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 Delusion?

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Carol

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PostSubject: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:28 am

This post really belongs with the conversation about Jay Fulcher and the OBC Connect's response to Jay. I liked Jay (Alden) and am happy that he’s found his way out of there and wish him well on his struggles to make his way in the “real” world.

But what interests me about the discussion is the way everyone dances around delusion. Some of you – Howard and I think Henry – said they thought Jay was deluded in not questioning Jiyu and in not examining whether Eko’s outrageous behavior might have reflected a rotten core within the OBC. And some of you got upset at those who challenged Jay this way.

But my question is one that has long puzzled me and that is how do you know if you’re suffering from delusion. I agree with Howard and Henry that Jay didn’t seem even to think of questioning his master or the OBC, which considering everything we have written and read here on OBCC seems pretty deluded.

The three poisons (or whatever they are called) are greed, hate and delusion. These aren’t just Buddhist notions, but to me these habits of mind or whatever you call them really do in real life cause suffering to ourselves and others. I once asked Koshin how you know if you are deluded, and if he answered, I don’t remember what he said. But what I meant was that it’s pretty easy to know if you’re under the influence of greed or anger – and by the way, I think Diana’s discussion about her anger was really insightful and helpful – but if you’ve got delusion, then by definition you don’t know what’s going on inside you.

I once went to a self-help seminar thing (Mind Spring – remember that??) and they had a big sign hanging up that said “What am I pretending not to know?”Good question.

This all bears on my relationship with the OBC because I feel now that I was SO DELUDED for so long thinking I had found the real deal in the OBC, the eternal truth, etc. After hearing from the rest of you, I see I wasn’t alone. Now I think that the world is ever changing and we grab whatever “truth” works at the time. But how do we get so deluded about the way things are? And how do we know we’re deluded?

By the way, Michael, you ask if Shasta is isolated among Buddhists. I don’t know if they are or not, but if they are, imagine how isolated Koshin and the North Cascades people must be. They even broke off from the OBC and went off on their own way. The conversation about who is “senior” is interesting in this context, because it appears that no one in the world is “senior” to Koshin.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:35 am

Hey Carol

ooohhh I likes this I do my precious.

Henry will no doubt pop up with a very informative dissertation on what delusion is and how that I am a perfect example of it but until then..

I find that from long deluded experience, the best insurance against delusion is a wide and open mind & heart that are capable of holding a certainty even as sweeping as this. My rear view mirror shows that delusions held by me have always been about something that touches my sense of identity. That part of my zazen practise that softens and dissolves my sense of identity is the part that also most directly unearths my own delusions. It also seems that the force of my delusion is usually tied to the inertia of my identity. My experience so far says that my free range organic delusions and identity party hardest in that which I am not yet ready to let go of.
I'm not sure that delusion is ever hard to find, just the will and the price of finding it.


Letting go, as an expression on this forum, often makes folks nervous and agitated because it says to them that someone is suggesting that they need to let go of the things they love. Family, friends, partners, masters, practises etc. It's just ones sense of identity with those loves (or hates) that I'm taking about, not the object of those relationships.

Delusionally yours..Love all.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:59 am

Central Issues for me Carol.

Firstly I did ask about Shasta being isolated and also if they were connected. It is easy to bypass the question and say we are all connected,which of course we are. But my question basically is about fooling everybody and hiding behind labels,Kozans interest in small houses excites me because it is easy to think big houses , big cars and big organisations are right or better. So my fundamental question,or query the label of Soto Zen for Shasta; may not be correct, the label OBC may well be correct. In this case their understanding and acceptance of terminology, direction, and all aspects relating to OBC may well be their own, in which case I have no argument .But the people fooled may well be innocent new people who do not know the history anf think they are joining a Soto Zen organisation, when they are joining a OBC organisation.

Your question of delusion is always pertinent but I am not going there. I remember Bill telling me loads of times, sitting is just done; sit in a zendo when you want to; don't make anything out of it. (Self constantly creates itself, it needs to ). Bills comments from years ago have enormously helped my practice, as I wake up early, sit without trying to do anything, and not trying to achieve anything. The subtleties of our self quickly needs its own agenda, the depth and unity of zazen, is not created or developed over years of practice. Our body and minds are one, there is unity with that perceived to be not ourselves. zazen is already here,by not doing anyting,we become a part of what we already are.

From what I know of you Carol, you know the way,no one has to tell you the way, I believe by not trying to be Buddhst we already are Buddhist, by not trying to sit we sit in a deep and unified way, by not being concerned about our delusions,delusions and enlightenment are allowed to drift away.

Practice it seems is never easy,personally I continue to want to be influence by the Buddha, His teachings , and all the people that practice them

Take care


Last edited by chisanmichaelhughes on Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:57 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : terrible spelling)
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john

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:10 am

An aspect of delusional thinking for me is thinking that one is right, and holdind that image in oneself mainly unconciously with I think, inner dialogue making auguments and corrections to keep the sense of self algilined in the supposed light of being right, good and decent likeable etc. Not that there is anything wrong with that,just natural human leanings, but continueing the facade/ persona on an internal level when something is unearthed, and then there is a shift in perspective for a short time and with a little luck some developement in humility. But delusion is a vast area, and I belive it is the whole of life. As we bounce from one perspective to another learning that our view maybe out of sync with what maybe truely going on.

How can we know if we are in the thick of delusion ,dont think we can but questioning oneself in quiet reflection is a start. Having the compassion to listen to the views of others and working through this refining process of trying to get better at it and make more sense of things. Because my sense of self says so therefore I must be right. Am I deluded, I think so, along with 6 billion others to a greater or lesser degree. How many bubbles do we burst in a lifetime.

oo I thought there was a little light coming through then, my mistake just delusion.

