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amalia



Posts : 42
Join date : 2010-07-26

PostSubject: Personal views   Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:01 am

Hey Kaizan,
That is some story. I wish I had read it like 10 years ago. Probably wouldn't have believed it, but you never know. I have heard so many rumours about sick seniors, monks with chronic fatigue etc. And certainly most of the seniors I knew at the NCBP were constantly ill and unable to do any work.
I had a certain phase of distancing myself from them after I experienced a prior implode and fall apart, leaving her temple, the rent and all of the things in it to the community left behind to deal with. Around then I started to really wonder about why all the seniors are all sick all of the time, unable to deal with anything in the real world much less help out with the dishes during kitchen cleanup. It seemed to me that it was not a good sign that the practice seems to make people sick. (and mean, arrogant and crazy, but I'll try to stay on topic.)

But then I had my great return to the fold and again believed in the "karmic consequence" theory about how all of these monks were having past life karma come up which made them sick. So I got all sucked in again. Maybe had I read your story it would have tipped the scales and I could have spared myself a truly ugly chapter of my life.
There are so many similarities in our stories, I see that there were predecessors..... I guess those seniors that freaked out in my case were just going into the "tough love" punishment mode they had all practiced with Jiyu on you and others. I did wonder how the tide could have changed so fast, but reading your story help0s me understand where they learned their bizarre, cruel behaviour.

It really gets me all the lay people who post their positive posts about how wonderful their OBC supposedly is. Especially the lay ministers-- most of whom I couldn't much stand even as a lay person! I guess I just got to let that one go. When I read all these stories and I know there are so, so many more that folks just haven't gotten up the courage to write about, these stories from the inside, it just makes me wonder. How can they still believe in that perfect little OBC world? Do they really think we are all just disaffected and making this stuff up?
Well whatever, I guess I am rambling. TIme to move on. I am so happy to hear how great you are doing. Hope I'll be able to look back in 15 years and be so positive about it all. Nice to meet you, Kaizan.


Last edited by Lise on Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:00 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : in search of the right title)
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Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:46 am

amalia wrote:
How can they still believe in that perfect little OBC world?

Would you be happier if everybody had the same view and experiences as you? I've stated mine (which you have been quick to disagree with), both positive and negative, because there are plenty of facets to any organisation and no one person has experienced them all. Everyone needs to speak out and be listened to if we are to see with balance and clarity, which is needed if we are going to see what needs to be done about this. I think others' experiences are as valid as yours, and they do not negate yours. I for one do not think that you have "made this stuff up". The only two things that would make me inclined to stop listening to you is that you belittle other people's views when they are not the same as yours, and you appear to insist that your experience and view is true for an entire organisation, including places you've never been to and people you've never met. No it is obviously not perfect, but it's not all bad either. And yes I think there are damaging aspects which must be addressed.

Edit: Kaizan, I forgot to say 'hi' in your introductory thread - hi! Smile Thank you for writing about your experience. Personally I think it brings up a lot of relevant and very real points. It makes me sad to hear particularly in the light of the maltreatment Rev. Master Jiyu suffered herself at the hands of others when she was a trainee. The best way I can put things into words at the moment is that there is a disconnect between spiritual and emotional intelligence; a refusal on the part of the left hand to acknowledge the damage that the right hand can do, and a misguided belief that doing something with certainty and good intent is enough.


Last edited by Mia on Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:10 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : as above)
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amalia



