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 Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light

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Isan
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PostSubject: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:48 am

[Admin note: This thread was created as an offshoot from the Introductions thread titled "Myozen Delport", in order to avoid the original thread being overtaken by a tangent. Although Isan is identified as the thread's "author", this is a function of the forum software because his post was the first among those split.]

This topic explores ideas related to the OBC's willingness to examine and evaluate the totality of Jiyu Kennett's legacy in light of incidents reported on this forum.



gnorwell wrote:

I accept what you and Josh and others say about RMJ -that's how it was for you all and in that situation I think I would have done what you did and get out.

What interests me is that in spite of the situation you all describe so well, others (monks and lay people) somehow made their own discoveries, and connections, the"no-gap" you describe so well, and shared them with others and so it goes on, both within and without the OBC.

When you study with a teacher you receive from them both light and shadow. It's like realizing as an adult that you have more of your parents in you than you're comfortable with - it was imprinted on you without your realizing it, and maybe in spite of the determination to be different.

Jiyu Kennett transmitted the Dharma and many people have and continue to benefit from it (I certainly do). She also, and unavoidably, transmitted her flawed humanity, and this also continues in the present with members of the OBC displaying rigidity, group think, and other unhelpful and ultimately unnecessary traits as a result of mimicking her behavior. It falls to each generation to try to understand both the good and bad of the previous one. I don't believe we honor Jiyu Kennet's memory by imagining everything she did was perfect. If we want to honor her legacy we have to parse the good from the bad, and only carry forward what is worthwhile. Those in the OBC though actually make it a precept to not engage in this scrutiny.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:40 pm

gnorwell wrote:
And yet, and yet, she managed to inspire many people. I only met her once, in the last years of her life when she was very ill. The way she dealt with that and the courage I gained from that meeting and her writings helped me through the darkest days of my life and I will always be grateful to her for that.

And her legacy, regardless of her faults and its faults is an OBC with many fine people, monks and lay people who are my friends and also inspire me.

George, your comment here is just too good for me to allow it to pass without response. (Thanks to CMH for acknowledging earlier.)

WELL SAID!

As with all of us, our insight and our shadow side often co-exist--without either side diminishing the other.

Therein, of course, lies the koan--the need for ongoing practice--and healing!
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:33 am

Isan wrote:
If we want to honor her legacy we have to parse the good from the bad, and only carry forward what is worthwhile. Those in the OBC though actually make it a precept to not engage in this scrutiny.
Argh! There are those of us who consider ourselves to be "in the OBC" (including monastics and formal members) who have spent a lot of time "engaging in scrutiny", I and others have repeatedly said so upfront, and I'm tired of being treated in statements like this as if my efforts never happened. If your statement was less generalised Isan I would agree with you e.g. "It appears that most of those..." or "those who are influential..." etc. As for the sarcasm of "actually make it a precept", I'm pretty sure sarcasm isn't preceptual either but I can appreciate that it's cathartic.

Edit: on second thought, my suggested re-wordings aren't adequate either. For all we know, there has been plenty of internal scrutiny by most (maybe even all; how would I know what goes on in everyone's heads?) members of the OBC. The only thing we can know for sure is that we don't think any effects of such scrutiny have been adequately publicly announced, and that the issues that need scrutiny have not been adequately publicly (and individually, in many cases) engaged with.

Obviously I'm not suggesting that we all should sound like nit-picking legal documents in an effort to tell the whole truth in the course of an informal conversation, however your comment seemed to me to be generalised to the point of being untrue and unhelpful.


Last edited by Mia on Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:17 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Addendum as above)
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:54 am

hi Mia - not trying to answer for Isan, I know he can and will do, but I have something to ask about from my own perspective, from private exchanges with current OBC members (two monastic, several lay) over the last three years.

I interpreted Isan's comment to include "engaging in scrutiny about Jiyu Kennett and her behaviour" specifically. Do current OBC sangha members go there in their thinking and discussion, whether public or private? Do they ever talk about what has reportedly happened to people because of Kennett's actions and falsehoods?

What I've seen (which is very limited, I know) is that the people I used to hear from are quite willing to talk about Michael Little in detail, in analysing "what went wrong" with him but they will not address any question about Kennett. I mean, literally, when I used to ask anything about her role and possible contribution to OBC dysfunction, the lights went off. The question was ignored, and usually the person would obfuscate by pretending I'd asked 2 or 3 other questions, and would focus on those. I wish sometimes I had training as a psychologist, to understand the depth of what seemed to be going on there. No conversation about Kennett was possible.

From what I see, most in the OBC cannot go further than the party line of "well, she never said she was a saint". Or, "people did come to her to learn, she wasn't forcing the training on anyone." I guess that meant trainees bore the risk of whatever happened to them after that. What kind of world would it be if teachers, bosses, doctors, etc., remained free from scrutiny of the harm caused by their actions because they'd occasionally say "I'm not a saint"?

I can agree that the OBC people I've had contact with do seem to regard it as a precept, to not speak of Jiyu Kennett in any way except that which extols her "great kindness and compassion". For myself I didn't see sarcasm in Isan's comment; I think he is spot on.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:07 am

Hi Lise,

Good question.

I interpreted Isan's comment to include both RMJK and Michael Little.

In the years before the Michael Little affair and the establishment of OBC Connect, I recall a fair amount of open conversations among the young and old lay sangha at Throssel, discussing and explaining how RMJK's teachings were questioned by many, particularly around the 'Lotus Blossom' time, and how as a result many monks left the OBC. There was no judgment at the time of "of course they were wrong and RMJK was right" at all. Sometimes the conversations arose in response to my question as to why so many monks had left. The ex-monks were recalled and spoken of fondly among the lay people. Several monks also acknowledged that "lotus blossom" was controversial.

Since I'm not a monk I can't give a full picture of their discussions, in response to your question. I do know that there have been extensive self-scrutinising discussions re. the Michael Little affair. Re. RMJK, on one or two occasions (again prior to OBC Connect) I questioned her teaching methods with monks, and had the same experience as you did: the line of questioning was shut down. Then after OBC Connect I again queried it directly with RM Daishin and he gave me what I felt to be a very satisfactory answer. But I am seriously (ok not literally) kicking myself now because I can't find that email, and so I can't prove it or confirm with quotes why I found it satisfactory at the time. I can say that he addressed my concerns thoroughly and didn't appear to be trying to shut down my question or manipulate my thinking into everything being fantastic. He even encouraged me to ask more about it if I still had queries.

The thing that gives me the most hope is that Throssel is run very differently from how everyone here has described that RMJK ran Shasta. When monks leave, I've observed first-hand that the line is left open and bridges are not burnt. They are not spoken badly of or made an "example of" (so far as I can tell). Conflict situations and harsh words are not deliberately created, and RM Daishin has often said that since the koan arises naturally in daily life, he won't deliberately create difficulty. He has also actively discouraged "teacher-worship". Once as I recall it he told me that as a young abbot he said to RMJK that he was running Throssel differently from how she ran Shasta, and was that ok? She replied (I may be paraphrasing) "Is it preceptual?" to which he replied "yes", and she said well that's ok then. He told me this story in the context of how we all express the truth differently, and how I shouldn't follow him blindly. Many other monks at Throssel have also encouraged me not to follow either teachers or perfectionist ideals. I'm not saying that we have a post-punk anarchic movement going at Throssel, but I am happy to say that the current teacher/student relationships are realistic, so far as I can tell.

