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 Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread

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Sara H



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PostSubject: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 02, 2013 1:14 am

[Admin note: this thread was created as an offshoot to Josh's topic titled "The Three Dimes" under the "OBC Experiences", in order to let Josh's original thread remain on point.

The discussion below brings up many good topics - is discussing past wrongs is "preceptual"? What is meant by "the practice"? Is the discussion of Kennett's past actions revelant to the OBC and Shasta today?

The split post is by Sara H.:


Well, you definitely have a right to your opinion Mark,

And, I would just respectfully remind you that I'm also entitled to agree to disagree with it.

I have a different assessment of the situation.

I wish you well though.

You know, as a Zen Buddhist, I took a Precept to refrain from blaming others, and so I would extend that to refraining from encouraging others from blaming action as well.

For me, that's just a moral issue.

It's fine if you don't want to practice that anymore, but for me the Precepts are very important.

I view blaming others and indulging anger as harm, and not Right Speech, and so I practice refraining from it.

As a Buddhist, I can't ethically encourage someone to break the Precepts like that.

It's fine if you don't want to be a Buddhist anymore, or practice this, but I would hope you'd have some understanding that other people do, and so can't ethically encourage that.

It's nothing personal Mark, but to me, blaming and indulging anger, is not ethical behavior.

Regardless of whatever Jiyu-Kennett may or may not have done while she was still alive,

What all of us here are doing now, is our karma, and we get the consequences for it.

If you indulge anger, you get the karma for it, and if you blame others, you do as well.

At least, from a Buddhist perspective, that is.

Though, we have freedom of religion, and so you're definitely entitled to practice other things and paths.

But from the perspective of someone practicing from the OBC, they have an ethical obligation as Buddhists to keep the Precepts, and to encourage others to do so as well, and to not engage in things that are not Right Speech.

It's nothing personal, it's just this is a religious path.

Disagreements happen, and ultimately its between her and Josh.
And she's dead now. And so, that argument may not get settled in this lifetime.

However, if he lets his anger go, it might. You can't undue the past, and make bitter disagreements not have happened.

You can however, chose to let go of the bitterness and anger, and let that compassion and love flow back into your heart.

In Gassho,

Sara H.
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 02, 2013 8:32 pm

Sara, thank you for pointing out the precepts about anger and harm I agree with you that JK should have followed them, but I fear didn't. But here again there is a higher primacy even than the precepts and that is to the truth and to doing no harm. Telling our understanding about how we found matters at Shasta is our way of telling the truth, and exposing what some of us here, clearly not you, think of as it serious failings. This is, yes, a way of venting some of the emotion, sometimes even anger, that Shasta left us with. But in the spirit of not harming we have a duty, even maybe a preceptual duty, to warn others of the danger and harm that we feel they may be open to from the kind of behaviour we suffered. Also, in a spirit of the duty to do good, the forum has clearly allowed some (including me) to come to terms wiht, and to some extent heal, the harm and damage we felt we felt we suffered; for that I must personally thank Lise and ALL the forums contributors.
The precepts are not, to my mind, my own personal view, a magic formula by which we will arrive at some magic land. I have always felt that there was a necessary progression to our understanding and implementation of them. I believe that in our spiritual childhood they are proscriptive, like the necessary rules given to a child. As we progress they become prescriptive and finally after we have realised their spirit and start to truly try to live them, not just by them, then they become descriptive of the life we would lead.
The precepts are in this sense just another pointer through mindfulnes to the ineffable, and yet prosaic, dharmakaya that we always live in, often seek, and constantly ignore.
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Sara H



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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 02, 2013 11:26 pm

Mark, I was pointing out that those of us here and now need to keep them.

We people currently alive need to keep the Precepts and refrain from anger and blaming others.

A dead person doesn't have to worry about keeping the Precepts because they're dead.

The whole point of the Precepts is to help us keep refraining from greed, from anger, and from delusion.

If we indulge anger now, we are doing harm.

If we blame others now, we are doing harm.

If we don't have compassion and love for those who upset us, we are not doing enlightened action.

You know, anger only begets anger. Hate begets hate. Blame just sets up duality, and one-sided thinking.

Venting anger, is not what we do as Buddhists.
We sit with anger, and allow it to turn into compassion and love.

Venting anger, just perpetuates anger.

It might feel good at the moment to "let it out" but afterwards we feel kindof crummy inside.

It's doing harm to others.

For instance, your view of danger, may not actually exist.

You may have an obsolete, or innacurate view, that no longer applies to the situation as it currently is, or may have never fully been.

However, putting such an emotional face on it with so much anger, defames the valuable training of people who have nothing to do with your shortcomings that you perceive.

I mean some of you left there years and years ago. Holding on to the past, is not recognizing things as they actually are in the present moment.

Most people who've come on here have said that the description of what you describe on here, the image you paint, has very little reflection of the actual reality of Shasta, Throssel, and the OBC now.

Regardless of whether you feel things may or may not have been weird in the seventies or eighties, the situation now is not at all what you are describing.

You are warning about a false danger that doesn't exist.

Whether it existed at one time or not, is the subject of debate, and people on each side of that have different opinions, but regardless, it's certainly not the case now.

The people who are currently there, are not responsible for your perceived shortcomings with your former master. She's dead, and they can't speak for her.

If I might suggest, perhaps what is leftover now, is not so much a danger, but your own hurt and bitterness from a time long past.
That bitterness is not necessarily an accurate reflection of how things are now. Nor is it necessarily something the OBC today can solve. I mean all they can do is extend an olive branch, and offer open dialog. Beyond that, there's not much they can do. They can't speak for the dead.
You might be feeling better by venting now, but it's creating harm for people who had nothing to do with it.


In Gassho,

Sara
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 03, 2013 12:47 pm

I'd be interested to hear how the monk who wrote this feels the OBC is being harmed by former members relating their stories. If stories from the past have nothing to do with who they are now, or how they conduct themselves, how are they being harmed personally? Are they being asked awkward questions by new visitors, or their peers among other buddhist groups, and they've grown tired of deflecting and dissembling? If they feel their reputation as an organisation is harmed through a more complete view of Jiyu Kennett, I think that is an unavoidable consequence; possibly if they hadn't sanitised and re-packaged her image so completely over the years, as this benificent and enlightened master, there wouldn't be such a severe contrast between that, and what people describe here.

The danger that still exists, in my opinion, is the group-think and denial that prevents them from fully facing the entirety of what their organisation was, and how it affects what they have become, or are trying to. The past does matter. There is no obligation to be silent and "just sit" with what happened to people because OBC monks, including a number of the current seniors, stood by and let Kennett do as she liked. That's what they did with Eko, and look how that turned out.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 03, 2013 3:31 pm

I don't suppose you hear the UK news too much,we seem to be in the middle of several police inquiries, and court cases of celebrity people being arrested for historic sex crimes. I find it quite disturbing,but people now feel able to come forward and feel the police and society will listen now to their appalling stories of their abuse,when they clearly did not feel people would listen many years ago.

