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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

First topic message reminder :

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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Jcbaran



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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:46 pm

One thing to re-emphasize. Can you fire your guru / teacher / master / roshi? Yes, you can. And if they think they somehow own you, fire them again. In Zen, we don't take vows to any one teacher. And if somehow, you think you did or the guru asks for special commitments and vows, well, guess what, you can change your mind. I think it's very important to be very clear with a teacher when you terminate the relationship. You need to say -- You are no longer my teacher. I am no longer your disciple. I am no longer interested in your guidance. Our relationship is over. YOU ARE FIRED.

In this situation, you need to reassert your autonomy and your spiritual adulthood. Yes, you might have all kinds of feelings when you start to do this - that's common. I did. For many of us, we lived in an enchanted distortion field. We were, in some ways, brainwashed. I try not to use that word too often, but it sometimes, it does seem appropriate. Btu as you pull away, as you rediscover your own inner guidance, it is important to keep feeling your autonomy, your own integrity, your own polestar. That inner voice of the guru that is in your head -- that's the brain washing, the programming, because for years, over and over again, these distortions and beliefs were reinforced. So, it takes time to de-program yourself, to confront and realize that the guru's voice in your head is just babble - that isn't true.

Kennett's attempt to interfere with Myozen's further training in Japan, is nothing but an expression of Kennett's personality disorder, her need for control, possession and revenge. I have seen other examples of this with other gurus, some actually much worse. I have seen some gurus threaten the life of disciples who had the audacity to leave. Certainly, many former disciples are told terrible things will happen to them - in this life and in the next lives -- like Kennett did with me with her absurd three dimes curse.

When you reclaim your own spiritual adulthood, it was important to me to really understand that Kennett had NO POWER AT ALL. When I fired her, that was that. This transition can be hard, because until you do leave and terminate the relationship, the guru, in this case Kennett, had all the power -- in the game. I repeat -- in the game -- NOT in real life. The rules of checkers only apply on the checker board - so when you stop playing checkers, the rules no longer work. When you stop playing the game of being the disciple of this or that guru, of Kennett, then those old rules no longer apply. Her power, her control evaporates. In any case, the rules were rigged.

In her small theocratic realm, she makes all the rules - as she goes along -- and those that are enchanted, play by the changing rules, convinced that every new rule and move is all just some form of wonderful Zen teaching. But in reality, this is Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. When you walk away and stop playing the game, for the first time, you can begin to see that it was a game, a crazy game, a limited game, an ego game, in Kennett's ego doll house and all her disciples were just dolls to her. When I first saw that, WOW! A spiritual insight in how these things work, how a distortion field operates.

end of my babbling for now.



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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:50 am

Myozen

I feel that you must have had a tough and confusing time which must have taken some time to put down and resolve,my heart goes to you. Alot of your experiences that you describe I find quite disturbing.

I am actually disturbed by the diry altar at Unpuku-ji . This is a temple that sees no practice,this is not a temple of spiritual practice, dedication, awareness and life. I am assuming that there was one multi functional room,ceremony and zendo.In which case I also assume that Kennett Roshi did not meditate there. A picture is painted of depression, low energy level, lack of direction,someone who is done in. Her source of insiration seems to come from the energy of deciples .

It is almost like Kennett Roshi, managed to get through, a tough time at training temple, was offered the chance to go to America took it,abandoned plans of keeping in contact with Yugo and the temple actully rejects them, and rewrites the training manual for all new recruits,who are led to believe they are experiencing the real thing.She constantly rewrites titles names position colors to give sense of importance certainly sense of self,rewrites what in her opinion a kensho is. I was quite disturbed when Bill Picard told me(only when I asked him) that kennett Roshi asked him alot about his experences and she clearly had no feel about what Bill had experienced. I am sure I remember Daiji saying to me that he felt very confident in Kennett Roshi because of Bills experience I did too we both felt in some way Kennett Roshi was instrumental in the whole experience,but she was not at all.

Kennett Roshi had one thing on her side none of us were experienced in Zazen,none had been to a real temple,we were just told stories that would put us off going,however we did practice zazen,and this did touch our hearts,even to the point when we could see through the facade,For me my point was the lotus stuff,it was not my way,did not connect with my experience.

If I have made assumtions about Unpuku-ji,or any thing else that were not correct I am sorry please let me know.

This journey

To our hearts

Never needed to start
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maisie field



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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:08 pm

Josh

Yes,of course,you can fire a religious teacher-a Zen master or whoever.It is possible to choose not to study with that person.Surely that response is only a component of what we need to do ,us spiritual practitioners.

The religious/spiritual organisation is also part of a society/group/state/nation.

This is the basis of my point about accountability.Shasta is in California,and like it or lump it is a component in the governance of that state.You have posted excellent references to research about the relation of the Japanese Zen Church to a fanatical xenophobic nationalism.Throssel is in Northumberland,a conservative parochial county and region of England.These relationships cannot be ignored.Awkward and clunky as it is to have to integrate into local cultures,pay or withhold taxes,maintain friendly relations with local businessmen and farmers,a community such as a Buddhist temple,quaker meeting ,etc., can't be a realistic,wholesome organisation unless it does so.

One story I have heard about Throssel is that there is a perception amongst local people that the monks"don't do anything".In other words,the monks are not conspicuous in doing social work,as are representatives of the other churches in the area.You won't be surprised to hear this,you know what Zen organisations are like.The expectation that a religious organisation OUGHT to participate in local community life is quite a strong one though.

But this is not my whole point.

My point is that societies as a whole have mechanisms for regulating the behaviour of their members.These mechanisms are faulty,clunky.Yet without them,( I am thinking about Human Rights legislation for instance),much injustice and cruelty could not be tackled.The reported activities of Eko Little amount to harrassment,from what I understand.There are laws on harrassment in Britain,and I believe in the States as well.These laws emerge from the Enlightenment,and the concept of the rights of the individual(" Life,liberty,and the pursuit of happiness....")

It is absurd that organisations such as Shasta and Throssel don't refer to these laws,not as the whole approach to internal regulation,but as a healthy part of it.Other organisations must adhere to policies and procedures .For instance,providers who deal with vulnerable people must have policies that demonstrate a commitment to A Duty Of Care to their users.So ,too,should a religious organisation.People who go to temples,meditation groups and the like,are also citizens,who are protected,albeit patchily,by a legal and legislative system.We don't stop being citizens when we sit in the zendo.And in fact wether they know it ,wether or not it is explicit,these people have a Duty of Care towards us,when we visit their premises.And when I run a meditation group,I have a Duty of Care to the people who come.....

Our country is rapidly sliding towards a culture of de-regulation because we have a far right prime minister.These issues have become even more urgent under the current regime in Britain.

So,those who set themselves up as teachers of buddhism,meditation,etc.,should be subject to the same level of scrutiny as NHS Psychology practitioners and teachers in schools,because those areas relate to the areas within which they operate.

And the organisations they operate within need to have policies and procedures that reflect Good Practice for comparable organisations in the same legislative system.

Right I am done.



Going for a cup of tea now.

Ikuko/maisie
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:16 am

Myozen

Thank you for telling us more on the early days at Unpuku-ji

When you arrived the mind that seeked he way asked permission to practice the old temple came to life through simple practice of zazen

wooden figures sing

Kannon statues smiles
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:56 am

Sorry I could have been clearer in what i said .

The dust on the altar troubles me,I think you too or you would not have mentioned it. The harsh reality is this was not a practice temple, there was no practice,practice was in limbo,undefined no direction when you guys turn up it starts,you clean up,make a place to sit,and practice begins. This is unbalanced practice,as the life the energy, the mind that seeks the way is coming from the new people. The inspiration to sit to find Buddha Mind. A good teacher will always admire and respect and draw strength from beginners mind,but then a good teacher will only be ever starting an open road for the first time.What I want to pay my respect to is the start of the effort that did help me and certainly led me back to Japan,This simple effort did start at Unpuku-ji ,with the simple act of cleaning the altar.

