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 Additional info on Michael Little

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Lise
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PostSubject: Additional info on Michael Little   Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:51 pm

Hello everyone. After discussion in the admin bullpen, the decision was made to raise this topic on the forum. The intent is not to pour kerosene on the embers of an old discussion simply for entertainment. If there are forum members & viewers out there who had this happen to them, they should know they are not the only ones.

In June of this year at a sangha meeting at Shasta Abbey, Meian disclosed further information about Michael Little's inappropriate behaviour with women. (I was not at the meeting.) I'm told she said that, during phone calls with some female disciples, the former Abbott would engage in self-stimulation resulting in sexual climax. How often this occurred, or with how many disciples, I don't know, but my understanding is that this was not an uncommon occurrence. How long this behaviour went on, I also do not know. If anyone has additional details, feel free to post them in this thread.

It's unfortunate that this information was made available only to those who were able to personally attend a meeting at the Abbey. Conceivably, many more could have been affected by Little's behaviour, and how would they know they weren't the only ones? If they cannot attend meetings in Mt. Shasta or aren't comfortable doing so, they are effectively cut off from receiving information to which they're entitled. I hope those in charge at the Abbey will reconsider their approach to rectifying harm, and find better, more inclusive ways to publicise information that should be available to all and not just a few.

If anyone needs help in regard to this issue and wishes to discuss it privately, you're welcome to send me a PM.

best,
Lise
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George
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:35 pm

My fiancee and others worked very hard to try to rebuild their prominent congregation after it was ravaged by a predatory minister. She says public acknowledgment of his behavior (long covered up) brought forth many other victims, who had thought that they were isolated.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:21 am

I find this actually hard to believe. but if rev Mein said it did then I guess it did.

It must be incredibly difficult for monks who have stayed there under going a discipline, struggling with the practice being told to give up an external world,and also being very sincere about it,to find out the Abbot has been doing this on the phone. For the ladies that he did this to is must be horrible too, they must feel contaminated.

Mike seems a bit sick to me, I am not better or higher than anyone else,there has been incredible hurt over the years, I left Kennett Roshi years ago i have looked in and said hello and I think I will keep moving on now, I am connected to Soto Zen, I practice zazen,and believe in what I am doing.

Very brave of Rev Mein to reveal this,I hope all issues are resolved,and people can be freinds and put things down. I support all attempts from everyone to heal wounds caused by bitterness or misunderstanding of personal relationship.

Great respect and love Chisan
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:25 am

The only person able to explain accurately why he did this may be Mike Little.

Unlike hinayana/Theravada teaching, the Mahayana does not hold sexual activity per se as preventing awakening on any stage of the supramundane path. However, I infer that the situation described was not mutually agreed upon; and while ML might not have intended to affect the other party etherically, this could have been an outcome, or they may have picked up on it by other means.

I don’t know ML, and cannot assume it was due to lust (a manifestation of “devotion to sense-pleasure”, one of the knots to be released on the supramundane path): for all I know, it might have been part of a longing for personal closeness and for someone with whom affection can be shared. I think many people want such a relationship, which (as far as I am aware) the OBC does not currently accommodate among its monastic personnel.

I conjecture that ML may have had a difficult koan to resolve: for example, his teacher (RMJ) held the hinayana/Theravada belief that sexual activity and heart-mate type relationships prevented deeper stages of awakening, or were indicative that those deeper stages had not been reached; also, most of his adult life was in the OBC, and he may have doubted his ability to survive or even to train outside, as the notion that monasticism is requisite for these deeper stages was believed by RMJ, and Theravada belief holds monasticism necessary for subsequently surviving them.

...Of course, the foregoing theories may have nothing to do with it.

I have not touched upon the distress or concerns experienced by ML's disciples but this does not imply lack of sympathy.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:49 am

I`m with mikechisan`s sentiments on this one. I found your comments came
from real concern with sympathy for all concerned mike.
I too was shocked. One of the reasons I left the monastery was that I found
celibacy would not suit me long term. There but for the grace of god maybe
goes I, springs to mind. Sobering thoughts.
It reminds me of a Ramana Maharshi saying...." Master of the universe but,
still slave of sex".
One thing that troubles me is that, would the desciples have known during the
phone calls what Eko was doing ? If not, why cause extra hurt all round ? He
has already left under a cloud.
Another point, has this been going on a long time ? if so, why had the
person that knew , not brought it up straight away ?
The last thing that worries me is the thing that goes " he said that she said
that she saw...."
I hope we`re not getting the wrong end of something. Any more clarity on
this one ?
A bit of a heavy heart today.
Stan.
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:57 am

My first impression, too, was disbelief, but then I got to thinking maybe it is true.

