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 From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"

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Lise
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PostSubject: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:02 pm

jack wrote:
I can't imagine that any conclave will result in anything
substantive. I don't find much substance in the issues Rev. Eko raised.
I don't see anything there that would change the OBC in a way to
increase its openness or the rigid authoritative character of its
hierarchy.

Churches in general have proved historically mostly
incapable of reforming themselves. Generally, they only do so when
forced to by a competing schism or near death. I've been inside a
church structure. From what I've observed the dynamics simply aren't
there to accommodate self-change.

Think about it for a minute.
Those who are senior monks within the OBC are there because they could
accommodate the Order "as is." Many have decades of accommodation. That
accommodation is built on an elaborate foundation of justifying and
accepting the rigidity, of successfully overriding doubts, and
modifying their views to be in accord with their guru. The ones who
were open, honest, and willing to follow their own hearts and mind
rather than repressing it and molding it to fit never made it to the
status of a senior monk. Where is the possibility for change, given the
existing structure? Do you really thing that there will be some
spiritual revival that will sweep the monastery with enlightenment and
insight, and that will remove the deep fear of doing anything contrary
to the founder's direction?

I recall an occasion at a Priory
where the monk in ceremonial zeal was trying to get a group of us
untalented, untrained. mostly male voices to sing one of the OBC hymns
without sounding like we were being tortured. It was a ghastly
cacophony. The prior, distressed by our attempts to render results
anything close to music, finally,with great reluctance, agreed to
changing both key and octave to fit the vocal range of us available
noisemakers. What puzzled and amused me is that he was honestly pained
as he hesitated before making that decision. He finally look toward the
ceiling and said in a low somber voice something like, "I think we'll
have to try a different key. I hope my master will understand and
forgive me." It wasn't said with humor. It was said with the doubt of a
devotee who had real reservations that he could change anything so
minor without offending the "god" he was attempting to serve. (The
change didn't help much.) It was a minor, somewhat humorous incident,
but it stuck with me as a vivid example of the prior's commitment to
follow every jot and tittle of what he'd been taught, like there was
almost no confidence in his own heart and practice.

I recall
some assigned reading we were given at at retreat which was very
explicit about "Be original. Do not copy others." I'm not sure now
where it came from, but I was struck by the total incongruity between
that and the practice I observed where devotion to the detail of the
founder's teaching seemed to be the paramount value which trumped all
personal experience and insight.

amalia wrote:
Jack, everything you say is so true. I have to admit I
smiled when I saw the name of this topic "Suggestions for the OBC".
Because one of the things I wrote on the piece of paper in my trailer
was "No Suggestions". Making suggestions is a sign of self. It is very
sweet that Ian still thinks that anyone in higher ranks at the OBC
might be open to suggestions from a lay member, much less from a former
monk or any other participant of an internet forum.
Your musical
example also reminded me of something. One of the seniors at the NCBP
had an excellent voice and always sang the harmony part of the
Scripture of Great Wisdom. It was one of the most beautiful parts of
morning service for me. One day Koshin stopped the service right in the
middle of the hymn and told him just to sing the same part as everyone
else. I guess there was some deep teaching in that. Probably that was
self, too, making the music too beautiful.

Diana wrote:
Hi Ian,
I appreciate where your heart is coming from
in all this, I really do. If there is anything I have learned, it is
that the pure heart of the trainee transcends everything and that those
of us with that big heart are beyond what the OBC has to offer.

To Jack,
You put it so well, I don't have anything to add except that I agree with you!
To Amalia,
I think that lay people assume monks hold them in high
regard, but you and I know this is not the case. We have talked about
this in our private forum a while back. It might be helpful at some
point, if you are willing, to bring the issue up here in this forum. It
is relevant to this subject and Jack has touched on it a bit. The OBC
is set up to perpetuate itself and its beliefs, etc... Even though we
all want change and think it is necessary, doesn't mean the monks and
masters want change. I'm sure they would like some better PR at this
point, but I don't think this forum will do anything significant. If
lay people only knew what those monks think of us! The level of disdain
for "worldly" things or the life of the "householder" is so pervasive
that it is part of the monks training and the thing that keeps them
separate from us. Any comments or examples you may have on this subject
would be appreciated.

Peace,
Diana


Last edited by Lise on Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:12 am

Hi Diana,

Thanks for the appreciation. All any of us can do is speak from our experience
and I understand and respect yours.

Mine has been limited to lay participation in a local meditation group and
visits, less than once a year over the last nine or ten years, to Throssel Hole
Abbey here in the UK. I took the precepts as a lay Buddhist at the Abbey in the
early part of this decade. I have also met and spoken to a number of monks,
senior and not so senior, either at the Abbey or when they visited our
Meditation Group.

I have always found teaching, wisdom and compassion. I have also generally
found a willingness to engage in open and honest discussion of matters around
the Order or the Abbey and its direction as well as matters of Dharma and practice.
I believe that there is much good work, there are many honest and good hearts,
and that there is much of spiritual value in the OBC.

