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edmund cluett



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PostSubject: edmund   Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:14 pm

Stumbled upon this forum … and would probably have stumbled out the other side if I hadn’t seen some very fondly-remembered, familiar names. In particular Jimyo (who taught me so much), Aylwin (like a brother to me) and gentle George Norwell - all from my time at Throssel. Then there are several of the former Shasta monks who I met all-too briefly during two stays at the Abbey in the 80’s, but who nonetheless made a big impression – I’m thinking particularly of Kyogen, Isan, Kaizan and Mokuan. And other names, monks I never knew but whose names were so familiar as part of the early-years Throssel legend – Daiji, Giko and Homyo. So I just thought I’d say ‘Hello’ to you all.

I left Throssel in 1994 and haven’t been back, nor have I kept in touch with anyone. Why not? For several months after leaving I was half-expecting a tsunami of regret to hit: my leaving was voluntary, sudden and quite a surprise - to me, at least - but nothing happened. Hmmm. Perhaps the practice works a little - life goes on. People come and people go; we try, we make mistakes, sometimes we learn, sometimes we don’t … and life goes on. I just try as hard as I can not to trample the flowers at my feet. That’s all I’ve got.

I’m sorry to read of all the OBC troubles as they are being rehearsed in some of the threads. It all flew right by me at the time. Pathologically incurious, I guess.

I often think about Rev Master Daishin and all those I knew at Throssel. And I think about the people, and the place with tremendous gratitude. I’m so glad I was lucky enough to spend 14 years there… and you were all part of it.

To all those mentioned – and to the others here who I don’t know at all, I just want to say ‘Thank you’.

Here’s a bow for old-times sake.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:26 pm

Edmund, welcome to the Forum!
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:06 pm

Welcome Edmund, and glad you you got so much positive from your stay and I trust that it stays with you and sustains you into the future.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:31 pm

Edmund,

So good to see you here. Would you believe I was thinking about you just a couple of days ago. It's 25 years since Joyce and I did Jukai at and we had our Buddhist wedding at Throssel with RM Daishin as celebrant and you as Master of Ceremonies, You did a great job of organising things for us. Wonderful memories.

We missed you greatly when you left and still do.

You may be interested in the now thriving OBC Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/groups/contemplatives/.

Take good care of yourself.

With bows,

George
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:18 am

George, thank you for mentioning the OBC Facebook group here. It rocks! And, since you have brought the group to our public attention, I will offer some additional comments.

I have been reluctant to mention this group on OBC Connect (for reasons that may become apparent below). The group was started by Mia, one of our OBCC members. George Norwell is, of course, a member, as am I, as are a number of other OBCC members. In general, I believe that the ongoing participation by Mia, George, and others who are members of this Forum, while continuing to practice within the OBC, signifies genuine spiritual maturity.

I am particularly impressed by the willingness of the UK and European members of the OBC to consider OBC shortcomings, without denial, while remaining secure within their own individual practice. (Someone, I don't remember who (Isan, Kyogen, Henry, ?), pointed out that Shasta was the epicenter of the dilemma--and that those individuals and groups farther removed were less susceptible to its debilitating consequences.

Group members seem willing to discuss (almost) anything. The group is organized for those who consider themselves to be practicing within the greater OBC tradition/ sangha. A number of us former monks are members. Party-line allegiance is not a requirement for membershop ;-). (However, this is not an appropriate group for those who are antagonistic.)

In my opinion, this OBC Facebook group, which is not monitered or controled by the OBC (it is only accessible to accepted members), speaks volumes about the integrity of the UK/ European branch of the OBC. The (relatively few) American members seem equally forthright. This does not signify perfection, as Robert and others can attest!

I think that it does signify the value of ongoing, relatively denial-free, compassionate attention--attention that is willing to question anything that is questionable.


Last edited by Kozan on Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:54 am

Edmund, So good to hear from you! Great post too; I wish I'd written it.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:33 am

edmund cluett wrote:
I left Throssel in 1994 and haven’t been back, nor have I kept in touch with anyone. Why not? For several months after leaving I was half-expecting a tsunami of regret to hit: my leaving was voluntary, sudden and quite a surprise - to me, at least - but nothing happened. Hmmm. Perhaps the practice works a little - life goes on. People come and people go; we try, we make mistakes, sometimes we learn, sometimes we don’t … and life goes on. I just try as hard as I can not to trample the flowers at my feet. That’s all I’ve got.

I often think about Rev Master Daishin and all those I knew at Throssel. And I think about the people, and the place with tremendous gratitude. I’m so glad I was lucky enough to spend 14 years there… and you were all part of it.

