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 Mission Accomplished?

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Henry

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PostSubject: Mission Accomplished?   Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:28 am

It seems like participation in OBCC has been diminishing and has become a slow trickle. I’m not sure it’s slowed this much prior to this, so I have to wonder, has the mission been accomplished. I think that’s important to look at because I’d hate to see everyone drift off (if that indeed is what is happening) without some discussion and acknowledgement of what is happening. I think OBCC has been important to many of us. For many of us, it’s given us a forum to openly speak of some extremely disturbing and painful episodes in our lives. It has given us an opportunity to hear the stories of others to help us make sense of our own experience. It’s given us an opportunity to receive the validation and respect we never could have when we were immersed in a culture that denied cruelty to preserve a distorted image of reality. It has given us an opportunity to confront those who have maintained and expanded that distorted image of reality so that an Eko could reign unchecked for years, perpetuating further harm while that same distorted reality was preserved at all costs. That confrontation, while never acknowledged by the OBC, has helped motivate them to look at themselves and their actions—to reevaluate their own assumptions. This, anyway, is some of the reports coming out of the OBC, both as an organization and by inidividuals interested in change. I don't think it is a coincidence, that as the OBC, both as a whole and by individual monks, makes its first tentative steps in challenging some sacred assumptions, that OBCC participation is starting to dwindle and be considerably less focused and certainly less vehement in its critique of OBC actions, past and present. It is my belief that the energy of OBCC has been fueled by OBC denial, minimizing, justification and rationalizatiion of their actions. The less energy the OBC puts into defending the indefensible with patent nonsense, the less fuel there is to energize OBC Connect. That, at least, is how I see it.

So the question arises for me, is it mission accomplished? Has OBCC largely done what it set out to do? I know there is the social connection aspect of it, but has the main purpose of many of its participants (not all I'm sure) of making our truth known, confronting the OBC, and preventing ongoing harm largely been accomplished? I have no absolute conclusions on this, but considering how interest in OBCC appears to be waning I felt it a question worth posing. I await with bated breath the opinion of others.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:28 pm

Yes good idea Henry.
For me I am happy to be on my way.
I think Lise did a brilliant job at starting the forum,and I am very pleased to have been told of events that occured after I left so long ago.Whilst I was surprised to hear of alot of the stories,actually I was not surprised that they happened. The whole situation with Eko is really not surprising.I think that Eko for me highlighted the difficulty he had in working out his relationship with himself and spirituality.If he struggled with this he would certainly struggle with his relationship with other people,whom I believe he viewed in a dismissive way.His zen lacked all transcendence, it was all about training the self ,training the ego, whereas zen is really about seeing the impermanence of life and realizing that within impermanence there is no permanent self. Train and struggle with ego, self discipline, and denial and there is no dropping away of body and mind ,no transcendence or freedom of spirit,it is polishing a mirror that was never there in the first place. I am not surprised people ended up hurt.
So for me mission accomplished, here is a place where we can say why we left Shasta rather than being discredited, with some other reason.

Life continues to deal me very many difficult hands,and I certainly do not look for anything anywhere else

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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:17 pm

Dear Kaizan,

Sad but true? I've been wondering myself if people are "done" here. I don't know. I check every day to see if someone has written something, anything. I've learned from all the discussions, not just those dismantling the dynamics of Shasta and Throssel or the entire OBC culture.

I like knowing how Ol'ga's husband is doing and Chisan's mom. Robert in England and Polly in Eastern Oregon, I'd love to have an update on what you're up to. Laura, I'll see you for lunch soon.

I like the book suggestions, the articles reprinted. I like feeling I have a community again. I like that here others know from their own experience what inward beckonings I followed to become a monk. I like hearing perspectives from the lay community -- Hmmm, ohhh, it feels like I might have a question coming on...

I'm so profoundly grateful for this community; I've healed through the stories of others. When I joined up, I wasn't done with the OBC. Though, I never considered going back, the feelings of betrayal, of grief, were constant, haunting shadows. Betrayal is devasting. I didn't understand it. However, a year here and I'm OBC cured! Thank you all.

