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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:29 am

I thought that it might be useful to create a discussion stream on this board about Kennett's history and relationship to the London Buddhist Society and Christmas Humphreys. Is it that important? Not really. But I feel that this website is a place to fill in the blanks. It is highly unlikely that anyone will bother to write a more accurate bio of Kennett or a history of Shasta / the OBC, so this website serves that function.

As with any cultic leader / guru, when ex-followers wake up from the enchantment, when they realize their teacher was not the perfect master, when they begin to realize suddenly or gradually that this "master" was in fact quite human, then you do need to fill in the blanks, figure out who that person really was, without this grand, fictional, holy story. Who was he/she really? As a human being? with faults and personality? Just like you and me. So, a key dimension of this forum, is telling the more human story of Kennett and Shasta, not hagiography, not myth, not holy illusions, but more down to earth analysis and understanding of people as they are, not as some ideal, some fantasy, some hope. There can be some surprise, anger, resentment - that would be normal reactions - along with understanding, insight, compassion. Basic sanity really.

So, in terms of Kennett's history, I was very glad to see that Myozen joined this forum and shared some stories from Kennett's chapter - after Soji-ji and before coming the the U.S. Adds to the picture. I hope she share more stories and memories.

Now, as to the more accurate Kennett story -- BEFORE she journeys to Japan. Kennett in England. That's a good piece of the puzzle that may be useful to fill in the blanks and complete this picture. Some people may not care at all - I understand that. But I thought it would at least be good to create a place on this site to share what some have heard or saw - from back then - probably mostly from the British folks - Daiji, Chisan, etc.

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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:34 am

Myokyo-ni- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nationality Austrian
Born January 29, 1921
Leitersdorf, Styria, Austria
Died March 29, 2007 (aged 86)
Myokyo-ni (born Irmgard Schloegl; January 29, 1921 - March 29, 2007) was a Rinzai Zen Buddhist nun and head of the Zen Centre in London.


Raised in Leitersdorf, Styria, Austria, she obtained a Ph.D. degree in Natural Sciences from Graz University before joining the Zen Group at the Buddhist Society under Christmas Humphreys in 1950. In 1960 she went to Japan and trained at Daitoku-ji monastery for twelve years under Oda Sesso Rōshi and, after his death, under his successor Sojun Kannun Rōshi. In 1966, she returned to England for nine months, during which time she started a small zazen Group at the Buddhist Society which continued until she returned permanently in 1972.

With the introduction of another Zazen class, and then a beginners' class, running alongside Humphreys' original Zen Class, the Zen Group grew in size until the Zen Centre was formally established in 1979. During this period she was living at Humphreys' residence (she was known to refer to him affectionately as 'Uncle' - Venerable Sōkō Rōshi was known as 'Father'), which was later bequeathed to the Zen Centre, eventually being inaugurated as Shobo-an, the main administrative location and training temple of the Zen Centre.

On July 22, 1984, she was ordained by Sōkō Morinaga Rōshi, who had been head monk at Daitoku-ji during her time there. The ordination took place at Chithurst Forest Monastery at the invitation of the Abbot Ajahn Sumedho, and the Sōkō Morinaga Rōshi gave her the name Myokyo-ni. Myokyo, meaning 'mirror of the subtle', had been the name the Rōshi had given her as a Zen student in Japan (ni meaning 'nun').

Ven.Myokyo-ni was the author of a number of books on Zen and Buddhism, including a translation of The Zen Teaching of Rinzai (Linji).

From 2002 until her death in 2007, Ven. Myokyoni lived at Fairlight (Luton), one of the Zen Centre's two training temples, where she received students and gave regular teisho (Zen talks). Both temples continue to run under her trainees, providing meditation classes, holding regular sesshins and offering residential facilities for Zen Centre members. Fairlight is now run by Ven. Sogen, and Shobo-an in St John's Wood, London is run by Venerable Sochu.

Ven. Myokyo-ni was given the posthumous title Daiyu Zenji. (Daiyu means 'Great Oak').
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:21 am

I want to add a few more small points to this discussion. I hope our British friends on this site will join in here.

From my Shasta experience, the London Buddhist Society and Christmas Humphreys were both villains in Kennett's story of her life. That's the way she told the story. Not major villains, I don't think, but negative forces. Whenever she talked about them, she portrayed herself as the "outsider" - they didn't respect her. Humphreys and the Society rejected her- after she had trained at Soji-ji. According to her accounts, they did not welcome her back to the UK to be a teacher.

I remember vaguely that she had been a long-time member of the London Buddhist Society, had even been part of their council or taught a few classes there prior to her going to Japan.

This was a relatively small, esoteric group, that came out of the Theosophy movement of orientalists and occultists, people who were fascinated by Asian philosophy and religion. So I am sure there were personality issues, group politics, and so on - in this organization. How could it be otherwise?

But then she told the story that after her kensho, after her completion of her Soji-ji training, Koho Zenji wrote to Humphreys about sending Kennett back to the Society to be a teacher there, and Humphreye rejected the suggestion saying that they understood that it took a much longer time to be a full teacher in the Rinzai tradition. Kennett also said that at various points he rejected her, as a Zen teacher, because she was a woman.

Given that Christmas Humphreys was very close to Irmgard and she ran all the zen classes at the London Buddhist Society, i question this anti-woman narrative. Doesn't sound credible to me.

But LBS and Humphreys was very close to D.T. Suzuki, who was solidly a Rinzai idealist and promoter and had no interest or respect for Soto Zen. In the Rinzai tradition, it took decades to become a roshi / master, and that was Irmgard's path, so i am sure that to hear that Kennett was certified as a teacher / master after only a few years did not compute in the Rinzai model. Also, Humphreys could easily have absorbed Suzuki's anti-Soto Zen stance.

Also, i want to add more more speculation here, shifting back to Kennett's personality for a moment. We have no direct accounts of Kennett before she left for Japan. What was she like, as a person, as human being - at that point in her life? The LBS was a small organization. How did she relate to Humphreys and the small band of Orientalists there, back in the late 1950s and early 1960s?

One aspect is this. Kennett was a strong-willed loner, an outsider, with a loud dominating personality. She did not suffer fools easily or work well with others. In any group situation, she would probably have needed to be the boss, to be in charge, to have her own way. Not good with committees and councils. She easily could have annoyed people, rubbed folks the "wrong" way, not made many friends. So as a member of the London Buddhist Society, even before she walked out of her British life and journey to Asia, she could have been an outsider, a difficult character, not well liked. Yes, this is pure speculation. And, as with any small organization, there could have been all kinds of group personality clashes and politics. My sense is that she had few friends there - and probably didn't care or even notice.

