I think its good to introduce myself.
I have enjoyed reading forum contributions.I have learnt a lot.
So who the heck am I ?
Well I'm a meditator and developmental psychologist.
I go to Throssel,but do not hold any teaching or discipleship role.
I appreciate the environment that having a temple provides,but have learnt that all the spiritual work I do takes place in the unfolding of my ordinary and sometimes not so ordinary life.
I have learnt so much from many many people.Some of those people are religious affiliates,many aren't.
I first heard about RMJK in 1972.I was living and working in London.
I loved Alan Watts,and Suzuki,I had developed my own kind of mysticism and spiritual beliefs,I'd rejected Christianity.I thought this Zen stuff was just for men.Yes,I was born in the Dark Ages,1948 to be exact.My mum was a feminist and a realist,so I kind of took for granted that exclusion from certain areas of life and privilege was the norm.All the pictures of Buddhist icons were of males;Christmas Humphreys was some posh guy with lots of money...
Then my boyfriend told me he was going to Northumberland.There was a WOMAN Zen Master who had returned from Japan,and he was going to meet her.
From then on,the only romance between us was the plan to visit this Roshi Kennett.
I arrived at Throssel Hole Farm on an early summer afternoon,and was greeted by Kembo the cook.Wow! An actual Buddhist monk!(Iwas but a girl).
From then on my memories of that first visit are around meeting RMJK,which had a huge effect on me.
I remember sitting to meditate in the drafty barn which was then I thnk both hondo and zendo.
I remember some dramatic moments, inclduing the sight of a whole head of hair in the kitchen bin after a monastic ordination.
I remember her telling me not to sing in the temple.(I was singing for joy).
I continued to visit Throssel while RMJK was in residence there.I had sanzen with her a few times .She was very sensible.I was looking after a little girl whose mum was a junky.I sometimes felt lost in my role as surrogate mum.Kennett advised nothing more esoteric than contacting the Social Services .
After she went to Shasta I continued to train at Throssel as a visitor while Daiji (Mark) was prior.I thought he was fab.
He did have us pushing rocks uphill at running pace,but then again why not?
He was a kind person .He gave good advice.
I stopped going to Throssel at the end of the seventies because I became a mother.And then I started working very hard for my living too.
When I went back to Throssel in the early eighties the institutional culture was very obsessive and repressive.I could never understand the disjuncture between the "freedom and responsibility" I found in zazen practice and this harsh regime with its meticulous rules about coloured-coded toothbrushes for cleaning different things,and its austere unbending atmosphere.
However,I made some wonderful friends,whom I still count as friends.
These are people I am glad to have met.These friendships really help.
To fast -track to present day and how I wish to contribute to this forum,I'd like to say hello to Robert,I have enjoyed getting to know you a bit and hope to see you again some day.
I am so glad to hear of and from Mark and Jimyo.
My current practice includes membership of two groups associated with OBC.One of these groups has an off-shoot dedicated to lay practice of Zazen.We hold twice-yearly retreats.I find this a supportive way to meet and offer challenge and growth .
We have clear guidelines about participation ,the behaviour we expect ,and our aims.Quite simple and limited ,but I think they help people to feel contained .
There are so many excellent strands in this forum.
I am particularly enthusiastic about the project of calling the OBC to account for its failure to manage risk to some trainees.I agree with the writers on this thread who would wish to see spiritual communities and religious organisations align themselves with all other organisations open to the public,and lay down clear guidelines and expectations.After all,the rest of the civilised world proceeds on the assumption that agreed rules and laws support good actions.
Some form of inspectorate to monitor the charismatics.mmm...a rather grim prospect,but worth discussing in depth I believe.
That will do I think.
I'm going back to read some of these absorbing book reviews posted by Josh.
What a gift !