I also haven't experienced any weirdo cult pressure to remain affiliated with Zen or with the OBC, and it's never (in my experience) been intimated either that being a monk is better than being a layperson. All in all I've encountered much mutual respect at Throssel, and there has been room for honest criticism. However due to the vulnerability of individuals in monastic structures, I'd like to make more formal room for this as a safety precaution.

When replying to Isan's post above I also had in mind a discussion on 'Bright Moon' which as I understood it had significant elements of open criticism of her teaching methods. Isan and Henry took part in the conversation as well. Compared to the conversation on here, however, these elements were more subtle and diplomatic, so perhaps Isan and Henry did not read them as I did. This is the link, but I think you have to be logged in to read it. http://brightmoon.org/forum/obc-process-self-examination

I agree with you that a more forthright and explicit engagement with the issues raised on OBC Connect is called for. With regards to that, I'm embarrassed to be part of an organisation which does not address issues such as this more explicitly. Doing so is not up to me, obviously, and I engaged with it as much as I could in the beginning but don't see that there's more I can personally do. Thanks to OBC Connect I'm more aware of the things that can go wrong, and I have both eyes open when I practice with any sangha. Learning from the hard lessons of the experienced people here, I would now not hesitate to speak up and out if I find myself in the same room as a 'wrong teaching', and I would not hesitate to leave the OBC if I felt that my teachers there were no longer acting preceptually.

Re. sarcasm, If Isan's comment was not intended as such then I apologise for my misunderstanding.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:15 pm

Mia wrote:
Argh! There are those of us who consider ourselves to be "in the OBC" (including monastics and formal members) who have spent a lot of time "engaging in scrutiny", I and others have repeatedly said so upfront, and I'm tired of being treated in statements like this as if my efforts never happened. If your statement was less generalised Isan I would agree with you e.g. "It appears that most of those..." or "those who are influential..." etc. As for the sarcasm of "actually make it a precept", I'm pretty sure sarcasm isn't preceptual either but I can appreciate that it's cathartic.

Edit: on second thought, my suggested re-wordings aren't adequate either. For all we know, there has been plenty of internal scrutiny by most (maybe even all; how would I know what goes on in everyone's heads?) members of the OBC. The only thing we can know for sure is that we don't think any effects of such scrutiny have been adequately publicly announced, and that the issues that need scrutiny have not been adequately publicly (and individually, in many cases) engaged with.

Mia, quite right that my unqualified comment was too general and clearly an inaccurate description of yourself - my apologies! I did not mean it sarcastically though and I will try to explain why. No doubt you are correct that there are a range of opinions within the OBC about Jiyu Kennett - I don't imagine anyone holds precisely the same view as anyone else - however that's separate from the formal position the OBC takes. As an example Kyogen and Gyokuko (who you may remember were ordained by JK and now run the Dharma Rain Zen Center) have attempted to establish a dialogue with Shasta Abbey. An important part of that process for them has been the wish to go over the the thorny period when they were presented the choice by JK to either divorce or cease to be monks. They were told by the Abbey leadership that there would be no discussion of JK's behavior or decisions. There may be some tolerance inside the community for a variance of opinion but that is different than what is presented to those outside of it, including the former monks who participate here.

There are reasons for why your own experience is different from former monastics (and perhaps current monastics as well). Laypeople participate at the periphery of the OBC hierarchy. It was my experience at Shasta Abbey that laypeople were treated as guests and did not see the internal workings of the monastic community. To them the Abbey appeared much more liberal and flexible than it really was. It was not until someone decided to join the community that they were presented with the true picture. This was not an intentional deception, simply the difference between a public and private face, but it made for some rude awakenings. The current openness that you experience from monastics when you ask sensitive questions might not exist were you to become a novice (you might ask Ryuji about this).

Perhaps "taboo" would be a better word to describe the injunction against a free and open re-evaluation of Jiyu Kennett's teaching and behavior.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:32 pm

No worries Isan Smile Glad to be taken into account!

Isan wrote:
Kyogen and Gyokuko [...] were told by the Abbey leadership that there would be no discussion of JK's behavior or decisions.
I was heartened to hear when Kyogen entered into talks with RM Meian, but had not heard this. Kyogen is that the end of the conversation with Shasta? I can't tell you how disappointed I am if that is the case. More disappointed than you perhaps, since you have moved on but I am still invested.

Re. lay people not seeing the whole picture, I was lucky to be treated to some extent like a trainee monk for the better part of a year, but I appreciate that that is still a very far cry from being even a postulant. Some of my friends became monks and are still there; other monks I became friends with after they'd been there for years; some I hung out with after they left. Lay people and monks sometimes travel or work together outside the monastery, and there are informal opportunities to catch up. So I have a picture, but accept that it will never be a whole one. Who has a whole picture though? I don't because I was never a monk. A monk doesn't, because by the very nature of being a monk, they have to subscribe to a party line. You don't, because you're no longer an "insider". Everybody can be said to have an agenda. Does that mean that everybody's view is discredited? Or can we trust the fragmented view that each person presents, and in the knowledge that they are fragments, begin to piece them together and from there, progress together?

Isan wrote:
It was my experience at Shasta Abbey that laypeople were treated as guests and did not see the internal workings of the monastic community. To them the Abbey appeared much more liberal and flexible than it really was.
I've never heard that about Shasta, but I have heard it about Throssel, relatively speaking. I wouldn't go so far as to say Throssel is liberal and flexible though, since even within the UK Buddhist community the OBC has a conservative reputation.

Isan wrote:
Perhaps "taboo" would be a better word to describe the injunction against a free and open re-evaluation of Jiyu Kennett's teaching and behavior.

How I wish we could do this and be done with it already. I understand the argument that the past is the past and we should do our best to get things right and move on, and I have good reason to trust that Throssel at least (and hopefully Shasta) does not suffer from the same negative aspects that are mentioned on this site. And yet, if the founder of your organisation did wrong, surely the right thing to do is to put it right to the best of your ability. I find it odd how there's been so much talk in the OBC about Michael Little and yet (I agree) there seems (largely speaking) a taboo on discussing anything that went wrong under RMJK. I can only imagine there's something I don't know about to do with the consequences of finding fault in the teacher who transmitted you, particularly if you're still in the order. I believe some people (including monks) have touched on this, e.g. in the 'Bright Moon' thread I mentioned earlier.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:57 pm

Mia wrote:


Isan wrote:
Perhaps "taboo" would be a better word to describe the injunction against a free and open re-evaluation of Jiyu Kennett's teaching and behavior.

How I wish we could do this and be done with it already. I understand the argument that the past is the past and we should do our best to get things right and move on, and I have good reason to trust that Throssel at least (and hopefully Shasta) does not suffer from the same negative aspects that are mentioned on this site. And yet, if the founder of your organisation did wrong, surely the right thing to do is to put it right to the best of your ability. . . .

I don't think the Shasta monks are able to see any wrong in what Kennett did, regardless of the scale of her behaviour, large or small. How many unkind and un-compassionate acts have come to light? (How many haven't been told yet?) Putting Komei Larson's belongings out on the road when Komei wouldn't leave a dying parent's bedside at Kennett's order . . . levying the "three dimes" prediction on Josh (which Daishin Morgan believes might have been a little joke of Rev. Master's) . . . sending the bashing letter to the UK about Chisanmichael and Mark . . . and the "misconduct" letter to Japan about Myozen . . . and Henry's treatment during his illness . . . collecting all the accounts from this forum would take awhile.

