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 Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!

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Andi

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PostSubject: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:23 pm

Hi,

I'm Andi from the UK.

It's the middle of the night over here, so this is a quick hi.

22 years of practice with this tradition.

A more detailed post tomorrow.

A warm hello from England :-)


Andi
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:20 pm

Hello Andi,

Welcome, welcome. My guess is that you are female, but that's just an assumption. My wife's nickname in her family is Andy, and I have a niece that goes by Andi.

My wife and I are, I think, the only full time active priests left over from the time when priests could marry. We are, of course, independent these days.

I look forward to reading your post tomorrow.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:43 pm

Hi Andi -- a warm welcome back at you from California. Nice to have you here.

What are you doing up so late Smile

regards,
L.


Last edited by Lise on Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:44 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : overuse of smilies)
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Andi

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PostSubject: From Andi   Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:14 pm

Hi everyone,

So, I hope I'm in the right place, page etc.

Here's a list of notes - hope you don't mind.

I am Andrew Sinclair - 'Andi' (the Andi bit is a long story!)
I'm a Lay Minister with the OBC in the UK.
I'm 45years old, practising in this tradition for 22 years. When I was a teenager I spent a bit of time in Zen class at the Buddhist Society London, FWBO, Theravada etc.

I have a business (80 staff) that I am trying to keep afloat, I am a mountain runner (getting ready for a race in September at the moment), a Buddhist Prison Chaplain, horse rider (we have 4), Dogen fan, like to occasionally race a car around a track, sit with Rev M Saido once or twice a week at Telford Priory, off to see Thich Nhat Hanh again in London next week, off to sit Sesshin with Rev M Daishin at Throssel in a couple of weeks time, married for 23 years, two grownup children and live with 20 animals - horses, sheep, cats, dogs, hens etc.

Whilst I have been what is called a serious practitioner for over twenty years with the OBC, I have always kept up to date with other organisations and have always visited, chatted with and sat with other groups, temples, whether that's in the UK, Thailand or Sri Lanka.

I have said all this just to give a bit of background - I live quite a full, open, robust life.

I have re-read the reasons for this forum.

May be things are a little different in the UK. I have lots of frank conversations about the OBC with Rev M Saido, I talk about various issues with Rev Mugo, the other day I was discussing bits with Rev M Haryo during a transatlantic phone call.

Now, I have had grumbles about the OBC over the years. But, I have had grumbles about lots of things. The practice, the training, whatever you want to call it, isn't just the two hours a day sitting, it's the daily life. To be present, to actually turn up for my life, to be able to see clearly, hopefully live life a bit better and not be so much of a wally is what it has been about for me. This, to me, is life or death - the OBC isn't.

I tried, quite deeply to get into various Buddhist practices when I was young. The only one that seemed to have any affect was the OBC form of practice. I couldn't stand it. The music drove me crazy - this wasn't true Zen - I wanted to chant the Heart Sutra in Japanese in the cold and be whacked with a stick. I had very real difficulties with the quasi-theistic language: Lord of the House, the Eternal. (The use of this sort of language has changed dramatically over the last few years, especially in the UK - I see Throssel Hole Abbey now heading more down the Dogenist end of the spectrum).

However, the monks that I dealt with generally talked about the practice. On retreat we generally sat, worked and had meals. At the Group we generally sat, chatted and had tea and biscuits! This form of practice just seemed to work.

One thing that I realized from the age of seventeen was that most organizations have a political dyanamic going on. Power struggles, fallouts, scandals. Every major Buddhist orgainization seemed to have this going on to varying degrees. The reason I tried to give a summary above was to explain that I am not a normal person! I imagine that I have quite a robust life force but can also see when people are just being people. My life/training/being present whatever you want to call it, is what I am living, NOT the OBC.

So, I am not qualified to comment on what it must be like to be a monk.

I am not qualified to comment on what it must be like to be someone who is vulnerable.

I am sort of qualified to say what it is like being someone who talks to a monk or two, frankly and regularly. I have been sitting/practicing in this tradition for many years and am still around.