Welcome Edmond! Glad you found OBCC. Yes, life goes on. Fourteen years in a monastic community is a long time. I spent the same number of years at Shasta Abbey. Many of us have felt the need to review our time in the OBC. You're welcome to share your thoughts and feelings here. There's lots of casual talk too. Stick around and get reacquainted.
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Ikuko



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:28 am

Hey Edmund Cluett-Funniest man at Throssel !

I miss your wit and getting the giggles when you were around.

Hope all is going well in your life.

I often think about you and the great contribution you made in the early days at Ninebanks , Myrtlebank and Limestone Brae!

Take care .Hope you keep contributing here too.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:28 pm

And bows to you too, Edmund.

It's nice to see you here, and I'm thrilled to know you are one of the ones who was able to walk away without the ensuing tsunami. I hope you'll share some of your good memories.

warm regards,

mokuan
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edmund cluett



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:33 pm

Hi Mokuan,

I remember you well. You were kind...

I only have good memories. Of course there were difficult times in my own interior life - but that is to be expected. Throssel was a good place for me to be, and when I left I wasn't made to feel that I was bad, wicked, awful and bound for eternal torment! Far from it. I would happily recommend Throssel to anyone who was looking for a way to practice. It has proved to be wonderful preparation for the rest of my life.
I'm saddened that so many people are trying to move forwards while looking backwards. I'd only trip and fall. Or end up standing still.

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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:57 am

"I'm saddened that so many people are trying to move forwards while
looking backwards. I'd only trip and fall. Or end up standing still."

I like that a lot.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:21 pm

edmund cluett wrote:

I only have good memories. Of course there were difficult times in my own interior life - but that is to be expected. Throssel was a good place for me to be, and when I left I wasn't made to feel that I was bad, wicked, awful and bound for eternal torment! Far from it. I would happily recommend Throssel to anyone who was looking for a way to practice. It has proved to be wonderful preparation for the rest of my life.
I'm saddened that so many people are trying to move forwards while looking backwards. I'd only trip and fall. Or end up standing still.

You were very fortunate Edmund. It was not the norm during my years in the OBC that monks were able to leave without being subjected to judgment and shunning. Giving up being a monk, which was supposed to be a lifelong commitment, was very difficult because it implied failure. It's not surprising that many people have needed to spend some time "looking backwards". One has to make sense of the past before one can move forward. It's a mistake to believe that everyone had the same experience as you and can move directly to a position of gratitude.
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edmund cluett



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:27 am

Hi Isan,

My experience was my experience, I grant you that. But nearly all of the people on this forum had the experience that I did: I chose to be at the monastery and later I chose to leave. No one insisted I stay; no one insisted I leave - stuff happened and I made choices. Didn't we all? My understanding and experience of Buddhist practice has been that what others do is what others do - and yes, sometimes good people do bad things; and sometimes bad people do good things. That's hardly headline news. Some bodhisattvas, by example, teach us what not to do. Thank goodness! But how I choose to respond to the teaching that comes from within and without is what is important. It always seemed to me that I was being pointed towards taking responsibility - for my actions of body, speech and mind. And only mine. Did anyone make me feel as if I was 'failing' by leaving the monastic life? I don't know ... and it doesn't matter. The blame game? No thanks.

As to needing to make sense of the past before being able to move forward - well, good luck with that! Learn from the past, yes; but make sense of it? I can hardly make sense of what I did yesterday - how could I ever hope to unravel the myriad impulses that lead others to do what they do? Why would I need to? It's a beautiful day.

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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:09 am

edmund cluett wrote:
Hi Isan,

My experience was my experience, I grant you that. But nearly all of the people on this forum had the experience that I did: I chose to be at the monastery and later I chose to leave. No one insisted I stay; no one insisted I leave - stuff happened and I made choices. Didn't we all?

Yes we all did and I agree, however I wasn't always able to understand and accept this. There were others who helped me.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:22 am

You didn't leave the same place.

From what I gather -- and I remember this from my time at Shasta --JK and Daishin Morgan ran their places very differently. And though Daishin has done some things I find beyond insensitive, I don't think he has JK's deep, dark shadows.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:36 pm

edmund cluett wrote:


No one insisted I stay; no one insisted I leave - . . . "
(Welcome, Edmund, btw).

Given that you had a good leave-taking, everything you've written makes sense. Your experience is as valid for you as anyone else's is for them.