I went o the UK with Kennett for like six months - a long trip - was that in 1972 or 73? I can't remember. It was just after Daiji had set up Throssel. It was when Kennett wrote the Wild White Goose - mostly recreating it from memory - not from any journals for the most part. I traveled with her all over the UK, down to Hastings and Cornwall, to London many times. I was with her constantly. It was clear she had essentially NO friends in the UK. Whatever life she had before she journeyed to Japan had evaporated or perhaps she just never had any close friends. I vaguely remember driving by the London Buddhist Society - but we didn't go in.

end of this for now. As I said, I just wanted to start this discussion, to complete the picture, as much as seems reasonable. That's all.

sweet dreams

josh
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:28 am

Travers Christmas Humphreys, QC (15 February 1901 – 13 April 1983) was a British barrister who prosecuted several controversial cases in the 1940s and 1950s, and later became a judge at the Old Bailey. He was an enthusiastic Shakespeare scholar and proponent of the Oxfordian theory on this subject. Author of numerous works on Mahayana Buddhism, he was in his day the most noted British convert to Buddhism.

In 1924 he founded what became the London Buddhist Society, which was to have a seminal influence on the growth of the Buddhist tradition in Britain. His former home in St John's Wood, London, is now a Buddhist temple.

Humphreys was the son of Travers Humphreys, himself a noted barrister and judge. His given name "Christmas" is unusual, but, along with "Travers", had a long history in the Humphreys family. Among friends and family he was generally known as 'Toby'. He attended Malvern College, where he first became a theosophist and later a convert to Buddhism, and Trinity Hall, Cambridge; he was called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1924.

The same year, Humphreys founded the London Buddhist Lodge, which later changed its name to the Buddhist Society. The impetus for founding the Lodge came from theosophists with whom Humphreys socialised. Both at his home and at the lodge, he played host for eminent spiritual authors such as Nicholas Roerich and Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, and for prominent Theosophists like Alice Bailey and far Eastern Buddhist authorities like D.T. Suzuki. Other regular visitors in the 1930s were the Russian singer Vladimir Rosing and the young Alan Watts.[1] The Buddhist Society of London is one of the oldest Buddhist organisations outside Asia.

In 1945 he drafted the Twelve principles of Buddhism for which he obtained the approval of all the Buddhist sects in Japan (including the Shin Sect which was not associated with Olcott's Common Platform) of the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand and leading Buddhists of Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China and Tibet.

Legal work

When he had first qualified, Humphreys tended to take criminal defence work which allowed his skills in cross-examination to be used. In 1934, he was appointed as Junior Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court (more commonly known as "the Old Bailey"). This job, known unofficially as the 'Treasury devil', involved leading many prosecutions.

Humphreys became Recorder of Deal in 1942, a part-time judicial post. In the aftermath of World War II, Humphreys was an assistant prosecutor in the War Crimes trials held in Tokyo.[2] In 1950 he became Senior Treasury Counsel. It was at this time that he led for the Crown in some of the causes célèbres of the era, including the Craig and Bentley case[3] and Ruth Ellis and it was Humphreys who secured the conviction of Timothy Evans for a murder later found to have been carried out by John Christie. All three cases played a part in the later abolition of capital punishment in the United Kingdom.

Also in 1950 at the trial of the nuclear spy Klaus Fuchs, Christmas Humphreys was the prosecuting counsel for the Attorney General.[4] In 1955 he was made a Bencher of his Inn and the next year became Recorder of Guildford. [5]

Allegations

Writer Monica Weller has alleged that Humphreys manipulated evidence in the trial of Ruth Ellis, changing witness statements, in order to secure her conviction.[6]

In 1982 at the Buddhist Society in London, Ruth Ellis's son Andre McCallum secretly taped a conversation with Humphreys (Source: Ruth Ellis: My Sister's Secret Life, Andre McCallum) where he said the following[citation needed]:

"As a barrister for 50 years I was just putting the facts of the actual murder. I knew nothing of the background and I didn't care."

"So you still think there was an injustice in that she [Ruth Ellis] was found guilty of deliberate murder when she wasn't?"

"It [mercy] never came into my mind because, you must understand, how we play in parts as if on a stage. I have my part to play. Defending counsel has his. The judge has his. The jury have theirs... Mercy never came into it. It was never suggested. It was never part of it. There could be no mercy in what seemed to be cold-blooded murder."

"I think I said to the jury, 'Members of the jury this is to all intents and purposes a plea of guilty.'

Ruth Ellis had actually pleaded not guilty at her trial in June 1955.

Judge

In 1962 Humphreys became a Commissioner at the Old Bailey. He became an Additional Judge there in 1968 and served on the bench until his retirement in 1976. Increasingly he became willing to court controversy by his judicial pronouncements; in 1975 he passed a suspended jail sentence on a man convicted of two counts of rape. The Lord Chancellor defended Humphreys in the face of a House of Commons motion to dismiss him, and he also received support from the National Association of Probation Officers.

Literary career

Humphreys was a prolific author of books on the Buddhist tradition. He was also president of the Shakespearean Authorship Society, which advanced the theory that the plays generally attributed to Shakespeare were in fact the work of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. He published his autobiography Both Sides of the Circle in 1978. He also wrote poetry, especially verses inspired by his Buddhist beliefs, one of which posed the question: When I die, who dies?

Published works

An Invitation to the Buddhist Way of Life for Western Readers
Both Sides of the Circle London:George Allen & Unwin. Humphreys's autobiography (1978).
Buddhism: An Introduction and Guide
Buddhism: The History, Development and Present Day Teaching of the Various Schools
Buddhist Poems: a Selection, 1920-1970
A Buddhist Students' Manual
The Buddhist Way of Action
The Buddhist Way of Life
Concentration and Meditation: A Manual of Mind Development
The Development of Buddhism in England: Being a History of the Buddhist Movement in London and the Provinces (1937)
Exploring Buddhism
The Field of Theosophy
The Great Pearl Robbery of 1913: A Record of Fact (1929)
An Invitation to the Buddhist Way of Life for Western Readers (1971)
Karma and Rebirth (1948)
The Menace in our Midst: With Some Criticisms and Comments, Relevant and Irrelevant
One Hundred treasures of the Buddhist Society, London (1964)
Poems I Remember
Poems of Peace and War (1941)
A Popular Dictionary of Buddhism
A Religion for Modern Youth (1930)
The Search Within
Seven Murderers
Sixty Years of Buddhism in England (1907–1967): A History and a Survey
Studies in the Middle Way: Being Thoughts on Buddhism Applied
The Sutra of Wei Lang (or Hui Neng) (1953)
Via Tokyo
Walk On
The Way of Action: The Buddha's Way to Enlightenment
The Way of Action: A Working Philosophy for Western Life
A Western Approach to Zen: An Enquiry
The Wisdom of Buddhism
Zen A Way of Life
Zen Buddhism
Zen Comes West: The Present and Future of Zen Buddhism in Britain
Zen Comes West: Zen Buddhism in Western Society
In addition, Humphreys edited several works by Daisetz Taitaro Suzuki
Awakening of Zen
Essays in Zen Buddhism (The Complete Works of D. T. Suzuki)
An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
Living by Zen
Studies in Zen
The Zen Doctrine of No Mind: The Significance of the Sutra of Hui-Neng (Wei-Lang)
and co-edited
Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky
Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett
and wrote forewords/prefaces to
Buddhism in Britain by Ian P.
Diamond Sutra and the Sutra of Hui-neng (Shambhala Classics) by W.Y. Evans-Wentz (Foreword), Christmas Humphreys (Foreword), Wong Mou-Lam (Translator), A F Price (Translator)
Essays In Zen Buddhism (Third Series) by D.T.Suzuki
Living Zen by Robert Linssen
Mahayana Buddhism: A Brief Outline by Beatrice Lane Suzuki
Some Sayings of the Buddha
[edit]Christmas Humphreys in popular culture

