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 new member: Rev. Seikai

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Rev. Seikai



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PostSubject: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:23 pm

First topic message reminder :

Greetings, My name is Rev. Seikai Luebke; I am an active monk of the OBC, a Master of the OBC, a disciple of Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett, ordained in March, 1978. My objectives in joining this forum are very simple: contributors have expressed a desire that active OBC members contribute to the forum, in hopes of gaining a broader spectrum of views on what has occurred in the past or is happening in the present in the OBC. If I can shed a little bit of light where there is murkiness, openness where there is hiddenness, and positivity where there is negativity, I will be delighted. I have no desire to change anyone's views on the OBC per se, other than to help foster a move in the direction of openness, which seems to lie at the root of what past members have objected to from decades past.

Unlike most of the contributers to this forum, I have made a lifetime commitment to being a monk of the OBC, have experienced many of the same difficulties and frustrations that former monks of the OBC have experienced, have worked to resolve those issues within the context of being an active, supportive and deeply contented monk within the order. Like any human organization, we have problems and difficulties that arise in the flow of events over time; life is a constant process of addressing problems, doing the best we can with them, practicing kindness and compassion to all beings, working to alleviate suffering. I see a group of people here who are genuinely trying to find the truth, trying to understand their past experiences within the OBC, reconnecting with old friends, and trying to bridge gaps of understanding. I hope that I can be of service and that my contribution, like that of Rev. Master Daishin Morgan, the abbot of Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, will be well received.
Blessings to all, Rev. Seikai
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Howard



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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:30 am

Hello Seikai

Great answer to question (1) Thank you.
I think the answer is not so much of who because any willing senior monk representing the OBC would be something over nothing. In fact I don't think they should need to represent the OBC to start with.. The other part would be when.

For Question (2) I would submit that the first action for two people with a disagreement to do is to get them to directly talk to each other. Its not that complicated. If that doesn't work after both parties have tried direct communication, then a third party can be introduced to moderate.

I'm married, If I needed a third party to moderate disagreements I wouldn't even get through breakfast.

If the idea of talking to someone who may bring up doubt of ones teacher or training is too scary to do directly, then that just speaks to the fragility of ones faith. One might even say that ones faith has been possibly substituted for habit.
If it is just a question of saving face then that's just grist for the mill and why our practise includes meditation.

If your list of those wishing to throw their hat in to help is real and disgruntled laymen
are acceptable then I'm in.

Thanks again for your help.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:46 am

Rev. Seikai wrote:

... I'm going to ignore all your judgments of me, ...

I agree with your position on that. I will do the same.

Rev. Seikai wrote:

... and I am only trying to engender a tiny bit of sympathy. I doubt that you would be thrilled if people debased your family as they do mine, regardless of the motive.
It wouldn't be a question of my feelings, Seikai, not where other people have been hurt like this. If my family had been up to the tricks that some OBC monks have, I would be deeply thankful for having a different last name and living on another continent as I do. I would not try to work up sympathy, not even a tiny bit, in order to assuage my own hurt feelings about the long-overdue and well-deserved public spanking they're getting. And I would not try for sympathy from a group comprised mostly of those who have been harmed. That one puzzles me the most.

Rev. Seikai wrote:

I'm looking for solutions.....one solution which has been offered is for someone from the OBC to acknowledge that my Master acted in ways which were cruel, as well as harmful to people who studied under her. I'm thinking about that; the use of the word cruel implies deliberate will to inflict pain on someone. That is very strong language.

Do you talk with the other monks about this? It's good that you're looking for solutions and want to help things move forward. But could you perhaps be more effective by engaging other OBC members and working with them, in addition to your posts on this forum? For some reason I think you come here to talk because you can't talk to them about these things. Am I even partially right?

Lise
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:01 am

Seikai
You wrote:
Who, exactly needs to acknowledge what happened? Have I, being the only OBC monk to engage in any dialogue on this forum, so far failed to acknowledged that people were harmed, or that they feel pain?

I think I answered this in an indirect way in the two posts on the Making it known thread yesterday. What I got from this question is that we keep going around and your acknowledgement of harm never seems enough. I do want to acknowledge that you’ve done this, and I believe I have made such acknowledgments, but I hope my posts give a reasonable answer to the frustration you feel and is in turn felt by many on this site. Did my posts provide a satisfactory answer?

Are you thinking that a certain critical number of OBC monks needs to participate in some way in this acknowledgement, and if so, how would you suggest they do that?

And:

I was actually serious when I suggested that you might try contacting Rev. Master Meian or Rev. Master Haryo and offer to help, because you have a point of view that appears to be fairly well thought out, and they both know you pretty well. I think we are ready to move beyond the days of simply dismissing criticism of RMJK without first considering whether it has validity. The validity of it, at least in your specific case, comes from a point of view that probably few monks in the OBC share, and so there would be a bridge to cross with respect to reaching a common understanding--if such a thing were possible at all.