Religion has not escaped, victims have come forward over here,about their own abuse, Vicars and priests have ended up in prison

So is it wrong to speak out,I don't think it is. I feel I have overdosed on the constant unfolding of Buddhist sex crimes that now are coming out,for one they are not relevant to me .They have to still be aired and people have to be accounted for their involvement in sexual abuse, victims have to be supported and allowed to talk, they must not be shut up. I'm surprised that the police have not been involved.
However one aspect we can benefit from is the discussion about what is good or bad zen, I think we have had some good wake up calls, about what once was acceptable is not acceptable now. We can now have a voice and we use it to tell of our concerns, we could not do this before. From a zen point of view,challenge of understanding happens in daily life and meetings with the Master. Hui Neng met the masters challenge and pointed to a deeper part of zazen. Is it breaking the precepts to say Eko said he was once Jesus,and then years later was caught masturbating on the phone,I suppose it may well be breaking a precept, depending on your point of view . However as part of the big discussion of 'what is zen'. it may well be very helpful to all of us.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 03, 2013 11:27 pm

I do look at some of the UK news, usually through Yahoo's UK site and CNN Int'l, and I have been following some of the cases, but it makes me tired too, I think I feel the same as you do, Michael. People using other people, that's about the size of it. There's nothing new in this. To allow it to be spoken of, exposed, the wrongs brought to light, the harmed ones recognised -- this is a precept I can follow.

Some Shasta monks say repeatedly that they can't speak for the dead. I don't think anyone is asking them to do this. They can no more step inside Kennett's head than anyone else can, nor issue an apology on her behalf that she would likely not have made on her own. They are simply being asked whether they believe that people were harmed, whether by her delusions, her human fallibility, the lapses in compassion and understanding, whatever one may call it.

The closest I've heard to this, so far, is a dharma talk of Daishin Yalon's (maybe in 2012?) in which he said that "Rev. Master was human - she wasn't perfect - she made mistakes." Really. What were the mistakes? Why does he not go further, identify what he thinks were the mistakes, and address what might have happened to people as a result? Would this really be a breakage of "the precepts"?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sat May 04, 2013 2:29 am

This discussion brings back distant thoughts of my time at Los Angeles Zen Centre. a very friendly place,and a very charismatic slightly wild Maezumi Roshi. I was there at the time when he recognized his alcohol problems and talked about it during zazen,how he would cut back.Sadly for him and everyone else he could not cut back or stop drinking.I remember someone telling me that Maezumi did not approve of his weed smoking and he felt it was unfair as maezumi drank alcohol,it became a bit of an issue. At the centre was a young gempo sensei.
Whilst there I met some young Mt baldy monks,their memory has stuck with me, the group seemed very innocent,it seems awful to say but seemed to lack real depth,but they wanted to give the impression that they were tough monks from the mountain,,but they were also very nice. When I remember these guys,I feel for them; did they stay and follow a teacher that has just been exposed? And was true zen being taught at these places,or was it a happy hum of long hours meditating with not so much sleep?

For me teachers can not hide behind being a teacher yet they did,and of course the real teaching is them, how they live their lives.In isolated situations with assistants and little or no challemge it is easy to fool oneself and others,it is too easy to pass on or teach a very watered down version of Zen or Buddhism,and a peculiar untouchable importance is allowed to set in as humility falls away.I have to add I like so much of the new pope,wanting to be normal and take buses and not being above anybody else.

Maybe this is actually a big precept of the last 40 years,dont pretend to be who you are not,and maybe the big koan has been,when teachers ,buddhism,practice,indoctination,the right way the wrong way,self importance ,position,title,being somewhere special,telling others what to do,being proud of ones understanding,when it actually gets in the way,it is time to rip it up and remember who we are before we were born
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sat May 04, 2013 2:37 am

Very well said, Michael. I like your "big precept of the past 40 years." I also like the new pope but wonder if he still takes buses or if now they if they drive him around in a special car.
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sat May 04, 2013 3:31 am

Well I am not sure Carol,but thanks for the kind words I'll send over a fat cuban cigar (from my collection) to smoke only when you have your wig and gown on,to add an extra little bit of ' here I am'
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sat May 04, 2013 6:51 am

I don`t think i`d smoke anything that Mike gave me.....;-)
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sat May 04, 2013 9:16 am

A few quick thoughts here.

If the old precepts or the interpretation of these precepts prevent honest and open communication, if they don't allow legitimate exposure of abuse by senior members of the sangha or so-called "masters" - then these rules and precepts are out of date.

Silence in the face of harm, of emotional, verbal or physical abuse is a huge ethical failure, silence is complicity and is not golden. The old ways - from Asia - from Confucius, from Patriarchal societies - of blind and absolute obedience to your father, teacher, master -didn't work then and don't work now. We have overwhelming and continuous evidence and examples that all these "masters" and not nearly enlightened as they think, claim, and as many communities are doing, the whole game needs to change - we need honest, accountable mentors and spiritual friends now - more than ever -- yes, friends - who are truly friends - and who are accountable, can be questioned or challenged - and when you do, you are not blamed and attacked and told you are now a precept-breaker or a sinner and going to hell. That's not very useful and only creates more spiritual children on prozac.

This forum is not just "venting." When there is so much pervasive, decades of institutional blindness, abuse by Kennett, Eko and other seniors of this organization, toxic lack of communication and respect, denial, then the healing process includes lots of sharing, discussion, support, analysis of what really happened -- all this is not "venting" but part of a sane healing process. No, it is not perfect, it takes time, it may not follow "the precepts," people will share their anger, disappointment, confusion, pain -- so be it. This is not old Kyoto and Kennett is not setting the rules anymore. Everyone needs to turn Kennett's dimes into ice cream cones. No point in holding on to that loose change. Too many strings attached.

Also, I reject the notion that if you were psychologically abused - which happened at Shasta in spades -- you just sit with your issues, not say anything, not talk about it or share it, just sit in that puddle and naturally - just by zazen - it all vanishes into light. It does not work that way. That has been the problem. Conventional zen practice does NOT address these issues well at all, for the most part. What is needed is engaged healing that includes sharing, community, therapy in some cases, open communication, analysis, and institutional change. Not silence. Not just zazen. Not denial. -- and certainly not continued emotional suppression and self-blame. That is where the harm is -- not dealing with this honestly, directly, as adults. And, as we know, having a kensho or some kind of spiritual experience by itself - will also not necessarily help you deal with your shadows.

Also, i would point out - there is no requirement that people on this forum are Buddhists, Zen students, follow Buddhism or Zen or anything like that. Each person has their unique path through life, practice, spirituality. If or how they relate to various precepts is up to each person. Obvious, most of the folks who post here were former members of OBC / followers of Kennett, but no longer.

One of the significant contributions to dharma in the west is what my friend Dan Goleman named "emotional intelligence." This did not exist in any way in Asia, in Japanese or Tibetan Buddhism. Many Buddhist communities and teachers understand this now and don't for one second believe that just mindfulness or zazen is the answer to everything.

The harm is let all these old patterns - inherited from Asia - continue in the dark, in the shadows, in the closet. People need to go into spiritual practice as adults and stay adults and do their homework, retain critical thinking and the right to question and speak out. And if a particular group or teacher does not allow that, walk on by.

