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 New member -- Sansho

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Lise
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Age : 43

PostSubject: New member -- Sansho   Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:52 pm

[With Sansho's permission this post is moved to its own thread]

Sansho wrote:
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: New member -- Sansho   Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:54 pm

Jiko wrote:
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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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: New member -- Sansho   Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:57 pm

Sansho, it's good to see you here!

Isan
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: New member -- Sansho   Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:18 am

Sansho, welcome, I've been hoping you'd show up!! Quite a move from Washington State to Tucson I imagine!
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: New member -- Sansho   Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:14 am

Hello Sansho,
Quote :
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.
I’ve been thinking about this passage quite a lot since you first posted. I think it is such an excellent description of an important part of practice emphasized at Shasta. You mentioned later that it was easier to see it after you left. I think that is because the other half of Zen practice was getting squeezed out of the Abbey culture.

There are two sides to transmission, the nine bows of the vertical tradition in which the disciple stands beneath the master's feet. That was about giving up everything, all opinions and self attachment.

The other side is the nine bows of the horizontal tradition, in which the disciple stands upon the master’s head. It is emphasized that a real heir to a master must surpass the master to do credit to the master. All that really means is that we have to simply be ourselves, and express the Dharma in our own, unique way. To do that we cannot rely upon the master. This is independence and autonomy, and that is the other half of Zen practice.

Balancing the two sides, holding no fixed views, while taking positions and expressing oneself is what mature practice is about. That became impossible at the Abbey, and in my view it’s why we both had to leave to find that balance.

There is a book that has been referred to on this site called Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain – Transplantation, development and adaptation by David N. Kay. I picked up a copy for just over $165. It’s a scholarly treatise with a very limited press run. It focuses on the New Kadampa Tradition and the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. It is fascinating to read what a scholar of the sociology of religion has to say about what we all experienced, particularly because he makes no judgments about anything being right or wrong. He just analyses the development and changes according to sociological theory.

On page 189, in the section on “Kennett’s later teachings,” he makes this observation:

“The major themes dominating Kennett’s later teachings reflected and continued the impulse towards rountinisation, systematization and stability that characterized her presentation following the conflict and instability of the innovative early Lotus Blossom period. One way in which Kennett responded to the conflict and instability of this period was to elevate the role of faith – in the credentials and experience of the Zen master – above the role of personal confirmatory experience of the teachings. During the later period, this shift hardened and the early emphasis on individual authority was almost completely eclipsed by teachings stressing faithful obedience and measures aimed at regulating religious experience with the Order:”
Quote :
Buddhism is a religion – and a religion requires faith and trust, not destructive discussion – it requires faith in the Eternal, faith in the Teaching, faith in its priesthood and trust in one’s master. If there is not absolute faith and trust in these, spiritual grown is an impossibility. (from “The Great Heresies” in the Journal 1986)
Kay then continue:

“Kennett’s early characterization of Zen as ‘a religion for spiritual adults’ was thus reformulated; instead of signifying the priority of personal authority, ‘spiritual adulthood’ now described those who ‘understand the position from which master, as head of the Order, speaks in relation to the horizontal Transmission.’ (from the Journal 1985)”

Kay analyzed JKs writings over the years. He could clearly see that in the early years the emphasis was on taking refuge in one’s inherent Buddha Nature, in one’s own heart. In the end, taking refuge was in the teacher, with final authority resting in one person – the head of the order. That is not the Zen tradition I know. It is not what she taught me as a junior monk. Kay makes no judgement on the shift in emphasis, and I will allow that those who wish to follow such a tradition can choose to do so. Just now, I first wrote "they are free to do so." The thing is, once you agree to it, you are no longer free.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
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Sansho



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PostSubject: Re: New member -- Sansho   Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:22 pm

Hi Kyogen,
It's so difficult for me to write accurately and thoroughly. Much better of course to all sit together in person and chat. Anyway. I appreciate and agree with your comments on vertical and horizontal. Also Kay's comments on RM Kennett's change in teaching is exactly what I saw; one of the things which I objected to. The thing is. I see all of this true all at the same time. That is: for me, I made a serious error. I had to see that and aknowledge it. Also there was a lot going very wrong at the Abbey. It was not my concern and it was my concern. Would it have been better or worse to stay with that? I'll never know. Could I have, in some ways, done more to push for change? Doubtful but I'll never know. I do think that if I had stayed, I may well have not really seen just how moved off center I was and I also think that I may well not have grown as I have (or like to think I have) since leaving. On a purely personal level, it's been important for me to look to see when I have not been still. It has been equally important to realize that one step is taken and then another and then another and there is never a time that I regret. It is just up to me now to do the best with where I am.

I think I'm getting off track. I keep coming back to my statement: the best thing I ever did was go to the Abbey and the next best thing I did was to leave. What is in my heart and mind behind that phrase is more than I think I'll ever have the skill to write about.
Thank you Kyogen
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PostSubject: Re: New member -- Sansho   Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:28 pm

Hi Sansho,

I just wanted to say how much I like your statement about the Abbey. I share your sentiments, with only a slight shift in order. I feel that the next best thing I ever did was to go to the Abbey, and the best thing I ever did was leave. Nevertheless, I did learn a great deal there, and the disappointment that I experienced led me to take refuge in my own heart in a way that I was never able to do before. To that extent, I believe that my practice there was ultimately quite fruitful, despite my unwillingness to continue training there. Thank you for sharing your viewpoint with all of us.

~ Laura
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PostSubject: Hi Sansho!   Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:22 pm

Greetings Sansho -
Great to read your message, and to see you mention the monastery of the world. Like you, I became grateful that I went to the Abbey (after a period of healing), and grateful that I left.

What a big change for you to go from woodcarving on a Washington island to baking in Tucson. I've learned that our spiritual paths are as different as our personalities. For you it seems like living a life of creativity and relationship is a wonderful expression of unconditional love.

With best wishes,
Komei
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