There was someone once in the community who was "caught" in disturbing inappropriate sexual behavior. Eko's response to this was to insist on a public confession followed by a very cruel, demeaning humiliation as the community sat silent and watched Eko's tirade.

I think there is some truth that the character flaws that we want to beat out of someone else are the very ones that we won't recognize in oursleves.

What's disturbing about this as well is that it's not phone sex, it's not mutual; the person on the line isn't even aware of it. In my opinion, that's a perversion. However, the question does remain: How does the OBC know this for a fact? I can't imagine mike little would confirm or deny such allegations, but stranger things have happened.


I also think it's important for his disciples to know, especially the females one. What if sometime down the road, for whatever reason, a congregation starts to grow around him again, I think it would be prudent if this information was out there. I sure as heck would want to know if my teacher had these proclivities.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:22 am

My understanding is that some women came forward and told the OBC this had happened; Michael Little didn't disclose it before or after he left. I don't know if he is in contact with the OBC, to confirm or deny it.

I don't think it would be difficult to know that someone was doing this during a phone call, in fact I think it would become obvious after a point.

As to why the women didn't bring it up, I try to put myself in their place -- what would it feel like, to try to tell someone about this? What words could you even use, that didn't cause a flood of shame and embarrassment? And how to know that you would be believed?

I agree, Mokuan, if Little sought to lead a spiritual group again, this kind of information is critical to know.
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:28 am

mokuan wrote:
the person on the line isn't even aware of it.

If it's true then someone, somewhere must have been aware of it. Were the victims told? Were there sound effects? Was someone watching?



"Welcome to the Monkey House"



Ah ok I got ninja'd by lise's post.

I'm not sure how possible it would be for someone to know I was having an orgasm over the phone unless I told them what was going on. The sharpness and specificity of the details given don't really match up to the nature of the evidence (some sounds).

I'm guessing the victims of this didn't snitch on him because there was uncertainty as to what was going on.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:57 am

Stan Giko wrote:

Another point, has this been going on a long time ? if so, why had the
person that knew , not brought it up straight away ?

I don't know that either Diana or Laura were privy to (or subjected to) this specific scenario, but they have both written about how they were ignored when they tried to make others aware of what they felt was inappropriate behavior on the part of Eko.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:57 am

Lise, do you know if the women involved had originally agreed upon this course with Mike Little? If it was consensual, I am wondering if Meian might have disclosed it because it infringed OBC monastic rules on sexual behaviour.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:31 pm

Anne, I don't know if any of the women agreed, but in this setting, agreement isn't germane to the issue; consent would be meaningless, ineffective. As others have said here, a spiritual adviser/pastor has a special relationship with those they counsel because of the influence they can wield over that person. It can't ever be acceptable for a pastor, or Zen master, to engage in sexual behavior whilst in such a relationship.

It's like a student agreeing to a teacher doing the same, or a child consenting to a parent, or a patient experiencing this with a doctor. I don't have legal knowledge, to able to discuss this very deeply, but my understanding is that such behaviour is illegal as well as unethical.

I would think Meian disclosed the information for the right reasons, to try to help people who were harmed. I would just like to see that effort extend beyond the locality of Mt. Shasta, as the monks' influence is not confined to the city limits there -
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:05 pm

:-) Thank you, Lise.

As an aside on the matter of ethics, I agree that someone who sees themselves in a ‘junior’ position may agree to a proposal by someone whom they see as ‘senior’ because they trust the ‘senior’ has superior knowledge or they feel in some way obligated; and the ‘senior’ can use this to the disadvantage of the ‘junior’. The question for me is, did these women feel thus influenced? I don’t assume automatically that this is what happened, but it might be. I am probably too far removed from the world of masters and disciples to have much insight on this...the law seems to be speaking of generalities, and treating this as the only possibility, whereas I am wondering about the specific cases in question, whatever general opinion might be (and they might turn out to be the same).
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:48 pm

We still haven't established whether or not the alleged actions ever occured! Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

There are several possibilities in my view:

*There was bilateral, consensual masturbation.
*There was unilateral non-consensual masturbation.
*Shasta Abbey are setting up a character assassination of M. Little.
*None of the above.

