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 Myozen Delport

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jamesiford

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PostSubject: Myozen Delport   Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:03 pm

For those who trace their connections
back to the beginnings of the Zen Mission Society and the foundation of Shasta
Abbey I’m pleased as punch to say I’ve been in touch with Myozen Delport, for a
while Miyagawa.

Myozen was one of Kennett Roshi’s first students, studying with her at
Umpukuji. She ordained and was common in those years, not long after received
Dharma transmission on the 14th of July, 1969. She and another ordained
disciple came withher when the roshi came to California.

Following her marriage to Arnold, Myozen and her husband moved to his native
Canada. As was Kennett Roshi’s want, there were various false statements made about
her in the years that followed. Myozen has had a son, now grown, and following
a divorce has remarried.

What did happen is that she connected with an old friend, a Soto priest Kodo
Ito, and re-ordained with him. As Kennett Roshi never registered her
transmission there were no difficulties in her “starting over.” She travels to
Japan regularly. In 2004 Myozen received Dharma
transmission from Ito Roshi, which is registered in Japan.

This relationship continues to this day.


She is doing well.


And I am so glad.


I cannot say how important Myozen was to me at the beginning of my Zen life.
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:34 pm

James, that is wonderful news! Thank you for posting this. Myozen was important to me as well.

I first met RM Jiyu-Kennett, Mokurai, and Myozen (during a weekend visit to San Francisco while living in Seattle) in November of 1969, about a month after their arrival from Japan. And then sat my first 7 day retreat with Myozen in the Spring of 1970, while RMJK and Mokurai were in England.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:20 am

Thanks James. Yes, good news. I have often fondly thought of Myozen and wondered what happened to her . Though face to face we often had a tendency to rub each other up the wrong way; I think it was partly an Afrikaans - English thing. She had quite a difficult time in South Africa. She compiled the first Afrikaans - Japanese dictionary and because of her knowledge of Japanese was recruited by the South African government. When she found that all she was doing was reading her friends mail being sent to Japan she left government service, and I think that it was then that she went to Japan herself. The SA government let her know that she was always welcome to rejoin the service, even to the extent that when she married Arnold, who is Japanese, letting her know that if she and Arnold returned they would classify him as 'fully White' so that could live together! Give her my warmest regards if you are still in touch.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:57 am

I did wonder what happened to Myozen since she was totally cut off. She was also very important to me in my early Zen training. She had great spirit and a twinkle in her eye. James, do send her my warmest regards. Please let her know about this forum so she can tune in her if she wants or even share / post. I would love to hear some of her take on all of this. That would add to the picture.
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jamesiford

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:31 pm

I am of the opinion that Myozen was the first of the various people who were supposed to inherit the whole shebang. Among other things, she did all the actual translations of the texts that were translated for "Selling Water by the River" republished as "Zen is Eternal Life," with only nominal credit for her "assistance" in this work. A very important person at the foundation of this project.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:19 pm

Myozen was definitely the first anointed one. Such a odd trio when we first met them - Kennett, Mokurai and Myozen - in that small walk-up apartment in San Francisco. Myozen was the most personally dynamic, sparkly, humorous. Kennett definitely saw her as a successor-type while Mokurai was always seen as the overly intellectual, slower monk, Because of Myozen's previous practice of Karate, she was also very physical and more energetic. I saw some new people drawn into the group more because of Myozen's personality than Kennett's teachings. I think you are right that Myozen understood Japanese much better than Kennett, but I really wasn't aware of Myozen's full contribution to the translations or perhaps just forgot about that.

I don't have much recollection of Myozen's final break with Kennett. I do remember her getting involved with Arnold and Kennett's strong disapproval. Nothing new there. As we have discussed elsewhere on this site, Kennett had an obsessive need to control the personal lives of her disciples and was often jealous when they became romantically involved.

I think it would be a valuable contribution to this site if Myozen decided to share some of her recollections - even from her time with Kennett in Japan, and then onward. We all have different takes on what happened and hers would be unique, She might have some interesting tales to tell, especially if they were uncensored.



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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:36 pm

James and Josh,

I concure on all points.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:10 am

This discussion has led me to consult my copy of Zen Is Eternal Life--and the Acknowledgements. I quote two paragraphs directly, from about half way through:

"I wish to acknowledge the very great help of Rev. Suigan Yogo in translating the works of Keizan and most of the ceremonial as well as parts of Dogen. There is no doubt that this book could never have been written without his help and encouragement. I also wish to acknowledge the help of Rev. Myozen Miyagawa who assisted in the work of translating the writings of Dogen, part of Keizan and part of the ceremonial.

For this second edition I would like to acknowledge the following priest trainees at Shasta Abbey for their help: Revs. Jitsudo Baran, Gensho Florence, Sansho Runyan, Jisho Perry, Kyogen Carlson, Haryo Young, Kinzan Learman, Gyojin Essex, Daizui MacPhillamy, Komei Andrews, Hogetsu Schomberg, Zuiko Swann, Suigetsu Turner, Kozan Beck, Anshin Lee, Mokudai Miller, Dentan Downey, Isan Sacco, Keitetsu Norton and Hyakurei Wheeler."

