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 Another Introduction

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jamesiford

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Join date : 2010-08-01

PostSubject: Another Introduction   Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:53 am

Dear ones,

My name is James Ford.

Josh Baran & I disagree as to who was Jiyu Kennett Roshi's first student in North America. It was me.

I was with her and the forming community something shy of three years.

My ordination name was Zeno Etsujo. Many years later when I received Inka Shomei in the Harada Yasutani lineage I received a new Dharma name as my teaching name. So, my Dharma names today are Zeno Myoun.

Some years ago I had the privilege of attending the "naughty monk" reunion in Portland, Oregon. Among the many interesting things I learned was that I really am not an alumn of "Shasta Abbey" (even though I was there at the beginning and received Dharma transmission from Kennett Roshi there) or the OBC (which didn't exist in those days), but rather of the Zen Mission Society. The ZMS culture was considerably more normative Soto than it would become later.

Still, I feel a deep connection with the lineage & hope you all don't mind my participating, if mostly as a lurker.

If anyone is interested in my current focus there are two websites: http://www.boundlesswayzen.org & http://www.firstunitarianprov.org

Also, I maintain a blog: http://www.monkeymindonline.blogspot.com

Fond regards,

and many bows,

James

James Myoun Ford
Providence, Rhode Island
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Lise
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Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:05 am

Hi James -- welcome. I hope you'll enjoy participating as an observer or poster, either way.

I'm curious about the naughty monk reunion (I love that term). Was this after the Lotus Blossom period when a lot of monks left?
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jamesiford

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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:28 am

Hi Lise,

I had no hand in organization, but as pretty much everyone were long time former inmates of the monastery, I think not.

Kyogen or Gyokuko could say more as they were hosts for much of the program, although as I recall the event was underwritten by Peter Norton.

I cherish the t-shirt that was passed out which reads "I spend -- years at Shasta Abbey and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

People could fill in their own number of years...

James
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Gyokuko

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Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Portland OR

PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:01 pm

Welcome James,

James: Glad to see you here. The naughty monks reunion aka "The Monks from Hell" happened in Portland in about 1995. I could probably look it up if anybody cares. Peter Norton (Keitetsu) bankrolled a major portion of it, including accommodations at a sumptuous riverfront hotel. Our congregation bought some small stuff for it and Josh Baran (Jitsudo) paid for one of our luxurious dinners out.

Lise: "How to Grow a Lotus Blossom" was published in the late seventies, referring to events in 1976. That was a tumultuous year with a lot of dark forboding, past life dramas, and fear that Roshi might die. I think Keitetsu left suddenly in 1976. Jisudo left in 1976 or 1977 with some bad feeling on both sides. They had both finished their five years of basic training and were considered full priests in their own right. I don't remember a lot of people leaving at that time, however I was so green and full of my internal dramas that I could have missed noticing. Kozan's leaving was so polite and amicable that I can't place it in time at all.

Respectfully submitted Smile Gyokuko
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:06 pm

Hi James,

I'm glad you're joining us here. I it looked up in our old newsletters, and it was indeed 1995 when we all gathered in Portland. We actually called it the "monks in hell reunion" because we had heard that Roshi Kennett or someone at the Abbey had said something to the effect that when people leave their teacher and then get together they create a de facto "anti-sangha." Apparently it was also said this was equivalent to creating a schism in the sangha and would lead to rebirth in the Avici Hell. We decided to embrace this fate.

I'm referencing things said at the Abbey as "apparently," because I have no documentation of this, and it was a long time ago. As I recall, however, it was reported to me by someone who would know.

About the events in 1976, people who left at that time included Daiji Strathern, who had been the head of Throssel Hole, plus several other British monks. Gensho Florence and Hyakurei Wheeler also left, and later got married. This is addition to Keitetsu (Peter Norton) and Jitsudo (Josh Baran). Daian Farbricant also left around this time. I'm sure there were others, but these are the ones that come to mind.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:25 pm

Hi James--great to see you here! It's been a few years!!

Although I met Roshi in the Autumn of 1969 (on a trip from Seattle to San Francisco for the War Moritorium)--and only a few weeks after her arrival in the US--I spent the winter and spring back in Seattle, finishing my third year as an undergraduate architecture student. In consequence, even though you, Josh, and I were, of course, all ordained on the same day, July 5th 1970, I cannot offer a third opinion as to who Roshi's first US disciple was!

Gyokuko, I actually left the OBC in 1990--after several years of low profile participation. After completing 3 years as Prior of the Berkeley Buddhist Priory in 1981, I left, with Roshi's permission, to live and work with a meditation group affiliated with the Abbey--and to have more time to work on my quest to understand and design life-support self-reliant housing that could be made affordable for anyone, anywhere (by designing, building, and living in several prototypes). The scope of this quest has now expanded somewhat--and is the entire focus of my current life and work.

Roshi actually seemed to recognize and accept that this was part of my purpose and spiritual vocation, and gave her approval for me to go to graduate school, in architecture, in 1987. When I met with you and Kyogen, in Portland, in 1987, I was in the process of moving to Seattle for graduate school (and was still a monk in good standing with the OBC at that point).

I think it likely that the "non-conforming" path that I pursued as a monk, is no longer possible within the OBC!
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:59 pm

Kyogen wrote:


I'm glad you're joining us here. I it looked up in our old newsletters, and it was indeed 1995 when we all gathered in Portland. We actually called it the "monks in hell reunion" because we had heard that Roshi Kennett or someone at the Abbey had said something to the effect that when people leave their teacher and then get together they create a de facto "anti-sangha." Apparently it was also said this was equivalent to creating a schism in the sangha and would lead to rebirth in the Avici Hell. We decided to embrace this fate.

Here we all are:

http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=1&u=16212896
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:54 pm

Welcome James. I've read your blog off and on for the last couple of years. You're a good writer, and I appreciate your and the First Unitarian Church's willingness to take public stances on social issues that are somewhat contrary to prevailing religious sentiments in the US.

Re http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=1&u=16212896 : What a bunch of crooks! (sorry...hope that isn't taken seriously). Really, it's great to see you all together. And it's nice that you could meet and reminisce (and commiserate, as needed). I think I'll print that photo out and use it as a bookmark the next time I'm up at Shasta Abbey.

This is the first I've heard that Peter Norton was one of the crew, back in the day. I remember using his DOS utilities about 20 years ago. (nerd gets starstruck)
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:23 pm

Ah, starstruck nerd. Peter once said "I'm just a nerd that got luck." Right place at the right time with the right product.

Kyogen
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:01 pm

Kyogen wrote:
Ah, starstruck nerd. Peter once said "I'm just a nerd that got luck." Right place at the right time with the right product.

Kyogen

Yeah, the first guy to figure out how to undelete a file in DOS - bingo!
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:52 pm

I was using a program written for the Atari home computer that was better than the early "undelete" program from Peter. But right program, right time, wrong platform doesn't cut it.

K
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:00 am

Peter turned out to be a brilliant natural marketer. He might have been lucky at the beginning - or at the right place at the right time, but after that, it was one smart move after another with a natural genius for marketing and promotion combined with a deep understanding of how early software and computers worked. For decades, he has been a world class philanthropist, patron of the arts and and art collector.....
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Another Introduction   Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:43 pm

That's all true, Josh. It's amazing though, how one factor makes all the others possible.

Kyogen
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