Gassho
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:38 am

The past

Our karma

Just dust on the altar
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:33 pm

hi Myozen - I'm sorry we took your thread so far astray. Several times I've debated doing a topic split & may still do, but I'll post a notice first -- it can be confusing when posts disappear and pop up elsewhere.

I hope this question is all right to ask publicly, if not, no worries - did you have any qualms about engaging with a new teacher after severing ties with Kennett? I'm wondering if there was residual mistrust or wariness that had to be overcome?
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myozen

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:46 am

Lise, I really do feel privileged to be part of this thread, whatever direction the conversation takes. I am still not up to speed with developments at Shasta Abbey after I left - I am still learning to understand the issues through the forum, and found George's post very interesting. The only comment I feel I could make is that since each person is affected differently by their respective experiences with Kennett Roshi - whether "positive" or "negative" - perhaps the important thing is that we each are taking our own responsibility for what we post here. I feel that there is a ground-breaking (not quite the word I am looking for) process going on in this forum on the level of the individual person's heart as well as developments in relations with the OBC organization (sorry this sentence is so clumsy).

I do not mind your question at all. When I returned to Japan after severing ties with Kennett Roshi I did not have the inclination to enter into the dance with a "new" teacher, largely due to weariness and wariness after all the dramatics, so I became the student of a trusted friend whom I had met before encountering Kennett Roshi. At the time I met him he was an unsui (the guest master) at the Soto monastery in Nagoya where I had just started attending zazen sessions during Rohatsu sesshin. When I told him in 1968 that I wanted to become a monk he immediately said he understood how I felt since he had decided to become a monk at the age of 8 (whereas others had reminded me that Zen training was hard, or that I could not have chocolate any more!). He was very supportive and also wrote to me on occasion while I was at Shasta Abbey, inciting Kennett Roshi's curiosity.


Chisan, I loved your poem - "wooden figures sing, Kannon statue smiles." When you say, "the old temple came to life through simple practice of zazen" it so touchingly reflects the process that took place there. The Kegon priest Myoe - a contemporary of Dogen Zenji - wrote, "Every time you enter the practice hall, imagine that the living Buddha is there; and, in the presence of the living Tathagata, set straight your aspirations. When you think of an object carved of wood or drawn in a picture as a living being, then it is a living being" (quoted in Helmut Brinker's study of the empowerment of Buddhist images). This quote also reminded me of when I first arrived at Unpuku-ji as a lay person when it was still uncertain whether I could stay in Japan if I changed my reason for being there in relation to my visa. I sat alone in front of the Kannon and made vows to become a monk no matter what.

May I mention something further as a side note which now seems relevant, though a rather odd conversation with Kennett Roshi? At Unpuku-ji Kennett Roshi one day said to me, "There is a diagramme of the layout of a monastery that is missing from my transmission papers. Do you know it?" This diagramme appeared in the monks' handbook published in Japanese by Soto Headquarters (the Shuryo Hikkei which my friend, later to be my teacher, had given me when I told him I was thinking of becoming a monk), so I showed it to her. "That's it!" she said, and then copied the diagramme out of this handbook. In this schema the Sanmon gate is where the legs meet the trunk of the human body, the Butsuden Buddha Hall is the heart, the Hatto Dharma Hall is the head, the right arm/hand is the Sodo Monks' Hall, the left hand/arm is the Jikido refectory, the Tosu lavatory is the right foot, and the Yokushitsu bathroom is the left foot.

This is more backtracking, (I am always behind with responses!) but I feel your question regarding acknowledgement of achievement in koan practice at the Rinzai monastery ties in with the current conversation. I was participating in the zazenkai (the other two members were elderly gentlemen) as a lay person, so I am not certain of how matters were conducted in the case of monks. No mention was ever made of anyone's accomplishments, in my presence anyway. There did not seem to be an atmosphere of competition and I believe that training just continued for each individual with no kind of open indication of achievement. I was only there from April to December 1968 and I keep babbling about this monastery because this was my introduction to Buddhism and where I converted, and there are only really inspiring memories of the place. Camaraderie and pranks, but it was strict, as you experienced at Ryuo-ji yourself, Chisan. I feel Kennett Roshi probably missed out on such an experience of inter-action with unsui peers, a kind of bonding as an unsui, and that this reflects in the manner she related to her students.

Thank you for the discussion about Unpuku-ji - this little temple was the birthplace of Kennett Roshi's independent life as a teacher.

Gassho,

Myozen
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:52 am

myozen wrote:
I feel Kennett Roshi probably missed out on such an experience of inter-action with unsui peers, a kind of bonding as an unsui, and that this reflects in the manner she related to her students.

Myozen, I think that you are right on the mark here.

In essence, she was in Sojiji--with no peers, or colleagues, or friends.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:01 am

I am in two minds wheather to start with the lay out of the temple or the pranks! Seeing you went to a Rinzai temple I will start with the lay out!

When Ikko Roshi returned to Japan after the war he was installed as Abbott of Zuoi-ji Temple. Feeling that he lacked experience he asked Hashimoto Roshi to come and be the resident teacher. Eventually Hashimoto Roshi agreed as long as the temple which needed restoring was built exactly as Dogen had prescribed.Ikko Roshi raised the funds from the people of Niihama and built the temple in the right way.the lay out of course matches your description. Ikko Roshi remained the inexperienced Abbott and Hashimoto Roshi became the teacher godo roshi. All the main teachers including Kodo Sawaki would also teach there,I believe Ikko Roshi looked after both old monks when they died.

The pranks, reprimands, jokes with the Abbott are so vital as you say, if you sat like a rock but would not laugh like a clown you would have one sided practice..

No mention was ever made of anyone's accomplishments, maybe because insight is not accomplished, the reality of our lives is the reality of our lives, the vastness of the present moment can never be possessed.

In search of enlightenment

I distanced myself from

all beings
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:26 am

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
...the vastness of the present moment can never be possessed.

Indeed it cannot. Well said, as always, Michael.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:58 am

:-) Hi Myozen!

It's taken me a while to get back to you. Thank you so much for answering my query and for posting other information. I reread the thread yesterday -- till Lise makes the snip, this may be one of the longest in OBCC history!

I am so sorry that you went through such upsetting events, and am glad that you have found viewing and sharing on this forum beneficial. (-:

PS I should have added that I did not read your post in a bleary haze but noted the there were improprieties, and was going to post to save your honour but you spotted it first!
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:23 am

A little off topic, but...
Dear Myozen,

I just want to add my welcome to the forum. I remember you from stories RMJK would tell about her early years in Unpuku-ji.

And Dear Chisan,

Your poems are lovely. Ah, the simplicity of zen. Just start by dusting the altar.

When I read your entries this a.m., it seemed as though I was transported back to a bright, summer morning so many years ago when in a moment I knew it was all just that simple and beautiful. Today it is another moment of hope and relief as I have been disintergrating in grief since the recent, sudden death of my brother, Lars, followed two days later by my cat, Puddy.

Yesterday, I picked up Puddy's ashes. Tomorrow I'll drive to Seattle to attend the ceremonies for my brother. But today, I think I'll dust.

my great gratitude to you all,

~mokuan
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:22 pm

:-) Josh, in earlier posts you've mentioned that JK saw every departure as a betrayal and personal rejection, and that people who left Shasta were usually first demonized for a few years before vanishing from the history of the organisation. Was this the case only with people who left after overt disagreement with her, or overtly on some issue in which she believed she was right and they were wrong, or did it also apply to people who politely resigned with no overt dispute?