I am not denying the experiences of others and I am sure that, as with any
human organisation, there is room for improvement and there are problems that
should be addressed and will always have to be addressed on an ongoing basis.
Hence, the idea of starting the thread. I don't see that such discussions can
do any harm and maybe they will do some good.

I do not have a list of specific improvements or changes
because I have no experience of being a monk and have only had limited
involvement with the OBC over the years, although I do identify with it as a
tradition. Also, we can all by definition make no more than a partial contribution because we all see things only from one angle. However, I thought it worth pointing to a number of areas which
might be worth looking at and throwing in one or two procedural suggestions
about how it might be done. I'm hoping that others might add to that and that
this Forum might itself help in a wider process of development.

That impulse comes from concern and good will but would never be uncritical.

_/\_

Ian
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:51 pm

Hi Ian,

Thanks for the response. I am sorry you had to come to this thread to respond, but I've been banished here with the others for somehow going off topic. I asked Lise not to move my comment, but she did it anyway. I fear that this kind of editing and censorship will ultimately lead to corruption. When comments are moved they are then read out-of-context. There have been several posts made since this new policy came to be that also would fit the criteria for being moved, but Lise has not moved them. I can think of one in particular that has absolutely nothing to do with the original topic.

So am I being oppressed, censored, edited, black-listed, etc...? I have that sticky feeling like I did when I was involved with the OBC!

I actually have a lot to say and add to your original thread, Ian, but the wind has been taken out of me for now. Mission accomplished, Lise. "Control of information" is one of those cult criteria I was talking about. We'll see how long this comment stays on the forum before it dissapears, lol!

Peace out,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:39 pm

Hi Diana,

PLEASE DON'T GO (or lose your enthusiasm)!!

Your insight and contribution, in my opinion, has a value too great to be able to place a value on (!);

As does Lise's--who's task is becoming ever greater by the day--as more people join and post!
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:12 am

I'd just like to mention that the last comment I made on that thread before it being moved to a new location (out of context and without any of our permission) was not added here at all. This is censorship according to any definition of it.
So much for an open forum. Too bad.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:15 pm

Lise,

I think the reorganization of this thread, and the breakup and scattering of other conversations to other new threads is confusing and disruptive to conversation.

Normal conversations wander and meander a bit in real life and on most forums. Our brains have learned how to adapt to that.

Please feel free to delete anything I write/wrote. I would prefer it be deleted than confused and lost by mis-arrangement.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:56 am

I completely agree with Jack. It's very confusing to have comments lifted out of their original context and moved to another thread. If someone wants to start a new thread, that's fine. But l hope, Lise, that you will stop moving comments to another thread. It seems quite arbitrary. Also it's very disruptive of the conversation that's going on here. If people don't like others interrupting "their" thread, they can say so. But please stop moving things from one place to another. Also -- what happened to Amalia's missing comment? I'd like to see what it was. Again -- that said, thank you Lise for taking on this task.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:01 am

I'm going to have to pipe up and make my first post here Shocked

Before I begin I suggest everyone use their google-fu to look up the term 'threadjacking'. What I am about to say is pretty much universally accepted practice.

As a mod on several MMORPG forums I have to say that Lise's decision was fairly acceptable. If, during my modding I spot an isolated off-topic post then I will not consider it a threadjack but will allow it to remain. If, however, the post spawns an ongoing rapport that is out of kilter with the OP's (original poster's) intended subject then I will issue a warning to get back on topic. If the threadjack continues then i will issue one more warning. After that I will either delete the off-topic posts or move them to their own thread. The later option is the more standard practice. In the case of persistent threadjacking I pull out my big, shiny, rarely used Ban Hammer.

Threadjacking a thread with a specific intended purpose is universally seen as rude. So Lise's decision is normal and standard. Perhaps she could have issued a warning or two to get back on topic before splitting the thread though.

Anyway I hope that clarifies that there was nothing sinister, cultish or out of the ordinary about the thread split.

(ps. I'm quite open to debate on whether generally accepted, standard practice might be wrong - Laughing - it might be).
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:50 am

Glorfindel, thank you for your comment. (And Kyogen, for yours also in a different thread.) I have the same understanding as you re: generally accepted practices for forum moderating, having researched this quite a bit, and having witnessed a number of other forums erupt into un-readable babble due to threadjacking.

I agree it would have been better to give clearer warning before moving posts. I took the approach of asking the participants to move the discussion themselves, but this wasn't effective. This can be found at http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/forum-housekeeping-f10/what-is-a-dedicated-thread-and-why-do-we-need-it-t54.htm

Diana, Amalia, Jack and Violet -- I understand that you have a different perception of what should be allowed, but the policy here will not change. Dedicated threads will remain on-topic with the OP's intent, as a matter of courtesy and respect not only to the original poster but to others who want to stay focused on the topic at hand. Threadjacking tangents will be moved or deleted.