Have you tried writing it out on paper and sending it as a letter to either of the two forementioned monks? Although society might well have moved beyond the pen and paper stage of our technological development, there is something in the physical act of committing ones thoughts to paper that carries meaning, as opposed to just typing it out on a computer and firing it off to the world of the internet. (I am not casting aspersions on the internet, please understand this.) Another way of asking my question is, Where do we start? Or: How can you put what you are thinking down in such a way that the monks of the OBC will take it seriously? Can you see that I am trying to help you? And, by extension, if you and the OBC (a few monks, anyway, one would hope) can have a serious conversation, will that have any effect on others out there who have grievances, and if that helps, maybe it will help the OBC at large?

To this I can only say that I barely know where to begin to start in regard to how a détente could be practically set up. I have asked those who are interested on this site to let me know who they are. That is a start. I think a statement by Meian and Haryo on this site inviting anyone interested would be helpful, though I would understand that they would not be comfortable with this site as a means to conduct an ongoing attempt at resolution as there are so many different agendas. I think it would be appropriate for them to apologize to Diana, Laura, Polly (and others if they wished to), publicly on this site, though again, I understand the ongoing resolution between those parties (if those I mentioned were even interested in any of this) would need to be conducted in another manner. I think such public apologies would be an act of good faith. The silence, the keeping these things from the light of day, the hiding of them in “private conversations” that get nowhere but putting all the responsibility on the complainant have become tiresome and predictable beyond measure. These public apologies specific to individuals would be an act of good faith that the OBC is making an effort to put an end to this decades long insulting practice. From there hopefully someone could come up with ideas for an ongoing discussion. These are just ideas of my own. I certainly speak for no one, as do you.

Please let me know if I’ve left anything unanswered.

PS So far Anne and Howard have signed up. Isan has expressed interest also.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:12 pm

Kaizan, definitely count me in.

Since working towards a collective recognition, healing, and transformation of harmful dynamics within the OBC has always been my primary interest (since well before I joined the forum)--I have always considered myself "in". As a result, I at first missed the point at which you and Rev. Seikai began asking the question more specifically--and you began proposing a more specific detente. Great idea!
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:21 pm

Dear Kaizan,

I don't want or need a public apology. Rev. Haryo made it clear in talking with me that he understood my feelings. He may not have taken action, that I know about anyway, but he and I have an interchange in progress, (at least I think we do). He may have some forgiving to do toward me because I sent him a stiff lecture.

Rev. Seikai did apologize. George from England apologized. The most important apology to me probably is not possible, I don't think the monk involved can see it or afford it.

Rev. Seikai, you will like the quote (wish I knew the author of it) that "emotion is the thief of reason." My emotions have been tied up in OBC long enough. I'd like to see the promised change. I'd like to see decisive leadership, a revision of the standards used for selecting and placing teaching monks, and a real re-visit to the chasm between how Zen Masters expect to be treated and how they behave. No one is above constructive criticism.

When I separated from my original religion in order to study Zen, I first called and asked if doing so would be considered disloyalty to the Guru. The nun who answered my phone call told me that not only was it disloyal, it was the equivalent of having an abortion. Believe me, I fired off a very hot-tempered letter about this. Not long after, I got a phone call from a different, more senior nun in the organization. First, she apologized for my bad experience. When I apologized for my loss of temper in the letter she said "You can say anything you want to us." I'd like the world of Zen Masters to try that attitude on for size. This circling the wagons at the first whiff of criticism or concern has to cease.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:05 pm

Polly,
I don't think any of us need an apology. I think the OBC needs to learn to apologize. I think they are far more in need of healing than any of us are.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:26 pm

Agreed. If the first monk I approached with my problem had said, "Boy, I'm sorry, that shouldn't have happened. Let's see if we can fix it," I wouldn't be on this forum today.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:58 pm

Dear Polly,

Thank you for posting. I pity the monk who lost you for a friend.

You mentioned that you have an ongoing dialogue with the head of the order about this situation -- or at least you think you do. Would you be willing to let us know if he does address your issues? I don't need to know the content of his communication with you; I would just kind of like to know that he's not dismissing your concerns as "your problem."

Thanks,
mokuan


Last edited by mokuan on Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:00 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling error)
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:09 am

Hi Mokuan,

I have a couple of thoughts about that. One is that it would feel a bit like forcing his hand, which I don't want to do. Second, I said that I wanted nothing more to do with the OBC so maybe he knows that and thinks that includes him. Correspondence doesn't have an outdate, so due to that and the first two reasons, I guess I won't make that sort of commitment. That seems best to me. I usually end up saying what I think needs saying.

Lots of love,
Polly
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:15 am

TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE:

Just reposting on this thread a request posted on another one to make sure as many as possible see this.

Seikai requested that I get a list of people who would like to see the best of Rev. Kennett's legacy maintained.

So far that is Howard, Anne, Stuart, Isan, Kozan, and Daiji and Lisa (depending on what that is) and myself.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:35 pm

Hi Kaizan,

Howard has kindly started a thread to talk about Kennett's legacy and what that means:

http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/suggestions-for-the-obc-f9/rev-jiyu-s-legacy-t153.htm

I have to say, I'm not ready to be on the list quite yet -- there's a lot we don't know at the moment.