John
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:08 am

Hi Carol,

I love that you brought this discussion in. It's difficult to talk about because it's a "black and white" sort of thing: either you're deluded or your not. For me, I believe that we construct our own realities and that there is no one truth. So for someone like Jay, Jiyu was his teacher and his truth, and everything was hunky-dorey until the evil Eko came in to destroy his life. From everything that we have been talking about here on the forum, we can see that the majority here believes Jiyu's way was not the truth for them and that their experience was actually quite the opposite- it was harmful, traumatic, and destructive. So the black/white discussion continues on. The part that sticks out for me is the denial of the so-called karma involved when one person goes along with the group: Jay was a senior monk and he was part of the OBC machine and he lived with and supported Eko for decades and therefore he participated and chose not to look around and see the harm that was being done. Is this delusion? I would say yes. And the fact that he now wishes to "coach" others is disturbing to me (I didn't want to say that publicly, but that's how I feel).

I liked Jay/Alden, I did. There were parts of everyone at the OBC that I liked. But now, when I look at them, I actually see them as victims. I actually see Jay as a very sensitive and vulnerable human being who is just coming out of decades of being isolated and manipulated, therefore, I cut the guy some slack and wish him well. I think he has a long way to go, but that might not be true: he may be perfectly happy to live out his life, believing what he does, and die a happy man with the love of his master in his heart. Okay. Good for him. Do I think it was a mistake that he came on the forum? Yes and no. I understand his intention, but at the same time I think that delusion we are talking about maybe blinded him to certain elements: the fact that he didn't want to participate or talk about anything is his choice, but at the same time then, why come on this site when he evidently is still so tight with the OBC/Abbey? He could have just contacted the Abbey.

Ultimately, I believe there are layers upon layers of delusion and everyone is at some state along the road with it. Knowing this grants a little compassion and love to those who are just beginning to unrap there own layer of it. The thing that gets me messed up is the anger I have towards people who are creating harm. And Henry touched on this a bit- I know a lot about my anger and I know that there is some good anger in there that I will probably never let go of and that's the stuff that actually is healthy anger and serves a purpose. Protecting myself, people I love, and even strangers is something I will always do- not in the co-dependent, super-hero way, but just as a responsible citizen of the earth and community member.

Religion, whatever one you choose, is defined by a set of beliefs. These are usually rigid and you if you don't adopt the set of beliefs, you can't be a part of the group. As soon as you make the decision to adopt beliefs that in your heart, don't seem to fit in with you, then you sacrifice something. You want something, to be a part of the group and this "want" keeps you in the group. So pretty soon you and everyone else around you is acting, almost as a survival instinct, to be a "good" group member. As time goes on, you lose who you are, you change to conform to the group. And after 30 some odd years in a closed, rigid system, the whole thing isn't even about religion anymore, it's just like every other group of people. The thing that struck me the most about the Abbey was it was like a soap opera. The "newbie" trainee who walked in couldn't see that, but after hanging out for a couple of years, things got really weird and you got to see all the makings of a soap opera, and a really good one with all the issues of sexual tension and the dramatic alliances and coalitions, along with the struggle for power, mixed with the innocent people who get stepped on along the way. And don't forget about supernatural powers! Whoo-hoo. The Abbey had it all!

I brought up that the Abbey is holding a retreat about the life and teachings of JK. This to me, is the either brilliant in that it may bring into light some of her shadow as folks recount the paradoxical and other things about her that they have been denying, or it could be completely delusional in that they may use it as an opportunity to try and bring her and her teaching into a new "saint-like" light. I can see them hunkering-down and closing up so that they may preserve her teaching and bring it into a whole new form of devotion. She is the founder, afterall. It may come down to it that they have decided that either you are in, or you are out. It would be perfectly understandable if they decided to clean house and re-committ to their vows of alliance and devotion to their founder. We have brought up all of Jiyu's stuff here, but I seriously doubt that any kind of discussion will ever take place there. They have to keep up this level of delusion to keep the group going. I feel sad for those people who think that this "religion" that they practice is anything but just desperately clinging on to there own needs to feel that they are a part of a group and the ego or persona of the "Zen" trainee with their flowing robes and perfect bows, etc...

Okay, I'm rambling. But that's what came up for me.

Peace,

Diana
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:23 am

One more thing- regarding my use of the term "victim." I know Howard has touched on some of this in the past. I do believe that we all make choices and we all chose at one point to be a part of this group. In a way, we all have our own layers of delusion around this stuff. But I do believe that some people do get into it with good intentions while others do it for other reasons. For the obvious example, we can see that Eko's drive was obviously for power. We all go in wanting something. I do feel victimized, but at the same time I know that I was going in wanting something (peace, love, whatever). There are certain people who are victimized though, and this is where I would think that a religion like the OBC's would stop and say "hey, we need to change because we are HARMING people" (notice I said "we", and I did not scapegoat Eko into it, because everyone is responsible). But they don't. So what is the answer? Well, I think we all have had some pretty good ideas about things that would help them. But the fact is, we can't change them. All the things we have suggested like "transparency," being more "open," becoming a part of the larger sangha or community of buddhists, etc..are great ideas! I think they would help some folks and keep others from being harmed. It is difficult to stand by and watch them as they go through all this. It will be interesting to see if anything comes out of this conclave or not.

~Diana
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:04 pm

Diana when you say

Religion, whatever one you choose, is defined by a set of beliefs. These are usually rigid and you if you don't adopt the set of beliefs,
I would agree with you, but I feel with zen it is a religion where one does drop ones own beliefs

Also you say

Jiyu was his teacher and his truth,

Jiyu was never my truth, teacher to a point yes but never my truth

and also
an opportunity to try and bring her and her teaching into a new "saint-like" light.

makes me feel more than a bit sick
I agree with you this is how zen Buddhism seems to have been taught or allowed to be taught, but it does not appear to have really worked, simply because of the pain caused to other people
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:43 pm

Hey Chisan

I think Zen's delusion is it's adherents that will not question their meditation, teachers, history and practise. A zen identity is no less delusive than any other. We see in the absence of directed intention that we are amazingly ethereal beings and my experience of a sense of identity is simply the denial of that truth. So there we are, both unbound and constricted.

My zen related delusion arrives most commonly as my identity of being a staunch zen meditator who tries to extend that practise into all areas of my life. I can not hold such an identity without limiting countless options around me.

So there it is. My definition of zen delusion.. Getting in the way of the way while talking about not.



