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 Another introduction

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Gyokuko

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PostSubject: Another introduction   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:17 pm

Hello Lise et al,
My name is Gyokuko. I was ordained at Shasta in 1975. Although Jiyu Kennett was my ordination master, she probably couldn't pick me out of a crowd during my first three years in residence. I like to think that the monastery itself, the schedule and structure was my true teacher. I became a jiisha and worked in her house on a daily basis sometime in 1978 or 79. When Kyogen and I were married in 1982, we were sent to Portland for what was supposed to be a short period of several months. When things started getting ugly in 1985-86, Kyogen and I spent many sleepless nights trying to work our way through a tangle of duties and expectations with as much clarity and integrity as we could muster. That period of my life was one of the most painful. I find myself now compelled to read people's posts with the kind of rapt attention we usually reserve for highway accidents. I thought it would be polite to introduce myself since I don't feel like a casual visitor, but a daily reader.

Kyogen and I have been independent of the order (OBC) since 1986 but the formation by the Abbey is always with us.

In gassho
Gyokuko
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Laura

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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:45 pm

Hello, my old friend Gyokuko. You made me laugh out loud with your reference to rapt attention for highway accidents, especially since I was one of them. I guess the only way I was going to resolve the whole issue of 1985-86 was to go to the Abbey and find out for myself what things were like there. Well, I've done that now, and I'm glad that I can finally tear down the wall that was built between me and my old friends. Not that I expect to have much contact, as I tend to shy away from religion these days, but it does feel good to find some resolution and to be able to chat amiably with an old friend.

With warm regards,
Laura
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Lise
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PostSubject: welcome!   Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:02 am

Hi Gyokuko -- thank you for joining and for your intro post. Like many here, I've read about you, Kyogen, the circumstances of the mid-80s and your ongoing practice at DRZC. It's nice to say hello in person.

I have to admit that it's fun to be an observer & see old friends re-connecting -- that's one thing I hoped the forum would eventually do Smile
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:02 am

:-) Hello Gyokuko

If you are still looking in ~

Has the ban on visiting OBC premises been lifted from you, Kyogen and your students? (If this has been answered elsewhere, my apologies for repetition.)

With all best wishes

_/\_
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:15 am

Gyokuko wrote:
I became a jiisha and worked in her house on a daily basis sometime in 1978 or 79.

In gassho

Gyokuko

Gyokuko, I know you've been here for a while, but it's still nice to see an official introduction. I have some fond memories of us all milling about in RMJK's living room in the evenings, doing Jin Shin, having late meals and watching Perry Mason reruns. I always thought you were an excellent jiisha, but you were a good actress too. We did after all have starring roles in the Monkey film - definitely on my list of Shasta Abbey's Greatest Hits...
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Gyokuko

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PostSubject: temple ban   Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:31 am

to anne,
So far as I know, the change of abbots has not meant any change in policy regarding Kyogen and myself,or any of our students. When Kyogen contacted Haryo (head of the Order), after Eko's announcement of resignation, he said he didn't see any reason to change the policy.

Kyogen and I are just back from 16 days touring temple in China, walking in places walked by Dogen, Bodhidharma, Tozan, Daiman Konin, and Daikan Eno. We spent two days and nights at Daii Dashin's temple, practicing zazen chanting with the monks and eating formal meals with the whole community. A wonderfully invigorating dharma experience. I am grateful for the training at the Abbey, but am also happy to put the OBC's concerns in perspective.

In gassho
Gyokuko
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:33 am

Gyokuko, thank you for this update! And also, thank you for the wonderful photos and video of your trip to China that you have posted on facebook!!

RM Meian delivered a dharma talk on November 7th entitled All are Welcome in which she repeatedly emphasized the principle that ALL past members of the OBC are welcome--and by implication--unconditionally. At her Induction Ceremony as Abbess, the day before, delivered by RM Haryo, she introduced this concept.

I have known you, Kyogen, Meian, and Haryo for many years--and (I know no other way to express this)--love all of you dearly.

I am willing to take Meian and Haryo at their word (assuming that I have perceived it correctly).

And I would propose, to all here on the forum, for your consideration and comment, that one ultimate test of the willingness of the OBC to heal and transform--lies in their willingness to recognize Gyokuko, Kyogen, and their disciples as members of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett's lineage, and therefore, as welcome members of the greater OBC Sangha.