I'm fairly certain that Shasta, and the OBC in general, would like nothing more than for us to fade away. I don't believe they will change. Slowly the storms will pass and they'll quietly slip back into their dysfunctional comfort zone; kind of like Macon's family in the Accidental Tourist.

So if this forum does fade away, I just want to make sure I thank everyone who has ever written a word here. My gratitude knows no bounds.

With love and with bows,
mokuan
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:50 am

:-) Thank you for starting this thread, Henry. I think you make good points about what has fuelled much of the discussion here.

I have been very glad to connect with OBCers (and occasional others) who have felt able to write relatively freely in this 'independent' milieu, and to learn of their experiences. The connecting and community aspect has been very important for me, as has being able to express certain long-held concerns. So, many thank yous to Lise and her helpers, and to all contributors. At the time I started this post, this thread had scored 95 views, so someone out there seems keen!

My active participation has lessened for practical reasons, but I receive system emails to notify me of new posts and threads, and look in weekly-ish now. Yes, bated breath indeed...
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polly

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:35 pm

Hey Mokuan! I'm so pleased to see that you remember me. I have drifted, certainly. Haven't looked in here for months. It kind of reminds me of being in AA. It saved my life but eventually I had to move forward. I didn't want to stay in alcohol-land forever and I sure as heck don't want to stay in OBC-land. Amazing that I almost never think about them any more. Never thought that would happen! And no, I don't think OBC will change either. Any person or group who has perfected the art of passing the buck to that degree is probably real comfortable just the way they are. But I could be wrong.

I echo your sentiments. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lise and all the other participants of this forum for helping me over probably the hardest experience in my life. Just knowing I wasn't alone, it wasn't all just me and my delusion dancing in the dark, was a huge help. So, thanks to all, blessings to all, best wishes to all. Happy Holidays. All that stuff and all heart-felt. And Mokuan, you have my e-mail address. Stay in touch!
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:41 pm

Henry,
Thanks for posting this, and posing the question, are we done? I have felt pretty "done" for several weeks and haven't poked my head hardly at all. This forum has served a valuable service to me. Initially I simply found it a place I could process my own experiences and perceptions and be informed and educated by the experiences and perceptions of others. For that I have found the precious grace of recovering and recognizing the "gold" and shedding the "dross" of my journey with Shasta Abbey, the OBC, and all the fellow travelers who inspired and challenged me, many posters here among them.

I have also found something I didn't at all expect, a chance to dialogue directly with some of the leadership of the OBC, veterans who remained within that structure, and I discovered how much I loved them still, and found compassion for them amidst the present suffering in the community. I also found a sense of justice and healing in the developments that have happened with the departure of Eko Little, and the subsequent examination that has happened. I hope that same justice and healing continues for others, especially those who remain in the structure, or those who have been harmed and need further support and healing.

I am grateful for the participation here of Isan and Kozan in particular, who have found a way to share their integration of the spiritual journey with us here, not in spite of their pain, but because of it, and are so able to articulate that integration in splendid and beautiful ways.

I have been reminded so many times for myself that I never seek to suffer, and it is inescapable in this plane of existence. In my encounter with it, because I was so blessed to have a practice, and to have been supported in the early years in developing it, I have a way to meet suffering so that it opens me to love ever more deeply and to rest in a peace that can't be taken away. I thank everyone for sharing their stories here.

Peace and well-being to all,
Bill Ryan
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:58 am

Henry--Your breath stinks of bait? (bated breath...ne c'est pas?)

Chisan--Hang in there, sir! You have a lot of friends wishing you well. May your burdens lighten!

Lise & moderators--A thousand thanks.

Courage and flourishing, all.

--Dan
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lesley

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:52 pm

Dear Lise,

I would also like to thank you for starting this forum so enabling many people to voice their experiences and concerns. I feel that people have benefitted from being able to compare and contrast their own point of view with others and this has led to a greater understanding all round and not a little healing. so, it has been a wise move on your part and that of the Adminstrators.

