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 Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED

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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:44 pm

Since Lise unaccountably locked the topic, and, disturbingly, did so precisely when Nicky posted a dissenting posting, taking the discussion in a new direction, I am now starting a continuation of it.

I refrained from posting on this thread, since I found the discussion seriously and disturbingly off kilter.
I find that Michael - Eko - Little is being given a good deal of the benefit of the doubt in this discussion. Towards the end of the thread, in Howard's posting, ff, he was given much compassion and a very explicit support, without condemnation of his - alleged - actions. In the discussion on the thread, the women, the victims of his extremely hurtful, abhorrent actions were repeatedly questioned, subjected to scrutiny, and treated with patent disrespect. In Howard's benediction they are oddly omitted as victims of Little's actions:

"Blessings for Mr.Little, Blessings for his former disciples and
Blessings for the Shasta Sangha at large."


Howard also wrote:
Sorrowful [thread] for Mr Little to have the details of his koan so publicly splashed about.

Please! Nobody 'publicly splashed about' the details of Mr Little's koan. Meian, very properly and responsibly, informed her flock of Little's execrable actions. Actually, she could not have acted otherwise. This being discussed on the public forum such as this, is a consequence of Little's actions. To expend much compassion towards him in this regard, is out of place. To tell the truth, it makes me quite sick.

Gentlemen, please understand that what the women concerned were subjected to is a terrible experience.

Ladies, if you can't see it, and feel for and stand by your sisters, I am utterly dismayed.

It is indeed true that Little's alleged actions have not been proven in the court of law, nor are they ever likely to be. However, since several claimants have come forward; since it is extremely unlikely that Meian would have acted the way she did, unless she had solid grounds for her conclusions; and since on this forum we have read enough troubling testimony about Little from Laura, an eminently trustworthy source of great integrity - and, of course, Diana, with authenticity that does not leave much open to doubt; because of all this, the benefit of the doubt should definitely go to the victims.

I hope to God that none of the victims have read certain comments in this (now locked) thread. I can't imagine that they would not feel violated anew by some of them.

Please face the gravity of Little's misconduct, and harm it has caused.

And Lise, in future please give sufficient aviso when you intend to lock a thread.

Ol'ga


Last edited by Ol'ga on Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:09 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : clarification)
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:40 pm

Oh for pity's sake, Ol'ga. We are all sinners, capable of committing all manner of wrong, and everyone seems to understand our shared complicity in this grim human condition of ours. That is, until one of those evil MEN makes a sexual transgression, and then it's "orf wit 'is 'ead!" (or Thelma and Louise) without even needing to take a breath.

There's a broad spectrum of crimes--from fairly "tame" (an incendiary word for which I can't think of a less exonerating alternative...sorry) to deeply depraved--that fit the available facts. Many unknowns remain. For example, how were the women coerced? Were they asked to talk in certain ways, or to simulate their own arousal? Were their spiritual needs used against them? How did they find out what was going on at the other end of the line? Are the answers to these questions generally the same, or very different in each case? I don't think we'll know until the FTI report comes out. Apparently that can't come too soon for some, but I would prefer that they do their homework and get it right, thorough, and complete.

I am deeply saddened that anyone gets taken advantage of sexually. I take it on some faith that no one bothering to read this is going to feel cold toward Eko's victims, or blame them, or hope that they are denied justice.

And, yeah, I feel bad for Eko, too. If you please, spend a couple of minutes thinking about the lowest, most shameful thing you've ever done. Get a specific event in mind. Something is in there that you're not prepared for the rest of us to know, I bet, something that was cruel of you, and completely indefensible. If not, then just imagine the details of what really turns you on--that totally irrational and possibly dangerous thing--becoming broad public knowledge. Now imagine that a bunch of total strangers is blogging their heads off about it, and the evidence is rapidly gathering that you will have a fairly elevated place on the mountain of public shame before the last disclosure is made.

This has nothing to do with "siding" with the guy because I'm a man. I hope all of RM Eko's victims get a chance to confront him with what he's done, if that's what they want.

May all victims of sex abuse find the answers that they seek, may they all get a chance to stand before their abuser and say what was done to them and how it made them feel, and may they find their heart's ease, and may they each find one day that, once again, their body is truly their own.


Last edited by ddolmar on Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:36 pm

ddolmar wrote:
For example, how were the women coerced? Were they asked to talk in certain ways, or to simulate their own
arousal? Were their spiritual needs used against them? How did they find
out what was going on at the other end of the line? Are the answers to
these questions generally the same, or very different in each case?

Well, Dan, to my mind you just confirmed what I said. I think we will have to agree to disagree, like two arrows in mid-air that miss.
Ol'ga
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:03 pm

You may be right Ol'ga. You seem to either know a lot about these events that I don't, or think that the details are irrelevant. Or I don't fully understand what you're saying. I say that we don't know what harm RM Eko has caused until some of the questions are answered, or at least a more descriptive general outline of what these encounters included. We don't need to know who the women were, and we certainly don't need every prurient detail. But to say that "women have been harmed!" doesn't actually provide much understanding. Were they raped and dismembered? Well thank goodness no! What then?

One commentator on the Irish Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal urged us not to think of the blandishments of a tortured but mutual "love that must not speak its name" between a young priest and a boy on the eve of his 18th birthday. The pederastic crimes that were committed were evidently on a continuum that terminated in abject horror, and have caused undoubtedly the greatest rift between the nation of Ireland and the Roman Catholic church in their shared history. But, crucially, the commentary and full public condemnation came after the publication of the CICA report, after many specific facts were known.

