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 Howard Mitchell says Hi!

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Howard

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PostSubject: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:14 am

There are many names that I'm pleased to see again. So many OBC ghosts in one place. One gave me meditation instruction, a place to sit long ago and I hope still has his 12 string. Others graced my home during organized retreats or Habitat forums over the years. The Zen Mission Society offered me a chance to sit through the Shasta winter of 75 in an unheated trailer that leaked badly enough to require internal rain gutters. Since then I've steadfastly continued Zen meditation at Shasta, meditation groups, priories and where ever a zafu could be found. A problem started to occur a number of years ago when my meditational understanding no longer resonated with the actions of the OBC. I stuck with them for another 10 years thinking I could be wrong and I just needed to focus on my own training. Eventually even supporting them felt irresponsible and wrong so I left. Very few people would come to this forum unless they have concerns about the OBC. My concern for today is one that all good OBC'ers have participated in. I am talking about the tacit support for a wall between Shasta supporters and detractors. I began by mentioning the OBC ghosts. In my experience a word like ghost is apt for a member of the Sangha who is no longer inside the OBC fold. In the earlier Abbey years, the focus seemed aimed at the meditative, the un-learning, the questioning, the moment to moment softening & dissolving of ego. Many demonstrated a fearless compassion that was truly inspirational. In later years, the meditative seemed to take a back seat to the faith-devotional approach. Less room was allowed for questioning, fluidity or change. Lines started to take stronger dominance between the lay members, lay ministers, juniors, seniors, those inside the Abbeys graces and those outside. Hundreds of the ordained who left the OBC over the years were treated as a manifestation of some infectious doubt that were only spoken of in muted whispers, lest the infection spreads. Shunning in these circumstances was the norm. People inside and out were un necessarily hurt. Some of these people could be writers in this forum. I would like to personally apologize for whatever way that my participation in the OBC helped support this shunning.


Last edited by Howard on Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:18 am

Hello Howard,

Your name is very familiar to me, but I can't place you. Nonetheless, I feel sure we have met. Welcome. If you feel inclined, please upload a photo as an avatar in your profile.

With palms joined,

Kyogen
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:19 am

PS: Did you live in Vancouver, BC?

K
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:58 am

Yes Kyogen you stayed at my place during one of the early Vancouver retreats. Maybe the speeding ticket by a cop in a speed trap while you were driving my car might jog the memory. The last time we met was when I was travelling through Portland on my way back to Vancouver after a 6 month stay at the Abbey. We went to ghostbusters with Gyokuko. She may still have the wooden Kesa clip I carved for her at the Abbey.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:14 am

Hi Howard -- welcome! Great to have you with us.

cheers,
Lise
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:17 am

Welcome Howard! Your Avatar/photo is not jogging my memory, but I had to laugh when you mentioned:

"the unheated trailer that leaked badly enough to require internal rain gutters"

That I remember - those were the days Very Happy
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:23 pm

Howard, welcome, and great to see you here!

I remember you well, and staying at your house, when I traveled to Vancouver for the first UN Habitat Conference. The subject of that conference (universally affordable housing) remains a focus of my life's work.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:52 pm

Hello Isan
Memory niggle-Dana, Eric, Prior St. I guess we often don't know of the effect we have around us. You were the first monk I met and the reason I went to the Abbey was to find out if the thing I found so interesting was just specific to you or was a reflection of the Zen School where you were trained. There I found fifty equally impressive beings. And hey, I don't recognize the photo either -10lbs + Afro -25 years + uber serious zen look and maybe. Last time we met at the Abbey, you had the dubious honour of relaying Jiyu's message that she'd looked over my diarry and If I didn't become a monk I could be in serious trouble. Then you and Koshin turned and faced each other, gave each other the Roman Centaurian salute and marched away. Yeah I know, it was a 30 seconds to you but the image of you two put a smile in my brain that never left.
in Gassho
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:02 pm

Howard wrote:
Hello Isan
Memory niggle-Dana, Eric, Prior St. I guess we often don't know of the effect we have around us. You were the first monk I met and the reason I went to the Abbey was to find out if the thing I found so interesting was just specific to you or was a reflection of the Zen School where you were trained. There I found fifty equally impressive beings. And hey, I don't recognize the photo either -10lbs + Afro -25 years + uber serious zen look and maybe. Last time we met at the Abbey, you had the dubious honour of relaying Jiyu's message that she'd looked over my diary and If I didn't become a monk I could be in serious trouble. Then you and Koshin turned and faced each other, gave each other the Roman Centaurian salute and marched away. Yeah I know, it was a 30 seconds to you but the image of you two put a smile in my brain that never left.
in Gassho

I'm happy you survived Koshin's and my pronouncement, and that you came through it all with your sense of humor intact. So many behaviors that I took for granted in those years seem pretty bizarre to me now. Glad you're here.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:39 pm

Hello Kozan
Great to see you here as well. I not surprised that universally affordable housing continues as a focus. With such a need, an ever increasing range of recycled materials and the changing design requirements for those materials, you've chosen a very fluid field to work in.
I wonder if the infamous Fort Apachi Gate made it into your portfolio.
Cheers
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:18 am

Hello again Howard,

I stayed with you in Vancouver more than once, I do believe, and yes I certainly remember that speeding ticket. It's the only traffic violation I've had since before I entered the monastery 38 years ago. Yikes. As I recall, you had twisted your ankle so badly chasing a frisbee you couldn't drive. I was driving your car and the speedometer didn't work. There was a speed trap and I got caught!