I'm still suspicious of the precision of detail portrayed. I'm unconvinced that such precision would be possible from sounds at the other end of the phone, unless the activities were bilateral or they were made up.

As an experiment I may try it out later with my gf and see if she notices. I'll post the data here.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm

GLORFINDEL,

STOP ! You`re making my ribs ache !
Anyway, which of the possibilities are you refering to ?

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:43 pm

You guys!!! Come on!

"If there are forum members & viewers out there who had this happen to them, they should know they are not the only ones."

I agree, people should have a public place to share their personal trauma if they so choose. But what you are clearly doing (in this whole forum, not just this thread) is indulge in deep attachment. What you guys are doing is so transparent! You have to see it. It's pure indulgence. Look, on this thread, nobody has shared an experience so far, but there are thirteen posts of pure speculation and negativism.
Let go guys. Those of you who want to read and share painful experiences, you have my support. The rest of you who simply indulge and instigate more trouble, please I encourage you to let go, and forgive yourselves and others. This is not productive. This thread has not been productive (save on exposing this event that needed light).
Be honest with yourselves, look at this forum and consider if its not akin to a group of people who get together and can't stop badmouthing someone. I know that's not what the SPIRIT of this place is, but it has definitively developed into it.
It seems awfully obsessive, and even those not meaning any harm at all (and I recognize there are many of you with the best intentions) are caught up in a nasty cycle of clinging, and indulgence. I am sure that honest contemplation will show you that you are doing this, to those of us outside of the forum it is painfully transparent how small your world in here has become, and how little light shines in.
Best wishes,
Kid
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:45 pm

glorfindel wrote:
We still haven't established whether or not the alleged actions ever occured! Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

While I don't believe Meian would make up something like this it would still be good if others could corroborate. Currently it is hearsay and Lise has made that clear, but it's easy to start taking it as fact. Hopefully people who can say more will come forward.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:49 pm

The case of the forbidden fruit comes to mind, that once you know it's forbidden it intesifies beyond all measure in flavor, desireability, especially perhaps in the case of someone in an elevated position in which one needs to prove to others (oneself) that one is "above all that" and that eventually this all explodes and wreaks havoc in your and other lives.

My sympathy to those that have to deal with the aftermath of this incredibly painful disclosure,yet always a good time to remind onesself that ones own personal demons, of whatever kind they may be, may still be lurking in the shadows.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:16 am

Hi all,

In response to Isan's question, I would like to say that I had no personal knowledge of anything like this happening while I was at the Abbey. But frankly, I wouldn't have known. He would have been alone in his house during phone calls of this nature.

I spoke with a friend who was present at RM Meian's meeting in which she disclosed this information to the local congregation. My friend told me that the reason the person on the other end of the phone knew what he was doing was because Michael Little told them exactly what he was doing while he was on the phone with them.

I knew that he was struggling with matters of desire and sexuality, as I've reported in other posts on this forum. But I had no idea that he had sunk to this level. I am completely disgusted and deeply sorry for those women who were subjected to this. I honestly don't know what else to say.


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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:16 am

Laura wrote:
My friend told me that the reason the person on the other end of the phone knew what he was doing was because Michael Little told them exactly what he was doing while he was on the phone with them.




There it is then.

Not sure if this is option *1 or option *2 in my previously posted list of options. The inability of the second party in the situation to hang up is confusing to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:58 am

glorfindel wrote:
. . . The inability of the second party in the situation to hang up is confusing to me.

I'm speculating that it might due to the way the Zen teacher/student relationship has traditionally been packaged and sold:

The master is always right.

The master may use "skillful means" that are too subtle and profound for the trainee to understand.

Everything happens for our own good.

I could go on, but I think this makes the point.

L.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:16 am

:-) Hello Laura ~

Do you know if the women actually wanted to be involved with Mike Little in this way, or if it was unilaterally ‘sprung’ on them?