Lise
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:24 pm

Hi Kaizan,
Yes, I would like to be on the list.
Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:44 am

To Kaizan and everyone else who has posted recently:

I'm deeply grateful for the very honest showing of good faith that is being shown by all of you, and I am at the point where I clearly do need to involve other senior monks in the OBC. If that goes well, then maybe the time will arrive when the OBC will be able to do more in the way of public apologies.

Just to fill you all in on a bit of history: at the OBC conclave in September, the entire assembly actually wanted to create a very detailed apology to those who had been harmed by the actions of the former Eko Little. I was on a committee that drafted a very concise statement, which we hoped would be posted on this website, among other possiblities. We didn't want to leave a stone unturned where that was concerned. But as fate would have it, the Abbey's liability insurance company disapproved of the entire proposal, saying that it would leave the monastery open to the possibility of a lawsuit.

I know next to nothing about the legalities of these things, so about all I can say with regard to what happened in September is that I was very disappointed that liability concerns outweighed human concerns, and that it was really quite a sad commentary on the state of our society. Rev. Master Meian did the best she could to give a non-adversarial version of the statement which we drew up, in that Dharma talk she gave--whenever it was, early October, I think. If I might be so bold as to summarize the reaction it got from people posting here, which was along the lines of: 'that's a nice first step, but it doesn't go very far.' Be all that as it may, I think I'm seeing now that we can essentially make an end-run around the insurance company.

I'm going to have to do some homework at this point. Meanwhile,

Kaizan wrote the following:
To this I can only say that I barely know where to begin to start in regard to how a détente could be practically set up. I have asked those who are interested on this site to let me know who they are. That is a start. I think a statement by Meian and Haryo on this site inviting anyone interested would be helpful, though I would understand that they would not be comfortable with this site as a means to conduct an ongoing attempt at resolution as there are so many different agendas. I think it would be appropriate for them to apologize to Diana, Laura, Polly (and others if they wished to), publicly on this site, though again, I understand the ongoing resolution between those parties (if those I mentioned were even interested in any of this) would need to be conducted in another manner. I think such public apologies would be an act of good faith. The silence, the keeping these things from the light of day, the hiding of them in “private conversations” that get nowhere but putting all the responsibility on the complainant have become tiresome and predictable beyond measure. These public apologies specific to individuals would be an act of good faith that the OBC is making an effort to put an end to this decades long insulting practice. From there hopefully someone could come up with ideas for an ongoing discussion. These are just ideas of my own. I certainly speak for no one, as do you.

and then......Polly,
I don't think any of us need an apology. I think the OBC needs to learn to apologize. I think they are far more in need of healing than any of us are.

which is a bit of a mixed message; however, as far as I'm concerned, the OBC needs to learn to apologize to individuals who have been harmed by the actions of its member monks. This would constitute an act of good will, healing and reconciliation on the part of the OBC, and would benefit those who have been harmed in the past. Am I accurate in this assessment?

In response to Lise, who wrote:
I would not try to work up sympathy, not even a tiny bit, in order to assuage my own hurt feelings about the long-overdue and well-deserved public spanking they're getting. And I would not try for sympathy from a group comprised mostly of those who have been harmed. That one puzzles me the most.
It is difficult for me to adequately explain what is going on here. It is not that I want sympathy for myself because my feelings have been hurt. Rather, sympathy, in and of itself, is an attribute to cultivate for its own sake, and is considered a Buddhist virtue. Dogen wrote quite a bit about sympathy, saying that it "is as the sea in that it never refuses water from whatsoever source it may come" (translation by RMJK). The OBC needs to cultivate and have sympathy for those who have been harmed by its members, and (specific to my situation) those who are expressing outrage over past events need to cultivate sympathy for what it would be like to be the sole target for all that outrage, however just or merited it might happen to be. I have become fairly comfortable being the bullseye, but in a way that is neither here nor there.

She added:
Do you talk with the other monks about this? It's good that you're looking for solutions and want to help things move forward. But could you perhaps be more effective by engaging other OBC members and working with them, in addition to your posts on this forum? For some reason I think you come here to talk because you can't talk to them about these things. Am I even partially right?

You're definitely on the right track. I've stated my reasons for coming here to talk several times, and they do not include that I cannot talk with other members of the OBC. However, having said that, it is definitely time for me to involve more members of the OBC in this. The Interim Board was set up for exactly this kind of thing, one member of the board is presently at my temple, and we are talking, and now I just need to take it to the individuals who are in the best position to take action.

I hope that you can all bear with me for the time being, as I need to do my homework. Please understand that the wheels of justice turn slowly, and yet I think that there is sufficient momentum for them to turn in a positive direction, and if a forward momentum of good will can be created, it will help everyone.

Respectfully submitted,
Rev. Seikai






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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:00 am

I am a bit troubled by this, the apologies I do not know why.
I certainly do not need an apology,I did not agree ,fell out and left.