There has been too much spiritual malpractice.

The Dalai Lama's advice, by the way, was if teachers were abusive, to speak out, go the media, openly address it. He did not say "shut up" and follow "the precepts."

Another thought - in every institutional religion - we always see some version of -- don't you dare openly question the leaders / doctrine / story - if you do, you are a sinner and you will burn for eternity. Shut up, play by the rules, don't rock the boat or mess with the story. We see this in the Catholic Church, evangelical Christianity, orthodox Judaism, most of Islam, Asian Buddhism, so many guru organizations.

With one guru, when someone spoke out about his verbal abuse and sexual misdeeds, they were told it was terrible karma and they would be reborn for thousand of lifetimes as a cockroach. Another guru said that a woman's child would suffer a terrible accident because she challenged the "master." Many gurus tell their students that this is their only chance at enlightenment and if they leave, it will be horrible for them for eternity. And in so many groups, over and over again, we see that when followers leave, they are cut off, assumed to be lost or [banned term], blah blah blah. Old story. Kennett did the same thing - nothing friendly or kind about it. Nothing skillful. No wisdom here. We have seen this in Scientology and Rev. Moon.

The three dimes were not just loose change. She wanted me to keep living in her shadow - after I left her control. And i decided not to. If that is rebellion, i am a very happy rebel.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sun May 05, 2013 6:07 am

I wonder what the history of the precepts are..who formed them
The Buddha spoke of the 8 fold path which is right livehood etc,but he does not say dont do which has a different slant.
if his 8 fold path if the heart of Buddhism the interpretation or even the interpretation of the precepts has been way off which I guess means our understanding of Buddhism has been rather poor
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sun May 05, 2013 9:31 am

I just thought I would throw this translation of Dogen that someone has jusr emailed me into the discussion:

Let’s be clear about what is important in Buddhism. It’s knowing whether
practice is genuine, not debating the relative superiority or inferiority of
one doctrine to another, or pointing out the supposed shallowness of one belief
or the profundity of another. It could be plants and flowers and mountains and
rivers that draw you into merging with the Buddha way. It could be grasping
earth, stones, sand, or pebbles that brands you with the Buddha’s seal. But all
the phenomena of nature can be swamped by torrents of words; the wheel of
dharma can turn within a speck of dust. I could just as easily say “Thus
Mind Thus Buddha,” but this would just be the moon reflecting in the
water; I could just as easily tell you “Thus Sitting Becomes Buddha,”
but that would just be an image in a mirror. Do not be distracted by eloquent
words. I recommend the practice where you experience enlightenment directly so
that you may know the wondrous path passed down directly from our predecessors
in the faith and become people of the true path.
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sun May 05, 2013 8:42 pm

Yes Josh and Mike I completely agree. The precepts are secondary, like the tools used to fix a car. It is fixing the car that counts, not the tools used to fix it. Mind you without the tools you don't get the car fixed! If you become fixated on the tools then you have lost your way.

Sara it may seem that some of us here are stuck in the dim and distant past. I wish that it were so, but the fact is that there seems to be a continuing common thread of malpractice and abuse running through significant parts of western zen. And the accounts here of Josh, myself, Mike, Amalia, Carol, Diana, Bill and others bear witness to the fact that for at least the last forty years there has been a continuing problem in the OBC. Jiyu Kennet may have been the start of the problem which culminates with Eko Little but these are not isolated aberrations to be aside as disconnected incedents but part of a culture of institutionalised problems coming down to the present day. This was clearly pointed out in the Faith Trust assessment. The problems at Shasta have been building over decades and won't be cured overnight. This will take years of open, transparent and dedicated work willingly undertaken by all to correct the mind set.

It is certainly true that there were those who went to Shasta and were helped; we have heard from some of them here and I am truly glad for them. I am not angry about what happened but I am deeply saddened at the damage and the wast of peoples lives, enthusiasm and dedication that has happened over the years.
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Mon May 06, 2013 5:30 am

Opium is the religion of the masses comes to mind,and on the other hand religion is a great way to control the people. Lets be slightly clearer; being nasty to others, then extolling the precepts when people shout back, is not so cool
So what is the first principal of Zen? Does it start with the first ox herding picture ,does it start with the last picture? Is zen practice confined to seeing and catching the bull(precepts) does it end with oneness,or is it something picked up and dropped along the way.Sometimes we see with funny eyes Thusness is not created, but duality is. Precepts, discipline, and searching for the ox are not yet zen,yet without them we remain lost in the undergrowth. To call them zen is like sitting zazen without a zafu.
I think the last 30 years of zen has been all about control of others and protecting ones position,
What is the first principal of zen............ the apple blossoms in the garden .
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Sara H



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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Wed May 08, 2013 3:44 am

You know, somebody once asked Gandhi how do you change the world?

He said, be the change you want to see.

If you want people to be more open to criticism, then be open to receiving it yourself.

If you want people to be open to viewing their deeply held beliefs differently, then be open to reexamining your own.

If you want people to admit, that they could be wrong, then be willing to admit that you could be wrong.

If you want the world to be less abusive in it's speech, then be less abusive in yours.

We can't do a whole lot about what others do. People have free will, they will do what they want and choose, whether we like it or not.

But we can change the world by setting an example of the kind of behavior we want to see.

mstrathern wrote:
It is certainly true that there were those who went to Shasta and were helped; we have heard from some of them here and I am truly glad for them. I am not angry about what happened but I am deeply saddened at the damage and the wast of peoples lives, enthusiasm and dedication that has happened over the years.

Well, you know, there's nothing that can be done about that.

This practice isn't helpful for everyone. It is for some and others.
That's just the way it is.

That's poor consolation, I know, if you feel you were the one left with the short straw, when the "things that help people" were passed out.

I mean, I don't know what to say to that.

I'm really sorry you spent years of your life working on something that wasn't of benefit or help to you.

I can honestly say this practice isn't for everyone, as the Dalai Lama once said, everyone can't be Buddhists.

I always took that meaning not just to say that Buddhism was hard or elite, but rather, that some people are honestly suited to others paths best that genuinely work better for them.

If this practice, or this flavor of practice, didn't suit you, I'm truly sorry, I don't really know what to say, other than that's very unfortunate, in the most sincere way.

I can offer you love? And merit?

I mean, I care, I think so do a lot of people. I just, I can't give you your years back if this practice wasn't helpful for you. I just can't do it.

I can only give you my sincere condolences, and wish you the very best of luck in finding your true path.

As well as open arms, and love and hugs and friendship.

I mean did you learn anything? Of value about yourself?
Maybe if you did, you could think if it that way as not a waste then, even if the path itself didn't work out for you.

I really truly offer you merit friend.
I wish you all the luck and success you deserve in your life and finding your life path.

Just love yourself. I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for if you keep sitting with it deeply, even if it's not in Buddhism.

Sara
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Wed May 08, 2013 9:26 am

Their are two types of talks given in Zen temples, the inspirational and the practical,one without the other does not work.

It is true the practical talks are pretty fiercesome; wake up! be awake! do
your best! (precepts,endurance,perseverence,brightness of mind)

The inspirational is the Abbotts description of the depths of zazen (awakening! satori! unity of body and mind! peacefulness!)