I make this proposal not because I think that Gyokuko, Kyogen, and their disciples either need or wish this to happen, but because I believe that it is an essential prerequisite for OBC healing and integrity.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:27 am

Kozan wrote: "And I would propose, to all here on the forum, for your consideration and comment, that one ultimate test of the willingness of the OBC to heal and transform--lies in their willingness to recognize Gyokuko, Kyogen, and their disciples as members of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett's lineage, and therefore, as welcome members of the greater OBC Sangha.

I make this proposal not because I think that Gyokuko, Kyogen, and their disciples either need or wish this to happen, but because I believe that it is an essential prerequisite for OBC healing and integrity
."



Thank you, Kozan.

Throughout Rev. Meian's "All are Welcome" talk, after hearing her say that Rev. Kennett made mistakes, I kept waiting and listening to hear what the mistakes were, and what Meian would say about taking the next step: an initiative to privately contact individuals known to have been harmed by those actions and then rectify them. It is not enough to acknowledge Kennett’s mistakes generally, and the OBC’s since then, and say, in effect, this is far enough for me; we will go no further. Sealing the tomb of past acts with a pronouncement that they were done out of Rev. Jiyu’s or the OBC’s “kindness" does not change what they are nor the harm emanating from them. The red gates are not open to everyone until this harm has been addressed on a personal level. The OBC knows who many of these individuals are and how to reach them. They’re on this forum. Their names are not "some people", as they are called in the dharma talks. They are Kaizan, Isan, Kyogen, Gyokuko, Komei, Gemma, Amalia, Mokuan . . . others as well, lay and former monastic both. I hesitate to do a roll call for fear of leaving someone out or suggesting that anyone has asked to be named in connection with this post; they haven’t. This reflects my own thoughts and no one else’s.



One of the saddest things to me about Meian’s talk was the image of a Kanzeon shrine planned for the garden, for all who have helped the Abbey but are no longer around. How does it honor the contributions and memory of people who were forced out, having done nothing wrong, or left because of abuse or other harm? Will it not become, in regard to them, a monument to things left undone, karmic debts not paid?


I hope it’s all right that I’ve put these comments in Gyokuko’s thread. It seemed to me they belong here.


Lise
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:45 pm

Lise wrote:


Throughout Rev. Meian's "All are Welcome" talk, after hearing her say that Rev. Kennett made mistakes, I kept waiting and listening to hear what the mistakes were, and what Meian would say about taking the next step: an initiative to privately contact individuals known to have been harmed by those actions and then rectify them. It is not enough to acknowledge Kennett’s mistakes generally, and the OBC’s since then, and say, in effect, this is far enough for me; we will go no further. Sealing the tomb of past acts with a pronouncement that they were done out of Rev. Jiyu’s or the OBC’s “kindness" does not change what they are nor the harm emanating from them. The red gates are not open to everyone until this harm has been addressed on a personal level. The OBC knows who many of these individuals are and how to reach them. They’re on this forum. Their names are not "some people", as they are called in the dharma talks. They are Kaizan, Isan, Kyogen, Gyokuko, Komei, Gemma, Amalia, Mokuan . . . others as well, lay and former monastic both. I hesitate to do a roll call for fear of leaving someone out or suggesting that anyone has asked to be named in connection with this post; they haven’t. This reflects my own thoughts and no one else’s.



One of the saddest things to me about Meian’s talk was the image of a Kanzeon shrine planned for the garden, for all who have helped the Abbey but are no longer around. How does it honor the contributions and memory of people who were forced out, having done nothing wrong, or left because of abuse or other harm? Will it not become, in regard to them, a monument to things left undone, karmic debts not paid?


I hope it’s all right that I’ve put these comments in Gyokuko’s thread. It seemed to me they belong here.

Lise

I've been thinking a lot about this "everyone is welcome" talk. It seems to me that the OBC risks very little - emotionally and otherwise - by making this gesture. Given the experiences that many of the forum members have related how could this "open gate" policy be seen as a meaningful response to their grievances? The dedication of a shrine honoring all those no longer present who have made contributions to the creation of Shasta Abbey is actually a little weird. This is something you might do for people posthumously, but of course the great majority of those people are not dead, and the willingness to address them directly and personally would be a more genuine expression of kindness and welcome.

I'm starting to feel that appointing RM Meian to the position of Abbess is a way for the OBC to assume a face of "kindness" and "harmlessness" for the purpose of deflecting the mounting criticism and avoid any meaningful response to those who need more than permission to enter the gate or to be remembered with a shrine. It would be interesting to know if Meian's unconditional welcome extends to Kyogen and Gyokuko and the Dharma Rain Sangha. If it does not then it is quite meaningless.