Posts : 42
Join date : 2010-07-26

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:41 am

Sorry if I offended anyone with my Tarantino references. I guess I can go a bit overboard.
@Mia
look, I really have not intended to belittle anyone. I am sorry if it came over that way to you. I was rambling and touched on something in a way that I realize now could be offensive. But let me try to explain, ok?
5 years ago, when I left the world, there is nothing that anyone could possibly have said or written that could have held me back. I was like a locomotive train bearing down on my fate. I broke up to the man I loved and he sat on his knees crying, begging me to reconsider. I said no. In my family there was an equally strong reaction, with some members feeling betrayed and angry. And personally I felt very scared. I had no more work, no home, no possessions. Just this certainty, this trust and this wide open heart. I trusted Koshin with everything I had and more, and I gave it all up for him. And for the truth I had seen a glimpse, which he confirmed to me later was a kensho.
So, looking back, I wonder. If Amalia then could have read what Amalia now writes, what would she think? I would probably have been distressed, shocked, but willing to let it be. It would probably have come up for me in meditation not to read this forum any further, much less participate. The seniors are right about doubt, and reading words like I write here are disturbing and they produce doubt.
But I am not the woman I was 5 years ago. And knowing what I do about the training, practice and persons of the OBC, I can do no more then warn and warn again. You are wrong to assume I have not seen the OBC you treasure so much. I knew it well. I hate to list this all off like a resume, but my first contact was in 1984 at the age of 10. A close family relative was a monk and my mother a lay minster. I was intensely. actively involved with the founding of 2 temple priories. I did Jukai as a teenager and my first month long retreat at the age of 16. I have participated in countless day, weekend and weeklong retreats in California, Oregon, Washington, Germany and England. I have done many monthlong private retreats at Shasta, Throssel and NCBP. I was ordained a novice priest in March 2006 by a senior priest of the order who had known me for 16 years. I was close to and had sanzen with at least 10 senior priests of the order (none of whom have ever contacted me after what took place at the NCBP became known within the order. Or now, for that matter, since I have gone public with it.)
No one can claim I don't know what goes on in the order, or that the seniors of the order did not have the opportunity to get to know me before I was admitted as a priest. The fact that I am doing what I am doing now will certainly give some reason to doubt this, but I don't think just extending the postulancy is going to protect them from the consequences that will continue to result for their treatment of novice priests and other sincere, dedicated trainees.
My master use to quote Jiyu as saying that pure action creates no karmic wake. Well, what is this forum?
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Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Validity of one's personal views   Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:00 pm

Hi Amalia,

so are you saying that all that experience that you've listed was negative/ a sham?
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amalia



Posts : 42
Join date : 2010-07-26

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:56 pm

(now that I have found the thread again...!)
Well, it is not all clear cut, that I have said before. As in "Is it a cult/is it not a cult" or "is it a sham"?. First of all: I believe that many of the monks have learned to perform. They have learned to act in ways that appear to be compassionate and wise as defined in the OBC system. So they go overbaord showing their kindness to children and animals, scraping out bowls with great diligence and saving the lives of beetles. Just as an example.
But they also learn to control their outward appearance in such a way that they look the part. It also helps having a shaved head and robes.
I believe that the training they do as novices and then junior monks is in many ways similar to theatrical training, to consciously manipulate facial expression and voice in the desired ways. Most of the seniors are very good at this. What these people are actually like seems to have very little to do with the way they act on the surface or with what they say they believe in. Only when they are alone with those lower in the hierarchy, such as novices, do they let this facade fall. I can't say how the seniors are when alone with other seniors, but there does seem to be some power struggles from what I read here in the forum. Why you have never seen any thing like this? With lay people they are extremely careful to maintain the form and figure of a wise, compassionate monk. Were they not to do so, they would quickly lose the laity they are so dependent on for their income.

So in this sense, yes, I do think that much of the way that many of these people act is a kind of a sham. Maybe there are a few real Zen master gems in the order and if so, I hope you are close to one. Looking back at all of the seniors I have known, how dedicated and sincere they have appeared, it is hard for me to think badly of them. But after reading everything on this forum, which covers both Abbeys and other training areas, I have come to assume that my experience was in no way unique, and that in fact Jiyu herself is the one who first began these cruel, abusive and manipulative practices. Her disciples are the people now in control. So her methods will presumably perpetuate themselves. as long as there has been no internal and external reform, which does involve openly facing the difficult past as well as the problematic present. Their reaction to all of these abuse stories is very telling in itself: they are masters at ignoring, denying, and placing blame.

They use meditation in a way that enforces one's belief in what they say they are and what they teach. This is the aspect of it that is technically termed mind control. Diana has already described this in other posts, the fact that anyone who has sat a period of meditation and heard a dharma talk afterwards has been subjected to a form of mind control. I know you don't agree with this or with what I said above, and I don't think there is much I could write here to convince you otherwise. Being subjected to mind control practices is rather odd because you never know it while it is taking place. That is one aspect of it. So I am certainly not meaning to belittle anyone by pointing out that a fully converted cult member will never identify their organization as such. That is just how it is. But the only way to discover this for oneself is to leave, put oneself apart from their influence, drop the meditation practice as taught there, learn about cults, get exit counseling.....maybe not all at once, I have been at it for 4 years now and it takes a while. I remember reading Lailich's book "Take back your life" in my first year out and thinking, "oh, that doesn't apply to the OBC" for lots of things. Then I read it again this year and was shocked to realize how almost every single aspect of cult systems does in fact apply. It is a process reaching that point, an ongoing one.