Where there is a crime, let it be named and described accurately (though balance that against the womens' right not to be further humiliated...maybe there's not a simple right answer in there). Before then we can't decide what to do about it, let alone struggle fruitfully with what it means.

In the meantime, let's hope that SA and FTI are reaching out to the victims to continue the exchange of empathy and information that seems to be needed.


Last edited by ddolmar on Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:45 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : wordsmithing)
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:35 pm

Hi Olga hope David is doing fine.

Personally I think that everybody that cares is shocked about what has been alleged. I think that it is not only shocking but very new to our minds,by this I have not experienced this type of behavior from someone in a religious order that I have been connected to. It is difficult to react in the proper way as I am not sure what that is. Also I feel we are a bit in no mans land because of the situation is strong allegations yet still allegations.

At this time my feelings are still of disbelief that this could happen,and was allowed to happen. I think the biggest surprise is the two facedness of giving religious talks, running specific themed religious retreats, and giving personal religious advice. The actual actions of the ex Abbot have been portrayed as actually doing the completely opposite to the actions of anyone seriously following a meditative life.

The seriousness of it that I see is that what has to be taken into account is the position of the ex Abbott. He by our tradition was given the transmission of the robe and bowl, and by being made the Abbott was given the highest trust as next in line. This means ultimately at Shasta he was the descendant. This throws up even more darkness, it can not be dismissed, it is too big to say it was a little mistake,one can't really say everything was fine then there was a little blip and now it is fine again. Despite the fact that I said this is new territory for us, I for one find it difficult to take in, I do know that these actions were not right actions, I do know that this was not the appropriate way to behave, not by a little , like I should not have had that extra helping of apple pie this is a big should not do this.

I must add to this that in my life, I have lived it, it seems fast and precarious sometimes,I have always known what was not the right way , I have not always followed it, but never in ways like we are talking here, my errors of personal living have always without exception led me to greater understanding of the meditative path I am on, People have been stopping me this week and telling me that They heard another sort of well known person talking ( without mentioning Buddhism) about me on tv about how I helped him quite a few years ago through an awful time. It was pleasing to me because at the time I was feelings the effects of my own karma. I say all this as I have not led by any means a pure life.

Finally the effect on the woman as you say must I assume be gruelling. I suspect that most women who have had personal contact of a spiritual nature,with the ex Abbot must be feeling a bit hollow inside and wondering about the sincerity of the whole relationship. I know the way forward is always through our hearts, but one can not simply dismiss the darkness of the allegations, they have to rather painfully be digested before being allowed to disipate, it is very uncharted, and very difficult, territory for everyone who feels effected
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:38 am

Thank you, Michael. David is better but has quite a way to go. I, for my part, am learning a lot from the experience of caring for him, and am immensely grateful to my Mom, from whom I draw a lot of inspiration. She, a widow, raised the three of us by herself (we were each of us difficult in our own inimitable way), going about her unending duties cheerfully, with humour, doing what needs to be done. What a gift we were given!
Thank you, Michael, also for your sensitive posting. Yes, I also think that the word 'darkness' describes the situation here. I can't say more without dissecting my reasoning and conclusions once again. I would like to add only that the shock you describe I already felt reading the story of Amalia (not connected with Eko, but certainly connected with Jiyu's legacy), and of Diana. I would also like to reiterate that I doubt very much that Meian would have made Eko's conduct public, unless she felt that it was necessary; and that it was necessary because his conduct caused considerable harm. I do not find it necessary to speculate just what precise harm he caused to the individual women concerned. The fact that they reported it, would mean that they were hurt rather than entertained by the phone calls. What lends gravity to this conduct is the fact that Eko engaged in those phone calls as an Abbot, presumably as the spiritual teacher and guide to the women. His conduct was a grave breach of trust towards his disciples, even if the sexual aspect of the calls were consensual. In my view, then, any discussion of the phone sex possibly being mutual, is out of place. (If memory serves, Lise pointed this out much more lucidly than I could.) As I've said already, in this case the benefit of the doubt should go to the women concerned. I find that some postings on the locked thread (notably Gorfindel's, and lately Dan's) were not neutral; they were weighted in Eko's favour. The wholesale "blessing" of Eko and the Sangha, as though on the same level, I found false, as though there were some mystical moral equivalence between the perpetrator and the victim, that makes everything lovely in the garden. So let's all feel good about ourselves - how compassionate we are, how forgiving. That's how it came across to me. Excuse me, it is not for us to be forgiving - we were not the ones who were at the other end of the phone line. It does not require an overworked imagination to surmise that the recipients of the calls were injured by them (even though they were not 'raped and dismembered', Dan).
Enough, once again. You, dear reader, must feel the same, I am sure: enough from me. It's past the witching hour and my English iz dspeerrrng...bzxrl lf
Ol'ga
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Nicky



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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:50 am

Olga , yes it was unnerving my posting seeming to close the thread , thank you for your warrior attitude and much thanks to you and Michael for your fine postings .
I'm , waiting for clarity .
Feels like I'm back in the confines of the actual OBC.

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:29 am

Hi Nicky

I'm sure it was just a coincidence that The thread was closed just after your post. I'm guessing that the reason for closing it was simply because the arguments were going round and round in circles. And I'm imagining the admins were never 100% sure about the timing of the original post.

This was the circle:

Some people said how bad the (conjectured) acts were.

Other people said we didn't know enough about what happened (giving examples and details as required).

No one was disagreeing really. Different People just put emphasis on different aspects of the situation. It was destined to go on and on ad infinitum.

