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 FTI vs Psychological Perspective

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Henry

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PostSubject: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:35 pm

I am opening this thread because I would like to express my views on how therapy/psychology can help understand the problems the OBC is presently facing. FIrst I would like to say what I feel in the basic place of psychology in the scheme of Buddhism and Buddhist training. I will be succinct and use a metaphor most of us are familiar with: the lotus. In this metaphor the blossom is enlightenment, the stem is training, and the roots and mud are our past karma and the negative influences in the world. In this metaphor the root takes the mud of the world, of suffering, of personal dark traits and pain suffered and filters out impurities to bring the essential nourishment embeded in the mud up the stem of training which blossoms into the flower of enlightenment.

This sound like a complete system that works quite well as is. Why is psychological insight needed? In my view, the roots can malfunction. Instead of filtering out impurities, one or more of the roots can simply draw up some of the polluted mud unfiltered. Because of our own unresolved psychological issues/karma, we don't see that what is being drawn up is mud. The nature of psychological dysfunction/karma is that it blinds us to ourselves. What we see as pure water with impurities filtered out is actually mud. Who can't relate to that? Of course, if you've convinced yourself and others that you're an arahant, then by definition the mud must be pure water, since all impurities have been given up.

First one must recognize that the roots are not functioning correctly. Eko did the OBC a great favor in that regard. He alerted the OBC that something is wrong. What psycological insight and therapy can add to Buddhist practice is to bring a microscope to roots to see which roots are malfunctioning, help heal them, and restore their function of filtering out impurities. I know that meditation is supposed to do that without any help from anything else, but let's face it folks. We've seen ourselves and others practice for decades. How many of us couldn't, somewhere along the way, have used a bit of extra focus on specific issues, the solution of which avoided our meditative insight?

The type of therapy I do is family therapy. We do not really look for pathology in the individual, but rather look at the dance that takes place between family members. How do they support each other in the dance? How are they stepping on each others' toes? What can each person do to help the dance go more smoothly and enjoyably, rather than painfully and dysfunctionally? The OBC is a family, which has developed ways to deal with problems, form cohesiveness, expell threatening elements, and relate to each other that has a history and a pattern. Those patterns have benefits and drawbacks. The OBC is not a flower without a root and mud, though they often unknowingly and unselfawaredly act as if they were. Their initial pretense that OBC Connect had nothing of value in it is a case in point. But the reality is is that the OBC does have malfunctioning roots.

A family has a history. Sometimes it is helpful in conceptualizinig a complex case to go back intergenerationally to see patterns that have been passed down. This can help clarify present behaviors and can also make apparent how deep problems go, how long standing patterns are, and how enormous the task at hand is to change habits spanning generations. What I will put down here is a first draft case conceptualization for the OBC. Often therapists will bat around a complex case to get a variety of perspectives and possible paths forward. I will present some initial, paritally formed hypotheses.

FTI has done the OBC both a favor and a disservice. The favor is that they have alerted the OBC that there is a problem. In a sense what they've said is that there is mud that has been drawn up into the plant and that it is here, here, and here. What they have not done is to determine which roots are malfunctioning and what is the nature of the malfunction. That is like a family that brings a scapegoat to therapy and says to the therapist, "Here is our problem. This person created havoc in the family We kicked him out, but we still have problems. Of course, he created the problems, the family was fine before he went off the rails, but that person created a mess we now have to clean up. Help us clean up HIS mess." The therapist then helps the family create a list of presenting problems. After the list is compiled the therapist says to the family. There you go. These are problems, some of which can't be blamed on said person. Solve these problems and the mess will be cleaned up. Good bye. Left to their own resources without the help of a therapist/consultant, this family has very little chance of success. They don't even know how it is that they came to blame this one person (who in fact is a victim of family patterns himself) and still have as their default position that it was his fault. They have no idea of the patterns, the history, the inherited habitual ways of acting and misperceiving that are the true problems of the family. This is the disservice done by FTI.

It is my opinion, both personal and professional, that the OBC cannot effectively deal witht the problems elucidated by FTI in a manner encompassing any depth without the help of an outside consultant to guide them through the process. They are essentially in the same position as the family I described above. Real resolution just ain't gonna happen. Their best thinking and "meditation" got them into this mess. What makes them think it's going to get them out of it without help?

PS Don't have time to review what I've written in this post and the next one. They're pretty much a first draft. Hope they are cohesive.


Last edited by Henry on Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:39 pm

OBC CASE PRESENTATIION
(A case presentation is by its nature, to at least a significant degree, a subjective endeavor. I don't hold what I write here as truth writ in stone. A therapist will take the known facts and history of a case and from that a narrative develops. As the narrative progresses, a story line emerges, and from that story, conceptualizations as to the what happened, why it happend, how it happened also develops. From this we can see how our conceptualizations can help with the impasse all clients bring to therapy and a clinical path can be determined. A clinical path is not THE clinical path. It is just the best the clinician can do. I thought it would be an interesting exercise for myself, that others might also find interesting, maybe even helpful in clarifying their own understanding. I am curious if my thoughts here would be of interest to anyone within the OBC. I understand that there are some monks and laity willing to entertain some ideas that are not the orthodox ones of the OBC. I hope this is read by those people and they find something of value in them. I would hope monks that disagree with me would also be open to at least looking at this perspective. I mean no offense by these ideas. They are simply my understanding, personal and professional. Nothing more nothing less)

Peggy Kennett was born into a highly dysfunctional family. By her own description, her father was distant and often indifferent; her mother was overtly cruel. Peggy felt alone in this family. She had few if any recollections of being loved and nurtured. The impression she gave when speaking of her childhood was of a bleak and loveless landscape. Her recollections were of pain and isolation wrought by her mother's cruelty and her father's indifference. Her mother was pushy, bossy, cruel and authoritarian. Her father did not protect her. In Peggyy's earliest years, when essential attachments and bonds are formed, she was largely deprived of these bonds. These are the years when the brain encodes how bonds are formed; how the brain and nervous system grow and thrive, largely dependent on the safety and security provided by the love and attention of parents. Did Peggy receive a "good enough" dose of these essential elements to allow her to assimilate normal attachment and bonding patterns? Most likely not. She related her relationship with her brother as always having been hostile. Perhaps neither could form attachment bonds. That appeared to be her brother's fate. Her adolesence was also described bleakly. Very little if any emphasis on friends and fun from what I recall. Perhaps she just didn't know how to develop those close bonds.

In her late teens, World War II came. She worked in intelligence I believe, in what was likely a highly structured, top down heirarchy. Authoritarian by necessity. While she spoke at length on what she did, there was little or nothing I recall on any relationships she had. Her early years with Buddhism in England were also spoken of in conflictual terms. No fond memories of any relationships I was told of of heard of. The central focus of her stories of this era that I heard were of her conflicts with Christmas Humphreys. Pretty clear lines of right and wrong. Peggy right; Christmas wrong. Very little sense of self-evaluation. What might I be contributing to the conflict.

Peggy moved on to Malasia. She is there for a short time; not enough time to move past the "honeymoon" phase of relationships. Not enough time to get into conflicts she doesn't know how to resolve. Then on to Sojiji in Japan. Again an authoritarian heirarchy. Again time to move past the honeymoon phase. Again a cruel environment in which Peggy is innocent and almost everyone is cruel towards her (read Wild White Goose). The one truly kind person is the Koho Zenji, who she very rarely sees and therefore, can easily be idealized. No time to get past the honeymoon phase with him. Koho Zenji dies and Rev. Kennett is left with only cruel people left. Unable to form long term bonds of affection due to her history from birth, there is no counterbalance to the conflicts she finds herself in. The undoubtably very difficult situation of being the only woman in Sojiji leaves her with no allies. She leaves with no bonds of friendship, but with the enlightenment experience in which she found the love, warmth and security she had never found with people. I bellieve her enlightenment experience was real and true. It is the blessing that she passed down to her disciples and which gave her in her deepest core what she had been unable to get from anyone in her life. This doesn't make her experience any less true. But it did, I believe, leave her with damaged roots in the lotus which she never examined and fixed, allowing mud and impurities to be drawn up into structure and functions of the OBC.

Rev. Kennett then comes to the west, eventually to California. What a joy the first years must have been for her. Her Buddhist practice and experience of enlightenment had not only given her something invaluable within, but also gave her many close relationships with students who VALUED AND CHERISHED HER. Think of that. To be truly valued and cherished, not for her skills, like music and intelligence, but for herself, who she was as a person. This was not with one person for a short honeymoon period that went sour, but with many people who flocked her, who she liked and who liked her. I believe this must have been a blessing beyond measure for her. This went on for some years.

But then something started to happen. Some in the flock started to grow up and went from adulation to questioning. They saw that there was some level of cruelty and emotional abuse in the way Rev. Kennett handled those that questioned her, that didn't listen to her that did not sit right with them. The questioning was handled by her in an authoritarian manner, with escalated emotional abuse that further did not sit right with many. The questioning then went to confronting. At a loss as to how to handle conflict. At a loss due to not having the knowledge of how to form true bonds with others on an equal basis, Rev. Kennett took from her arsenal the only tools she knew: authoritarianism, emotional cruelty, indifference to pain caused, shunning and expulsion. All that is done when there are no true bonds of attachment and affection.

Over the years, two camps develop. Camp one are those that, in their own minds, transmute Rev. Kennett's unresolved psychological issues into enlightened action for the benefit of those who receive her wrath, and camp two are those that see her abusive actions as just that--abusive, stemming back to her own unresolved issues/karma. For decades, camp one had the clear advantage. They essentially isolated and picked off everyone in camp two, one person at a time. Those that expressed camp two views were demeaned, shunned, frightened with all manner of absurdities, such as going to hell for betraying one's master, and eventually were expelled or just left.