Also, do you recall if the rules of the OBC included an actual prohibition of masturbation? I am wondering if this was perceived as a way around rules prohibiting sexual contact with another person.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:25 am

I think the "Kid" has a valid point of view.
Do we need the image of M.L.portrayed in this manner and occupying our minds?
Personally I can do without it and although I sympathise with the women involved in these scenarios they could certainly have put down the phone immediately, once they were told what was going on...with gassho, Lesley
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:55 am

Hi Anne - and everyone else too :-)

I don't know who the women were, but I seriously doubt that they wanted what happened to them. I don't expect that rape victims want to be raped either. I don't know whether or not they hung up, but they might have. If they didn't, I can only assume it is because the shock and disbelief they experienced may have temporarily paralyzed them. I don't know if they ever spoke to him on the phone again or not.

There WAS a rule prohibiting masturbation. The rule was created and put into effect at Shasta Abbey by none other than Michael Little himself in about 2006/2007. I thought of it as the "one strike and you're out" rule, because one breakage of the rule was grounds for immediate expulsion from the monastery.

I used to believe that some of the rules he made were a sort of smoke screen he created to hide his own behavior by creating a public image of being opposed to things that he was actually doing himself. I had no idea that this rule fell into that category. In all honesty, I left the monastery specifically because of my concerns about the former abbot's behavior, including his romantic behavior, but even I have been shocked by this revelation.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:43 am

:-) Thanks for all the info, Laura.

With regards to "wanting", I had been wondering if the phone episodes took place within a longer-standing mutual attraction in which both parties were keen and active participants, starting with looking lingeringly into each other's eyes, then on from there. Though the focus of the disclosure has been on Michael Little's actions as the former abbot, I am not clear yet whether or not the women were gladly involved at the time...the idea of personal communion with a spiritual teacher might have been very alluring.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:26 pm

'Kid' is absolutely right, and I agree with every word he wrote! (Who was it wanted me to occasionally validate others' opinions and posts?)
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:13 pm

:-) I think Lise did a good thing in posting the disclosure for the reasons she gave. My intentions in contributing to this thread are in the main to prevent harm, elsewhere to do good. If you are maligning my practice, Kid and Jimyo, frankly you do not know what you are talking about.

But I grant that your intentions also are probably to do good, prevent harm. Yes, I'm speculating on that part...I just prefer being kind! (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:18 pm

Anne,
I had no intention of maligning your practice. I'm not sure what gave you that idea, but you weren't even in my mind when I wrote my post in support of Kid's. This probably just proves how easy it is to misunderstand things on the internet, as I've frequently said.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:09 pm

As a survivor of Roman Catholic clergy/monk sex abuse, I would like to affirm the helpfulness of Rev. Meian's public disclosure as a means of reducing isolation and assisting other survivors in coming forward to heal. Rarely is there one case alone.

I also find the report easily credible as there are many examples, many public, of persons in religious authority who are strident in the condemnations of sexuality, while covertly acting out pathological expressions of it, i.e. Jimmy Swaggert, Ted Haggard, et al. As a therapist I can say with some assurance, what we project on others, especially with inordinate vehemence, is what is unresolved or problematic in ourselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:38 pm

Kid wrote:

"It seems awfully obsessive, and even those not meaning any harm at all (and I recognize there are many of you with the best intentions) are caught up in a nasty cycle of clinging, and indulgence. I am sure that honest contemplation will show you that you are doing this, to those of us outside of the forum it is painfully transparent how small your world in here has become, and how little light shines in.
Best wishes,"


Dear Kid,

Nasty cycle of clinging and indlugence and a small world? Yes, in many ways I have to admit to clinging to my OBC experiences. My only other option up to this point has been to push them away. Neither option has worked. Here in this small world of OBC Connect, through the sharing of stories and experiences, I'm finally getting to the middle way. Not many people "out here" can grasp the life we lived within the community. Not many people could understand what I was trying to tell them. Here, in this very small world, there are people like me.

With regard to discussing Eko, I admire your ability to say, yep, it happened and now let's be done with it. For the average joe and josie, not so easy. For many of us, for our myriad reasons, Eko's behavior is shocking. And shock needs processing. And processing involves conjecture and speculation and dissecting and disseminating. What Eko has done as Abbot, as spirtual director, as a self-proclaimed enlightenened being cannot be seen as anything less than shocking.