If it continues here I may post details of a rape case that I was intricately embroiled in some years ago. It would help show some of the reasons for my point of view. (and perhaps reveal some bias on my own part).
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:37 am

Nicky - your posting did not close the other thread; it was discussed among admins the night before and agreed the time was right. The conversation seemed to be drawing to a natural end and we felt there was a benefit in letting it conclude on a positive tone. Not everyone feels the same way about the posts that offered blessings, and that's ok, but some of us appreciated them and felt they were helpful. And - I didn't see your post as being in opposition to that, even though you disagreed with the "blessings" aspect; I think you said there was still something to be found in the discussion (or words close to that).

I hope this explains a bit -

Lise
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:36 am

I do not wish to be critical of anyone closing down or locking the last thread.

Merely to politely express my feelings that I too did feel it a little strange thing to do,given the seriousness of the allegations,I do not personally feel comfortable discussing other aspects of Buddhism here, whilst I feel something rather unpleasant is hanging over us. I am not packing bags and throwing the dolls out the pram, simply expressing my feelings
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:48 am

I understand, Michael, and I hope you will keep expressing how you feel, about admin actions or anything else here. Criticism won't send me into a tizzy and it comes with the job, based on what I see in my PMs nearly every day.

More on why the thread was locked: I have been thinking about the comments (public and private) to the effect that I only started the thread in order to post salacious gossip, engage in muck-raking, etc. I know this isn't true, but I understand how it may look to others. So at some point I started to think, maybe it's better to distinguish between my original intent (notification) and others' interest in an ongoing exchange about the situation, and perhaps a new thread is the better place for the latter. My original thread had served its purpose, come to a natural close and was ending with a note of compassion that I personally felt was appropriate. I'm not at all opposed to people continuing the discussion, otherwise I wouldn't have suggested a new thread could be created.

I think probably this explanation isn't going to satisfy anybody but I wanted try. Admins do use personal discretion in making decisions about threads; this is common to every forum I belong to or have ever seen actually. People may take it as too controlling, negative, or, that there is something unpleasant hanging overhead, as you say, but I'll accept that as your opinion without trying to change your mind. No hard feelings here.

Now, bowing out of this thread so it can get back to Ol'ga's focus --

thanks,
L
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:11 pm

Thanks you Lise.
There is no criticism from me about the admins decision ,I just found it a little strange I accept what you say completely in your reply.
I do not feel this site is unpleasant hanging over me I feel the whole Eko issue is unpleasant, I will talk as I feel about it, I do not personally feel right about discussing other issues, as if nothing has happened or been alleged in case there are some hurt ladies out there.
I have no criticism of you at all Lise
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:50 pm

right, then it's mutual Smile I'm off to start my Saturday, cheers all - L.
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:00 pm

:-) Isan, if you feel it appropriate, could you expand on what kind of harm, or harms, Seikai was referring to in the following quote from the previous thread on this topic?...

You wrote:
Seikai...said that he felt Eko had done considerable harm to the spiritual lives of the women in question. From the lengthy discussion he and I had I have no doubt that the women were not willing participants.
I infer that the words, "harm to the spiritual lives of the women", referred to developments beyond the immediate unpleasantness of their experience with the phonecalls... As an example, did this sometimes include a general loss of confidence in Buddhist teachings, practitioners, etc, which would result in loss (through doubt and turning away) of this means of helping themselves spiritually in future? Has it sometimes been like the following from Bill?...

Bill wrote:
Surivors...are frequently filled with shame, guilt and lowered self esteem, and blame themselves for the abuse and the damage that follows. Survivors often commit suicide.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:04 pm

When I was an active supporter of the OBC, I was a great admirer of Eko. In 1992 or so because RMJK was ill at the time, Eko performed the ceremony where I became a Buddhist. I looked into his eyes and said “I want to be a Buddhist.” Over the years, I attended several of his week-long “advanced” retreats at SA. I admired his dedication at those retreats. He would conduct early morning service every day in his resplendent shiny robes, singing with his lovely voice. Every day he would deliver one formal and one casual dharma talk. He offered formal private sanzen to everyone attending the retreat. I always took advantage of the chance to meet privately with him for spiritual counseling, and I shared some of the most intimate issues of my life with him in those sessions.

When things at North Cascades got off-track, I talked to Eko because he was the person I thought would help make things right. I cried and he reassured me that change was inevitable and that everything was all right. He once even invited me to his private house for counseling – I felt honored and privileged to sit on the couch in his living room, next to RMJK’s chair, which he kept empty as if she were about to return and have tea with us. Fortunately, I always enjoyed lay life too much (and maybe had some inward reservoir of common sense) and so I never even considered becoming his lay (or god-forbid) monastic disciple, but I was spiritually smitten nonetheless.

I’m saying all this so that Kid and some of the others who have written on the forum will understand how some of us felt when we heard what Eko did in telephone conversations with female disciples. It’s not like Bill Clinton’s escapades doing the same thing on the phone with Monicas Lewinski . Eko was a spiritual teacher revered by myself and many other women. In my eyes, he was morally and spiritually advanced and existed in a realm beyond anything most people would ever attain. (OK, after a year of reading OBC Connect, I see this as a spiritually immature position, but there you have it anyway. It was what it was.)

A statistically large number of women (and men) have experienced sexual exploitation of one sort or another at the hands of a priest or relative or teacher or someone else they trusted. Eko was a teacher/leader/abbot entrusted by the founder of the order to run the most important North American monastery, and then later the OBC monks confirmed his authority by a unanimous vote.