Meian Elbert sets the tone at Shasta. In different talks you'll hear her pussyfoot around the issue of people being harmed by Kennett. She can talk about Little that way, but any mention of people having trouble with Kennett always includes an endorsement of Kennett's methods as "just good strict teaching." The implication is that if anyone wasn't wise enough to take the benefit of such teaching, no matter how harsh or strict, then the problem lies with the student and not the teacher. This in itself is "pride and heavy-handed teaching" in its clearest form.

Unless and until that attitude shifts, what kind of change can anyone hope for?
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:09 pm

I am feeling sick again Lise..I had not heard this story about Komei Larson,

I find I can take a little comfort from the fact that we all agree the OBC is not a zen Buddhist sect as it disconnected a long time ago. These actions are not the actions of a Buddhist,as the core of Buddhism is loving kindness OJK might be more appropriate
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:30 pm

Michael, I feel the same.

I cannot twist my mind into the necessary contortions to be able to view Kennett's unkind behaviour as "teaching". I just can't do it.


The following is part of Kyogen Carlson's post of 30 August 2010 at 11:26, under the Introduction category in the thread titled "new member: Rev. Seikai".

Subject:
Re: new member: Rev. Seikai Mon 30 Aug 2010 - 11:26

" ... There was a monk (or nun, if you use that term) from Holland who did something
to anger RMJK. While this young woman was in town, RMJK ordered her things be
packed up and put outside the gate. The rules of the order clearly indicated a
procedure for dealing with issues like that. Koshin Shomberg fought her on
that. She then went after him so that he had to leave the temple. That was the
issue that sent him to NCBP in the first place. His subsequent capitulation is
a wonder to me.

Komei Larson can speak to her own story, but she came to stay with us after she
was kicked out. Komei was away from the Abbey attending to her dying mother.
Some issue broke out at the Abby, and RMJK wanted to grill the monks about it.
She ordered Komei to return immediately. Komei could not, in good conscience,
comply. How much power does the Abbot, or Master have? That is a legitimate
question. The issue for me is what happened next.

After her mother died, Komei returned to the Abbey. She found her personal
books, robes, and even her dog were confiscated on the grounds that she wasn’t
fit to have them. Again, you can write the rules such that a teacher can do
such a thing. It doesn’t matter. It was way over the top, and clearly an abuse
of power. ..."


Last edited by Lise on Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:05 pm; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : giving source post info)
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:41 pm

You're not wrong Lise. And I'm not hopeful.

Genuine and good spiritual teaching is carrying on, so far as I can see, in a healthier way than in the past. But there remain bits of the structure that are not healthy, and instead of acknowledging and repairing them, we're being instructed to climb around them. That part of the teaching is obviously not good.

I won't avoid a whole tree because it's got some rotten bits, if I did then I would waste the rest of my life looking for one without faults. You might argue that it's the roots that are rotten through, but they're not all rotten and for now, at least, it's still standing. With the help of all of us, it could grow new ones as well. Or if you'll forgive more half-baked attempts at metaphorical thinking, if a man with some darkness in his past has changed, what good does confession do?

There are undoubtedly those in the OBC who are wondering why we're still banging on about something that happened a long time ago, by someone who is now dead. Why are we? It isn't that I'm hoping all this will go away, which obviously it won't, it's a genuine question.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:59 pm

I can answer for myself; I keep posting here partly to vent and take refuge;

and to show respect for each person whose story hasn't unfolded yet or has just been shared, like Myozen's. It doesn't matter if each new story is not really news; each person matters;

and I think it's for the people who get involved with Kennett's church today, but are not, and never will be, told outright about the darker aspects of its history. Keeping this board current has helped people make informed decisions about the OBC; they can take what good they find, and protect themselves from the other.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:59 pm

I agree Lise.

I am reminded of a book someone gave me called The great naropa poetry wars,this was a long time ago,it was very sick about Trumpa and a particular lady. I was told some sick stories about Trumpa,by a friend of mine who was a jisha for maezumi Roshi,the friend was a young lady who dreaded Trumpas visits as there would be a lot of sake drunk,she did not want to be treated like a bar girl and hated it, Trumpa and Maezumi would get drunk and chant sutras,one time a holy man from India visited the temple the holy man's visit coincided with the two drunks,the holy man lived a strict life,but somehow they talked him into having sake,the drink when warm is easy to drink and the effects come quick,it is also very moreish. The holy man had a long knot of hair at the back of his head which he believed would help him be pulled to heaven.After a drunken night Trumpa and Maezumi had cut the knot of hair off,leaving the holy man in disgrace.

Followers of the drunks had their own take on it, crazy wisdom they call it. Devious manipulation of others and hiding behind the torn robes of fake position and power is more like it
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:07 pm

I think we keep banging on about it because JK made great claims about herself her divinity,and was actually quite nasty to people,nasty about her teachers and her diciples
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:27 pm

Lise wrote:
I can answer for myself; I keep posting here partly to vent and take refuge;

and to show respect for each person whose story hasn't unfolded yet or has just been shared, like Myozen's. It doesn't matter if each new story is not really news; each person matters;
I think that's beautiful.

Lise wrote:
Keeping this board current has helped people make informed decisions about the OBC
I don't think it is informed, in the sense of giving a clear view; it gives a very skewed view, mostly written by people who are no longer in touch with the OBC and who have an axe to grind. Attending a priory or temple these days, in the UK at least, isn't anything like what we read about here, not because they're hiding anything but because most of them don't use the same teaching methods as RMJK did. And taking the person metaphor again, it doesn't seem fair to splash someone's darkest past into the public, unless it's a crime that they are perpetuating even now and splashing it publicly is the only way to stop them. I.e. if all this had been written in the 70s or 80s the perpetrator could still have been held accountable and the misery stopped, but now she can't. Unless we hold that organisations should be held accountable for past directorships, which politically would hold some cachet, but would it serve us now?

Having said that, fwiw I think the site has done more good than harm, it's brought so much reconnection and friendship, and skeletons out of closets; personally I prefer skeletons out than in, and I'm glad you did it. Also, it was brave.


Last edited by Mia on Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:28 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to add last sentence)
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:45 pm

Mia,

The OBC (meaning Shasta and Throssel both) continue to make their own public splash about Kennett by continually referencing her in publications, dharma talks, retreat activities. She is the source of authority and validation for their existence. The information put out by the OBC is therefore skewed as well; do you agree? And do you think that their information is all that the public is entitled to know about them and what their philosophies are based on? I don't think so. Why shouldn't people be entitled to see a more complete picture of the person that Daishin Morgan and Meian Elbert trained under, and what the totality of that legacy may hold?

This forum wasn't intended to stop the OBC from doing anything; that isn't possible. It was created as a place for people with common questions or experiences to come together and talk, and that's what we're doing. The people who come here are primary, as far as I'm concerned; the effects on Shasta and Throssel are secondary.

I may start a separate thread to offer my opinion that, yes, organisations should be held accountable for, and should apologise for, the harmful actions and decisions of past directorships. Example: how about that company who handed out thalidomide to all those women? They owed an apology and they finally fronted up to it, even though it took them 50 years to choke out the words -- those people who are living without limbs deserve at least that, and much more -

I meant to add, I appreciate your last comment but I don't feel I was brave in starting the forum. I had nothing at stake & wasn't involved with any part of the OBC by then. Nor did Michael Little's shenanigans prompt the forum's creation; his exit came seven months later. I just wanted to state my misgivings and note an objection to the way Rev. Neil McGinn was disappeared so completely. That's really all there was to it.


