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Lise
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PostSubject: hello to new member    Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:21 pm

Hi Laura -- welcome! I'm glad you found us and hope you will enjoy being part of the forum crowd. I imagine you might know some people here and they will be chiming in too. (I have met you but I don't at all expect you to remember -- I was the quiet type back in my visiting days.)

I hope it's okay that I've moved your introductory post to its own thread -- I wanted to be sure it gets seen.

Again, welcome Smile



Laura wrote:
Hello everyone,

My name is Laura and I have been reading this forum privately for some time. After reading Amalia's courageous post, I've been emboldened to join publicly.

I am a former monk of Shasta Abbey, having served as chaplain to the former Rev. Eko for several years, and I also worked for two years with Rev. Master Hubert to finalize the editing on his translation of the Shobogenzo. My monastic name was Fidelia. I was a monk for 10 years, having been ordained after about 20 years of lay practice, many of those as a lay minister. So, my experience with the OBC in the US is extensive on both the lay and monastic sides of the Order. I am very glad to see this forum, for I feel that the opportunity to speak openly about our experiences in training with the OBC is sorely needed. I, for one, will never have anything to do with them again, nor am I likely to participate in organized religion in any form whatsoever in the future.

I will say that I have seen enough of their teaching in practice to be completely convinced of the truth of Amalia's story, though I have no first hand knowledge of that situation. The diagnosis of "spiritual illness" in connection with very real physical and/or mental illness is a trademark of their teaching, one which frequently has devastating results, not the least of which is adding a layer of profound guilt onto people who are already suffering intensely. I can also affirm that absolutely no training is given to the monks on how to do spiritual counseling (in case you hadn't noticed that from Amalia's story). Certainly none was ever given to me either at Transmission nor when I became a senior monk and began to do counseling myself. The emphasis on absolute, unquestioning faith in the teacher and, by extension, to anyone senior to yourself, sets the stage for rampant abuses of power and is clearly counter to what the Buddha himself taught. I witnessed and was subject to many of these abuses during the course of my monastic training, which not only broke my heart but also completely destroyed my faith and, to a large extent, my physical health as well. I returned to lay life because I was no longer willing to represent the OBC. I could never, in all good conscience, recommend that anyone practice with them.

I am glad to say that, given time and the support of my friends and family, I am recovering well and feel that I am finally emerging from years of trauma. I hope that this forum will provide a vehicle for others to do the same.



Last edited by Lise on Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:19 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : edited per Laura's request / edited by admin)
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Jiko



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PostSubject: welcome   Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:36 pm

Laura, welcome, welcome, welcome. - Jiko
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:51 pm

Hi Jiko. I remember you fondly, although it has been many years and we were once on opposite sides of what appeared, at the time, to be a fence. Thank you for your warm welcome. I hope you and your family are all well and happy.
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:56 pm

Hello Laura,
Thank you for your honesty in telling your story. It shocked me. I once knew you at NCBP as Laura (I remember discussing your sick dog) and at the Abbey. Again, thank you so much for joining this forum. I will look forward to your posts.
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:01 pm

Laura, I had to take a moment away from the computer to absorb your post before commenting further.

First of all I'm glad you are back in a safe place among family and friends.

What you've described is saddening in the extreme, and very disturbing, as Amalia's description was also. Thank you for your courage in sharing this.

Others may be wondering as I am, "how can things be so different behind the scenes?" I figured out that real OBC life was not the version provided to laity during retreats and Sunday tea, but I cannot grasp how the internal atmosphere could be so far removed from a healthy and functioning environment that is supposed to embody the Buddha's teaching.

How can they give no training for spiritual counseling? And the requirement of having unquestioning faith in a teacher and seniors -- this is counter to everything they tell lay people in the earliest stages.

Thank you for coming here --





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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:37 pm

Hello Laura,

How strange and wonderful to meet you here. I have been wondering how your story would play out. I am glad that you are finding your way outside the OBC and with your family. Speaking of your family, one of your daughters showed up at a Sangha picnic we had a couple years ago. I think she was a friend of one of our Dharma School grads. We haven’t seen her since then, however.

We’re still with Paul Hagemann’s insurance agency, believe it or not. In fact, I’ll see him on Tuesday for a review of our policies. Gad, do we have a lot of insurance policies. I’ll mention you to him. Thank you for that introduction so many years ago.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
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Laura

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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:00 am

So many things to answer in one posting...