Now to hear that he had sunk to such low depths of behavior – it doesn’t matter if the phone sex was “consensual” or not or if the woman on the other end of the phone call was informed that he was having an orgasm or just heard “noises” – the behavior is deeply disturbing to every woman who trusted him. I can understand why Diana – if she is still with the forum – can’t respond to this issue. I greatly appreciate Laura’s contribution since she worked with Eko on a daily basis and witnesses some other inappropriate behavior.

I suspect it would be helpful to re-read some of the posts on an earlier forum topic on chastity. There’s nothing wrong with a commitment to chastity, but the OBC evidently failed to offer support for those monks who had difficulty dealing with it. It’s ironic that Eko himself instituted a rule against masturbation as late as 2006 or 2007. The recent discussion at SA on sexuality is probably a good start in dealing with the issue.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:31 pm

I think how ever we react to this episode we must all feel much the same. Your post hit me a bit Carol, your openness and honesty,I always feel you are a lady with integrity, and I want you to know I respect what you wrote
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:58 pm

Hi Carol--Thanks for that explanation. Michael is right that we all feel very badly that this has all occurred, so I think.

Carol wrote:

it doesn’t matter if the phone sex was “consensual” or not or if the woman on the other end of the phone call was informed

This still completely amazes me. But anyway, people are amazing, you and Ol'ga and Nicky no less.

Carol wrote:

the behavior is deeply disturbing to every woman who trusted him.

Now I understand a little better why many seem to think that the other shoe has well and truly dropped, if I can put it that way, or that we already have the really important revelation before us. Thank you! I don't quite agree, but there you go...

Regarding the prohibition against masturbation for monastics...seems like a new tentative rule is coming into focus due to recent events posted here and in the news: repress sexuality far enough and it seems to find a sordid and crude outlet where it's wildly inappropriate.

Look up Senator Larry Craig for something a little humorous along that line, ye Brits...not sure whether that story made it across the pond.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:39 pm

Larry Craig, John Ensign, Brock Adams, Mark Foley, Anthony Weiner, etc. etc. These guys get into a position of power and think they can get away with stuff!
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:14 am

Ah Carol--It is the privilege of the alpha male of our species that he should get to spread his seed far and wide. Let's not forget Bill Clinton and John Edwards, and Dominic Strauss-Kahn (and, according to folklore, every single French President since the revolution). And those African chieftans with umpteen "wives". Haven't ever heard of a culture in which this wasn't true, no matter the social norms of the "regular" people.



Of course I think it's something we should grow out of, and a Buddhist leader under a vow of celibacy above all should be able to handle the temptation. And yet, here we are!
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:04 am

Have to echo chisanmichaelhughes sentiment. Carol's post made it through the granite edifices of my mind into my heart. Still don't agree 100% but definitely going to let those words sink in for a while before deciding what to think.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:12 am

Carol wrote:
Eko was a spiritual teacher revered by myself and many other women. In my eyes, he was morally and spiritually advanced and existed in a realm beyond anything most people would ever attain.
:-) Thinking over this, Carol, reminded me of how inspiring and confidence-building it can be in ones training to believe that such people really do exist in the world, and that one has the great blessing of meeting and being able to learn from one. Whether or not the teacher has actually reached the levels of liberative insight that one believes, s/he may still point the way well and deliver some sound advice.

I have come across several stories on how confidence even in a 'false guru' can help a person's training to move forward in leaps and bounds. Most recently I read one apparently from an Indian devotional tradition... A 'false guru' was dogged everywhere by a persistent young man pleading to be given a mantra: I don't recall why the 'guru' ignored him but the young man took it as a test of sincerity and dedication. His wish came true one night after he lay down to sleep on the ground outside the guru's door. That night, the guru rose from his bed with the intent of going outside to urinate in the bushes. Stepping out of his door, he tripped over the would-be-student and cried in exasperation, "Always you!" The young man, believing that the auspicious moment had at last arrived, gasped at the simplicity and profundity of this marvellous mantra, "'Always You!' ...Of course! Of course!...", and thanked the guru profusely. As these stories seem to go, the young man went away to practise, became a great saint replete with miracles and disciples, and returned to thank his old guru, who recognised him for a great spiritual practitioner and asked to become his disciple...yet more "off-the-scale happiness" (with acknowledgements and thanks to Kurt Vonnegut and Glorfindel!) (NB I am not suggesting that Eko was a 'false guru'; the story is simply an illustration of the confidence-principle.)

I know I benefitted enormously from confidence in RMJ, though my path eventually diverged (as a result of personal experience) from some of what she was teaching. When I first met her in 1972, my initial belief of her was much as you described, Carol. That later translated into believing that her "first full kensho" referred to entering the fruition of arhat stage, and her "third great kensho" to a further development beyond that: only recently did I learn that I had been mistaken about this. Fortunately, my error did not prevent her from delivering much good advice, but it helped me to be more open to receiving it! Certainly one may reach a point when confidence in ones own sense of direction and ability to train is not undermined by discovery that not all was quite as believed with ones teacher...but I have wondered what the impact would have been on my life had I known earlier rather than later...

I sincerely do hope that Eko's students/disciples sustain confidence in their own ability to train and to move forward in training.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:25 am

Anne wrote:
:-) Isan, if you feel it appropriate, could you expand on what kind of harm, or harms, Seikai was referring to in the following quote from the previous thread on this topic?...