I know you found the three dimes gesture insulting, though I've read elsewhere that JK spoke of you fondly after your departure. Did you leave after an exchange of bullets or did you go quietly?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:56 pm

Dear Mokuan

I am so pleased you like the poems, and I am very sorry you had close bereavments in your family...they do hurt.



Sometimes

All the love in the world

Is never quite enough

to send to you
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:37 pm

Dear Mokuan,
My condolences on your bereavements. So sorry. One does not always know how to convey what is in one's heart, but Chisan expressed it so beautifully in his poem.
Thank you for your warm welcome - it is so good to meet you.


Chisan, I noticed that I had inadvertently renamed your temple in Niihama from Zuio-ji to Ryuo-ji (Dragon King)! I think I was experiencing low glucose levels while I was communicating last night. Kennett Roshi has come to my mind in some unexpected ways through the years, such as my also being diagnosed with diabetes in Cape Town: I clearly remembered Kennett Roshi sitting in her chair in her house at Shasta Abbey after her diagnosis and saying, "Quick, hand me a chocolate bar, I feel faint!"
Great story about Ikko Roshi being able to acknowledge his feeling of inexperience at the time. Such an open heart and mind can lead to so many wonderful things.

Anne, hi! Thank you for having noticed the improprieties! Perry thought it was funny when I told him - I do not know how to spell the Haisla colloquial word he responded with (the Haisla dictionary/word list we have has 20 pages pertaining to pronunciation and spelling. Large, double-spaced type, though ...) It is so wonderful in a way sharing stories of times with Kennett Roshi - they were not all thorny times - since these stories are part of our collective history and round out so many puzzling issues.

Gassho,
Myozen
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:57 pm

Myozen, well you know you have been accepted here and are regarded as family when Anne notes your improprieties,it's a little like passing through the gateless gate,when it gets to the stage of personal messages with corrections comments and marks out of 10 please let me know.

you did say

When I returned to Japan in 1976, it seems that Kennett Roshi was unfortunately not in good standing with Soto Headquarters - I do not know if this was later addressed or not. I believe that her departure for the United States was a statement of her independence, so Soto Headquarters would not have mattered

Why was kennett Roshi not in good standing?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:49 am

I am so happy to be regarded as family - thank you, Chisan. It is making such a tremendous difference in my life.

Perry teased me a lot about that typo - I will be taking special care to mindfully check everything before sending!

Kennett Roshi's standing with Soto Headquarters in 1976 primarily had to do with her leaving Unpuku-ji and Japan without notice or discussion. I did not ask further questions at the time (it would probably have been wise to do so?) - my concern had been to properly register my change of teachers and continue with training, so I do not know what all the specifics/implications were or whether this situation was attended to or sorted out later on. My feeling then was that it probably did not matter to Kennett Roshi since she had established her own organization and monastery in the United States. I did not expect the later developments leading to leaving Japan myself!

We had a surprise visit from a large black bear in the back yard the other day, so they must now be foraging in preparation for hibernation mode.

Gassho,
Myozen
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:28 pm

Hello everyone -- if you're looking for the rap poetry (creative and well-done, I think) or the discussion around OBC leadership's willingness to acknowledge all of who Kennett was, please go to the category "Why is OBC Connect here?" and see the thread titled "Seeing the whole -- Kennett's legacy of shadows and light".
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:47 am

Myozen wrote:
This reminds me of the official story that Kennett Roshi had stopped by in San Francisco on her way to England to establish a temple or Zen centre in London with Soto Headquarters blessing, but decided to remain in San Francisco. After Kennett Roshi received the invitation/suggestion to move to San Francisco from Claude Dalenberg while we were in Unpuku-ji, she immediately started planning for the move - visas, arrangements for transportation of possessions to San Francisco. She commented, "I have packed everything except the kitchen sink!" Kennett Roshi only went to England after she had set up the Zen centre in San Francisco. Prior to this, the establishment of a temple or Zen centre in London had not been mentioned or discussed in Unpuku-ji, as far as I can recall. I have often wondered why she had not set out for England, returning home, to begin with if she had received the mandate from Koho Zenji/Soto Headquarters? Although Unpuku-ji was a charming little temple and the village environment very scenic and peaceful, she did not like being there perhaps due to what she perceived of as cultural confines or limitations. Perhaps she also had larger hopes and dreams which could not be realized there. It is quite remarkable when one thinks of the subsequent scope of her creativity at Shasta Abbey.
:-) This is Jiyu's account of the founding of Shasta Abbey, as it appears in Lenore Friedman's Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America (publ. 1987)...

Lenore wrote:
The setting of the abbey is so beautiful, portentous even -- but Roshi Kennett declares it was purely an accident.

"I came to the United States to give some lectures but had no intention of staying here at all. I had been in Japan, at a little temple I'd been made priest of, and had been very ill and they'd operated on me, but the doctors couldn't find out what was wrong. When I was offered this job to come over here and do some lectures, I thought, well, why not get myself checked out by a Western doctor at the same time? At the time I wasn't at all sure what I was going to do. I presumed I would probably go back to Japan. Or maybe go on to England if I was found too ill to return to Japan. This was the spring of 1969. They'd operated on me in the autumn of '67 and I'd gradually found that my legs were losing their power to move. I was getting to the state where I couldn't walk. I came over here and in less than a month I collapsed, and they took me along to UC hospital. They discovered I had diabetes. I had got it somehow or other from malnutrition in the temple and possibly something done wrong in the operations. It looked like all the electrolytes had been messed up. And I was now incapable of walking at all. But I started getting better, thanks to the help I was getting at UC.

"In the meantime, a bunch of people had gathered around me -- a lot of them were people who had been with me in Japan. They'd been with the armed forces there, Americans. They were saying, 'Why don't you stay in America and run a temple here?' I'd no intention of doing this when I came over. I said, 'Well, I want to go home to England first, and I may possibly go back to Japan, I just don't know.'

"I'd been in Japan eight, going on nine years. And I'd made no arrangements. I didn't want to resign from my temple. I owned it, I was the legal priest of it, and at that stage I really thought I was going to get better and go back and live the life at my temple again."

"Did you say you owned it?"

"Well, I was the official priest of it. By law in Japan the priest of a temple owns it -- I mean he owns it and he doesn't really own it -- you know what I mean? Anyway, I went on to England the following April when I was able to move again reasonably. I could never really walk properly again. When I got to England it was very obvious that they were not interested in Soto Zen. They want only Rinzai there, thanks to the influence of Toby Humphreys. And I kept receiving letters from people over here saying how much they'd like me to return. So I came back over and started a small temple in San Francisco.

"Within a very short time we discovered that the building wasn't big enough. So we found a place in Oakland, a very nice large house up in the hills overlooking Lake Merritt. But then that became too small. I think within two weeks we had fifteen people who wanted to live there. They were the actual people who had been with me in Japan, or their relatives or friends. Very serious. But we'd got absolutely no cash. And here we are, developing a training monastery! And the temple is getting bigger and bigger, bulging at the seams.

"It occurred to me that we might be able to find something bigger in the country districts that was reasonably close to a freeway so that people could come and stay and visit. One thing I hadn't reckoned on was the size of America. A temple in San Francisco isn't much use to someone living in Newark, New Jersey. That being so, it didn't really matter where we put it because the majority of them were not in San Francisco, they were all over the place. And since they would be coming in for weekends or weeks at a time, any place that was reasonably easy to get to was going to work. That opened up a big possibility.