This is the tricky part, though; as Mokuan says, things are different at the main temples and among the priories too, undoubtedly. Some Shasta monks have been pressured very hard to stay, and are, still today, subjected to other monks' theories about their "problem" - hungry ghost karma, clinging to self, their brain is damaged, they are not trying hard enough to train.

It's a blessing that the whole of your experience is integrated as a positive thing. It does sound like those at Throssel have grasped something fundamental that continues to elude Shasta Abbey: impermanence applies even to monks, and to accept impermanence is no failure on anyone's part. Thrashing about, putting oneself and others through the wringer in an attempt to keep someone from leaving . . . what sort of deep understanding is that?

Sorry Edmund, I'm rambling on your thread. Glad to have you here.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:49 pm

Hello Edmond

Welcome & pardon my jacking of your intro but...

The folks that have felt hurt by OBC behaviours wish to speak out where they have formally felt voiceless and to prevent others from being likewise affected.

The folks that have felt positively transformed by the OBC wish that the criticisms of the OBC stop to safeguard such transformations.

The language and defence structures of both views have remained the same since I've been coming here.

Anyone else wonder about how much of it just comes from whether one considers doubt to be a helpful spiritual aid or not.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:53 pm

Whoa there Howard,

"The folks that have felt positively transformed by the OBC wish that the criticisms of the OBC stop to safeguard such transformations" ???

A bit sweeping old son.

I think I have been "positively transformed" by my association with the OBC.

I have no problem with criticism of the OBC, but retain the right to defend the OBC when I think it is needed.

Where's the problem with that?

Cheers,

George
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:33 pm

Didn't expect to find you or problems in the sweeping's, George.

The consistent (and usually the most passionate) division that I've seen here is between those that see the benefits of calling the OBC to account and those that don't.

My question was " Is this division only a difference of view about how we relate to doubt?".

H
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:20 pm

gnorwell wrote:
Whoa there Howard,

"The folks that have felt positively transformed by the OBC wish that the criticisms of the OBC stop to safeguard such transformations" ???

A bit sweeping old son.

Agree; this generalisation doesn't describe everyone who posts positively about the OBC here, although it may fit in some cases.

If someone doesn't perceive having had a tough time in the OBC, or any great difficulty, trauma, etc. and didn't see it happen to anyone else, then that is what's true for them; all the criticism in the world might not change what they feel, or say publicly. That's not the same as feeling that one's own beliefs need safeguarding from a threat posed by the differing opinions of others -
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:57 pm

Edmund you have brought up a very important point, thank you. The question though goes beyond whether a given individual was helped or harmed. There will always be those who are helped by 'bad' organisations just as there will always be some who are harmed by 'good' ones. The question comes down to whether at any particular place and time a given organisation is doing more harm than good. (Ugh! what a horrible utilitarian phrase, but I don't know how else to put it.) On the personal level this is simple, it's just like with doctors, the one that helps you personally is good... for you. But how can you tell if you have been helped, even in the worst of organisations there are those who believe they are being helped. Here at OBCconnect the OBC nay sayers tend to outweigh those like you who had generally positive experiences. That is only natural since there aren't really any other places where we can all get together and kvetch. But how do you tell whether an organisations is 'bad' or is it just isolated criticism... well the question I feel comes down to whether there are serious systemic faults that lead to harm. In the case of Shasta many of us here feel that there were. And it seems that Shasta themselves in some way however dimly recognised this since when the Eko affair blew up they did not treat it as a totally isolated instance of someone going off the rails but called in the Faith Trust to get to the bottom not of just what happened but also why. And the Faith Trust came back with a report that implies there were systemic and institutionalised problems. The question as to whether the OBC is doing more harm than good will entirely depend on whether, and how, they face up to their problems and deal with them, or whether they merely superficially paper over the cracks. Even if they do take the criticisms on board I doubt the necessary reformation can be carried out and take root overnight, and it certainly won't be easy.

Reading this it may seem as if I am disparaging your experiences, and those others who have reported positive experiences here. This is not so. Your experience is your experience and as such is totally valid and I personally think your reports, and others like them, are a very important part of the conversation here. In fact is because of your and others positive reports that I hold out hope that the OBC can move forward positively. As for me I can only say that I have been helped more by my short time with OBCconnect than I was by my years at Shasta. But that is just my personal experience.
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edmund cluett



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:33 am

It is all so interesting!

I'm not sure that there is a simple for-or-against division on this forum. Certainly I don't feel that I am supporting the OBC, nor do I mind that some people seem keen to be critical. The OBC, as an organisation, isn't terribly important to me - but Buddhist training is. It was Buddhism, and the need to train, that led me to the OBC - it wasn't the OBC which led me to Buddhism.