I have found it very helpful although I have not been directly involved with the O.B.C. since the 70's..with gassho, Lesley
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Nicky



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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:30 am

Henry , thank you for starting this thread , ive been wondering about the fade out ever since - Mission accomplished ? doesnt quite fit .
For me , yes i agree with the gratitude towards the admin lot , and so many contributors . it has been helpful, and exciting, and painful too , the unfolding of what has gone astray within the OBC . I've learnt a lot - on many levels .
I think the main reason ive faded out is because this forum is public , i want to feel safe and quiet whilst i learn . Though ive hugely valued the private emailing . Also I was, am , mildly unnerved by the increasing sense of this being a sangha of very articulate xmonks , that i felt excluded from , and slightly uneasy with .I miss the sense of sangha .
" making our own truth known " as henry said has certainly being helped by this forum , at least within ! ......so...what could be better THANK YOU ,
warmest wishes Nicky , and i'll certainly still look in sometimes - trickle on -
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:07 pm

I quite agree with you Nicky, but you are certainly articulate - and we can't even paint a ditch!

However I do feel a sense of sangha and wonder how we can keep it going. But if we do slowly drift our separate ways, though I will be sad, I will always extremely grateful to all at OBC Connect, contributors and admin. They have been my finest teachers.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:08 pm

Yes and you have done well too Mark

You have always been strong, exemplary and would not do or go along with what you felt was not right.
Things are never as they always seem, large places with large followers may be following what they want to hear.
Indignation from devoted followers has greatly reduced numbers and even closed popular centers,as people realign their path from a perspective of greater experience.

1 person practices true Buddhism and the world is moved. the Buddha Dharma has to always be present.

The stillness of Zuoiji the drive of Ikko Roshi, my chaotic life; what is the difference,this exemplary path can still be practiced and walked. Zazen is zazen it has no boundaries no limits, our limited minds divide things up rationalize and discriminate. Our hearts unite us with all beings. Not only is the Buddha Dharma here and now so is the Sangha. Strong people have to do what strong people do, practice, be here under all circumstances. Living and not avoiding the four noble truths,how can one not live a life of compassion for all beings

Your strong leadership, and exemplary behavior has always been an example to me of how I should practice zazen and live my life
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breljo

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:25 am

Henry, yes thank you for bringing this up, and for me "Mission accomplished" does not sound right either. I am thankful to have had this forum come into existence and learn from the many posts and conversations that have taken place so far. As any good Buddhist knows, all things arise and then pass away, perhaps this is what is happening here, but for me nothing is ever quite finished. One answer comes and two more questions come up instead. I came to Buddhist training because I thought I would find the answer to ALL my questions. All I know now is that there will always be questions and there will always be answers and they may not come in the sequence we expect them to come. I hope OBC Connect will continue a bit longer.

It was interesting to hear of the early beginnings of Shasta Abbey and of the varied experiences of those who trained there early on. Rev. M. Jiyu is still revered by her disciples, yet she caused so much pain to so many. How is that possible? Was it the Japanese style Zen (to employ cruelty in order to be kind?) or was it simply a narcisstic personality? Were some monks more on the submissive side?, Was there a preference of personalities, characters?

Whatever came out of the Conclave, the Heads of the OBC have a serious task on their hands, one that requires tact, diplomacy and courage. It has much to do with what the future of Buddhism in the west will be . Does kindness and empathy have a place in this system as it exists now, without it destoying the whole basic character and "flavor" of OBC training? I hope and wish the right balance can be found.
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john

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:16 am

What mission is ever acomplished, always going on always becoming.

For me this forum is/has been good to realise accountability for actions not only by others but of oneself. To know that there is a blind side to human nature, a side that is complacent and indifferent to life and of others. A side that needs to be bought continually into the light of awearness, and to know that this work is never completed.Something I recently read written in latin above the doorway of an old Catholic convent, Fronti Nulla Fides, meaning, no reliance can be placed on appearance. This forum has helped me understand this more deeply.

With Thanks, John.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:51 pm

As long as this organization and its leaders continue to uncritically worship Kennett, her shadows are alive and well and will continue to create unhealthy circumstances for their members.