Can you imagine, Kid, calling your spiritual director and perhaps saying I need to talk, I need help, and then him/her saying, hey, guess what I'm doin' now? Shocking. Laura mentioned rape. We all know rape is not about sex; it's an act of violence done out of rage and willful disregard to the life and well being of another individual. I can tell you from personal experience that rape is shocking. But a physical attack is not the only form of rape. There is laying your heart and mind open to another in complete faith and trust, and having that openess vilolated. That, too, is an act of willfull disregard of another indiviudal's life and well being. That, too, is shocking.

From the time that Eko announced his resignation to all his illicit activies that have come to light, many of us are shocked. And shock needs to be processed.

Again, I admire your ability to sail on through. Dang, I can't wait till I get there myself! But untill then, I'm processing.

Yours,
mokuan
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:58 pm

I appreciate that Mokuan.
I feel very shocked .
In 1970 I was attracted tp Kennett Roshi's teaching because it appeared morally good and correct.
I remember her very clearly telling me judge me by my descendants.

I keep thinking a bit about Koho Zenji,the respect we all payed to him and this distasteful episode, it simply resonates to me inside.

I agree with Bills expert experience in affirming Rev Meins helpfulness

Unfortunately Daiji did warn us of Eko and his claim to being Jesus in a previous life,

I wonder now with the disclosure of him masterbating on the phone what were the spiritual qualities he displayed to be Abbott in the first place,perhaps Isan would tell me
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:53 pm

Laura wrote:


I don't know who the women were, but I seriously doubt that they wanted what happened to them..... I don't know whether or not they hung up, but they might have.

If, as is stated in Lise's original post, the people involved knew that M Little had brought himself to orgasm then they can't have hung up in the middle of the activity. They must have listened until the end. I think, as Anne suggests, it's important to know the complete story before jumping to conclusions. Was it part of an ongoing relationship?

So the people didn't hangup. This could mean one of two things:

1 Either the situation is as Lise says and the people were victims to the master/disciple relationship (it seems unbelievable to me that anyone would go so far against their will)

2 At the time the people involved were willing parties to the activity.

I'm aware of what people are saying about zen masters not behaving in this way and I agree. But it makes a big difference (to me) whether the activity was imposed or part of a willing relationship.

In a non monastic setting the activity wouldn't even be that weird.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:24 pm

Glorfindel, I agree it would not be weird if it were not in a monastic setting.

At that point I think personel beliefs come into it.

I remember reading an article that Mike Little when he was Eko and an Abbot. He wrote about responsibility of being Abbot, and leading the monastry, the article was his understanding of his responsibilities, which was fine,maybe we all feel we have different responsibilities, or may be we feel we have none at all.

Personally if one wears a robe, I feel there is a responsibility to practice as best one can what one is trying to do. We are given a robe to wear, this represents Buddhism, a Soto zen robe, reflects Soto zen, a robe given by ones teacher represents ones teacher, to me at least it does. When I wear the robe that Ikko Roshi gave me, it has great meaning and significance to me. It is I guess pretty personal, and within this is a mutual understanding and respect of what one has been given and what one wears.

As an Abbot. one is Buddhism, one is Buddhism to many people,the standards and efforts should be greater not less

Our beliefs about why we meditate may vary, our understanding about our practice, may be deep or shallow, if we are Buddhists , and of course if we are notwe are all the same we are all equal.

It does I believe take a long time to not only accept our responsibilities, but to understand what they are.

There is no excuse this type of behavior of what we are discussing, it is not the example we need or want of a Buddhist priest, monk or Abbot
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:40 pm

'In a non monastic setting the activity wouldn't even be that weird."
'Xactly, G. Lots of military marriages have been saved by similar romantic engagements "by wire," so I'm reliably told.

I think all speculation of what might have happened unfairly slanders Mike Little, not to mention his female lay disciples (who are surely known to some reading this), unless/until we know for sure at minimum whether the phone sex was consensual. And we may never find out.

RM Eko made no vows to me to be celibate, nor do I think it is a good and necessary part of a monastic life. Of course no one in a position of such authority should be involved with a disciple/student/patient/intern, but in the greater scheme of things I forgave Bill Clinton for everything but the lying because his affair with Ms. Lewinski certainly was consensual.