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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:33 am

http://vajratool.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/christmas-humphreys-the-most-eminent-of-20th-century-british-buddhists/
Christmas Humphreys – the most eminent of 20th Century British Buddhists
Posted on May 5, 2010 0


Christmas Humphreys QC
Travers Christmas Humphreys, QC (1901–1983) was a man whom many consider to be the most eminent of all the British Buddhists of the 20th century. He was the author of several books on Mahayana Buddhism and the founder of the Buddhist Society. His career as a barrister saw him prosecute several controversial cases in the 1940s and 1950s, and he later became a judge at the Old Bailey.
Involvement with Buddhism
The sudden war-time death of his much-loved elder brother was a significant and traumatic event that shattered the Christian beliefs of his youth. At the age of seventeen he bought a copy of “Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism” by Ananda Coomaraswamy and said later that ‘I seemed to remember the principles of the Dharma almost as fast as I read them, and lightly regarded Buddhism as an old friend once more encountered.’

Trinity Hall, Cambridge University
Humphreys’ interest in Buddhism developed while he was studying law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University in the early 1920s. During his time at Cambridge he joined the Cambridge Lodge of the Theosophical Society, eventually becoming its President. Despite the popularity of Sir Edwin Arnold’s epic poem “The Light of Asia“, prior to the end of the nineteenth century, Buddhism was mainly the concern of academics. In 1906 the short-lived “Buddhist Society of England” (later the Buddhist League) was founded by R. J. Jackson and J. R. Pain (an ex-soldier who has served in Burma) and presided over by W.T. Rhys Davids, the famous scholar of Pali and founder of the Pali Text Society. The young Christmas Humphreys attended lectures by these early British Buddhists and others such as Allan Bennett (Ananda Metteya) and Francis Payne (who delivered 36 lectures in Essex Hall, Strand).
At the age of 21 he met his future wife Aileen Faulkner, who was also interested in Buddhism and Theosophy. The couple and others loosely formed a study group that was to quickly develop into the Buddhist Lodge of the Theosophical Society, which Humphreys organised in 1924. In 1926, tensions between different schools of thought led to the Lodge seceding from the Theosophical Society and developing into the Buddhist Society, now one of the oldest Buddhist organizations in the West.
Legal Career
Christmas Humphreys was the son of the well-known barrister and judge, Sir Travers Humphreys. His father made it to the High Court, Even Christmas Humphreys’ mother served as a Justice of the Peace. He attended Malvern College at Cambridge University. In 1924 Humphreys was called to the bar as a member of Inner Temple, the oldest, richest, and most exclusive of the four principal Inns of Court. The fact that Humphreys was admitted as a barrister at this particular Inn speaks of his upper class background and upbringing.

The Old Bailey
Much like his father, Humphreys was attracted to criminal law and this was the area in which he built his practice. In 1934, he became Junior Treasury Counsel (i.e. a prosecutor) at London’s Central Criminal Court commonly known as “the Old Bailey.” In 1950, he became Senior Prosecuting Counsel and, in 1955, he was selected by Inner Temple as a Bencher, a principal officer of the Inn. 1959 saw Humphreys “taking silk” i.e. appointed QC (Queen’s Counsel). In 1962 Humphreys was appointed a Commissioner at the Old Bailey, where he became an Additional Judge in 1968, and served on the bench until his retirement in 1976.
Among the highlights of Humphreys legal career was his involvement in the Tokyo war crimes trial of 1947-48 to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during World War II. Also in 1950 at the trial of the nuclear spy Klaus Fuchs, Christmas Humphreys was the prosecuting counsel for the Attorney General.
Controversial Murder Cases
Humphreys was involved in over 200 murder cases during his long legal career. However, a series of controversial murder cases in which Humphreys was the prosecutor stand out in British history. The first of these were the Evans-Christie cases, which were followed by the Ellis case.