I can see that much of what is written in the various threads is intellectually interesting, and comforting to those who feel damaged by the life of training - but I don't see much Buddhism. Which is fine. Perhaps the forum is, as Mark says, a place "...to get together and kvetch", rather than a place to help each other to assimilate experience (good and bad) in the context of on-going practice. From my limited reading across the forum, nor does it really seem to be about wanting to prevent others from making mistakes by encouraging reforms within the OBC etc. There is just a lot of picking away at old wounds. There is wounded pride and a need to apportion blame. Whatever happened to learning to let go? Whatever happened to those lovely little Zen stories that we once thought so wise "...why are you still carrying her?" Whatever happened to ‘... our life is the creation of our mind'? As Milton put it, "The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."

And here we all are - I guess most of us are in our 50's, 60's and 70's. Life is so very short - I can remember so clearly the day I first walked through the gate at Throssel ... young, a little nervous, a little excited; Revs Rokuzan and Teigan standing there; a sunny day in May - I was only there for an introductory weekend but I stayed - and it's 32 years ago! I will be dust in another 32 years, if not much sooner, and my noisy years will be reduced to silence. Can we take a leaf out of the book of the listener to Whitman's learned astronomer? Go on - get up from the computer, walk out of your back door and, if it is night (and it should be - what are you doing hanging out on internet forums in the daytime?) and you are lucky enough to see the sky, "... look up in perfect silence at the stars." Go on ... there isn’t much time: take a breath, and Look! It is all so perfect.
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edmund cluett



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:47 am

Apologies. Don't shoot!
Had a quick look around ... there is a lot of Buddhism here!
That'll teach me!
I'll be quiet now.....
Thanks to all.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:56 am

Wheat and chaff, that's us Smile

This site does puzzle new members, in that we don't assume participants still train in Buddhism or have ever been Buddhist, actually. Also there's no evaluating of posts based on Preceptual speech (lots of different views on what that means).

I hope you will not be quiet; that would be our loss.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:40 am

edmund cluett wrote:
It is all so interesting!

I'm not sure that there is a simple for-or-against division on this forum. Certainly I don't feel that I am supporting the OBC, nor do I mind that some people seem keen to be critical. The OBC, as an organisation, isn't terribly important to me - but Buddhist training is. It was Buddhism, and the need to train, that led me to the OBC - it wasn't the OBC which led me to Buddhism.

Whatever happened to learning to let go? Whatever happened to those lovely little Zen stories that we once thought so wise "...why are you still carrying her?" Whatever happened to ‘... our life is the creation of our mind'? As Milton put it, "The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Like you Buddhist training has always been of primary importance to me and not the OBC per se. When I left the OBC training continued, however I had to go through a major reevaluation. While at Shasta Abbey I learned how to "let go", but I did not always understand why. When I was coerced to let go of things, or did so simply because that's what everyone else was doing, I wasn't really "training". After I left I picked up quite a few things again because I wasn't really finished with them. Some things I came to fully appreciate were not in my best interest and so I let them go freely. Some other things which were judged inappropriate at Shasta Abbey continue to feel right for me. In other words I'm saying there is no training without freedom of choice. When freedom of choice is heavily curtailed, as it commonly is in the OBC, the experience of letting go has limited value. You may remember this saying from the Transmission book; when the disciple is free of the master's restraint he shows his true understanding (or words to that effect). I believe this is why many people here have felt the need to revisit their past experience with the OBC. Yes, there is sometimes complaining and blaming, but that is normal when you've lived in a system that condemns the need to think for oneself. We have to do whatever it takes to come to an understanding of what is and is not true for us. Then we can choose to let go and move on.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:14 pm

Edmund

A person has a series of past life experiences in which he had witnessed and participated in the harming of many people. He remains open to and curious about these past lives and also uses his analytical skills to understand how those past actions of himself and others affects his present thinking, feeling, and ways of perceiving.

An ex OBCer comes across OBC Connect and reads of recent and long time past members who had suffered harm, bought into the faulty premises that Helped perpetuate that harm, and actually did some harm himself along the way. He reads these stories by old members and is open and curious about them and uses his analytical skills to discern what common Patterns occur in these experiences and persist to this day doing harm.

In which of these scenarios is the person uselessly obsessing about the past, doing no good for himself or others,, and only preventing himself from going forward in his life, and in which is the person using the past as a means to see clearly and be more fully present in his life and relationships and also help others do the same?
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:53 am

...And "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of....."