Hello Lise! I'm sorry, I don't remember your name but might remember your face if I saw it. Thank you for doing that quick job of editing my post that I asked you about. Thank you most of all for starting this forum, and for your questions, which I will do my best to answer.

"How can they give no training for spiritual counseling?" An excellent question, and one that I asked many times myself. I should clarify this a bit, though, to say that, at Shasta Abbey, we never received any "formal" training on counseling. There were no classes, no lectures, no outside professional consultants, no .... well, nothing. At least I did receive a class on how to give meditation instruction when I was first authorized to do that, but never once did I receive direct teaching on how to help someone during spiritual counseling. I do believe that the Abbey's unstated position on this would be that, simply by undergoing monastic training, we learned what we needed to know about spiritual counseling, both from receiving it ourselves, and from our study and practice of the Dharma. And, to some extent, there is a bit of validity to that viewpoint. Personally, however, I do not believe it is enough. Not everyone who receives counseling is also capable of providing it. Not everyone who learns the Dharma is able to communicate it effectively to others. And certainly, we had no training on how to deal with the type of extreme situations that Amalia described experiencing. It has to be clearly understood that many people come to religious practice because of psychological pressures that they are having a lot of trouble resolving, and I believe that the priests who are counseling them need to be educated in how to help, and how not to help, and when to get outside help if needed. I remember one of the new seniors asking the abbot about this, worried herself that she had received no instruction on how to do this. The abbot's answer was the one he received from his own master: "Be a big ear." While this is good advice, it really doesn't go far enough because, as priests, we didn't just listen, we advised.

One of the balances for this was that monks could, and usually did, take refuge with other seniors for advice after the fact. There are definitely privacy issues involved in this, and I do not believe that privacy was guarded as well as it could have been (as Lise has mentioned elsewhere). But at least it did provide a way to discuss one's concerns with other monks to ensure that no harm was done. Of course, had any of those other monks actually received any kind of professional training themselves? Rev. Master Daizui may well have once helped with this, as Kyogen has mentioned in another post, but RM Daizui was Head of the Order while I was there and he was too busy to do that any longer, and then, sadly, he died.

"How can things be so different behind the scenes?" "...counter to everything they tell people in the early stages." When I first became a postulant, I was shocked at the differences. Lay people and monks are treated completely differently. The former abbot used to joke about it, and laughingly say that the "fine print on the contract didn't appear until after you had already signed on the dotted line." I didn't laugh with him. I have to say that I don't think Shasta Abbey would agree with my statement that unquestioning faith in the master was required, at least not publicly. But in daily monastic life, this is precisely what was expected. Junior monks were told that the only acceptable answer to a request from a senior was the word "yes" with a bow. If you said no, you could be expelled from the monastery. To even question the abbot's behavior within one's own heart was seen as a huge spiritual obstacle that would prevent you from attaining enlightenment. No counter opinions to the abbot's were brooked, and eventually they stopped being voiced because they were not welcome and, further, they would get you in trouble. Lay people were not generally treated this way because, for the most part, they were seen as not having the necessary spiritual commitment to really do the hard spiritual work that was involved in monastic training.

I don't think Shasta Abbey is alone in this. I think that this is the heritage of Rev. Master Jiyu's training in Sojiji, and comparable to the way that junior monks were treated there, minus the physical punishment of the kyosaku. The paradox is that the Abbey has become so much like what she herself decried in her book, The Wild White Goose. In fact, in the earliest edition of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom (or was it Zen is Eternal Life?), Rev. Master Jiyu dedicated her book to "my disciples at Shasta Abbey, whose training temple is more like Sojiji than they realize." This quote is paraphrased from my memory, because I no longer have that edition. When I mentioned this surprising dedication to the former abbot, he made sure that it was removed from the next edition of that book, which has now gone out of print altogether I believe. I always admired her honesty in both recognizing this about the Abbey and her courage in publicly stating it. I never did know her personally.

I think I am running out of steam for typing and you are probably running out of steam for reading. I'd like to just say a quick hello and thank you to Violet for remembering me and my sick dog, and I'd like to ask Kyogen to please read my response to Gyokuko's introductory post, for it is meant for him as well. And thank you for remembering about that insurance policy! I had completely forgotten that I helped you get what was apparently the first of many! Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:33 pm

Hello Laura,

I did read your response to Gyokuko. Yes, it’s nice to realize fences were just in the mind all along.