The organization that I am a member of does not recognize the lay experience in an official way. Now, leaving aside my own view on that, I can sort of understand that, having met some Lay Teachers who are spiritually advanced because they have been through a programme, were monks for 2 years forty years ago and are 'teaching' stuff that I have trouble recognising as Buddhist in any way.

Senior monks of the OBC over here are members of the Network of Buddhist Organisations - they are involved, heavily in a couple of cases, with other Buddhist organisations.
The Order may have been frozen for a while up until the death of Rev M Jiyu. Since then, from my dim world, it seems to be thawing, albeit slowly. Things seem more open, the language has changed, the retreats seem different.

Just a couple more things:

I have been lurking around this forum for a while. I looked at the raison d'etre for it and felt quite positively about it.
As an outsider the content of the forum seemed to have a definite slant (i.e anti-OBC) which again was OK.
However of late the forum seems to have changed into the Buddhist History Channel Smile
My children think that being involved with an organisation for over twenty years is a long time, however when the forum is dominated by memories of events of 25-35 years ago and how terrible things were back then, I struggle.

I am an active Lay Minister in the UK. I don't recognize a lot of what is being said because I am probably in the wrong country, the wrong decade and probably I am not normal!

If I look at the OBC abbey, priories, groups etc. in the UK over the last 10-15 years they seem to be even more well-attended than before.

This is a fascinating forum and it would be great to look further at say Dharma Rain and how that's worked out (especially the view of Lay Training).

I am not ignoring North Cascades - I only know what I have read and heard.

I am sorry if I don't fit with the profile of the forum.
Yes I have had grumbles, but the OBC have been great for me for many years, but then again my refuge has also been my daily life of practice as a lay practitioner.

So, for this post my palms are not together and I am not bowing.
My arms are open wide with a big hello ready for some hellos back or a Forum Sky Burial.
Andi is finally shutting up.


With warm regards,


Andi Sinclair
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Gyokuko

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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:40 pm

Dear Andi,
I'm sure Lise and others will be chiming in with welcoming arms to receive and give hugs and assurances that this is where you belong. The airing of dirty laundry is sometimes necessary but it is hardly the best way to make good-heated human connections. Your presence on this forum should help all of us recognize the things we have in common in our practice and heritage. Gyokuko says WELCOME and please don't leave us to wallow in one sided expressions of negativity. (Just don't expect the negativity to go away). The history that is coming out may seem too old to be relevant to you, but I think that so much of it has been unspoken, unacknowledged or actively repressed, at least in this part of the world, that it will come spilling out with increasing velocity simply because there is a venue for free speech.
I am delighted to hear the you have such a healthy relationship with the priests of the OBC.

Love from a distant cousin
Gyokuko

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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:50 pm

Hey Andi,

You sound like a very cool guy with his head on straight. I like that! I like to think I am pretty robust myself, in my way. I had to be to stay in the game when the history channel events took place. The Greatest OBC Generation, eh?

A couple observations: one is that it was always easier to survive further away from the center of gravity on planet OBC. I think that was an advantage back in the day, and it probably still is. Another is that while I have felt perfectly willing to let the past go and function in my own, independent manner, the past still has a profound hold on matters over here. I think you are most likely freer of it over there.

For example, the OBC will not permit me or Gyokuko to set foot on Shasta Abbey ground! Isn't that fascinating? Why do you think that is? When we run across each other at various conferences, they will acknowledge us in a cool and formal manner, but the wall between us is palpable.

I spoke with Eko about it, and he told me that it was because I have dishonored Jiyu Kennett by speaking of her faults. My feeling is that I wouldn’t have to do so if there was any acknowledgment by the OBC that there were any faults. They keep us at a distance because if we develop a real conversation with them, then our very different view of the past and what it all meant will come into contact with their sanitized history. I don’t think they can’t allow that.

So, it’s all in the past, except it isn’t. Things are going wrong now because they won’t address the fact that anything ever went wrong. At least that’s how it looks over here. Maybe real OBC practice needs to be reintroduced in the US from the UK! Ha!

