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 Introduction - Isan Sacco

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Isan
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PostSubject: Introduction - Isan Sacco   Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:11 pm

My name is Victor Sacco, ordained "Houn Isan" by Roshi Jiyu Kennett in 1971. I was a monk for 14 years and spent most of that time in residence at Shasta Abbey. In retrospect my experience there was quite paradoxical. What drew me was hearing Roshi Kennett speak at a meditation center in England. I had been looking for a teacher and place to study, and there was an immediate sense of connection and recognition. Over the years that grew deeper until in 1980 I shared an “opening” with Roshi Kennett that can only be described as spiritual communion. On the other hand I never felt completely safe around her. I never knew when the next mind game would start and I deplored the Abbey’s steady descent into autocracy at her direction. Gradually everyone’s autonomy was stripped away and we were more and more infantilized. Finally in 1984 a number of us began to challenge Roshi Kennett’s policies. She was profoundly threatened by this and the crackdown that followed resulted in most of that group of monks leaving. There is a lot more I could say about this, but it is enough for now. After leaving I crashed and burned as so many monks do. It took me about five years to get my life on track. Most importantly I was finally able to write Roshi Kennett and tell her exactly how I felt. I did it both respectfully and unequivocally. From that point on I was again in possession of my life.

Leaving Shasta Abbey has been the most difficult experience of my life. It has taken a long time to decipher it and separate out the parts that were truly good from the parts that were not. The most difficult part has not been acknowledging the ways in which I allowed myself to be humiliated and abused, but the ways in which I also became an abuser. I continue to feel shame and regret for that behavior.

I had an awakening at Shasta Abbey that proved to be greater than the teacher and the organization. Paradoxically as I took off my robes and repudiated the OBC my faith in Buddhism remained unshaken and made it possible to recover and move forward. I am grateful for this forum. Not only does it provide an opportunity to speak, it provides a space for many of us who have been isolated to come together again.


Last edited by Isan on Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Isan Sacco   Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:17 pm

Hello Isan,

It's great to see you here. I mentioned elsewhere that I have a narrative of the events around '84-'87 that I need to dust off, patch up and complete. I'd like to send it to you and the others who left around that time for your input and reflections.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Isan Sacco   Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:28 pm

Kyogen wrote:
Hello Isan,

It's great to see you here. I mentioned elsewhere that I have a narrative of the events around '84-'87 that I need to dust off, patch up and complete. I'd like to send it to you and the others who left around that time for your input and reflections.

With palms joined,

Kyogen

Likewise Kyogen. I'd be happy to read what you have and add anything I can recollect. Thanks!
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Isan Sacco   Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:51 pm

hi Isan -- welcome!
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Isan Sacco   Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:33 pm

Hi Isan,

Wonderful to see you here--and I'll add my welcome to Kyogen and Lise's!
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Isan Sacco   Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:28 pm

Hello and welcome,

Thank you for sharing. Hope to hear more soon. Of course, I am especially interested in your views on clarifying what you thought was abusive. Jiyu's ways not only affected her disciples, but also the generations of trainees that came after. I really believe that her ideals and teachings stained the Buddhist path. I too have an unshakable part of me that can not be separated from my experiences at the Abbey. In some ways I feel like I need to reclaim my spiritual life, but I am still working through that part. Anyway, thanks for joining. Every voice here is essential for healing. I'm so happy to see everyone coming together!

:-)
Diana
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Diane



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PostSubject: Re: Introduction - Isan Sacco   Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:07 pm

Hello Isan - I have been trying to find you for 30 years... so good to find you have surfaced. I hope you remember me, Diane from the Edmonton Buddhist Priory. I would love to have a private chat - if possible.
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