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 Gratitude and Forced Gratitude

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:15 pm

I woke up this morning thinking about gratitude. Being grateful is a wonderful feeling. Often when I take a shower or wash my hands, I feel thankful for the abundant clean water that just pours out of the tap. Half the people on this planet don't have easy access to clean water. This feeling about the water is spontaneous. No one tells me to feel this. I am not following some dictum from a teacher or a scripture. And sometimes when I am eating, also feel grateful for healthy food. And when I breath, clean air. There is a lot of talk about how powerful the feeling of gratitude is and how you can even cultivate it deliberately especially when you are focusing on difficulties or potential future troubles.

The many people who post on this site often bring up their gratitude to Kennett or some of the other monks at Shasta. I mentioned this in some of my posts. And on this site, when we are being critical or sharing our personal stories, we also remind people that there are feelings of gratitude in our mix of emotions and memories of Kennett / Shasta. Life is complicated. And obviously, since we were attracted to Kennett and her teachings and we stayed with her for some years, there must have been much positive aspects to keep us there that long. Myozen brought up her gratitude to Kennett for introducing her to Zen in her recent accounts in trying to share a balanced view of her experiences so many years ago. And I would still say that I am grateful to Kennett teaching me shikan-taza and sharing some of the teachings of Dogen - and yes, also grateful for the discipline at Shasta in the early years especially when it was relatively simple and cleanly practiced. That was all useful and important in my life.

But what I was thinking about this morning was about forced gratitude and how this pollutes the whole emotional situation. With Kennett, as with many gurus - what may have started out as reasonable spontaneous feelings that students would have for their teacher, slowly evolved into a demand situation -- gratitude and adoration were required by Kennett and the culture she created. If you weren't sufficiently and expressively grateful, there were seriously negative consequences -- beyond "you're killing your guru" -- pure guilt, banishment, rage, verbal attacks and so on. You better adore her, you better be grateful, or you would be punished. This was part of the process also that turned her devotees into children, took away their spiritual adulthood and autonomy. That was the game - and the rules changed over time.

So simple feelings of true gratitude became distorted through this demand system. And that doesn't work at all. The emotions and feelings then become contrived, artificial, and fake. What you are feeling is fear. You are playing a game, a role, to keep yourself safe, from being attacked, in order to stay in her good graces. And as we all played the game, the distortion field around Kennett became more and more toxic and impenetrable and crazy-making.

There were so many examples of this during my time at Shasta. One simple little story comes to mind. Kennett had built a hot tub in her small bathroom in her house. It was not very big but deep enough so that it worked. Once or twice a week, she would fill it with hot water and invite the senior monks to use it, one after the other. People showered first, but nonetheless, after three or four people that tub was swimming with dead skin and really not that pleasant. I did like using the tub sometimes, but it was hardly voluntary. It was offered to you and you basically had to use it. This was part of the Shasta culture where it was verboten to say No to Kennett about anything.

So one night, when the tub was going, I told Kennett that I would pass on using it, thank you so much for the offer, but i was tired and feeling a bit rundown so I would pass on taking a soak. Well, it was if I had threatened her life, rejected her. I was severely reprimanded, the next day there was some lecture about monks losing their way -- clearly about me but my name was not used --another senior monk was sent to chastise me, and these verbal attacks and public humiliation went on for some weeks. I had done something truly terrible by passing on sitting in the hot tub. I was not sufficiently grateful. Autonomy was NOT an option in this community. And while this incident was cloaked in some kind of dharma teaching, it was clearly Kennett demanding total love, adoration and gratitude and anything less was seen by her as a deep rejection. So this prime lesson was reinforced - for me and everyone -- never, ever express anything but gratitude to Kennett, or suffer the consequences.

So this "gratitude" became polluted by demands, fear, and consequences. What this creates is a culture that is inherently dishonest. And where you give up having any personal feelings other than the ones that Kennett dictates. Now is this some wondrous process to destroy the ego and enlightened us? That's the big Zen story, isn't it. The "master" humiliates you, berates you, purifies you skillfully and you wake up and it's all bliss. But the reality is -- that didn't work that way and her "skillful means" created a culture of submission and fear. Also, keep in mind, the guru / master / the one setting the tone was hardly free from self. Kennett's reactions and responses came from own ego/self, her own unconscious unmet need to be loved and adored, her own fears of being alone or abandoned, her own past. How can she teach egolessness when she had little experience of it?

The hot tub story may seem like a trivial event. In one sense, it was. But actually it was an example of what went on at Shasta, even before the lotus blossom confusions, many times per day. And it wasn't that these were quick quick koan-like responses. Now, there may be some who might say that this kind of "teaching" sometime did work, sometimes people did have breakthroughs or kenshos because of Kennett's approach. I would say that could have happened, but it was rare and in the scheme of things, just one moment. A culture of humiliation creates more humiliation. And it does not lead to a life of kindness, compassion and increased mindfulness. This kind of abusive culture creates constant pressure to find new ways to over react and attack, to be heavy handed and even cruel. Am I exaggerating? You tell me,

Stephen Batchelor gave a talk at the Buddhist Geeks conference yesterday. He is an old friend, but someone I don't see very often. I caught part of his talk on the live video stream. He is a western Buddhist maverick, and someone who I respect enormously. He was talking about when the Buddha died, he did not appoint anyone else the next Buddha. He did not create a guru to lead the Sangha. You know the story about the Buddha holding up a flower and Mahakasyapa smiling and the Buddhs saying he transmitted the dharma to Mahakasyapa. Well, that story was made up in ninth century China to create a sectarian narrative of a secret unbroken mind to mind lineage that never existed. Pure fantasy. The buddha did not appoint anyone to lead the sangha and specifically said, "The dharma is your teacher." Stephen Batchelor was making the point that by doing this, the Buddha was emphasizing spiritual autonomy, not to rely upon any person, any guru, but on your own practice of living the eightfold path, your own mind / mindfulness. The whole point of dharma practice is to create spiritual awake adults, not dependent fearful dishonest children who do everything they can to make sure that the mommy guru doesn't get upset.

Other people have written on this site about Kennett must have loved her disciples - at least in the beginning - or in her own way -- or some have said that she always loved her disciples. The current abbess of Shasta said something to the effect that Kennett always and only did everything for the benefit of her disciples. Really? What about these statements is actually true? or how true are they? and what does this "love" mean in real life? If you make big statements, i think it's fair to ask these questions. Especially if you make this grand claim that this person never did anything selfish in her entire life. Is it true? What is your experience? Forget about giving Kennett the benefit of the doubt. Just be truthful if what you saw and heard and directly experienced.

Here is my take. Kennett's relationship with her devotees was CONDITIONAL. As long as you did what you were told, followed her absolutely and without conditions, never challenged her or doubted her, never spoke back, never disagreed, she did give you her attention and some affection. She was kind to you - sometimes. The requirement was adoration. Now if you didn't follow her rules, she would reject you and even humiliate you. If you followed your own heart and made your decisions based on that, she could cut you off.