As camp two folks went from an isolated person here and there to a more steady stream, Rev. Kennett felt more and more threatened. At a deep level this felt like a repeat of the betrayal of her parents, the betrayal of the London Buddhist Society, the betrayal of the monks of Sojiji. No longer could Rev. Kennett rely on even the remaining vestige of the those initial bonds formed with the first and to and extent subsequent adoring members of the flock. She needed assistance. Not love and light assistance, not resolving conflicts through mutual respect, dialogue, reason. No she needed someone who was the most authoritarian, the most lacking in empathy, the most willing to be emotionally abusive. She needed someone who was most like her own parents, most like how she perceived Humphreys and the monks of Sojiji to be. She needed Eko. Some will say that Eko was not like that back them. To them I say, "You are blind. The meditative insight you hold so dear was was not functioning due to the mud that was brought up unfiltered into the very foundation and structure of the OBC and all its members. In truth (and time has proved this true), Rev. Kennett picked the best vessel to hold her unresolved, dark and cruel karma, Eko. She did not pick, by any stretch of the imagination, the best vessel to hold her spiritual realization. She was unable to make even a one one hundreth of the way good decision because her own unresolved psychological issues blinded her from the obvious and simulaneously blinded her from hearing those who knew the obvious truth. In addition there were very few to even state this position or the more general one the mud being drawn up into the lotus unfiltered. This is how that happened.

Those in camp two continued to be picked off one by one. They were demeaned, discredited, isolated, shunned and driven out. All the while, those in camp one saw themselves as Rev. Kennett saw herself: being cruel in order to be kind. Showing tough love to keep the purity of the OBC from being contaminated by the heresy of camp two. The complaints of camp two were the whining of the spiritually immature. Exaggerations of the the over sensitive. They were not to be taken seriously. As time went on, there was no longer any camp two. All that remained were the true believers. Who were/are these true believers? They were the ones who due to their own history, their own psychological issues, were able to minimize the emotional abusiveness of Rev. Kennett and Eko and actually transmute the obviously cruel into spiritual virtue. Even abusiveness towards themselves was so perceived. There was no longer a soul left to challenge this view. The mud could flow unchallenged through the root and into the plant. Unchallenged, no longer pointed out, and through the miracle of rationalization, blaming other, and justification, the mud became not even just unchallenged; it became unseen. There were the occasional Lauras and Dianas, but with all seniors thoroughly convinced that mud was water and water was mud, they were easily controlled and contained.

Rev. Kennett eventually died. Along with the legacy of her spiritual realization came the mud of her own unresolved psychological issues which flowed freely within the OBC, unseen, unchallenged. The mud was now integral to the spiritual life of the community, seen as enlightened action, only appearing cruel. But mud disguised as enlightened action can flow undetected only so long. Mud unacknowledged for what it is only encouraged to grow and flourish. It is cherished and nurtured. It is protected and shielded. Until eventually it explodes through the surface of the environment it has contaminated.

The vessel through which the mud was made known was Eko. He is like the teen brought to therapy (in this case, Eko was "brought" to FTI in absentia) that the parents want to scapegoat. "He's the problem, not us." However, FTI did not buy this. As much as the OBC tried to limit FTI's eval to Eko, the mud spilled over into the OBC itself. This, of course, was a shock to the OBC. The radical nature of the report (See my post in the FTI report thread--can anyone make a link to it here?)

[admin edit] http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t374p50-fti-report-summary-and-2011-conclave-statement

was not anticipated by the OBC due their inability to see the mud that was drawn up into their organization. Of course it was quite accurately anticipated and predicted by camp two, as now represented by OBC Connect.

The OBC is now at an impasse. It asked for the evaluation as Eko's misdeeds could neither be spun as "enlightened action" because it was sexual in nature. His previous cruel and emotionally abusive actions were easilty transmuted by the OBC into enlightened action; after all they had decades of experience doing the same with Rev. Kennett's actions, but sex is a huge no no in the OBC, so there was absolutely zero wiggle room to play with. They were backed into a corner they could not even convince themselves was not a huge problem. That is when people go to therapy and religious organizations go to FTI--their unresolved issues can no longer be explained away to others or even themselves.

With the shock of the FTI report, what is the nature of the impasse the OBC presently faces? They are, in effect, unable to go forward or backwards. They are like a beached whale. Why are they at this impasse? The FTI report says they have to rethink the master/disciple relationship. Think of the implications of this. Rev. Kennett wanted an enormous amount of obedience, authority, and control over others. One of her revealed teachings was that faith in the master, obedience even, superceded the Buddha's last words--"Be a light unto yourselves." It superceded his teaching that one shouldn't believe the Buddha because he said something, but that it had to be made true by the person. Rev. Kennett's view of faith in the master superceded that. How is that going to be put out to the public as the master disciple relationship rethought. They can't undo what she said. She is an arahant. She had no significant control or authority issues. On the other hand they can't easily ignore what FTI recommended. They are under too much scrutiny. The same goes for the other points. Rev. Kennett discreditied and disparaged psychology as inferior and unnecessary for monks. It contaminated the purity of Zen. The OBC can't easily undo that teaching of hers. Nor can they ignore the FTI recommendation for fear of the way they will appear to the world and some of their own members. One more FTI recommendation: the OBC will become more open and encourage more contact with other groups. That is an easier one, but not without its problems. The OBC thrived in isolation. Isolation allowed it see mud as pure water. Isolation from challenges to the way they think and perceive allowed them transmute Rev. Kennett's most abusive habits into enlightened action. Trust me. A video of Rev. Kennett's not infrequent emotionally abusive tactics would not play well on YouTube.

So the OBC is stuck. Unable to go forward or backwards. They procrastinate. They look to do the least while appearing to comply with FTI recommendations. But FTI is not therapy. I brought them only to the very first step on their journey. FTI helped them to see that they do have systemic problems. FTI disallowed them the Eko scapegoat they came to FTI with. FTI expanded their problem list beyond Eko to the OBC itself. But then they went away. Having done a behavioral, but not a truly psychological (or spiritual for that matter) evaluation, FTI could not help them past the beached whale scenario they likely find themselves in. So we have arrived at the present impasse that would bring many people or organizations to further therapy.

Given the above case presentation and conceptualizations, what would be my clinical path from here. If the OBC family was in my office, after discerning the above, I would want to meet their disenfranchised and discredited brothers and sisters. Whenever I am stuck with a case, when I can't get anyone to truly move, to truly see themselves and their actions from a wider persective, I try to bring in other family members, especially family members that have an opposing view to one the cllient expresses and especially when the other family members are willing to come. My first thought? What a wealth of information might be had. What is the client not saying, not revealing, not aware of, that the other people might be? But that of course takes a genuine willingness by the client to examine their problems. Doesn't really seem so with the OBC. So what I would do at this point is bring this to other therapists to see how we could frame the situation that would have it make sense for them to speak to their disenfranchised siblings. Either that or open up the floor to other clinical paths. Or discuss whether further therapy should be terminiated and the OBC will simply have to wait for further disasters to awaken a desire to look more deeply at their issues. The sad fact is that many people/organizations don't want to look at the deeper issues. They so fear looking past the surface that they end up putting out one fire after the other, not looking for the gas leak causing them.

I wonder whether some of the monks, especially the newer ones, would be interested in such a dialogue if there was no stigma attached to it. I know there has been some dialogue, but to my knowledge it appears quite limited. Termination of therapy, dialogue, the OBC muddling through on their own, all are possible trajectories from the present point of impasse. I guess we will see.


Last edited by Isan on Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:59 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : [admin] edited to add link as requested)
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:02 pm

Henry, this is excellent!

I am close to being ready to post an article, written to, and for, active members of the OBC in particular, on essentially the same subject. It poses 5 hypotheses for recognizing, acknowledging, healing, and transforming, the unseen, unconscious, "shadow-dynamic" that you have so clearly described.

It seems to me that the primary stumbling block that prevents many--but not all--current members of the OBC from recognizing the dynamic, is the fear that doing so may lead to the loss of everything they hold dear. In fact, once the mud is recognized for what it is--the water can become visible (finally) as well!

There is only one small aspect of your hypothesis that I have a slightly different view about. I know from conversations I've had, that a number of current, active, senior monks in the Order do consciously recognize the dynamic you have described. I would say that this actually confirms the overall accuracy of your camps 1 and 2 hypothesis--as "the exceptions that prove the rule".

I think that your perception of a current impasse is probably correct--but I also think that there has been enough recognition and discussion of these issues (at the 2011 Conclave and in discussion groups that have been taking place, between senior monks at SA about all of this) that it may, ultimately, just be a matter of our suggesting a way forward that allows the impasse to begin to dissolve.

It seems to me, that RMJK's deepest fear, beneath her fear of betrayal, was the fear that if her mistakes and shortcomings were recognized for what they were, then people would judge her to be lacking in integrity. I think that your assessment of her early history confirms why this was so frightening for her. Because she gave her koan, her shadow, her unhealed trauma and fear to the culture of the OBC, the culture itself contains the same fear--that it will be found lacking in integrity if shortcomings are acknowledged. I think that one reason that this fear was so readily transmitted to the OBC culture is because most of us probably share it, to some degree, as well.

I would propose that our real integrity is innate within that which is our Awareness itself. It is not diminished by either personal or collective shortcomings. And, contrary to the misunderstanding embodied within the fear, the willingness to recognize and acknowledge the shadow-dynamic, becomes a clear confirmation of innate integrity.

At any rate, just a few thoughts. I should probably get back to my article itself ;-).


Last edited by Kozan on Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : some day I will learn how to spell)
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:02 pm

Great analysis and insights.

The OBC has of course been stuck for decades - certainly since I left - and that was 25 years ago. Self-deception, magical thinking and denial are hard wired into their culture.

I have seen so many other spiritual groups with the same capacity for pervasive self-deception -- no matter what happens to counteract the master narrative / fantasy -- they continue to believe the story - and this is especially true in cults of personality, guru-cults.