This attempting to right wrongs, it may help everyone move on there certainly is a lot of hurt. Which seems to get greater everytime, we are told to drop it or move on. I think the monk Gensho had a relationship with needs an apology, She was called the devil.quite seriously called the devil, she has had to live with the slur for 35 years,I don't like that. What about Daiji, He was discredited why, because he felt that the previous lives that the monks were experiencing,of Jesus and Bodhidarma, and st John of the Cross, were not helpful to his meditation practice. He was written out of it A lot of it disturbs me.Dianas story Polly's story,they disturb me.I sometimes wake up in the night thinking about what I have read,and feel the need to talk to people that have been hurt. It is very sad,then I read the comraderie the great spirit of not being put down, at these times I think we all realise the warmth of the Buddhas smile


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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:42 am

Rev. Seikai wrote:
... Just to fill you all in on a bit of history: at the OBC conclave in September, the entire assembly actually wanted to create a very detailed apology to those who had been harmed by the actions of the former Eko Little. I was on a committee that drafted a very concise statement, which we hoped would be posted on this website, among other possiblities. We didn't want to leave a stone unturned where that was concerned. But as fate would have it, the Abbey's liability insurance company disapproved of the entire proposal, saying that it would leave the monastery open to the possibility of a lawsuit.

I know next to nothing about the legalities of these things, so about all I can say with regard to what happened in September is that I was very disappointed that liability concerns outweighed human concerns, and that it was really quite a sad commentary on the state of our society. Rev. Master Meian did the best she could to give a non-adversarial version of the statement which we drew up, in that Dharma talk she gave--whenever it was, early October, I think. ...
It's worth repeating that it is not just Eko's actions that caused harm, although he appears to have done his share and then some. Kennett's harm should be addressed also and that of other monks, if some purpose is being served by a public naming. Otherwise I should think private, personal apologies are the next best step.

Rev. Seikai wrote:

In response to Lise, who wrote:
I would not try to work up sympathy, not even a tiny bit, in order to assuage my own hurt feelings about the long-overdue and well-deserved public spanking they're getting. And I would not try for sympathy from a group comprised mostly of those who have been harmed. That one puzzles me the most.
It is difficult for me to adequately explain what is going on here. It is not that I want sympathy for myself because my feelings have been hurt. Rather, sympathy, in and of itself, is an attribute to cultivate for its own sake, and is considered a Buddhist virtue. Dogen wrote quite a bit about sympathy, saying that it "is as the sea in that it never refuses water from whatsoever source it may come" (translation by RMJK). The OBC needs to cultivate and have sympathy for those who have been harmed by its members, and (specific to my situation) those who are expressing outrage over past events need to cultivate sympathy for what it would be like to be the sole target for all that outrage, however just or merited it might happen to be. I have become fairly comfortable being the bullseye, but in a way that is neither here nor there.

Seikai, I didn't see that you were asking anyone to cultivate sympathy for its own sake or the OBC's. Your earlier statement speaks for itself.

The evasion and obfuscation I saw in your dharma talks still continues here whenever the questioning gets sticky. The bulls-eye you wear is of your own creation, and I cannot produce sympathy for that.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:52 am

Seikai,

Another question: Did I read correctly on the Interim Board website that it is only available to current members of the OBC and their concerns?

Thanks,
mokuan
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:17 am

Lise am I right in thinking I read there was a proposal for a new websight for people who want to be positive about the OBC and it would be run on precepts guildance lines.Does this mean you would close your forum down, I hope not as you have let anybody say anything, and I think it has brought a few things to the head, Can you advise me if I mis read this
thanks
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:24 am

hi Chisan, no, this forum will not go away. It will continue to have a purpose for some time, possibly years, and even if no one posts here eventually, it should remain as a record.

There is a website already for current OBC members to talk with each other, I think it's called "brightmoon.org". Brightmoon does seem to need current OBC membership, real names are required in order to sign up and someone within the OBC has to confirm they know you. Maybe Seikai's idea could be folded into that, or perhaps he'll be able to launch another site if Brightmoon isn't the right place for it.

That's the great thing about the Internet isn't it, it's wide open for anyone to start a place for the kind of discussion they want.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:17 pm

Ahem, Rev. Seikai, excuse me,

That was not my quote, that was from Kaizan. I said I did NOT want or need a public apology although I agreed with Kaizan's statement. Learning to say sorry promptly when faced with a problem would indeed be invaluable to OBC. (It's an invaluable skill for everyone.) I'll say again; if anyone had said to me, "Gee, that was a mistake, I'm sorry that happened, let's see if we can fix it", the problem might very well have been solvable. A response of "Where there is hurt, there is self", however kindly meant, refuses all accountability, places the entire responsibility for reconciliation on my shoulders, and ramps up guilt and confusion in quantum leaps.

Mokuan's quotes from another thread about students ignoring their master's behavior and seeing their teachings as pure under any circumstance seems to have been thoroughly internalized in many of the members of your Order. I'm sorry, but when you propose a forum where preceptual conversation is required, it sounds a bit like Thumper's father saying "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." In a problem solving effort where emotions are involved, not all interchange will be "nice". Civil is the best you can hope for. But I do wish you good luck with your efforts and thank you for those already made.