Your comment about absolute obedience to the teacher being a reflection of Japanese monastic form is interesting. I thought that way myself, but I have discovered that while there are examples in Japan of that kind of abuse of authority they are quite rare. On the other hand it is true that physical abuses are commonplace at the big training temples as a kind of hazing, but still, things are not as they first appear to an American observer.

Take for example the rule about saying “yes.” That’s actually a practice for novices during their zendo training, but its use is limited and applies primarily to the simple tasks of the monastic day. It is liberating to give up one’s opinions and objections to matters like the order in which to do things, or whose turn it is to do one task or another. You realize that we expend far more energy arguing in our own heads than in just doing the task.

With regard to more important matters in Japan, there is a strong value around “wa,” or harmony. You never disagree with your superiors. In fact, people rarely ever disagree with each other publically. For master/disciple issues, a master may tell a disciple all kinds of things about how to live their lives, and the disciple will always agree. They are saying, in effect, “yes, I hear you and I understand.” After that they will do what they think is best, and the teacher almost always expects them to. This is about the teacher acting as expected in relationship to a student by instructing. The student agreeing is about “wa.” It usually doesn’t extend beyond that.

I learned about this from other Zen students who spent a lot of time in Japan. It took them some time to really see and understand it. Later I mentioned this to some Tibetan Vajrayana teachers I was meeting with. They nodded and said that it is exactly the same way in Tibet. One problem Buddhist teachers from the East have when they come to the West is that they behave as they would at home, but Westerners don’t have the same perspective. And then Western teachers who didn’t catch on to the subtleties of this sometimes think they are supposed to have all-encompassing power over their disciples.

One of the more important adaptations to the West that Zen and other Buddhist traditions need to make is in accomodating the cultural setting we are all used to here. That includes being more up front in explaining what is expected, explicit respect for the limits on authority in teacher/student relationships, and clearly stating what parts of someone’s life are entirely up to them and no one else.

I will also say that while versions of these problems exist in many different lineages and in other traditions, there are also great strides being made in addressing these issues and developing forms of practice and teacher/student relationships that are appropriate for our culture. It is encouraging that OBC monks are attending conferences with other western teachers. It can only help to see how others are handling these issues.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
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Laura

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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:10 pm

Hi Kyogen,

Thank you very much for that explanation. What a different perspective that is from how we Americans usually see it! I really appreciate your taking the time to clarify that. It makes a huge difference when you look at it that way. I never cease to be amazed at the depth of misunderstanding that occurs when things move from one culture to another. The misunderstandings usually get attributed to the "foreigners" who don't understand our culture, but I see now that the "natives" are just as culpable for not understanding theirs.
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PostSubject: Hi Laura   Sun Aug 01, 2010 12:01 am

I remember you well, and always thought very highly of you, so I deeply
trust your assessment of the OBC. l don't expect you to know me. I was
pretty quiet and reserved--even for a lay resident. You had just been
been ordained when I spent a few months at the Abbey, years ago. I
find your and Amalia's experience utterly disturbing. I think I only
received a small dose of brain washing-- being told that I had a "large
heap of karma" and "a calling I shouldn't postpone." But it was still
enough to generate a sizable amount of confusion. Anyway, glad to see
that you are well. When I asked about you at the Abbey, I was told you
had left because of a "bad back" and "to care for a family member."
Interesting.
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:03 am

Just last week I almost posted on a thread to specifically put an inquiry out about you! Wow. It's so great to have you here. I saw what you went through. You were the only compassionate and "real" person that I ever dealt with when I had to get through to RM Eko. I don't know how to explain it, but I could see what you were going through. Maybe because I was going through similar things? Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I've always been thinking about you and I'm so glad to hear you are well.

The last time I saw you, you seemed so strong and clear. I had never actually seen you like that before. I was happy for you. I felt a real connection from you that I had never felt before. I think I even gave you a big hug! Looking back, I guess it was a goodbye. And then you were gone; the next time I showed up you had left. I have seen this many times with other monks; Kinsei, Alexis, etc... It's like we realize, finally, that there is nothing there. At least that's how I felt. I left soon after you did. I actually only came back briefly to check up on my friends and to validate my feelings about Eko and the OBC. My feelings were validated as everything seemed so dangerously dysfunctional; I felt like Eko had gone off the deep end.