You wrote:
Seikai...said that he felt Eko had done considerable harm to the spiritual lives of the women in question. From the lengthy discussion he and I had I have no doubt that the women were not willing participants.
I infer that the words, "harm to the spiritual lives of the women", referred to developments beyond the immediate unpleasantness of their experience with the phone calls...

Hello Anne,

Regarding Seikai's comment he didn't elaborate at all, sorry.
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:53 pm

Carol,
I am deeply grateful for your post. Amalia has a great Mom!
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:45 pm

I hear Strauss Khan may have the case against him dropped tomorrow ,I have not heard of the other men, I assume they are powerful men who have had sexual relationships that have been publicised.
I do not think I personally want to look to these people as role models or examples of people living a life I would like to emulate. Lets be quite clear,these allegations are made about a senior Abbot of a Zen Buddhist temple.

I think there will be many people looking for a way out of this situation. distancing oneself from the Abbot, minimising the the allegations, or even denying the allegations. I actually think that Anne is right when she says:


I sincerely do hope that Eko's students/disciples sustain confidence in their own ability to train and to move forward in training.

My additional thoughts and feelings with what Anne says is , this should be the basis of our practice from the very first entry point of zazen practice. In Zen practice we are told and taught there is nothing to be given, nothing to be gained, simply realise who you really are.The moment the teaching varies from this, the situation changes from offering a way to inherent freedom,to an interdependancy on a person or institution, and this is still a long way from tracing the first steps of zen realisation
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:08 pm

Chisan Michael wrote:
In Zen practice we are told and taught there is nothing to be given,
nothing to be gained, simply realise who you really are.


Oh Michael, how true! And so I wouldn't bother with stages and Arahats and stuff. The question is, can the person teach me? If so, then thank you, thank you!
Love,
Ol'ga
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:01 pm

Now that's a question Olga

I believe that other people can help one on the path, but teach I am not so sure.

Being in close contact with other people who have practiced for a lot longer than me has without doubt helped me.
really I think a teacher can help one find ones original question, the real reason for seeking , a teacher can encourage , but the practice has to be done on ones own, i think teachers do not like interdependancy, they want to see real answers to real questions these answers are the way we live our life what understanding we have and how it permeates outwards. A teacher would like these answers to be tested in real life , a glib zen phrase is never enough, the more difficult real circumstances are, the more chances one has to stray the better and stronger the practice may become. The more one experiences the impermance and sometimes sadness of life, the more and stronger compassion and love grows.

So when a teacher looks at you they may see many things I believe that if they see that there is compassion and love , then I believe that they will feel that lessons have been learnt from the real teacher discovered within the battlefields of daily life
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:02 pm

Michael wrote:
I believe that other people can help one on the path, but teach I am not
so sure.

I know, Michael, that is your position - and that of nearly everyone on this forum.
To me, a teacher is someone who can point out something that I am missing. They can make me see exactly what they see. I am not talking about parroting dogma. That would not be of much use, and I am emphatically not interested in that.
Learning on the battlefield of life, as you put it, is crucial. That is where we mature; and become receptive to teaching. That's how I understand it.
It is no problem if you and I don't see this the same way. I can love you and deeply respect you anyway. If there are some people on this forum who make me bristle - that's my problem. As Tolstoy put it (War and peace), I at least get a chance to exercise my liver. (Something like that - it's decades since I devoured that book.)
I probably make a few people here bristle, too. I don't know if that is a problem. If it is, I don't know what I can do about it, short of withdrawing from the forum.
We are digressing from the Eko topic. I don't have anything to add to that, at the moment.
Love,
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:41 pm

Not so sure we are digressing, I am talking of a core issue of the allegations

A point of view can be taught, a way or style of practice, can be taught, but our original nature has to be realised.
I think that sometimes it can be instilled in our brains that zen can be taught, and we need a teacher.And sometimes we are allowed and encouraged to put them on pedestals

A teacher teaches by his actions what he actually does,by his or her honesty and integrity and understanding. In this particular case, what we are discussing, there is nothing here what so ever that inspires me to practice zazen. There is nothing here with Eko's alleged behaviour that I want to be taught. Despite all religious words and scriptures. this is not living zen Buddhism and living Zen Buddhism is how it is taught
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:52 am

Michael , i totally happily easily agree ,

I begin to wonder though why i return to this forum ,
with its ghastly stories , and upsetting reactions , or non actions .
Is it ,after all,all, all, my latest teacher ?
At 1st it slightly seemed that way , now there's more a sense of being in a mire .( the chambers dictionary gives a wonderful description of the mire situation )
I wonder what we are all doing ?
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:16 am

Nicky wrote:

I begin to wonder though why i return to this forum ,
with its ghastly stories , and upsetting reactions , or non actions .
Is it ,after all,all, all, my latest teacher ?
At 1st it slightly seemed that way , now there's more a sense of being in a mire.
I wonder what we are all doing ?

I agree there's the potential to get bogged down here in negativity and it's important to have a reason for participating. Many of the problems I experienced when I was a monk at Shasta Abbey were the result of not speaking my mind and acting on my feelings in a timely manner. The environment did not support personal assertiveness and conflicting points of view. I believe an argument can be made for the monastic model - a great deal was accomplished there as a result of the willingness of people to let go of personal opinions and preferences - however it was taken to an extreme and became unhealthy (certainly for me). This forum is a place where all the conversations that perhaps still can't be had in the OBC can be conducted. No one need hold back here out of fear they will be censored (as long as forum decorum is observed of course). Keeping this in mind helps me deal with the way things get out of balance here sometimes.