There is still a big honking elephant in the zendo that they pretend is not there. From my experience, i would say that most of the destructive aspects came from Kennett's unresolved and unexamined psychological issues with an overlay of Japanese Zen. Japanese Zen of course has its own deep shadows and belief systems -- which were also unexamined. So it was a messy stew and it left a huge wake. Unenlightened actions - that's for sure.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:22 pm

Josh, I love your posts, they always give a nice visual - I'm seeing Mr. Elephant sitting in the front row, and up on the main altar, and waving his trunk out the door of the sanzen room. He'll be in residence there for awhile, I suspect.

To everybody, thank you for the kind things you've said. I've been traveling for the past few weeks and taking a break from the forum so I'm a bit behind.

I think this type of forum was bound to arise sooner or later. What amazed me early on, and always will, is the number of persons who have been brave enough to speak openly, and have overcome the conditioning of silence, the OBC-instilled fear of "breaking a Precept" by speaking. There are many out there who haven't spoken yet, for different reasons. When they're ready, we'll be here.

This isn't goodbye from me, I've actually got a little more forum business to tend to after being away. And I would not like to lose touch with anybody here, I think we've all created something really worthwhile together. Normal daily life is where we spend most of our time, but we can drop in here too whenever we want.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:05 am

This forum is and will be very valuable, regardless of how the current OBC members respond or do not respond. Great discussions and connections made here. I am sure many new people will discover these discussions in the coming months, years, so let's hope this forum remains on line as long as possible.

I may start a new topic on what is generally called "Critical Buddhism." I didn't know much about this new area of study until quite recently - and it's an area that most Zen groups also avoid, hope that it just disappears, but no such luck. So when i have time, i might start ruminating on all the various Zen myths that promote sectarianism and illusions. Lots of fascinating books I've started collecting. More on this later.

One thing -- maybe someone else brought this up in other threads. When the Pennsylvania State College Football Scandal hit some weeks ago, they fired the University president and the head football coach. The OBC has acknowledged ten years of denial around Eko, heavy handed treatment of community members, and so on. In most other organizations, wouldn't the head guy and all the members of the board of directors either be fired or resign? Why is Haryo still head of the order? Over and over again, the leadership was told of abuses,, but chose to stay blind, deaf and dumb. No Zen, no dharma, bad institutional behavior, That's a very good reason to fire everyone. That's what would happen in most ordinary, conventional companies.
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:05 pm

Hey Josh--(off-topic, but...)I have no dog in this fight: I don't know RM Haryo and am not concerned about whether he is the head of the OBC or not, although I wish him well in principle.


That said, my view is that OBC had, and promoted, an implicit assumption about the perfection of Zen Masters that was decisively proven incorrect by RM Eko's actions, and by the brave and consistent testimony of the women who have come forward (or so I take it...still frustrated that I can't read the full FTA report).


A wholesale firing of leadership is a reactionary move, which is frequently made by an organization when it cynically calculates that throwing a bunch of people to the wolves will signal to the press and public that "it means business". It is a move driven by public relations and perception rather than a desire to solve the real problem.


I would prefer that OBC learn the lesson that nobody in their temples is perfect, that improvements are always possible, and especially that junior monks and lay folks may have very important things to say regarding the actions of their seniors. It's an institution run by humans, after all.


So let's (us and them) be realistic. A) Let's pick our "battles" (for want of a better word) judiciously. B) Let's not demand that every personal detail of every problem within SA/OBC be written across the sky. C) Let's not demand a public flogging every single time something goes wrong.


OBC should, in my view: A) institute some practical checks on masters' power over juniors' lives. (Sounds like something is happening on this front); B) adhere to the "sunlight is a great disinfectant" rule of principle when someone gets hurt, in addition to respecting privacy (again, balance...); C) publicly revise what it means to be a Zen Master so that expectations are not of some infinitely wise super-being in the flesh (anything happening here...?), and again connect that fallibility back to structural changes in their relationships to fellow monastics and laity alike.--Dan


P.S. I'm reading a book by Duke University philosopher/neurologist Owen Flanagan called "The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized" that might be of interest to many folks reading this, particularly those who want to make a distinction between the transcendent, numinous experience of living on the one hand, and the merely supernatural, gee-whiz aspects of Buddhist religion on the other. http://www.amazon.com/Bodhisattvas-Brain-Buddhism-Naturalized/dp/0262016044 It seems closely related to your "proposed" thread regarding Zen myths. I am interested to learn what you have read as well.--DD
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:50 pm

actually, i have no personal interest who runs the OBC / Shasta, or even if it runs.

