and belief systems and determine - for themselves - what is true and what isn't. What makes sense and what doesn't. What is beneficial and what isn't.

If you don't want to question, then don't read this site. No one forces you to read anything. Only think the thoughts that make you feel good if you want.

It is certainly true that in all fundamentalist religions, questioning is heretical, punishable by excommunication, banishment, shunning, even death. You must believe the one true party line - anything else is considered harmful, defective. I am not saying that the Church of Kennett is or was the same as the Taliban, but Kennett did essentially ban and shun people that didn't follow her absolutely. And those who spoke out - were cast as precept breakers, going to some version of hell, etc.

And by the way, the Zen / Chan / Buddhist tradition is filled with teachers and masters who severely questioned each others teaching, challenged each other, criticized each other. As I mentioned elsewhere, Dogen was one of the most severe critics of other lineages and teaching. So frankly, that i or others on this site question or challenge Kennett's teachings on the Lord of the House and her lotus blossom period and her monotheism - and her often irrational and abusive behavior -- why not question and examine that? Seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

The rules of checkers only apply on the checker board. Most of the people on this site stopped playing the Shasta / Kennett game, so those rules no longer apply. We are not playing that game. We threw out those rules. I fired Kennett as my teacher and resigned from that scene. Many people did.

Now, if you are still playing the Kennett / Shasta game, if you are still following those rules, then when you read these postings, when you read what we are saying and doing here, it all appears outrageous, radical, inexplicable, just wrong. Chaos, madness. We probably appear to be insane, defective.

WE've just left the checkerboard -- and you think the checkerboard is the whole of life, is reality, the best reality, the true way, the only way, the only way to play the game. In fact, you don't even realize that you are playing a game.
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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:05 am

Hi oredad

I'm someone who has had positive (but difficult) experiences from my time in an obc monastery. Some of the practices and teachings really helped me to see a few things about myself that were causing me problems in my life. So then I made successful changes.

Having said that, I still think you made the right decision. 'Better safe than sorry'. I have only really tinkered with obc practice while a few members of this forum were right in there as senior members. We'd be silly not to give some respect to their points of view.

One thing that has amused me is just how exceptionally nice so many people on this forum (from both sides of the fence) are. When I try to pin down the thing they all have in common.....its......the.....O...B....C lol!
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:58 am

JCBARAN

" The rules of checkers only apply on the checkerboard" Hmmm.....Deeep !

Here we go again. Another pronouncement from on high. Whats up here ? Is
there only one opinion..and I stress opinion, that can be correct here ? Your
opinion ?

" The rules of Checkers only apply on the checkerboard. Most of the people on
this site stopped playing the Shasta/Kennet game". Are you sure ? Most ?.

There are 220 odd regular users but how many regular posters ? 20 ? 30 ?.
It`s a fairly small enclosed world here on this forum. And anyway, Didn`t
you say yourselfe that numbers mean nothing ? Does that still apply ? "

" I fired Kennet as my teacher and resigned from that scene. Many people did."

O.K, good for you, so you keep saying but, a whole lot more didn`t. Numbers ?.

You then intimate that if you`re not one of the elite that have given up the game, then you must fall into the other category of those " still playing the
Kennet/ Shasta game."
" Still following those rules, then when you read all these postings, when you
read what we ( WE ?...You speak for for the majority ? ) are saying and doing
here, it all appears outrageous, radical,inexplicable, just wrong. Chaos,
madness. We probably appear to be insane, defective."
I`m sorry, I really just had to laugh at that point ! Are you sure about all
that ? and you thought Kennet was a repressed thespian !?

You go on....

" We`ve just left the checkerboard..( No ! don`t go ! )....and you think that
the checkerboard is the whole way of life..( Deeep again )....in fact, you don`t
even realise that you are playing a game.
REALLY ??? I`m blinded by the light O Master. Your certitude knows no bounds. Doesn`t remind you of anyone by any chance ?

Again....

" If you don`t want to question, then don`t read this site. No one forces you
to read anything ( that`s a relief ) Only think the thoughts that make you
feel good if you want."
Well Golly Gee, Thanks for letting me think my thoughts ! You`re too kind.
As you would say.." let`s just hold that thought for a moment !" Yes do.
In fact, why not lean right back and blow a cigar smoke halo with it ? How
deeply satisfying. Give me a break !

I appreciate your various postings on the site. Quite look forward to them even but, you really don`t have to charge down every pro OBC interloper.


I know I`m not alone in thinking that some of these postings have been
deliberately hurtful, cavalier with the truth,and condemnatory. on at least one
occasion,slur and innuendo was employed. Is it really so surprising that very
few pro OBCers wish to venture here ?

Look at that little episode with that extraordinary outburst on Tom. ( what
teachings do you carry with you.june 04 2011). That was hurtful and not a
little embarrassing. thank god for gorfingel who put his arm around Toms shoulder and subsequent apologies. What have we all learned here ? Have
we really moved on ?