I know, she taught over and over again -- follow your own heart. Nice words. In reality, that only worked if you made sure that your "heart" was in total sync with what Kennett wanted. If it was not in sync, first you would probably be told that this wasn't your "heart" but your koan - you were broken and listening to your ego. And if you had the temerity to insist that you were following your own heart, you could be expelled or cut off. If you found a way to leave, then often you were dead to her.

What kind of love is this? It sounds like some version of possessive attachment. There may be all kinds of psychological terms for these kind of relationships. But i am not sure that "love" really applies here. And is it "tough love" or some kind of Zen love? It is certainly tough, but love? And Zen? By the time I followed my heart and walked out, it seemed to me that most of what went on at Shasta had little to do with Dharma or Zen teaching and more to do with the Kennett cult of personality, her demand for loyalty, and her unresolved shadows roaming wild. Love -- I don't think so.

And through my work at SORTING IT OUT and talking to so many ex- members of hundreds of groups, it became crystal clear how these toxic communities and guru relationships develop and even thrive in these cultures of silence and dishonesty and blind obedience and faith. Dharma? not so much. That people do benefit in some ways, that happens in all kinds of situations. People can learn and grow from dysfunctional families, death, cancer, war, accidents - that's fine -- we can turn difficulties into useful lessons - but that doesn't change the character of the events themselves or the need to honestly see what is going on.

This can also take us back to trying to understand Kennett's personality / self - which she is not supposed to have (being an enlightened master and all) - but we all know that her personality was alive and well and barely affected by her kensho. We have talked about this elsewhere on this site. Kennett was a very lonely sad woman who had a fairly loveless life. Underneath it all, I think she desperately wanted love and affection, intimacy, but probably had never experienced it. She was a loner - growing up, in the UK, and in Japan. So I am fairly sure - by how she behaved - that she had no idea how to be in a loving relationship with anyone - even on the level of brother and sister. Didn't she hate her brother or was it her step-brother. So she had no experience at being in long term relationships, in a loving family situation, in working out issues and problems, in caring for someone unconditionally. She knew about survival, about being the boss, about pushing through, about self-protection. We talked a lot about all this elsewhere on the site.

I have babbled enough.

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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:16 pm

Josh you said:
Quote :
So this "gratitude" became polluted by demands, fear, and consequences. What this creates is a culture that is inherently dishonest.
I think that this points to the nub of it. There was only JK's way all other ways were at best benighted but more usually just false. It follows that her every whim was Gospel and had to be followed. She often said 'Remember I might be wrong', but never said 'I am wrong'. As you say if you say you believe when you don't you are lost. You can have all the kensho's in the world but if you can't come to terms with your own falsehoods you will still be lost, even worse than before. When you step into the world where you increasingly can't tell one falsehod from truth and then have a kensho, which should refresh your practice and show you that in some very real sense you can never be right, instead it becomes a validation that you are Right, and that falsehood is Truth. 'Kennett always and only did everything for the benefit of her disciples' - tosh. No more true than that I always do my best for my children, I may wish to but that is an entirely different matter. I think that JK believed what at least at the outset was her desire that her main motivation was always the benefit of her disciples. And her conviction of her own false propaganda led her further and further down a path were she found it difficult to believe that anything but her own flawed opinions were True. She seems to have been increasingly lost in a world of smoke and mirrors that was largely of her own creation.

I will always be grateful for many things that she taught me, especially shikantaza. But also for her final lesson, to repudiate the confusion that she had infected me with and which I took a long time to come to terms with. I am only sorry that at the time I could not do more that just my repudiation to help her or others see and come to terms with the same confusion.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:50 am

Old bath

Josh jumps in

The smell of slime
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:42 am

:-) Hi Josh!

Thank you for your very expressive post. That hot-tub story -- "an example of what went on at Shasta, even before the lotus blossom confusions, many times per day" -- is indeed pretty miserable. Constantly being wrong-guessed then harangued for it is a wretched state of affairs, and you have my sympathies.

On Bright Moon, someone put forward a theory that JK came from a dysfunctional family in which she was exposed to regular in-fighting as part of her growing up. The author of the post suggested that the human response to this can be to try to control the 'family' situation as an adult, so that what happened in the past -- chronic struggle -- could not happen again in the present; but by being excessively authoritarian, one sets in motion the very causes and conditions that one hopes to avoid, thus repeating the cycle.

I don't suppose JK actually said to you, "I want to be adored!" So, I guess you have tried to reason out what could have been driving this demanding, humiliating behaviour, "banishment, rage, verbal attacks and so on"?

You wrote:
If you weren't sufficiently and expressively grateful, there were seriously negative consequences -- beyond "you're killing your guru" -- pure guilt, banishment, rage, verbal attacks and so on. You better adore her, you better be grateful, or you would be punished.
...and also wrote:
So one night, when the tub was going, I told Kennett that I would pass on using it, thank you so much for the offer, but i was tired and feeling a bit rundown so I would pass on taking a soak. Well, it was if I had threatened her life, rejected her. I was severely reprimanded, the next day there was some lecture about monks losing their way -- clearly about me but my name was not used --another senior monk was sent to chastise me, and these verbal attacks and public humiliation went on for some weeks. I had done something truly terrible by passing on sitting in the hot tub. I was not sufficiently grateful.
I, too, am trying to sort wheat from chaff about her behaviour, trying to understand as best I can from reports, having spent very little time in her physical proximity. In these cases, did she (or her heavies) actually say that you were being ungrateful to her, or similar; or, in saying "you better be grateful" and "I was not sufficiently grateful", were you trying to reason as best you could from what you have been presented with? (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:11 pm

Anne wrote:
On Bright Moon, someone put forward a theory that JK came from a dysfunctional family in which she was exposed to regular in-fighting as part of her growing up. The author of the post suggested that the human response to this can be to try to control the 'family' situation as an adult, so that what happened in the past -- chronic struggle -- could not happen again in the present; but by being excessively authoritarian, one sets in motion the very causes and conditions that one hopes to avoid, thus repeating the cycle.

I'm not seeing that post on Bright Moon. Can you note the section and thread name?