I agree that throwing someone to the dog's doesn't in itself solve anything. But it is also sometimes quite appropriate for leaders to resign and / or be fired for not doing their job. For too many spiritual groups, there is a lower standard than in "the world."

Just a random thought.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:43 pm

Thanks, Henry, for starting this thread. I think the number of responses is the answer to your "mission accomplished" question. Plenty of OBCC regulars still have thoughts to hammer out and want to communicate with one another in this safe forum.

And as Lisa says, there are those out there who have yet to tell their story publicly. There are also those (including me) who have told their "story" but have not yet sorted out why we became so engaged with the OBC, why we remained so long, and what -- for good or ill -- we took away from the experience.

Also, although the OBC is coming to terms with Eko and the harm he caused, Koshin and the others at NCBP have slunk away without a word. Rumor has it that Koshin left the OBC because he refused to allow OBC seniors to come to his priory or speak with his disciples without his permission. That shows an arrogance and a complete lack of accountability. I don't understand how the OBC can just let Koshin et al. leave with no explanation and no analysis of what went wrong out there. No one has ever apologized to my daughter for their mistreatment/neglect of her when she was under their care and was undergoing a serious physical, spiritual, and psychological crisis.

Finally, I don't think Mission Accomplished because I don't want the OBCC to disappear. Even though I don't write a lot, I check in regularly to see if anyone has something new to say or if a new person has shown up. I feel as if the OBCC folks are my friends. I want to hear what everyone is thinking and how their lives are going. If we hang in there long enough, new topics will present themselves for discussion.

I say Mission NOT Accomplished as long as we are alive enough to peck away at our keyboards!
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:22 am

Carol

One of the best things I have done was sever my connection with Jiyu kennett,I did not sever connections with zen Buddhism or my friends.

Personally I would like you to know that I would never walk away from friends I include you Amalia and everybody else that has been hurt.

I have said all I want to say, I have such little time to say any more! but I would not for a moment want you to think that you and your family. or anybody else were regarded lightly by myself. On the contrary I find it very sad that that things went the way they did

Love you from over the seas
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:59 am

Carol wrote:

Also, although the OBC is coming to terms with Eko and the harm he caused, Koshin and the others at NCBP have slunk away without a word. Rumor has it that Koshin left the OBC because he refused to allow OBC seniors to come to his priory or speak with his disciples without his permission. That shows an arrogance and a complete lack of accountability. I don't understand how the OBC can just let Koshin et al. leave with no explanation and no analysis of what went wrong out there. No one has ever apologized to my daughter for their mistreatment/neglect of her when she was under their care and was undergoing a serious physical, spiritual, and psychological crisis.

Hi Carol--FWIW, I think NCBP is a bit of very unfinished business that could well end in a tragedy, of the kind that involves ambulances followed by police and handcuffs. I am glad that your family is well clear of the place, but worry about those still involved and who will be involved in the future. Someday soon, a starry-eyed seeker is going to present themselves at the priory doorstep, fully expecting to be led to enlightenment by a supernaturally perfect expression of the light of Zen, in the form of a roshi, and not having any idea what might await them instead.

I'm not sure that the OBC seniors could do more than follow through on their ultimatum: "Accept our oversight or sever ties." Koshin chose to sever ties. Sometimes the options are limited. Perhaps there's someone at SA/OBC who had a bond with Koshin who can keep in touch now and then?

I would like to know your thoughts about what outsiders can do to keep track of such a secretive and non-communicative group.--Dan
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:28 am

I don't think of the forum as having a particular mission. Like so many have said, it's more of a place to share experiences and such, kind of an online therapy group. And like a therapy group, although the group may end, the work is never finished, it just evolves into other things.

My own evolution has migrated from a surprisingly explosive type of anger to a calm forgiveness. I still get angry, but I'm grateful that the calm seems to occupy most of my space. The evolution from anger to forgiveness did require acceptance. I found that the space here on the forum very much aided in this evolution. What a messy business it was! But it is what it is and I am grateful for what I have learned here.