Cheers to the endless question. Carry the answers at your peril.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:15 pm

Well if you like a zen identity is as much delusions any other identity but my point of clarification is really cutting through to truth,If we all knew then what we know now, we would have been wiser then. We could have made choices that were determined by truthful knowledge,rather than being told what was deemed good for us to hear or limited information.
Someone recently wrote about the faith trust and said the info may well be told to limited people even within the order. It is their order so they do what they like but people are then told you must trust believe , my way or the high way as Jay said. It is unnecesary , and why manipulate people like that.
In zazen we do not make choices , we sit, in life we can make choices , and we do
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:57 pm

The question is: how do we recognize delusion? With all these comments, I can't believe no one has hit upon the one true way to recognize delusion right off the bat. As Howard suspects, I already have, and I will now share with everyone what that secret is:

What I do is figure our what Howard sees as truth, and then I know that is delusion. Conversely, what Howard sees as delusion, I know to be truth. In science, the simplest theory to explain any given phenomena is the one that is most widely accepted. What could be simpler than seeing what Howard does and doing the opposite. This method has proved so reliable that I've given up even thinking about it. I just mindlessly take the opposite position from Howard. Others take a different take and believe what their master believes. I guess maybe they've found the anti-Howard and are as fortunate as I am in their own way**.

The one problem with this is that Howard will eventually pass (I'm in no hurry for that; he saves me a lot of work) and the world will be bereft of its unfailing anti compass. While I dread the day that occurs, I have been working on other theories, which I will present when I have more time. As of right now, I'M OFF TO THE BEACH!!!

**I remember before I left Shasta, that Rev. Kennett's teaching was that the Buddha's teaching of "Don't believe something to be true because I say it is. You must prove it to be true for yourself" was a lower teaching. The higher teaching was to have faith that what the master says is true, because the master is the living Buddha. I wonder if that will be part of the Teachings of RMJK retreat. NOW I'M OFF TO THE BEACH!! really.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:27 pm

Humour is really needed in the delusional section of the OBBC but It's also nice to see Henry here as well.

Few of us are capable of demonstrating the face of delusion quite as personally as Henry and now that he's dropped his xxx stage name, perhaps we can invite our younger, more impressionable members back to participate.

My only complaint Henry about this current posting is your use of the word "pass". When did a dirt nap get pastel coloured into a "pass". I mean it's not as if its a optional activity like, "No thanks I'll just pass on this one". It also just sounds like your talking about gas escaping from the bod which is pretty darn presumptuous on an Internet site although it might best describe another posting here.

Please pardon this tiniest of interruptions in my humble attempt to bring some clarity in your continuing demonstration of delusion on this and so many of your other threads of the OBCC.

Yours devotionally as always

H


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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:23 pm

Hello Chisan

In zazen we do not make choices , we sit, in life we can make choices , and we do.

I think we have some word differences when talking about our zen practise that I'm wondering about even if it's not easy to explain.

Zazen can be many things. What we experience of zazen often determines what aspects we associate with it. When you talk of zazen I think you are talking about sitting & not making choices where as life is where you move and make choices. If I've got that right then that is completely understandable.

I associate the equanimity of being untethered to the ego's directives as what zazen is. This means that the zazen I was talking about is "on" in both sitting posture as much as in active life. The choices, the doing, is as much zazen as anything else. The equanimity that develops in formal sitting is free to be brought into a life of choices & doings to the degree that we don't actively indulge our identity or ego.
If zazen can be many things then perhaps these differences are not a right zazen or a wrong zazen but just whatever facet of it we happen to be facing at the moment.

I wonder if we might be talking about the same things but are looking at it from different angles. What do you think?

cheers H
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George
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:30 pm

How do we know if we are deluded? Great question. "Delusion" is a state or condition, but "Delusion" automatically posits "Non-Delusion," thus dualism, and such a discussion always makes me Nervous (as opposed to Not Nervous). But if this mysterious Delusion is the condition, I feel confident in identifying a behavior that indicates the presence of Delusion: Clinging. Grasping with all your life and strength, never letting go, never even thinking of letting go. I saw Jay (Alden) only rarely at Shasta (stoking a furnace: I liked him, but he wouldn't remember me), so the Jay (Alden) I know best is the one who appeared on this forum. I don't necessarily see delusion in that Jay (Alden) but I do see clinging to the 10th power, in this case to his understanding of the teachings of his original master. (I believe that I have seen this same level of clinging frequently among OBC monks, and it is my guess that they will cling to the True Teachings of RMJK in the 2012 retreat.) Clinging has never served me well.
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:46 pm

The primary characteristic of delusion is that it never laughs at itself. Delusion is concerned with far more serious matters.

Therefore, Henry and Howard, I regret to say that neither of you qualify as exemplars of delusion!

So, how do you know if you are deluded? When you can no longer laugh at yourself or your beliefs!!

Many thanks Howard and Henry for this insightful demonstration.

Also, thanks to George, Michael, Diana, John, and Carol, for your insights. I have additional thoughts as well (and an equal interest in pursuing the serious side of delusion)--but I won't be able to get around to posting them until I am able to stop laughing every time I think about Henry and Howards' responses!
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:08 am

Howard words especially written are difficult to convey true meaning sometimes

Is there a difference with zazen and daily life, the ultimate answer I suppose is no. Realiatically there is.
Zazen is a particular practice, done at a particular time,when one focuses without distraction and sit

Here born, we clutch at things. And then compound delusion later on. By following ideals.

This beautiful scripture hints at zazen, the unborn mind; however one thought evolves and we cling to it as George says, by habit we develop it, before we know where we are; we are speeding away on some tangent compounding delusion.
I do not feel zazen is a road to anywhere or a practice to do anything. Our inherant nature is here and now.

I remember having a discussion with Gensho in 1973, we were talking of this issue,he said he felt everything outside of our zazen was makyo, or delusion, quite a tough sentence, maybe one sided, but for what we were talking about,which was experience of zazen, experience of, or the start of experiencing a greater depth or unity of ourselves , I think he was right.

I agree Daily life is zazen, the practicalities of living, socialising,,making choices, making decisions,arguing,forming relationships; for me means that I sit zazen, and try to be influenced by it in my life.