The Evans case resulted in the hanging of an illiterate (and apparently mentally retarded) Welshman, Timothy John Evans (pictured above, far left), on March 9, 1950 for the murders of his wife and child. Several years after his execution, new evidence appeared during the trial of Evans’ neighbour John Reginald Halliday Christie (pictured above, centre left), a former policeman. This evidence seemed to indicate that Evans had been innocent at least as far as his daughter was concerned. Evans was, in fact, posthumously pardoned. The true murderer of Evans’ child (and possibly his wife) appears to have been Christie. Christie was hanged as well on July 15, 1953.
The Ellis case involved one Ruth Ellis (pictured above, centre right) who admitted in open court that she intended to kill her (possibly abusive) lover, David Blakely (pictured together with Ellis). Although Ellis was clearly guilty, the idea of hanging an attractive young woman, which took place on July 13, 1955, was felt to be nearly as revolting as the hanging of an innocent man. Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be sentenced to death in the United Kingdom.
Humphreys led for the Crown in the Craig and Bentley case, where the teenager Derek Bentley (pictured above, far right) was hanged for the murder of a police officer, committed in the course of a burglary attempt. The murder of the police officer was committed by a friend and accomplice of Bentley’s, Christopher Craig, then aged 16. Bentley was convicted as a party to the murder, which created a cause célèbre and led to a 45-year-long campaign to win Derek Bentley a posthumous pardon.
These cases together mobilized opposition to capital punishment in Britain and played a part in its eventual abolition.
Reconciling a judicial career with Buddhism
Humphreys preferred to work as a prosecutor because he believed that witnesses for the prosecution were far more likely to tell the truth or to attempt to do so, than witnesses for the defense. He felt that as a prosecutor it was his task merely to establish guilt. Sentencing was, of course, a matter for the judge. To Humphreys, it was karma that had made him a prosecutor just as it was karma that had led criminals to commit crimes. Later, it would be karma that saw Humphreys as a judge. Someone in the dock would be reminded that no person was sending him to prison, no judge, no jury: “Only your own actions have put you where you are. You knew that what you were doing would bring you here.” When asked how he, as a Buddhist, could be a judge, and how he felt about it; Humphreys answered: “I am the man in the dock.”
Humphreys stated that the reason for his being able to accept a permanent judgeship in 1968 was that England had suspended the death penalty by that time. Once Humphreys joined the bench, he quickly established a reputation for being a “gentle judge.” He found sentencing to be an ordeal because it meant adding to the suffering of the criminal as well as making matters worse for the criminal’s family, friends, and others. As a result, he tended to be lenient in his sentencing. He believed that long sentences were normally counterproductive.
Humphreys’ lenient sentences would sometimes stir up prosecutors, but the most trouble came from the press. In June 1975, Humphreys passed a lenient sentence on a young black man who had pleaded guilty to rape. The man was eighteen years old and had actually raped two women at knife-point. Humphreys sentenced him to a six months’ suspended sentence. The media played up the sentencing. Adding to the public outcry was Humphreys sentencing a few days later of a man who had cheated his employer of £2,000, who was jailed for eighteen months. Six months later Humphreys was asked to resign. Humphreys’ judicial career was thus over in 1976. He devoted the last few years of his life to Buddhist activities and remained president of the Buddhist Society until his death in 1983.
Humpreys’ impact on Buddhism in Britain
Humphreys was a prolific author, writing, co-authoring, or editing an total of 37 books, the majority of which dealt with Buddhism. Humphrey’s saw his lifelong endeavour as an attempt to extract the essence of Buddhism in a way that was applicable to everyday experience in the West; and also so that Buddhists of all countries could find out where they agree – rather than where they differ. In 1945, Humphreys drafted a document which aimed to outline a set of principles of Theravada and Mahayana Buddism while justifying their individual tenets. He spent much time with Buddhist leaders in an attempt to agree on these principles, so as to avoid sectarianism. This was the setting for a tour of Buddhist countries following the conclusion of the proceedings of the Tokyo war crimes trial. Humphreys travelled throughout Asia meeting various Buddhist leaders. The outcome of this work was Humphreys’ “Twelve Principles of Buddhism” (see below).
His 1951 Penguin classic “Buddhism“, which has sold over a million copies, has inspired generations. It became a standard text book and marked a turning point; from being of minor fringe interest, Buddhism entered the mainstream, attracting many people.
After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 Humphreys came into contact with Tibetans. At the Dalai Lama’s request, he visited and reported on the refugee camps in India, and assisted the Dalai Lama in coordinating work for the Tibetans in exile and the preservation of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1961 the Dalai Lama became Patron to the Buddhist Society.
In 1978 Humphreys published his autobiography “Both Sides of the Circle”. He also composed poetry inspired by Buddhism. In 1975 he was invited to be present at the Thanksgiving Service in St. Paul’s Cathedral for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, as Founding President of the oldest and what was then the largest Buddhist Organisation in Great Britain. This royal mark of recognition showed that Buddhism was fully accepted as one of the resident religions of England and accepted as part of the Establishment, a major achievement in which Humphreys was instrumental.

Christmas Humphreys, instrumental in British Buddhism
Humphreys was a highly cultured English gentleman whose intelligence and judgment commanded respect. A dynamic leader and visionary, he was unique for his time in demanding to know how Buddhist teachings, which in Britain had previously been the domain of academic study, were applicable to everyday life. This was unprecedented given the dominance of the Church of England in the realm of British religious life. Humphreys was also pioneering in his work to popularise Mahayana Buddhism, where previously most contact with Buddhism in the UK had been with the Theravada tradition.
His life as a lay practitioner demonstrated his ability to draw on Buddhist values while functioning in the modern legal system of a secular yet essentially Christian society, working effectively as a Buddhist within a non-Buddhist framework. Although certain events during his career as a prosecutor were controversial and although likewise his later career as a judge featured some judgments that were controversial and perhaps occasionally unsound, Humphreys managed to instill some wisdom and heartfelt compassion into his courtroom and is an example for Buddhists in the legal profession wishing to act likewise.
His former home in St John’s Wood, London, is now a Buddhist temple, Shobo-an (‘Hermitage of the True Dharma’) associated with the Buddhist Society. Humphreys left it to the Zen Centre on his death in 1983 and it was inaugurated as a temple in July 1984.
Christmas Humphreys’ “Twelve Principles of Buddhism”
1. Self salvation is for any man the immediate task. If a man lay wounded by a poisoned arrow he would not delay extraction by demanding details of the man who shot it or the length and make of the arrow. There will be time for ever-increasing understanding of the Teaching during the treading of the Way. Meanwhile, begin now by facing life as it is, learning always by direct and personal experience.
2. The first fact of existence is the law of change or impermanence. All that exists, from a mole to a mountain, from a thought to an empire, passes through the same cycle of existence; birth, growth, decay and death. Life alone is continuous, ever seeking self-expression in new forms. “Life is a bridge; therefore build no house on it.” Life is a process of flow, and he who clings to any form, however splendid, will suffer by resisting the flow.
3. The law of change applies equally to the “soul”. There is no principle in an individual which is immortal and unchanging. Only the “Namelessness”, the Ultimate Reality, is beyond change, and all forms of life, including man, are manifestations of this Reality. No one owns the life which flows in him any more than the electric light bulb owns the current which gives it light.
4. The universe is the expression of law. All effects have causes, and man’s soul or character is the sum total of his previous thoughts and acts. Karma, meaning action-reaction, governs all existence, and man is the sole creator of his circumstances, and his reaction to them, his future condition and his final destiny. By right thought and action he can gradually purify his inner nature, and so by self-realization attain in time liberation from rebirth. The process covers great periods of time, involving life after life on earth, but ultimately every form of life will reach enlightenment.
5. Life is one and indivisible, though its ever-changing forms are innumerable and perishable. There is, in truth, no death, though every form must die. From an understanding of life’s unity arises compassion, a sense of identity with the life in other forms. Compassion is described as the “Law of laws-eternal harmony”, and he who breaks this harmony of life will suffer accordingly and delay his own enlightenment.
6. Life being One, the interests of the part should be those of the whole. In his ignorance man thinks he can successfully strive for his own interests, and his wrongly-directed energy of selfishness produces its cause. The Buddha taught four Noble Truths:
a) The omnipresence of suffering;
b) its cause, wrongly-directed desire;
c) its cure, the removal of the cause; and
d) the Noble Eightfold Path of self-development which leads to the end of suffering.
7. The Eightfold Path consists of: (1)Right Views or preliminary understanding, (2) Right Aims or Motives, (3) Right Speech, (4) Right Acts, (5) Right Livelihood, (6) Right Effort, (7) Right Concentration or mind-development, and, finally, (Cool Right Samadhi, leading to full Enlightenment. As Buddhism is a way of living, not merely a theory of life, the treading of this Path is essential to self-deliverance. “Cease to do evil, learn to do good, cleanse your own heart: this is the Teaching of the Buddhas”.
8. Reality is incomprehensible, and a God with attributes is not the final Reality. But the Buddha, a human being, became the All-Enlightened One, and the purpose of life is the attainment of Enlightenment. This state of consciousness, Nirvana, the extinction of the limitations of selfhood, is attainable on earth. All men and all other forms of life contain the potentiality of Enlightenment, and the purpose therefore consists in becoming what you are: “Look within; thou art Buddha”.
9. From potential to actual Enlightenment there lies the Middle Way, the Eightfold Path from desire to peace”, a process of self-development between the “opposites”, avoiding all extremes. The Buddha trod this Way to the end, and the only faith required in Buddhism is the reasonable belief that where a Guide has trodden it is worth our while to tread. The Way must be trodden by the whole man, nor merely the best of him, and heart and mind must be developed equally. The Buddha was the All-Compassionate as well as the All-Enlightened One.
10. Buddhism lays great stress on the need of inward concentration and meditation, which leads in time to the development of the inner spiritual faculties. The subjective life is as important as the daily round, and periods of quietude for inner activity are essential for a balanced life. The Buddhist should at all times be “mindful and self-possessed”, refraining from mental and emotional attachment to “the passing show”. This increasingly watchful attitude to circumstances, which he knows to be his own creation, helps him to keep his reaction to it always under control.
11. The Buddha said: “Work out your own salvation with diligence”. Buddhism knows no authority for truth save the intuition of the individual, and that is authority for himself alone. Each man suffers the consequences of his own acts, and learns thereby, while helping his fellow man to the same deliverance; nor will prayer to the Buddha or to any God prevent an effect following its cause. Buddhist monks are teachers and exemplars, and in no sense intermediaries between Reality and the individual. The utmost tolerance is practiced towards all other religions and philosophies, for no man has the right to interfere in his neighbour’s journey to the Goal.
12. Buddhism is neither pessimistic or “escapist”, nor does it deny the existence of God or soul, though it places its own meaning on these terms. It is, on the contrary, a system of thought, a religion, a spiritual science and a way of life, which is reasonable, practical and all embracing. For over two thousand years it has satisfied the spiritual needs of nearly one-third of mankind. It appeals to the West because it has no dogmas, satisfies the reason and the heart alike, insists on self-reliance coupled with tolerance for other points of view, embraces science, religion, philosophy, psychology, ethics and art, and points to man alone as the creator of his present life and sole designer of his destiny.
References:
The Blavatsky Trust’s biography of Christmas Humphreys
“Christmas Humphreys: A Buddhist Judge in Twentieth Century London” Damien P. Horigan Korean Journal of Comparative Law 24, 1-16
Oliver, Ian P. “Buddhism in Britain” (Rider, 1979)
Twelve Principles of Buddhism
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:35 am