Words like "acceptance," "forgiveness," and "compassion," have in the recent past, triggered a lot of confusion for me and I think it was due to my buddhist-brainwashing: these words became just that, words- these things were never really modeled by the monks, nobody ever really got to the heart of the matter, they just became buzz-words. I have spent the last 5 or so years deconstructing my buddhist-brainwashing, breaking it ALL down, finding what is useful and what is not, proving what is true for me and pointing out what was absolutely wrong. I have learned to set my boundaries up and these are based on knowledge, not "ego" or "self." I have learned what the "self" is and have found a source of peace in that place, not a war.

I came to "training" to learn how to live, but nobody could show me how to do that or model how to live for me. In some ways that makes total sense in that we all have to find our own way, and this is also really sad that I went to a place for spiritual guidance and found that it made things worse for me and became a source of pain and despair.

I am thankful that something did shift in me. I'm coming at things from a different angle now and I'm moving on in a sense. I needed to get through the therapy part, the most difficult part for sure, and to the other side, which for me, involves reclaiming my spiritual life. I can not throw away what I feel is a completely natural way of being.

It is difficult when something has traumatized you because you become conditioned and you end up reacting to triggers. For me, the "words," the lingo, the dialogue that the OBCer's use, and everything else that wears the suit of "buddhism," became a source of pain for me- a constant reminder of pain that left me feeling like a huge failure. I now can see and hear clearly when people use "the words" and I have learned to see when someone really knows what those words mean, or when they are just propaganda and completely empty. You don't need the buzz-words to express what is in the heart, you just have to let the heart speak. You don't need the robes, the ceremony, the politics. I learned that what the OBC lacks the most is heart and I find this sad and I hope that someday they all can find it.

I have found so much knowledge and information out there on the first part of my path, but that too was limited and confined to a set of concepts. This part I call the "cult recovery process." It was a useful model for me and it helped me to heal. What I now find is not so confined to a known process and I have yet to find a model that could help me regain my spiritual life back. For now, I'll label it "life" and see what happens.

I'm still here, reading and listening to you all. Peace and love to you.

Warmly,

Diana
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:53 pm

Diana wrote:
Words like "acceptance," "forgiveness," and "compassion," have in the recent past, triggered a lot of confusion for me and I think it was due to my buddhist-brainwashing: these words became just that, words- these things were never really modeled by the monks, nobody ever really got to the heart of the matter, they just became buzz-words.

It's still shocking to read that these ideals weren't modeled. It must be that, in a not-very-metaphorical sense, there really are (at least) two co-located places called Shasta Abbey.

Hope you get those words back to where they seem like elevating ideals once again, Diana, and not just saccharine bromides.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:33 pm

Dan said, "I think NCBP is a bit of very unfinished business that could well end in a tragedy, of the kind that involves ambulances followed by police and handcuffs."

I think there is no way to prevent this from happening because Koshin is extremely secretive. Remember last year a new visitor to the NCBP said he secretly kept his locator running so he would know where he was? You can't find the address anywhere and Koshin forbids the use of email. Unfortunately, now even the limited oversight of the OBC has been cut off.

Diana, thank you for your eloquent thoughts on the real meaning of compassion -- towards oneself and towards others. Five years is a long time for deconstructing the brainwashing, but it seems to have paid off.

Both of these thoughts -- possible harm at NCBP and recovery from OBC generally -- strongly favor the continuation of OBCC! If Michael and others find that life has become time-stressed, we hope they will drop in once in a while to stay in touch. Love to you, too, Michael, across the ocean!
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IanPatton

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:32 pm

It has certainly been an eye-opener for me. We've had our difficulties up in Edmonton, but I had no idea the rot was so ... rotten and systemic.

Actually I should say that things in Edmonton seem to be going along quite well. I don't attend and haven't for around 10 years. My old and still very good friend who I am sure some of you know, Rod Walker, is the lay minister ... solid as a rock. Reverend Koten comes by occasionally. Actually, regarding Koten, he apparently had a serious accident and broke his leg in a few places. I hope they don't get much snow in Lytton this year.