"We started looking on the freeway for a suitable building and land that would do the job. And by accident, completely by accident, we stopped off in Mount Shasta on one occasion to get some gas for the car. Anytime we stopped off, we'd ask, 'Are there any big houses for sale here? What land is for sale?' And this time they said, 'Oh, there's a lovely old motel down the road. But the only thing it's fit for is a monastery!' Nobody else would buy it. It was almost fifteen acres, right beside the freeway, and it was just the perfect place to be developed."
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:09 am

It's a lot of words to wade through Anne, but is seems like two different accounts of he same event
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:22 pm

Anne wrote:

:-) This is Jiyu's account of the founding of Shasta Abbey, as it appears in Lenore Friedman's Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America (publ. 1987)...

Lenore wrote:
The setting of the abbey is so beautiful, portentous even -- but Roshi Kennett declares it was purely an accident.

"In the meantime, a bunch of people had gathered around me -- a lot of them were people who had been with me in Japan. They'd been with the armed forces there, Americans. They were saying, 'Why don't you stay in America and run a temple here?' I'd no intention of doing this when I came over. I said, 'Well, I want to go home to England first, and I may possibly go back to Japan, I just don't know.'

I arrived at Shasta Abbey in the Spring of 1971, only a few months after JK and the group had relocated there from Oakland, so can't comment directly on the accuracy of what came before. I can say though that while JK had not given up on the possibility of establishing a temple in England she had her doubts and she was hedging her bets by founding SA first. That seems perfectly reasonable since she had a dedicated group in the US and it was uncertain how much support she had in England. When Mark (Daiji) acquired Throssel JK spent the Summer there for a few consecutive years, trying to get things off the ground. She expressed uncertainty during that period regarding whether to make SA or Throssel her primary base, but it's not clear how seriously she considered returning to England. I can say that I never heard JK express any interest in returning to Unpuku-ji, or Japan in general - to the contrary actually.

The quotes from Meetings with Remarkable Women present a very neat and orderly history - it would be interesting to hear from others who were with JK in San Francisco and Oakland as I expect there is more complexity and nuance to these stories.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:26 pm

Anne, when I read your quote from Meetings with Remarkable Women the question that came to mind is - was this how Kennett Roshi remembered the events, or was she being deliberately creative in her account for a purpose?

I feel rather hesitant to say this (as it perhaps represents an answer to the above question), but based upon her letters and the draft sections of WWG she sent me, it seems that she would surmise something, then begin believing the scenarios in her mind, eventually presenting them as fact?
It is a bit tricky/difficult since Kennett Roshi is no longer here and one cannot discuss these issues with her to clarify them ...


Isan, as you say, Kennett Roshi did not express interest in returning to Unpuku-ji - while involved with her in the process of packing and making arrangements to go to San Francisco, it seemed quite clear that she was leaving Japan behind her. She appeared to be healthy and in good spirits and was decisive about this move; I remember that she was enthusiastic and seemed quite inspired by the prospect.

Gassho,
Myozen
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:11 pm

Myozen this is all so silly. I mean what is the problem with the truth. Why cold Kennett Roshi simply say what was true what did she write ...what is true is greater than what is holy.

I remember she told me that when she moved to San Francisco a researcher or psycologist someone like that wanted to test the effect of meditation on the brain waves. Kennett Roshi agreed to the test and had probes taped to her head. The researcher was amazed that Kennett Roshi's brain waves did not alter,whereas other peoples did.rather tha risk a negative comment,she quickly added that she was humming the Beethoven fifth...I was well impressed great ability to think on her feet and stay in front...

Liked the story of the bear do you live next to the forest?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:29 am

Myozen -- i think it would be fine for you to share more specifically some examples of how what she wrote in the WWG was not in sync with your experience..... it might be useful to see some specifics of how Kennett characterized what was going on......

Yes, Kennett is long gone, but it is not about that she is not here to "defend herself." It is about figuring out who she really was, what happened - from all our different points of view - without playing by her rules or necessarily accepting things on face value or only her version of reality. For too long, we all worried way too much about Kennett's feelings, not upsetting her, first because we were all trying to be good disciples, but also because disagreeing with her often resulted in being attacked, etc .

So please share some examples here. Good to get all this out in the open - at least, that's my point of view.

I was with her at Throssel the summer she wrote the WWG - and she did NOT have extensive journals. As far as I could tell, she only kept a kind of simple diary for the first nine months or year she was in Japan. I saw it and read through it. After that, she did not keep any journals. When she was writing the WWG, she was just dictating from memory - and this was 10 years later. I was there for every minute of this process - for months - and she was NOT writing from diaries or journals at all.

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:31 am

Myozen, also, i have a question. When you were with Kennett in Japan, how much or little did she sit zazen, meditate? Did you all meditate together every day or rarely? Did you do any retreats together? Did Kennett doing any private meditation or retreats?

There has been some discussion on this board about this issue. What is your experience with Kennett with regard to zazen?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:57 am

Hi - we just spent four days doing more yard work for a friend since the weather is clear at present. We are rather tired!

Chisan, we live against a high forested hill (mountain) with a popular hiking trail to the summit. In winter we usually are visited by deer in the back yard, the mothers bringing their fawns along. Terrace is surrounded by mountains so forests are close-by everywhere. When my teacher first came to visit, I had flown down to Vancouver to meet him - on the aircraft on the way back he had been looking out the window with much interest and when we were nearing Terrace he finally asked, "Where do the people live?"

Josh, I found your explanation very interesting that Kennett Roshi did not have extensive journals and that she dictated from memory at the time WWG was being written. I have not read WWG - a friend picked up a copy which he showed to me; looking through it I realized that she had created a "fictitious" disciple consisting of Mokurai and myself. The only draft sections I have read are those pertaining to me which she had sent me. On February 28th, 1974 Kennett Roshi wrote to me regarding permission to write about me in WWG - she was mentioning my "guilt possession" which was a bit of a surprise! I responded by requesting to see the sections pertaining to me - my main concern then was as to how she would portray the suicide of my friend. On April 23rd, 1974 she sent me the draft sections with a letter stating, "I must confess I am deeply surprised that our relations have degenerated so far that you cannot trust me in this matter. All others whom I have written to have so far done so. I can only presume the special relationship that you have always said was between us is now lost due to your marriage. The master-disciple relationship is based on trust. I did not think that I would have to ever point this out to you. P.S. If you really feel badly about the publication of any of this I can cut you out of my book completely; it this is what you prefer." I requested her to leave me out of her book, and this resulted in the severing of ties with her.

The sections she attached were rather startling and so contrived that I felt at the time that Kennett Roshi had composed these to castigate me for asking to see the content of the sections to be included in WWG - the sections cast me in a negative light, with no mention of the translating work, the zafu and robe making, the ceremonies I was responsible for with the parish households. In her draft she wrote - dated within days of my arrival at Unpuku-ji - "The girl is not very discriminating and could easily be lured by flattery. If she is my legal disciple she will at least have a modicum of protection whilst in Japan." In these sections, covering the period from December 23rd, 1968 to November 3rd, 1969, she writes of me as being "obviously taken in by" and "showing pleasure at" the attention I was receiving from the Japanese because I could speak Japanese. She adds: "One of the things that worries me about her is that she is so much more interested in things Japanese than she seems to be in genuine Buddhism. I feel that she is in love with Japan and the Japanese rather than religion. I cannot help thinking that if it had not been for the untimely death of the young man of which she speaks she would never have entered a temple at all. I sincerely hope that I am wrong."

As to the manner in which she represented my friend's suicide - I very much respected his family for the warmth and reassurance they offered me at the time, feeling concerned that I would feel responsible and guilty. She knew that he had committed suicide after the news that I was planning "to enter a temple", yet she wrote in her draft: "She is completely haunted by guilt implanted by his family". She adds five days later: "The exorcism of the ghost that had been haunting Muriel [me] was completely successful. If it hadn't been I tremble to think what may have happened to her." Kennett Roshi had put a complete opposite spin to the unfortunate happening.