This again for me is a difficult part,look at the aspects we have all talked about of teachers going astray,they either have not experienced zazen, or have chosen not to be influenced by it.
I guess ultimately wherever we have been , whatever we have learnt, whoever we are, our credibility,or our understanding is shown in this way
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:46 pm

When looking back, most of us remember that all of our unseen delusions of yesterday seemed to rest quite comfortably within a zazen practise, until they didn't.
Was that just evasive meditation, the miss direction of a wily ego, or were we just not yet willing to fully face those threats to our own identity?
I can not question the Shasta folly's without also questioning my own meditative ignorance. And where Shasta's present difficulties are mostly beyond my ability to effect, mine are not and I think the understanding of my own meditative limitations are probably key to really understanding Shasta's.
I am not advocating ignoring Shasta's folly's until we understand our own, rather I'm questioning whether we can objectively examine one without the other? This does make me wonder why an inordinate amount of our focus here on the OBCC is of the meditative failings of others without giving a reference to our own as a baseline.

A common meditative observation is that both the universe and ourselves are in a constant whirling flux but that does not accurately translate well to our own conditioned linear thought or behaviour. The value of such an ethereal observation is that it can then allow everything in our day to day world to sift from more practical & comforting held views that we all have some significant life control to a more experiential appreciation of existences fluidity.
The simultaneous cradling of the ethereal view with the more common nuts & bolts practical view, has been an effective method of ferreting out some of my own delusions because while delusions may do well in one camp or the other, they seldom get to wander about unseen in both.
At the very least it helps show me where my understanding is ridgid and where it isn't.
.
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:36 pm

Personally I am very inspired by people who show humility ,and are not scared of their own humanity.Teachers that have had a difficult time,are so encouraging as they can understand other people and their situations,and do not have this need to teach from a power position or have a large following,or status, I constantly admire people who seem to have both so little and yet so much
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:30 pm

How do you recognize delusion? We've had this discussion previously, but it is worth revisiting. In truth, delusion can't be recognized, because if you recognize something as delusion it is no longer delusion. Whereas the other two of the three poisons, greed and anger, can be recognized directly, quite easily often, delusion is impossible to recognize as such by its very nature.

So, how then can we know delusion as delusion? I suggest forgetting about delusion completely and simply take a very different attitude towards truth, because in the end delusion is believing something is true when it is actually false; therefore, we have to be concerned not with what we think is false, but what we believe to be true. If we consider our own lives carefully, we will see that recognizing delusion comes when we realize something we took for granted to be true, turned out to be false. Look at what is occuring now with the OBC. There was absolute certainty that Eko could not have done what he did; however, they now realize that was thoroughly untrue. They are shocked because they believed so completely that there was no way that Laura and Diana could have been correct and their respected abbot could be so utterly wrong. Many of us continue to hope that their even more cherished truth--that Rev. Kennett had only a neglible degree of unresolved karma that could not have been connected to the Eko disaster or done the harm many of us saw that it did--can also be shown to be a delusion. That remains to be seen.

So in order to find delusion we must be open to doubt and investigate TRUTH at the slightest indication that that truth is not holding up in each and every aspect it purports to, if indeed it were TRUTH. I will give an example from science, then relate it to the present OBC situation to explicate my meaning. Newton, a true genius, investigated the way things work in this fascinating world of ours. By thorough investigation, he came up with many laws that mathematically explain how things work. Over centuries, these laws accurately predicted how things would work given any conceivable differences in situations. Then something curious happened. People started to measure how light worked. All of a sudden, for the first time, their were slight discrepancies between how Newton's law predicted reality should be and how it actually was. Many people took these discrepancies as to be so minor as to not even consider that Newton's laws might be running into some problems. The TRUTH is the TRUTH. It is plain to see. Why allow little discrepancies to disturb ones' faith in a foregone, undeniable TRUTH? But there were others who were curious. What in the world are those discrepancies? Could reality actually be different from what appears so obvious that it is? For decades these folks studied tirelessly, coming up with with all sorts of theories and fantastic ideas to explain these discrepancies. All of them failed to accurately explain or predict the way phenomena works. Then along came Einstein. Without any experiments, other than ones he could conduct in his own mind, he was able to explain those discrepancies. And up until this year, all his formulas accurately predicted the results of subsequent experiments and observations. Reality conformed perfectly to Einstein's theories, just as reality conformed to Newton's until.....

It is not that Newton was wrong; it was just that his laws applied only as long as objects were not too little (sub atomic) or objects were not going at very fast speeds (getting up to half the speed of light or so). Now scientists have found that that neutrinos go about 60 nano seconds faster than the speed of light. Very very very small difference, but the first time (if the speeds dectected are true; they're still rechecking) Einstein's formulas have been proven wrong. SO...60 nano seconds. Not a big deal. But to the scientific, curious mind, they know that this discrepancy could open up a whole other realm, where perhaps Einstein's theories don't apply, just as Newton's don't apply at speeds close to the speed of light or at the sub atomic level. Curiousity and doubt about all truths, no matter how sacrosanct. That seems to me to be a good way to approach the subject of delusion. After all, we all have our sacrosanct truths, even if un- or semi- conscious.

The Buddha was one of the great psychologists of all time. He investigated everything. He was an intensely curious and scientific man. He doubted what came before and if a TRUTH did not pan out to solve what it purported to solve, he was ready look elsewhere for the answer. The OBC has many sacrosanct truths. They have made what is holy superior to what is true. There were many discrepancies that pointed to Eko not being the Zen master he was purported to be. But those discrepancies were ignored because they did not support the TRUTH all seniors in the OBC needed to uphold. Diana and Laura were there to point clearly to those discrepancies, but they were ignored, because the OBC monks had lost their curious, scientific minds. They had replaced those minds with minds of blind faith. Only blind faith could blind one to the truth of who Eko was. Because the OBC monks had lost their curious, scientific minds they needed to hire Faith Trust to investigate the discrepancies for them. Many on this site are telling the OBC monks that there are similar discrepancies in Rev Kennett's behavior. There are discrepancies which point away from the TRUTH about her that they hold sacrosanct. There are discrepancies that point to a truth that says she had significant unresolved psychological issues that directly caused harm to many who were in her care, that led her to value the authoritarian traits in Eko, that blinded her to the obvious fact that Eko had severe issues with power and that he was a power abuser in the making from a time well before she named him heir apparent. The OBC mind that denies discrepancies instead of investigating them allowed monks to witness Rev Kennett humiliate and be psychologically abusive to others and reframe this obvious fact into one where she was being kind to these people.