Last edited by Isan on Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:37 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammar)
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:58 pm

yes , thanks Isan ,i see your reasons , of course i do , especially as an x monk . my posting was done in a low moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:30 am

Carol's post was good because it gave a personal, experiential account of the type of relationship that Lise, cmpnwtr and some others were putting across to us. It really helped to show just how emotionally and psychologically vulnerable a "disciple" can be.

This readjusts some of the things I said in the closed thread. But it doesn't readjust all of the points. The paucity of information is still the paramount concern in my opinion.

I was once a witness in a rape case. I was the person the police most wanted to interview as I had actually seen some of the "crime" happening. I was fully aware that it wasn't a rape. I was a lodger in the "victim's" house. She was my friend. A couple of years after the "crime" she confided that it had not been a rape. There were complicated psycholoical and sociological reasons for her and her boyfriend making the accusation.

While being extensively interviewed by the police I was aware that they were constantly trying to twist my words to aid them in making a case against the accused (the true victim in this case). I had to keep telling them, "that's not what I said" and I made them cross things out and write them again. Sometimes they would try to paraphrase what I said and that would change the whole "flavour" of the statement. It was such hard work stopping them from twisting what I said that trickles of sweat ran down my temples.

Since that experience I have a tendency to be wary of elaborate stories being made from a few words that some people said to other people who then passed that information on.

ooh more later......The computer is being hijacked by a 2 year old and peppa pig is coming on!!
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:54 am

:-) Sorry that you had such an unpleasant (even surrealistically so!) experience, G. Good for you for sticking it out. (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:57 pm

I can understand your concern Glorfindel. I met Christhoper Craig once, I do not think I have ever met anyone so burdened with their karma. He was sentenced to imprisonment for murder and his older friend who did not pull the trigger was hung.

So there are clearly incorrect judgements made and one has to view things very carefully. What we are talking about here with the ex Abbot is unusual to say the least. The story was released for the public good by Shasta Abbey.

I do not suppose the faith trust will throw too much light on it as it was not their brief ( I do not think )

But we have reacted to the allegations, as much out of shock as anything else. I hope all the truth does come out in the open, and with it will come maybe more questions. I think a lot will be said about dealing with the effects , which is fine, I feel a lot should be said and thought given to the cause or causes. Slightly worrying for me, is why did some of the female disciples felt uneasy about the ex Abbot and some did not. We have had some very powerful accounts here on different topics about concerns regarding the ex Abbot behavior. I wonder if the female disciples who felt uneasy and had a right to feel this uneasyness were shunned. And why did no one else feel uneasy until now. Did their meditation actually hinder a raw human instinct , was their loyalty to a system or institution preventing them from,thinking or feeling everything in the garden was not rosy , in which case one must look at the actual practice.

Again with the ex Abbot after 40 years of practice it allegedly culminates by him masterbating on the phone clearly his meditation is either no longer inspiring him to meditate or he was following a parallel Buddhist life but without the essential depth that comes with realisation.

There were most probably loads of different reasons why we looked towards Buddhism and Zen Buddhism,I am not sure if many of us felt like joining a sect ,I would have thought it was more that we wanted to have some sort of understanding about life or our life. I think the focus in a temple should always be about our understanding of life,a temple should always be able to guide one back to this focus, temple rituals such as bowing may lead one to many deeper aspects of ourselves but it is personal understanding that makes what we do significant.

Zen in the west has certainly in many ways fallen short it may be fair to say that it has been practiced , and institutions set up with very limited understanding. I think so many of the arguments over the years not just Shasta but all the ones written about here, have been worryingly short in skillful means and worryingly short of the focus that brings us back to our original wish to find something true and deep within our own lives
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:30 pm

I haven't read everything here- just got back from a month-long vacation.



So, all this news doesn't surprise or shock me. Although I never had any clue this was going on, I certainly sympathize with those people involved. It does make all those phone conversations I had with Eko seem... well, I dunno, nevermind.



The thing is, Eko is/was a disturbed person who abused both men and women psychologically and spiritually and his actions toward women were predatory in nature. It does not surprised me knowing that his personal drive toward power and his inclination toward the occult morphed into sexual misconduct as well.



And that's all I have to say about that.



Peace,

Diana
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:38 pm

Isan and Kozan were kind enough to email me with the latest development regarding Eko and Faith Trust. Just when you think it can't get more surreal. I've been following the legalistic vs. emotional back and forth arguments regarding Eko's continuing adventures and have some thoughts on the subject.

Glorfindel and others of similar opinions,
I would like to say that I was glad to read your post regarding his friend who was falsely accused. It humanizes your position considerably. As a family therapist, I see all to often what happens when only one side of the story is heard. I got to the point some time ago, that often when only one person in a couple comes to session I will send him or her away and tell them to return when the other comes too. I'm not interested in hearing a one sided view. From a legal point of view, your opinions make perfect sense also. We should be fastidious about gathering the proof needed to judge beyond a reasonable doubt. You should not be convinced of anything until you get the proof you need to make a judgment one way or another.