Copyright date: 1976.
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Ikuko



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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:47 pm

Thanks James

It is fascinating to hear about Myozen-I didin't know anything about her.

Perhaps you feel about her the way I had felt about Mark until joining this site-sad and confused.

I always wondered what happened to him,why he wasn't honoured for his indispensable contribution to Throssel Hole.

She sounds like a "dangerous" rival to RMJK,if she was as vibrant a personality as you say.It is fascinating.

Can anyone tell me about Suigan ?

I was at a monk's transmission at Throssel in 1972/3,not sure of exact date.

The monk was called Suigan I think.After the ceremony,we had tea in the old kitchen in what is now the Abbot's house.Kembo, (now Bill,have been on retreat with him,he's a good laugh) served something starchy and sweet ,and it was all very convivial.

I realise now this was quite irregular-I was just some hippy lay person.But at the time I took it for granted.

Re :acknowledgements.I am going to look in my old and battered "Selling Water By the River" (60p!) and find out what attributions are in there.



Best

Ikuko
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:26 pm

Ikuko wrote:


Can anyone tell me about Suigan?

Suigan Yogo was one of JK's teachers in Japan. I believe he was appointed by KoHo Zengi to do some of the day to day teaching which KZ was not in a position to do. Based on what she wrote and said it seemed like JK had a conflicted relationship with him and in the end didn't have much to say that was good. JK wrote about him in the Wild White Goose and, if memory serves, changed his name to Hajime.
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jamesiford

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:18 am

My best speculation is that Suigan Yogo was for all practical purposes Jiyu Kennett's principal teacher. In the end she received Dharma transmission from both men. When I copied my documents I had Chisan Koho's Transmission documents, which were in Japanese, and Suigan Yogo's, which were in English. I've heard that since that time she decided to destroy the Yogo documents. I haven't read Wild White Goose, but I wouldn't be surprised it she used it to even old scores, real and imagined...
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jamesiford

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:49 pm

The following was sent to me by Myozen, who you will see is planning on joining this forum. In the meantime...

Dear James,

My apologies - I have been unable to log on to OBCconnect. My password was not being accepted so I am waiting for my son to show me what to do ...

You are correct in stating that Suigan Yogo was Kennett Roshi's principal teacher. At the time I was copying the denbo documents in Unpuku-ji I noticed that they were through Suigan Yogo, although the Patriarchal line we were reciting was through Koho Zenji. I had wondered why but at the time was so new to this that I did not question further. I believe that it is thanks to Suigan Yogo that Kennett Roshi was able to transmit English sanmotsu and kirigami to
her disciples. He is also the person behind the majority of translations in Zen Is Eternal Life on which she was working in Unpuku-ji when I joined her. Through later translating for her it became clear that she could not read Japanese. It seems quite certain that it was Suigan Yogo who would read/explain the passages/writing to her and she would correct and rework the English - this is what she did with portions Tokusan Harada and I translated.

Currently I am reading Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies. In his introduction Steven Heine lists Kennett Roshi as one of the early translators of Dogen. Of course, the work Kennett Roshi was doing was pioneering, but the credit should perhaps accurately acknowledge Suigan Yogo, as well.

Myozen
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:42 pm

Yogo was Kennett's main teacher, not Koho Zenji. As I noted elsewhere on the site, Kennett dedicated the original Zen Is Eternal LIfe to "my master, Suigan Yogo". The fact that she then cut him out of her life, cut herself off from him completely, just adds to the odd back story. She demanded from her disciples total dedication, devotion, adoration, something that as far as i could tell she never ever gave to her teacher.

It was obvious to me from the beginning that Kennett had only a beginner's grasp of Japanese and that clearly she mostly did not do the translations of Dogen and Keizan. From what I could tell and what she related in the wild white goose, Yogo would dictate to her what the text said in his grasp of English -- and she would polish the English, but the "translating" came mostly from Yogo. I guess you could say they were a team, but certainly not scholars. And Myozen was an important part of the process in the end.

I agree that Kennett's early presentation of Dogen was one of the first -- and she does deserve credit for being a pioneer in this area, even if her contribution was at times exaggerated. I think she was the first to share the Instructions to the Cook, and Being/Time and some of the other basic texts. Good for her.

The truth is -- in the Zen world, almost no one gives her any credit for being an early Dogen presenter. Her name is missing when scholars or other Dogen translators talk about other versions of Dogen or Keizan. Myozen mentions above the Kennett is mentioned in the new Heine book, but that almost never happened before. I am not sure her translations are respected, but also her books are mostly unavailable. Also, I think the general impression in the Zen world is that Kennett seriously lost her way with all the lotus blossom stuff. Many years ago, one Zen teacher said to me, "Oh, Kennett, she went crazy, didn't she?" Another said about Kennett, "she became some kind of strange medieval Christian mother superior."