( i think that is an accurate quote from Hamlet),any way it expresses my immediate response to the latest posts here.

I don't know that we can have a clear notion of what "good" or "bad" was or is done in this very new organisation called the OBC.

My instinct,(and I don't always trust my instinct),is to veer towards what sounds like "free speech",ie critical ,open, forum-based dialogue amongst adults,since adults have more information about people and organisations than children do.

I experience an organisational weakness in all religions,and for that matter,other groups.This weakness is the structural inability to incorporate wisdom by experience.In Buddhism,we are always in an open group where the tendency is to use language and concepts suitable to spiritual children.

Dialogue between spiritual adults,those who are not in a dependent relation to teaching or guidance,seems to be rare and valuable.

I have more to say and will post later.

Good cheer Edmund,your positive and warm memories are a great dharma!
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:45 am

edmund says that he is "pathologically incurious."

I, on the other hand, am pervasively curious, very curious. I want to know what's behind the curtain, how things work or don't work, and what are those shadows no one is talking about? When I left Shasta, I was suffering from extreme spiritual indigestion and had to know why. WHAT HAPPENED? I had to make sense of my experiences, and they were not just all positive --- not at all. They were a complex stew of positive and negative, of insight and confusion, of connection and disconnection. I had seen extreme organizational dysfunction. I had to figure out what was Dharma and what was Kennett, what was essential and what was toxic. Moving on, for me, included sorting this out, talking about it, looking into it. There was no option for me to just "let it all go." And why would i do that? How could I do that? Digesting the experience is a valuable process.

Also, living in a relationship and community where all honest communication was suppressed, where all questioning was considered killing the Buddha, it was time to communicate and question. Silence was not golden.

Also, taking advice from Japanese zen teachers about dealing with this kind of emotional and spiritual processing - that would have been silly. The Japanese Zen leaders are masters at denial, blind obedience, creating mythologies, not facing their shadows.

Also, to point this out again, many Zen organizations have through various upheavals and crisis. It is crucial to examine what we are doing, what we believe, what is true and what isn't. Frankly, I don't see any value is just ignoring the shadows and moving on in ignorance. These things can matter greatly and painful patterns will be repeated unless they are examined and confronted.

Looking at the past, why not? Examining old assumptions, practices, beliefs -- well, those are in the present - and they come from the past.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:39 pm

This will be my last posting on the forum for the foreseeable future. I have a question for former monks such as Josh, Henry et al. You have written at length about the problems with the OBC going back 30 years or more.Why did it take until Lise set up this forum for you all to come forward?

I apparently have been associating with charlatans and snake oil salesmen for 25 years. Luckily they turned out to be rather good people.

It's been interesting to participate here. Good luck to you all.

A big thank you and hugs to you Lise.

With deepest respect,

George
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:25 pm

George
I, and I suspect most others, had simply gotten on with our lives after however long it took to assimilate/recover from/digest/sort wheat from chaff regarding our experience with the OBC. When I heard about the OBCC site I visited out of curiosity, found the similarity of stories fascinating, and decided to stay, learn, gain further insight into myself, my experience and the nature of the OBC dysfunction, and hopefully help others in their sorting out process.

Sorry to see you go. Best of luck in all your endeavors!
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:04 am

Honestly Edmond, this is my final apology for blatant thread jacking.

Hey Gnorwell
I have no problem with criticism of the OBC, but retain the right to defend the OBC when I think it is needed.


If you are leaving because of criticism towards the OBC, then that first part of your statement was just not true.

DOUBT and how we respond to it is one of the biggest differences between the OBC and the OBCC. The majority of us at the OBCC have stepped into the business end of doubt's identity chipper on our way through the OBC mindset. It can still make us uncomfortable but it no longer presents much of a threat to our spiritual identity.

The OBC'ers that visit here however, usually only pass close enough to look into that maw before departing.

I've experienced doubt as a useful tool with the examination of my own conditioning but I think most OBC'ers view doubt as little more than the path towards their own spiritual ruin. The OBCC'ers here seem to often take for granted what it took for them to step into that chipper and express little empathy for those that have chosen not to do likewise.
Never any shortage of work to be done, is there?

Your leaving will be our loss. Peace be with you.

Cheers H
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gnorwell



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:53 am

Hi Howard,

You've got the wrong end of the stick there old son.

I'm leaving not because of criticism but because I've got other fish to fry - it's a day for mixing metaphors!

To be honest I've got bored of hearing the same old stuff recycled.