I am not sure that I agree that it is hard for the OBC "masters" to ignore some the FTI insights and recommendations. It is very easy for them to implement the recommendations around sexual issues. That's pretty simple. And they can just ignore the suggestions about re-thinking the master-disciple relationship -- yes, they can be a bit less "heavy handed" -- they can listen a bit more, etc. -- but none of this addresses their core hard-wired self-deception. None of these corrective actions or nice words acknowledges the massive elephant in the Zendo. For them to do that, they would have to challenge their narrative about Kennett and much of their beliefs and practices. Can they do that? This is hard when you practice something over and over again, dozens of times per day, you do brainwash yourself.

So they are stuck, but they can mostly continue as they have for these decades, now that the Eko crisis is past. I have seen this with many spiritual groups and cults -- they go through some major crisis, they muddle through, make some relatively minor adjustments - some real - some just for appearance-sake -- and they continue onwards. Do they have the capacity and innate integrity to make some deeper changes? -- sure, but no more or less than anyone. Will they face Kennett's and their own shadows -- I am not holding my breath, but i don't know these people and can only base my opinions on what I have heard on this board.

I would say that in terms of suggesting a way forward that allows the impasse to begin to resolve. It's actually quite simple. They start questioning. They question every single belief they hold dear. They ask over and over again, "Is it true?" They question their judgements about other people - all the folks who left.

After all, if Zen is about anything, it is about seeing clearly, it is about going beyond all stories and fantasies and beliefs, right? All. So question them all -- even the ones you are not supposed to question. You say the things out loud you are not supposed to say and see what happens. You have the courage to find out what is really true and what is just wishful thinking.

The OBC followers are not used to questioning at all - so it would be at first quite difficult. Yes, they should have outside people there to help them - therapists, counselors, maybe Zen priests from other groups who are also trained in psychology. Questioning can lead to liberation-- liberation from false and painful thoughts, from locked mind syndrome, from self-deception.

But this won't work if you keep pretending that the elephant in the zendo is Kanzeon. It isn't. It's an elephant.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:04 pm

Well done, Henry.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:18 pm

Enjoyed your post, Henry. I find many of the things you talk about that happen in groups happen in my own mind as well. Over time I've gotten better at facing things in myself I don't want to look at it, but I can understand why people would be afraid to do it. That said, I would encourage both individuals and groups to do it anyway. It's scary to start, but often those fears don't come true and once I was able to face down the guilt and regret, I came away feeling liberated and a lot stronger.

Our group is far from Shasta, but I find it interesting that we have some of the same issues. They feel more like threads than chains, but there is a pull towards 'wanting someone to obey'. I don't know if that's OBC influence, our personalities, or the nature of religious groups in general.

It does seem to be mitigated by the fact that as lay people we have connections outside the group, families, friends, jobs. It isn't that those people know better, but they know differently and navigating those differences seems to keep me questioning things. I think having those outside supports is healthy and keeps us from depending on just the group for emotional security and approval.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:24 pm

Henry, thanks for a masterful analysis.

I would only comment on a couple of points. First a minor one in terms of the thrust of your excellent argument. I would not take JK's word on her history, especially as stated in her later works. There are major discrepancies between her later accounts of her early life and her own earlier accounts, and also with those of others who knew her then. After all she herself said of HTGLB Wild White Goose that it was a work of fiction, based on her life, but a work of fiction.

Because of OBCconnect I have been revisiting the time that led up to my leaving Shasta and looking at in from a different perspective than I did at the then. At the time I was engaged with my reaction to the events going on around me, and not very much concerned with others reactions. Now looking back it seems to me looking at how JK reacted and behaved that she was craving validation from those around her. To this end her previous history and early life was forced into service and where necessary 'adapted'. If there was any hint that this validation was not forthcoming from someone, the person concerned was ostracised until they came round and if they did not or left they were demonised. Her reaction to Jim Ford leaving for instance was to say that he was in hell, when someone queried that she said "No, he has cut himself off and therefore must quite literally be living in hell." She very much acted as the dysfunctional 'matriarch' of a dysfunctional 'family' but one that she herself had created. Not that it was all bad as is true of most dysfunctional families, there were, and are, a number of good points and these are the building blocks from which a fully functional family could now be built. But as I'm sure your more aware than I am from your experience as a family therapist, it can be a long and painful process in which all, or at least most, of the family must honestly engage; and it is very hard and sometimes difficult work.

My second point is more subtle and one that I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about. It is to do with being and becoming. Too often life, particularly spiritual life, is described in terms of being ( a saint, an arahant, being enlightened) and less about becoming. But life is a dynamic process of becoming, and not along some one way street from ignorance to enlightenment. The states are a by-product of an actively engaged life. There are plenty of pointers to becoming rather than being, the end of the heart sutra, sandokai, the bodhisattva vow, but we are more comfortable with the idea of being, state. We crave the state of enlightenment thinking that once we have reached it all will be wonderful and all our problems will have been answered. So then we revere and put on a pedestal those we believe (or who tell us) that they have reached that state. But in many ways enlightenment is everyday and prosaic and it certainly isn't a state in the sense that we crave ('Such action and most unpretentious work all foolish seem and dull') Butwhat we seek is a by product of action, of the process of living a life of truth, which may sound grand, but is not. However it does need continuous 'effort'. Just like the dysfunctional family that learns to be functional by sorting out their relationships, they will need to work at their relationships to maintain a functional family. Because the 'being' a functional family is not a state in itself, once attained there and eternal. It is instead a by-product of ongoing working functional family relationships that take real ongoing effort to maintain. Before I met with JK I sat for sometime with Joshu Suzuki a Rinzai teacher. I remember one time I acted as his jisha on a trip to see Trungpa Rinpoche. Trungpa welcomed him and wanted to see the 'the koan book'. Joshu had it with him and they went through some of it together, with Trungpa instantly understanding most of the koans they discussed. He had great insight which he showed in his description of the human condition in 'Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism'. But he was easily bored by the humdrum everyday life and craved excitement. In the end he gave himself up to drink and voluptuousness, finally dragging his spiritual family with him. This was not 'crazy wisdom' as some would have you believe but mere depravity. In the old koan from 'The Gateless Gate' it was not Nansen who exhibited 'crazy wisdom' when he cut the cat but Joshu chiding his master by leaving with his shoes on his head.

From the idea of state comes the idea of hierarchy and 'my kensho is bigger/better than your kensho'; 'my master is more enlightened than your master', 'my truth is better than yours'; etc, etc, and again we've separated ourselves from truth.


Last edited by mstrathern on Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:51 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Corrected after Isan picked up error in the following post)
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:39 pm

mstrathern wrote:
There are major discrepancies between her later accounts of her early life and her own earlier accounts, and also with those of others who knew her then. After all she herself said of HTGLB that it was a work of fiction, based on her life, but a work of fiction.

Mark,

Many good thoughts, however with regard to JK's "work of fiction based on her life" I believe you meant to say Wild White Goose not How To Grow A Lotus Blossom, yes?
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:52 am

Hi everybody, after a longish while.
I haven't been writing, partly because I'm just too busy; but also, because my views, to a large degree, tend to be fundamentally different from those of many of you.
Unlike Henry and others, I don't think that the main problem at Shasta was Roshi's (Jiyu's) messed up psychology. If it were, Shasta could have outgrown it over time.
First, a very minor correction, Henry. Roshi was not in her later teens when WW II started. She was not quite fifteen. How much she actually worked in intelligence during the war, is unknown. There is a lot of lore about her early life, largely spun by herself.
I would agree with Mark, that we also don't know what her home situation actually was. In my time she claimed that her mother, an angel, died, and her father then married the mother's sister, who was awful. I would not undertake to psycho-analyse her, even if I were a psychologist. None of us, including you, Henry, were in that kind of a relationship. You know that you could never be her therapist - you don't have the requisite distance, and hence, objectivity.
Still, I don't want to dismiss your analysis. There is a lot of truth in it, I'm sure.

It seems to me that the main problem, though, was not Roshi's psychology. The problem was her ideology.

I think - and here I may be on a different wave-length form most of you - that the concept of training in my Shasta experience is quite upside down. No-one can competently judge another's training. Our training is between ourselves and our conscience, so to speak. It is a kind of growth - in truthfulness, honesty; compassion; other things. You can't force that growth - certainly not from outside, cracking a whip. And sometimes you push, and sometimes you sit back, and listen, and stew, and ponder, and quietly, patiently, feel your way, with a smile in your heart....or a cackle, ha ha.
I think Henry is mistaken, thinking that when Roshi initially set up SA, it was kind of an idyllic time.
She imagined - and I do consider this an utter fantasy - that she was guiding us on the path to enlightenment. For this she employed various 'skillful means' - mostly, in my case, irrational, unexplained and incomprehensible, behaviour, that, I presume, was to dislodge my opinions about life, reality, free me of my conditionings. But I think, this is totally unnecessary. Life does that sufficiently; it constantly makes fools of us...- Mark - 'vsetko je inac', the Rabbi's saying on his death-bed. Furthermore, it is so tricky, to do it artificially, deliberately, that, in the final analysis, it does not accomplish much good, and causes great harm.
Roshi was playing these kind of games (her favourite expression) from the start: not because she was kinky; rather, because she imagined that this was what it is all about.
We, obviously, thought so, too. That is why we submitted ourselves to this, and once we were senior to others, we attempted to do the same, in a pathetic, dilettante way. How we were playing at monks - oh boy. We were very sincere and completely serious about it.
I like what Carol wrote on another thread recently:
The OBC's tradition of giving the master complete control over every
aspect of the disciple's life with no accountability is the heart of the
problem at North Cascades and perhaps at Shasta. Rev. Master Jiyu
worship -- complete obedience to the master -- is the crux of the
practice for many monastics [...]