Anne wrote:

I, too, am trying to sort wheat from chaff about her behaviour, trying to understand as best I can from reports, having spent very little time in her physical proximity. In these cases, did she (or her heavies) actually say that you were being ungrateful to her, or similar; or, in saying "you better be grateful" and "I was not sufficiently grateful", were you trying to reason as best you could from what you have been presented with? (-:

If memory serves JK usually expressed this in terms of her "teaching". When people were less than 100% compliant and happy with her wishes she took it as ingratitude and a challenge to her teaching, as if her teaching was "The Teaching". I don't remember JK literally saying "you're being ungrateful", but Josh has accurately captured the sense of intimidation and threat of reprisal that was always in the background when JK was dispensing her favors. I would add that I believe JK was dispensing favors, but she didn't hesitate to push people's boundaries at the same time. For instance regarding the tub I too remember the water not being as clean as I would have liked. I remember using the provided sieve to remove the more obvious floating debris and not being overly bothered, but I can see how others may have found this disgusting and not wanted to participate. Hot tubs for soaking were also built in the Zendo bath house and the monks who used them had to deal with the same scenario. At the time I thought JK was just replicating how things were done in Japan, but I don't know if that's accurate. I don't know if she was intentionally creating a situation that impinged on people's boundaries about cleanliness. In retrospect that possibility sounds pretty disgusting, but JK didn't see people's personal boundaries as being private and off-limits. I'll be interested to read what Josh may add about this...
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:02 pm

This is all about insecurity and control, what ones learns from insecurity and control is insecurity and control, I am looking after a young girl who is the third generation of insecurity and control, it is normal behaviour for her, affection is often shown or demanded by nastiness. Henry could say more, yet people can learn from all circumstances, it comes down to what one learns. Basic rule if it is not right get out
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:42 pm

It really is not about the floating dead skin the bath. I took plenty of hot tubs and put up with that. The essence of the story was simply that Kennett did not allow adulthood or autonomy, independent thinking. Her behavior and responses in these situations were toxic and extreme and frankly, bizarre. There was no Zen in any of it.

Part of my waking up to the reality of my Shasta experience was visiting other Zen and spiritual teachers and their communities - right after I left Shasta - including a few Zen communities, the Lama Foundation in New Mexico, a Sikh/Yoga community, a bunch of other places. They all had their pluses and minuses, but one of the first things i noticed was that many of these communities were so much more open, tolerant, softer, kinder and that their residents / members were allowed to be adults. At the time, seeing that was a revelation, because for so long I / we had lived as subservient fearful children. As I saw this, not only did i have an inner "wow" - but the clear insight about how much of my experience was totally Kennett's personality, not Zen at all. And how painful and stressful and useless it had been. Even then, I still believed that some of the simpler discipline was useful, but it was dawning on me that so much of Kennett's behavior was so seriously harmful and backward - going in the wrong direction.

The dead skin in the tub was the least of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:37 am

:-) Bright Moon forum 'tree': OBC History & Structure>OBC Miscellaneous>Why could Eko's obvious abuse of power not be seen?>comment 15.

I can certainly see the background of "intimidation and threat of reprisal", and that JK didn't allow "adulthood or autonomy, independent thinking". From what you have written, Isan, I do not get the impression that she was personally seeking gratitude and so devising ways to get it (though I am sure that it would be very nice to have) but that, because she perceived her teaching as "The Teaching", she perceived declining or going against it as simultaneously evincing the 'inappropriate attitude' of ingratitude for "The Teaching".

Thanks for input, people. (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:56 am

Anne wrote:
From what you have written, Isan, I do not get the impression that she was personally seeking gratitude and so devising ways to get it (though I am sure that it would be very nice to have) but that, because she perceived her teaching as "The Teaching", she perceived declining or going against it as simultaneously evincing the 'inappropriate attitude' of ingratitude for "The Teaching".

Agreed - it's an important difference that might not be obvious from the verbiage. The demand for gratitude, or adoration as Josh called it, was quite unconscious.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:44 am

Some years ago, I had dinner with an old friend. She started talking about her mother who was a bit of a tyrant and how she felt that her mom never loved her. She then said that what she really wanted in life was "to be adored." She wanted adoration. She wanted someone to love her in that way - worshipful and where she was in a somewhat higher position - psychologically.

So some people do seek / long for adoration. I have seen this with some movie stars and celebrities. I know actually two big celebs who do major philanthropic work, have foundations, give away millions, but they absolutely require adoration and praise for their work. They don't say that out loud - in fact they might even assert the opposite - some version of "I don't do this for publicity - I only want to help people" - because it sounds so good, so selfless, but that is not the reality.

In one case, one celebrity i was working with was criticized for some aspect of her philanthropy, attacked actually, and then a few other people also were critical. This celeb because very upset, angry - she felt unloved, rejected, how dare they. All these critics went on the enemies list because they weren't playing by the rules. This celeb could not bare being criticized and more than that, she did require praise and adoration all the time - from everyone around her. So she had a cloud of staff, publicists, producers, and friends who reflected back to her the love she required.

And by the way, the roots of this obsessive need for adoration do come from a neglected childhood, do come from some form of abuse in the early years or at least feelings of not being loved or nurtured enough.

This was Kennett.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:14 am

:-) Does anyone know if JK went to boarding-school for a time? (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:17 pm

Anne !

That was hilarious !! Not being rude by the way...

I don`t think she did go to boarding school. I had quite a lot of talks with her
but couldn`t swear to it.

The reason I thought it was funny was because I went to two separate
boarding schools when I was young run by two different schools of catholicism.
Lots of experience of monks, the one true religion, upper class indoctrination,
plenty of bullying and lots of discipline enforced with the birch.
Not all bad experiences by any means. Most people learned to just get on with
it....it`s not forever...

A certain amount of `boot camp` lifestyle, occasional bullying and having to
toe the line was `water off a duck`s back` in the end.

When I first went to Throssel Hole Priory in the early days, the tough
conditions were seemingly part of the `authentic` Zen atmosphere. I know a
lot of it was down to just plain lack of money. Breaking the ice in a bucket
in the morning to have a wash ?....does you good ! It was all part of the Zen
spirit of breaking through all barriers.

If you wanted a gentle long winded approach, well, who`s to stop you going
the Theravadin route or head for the Pure Land...horses for courses.
So the so called Zen approach for for me was no trouble. Bullying ? I thought
it was almost compulsory LOL ! No one forced me to go there after all !
I wasn`t expected to cut off my arm for the truth...it all gets easier after that
let off.

No respite back in the world either it seems...what an unholy mess that is...pun
intended. Looks like we have to do what the man said in the end....Enlighten
ourselves.

I still look in on the Forum as it`s pretty obvious that despite varying
experiences, we all came away with a piece of the truth to go forward with.
it`s the big picture that counts....the understanding gained.

So, It made me laugh and very curious about what your line of reasoning was
when you asked if RMJK went to boarding school. Perhaps Mark knows. I think
he`s the resident expert on boarding schools.

It did give me a good laugh though Anne...I nearly spat my Belgian chocolate
praslin into my cappuccino !

Much love, Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:44 am

:-) Hi Stan!

Before posting my query, I did a forum-search on "boarding school", just in case someone had answered it elsewhere, and came across your post or posts where you mentioned attending.

I have a vague I-think-it's-a-memory of JK saying that someone who had been to a British boarding-school -- and I'm guessing she was thinking of 1920s-30s versions -- would be well prepared for somewhere like Sojiji...or maybe it was the army! Or maybe vice-versa but that seems to be the wrong chronological order hmm I've never been to a boarding-school (though my father periodically threatened me with it!) but wondered if the disciplinaire approach that I imagined might have joined with JK's other childhood experiences, with her internal responses conditioning her teaching-style.