Take good care of yourself.

George
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:21 am

No George you havent been associating with charlatans and snake oil salesmen they are people who are good, honest, and of good intent.But as I see it, unwilling or unable to change even though they may or may not suspect serious errors taking place and, keeping their heads low for the supposed good of all.Also as this forum clearly shows that descenters were and probably still are shown the door.Institutions would not exist if this were not so. We can condition are selves to think anything we do is ok, by choosing to not think about it in any depth.

Surely Zen is about inquiry within all the human mess that unfolds, without denial.

Doesnt doubt spear head that.

Deep respect, John.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:16 am

Sorry John, I'm gone.

I've done my bit for the Evil Empire.

Good luck,

George

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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:24 am

to answer George's question, he asks why did it take so many years -- until this forum was set up for me (and others) to speak up about the problems at Shasta. Well, it didn't actually.

After I left, it took a few years to sort through what had happened, and then in the late 70's, I started that counseling / support group SORTING IT OUT, helping people who had been through spiritual groups and guru relationships. During that time, I specifically spoke out about my experiences at Shasta in a long article in the East Bay Express, in New Age Journal and in a few other places. At that time, there were no other spiritual magazines that were interested in the shadow side of groups and gurus. The new age type publications only wanted to print the higher and lighter side of things. In fact, I had a few intense discussions / debates with some editors about this rose colored glasses syndrome, especially because some of these editors had heard about some of the darker aspects of Rajneesh, Muktananda and others yet decided they would not print any "negative" stuff.

Through Sorting it Out, I helped place dozens of major stories and television pieces on the cultic aspects of many groups. In terms of talking more about my Shasta experience, the media was certainly not interested. Shasta was distant and small and frankly not scandalous enough for mainstream media. But over the 80's, I spoke with many people who had left Shasta and we compared war stories, insights, etc. I could have written a book I suppose, but didn't think enough people would care, so I didn't. My associate / best friend who helped me with Sorting it Out, Susan Rothbaum - had also been at Shasta as a lay person for a relatively short time, but she was working on a book called WRESTLING DRAGONS - and it was going to be accounts of a few dozen leave takers from many different kinds of groups. She had recorded some of the support group sessions and done a few dozen interviews -- it was great stuff, but she ended up not finishing the manuscript. Too bad.

Frankly, I stopped actively doing Sorting It Out by 1982. During the next ten years, people who left spiritual groups / gurus would still seek me out and I would help them when I could, but it was much more informal. And except for chatting with former Shasta folks, I really stopped thinking or talking about my Shasta days. It was well behind me, i would say "a thousand dreams ago." Even when asked about my Zen experience, I would say little. With good friends, I would say a bit more, but frankly for most people, talking about how things went wacky at Shasta was way too complicated and way too much information. And to just talk about the positive aspects of my Zen experience sometimes felt a bit dishonest. If someone wanted to talk about meditation or Zen philosophy, I could easily discuss that without getting into the Kennett distortions and cultic aspects of my experience, but if people asked about life in the monastery, I always felt I needed to qualify my answers to stay truthful -- but even then I kept it simple.

And then comes the internet and this forum, and this is a place to share openly and in some detail not only what happened but reflections on how it happened, why it happened. I am grateful to the folks that started this website. I guess it could have been done earlier, but it showed up when it did.

end of my babble on this.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:37 am

Henry, Josh,

Thank you.

I hope you've been able to get it out of your systems here.

Cheers and goodbye,

George

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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:47 am

Jcbaran wrote:
to answer George's question, he asks why did it take so many years -- until this forum was set up for me (and others) to speak up about the problems at Shasta. Well, it didn't actually.

After I left, it took a few years to sort through what had happened, and then in the late 70's, I started that counseling / support group SORTING IT OUT, helping people who had been through spiritual groups and guru relationships. During that time, I specifically spoke out about my experiences at Shasta in a long article in the East Bay Express, in New Age Journal and in a few other places. At that time, there were no other spiritual magazines that were interested in the shadow side of groups and gurus. The new age type publications only wanted to print the higher and lighter side of things. In fact, I had a few intense discussions / debates with some editors about this rose colored glasses syndrome, especially because some of these editors had heard about some of the darker aspects of Rajneesh, Muktananda and others yet decided they would not print any "negative" stuff.

Josh, you obviously got on with this a lot sooner than many others, but I would add that even waiting thirty years to "come forward" doesn't somehow invalidate what someone has to say or take way their right and need to say it. The simple answer is this forum created an opportunity for many people that did not previously exist.
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Ikuko



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:22 am

Edmund I remember you as a sunny likeable funny chap and a great spiritual companion.