I would say that all monasteries have this disease, to a greater or lesser degree. One surrenders one's individuality, and one's judgement- and hence responsibility for oneself, at least initially. I left because I came to the conclusion, that this is entirely wrong. Once you're adult, there is no crawling back into the womb. And why should one presume that the other (the teacher) is so perfect, or so very nearly perfect, that one can safely shut one's eyes, turn off one's discernment, and follow blindly? It's not healthy. In fact, it's not healthy to such a degree that it is....sick. It's the worst thing one can do, give up one's autonomy.
Recently I was telling a friend of mine about this experience - and she said, rather self-righteously - 'well, you joined of your own free will, no-one forced you'. Sure. We all did many unwise things in our lives. As far as I'm concerned, in hindsight, it was not a very bright thing to do, live this kind of demi-life, submitting to someone else's mind and will for those few years. But I don't regret it. I learned a big thing there. I learned what the middle finger of my right hand is for. And I learned that - what I suspected all along, but suspended this insight for some time - ultimately I can rely only on my own common sense; that it is not only the best guide I have at my disposal, but, ultimately, it is the only one. Suspending it, genuflecting to someone else's judgement and will - someone who is untested!, based on a mere presumption - is being dishonest, dishonest to myself - which is the root of all dishonesty anyway.
Hugz,
Ol'ga
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:28 am

Olga
Thank you very much for your further thoughts on this subject. (and howdy again too). I know that I couldn't be Rev. Kennett's therapist, and I'm not here to be that (after all, she's dead). I wrote what I did as an exercise to help clarify the OBC's present impasse. Nor did I see my narrative as any sort of objective truth. After seeing a family a few times, a narrative develops, but the therapist is always aware that both his facts and impressions can be way off. As those change with more information and understanding, the narrative changes and so the hypotheses on how to help the family changes also. As Mark pointed out so well, life (as working with a family) is a process of becoming, always changing. Thanks, Mark, for that contribution.

Nor do I see the "idyllic" state "in the beginning" as anything solidly objective. I think each of us individually went through somewhat of an idyllic phase. I, as likely many here, saw from the beginning of our stay things that worried and concerned us about Rev. Kennett's approach. But in the flush of newness, we were willing to set it aside and reside mostly in our hopes and dreams of what we were a part of. Individually, each of us went through an idyllic, conflict (inner or outer or both), and eventually decision to leave phase, where the somewhatidyllic nature that we previously believed was seen through. But I also believe there was a larger narrative of the OBC as a whole that went through its own phases. As a whole, though individuals came hopeful and left disillusioned, the whole proceeded with its own phases, of being generally idyllic through the 70s, having huge conflict in the 80s, having many people leave in a short period of time, leaving no seniors to challenge the unhealthy aspects of training there, and then the OBC proceeding to solidify those mistakes into an unchallenged way of doing things that was seen as "spiritual" but was actually quite unhealthy. It's important to understand that in the 80s, all members of the OBC were threatened by Rev. Kennett as a whole--conform or leave. The OBC as an entity became rebellious. It had moved past the one individual at a time rebelling and being dealt with phase and moved into the whole organization had to be dealt with phase. In that organizational phase there was a harsh crackdown of everyone at once. The organization never returned to its previous phase. Once that occurred, the OBC was able to move into the first iterration of it's present stage of harmful ways of doing things going almost completely (maybe just completely) unchallenged. In its present phase, Eko was able to do what he did unchallenged by any senior. In this phase no senior monks could even see the harm because it was part of the "spiritual" heritage. Perhaps there were earlier purges. But as far as I can (any old timers please correct me) by the end of the 80s the purge was pretty well complete. The harshness of the crackdown had pretty purged any vestige of those who deeply concerned about Rev. Kennett's methods, at least anyone willing to be vocal about it. This was the organizational shift.

FInally, I don't see the psychological view and the ideological view as mutually exclusive. I think Rev. Kennett's ideology was formed in large part by her psychological issues. I think one's ideology can also, over time, affect one's psychological state. I think your points on the affects of her ideology are well taken.

PS Thanks for informing me (us) about Rev. Kennett's previous narrative on her childhood and parents. That is remarkable to me and I'm wondering if any of the other first generation old timers remember anything else about what Olga said regarding Rev. Kennett's positive stories of her family. The evolution of what was said to Olga into the nightmarish impression given to others a few years later is a study unto itself.


Mark,

Thanks for your thoughts. Especially interesting was Rev. Kennett's comments after Jim Ford left. This use of hell as a means to frighten people and control their thinking, was unfortunately, not limited to Jim Ford. Another important "teaching" that the OBC needs to look at. And if they've stopped using it, perhaps they need examine its past use. To my mind, they need to stop hiding from their own history. I hope newer monks are reading this so they develop an understanding of how Eko was able to get away with what he did for so long. It's all in the history.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:24 am

This posting might be a bit of a tangent, but i just bumped into this article about loyalty in Japanese organizations, and although I don't think that most of Kennett's behavior was related to her time in Japan, there certainly could be an overlay from those years. Organizational mind-set can occur in all cultures of course but Japan is probably the most egregious in this regard.

from The Economist:

Tribal Japan
Japan’s cherished loyalty system is part of the problem

Dec 3rd 2011 | from the print edition


ON NOVEMBER 25th the venerable Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan experienced a volley of camera flashes, jostling television crews and shouts of “heads down at the front!”—the sort of attention it has rarely enjoyed since the country began its gentle slide down the world’s news agenda. The occasion was the return to Japan of Michael Woodford, the former boss of Olympus, a Tokyo-based lens-maker, who had been fired in October after he started asking awkward questions about $1.3 billion in suspicious transactions. His subject, in a nutshell, was corporate governance—not something that, in the abstract, usually sets reporters’ hearts aflutter. But as the club pointed out, not even the Dalai Lama​ had drawn such a crowd.

Mr Woodford, who is adroit in the spotlight, says the whole saga has been like walking into a John Grisham novel. Having been sacked by the board and stripped of his office, home and company car on October 14th, the 30-year Olympus veteran—one of just four gaijin to run a leading Japanese company—was told to catch a bus to the airport. The American Federal Bureau of Investigation, Britain’s Serious Fraud Squad and the Japanese authorities are all now on the case.

But in retrospect, he says, one of the most chilling moments came when he was still chief executive and had unsuccessfully challenged his chairman, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, to explain the missing money. He found another director, Hisashi Mori, also seemed to be stonewalling him. “Mr Mori, who do you work for?” he recalls asking, expecting the answer to be Olympus. “Michael, I work for Mr Kikukawa. I’m loyal to Mr Kikukawa,” Mr Mori is said to have replied.

Mr Kikukawa, Mr Mori and the company’s statutory auditor have since resigned from the board of Olympus, accused of a huge cover-up of securities losses dating back to the 1990s. But other board members who supported them and who dumped Mr Woodford still have their jobs. The company insists that he was fired for failing to understand its management style, and Japanese culture, not for being an awkward whistleblower.

If every foreigner who didn’t understand Japanese culture were fired there would hardly be a gaijin businessman left in the country. The corporate ethos of every culture is in some sense unique. Japan’s is especially perplexing, not just because of its well-known emphasis on loyalty to the group, seniority-based pay and long-term job security. Firms are also doggedly clannish on the inside. As Mr Mori implied, loyalty to a manager or department can trump loyalty to the firm—even if that works against everyone’s long-term interests.

The other difficulty, which extends far beyond business, is a general suspicion in Japan of outsiders’ points of view. Take Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear-power plant, wrecked by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. A recent report by Bloomberg, citing minutes of a 2009 meeting, revealed that TEPCO and its regulator, the Economy and Trade Ministry, dismissed scientific findings about the risks of such natural disasters that could have helped prevent the meltdowns of three of the plant’s reactors. The nuclear industry is deeply incestuous. Not only do bureaucrats parachute from their ministries into the utilities, but their sons and daughters occasionally marry each other too. Nicholas Benes, who founded the Board Director Training Institute of Japan, a non-profit organisation, says that having more outsiders on TEPCO’s board, whether independent nuclear specialists, foreigners or women, might have helped ring alarm bells. As it was, 18 of the 20 voting members on TEPCO’s board came from the company itself.

Tribalism extends to politics and the media too, frustrating debate, good policy, and the ability to call politicians to account. Members of Japan’s two biggest political parties acknowledge quite candidly that their first loyalty is to their faction’s boss, not to any policy. Hence the ruling Democratic Party of Japan​ often appears to be more at war with itself than with the opposition.

As for the media, senior reporters are assigned to cover factional power struggles within the parties, whereas complex policy questions are often covered by junior hacks. The mainstream media has a system, known as the Kisha Club, that tends to encourage complicity with official sources and conspires to keep trouble-making riff-raff out of press conferences. Financial journalists quietly acknowledge that one reason they buried Mr Woodford’s claims on the inside pages early in the Olympus scandal is that the story was broken by an obscure monthly magazine. Worse, Mr Woodford first spoke to the Financial Times, not the Nikkei Shimbun.

Time for a shake-up

In politics, there are encouraging signs that some of this is starting to change. The prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda​, has made policy front-page news for the first time in years, with his decision to push Japan gingerly towards negotiating a free-trade treaty with America and at least eight other countries, under the framework of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Meanwhile, on November 27th, a publicity-seeking former governor, 42-year-old Toru Hashimoto, dealt a severe cuff to both mainstream political parties. Beating a candidate they jointly supported, he won election as mayor of Osaka on a single campaign pledge: to unite the city and prefecture of Osaka into one large metropolis that would strengthen its finances as well as its bargaining power with the political establishment in Tokyo.

His appeal suggests one stark aspect of governance in Japan—the patience of voters with hopeless mainstream politics—may at last be weakening. But in the tradition-bound, loyalty-bound business world, there is as yet little such clamour for change, from employees or shareholders, however much Mr Woodford has rattled their cages.



Economist.com/blogs/banyan
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:00 pm

This is a great thread to start, Henry. I appreciate your effort and know how difficult it is to try and sum up such a hypothesis. I agree with all points here and can only elaborate at this point...