I perused WWG: during a kensho she recalled coming home from school at the age of 6; so, if she did go to a boarding-school, maybe it was in her teen years. In HTGLB, she wrote of having attended a school "that had only one aim -- to turn me into what I was not -- a snob." The first edition of HTGLB has "high-born lady" rather than "snob", so I guess this was the school she attended before university.

Thanks for your account Stan. "A certain amount of 'boot camp' lifestyle, occasional bullying and having to toe the line" segueing neatly into the early days of Throssel Hole Priory is food for thought (unfortunately not Belgian chocolate praline...hmmm...tasty!) (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:54 pm

We're human beings we can't escape birth and death.


JK was human with faults, most probably many faults,a good teacher does not teach us how to have no faults , a good teacher teaches us how to live with our humanity in the best way, the Buddhist way. They do this by humbly accepting their humanity not denying it. Buddhism is not about being or finding perfect people.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:09 pm

Hi Anne,

Just to clarify. My time in Throssel hole was never experienced as `boot
camp .Nor was I ever bullied there. If I was, I must have missed it !

I distinctly remember in one `posh` school being told...remember boys, if
someone from the Church of England religion (most people at the time) ever
criticises Catholicism, just say " Henry the eighth started your religion, Jesus
Christ started ours !
or..
Remember boys, when you leave school, there will be people who think that
you reckon you are superior to them. Well, it`s not a problem because you
KNOW that you`r superior !

Plenty more where that came from. When I left school, I quickly dropped the
cut glass English accent and joined in with the rest of the Inverse snobs.
Safety in numbers...the usual servitude.

Do you like Thornton`s chocolates...the Continentals ? or are you Raw Vegan
and very disciplined ? It`s a pity that most of our poor American cousins
don`t know what decent chocolate is !
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:54 pm

Hi Mike.

"We`re all human beings. We can`t escape birth and death".

At the risk of Henry getting on my case, I would just like to ask, (No trick
question !), Is that really true ?

Apart from our thoughts and beliefs(respectable name for opinions), is there
any proof that we are our minds and bodies ? I doubt if Bill Picard thought he
was a body when he got that Peyote down him.

I`m not saying the body can escape death but, can it not be that we just
identify ourselves as bodies instead of awareness ?

I don`t recall the Buddha saying we were bodies...might have missed it.
In fact, have you noticed, Buddhism goes on and on about who we`re not and
what we`re not, but never says what or who we actually are ? Is it just me
or perhaps are we some Sutras missing somewhere ?

I don`t recall any buddhist teacher ever telling me what I am. It seemed
impolite to ask after a while. Can`t doubt the whole thing now or it all falls
down. Just keep on chasing the rainbow, it seems to me, is where Buddhism
mainly is. In the west at least.

Can some nice kindly Buddhist teacher tell me what "I" am as opposed to
what I`m not ? If I`m supposed to be a lamp unto myself, what am I
supposed to find ? Endless training so as not to slip back down the ladder ?

Not holding my breath by the way :-). God, I can `rabbit` on a bit at this
time of night. Not having `a go` at you in an way at all here Mike .

Hope all`s well at your end,

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:18 pm

The god of fire calls for fire.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:33 pm

You did always look human Stan , all those years ago, but I must admit, I did have a few doubts!
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:05 am

Hi Mark.

I hope you`re as well as you look in that foto of yours.

" The god of fire calls for fire ".

Yes, we have no choice but to keep on the fire treadmill so long as we think
that we`re incomplete.
Fire....just another object. There`s always some god wanting you to do their
schleping for them.

All the best,

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:17 am

Mike,

You say the nicest things ! I still look human but, I think you were onto
something all those years ago.

I suspect there`s something of a long haired hippie about you these days
as opposed to a short haired one of years ago.

Remember that Mini of yours ? Happy days.

Take care....it`s great when you hit retirement.

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:08 pm

:-) Stan, in response to your choccy question, I used to buy a delectable assortment of vegan chocolates from the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research. I was very disciplined back then -- one choc per week! Shame they stopped selling them. Now my daily fix is a Lyme Regis chocolate-covered marzipan bar (yummy and containing around 3g protein!)

Quote :
... can it not be that we just identify ourselves as bodies instead of awareness?
Just take care not to identify yourself with your awareness of anything (including awareness) -- but it can be great fun when it vanishes...then reappears...then vanishes...then...! Shocked

Mark, I still recall your tale of one teacher's comment in your school report on your academic prowess -- "This boy sets himself the highest standards and falls far short of them" -- and laugh whenever I remember it! (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:18 pm

Hi Anne,

Fun and games time.....

If your awareness vanishes, how do you know ? What/who sees that ?

Very intrigued by the Vegan chocies ! Amazed by your discipline back then.
I did a google view search on the marzipan bars...sad, I know.
Too small I`m afraid.......

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:47 pm

Hey Stan

Can't help feeling like I've I missed another joke..

That the missing sutra is our practise.

Welcome to karmic entropy.

Nowhere to be.

Identity?

F---

.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:09 pm

Hi Howard,

In that case, I reckon the missing sutra is the one that follows on from the
one that says....." There is an unborn, uncreated......".
It goes very quiet after that. How many elephants can you get into a room ?
Definitely a joke somewhere.

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:44 pm

It must be the Parajnaparamita Sutra in one letter, or is it one word, have to get down my Conze.

Ah yes Anne, but I've been going downhill since my school days.

Stan - the photo is 2 or 3 years ago now. Taken in front of the Sibelius monument in Helsinki when over there to catch the Sibelius Festival in Lahti. Going again this year and then catching the overnight sleeper to Moskow.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:17 am

:-) Hi Stan!

Quote :
If your awareness vanishes, how do you know?
I knew when I 'came back'...and also knew of the experience of 'disappearance'-about-to-happen...and 'came back'. There's a bit of story behind this (which I've not time to go into fully at present), involving schlepping up schlopes and digging ditches, i.e a certain amount of strenuous activity. It all happened while 'awake' and busting to make mindfulness, including awareness-of-awareness, unbroken.