I wish there was a way to make the transition back into life easier for ex-members or ex-monks. I have always worried about you and some other ex-monks who have had to re-enter. I hope you are doing well with all that or getting help if you need it. I am writing all this right now from a workshop in Colorado for ex-members of cults provided by the International Cultic Studies Association. All the stories I've heard this weekend cover everything I went through and everything that I know the OBC does. It is so liberating to be educated and supported. I need that for my own recovery and to help others.

I'll never forget the kindness you showed me. I hope to see you again someday. I don't practice at all anymore and I don't wish to, but I will always consider you a "sister" in many ways. I'm so happy to hear from you! Take care of yourself and let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

It's good to know you as "Laura". Hi Laura, I'm Diana! Giving someone a different name has always freaked me out!

Take care,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:22 pm

Hello Diana! I remember you well. Thank you so much for your kind words. I had no idea that I'd made any sort of impression on you. You've taken me very much by surprise.

I think what you saw that last time was the fact that I had finally resolved the ongoing conflict about my monastic vocation and had made the decision to leave. I stayed for quite some time after that, almost a full year, because I'd promised Rev. Hubert that I would help him finish the Shobogenzo. Once the editing on the text was finished, all that remained was to do things like the forward, preface, table of contents and cover pages, etc. I knew that others could do that and so the time had come for me to go. As that time drew closer, I became happier and happier.

I've had no trouble at all integrating back into lay life. I'd left once before, years earlier, and was completely miserable because I had not really resolved my relationship with Rev. Eko and the OBC. I knew that I had to return and would not be able to leave again until and unless I brought those things to resolution. It's ironic, really, that the only thing I had to do was to let go of them. Ever since I finally did that, I've been completely at peace and have never looked back. I went through the process that you are going through now during my last few years at the Abbey. Obviously you noticed that! It was interesting and difficult to do that whilst remaining a member of the monastic community, but it led me to an unshakable certainty that I was making the best decision for me.

I live with my eldest daughter, her husband, two children, two cats, one dog and six chickens! We all live together very harmoniously and it is a great help to all of us to share expenses this way. I was able to find a good job within about 2 months after my return to lay life, and I've been working there every since. I've never been happier.

I'm really glad to hear that you are getting help in recovering from your experiences in training with the former Rev. Eko. I hope that you are able to find the same peace of mind and heart that I have found. In all honesty, I no longer practice either, but I still have a great deal of confidence in the Buddha's Teaching. Letting go is most definitely the key.

I look forward to chatting with you here in this forum. It's very nice to have connected with you this way. If you're ever in the Portland area, let me know. I'd be delighted to see you again.

~ Laura

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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:21 pm

Hi Mary. I just now saw your post. I am not sure whether or not I do remember you. It was a long time ago, and Mary is a common name. Were you from the Berkeley Priory? If so, then I do indeed remember who you are. In any case, I am glad to hear that you escaped from the OBC, although I am sorry to hear of the advice that you were given. People should decide for themselves whether or not they have a monastic vocation without being influenced in that fashion. As for karma, we all have our share. Using that as a scare tactic to suggest that a person should become a monk is truly reprehensible as far as I am concerned.

I am astonished to hear anyone say that I left to care for a family member. That was never any part of my reason for leaving. As for the bad back, it is true that I have had quite a bit of trouble with it, including back surgery, and that is the main reason that I no longer practice formal seated meditation. I am just physically unable to stay still that long, in any position, without a great deal of pain. But that has nothing to do with my reason for leaving, as every monk who was there at the time knew quite well.

I am wondering, though, if you might have been given this information during a time when I was on private retreat at our Hermitage, before I actually left monastic life? There was a time in the spring of 2007 when I was recovering from my recent back surgery there. While I was there, my 7-month-old granddaughter, who was born with multiple birth defects, died, and I wound up returning to Portland for a time to help my daughter and son-in-law, and to do a the funeral for their little girl. I was still a monk at that point. I was gone for probably about six-to-eight weeks altogether between the retreat and the visit to Portland before I returned to the Abbey. Perhaps your inquiry about me was made during that time. I left monastic life about six months later, for quite different reasons. It is true that my granddaughter's death was pivotal in helping me to let go of my monastic vocation, for my loss paled in comparison to hers and to her parent's. Nevertheless, I left only because of my deep dissatisfaction with monastic life, more specifically, because of my complete loss of confidence in Shasta Abbey's former abbot and the community of seniors who followed his teaching. Just for the record.