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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:49 pm

Mia wrote:
You're not wrong Lise. And I'm not hopeful.

Genuine and good spiritual teaching is carrying on, so far as I can see, in a healthier way than in the past. But there remain bits of the structure that are not healthy, and instead of acknowledging and repairing them, we're being instructed to climb around them. That part of the teaching is obviously not good.

There are undoubtedly those in the OBC who are wondering why we're still banging on about something that happened a long time ago, by someone who is now dead. Why are we? It isn't that I'm hoping all this will go away, which obviously it won't, it's a genuine question.

Mia, I think that your question cuts right to the crux of the matter. Lise identifies two important reasons above. Another important reason, I believe, has to do with why the unhealthy "bits of the structure" you refer to above, remain.

The essence of the reason is that RMJK's validly insightful teaching was entangled in beliefs and behavior that were flavored by her own unrecognized, unhealed, trauma. In consequence, her unhealed shadow has entered OBC culture in the name of teaching. Although, in the UK in particular, the more harmful attitudes and behaviors seem to have been abandoned, the bits that remain, still remain, because they are unrecognized within the culture of the teaching and practice. That valid teaching and practice also exist, is clearly demonstrated by you, George, and many other active members of the Order today.

I know from years of experience, that it is possible to go through the process of distinguishing valid insight from shadow--but only after first acknowledging the problem--and then by being willing to question everything. This is (understandably) one reason why the prospect of reassessment is terrifying for many monks within the Order.

I think that an observation that George makes, above, is particularly pertinent to this issue. He pointed out that in an important sense, teachers don't actually 'teach' anything. They only facilitate the student's own process of discovery. Students don't learn the teacher's understanding, they develop their own. This is the case for all of us.

It is my conviction, based on my own experience, that members of the OBC have nothing to lose (except for some institutional dysfunction), and everything to gain, by confronting RMJK's legacy head on. (As I have opined previously) I believe that this is exactly what she would want us to do.

This is why I am optimistic. I do think, however, that we (former and current members of the OBC) will need to make the case, to the Order, before serious acknowledgement and reassessment is likely to occur.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:17 pm

We are posting these observations in the the new topic that brought Myozen into this discussion. I was so happy to see her join this forum. I think I met her even before I met Kennett -- minutes before, but she was my initial introduction to Zen.

For her, this forum has been the first time in her life that she has openly confronted what happened to her around Kennett, Japan and Shasta. The first time. Yes, it may seem like a long time ago, but not really. We all know how time flies and how short life is. If the feelings and issues are being experienced now, then they are NOW. What past?

And as she has said on this forum, this discussion has been incredibly important to her - to openly share her thoughts, what happened to her, to reconnect with old dharma friends. And this has been the first time that she has openly addressed the shadow side of her relationship with Kennett.

What a valuable service this is - that people can openly share their experiences, especially coming out of an organization that was so repressive and essentially dishonest, where there was so little clear communication.





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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:18 pm

Let me talk about some of the points Mia makes:

Mia said "I don't think it is informed, in the sense of giving a clear view; it gives a very skewed view, mostly written by people who are no longer in touch with the OBC and who have an axe to grind.

First, what would be a clear view? Until this forum, the OBC/Shasta was a monolithic distortion field where Kennett was worshiped, dissent stifled, history re-written. There was one story, one truth, one reality. It was as cultic as it gets. Am I exaggerating? Don't think so.

This forum does not pretend to be a clear view, but a place to address and share experiences. I encourage people here NOT to try to be spiritual or holy or follow any of the old rules -- just share your feelings and experience and stories and see what happens. Let your truths come out. They don't have to be perfect. It's ok to share anger, disappointment, outrage.

There is no such things as a clear perfect view. Doesn't exist. And many people on this forum do not agree with each other - we all have our own journeys and experiences, and most of the people here were fortunate enough to find a way to get out of this organization. Good for us.

So some of us have axes to grind. That's OK with me. I think these truths should come out for so many good and healing reasons. Kennett and her successors are accountable just as we all are. Silence is not golden. Silence is not an option. Ignoring is ignorance. And an organization that won't face their shadows, their past, lives in denial and ignorance. Is that keeping the precepts? Many people felt spiritually and emotionally abused. They shouldn't feel that way? How should they feel? How should they react? How long should it take for them to "get over it" or "forget about it"?

Mia says, "it doesn't seem fair to splash someone's darkest past into the public, unless it's a crime that they are perpetuating even now and splashing it publicly is the only way to stop them. I.e. if all this had been written in the 70s or 80s the perpetrator could still have been held accountable and the misery stopped, but now she can't. Unless we hold that organisations should be held accountable for past directorships, which politically would hold some cachet, but would it serve us now?"

This is a bigger discussion. "It isn't fair" that we are a talking about our past experiences. It is hard to know where to begin with that. What would be fair? I think it is entirely reasonable and fair to tell the story of what happened --- to all of us -- to find out more of the truth of Kennett and her church, to understand why so many people felt abused and traumatized. What happened? Who was this person? Why did she behave this way? What was the real story?

What is the problem with looking at the past, the recent past? If zen priests can tell mostly fabricated stories about Zen patriarchs from the eighth century, why can't we talk about what happened in 1975? We are not supposed to talk about the past? We should get over it or forget about it? The past in not important?

So what makes sense, what is fair? OK, is there a better way to deal with this? Better than this forum, the internet, people openly sharing, venting, wrestling, connecting? What is the better way to deal with these people, those who left, those who felt let down by Kennett and her church, those who felt that much went wrong? What would be better? Honestly.

I have a big question, where is the love and compassion from this organization to their brothers and sisters, their former monks, who left because they felt abused and attacked by Kennett? Where is the love? Where is the basic human connection? Where is the emotional intelligence?

What kind of church is this?
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:20 pm

Hello, my apologies for coming in in the middle of a discussion.

Just a thought while reading the posts - the integrity of a teaching depends upon honesty, and evaluation/examination. Everyone's experience is the history of the OBC. This is where I believe acknowledgement and accountability comes in.

Josh, thank you. In your previous post (before the most recent), you have stated exactly what I had intended to write here! When I joined the forum I did not expect the extent of the examination and re-assessment that has taken place within myself. Through this I believe I am for the first time in the process of freeing myself from the shadow of Kennett Roshi, not having recognized all the residues that were still present after all those years. When Lise writes of this forum as a refuge, that is what the forum has become in the short time I have been a member. It is helping me, and undoubtedly others, to heal through this process of open sharing and support. Although Kennett Roshi has died, the results of her actions - both the good and the shadow - still continue and still evolve in the present.

Chisan, sorry -while the conversation has been progressing, I have been involved in more yard work with another elder friend, so may I backtrack?
Regarding Kennett Roshi and the title Roshi - the title Roshi is used more loosely and informally in the "West" than in Japan, and perhaps in the sense of addressing/referring to any Zen teacher. In Japan it is used as an expression of respect, honour, usually in the case of a teacher with many years of experience and of spiritual maturity. There is a period of "apprenticeship" involved in being authorized as the shike/teacher of a sanzen dojo. I did not question Kennett Roshi about her official rank authorized by Soto Headquarters, but I believe she left Japan with the rank of "seikyoshi" - I remember her wearing the pin on her rakusu in Shasta Abbey (it had the kanji character for "sei"). The ranking system is a bit complicated as pointed out on Antai-ji's article on the subject - antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/201007.shtml (I just found it). As you surmised, Unpuku-ji had one multi-functional hall/hondo. There was no special designated area for zazen until we converted the unused village community meeting hall into a zendo. When I first arrived at Unpuku-ji, there was no sign of zafus or any zazen taking place there. The Kannon statue, I recall being told by one of parish representatives, was/is designated as an "important cultural property of the prefecture". Perhaps Kennett Roshi realized that things would not work for her in Japan any more, so she seized the opportunity to move to San Francisco without hesitation. It seems that severing her ties with Japan and her teacher gave her the freedom to develop her own organization and adapt the rituals and teachings accordingly.