However, many people here are coming from a very different place. We have the proof we need to make what I believe is a very sound judgment. When you are the victim of a cruel, self centered person, you don't need to wait for others to be convinced of his cruelty. You know the look in his eye when you cross him (ie. exist in a way that displeases him), you know the smirk on his lips that says he will get his revenge because he can, you can feel the fury in his body when some power has eluded his grasp, and you can see the pleasure on his face when he has caused you pain (which to him is simply impersonal karmic retribution). To those who are the recipient of such gifts from the enlightened, no proof is needed. Whether his female disciple was willing or unwilling, the spiritual horror he created is horrible enough. As you are learning by very open mindedly reading the posts here, willing and unwilling, under a variety of circumstances, has the line delineating the two substantially less clear than under more "normal" circumstances. In a legal case the difference between willing and unwilling is very important. In the arena of the OBC, where such a high stock is placed on obedience and so much disparagement, humilation and shunning is employed when you use your own judgment in a way that puts a seriously bad light on a senior, it can be hard to distinguish between willing and unwilling. I respect your need for proof, but I also respect my not needing further proof for myself.

Eko is a good person. He had the misfortune of getting hold of the ring of Mordor. If Eko had had the right teacher he may have eventually become an excellent abbot. Many at Shasta see Eko's behavior as something that developed later and it was a shame that he went off the rails. But he had always been off the rails. Eko had always been too fond of power and control. Rather than help Eko learn to let go of that need, Rev. Kennett reinforced it. His need for power and control was a mirror image of her own. It is not that Rev. Kennett would not have named Eko her successor if only she had seen that aspect of his personality, she named him as her successor precisely because of that aspect of his personality. What many of us experienced as Eko's sadistic tendencies, Rev. Kennett saw as assets to a prospective abbot. It was her own unresolved psychological issues that twisted reality and morality to the point that what was obvious to so many as Eko's glaring faults and the horror show he would create if made abbot was seen by Rev. Kennett as virtuous--the strong control needed to keep people in line, the able person willing to wield power when needed to stifle dissent. She saw her own misuse of power and control as necessary, and so it makes sense that she would see Eko's in the same light.

No I don't need further proof of what Eko has done recently. He's been doing it for a very long time. After all, I left the Abbey in 1991.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:52 pm

Well said, Henry, and thanks for taking the trouble to write with such care and nuance.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:40 pm

Great to see you back Henry, insightful as ever.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:07 am

Henry & Dan

Just how many times do we need to charge the same opponent. I really don't know the answer to this because the need here at the OBC connect seems to have no limits. Anybody see a part of this windmill that hasn't yet been gored?

Is this like a typical soap opera where one can step off for a year or more and then plug back in any time because nothing different has really happened beyond a continual indulgence in a windmill jousting.

Tell me the OBC connect is more than just a colouring book of bad Eko, bad Jiyu and bad Shasta Seniors and everyone else squeezing in to work the crayons. Anyone getting tired of the same old same old!

It's not that what's being said is not true, it's that our own culpability seems so conveniently un addressed in the continual charging into the breach. I am not talking about the "Shasta speak" of transference to deflect criticism. I am talking about looking at our own contributions and indulgences in the Shasta delusion that is likely still happening today because what else could keep our wounds so open, tender and unhealed after so much time.

The other sign of a soap opera is that the participants main role is to foster a false sense of urgency and self importance to keep everyones attention off the fact that very little else is really happening. Very little happening is a description of trying not to see our own responsibilities by exclusively focusing on an another individual or organizations obvious attempts to do the same thing.

It's tricky because the need to bring it to everyones attention is valid but if we do it while avoiding looking at our own culpability, then we become a part of Shasta's legacy against change and bit players in a soap opera without end.

At least that's my fear which I'll think about while hanging out in the new foxhole I've just dug..



Cheers
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:16 am

Thank you, Henry, for writing with such clarity, and for not watering down the stark truth.
I don't believe in endlessly going over and over the same ground, if that means just wallowing in the mud. I do believe in bringing to light something that was burried for many years, unresolved, causing trouble.

I knew Eko briefly. He was sent to talk me out of leaving, when I had had enough - and he did manage that; but in a few days I left anyway. (Interesting - why Eko? He was junior to me. Did he already hold some special position in Roshi's empire?) To me, he was an almost-child, with a heart-shaped face, a son of a rich and kind lady.

So I did not know him the way you describe him, Henry. But I recognize in that description the person I knew as Roshi. What you have written now is very insightful and, for me, sheds new light on a problem I am trying to solve, and put to rest.

Isan wrote in one of his posts,

I believe RMJK's unwillingness to treat her
students as adults, choosing instead to create a culture of fear and
repression
was far more damaging than anything caused by practicing Jin
Shin. That was what motivated me to leave in the end.


This is what I am after - to see through that fear, vestiges of which I still carry in me, see through it and outgrow it, outgrow the spell, so that it cannot make mischief, like a piece of a shrapnel burried deep in the tissue. If anyone thinks I am taking too long to do this - well, if the Buddhist doctrine is correct, we have been at it for countless lives. That's longer than the few years since my departure - and the few months since I discovered this forum. I would rather have that compassion towards myself , allowing whatever time it takes to go through the process thoroughly, rather than try to live up to some nebulous ideal, but failing to be true to myself.

I think my favourite passage from the scripture is:
Here born, we clutch at things, and then compound delusion by following ideals.

Thank you, Henry. I for one would be very happy if you stuck around for a while.
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:33 am

I missed your post earlier Henry when I came on the forum
You have a lot to add to the discussions at this moment and I am delighted to see you here my friend
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:30 am

Nice to see your face and hear your voice on here again Henry!
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:03 am

Glad to see you again Henry -

"The ring of Mordor" - that struck me as very apt.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:21 am

My old foil, Howard. How are you? Cranky as ever, I see. Before addressing your concerns, let me offer you a cup of hot chocolate laced with valium. I'll wait while it takes effect..............................................