The other sections deal at length with her concern over priests and nuns trying to "induce" me, "doing everything in their power" to convince me to leave her and joint them, saying that I was flattered by their intentions and that it was "obvious that much trouble was going to come of this unless I do something quickly." The feeling that arose when I re-read these sections so many years later was that it was so sad - I would not have left her due to any of these perceived enticements, especially not to join someone who was overtly trying to lure me away from my teacher. An entry reads, "I spoke to the priest who helped me mend the hondo about the constant attempts to seduce Muriel and he has suggested that we send a notification to all the temples in the area, saying that I have these two young trainees, the rules under which we live ..."
When I checked my own diary entry for this particular date, I had recorded that I had spent the entire working on her translations with her. The dates in these sections which she presented as journal entries do not match any of the events recorded in my diary for the respective dates.

Josh, I recall that when I first arrived at Unpuku-ji I mainly did zazen on my own - when I went to sit in the hondo for the first time Kennett Roshi's kitten Pyewacket, came to sit in my hands - it was so welcoming! I did not receive zazen instructions from Kennett Roshi, probably because she knew I had been sitting at the Rinzai monastery and later at the Soto one. It appeared to me at the time that zazen was not a focus at Unpuku-ji - just an "ordinary" life was being led. I did not make a special note of this in my diary, but I believe a regular schedule was initiated and followed after Mokurai returned from Korea, and Tokusan also joined us. We moved zazen to the Chisan-do on June 12th and we had regular scheduled zazen sessions there. Kennett Roshi's friend (the priest who helped with the hondo repairs) faithfully attempted to win support for Kennett Roshi and he used to come for a more-or-less weekly zazenkai attended by himself and a parishioner from another town whom he introduced. There was a sesshin in July 1969 attended by a few other other practicioners from Europe and the U.S. At one point a small group of Catholic nuns spent a few days in Unpuku-ji. I believe that Kennett Roshi at first was teaching Mokurai and myself in accordance with Soto practice, and I very much enjoyed our study sessions in the small communal room. Later things started changing in the sense of a division in our small sangha all related to my speaking Japanese. On one occasion I questioned her, confronting her on these issues, and she basically stated that it was all my shortcoming in not recognizing/grasping what she was trying to teach me.

I am sorry that I cannot comment regarding WWG as a whole and that I have written of matters mostly pertaining to myself as a result.

Kennett Roshi was skillful at turning events to present any form of questioning as the student's lack of realizing the point - so I found that I was constantly questioning my own integrity and at times felt that I was breaking (the English word escapes me now!) some or other unknown rule simply by breathing ... I wonder if this is how other students also felt.

Life with Kennett Roshi was truly a conundrum!

Thank you for letting me write and share this.

Gassho,
Myozen
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:55 am

How bizarre.

my inital response to this post Myozen, is practice bendowa in temples goes on..nothing special floors are cleaned sutras chanted we sleep and eat, within this simple life deep spiritualty can be shared. Yet the moment one tries to teach or talk about zen an interpretation creeps in. For me Shasta was full of this interpretation and a stamping of feet,or sending Josh to the goat shed if the interpretation was not adhered to.

Real zazen

Ah

Dead flowers on the altar
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:22 am

:-) Myozen, how sad that there was so much misunderstanding by your teacher. Of course, it's not done intentionally; but in that situation even trying to explain can be taken as proof of ones perceived 'error'!...one is trying to worm ones way out of things, or is too blind to see! It's a kind of cautionary tale against trying to 'reduce' someone to something one can grasp...the intentions may be good but oh dear! It's an example of what I might have done had I been a Zen teacher years ago! (I've got a lot younger since then but I'm sure I'm still accident-prone! bom (perhaps I shouldn't 'look' quite so cheerful about it!)) I suppose part of the draft explains some of Jiyu's responses to your fluency in Japanese.

FYI... According to WWG, on 24th January 1966 (obviously that may not have been the date!:-) she received a letter from Seck Kim Seng, abbot of the Malaysian temple, promising her a ticket to Malaysia later that year -- "he wants me there for at least three months". According to WWG she sailed from Japan on 30th September 1966, and arrived back in Yokohama on (or maybe a bit before) 10th December.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:27 pm

Of course, it's not done intentionally

I actually think kennett Roshi intended to do everything she did,and intended to say everything she said
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:08 pm

myozen wrote:

Kennett Roshi was skillful at turning events to present any form of questioning as the student's lack of realizing the point - so I found that I was constantly questioning my own integrity and at times felt that I was breaking (the English word escapes me now!) some or other unknown rule simply by breathing


Isn't this "questioning" the thing that we are (or were?) trying to do?

I've never had any change happen to me without some sincere questioning of entrenched parts of my personality. That's how I've managed (a couple of times) to like someone I hate.

I was under the impression that when one signs up to become a monk it is the equivalent of vowing that everything that happens from then on becomes a tool for changing oneself (opinionated,bossy teachers included).

That's a potentially dangerous situation, of course.

I may have adopted some kind of obc bias concerning that. What d'yall think?


By the way Myozen, I know you are just recounting events for the sake of filling in details but I felt like saying a few things before the obc-sharks come and feed on Kennet's past behaviour! cool
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:37 pm

Interesting points glorfindel

I am curious to know if you sit zazen to change yourself?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:19 pm

Thanks for the post Myozen,I think in an effort to understand some of the things that happened to us,we are looking very finely at kennett Roshi. I would like to know after Mokurai returned from Korea and you had a regular shedule, did that shedule include zazen,and did kennett Roshi sit zazen with you all

I hope you are all okay over there
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:03 am

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
Interesting points glorfindel

I am curious to know if you sit zazen to change yourself?

Well, since obc connect I have stopped sitting! I think I will get back to it one day as it did make life better.

I'm not sure I sat specifically to change myself. I liked all the wild visions and the way it made my imagination deep and fluid. That was my personal 'pull'. Sitting definitely beats drugs.

But having said that, it is actually the "change events" that seem to be what it is all about. It is those events that allow me to look at things in fresh ways and allow me to actually be nice to my mum (for at least a few days).

I judge the validity of all meditation experiences on my following behaviour toward my mum! (I'm not kidding!)


I am aware of the view that zen is the present moment. Things are as they are etc etc. But if some kind of change isn't happening, wont we just be having a Buddhist tea party? Siddharta's original sangha were an extreme and radical bunch (in my view). Also, according to the stories, Siddharta had visions under the Bodhi tree that make Kennet's visions look like old cartoons.
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:12 am

I done wrote:
:-) Myozen, how sad that there was so much misunderstanding by your teacher. Of course, it's not done intentionally
Chisan wrote:
I actually think kennett Roshi intended to do everything she did,and intended to say everything she said
:-) I am a trifle confused, CMH, (as I am sure you will agree:-) Can it be true that you are saying Kennett Roshi intended to misunderstand, Myozen?

Or do you mean that you doubt she misunderstood but instead chose knowingly to misrepresent Myozen (in the 'character' of Muriel)?

Or ?...

Eagerly I await your illuminating reply (-: Idea Idea Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:39 am

glorfindel wrote:
Also, according to the stories, Siddharta had visions under the Bodhi tree that make Kennet's visions look like old cartoons.

Good point. Why is the traditional story of the Buddha's enlightenment left out of the discussion of Jiyu Kennett's visions?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:04 am

:-) Myozen, when Kennett Roshi sent you the draft sections in 1974, did she say that she had 'tweaked' details to create "Muriel"? If not, did you weigh up whether to explain to her that this was not how things were? (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:08 pm

Anne I find it hard to believe that misunderstand Myozen,why not talk it over,why bring things to an end like this. I think kennett Roshi intend to do and say what she did and said. She misrepresented Myozen (unless I have misread it) and did not sort it out.Myozen was a loyal follower a one to one chat would have been quite positive.