Polly


Last edited by polly on Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:45 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : re-wording, twice.)
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:31 pm

mokuan
surely the question is who are current members? I don't remember a central registry in my day, is there one now? If not how does the OBC know who are its current members. I hope it is not restricted only to those who have not spoken out about their missgivings.

polly, Seikai
"where there is hurt, there is self" Lets nail that one, it is complete self-serving nonesense. If a completely enlightened being (this is very theoretical!) steps on a red hot coal does his foot not burn, does he not feel pain, is his foot not hurt? If you differentiate between pain and hurt on the grounds that pain can be felt by all but hurt only by those who have not reached full enlightenment this is (a) pure casuistry, (b) does not apply to anyone. Show me the person since Gautama Siddartha who has rightly claimed full enlightment. No one? Must be then that we all have selfs that can be hurt. Show me a person who cannot be hurt and I will show you a corpse. It is possibleto be not troubled by a hurt so you are not caught up in it but that is very different. Polly if a monk had said that to Rinzai he would have hit him, just to check that it was true; perhaps you might do the same - just to check whether it is true of course! (just joking - don't want you arrested for asault)
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:22 pm

Mark said, show me a person who cannot be hurt and I will show you a corpse.
It is possible to be not troubled by hurt so you are not caught up in it but that is very
different.)


So the forth noble truth(the eightfold path, the way to the end of suffering) is among other things strength of mind, or have I got that wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:34 pm

No, no john it is not strength of mind it is non-attachment. And non-attachment is a slippery, difficult concept; it does not mean indifference. Look at the tenth ox-herding picture 'return to the world'. Does that look like someone who is indifferent or take the Bohdisattva is their compassion indifference?
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:40 pm

Ive taken it for granted that the OBC has been concerned with lawsuits and now we know this is true. Esstentially the OBC has decided not to take the most ethical course in order to save money. In truth I have no problem with this decision. Monks need to eat and if the lawsuit is big enough organizations can end up no longer existing. This would be a real hardship for the monks.

But would it be a hardship for their Buddha Natures? I don't think so. It would be a hardship for their selves. Isn't it interesting how protective they are of their selves being hurt and suffering hardship but when someone they hurt informs them of their suffering they tell them "there is no self that can be hurt."

As I said I have no problem with the monks being practical and reasonable in protecting their self interest. But to call into question the spiritual depth of another for being reasonable in looking out for their self interest while exalting one's own spiritual depth for doing the same or worse is despicable.

While I am harsh in my judgment of someone who does this knowingly, I want to add that I don't think the OBC does this consciously. But if this site has shown anything it nhas shown that many of the habits of at least a fair number of monks in the OBC need to be examined by the OBC. The more negative aspects of the inherited culture of the OBC are done unthinkingly, I have concluded. Even so they create no less harm. It is time for the OBC monks to become more conscious of the way they do harm. To my mind this total hypocrisy of their exalted selves having a right to not be hurt, while those of their less enlightened brethren can be trampled on, and when those brethren say ouch they are told their practice is obviously not deep enough. Such utter drivel. When in the world are they going to move on. I should control my sarcasm but I've seen this tactic used so often, I hope to never hear of it again.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:49 pm

Hello everyone,

I've had an incredibly busy time at work lately involving lots of overtime and have not looked at these forums for a little over a week now. I can't believe how much has been posted during that time!

I'm still catching up with all the posts, but I would personally like to thank Rev. Seikai for the work he is doing to try to involve more OBC monks in a more direct resolution of the issues that have been discussed on this forum. I personally don't feel the need of an apology any longer, but I would truly welcome any sign that the mistakes of the past will not be perpetuated at Shasta Abbey.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:52 pm

To Mark, Yes, Indifference doesnt work for me when there is so much pain in the world. But there is something within that doesnt have to drown in it. I know I have more work to do, as we all have. Thank you .
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:59 pm

I had mentioned the need for an apology from the OBC more from their own need to learn to apologize when appropriate than the need of anyone here to get one. I don't feel it is any necessary precondition though I hope they have the sense to do it. I am with Laura. My main concern is they stop the harm so amply documented on this site. There are many agendas however. I hope someone has ideas for the logistics of all this.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:18 pm

Is it just me, but I detect we are all sticking together and getting stronger
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:27 pm

Mark,

Loved your response, best laugh for days. The monk who wrote those words to me said he was quoting RMJK, by the way. But he was a nice guy so I'll hold off on the Rinzai method. Also because I'm self-serving. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:10 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
Is it just me, but I detect we are all sticking together and getting stronger

Yes, Chisan Michael, it would seem we are becoming synergistic: "Our combined effect is greater than the sum of our individual parts."
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:50 pm

Kaizan--Re logistics:

If RM Seikai gets more monks involved, then I would respectfully suggest a conference call be set up between OBC and your group of folks interested in seeing "the best of Jiyu's legacy maintained". Most long distance providers can walk you through the steps.

That way people can explain themselves in real time, and ask questions in real time, and hearing both tone and words might help prevent misunderstandings. You might make a lot of progress, much faster than you can on a web forum.