I'm not at all surprised you don't report difficult times at Throssel-you were obviously very happy.Happiness is infectious and desirable,it attracts happiness, and you can be in a wonderful virtuous cycle because of your happiness.You give out happiness and it gives back.When you sit,you sit with happiness.And it is a great gift that you give out too.

For some of us things aren't like this.I would suspect things aren't always like that for you either....

For some of us there are aspects of experience that don't read or sound so well with others.We may speak about our pain and find that because of the nature of our pain other people just don't want to know.So we don't speak our reality.A vicious cycle starts to develop,the reality we know isn't acknowledged.We learn to be inauthentic.We have the pain of our suffering and the pain of our denial of our suffering.R.D.Laing wrote about this in a brilliant book called "Knots".For people who have this kind of experience,it is a great relief to meet and speak with others who have had to deny their reality.Because then the secondary pain,the pain that comes from denying their pain,can be addressed.We can express it with the hope of being heard and our reality acknowleged.I had such an acknowlegement earlier this week,and this has helped me a great deal .I would guess that the value of this site for some contributors is that it offers a chance to address suffering that in other places has been denied.In that case it is very valuable.A great dharma.

It is clear to me that some contributors to this site have done great work in helping survivors from cultic organisations,and it seems also that Shasta may have been just one of many such organisations.

Such work takes courage.It demands the adult in us to grow.

I love buddhism.The teachings of buddhism are fundamental to my life.And because I love it I want it to grow into a wholesome thing which helps, and does not deny,is not hypocritical.I am grateful that I met Jiyu Kennett.She was inspirational.This statement does not stand against my view that those who feel that the myth of her life ,the hagiography,needs revision,have important work to do .This work,the debunking and setting the record straight,is a great contribution to buddhism.The Catholic Church wreaked havoc in the lives of thousands of people,excused extensive abuses for centuries.The harmed people were silenced and were afraid to speak their reality.So the corrupt culture of Catholicism continues.

If buddhism can grow and develop with the benefit of this work of examination and revision with buddhists speaking their reality,surely that is a gift to the world too.Perhaps it means buddhism has a chance of being an authentic dharma.

I find the buddhism,the many thousands of dharmas,in the great compassion of others enabling me to be authentic,not denying my reality,as well as in the dharmas of "ordinary daily life" the "sitting quietly ,doing nothing".

I hope this makes sense to you.

By the way,I like Throssel and have had some wonderful years of association with the commmunity there.

And sometimes I am really really happy!
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:41 pm

Ikuko wrote:


For some of us there are aspects of experience that don't read or sound so well with others. We may speak about our pain and find that because of the nature of our pain other people just don't want to know. So we don't speak our reality. A vicious cycle starts to develop, the reality we know isn't acknowledged. We learn to be inauthentic. For people who have this kind of experience, it is a great relief to meet and speak with others who have had to deny their reality. Because then the secondary pain, the pain that comes from denying their pain, can be addressed. We can express it with the hope of being heard and our reality acknowledged. I had such an acknowledgement earlier this week, and this has helped me a great deal. I would guess that the value of this site for some contributors is that it offers a chance to address suffering that in other places has been denied. In that case it is very valuable. A great dharma.

Such work takes courage.It demands the adult in us to grow.

This is very well articulated, thank you. It addresses the criticism expressed by those who see the recounting of painful experiences as just complaining and dwelling in the past. Those who have not gone through it cannot understand the difference between pain and denial. Denial, after all, is a form of self-protection and stopping it initially makes things worse, but it does eventually make it possible to accept and let go of the pain. In my experience there is no shortcut through the process. Painful feelings/memories wait indefinitely for recognition.
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edmund cluett



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:24 pm

Ikuko,

I'm a bit too shallow.
Thank you for your heartfelt words.

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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:06 am

Hi Edmund,

Aylwin here, great to see you here, big hug my friend.

Yes and I am another monk who walked out of Throssel one summer day, fancied just being a road sweeper in Berlin, a normal Joe for a while, I did not turn to stone as I looked back, but I did make a vow to myself to continue practice and always be able to look my master and sangha in the eye. I did come back as a lay person and I am active in our sangha, I primarily see myself as a Buddhist practicing within the OBC wider sangha.