Accepting your open arms with a big smile and hands palm to palm,

Kyogen
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:14 pm

To Andi~
Hello and welcome! The coolest monks and lay people I have met are from England. You guys must be doing something right over there! Of course I have friends here too. Some of my favorite people are Buddhists, actually. Thanks for joining us here.

Cheers,
Diana

To Kyogen~

"...the OBC will not permit me or Gyokuko to set foot on Shasta Abbey ground!"

I had a feeling. This makes me so mad and brings tears to my eyes. I would gladly accompany you and your wife to the Abbey some day. We could get a posse together and storm the gates! I'm sure everyone here would join us!

Your absence at the Stupa dedication did make an impact, I hope you know that. That was actually the first time I heard about you guys. And of course, once I was told to not look into the whole thing, I looked you up online, lol! I was just a bad disciple I guess. I really do hope things change.

Peace,
Diana
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Andi

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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:14 pm

To Gyokuko & Kyogen,

Thanks for your welcome.

Of course I know that the past is here with in the present. I was back at the Buddhist Society in about 1990 and couldn't quite get the dynamic between them and Rev Master Jiyu. Going back many many years to find out what happened with the whole Christmas Humphreys/Buddhist Society/we want a roshi/not Rev Master Jiyu issue suddenly put how I was being to spoken to and the attitude of the Society towards the OBC into a clearer relief.
So, apologies for my insensitivity.

Amongst all the history of the OBC, I always wondered what 'happened' to you both! This forum has directed me to you and Dharma Rain, (which then directed me to Great Vow Monastery whose translations I now use for chanting Genjo Koan at home!). The way you have things set up looks very positive.

In gassho



To Diana

Many thanks. I'll tell my 23 year son and my 21 year old daughter that I might be cool.
I think they may disagree!

Regards,


To Lise,

Thanks for the 'Hi'

Every Wednesday I go to Telford Priory which is a bit of a way. I always end up cahtting for too long afterwards! Journey back home, tea & toast and then its REALLY late. Wake up grumpy to sit on Thursday vowing never to stay late chatting on Wednesday ever again. The following Wednesday I stay late chatting and so..........

Look forward to communicating with you - I'm not too forum literate and my words sometimes may come across as a little strident. I'll put 'sorry' at the start of any post.

Take care,


Andi
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:18 pm

Thanks Diana. The odd thing, of course, is that I have little interest in going to Shasta Abbey any more. The fact that the ban exists, however, makes it clear that the old issues are still very much with us. That's what I find so interesting.

To Andi -

I appreciate your acknowledgment of the way the past persists. I look forward to hearing more from you.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
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Sansho



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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:23 pm

Ok, I've been lurking but Andi, your post finally made me sign on. First of all, tell your kids you are cool.
I'm Sansho and was a monk at Shasta from 73 to 86. I've never regretted it. I often say that the best thing that happened to me was entering Shasta and the next best thing was leaving Shasta. I think monasteries are so very valuable for anyone wanting to see who or what they really are. But then there is the Great Monastery which is all the world. I like to think it has helped to keep me from being too one-sided but who knows.
I left in the summer of 86 because I felt the atmosphere was wrong, there was just too much religious politics and I objected to some of what RM Jiyu was doing. I have since come to the conclusion (realization?) that, at the core of it, the error was mine. Mine in that to truly give up everything, I should also have given up my opinions of the correctness or incorrectness of what others were doing. At the time, I just wasn't deep enough to see that.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that one should turn over one's mind and will. I know it may sound like that but it's not. It is very much just doing one's own training. And I also realize that this conclusion was perhaps much easier to come to once I was no longer in the pressure cooker.
Anyway, I'm married to a real saint, living in Tucson (glorious, glorious heat!), back working professionaly as a pastry chef, and feeing extraordinarily happy.
Most of all, warmest greetings to all my long time friends.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:15 pm

Andi wrote:
. . . - I'm not too forum literate and my words sometimes may come across as a little strident. I'll put 'sorry' at the start of any post.