One point -- early on, I did see her make various changes to some of her translations - without referring at any Japanese text. Just rewrote some sections based on her own feelings at the time. This is not the way you do serious translation. And it did cause me to wonder how accurate the translations were or how altered they were. I think they were mostly pretty good - having read other Dogen versions later, but clearly they seemed less precise.

Also, one last point. There were / are many different versions of the Dogen texts. I am no expert, but much was changed, edited over the centuries, and Dogen translators are often looking at multiple versions of the same text when they do serious translation work. Kennett and Yogo were probably working from the standard approved version at that time.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:58 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
I agree that Kennett's early presentation of Dogen was one of the first -- and she does deserve credit for being a pioneer in this area, even if her contribution was at times exaggerated. I think she was the first to share the Instructions to the Cook, and Being/Time and some of the other basic texts. Good for her.

One point -- early on, I did see her make various changes to some of her translations - without referring at any Japanese text. Just rewrote some sections based on her own feelings at the time. This is not the way you do serious translation. And it did cause me to wonder how accurate the translations were or how altered they were. I think they were mostly pretty good - having read other Dogen versions later, but clearly they seemed less precise.

Also, one last point. There were / are many different versions of the Dogen texts. I am no expert, but much was changed, edited over the centuries, and Dogen translators are often looking at multiple versions of the same text when they do serious translation work. Kennett and Yogo were probably working from the standard approved version at that time.

Regarding JK making changes based on "feelings" it was always her contention that Dogen (and scripture in general) should be translated from the point of view of meditation experience. Dogen is inscrutable when translated literally and I would ask if that serves any purpose even if it can be considered accurate from a scholar's perspective? The fact that there are multiple versions implies there is no one authentic text, and given that Dogen is writing about meditation it seems appropriate that meditation experience be part of the basis for determining meaning. I don't mean to suggest that it's OK to be careless about translating. I never got the impression that JK was less than respective of the text - quite the contrary - but I can't evaluate her work. Perhaps Myozen can comment?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:20 am

Interesting what Josh says
Also, I think the general impression in the Zen world is that Kennett seriously lost her way with all the lotus blossom stuff. Many years ago, one Zen teacher said to me, "Oh, Kennett, she went crazy, didn't she?" Another said about Kennett, "she became some kind of strange medieval Christian mother superior."

I can add that a leading Zen Roshi pulled a Kennett raksu off someone visiting his temple saying 'What is this I do not recognize her'

Sorry no names
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:37 am

Chisan wrote:
...a leading Zen Roshi pulled a Kennett raksu off someone visiting his temple saying 'What is this I do not recognize her'
Sounds very impolite. What was your general impression of his compassion, wisdom and lack of pride, Chisan (given that being a "leading Zen roshi" may not necessarily be a good indicator:-)?


Last edited by Anne on Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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jamesiford

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:46 am

I move in pretty conventional Zen circles & while it is true that no one I've ever spoken with on the subject of Kennett Roshi's visions thought they were anything but makyo, I've never encountered anyone who was so rude about her, or, that denied the validity of the lineage, or any of her heirs.

Life is complicated, and the good and the ill are woven fine.

No doubt...
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:15 am

Rude,impolite,I was not personally involved ,it was not in Japan, the whole of the vision time was strange,the teacher made his point to me for sure, right ..wrong
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:05 pm

James wrote:
I had Chisan Koho's Transmission documents, which were in Japanese, and Suigan Yogo's, which were in English. I've heard that since that time she decided to destroy the Yogo documents. I haven't read Wild White Goose, but I wouldn't be surprised if she used it to even old scores, real and imagined...
:-) Wild White Goose doesn't seem to me to be a deliberately vindictive story of her evolving relationship with Suigan Yogo, alias Hajime, although I think it certainly reflects 'disillusionment and disappointment' (my phrase, not hers). In the first quarter of the book, she wrote of many beneficent and helpful actions on his part; and many of the 'learning moments' recounted in that part of the book result from something he said. Various strained incidents (and some that were not strained) are reported between them in the rest of the book; but, while inevitably written from her perspective, these don't seem to be treated as an opportunity to drag his name through the dirt. However, towards the end, she is quite outspoken (in the context of reporting conversations, or her journal) about her view that he had "ceased training in the real sense": she wrote of having seen him "change so much throughout the years from a wonderful, truly spiritual person" to someone ambitious who used others in this process.

My impression from the book is that JK must have spent much more actual time with Suigan/Hajime than with Koho Zenji. She seemed to have a very devoted disposition toward the latter, though she did not always experience sweetness and light from him either. (Thought: it may be much easier to get on with, and think highly of, someone you don't spend much time with!:-)

Perhaps relevant parts to above posts:
3rd June 1962: Koho Zenji is noted as wishing to receive JK as his "personal monastic disciple".
8th July 1962: JK wrote of asking "Rev. Hajime if he can teach me since Rev. Ichirō, whom [Koho Zenji] told to do it when he personally was too busy, seems never to have any spare time."


Last edited by Anne on Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:08 pm

Hello Chisen

Why does the source of this hearsay, (A rude, impolite, prominent Zen Roshi) deserve your "no Names" protection.