Even though I preferred the inspirational talk,Zen is both not one but both of the talks

It is the whole of the Ox herding pictures, the realisation of ones
duality, the dualistic struggle to resolve the duality,the experience of
oneness. The practicality of merging and living the whole process,within
normal life which can deepen and enrich the whole experience.

When the practice remains in a dualistic realm of improving the self or
disciplining the self or making a religious self, one is simply rushing
around with particular views of life and religion,but not experiencing
the depth of awareness and oneness of life

When one is purely absorbed in experience one has forgotten how to live,in a world with other people.

The early days at Shasta were helpful to me , the discipline the
direction the energy,I never had a problem with that. The problem for me
was the description of the depths of zazen no longer inspired me, or
were right for me,and I continued zazen elsewhere,this is the
responsibilty to practice that I wish to have.

The balance was over, too much dualistic ranting and control,not enough
real depth or unity of practice,when it snarls up you get the Eko and
these discredited teacher situations. We all agree we do not want that.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Wed May 08, 2013 6:56 pm

Hey Mark

I do believe you've been love bombed.

A small pretentious cost to bear for speaking of a truth that others would prefer to ignore.

H
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Wed May 08, 2013 7:29 pm

Sara, that is a condescending way to address others on this forum, many of whom have practiced Buddhism and meditation for decades. It's not "this practice," i.e. Buddhism and meditation, that is the concern of many of the people on this forum. It's the abuse of power.

Placing trust in someone who will not tolerate disagreement or questioning because he or she is a Zen "master" can be dangerous. An organization that teaches (or, in the past taught) such a thing needs to do some introspection about its teachings and practices. This is especially true since Eko, the man who was designated abbot by the founder (who many looked to as a living Buddha), broke the trust of his disciples and the lay people who looked to him as an example.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 12:18 am

First, there is no such thing as "this practice." But I certainly had my differences with THAT PRACTICE - i.e. the Church of Kennett

... which - by the time I took my leave - had only a passing resemblance to traditional Japanese Soto Zen, which in itself, by the way, was a hybrid practice of Imperial Way Buddhism, ritual professionalism, Dogen's philosophy, Shinto, Mahayana, a little bit of Shingon and Japanese folk religion. The idea that there is one "practice" that is traditional or pure or the right way - is simply not the case and has actually never been the case. Even as far back as Indian Buddhism, there evolved many schools of thought and practice, interpretations, disputes.

In the case of meditation alone, there are literally thousands of variations of meditation that developed in the Buddhist world over the centuries - see Donald Lopez's recent book - The Scientific Buddha: His Short and Happy Life.

And following what are often called the Precepts and rules of the Sangha, well, that has radically changed over and over again until we find the Japanese masters consuming vast amounts of alcohol, not to mention their support of samurai and the Japanese war machine.

Certainly, within the confines of one particular Buddhist group and under the umbrella of one leader, there is a clearer definition of their practice and how they interpret the precepts and ethics )and how they get their members to conform) but outside those fields, practice can mean very different things to different folks and in the modern age, practice can now be defined in a very independent and personal manner.

When Sara says, "this practice isn't for everyone" - if she means Kennett's practice and teachings - well THAT PRACTICE is followed by really only a handful of people, a few hundred or a few thousand, so strictly speaking Kennett's practice is hardly for anyone.

I can say simply that I found being with Kennett at Shasta was beneficial for some years - was beneficial when it was -- and then as things went south - as Kennett became more fearful and self-aggrandizing, THAT PRACTICE became less and less beneficial to me. Then it wasn't. For me. Who was I to decide that? Who else? There was no one else to do the math, to analyze, to explore what was happening. I decided to be with her and then I decided to leave. What she was teachings and practicing changed -- and I changed - and all things change - and by my leaving, as far as I was concerned -- my departure was an excellent expression of Buddhist practice. Even the darker days of those final years I was there - I am grateful because the dysfunctional situation pushed me to trust my own intuition, stand my ground and get out. It helped me find my spiritual adulthood - which was not located within the walls of Shasta Abbey or within THAT PRACTICE of the Church of Kennett.

In that church, there was only one spiritual adult allowed, only one honcho Buddha. What a limited game, what a distorted practice. Why would I want to stay in that kind of distortion field? Why would I want to practice THAT?

Last thought. What matters is what is lived, not what is said. The Buddha said to judge him by his actions and behavior, not by his words. When I talk about my days at Shasta and with Kennett, I am speaking about behavior, everyday actions, how people were treated, what Kennett actually did - NOT what she said or wrote. What she may have written is completely irrelevant.
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 1:15 am

This is a wonderful exchange of compelling insights. And I find myself in basic agreement with everyone's perspective here--from Josh, to Isan, Mark, Lise, Stan, Carol, Sara H, Michael, and Howard.

And, I would ask--what do we all share in common here?

I think that what we share might have something to do not just with the role that RMJK played in getting us started, but with the importance of taking back our spiritual practice, for ourselves.

Josh's point is a good one, that we can and must 'fire our teacher' when necessary. And at the same time, the external teacher is only a reflection of, and initially functions as, a gateway to our own awareness. "Firing' our teacher--without reintegrating her in some way--may cut us off from the ground of Awareness itself.

If we can't have compassion for RMJK's shortcomings, I would propose that we can't have compassion for our own not-yet-healed existential trauma and crisis.

Somehow, I think we're all in this together.


Last edited by Kozan on Thu May 09, 2013 3:59 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : adding the qualifier, "may", and a little fine-tuning)
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 2:04 am

I must have mentioned my friend father John before.
A big Irishman who was sent by the Catholic church in Ireland to look after the Irish men and women living on the streets in London. Most if not all were serious drinkers, and some very violent. It was a hard life for everyone The guys from Glasgow were very difficult because they would want to fight everybody.
So Father John was in the middle, a hopeless ministry that was an endless path, with success somehow undefined.

11pm under Waterloo bridge was the start of point for us, and it was the most difficult, the night had not started, and lots of issues had to be resolved. This was no normal place not a place for the faint hearted and not pleasant. father John bound by the rules of his priest hood, invented his own swear words like fick off and many varients of sound a like words, he would pull hid dog collar off before punching someone who was being too aggressive, too aggressive would mean someone pulling a knife throwing a punch.
So in this crazy world of no rules and regulations regardless of not saying the actual word was he breaking the precepts. Ultimately I suppose he was breaking precepts, yet everyone agreed he did such a great job, that very few people could do I certainly would not sit in judgement as he was a friend and for me a great man
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 5:30 am

Continuing my theme of confusing areas of life.
i saw on the news today something about auctioning Gandhi s sandles and walking in them. i may not have got the whole story.
Did i tell you before about my Uncle david a rather colourful man,I looked after him in his final years, which took a bit of doing. He fought the Japanese in Burma and killed ab=lot of people close range fighting,he commanded a regiment and they killed ,that was their brief. When he moved from Burma for a while he was a body guard for Gandhi.
My uncle had his moments of regrets especially in his last years, what would have happened if him and people like him did not break the precepts? What would we have done,My uncle had no issues he knew what he did,he knew he killing was wrong,he did not have a problem with breaking a rule,he had a problem that he took a life in an upside down world.
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 7:36 am

Has one of Sara`s posts been removed, or am I imagining things ??
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 9:20 am

You are not imagining, Stan, one of her posts did disappear but I don't know yet how this happened. The forum settings usually only allow edits/deletes within two hours of posting.