http://www.katinkahesselink.net/his/Christmas-Humphreys.htm
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:36 am

http://www.blavatskytrust.org.uk/html/c_humphreys.htm
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:38 am

http://www.tricycle.com/ancestors/christmas-humphreys
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:40 am

radio interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqAt1AFL8qo

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maisie field



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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:58 am

Thank you Josh for the thorough and fascinating research on Christmas Humpheys.

He is an important figure.

A few comments,and an aspect of this narrative that might not be evident to an American.

The great thing about RMJK to me,was that she was a woman.I visited Throssel in 1972 to meet her,for that reason and that reason only.

I was very interested in Buddhism,and a "natural" for zazen,but all the reading I had done was of books by men,including Humphreys,of course and my over- riding impression was that Buddhism was an esoteric hobby ,for men only.

Humphreys at al may not have deliberately created that impression,but I certainly believed it to be the case.When I heard there was a WOMAN Zen teacher in Northumberland,I got there as quick as I could.

The then prevailing culture and attitudes to women were extremely conservative.There are complex arguments to be had about the topic of course,and I am contributing my own experience.

The other thing about Humphreys is that he was what we called then an "Establishment" figure.A public school and Cambridge man,son of a famous judge,a privileged person.Britain then was ,as it still is, steeped in class -based values.

Political power and influence in Britain are still contingent on class,on the members of the ruling classes having been recruited from a male elite trained, groomed, and self- selected from the public schools(Winchester,Eton and Harrow,Marlborough), and Oxbridge.

It may be difficult for you to imagine ,but believe me, this is the world into which RMJK was born.She would have been very aware of the nuances of class and privilege,which Humphreys would have represented,albeit unconsciously and unintentionally.

These comments are not to detract from your investigation,which is clearly very valid.

I have been thinking about the Buddhist Society,and the (1971?) Retreat at Sarum House ,run by RMJK (and Mark?),which seems to have had a profound effect,and may have been a precursor to the purchase of Throssel Hall farm.I was told about this retreat by Kembo,now Bill,who was tenzo at Throssel when I visited,and who still goes to Throssel on retreat sometimes,and another lay person who knew RMJK in the early days of Throssel.

I knew people in North London FWBO in the sixties and seventies,but felt alienated from The Buddhist Society for the reasons outlined.

It is difficult to be prescriptive or give more obvious examples of the class culture in Britain.We all know about it and we all act out within it,as we do with cultures of gender and race.I think it is worth bearing in mind.

Very best wishes and thanks.Thank you also for the post about the web discussion on abuse in Buddhist communities.

Ikuko(posting as maisie field)
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:24 am

All very good points.

I am sure the British culture and system is quite different than the American one - especially back then - and that Kennett may have certainly been subject to class issues - some subtle, some gross, and some unintentional and other intentional. Women were not equal, but Humphrey did seem have a strong connection and respect for Irmgard, but I don't have much information on this anyway.

Japan was a highly patriarchal system - as was the UK.