Quote :
What/who sees that?
As implied above, nothing actually saw the absence of consciousness in real time; and if anyone else had looked at my bodily form, I expect they would have seen someone walking or standing. However, I believe there is 'a continuum', because that's what make sense to me from experiences such as the above: I knew who I was when I came back and that my awareness had clocked out; also, the whole business of training and awakening: someone wakes up. I can't do your practice and you can't do mine -- in that sense it's individual -- though we can connect. I think that 'IT' manifests awareness -- that's one of 'IT's features or qualities -- but doesn't 'IT'self cease even if awareness disappears for a while. It's a bit like trying to see the back of your head: wherever you look it's behind you, but not absent. Unlike manifested awareness, 'IT' can't be objectified -- so don't come to me for proof! ;-)

'IT' (sorry about these quotes and capitals...I'm trying to make this an obvious mere sound-and-squiggle for something else) also manifests/has energy (e.g were it not for energy, awareness could not move to this or that, and there could be no illusoryself-grasping and no training) and communicability (e.g minds can contact each other and 'pick up' things psychically). I agree that, in discovering that various skandhas are not 'IT' people may conclude initially that there is no 'IT' (this may leave them with some questions but they may have other foci for their attention first); but I don't think that's what the Buddha said at all... A while back, I sent you a link (I don't think it still functions) that opened a section on "Citta -- The Mind's Essential Knowing Nature" from Ajaan Maha Boowa's book Arahattamagga Arahattaphala: The Path to Arahantship, which I think has some bearing on your concerns. I've copied this section into a new thread in this In Theory and Practice sub-forum: http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t562-citta-the-mind-s-essential-knowing-nature. However, as said above, my experience has been that awareness/awareness-of-awareness can disappear then remanifest.

And now, for chocolate... Very Happy
Those marzibars are more-ish and, in regular eating-mode, probably could be scoffed in 3 bites -- danger! DANGER!! afraid -- the bank-balance shrinks as the thighs expand! My trick, which mostly works, is to take really tiny ["tiny" for the visually-challenged :-)] bites and savour them, by which I can make a bar last around 15 minutes. drunken (-:


Last edited by Anne on Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:35 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : To add link to another thread)
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:30 am

I got down my Conze (The Short Prajnaparamita Texts, Luzac 1973) and it was the Prajnaparamita in one letter. As usual, it being the Mahayana, the text is rather more verbose and given to a slightly overcrowded audience. A scripture in one letter can only be squeazed into 108 words, and given to an audience of millions! (Well actually more than 10^21!! So the Vulture Peak must have been a bit larger back the day.) Still here is the whole work - which is quite short.

Quote :

The Blessed Perfection of Wisdom, the Mother of All the Tathagatas, in One Letter


Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom!
Thus have I heard at one time. The Lord dwelt at Rajagrha, on the Vulture Peak, together with a large congregation of monks, with 1,250 monks, and with many hundreds of thousands of niyutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas. At that time the Lord addressed the Venerable Ananda, and said:
"Ananda, do receive, for the sake of the weal and happiness of all beings, this perfection of wisdom in one letter: A."
Thus spoke the Lord. The Venerable Ananda, the large congregation of monks, the assembly of the Bodhisattvas, and the whole world with its gods, men, asuras and gandharvas rejoiced at the teaching of the Lord.
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:38 am

:-) Beats "42" for brevity! (-:

Note: "The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, 'The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything', calculated by an enormous supercomputer over a period of 7.5 million years." (from Wikipedia, which goes on to add, "Unfortunately no one knows what the question is...")
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:47 pm

Hi Anne,

Just a quickie......Will reply to your last points in the next few days.
My wife and I were in hospital today as it looked like she had broken
her hip. It transpires that it`s more of a dislocation which is a lot better.
She`s not a happy bunny though and I have less time to myself for the
moment.

I really appreciated your full and detailed reply...as always.
Catch up with you soon,

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:16 am

Not so nice Stanislav take care of the lady
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:54 am

Stan all the best for your wife and her hip. You will probably be busy for the next week or two bringing cups of tea, etc., etc., whilst she has a well earned rest with her feet up. I have had my 20 year old son Ben lying on the couch with a broken leg (rugby) for the last six weeks. Much to the exasperation of us all, especially him!
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:24 pm

Hi Mike,

Yes, not so nice for poor old wifey. Fortunately it`s not a break...that
would have driven her crazy. She`s very active and social and a real
gardening fanatic. I guess someone somewhere thinks she should have
a bit of a rest.
I hope you`re not overdoing it yourself. Bit of a joke saying that to the
self employed, I always found.

Take care .
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:02 pm

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the best wishes for my Maggi. You were not wrong about all the
schleping. Cups of tea is the least of it. Test driving the vacuum cleaner tomorrow !

Best wishes in return to your son Ben. Seems to be broken bones season.
Rugger eh ? Do I detect a well educated boy there ? None of that football
malarky . I hope he`s all mended for the European trip...assuming he still likes
hanging around with mum and dad.

Nearly made it to Moscow many years ago despite the Russians being the
traditional enemy of the Poles.
I was investing in property in Poland just after the wall came down. I had a
cousin in Warsaw who was a bit of a `Jack the lad` and ran businesses whilst
it was still forbidden in commie times.
He said ..`Stan, don`t buy that old palace, I`ve got a great little deal lined
up for us in Moscow. A bunch of us have `sorted` permission to start up a
Harley Davidson dealership in central Moscow. The premises is all sorted as
are the protection boys. They`re all great people, I know every one of them.
They`ve all done time inside...great lads, can`t go wrong...we`ll make a
fortune !
I hate to admit that I did briefly consider it but, settled for renovating a little
old Palace. I don`t know if the Harley Davidson thing happened.
I do know he later bought himself a huge expensive appartement in central
Warsaw. I didn`t ask.

Hope you have a good trip.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:57 am

:-) I've had Lenore Friedman's Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America for years (it was first published in 1987), and have occasionally quoted from it on OBCC regarding Jiyu's view of monastic/lay practice and celibacy/partnership. But I'd forgotten about the following, which I reread yesterday...

Lenore Friedman wrote:
Women had only just won the right to vote in England when five-year-old Peg Kennett started school. It was a "very snooty, very expensive private boarding school" for children of the wealthy upper class. But its teachers were largely militant suffragists, not above chaining themselves to railings to dramatize their demands for equality. Now, flushed with victory, they wasted no time impressing their small female charges with the absolute conviction that they could do or become whatever they dreamed. "You should know what we've done!" they said. "We fought for you. This is your right. Now you keep those rights." All through school the message was clear: You are not inferior! You are anything but second class.

The little girl who today is Roshi Kennett, abbess of Shasta Abbey, learned that lesson well. What she wanted to become was a monk.

This had been clear to her from the age of four when she saw a monk for the first time on the streets of London. She had announced her intention immediately to her startled mother, a conventional woman who continued to be startled as her unconventional daughter grew up. When I asked for more information about her mother, Roshi Kennett said, "There's really nothing more to say. How do you say anything about someone you've never met. I've put that in the Goose [her book the Wild White Goose]. How do you say goodbye to somebody you've never met yet? Oh, we lived in the same house. But we never met each other. We were a couple of ships that passed in the night and said hi."

In her boarding school, alongside their advanced notions of feminism, her teachers taught a distinctly blood-and-guts variety of Christianity. Yet it was there that, quite by accident, it seemed, Peg Kennett was introduced to Buddhism. It happened that the father of one of her schoolmates sent his daughter a beautiful marble Buddha from Burma, for the school museum. The headmistress decided it was too big for the museum but was just right for the mantle in the lecture hall.