What can be more un Buddhist than having to twist reality to conform to preconceived notions rather than investigate preconceived notions when they bring up red flags. When you investigate TRUTH you have to be brutally honest with yourself and be willing to go wherever the investigation leads. The monks of the OBC have been taught for decades not to do this. They have been taught that faith in the master is a higher truth than investigating and finding what is true for you, or simply what is true. There is nothing wrong with learning from others, but when we have to give up our own ability to investigate the truth and supplant it with FAITH in a master--that is a train wreck waiting to happen. The Buddha had a curious and scientific mind. He had faith, but he didn't let faith supplant his natural curiousity and need to investigate for himself. And if he did let faith supplant those attributes, then he was, in my humble opinion, wrong.

So if we wish to ferret out delusion, perhaps the best avenue is to investigate TRUTH, which, as deluded beings, is most of what we consider our ideas about the world to be.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:40 am

Thank you, Henry, and everyone else for your thoughtful (and some humorous!) posts. Now if I could just figure out what TRUTH is, then I could get delusion spot-on. Ego-identity and the need to belong to the group surely do cloud our b---meters.
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:02 am

Yes interesting analogy Henry

The Buddha was of course more than a scientist,He realised 'the truth', 'enlightenment' and became founder of a religion, which is believed in, followed and practiced, by very many people in different cultures. The religion has taken on aspects of each culture as it gradually permeates the society.


His realization,has helped many people throughout time since,inspired people to meditate, encouraged very strong practice, and help many many people deepen their understanding of themselves, their delusional thinking, and their enlightenment.

Despite the fact that there have been out cries of delusional teaching in many places, the strength of the practice and understanding, is that there has been an outcry. Many good people have stood up and said 'This is not the right way'. And good for all of them', by saying this is not the right way, we can start to practice the right way.

I agree with you entirely, that in our case here the OBC has refused to believe people here, put the emphasis that their leader is always right,and must be obeyed. It appears that they have refused to meet us; as we break the precepts, it appears a blanket apology but little human touch and communication. Their way of mass obedience at the sake of individual investigation as you say, means to me that the truth is only available on their terms,and zazen has to be taught through clever concepts,an intellectual understanding,and this seems to have replaced intuitive experience. Being told by others what the truth is, seems to me to have replaced direct experience. Being controlled by an authoritive body with more and more rules and regulations replaces discovering the right way for our selves.
Zen has to be experienced to be relevant,and true a blanket 'follow me' especially 'follow me I am right' leads one at best into someone else's intellectualization of the truth,which may be comforting for helping personal insecurities, but useless for cutting through to the core of our own delusional thinking and commentaries, and limitations of me and who I am
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:23 am

Henry, your comment above, is, in my humble opinion, a brilliant assessment!

On my Facebook newsfeed just now (courtesy of one of my fb friends) was the quote:

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of the truth." --Albert Einstein

I think that Buddhist teaching has surprisingly little to say about delusion. It seems to me that this is directly related to the fact that Buddhist teaching focuses almost entirely on the individual, and pays little attention to the collective realm.

I think that this is significant because the most intransigent forms of delusion appear to be those forms of misunderstanding that are collectively shared and reinforced.

Individuals can, of course, enter into states of psychological confusion, or delusion, that are severe enough to not reqire any reinforcement or support by others!

However, it seems to me that the forms of misunderstanding that are most invisible and unconscious are those misunderstandings that we are unaware of precisely because we all share them! In other words, this is the very situation that you, I, and many others here are suggesting is the case within the culture of the OBC.

It also seems to me that collective delusion embodies the paradox of appearing to be rock solid--when in reality it is very fragile. The metaphor of the OBC elephant (described by Howard ages ago on another thread) dancing, unacknowledged, in the garden, comes to mind.

Collective delusion requires a lot of group effort in order to constantly reinforce and affirm the defense mechanisms that maintain the facade.

As soon as some of us begin to question the facade--and its underlying assumptions and beliefs--the fragility of it all begins to become apparent.

It seems to me that this process is now underway, to some still unknown extent, within the OBC, based on the Public Statement released yesterday.

It also seems to me that at least one of the greatest fears that may serve to maintain almost any dynamic of delusion, is the root fear that the exposure of misunderstanding will reveal a foundation that is inherently lacking in integrity.

This issue is so important in Japanese culture (forinstance) that historically, people in leadership positions would sometimes commit suicide, if they perceived that their own behavior was lacking in integrity, or was so perceived by others. "Loss of face" was not just a loss of stature, but a perceived loss of integrity at the very core of being.

In fact, we can never lose our innate integrity, because it does not reside within our self, our beliefs, or even our behavior. It resides (I would propose) within that which is awareness itself.

Therefore, I think that in actual practice, our ability to recognize our own delusion, both individually and collectively, often hinges on our ability to recognize and trust that not only is the integrity, at the very core of our being, not diminshed in any way by our misunderstandings or mistakes--it is in fact, confirmed by our willingness to recognize them!

In the collective realm, in an organization, or in a community, participation in the collective delusion is necessary for its maintenance. As more people refuse to participate in the delusion, it becomes increasingly impossible to maintain.

For all of these reasons, I think that compassion is particularly important in the recognition, healing, and transformation of any delusion--both individual and collective.

After all (and to paraphrase myself from an earlier comment), even the greatest delusion is, at root, just a little misunderstanding!
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:23 am

Carol,

TRUTH is anything you unthinkingly assume to be true, self-evident, undeniable. I'm just suggesting we don't ignore evidence against these truths, no matter how small, simply because they have to be true.