And then you have personality issues, organization factions and history, as well as conflicts about philosophy, religion, belief, and so on.
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:42 am

I meditated regularly with the LBS for about six months in 1969 (maybe it was 1970?) while living in London. At that time Sochu Suzuki Roshi was visiting and running the zazen meetings. My impression of the LBS at that time was of a social club where the practice of Buddhism was a hobby. For someone like Jiyu Kennett, who was actually willing to go to Japan and practice in Sojiji, the LBS was a joke. It is perfectly understandable why she did not get on with them - why there would be mutual disinterest and hostility. And as to her returning to England to teach, there's no way they would accept another Brit to actually teach them, someone who fully understood and would challenge the social system. They were comfortable with Asian guest teachers like Sochu, who would visit for a time and then leave, and who could safely be perceived as a novelty. In other words they were comfortable with teachers who would not threaten the social order. It's one thing to be a dilettante and quite another to "go native" which is what Jiyu Kennett did. None of this excuses Jiyu Kennett's shortcomings, but to suggest that someone could leave the culture as she did and then be welcomed back afterward seems unrealistic.

While I was in England Jiyu Kennett visited a few centers. I heard her speak at a meditation group (can't remember which one anymore) and she blew the room away. I knew when I left that meeting that she was someone who had left the safe havens of book reading and tea parties to step into the scary, messy business of actual practice.


Last edited by Isan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:36 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarification)
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:13 pm

:-) My scant memories of TCH, whom I have to thank for establishing the LBS, are of someone tall with quite a commanding presence, maybe even somewhat stern, and a staunch Rinzaist who, I think, believed that the Soto path excluded the investigation necessary for deep enlightenment. He definitely seemed to be 'the boss' at the LBS.

His book on Zen in the Teach Yourself series was the first book on Buddhism I read and, though I would not necessarily recommend it to anyone now (I no longer have my copy to check), put things in such a way that I recognised this as the path for me. I started at the LBS in spring 1972. JK gave a lecture there that summer, so whatever TCH's views on Soto, by then at least she had an opportunity to reach a larger audience (I think Mark and Alan assisted at the lecture, and at a weekend retreat she directed some months later in someone's private home in southern England). Robert Morgan, now THP abbot Daishin, attended the same lecture as I.

The LBS had a good-sized Buddhist library (one could borrow books as well as read on site) and a bookshop. General meditation classes were run by Burt Taylor, a genial, helpful and (I think) capable Canadian. Apart from TCH's Rinzai class (I think someone told me there was no meditation in his class), there was a 'Zen class' run by the well-intentioned Basil (I forget his surname) but, in the words of one attendee, it was a 'Woolworth's' version -- I don't know if anyone would have found it actually helpful beyond a sense of shared "Zen" label. Irmgard began a class that spring/early summer, but the approach was not for me. Then came JK's lecture; followed a few months later by the retreat in southern England. (Also, I remember a librarian (?Gerda/Gilda) seemed to disapprove of JK but I don't remember when this was expressed -- I don't know that it was necessarily personal, maybe a Rinzai-is-better-than-Soto kind of thing, or maybe it was post-HTGLB reflecting her views on that.)
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:15 pm

Absolutely hit the nail on the head there Isan.

Those early days were very inspiring and she was an inspiring teacher.
To get so many pretty clued in and intelligent people to follow her into actual
training is no mean achievement.

As I never had the negative experiences many people have mentioned here,
would you say the problem days started around the Lotus blossom kensho
days or before ?

I often wonder what her understanding was in her final years. I know she was
very ill for a long time and I`m under the impression that she didn`t do much
personal teaching for the last years.

I`d love to have been a fly on the wall of her mind in her last years to see
what her final views on reality, training, and her view of her self were.

We`re all pretty clever with the benefit of hindsight. We all think we would do
things differently now. Things we wouldn`t fall for and feel we would act
differently now. It must have been somewhat the same for Jiyu to whatever
degree over the years.

I wonder if anyone knows of how she saw things in the last years ?

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:40 pm

Stan Giko wrote:
Absolutely hit the nail on the head there Isan.

Those early days were very inspiring and she was an inspiring teacher.
To get so many pretty clued in and intelligent people to follow her into actual
training is no mean achievement.

Agreed! My comment about the LBS being a joke was rude - my apologies to all who found inspiration there. JK took things to another level though, by forming a community dedicated to practice and attempting to make Soto Zen genuinely accessible. It took some courage to take those risks.

Stan Giko wrote:
As I never had the negative experiences many people have mentioned here,
would you say the problem days started around the Lotus blossom kensho
days or before ?

I would say that the advent of HTGLB exacerbated the problems because it further separated JK from the general Zen world, and also resulted in a number of her students breaking with her. The issues were there all along though, just made worse by increased isolation and criticism.
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:21 pm

Josh wrote:
As with any cultic leader / guru, when ex-followers wake up from the enchantment, when they realize their teacher was not the perfect master, when they begin to realize suddenly or gradually that this "master" was in fact quite human, then you do need to fill in the blanks, figure out who that person really was, without this grand, fictional, holy story. Who was he/she really? As a human being? with faults and personality? Just like you and me.
Stan wrote:
We`re all pretty clever with the benefit of hindsight. We all think we would do
things differently now. Things we wouldn`t fall for and feel we would act
differently now.
A sobering reflection I've found (suited to people who have clocked up a few years) is recalling assumptions and beliefs one has had that, in a span of N years since kensho, would have had unfortunate repercussions had one been in JK's position as head of a religious order, despite acting with the best of intentions.

JK had her "first full kensho" in 1963; I seem to recall Josh writing elsewhere that things got more tricky at Shasta from 1975; and JK passed away in 1996. So for instance (if able to recall) one could look back on a span of 12 to 33 years after kensho. Gurkk :-)
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:46 am

Josh

It certainly is a good idea to have this stream.The contibutions have a different flavour.a

Anne

I am interested in your point about the kensho experience and long term repercussions.I tend to think of kensho as allied to a psychotic break.The psychotic break can enrich someones personality because it gives access to previously unconscious parts of the personality.However,if the conscious aspects are too heavily invaded by the unconscious parts,the individual experiences a continuing sense of fragmentation.They can then project this sense of fragmentation .This can be harmful to others.This may be just a personal thing.I find ways to make comparisons in my own life.When I met Kennett in 72 ,I now think I had just had a psychotic break.The meeting with Kennett came at a time in my psychological development when I was very opened,and on the verge of fragmenting.I experienced the meeting as a wholesome,re-integrating event.

But your point I feel was about the effect of her kenshos on her relationships within her organisation.It is fascinating.

She was and is an inspiration.

Yes Isan,she blew away the competition with her integrity ,her authentic self.

And of course it couldn't stay that way.

One slant on this whole thing is to think about why she wasn't further victimised.And to wonder how much and how subtly she was attacked.Victims become abusers don't they?

Thanks for the thread .I am enjoying it.