I don't think most people know how we therapists arrive at such conclusions, so I'll start with that. We understand that individuals are complex beings and so we must look at the whole picture when trying to understand an individual. We have to look at all the factors that influence a person over time: physiological, affective, cognitive, behavioral, and social. But even after a careful dissection, it is impossible to know exactly what is going on unless you can see how all these things work together and how the individual emotionally deals with all the factors and how all the factors feed back into the emotional landscape. When looking at RMJ, it is all just a guess at this point, but there are some obvious signs that can be identified to someone that is trained. This doesn't mean they are strictly correct, but I believe we can get pretty close.

When I look at Peggy's life as described in the WWG and as described to me by Eko, I see a very insecurely attached girl. When I read WWG I see trauma and mixed with this insecurity, I see a desperate need for her to be independent. I also see a desperate need for control and power. This all stems from her insecure attachment issues. Let me set the mood for this hypothesis:

Peggy's family life was not full of love and she had no close relationships. She was not able to securely attach to her parents and so she never developed a secure sense of self or autonomy. The culture and time that she lived in supported the "stiff-upper-lip" motto and valued independence. She turned to religion, her studies, and service, and became an uncompromising perfectionist and rigid. She denied herself physical or emotional closeness to others because that was what was learned: she learned that she could not rely on anyone else to help her in times of need and that if she tried to let someone in and they rejected her, that she would be unable to deal with that pain. Peggy's view of women was her own projection of fear and pain. She had a negative self-image and she blamed her sex on her position in life. Her self-hatred turned into a hatred of all women. She would talk disparagingly about the state of womanhood. For example, her view that women were weak and how all women wanted to to get married and have babies and how disgusting this all was. She never understood love. She never understood that love was the motivating factor because it was not a motivating factor for her. She could not be motivated by it because she never worked through her own pain and loneliness.

Everything that Peggy did was a reaction to the above. She first sought control of herself. What made her feel safe was seeking a religious life. There, she could relax a little bit because the rules were set up; it was black-and-white and it was acceptable to isolate oneself and develop rigid views and ideologies. By seeking a religious life, she could skirt around ever having to deal with her issues. She could cope. I was told that she was a devout Christian and dreamed of being some sort of minister, but that because she was a woman, this was impossible. I was told she CHOSE Buddhism because she could become a monk/priest and could therefore have some kind of position and control. Again, her hatred for her sex played out here as she felt rejected by her church. Rejection was a big theme for her, I believe and although I have no information of any particular trauma, I can say that it only takes one what may seem minor, trauma to set off a whole narrative for the rest of ones life. Our brain is wired to react to such traumas.

So Peggy chose for herself an almost impossible task; to become a female Buddhist priest. She found a situation that would only magnify the absolute worst situation for her. It was after all a form of asceticism. I won't go into detail about her early training years in Rinzai/Zen. All I can say is that even though she fought for control and this could be seen as a positive step for her in some ways, it also worked to magnify her own issues. Her own self-hatred, shame, pain, and fear, could not be escaped and this was place that she acted from. She learned to suppress, repress; she learned to control, she learned how to "play the game" of Zen with the motivation that someday SHE would be the one in control; she learned that the way to deal with life was through gaining control, repressing emotions, setting up impossible standards, putting your very life on the line. But underneath, she was insecure and longed for love.

Imagine her joy when she finally got to the place of teaching and developed a following. But again, there was always that insecurity which she desperately tried to keep hidden. Once she received this admiration, she would work in strange ways to keep it. These actions are described in detail on this site, so I won't elaborate. For what we don't know about Peggy, we do know from our own experiences of her. Basically, my hypothesis about Peggy is that she acted out her attachment issues throughout her life and never resolved them. I don't think she ever found love.

To tie this up with family systems theory, we can say that Peggy (the "Mom" in this situation) set up her "family" with family roles, hierarchies, family rules, family secrets, coalitions, emotional cut-off, etc... Everything we have been talking about on this site can be seen through the lens of the family system. I don't have time to elaborate here, but what I want to say is that if we look at the OBC as a family system we can see that it is dealing with an intergenerational dynamic: we are now in the third generation; Peggy, Michael, and now, Meian. The dysfunctional patterns of a family are handed down through the generations. So now, the question is What issues/dysfunctions will the OBC choose to look at and work through? Are they willing to leave behind the old dysfunctional ways? In therapy, a client cannot truly leave a place until they have arrived. This "arriving" is a process. Unfortunately, the dysfunctional aspects of the family are so mixed in with the religious practice, that not only must the psychological issues be worked through, but the whole religious organization will also have to change. I don't believe the OBC has a clue how to do this. I think they need help to do this and that's why the suggestion that they open up to other Buddhist organizations is SO important.

That's all I have for now. Please comment or discuss.........

Peace,
Diana
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:52 pm

The picture that you, therapists, paint of Roshi's psychology may be quite accurate.
My comments concern a bigger picture. Why did we put up with what was done to us? This is where, I think, ideology comes in - a much more general phenomenon, than Roshi's particular psyche and, to me, much more interesting.
I don't know how much the ideology, as I call it, is specific to the late 60s and 70s. I doubt it is. I find the same mindset here, on OBCconnect. The nicest people here, people I consider my good friends, beat themselves up, talking about 'our stupidity'; viewing our ignorance as something that is willful (as though 'ignorance' were somehow related to 'ignoring' - the etymology goes the other way round!, and ignorance can be just that, absence of knowledge, innocent). You see, if our spiritual problem is something that involves our will, then perhaps beating the 'ego' (such a loaded term!) makes sense. But if ignorance is a simple lack of knowledge, then nothing fixes it but acquiring knowledge. This is what I constantly point to. Perhaps it doesn't speak to anyone here. Then the error is mine - I should perhaps stop trying and pack my bags.

I would like to respond to Henry's description of the idyllic times at SA - into seventies (see above). Henry, I think you generalise a bit here. It is simply not accurate. Please look up Gensho's description of his early juniorship, what hell it was. Was it such a great time for Roshi herself? She lost her cherished disciples quite early on: Jim, in 74?; Mark in 76; Josh and Gensho soon after; myself, not so cherished perhaps but still very much perceived by Roshi as a loss (I know) in 74. Where is the idyl? Individually, also, we didn't necessarily start with an idyl. I certainly didn't. I got ordained soon after I arrived in 71; my very deep suffering took place through months of my being a junior monk. Gradually, it became less. Roshi started playing her games with me before I arrived. I accepted it purely because of my ideology. I believed this was part of the journey. I thought that because of the books on Zen I had read.
Religions do harm because we subscribe to the same premises that they 'operate'. It is not as though there is some priestly class that manipulates the masses. There may be that, partly, but it is not such a big part, in my view. The big part is - that we, the individuals, go along with this.
Maybe this should be a new thread. But, it seems to me that there is not that much interest in exploring this topic on this forum. There is, of course, no reason why there should be.
Ol'ga


Last edited by Ol'ga on Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:02 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : clarification; but I have to quit now, so if I don't make sense, please bear with me.)
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:40 pm

Ol'ga wrote:
Religions do harm because we subscribe to the same premises that they 'operate'. It is not as though there is some priestly class that manipulates the masses. There may be that, partly, but it is not such a big part, in my view. The big part is - that we, the individuals, go along with this.
Maybe this should be a new thread. But, it seems to me that there is not that much interest in exploring this topic on this forum. There is, of course, no reason why there should be.
Ol'ga

I would be interested.

My relationship with the OBC is much less than others here, both in time and space. I've been to Shasta once. Only been part of the OBC group for three years. And truthfully, my loyalty lies with the people in my group more than the OBC per se.

But if there are mistakes from the past that are affecting us in the present, it falls on me not to repeat them and to do my part to make my corner of the OBC world as clean as I can.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:41 pm

Olga,

Yes I do generalize. Even if you had a difficult time from the beginning, I think you must have had hopes and dreams when you first started out. I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly so, that most of us, along with having hopes and dreams about the outcome of our journeys as monks, also came other good feelings of being in a community, starting out something new, making new friends, etc. Again, this is an assumption, perhaps incorrect. Others on the site can enlighten me on this. Obviously it was not true for you.

Again, my placing phases on the evolution of the OBC is a generalization. I know there was turmoil within each phase. I know some people experienced mostly good within each phase. But despite the experience of individuals, organizations do go through phases. While there were purges prior to the 80s, the one in the 80s was a definitive one to me in that I don't believe there were challenges to Rev. Kennett after that as there had been previously. I do believe that virtually all of the seniors who had serious reservations about manner in which Rev. Kennett's ran things were gone by the 90s. This allowed for a phase of completely incorporating her unresolved psychological issues into the fabric of the OBC unchallenged. This is my hypothesis. Diana and Laura and others who came after can let me know if this hypothesis has any merit.

There are characteristics of the phases of life: babyhood, toddler, youngster, teen, young adult, adult, elder. It would be foolish, however, to assert that many of the characteristics of one phase are not amply represented in other phases. It is messy, but their are phases. That is all I'm trying to say.

Regarding ego etc. I'm not sure I understand you. I don't feel I'm beating myself up or recommending anyone do that. I honestly think I just don't comprehend the jist of what you're trying to say. Sorry.