Back to the topic

You said that Kennet never meditated...EVER ! Excuse me, How do you know
when she was meditating or not ? Got special powers ? Do you mean seated
formal meditation ? I recall an after evening service sitting in Shasta when I
was striking the bell during double meditation. She came in and did the full
second sit..formally. Am i lying ? What should I make of this ?

I`ve noticed we have a shared interest in Trungpa. Regarding him you quote,
" Trungpa is a very complex situation (?). Much of what he wrote was quite
brilliant. clearly he had some deep insight". and this is the guru famous for
debauchery, an alcoholic and running a cultish organisation.

You can say all that and at the same time deny Kennet/OBC the same amount
of leeway and respect.
I wonder, Just how do you make that one work for you ? Really.

Those of us who generally support the OBC do not need to be personally
harangued for our views at every opportunity.
Sure, You can attack our points of view as much as you like..no problem.
We just don`t need what amounts to personal abuse.
Please, can you cut us a little slack on this one ?

AS you know, I support the OBC but, when I read Howard`s story for one
example, I feel very disturbed. I did not have those type of experiences. O.K,
I was just a lowly grunt, far away from the vatican end of the church but my
experiences were positive.
However, I can`t get away from the conflict of the ideal and actual. I too
would like to have clarity and see healing and a resolution of the situation
going forward. It`s why I remain on this site.
I am making my own small private efforts to this end. I would indeed be very
disappointed if there is not much resolution by the end of the year. More than
disappointed.

I hope you don`t mind me talking very frankly to you in this manner. I respect
you enough to feel I can do so.

Sincerely, Stan.

ps apologies for the formating. I seem to have that problem too.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:14 am

OreDad

" Many of the replies in favour of the abbey were very telling. They did not
did not dispute many of the problems, instead they tried to justify them with
obscure quotes and weak arguments of WHY THEIR WAY WAS RIGHT NO
MATTER WHAT".

Strong words. Care to back them up and point out a couple of the above
arguments ? I can`t find them.

Thanks, Stan.
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:53 pm

FWIW, Oredad, I agree most strongly with Mark Strathern's advice to help your son find a local Sangha or meditation group.

I think there's little risk that anything bad would happen to your son's mental game as a result of a weekend at SA, but on the other hand if he's somewhat in crisis mode already, it would be better if he was close to home in case (for example) beginning a meditation practice causes a psychotic break. In fact, if I may, I would suggest that you ask your son whether it's okay for you to visit whatever organization he chooses to join, either separately or with him, so that you can have an independent sense of how it "feels". Perhaps you could drive separately and only compare notes afterward.

But I want to stress, NOTHING of a programming or indoctrinating nature went on at the introductory retreat that I attended at Shasta Abbey, nor was there any push made to get us to become monks, nor even to come again if it didn't seem like it was right for us. It simply isn't that batsh!t bananas kind of place, particularly for guest beginners. The tone was "this is how we meditate, this is what we teach, are there any questions?"

Those who find it sinister that their property is fenced should look around their own neighborhoods (in the US) to see how many properties have fences and gates. Sheesh, people...!

--Dan

P.S. Jimyo I love your new picture. And I completely agree that far too much was made of your choice of the word "disgruntled". And also I agree w/ you and Stan that Josh is being pretty sweeping and unfair.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:21 pm

breljo wrote:
although as "Kid" put it. that the disgruntled ones just simply couldn't hack it.

Yes, this was the implication built into the system, that leaving = failure.

breljo wrote:
So, is it really necessary to give up all dignity and trust that that is for your benefit? and is there perhaps a way to finally discern between what is "good for you" or whether it's just simple inordinate rudeness and contempt that's being brought down upon one by often not very "skilful means"?

Each one of us must be the final arbiter when it comes to matters of conscience and heart, which is contrary to what was taught - in fact taboo.

breljo wrote:
It takes courage, to really look into your inner being, to pursue all the little recesses in your mind where the dust might still be settling and bring it all to light and if you really look with honesty and diligence you may eventually have at least a measure of success and admit that it is an endless process, and one that does not necessarily need the approval or confirmation of anyone that deems to know you better then yourself. When the Buddha lay dying and I believe it was Ananda asked who the Sangha was to look to after the Buddhas demise, he reminded them to "Be a lamp unto yourself" . That is pretty good advice right there.

Yes
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:50 pm

I am offended at Stan's harangue of Josh Baran.
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:21 am

Carol wrote:
I am offended at Stan's [DEBATE WITH] Josh Baran.

So?

10char.

(and I fixed it for you)
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lesley

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:02 pm

Glorfindel...that was a very important amendment with which I heartily agree..Good for you!..with gassho, Lesley
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:38 pm

I used the word "harangue" (had to look up the spelling -- hope that's right!) because the usual dialogue on this forum, while often heated, is usually conducted in respectful terms. Usually the discussion avoids personal attacks and a sarcastic tone.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:13 pm

CAROL.