Ikuko (as maisie field)
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:03 am

Interesting post.The one person never mentioned in early Buddhist Society is Anne Bancroft.
Chris Fairnington on another post wrote that in 1969 Sangharashita. had used him sexually. Well this aspect of Sangarashiita(Lingwood) behavior was a certain point in the Bud Socs development.
Lingwood was one of the first English monks and the early monks lived in the Hampstead Vihara (nice part of town)and were known as the western Buddhist order. It was rumored that Lingwood was being very active in his persuit of young males for sexual activities.

There was a private discussion at the Bud Soc about what to do. The result was Anne Bancroft was sent over to confront Lingwood about what he was doing and it was not what the Bud soc expected from its Bikkhus. Anne did confront Lingwood and Lingwood 'left'. he formed the Friends of the western Buddhist Order,and a split in Buddhism in the Uk developed

Good for the Bud Soc they did not agree with what Lingwood was getting up to nipped it in the bud and dealt with . Now Daiji and I did come across guys that had fallen foul of Lingwood and tried to help pick up the pieces,it was difficult to help pick up these pieces as we were young, inexperienced, and not trained in this area.But we tried and I know Daiji did..enough said.

The point is the Bud Soc laid down or tried to lay down a standard.
I think it is fair to say the Bud soc was viewed by many as boring or similar,although they were perceived as that they did a great job in making Buddhism available.

I knew Toby Irmgard Burt and Anne. Anne came down to Cornwall with husband Richard and they are good people.
I had alot of private conversations with Irmgard,I liked Irmgard,she was a no nonsense person who would refer to ego as in duality as 'Bully' as in a Bull.They were fully aware of the visions and previous lives episode at Shasta.They were straight,and took no nonsense.They all stood together and clearly did not like the way the Walshes were treated in Japan.

Toby Christmas Humphries wanted to help the realization of Buddhism in the UK,I think he did that by leading the Bud Soc when there was hardly any Buddhism available in the UK and by helping Irmgard
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:28 am

Jcbaran wrote:
But then she told the story that after her kensho, after her completion of her Soji-ji training, Koho Zenji wrote to Humphreys about sending Kennett back to the Society to be a teacher there, and Humphreys rejected the suggestion saying that they understood that it took a much longer time to be a full teacher in the Rinzai tradition. Kennett also said that at various points he rejected her, as a Zen teacher, because she was a woman.

Given that Christmas Humphreys was very close to Irmgard and she ran all the zen classes at the London Buddhist Society, i question this anti-woman narrative. Doesn't sound credible to me.

You also noted that Irmgard affectionately referred to TCH as “uncle”. It’s not hard to understand how TCH could have been supportive of a woman who held him in high esteem and took a subordinate position while being unsupportive of Jiyu Kennett. JK apparently made her way without his endorsement and did not see him as a mentor. There has been significant progress in western societies regarding gender equality since the 1940s & 1950s, but it is still not a level playing field and women who deign to act as the equals of men are still thought of badly by some (men telling Hilary Clinton that she should get back in the kitchen where she belonged when she was campaigning for the presidential nomination comes to mind). It’s not hard to imagine that JK was persona non grata simply because she dared to be independent and not pay homage at the proper social shrines. Bob (Bino) Sprenger once told me that it was common for Brits who felt constrained by the social system to leave for places not dominated by “class” so they could pursue their destinies unhindered and I believe that’s exactly what Jiyu Kennett did.

Jcbaran wrote:
I went o the UK with Kennett for like six months - a long trip - was that in 1972 or 73? I can't remember. It was just after Daiji had set up Throssel. It was when Kennett wrote the Wild White Goose - mostly recreating it from memory - not from any journals for the most part. I traveled with her all over the UK, down to Hastings and Cornwall, to London many times. I was with her constantly. It was clear she had essentially NO friends in the UK. Whatever life she had before she journeyed to Japan had evaporated or perhaps she just never had any close friends. I vaguely remember driving by the London Buddhist Society - but we didn't go in.

A great many people in the world experience social isolation because they don’t fit in with their peer groups. It doesn’t always mean they are social misfits nor is it fair to say that those who do fit in (and have friends as a consequence) are well adjusted.


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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:20 pm

:-) Hi Maisie!

On re-reading my post, I can see that it might seem to suggest that kensho per se would have unfortunate repercussions, but this was not my meaning...so my apologies for confusion on that score!

The clarity of liberative insight does not illumine all dark corners, and a person who has deepened their awakening and their general understanding over years, continuing to honour and value truth and goodwill, may still have blind-spots or have/develop mistaken assumptions and beliefs that would have unfortunate repercussions ... etc. Out of the public eye and away from the public ear, these may affect few others; and when/if one sees through them and abandons them, even with a backwards look of relief that the problem was relatively contained, their possible outcomes in a more public context may be barely contemplated and the matter soon forgotten...so that as a 'private person' one may feel astonishment at some enduring mega-blunder of JK's, and assume she must have some mal-intention, because one has overlooked or forgotten ones own errors...speaking strictly for myself of course! ;-)
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:40 pm

Christmas Humphreys supported Irmgard as he felt she was doing good practice irmgards teaching certainly came from the temple in Japan, she was instructed to teach to certain levels. I know that as she told mee personally. Christmas Homphreys wanted to see real Buddhism especially Zen alive in the UK and he supported her



sorry I made spelling mistakes as rushing
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:15 pm

Isan -- you certainly makes some good points.

What I find of some interest in filling in the blanks about Kennett, what she was like before she journeyed to Japan. So just relying on her stories about herself and Humphreys, her spin - well, that would only be one part of the picture. No good guys or bad guys here.

With Kennett's stories, i am just going to assume there is more to the full picture and in some cases, we just can't trust her account. And there is nothing wrong with Kennett being a loner or not fitting in. But I seriously doubt Humphreys was any more one dimensional than Kennett was.

You say, "It’s not hard to imagine that JK was persona non grata simply because she dared to be independent and not pay homage at the proper social shrines." OK, that's Kennett's official story 100%. She was person non grata -- is that true? If so, how was it that she gave a talk at the LBS in the early 1970s? Also, that line sounds like she was like some Jesus figure being persecuted by the evil Romans. To me, it sounds like... a story. HUmphreys is the bad guy and Kennett is the true independent rejected saint. Don't buy it. More complex that than. Kennett was no doubt sincere and smart -- as was probably most other people there. And she could have easily been a tough cookie, hard to work with and as equally arrogant as she portrayed Humphreys to be. Just speculation.


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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:54 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
What I find of some interest in filling in the blanks about Kennett, what she was like before she journeyed to Japan. So just relying on her stories about herself and Humphreys, her spin - well, that would only be one part of the picture. No good guys or bad guys here.

With Kennett's stories, i am just going to assume there is more to the full picture and in some cases, we just can't trust her account. And there is nothing wrong with Kennett being a loner or not fitting in. But I seriously doubt Humphreys was any more one dimensional than Kennett was.