I do think it's lopsided to place all the blame on either institutions or individuals. I don't see anyone here doing that. Individuals have responsibilities, but so do organizations. Sometimes the trust and hopes of individuals can influence them to remain in unhealthy institutions longer than they should. This is a learning experience for the individual undergone through self reflection. This, however, does not relieve institutions of the responsibility to conduct their own process of self-reflection. This is what many of the individuals on OBC Connect, are trying to encourage the OBC to do. Again, the two are more complementary than mutually exclusive. Does this address the jist of what you mean? I certainly don't feel confident that it does.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:43 pm

Thank you Sandokai. Your post exemplifies the complementary nature of individual and institutional self-reflection I am trying to express. Your post appeared while I was making mine.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:38 pm

Hi Henry,
I'll try to express better what I mean (about ego and spiritual practice) in a new thread, when I have a bit more time - to gather my thoughts, and put them down in a more coherent fashion. It is a deep topic, which concerns some very fundamental assumptions. I frequently have a sense that I am 'coming from a different place than my Buddhist friends'. For me this is a core issue - my leaving SA was connected with my final saying 'enough' to the preaching, chastising aspect of religions (and by far not only religions - in my experience, Communism is a trillion times worse). Since then I've been exploring a 'way' where I try to live an 'intelligent' life (as opposed to non-thinking, automatic, unexamined life), feeling my way as I go, so to speak, while first accepting, and even embracing, the situation as it arises - myself as I am, the world as it appears. I think one can be more creative that way. (I don't think that I have a monopoly on this discovery. I find it so very worth exploring. Maybe for you it's vieux jeu; for me it's ever new and fresh, and not at all a chore.)
This is so much the opposite (to my mind) of what I felt was practiced in SA. Perhaps my approach does not bring any dramatic fruits; and it is possible that if humanity always thought that way, we would be content to still live in the trees. I doubt it, though. Maybe we would have more fun.
This is a humangous digression - it evolved, as these things are wont to do.
I'll write later, soon.
Luv and hugz,
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:04 pm

Diana,

Reading your post, I get the impression that you see Rev. Kennett as acting solely out of her unresolved issues. While I don't have to state that I see this aspect of things as very important, I still don't see it as the only aspect. I believe Rev. Kennett had genuine spiritual experience. I also believe she truly wanted to pass that on and this altruistic impulse also played a very, very important part in her life and her choices. From what I've seen in myself and others, spiritual experience doesn't in itself (except perhaps in rare cases I've not seen) erradicate one's karma/psychological issues. Rather it allows you see them as clouds in a clear sky. A by product it provides is the motivation to see these clouds manifest in daily life and not perpetuate them. It gives you a picture to where spiritual practice leads. That Rev. Kennett did not deal with some serious psychological issues does not to me negate her spiritual experience. Nor does it negate her altruistic motive to help others find the truth for themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:19 pm

Henry wrote:
Diana,

I believe Rev. Kennett had genuine spiritual experience. I also believe she truly wanted to pass that on and this altruistic impulse also played a very, very important part in her life and her choices. From what I've seen in myself and others, spiritual experience doesn't in itself (except perhaps in rare cases I've not seen) erradicate one's karma/psychological issues. Rather it allows you see them as clouds in a clear sky. A by product it provides is the motivation to see these clouds manifest in daily life and not perpetuate them. It gives you a picture to where spiritual practice leads. .

Artfully stated, Henry. This conversation resonates for me since I am a now retired therapist of over thirty years professional experience. I did some family work in the earlier part of my career. Your statement about psychological issues not standing against or eradicating the authenticity of spiritual experience is on the mark. I think that too many people in spiritual/religious traditions don't understand that. Someone can be a total mess, psychologically, and even ethically, and still have had insight.(There are many examples in our recent history) Regretfully too many at SA and in the OBC have been in denial about the "mess" and its ill effects in themselves and their master because they think they will have to give up the authenticity of insight part. I suppose, being a therapist, when given an up-close experience of JK's pathology, I could more readily see it at the time for what it was, while still owning and integrating those teachings and insights that were authentic for me, and going my own way when it was time. Seeing the "mess" (clouds)in JK, and many senior monks, first hand actually liberated me to do precisely that and adopt a more mature and adult spiritual framework for my life, that as an individual person I am responsible for actualizing, bringing forth, truth and true nature (sky), and not developing a pathological dependence on someone else to do it for me. A bonus of this is that if I can admit the "mess" (clouds) esteemed as a "master" I can also admit more readily admit the "mess" in myself.

I suppose the experience and training of being a therapist gives us an eye for the complexity of the human psyche and the unconscious motivations of human beings. We can take responsibility for that in ourselves and observe it in others, while having the faith and the insight that our deepest identity is not derived from the "mess." It is unfortunate that JK and others have too often been walking and standing in their own shadow and not taken responsibility for it enough to step out into the sunlight and recognize where they have been, renouncing their claims to spiritual authority and attainment. In my view the fruit of authentic practice and insight is humility and love and reverence for one's own humanity, not authority or infallibility or harshness.

I'm just starting to read a book right now with a title that spoke to me, "Dancing with Your Shadow." When we learn to dance with it, rather than to deny it on the one hand, or to be consumed or possessed by it on the other, we learn to walk the human path and do it with freedom and joy, in my view.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:49 pm

Henry, I don't know what you are talking about. I thought this thread was supposed to be about the "psychological perspective." I didn't even mention Jiyu's spiritual experience. I was looking at Jiyu/OBC/FTI and the psychological perspective and a possible case analysis. I was not coming from the psychoanalytic school at all and wasn't talking about "unresolved issues." I thought it would be obvious to you that I was coming from the Attachment Theory stance which today, heavily influences family therapy and has recently been used to study groups. I thought it would be apropos and even interesting to open up this subject up and look at it from the Attachment lens.

I think I'm burned-out at this point- burned out at trying to contribute to this forum when I put effort into it and just end up feeling misunderstood or disappointed. I could handle feeling unsupported alone, but to add the misunderstandings and disappointments is too much. I was looking forward to contributing on this subject especially since I'm writing my dissertation on it, but I think my participation on this forum has reached its end. I'm just not getting anything out of it anymore.

Sorry guys, I just think it would better for me to move on at this point.

Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:10 am

Diana, I think that you did a superb job of assessing Jiyu's psychological dynamic. It corresponds directly with my own close experience and perception of her, over the course of 19 years as a disciple.

I don't think that Henry meant to disparage your assessment--but he may not have fully acknowledged it before springboarding from his response to you to make a point that I don't think he had made quite as clearly earlier!

Henry, your last post expresses the very essence of my perception and understanding of what this is all about--with respect to RM Jiyu, her deeply valid spiritual experience, her unhealed, untransformed personal trauma, and her introduction of it into the collective psyche and culture of the OBC. I think that you have just articulated the very crux of the matter here.

I am convinced that this culture can be recognized, acknowledged, healed, and transformed, by a critical mass of currently active members of the OBC--precisely because it is, at root, nothing but clouds in the clear sky. I think that it is precisely the denial of these shadow-clouds that turns them into tornadoes and hurricanes. And it is the devastating consequence of the tornado-hurricane--and a clear articulation of the shadow-dynamic--that will make healing and transformation increasingly attractive.

Bill, beautifully expressed; and thanks for mentioning the book that you are currently reading. I will definitely be tracking down a copy of Dancing with Your Shadow!

Diana, if Henry doesn't apologize, I'm buying a plane ticket to Florida to straighten this out! ;-) I hope you will stick around. I am ever grateful for, and impressed by, your insight--and the healing that you have so clearly accomplished!

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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:26 am

Diana, I hope you won't stop coming to the forum -- I agree with Kozan's take on the above -

Lise
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:26 am

Diana,

Kozan wrote:

I don't think that Henry meant to disparage your assessment--but he may not have fully acknowledged it before springboarding from his response to you to make a point that I don't think he had made quite as clearly earlier!

A lot of truth there. I actually wanted to ask you some questions about the substance of some of what you wrote, but that was a longer post. I didn't have time at the time, so I made my briefer comment first. I think I've mentioned before that Kozan should proof my entries before I post them. Somehow three days can't go by without someone commenting on my social skills. Work, home, friends, OBCConnect. Can't get away from it. However, I'd like to add my voice to Kozan's and say that I hope you stay. I'm very good at helping people learn to increase their frustration tolerance. Some say it's a specialty of mine. Very effective for those who survive.

I wanted to give you the impression I wrote of in my previous post because I think that a psychological perspective alone can discount the spirtual side just as easily as (in my criticism of the OBC) allowing the spiritual perspective to discount the psychological. I presented my impression as just that: an impression. I'd be happy to hear a response from you on it. My impression was that you isolated Rev. Kennett's motives too much to her need to control springing from her attachment issues, and by inference, discounting the altruistic motives springing from a love of others and her own genuine spiritual experience. My impression could be mistaken about you discounting this (like you said I started this as a thread on the psychological perspective and you may have been limiting your remarks to attachment theory), or you might disagree with my belief about Rev. Kennett's spiritual experience and motives, or you might feel those things are irrelevant. Whichever way it is, it could be an interesting exchange of ideas.

What is so bad about a friend misunderstanding you, if they are open to being corrected or having their own ideas challenged and continuing a dialogue?
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:30 am

Kozan,

I didn't apologize to Diana so that you'd come visit me in S. Florida.

PS Could you please ask Diana to aplogize to me for making me look like an insensitive cretan in front of everyone?
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:26 pm

Bill

Thanks for your comments. In Buddhism, our enlightened nature is always spoken of as innate, ever present, even in those who are not conscious of ever having even glimpsed it or have no interest in finding it. It is subtle, undemanding, deep, and difficult to recognize. Our unresolved issues are constantly demanding of our attention, expert at convincing us that our well being in dependent upon indulging them, and have their reason for being to prevent us from experiencing the very vulnerable condition of opening up to the dissolution of the self as a seperate entity and to the altruistic nature of the enlightened state. Our unresolved issues and karma are sneaky and deceptive and disguise themselves as whatever we hold dear in order to achieve their purpose, including spiritual virtue, perhaps especially spiritual virtue for those ascribing to it.

I would venture to posit that the more serious our psychological issues, even in those who have experienced deep spiritual awakening, the more unrecognizable their disguises are to us. Looking at it in this light, it is not surprising that Rev. Kennett or Eko would have done the harm they did, fooling themselves as they went. As Diana and I tried to point out. Rev. Kennett's (as well as Eko's) issues were quite serious. Their need to control was disguised from themselves and clothed in spiritual virtue. At the same time their enlightened nature was alive and well, sitting their waiting and undemanding of their attention. In and out (of their enlightened nature) they went; in and out we ourselves go.