Kozan

I find your ideas about collective delusion very interesting. In fact, in the DSM, it defines pathological delusions as precisely those that are not found in society as a whole, or even one's micro society. So from a mental illness point of view you can be deluded to the gills and not be mentally ill, as long as everyone around you is deluded in the same way. Think virgin births, resurections, Buddha being born from his mother's side, Mt. Meru. Believe in these delusions and your find. Have your own personal delusion and your off to the psychiatric ward.
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:41 pm

Again, I'm-non-Buddhist-but I hope this is useful...

I don't know how much (+ex-)Buddhists study Daoist concepts, so a bit of background. There's a range of Daoist study which researches, integrates, and interprets theory from other religions, mainly Buddhism and Confucianism, but it works for others. The operative method is observation of "ganying"(感應), correspondence of meaning, which we might describe as the weft of karmic reality (天經地緯之緯), a function of the poetic ontology of multiplicitous transformation (萬化). So, as many know, Daoism has a habit of being open to interreligious dialog and generating interpretatio on this basis. Interteaching study is coolbeans and reveals many helpful knowledges and wisdoms.

When Buddhist discourse was first studied in this way, the idea of the Three Poisons were imported, but redeployed in ideosyncratically Daoist ways, on the basis of Daoist biospiritual/medical theory. So, covetousness, aversion, and "delusion" (貪嗔癡三毒) have somewhat different understanding for us, particularly the last. They are seen as illnesses of the three subtle qualities of the body/self, essence, energy, and spirit (精氣神三寶). All of which, if I understand it well, outlay as follows: Covetousness is a weakness of essence, the grosser quality verging on pure material physicality, one might say biological life force, which is most near Earth. Aversion is a sign of weak energy/qi, the middle class of energy-qualities ranging from kinetic and thermal to mental intention. "Delusion" is weakness in spirit, the rarified pre-mental energy-quality of being most close to the Ultimate, and most formless and imaginary.

I put "delusion" in quotes because the sense I've always gotten was that in Daoist discourse this word (癡) carries a weight more like the Catholic Christian category of spiritual pathology they call "acedia". The diagnosis of illness in this Poison is a lethargy in the willingness, and freshness, in facing the ontological. "Delusion" in this sense is not courageous when facing life, especially the deeper in life of what is Natural, as well as ignorance. It is, indeed, a partially willful ignorance, a pride, which stunts our relation with Heaven and inner nature.

If one is versed a bit in Daoist biospiritual terminology and methods, the taxonomy is probably clearer. (My words also may be murky.) But I hope you can see how it might be simply applied in the case of institutional problems. I can't directly say about Shasta, but can imagine this situation: Spirit has been squandered. There is a mental lethargy in transcending/transgressing habits of mind which are not efficacious toward generating systemic health. The body essence and energy of the congregation and clergy may be working hard, but the things up top are sick. The sick must use Yielding (letting go, empty-action, humility) to turn from pride and lethargic lack of self-honesty. Perhaps they are too driven in the wrong things and not restful enough in the other things. I've found institutions that get this way often need to "spit out the old and inhale the new" as we Daoists say, haha. We all get this way, but it's truly painful when we find it endemic in monasteries and temples, which should be open and joyful centres for the exploration of the spirit and mind...

Anyway, the Three Poisons and their study fascinate me as diagnostic tools. It helps me to read discourses on them, Buddhist, Daoist, and other. They are simple, but not often easy, to heal. This is my understanding of them, for what it's worth.

I hope Shasta and the OBC all the best as they attend to these sicknesses we all face.
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:00 am

There is a new book out called Folly of Fools by Robert Trivers, a biological theorist. The author has compiled research from social theory, psychology, evolution, and biology to study function and evolutionary purpose of self-deception. Psychology has been postulating that self-deception is a defense mechanism used to protect a fragile ego or make us feel better. Trivers is asserting that self-deception is mainly an offensive strategy. If we deceive ourselves, we can more effectively deceive others. I've just started the book, but I find it thoroughtly fascinating so far. It makes it even more obvious why meditation is so important. Reading his book brings to light how biologically imprinted into our minds, body and genes self-deception is. To watch this parade of BS with imparital awareness seems its only antidote (though I haven't gotten to his last chapter, which addressing how to counteract self deception). This book makes watching my own deceptive mind an even more humorous endeavor. For those of us who are fascinated by the whole edifice of belief, delusion, and self-deception, this book gives a fresh perspective from a variety of disciplines.
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:55 am

Hi Henry.Thanks for the review of the book. Deception for me is always trying to assert ones being right,which in turn keeps the level of selfworth afloat, so being right or wrong enters how we feel in relation to others, inferior/superior and making innear adjustments till one feels relativly comfortable. But it is something I struggle with all the time, which decision which view, trying to keep the sense of self balenced. Humility/acceptence is key and learning to live with the fact that one may have been wrong all along in the great scheme of things. How do we live, how do we relate, what to do,and as you say meditation is so important. I think it impossible to understand many of ones motives, but they invariable come back to self, how can they not.Trying to keep ones disjointed level of self importance going seems to me what the mind spends a lot of time in creating. Insight can cut through this, but the sense of self will regroup and live out the defensive or offensive strategy trying to obtain peace in rightous blindness.

But there again I maybe wrong. John.
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:59 pm

:-) Thank you for the details of the book, Henry. Another review of The Folly of Fools states that Robert Trivers "argues that self-deception evolved in the service of deceit", which does not seem to contradict the contemporary defensive facet of self-deception.

What strikes me is the importance of self-directed compassion...or perhaps I could call it 'unstrained mercy'...when mindfully facing deep issues of ones own stuff. Without that, fear of ones own internal/internalised choir of 'judge, jury, and executioner' may deter a person from daring to look at or into their own activities. By "compassion", I don't mean dodging spiritual responsibility...far from it; more the route of non-malice, non-harmful intent. Also, of course, for harmony with what one knows, one needs to be willing to change if what one discovers shows it necessary. Nothing new here, then!...
I'll slope off back to my cave... Sleep (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:38 am

I posted this column also in the reading corner section under the topic - The Elephant in the Zendo.