Isan The Buddha died thousand of years ago,kennett Roshi was in a room with people who witnessed her being Jesus and Bodidharma,she called it the Third Kensho well we have free speech you can call it what you like.It is not for me I walked
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:23 pm

Glorfindel I think mums are so important and it is a good thing that it appears your zazen helped that relationship,maybe an unexpected benefit

I think one of the problems with drugs is one has no control over what one actually takes,I mean by the ingredients,I know someone who died from a dodgy heroin hit,he died very quickly ,and the hybrid varieties of grass get stronger as they are forced and hybridised,I think these do have a long term effect on the brain. I think from what I see that the illusory nature of alot of drugs makes it harder to see things clearly, however a long term user tends to feel a bit eletist,and think that they do see things clearly
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:48 pm

Sorry having a dyslexic day brain and hand not in sync

Anne I find it hard to believe that kennet Roshi misunderstood Myozen,why not talk it over,why bring things to an end like this. I think kennett Roshi intended to do and say what she did and said. She misrepresented Myozen (unless I have misread it) and did not sort it out.Myozen was a loyal follower a one to one chat would have been quite positive.

Isan The Buddha died thousand of years ago,kennett Roshi was in a room with people who witnessed her being Jesus and Bodidharma,she called it the Third Kensho well we have free speech you can call it what you like.It is not for me I walked
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:17 pm

:-) Perhaps I have misunderstood, but some draft sections seem to echo Myozen's observations of misunderstandings during the period December 23rd, 1968 to November 3rd, 1969.

For example, in an earlier post (http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t537p50-myozen-delport#8808)...
Myozen wrote:
Since early childhood I had studied Japanese and had planned to go to Japan and remain there. I decided to leave Japan with Kennett Roshi because she had said, "with you it is Japan first and then Buddhism."
In the draft, Kennett Roshi wrote:
One of the things that worries me about her is that she is so much more interested in things Japanese than she seems to be in genuine Buddhism. I feel that she is in love with Japan and the Japanese rather than religion.
In the above post...
Myozen wrote:
Unfortunately the matter of my speaking, reading and writing Japanese soon became a bone of contention in Kennett Roshi's mind. It was a bit confusing to me as a new monk that she resented this ability while also immediately utilizing it for her book translations and correspondence. The thing is, to me speaking Japanese and getting along with the Japanese was nothing special. When I was 4 years old in 1949 my father took me hunting for books on Japan since I had been babbling about wanting to go there.
In another post (http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t537p50-myozen-delport#8841), Myozen mentioned that she could not fathom why her speaking Japanese would have been a problem, and thought maybe that Kennett Roshi felt it was "showing her up". According to the draft-section, Kennett Roshi believed Myozen was "obviously taken in by" and "showing pleasure at" the attention she was receiving from the Japanese because she could speak Japanese.

In that same post, Myozen mentioned Kennett Roshi misunderstanding her reasons for burning candles after the death of the young man who, on learning of Myozen's decision to become a monk, committed suicide...
Myozen wrote:
After I was ordained by Kennett Roshi I told her that I felt I had to train extra hard since someone had ended their life over this. I meant a taking of responsibility for my decision. Kennett Roshi drew the conclusion that I was filled with guilt which I felt I had to expiate, and that he was haunting me (as in being a ghost) since she noticed I burned candles at night in my room. I do not know why I did not tell her that the candles had to do with something else. In the countryside where I grew up in South Africa there was no electricity or running water until I was about 15 years old. I used to read my penfriends' letters by candle or lamp light, and I loved its coziness especially on rainy winter nights. In Unpuku-ji when I would wake up during the night I would light the candle on my altar and do zazen. I loved the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha I had since I had watched the carver complete it over a period of several weeks in Nagoya; it was my first statue as a newly converted Buddhist. In all events, Kennett Roshi put me in "tangaryo" and would solidly whack me several times a day with the kyosaku to provide penance practice. I recall her biting her lip when she saw the blisters on my shoulders - she quickly brought ointment. This sounds terrible now in the telling, but at the time I understood what she was trying to do and I appreciated her attempts while feeling that she had misread the situation.
In the draft, Kennett Roshi wrote:
I cannot help thinking that if it had not been for the untimely death of the young man of which she speaks she would never have entered a temple at all. I sincerely hope that I am wrong ... She is completely haunted by guilt implanted by his family ... The exorcism of the ghost that had been haunting Muriel [Myozen] was completely successful. If it hadn't been I tremble to think what may have happened to her.
In the above quote, Kennett Roshi, also got the sequence of events wrong -- the young man ended his life after learning of Myozen's decision to become a monk, not the other way around.

:-) Myozen, you have been so good in sharing details with us about these sad and perplexing matters. I hope that I am not being utterly insensitive to ask you -- in Kennett Roshi's draft, if the young man died before "Muriel" decided to become a monk, what did the "guilt implanted by his family" relate to?
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:52 pm

Well interesting Anne, you have the brain of...whatever it i that has a big brain!

Retracing all the bits,I am biased but I think JK writes dispargingly about Myozen,to write about someone whom one has ordained, in an offish way it does not seem quite right,I am biased.I think Myozen shows us great resolve and desire for the way; to go back to Japan and practice zazen again.I greatly respect her,it seems not right to say she has more interest in Japanese things.

But anyway these things are said and done but before going to print it would be much wiser to talk things over,indeed if Myozen had issues that JK thought she had surely it woulld be more helpful to talk things over try and help, I may have misunderstood all this but that is how I see it
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:58 pm

One of the great values of this forum is the sharing of the experiences that we all went through and trying to see them in more than one light, not forced through the lens / myth of the perfect master. We can acknowledge feelings, shadows, uncertainties, complexities, all the rest. Thanks, Myozen for sharing.

Jumping back to visions, we have talked a lot of about all this, and no time to go into depth here. "According to the stories about the Buddha" -- the key word here is "stories." The Buddha had visions. So here are some questions:

The Buddha had visions. Is that true? How do we "know" this? By what path does this information come down to us? Who wrote the stories about the Buddha's life and when? Who said it, who wrote it? and when? Could this information have been changed or edited over the years? By who and when and why and for what purpose? Why would some people change or expand a story? Can we assume that the established stories are true -- 100%, 90%, 50%, 10% or zero percent? What's essential or important when reading these old texts? And how do we relate to them now?

Did the Buddha teach that people should have or encourage visions? Did the Buddha teach that people should have visions of him or some cosmic or imagined version of him? Did he teach that after his death, people should pray to him, invoke him, visualize him, talk to him, chant his name? Did he teach that he would save people - during his lifetime or after his death -- from disasters, snakes, earthquakes, disease, fire, and floods?

These are all interesting things to discuss - sometimes. Religious stories and myths are hugely significant in our world. The wars being waged right now in the Middle East - they are all about religious stories, deeply believed, unquestioned - tales about ONE TRUE GOD and only one prophet or savior and a promised land for "chosen people" - and what happens when some people question or challenge a story and come up with a different version - I posted the story about Jesus having a wife - that story alone - forgetting the "reality" - would upset so many people.

Here is a good koan for meditation: Who am I without any stories?

enough babble for right now.

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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:43 pm

I love the Jesus wife story,unfortunately it always makes me laugh as I always think of Todd.

Ancient papyrus


Todd jumps in


Ground macadamia nuts
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:38 pm

Yup, without evidence we can't really say diddly squat about the Buddha. However, I don't need to sit for much more than a day before I start getting all sorts of wacky visionary experiences. In fact, I have met very few people for whom meditation does not have this effect. It's not far fetched to assume that this was also the case for Shakyamuni (if he existed).

You guys....when you were monks, were you not getting into states of absorption from time to time? Wasn't it a bit trippy?