A couple of considerations would be whether there should be ground rules established prior to the call, and how many participants from OBC and from OBC Connect would be practical. You might consider getting together a meeting agenda with specific topics to cover, as well.

Also, as with most meetings, a time limit is invaluable for getting forward movement.

There would of course also be a cost for the call, which depending on your personal budget could be significant.

Just a thought, seeing these new developments.
--Dan
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:25 pm

My group of folks? You're seriously scaring me, Dan.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:31 pm

Kaizan wrote:
My group of folks? You're seriously scaring me, Dan.

Clearly a poor choice of words. I meant the six-headed hydra of irate OBC Connect hotheads! Bwa ha ha ha ha :0P
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:20 pm

I don't think Skype charges for conference calls? I think our bigger question is time. I'm in finals through next week, then out of town until New Years.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:54 pm

I don't think something like Skype would work if we were all online we would be interrupting and butting in all the time - it would be chaos. A dedicated conferencing system with moderators, etc. would be better but what with everyone being on different time zones even this would be nightmare. The feeling that I get from the "the six-headed hydra of irate OBC Connect hotheads" (great phrase, pity about the sentiment) is that we would be happy if our concerns were taken on board and addressed in an open and substantial manner.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:02 am

mstrathern and all--The "sentiment" was meant to be funny, or at least harmless if you did not find it so. One can only imagine what the OBC monks would think is descending upon them should an actual conference call get off the ground.

My apologies if anyone suspects a barb 'neath bonhomie. It isn't there. I know because I typed it. Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:09 am

I have no question at all about your good will Dan. Good to see you back. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:14 pm

I understand where you all -- the "good will" group are going -- but I would be sorry to lose your input into this forum. I hope those of you who go to the protected/closed forum or Skype call or whatever format turns out to be will stay on this forum. I would like to know what is going on in those discussions, but unfortunately I won't qualify for the protected/closed website.
I would like to see this open website continue to offer a forum for all past and present affiliates with the OBC. Rev. Seikei has boldly gone where no one dared to go and his contribution to this forum has been truly valuable. I would like to see more monks join the discussion. Isn't this what some of us are talking about -- how to bring about communication and sharing between monks and the outside world? I will be sad if the discussion moves off to a protected/closed forum.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:21 pm

I agree with you violet. That is why I said " The feeling that I get ...is that we would be happy if our concerns were taken on board and addressed in an open and substantial manner." By open I meant available to all, not necessarily all participating directly, but all able to at least contribute and see at substantive feedback of the processes and outcomes, and in return to be able to contribute comment and feedback on the proceedings.

As to 'membership' there are a number of us who have left the OBC, often many years ago, would we qualify? Would those who are thinking of joining the OBC, but not yet in good standing, be denied a hearing?

If this something along these lines does not happen the findings of the Interim Board at best are very likely to be: "there have been faults in the OBC for which we are sincerly sorry, particulary for any who were hurt. However by and large these were due to individual failings rather than institutional ones and mechanisms have been put in place to see that this is not repeated." - yeah, 'there will be no whitewash in the White House'.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:27 am

Hello Rev Seikai

I echo the last two postings by Violet and Mark.

My first preference for a Shasta exchange would definitely be on the OBC Connect. I would like it tried out with everyone's expectation being that it will fall flat on it's face. People will behave badly and the moderaters will have their hands full but at least it's a visibly straight forward attempt to face those people with Shasta grievances. Even if it doesn't work after a sincere ego swallowing attempt, you get street cred's for Monk courage and just think of what you'll learn for setting up the Abbey's website.

I think the biggest difficulty with doing it anywhere will come from the two groups that will feel obliged to sabotage any real effort at communication.

This will be from the people who hate Shasta & love that hate......and
the people who love Shasta & hate all criticism of it.

Both of these groups will see this effort at communication as a direct threat to their own identity. Both of these two groups will be obstructive but I don't think you can restrict one group and not the other without it all looking like a whitewashing exercise.

My hope is that the people between these two group extremes will stand up to make it work.

Having the exchanges here first on the OBC Connect, without the setting up of Shasta favourable website limitations will truly demonstrate Shasta's intent at facing it's problems in the light of day rather than peeking out again from the ramparts.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:19 am

Regarding "there is no self that can be hurt":
I don't subscribe to that concept, at least not literally. We are all selves, no matter how sensitive, insensitive, dull or sharp we happen to be. On the deepest level of our existence, the self dissolves into the Vastness of Being, but that does not mean that we do not feel pain as human beings with nerves, egos, personalities and so on. Good manners and consideration for others, as well as skilful teaching methods all point towards not harming other beings. Further, I would say that to use the concept of there being no substantive, permanent, abiding self (anatta) as a way to deflect criticism of people having been genuinely hurt by someone's actions is unconscionable. If anyone in the OBC has done this or continues to do it, I'm deeply embarrassed and sorry about it. And having said that, there is a place that we can discover, through meditation, in which we can let go of old psychological pain, hurt, grievances against others, and so on. It is for the individual to have the motivation to find this place and learn to return to it often, and not for some other person to tell you that you must arrive at this place of understanding on a spiritual level, and until you do you are lacking in some way.