Thanks to all for your comments.

Lise


Last edited by Lise on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:19 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to provide link to additional comments)
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:02 pm

It seems to me that threadjacking -- intentionally disrupting someone's thread -- is quite different from going off-topic in the normal course of conversation. If the person who starts a thread objects to threadjacking, then it would be appropriate to move the offending posts. But if no one objects -- where's the harm?

On a forum such as this -- where an underlying theme is the freedom to think independently and question established doctrine -- it seems that deleting a post is never acceptable unless there are really exceptional circumstances, i.e. threatening someone or gross profanity.

The "standard practices" seem at odds with the spirit of this open forum.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:17 pm

it is not surprising that a person who is not able to grasp the fact that she has been herself subjected to mind control practices will also not recognize when she is committing them.

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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:29 pm

Oh for the love of god, you all can't even get along in an online forum, how did you expect to get along within a religion?!
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:52 pm

Hmm. OK, can everyone please stay calm. You know, Amalia, you've been intensely exposed to various abuses. Do you think you might be over sensitive to them now? As they say, once burned, twice shy. They fact is, all the posts are still here, I think. Just not all on the original threads.

Kyogen
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:16 pm

"You know, Amalia, you've been intensely exposed to various abuses. Do you think you might be over sensitive to them now? As they say, once burned, twice shy." -Kyogen

I am appauled at this insensitive comment. And at the same time I'm really not that surprised that it was said.

I have spent some time considering my motives for participating on this forum. My original motive was for my personal healing. It seems that has happened. I've done what I came here to do. I question Lise's motives for starting and maintaining this site. I can't support it any longer.

I'm very thankful for the opportunity to re-connect with friends. I'm sure that more will visit and I would love to hear from them when they do! Anyone who visits this site is welcome to PM me if they wish.

Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:39 pm

I'm really sorry to see the hostility that has developed and hope that everyone can find a way to remain polite and considerate to each other. Finding fault with each other, making derogatory remarks and questioning people's character can only be inflammatory and, in many ways, seems to mimic the very types of behavior about which we left the OBC. It is certainly not the way that any of us wish to be treated, so let us not behave this way to each other. I would like to express my personal good wishes to all and, if I have offended anyone in any way by making this statement, I hope you will forgive me.



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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:42 pm

Hey folks
I'm pretty new here and this is probably pretty obvious to people who have more experience in internet communications but it seems that internet conversations about stuff that matters are inherently tricky. I usually depend so much on body language, facial expressions and just the feel of the person in front of me to determine the intent. With all of that missing in an online forum I feel a bit blind. Is there some guidelines that the more savy internet communicaters can pass along.
The conversations here are about some potentially explosive experiences and history. The people here are also active meditaters who expose themselves to the world in ways that most people choose not to. These two facters put an intesting spin on what looks like a limited form of communication. Thanks.
love Howard
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:58 am

You are spot on with your thoughts Howard.

One thing I have learned from the MMorpg forums is to post without getting personal (where possible). Another thing is to not worry too much about people expressing their thoughts in an emotional or passionate way. People are going to do that even when a disagreement is very slight. I think its normal.

Omg this thread is so polite and calm compared to some I have seen. Some threads just seem destined to blaze up and be consumed in their own heat.

I would call this a mild 'QQ' thread.
It's the 'Flame War' threads you have to look out for.

I'm tempted to elucidate the above by posting a short section of Flame War I once copied and pasted to include in an English essay. But I'm afraid it would make all the nice buddhist (and ex buddhist) ears bleed
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:39 am

glorfindel wrote:
Another thing is to not worry too much about people expressing their thoughts in an emotional or passionate way. People are going to do that even when a disagreement is very slight. I think its normal.

Agree.

My thought -- we're going to have bumpy spots, but the upside is a clearer understanding of the forum's culture and etiquette. The rules won't suit everyone's style, but I think they strike a reasonable balance.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:27 am

Quote :
Oh for the love of god, you all can't even get along in an online forum, how did you expect to get along within a religion?
@Indira I am can not speak for anyone else, but I personally am not posting on this forum for the love of god or because I expect to get along with anyone in a religion. And it is not why I left the world to become a monk, either.

@glorfindel
I guess someone out there might be impressed at how many acronyms and abbreviations you are able to demonstrate in your efforts to inform us all about online "standards" for forums.
I, for my part, remain unimpressed.
If you really were as experienced as you say you are then you would probably not be claiming that there is such a thing as online standards for forums. And even if you could convincingly prove that there were such a thing : this is not a forum about video games or how to make a sourdough starter. It is a forum that is circling around the idea the the OBC is a very advanced cult, adept at some of the most sophisticated mind control practices known to mankind. When some of the (former and/or current) members demonstrate these very practices I feel it is fair game to point it out.

@Kyogen
I'll cut you some slack on that one. You've said some otherwise decent things on this forum and my impression is that you're pretty much ok, considering you are a zen master.

@Lise
Good for you for not deleting this thread totally.