H


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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:46 pm

jamesiford wrote:
I move in pretty conventional Zen circles & while it is true that no one I've ever spoken with on the subject of Kennett Roshi's visions thought they were anything but makyo, I've never encountered anyone who was so rude about her, or, that denied the validity of the lineage, or any of her heirs.

Life is complicated, and the good and the ill are woven fine.

Yes, the light and the dark are always woven together.

And by the way Myozen has joined the forum. Hopefully she will weigh in here soon.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:16 pm

Josh,

Any chance of disclosing who the two "Zen teachers" were that said RMJK
went crazy ? and turned into a "medieval Mother Superior " ?
Did they say what they based their opinions on ?......thanks.

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:17 pm

Stan Giko wrote:
Josh,

Any chance of disclosing who the two "Zen teachers" were that said RMJK
went crazy?

Stan.

I would like this stated openly as well. I don't see that it serves the discussion to quote the negative comments of others while withholding their names. I would like the same from Chisan Michael Hughes with regard to his comment about a "leading Zen Roshi".
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:57 pm

yes I can understand you wanting to know,however my position is the same. James comment is interesting to me as well,

no one I've ever spoken with on the subject of Kennett Roshi's visions thought they were anything but makyo,

This means to me that a number of influential people did think the experiences of 76 were makyo and no one felt able to comment on them. If visions and belief that kennett was once Bodhidarma and st John of the cross and Eko was Jesus were regarded as illusions or makyo,it does follow that her teachings were off track.One has only to look and see where Eko ended up, and the problems that Carols daughter faced to see that open discussions should have happened then.

But I can understand how you feel Isan and Howard
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:32 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
yes I can understand you wanting to know,however my position is the same.

Let's be clear. When you say

I can add that a leading Zen Roshi pulled a Kennett raksu off someone
visiting his temple saying 'What is this I do not recognize her'

you're spreading hearsay which is defamatory in nature. When you express your negative feelings about JK openly and take ownership of them I can respect them as such, but when you quote a statement that you attribute to someone else and then withhold their identity that is simply dishonest.

Why must you still go on about Bodhidarma, Jesus and all the rest of it?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:05 pm

Many times on this forum, esp. in the early days, I too have referenced statements that others have made, without disclosing who made them. Sometimes this was a direct result of having promised confidentiality, at other times it was my own judgment call. To not disclose a source means you have a less persuasive/defensible argument than if you identified the source of the info, but it doesn't mean you're being dishonest. As an example, journalists often don't disclose sources for any number of reasons, but this doesn't prove bad intent or lack of honesty.

Forum members have the right to make unattributed statements here and readers have the right to give those statements credence, or discount them, as they see fit.

I don't see anything dishonest about Chisanmichael's post. And if he thinks it's relevant to mention Kennett's and Little's notions about past lives as Jesus and Bodhidharma, that's his right, also.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:18 pm

A quick note to James Ford -- although this thread is titled with Myozen's name it probably belongs in the "Keeping in Touch" category rather than "Introductions", since Intro threads are generally posted by the persons themselves, who get to direct its fate.

I will be moving this thread to the other category so that Myozen can start her own Introductory thread if she chooses, without any confusion.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:26 pm






Hey lise
If one's going to use a Roshi's statement or action to back up a statement of truth, I think one should also mention why you feel unable to disclose that name. If one posts definitive statements to defame someone using the validity of someone else's religious credentials, is politely asked to disclose those sources and doesn't respond with his explanation for the why or why not, then it's just the OBC being used as a place to post unfounded slander.

The jiyu/jesus tale is not the issue, the claimed source credentials and the authors possible misuse of them is.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:48 pm

I follow you up to a point Howard and then I get lost, either because it's late in the day or, more likely, my unfavourable views of Kennett may be colouring my interpretation of comments above. I can't see past the idea that Chisan has the right to use his own discretion about naming names, and let the chips fall where they may after that.

It's perfectly ok to ask somebody for more info and to me it's just as ok if they decline. "No" is an answer they have the right to give.

What draws my attention to these discussions is if someone seems to be under personal attack for a choice he has the right to make.

ok, enough babble out of me, as Josh says - I will keep still and learn from what's said next.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:04 pm

Lise wrote:
Many times on this forum, esp. in the early days, I too have referenced statements that others have made, without disclosing who made them. Sometimes this was a direct result of having promised confidentiality, at other times it was my own judgment call. To not disclose a source means you have a less persuasive/defensible argument than if you identified the source of the info, but it doesn't mean you're being dishonest.

Forum members have the right to make unattributed statements here and readers have the right to give those statements credence, or discount them, as they see fit.

I have on occasion leveled criticism at Jiyu Kennett. It has been based on my personal experience with her and I take responsibility for it. People can challenge what I say and we can have a discussion. On the other hand repeating mean spirited hearsay, taking no responsibility for validating it and offering no explanation for why the source must be kept confidential is ethically questionable. I don't have a problem with it being allowed on the forum, but I feel it deserves to be challenged. I can see that "dishonest" was a poor word choice to describe Michael's comment. I can give Michael the benefit of the doubt and I hope he'll come back and speak to this.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:39 am

yes I think the words personal attack is fair,as Isan's comments is aimed at one person and no one else.
Anyway I am still here!!