All the posts are bringing so much re-thinking - it is painful but also so wonderful and inspiring.

Gassho.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:06 am

Josh, these are good points. As I hope you know, I am in basic agreement with your observations--although not always with your conclusions.

From this position, I would observe that Mia has not experienced what you and I went through (as well as Myozen, Mark, Isan, Henry, Michael, Lise, Gyokuko, Kyogen, Diana, Komei, Amalia, Carol, Gensho--and too many others to name here.

In contrast, Mia, George, and other OBCC Forum members have reported experiences within the OBC that have supported their own process of learning and discovery. In my view, this heartening information not only does not diminish the absolute importance of the OBC engaging in a thorough reassessment of itself and RMJK's legacy--it demonstrates why and how such a reassessment is possible.

I would further suggest that Mia has already stated her agreement with these issues. Even if she had not, she would still not be an appropriate focus for your otherwise appropriate comments. I think that your framing of the critique--by virtue of the comments she made that you chose to quote--suggests that she should defend herself by arguing against what she has, in fact, already observed and stated.

(I have no doubt that Mia will respond with insight that blows both of us away!)


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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:15 am

myozen wrote:
Hello, my apologies for coming in in the middle of a discussion.

Just a thought while reading the posts - the integrity of a teaching depends upon honesty, and evaluation/examination. Everyone's experience is the history of the OBC. This is where I believe acknowledgement and accountability comes in.

Josh, thank you. In your previous post (before the most recent), you have stated exactly what I had intended to write here! When I joined the forum I did not expect the extent of the examination and re-assessment that has taken place within myself. Through this I believe I am for the first time in the process of freeing myself from the shadow of Kennett Roshi, not having recognized all the residues that were still present after all those years. When Lise writes of this forum as a refuge, that is what the forum has become in the short time I have been a member. It is helping me, and undoubtedly others, to heal through this process of open sharing and support. Although Kennett Roshi has died, the results of her actions - both the good and the shadow - still continue and still evolve in the present.

All the posts are bringing so much re-thinking - it is painful but also so wonderful and inspiring.

Gassho.

Myozen, my experience and sentiments as well! Thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:08 am

What I’d like is for much of the publications and talks to be thoroughly revised in the light of the information we’ve gained here and elsewhere. When I was a newcomer RMJK did seem to me to be made out to be a saint (even though it’s sometimes said “she was not a saint”), and as I think Kozan suggests nothing is lost – and much is gained – by showing more overtly that it was a human, not a saint, who founded the monastery.

Such a revision would take enormous work obviously and could be said to be unrealistic. Even so, ignoring the need for it is in my view untruthful since it is skewed, and therefore isn’t acceptable. I think RMJK is presented one-sidedly both by most people who post here, and by the official OBC. Each side says that it’s the other side that is without compassion. Each side generalises about the other side – “OBC Connect says this” – “the OBC thinks that” – unhelpfully generalising, de-personalising, polarising and separating things further.

One start of an answer to this is to show compassion for “the other side”. If you’re an influential member of the OBC, to ask about, get your head around and acknowledge the things as they really happened, share some of the pain that others still carry, and even share the blame for your part in it rather than pointing out the faults of those who complain. If you’re a member of OBC Connect, imagine still being a monk in the OBC, having devoted your life to its teachings, maybe never even having met RMJK, and seeing the whole of the current OBC being publicly dragged through the mud without much of a nod to the goodness that people are working hard to continue to teach. Maybe even be your own devil's advocate and find out if the opposite if what you say is true, too.

Lise wrote:
do you think that their information is all that the public is entitled to know about them
No, that is why I said that I was glad you’d started the site.

This is not a comment specifically to you Lise but generally speaking it’s weird, even when I say something which is in genuine agreement, some seem to read everything I say as disagreement. They seize on something to attack, then they wonder why people don’t come to talk with them, and when that happens they decide it’s because other people are being wrong/cowardly/evil/ignorant and that it’s other people who should be more compassionate; not them. I spend hours trying to understand and communicate and get the full picture. Can that be acknowledged too, or is it more convenient to write me off as naïve/ignorant/an enemy to your agenda, in exactly the same way that others have written off OBC Connect? See the pattern that’s being perpetuated here, by almost everyone?

Lise wrote:
what their philosophies are based on
In my experience the OBC’s philosophies are not based on the negative events that were perpetrated. Yes there are psychological elements that are being perpetuated to varying extents, but shunning and personal hurtfulness is not written into the OBC constitution. These psychological elements however come across in some parts of the practical structure, literature and talks, and that is why I think they should be thoroughly revised to come in line with the precepts which all of us subscribe to. I don’t know if you were claiming that the OBC’s essential constitutional philosophies really are based on the negative events, Lise, but if anyone is, I worry that doing so would be incorrect, uncompassionate, disrespectful and damaging in a variety of ways. There is a huge difference between saying “this apple is rotten through and through” and “there’s a rotten bit on this apple”. There’s also a difference between shouting over and over that an apple is rotten, and finding out what constructive thing can actually be done about it.

Kozan wrote:
her unhealed shadow has entered OBC culture in the name of teaching
Please for the love of God can someone influential in the OBC say ok, let’s name it. Let’s find it and look at it and name it and do something about it and change this organisation for the better.

Kozan wrote:
being willing to question everything […] is (understandably) one reason why the prospect of reassessment is terrifying for many monks within the Order
I think you’re probably right here Kozan, and yet the fact of it surprises me, because what they taught me was to do exactly that. (Except for RMJK.) It seems a case of easier said than done.

Jcbaran wrote:
…an organization that was so repressive and essentially dishonest, where there was so little clear communication
It isn’t clear here Josh if you’re saying that this is still what the OBC is. If so, I would suggest that the comment is no basis for dialogue or constructive anything. If I had a conflict with you, for example, would it be helpful if I said that you were “so repressive and essentially dishonest”, even if in some sense it were true? I think your intent is better than that, and I think the OBC’s intent is better than that, and I think a good place to start is to honour the good intent and come together to figure out where that intent turned out twisted results.

Jcbaran wrote:
What would be a clear view?
A view which takes into account the way the OBC has presented itself all these years AND the views presented on OBC Connect, AND the views of people like myself who are getting a lot of good and genuine teaching from the current OBC, AND objective views such as the Faith Institute. As I said, I’m glad this site exists.

Jcbaran wrote:
It was as cultic as it gets
Having worked with victims of cults, yes Josh you are exaggerating.

Jcbaran wrote:
many people on this forum do not agree with each other […] most of the people here were fortunate enough to find a way to get out of this organization. Good for us.
You seem to be showing here that most of the people on this forum do agree, that it’s still a wholly negative organization that you are best off out of. That is as skewed a view as a cultic one. Both views are extremist and unrealistic. You also say “ignoring is ignorance”, yes exactly, are you not ignoring the goodness that is still going on within the OBC? Is it only other people, whom you don’t agree with, who should be working on their compassion and closed views; or are you subject to this too?