It was the post that sounded like it was written by someone else (a current Shasta monk) and cut/pasted here by Sara, perhaps from an email conversation she was having. I thought it looked like Haryo's tone of writing, but I may be mistaken. A number of the senior monks use the same phrases and cadence after a while & begin to sound all like.


- - - - - --- - ---------

UPDATE, I was mistaken as to which post is gone. The one that sounds like a cut & paste is still there. If you saw one appear and disappear this morning, that likely happened during the two-hour edit window.

Apologies for the confusion.


Last edited by Lise on Thu May 09, 2013 12:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 10:28 am

I saw a post that was address to Carol warning Carol not to read it. It was in between my posts,
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 10:30 am

maybe we have a forum ghost...now that would be good fun
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 1:06 pm

errrm, that depends on what they want to do!

Topic-derailer, someone asked me once if I wasn't afraid of Peggy Kennett's ghostly self coming after me because of this forum. (This person claims to follow OBC dogma, and yet asked this question.) Given that we don't know what happens after death, or how much individuality is retained, I wouldn't rule out the possibility Shocked

I'll try to get video, if it happens
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 1:15 pm

Derailing topic extension...



Notice. One semi occupied segaki free Avatar available to any capable ghost writer willing to work for a cheesy.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 2:13 pm

i dont know if you have 2 many ghosts over there but as we are seeped in history we have many.
Cornwall with it own history of smuggling miners and tragedy,has may haunted place, Jamaica Inn Bodmin moor, Bodmin jail,kennel Mill, Wheal coates, Admiral Benbow pub.Some are seen in he daytime
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U03kZ_acnP0
The basic rules if you see a ghost is
1 sit very still,
2dont make a noise
3 dont show your fear
4 try and make friends
5 dont run
try not to think about it or look over your should when it gets dark.

Night all
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jack



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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Thu May 09, 2013 9:37 pm

Sara H wrote
Quote :
That bitterness is not necessarily an accurate reflection of how things
are now. Nor is it necessarily something the OBC today can solve. I mean
all they can do is extend an olive branch, and offer open dialog.
Beyond that, there's not much they can do. They can't speak for the
dead.
You might be feeling better by venting now, but it's creating harm for people who had nothing to do with it.

I've never been to Shasta, and I haven't darkened an OBC temple door for more that 4 years now. And I've been a happier Buddhist without doing so. I did experience an OBC teacher who had been at Shasta for decades. It was a bit uncanny to see that many of his flaws were echoes of Jiyu's. He was undoubtedly devoted to Jiyu, and resolved every doubt or incongruity with her behavior or teaching with the explanation that he didn't yet understand the wisdom of it; there appeared to real fear of "falling from the faith" or her dead graces, if he doubted. It was the same irrational stuff of Christian faith. There were some instances where his instinct of kindness appeared to be overridden by a false harshness he was trying to emulate in his role as an OBC monk. He caused himself much unnecessary suffering with it; karma is the simple human experience of often creating our own misery and suffering.

I now have the broader experience of reading much of the Pali Canon, several honest histories of Buddhism, and several honest critiques of Buddhist thought and practice.I doubt that if one reads that widely with an open mind, one will conclude that the OBC is wholesome Buddhism. One will also likely begin to sift the cultural rubbish of Buddhism from the basic gems of insight it has to offer.

I don't have an ax to grind with Buddhism or the OBC in general. But I am quite unwilling to exonerate either from the flawed institutional journey. Being awake is being awake - and I choose that state -- even when it means seeing the flaws in Buddhism and other religions.

Throughout my life I have had many occasions to be appalled at the cruelty of many purveyors of religion. Buddhist institutions are not exempt; one only has to read history honestly.

The Pali Canon has much wisdom in it, but even there one finds some ludicrous mythical trash. For example, the sutra on the 32 physical attributes of the Buddha are quite outrageous (including the male organ in a pod, that the Buddha exposes to a questioner clairvoyantly so as to convince him that he meets all the perfect physical qualities of a Brahmic deity.)

The first most important lesson I've learned is to not rationalize that which is unwholesome, whether it comes from a Buddhist teacher, a Catholic priest, a Mississippi preacher who murdered an African American, or any other person. The second is not to make profundity out of evil or nonsense.

I've visited this forum more than intended because I found people who had found the freedom and courage to explore and find their religious path on their own, even when they had authority figures and institutions condemning them for doing so. If Buddhism does not offer a path to freedom, then it offers very little. And if someone finds freedom despite obstacles unwise Buddhist teachers place in front of them, it is preposterous to credit the Buddhist teacher for some sort of insane wisdom that brought about the result.

I think most whom I've encountered here in this forum are honest souls on a courageous journey. I don't see the anger or peevishness mentioned in the quote. I applaud them for being willing to leave rather than grinding their intelligence in the dirt because of a need to believe what both their hearts and head knew to be wrong. I'm sorry for people who did/do not have that courage. May they also find their way without replicating any misery they've been taught.
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 1:41 am

Hi Jack.

Quote :
"I doubt that if one reads that widely with an open mind, one will conclude that the OBC is wholesome Buddhism. One will also likely begin to sift the cultural rubbish of Buddhism from the basic gems of insight it has to offer."

Well, I disagree with this Jack,

I've read quite a bit of Buddhism with an open mind, and many other religions for that matter. You might say I made a study of it for many years, and I disagree that it (in the OBC) is unwholesome.

In fact, I've come to quite the opposite conclusion, based on my own experience, my experience with others, and what I've seen help me.

Some of these things that you may be referring to as "ludicrous mythical trash" (no insult intended toward you) I've actually seen to be true from my own experience.

Past lives for instance, I've actually had come up in my own training, so I know these things to be true, at least from my own experience.

Other people have a different take on that, and they can think what they want. I respect their right to have a different opinion, but I have my own experience.

I've found on that, that many things that the Buddha said to be true, or that were present in the Pali Cannon are actually quite real.

In Japan, it's common knowledge that spirits exist for instance, and that's true over here in the west as well for people who can see them, though most of them stay quiet on that socially most of the time, for fear of embarrassment or ostracism for saying so, but it's becoming more common for people to be open about that, especially in the age of the internet, where people are more open about sharing, and less concerned about what people thousands of miles away may think.

I've found the OBC to be an incredibly helpful practice to me. And I base that experience off not only experiencing other Zen practices, but also other Buddhism, such as Vajrayana/ Tibetan Buddhism, and Shin and other forms of Japanese Buddhism as well. I also have quite a bit of experience dealing with various forms of Western Abrahamic religions, so I'm not as ignorant as one might have first thought about what the options are available.

My experience with the OBC is that by and large, most of them have a much deeper practice, and are usually much more on-center and less delusional than the average "Zen" practitioner in the west. The exception would be other Zen Priests, in Soto, which I've also found to be by and large rather on-center.