Did you ever hear the story JK told about being approached by a monk in Japan who felt she was to blame for dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima? As part of the larger story of her experiencing prejudice by virtue of being a foreigner that doesn't seem incredible to me. I can only imagine how bad it was in Japan after the nuclear attacks and the post war era, and I should think that love for foreigners was in short supply everywhere. Still, JK put herself in that situation. As a foreigner, and a woman training in what had been an exclusively male temple, what kind of reception did she expect? Given how she was already feeling about the LBS and England she went from "the frying pan to the fire" by going to Japan. I wonder if she gave it any thought, or if she was enchanted by the notion of becoming a monk and being Koho Zengi's disciple?

I've always felt that the broad strokes of Jiyu Kennett's stories were true, based on what I know of the time and place, and in particular the vibe I got at the LBS before I met JK. I also don't simply see good guys/bad guys. I think JK did what we all do, which is interpret the events around her based on her psychological makeup and then project. From the way she talked about her experiences and the concepts she taught her students I believe she understood this to some degree, but it was still very difficult for her. Over time she continued to recreate and reinforce the dynamic of betrayal and rejection, reconfirming her insecurities and making it worse for herself.


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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:46 pm

Deleted as I changed my mind about commenting on this.
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:46 pm

My own view on this is that the LBS did have a slightly superior attitude. I remember Sochu Suzuki implying that he thought this. Though they did throw open the doors for him and let him take a daily meditation session there (mind you he was Rinzai and a man). It seems to me that JK had a slight inferiority complex about the LBS and Humphries. I could not really understand it at the time, at the time I just presumed that they were a bit stand offish. But JK also had an arms distance position with Imgard Schloegl. Looking back now with the advantage of 'perfect' hindsight I'm not sure that she did not recognize the the considerable difference between the levels of attainment needed for Rinzai and Soto transmission and feel a slight but complex mixture of jealousy, disdain and inferiority-superiority. I don't find this surprising nor do I think that it materially impinged on her teaching, at least early on. But it may have helped push her towards the path she eventually took. It must have been something to do with the english hierarchy as in the early days she maintained good relations with Allan Watts who was or had been well in with Humphries and the LBS. Still most of this is just idle speculation and opinion and I must away to bed; up early in the morning to catch a flight to Finland for the Sibelius Festival.
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:15 am

Mark, I think that you, and Isan, have identified critical points in the development of Jiyu's history and causal dynamic.

I also think that a significant aspect of her relationship with Alan Watts (at least initially) was that she had (by her account) known Alan, in her youth, as a good friend of her brother.
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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:17 pm

Isan, I agree. Many of the broad strokes of Kennett's stories might have been true - or tru-ish. No doubt it was really difficult being a woman in a Japanese monastery. Frankly, her tough exterior might have been as asset, an kind of protective armor. And I am just noting that her personality was also at play in ways where she simply was self-blind. Not unlike many of us.

In terms of Alan Watts though, again, that was probably exaggerated. If you remember, Kennett made a big deal of inviting Alan Watts to visit the Oakland house. She made many overtures and finally he agreed to come. I was assigned to pick him up at his extraordinary house boat in Sausalito. Amazing place - hardly a boat really - with a huge library. Watts was quite the philosopher king. I also remember meeting him at another location, not sure why that was. Somehow I was assigned to him.

In any case, when I picked him up (another monk may have been with me, i can't remember), I was making small talk and said, "Oh, so you and Kennett Roshi are old friends, knew each other from England." And he said, "No, I have never met the woman, Knew her brother a little bit, but never met her."

When we arrived in Oakland, Kennett really wanted to make a good impression, demonstrate that she was an abbess, her stature, so she had all the monks outside, on the front lawn, weeding. The funny thing was - this lawn was not that large - maybe 20 feet by 20 feet, and we kept it neat, so there were probably zero weeds, but all these monks were out there pretending to weed or trying hard to find the rare one-inch weed. The whole scene was painfully contrived and unnecessary.

Later, the other thing I remembered about Alan Watts was that he served as host / auctioneer for a benefit we had - where we auctioned off art pieces. Peter Norton did the calligraphy for the invitation. He was such a skilled calligrapher! Fine event, but we really didn't know many people who either had money or collected art, so I don't think we raised much. In fact, I ended up buying a piece, a chinese temple rubbing, which I still have hanging in my living room. Don't remember where it came from. The auction was a good fundraising idea - you just need wealthier people - who also collect art - for that kind of thing to be successful.

One last remembrance of Watts. I remember taking him out to dinner - maybe after his visit to Oakland or the art auction. He wanted to go to this new age / zen-ish restaurant in San Francisco called the Diamond Sutra - it might have actually been on Diamond Street. In the middle of the dinner, he said he needed to go the car to get something from his bag, so i gave him my keys. He came back a few minutes later, reeking of scotch. His speech became a bit slurred and after dinner, we had to help him back to the car. I think he had a very rough time the last years of his life. He was a pioneer - in the same generation as Kennett.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:06 pm

Interesting reading about Alan Watts,especially the weeding of the lawn,to give a good impression! Small time zendo but I have 5 monks who will weed the lawn.

It is sort of saying...I have spent time in a zendo in Japan,but I dare not show you who I really am because I am not so confident.

When I first met Sung Sahn rather than say 'hi how are you' he said 'How many followers do you have, I said none no one follows me,' it was not the answer for him.That was in London I met him again in Los Angeles a little later, I think he did achieve a large following. This aquiring spiritual status,either lots of disciples, colorful robes or titles , bigger titles,bigger raksus,personally I prefer naked spirituality but this requires, faith, trust, and being with the right people
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:14 am

I don't have any memories or information to contribute to this discussion, except to remind everyone that "That which is true is greater than that which is holy." At least that's what my lay minister raksu (which I mailed back to Shasta) said.
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:00 am

:-) Josh posted a link to the second part of this radio interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqAt1AFL8qo); here's a link to the first bit... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opZOxPS12zw

bom TCH's views on karma had, alas, the common distortion that, if X violates Y, it can only be because Y has done bad things in the past. Will we bear the rap for his views even if we don't share them? uhoh What did the insects splattered on windscreens get up to in previous lives? scratch How did all the rotten stuff get started, if no one could be bad to anyone without the latter having done it first? drunken For answers to these and other meaningful questions, look elsewhere... {-8
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: London Buddhist Society   Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:25 am

I just wonder Anne, if in the fullness of time we have matured , our meditation and experience has matured,and so what was a simple explanation 20 or so years ago, we have now experienced in a different way or a more relevant way directly for ourselves. I think living other peoples experiences,or accepting someone elses explanation, is alittle bit different from sitting zazen. Karma can be experienced and seen more clearly through the practice of zazen
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