@Howard
True, but actually I think it is interesting to read the language in a forum, because it (mostly) stays there for all to read. This forum in itself is becoming a living record of some of the brainwashing that the OBC propagates. It is hard to get a handle on what went on while we were on the inside. I have a good friend is a linguistical anthropologist. She heard my story and said she would be fascinated to get the chance to analyse recorded speech data from one of the OBC training centers. This is one way that real deconstruction of the belief system can take place.

(anyone out there who is still hanging around those temples want to go for it...??)

I don't know if I can hang around here much longer myself. It is very important to me that anyone who has been exposed to the OBC has the freedom to say and voice whatever they want to, however, whenever and wherever. In any discussion, on any thread, on any topic, whether they are "like-minded" or not. With emotions, lots of opinions, anger and bad words when they are needed to express something. I don't need the pointy finger of a church lady to make sure that I behave the way she thinks I should.

Since I do have my own site up now I may answer to anything I feel the need to answer to from there, maybe even set up a blog. We'll see. I am networking with a few others who want to set up an academically oriented mother site on the OBC. The basis of this work is our assumption that the OBC was and continues to be a harmful cult. Anyone interested in contributing can contact me. (particularly anyone out there with training in sociology, psychology or law. ) Also we want to set up a place where personal accounts can be published in a setting more suitable than an internet forum.
Maybe we will need to set up a free forum, too. We'll see how this one develops, but it doesn't look very promising anymore. Didn't take long.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:31 pm

For Diana and Amalia,

I am sorry my comment to Amalia seemed insensitive. My intention was just the opposite. The amount of injury people have incurred is a matter I take very seriously, and I count myself among those injured. I also admit that in my own lack of skill at various times I have hurt others. I hope I am always willing to recognize and acknowledge that when it happens.

I appreciate your cutting me some slack, and I certainly want to allow you some as well. At the same time, I think it’s pretty extreme to paint Lise with the “mind control” brush for managing this forum in a way that is pretty much standard practice, hence my question about being over sensitive. After all, when we’ve been hurt, little things can set us off. I hope all of us, you and I and everyone on this forum will question ourselves as well as others.

Kyogen
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:42 pm

Hello all,

I find the heading of this part of the forum, “Shadow Threads,” to be oddly appropriate. There is a shadow side to our endeavor here, and I think we should be aware of it, name it, and be careful with it. We have been calling on each other to be careful and sensitive with regard to others posting on this site. At the same time most of us are being very critical and making some harsh judgments about people who are not on this site at this time. I’m talking, of course, about people in power within the OBC. That is fine, as there are issues that need to be addressed, and it is important to “speak truth to power.” At the same time, mixed in with this, there have been some pretty strong and negative statements without reference to specific actions. This is moving toward name calling, and I think we should be careful about that because it can lead to some real problems.

Many of us have things to get off our chests, and I understand that. But in the interest of “right speech,” (OK, it’s a Buddhist concept, but a good one, nonetheless) I’d like to suggest that we direct criticism to specific actions rather than “at” personalities or groups. I have veered off in that direction myself, so I’m calling myself out here too.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:21 pm

Wow. I am just catching up on the past few days' postings, and my main reaction here is, wow. It is so hard to understand each other sometimes!

It has been a long task for me to accept electronic methods for intimate communication, especially for anything related to Dharma. So many forces have created this world in which we find ourselves, where much of our communication takes place at a distance. We are trying to be close, but we did not evolve for this kind of talking. None of my experience in conversation with my teacher or with other practitioners prepared me for how easily we get confused in email and forum exchanges. My feelings have been hurt many times over the years - usually without reason. And I know I've hurt other people many times - as they reacted to a specific phrase, a too-quick answer, a too-slow answer, an answer that felt too short, too long, too glib, too serious, too *something* for the unseen person at the other end. Sometimes I haven't known that a person was hurt until it has festered.

Every time I come here, I feel sympathy for Lise trying to keep this wild and growing conversation in some semblance of order. I can't presume to do that job for her. And interestingly enough, Diana recently questioned my post at the end of another thread as being off topic. I had a choice then to follow the slight sense of hurt - illogical, unreasonable, meaningless hurt - or just explain myself- or stay silent. We always have this choice, don't we? We can't choose not to have hurt feelings, but we can always choose whether or not to voice it, clarify it, explain ourselves, ask for explanation. We can always choose to LISTEN.

A lot of the abuses and hurts that we have described here have to do with poor or limited communication. They have come from being told that our experience is not valid, or that we are not allowed to explain it, or that we haven't had the opportunity exchange with each other until clarity is reached.