"Now, in the lecture hall is where you have prayers every morning. And here was this very narrow-minded Scottish Calvinist talking dire things about hellfire, brimstone, and everything else that happened if you dared so much as to think you looked attractive or didn't do your hair in pigtails. And here was this lovely cool statue of a Buddha sitting in meditation. When we were singing hymns like 'where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile,' and 'the heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and stone' -- I'm thinking, I prefer it! If you're listening to blood and guts every morning, and there's something else sitting on the mantle looking good -- that's where I got converted to Buddhism!" (Today there's an exact replica of that Buddha in the library at Shasta Abbe.)

Yet, for years after she finished her university education in music, Peg Kennett worked as a church organist. It seemed the most likely route at the time toward her goal of spiritual training. She was, if anything, overqualified. But she was also a woman, and the Church of England was not then of the same mind as her schoolteachers. Often, in order to get in the door for a job interview, she used the ruse of putting her initials, rather than her full name, on applications. "It was very obvious that they didn't want women. I kept thinking that maybe I'm wrong, and I would apply for jobs and I'd get them, and as soon as they found out I was a woman, I was out. One parson informed me that the only women he wanted in his church were the ones who cleaned it." Another, after hiring her, insisted on sexual favours. She resigned. He came to her house and tried to force his way in. She threatened to tell the bishop. He said, "He won't believe you. You're just a woman."

Finally she found a very poor church that couldn't afford a man and, after working there ten years and doing brilliantly ("I am not swollen-headed when I make that statement"), she was informed that a man had been found who was willing to work for the "miserable pittance they were paying me. I was fired, after ten years, for being a woman."

Decades later, in a pamphlet on women and Buddhism published by Shasta Abbey, she wrote: "This is the situation women have been in for centuries. This is the situation that needs to change. The damage done to me I cannot tell you. However, out of it came something good. It sent me back to studying my own original religion, Buddhism. It sent me to the Far East, making possible the discovery that I was adequate ... In the beginning I was looking in the wrong direction. I was looking for equality in work instead of knowing that true equality came from within. I was looking outside myself for recognition instead of knowing that I must first recognise myself as whole.

"Once one knows ones own adequacy, once one knows ones own Buddha-nature, once one knows ones own soul, there can be no problem whatsoever with adequacy or inadequacy; and it no longer matters whether one rocks the cradle or digs the coal in the mine -- or works as a lawyer or a doctor, all work being equal in the Buddha-mind, all work being that of a Buddha."

The only reason she turned away from Christianity, Roshi Kennett told me, was her incredibly deep calling to become a priest. And, as a woman, "there was no way I could become a priest in Christianity." It was the sexism of the Church of England that compelled her to cut loose from Christianity and finally become a monk in a foreign country, in a foreign religion, in a foreign language.
Later, in the same chapter...

Quote :
[Lenore] "We talked last time about some of your experiences as a woman, both within Christianity and Buddhism, and the kinds of difficulties you encountered. Would you say that you turned to Buddhism out of that conflict?"
[Jiyu] "The only reason I turned away from Christianity was because I felt incredibly deeply called to be a priest. And there was no way I could be a priest in Christianity."
"As a woman?"
"Yes."
"How did you discover this potential within Buddhism?"
"Oddly enough, I didn't. It was obvious that Christianity did not really want women, and while most of my life I'd been exposed to books on all the religions, I began reading more books on Buddhism. And somehow I felt that this seemed to offer the most to women. I do not believe in predestination, but something seemed to guide me to the right place."

What happened, in fact, was that the very week she resigned from her last job as church organist (because of sexual advances from the parson), Koho Kenji, abbot of Soji-ji Temple in Tokyo, invited her to Japan. For some time she had been working for the London Buddhist Society and had been making arrangements for Koho Zenji to come to England.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:52 am

This is interesting. I hadn't seen this before. I am sure there were many difficulties for women in England during that time. I don't recall her ever mentioning being sexually propositioned in her job situations.

A few things stand out. How she talked about her mother here - as someone she never knew at all. I don't remember what she said about her mother in the Wild White Goose. My recollections was that when she talked about her mother, she portrayed her as mean somehow. Based on this, it underscores the point that growing up, the way she experienced the world was a place where there was little or no love or nurturing. She was on her own. You can't depend or trust your parents, adults, other people.

But there is something else here that I actually think is significant. What is Kennett's motivation with regard to Buddhism. She says, "

"The only reason I turned away from Christianity was because I felt incredibly deeply called to be a priest. And there was no way I could be a priest in Christianity."

It is worth considering this for a moment. Everyone has their own specific motivation for getting into Zen, meditation, spiritual practice - their own way to thinking about their motivations. In Tibetan Buddhism, they make a huge deal about your motivation for practice, emphasizing awakening the mind of Bodhicitta, wanting to save all sentient beings, not just practicing for oneself. Of course, you are not expected to have all these lofty Bodhisattva feelings the moment you walk in the door or meet a lama, but there is a strong emphasis on what is your motivation. Why are you practicing?

And all of us can ask ourselves why did we take up Zen? What pulled us to meditate, to read books on Buddhism, to seek out a teacher or community, to start sitting, to take refuge, and then to go further and become a monk with Kennett? Why did we do those things, why did we stay even when things became challenging, and why did we leave? These are not new questions for any of us - but as I said, our answers may be somewhat different from each other.

I do think the initial motivation is actually important. Not that it can't and doesn't change obviously. But it does set the stage or sets the table, it informs the our actions and more importantly, our life story. and sometimes that motivation doesn't change that much - it is there as the main theme.

Ok, so back to Kennett's motivation in her own words:

"The only reason I turned away from Christianity was because I felt incredibly deeply called to be a priest. And there was no way I could be a priest in Christianity."

First, THE ONLY REASON. She says there were not many reasons. There was one reason, She wanted to be a priest. "To be a priest" is very specific. She wanted the role of being a religious leader of a group / congregation, she wanted the role of being in authority. She saw men becoming priests in the Church of England and the Catholic Church - that was closed to her as a woman - but she wanted that role.

(If someone asked me the same question, the last thing i would have said was that I wanted to be a priest or a monk. the last thing. I did't want any of that. I wanted to wake up, quiet my mind, become enlightened, see things as they are, have the same experiences I read about in books about Zen teachers, see the truth, experience inner peace, understand Buddhism, etc. Didn't want to be a monk / priest at all actually - but that was required if i wanted to study Zen - with Kennett - not so much with some other teachers - so I did it.)

When I read this, it actually changed the way I was assessing Kennett these days. It helps clarify the picture in a way that frankly I had not seen before. She wanted more than anything else to have this role as priest / teacher / leader. She lucked out that she ended up with Soto Zen and Koho Zenji since in that Soto temple system, you could become a priest - in in a few short years -- unlike Rinzai where you might spend two decades studying koans before being certified or even ordained (like Ermgard Schloegel - for example).