PS I agree that it's good to offer these responses in Gyokuko's thread, but perhaps references to the "welcoming" talk should also be replicated in the "after the conclave: first steps" thread?


Last edited by Isan on Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:03 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : afterthought...2nd edit: removal of pirate speak)
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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:51 pm

I'm not sure what either of you think Rev Master Meian should have said? Mentioned specific people? If I was one of those people, I think I could have been anything from embarrassed to absolutely furious at being mentioned in that way in public. Perhaps you wouldn't, but would it be sensible or kind to take that risk? She said, several times throughout the talk, "All are welcome." Sounds clear as mud to me! Maybe she actually meant it; ever thought of that? If it's not true, then is the time to start questioning what she really means. Why not take it at face value before you start criticising her? Have your bad past experiences made you utterly incapable of any kind of trust? If so, that's very, very sad.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:39 pm

Jimyo wrote:
I'm not sure what either of you think Rev Master Meian should have said? Mentioned specific people? If I was one of those people, I think I could have been anything from embarrassed to absolutely furious at being mentioned in that way in public.

Well Jimyo, assuming you're referring to my post I will clarify...when I said many people would prefer to be addressed more "directly and personally" I wasn't implying I wanted Meian to name names in her talk. I'm saying if the OBC wants to reach out to former members it needs to literally do so, not just passively open the gate. Entering into a dialogue with others to resolve differences requires input from all participants. Conflict resolution is mutually defined, it is not a process defined by only one party.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:04 pm

Jimyo,

Ordinarily I disengage when I sense that forum members are posting here merely as a wind-up. After mulling it over, I don't think that is really your aim. I know you have deep loyalties to Kennett and the OBC and that is your lens for viewing these issues, and this forum as a whole. What I see is that your lens seems to be distorting the very text you see on your screen.

This is what I wrote:

"Throughout Rev. Meian's "All are Welcome" talk, after hearing her say that Rev. Kennett made mistakes, I kept waiting and listening to hear what the mistakes were, and what Meian would say about taking the next step: an initiative to privately contact individuals known to have been harmed by those actions and then rectify them.
" [underline emphasis added]

When I said "privately contact individuals", I meant "private contact" as English-speaking persons understand it; an outreach from one person to another, not in a dharma talk or other public venue. No reasonable person would expect Meian to read out individual names in the Ceremony Hall and offer a nebulous apology. I know that, Isan's comments show that he knows it, and I expect you know it as well.

"Rectify" means making amends for harm that was done. That needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis, as redress for one person may not fit the situation of another. For instance, the OBC should apologize to Kaizan for the situation with his illness (that forced him to leave to save his life), find his vestments and return them to him. This is different from the conversation they need to have with Gyokuko and Kyogen. These are the things that need to happen before people are expected to feel welcome in walking through that gate.

You do all of us a disservice by misstating other posters' comments. It is an attempt to deflect attention away from the issues at hand, as others have tried to do here, but . . . the genie's out of the bottle and he's not going back in . . .

Better we should turn our energies to what will heal this problem rather than continue to rage at the diagnosis.

L.
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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:18 pm

Sorry, Lise, I misunderstood you...I missed the relevant word 'privately'. Note to self - read posts more carefully.

'Deep loyalties'? I'm not sure. Just an innate sense of fairness, I think. Plus I know what I saw and experienced, though things may have changed in the last 25 years.

I also think these forums are extremely one-sided and do need a more balanced viewpoint, so yes, I do occasionally play devil's advocate - not often, but now and then, though I usually say when that's the case. But my posts are never intended as a wind-up.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:09 pm

I have to agree with what Lise and Isan said. I have no doubt that Rev. Meian spoke from her heart and is very sincere, and yet her talk leaves the obligation of those harmed, those to whom mistakes were made, to take the initiative and “walk through the door.” No matter how sincere those in religious organizations are, I think at a certain point they start to have an inaccurate view of what it truly is to uphold the dignity of the religion or their office. With open arms they await the return of the prodigal sons and daughters. Once they have returned to the open arms, admission of mistakes made by the religion, by the organization, by some monks, can be made. But most importantly, no public admission is made apart from being in the most benign general terms. The dignity of the office and the organization is thereby kept intact. I realize that there is much that needs to be done in private, but merely a "mistakes were made" public statement seems to be avoiding responsibility.

I personally find the approach being taken as lacking in moral courage, and this opinion is offered in kindness. Meian spoke of Rev. Kennett’s wisdom and how it hurt, but forced her to look within herself for the source of her own wisdom. Sometimes wise advice can come from those with no credentials, no disciples, no authority, no organization, and no power. Sometimes it can come from old friends distressed that general statements do not seal and bury harms done, and that invitations do not and cannot replace initiative not taken.