Let's not give up so soon! - Jiko
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:52 pm

Hi Jiko -- your comment about "the wild & growing conversation" prompts me to mention what's going on behind the scenes. Four other members are helping to moderate threads, although not all at once of course. Those of us online at a given moment are usually discussing what we're seeing, esp. during periods of high activity like today & yesterday, and we share thoughts on how to handle situations. So I don't feel all alone

Have to jump off now but will return to say more about your post and Kyogen's latest -- cheers, L
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:41 pm

There was one meditation practise at the Abbey that might have an application for this type of forum. I know..... everyone is seeing the gasoline heading towards the match.
This is for those who first and foremost want to work at seeing and minimizing the energy that feeds our own egos. I assume that this covers everyone on this forum. What I noticed is that when someone had issues with another person, they would deliberately choose to look at it in terms of how it interacted with their own sense of identity. It was from this basis that the most effective interactions followed. It firstly gave people a little space to allow the issues to settle so that personal responsibility could be assessed, it allowed for the subsequent interaction to be based on what was really important (a diet program for ego), it softened the delusional aspect that we are in someway separate from our adversary and it allowed the other person to hear about the issue without automatically becoming defensive.
.This will not apply to all interactions but when I'm willing it helps me in 99% of them.
My loving partner has just come in to look over my shoulder to say that it sounds like I'm into crystals and I that should tell you that I have no relational survival skills whatsoever so I'm going to sign off now.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:17 pm

[quote="amalia"]
Quote :


how many acronyms and abbreviations you are able to demonstrate in your efforts to inform us all about online "standards" for forums.
I, for my part, remain unimpressed.

If you really were as experienced as you say you are then you would probably not be claiming that there is such a thing as online standards for forums.

It is a forum that is circling around the idea the the OBC is a very advanced cult, adept at some of the most sophisticated mind control practices known to mankind.

To the first flower; the slang used by the youth of today makes it into the dictionaries of tomorrow. leetspeak is a fascinating and sometimes expressive sociolect.

To the second flower; there is certainly not an internationally recognized organisation laying down the rules for online etiquette but there are generally accepted standards developed out of people's experience.

To the third; I see that I may be being a bit chirpy for a forum revolving around such worrying possibilities. I did not realise that this forum was about that. I thought it was a connection point for people who have (or have ever had) anything to do with the OBC. I do realise that some people here have had terrible things happen to them and I will be happy to bow out if the forum is purely a healing ground for those who have been stung. I will check up on that.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:32 pm

glorfindel wrote:
To the third; I see that I may be being a bit chirpy for a forum revolving around such worrying possibilities. I did not realise that this forum was about that. I thought it was a connection point for people who have (or have ever had) anything to do with the OBC. I do realise that some people here have had terrible things happen to them and I will be happy to bow out if the forum is purely a healing ground for those who have been stung. I will check up on that.

Glorfindel, you're correct -- this forum is a connection point as you describe, for both current and former members of the OBC, to re-connect and talk about experiences if they wish.

Opinions here differ as to whether the OBC can be considered a cult, and diverse views are welcome. "The forum", as such, does not take a position either way.

Add some chirp when you want to. We need it.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:46 am

Dropping in again to tie up some thoughts:

Kyogen, thanks for your reminder about staying fact-based in posts about specific persons so that things don't slide into name-calling or personal attacks. This has always been the intent for this forum, as noted in the Guidelines posted on November 8, 2009. Those rules have been in place from Day 1, along with the requirement to keep posts relevant to stated topics.

The admins say we should publicize the rules better. Some may read them, most likely don't. Soon new members will have to verify that they've read and agree to the forum rules before they can start posting. This is not a place where people can say & do anything they feel, although that setting can be found elsewhere. It's not what we're going to do here.

Jiko, you've raised excellent points about communication (as did Howard). It is important to keep trying and to look for ways to minimize misunderstanding and hurt. Good things to think about.


Last edited by Lise on Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:06 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : edited for clarity -- added "about specific persons" in 2nd paragraph)
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:28 am

Quote :

I appreciate your cutting me some slack, and I certainly want to allow you some as well. At the same time, I think it’s pretty extreme to paint Lise with the “mind control” brush for managing this forum in a way that is pretty much standard practice, hence my question about being over sensitive. After all, when we’ve been hurt, little things can set us off.
I don't agree that there is such a thing as standard practice on the net. Each internet culture whether blog, forum or community decides their own rules. Some by consensus, some by authority rule. I think it is clear now which one applies to this forum. By deciding to censor and moderate this forum the way they are the admin(s) here are making a choice. And since it is their forum they are free to do so. Diana and I think the choices Lise is making here are poor, but we have no say in the matter.
It may have been a bit curtly phrased, but I am quite serious about mind control practices and the OBC. Lise is making choices that reflect on her continuing identification with the OBC and their thoughtscape. That is fine for her, and I hope it gives her a sense of power she didn't have as a trainee to be able to edit over, cut and paste and delete whatever she doesn't like. And it is true as well that to convincingly prove any of this it would take more analysis than is possible in this setting. Which is why some of us are interested in serious, academically oriented work on the OBC.

@Kyogen on to your question, since you seem to want an answer:
Quote :
Do you think you might be over sensitive to them now? As they say, once burned, twice shy.