I did not really answer Anne who asked was there any compassion, the question did throw up a few memories of emotions of that time,and I will off load them if I may.
There was very little compassion from anyone if I am honest.

I personally had a few mixed emotions, I felt quite angry about the way Gensho was talked of to me, I felt sympathy and compassion for Daiji,I felt compassion for Keitetsu,after a personal conversation I had with Daiji when I asked how Keitetsu was,
I actually felt most for a female married trainee at Shasta when Daiji related a story about her, when she was having the Jinshin massage and seeing some visions,apparently there were a few people with her I think kneeling down, and at the conclusion she was asked what was the most important thing to her and she replied 'To be married and have children,' this did not go down well and she went back the next day for more Jinshin and this time came up with the right answer, which had a Buddhist theme to it. I did feel quite disturbed and a bit sick about this, I believe Daiji felt the same . it does not really answer your question as I have told you of my feelings.
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:38 am

:-) Thanks, Chisan. I was wondering about the roshi's general disposition, not specifically regarding JK. As you mention not being involved in the raksu incident, I guess you might not know unless you had met the roshi at other times.

To others fascinated with who the roshi might have been, I may be coming up with a false memory here -- it's me age, y'know -- but I think I may have heard that Maezumi Roshi, perhaps in playful mood, wanted to examine an OBC (?RSZC/ZMS) raksu someone was wearing because he was unfamiliar with the lineage and JK, and that he said something like he'd did not know of her, or had not heard of her, and returned the raksu. This was something that I did not witness first hand (if I heard it at all drunken ) and I don't recall who mentioned it or when (I would've been in Throssel), or whose raksu it was. Hope that helps...even if by so confusing everyone it's hopeless to think about it any more! (Actually, I'm not that mean, but I wondered if it might jog anyone else's memory.) (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:17 pm

Chisan wrote:
If visions and belief that kennett was once Bodhidarma and st John of the cross and Eko was Jesus were regarded as illusions or makyo, it does follow that her teachings were off track.
:-) CMH, when I read that statement, perhaps incorrectly I get the idea that you are suggesting that nothing JK taught after a certain date was on track. Is that what you were saying, or would you explain what you mean by "her teachings"?

In a sense, I think that perhaps only samyaksambuddhas -- those legendary figures -- may always be on track (but I expect Josh knows a few articles that say otherwise!:-), as a teacher's perspective (including what they don't see/know, or what they over-presume, or believe in error) is bound to affect what they teach somewhere along the line. I think this is a very interesting matter for us in Zen, as even if we're not teachers, it kind of applies to us...stumbling along, doing some right here, getting some not so right there, making discoveries after a long while about something present all along, about our minds, and so on.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:48 pm

Sorry I could not write earlier to you Anne, To be honest I felt surprised that more people that meditated did not feel that they were in the middle of someones makyo experience,i also believe that we can learn many different things from many different people. Very often not what we expect to learn, nor at a time or place where we expect to learn it.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:37 pm

:-) So, in the above quote, by "her teachings" you meant specifically her intentional teachings about the visions (and any teaching, if she gave any, that she had been Bodhidharma and that Eko had been Jesus)?

If you're still up to reply when I post this, I won't be able to get back to say Ta, as I must nosh and then let golden slumbers kiss my eyes Sleep So here is an advance Arrow Ta in anticipation. (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:51 pm

Anne wrote:
Chisan wrote:
If visions and belief that kennett was once Bodhidarma and st John of the cross and Eko was Jesus were regarded as illusions or makyo, it does follow that her teachings were off track.
:-) CMH, when I read that statement, perhaps incorrectly I get the idea that you are suggesting that nothing JK taught after a certain date was on track. Is that what you were saying, or would you explain what you mean by "her teachings"?

In a sense, I think that perhaps only samyaksambuddhas -- those legendary figures -- may always be on track (but I expect Josh knows a few articles that say otherwise!:-), as a teacher's perspective (including what they don't see/know, or what they over-presume, or believe in error) is bound to affect what they teach somewhere along the line. I think this is a very interesting matter for us in Zen, as even if we're not teachers, it kind of applies to us...stumbling along, doing some right here, getting some not so right there, making discoveries after a long while about something present all along, about our minds, and so on.