Anyway I lurk more than I post and I am really happy to have met so many fine fellow trainees ... FTHAT ... "Band Members" ... so until I get the notice that the site has become John Cleese's parrot I shall continue to post the occasional bit of completely inappropriate music LOL

Thanks to all,
Ian
BTW, it's funny how some words like ... "trainee" ... just don't feel right. That word gives me the creeps ... ah, on the whiskey again Ian ... Very Happy
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:36 pm

Keep up the music! And let us hear how your slide guitar is coming along.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:28 pm

Hey Ian

Send my hello's to Rod when you next see him.

Rev. K emailed me a month ago saying he was OK despite the two broken bones, hole in his leg and a fancy vaccum bandage that is motor powered 24/7. It sounded like he had some bodies around for support. He's temporarily moved to a lower property that includes such luxuries as hot water & possible snowplowing of the road..

Ah the rural life!

And speaking of Cleese, It's probably a good idea to check our own feet for perchnails on this site now and again.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:05 am

Howard wrote:


And speaking of Cleese, It's probably a good idea to check our own feet for perchnails on this site now and again.

not dead, just resting....lol
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jack



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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:03 pm

When I write something, it seems to accomplish a couple of things that are not directly related to communication with another. My words written to another have the uncanny characteristic of being words written first to my mind. I am the first among those being communicated to by the crystallization to words of thoughts and feelings otherwise floating about sometimes in vague soup .

Part of my early participation in this forum was this condensation of my own thinking and conclusions as a means of discussing it with others. That in itself was helpful, because once something has form, it can be more easily seen, evaluated, discarded, or assimilated. On a few occasions, I was a bit jolted by my own words. There is perhaps value in mystical vagueness, but to me, honest clarity, even while exploring mystery, has been much more valuable, and much less fraught with danger of comfortable self-delusion.

I continue to value many aspects of the Zen path, though I think the OBC version of it is materially flawed in both its doctrine and implementation. It is perhaps a sign of maturity to see rafts as rafts rather than something of divine luminance. The OBC experience was a rough, makeshift raft of sorts that came apart in mild water, but by the time OBC teaching had disintegrated into flotsam, Zen practice had provided something far more stable to transit the stream with. I'm left with the incongruity that while the OBC was a poorly formed raft, it served a temporary utilitarian purpose of moving me off the shore. Part of life is learning to live with incongruities without being dislodged by them.

My participation also allowed me to share by means of reading the wisdom and experience of others who, without the encumbrance of OBC culture, have continued to develop rich, spiritual (for lack of a better word -- no spirits intended) lives while jettisoning the burden of past trauma and OBC defects. If I named names, I would leave many out that I have enjoyed reading and benefited from. Every one, even those I disagree with, has been part of that benefit.

I will mention Josh in particular as a rich source of possible books on religious experience and pitfalls. I won't have time to read most of the books, but the summaries themselves have often provoked thought.

There are a few, like Amalia, who are now missing from this forum. I am happy that despite her mistreatment at the hands of the OBC, she seems to have recovered to a normal, reasonably happy life. Her story, though painful for her to revisit, was a vivid reminder of how quickly the divine becomes evil when it subordinates ordinary human kindness and compassion to the maniacal arrogance of imagined spiritual superiority. That story. and the insight it provided was, by itself, worth my time here.

Conversations end. Wounds heal. Demons kept alive in memories are exorcised by recall into understanding. The flow of life continues -- hopefully with better insight than before. I am grateful to all who are part of that. And I'm thankful for the opportunity to see my own experience more
clearly when I was forced here to reduce it to words of conversation.

Lise, who sponsored this forum, and all who participated have my thanks and best wishes.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:49 pm

jack wrote:
It is perhaps a sign of maturity to see rafts as rafts rather than something of divine luminance. The OBC experience was a rough, makeshift raft of sorts that came apart in mild water, but by the time OBC teaching had disintegrated into flotsam, Zen practice had provided something far more stable to transit the stream with. I'm left with the incongruity that while the OBC was a poorly formed raft, it served a temporary utilitarian purpose of moving me off the shore. Part of life is learning to live with incongruities without being dislodged by them.