I just finished a fascinating book by Ruth Kluger, Still Alive in which she describes her childhood during the Holocaust. One thing that upset her very deeply later on, after she emigrated, was how often she would be told in even in academic settings that she was too emotionalized to be able to speak reasonably about what took place in the camps. Her thoughts on this (and the book itself which is a refutation of this) is that it is bad enough that she had to go through what she did. But why must she be again repressed later on by being told that her voice and expression as a victim did not count?
It is the experiences we have that make us who we are now, with all our thoughts, opinions and emotions. Each expression of that is unique and valuable. Those of us who have had firsthand experience of the worst of human nature may have more to say about it than those who have only read about it in books. Kluger argues that it is the victims themselves who need to be listened to, in order to evolve out of the passivity of victimhood and into an autonomous, expressive, acting Subject.
So yes, I found your statement just as appalling as Diana did. Just because I experienced abuse at the NCBP does not make what I have to say any less valid and I will not be silenced by anyone, whether they are concerned about Buddhist definitions of Right Speech or not. I understand that I am moving into territory here that probably is sending me off into the nether fringes of this forum or into outright banishment, but I couldn't care less. I don't care about Right Speech or any other Buddhist precept because you know what? I am not a Buddhist. (And no, I do not meditate, to everyone in this thread that seems to assume we all do.)

I do care about free speech as defined in the First Amendment and I may well find myself expressing it soon elsewhere.

@ glorfindel
It is depressing reading what you write, no matter how cheerful you try to make it. As articulate, literate and internet savvy as you are, you are still waving the brown flag in defense of censorship. I hope you have your applications ready, because Google is looking for people just like you.


Last edited by amalia on Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:07 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : typo! small corrections)
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:56 am

[quote="amalia"]
Quote :
Which is why some of us are interested in serious, academically oriented work on the OBC.

Amalia, I remember you and Diana talking about this last fall when we first crossed paths. Quite a few people on this forum, myself included, would be interested in keeping up with the projects or articles. Will they be posted on your site that talks about the NCBP experience?

L.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:01 am

Thanks for not banishing me!
I think the idea is a brand new website, as of yet untitled, with my own NCBP website, this forum and other sites like ICSA as kind of satellites around it. Pointing to and referencing one another, but independent at the same time. But to do this right, we need time, energy and the right mix of people with the right training. That is where the project is now. It may take quite a bit of time. Anyone interested in this project can contact me through this forum or also exxobc@gmail.com, which is a kind of group mail account.
Also in the meantime we are thinking about starting up a blog just to keep things lively. Anyone who is interested can contact us. There are many good writers on this forum who might well have a future in the Blogosphere.


Last edited by amalia on Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:11 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fixed link)
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:54 pm

amalia wrote:
I think the idea is a brand new website, as of yet untitled, with my own NCBP website, this forum and other sites like ICSA as kind of satellites around it.

If you change venue for what's posted at the NCBP website, please leave behind some marker for us to find it. Over time, search engines will become adept at finding it, and that will make it accessible to those trying to investigate the OBC before associating with them. I often have done such internet investigations, and have steered clear of some who seemed wise but left trails of mischief and suffering behind them.

In a coincidence, I just finished reading "Night" by Elie Wiesel about his experience and loss of faith in everything during his incarceration in a concentration camp.

At one point, Moshie the Beadle from Sighet was deported as a foreigner by cattle car to a concentration camp; he saw the deaths, the executions, the enroute brutality and purging murders, but managed to escape and return to his village at great peril to warn those not yet caught up of the danger. At that point, there was still time for the Jews in the village to get passports and escape. The villagers refused to believe him, called him mad, ignored him, decided to wait for American victory, etc. The Germans came; those village Jews mostly died in the horror of the concentration camp. Elie Wiesel was among them.

I hope your warnings are heeded. Hopefully they will help some. Perhaps some will be a bit more aware of what is happening to them if they go ahead. But humans are not very wise. We do not listen very well when the message is something we don't want to believe.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:23 am

Quote :
If you change venue for what's posted at the
NCBP website, please leave behind some marker for us to find it. Over
time, search engines will become adept at finding it, and that will
make it accessible to those trying to investigate the OBC before
associating with them.

@jack
oh don't worry about that for even one second! I may not spout off acronyms every chance I get, but I am more than causally familiar with SEO-ing. If we do ever get all of this up then topping google will be one of the priorities.