Regarding my suggestion of the creation of a website or forum which might be governed by precepts or NVC:
My motive is to foster communication, period. Exactly how to do that is not my area of expertise, and I have to leave it to others to bring such a thing into existence. To me, side-taking is not particularly helpful or useful to good communication, whereas sympathy and the ability to see things through someone else's eyes and feelings is helpful and useful. That's what I'd like to see, and it only comes about as a result of respectful, open communication.

OBC membership is defined as being either an active monk of the OBC, or an active lay minister. Can't tell you exactly how many people that would total up to, but it is a number probably just in excess of 200.

Respectfully, Rev Seikai
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:00 am

I agree with you completely. To encourage others to find the place where self dissolves is one thing. To hurt someone (which very often stems from self in some shape or form) and then when the hurt person complains(admittedly very often from self in some shape or form), to disparage the hurt self as unspritual or lacking while denying the existence of one's own self sets up a power differential that has enormous potential for further harm.

In addition, this sets up a lot of pressure on the person in the role of "teacher" to see themselves as perfect, or close enough. Without that view they would have to look at what in themselves might be causing them to treat people in that manner. With that thought, the house of cards becomes in danger of falling.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:10 am

In Buddhism (and elsewhere), certain words become associated with “something bad” – e.g “attachment”, “aversion”, “desire”, etc – and may evoke immediate internal kneejerk distancing-response, regardless of how they are used. Even in the privacy of ones own mind, one may be afraid of coming in close to look at what is, for fear of being adversely affected through associating with the “bad word”! So, one may need to take that scary step and go in close, letting go of that separation.

Indiscriminate surmise that “hurt signifies illusoryself-grasping” seems to overlook, for example, the dimension of sadness one may feel at actual or perceived lack or loss of good relationship with someone ~ clear and meaningful communication, “good vibes” and harmonious interaction (including at mind and energy level). This kind of sadness can occur without illusoryself-grasping, though it can also be accompanied by illusoryself-grasping. Also, I think that it may pass unrecognised under other concerns.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:20 am

Rev. Seikai (Tue 14 Dec - 21:19) wrote:
Regarding:

"there is no self that can be hurt":

I don't subscribe to that concept, at least not literally. We are all selves, no matter how sensitive, insensitive, dull or sharp we happen to be. On the deepest level of our existence, the self dissolves into the Vastness of Being, but that does not mean that we do not feel pain as human beings with nerves, egos, personalities and so on.

And having said that, there is a place that we can discover, through meditation, in which we can let go of old psychological pain, hurt, grievances against others, and so on.

Respectfully, Rev Seikai

Thank you Seikai, this is the balance. As human beings living together we do what we can to resolve our differences, and to the extent we cannot then the matter must be taken within. It is very important to know that healing through meditation is possible, because there are many situations that cannot be addressed otherwise. A common one is grievances that remain after the "other" has left this world.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:12 am

I agree with you completely. To encourage others to find the place where self dissolves is one thing. To hurt someone (which very often stems from self in some shape or form) and then when the hurt person complains(admittedly very often from self in some shape or form), to disparage the hurt self as unspritual or lacking while denying the existence of one's own self sets up a power differential that has enormous potential for further harm.

In addition, this sets up a lot of pressure on the person in the role of "teacher" to see themselves as perfect, or close enough. Without that view they would have to look at what in themselves might be causing them to treat people in that manner. With that thought, the house of cards becomes in danger of falling. (written by Kaizan)


In the first paragraph, Kaizan seems to be pointing to a situation that must have played out with some regularity over the years at Shasta Abbey, particularly when a monk would have a problem in training, or an illness like his, a serious disagreement, etc. that would usually end up with the person leaving monastic life. If the delicate balance between vertical and horizontal human relationships gets out of whack, as it did at Shasta Abbey--wherein the vertical was all-important and the horizontal was given short shrift--you can have the situation that so many of us lived with for many years, felt powerless to do much about, and had to develop considerable resourcefulness to survive.

I would think that humility in a teacher is vitally important, to be willing to admit to making mistakes, to admit to having harmed someone, even if the harm was unintended but happened as a result of the teacher's own blind spot coming into play in a situation. I also think it's helpful to remember what it was like to be young and idealistic in the 1970s: we'd read books about great Chinese and Japanese Zen Masters who could do no wrong, and we all to one degree or another bought into that myth. The whole Japanese Zen monastic system, as least as it was taught to all of us, perpetuated that myth, subtly perhaps, but in a way that was real and had the potential to really damage those for whom it was far from being the ideal way to train.

Now we know better. It was an experiment, just like all of life. I often tell people that failure is a good teacher, and recount many of my own failures as examples of how I've learned what I have. Good comes out of failure, which is something that Americans, who tend to be somewhat rigidly idealistic, have trouble seeing--it is one of our collective blind spots. I'm not advocating failure, but at the same time I view it as one of life's inevitabilities, just like suffering, or as a part of suffering. And by picking ourselves up from failure repeatedly, and not giving up, we rescue ourselves from it and become successes. That is essentially the heart of training.