Yes Anne, everyone has mistakes that they propagate and many have learnt good at the hands of the most appalling teachers; I once met someone who said that they had learnt valuable lessons in the Hitler Youth, and also managed to miss most of the awful ones! But the answer to being on track has two important parts to my mind. First is the teacher and the teaching open to real questioning; they don't appear to think that they have the only or best truth and that this is not really open to question. JK was very fond of saying 'I might be wrong', but was less fond of those who inferred it might true! It is really a question of balance and openness. When you feel the dead weight of closure and demand on you leave however good the message, you are being sucked into some form of slavery. The words can be fine but fine words can hide a multitude of awful actions. This is very different from discipline which can be hard but still be open. And secondly is the teacher leading the way; are they at least trying even if rather imperfectly to practice what they preach. This too can be a bit problematic because what is right practice for a beginner may be different to what right practice for an old hand. St Augustine said 'Love, and do as you wish' which is a preaching of perfection for the perfect but in the hands of the less enlightened has corrupted many and led them completely astray. The trackless track is difficult to follow but endlessly easy to stray from, and then what better than to convince yourself and others that your still on the right path, especially others because they can then reinforce your self view. Of course those who have doubts about this must be 'encouraged' to change their minds or suffer some form excommunicated.

Going off track does not mean everything someone says is wrong. But it does mean that it becomes increasingly difficult to tell the difference of what is right from what is wrong in what they say and increasingly easy to be sucked into their delusions.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:26 am

:-) I think you've said things very well, Mark. (-:

I initially visited OBCC at this early hour to post the following... To add to my was/wasn't-it Maezumi-or-was-Anne-having-a senior-moment post above, I think I heard it pre-1976, as I didn't attend Throssel Hole Priory between summer '75 and sometime in '78, and I don't think I heard it from the priors of '78-?'80/81 whom I met (Ando & Isan, Hogetsu & Koshin Schomberg, Rokugen Kroenke & Teigan Stevens; I disaffiliated myself from the Order in summer '81).

Mark, or others, do you think that JK became more dictatorial in her behaviour and dogmatic concerning what she thought was the right way, after her recovery in 1976? If so, did it continue (at least up to the point when you left)?


Last edited by Anne on Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:41 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To add two questions)
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:21 pm

side note about teachers who says things like, "I could be wrong" or some version of "I am not perfect" or "I am only human" -- All these kind of statements really say and mean the opposite. I don't go around saying to my friends, "I am only human" -- that would think i was I was crazy. What else would i be?

When a guru says, "I am only human" he/she is saying, "I am NOT human, but a divine special being / a Buddha." When they say, "I am not perfect" - the effect is to promote the story / illusion that they are essentially perfect. When they say, "I could be wrong," they are saying "I am always right, 9999.999 percent of the time." When they say, "I have faults" they are saying really, i have so few minor faults as to be insignificant or invisible. There must be a psychological term for these kind of statements that say one thing but actually promote the exact opposite. But as we have noted, what a guru / master says is far less meaningful compared to their behavior in daily life, how they treat others, how they see themselves.

As you say with Kennett who sometimes said, "I could be wrong." And if you ever said, Yes, you are wrong - OMG -- you would be sent to the goat house for six months, banished from her grand presence. No one ever said, Yes, you are wrong. At least not for many years when i was there. No one dared. If you said, "I disagree" -- unacceptable, who are you to disagree with HER? There was ONE viewpoint, ONE way, ONE opinion that mattered.

We see this with the Dalai Lama. I think he is sincere on one level when he says, "I am just a Buddhist monk." He always says he is not enlightened and has no special abilities or insight. His sincerity is obvious, but if anyone around him treated him as just an ordinary monk, that would be considered horrific. They must see him as a living Buddha and many people introduce him that way at every event - and he allows it. It's part of his role and the role of these lamas -- which has always produced a very mixed result - to say the least. These big stories have big consequences.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:33 pm

one more point. There are some grand gurus that drop the whole, "I am not perfect, I could be wrong, I am only human" story completely. They proclaim that they are totally enlightened, a fully living avatar, God in person, not human, perfection in the flesh - and that's it. They make it clear that they never make mistakes, they don't have opinions but are the truth fully - Rajneesh did this, Da Free John renamed himself the Ruchira Buddha, Satya Sai Baba in India, and there are always a bunch of gurus in India who claim to be the exclusive true incarnation of God on earth, the only one. In some ways, it is less crazy making. There is no pretense that they might be wrong. Of course, reality is another story. the whole thing is one big story - as all the evidence shows, as former disciples spill the beans.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:56 pm

And as human beings, we are prone to our own frailities, we have our delusions, and desires,we enjoy simple things become attached to the things around us, especially our families and friends, and experience sadness when all life fades and dies before our eyes. I believe it is only by being human and living with our human conditions,that we can experience this impermanence and suffer through our attachments,with this human experience we can find compassion and love for all beings
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:06 am

:-) I think JK did know she "could be wrong", as various passages in her books bore that out, but knowing when one actually is wrong is a different matter. I am glad she at least said it: it helped me to feel at ease with my own fallibility (and was a worthwhile reminder of it), did not stop me believing in hers, and (from my safe distance in England) granted some freedom from putting another head on top of my own.