Hi Carol, I`m sorry you felt unable or didn`t want to address me directly but
said " I am offended at stan`s harangue of Josh Baran" as if I`m not `here` so
to speak. I wonder, why is that ?

Carol, No one forces you to read anything here. Only think the thoughts that
make you feel good if you want. and so on.
Are you starting to get offended yet ? No..?. I can go on a lot more in a similar vein if you want. I won`t of course. That`s not my point but, how should I
feel in a similar position.

You didn`t seem to have an issue with any of the points I put to Josh so I
assume you were offended by my attitude.
I tried to write in a rather "tongue in cheek" manner to Josh. Forcefully,yes,
but Josh is very direct and "full on" when he wants to be. I just wanted to
match that when I replied to his points. I did mention to Josh that I meant
him no disrespect and I meant it.

We pro OBC`ers are regularly put down for our views and beliefs...our points
unanswered when it suits. It can be more than tiresome sometimes.

I have read all the posts with interest and concern on this forum. I know you
are sincere and caring but you obviously found something hurtful.

I would like to assure you that I meant no hurt or offense to anyone. neither
you nor Josh. I don`t believe in it. I hope you can accept that.

Stan.




.
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:17 pm

Hi Carol, I will be more polite this time Smile I felt a bit bad being so curt in my above post, with you usually being so sweet and all.

I felt that Stan's post was brimming with feisty humour, similar to that used by JCBaran himself. I found it witty and sharp.
Also I felt that the disclaimer at the end of the post was very polite and honorable. I will quote it here:



Stan Giko wrote:


I hope you don`t mind me talking very frankly to you in this manner. I respect
you enough to feel I can do so.



And that's what I meant to say before.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:53 pm

Carol wrote:
I used the word "harangue" (had to look up the spelling -- hope that's right!) because the usual dialogue on this forum, while often heated, is usually conducted in respectful terms. Usually the discussion avoids personal attacks and a sarcastic tone.

Carol, I agree with your take on this, in both of your posts above. For the most part we've been fortunate that most members here have been able to converse without rancor, sarcasm or hostility directed toward others.

I have not seen, in Josh's posts, that he is addressing any specific person. I see his posts as messages meant to challenge the concepts of blind faith and mindless obedience; I think that when he says "you", he is speaking to those who believe and follow mindlessly. That's not me, so I'm not offended.

Lise
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:15 pm

Jcbaran wrote:

Now, if you are still playing the Kennett / Shasta game, if you are still following those rules, then when you read these postings, when you read what we are saying and doing here, it all appears outrageous, radical, inexplicable, just wrong. Chaos, madness. We probably appear to be insane, defective.

WE've just left the checkerboard -- and you think the checkerboard is the whole of life, is reality, the best reality, the true way, the only way, the only way to play the game. In fact, you don't even realize that you are playing a game.


Lise, in the above quote Jcbaran, is clearly directing his opinions at a specific audience and then comparing an unspecified "we" to that audience. He isn't always as abstract as you assert.

Not that I've noticed before this. I usually get a TL;DR reaction to long posts. funny
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:05 am

:-) I can vouch for Stan as a "feisty humour" sort of person. He quickly swept that "teddybear" reference under the carpet in his introductory thread...it takes great spherical objects to wear such an image...but Stan's no fan of hostility. It can be difficult to know what tone of voice to read things in, at times...sigh...

Sorry about talking over your head, Stan!

Oh dear, I've probably disgraced myself again... (-:
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:04 pm

LISE

" I have not seen,in Josh`s posts, that he is addressing any specific person."

Lise, Josh quoted and I mean quoted, a phrase from my post no less than
three times. " causing true harm ", " true harm", " true harm". If he quotes
me directly, how can I not think that it`s me who he is referring to ?

You also say,

" I think that when he says "You", he is speaking to those who believe and follow mindlessly. That`s not me,so I`m not offended."

O.K, So who just are `those` that follow mindlessly ? Can you point them out
?, I don`t think I`m `one of those` and don`t take particularly kindly to being
so accused.

It`s easy to make a call out to criticize stan. Why not address the points I
was making. Should I be shunned ?, banned ?

I believe that there is a strong criticism that can be made of this forum. It is
that it promotes a strong "us" against"them" divide. It seems to be getting
worse. I fear it may get much worse. It would be a great pity as there is so
much that is good and shared here. I think we can all agree on that.

I left my post to Josh behind me a while ago. I imagine josh has heard enough.
I have repeated twice that I meant Josh no disrespect .
Certainly not everyone agrees with yours and Carol`s view on my posting.

It would be nice if we could drop this now...it doesn`t seem to be leading
anywhere. Will another nice lady be having a go at me tomorrow ?

Peace to all ! Stan.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:49 pm

Stan -- As you say, Peace to all! There are probably more important topics to discuss than who said what in what tone to whom! -- Carol
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: How this forum may have saved my son   Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:31 pm

CAROL.

Bless you Carol and thank you !......Peace it is. Can`t beat it !

Best wishes, Stan.
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