But what is interesting to me, is that in the OBC, laypeople tend to be more on-center and have deeper practice than in the rest of Zen as a whole. I think that's a reflection of the entire practice, and my views are not alone in this, other Soto Zen Buddhists have made the same or similar remarks about the OBC and send their disciples there to Shasta to train.

Regardless of what some peoples' experiences have been, it's not reflective of the OBC as a whole. And I know, because I've been to more than one training center in the OBC. And I can say that they are different, and that problems when they do occur, are often isolated, or a minority.

That's not to say problems don't exist, or haven't, but the OBC has taken a very accommodating approach to this, preferring to actively address the problems, and reach out and discuss with people, as well as bring in outside opinions on the matter, and to improve openness and transparency have taken active steps in that direction, including having laypeople on oversight boards, etc.

It would be one thing if they simply pretended problems don't exist, and ignored them, but that's not the case, they've taken a very active and accommodating stance at trying to identify and resolve issues, and indeed they have actually solved some and are actively working on others.
I don't think ignoring that is wise, nor do I think that acting as though the efforts that they are taking and their general policy to work toward accommodating efforts are in vain.

Sometimes a problem doesn't seem to be as big of a problem until it blows up in your face, but that doesn't mean that they haven't acknowledged, nor are actively working on solving them.

The stance on here seems to be that they are evil, or irreparable, or irreversibly fundamentally flawed.

And I don't think that's accurate, or fair. And I don't think the problems are as hard to fix as some people imagine. Sometimes it just takes an active stance on leadership to change them, and they have.

Like I said, people's experience and conclusions on here simply aren't my experience and conclusions, and I've met and experienced some of the same people they have, and simply have a different take on the matter.

Respectfully,

In Gassho,

Sara
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 2:35 am

Yes the horrors of religion that can not be shaken off led me to my new best friend psychiatrist Dr T. Rickery who spent 4 years shining a light in my eyes and hitting various parts of my body with a little hammer, much to his displeasure I drew the line at all the places he wanted to hit. In the end he gave up and suggested I needed to start a northern Korean koan course, ran by a Texan oil tycoon a Mr Daniel Oller
I did quiet well and after he shone a strobe into my eyes for 2 years and hit me with a Korean bamboo stick I did feel purged and joined the
Private Institution 4 Shasta Sufferers Evolving Dramatically over Former Foes
I have to say I now feel better and although I can now reach altered states only when a light is shined in my eyes I feel my trauma has at least started to go
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jack



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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 10:49 am

Sara wrote:

Quote :
In Japan, it's common knowledge that spirits
exist for instance, and that's true over here in the west as well for
people who can see them, though most of them stay quiet on that socially
most of the time, for fear of embarrassment or ostracism for saying so,
but it's becoming more common for people to be open about that,
especially in the age of the internet, where people are more open about
sharing, and less concerned about what people thousands of miles away
may think.

Christians believe in the Holy Spirit, Satan, angels, etc. Hindus believe in variety of demons and gods walking among them. Buddhists think of nagas, devas, etc. Pagans see the movement of godesses in the rustling of the leaves. And John Nash experienced the absolute reality of his schizophrenia. At least John Nash came to the conclusion that however compelling his "experiences" were, they weren't true to life and any shared reality.

One of the last things to "give up" is the notion that what we experience as human beings is some objective "out there" reality. That's not how we are as human beings. What we experience is a wonderfully fantastic computed and integrated projection of "reality" that our minds create, and then we happily accept this counterfeit as some authentic coin of the realm.

The spirits we humans experience are incongruous and inconsistent. I think Tibetan Buddhism strikes the right note by concluding that devas, etc, are just more mind creatures. Zen deals with it by fastening itself to visceral experience and awareness of daily existence rather than the fanciful flights of mind.

It is probably clear that i'm quite agnostic and skeptical about spirits, despite the plethora of religious claims. I have no doubt people have such experiences, but I doubt they are anything but projections of the mind or minds, whether they are terrifying or transcending. I am left with the sobering conclusion that I can only experience this life within the context of a human mind and body. Nothing I experience can be outside of that, despite how much it seems to be different or claims to be more.. All religious experience is human experience with the fantastic variety the mind can create.

If people want to talk of spirits and such, I let them alone as long as their mythical indulgence isn't harmful. Perhaps communion with Christ, the voices of God or the rustling of devas in the forest have some constructive value in their life. If so, I won't bother to dispel their beliefs. Perhaps an enchanted life for them is more wholesome than an disenchanted one.

Are past lives a reality? Perhaps. Perhaps they are just another aspect of consciousness. Perhaps they are just another mental artifact of the human mind. I don't know, and I can't say I care very much. I'm not chasing such an experience. it just doesn't matter when it comes to living a wholesome, full life as a human being that seems very much to exist at this moment.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 12:24 pm

Hello Sara

Quote

The stance on here seems to be that they are evil, or irreparable, or irreversibly fundamentally flawed.
And I don't think that's accurate, or fair. And I don't think the problems are as hard to fix as some people imagine. Sometimes it just takes an active stance on leadership to change them, and they have



It's really very simple. If someone took, or was allowed to take, an active stance on leadership to change the status quot, the results would be evident.


Change would be the accepting & embracing of the responsibility for the damaging style of practise shared by Jiyu & company.

Avoiding change would be continuing to deify the OBC status quot over all other considerations.


Your posting of "Shasta Speak" may or may not represent the present OBC thinking but it certainly reminds me how they have always sounded and how everyone here has probably also probably sounded when within the old OBC mindspeak.


So.. regardless of your claims of the OBC management having changed, your own postings do not demonstrate any evidence of this change or of anything that we have not been hearing from the OBC doctrine for the last 40 years.

Luv
H
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 1:03 pm

I have looked at Michael's last post once or twice, held it sideways, put it under a light, and yet I can't quite see whatever is troubling my puritanical sensibilities. I'll "let it go".
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 1:15 pm

Ah a puritanical woman,no wonder I feel at home here.
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 1:17 pm

I think I'll change that to lady as your such a nice one
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 2:55 pm

What an unusual day today.A freind from 30 odd years ago that I used to sit with in London,reconnected via this Forum and he is coming down to Cornwall in a couple of weeks so we can meet up again..how nice is that.
And sadly I have just come back from a local gathering in a secluded wood where the ashes were spread of a young lad who would have been 17 today. Unfortunately he killed himself a couple of months ago,the lad was best friends with my youngest son. We are all left stunned and have no answers,it is a peculiar place where I live so many different types of people.The lads parents do not believe in a deity so the gathering to spread his ashes was without planning or any form at all,people of all ages and background pop star, Romany, artist, surfers,has beens and drop outs,all together,beer was drunk cigarettes smoked,,and yet within the lack of form there was a great feeling of respect and togetherness.It was very pleasant and terribly sad at the same time that a young lad could not find his way through,and no one spotted there was a problem.
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Sara H



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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 5:36 pm

Hi Jack,
I just want to say, that you're certainly entitled to your views.

I think we just have to agree to disagree on that.

But I appreciate you being so respectful.


Sara.