I appreciate that the admins took time to discuss before starting this thread. Let's please be extremely careful from here.


Last edited by ddolmar on Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:48 pm

Well I think you are right Dan, I personally am going on what Lise posted, and trust her that she would completely check out what she wrote and her post I believe came from a meeting with Rev Mein, please tell me if I am wrong as my reading is not the best.
For me the issue is not consenual, but rather an Abbot masterbating on a phone for me, is not the right way to practice Zen Buddhism
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:54 pm

Glorfindel, not to distract from Michael's post above, but let me correct any misstatement on my part -- I have no knowledge of how many women "listened" to "the end", or not. All but one could have hung up him - no one knows but them. Or possibly he did conceal the activity very well (most phones have a "mute" button now) and then told them afterwards whilst still on the call. The women may never have had any choice about actively listening or choosing not to.

Can you or Anne explain why you feel this is relevant in understanding the situation? The behaviour is flat-out forbidden by OBC rules and is egregiously unethical in the profession of spiritual counseling; this is about as bad it gets.

Do you feel that what the women did or did not do has a mitigating effect on the former Abbot's responsibility?





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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:09 pm

Thank you for saying that Lise.

I agree with what Mokuan said about rape.

From time to time over here a judge lets someone off a rape charge saying the girl was asking for it because she was wearing a short skirt or had a drink too many. There is a bit of an outcry, but things generally I believe are better for a rape victim in this country going through the court process.

Your point above I completely agree with you, As Abbot according to Laura Eko banned this behavior, according to Mokuan he publically told some one off for a sexual misdemeanor . There is no excuse at all I feel what Eko did was not right at all
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:54 pm

Lise wrote:


Can you or Anne explain why you feel this is relevant in understanding the situation?



For me it is far far more heinous to conduct sexual activity with someone against their will than to conduct it with someone who wants it. The breaking of the unusual rules in place at Shasta isn't the issue I'm pointing at.

If the activities were bilateral then I'm just not that bothered by it. As long as he doesn't get into the role of a "celibate" spiritual teacher again. He could do well as a worldly philanderer, like myself.

If the activities were with people who didn't want it then that really would leave me upset for everyone involved and saddened that the monk ended up doing that.

It's an incomplete picture. We shouldn't guess what is in the missing bit.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:05 pm

glorfindel wrote:
It's an incomplete picture. We shouldn't guess what is in the missing bit.

We shouldn't have to guess. Now that the matter is public the OBC should get out in front and make a full disclosure.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:25 pm

Isan wrote:


We shouldn't have to guess. Now that the matter is public the OBC should get out in front and make a full disclosure.

Really? As in how many positions? How many strokes? The exact volume of discharge (rounding up to the nearest cc)? Shall they go over the abbot's house with a black light? How about names of the women involved, and their current phone numbers?

Somebody call Ken Starr!

Do they owe nothing to the women involved to keep most of the details private? What speculation is going on among those who know RM Eko's lay disciples?



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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:40 pm

A student/disciple is not in a position to consent to this kind of activity, due to the power imbalance between them and the "teacher". It doesn't matter whether a student is willing or not; the teacher owes a much higher duty of care to avoid harm that can arise from that power imbalance and the exploitation of the less-powerful person -- even if the victim allows it. This is why teachers are fired for relationships with students even if the latter are of legal age, doctors & lawyers lose their licenses, and pastors are forced to resign.

Glorfindel, truly, I'm not trying to pick on you, but it amazes me to think that you see the rules in place at Shasta as "unusual". For a worldly setting, they might be, but . . . this happened in a monastery that holds celibacy as a fundamental policy; not the kind where you get to decide whether to follow the policy or not; it's a condition of not being expelled.

Coffee break time . . . more later.

L
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:42 pm

ddolmar wrote:

Really? As in how many positions? How many strokes? The exact volume of discharge (rounding up to the nearest cc)? Shall they go over the abbot's house with a black light? How about names of the women involved, and their current phone numbers?

Somebody call Ken Starr!

Do they owe nothing to the women involved to keep most of the details private? What speculation is going on among those who know RM Eko's lay disciples?

You're correct that I should have defined what I meant. How about a public statement acknowledging in general terms that the matter is true, so everyone can stop speculating? And how about expressing the willingness to help anyone who was injured in case there are others who have not already been contacted? The first is necessary for the record and the second is the main reason the thread was created.