Some of the sangha are my closest friends whether still at Throssel or not, it has taken some adjustment and we live by our choices. I am currently working on helping developing our lay sangha and yes I am one of those ‘Brightmoonies’ new forum just set up, please join and yes some of us are trying to persuade to team to change the joining up process, its quite off putting, but the site is meant to be a members only forum and we do like to know who we are speaking to,. Anyway I was going to put this on the ‘Bright Moon’ tread later... Once in, we are open to free speech and comment and I look forward to ‘gloves off ‘debate.

We are hoping for a breath of fresh air, some of us have been looking long and hard at OBC conditioning and there is vigorous debate privately in the sangha and we realise that the lay sangha has to organise itself what that will be ,who knows? This is just providing a forum for people to network and speak at ease.

This forum has just started and people are not used to this medium yet, you guys are an established group here, so before wading in with your burning topics please give folks time to find their feet.

Hello again Edmund, hope you are well ,I am living in Epsom Surrey now, working as a garden designer, work is taking off and I am quietly optimistic of being able to feed myself as long as I have hands to draw. But as always, taking one day at the time, giving to conditions.

Be in touch.

Love Aylwin
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:34 am

Hi Aylwin,
Glad to hear things are going well for you.
Jimyo
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aylwin



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:55 am

Hello Jimyo,

Nice to hear from Edmund is not , still the poet.Hope to see you both on

www.brightmoon.org our new forum, please bare with the signing in bit,its meant well. Its will be good to hear how old friends are doing.

love Aylwin
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:59 am

Aylwin, I'm thinking about Bright Moon. But I'm on OBCC, aviation forums, writing forums, Facebook, Facebook groups, Twitter....argghhhhhh, help! I'm just not sure I want to join any more online forums. I'd actually like to simplify my life a little bit, though it never seems to happen. Or at least spend some of it away from the computer.

But, knowing me, I'll probably join one day out of sheer curiosity, and to see who's around.

Love,

Jimyo
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edmund cluett



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:11 am

Hi Aylwin!

Great to hear from you. You have a very special place in my Throssel memories. I can picture you now .... we went back a long way. Was it to Revs Rokuzan and Teigan? Or maybe Revs Ando and Kinzan? We were young! I think of you often (partly because I'm currently living at a place you once came to visit as a monk - Red Cross Nordic UWC in Norway!).
Interesting life isn't it? Twists and turns. Life's been good.
I'm really pleased to hear that things are working out for you - I knew you would have your hands in the soil in some way or another! I ran into Rev. Myfanwy in Exeter a couple of years ago. She told me you were out and about but I didn't get in touch. Don't know why. Probably because I've lived out of England for most of the last 18 years (if you can count Scotland as 'out of England' - we were there for three or four years) and I don't feel very connected to the UK. I only come once a year to visit my remaining family, who now live near Exeter.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this forum. Buddhism is very important to me, but I don't know that the OBC is anymore. I am happy to try to live according to the principles of Buddhism - it was, is and will be my navigational pole star. I do feel a tremendous gratitude but ... I guess life moves on. When I came across the forum I was only moved to write an introduction because I saw your, Jimyo's and George Norwell's names. And I am mighty glad that all is well with all of you! Jimyo's flying helicopters! Somehow I'm not surprised.

I will keep in touch though. And it would be lovely to see you one day. Epsom? We often stay with friends near Windsor Great Park when we are going in/out of England - that can't be far from you, can it?
You are a good man, Aylwin Nissen. Take good care of yourself and of those around you. I miss you.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:10 pm

Aylwin, good to see you popping in here! It was your OBCC Introduction comment (many months ago) about the "wider sangha", as a mandala, that first made the connection for me, which eventually led, a few days ago, to my related comment on the Bright Moon thread. I hope that you will, as you say, copy your Bright Moon related comments from this thread, to the Bright Moon thread!

Jimyo, I second Aylwin's suggestion that you join Bright Moon--and while you're at it the OBC Facebook group as well! ;-)

As I will mention shortly on the other thread, I am enthusiastic about Bright Moon, because I think that it has the potential to do for the Lay OBC sangha, what OBC Connect has done for the ex-OBC community. I am convinced that open communication can be a powerful force for beneficial change, and for doing so without turning the process into an adversarial struggle.
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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:12 pm

"I am convinced that open communication can be a powerful force for
beneficial change, and for doing so without turning the process into an
adversarial struggle."

But it does take up such an awful lot of time for so little change.
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edmund cluett



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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:17 pm

Jimyo ... yes
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: edmund   Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:09 pm

Jimyo said:

But it does take up such an awful lot of time for so little change.

You should try being a therapist with a mandated client. But even mandated clients can really surprise you over time.
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