In and out, in a very real sense, are highly compatible with each other. They've coexisted from time immemorial. What choice do we have but to be lights unto ourselves, honing our ability to recognize out from in in ourselves and out from in in others. The OBC's unwillingness to examine closely Rev. Kennett's in and out, trained them to sit idly by as Eko's outs were revered as ins and he was inadvertantly allowed, even protected, to create havoc and harm. They, to too great a degree, by too greatly idealizing and idolizing the master, lost their ability to be lights unto themselves. Therapy, I believe, could have helped Rev. Kennett and Eko to recognize the harm they were doing; and therapy, I believe, could help those who have invested too much in idolizing them.


Last edited by Henry on Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:06 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:28 pm

Henry wrote:
Bill

Therapy, I believe, could have helped Rev. Kennett and Eko to recognize the harm they were doing; and therapy, I believe, could help those who have invested too much in idolizing them.

Well stated, Henry. Therapy has been extraordinarily helpful to me in seeing and penetrating the defense mechanisms erected to protect myself from experiencing pain and from any challenge to the self-system my mind has created from mistaken self-preservation. Meditation and psychotherapy go exceedingly well together I have found in promoting healing. But, as you have stated, our disguises don't want to go unmasked because they cover up an exquisite vulnerability. The mirror of psychotherapy was something that JK and Eko avoided and disparaged, not by accident. Religion can be a formidable self-defense system, as we see so frequently played out in our world to ill effect. What a paradox it is, existentially, that the tender heart, that is the source of joy,love, compassion, and connection in our life, is also what we fear so greatly, as it also bring us the pain that arises from that same connection and communion with all of life.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:21 pm

I think that it is a point worth reiterating that given their behaviour both JK and Eko must have strayed from the truth and given up on training, and hidden this and themselves in their shadow worlds. I certainly felt this was true of JK before I left SA, and given Eko's behaviour and his apparent reactions I think it must be true of him also. Straying is not too much of a problem if you can admit it, if only to yourself; but if you can't it is a certain way to loose yourself in delusion. There is a Tantric initiation in which the initiate is told 'you are now entering the Tantra. The Tantra is the fast way. The fast way either to heaven or to hell - and to one of them certainly!' Part of the problem, and we can see it clearly in JK and Eko's case is that often others around them are dragged into their delusion and hell, and then for some time trapped in their shadow world. Even after escaping the taint hangs around for a long time and can really only be exorcised by an ongoing return to truth, coupled with openness, compassion and recognition. But here I think the therapists like Diana and Henry may have a better handle on matters.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:08 am

Henry, thank you for your thoughtful and helpful analysis of the woman and the organization. Those lotus roots that fail to filter all the mud exist in all of us.

One aspect of RMJK's character that has always bothered me was her disregard for her health. She blamed her diabetes on the people at Sojiji, claiming that they gave her inadequate food. But no one believes that insufficient food causes diabetes as far as I know. But even after her condition was properly diagnosed, she ignored basic rules for dealing with the disease such as monitoring weight and avoiding sweets. I understand that she refused to take insulin because it was an animal product, but I also understand that she sometimes ate meat and thought it was consistent with the precepts as long as someone needed meat for health reasons. So why did she abuse her own body? It seems like a form of self-loathing.

And once again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I must point out that the most zealous of all RMJK's disciples is Koshen. He absolutely opposes psychotherapy. He often described her anger and apparent cruelty toward people with admiration because to him she was an arahant and was exhibiting skillful means -- "e'en to say that black is white."
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:12 am

And please don't leave us, Diana. I always appreciate your thoughtful comments and your insight. You are a Founder of OBCC, after all!
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:26 am

another tangent -- recent blog on morality and righteousness.

Scientific American Blog Network


Jonathan Haidt and the Moral Matrix: Breaking Out of Our Righteous Minds


By Samuel McNerney | December 8, 2011

Meet Jonathan Haidt​, a professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia​ who studies morality and emotion. If social psychology was a sport, Haidt would be a Phil Mickelson or Rodger Federer – likable, fun to watch and one of the best. But what makes Haidt one-of-a-kind in academia is his sincere attempt to study and understand human morality from a point of view other than his own.

Morality is difficult. As Haidt writes on his website, “It binds people together into teams that seek victory, not truth. It closes hearts and minds to opponents even as it makes cooperation and decency possible within groups.” And while many of us understand this at a superficial level, Haidt takes it to heart. He strives to understand our inherent self-righteousness and morality as a collection of diverse mental modules to try to ultimately make society better off.

I had the pleasure of visiting him at his office, which is currently in Tisch Hall at NYU (Haidt is a visiting professor at Stern School of Business), to speak about his background and how he came to write his forthcoming book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.

“My intellectual roots,” he explained, date back to a “Woody Allen-style existential crisis during high school, which led me to major in philosophy in college.” Along with seeing philosophy as being “intellectually sexy,” he thought it might have the answers to his meaning-of-life chestnuts. But, as Haidt bluntly confessed, “it didn’t, philosophy was very unsatisfying.” What did satisfy Haidt’s natural thirst for understanding human beings was social psychology. “It was fascinating,” he reported, “I was hooked after taking a few classes as an underclassman at Yale.”

Haidt graduated from Yale in 1985 with a degree in philosophy and landed a job as a systems analyst for the U.S Department of Labor. Two years later he felt the pull of academia and began looking into grad school. “I started applying to schools in computer science thinking I would study cognitive science. But they felt all wrong to me; the buildings felt wrong and the people felt wrong. When I stepped into the psychology department at Penn everything felt right. I met interesting people and decided to apply.”

Haidt confessed that Penn was a stretch. “I had no idea what I was doing. I only applied to four schools and had no recommendations from anyone.” Fortunately for him, and eventually the field of psychology, Penn took a chance and let him in.

Haidt initially found moral psychology “really dull.” He described it to me as “really missing the heart of the matter and too cerebral.” This changed in his second year after he took a course from the anthropologist Allen Fiske and got interested in moral emotions. “Suddenly, everything turned positive, and that’s where I’ve been ever since.” He completed his dissertation, “Moral judgment, affect, and culture, or, is it wrong to eat your dog?” which explored how morality varied by culture in 1992 under Jonathan Baron and Alan Fiske. And a few years later he landed a job as an Assistant Professor of psychology at the University of Virginia where he still teaches today.

His next milestone came in 2001 when he published, “The Emotional Dog and its Rational Trail,” which he describes as “the most important article I’ve ever written.” Rightly so. It has since been cited over 1100 times and mentioned in numerous popular psychology books. Most importantly, it helped shift moral psychology away from rationalist models that dominated in the 1980s and 1990s. In its place Haidt offered an understanding of morality from an intuitive and automatic level. As Haidt says on his website, “we are just not very good at thinking open-mindedly about moral issues, so rationalist models end up being poor descriptions of actual moral psychology.”

His article also gave rise to the elephant-rider metaphor, a major theme in his research that readers of his first popular book, The Happiness Hypothesis will recognize. The metaphor describes how our unconscious cognitive capacities guide and control our conscious deliberations. As he explains in the book, “the mind is divided into parts that sometimes conflict. Like a rider on the back of an elephant, the conscious, reasoning part of the mind has only limited control of what the elephant does.” The metaphor, Haidt explained to me, “really started in my psych 101 class when I was trying to explain psychology using quotes that I had collected. I thought it would be interesting to analyze them. And so the rider and the elephant is the metaphor I came up with.”

To be sure, Haidt’s metaphor shows itself many times throughout history – Plato’s charioteer and Freud’s id, ego and super ego to name a few. But Haidt’s take is slightly different. In the last few decades psychology began to understand the unconscious mind not as dark and suppressed as Freud did, but as intuitive, highly intelligent and necessary for good conscious reasoning. “Elephants,” he reminded me, “are really smart, much smarter than horses.”

Now, Haidt is putting the finishing touches on his next big project, The Righteous Mind, which is due out in March 2012. He was motivated to write The Righteous Mind after Kerry lost the 2004 election: “I thought he did a terrible job of making moral appeals so I began thinking about how I could apply moral psychology to understand political divisions. I started studying the politics of culture and realized how liberals and conservatives lived in their own closed worlds.” Each of these worlds, as Haidt explains in the book, “provides a complete, unified, and emotionally compelling worldview, easily justified by observable evidence and nearly impregnable to attack by arguments from outsiders.” He describes them as “moral matrices,” and thinks that moral psychology can help him understand them.

To understand what constitutes these moral matrices Haidt teamed with Craig Joseph from the University of Chicago. Building on ideas from the anthropologist Richard Shweder​ (with whom they both had studied), they developed the idea that humans possess six universal moral modules, or moral “foundations,” that get built upon to varying degrees across culture and time. They are: Care/harm, Fairness/cheating, Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, Sanctity/degradation, and Liberty/oppression. Haidt describes these six modules like a “tongue with six taste receptors.” “In this analogy,” he explains in the book, “the moral matrix of a culture is something like its cuisine: it’s a cultural construction, influenced by accidents of environment and history, but it’s not so flexible that anything goes. You can’t have a cuisine based on grass and tree bark, or even one based primarily on bitter tastes. Cuisines vary, but they all must please tongues equipped with the same five taste receptors. Moral matrices vary, but they all must please righteous minds equipped with the same six social receptors.”

Next, Haidt recruited his UVA colleague Brian Nosek and graduate student Jesse Graham to create a questionnaire that measured how people of certain political parties valued (in terms of importance) five moral foundations (he dropped Liberty/oppression). The questionnaire eventually manifested itself into the website www.YourMorals.org, and it has since gathered over two hundred thousand data points. Here is what they found:

This is the crux of the disagreement between liberals and conservatives. As the graph illustrates, liberals value Care and Fairness much more than the other three moral foundations whereas conservative endorse all five more or less equally. This shouldn’t sound too surprising, liberals tend to value universal rights and reject the idea of the United States being superior while conservatives tend to be less concerned about the latest United Nation declaration and more partial to the United States as a superior nation.