Quote :
In a coincidence, I just finished reading
"Night" by Elie Wiesel about his experience and loss of faith in
everything during his incarceration in a concentration camp.
That is a coincidence. I read Night a while back, it is excellent. I really recommend Kluger, too. And Adorno for example "Education after Auschwitz", for those who wonder where I get my strong anti-authoritarian beliefs. He says that it was the German education system that led to a popluation of people so willing to follow a maniac. That the idea that one should just do as one is told, obey one's superiors is a core component in fascism...
The sad thing in my case is that I already knew about all that when I became a monk. I had read all this stuff, spent years studying and thinking about fascism and authoritarian rule. I just let myself be duped by all this talk of enlightenment. That somehow it was ok to let go of my autonomy, because This was so beyond all that. It is a lie. In particular I remember drumming into myself Keizan's "How could there possibly be anything there that oppresses you?" Yeah, right. Tell that to Kluger or Wiesel. It is this passivity that is so encouraged in Buddhism that led Max Weber to his exhaustive social critique of it and Hinduism. Also a fascinating read.

for me, the most important thing: there is never anything to excuse authoitarianism and repression of individual thought, ever. That is why it is so important that people can exercise free speech, even in some internet forum, since that is the first thing to be suppressed in a totalitarian system.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:26 pm

amalia wrote:

That is a coincidence. I read Night a while back, it is excellent. I really recommend Kluger, too. And Adorno for example "Education after Auschwitz", for those who wonder where I get my strong anti-authoritarian beliefs. He says that it was the German education system that led to a population of people so willing to follow a maniac. That the idea that one should just do as one is told, obey one's superiors is a core component in fascism...

I've read a fair bit of Holocaust related literature and wonder if you've seen And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran? He was a survivor of Buchenwald concentration camp and part of the book focuses on his experience there. His descriptions of what he saw and endured are exactly what you'd expect of a Nazi death camp, yet somewhere he said he had no evil memories of those days (I can't find the passage to properly quote at the moment, sorry), which I find astonishing. It says something remarkable about the human spirit and the possibilities for healing.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:13 pm

mahakala wrote:
Gosh ... the term charismatic leader sure makes me nervous! I am scared of charismatic leaders! I hope the OBC was built upon something more substantial than that ... but then again ... Dharmavidya is probably correct in the nuts and bolts of how religious organizations begin.

I am just trying to place that in the context of the big 3: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.

Were they just started by charismatic leaders? Although i dread it, I suspect so.

Recently, I saw a talk about Mohamed and learned that he was apparently a fellow who would go to Mecca from time to time and attempt to convey what Allah had told him when in seclusion.

Eventually, the people grew tired of him and viewed him as some sort of crackpot, in which case they eventually drove him out of town. After a period of time, he went back and was violent to the people of mecca. Sounds like the actions of a delusional person with a huge chip on their shoulder than rather a prophet of Allah.

In a similar vein, one can read about what happened with Jesus and see close parallels to delusional, somewhat crazy behavior.

I must admit, i see that much less with Siddartha. Maybe that is why I prefer Buddhist teaching, but I am definitely not in it to being around 'charismatic leaders.' They really scare me and I guess the whole master-disciple relationship also scares me like that.

The OBC always talk about trust. The problem is, that as I have gotten older ... I have seen that I can not trust most anyone except for very close blood relations perhaps. It matters what the trust concerns. For example, I would say that I can trust my best friend of many years, but I know for sure I can not trust him if it was an issue of say, starvation and his blood relatives need food. I know for sure that I would not get food from him.

Similarly, it is easy for people to talk a lot about trust, but people are wishy washy and it matters what conditions they are under or how they have changed.

The Buddha was definitely right when he said:

Man must become a Refuge unto himself

Forget the bureaucratic details, and the conclaves and all of that nonsense. I didnt get into religious practice to become an accountant or politician! It is futile.

Make things as simple as possible. Period. Complex structures will always fall apart. Rome fell. The entire world is buckling as we speak due to complexity in financial and government systems that can not be handled by humans.


Last edited by Lise on Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:16 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Moved from host thread / offtopic)
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:03 pm

"Forget the bureaucratic details, and the conclaves and all of that nonsense."

Sorry to disagree, but I think that all organizations have and need bureaucracies and rules. If you don't have them, chaos ensues. I think conclaves are useful as well, as it provides an opportunity to take a good honest look at the bureaucracy to see if it is being an effective tool and whether or not changes need to be made.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:09 pm

Somewhere someone (I think Rev. Seikai) said that the OBC wanted to make apologies where appropriate but that their liability insurer advised against it, presumably because someone might sue the OBC. That is nonsense. If the OBC sincerely wanted to apologize to someone for wrong-doing that is serious enough to be grounds for a lawsuit, the person receiving the apology can be asked in advance to sign a release agreeing not to sue anyone. The Catholic Church has no qualms about requiring injured people to sign releases prior to getting money or apologies or whatever. This sounds heavy handed, I suppose, but if the OBC committed wrongs that their liability carrier thinks were bad enough to justify litigation, the OBC should apologize and can certainly ask for a release prior to apologizing.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:26 pm

I guess we each choose our priorities.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:27 pm

I was sexually abused by a monk at Mt. Angel Abbey, a Benedictine monastery/seminary when I attended in the 60s. In the 90s I thought it was time to confront the abuser and the abbot as part of my healing process. The fact that Mt. Angel Abbey was willing to apologize and claim responsibility (without asking me to sign a release from litigation) to pay for my therapy bills and arrange for extended evaluation and treatment for the abuser, and to contact former seminarians to invite them to come forward and receive assistance meant that I was less inclined to pursue litigation and didn't. Apparently the Roman Catholic Church is more willing to address their abuse problems than the OBC and Shasta Abbey. That is disappointing when the Roman Catholic Church is on a higher moral plain than your own sangha. I actually think that litigation happens when communication is cut, and when evasion of responsibility happens. Perhaps the only way that accountability is going to happen is through litigation and the courts if all other routes are cut off and denial and evasion are the rule of the day.