November 14, 2011 - New York Times - Column
Let’s All Feel Superior
By DAVID BROOKS


First came the atrocity, then came the vanity. The atrocity is what Jerry Sandusky has been accused of doing at Penn State. The vanity is the outraged reaction of a zillion commentators over the past week, whose indignation is based on the assumption that if they had been in Joe Paterno’s shoes, or assistant coach Mike McQueary’s shoes, they would have behaved better. They would have taken action and stopped any sexual assaults.

Unfortunately, none of us can safely make that assumption. Over the course of history — during the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide or the street beatings that happen in American neighborhoods — the same pattern has emerged. Many people do not intervene. Very often they see but they don’t see.

Some people simply can’t process the horror in front of them. Some people suffer from what the psychologists call Normalcy Bias. When they find themselves in some unsettling circumstance, they shut down and pretend everything is normal.

Some people suffer from Motivated Blindness; they don’t see what is not in their interest to see. Some people don’t look at the things that make them uncomfortable. In one experiment, people were shown pictures, some of which contained sexual imagery. Machines tracked their eye movements. The people who were uncomfortable with sex never let their eyes dart over to the uncomfortable parts of the pictures.

As Daniel Goleman wrote in his book “Vital Lies, Simple Truths,” “In order to avoid looking, some element of the mind must have known first what the picture contained, so that it knew what to avoid. The mind somehow grasps what is going on and rushes a protective filter into place, thus steering awareness away from what threatens.”

Even in cases where people consciously register some offense, they still often don’t intervene. In research done at Penn State and published in 1999, students were asked if they would make a stink if someone made a sexist remark in their presence. Half said yes. When researchers arranged for that to happen, only 16 percent protested.

In another experiment at a different school, 68 percent of students insisted they would refuse to answer if they were asked offensive questions during a job interview. But none actually objected when asked questions like, “Do you think it is appropriate for women to wear bras to work?”

So many people do nothing while witnessing ongoing crimes, psychologists have a name for it: the Bystander Effect. The more people are around to witness the crime, the less likely they are to intervene.

Online you can find videos of savage beatings, with dozens of people watching blandly. The Kitty Genovese case from the ’60s is mostly apocryphal, but hundreds of other cases are not. A woman was recently murdered at a yoga clothing store in Maryland while employees at the Apple Store next door heard the disturbing noises but did not investigate. Ilan Halimi, a French Jew, was tortured for 24 days by 20 Moroccan kidnappers, with the full knowledge of neighbors. Nobody did anything, and Halimi eventually was murdered.

People are really good at self-deception. We attend to the facts we like and suppress the ones we don’t. We inflate our own virtues and predict we will behave more nobly than we actually do. As Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel write in their book, “Blind Spots,” “When it comes time to make a decision, our thoughts are dominated by thoughts of how we want to behave; thoughts of how we should behave disappear.”

In centuries past, people built moral systems that acknowledged this weakness. These systems emphasized our sinfulness. They reminded people of the evil within themselves. Life was seen as an inner struggle against the selfish forces inside. These vocabularies made people aware of how their weaknesses manifested themselves and how to exercise discipline over them. These systems gave people categories with which to process savagery and scripts to follow when they confronted it. They helped people make moral judgments and hold people responsible amidst our frailties.

But we’re not Puritans anymore. We live in a society oriented around our inner wonderfulness. So when something atrocious happens, people look for some artificial, outside force that must have caused it — like the culture of college football, or some other favorite bogey. People look for laws that can be changed so it never happens again.

Commentators ruthlessly vilify all involved from the island of their own innocence. Everyone gets to proudly ask: “How could they have let this happen?”

The proper question is: How can we ourselves overcome our natural tendency to evade and self-deceive. That was the proper question after Abu Ghraib, Madoff, the Wall Street follies and a thousand other scandals. But it’s a question this society has a hard time asking because the most seductive evasion is the one that leads us to deny the underside of our own nature.
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:29 pm

Kozan wrote:
I think that Buddhist teaching has surprisingly little to say about delusion. It seems to me that this is directly related to the fact that Buddhist teaching focuses almost entirely on the individual, and pays little attention to the collective realm.

I think that this is significant because the most intransigent forms of delusion appear to be those forms of misunderstanding that are collectively shared and reinforced.

Individuals can, of course, enter into states of psychological confusion, or delusion, that are severe enough to not reqire any reinforcement or support by others!

However, it seems to me that the forms of misunderstanding that are most invisible and unconscious are those misunderstandings that we are unaware of precisely because we all share them! In other words, this is the very situation that you, I, and many others here are suggesting is the case within the culture of the OBC.

It also seems to me that collective delusion embodies the paradox of appearing to be rock solid--when in reality it is very fragile. The metaphor of the OBC elephant (described by Howard ages ago on another thread) dancing, unacknowledged, in the garden, comes to mind.

Collective delusion requires a lot of group effort in order to constantly reinforce and affirm the defense mechanisms that maintain the facade.

As soon as some of us begin to question the facade--and its underlying assumptions and beliefs--the fragility of it all begins to become apparent.

Therefore, I think that in actual practice, our ability to recognize our own delusion, both individually and collectively, often hinges on our ability to recognize and trust that not only is the integrity, at the very core of our being, not diminshed in any way by our misunderstandings or mistakes--it is in fact, confirmed by our willingness to recognize them!


Really liked this post.

I've had some recent experience with delusion, and what I noticed in my case was that it started as a conscious choice to ignore behaviour that was troubling but "wasn't really doing any harm right now. I'll just keep an eye on it and anyway, nobody's-perfect-who-am-I-to-say."

Once I made that decsion, then I stopped seeing...not the behaviour itself, but the extent of the damage the behaviour was causing. And I found myself changing my own behaviour to 'accomodate' the damage, either taking it on as my issue to deal with or not noticing the effect it was having on me or the relationship at all.

What's even more interesting that even being consciously aware of it now and having reaped the consequences of my choice, I still feel the emotional pull in the direction of the delusion. I feel if I pull it over myself tightly enough, I can actually keep the truth away.