Without real truth and wisdom, dignity becomes pomp and circumstance. Without action and initiative, kindness is hollow words spoken to a converted choir. A prime example of this is that it seems apparent that this forum has been the catalyst for at least some of the reform Meian is undertaking. If the members of this forum have been the catalyst for the OBC to realize mistakes they have made, don’t even the minimum standards of human interaction suggest that some acknowledgment of those who have provided what Meian refers to as strict but wise counsel be forthcoming? If our counsel had no wisdom to it, why should Meian and others seek some reform due, at least in part, to the revelations and discussions that have occurred on this forum? If it does have some wisdom, should not at least the portion that has provided insight for Meian and others be acknowledged? And if the insight of those on this forum can’t even be acknowledged by those invested with authority by the OBC, how can a real discussion between aggrieved parties take place? In what circles are the rules such that when person A admits doing harm to person B, it is incumbent upon person B to initiate a conversation?

However, from Meian’s talk I had the impression that she might be taking the position heard often on this site: No harm was really done, if you just have the wisdom to see that those seemingly harmful acts were kindness in tough love form. If this is the case, Meian should have the moral courage to say this openly. To admit to mistakes and then say that those who were harmed just did not see the wise intent of those actions they felt as harmful, is no admission at all. This is having one’s cake and eating it too. If Meian truly believes mistakes were made, she should act to not only to prevent future mistakes, which can be done safely within the confines of the OBC, but she should actively try to address past harm done. I know when I become aware of harm I’ve done, I go to the person and apologize. Again, either Meian believes the OBC has done harm or she doesn’t. If she truly does (and my impression of her talk, which I noted at the beginning of this paragraph is incorrect), talking to the choir and trying to prevent future harm does not deal with past messes created.

I trust Meian has a good heart and speaks the truth as she sees and understands it. She has inherited a long history of how to handle critical (even constructive critical) feedback. It certainly doesn’t include the methods being suggested here. How far Meian wants to and is willing to create a truly new path is up to her.

PS This can be taken also as a response to vetacaloo’s disparagement of the OBC monks engaging directly on the site.


Last edited by Kaizan on Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:09 pm

I've been wondering: Do we really know that any of the monks of the OBC care at all what is said here or that they're even listening? I know Seikai was here for a while, but what about Haryo or Meian or either one of the Daishins? What about the Interim Board?

The following is an excerpt taken from the Interim Board's website. It seems to state that all this "soul searching" is predicated by Eko's reign and resignation. He did some horrible, injurious things that will never appear here in a public forum, so maybe they are just speaking of reconciling those issues; I don't know.

Here's the excerpt:

"As many of you know already, the Abbot of Shasta recently left his post. As a result of the circumstances surrounding his departure, a committee was established at the conclave to carry forward a fact finding inquiry at Shasta Abbey by, or in conjunction with, an outside professional organization for the purpose of seeing what we can learn from these events. This matter has been a wake-up call to all of us and contributes to a sense that we need a period of reflection. During the discussions at the conclave, it became clear that we are ready to embrace the changes that are necessary, including the formation of the interim board, to review our structures and how we are all working together."

Does anybody know, really, if we on this forum matter to the OBC? I have the saddest feeling we don't.

mokuan

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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:39 pm

What does it take to phone or email someone today?
What does it say when you don't? Trying to cover your posterior, dodging ones responsibility, playing for time, waiting for less painful options, or just sticking your head in the ground?

The evidence (today) shows that they are still too entrenched in their own conditioning to present anything but empty platitudes.
The annoying conscience presented by the OBC connect is being neutralized by new alternative OBC forums and the shuffling of any leftover blame onto the past Abbot.

The alternative view is that they don't believe they've done anything that requires redress. Fair enough, but stating it would be the action of an adult.

To the world beyond the OBC cheerleaders, this is simply showing the world the real worth of Rev Jiyu's teaching. That ones actions can be free of consequence if it keeps the Shasta management feeling comfortable.
I know that almost everyone here appreciates much of what they've gained from Rev. Jiyu but according to the evidence demonstrated (today) I wonder if the treasures received occurred in spite of her teachings.

I would really like to be proven wrong in this but I think Mokuan's posted fear is justified and is shared by many on this forum.


Last edited by Howard on Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:40 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:21 pm

mokuan wrote:
I've been wondering: Do we really know that any of the monks of the OBC care at all what is said here or that they're even listening? I know Seikai was here for a while, but what about Haryo or Meian or either one of the Daishins? What about the Interim Board?