I am quite well, much better in fact, and hope you are too! Thanks so much for your post.


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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:55 am

Hi, Laura. George Kastner here--we had a slight acquaintance through my occasional attendance at retreats at Shasta Abbey. I remember the time of sorrow surrounding your granddaughter's death, and I am very glad to know that now you have "never been happier." I have often wondered what became of you, but like with all the other Disappeareds there was only silence. (My reduced attendence the Temple was also explained as my dealing with family matters, but the truth is that my partner had cable TV.)
"No training is given to monks on how to do spiritual counseling": I remember very distinctly a monk laughingly saying, "Lay people have to be taught how to treat monks!" And I said (silently to myself, I'm afraid): "Yes, and monks have to be taught how to treat lay people!" My partner spent many years as a professional religious educator (for the Unitarians) and has has told me of the extensive training widely available for all religious vocations: seminars in managing church finances, retreats on dealing with volunteers, classes on helping congregrations grow, etc., let alone training in the ministerial aspects of religion. (I also remember a prior introducing me to a visiting monk, saying "He will be here for a week and learn how to run a priory." A week??)
For the record, I will note that no monk ever suggested that I had a monastic calling.
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:05 pm

Hi again Laura!

I'm so happy to hear that you are doing so well! I will definitely look you up the next time I'm in Portland. I have very much appreciated your input here and look forward to some more! I am very interested in your critique of the former Eko. I have not heard one thing said about him and yet soooo many people, mostly lay ministers left, supposedly, because of him. The only thing I ever heard was rumor; someone would say that a lay minister left because they "couldn't stand Eko." Of course I know first hand what made me think he was crazy, but I know it must have been much worse for the monks, as everything seemed so much worse for the monks. I am so glad I never went down that road. Anyway, I am concerned for some of my friends that I left behind; Debbie, Judy, Joan, Mike.... I don't remember their monk names. I hope they are all ok, but I imagine it must be very difficult for them.

Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:22 pm

Hi George! How very nice to see your name again and to be able to talk to you via this forum. I remember you quite well, even though you were an "occasional" visitor at the Abbey.

I hope that someday the Abbey might avail themselves of the training opportunities that your partner has told you about. I think that the OBC is really very behind the times in this, and could truly benefit both themselves and their communities by participating in training opportunities of this sort. I personally would be very surprised if they did, for they don't seem to me to be very open to "outside" training, but I do believe that training of this sort is sorely needed there. Perhaps this forum will be the vehicle that plants that seed in their consciousness.

Congratulations on escaping the "monastic vocation" diagnosis during sanzen. I wonder how you managed that! Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:42 pm

Hi there Diane! I'd be delighted to see you and share some information if you're ever in the neighborhood. I know that he hurt you deeply, but I would not like to use this forum as a place to publicly dissect someone's flaws of character. We all have them and, fortunately, most of us aren't in a position where they can profoundly impact so many people. Let's talk privately sometime. I will send you a private message with my email address if you'd like.

And yes, things tended to be a bit more intense for the monks, but that's because we had to deal with it every day. There pretty much wasn't any place else for us to go unless we decided to return to lay life, particularly for those of us who were his monastic disciples. Some of the more senior monks who were not his disciples did, in fact, leave and go to other priories as a direct result of their differences with him. And some returned to lay life for the same reason. That is probably pretty typical, though, when a new abbot comes into office, particularly an abbot who is the first successor to the original founder of the temple.

I worry about the friends I've left behind as well. Debbie's name is Rev. Enya; Judy's is Rev. Enida; Joan's is Rev. Sophia, and Mike's is Rev. Sheridan. Since Rev. Enya is actually Rev. Master Daishin Yalon's disciple, she would not be impacted by this quite as strongly as the others, who are all young novices that have lost their monastic master. I can't even begin to imagine how very difficult this situation is for them. I will be quite surprised if they manage to weather this storm. This is certainly going to be a very intense and difficult time for everyone at Shasta Abbey.
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:54 pm

Thanks Laura!