And by the way Michael I totally agree with you about drugs and how they lead to bad places and also arrogance. I don't indulge Smile
Although I'm curious about what reindeer pee does for the laplanders (after the reindeer eat Fly Agaric).
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:45 pm

Jcbaran wrote:


Jumping back to visions, we have talked a lot of about all this, and no time to go into depth here. "According to the stories about the Buddha" -- the key word here is "stories." The Buddha had visions. So here are some questions:

The Buddha had visions. Is that true? How do we "know" this? By what path does this information come down to us? Who wrote the stories about the Buddha's life and when? Who said it, who wrote it? and when? Could this information have been changed or edited over the years? By who and when and why and for what purpose? Why would some people change or expand a story? Can we assume that the established stories are true -- 100%, 90%, 50%, 10% or zero percent?

These are interesting and valid questions, but I don’t see it as essential to answer them in order to practice. When I first read the story of the Buddha’s enlightenment it resonated – I immediately knew it was true. By “true” I mean I understood that the Buddha had taken an inward journey, understood suffering and arrived at self-knowledge. It didn’t, and doesn’t, matter to me that his story may have been embellished over the centuries. If Shakyamuni appeared right now and gave us his account it would still be a story which could not be proven in some objective way. The validity of spiritual experience is not dependent on historical fact.

Jcbaran wrote:
Did the Buddha teach that people should have or encourage visions? Did the Buddha teach that people should have visions of him or some cosmic or imagined version of him? Did he teach that after his death, people should pray to him, invoke him, visualize him, talk to him, chant his name? Did he teach that he would save people - during his lifetime or after his death -- from disasters, snakes, earthquakes, disease, fire, and floods?

The Buddha taught that people should be lamps unto themselves - that also resonates. I would speculate that he neither encouraged nor discouraged people regarding having any particular type of experience. Instead I would think he encouraged people to understand the four noble truths and practice the eightfold path, and what resulted from that would be unique for each person. The path is unique for each person and holding beliefs that limit the range of experience, such as "visions are not Zen", only serves to create unnecessary obstacles.

Coming back to Jiyu Kennett I believe we are in the same position regarding her visions as we are with the Buddha and his visions. Her accounts are only a description of an inner process that is unknowable to others, but in her case you could get a sense of that process through relationship. When JK was in the midst of the lotus blossom experiences I saw her struggling with the koan of her suffering and experiencing insight. That insight didn’t cure her – insight never does - it only showed her another way. Healing is a lifelong process and it’s not surprising in retrospect that her problems persisted. The problem was not the visions but her grandiosity.


Last edited by Isan on Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:30 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : clarification)
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myozen

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:08 am

Chisan, after sort of arthritically hobbling home after the past number of days' yard work, we are gradually recovering! It was quite exhilarating though, and we listened to the stories our friend told of her childhood and youth in Europe.
The monastic schedule Kennett Roshi set up after Mokurai and then Tokusan arrived - a small sangha had gathered - included more or less regular zazen sessions in which Kennett Roshi also most often participated. In those early days I think she was thoroughly enjoying having company of trainees. She took us to the city (Tsu) on the Thursdays when night soil was spread on the fields to avoid the olfactory effects. The parish representatives were surprised when she asked for offerings of unpolished/brown rice instead of the unpolished/white rice everyone was eating in the village - I recall Mokurai and myself sifting the weevils out of the rice using a bamboo strainer. Kennett Roshi enjoyed eggs, so one day she returned to Unpuku-ji with some day-old chicks for me to raise. Her friend helped build a coup behind the temple, so we had the cozy sound of clucking hens about. I digress here a bit, but what I am intending to say is that in those early Unpuku-ji days there was camaraderie and a sense of congeniality in our mutual training.


Anne, you sorted everything out! I still have not ordered that copy of WWG.
Regarding Kennett Roshi's visit to Malaysia, when I arrived at Unpuku-ji in December 1968 she told me that she had been in Unpuku-ji for less than two years. I do not know the date of her shinzan. I just went to look at the draft sections again and the letter from Kennett Roshi accompanying them - she stated in her letter that "all names of persons appearing in it have been completely changed and the identities of the persons mentioned disguised as much as possible as well as changing the names of the physical location where incidents took place ..." When I read the sections she subsequently sent - I am so sorry to write this, Anne - I recognized the pattern from having translated so many of her letters where she had reported on other persons. Shuffling through the bundle I did find a handwritten draft of my reply to her (this bundle had been kept wrapped up for so many years that I had forgotten some of the content) I do not know for certain if I made some changes to the wording in the actual letter, but I wrote in the letter draft that there are matters which one may openly discuss with a trusted acquaintance and which one expects would remain with this person and that although I feel hesitant to do so, I feel I have to state that these passages appear to be such misrepresentations of facts that they have little resemblance to the actual events. I wrote to her that upon reading sections of my own diary covering the same period, it is very striking to compare her view of me and my own inner life at the time and that I wished to believe that these entries of hers were written up later for the purpose of teaching me something. I think the reference to the guilt which Kennett Roshi believed the family had implanted is perhaps because she did not understand that a family who had just lost their son could be so gracious as to be supportive instead of accusing. Since he had committed suicide two days after I had told him that I had decided to become a monk, his parents understood this to be the cause and yet they chose to extend warmth and acceptance. His mother and eldest sister told me before I left their home to return to Nagoya, "We are not giving you any of his things as a remembrance because we want you to continue your life without any encumbrance." It was because of this tenderness of their hearts that I was a bit concerned as to how Kennett Roshi would portray the events. After I was ordained I let them know that I had managed to enter a temple and they wished me well in my study of Buddhism.

Glorfindel, thank you for your comments! You are of course right that questioning is the essential aspect/component of training - the thing we are trying to do, as you say. What came to mind is that although there is apparent "radical" and puzzling behaviour in Zen training/teaching, the intent of the teacher is (hopefully) to benefit/guide the student. As it is with everyone, many inner things evolved and experiences came up as I practiced as a new monk with her and she was always patient with these questions and with guiding me in that respect - we often had these sanzen discussions while taking a walk. However, the later questioning related to her behaviour as things were going a bit off-center was a rather different matter ... By the way, I enjoyed your post!

Josh, your comments reminded me of how steeped in stories and miraculous accounts the Zen lineage is and how important they are to the identity of a particular Zen "house", like the Denkoroku. You have presented an interesting koan with much to consider.

Isan, during the period after the separation from Kennett Roshi until I changed teachers, the teaching that we should be a lamp unto ourselves was a guide in the sense that I had to rely on what I had experienced myself to that point, and not what anyone had defined it as.

Thank you so much.
Gassho,
Myozen
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:08 am

:-) Bravo, Myozen, for trying to set the record straight with Kennett Roshi. You had by then been a senior monk for five years, which I hope lent further weight to your statement about the differences between her view of you and your actual inner life at the time portrayed. This sort of feedback -- knowing that one can get things wrong about someone -- must surely be very important to teachers (not only teachers, of course!:-) Did you sever your ties with her in that same letter?

Looking at the creatively-dated WWG, Kennett Roshi reports that her zuise was on 11th May 1964, and she arrived at Unpuku-ji on 16th May 1964. Though I can't see the specific term shinzan or "mountain ascending ceremony" mentioned, is it incorporated in her kessei ceremonies (for which guests began arriving on 26th November 1964)?...

Dated 27th November 1964, Kennett Roshi wrote:
The Kessei flag flies above the roof to tell everyone that I am ready to accept their challenge, to debate with them and to prove that I am a priest and teacher. The rehearsals for the ceremonies start today ...