I don’t know where you got “they shouldn’t feel that way” from, I don’t remember saying or thinking that, it seems that you are making up an argument to argue with here.

Yes I agree that it is fair to tell the story of what happened, I think it’s important and together with everyone here, I’m coming to understand why it must be addressed.

I did not mean that we should not look at the past; I was trying to find out why we are looking at it, so our doing so can be as constructive as possible.

“What would be better?” I think that’s what we’re working on, hopefully. I suggested mutual compassion. Kozan and RM Seikai suggested putting into words the changes that we want, and formally asking the official OBC for it. I agree that this course of action is likely to be the most constructive.

“Where is the love and compassion from this organization to their former monks?” Where is the love and compassion from the former monks to those who are still in this organization? Or should it only go one way?

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
a good teacher will only be ever starting an open road for the first time
A beautiful post Chisan, and perhaps a clue to the reasons why it’s so difficult for teachers to look thoroughly at the past. I don’t mean that as an excuse, rather as always it’s my attempt to help clean the altar.

Gassho
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:41 am

Mia, thanks for your post - I think I understand a little better now.

I guess this is where things settle out for me at the moment -- not every thread on this forum can achieve the purpose of resolving differences and bringing people together. Those are good objectives and I know many people are putting their energies toward that, in many places (Brightmoon, the OBC Interim Board, others). I hope this happens. I think that if it succeeds, it won't be because of what people say, exhort, expostulate, demand etc. Words and argument won't drive this; the OBC monks themselves will have to choose to let go of "Master is always right" and similar teachings from Kennett's day that are the philosophical base I was talking about (not a Constitution). I don't think the oldies probably have it in them to allow the change, but the younger monks may well bring it about if there are enough of them to carry on.

One thing I would like to say, speaking as a poster and not admin -- I come here now to listen to and talk with people whose stories need to be heard. I'm not concerned with convincing the OBC to do anything different, I'm not keeping track of which temples are trying hard and doing good, which are not . . . I reached a point of overload on that and I can't worry about it anymore. Things are not right in pockets of the OBC like Shasta, there's nothing I can do about it except wish them well and hope people are able to leave who want to leave. Those who want to train in the OBC can do so and there's plenty of information to help them if they need it. So really, I just don't care about any of that anymore.

End of my extended tangent -
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:50 pm

and perhaps a clue to the reasons why it’s so difficult for teachers to look thoroughly at the past.

Mia I should have said

No Karma

No Dust

No Mind

But that would not have been appropriate. Why it is so difficult for teachers to look thoroughly at the past, is because they do not want to .

As long as teachers teach, and desciples learn,as long as teachers proclaim and students admire there remains karma,dust and dirty altars
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:54 pm

I would settle for mutual respect and mutual accountability Chisan.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:03 pm

yeah yeah

I'll think up a poem sometime
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:05 pm

righty tighty
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:04 pm

Kozan wrote:


(I have no doubt that Mia will respond with insight that blows both of us away!)

And so you have, Mia. Thank you!
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:53 pm

Hello again all,

I hadn't intended getting involved in this discussion again and this will hopefully be my last contribution on the subject. Mia has said pretty much anything I can hope to add and much more eloquently and politely than I could.

Just a few last thoughts.

I am very disappointed in the failure of the monks at Shasta to address the issues that have been raised here either personal issues or the whole Michael Little matter. They elected the man as Abbot and therefore have a big responsibility for what happened later. It's not enough for them to have "management" issue what amounts to a mealy-mouthed corporate-style apology.

I am disappointed that not more lay people have contributed to the discussions here, particularly the North American lay sangha.

I am incredibly disappointed in the OBC hierarchy for being so dismissive of the issues raised here and giving the impression that only the Michael Little issue matters.

That's the polite version.

To other matters.

Outside of Shasta I don't believe there is evidence of the same kind of repressive culture going on at other North American temples. I think N Cascades is a quite different though maybe similar culture. Koshin always seemed to do his own particular thing.

I assert most strongly that OBC Europe has evolved differently under the original team of RM Daishin, RM Mokugen, RM Saido, RM Myoho, RM Fuden and later RM Mugo, RM Phoebe and others who came later. There is no evidence of the kind of Shasta-type culture crossing the Atlantic. It may be to do with the relatively small geographic size of the UK but there has
been and is a healthy input of ideas from a lay sangha of a wide range of backgrounds and experience. There are also enough of us not averse to expressing our concerns if we think it necessary.

There may still be what I might politely term culturally-retarded pockets within the OBC. I still have hopes they read the runes and see the need to change. If they don't then I fear they will be left behind in an evolutionary backwater.

That's it from me.

All best wishes,
George
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:18 am

George, thank you for your insightful and well articulated thoughts!

I agree.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:27 am

I understand of course Lise if this thread needs to be split.

Thanks to you, Kozan and George for your kind comments.

There's just one more niggle. By and large I feel that we are dealing with the truth on this site. But what if someone makes something up (or exaggerates it greatly, or deliberately presents a skewed view), that was negative about the OBC, to suit their own agenda (e.g. to get messages of support and camaraderie, which would be understandable)? Would a post that supports the picture that others are painting be automatically supported and encouraged, even if it wasn't true?
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:28 am

Mia wrote:


There's just one more niggle. By and large I feel that we are dealing with the truth on this site. But what if someone makes something up (or exaggerates it greatly, or deliberately presents a skewed view), that was negative about the OBC, to suit their own agenda (e.g. to get messages of support and camaraderie, which would be understandable)? Would a post that supports the picture that others are painting be automatically supported and encouraged, even if it wasn't true?

If someone can point to a reason, or basis, for thinking another's post is not true or is exaggerated, they have the right to speak up and question it, seek corroboration. I don't know how we would assess the truthfulness of any post; for me, I listen for whether it has a ring of authenticity or not. And of course that process can't be anything other than subjective.

I look at this in terms of believing people until I can demonstrate a reason not to, whether their view of OBC is positive, negative or a blend of the two -
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:08 am

Mia wrote:
There's just one more niggle. By and large I feel that we are dealing with the truth on this site. But what if someone makes something up (or exaggerates it greatly, or deliberately presents a skewed view), that was negative about the OBC, to suit their own agenda (e.g. to get messages of support and camaraderie, which would be understandable)? Would a post that supports the picture that others are painting be automatically supported and encouraged, even if it wasn't true?

Mia, that's an interesting question. I believe the collaborative nature of the group here protects against blatant fabrications. Many of us were present when the bad behaviors talked about here occurred. As a rule there was no attempt to hide such at Shasta Abbey. To the contrary, when people were treated badly it was usually intentionally done in a public setting because humiliation was an important part of the "lesson" and because they were being made examples of - everyone was supposed to get the message. That's why the discussion here is rarely about whether or not something happened, but about what motivated it. Frankly there is no need to exaggerate, as the actual events sometimes bordered on the incredible. But to answer you directly I would not accept and support any story that felt like a fabrication and could not be corroborated by others.

gnorwell wrote:
I assert most strongly that OBC Europe has evolved differently under the original team of RM Daishin, RM Mokugen, RM Saido, RM Myoho, RM Fuden and later RM Mugo, RM Phoebe and others who came later. There is no evidence of the kind of Shasta-type culture crossing the Atlantic. It may be to do with the relatively small geographic size of the UK but there has been and is a healthy input of ideas from a lay sangha of a wide range of backgrounds and experience. There are also enough of us not averse to expressing our concerns if we think it necessary.