I should also tell you that I have recounted your adventure with a very wet cow pie while hang gliding, and the eventual migration of said cow pie into the arm pit of a very nice leather jacket. Such a great tale!

Kyogen
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Gyokuko

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:16 pm

Howard,
I remember you too. Thank you again for so generously spending your day off making a kesa clip for my first kesa. I no longer wear it, however. As time has gone on and we spend more time with priests from other lineages, we have ended up adapting to styles that are in some ways similar to other lineages. We use cords to tie our kesas, and chant rather than sing most (not all) of our scriptures. We still sing vespers, the Sweet Gate Scripture for Segaki, and Adoration of the Buddha's Relics for memorials. But Morning Service is chanted with a mokugyo. Kyogen has worked on the rhythm so it isn't monotonous.
Another story that Kyogen tells, not so often, is about falling into the drink stpping backward off the pier near your house.

Glad to see you doing well
Gyokuko
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Kyogen

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:25 pm

Hey Gyo,

The pier incident took place in Seattle, at Lee Nelson's houseboat. It was at the end of a retreat at the very end of a whole string of retreats on the travelling priest circuit. Those were the days.

Kyogen
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:49 pm

Howard wrote:
Hello Isan
Memory niggle-Dana, Eric, Prior St. I guess we often don't know of the effect we have around us. You were the first monk I met and the reason I went to the Abbey was to find out if the thing I found so interesting was just specific to you or was a reflection of the Zen School where you were trained. There I found fifty equally impressive beings. And hey, I don't recognize the photo either -10lbs + Afro -25 years + uber serious zen look and maybe. Last time we met at the Abbey, you had the dubious honour of relaying Jiyu's message that she'd looked over my diarry and If I didn't become a monk I could be in serious trouble. Then you and Koshin turned and faced each other, gave each other the Roman Centaurian salute and marched away. Yeah I know, it was a 30 seconds to you but the image of you two put a smile in my brain that never left.
in Gassho
.
Now that Kyogen has related the hang glider story I remember you clearly! LOL sunny
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Sat May 28, 2011 9:32 pm

To all

This is a thank you note to all OBC connect participants for helping me so much over the last 10 months.
If I start singling anyone out it just wouldn't stop until everyone that has touched this forum is mentioned.
This site has been the perfect exploratory partner to a meditation practise.
BUT
Every summer my wife & I leave to ocean kayak some more of BC's West Coast. A hedonistic dash of snorkeling on Hawaii's quietest side may also get thrown in at the end but being electronically disconnected from the world is really what makes my holiday.

That happens in a couple of days so..


Blessings all & hope to see you all again somewhere mid August.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Sat May 28, 2011 10:07 pm

Howard wrote:
To all

Every summer my wife & I leave to ocean kayak some more of BC's West Coast. A hedonistic dash of snorkeling on Hawaii's quietest side may also get thrown in at the end but being electronically disconnected from the world is really what makes my holiday.

That happens in a couple of days so..

Uh oh, no more imaginary friends for a while... sunny

Have a good time in Hawaii.
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Sat May 28, 2011 10:34 pm

Howard have a great time we will miss your insightful input. Come back soon.
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Sat May 28, 2011 10:36 pm

Mid August! Jeez. Well, you'll be missed but do have a reeeally good time. Thanks for the head's up!
Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Sat May 28, 2011 11:25 pm

Take a good care of yourself, Howard, so we get you back in one piece (says the big mama Bear).
Have lots of fun!
Ol'ga
Oh, the Bear wanting to come along, but Bear in a kayak would look odd. So no.
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Sun May 29, 2011 5:20 pm

Howard, have a great trip--and post photos!! (...says he who still doesn't have a profile photo up yet!)
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Sun May 29, 2011 5:53 pm

Will do Kozan
That new avatar picture is actually the open pacific facing North near the top end of Vancouver Island at 7 in the morning.
We've paddled these same waters where the storm waves have been so high that my wife's half of the kayak has had nothing but air under it for 30% of the time. Kind of like a bronco ride that can go on for hours with not even one thought for a camera shot. Right..Why am I doing this again?..
Chow and be well.
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PostSubject: Re: Howard Mitchell says Hi!   Sun May 29, 2011 10:46 pm

PFD, bilge pump, paddle float, neoprene everything -- check.

Be safe, Howard -- put into shore when those clouds roll in. We'll be thinking about ya.
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