Andi, please try not to do that, else someone may have to come and dispatch you to your sky burial sooner rather than later Smile And then we'd be all bummed out that we didn't have time to get to know you better. If you do something that needs saying sorry for, we'll let you know.

Gyokuko and others have well-covered what I would have said to your original post. It's still early days for us on the forum, with the U.S. crowd soaking up details we've always been shut out of. This is a high-intensity phase of knowledge transfer and we're plumbing the depths because we finally have access to the people who know. Things should level out over time.

I also expect we'll see iterative phases, where new people come to the forum with the same questions others have asked before them, and we'll point them to the right threads so they can catch up.

It's nice to read your description of your own practice. It gives one hope.

L.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:17 pm

Hi Sansho, and welcome -- is it ok if I move your post to a new thread so that it can be seen a little better?

cheers,
Lise
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Laura

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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:13 pm

Hi Andi,

I am absolutely delighted to see an active lay minister join these forums! Thank you so much for your courage in publicly stepping into what could potentially have been a hostile crowd. These forums will benefit greatly from your presence.
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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:28 pm

Dear Sansho -
I am so glad you are making pastry again. I well remember your cream puffs for Jukai - once upon a time. I hope that you have not given up the wood carving. Glad you are here - Jiko
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Andi

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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:29 pm








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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:40 pm

Happy Birthday, Andi - it's been a long while, just wanted to say hello and send good wishes!

Lise
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:47 am

Hi Andi, your voice feels refreshing to me.

I was at throssel 1 month a year 1980ish-1984 and practiced hard. I am struck by your comment:

"The organization that I am a member of does not recognize the lay experience in an official way"

And subsequent comment that it's understandable because lay people can get teaching wrong. By your argument that of course means the priesthood does not recognise its own teachers.

I left throssel hole and daishin Morgan because I had an opening (that is still with me today) and he said he refused to talk about it because of his fear that I might set up as a teacher and do a bad job. Also a year later he lied to me about him coming from the "Buddha nature" when I went to him for spiritual advice re a very intense personal matter (interestingly the abuse of women by men), gave me horrific advice then had to admit he didn't know what he was talking about, then told me this spiritual 1to1 with the 'master' was over. I left and never went back.

It is impossible to have as a spiritual friend of any capacity someone who refuses to acknowledge your practice at all, and who lies to you about being in "Buddha nature" in the 10 minutes of personal instruction he gives you in 5 years of intense practice.

This behaviour of daishin's I am realising has at its root the awful practice at shasta where he learnt. I think and feel that daishin is essentially trying to get it right. However, he also obeys rules that are frankly absurd and extremely damaging to Zen Buddhism.

Sexual misconduct is easy to point a finger at. However the blind obeyence that my teacher is right is part of the same problem. Swop "teacher" for "daddy" and you begin to see where daishin and others like him are caught - in their childhoods. Until we begin to love the children inside ourselves we are really in beginners compassion class.

Kyogen, for me shasta banning you from stepping foot on shasta property says "you are below human, you are so bad that we turn our backs on you and you have no place in the world of spirituality and love". This is as "bad" spiritually as any behaviour from the Sexual predators everyone (including me) is getting so hot under the collar over. In many ways it is worse, because it's more insidious and cloaked in apparently holiness. Yuk! The stink of Zen!
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PostSubject: Re: Confession: I'm an OBC Lay Minister!   Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:40 pm

Sounds like you had a torrid time of it David. I find it a little difficult to join in your critiism of Daishin as I was not there and do not know the conversation. Of course I feel a little uneasy about what you say.Someone in Daishins position may not be the best one to ask advice from about all of lifes difficulties.This is because people in this position are not very likely to be experienced in all of lifes complex issues. Priests sometimes are under stupid pressure to always be right,whereas they are not, and can not be,every issue and problem is most probably very unique.

So it comes down to the right answer. the right answer is not always what we want to hear,if we want recognition I do not think we will always get that.There may be many right answers,I believe they point to 'Where we are and where we should be'

You may be right in your condemnation of Daishin However I feel strong enough to write this as I do not know enough for me to say I completely agree with you. You clearly have suffered and all I can offer you is my compassion
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