George thanks for affirming this. It has been stated here before and I feel it's important to remember. During a conference call last year, when I was referring to the OBC RM Saido responded "there is no OBC". I believe he meant that, unlike the way it was at Shasta Abbey in Jiyu Kennett's day, today there is only a loose affiliation between the temples. We tend to lump all the centers together in our discussions here because when we were monks the organization was monolithic. That said all of the centers on your side of the Atlantic originated from JK and Shasta Abbey, and are not completely dissimilar. Of course it is for you to assess whether or not "OBC Europe" is sufficiently healthy. Still I have ask if you can be completely comfortable with an organization that purports to be dedicated to truth and yet will not openly confront and repudiate the dark aspects of its past?
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:21 pm

So sorry to hear your sad news Mokuan. My thoughts are with you.

Interesting comments Isan. Is OBC Europe "healthy" ? I think so. I've known many of the sangha for many years and trust them. In the end that's what it's about. Of course I could be wrong.

Am I completely comfortable with the OBC? No. I am disappointed and feel let down by all the things that have been disclosed on OBC Connect. Still all in all I think there's much more good than not.

Take care,
G
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:07 pm

Lise wrote:
Putting Komei Larson's belongings out on the road when Komei wouldn't leave a dying parent's bedside at Kennett's order . . . levying the "three dimes" prediction on Josh (which Daishin Morgan believes might have been a little joke of Rev. Master's) . . . sending the bashing letter to the UK about Chisanmichael and Mark . . . and the "misconduct" letter to Japan about Myozen . . . and Henry's treatment during his illness . . . collecting all the accounts from this forum would take awhile.
Does anyone have the time and inclination to put together these accounts, in brief (2-4 pages) and as factually as possible? I could really use them when discussing the situation with monks?

Best, Mia


Last edited by Mia on Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:09 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Clarification)
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:42 pm

hi Mia and everyone - I will be gathering up some posts related to Mia's most recent, and moving them to a new thread under "Why is OBC Connect here?"

Will do my best to be careful and logical. I apologise in advance if the split causes confusion or annoyance.

[Edited to say: Glorfindel's post below was accidentally not moved with the rest of the split. His post was followed by Chisanmichael's as shown.]

Subject: Re: Myozen Delport Today at 11:44

glorfindel wrote:
Actually, the best source for gleaning where Kennet was "coming from" was probably the hip-hop rap song she was famous for. I will quote this gangsta rap here. (note: this must be true coz I wrote "actually" at the start of the post. Proves it)......


Yo, up on the dharma cloud
Where the world is not so loud
I sit and bathe in cosmic sound
While fluffy Buddhas float around.
Coz I'm jiyu kennet,
A big, bad, brutal momma.
Jiyu Peggy kennet,
They say "stop" but I ain't gonna.

Coz I'm juggling your karma
In my not-so-dainty hands
I'm a lotus blossom farmer
Up in cloud cuckoo land.

Yo, up on the dharma cloud
Where the world is not so loud
I sit and bathe in cosmic sound
While fluffy Buddhas float around
Coz I'm jiyu kennet
A big, bad, brutal momma.
Jiyu Peggy kennet,
They say "stop" but I ain't gonna.

I got my fingers in your mind
Gonna reboot your brain,
Or when the bardo comes around
Your gonna feel your pain.

So come up to the dharma cloud
Where the world is not so loud
We can sit and bathe in cosmic sound
While fluffy Buddhas float around,
Yea, I'm jiyu kennet,
A big, bad, brutal momma,
Jiyu Peggy kennet,
They say "stop" but I ain't gonna.
I ain't gonna
I ain't gonna
Stop.


Last edited by Lise on Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:19 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : adding timestamp of G's post)
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadow and light   Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:21 pm

Yeah I'm big bad Jiyu kennet
I'm bending all the rules
Having visions of jesus Christ
And kidding all the fools

I'm up here on the Dharma cloud
I tell you what I see
All of The Buddhas
and they all a looking at me

They are trying to tell me something
But I aint done nuffin wrong
I'm only human after all
So keep on singing your song... boy
keep on singing your song
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Mia



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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:09 pm

Thanks Glorfindel and Chisan. I'll try presenting that to the Head of the Order. I have to tell you though, I presented him with two verses about shortbread once and am not sure it went down too well.

And thanks for the split Lise. Was confused for a minute when there was no marker on the old Myozen thread, but hopefully everyone will find their way back.


Last edited by Mia on Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:11 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To update when a post above was edited)
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:36 pm

thanks Mia, I put a comment on the original thread.

One difficulty with asking someone else to collate the examples of Kennett's behaviour is that you won't know if they copied & pasted correctly or completely, or maybe they overlook or deliberately omit incidents you would have included. If you plan to meet with a monk to talk about this, you may be better equipped having gathered the material yourself -- just my tuppence.


Last edited by Lise on Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo fix)
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:53 am

Mia perhaps when you try to give the poems to the head of the order you could perhaps convey the serious question within the poem
Does he think that having visions of being Bodhidharma and Jesus Christ is a kensho experience or is it a dualistic makyo experience. And did Mike Little carry the theme on by living and teaching religious duality whilst his personal practice could not have been right for years as it led him to mastarbating whilst on the phone to female followers.
This might be a direct approach which wont allow a simple dismissal of poems as being silly and immature,whilst not seeing what is being said
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:11 am

Hey.
On close inspection my song is pro kennet. wink
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:37 am

hope I did not say it wasn't
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:39 pm

True dat Smile

But I didn't say you said it wasn't nana
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:17 am

Sorry to be getting in so late on this discussion, but I’m
just catching up after a busy spell. I’m not so much interested in what the OBC
does or doesn’t do to revise its own history and practices, but rather what 12
years as a lay minister with the OBC – and particularly with Koshin – did to
me. Part of the value of the forum is that we learn from the personal experiences of
others who share here, and I hope my observations will resonate with others,
especially lay people in the US.


Lisa quotes Rev. Seikai as saying the following about the
situation with Komei Larson:


“The rules of the order clearly
indicated a procedure for dealing with issues like that. Koshin Schomberg
fought [Jiyu] on that. She then went after him so that he had to leave the
temple.”


I wonder if this is the episode which Koshin told us about his
departure from Shasta some time ( I think) in the mid-1980s. He was furious at Jiyu and left in a rage. He drove furiously,
heading north on I-5 to North Cascades. But
while on his way, he pulled off to a rest stop. He said he had a deep emotional
breakthrough, and turned his car back to Shasta. Sounds crazy, but Koshin
believed Jiyu’s harsh behavior on that occasion led him to a kensho experience.


This was typical of his devotion to Jiyu. He believed that
her methods, while sometimes seemingly cruel and irrational, were skillful means
arising out of compassion and wisdom. Her teachings (and, by extension, his own)
were absolutely true and not open to doubt or questioning, except on the most superficial
level. Her teaching and practices – no matter how crazy – were compassionate. If
a teaching made no sense, Koshin (and Jiyu) taught that it should be put on the
“back burner” until the disciple was spiritually advanced enough to understand.
Koshin’s teachings likewise were not open to discussion or doubt, except by way
of further explication by him. As he often said, his temple was not a democracy
and doubt was a major obstacle to understanding.


Koshin’s teachings represented all of Buddhism to me for
twelve years. Koshin discouraged us from reading anything on Buddhism other
than the approved OBC books. He told one follower that he shouldn’t practice Rinzai
because he would get “confused.” Koshin even prevented us from listening to
tapes of Eko’s dharma talks because those too might lead to “confusion.”