OK. First, I don't believe I have "open, tender, and unhealed" wounds. I come to this site for my own purposes. As you know, I haven't been around lately. I returned because I found the latest developments to be of interest to me. Catching up on a couple of threads, I noticed that many of the OBC Connect old timers have become much stronger in letting go of their attachment to the OBC. They have come much farther in getting out some of those, as Olga so descriptively call them: pieces of shrapnell stuck deep in her tissues. I also saw some new names that might not have become as bored as you have with the same old, same old. There are two types of psychotherapy groups: closed and open. Closed groups have a group of members who all start at the same time and no new members are allowed. These groups have definite stages of development, and while there is repitition, there is generally a defined movement forward. Open groups have people coming and going all the time. OBC Connect and AA would fit in this category. In open groups there is a lot of repitition and much less defined forward movement in discrete stages. So Howard, reality may not conform to your wants and needs.

As to our contribution to the difficulties at the OBC, my contributions are now decades old. Most of us overbought into the cruelty as kindness aspect to one degree or another. Many of us perpetuated the dysfunctional hierarchy through our own fear. Many of us took years to get the shrapnell out, continuing to repress our own perceptions, truths, and freedom, thereby continuing to support, silently or actively, a broken system. Much of this is discussed here.

I agree with Kozan, who stated gentle pressure needs to be exerted over a long period of time. That pressure is repetitive by nature because the dysfunction that the pressure is exerted on has remained relatively the same over decades. The monks of the OBC have so long been immersed in a variety of psychological aberrations that they are thoroughly marinated. To even catch a glimpse of a reality outside of those aberrations is a feat on a monumental scale. The pyramids, while a work of mind boggling magnificence, skill, and genius, was largely built by repitition. Just ask the slaves who built them.
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:15 am

Ol'ga wrote:

I refrained from posting on this thread, since I found the discussion seriously and disturbingly off kilter.

Ol'ga

Thank you, Olga, for redirecting this conversation to the core issue. This is not, and can never be a discussion about someone's private sins between consenting adults of equal power. This is about someone in a position of spiritual power abusing persons of lesser power in his care, in the area of sexuality. It's not about behavior between consenting adults. Anyone who has taken on the ethical boundaries and obligations in spiritual direction or in psychotherapy knows very well that this is a supreme betrayal of the dignity of personhood, and of the trust and responsibility of the helping role that such a helper and spiritual authority has been given as a sacred trust by the community. Let the facts emerge as they hopefully will, but let Eko be held accountable by at least the same ethical and legal standards that other members of the clergy are held accountable. His personal sins and koan are not the issue. It's about behavioral violations of his entrusted duties towards others, and the injuries that may have been done to the personhood of others in the name of his priesthood.


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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:42 am

Absolutely Bill.
For me personally I would add that if people in authority at Shasta knew of the allegations and stood back and by so doing allowed this behavior to happen, than they too are responsible for any hurt that may have been done,and should also be accountable
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:44 pm

hi Michael (and all) - I have rec'd information from a very reliable source who has said, at least in regard to the phone calls, that the Shasta monks did not know what M. Little was doing up until the women came forward with their experiences. This doesn't mean the senior monks couldn't have done more to investigate and monitor his behaviour overall, which Laura and others had been warning them about for years. Obviously there were signs which they refused to heed, Meian included. So it's a mixed situation as far as what they knew and when.

The same friend of the forum has provided additional info which I hope to get posted this weekend sometime. Just to be clear in the meantime, the source is not a monk and does not speak for OBC.
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:12 pm

@ Lise

Does your source say whether the women had come forward before or after Eko left? And what timely actions did senior monks take when this information became available? (It should be noted that in the dynamics of abuse any person so victimized would understandably be highly unlikely to come forward when the abuser is still in a position of power. )
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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:15 pm

Thanks Lise
Are you saying that no one knew of any complaints about Eko before he resigned?
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Additional info on Michael Little CONTINUED   Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:58 pm

I wrote

"The monks of the OBC have so long been immersed in a variety of psychological aberrations that they are thoroughly marinated. To even catch a glimpse of a reality outside of those aberrations is a feat on a monumental scale."

This statement makes me wonder about my own psychological aberrations. I like much better Kozan's term of institutional trauma. I by no means think the present monks in the OBC do not see clearly in many areas. I also feel confident that they are doing a lot of good with many people. These folks have expressed this on this site. I do, however, believe there are very serious blind spots. These blind spots do cause significant harm (also attested to on this site). Life in complex and not black and white. These two can exist simultaneously.

A significant problem that I see, is that although monks feel a certain degree of security in being protected from the delusions of the world, what i do think they've failed to see is that they are hyper susceptible to a self enclosed delusional reinforcement system (SEDRS; pronounced Cedars--I just made that up) at the same time. This is perpetuated by isolation and by over dependence on a system that idealizes certain individuals within the community. The result is that all the harm that has been caused as written of on this site, is not only ignored, it is actually no even seen to begin with. By the time one consciously aware of the harmful act that has been seen, the brain has already reinterpreted it as being beneficial. Out in the world, this can be significantly more difficult. We have wives or husbands, bosses and colleagues (who have a wide variety of world views); we read books that challenge our beliefs. All of these are powerful anti SEDRS agents.

Perhaps with the shock of finding themselves so unaware of who Eko is, and then getting such a critical report from Faith Trust the monks of the OBC will look at the very real devastating effects of SEDRS. Of course, another alternative will be that they simply close ranks even more, think of Faith Trust's evaluation as just another worldly organization misunderstanding the True Way, and change as little as possible. Never underestimate the power of SEDRS.
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