Indiscriminate surmise that “hurt signifies illusoryself-grasping” seems to overlook, for example, the dimension of sadness one may feel at actual or perceived lack or loss of good relationship with someone ~ clear and meaningful communication, “good vibes” and harmonious interaction (including at mind and energy level). This kind of sadness can occur without illusoryself-grasping, though it can also be accompanied by illusoryself-grasping. Also, I think that it may pass unrecognised under other concerns. (written by Anne)

This is a good point, and there is actually a term that was employed by the Japanese, something like "kokoro kanashiku", meaning "great grief", or perhaps "sadness of heart". This kind of grief has nothing to do with the self in its illusory-grasping aspect; it has everything to do with a longing for sentient beings to be free of their suffering and find liberation. A converted self is still a self, and a converted self looks for ways to help sentient beings be physically and spiritually well and happy.

Respecfully, Rev Seikai
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:55 am

Seikai,
Yes, we were certainly idealistic back in those early days. While that did create some blind spots, it also was a great internal push to try an accomplish great things. I guess it's no coincidence that the Buddha found enlightenment by 30 and Einstein did his most ground breaking work by the time he was 25.

I'm wondering if you read any of the material Josh had placed on one of the threads, Stuart Lachs? A lot of it might be a difficult read for you, but much is very interesting. Some of it talks about how the master can be trapped in the idealism of the institutionalized religion and, I think, in the idealism of young folks like ourselves at the time. Add to that they myth about the need to follow one's master even if they're a drunk and who knows what else. and then for good measure, add Rev. Kennett's personal history of emotional abuse as a child, living through the blitz in London in WWII, and her mistreatment at Sojiji for the crime of being a woman--and the potential for emotional trauma that such a history has--and you have a potent brew for religion gone awry, or at least some aspects of it to go awry.

There's need for compassion and understanding for all of us, no one excluded. Still, I feel compelled to express my experience and perspective on what went on then and what is going on now in clear terms. I don't see these two as mutually exclusive.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:16 pm

Just read Joshs book review of zen at war .I feel numb, such painfull reading.
That so called zen masters can be capable of such barbarism. I have certainly
been dancing along in love and light all these years.Something has shifted, collapsed in me, over the past few weeks of reading on this forum.But now not much left, only tears.And so we move on with an ever softening heart.
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:07 pm

I found Kyogen's story about the way Komei was treated appalling. If this isn't abuse, what it? There is no way in my mind that this type of treatment has anything, even remotely, to do with the teaching of the Buddha. This one story alone is enough to justify never setting foot at the Abbey again.

Machik
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:10 pm

I found Kyogen's story about the way Komei was treated appalling. If this isn't abuse, what is? There is no way in my mind that this type of treatment has anything, even remotely, to do with the teaching of the Buddha. This one story alone is enough to justify never setting foot at the Abbey again.

Machik
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:21 pm

Machik wrote:
I found Kyogen's story about the way Komei was treated appalling. If this isn't abuse, what is? There is no way in my mind that this type of treatment has anything, even remotely, to do with the teaching of the Buddha. This one story alone is enough to justify never setting foot at the Abbey again.

Machik

Could you please post a link to the post by Kyogen you're referencing? Is it on this forum, or elsewhere? Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:56 pm

Isan,

This is from Kyogen's August 30 post in Introductions/new members Seikai.

"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."



Last edited by mokuan on Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:21 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : trying to format)
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:57 pm

Mokuan well done for digging this up,I agreee with Machik, I find this appalling too.I have not gone back into the past with what poeples experiences were,I have tended to keep up with the new posts. You wrote you were in the UK where are you,I would like to say hello to you,at the moment, with no notice I have no time,but what are you doing,how long are you here and where are you? That all sounded fairly fierce! you need not answer in that order!
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:03 pm

I'd like to just add a thought about leaving a monastery. As the first son of an Irish Catholic family, I was raised to be a priest. I was even named after my priest uncle who also was the first son in his family. After high school, I entered the Jesuit order and lived a monastic life that had not changed in 500 years. After 2 years of silence, meditation, study, and work, I decided it was best for me to return to the world. Leaving was extremely difficult and I cried often and deeply. Fast forward from 1968 to 2010.
There is still a place in me that is sad, though I am very happy where I ended up.
BUT, I still feel a sadness. I don't think that will ever go away. Thanks John
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PostSubject: Re: new member: Rev. Seikai   Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:37 am

Hi Dewey,

I'd like to ask you a question. What is the source of that sadness? Take a look at that source, and then ask yourself if the premise behind it is actually true. The answer could be liberating. At least, it certainly has been for me.

I hope your sadness melts away soon. There really is nothing within you that has been harmed by your decision to choose another path. All paths are walked within the fullness of Eternity, for nothing is separate from it. There really is nothing you could do to estrange yourself from your own true heart.

Hope that helps, but ultimately you have to unravel it for yourself.
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