I followed Koshin’s teachings and read only the approved writings.
I felt guilty in fact when I came upon a piece Koshin had written in the early
1970’s about sexuality. I didn’t think it reflected his views in the mid-1990’s
and thought there was something wrong about reading even that!


This may sound naïve, but Buddhism was the first religion I
had ever seriously practiced and I tried to do what my teacher said was right. He
said he was pointing at the moon, after all, so who was I to question whether that
was really the moon or just the reflection of some bright light in an otherwise dark sky?


Mia asked: “There are undoubtedly those in the OBC who are
wondering why we're still banging on about something that happened a long time
ago, by someone who is now dead. Why are we?”


For me, the answer to Mia’s question is that will take years
to sort out what was true wisdom and compassion in Koshin and Jiyu’s teachings
and what was dark, shadowy, and even cruel.

Michael says that the OBC sect is not Zen Buddhism. Michael, I don't know if you're right or not. People ask if I’m still a Buddhist
and I don’t know how to answer.


This isn’t just “banging on” about things that happened
years ago. Deep spiritual experiences can’t be dismissed without years of figuring
out what is true and what isn’t. This forum helps me untangle what Myozen eloquently
calls the “residues” of teachings that are still embedded in me as a result of all
those years of sitting with Koshin.


That said, I think that Shasta – and certainly North
Cascades – was quite different from Throssel. I once had an interesting
discussion with a lay minister from the UK (I think it was George) in which he
told me that he had appeared on a radio show as a representative of Buddhism.
Koshin would NEVER allow any lay minister or anyone except his most senior
disciples to explain Buddhism in a public forum. We were strictly limited to
teaching people the correct posture and practice of sitting meditation. I recall
being quite shocked that a lay minister could talk about Buddhism on the radio!
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:41 am

Hi Carol,

How are you?

It was Joyce on the radio.

I've always had a soft spot for Koshin. He was the first monk to teach me zazen when he and Hogetsu were priors at Throssel in the seventies. He also stayed with us in Cardiff for a few days the year before we stayed with you (1998/9?) and I got on well with him and liked his sense of humour.

I was saddened to hear of the events at NC and subsequent exit from the OBC

Keep well,
G
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:49 am

Carol when you said

Michael says that the OBC sect is not Zen Buddhism. Michael, I don't know if you're right or not. People ask if I’m still a Buddhist
and I don’t know how to answer.


It does seem a heavy statement of mine, however I look at Shatsta and they call them selves the OBC,calling them selves the Soto Zen sec or even the reformed soto zen sect seems to have long gone. I think it is fair to assume JK started her own sect, but still used some familiar terminology . This means that the word kensho can have a new meaning and all of the practices and statements and rhetoric everything in fact is fine within their church as it is the way they do things,they have their own meanings and understandings and practices,and these may very well include having individual visions joint visions,being different people in previous lives, removing the rights of the followers bullying and shunning all of what we have written about here They have created their own sect and within it they do as they wish.It just happens to be not my way.I would not want new people thinking they are the Soto sect,that would be misleading
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:19 pm

Hello George,

It's good to hear from you. Give my regards to Joyce -- the lay minister on the radio!!

Carol

Hi Michael,

It's not so heavy a statement -- pretty reasonable, in fact, when you explain. Interesting that you would not want new people thinking they are in the Soto sect.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeing the whole: Kennett's legacy of shadows and light   Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:22 am

Hi Carol

In fairness I do not think the OBC do say they are the Soto Sect. I wou;d think that Kennett Roshi renamed the sect the OBC and also came up with all the new names like Rev Master and nobody has come up with any new names since,I would also think that it is all much the same since she died going over old tapes of her lectures and books. I would also guess that the lotus book is still studied at least in Koshins group. That gives someone some scope to say no no it is not like that at all..i do not know I am only guessing , but when the source of so many peoples meditative lives has been kennett Roshi it is difficult to change it
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PostSubject: Two monks on the road, a mud puddle, and a woman...   Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:01 pm

Can anyone parse this story for me? I am pretty sure Josh (Jitsudo?) Baran knows something about "living in the moment."
I was glad to stumble upon the Berkeley Buddhist Priory flyer stapled among a welter of posters on the front of the xerox store's desk, San Francisco, Market and Van Ness. At that time Rev. Mokurai was the prior...I called to confirm that I could come on down...and then didn't understand the directions and walked up and down Telegraph Ave -- in Berkeley -- not finding it. Found a pay phone and called again. Got the word and got on a bus for a loonngg ride away from my comfort zone, in Berkeley...and then learned about Shasta.
I found a refuge there. Didn't come too close, tended to put myself too far away, but didn't get burned as so many seem to say. So, to sum it up: You are all seniors to me, in commitment and experience, yet? The friction still! Sparks are flying! You know the piezoceramic effect? You take a wafer of mica, and squeeze it, mechanically deform it, and it sparks out electricity in a curve analogous to its deformation and restoration (analog, vs digital)...That's how the early phonographs worked...a needle glued to a piece of mica, glued to a speaker coil, driving a little speaker in the head of the arm of a phonograph...music!
Shasta and those who committed to Shasta, helped me, a lot. I loved those times...you did a good job of not showing your biliousness on the rolling sea. Now we're retching over the side? I don't get it! You got your sea legs, and I'm still sloping around on mine. Reverend Master Jiyu Kennett often said that she was told Zen had to be brought intact to a new time and place and country, but conform to the people it was meant to serve...she didn't say serve...that's a Christian buzzword...conform to the customs of the nation. So you didn't like the transitional personality from Depression Days, WWII England during the Blitz, Britain stiff-upper lip and colonial tyrrany, Japan with its licking stick (kyosaku) and merciless suicidal asceticism...well then, me hearties -- change it! for the better! You're actually doing that! but this is only virtual reality. Anais Nin told an artist "I want to live in your paintings!" Nice compliment, but not possible.
The OBC at least put a roof overhead so people could come in out of the rain, settle down, and train.
Now please, don't throw down one too many pomegranate martinis on shore leave and ralf all over The Bloodline of the Buddhas. A hymn comes to mind...
"I came to Jesus as I was/weary worn and sad/my soul has found a resting place/and He has made me glad." now for the true Buddhists, we have to translate that. How about: "Buddha recognizes Buddha and Buddha bows to Buddha!" ? I was unworthy of being bowed too, but I appreciated the care and concern so much. I honestly love(d) Jiyu, and Eko, and a host of others...hope we don't mind. Wasn't it a Zen Master who said: "Make yourself as good as you tell others to be!" (yes, it was...but I can't seem to find it now...anyway--that's my next job, after cleaning up the basement.)
They didn't bury Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett according to her wishes -- at the end of Lotus Blossom 2nd ed. (wonder why?) But let's not let's not defile the whachamacallit, the obelisk they raised a Shasta, raise a leg on a post, and then dog scratch those turf-flinging back feet like we're getting something done! She got something done. You didn't like it? Make it better, if you can. I'm not much help, I know that...but maybe I don't mind the shortcomings or call it mental illness if you choose too...I'm even shorter, and even more mental...they helped me level up -- YOU (too!) helped me level up. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to train with you. And I was happy to discover (on my own) RMJK cobbed the melody for "Homage to the Relics of the Buddhas, or merit all..." from a Russian hymn Kontakion For the Departed.
That means stuff comes from somewhere, and goes somewhere - and I can be part of it. Don't tell me I was just a flat-out dummy, a benighted mucker...tell me how the story ends about two monks on the road...Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett, and you...and you...and you...
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