At about five o'clock this evening the priest whom Zenji Sama has selected to represent him arrived and was greeted by a great beating of drums and ringing of bells which many of the priests have brought with them ... After the formal entry of Zenji Sama's representative we had the Nyudo no Hai ceremony at which Jim officially entered the temple as Chief Junior. This was followed by the formal tea ceremony ... The formal tea was brought and then Rev. Hajime read out the names of those who would take an active part in the running of the temple for the days of Kessei. He also gave a long talk on why I, a woman and a foreigner, was being allowed to have such rank as this in a Japanese temple ... When the tea ceremony was over we went to bed.
Dated 28th November 1964, Kennett Roshi wrote:
The really important ceremonies of Kessei started today ... [After breakfast] I was taken to the mayor's house where I took a formal bath and prepared for the procession ... On arrival at the temple-gate my assistant, who was one of the chief priests of the big temple in Tokyo specially sent for the purpose by Zenji Sama, ... handed me the incense as I said the formal words, "Whilst I live the gate of this temple shall never be closed to any living thing." This is known as 'the formal opening of the gate.' Then, to the thunder of drums, I entered the temple and walked to the main altar where I dedicated myself to the service of the village, all living things and the teachings of the Buddhas and Patriarchs. Next I asked for the spiritual guidance of Zenji Sama ... I then went to my room to change from the red and gold of the chief priest to the purple of the priest who is to be questioned upon the altar to see if he indeed the living Buddha.

As I stood before the altar, saying the prayer that all priests must say before they mount it, "The white clouds are still above the altar; I pray that He who teaches me shall help me now," I knew that Zenji Sama was there with me and always would be no matter what clouds may one day hide him from my sight ...

As I stood upon the altar there was no difference between me and he who stood in front questioning me for we all sat upon the lotus together and all trained together in the same way ...

I heard the sound of the Shōmei striking the wooden block. I heard the words pronounced, "I proclaim that this is well and truly Buddha; that these answers have been well and truly given." ... I saw Zenji Sama's representative smile softly as I offered incense and thanked Zenji Sama for being with me ... Speeches of congratulation were then made by all the important people and my assistant read congratulatory telegrams from all over Japan.

We had lunch and then the ceremony of Chief Junior took place. The other juniors had rehearsed Jim very well and the ceremony was a success. He is now a Chief Junior and I a full priest. Everyone attended the large feast and I was called to the club-hall to thank all the people of the village who had helped me; they were having a big feast too.
The kessei flag was taken down the next day.
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myozen

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:45 pm

Hi Anne,

:-) Thank you for the quote from WWG - it is an interesting description of the events! When Kennett Roshi writes, "Then, to the thunder of drums, I entered the temple and walked to the main altar where I dedicated myself to the service of the village ..." it describes the role of the parish priest in a nutshell - the relationship between the parish priest and the community is a close one, so there would have been feasting all round, and the expectation of her involvement in village life.

Before going back to Japan in 1976 I wrote to Kennett Roshi in early September requesting a formal letter of release, but she did not respond to this. In subsequent letters from her and Daizui they indicated that correspondence with us was being terminated. After the whole business of the interference once we were in Japan and I had done genzoku, I also wrote to her in April 1979 that I am totally severing all connections with her and her organization.

In late 1995 or early 1996 (I am uncertain of the date since my son and I had been in Japan for 3 months for job training and had then went on to South Africa from there to be with my terminally ill mother - as a result I did not keep that a close a journal since busy) I found that I was thinking of Kennett Roshi and wondering how she was since she was ill and not young any more. As I recall the telephone call I made to Shasta Abbey, she kept a guarded tone and simply said "still alive" when I asked her how she was. Her first question was, "How is the child?" - it was sobering to realize that after 20 years she still had her story of my abandoning my infant son in her mind. The only other question she asked was, "What was the name again of that temple you trained in in Nagoya?" I gave her the name of the Soto monastery. The distant and cold sound in Kennett Roshi's voice discouraged me from pursuing the matter further during that telephone conversation.

We hope you are enjoying the first Autumn weekend ...

Gassho,

Myozen
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:55 am

you know what is missing here for me is abit of a human element.

I may have this all wrong or be nit picking.

However Myozen you seemed to phone kennett Roshi out of concern yet she came across guarded and also distant and cold to you.

this does not seem right to me at all, it is almost that religious gurus or teachers become arogant by their position,going back to Shimano and sexual relation with desciples,maezumi sex with desicples and an under age girl, Walter Nowick, Trumpa.

kennett Roshi was certainly not like this i think there were other aspects authoritarian, had to be always right and also cold.It is like all their practices did for them was to separate them from other human beings, and indeed themselves.

Most peculiar.

Autumn has kicked in,we are having autumn showers today....rather than summer showers
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:45 pm

Isan
I agree with you about the Buddha's visions but a careful look at the early scriptures shows that by and large the visions were mainly later, Mahayana accretions. It seems to me that the Mahayana took off and decided to treat Shakyamuni and his followers as a set of superheros. For instance I seem to remember one scripture that describes a sermon by the Buddha and says that in the middle he paused - for a couple of kalpas! Surely someone needed to pee in that time! Great stories, but stories that are trying to entertain and illustrate points. The problem is they tend to aggrandise all sorts of merely prosaic matters and are often taken for the literal truth. In ancient times the world was literally a magical place where all sorts of miraculous things happened. Today we know better. Just because some ancient thought the earth was flat does not mean we should believe it, but the central core of, at least Buddhist, religious teaching about the nature of our relationship to the truth still holds.
The questions that I find important in all this and need to be asked in regard to JK and the OBC concern three things: fact, intention, and outcomes. I'll explain what I mean and give my own personal views. Are the historical facts presented by JK true? Well, we know that she said that the facts in WWG had been changed so that it was a work of fiction but that is not how it is presented, and I can say that the visions and experiences of previous lives, both those of herself and others was presented to me as REAL. I am afraid I found, and find, that to be nonsense. I said at the time that to me they were makyo, delusions. JK did not tell me that I had got the wrong end of the stick and they were to not to be taken as reality instead she insisted on their literal truth. The second point is intention and here the water is very muddy. It seems that JK did at times have good intentions, however I feel that was often not true - look at the letters sent out about me, chisan and myozen. When I left I said that I thought what was happening was makyo and that not only did it in itself not lead to the truth but blocked the way for me. JK told me it was the literal truth and I felt that the intention was more to control than to enlighten me. Well, I'm afraid that I even more convinced it's nonsense now. The last and in may ways the most important and difficult to discern point is outcomes; are those in the OBC and those who come into contact with it better for their contact or worse. I can only say that personally I was blocked for many years, and from conversations and from what I have read here this seems to have been a common experience, indeed some would appear to have been actively damaged by their experiences with the OBC, and here I include present day monks and laity. The question must be is more harm than good done. I don't know I am not in a position to judge; but reading between the lines of the Faith Trust report they seem to portray a stultified inward looking organisation, more interested in its own future than the future of its members. Of course some will come through relatively unscathed and even benefit from the whole experience but my personal feeling is that over the years this is a small minority; and that from the evidence of the report and this forum many more were at the least blocked for some time, and some were actively damaged.


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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:52 pm

Michael said,

Quote :
For me Shasta was full of this interpretation and a stamping of feet,or
sending Josh to the goat shed if the interpretation was not adhered to.

Did I miss this? What is the story of sending Josh to the goat shed? What a bizarre way to treat another human being!
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:45 am

Great reply Mark it seems that the practice was always done conceptuallywith pictures and images within their limited minds
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:48 am

Carol at this point I would love to do a poem of The goat shed, Josh, somehow throw Todd in there and create a feel of banishment but is too early even for me!

Take care of yourself
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PostSubject: Re: Myozen Delport   Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:32 am

The Goat Shed

My favorite place

The home of all beings.



(Thanks for the question Carol, and the inspiration Mike. And yes, I was once banished to the goat shed--by being placed in charge of the entire goat department!)
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