I guess what I'm saying is it's easy to see delusion as something that happens to other people or to pay lip service to recognizing it not happening to us while secretly thinking we are far too clever or advance in training to be drawn into it. It's a really strange feeling--at least for me--to fully experience it, to recognize that its still part of me even though I "know" what my delusions are, and to realize that there are undoubtedly things out there I'm still blind to.
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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:03 pm

Some very good points. I certainly have experienced various forms of group or collective deliberate ignorance. In one sense, as part of my job doing PR, even though I mostly work with non-profit organizations doing good work or filmmakers who have created a documentary about a very important issue, there are almost always group dynamics and group think, strong personalities, wishful thinking, and in some cases, even cultic behavior. I find it challenging - even these small daily examples have the seeds of deeper confusion and self-interest and willful blindness.

Here is a column from today's New York Times that is actually quite relevant to group delusion and group response. By posting it here, I am not suggesting that OBC is the same as China, but the group dynamics have their similarities. How do organizations - large or small - deal with criticism, challengers, nay sayers? What is saving face all about?


November 15, 2011 - New York Times
Why China Won’t Listen
By CHEN MIN


Guangzhou, China

THE Chinese government often tolerates, and even encourages, abuses of power and extrajudicial punishments by law enforcement officials. These are the underlying evils that sustain a regime that values its own preservation above all else, including human rights and the rule of law.

But how is this possible in a world where outsiders feel free to criticize China’s human rights record? Why does the Chinese government respond to some forms of protest, while stonily ignoring others? The answer can be found in the way the Chinese leaders, at all levels, think about their authority, their reputations and their power.

Consider the case of Chen Guangcheng, a human rights advocate who has been under house arrest with his family in Shandong Province. Recently, the public received news that his 6-year-old daughter would be allowed to leave the house to attend school, a concession that seemed to signal more lenient treatment.

But then, on Oct. 23, a group of Internet activists who had set out to visit him were brutally attacked by a local mob. Witnesses who described the attack on the Internet said it appeared to have been well planned — a sign that Mr. Chen’s ordeal was not yet over.

Why won’t the authorities simply let Mr. Chen and his family go? The most critical reason is mianzi, or “face,” as it is usually translated in English.

The authorities know that what they have been doing is unjust and illegal. But they saw the gathering of activists as an affront, and responded harshly because the government could not afford to lose face — which would undermine its power in the public’s eyes.

Petty cruelties and crackdowns are everyday occurrences in today’s China. Officials, especially low-level ones, have never cultivated respect for the rule of law, due process or habeas corpus.

If they were held accountable for strictly following the law in all cases, most would probably lose their jobs, bringing the state apparatus at the local level to a halt and endangering the system of government control. That is why, even though the powerful know what lesser officials do, they usually turn a blind eye — as long as they can cover up the misdeeds and the public doesn’t become outraged.

When public outrage does ensue, another mechanism of control — intervention by senior officials — sometimes occurs. That happened in September 2010 after a man set himself on fire to protest a building demolition in Jiangxi Province. High-level leaders fired a party boss and mayor for negligence.

But the case of Mr. Chen evidently didn’t qualify for such intervention, because another rule of power in China came into play: Never seem to bend to the demands of foreign powers. In such cases, it is the central government that digs in its heels, and the louder the outcry grows, the worse the situation becomes. In the government’s eyes, there is a stark difference between a homegrown problem like the one in Jiangxi and a case like Mr. Chen’s, in which the government perceives foreign meddling.

Congress has passed an amendment expressing support for Mr. Chen, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently criticized his house arrest in a speech. China saw these developments as an intolerable slap in the face.

Beijing does not indiscriminately reject all such “interference”; China and the United States conduct a dialogue on human rights through diplomatic channels. But Chinese leaders believe such dialogue belongs behind closed doors.

The Chinese are saying to Americans, if you grant me face, I can be reasonable; if solving the problem will help me, I’ll consider it. But don’t expect me to make concessions under pressure.

Such concessions would call into question the regime’s legitimacy. And once the issue is survival, the government is in effect cornered, leaving it no choice but to resort to drastic measures from which nothing — sense, humanity or law — can dissuade it.

The problem turns into one of “sovereignty,” which in the Chinese government’s vocabulary means the absolute, non-negotiable right to rule over a billion subjects. When sovereignty is in play, there is no longer a right or wrong side of an issue, just winning or losing.

A similar logic was involved 22 years ago at Tiananmen Square. The protesters there asked for nothing more than dialogue, but the government stubbornly refused because it didn’t want to set a precedent. To Chinese leaders, “governing” means absolute control. Allowing the people to become a rival to the government might bring down the system.

The same is true in Mr. Chen’s case, but with an important difference: in 1989, the government refused to set a precedent of yielding to popular demand at home. Today it refuses to set a precedent of yielding to American pressure.

China and the United States have been discussing human rights issues for so many years that it is baffling that American leaders remain so clueless about the Chinese government’s mind-set. Previous high-profile cases were resolved behind the scenes. Mr. Chen’s case should have been approached this way, too — not through public pressure.

I welcome American politicians’ concerns about China’s human rights situation. But I have one request: please be a bit more considerate, a bit more flexible, and a bit more tactful about our leaders’ mind-set. That way, you — and we — might have more success.

Chen Min is a former editorial writer for Southern Weekend newspaper and a former managing editor of China Reform magazine. This essay was translated by David Liu from the Chinese.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Delusion?   Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:04 am

I can't find the post that someone put up recently -- I think it was from Josh -- saying that the OBC emphasis on "training" was misguided. That's really true. So much OBC teaching (that I received anyway) stressed constant "training" to beat down the ego. The struggle with "self" was never ending. Koshin always taught that we should "get out of the driver's seat," i.e., let go of our own ideas and wishes and leave someone (some thing?) else in charge.

Focusing on the "self" in this negative way can actually cause us to lose sight of the emptiness that comes with truly letting go of the "self" and the realization that the "self" is a transitory phenomenon with no substance. But the "self" isn't some bad actor lurking within that must be denied and "trained" out of doing what comes naturally.

Kahneman's new book Thinking Fast and Slow (which I haven't read yet) talks about what happens when we get so completely involved in doing a task or hearing music or seeing a performance that we are unaware of a "self" that is doing or hearing or seeing. This seems like true emptiness and is quite different from depriving the "self" of doing or hearing or seeing certain things because the pleasure might pump up the ego or nurture the deluded"self."
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