So she goes to Sojiji and gets certified in under four years. Now, she is a priest - with her own temple -- with certificates -with gold brocade robes. She got what she wanted. She didn't have to do any more training or meditation or continue to be anyone's disciple. It was not about deepening her training or really penetrating Zen. She got what she came for - the position. And she can then go back to England -- or as it turns out - America -- with that authority / role.

I find this very interesting. It is an important part of completing the jigsaw puzzle that is Kennett.

What do you think?






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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:13 pm

:-) Perhaps her wish to become a priest had something to do with an idea of benefitting others as well as own spiritual study, rather than viewing the role as something swanky. I seem to remember (but again, alas, can't find) reading that she had one time thought (don't know how long for) about studying medicine, but felt that her own questions and concerns about death wouldn't be resolved. Christian or Buddhist, both aspirations are toward the spiritual.

When she was aged four and saw the monk, something stirred (a bit like for Prince Siddhartha:-) One of my earliest memories of TV is of when I was about 6 or so and saw Chinese guns pointing at seated Tibetan monks: I remember thinking, with a touch of jhana, that those people on the ground were innocent, not harmful, and that the soldiers should not be doing that. Something moved her, I guess without her knowing why it should be felt so strongly.

I don't think its uncommon to want to be able to offer something others will appreciate. There's a connectedness about it. However, trying to fulfill a need for meaningful connection and communication in ones life solely this way can, I think, be problematic -- people appreciate you for what you offer them; but do they like you, as a friend on equal footing? Do you like them!? What would bring you joy in an ideal world where everyone is enlightened and no one needs you as a 'teacher' -- how would ones need for connection be fulfilled there?
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:15 pm

I think it makes sense what you say Josh.

I am puzzled with the mention of the Bud Soc maybe the other extract Anne did. It seems puzzling that if she lectured there before Japan,whu not go back after and say hi. i think this is either bad blood over the Walshes or and they all knew her and I do not think they would let her get away with anything,possibly they would not allow her to be a changed person.But how much had she changed as a peson. The othrt thing I get from all these inaccuracies is why simply not tell the truth. i think the reason for this is lack of confidence,arising from lack of experience both personally and spiritually. One does not have to be a great person to be a zen teacher,one does not have to be able to read and write, or have any great stories about ones life,one need not have famous friends or been to great places. To be a great teacher one simply knows how to be oneself,one,s deepest self.I think the stories changed and the robes became more colorful,the raksus more colorful, the titles greater because they were hidden behind, in this great quest for spiritual importance the way is lost ,and hidden in the undergrowth of confusion
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:04 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
"The only reason I turned away from Christianity was because I felt incredibly deeply called to be a priest. And there was no way I could be a priest in Christianity."

First, THE ONLY REASON. She says there were not many reasons. There was one reason, She wanted to be a priest. "To be a priest" is very specific. She wanted the role of being a religious leader of a group / congregation, she wanted the role of being in authority. She saw men becoming priests in the Church of England and the Catholic Church - that was closed to her as a woman - but she wanted that role.

So she goes to Sojiji and gets certified in under four years. Now, she is a priest - with her own temple -- with certificates -with gold brocade robes. She got what she wanted. She didn't have to do any more training or meditation or continue to be anyone's disciple. It was not about deepening her training or really penetrating Zen. She got what she came for - the position. And she can then go back to England -- or as it turns out - America -- with that authority / role.

There's more than one way to interpret that quote. It's clear that JK did not want to play "second fiddle" in a man's world, secular or religious. She wanted to be on equal footing with men - specifically to be a priest and not a second class nun - and that was her right. Even today it is perceived as normal for men to seek positions of power and authority while women are treated with suspicion for doing so. JK saw that she would not be rewarded or thought well of for not abiding by the rules of the day for women, so she learned to ignore criticism and sometimes went on the attack believing she had little to lose. I feel her issues need to be viewed in the context of time and place in order to really understand how she developed. That can be done without justifying or trivializing her sometimes bad behavior.

To say that JK only wanted to achieve a position of power and authority is to deny her commitment to service. She helped many people. I have to say she helped me in spite of her problems and the injuries I sustained. I saw her make sacrifices on behalf of others that were mostly unseen and unappreciated. It was not all unbridled narcissism all the time, at least not for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:15 am

:-) I expect people have checked on Wikipedia about Jiyu but I'll post here the entry on the earlier part of her life, for a little clarity on timescale...

Quote :
Houn Jiyu-Kennett was born as Peggy Teresa Nancy Kennett in St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, England on January 1, 1924. As a young woman she found herself questioning gender roles in society and grew to become disillusioned with Christianity. She studied medieval music at Durham University and then received a scholarship to Trinity College of Music in London, England. Though attracted to Buddhism, she felt during this period that she was called to serve the Church of England as a priest. However, church policies did not allow women to be ordained, and this enhanced her previous disillusionment with Christianity.

She first became interested in Theravada Buddhism during this period of questioning and searching, joining the London Buddhist Vihara. In 1954 she joined the London Buddhist Society, where she continued her Buddhist studies and lectured. While there, she met the scholar D.T. Suzuki, and developed a strong interest in Zen Buddhism. In 1960 when Keido Chisan Koho of Sojiji in Japan came to the society, she was asked to make the arrangements for his stay. Koho asked if she would consider becoming his student back in Japan. She accepted the offer, and two years passed before she arrived at Sojiji to study under him.

In January 1962 Jiyu-Kennett traveled to Malaysia to accept an award she had been honored with for setting a Buddhist hymn, "Welcome Joyous Wesak Day" by Venerable Sumangalo, to music. Before leaving for Japan she was ordained by Ven. Seck Kim Seng in the Linji school and given the Buddhist name Sumitra, meaning compassionate friend (慈有, Ciyou in Chinese)
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houn_Jiyu-Kennett)
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:37 am

jumping back into this discussion and responding to Isan. I have no doubt that it was difficult for Kennett because of the way women were treated - in both the UK and in Japan. Absolutely. It was a major part of the story and her motivations. Why should she play second fiddle to men in these areas? AND i think that was only half the story.

In the light of trying to understand what made her tick, what motivated her, i do think the situation was not one dimensional, but much more complex, and may have included more drive for authority and position than I considered before.

Some people really do get fixated on the role, job, position / stature - becoming a priest or minister or guru or master. I have seen this so many times. Yes, they want to be enlightened and help others, but the role becomes so important - that it can dominate - and the trappings - the clothes, the throne, the title and all that. They want to be adored and bless people. And oddly, Kennett did become BOTH a Buddhist and a Christian priest - incorporating all these Anglican titles like Sacristan, Chaplain, Abbeys and priories, plainsong. From what Myozen relates, Kennett really didn't bond with Japanese culture as many westerners do who go to Japan to study Zen, so it was not hard for her to drop many of the Japanese customs.