Some years ago, I enjoyed several UK gatherings under the spiritual direction of a Tibetan lama. He was a lovely chap but he never said "I could be wrong", and I was very concerned to hear one of his English followers express matter-of-fact certainty in his infallibility, as if he could be nothing else. I don't suppose this is what he actually wanted people to think, and it might not have occurred to him that, without these words on his part (even if he didn't know when he was mistaken), people might a) set him thus apart from themselves, b) think he could never make a mistake, c) assume that, if ever they became lamas or had liberating insights into emptiness, some mystic magic would grant them infallibility too. afraid

Are your friends looking to you as their teacher, Josh? If time ever happens when they do, I reckon that's the time to start coming out with the "I could be wrong"s! In fact, I hope you'll take a provisional vow right now to do so should you ever become Master Josh (and let me know so I can breathe a premature sigh of relief!) (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:23 am

You slightly have the better of me here again Anne. Is Buddhism expressed through ideas and concepts,that one can be right or wrong about in the first place ?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:34 am

no one views me as teacher / guru. Not happening. not a game I want to play.

and beyond, " I could be wrong," in the ordinary world, it is much more a give and take about people having their own insights and experiences, and seeing things from different perspectives - not about "right" and "wrong".

In terms of this discussion, it is not just about Kennett or Eko saying they "could be wrong." The general culture was to abandon and suppress all critical thinking on every level. Critical thinking = ego = delusion = resistance = suffering = your own personal koan = mara.... and so on. go through Kennett's writing - or indeed many other teachings of various gurus and teachers and you can find endless variations on this theme. Kill the ego, smash the rational mind, surrender, and various denigrations of logic and thinking at all.

Both in terms of approaching any written teachings and in terms of every day personal interactions, when you shut down this part of your mind and experience, there is a kind of regression to being a child, to serving the perfect parent, to following orders, to denying your adulthood. we have talked about this before a lot on this site. And I think it becomes very painful - because you can't fully shut down your thinking / rational mind -- nor should you -- and the Buddha never taught that you should - he encouraged rational debate, logic, analysis, thinking, questioning.

But when we try to shut down this part of ourselves and it is still there, that produces stress, inner pain, denial, self-blindness, emotional distress, pretending, wishful thinking and all the rest. There may be some short time value is setting aside some critical thinking -- with care -- but in the long run, this process is harmful and not transformational - at least from my experience. So in this child-like state of total / blind acceptance, when we hear a guru speak from their throne, when we read the teachings of Dogen or Christ or other sages, we just completely take it in and assume it is all perfect, true, beyond any consideration or questions. But is that healthy or even wise?

Just because St. John of the Cross or Rinzaii suupposedly wrote something, is it true? Can some of these folks have some great insights, but also do you have the ability or the experience to also question or challenge some of it? (Also, we now know that much of what many of the famous Chan/Zen masters supposedly wrote - was written hundreds of years after they lived by various committees who rewrote and re-edited and fabricated). What is written in stone? and Why is it written in stone? And is that a good thing? Many teachings come from deep insight and experience, but sometimes this same sage might write from prejudice, their cultural bias, from dogma or what they heard from their fathers or patriarchs, from old stuff that is no longer helpful and may never have been helpful, or the words and stories may be entirely invented by later generations for purely current political purposes.

Also, we can say, "What does that really mean?" "I don't get that." "Is that true?" "Does that really work?" "Sounds great, but not for me now." "No thanks,"

I have babbled about this many times, so enough already......

happy saturday. off to buy ground macadamian nuts for some cakes i must bake for a party of 60 people tonight on our rooftop. hope there is no thunder and rain tonight....

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:27 pm

A lot of what you say Josh about not letting people think for themselves like

In terms of this discussion, it is not just about Kennett or Eko saying they "could be wrong." The general culture was to abandon and suppress all critical thinking on every level. Critical thinking = ego = delusion = resistance = suffering = your own personal koan = mara.... and so on. go through Kennett's writing - or indeed many other teachings of various gurus and teachers and you can find endless variations on this theme. Kill the ego, smash the rational mind, surrender, and various denigrations of logic and thinking at all.


This is really denying humanity .

enjoy your nuts
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:11 pm

Josh says: "side note about teachers who says things like, "I could be wrong" or some version of "I am not perfect" or "I am only human" -- All these kind of statements really say and mean the opposite. I don't go around saying to my friends, "I am only human" -- that would think i was I was crazy. What else would i be? "

Josh is right. People who know they aren't perfect and are only human don't usually go around saying so. When a teacher/guru says to a disciple "I am only human" or "I am not perfect," it assumes that the disciple knows the teacher/guru IS perfect and IS superhuman. To prove it, the teacher/guru is so humble that he/she can even say, "I am not perfect" or "I am only human." Wink, wink. "We both know what I REALLY mean."
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:10 am

Hello, gassho -
Sorry, I am dropping in in the middle of a conversation. Thank you for introducing me, James and enabling me to be in contact again with Kozan, Mark, Joshua, Isan, and meeting new dharma family. So good to see your faces in your photographs!