I'm not the least bit interested in the details of Eko's indiscretions and I'm sorry if my comment about "not needing to guess" seemed to suggest otherwise.


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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:51 pm

The purpose of this thread was to inform the larger community that this situation exists, and we've achieved that now. The thread is not going to serve as a platform for posting gratuitous, explicit sexual comments that serve no purpose except to shock and offend.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:27 pm

Lise wrote:
The purpose of this thread was to inform the larger community that this situation exists, and we've achieved that now. The thread is not going to serve as a platform for posting gratuitous, explicit sexual comments that serve no purpose except to shock and offend.

Which situation? No one has, as yet, convinced me that there is clarity about what happened.

I think you are making assumptions about people's motives for writing "explicit" sexual comments. For example, if you peruse my posts you might find that there is a reason for any "explicit" material included.

I don't think I can budge from my belief that it is far worse to force sex upon someone than to have sex with someone regardless of artificial power structures in place.

Of course a buddhist abbot shouldn't get sexually intimate with someone, if those are the rules in place, any more than he/she should lie or steal BUT no one on earth should have unconsenting sexual activity. It is a whole other order of activity.

Thats why the distinction is important to me (and perhaps others - almost every other non buddhist I've mentioned this to wanted this distinction to be illuminated).

A couple of people playing with themselves just doesn't really bother me.

EDIT: that last sentence I wrote comes with the proviso: as long as any zen masters doing it are disrobed.




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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:55 pm

All right, I apologize for the above post.

But I still think that OBC/SA owes nothing to this web site per se. This particular story seems like a giant minefield, and they shouldn't react just to react.

For my part, I hope that they reach out to Eko's former disciples, but they should feel free to leave OBC Connect out of it if that is the least harmful course.

It's one thing to publicize the information that RM Eko engaged in such behavior, in the hope that anyone who was victimized might see they're not alone (assuming that there are any victims here). It's quite another to assume the right to know the full story, which requires details. I personally hope that we don't get "closure" on this, i.e., that it is handled with more discretion.

Maybe I should get a little discipline and stop watching this topic, since it makes me want to verbally beat people up.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:26 pm

ddolmar wrote:
Maybe I should get a little discipline and stop watching this topic, since it makes me want to verbally beat people up.



Dan, I appreciate the other points you made in this post as well. I'm reposting this point because I think that it is good insight that applies to many of us (each in our own way of course).



While still a monk, I worked as a volunteer with a women's crisis center for several years. I did so because I think that the issues of domination and exploitation are so deeply rooted in our global cultures--and in the myriad aspects of our current, escalating global-existential crisis. The exploitation of women, by men, is prominent--and at the same time--only one of many aspects of our collectively inherited worldview-ethic of oppression and exploitation. After some 6,000 years of war, conquest, and empire, it almost seems like human nature. It is not human nature. I would propose that it is, instead, the very essence of the existential crisis, its root misunderstanding, and the suffering that results, that brings us to spiritual practice in the first place.



It is not surprising to me, therefore, that this issue triggers so many feelings and responses for so many of us. When a spiritual teacher behaves in a way that re-traumatizes a person's root existential trauma, the outcome, I believe, is far more serious than everyday, run of the mill, re-traumatization.



Dan, whatever you do, don't stop watching this topic.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:46 am

I agree with Isan there should be a fuller statement from Rev Mein.

I base my view on the fact that there are many people,innocent lay people especially in America who knew Eko, I know someone who met him at Tassahara.
I do not think moving forward that this episode of very inappropriate behaviour can be swept under the carpet.

It is never a good thing to find out 5 years later that one was not told the truth,I feel it is better to bring it out in the open talk about it digest it and then let it go.