Last edited by Sara H on Fri May 10, 2013 5:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Fri May 10, 2013 5:43 pm

Hi Howard,

to respond to your post:

Well Howard, I think that perhaps you might be being a little unreasonable.

From what I've seen the results are evident.

If I may ask, when was the last time you stopped by Shasta, or Throssel for instance?

Most of the people who have been there now, or currently, have a very different take then what you're currently putting forth.

I would respectfully suggest that perhaps you're running old software on your phone,

And that maybe it's time for an update.

Complaining about Windows 98 at this point seems a little out of touch.

Your view seems to think that the 'management' is an irreparable problem only fixed by replacing them, and I don't think that's the case.

Nor are they going to stop teaching what she taught or stop being celibate, if that's what you're looking for.

It's helpful for them, it's helpful for me (as a layperson, speaking from my own experience about these teachings), it's helpful for a lot of people, who've said so.

And I might respectfully point out, that as you're not even doing this practice anymore, why would they alter it to meet your expectations? Especially when it works fine for other people who have stated so?

I mean I understand, that as you used to do this, and were very committed to it, you may still care a lot about the organization; I think that's only natural. However at the same time, realistically speaking, as you don't really do this any more in the sense of being an active member, or are no longer an active participant, you don't really have a stake in this the way you used to. And I mean that with all respect.

The people who are actually doing this have a stake in this, and so the changes (any and all) need to reflect their needs.

It's one thing if you want to suggest something that might be helpful for addressing the practice as it is. But suggesting that they tear it apart, and pull the entire thing down to suit the preference of some people who are not even doing this anymore;
-is not really a reasonable request.
With all due respect on that.

In Gassho,

Sara
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sat May 11, 2013 2:41 am

Hey Sara

I am deeply offended by your mention of my little unreasonableness and the state of my software.
So much for my chances now at Dharma Dating!

I never mentioned that the OBC management was irreparable, celibate hindered or should stop teaching, so where did that come from?

My response to your posting was really just about your posting. I think everyone here has spouted the same story line, in the same Shasta speak, when still hanging out around the Shasta watercooler. Remembering that we've heard these same talking points countless times might allow you to present ideas that sound like you know who your talking to. I know that you need to believe that somehow you hold the truth, the light & the way over the larger majority who eventually left because most of us remember also thinking once in that same way. (Ask the next master you meet what the current OBC ordination number is and compare that to the amount of active monks still around)

As someone in contact and friendship with OBC monks and laity, both active and not, as well as having maintained a daily Soto Zen meditation practise for the last 4 decades, I was also surprised to have you declare that I'm no longer "doing this practise". I guess it's time to swap my zafu with an easy chair, beer fridge, foot stool and a flat screen in the zendo.



Determining who should be a stakeholder and who should not has little to do with a meditation practise.
These judgements, like the walls that define an OBC us and other, are just the identity constructs that a practise is supposed to work at letting go of. Jiyu's words..not mine.
It's not easy to step towards some promise of clarity & freedom when that direction is away from our habitual leanings towards comfort and security.
There are enough faltering steps for all of us to share
But...
if when faced with a perceived threat to ones (devotional) practise, one engages in obfuscation in response, know that comfort & security are still the real rulers of that practise.

Having me "suggesting that they tear it apart, and pull the entire thing down" like most of your other points, can not be found in my posting and is a definition of an obfuscation.

From the looks of my lack of control over my font sizing, my 'puter seems to be agreeing though with your assessment of my software.

Sigh!


Cheers
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sat May 11, 2013 3:53 am

Yes I used to do this practice all the time, everyday every second,..But then I was young and had OCD
Now I only do it half the time, but then I am old now and am bi-polar
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sat May 11, 2013 5:40 am

Well , i logged in to send my love to Chisan on another topic , and now logged in as i am i wanted to add to this story , but ive nothing to say ...... nothing, except thank you all for being so alive and articulate and its curiously helpful reading .
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sun May 12, 2013 12:08 am

Hi Howard,

I think there's some confusion here.
When I reffered to 'this teaching', I was not reffering to Buddhism or Dharma in general, nor was I refering to 'this teaching' as a verb, in the general sense of 'to teach'.
I was refering specifically to 'they way they do things' (and how they teach) at the OBC. And specifically with regards to teaching Jiyu-Kennett's teaching, and doing certain fundamental things (systems, processes, and codified ways of teaching) they way she set them up to be done.
So perhaps I should conclude this, by restating my former paragraphs, with the specifics edited in.
Quote:

Sara H wrote:
Hi Howard,

to respond to your post:

Well Howard, I think that perhaps you might be being a little unreasonable.

From what I've seen the results are evident.

If I may ask, when was the last time you stopped by Shasta, or Throssel for instance?

Most of the people who have been there now, or currently, have a very different take then what you're currently putting forth.

I would respectfully suggest that perhaps you're running old software on your phone,

And that maybe it's time for an update.

Complaining about Windows 98 at this point seems a little out of touch.

Your view seems to think that the 'management' is an irreparable problem only fixed by replacing them, and I don't think that's the case.

Nor are they going to stop teaching what [Jiyu-Kennett] taught or stop being celibate, if that's what you're looking for.

[the way they do things, including applied and in-process fixes, is] helpful for them, [the way they do things, including applied and in process fixes, is] helpful for me (as a layperson, speaking from my own experience about these teachings),[the way they do things, including applied and in-process fixes, is] helpful for a lot of people, who've said so.

And I might respectfully point out, that as you're not even doing this practice [Within the OBC, and/or following Jiyu-Kennett's teaching] anymore, why would they alter [the way they do things, including applied and in-process fixes] to meet your expectations? Especially when [the way they do things, including applied and in-process fixes,] works fine for other people who have stated so? [or is well on the process of getting there]

I mean I understand, that as you used to do [practice in the OBC and/or Jiyu-Kennett's teaching], and were very committed to [the OBC, and/or Jiyu-Kennett], you may still care a lot about the organization; I think that's only natural. However at the same time, realistically speaking, as you don't really do [practice in the OBC and/or Jiyu-Kennett's teaching, and specifically within the OBC] any more in the sense of being an active member, or are no longer an active participant, you don't really have a stake in this the way you used to. And I mean that with all respect.

The people who are actually doing [practice within the OBC] have a stake in [the way things are done within the OBC], and so the changes (any and all) need to reflect their needs.

It's one thing if you want to suggest something that might be helpful for addressing the [the way things are done in the OBC, including applied and in-process fixes] as it is. But suggesting that they tear [the entire standard way of doing things within the OBC, not just systems, or protocal changes, but suggesting that they fundamentally stop doing major aspects of Jiyu-Kennett's teaching] apart, and pull the entire thing [see previous box] down to suit the preference of some people who are not even doing [practice within the OBC] anymore;
-is not really a reasonable request.
With all due respect on that.

In Gassho,

Sara

So what is an example of suggesting something that might be helpful to [the way things are done in the OBC including applied and currently in-process fixes] as they currently are?

Well, suggestions on how to better address informal culture, for instance.