As James says, the dark and the light are all intertwined. It seems that somewhat drastic changes in Kennett Roshi's methods and personal manner developed in Shasta Abbey ... the Kennett Roshi I joined at Unpuku-ji in December 1968 was a jovial person who was generous and kind to me, allowing me to study calligraphy at one temple and Sanskrit at another. This forum took me to reading the journals I kept while at Unpuku-ji and found that I had on two occasions considered leaving her. Severing ties with a teacher is a painful business - I returned to Japan in 1976 and became the caretaker and resident monk of a rural parish temple. Things were interrupted when Kennett Roshi began to interfere from her location in Shasta Abbey. In response I returned to lay status for several years since I did not want to inconvenience my teacher and also did not want to continue being the subject of her letters containing some very surprising misinformation. Although she derailed the process, and I am still working with the results, I must admit that I continue to feel gratitude to her for ordaining me.

When I returned to Japan I learned that it seems that Soto Headquarters had not been aware of her plans to leave Japan - so it would appear that she did not go to teach in the United States under the auspices of Soto Headquarters. This may be why she did not form ties with the Japanese Soto community in the U.S. I think you may have touched on this subject previously some time, Mark? In Japan I found that, while there was acknowledgement of problems that existed relating to Kennett Roshi, her lineage was never questioned and people who knew me through her treated me with warmth and kindness.

May I backtrack a little? Joshua, I agree that Suigan Yogo most likely dictated the texts to Kennett Roshi, since I never saw her working off a Japanese text at Unpuku-ji and her grasp of Japanese was very limited. Even well-seasoned Japanese scholars find Dogen difficult. Isan, I thought a lot about your comments regarding translations of Dogen's works. Meditation experience is certainly important - an understanding/familiarity with the classics he so deftly paraphrases and makes puns with is a key requirement. He also "plays" with the readings of the Chinese characters - it is all rather subtle and certainly would be inscrutable if translated literally. Kennett Roshi would often go by the feeling the words in the translations by Suigan Yogo evoked, but I do not believe she could have grasped some of the intricacies involved in the scholarship aspect. There are misspellings of Japanese terms in her work, with some interesting results. Her work with Suigan Yogo certainly was pioneering and she did respect and love these texts.

Chisan, I recall something regarding the connection between How to Grow a Lotus Blossom and The Secret of the Golden Flower - in Unpuku-ji in 1969, Kennett Roshi showed me The Secret of the Golden Flower and told me, "Every transmitted monk should study this." I believe the content of Lotus Blossom and the visions were already percolating then.

Stan, Giko was the name of Kennett Roshi's closest and dearest friend in Japan. He taught Mokurai and myself how to fold our robes, how to spread our bowls, how to make our straw sandles, and he took us on begging rounds. He is the person who stood by her through thick and thin.

Find all this rather difficult to write about - thanks for letting me share this.

Many bows, and again so happy to be in contact,
Myozen
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:54 am

And so, after I mention Kennett Roshi's misspelling of Japanese terms, I misspell the English word "sandals" - perhaps this is "instant karma"?

Myozen
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:13 am

Myozen, thank you for writing a clear unbiased post
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:02 am

:-) Myozen, I never met you, but warm greetings sunny, and many thanks for your interesting post.

I hope you will excuse my continuing the earlier conversation on your thread, even though it's supposed to be your party! Shocking manners!... (-:

Chisan wrote:
You slightly have the better of me here again Anne. Is Buddhism expressed through ideas and concepts,that one can be right or wrong about in the first place ?
:-) CMH, my understanding of JK here was acknowledgement that she could be mistaken, misunderstand, etc. Hope that helps, else not sure what you mean. (-:

Carol wrote:
When a teacher/guru says to a disciple "I am only human" or "I am not perfect," it assumes that the disciple knows the teacher/guru IS perfect and IS superhuman. To prove it, the teacher/guru is so humble that he/she can even say, "I am not perfect" or "I am only human." Wink, wink. "We both know what I REALLY mean."
:-) I do agree that people (not only gurus) may say "I'm not perfect" as a way of 'evincing' that they are humble; however, I think it wise to beware of setting up saying nothing as 'the' criterion for proving that one knows that one is not infallible -- some who never say "I'm not infallible" might think this proves them superior to others who do say it; and people could get afraid ever to state, where seems appropriate, that they are not infallible because they think others will judge them as suffering from delusions of grandeur. Silence is the new 'humble' funny

In a footnote to a small booklet on meditation that I part-compiled/part-edited for newbees visiting a Buddhist group I attend, to protect readers from thinking that every word must be infallible I wrote the following:
Quote :
Please note that teachers often differ in their presentations, not only in style but also in meaning and viewpoint. Also, they are not infallible (me neither! -- Editor). Also, you may find that your own experience differs from what you read or hear. This may be confusing for the beginner, who wonders what to believe. The important thing is to try to find what works best for you.
Now, from across the Atlantic, two people seem to be telling me that my bracketed admission proves that I and anyone else who states similar think we are perfect?... Chaaaps, if that's happening, I think you could be wrong! (I might go so far as to say I know you are; but I don't want you to feel bad! ;-) Thinks: Is kind the new nasty? uhoh
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:49 am

I think this means Anne that I can say for the first time.I completely understand what you are talking about
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