In addition to the project at www.YourMorals.org, Haidt began reading political psychology. Karen Stenner’s The Authoritarian Dynamic, “conveyed some key insights about protecting the group that were particularly insightful,” he said. The work of the French sociologist Emile Durkheim​ was also vital. In contrast to John Stuart Mill​, a Durkheimian society, as Haidt explains in an essay for edge.org, “would value self-control over self-expression, duty over rights, and loyalty to one’s groups over concerns for out-groups.”

“By 2007 or 2008,” Haidt described, “I started feeling like there is something to be figured out here. I thought that I might be able to figure out what morality is all about and come up with a unifying theory of this huge and buried aspect of human nature.”

The key piece of the puzzle came when he connected Durkheim with Darwin to argue that morality binds and blinds. The metaphor he uses to describe this idea is that we are 90 percent chimp 10 percent bee. That is to say, though we are inherently selfish, human nature is also about being what he terms “groupish.” He explained to me like this:

“When I say that human nature is selfish, I mean that our minds contain a variety of mental mechanisms that make us adept at promoting our own interests, in competition with our peers. When I say that human nature is also groupish, I mean that our minds contain a variety of mental mechanisms that make us adept at promoting our group’s interests, in competition with other groups. We are not saints, but we are sometimes good team players.” This is what people who had studied morality had not realized, “that we evolved not just so I can treat you well or compete with you, but at the same time we can compete with them.”

What comes out of The Righteous Mind is initially pessimistic but ultimately optimistic. At first, Haidt reminds us that we are all trapped in a moral matrix where we our “elephants” only look for what confirms its moral intuitions while our “riders” play the role of the lawyer; we team up with people who share similar matrices and become close-minded; and we forget that morality is diverse. But on the other hand, Haidt is offering us a choice: take the blue pill and remain happily delusional about your worldview, or take the red pill, and, as he said in his 2008 TED talk, “learn some moral psychology and step outside your moral matrix.”

The great Asian religions, Haidt reminded the crowd at TED, swallowed their pride and took the red pill millennia ago. And by stepping out of their moral matrices they realized that societies flourish when they value all of the moral foundations to some degree. This is why Ying and Yang aren’t enemies, “they are both necessary, like night and day, for the functioning of the world.” Or, similarly, why the two of the high Gods in Hinduism, Vishnu the preserver (who stands for conservative principles) and Shiva the destroyer (who stands for liberal principles) work together.

Now, it’s time for us to decide – the blue pill or the red pill. Political bickering plagues the United States; both parties are unwilling to cooperate and understand the others’ point of view. Let’s hope we make the correct decision. Maybe then we can break out of our Righteous Minds.

Samuel McNerneyAbout the Author: Sam McNerney recently graduated from the greatest school on Earth, Hamilton College, where he earned a bachelors in Philosophy. However, after reading too much Descartes and Nietzsche, he realized that his true passion is reading and writing about the psychology of decision making and the neuroscience of language. Now, he is trying to find a career as a science journalist who writes about philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. His blog, whywereason.com tries to figure out how humans understand the world. He spends his free time listening to Lady Gaga​, dreaming about writing bestsellers, and tweeting @whywereason. Follow on Twitter @whywereason.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:02 pm

Sandokai, you expressed interest in my query as to why we go along with the abuse of religion.
Ol'ga wrote:
Religions do harm because we subscribe to the same
premises that they 'operate'. It is not as though there is some priestly
class that manipulates the masses. There may be that, partly, but it is
not such a big part, in my view. The big part is - that we, the
individuals, go along with this.
Maybe this should be a new thread.
But, it seems to me that there is not that much interest in exploring
this topic on this forum. There is, of course, no reason why there
should be.
Ol'ga


I would be interested.


I've been looking through Henry's contributions trying to find out what caused my certain impression of a particular view of his, and found the following. It's on the topic you showed interest in; I think it's dmn well written.

Search in: OBC
Experiences
Subject: Latest
Zen "Scandal" and let's rethink the "master" story......
Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:26 am
Particularly the paragraph beginning with
Rev. Kennett could be and was emotionally abusive. This was hidden by
the Zen Master myth Josh has presented here so well.


I am sorry that I don't have time right now to write properly - have much too much to do. It bothers me I have not replied to your response to my points - so at least this much for now. I think Henry wrote very well in the above contribution.
Ol'ga
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:07 pm

Thanks for the suggested thread, Ol'ga. Lots of good stuff there. This quote by Henry struck me:

"The internalizatioin of the abuse is the key to the whole problem. It is what occurs in every one of these scandals, be it Shasta or elsewhere. Without the WILLINGNESS of the students to internalize the abuse and blame themselves, none of this can occur."

How do those of us with that type of personality stop that from happening in ourselves, I wonder.
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:06 pm

Thank you, Olga. Please start a thread on the question of WHY we all internalized the message that the monks (some of them in particular) were higher spiritual beings (or bodhisatvas or Buddhas or whatever) and thus worthy of not just our reverence, but obedience. This to me is the main work to be done through OBCC. It's easy to blame "them" (just as the OBC blames Eko), but the real question is why were we complicit with the narrative?
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:28 pm

Ha ha! Yes, it was all your fault, Carol! Twisted Evil

No, of course not...if you take on this topic then please keep in view the power of the "Zen Master" brand. Of course you're supposed to trust one of them. Right?

Maybe what you learned was that that was one more idea built into your "self", one more thing on which to cling, that needed to be let go? Enlightened on the way in, enlightened more on the way out?

As you were, everyone. Been reading with much interest and little to say.

--Dan
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:27 pm

Oh, and Josh--Re the psychology of decision-making: I am reading Daniel Kahneman's book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" which is all about how we have two processes for decisions. The fast path is all impulse and rules of thumb, and does a lot more "work" than we think. The slow path is the strictly rational, which takes conscious effort to engage and is easily tired.

Think fast! If a bat and ball together cost $1.10, and the bat costs a dollar more than the ball, how much did the ball cost?

If you just said 10 cents, you're faring no worse than half the MIT students who were asked the question...(the real answer is five cents). That's the fast path at work, and an illustration of how easily we are fooled.

That's a brief illustration of the sort of territory that Kahneman explores in his book, which is easy for us non-shrinks to read as well.

**********************

Toward the end of that blog/article, Haidt appears to "buy" into the idea of the moral superiority of Eastern cultures. This notion is surely one of the reasons why we Westerners are drawn to Zen, or Hindu, or Tibetan, gurus, and it's been around with us for a century or more now.

But most of these cultures have, at one time or another imbibed a form of Confucian authoritarianism, which is all about the superior authority figure being the font of all "valid truth," and the inferior person being an open vessel for that truth.

I realize that Josh doesn't necessarily endorse everything in the article...

--DD
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:26 pm

Henry ... man that is some analysis! Thanks very much for that.

Bows
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:16 pm

I wanted to add one element to Henry's in-depth analysis. It is more of an historical note. When Koho Zenji visited the West in the early 60s and Kennett met him, when Kennett went to Japan, Zen in the West was dominated by the writings and thought of D.T. Suzuki. Suzuki had zero regard for Soto Zen or Dogen. Suzuki spoke from a strong Rinzai point of view. No doubt the Soto school, which was far larger than Rinzai in Japan, had a bit of an inferiority complex. Except for a few centers in California that catered to their Japanese followers, Soto Zen was completely unknown in the West. I have no doubt that Koho Zenji's travels were focused on establishing Soto Zen in America and Europe. trying to gain some kind of foothold. Kennett's coming to Japan and studying at Sojiji was no doubt seen as a way to begin to make Soto Zen better known in the West. (Korean Zen right now is trying to do this in the U.S. and Europe -- they feel that most Zen comes out of Japanese traditions and the Korean Chogye order is sending leaders to the west, spending time and money trying to establish a presence).
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PostSubject: Re: FTI vs Psychological Perspective   Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:42 pm

adding to that last thought.... my take on this is that Kennett would have received transmission and be sent to the West regardless of whether she had a kensho experience or not. They wanted to build a western presence, the Soto sect wanted western recognition, they wanted to compete with Rinzai. So the Soto sect / Koho Zenji had his own back story or agenda and Kennett was part of that. The Soto system, set up for "temple sons," was designed to produce priests in a few years, Kennett fit into that and they didn't want her to stay in Japan for decades, but to go through the standard training and go back and share the Soto approach with westerners. end of this minor thought.

here is the recent example of the Koreans wanting to compete with the Japanese:

Jogye Order seems serious about efforts to globalize

By Adam Tebbe

The 1200 year-old Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism appears quite serious about efforts to more vigorously engage the globe. Going over recent press releases (see here and here and here) of the last few months, they are clearly sending the message that they intend to globalize. This may come as a surprise to some Westerners, thinking they’d already established themselves through the late 78th Patriarch Seung Sahn Dae Soen Sa Nim, who’d established the international Kwan Um School of Zen” href=”http://kwanumzen.org/” target=”_blank”>Kwan Um School of Zen. Though Dae Soen Sa Nim was a Jogye monk, the Kwan Um School of Zen is an organization independent of the Jogye Order, though the two do retain ties and some groups and individuals have dual membership (see Chogye International Zen Center of New York).

In September, Jogye master Jinje Daejonsa traveled to the United States to visit Ground Zero, followed by a talk at New York’s Riverside Church to speak on Korean Buddhism. Jinje Daejonsa was just appointed as jonjaejong (the Order’s highest spiritual leader) in December, to serve a five-year term starting March 25, 2012. On December 27, the Jogye Order was featured in The Korea Times in this article titled Korea’s isolated Buddhism opening doors. In early January, former chief executive Ven. Jigwan died of asthma related conditions. It made me think on how deaths are also new beginnings. Anyway, I’d just noticed a trend in news items relating to this topic and thought it may be helpful to highlight it.
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