As a result of my own reconciliation process Mt. Angel Abbey put into place a whole process for victims to come forward and be attended to,( without signing any litigation disclaimers) to have psychotherapy paid for, and to have a neutral advocate assigned to work with them. Excuse me, OBC, where's the enlightenment??
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:03 pm

Hey Bill
Maybe enlightened self interest is Shasta's enlightenment.

Shasta's response to being asked to be responsible is typical of a group of discipline fearing 12 year olds hiding behind some Abby walls. The real teachings coming from Shasta's actions are of dogmatic self interest. The monks and laity who remain silent about this foolishness are actually practising dogmatic self interest and should maybe stop fooling themselves about the nature of the path that they are really choosing.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:30 pm

@ Howard

An interesting display of irony, Howard. Your metaphor seems sadly apt. Again I would have hoped for more.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:23 pm

So would I. If ignorance is bliss, they must be totally enraptured. I think that within their cocoon, all that is written here must make little sense.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:55 pm

Hello Bill & Henry

They can't allow any of what is written here to have credibility. There is only one reason to fear doubt the way they do. Shasta conditioning is just a large dam holding back reality and any doubt is the potential crack that could wash away everything that gives them security.

I think that to this conditioning, a little doubt is like getting a little pregnant.


The only doubt that is likely to be really heard out of Shasta will be from the next person being asked to leave..
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:52 pm

@ Howard

What you're describing is the actual. What used to be the ideal was the oft cited phrase of JK, "Great doubt leads to great faith." A lot of cognitive dissonance there, and a lot of compartmentalized thinking.

What you're describing is also fundamentalist religion, ideologically driven. The prime characteristic is that it is a closed system. New information, new experience can't be assimilated and integrated. Organisms that are closed systems don't assimilate new information, and don't learn from experience and therefore don't adjust to changing environments, don't grow. Hence they do not evolve or change, and therefore die out.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:35 am

Hi Bill,

Quote :
What used to be the ideal was the oft cited phrase of JK, "Great doubt leads to great faith."
That quote comes from a very old Zen saying about three things being necessary for awakening: great faith, great doubt and great determination. A related teaching says "Great doubt, great awakening. Small doubt, small awakening." The last part is sometimes phrased as "great angry determination." A master might press a disciple, but the disciple was expected to show that great, sometimes angry, determination in response. That has been forbidden at Shasta for a long time. The "doubt mass" is essential for real breakthrough. A Tibetan Lama friend of mine said that the Zen school's healthy relationship to doubt was something he admired. For me, once that was completely forbidden in the OBC, they lost the zen spirit entirely. I have no idea what they are calling kensho these days, but it sounds like a descent into spiritual fantasy.

Kyogen
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:23 pm

Kyogen,
JK made it clear that having a third kensho was equivilant to being an arahant. As the rest of the Buddhist world calls arahant arahants I think that those that they name as having had a third kensho should be referred to as arahants, or those that the OBC claims are arahants. I figure if you have principals you might as well stand up for them. While I don't particularly believe Eko is an arahant, I prefer using that word for what the OBC claimed he was. How he went from being an arahant to a [admin delete] I'm not quite sure, but it does call into question the OBC's ability to recognize what spirituality or even decency are, much less who is or isn't an arahant.


Last edited by Lise on Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:37 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : defamatory language / namecalling)
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:57 pm

Henry I quite agree, I was never sure how one could go from being a Dharma heir to being discredited in 32.65 seconds,from a descilpe to being the devil in double quick time,or even how one could teach freedom and then deny it , by controlling peoples lives. Or even by saying the true way is full of compassion and love, but it will cost you 50,000$ to get me to show you . No wonder the cat walked of with its shoes on its head
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:31 pm

Credibility = walking the talk.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:53 am

Henry, I have removed your reference above regarding "sexual predator". I understand there is a lot of emotion on the forum right now concerning the topic of Zen teachers' behaviour with students, but your comment is not supported by the facts that are known about Eko's history. It is unfair to him, and you are exposing me and others who support this forum to possible legal liability through irresponsible comments like this.

I am asking you to stop.

Lise
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:41 pm

Thanks Lise. I was very concerned about that statement as well and felt that this description of him was way over the top.
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PostSubject: Re: From "OBC Conclave 2010: a Way Forward"   Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:08 pm

Thanks Laura. It took me a day to two to see it, longer than I would have liked.
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