And Isan, many of us can agree, yes, it was a Shasta / Kennett was a mixed experience, so people were helped in spite of Kennett's shortcomings, I don't deny that. I benefited a great deal - as I have said -- from the early years when Kennett's approach was simpler and less overshadowed, from learning basic meditation, from Dogen's core teachings. And I learned the most by leaving which is when my spiritual adulthood began, in moving on, it actually "trusting my own heart" and not allowing Kennett's shadows to undermine that great value in Dharma practice.

So I do want to again acknowledge my gratitude for much of what happened at Shasta AND there is no value in being silent about the harmful things that took place there and how Kennett become completely overwhelmed by her unconscious and unresolved persona. And I think understanding her early life, before she went to Japan, her personality and motivations is worthwhile - for some people.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:04 am

maybe the problem was her authority she would not budge from always being right and one having to follow her,his tradition seemed to continue with Eko when he could do and say one thing and do another himself,and it is unquestioned as everyone is programmed to call it training.

Maybe worth mentioning is at Zuoiji the practice was always the same the life of the temple, there was not anything that was unreasonable, it was tough in the way that it was up early and it did not stop but actually it was all rather normal.For westeners having an occasional chair would be nice,and I can see people not liking the kyosak, but I did not have a problem with it...the recipients I believe were the young monks drifting off and nodding..thumbs drifting apart!

I agree the early stages were a great help,it seemed to be a sincere practice
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:01 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
jumping back into this discussion and responding to Isan. I have no doubt that it was difficult for Kennett because of the way women were treated - in both the UK and in Japan. Absolutely. It was a major part of the story and her motivations. Why should she play second fiddle to men in these areas? AND i think that was only half the story.

In the light of trying to understand what made her tick, what motivated her, i do think the situation was not one dimensional, but much more complex, and may have included more drive for authority and position than I considered before.

Josh,

When you focused on this quote,

"The only reason I turned away from Christianity was because I
felt incredibly deeply called to be a priest. And there was no way I
could be a priest in Christianity.
"

First, THE ONLY REASON. She says there were not many reasons. There was one reason,
She wanted to be a priest. "To be a priest" is very specific. She
wanted the role of being a religious leader of a group / congregation,
she wanted the role of being in authority. She saw men becoming priests
in the Church of England and the Catholic Church - that was closed to
her as a woman - but she wanted that role.

it seems to me you made assumptions. First you concluded that it said something about her religious vocation in general, whereas I read it quite literally, that it was simply her reason for turning away from Christianity. She didn't say that wanting to be a priest was the only reason she was drawn to the religious life. Then in your definition of "priest" you focused on "authority" and "leadership", and left out that the primary role of a priest is to be of service to the community. You finished with:

So she goes to Sojiji and gets certified in under four years. Now, she
is a priest - with her own temple -- with certificates -with gold
brocade robes. She got what she wanted. She didn't have to do any more
training or meditation or continue to be anyone's disciple. It was not
about deepening her training or really penetrating Zen. She got what
she came for - the position.

When you make an unequivocal statement like this it doesn't suggest half of a story, it suggests the whole story.


Last edited by Isan on Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:57 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : refinements)
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:57 pm

In the 5 or 6 years I attended Shasta while JK was alive, I never saw her join in formal meditation. She would sit in the forest chair for ceremonies, but wasn't there during meditation in the main hall. Koshin said JK no longer did formal meditation because she was able to be in a constant state of meditation.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:40 am

The constant state of meditation..yes yes

but to be in it... yes yes yes

Great dualistic concepts, nothing is permanent nothing is constant.

How old is mu how long is mu how wide is mu
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:29 am

Carol, recommend you read the posting I recently shared in the Reading Section by Brad Warner, who spent many years in Japan. Most Soto monks so not develop a serious or long-term meditation practice - and neither did Kennett. Based on Myozen's account, even back in Japan, at Kennett's small temple, Kennett was not doing zazen. Zazen at a place like Sojij-ji is hard, like boot camp, painful. The monks go through it for a few years so they can be certified to run their temples, after that, most of them don't meditate much. All the evidence proves this. This does not just come from me.

Of course, anyone regular sitting meditation for some years, more mindfulness is bound to permeate their daily lives. You become more aware. That is basic Buddhist teaching. Nothing Zen or special in that. The Buddha taught awareness of every breath, every step, and so on. That is basic mindfulness practice. If Kennett did not have some of that attitude, like anyone else who meditated for a while, it would have been bizarre.

But the idea that she was meditating all the time, in some constant state of samadhi, there is no evidence of that at all. That is just wishful thinking and spinning a story of why she never came to the zendo or even meditated by herself in her room - which she also never did. The simple reality was -- she didn't develop a regular meditation practice outside of her experience at Soji-ji - like most of the Soto monks/priests. What are the simple facts and the simple truth here? Without a big holy story, without dressing it up, what is true? And one reason this forum is valuable is that there is no demand / requirement to continue to believe the Kennett story on her terms, through a specific and false lens.

Last night, i was at a dinner fundraiser and was chatting with a fellow who is part of some small hybrid spiritual group. He was a seeker in the 1980's and journeyed to India, to all the holy sites and great ashrams and found a guru / teacher who lives in the Philippines. He asked me if I still meditate, and I said, "Sometimes, but not that much. I am very lazy." That's the simple reality. I could have exaggerated and simply said, "Oh, yes of course." And by the way, years ago, when asked this question, I sometimes said something that was more grandiose frankly, something along the lines of Koshin's statement about Kennett - well, I don't formally sit that much, but meditation permeates my life, i am sort of meditating much of the time. This kind of statement felt to me TOO MUCH, and the reality was I was sitting much less. So just say what is simply true.

I have some good friends who are serious long-time meditators -- who still go on multiple ten-day mindfulness retreats every year - and have for decades, one friend went on a three-month retreat, another went on a specific jhana retreat where they practiced the various specific absorptions the Buddha taught. One of my Tibetan teachers just went on a three year meditation retreat - by himself - walked out of his monastery and disappeared into the forests of India. This was his third three-year retreat and he is under 30 years old. He is a serious meditator. And many of the old teachers I met in the Tibetan tradition, had serious sitting meditation practices their entire lives - not all of them -- some didn't, but many event into their eighties and nineties, still did formal sitting meditation a few hours each day.

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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:23 pm

Although some scriptures have said otherwise.

Few things are as visable as whether someone meditates or not. Meditation simply manifests as compassion, tenderness, empathy, sympathy & love. A meditative claim or a formal sitting posture that doesn't show this fruit is just a self limiting mental indulgence.
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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:35 pm



jcbaran, you say you are too lazy to sit. How can that even be possible? Sitting is the laziest thing you can do.

I doubt it is laziness that causes you to not sit so much.



chisanmichaelhughes, do you really want to know how long and wide my Mu is????

I don't even............
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:29 pm

I didn't even think you had one
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:20 am

Daisy the cow`s got one though !
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Gratitude and Forced Gratitude   Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:40 am

No no that's an udder type of moo
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