It is clearly a very sensitive issue,I think this is because we know that no matter how it is viewed, this type of behavior is not the behavior expected from the leader of a celibate religious order,and it brings to question what is the sincerity and depth of the teaching
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:29 am

:-) Hi All...and good morning/evening early birds and night owls ~

:-) Jimyo
Kid's post was pretty global about all preceding contributors, and you did say you agreed with every word! I know what it's like to have specifics in mind that may not come out clearly in ones words...it can be a pain to have to think how to fine tune. ...All water under the bridge. All the best to you, old friend. (-:

:-) Lise
I may be missing something in the master-disciple relationship, but to suggest that a woman who gladly participates (I'm not talking here about an abbot trying to talk another person around or coerce) in a romantic/sexual relationship with an abbot is, ipso facto, victim of a person in power imposing his will on a subordinate, seems to me to be infantilising that woman, imputing that she has no power or capacity to take responsibility for her choices. This is a subtle matter to discuss, one easy to misconvey; but unless people take or own their spiritual responsibility, they are inadvertently going to be chucking their power away. One may have done this unwittingly, like a child blindly copying his/her parent. When one realises what one has done, one may first try to blame the parent...I remember doing this with my dad (not about a sexual matter) when I was about ten. I insulted him about his middle-age spread for about a fortnight afterwards as a way of getting back at him! When he expressed hurt at this, I went to my room and thought again; and realised what I wrote above about throwing my own power away: it was time for me to own it. My copycat-behaviour did not particularly harm me: it was insulting about others (not present at the time). I felt aghast at how blindly I had followed, but I had done it: this is not a matter of blaming, just owning ones power.

I have rabbited long on this Lise but, finally, like glorfindel, I was not focusing on the aspect of OBC rules or the double-standard. Let me know if there's more that concerns you on this (but I have to go shopping today...grocieries!) (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:09 am

We are predictable creatures who pass through predictable states of development. Organizations and perceptions do much the same. There is an especially clear progression seen in charges of sexual mis-behavior, and most especially when a person in a position of trust chooses a student or otherwise vulnerable person as his (or her) prey. So it is with the latest revelations of Michael Little's behavior. Initially there was, and is, disgust and revulsion, as we have seen on this forum, almost like the initial Denial described by Kubler-Ross. There was even speculation that Little was being "set up."

Now the forum discussion has moved to the next predictable stage--blaming the victim. Offering statements such as "It might have been mutual," "These women could have just hanged up the phone," and "How bad could something like that be?" are dismissive of the experience of the victim, and in fact shift the blame toward the victim, a frequent scenerio in cases of sexual wrongdoing. Let me quickly add that I do not attack the motives of someone offering these statements, but I do suggest that they do not demonstrate a full recognition of the traditional ways in which women are, first, victimized, and then, second, made responsible for their own victimization. Their statements simply unquestioningly adopt a common societal outlook. A person in a position of dependency has been violated, whether by sexual or any other means. It is not the victim's fault.

Forum discussion is now moving into a third predictable stage: the rush to reconciliation--"Let's just put this all behind us. He's gone now, anyway. We should focus on doing our own training." Remember stages, again--no one can develop directly from crawling to running. Full and true reconcilliation is simply not possible until every victim who wants to be heard has been heard. Some victims may choose to talk to a therapist, some may want acknowledgment from OBC priests and leaders, some may even want to speak directly to the forum. But no one can be left out. All who want to be heard, now or later, must be heard. Anything short of full acknowledgment and sympathetic listening cuts off the oppportunity for healing. This road is difficult and painful for all involved, but it must be followed.

And now let me offer yet another stage, not yet mentioned: who knew of Little's transgressions? When did they know? What was their response? In cases such as this, the organization is universally at fault. Perhaps there was no avenue for reporting and complaint. Perhaps the avenue provided was ineffective. Perhaps the investigators themselves were in denial--overcome by Delusion. Bringing this part of the story into full light is also required for healing and reconciliation.

For me, Little's failures were simply the failures of a single person. The real question for me is the as yet unexplained role played by Shasta Abbey and the OBC.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:38 am

I agree George.
I would like to hear Dianas views on this,and have a refreshed psot from her in the light of the current disclosures
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little   Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:17 am

:-) Hello George ~

You seem very clear that Michael Little chose (if I may part-quote/paraphrase you) students as his prey in the phone incidents, but I do not yet have this clarity from the information I have read (perhaps I have forgotten or overlooked something). I am not arguing with the information presented, I just don’t feel it is sufficient for me to be clear on this. Do you have specific information on this, or is it simply that you feel confident guessing it? Even if you are guessing, you may be correct about the situation.

I would say that assuming the particular from the general may or may not be accurate. Perhaps necessary data will be forthcoming. (-:
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