I don't wish to stir up a character debate, but I am curious about all the "differences." Many people left the Abbey because of differences with Eko and Eko left because of differences with the OBC. I wonder what the differences are, if they are concrete, doctrinal, ethical, etc... It couldn't have been all a character issue, could it?

I understand where you are coming from though, and I will gladly speak privately with you about it. Thanks for the offer and also thank you for passing on the monks names. You are so right; I know it must be so difficult to lose a master. I hope they are all ok.

:-)
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:47 am

Hi Diane,

All in all, I think that the primary difference that the departed senior monks at the Abbey had with Rev. Eko was that he had a very authoritarian approach to instigating changes. He did not seem to put too much, if any, effort into building consensus or even genuinely discussing his plans for the Abbey with the other seniors. His basic approach could be summed up as "I am the abbot, this is what I want, and this is what we are going to do." There would be times when he would inform the community of his plans, but there was no give and take, no real willingness on his part to listen to the viewpoint of other seniors, unless, of course, they already agreed with him. Each monk that left had a specific issue come up between them and Eko, some of them I knew about and some I didn't, but my assessment is that they pretty well all boiled down to this issue of authoritarian, and unskillfully authoritarian, leadership that engendered divisiveness.

As for his differences with the OBC, I honestly am unaware of what they might have been, with one exception. Shortly before I left, Rev. Eko made it known to all of us that he wished to take the Theravadin Vinaya Precepts. This was a shocking statement coming from the abbot of a Mahayana Soto Zen monastery, as it literally constitutes monastic ordination into another tradition. (I honestly view that whole thing as an effort on his part to try and deal with his personal difficulties with celibacy). At any rate, it was his intention to ask for permission from the OBC to take those Precepts, and he did ask, and permission was (not surprisingly) denied. He did not take that denial well. He brought the issue to the OBC family gathering that was held at Throssel in 2007, and he did not receive support for his position from the monks gathered there. He came back to the Abbey very dispirited from that lack of support. Beyond that, I don't know what his other differences with the OBC might have been. I have to admit that I assumed the "differences with the OBC" that he named as the reason for his resignation was really pretty much a smoke screen to cover the true reason for his return to lay life (i.e., his romantic involvement with a congregation member). But that is just my opinion. I was no longer there and don't know what else might have been going on.

I don't know if this answer sheds any light on your question, but it is probably the best I can do in this venue. I've sent you my email address. Feel free to write me!

~ Laura



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PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:52 am

How interesting about Eko's request to take the full Vinaya on.

Some years ago I met Ajahn Amaro when he visited our sangha. It was complicated because he could not be alone in a room with a woman and so we had to manage our hospitality with care. Many of us had the opportunity to practice with the many triggers that raised for us!
I like Ajahn and admired his discipline, even while disagreeing with the extreme way of dealing with desire. Dogen writes in Fukangazengi about controlling our thoughts, feelings, perceptions - so how do we control controlling?

I can only imagine the depth of conflict in a priest who is experiencing internally a desire or need that has been externally condemned. I actually feel positive about celibacy as a choice for some people and an important experience in practice for everyone at some point. But it has to be coupled with an environment in which attraction and desire can be discussed.

I do wish Eko the best solution for his and all beings' future...
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Sophia

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Posts : 42
Join date : 2010-05-24
Location : Los Angeles

PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:55 pm

Dear Laura: Thank you for sharing your observations about R. Eko's leadership. I can confirm that this style was already in place at least a year before Rev. Master died. All of these years I have felt torn about my departure, even as I have gone on to other things. Despite the physical immpossibility (I'm happily married, for one; I have also found another teacher, for another), a small part of me said "you can go back now" when I heard that he had left. But I think it is your frank description, coupled with some others' previous posts, that have put closure to my decision.
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Laura

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Posts : 124
Join date : 2010-07-30
Location : Portland, OR

PostSubject: Re: hello to new member    Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:45 pm

Hi Rachel,

Wow, am I ever glad to hear that. As I said earlier, one of the reasons I stayed at the Abbey for as long as I did was that I felt the need to be completely certain of my decision to leave with no possibility of regrets. I can't imagine carrying that burden of uncertainty for as long as you did. If this forum has helped you to find closure, it has been wildly successful, probably beyond what Lise ever expected when she started it. You have absolutely made my day with your post!

~ Laura
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