If I may offer some insight from one of my college management classes:

Quote :
Researcher Jeffrey Sonnenfeld identified the following four types of cultures in organizations:

Academy CultureEmployees are highly skilled and tend to stay in the organization, while working their way up the ranks. The organization provides a stable environment in which employees can development and exercise their skills. Examples are universities, hospitals, large corporations, etc.

Baseball Team CultureEmployees are "free agents" who have highly prized skills. They are in high demand and can rather easily get jobs elsewhere. This type of culture exists in fast-paced, high-risk organizations, such as investment banking, advertising, etc.

Club CultureThe most important requirement for employees in this culture is to fit into the group. Usually employees start at the bottom and stay with the organization. The organization promotes from within and highly values seniority. Examples are the military, some law firms, etc.

Fortress CultureEmployees don't know if they'll be laid off or not. These organizations often undergo massive reorganization. There are many opportunities for those with timely, specialized skills. Examples are savings and loans, large car companies, etc.

I think that the issue that people basically had/have with the OBC is that they view it as a club culture, (and possibly formerly fortress culture) and prefer it to be an academy culture.

That the OBC may have been a club culture, may be a valid observation, however, it can no longer accurately be described as that. In light of what has been ongoing changes for some time.

I think what the OBC is shooting for, is somewhere in-between a club culture and an academy culture.

A middle ground.

The reason why aspects of a club culture are needed in Zen, is because "conformity" in itself does not just mean 'conformity' to unhealthy things, it also means and can be used as conformity to helpful and healthy things, and enforcing that conformity.

Such as celibacy, this is a practice where all monastic members of the OBC are expected to conform to.

Complete academy culture may not be entirely possible because this is a religious organization that includes monastics, and not just a lay business, or scholarly organization.

There is a need to get people to 'conform' to certain things.
As a monk, shaving your head is not optional, refraining from drinking alcohol is not optional, celibacy is not optional, etc.

There is always going to be this need in Zen and Buddhism, and there is always going to be a need to have a hierarchy of management to enforce it.

I don't think that's going to be completely undone, so if the goal that people here want is complete academy culture, that may not be possible.


Quote :
Changing Culture of an OrganizationThere are four primary ways to influence the culture of an organization.

1. Emphasize what’s important. This includes widely communicating goals of the organization, posting the mission statement on the wall, talking about accomplishments and repeating what you want to see in the workplace.

2. Reward employees whose behaviors reflect what’s important.

3. Discourage behaviors that don’t reflect what’s important. There is no need to punish or cause prolonged discomfort. Rather, you want to dissuade the employee from continuing unwanted behaviors by giving them constructive feedback, verbal warnings, written warnings, or firing them.

4. Model the behaviors that you want to see in the workplace. This is perhaps the most powerful way to influence behaviors in the workplace. For example, if you want to see more teamwork among your employees, then involve yourself in teams more often.
If I may say so, I would say that the OBC has made real progress on these things.

They have:

Emphasized what's important, both with their public statements, and private individual discussions, and group discussions, as well as made ethics guidelines clear on their website, and established an ethics board made up of both lay and monastic members. And they have repeated these goals often.

I would also say that regarding step 4, that leadership within the OBC, such as Rev. Master Haryo, and Rev Master Meian, and Rev. Master Daishin, have all been very open, and approachable, in modeling the behaviors they want to see, as well as actively addressing concerns personally, and reaching out to take an accommodating stance on trying to resolve past issues.

I don't think that's without merit, and I don't think that saying the OBC is broken, considering these changes, is relevant, or valid.

Regarding steps 2 and 3 of that, those kindof fall in line of the carrot and stick approach to subordinates, and I don't have intimate knowledge of how OBC management has altered their approach to discipline of subordinates to encourage changes, but I would imagine it's reasonable to assume they have made steps in that area as well.

Simply saying the OBC is broken does not seem to be either fair, nor accurate given the current situation, and the active steps they've taken and continued to take.

In Gassho,

Sara
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sun May 12, 2013 1:15 pm

Sara



If Shasta now reflects the zazen they promote, be at peace Sara.

The questioning of the OBCC will not diminish such an accomplishment.

The unconditioned has always been each beings manifestation of that meditation.

This is the transmission unbound by scripture or any organization.



If Shasta makes zazen conditional to a them or us belief, then those teachings will continue to be a glorification of the conditioned and will correspondingly limit those who follow them.

I think that the voices that points out that possibility, that at one time were shunned for expressing this Dharma, are simply an expression of the Bodhisattvic vow.

Cheers

H
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sun May 12, 2013 7:50 pm

Sara said:

I would also say that regarding step 4, that leadership within the OBC, such as Rev. Master Haryo, and Rev Master Meian, and Rev. Master Daishin, have all been very open, and approachable, in modeling the behaviors they want to see, as well as actively addressing concerns personally, and reaching out to take an accommodating stance on trying to resolve past issues.

I'm glad this is true for you, Sara. It is not my experience at all. The fact that your experience is different from mine (and others on this forum) doesn't make your experience "true" and mine "untrue."
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Sun May 12, 2013 11:55 pm

Hi Howard, peace to you too.
Just to answer one of your points, I don't know why Shasta, or the OBC would ever suggest that doing zazen or meditation practice is something only they do. Plenty of other Zen people do it to, and they openly are willing to discuss and reference such people positively, so I don't think that's really a concern. I've certainly heard current OBC monks refer to others outside the Order on more than one occasion as examples of positive practice. So that's just my experience.

But peace to you also!

Sara

Hi Carol, are you saying that you've talked to Rev. Master's Haryo, Meian, or Daishin personally, or attempted to, and found that they have been either unwilling to discuss things or been entirely unapproachable, even by appointment?

Rev. Master Haryo publishes his email and phone number publicly so that people can get a hold of him. Along with his current location and plans so people can reach him (at the time of this posting, his website blog is currently down temporarily do to Posterous, the blogging platform he used being shut down by Twitter, the company who bought Posterous. He is currently experimenting with other sources and is in the process of transitioning to a different blog provider, which should be up and running in it's final stages shortly. 05/12/2013), as well as contact him directly.

If you'd like to get a hold of him, I have his number in my phone, I'm sure he would not mind me giving it to you, he's very open about being approached, and quite willing to talk.

Sara
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PostSubject: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Mon May 13, 2013 4:53 am

Hi I've been away for a bit and am catching up slightly slowly. But Sara I think you miss read Sonnenfeld slightly. My reading of his use of the term culture was as the prevailing mores in an organisation outside of the stated rules which by their very nature are open and so also open to examination and critique. So celibacy would, in this sense, be outside the culture as it is a stated rule. Where Shasta exists on this spectrum at the moment of course I am unable to say. But my, admittedly now old, experience and my recent reading of all that I've heard and been told was that, at least until very recently, the OBC was stuck in the extreme coercive end of the club culture. If this is changing that's great and I hope that they are successful. However my experience is that club cultures easily fall back into bad habits, so the pricks of OBC Connect maybe useful for some time to come, both to point out failings and to offer a little help to some of those failed.
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PostSubject: Re: Loose change - assorted tangents from the Three Dimes thread   Mon May 13, 2013 11:53 pm

Thank you, Sara. I have spoken to Rev. Haryo and others.
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