I've come to a similar conclusion. It's a little like the aviation truism "any landing you can walk away from is a good landing". At first I certainly expected more, but now it's enough that RMJK and the OBC helped me move off the shore.

I'm glad to see you still check in.
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:23 pm

It's so nice to have you back, Jack - hope it is not only to say good-bye.
For me, also, the forum has been very helpful in prompting me to formulate my thoughts.

I like your
Part of life is learning to live with incongruities without being
dislodged by them.

- because it is all about life, isn't it, since we find ourselves here - pinch myself, yes, I am here. So, then, how to live, as living is inescapable.
As to the incongruities, or insecurities (my word) - we can face them, or live in their midst, if we stand firmly on that which is solid. I would probably describe that something differently from you - or maybe not so differently, who knows. But I would say that certain kind of certainty we do need - and that certainty may even be quite legit, because it is true.

Then I also like your
I think the OBC version of [Zen] is materially flawed in both its doctrine
and implementation.

Again, you may mean something different from what I mean. But, to me, where OBC doctrine is mistaken, is believing that the problem is 'ego', that wily, sly, miserable thing. I am convinced that the problem is error, and the remedy is understanding. The approach is, then, manifestly, utterly different. To beat the ego, is to - as though - "solidify" it - in the case of the beater, as well as the recipient.

Do stick around.
Ol'ga
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:32 pm

Thank you, Jack. The forum has been helpful to me also in formulating my thoughts.
Today my thoughts turn to gratitude for the gifts that training with the OBC has given me (and yes, including Rev. Koshin). At a time when my professional life was stressful and all-consuming, they taught me how to sit quietly in a dimly lit room and let the thoughts run through my head without trying to capture every idea and every feeling. They taught me that ceremonial can be symbolic and beautiful and centering. They taught me that one can live life simply without a lot of gadgets and stuff. They taught me to respect all beings -- to bow at the "Buddha" within each being. Some of the monks taught me the value of warmth and hospitality, especially Rev. Jisho and Rev. Maido. They all taught me the value of keeping quiet and shutting up once in a while. They taught me that my opinions aren't so important after all. So for all that -- without cutting the OBC any slack on their multitude of institutional and other shortcomings -- I am grateful.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:03 pm

Before SA became the OBC, in 1971 it supported me in learning and practicing a disciplined daily sitting practice, and in integrating and understanding a sustainable ethical system. Meditation and precepts.....a good foundation for any spiritual life. In my early 20s when I had little discipline and much confusion, I found a path that grounded me within myself, and learned the temple is my own heart. That much stayed with me and grew, and I took it with me when I left the OBC, and will sustain any pilgrim on the journey with or without any "isms".
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Anna2



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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:19 pm

Hi,
RE: mission accomplished?
I'm new to this forum--just discovered it yesterday. I'm in the process of setting up a website and was thinking of doing a short blurb on meditation technique. I trained at an OBC priory but left after a year, feeling uneasy and somehow emotionally abused. That was back in 1993-94.

In thinking over my proposed meditation video for my tentative website, part of me wanted to credit the OBC for teaching me zazen. Part of me felt "yuck"! Hence the web search, hence discovering this forum.

The stories here have validated my unease with the OBC and my intuition. During my OBC time, I had the impression of disdain for much of the laity and a lot of egotism masked as "advanced training." I felt uncomfortable with some of the monks' behaviors and the expectations the monks had regarding the laity's treatment of them. I'm not cut out for hierarchies.

I really feel for the suffering expressed in this forum. You've all performed an act of service by telling your stories. Thank you.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:47 pm

Anna2 - welcome to the forum. i think sharing these experiences is of value and glad that you found it this of service. I hope you will jump into other streams on this website and share more of your experience and insight.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Accomplished?   Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:18 pm

Anna2 wrote:
I'm new to this forum--just discovered it yesterday.

I really feel for the suffering expressed in this forum. You've all performed an act of service by telling your stories. Thank you.

Anna2, welcome to the forum. I'm glad that the accounts here have validated your own concerns. That has been one of the forum's main purposes since most of us had not been able to share our experiences with other former members of the OBC until we found OBC Connect.
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