Does anybody know, really, if we on this forum matter to the OBC? I have the saddest feeling we don't.

mokuan


Based on the fact of Seikai's open participation, Haryo and Daishin Morgan's brief appearances and what we hear coming from Meian I think it's likely that the OBC monitors what is going on here. To what extent they care is hard to say, but what is clear is we care. We have been helping each other without their participation for the most part. What I consider the saddest possibility is they will decline to join in with us and help themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:22 am

Isan wrote:

Based on the fact of Seikai's open participation, Haryo and Daishin Morgan's brief appearances and what we hear coming from Meian I think it's likely that the OBC monitors what is going on here. To what extent they care is hard to say, but what is clear is we care. We have been helping each other without their participation for the most part. What I consider the saddest possibility is they will decline to join in with us and help themselves.

Seikai participated but now seems to have gone. Haryo and Daishin Morgan responded solely and briefly to issues directly related to them. Therefore many monks (why do we keep referring to "the OBC" as a unit?) know these forums exist. But somehow I doubt if they follow them to any great extent. If they did, what would they find? A collection of threads, with no simple place to start. A mixture of opinions. A few people who had been hurt...who post a lot. Others who drop in now and then, and refer to 'my story' or similar, without saying anything definite. Some who complain about "the OBC". Others who had issues with one monk. Some who sound plain vindictive and angry. People from 40 years ago, before any of the current monks were even around.

Sorry, but this is how I think it looks to the outside world. Rev Meian is a new Abbot, with a lot on her plate. Do you really, honestly, think contacting individuals whom she might by chance find on here - if she happens to read the right thread - is going to happen? Mokuan has it spot on.

I wasn't going to post any more, but I felt a reality check was needed.
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:23 am

To Lise,

I think what Meian discussed in her talk about having a garden (think it was a garden) for the purpose of remembering all those who attended and helped the abbey and the OBC is a beautiful idea. Meian has a very good heart and I can easily see her thinking of this or getting enthusiastic if someone else brought up the idea. One thing that religions often do is to make external representations of what is good inside of us for the purpose of cultivating those things. I believe it is very important to cultivate or allow the love and gratitude we feel for those in our past, regardless of different perspectives we may have now. I think it will be good for monks and those of us here on this site to reflect on these things, and I appreciate the fact that some monks might dwell a while in that garden (think it was a garden) and think fondly of me (or at least try). I appreciate what Meian is trying to do.

To Mokuan
I don't think the most important thing is whether anyone on the OBC is monitoring this or not. Being on this site has helped me clarify some things for myself. From what others have written me publicly and privately, what I have written has helped them clarify things for themselves. That is enough for me. If what is written here can be of use to the OBC or if it can get the OBC to reach out, that is a bonus.

I do, however, strongly believe that many in the OBC, including those in authority, were quite aware of the stories that were being made public on this site and that this was of significant concern to them and helped light a fire for their ideas (such as an interim committee) to prevent future harm and possibily present liability. Organizations can be quite vulnerable in our litigious society. I don't think the OBC is so incompetent that they would ignore a source that was coming out with the information that was being disseminated here. These are my thoughts, but of course they could be wrong.

At this point it seems that those who wanted to tell their stories that brought to light serious problems within the OBC have done so. There are many others of which I am aware that for there own reasons have chosen not to do so. It might well be that at this point this site is now viewed more as a harmless discussion group. I don't really know, just thoughts I've had.
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:18 am

Kaizan, I agree, a remembrance shrine and garden are a nice idea in their own right. The intention to think of others with gratitude is a very good one and I didn't mean to disparage it.

I was commenting more on the sadness I felt when trying to imagine walking by that statue or sitting near its shrine, knowing what we know now about harm done. I don't expect the inscription they give to the shrine will ever address that, but it will be a part of the remembrance always, whether they acknowledge it or not.

Edited to say: I also agree that the forum's purpose is meant to be for us, the people who come here and talk. It's ok if the OBC does, or does not, read this forum. It wasn't created as a device to try to force any person or group to do anything. The OBC is communicating indirectly with the forum through Meian's comments in dharma talks, this will subside once they've said what they feel is appropriate, and we'll all carry on as before. New people will come here, older forum members may move on when they feel it's time (but please stay as long as you like!). The forum will always be here to help those who need it.


Last edited by Lise on Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:20 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo -- I meant to address this to Kaizan.)
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PostSubject: Re: Another introduction   Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:38 pm

Love and gasshos, Gyokuko.
with reverence.

Ilo
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