(In particular I would like to mention the financial apects of the order, which especially for lay people are very disturbing, as this is one of the main ways that the laity can be exploited. This should be a new thread all in itself, so I don't want to get into it here. )

The only academically sound method to explore objectively what I am writing about is to thoroughly examine the system and structures in place at the OBC using modern tools of sociology and/or psychology in the area of cultic studies.. I am not qualified to do this, but I am very glad that Diana is. I look forward to continuing to explore with her where her research goes.
Both she and I are convinced of the same thing: the OBC does not just have problems. The OBC is the problem.
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Mia



Posts : 91
Join date : 2010-08-31

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:08 pm

I must be a really bad cult member... I haven't even paid them enough to cover my food expenses; I've never been asked to give them anything, to turn up, or to join them as either monk or laity; I haven't been asked to agree with or believe anything; I don't follow their meditation structure; I've never tried to convert anyone; I don't think the world would be a better place if only everyone agreed with the OBC; I don't imagine that I have to follow the way they do things, or what I "hear in meditation"; and I don't feel the need to be in touch with them more than a couple of times a year. As for my friends who have become monks at Throssel, I am pleased to say have retained the strength and independence of mind that I knew them by.

amalia wrote:
I know you don't agree with this or with what I said above
No, you don't. It chills me how you assume that you know what I'm thinking or where I'm coming from. I've tried to explain repeatedly, but when my experience doesn't fit with your idea, you steamroll over it and dismiss me as naive. Recognise the attitude?
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Diana



Posts : 206
Join date : 2010-06-11
Location : New Mexico

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:28 pm

Hi Mia,

I might be out of line here, but coming from someone who is just reading this, it sounds like there is maybe something more going on under the surface than what is being typed out on a keyboard. I just wonder what the underlying issue is for you. Sometimes it helps to just take a deep breath and see what is there. It just sounds like maybe you are really frustrated and you sound like maybe you feel you have been misjudged or misrepresented and so need to argue your position. I would say, in the spirit of the forum here, that sometimes we all need to hash-it-out. I say go for it. But I am curious about how you feel, and so I'll be listening to you when you have something to say.

Peace,
Diana
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amalia



Posts : 42
Join date : 2010-07-26

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:15 am

Quote :
While there do appear to be issues which need to be addressed, the OBC is most definitely not a cult.

Mia, I am pulling this quote over from the isitacult thread to reference. This is an unambiguous statement that you made here. When saying that I knew you didn't agree with me, I was simply acknowledging that view.

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sugin

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Posts : 43
Join date : 2010-06-15

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:40 pm

Wow...
I have learned over the years that I have spent in religions and academia to keep things very simple when I try to explain myself. Just as with all beliefs OBC has those who are comfortable with it and those that expect more than is humanly possible for an inherently flawed system ....being that all religions are based on myth and illusion. I learned in church very early on that I could love the play and hate the actors. OBC was okay by me and even helped me get through some bad times but "Am I convert"? only to the basic beliefs of goodness in others and the effort to try to do as little harm as I can in this human form which is in itself at worst a plague in the universal conscientiousness and at best a brilliant expansive light of goodness.
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Anne

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Posts : 408
Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Dorset, UK

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:51 am

Hello again, Amalia

You mentioned:
"They use meditation in a way that enforces one's belief in what they say they are and what they teach. This is the aspect of it that is technically termed mind control. Diana has already described this in other posts, the fact that anyone who has sat a period of meditation and heard a dharma talk afterwards has been subjected to a form of mind control", and dropping the meditation practice practice as taught by the OBC as part of a process to free oneself from cultic influence.

I have not been to an OBC venue in decades but, as far as I recall, the seated meditation taught was simply śamatha-vipaśyanā: I think the Chinese word for it (mozhao) means “serene illumination”, i.e śamatha-vipaśyanā: calming the mind-and-energy and seeing clearly.

I realise that, after a meditation period and listening to a Dharma talk (which might be quite a good talk), one may feel inspired in ones practice and also put confidence in the presenter’s ability to know and guide one well; but s/he may, as Kaizan said, “think they know and understand more than they actually do”, and one may never know when one will reach that limit with a teacher (or anyone else for that matter), though the teacher may be knowledgeable and wise in many ways.

However, śamatha-vipaśyanā (as with kshanika samādhi, “moment-by-moment meditation”, in daily life) should sharpen ones ability to see clearly, not dull it. One can practise this form of meditation solitarily or with peers and not feel moved to surrender to someone as a teacher. Please would you explain more about your concerns over the practice of śamatha-vipaśyanā as such (if that was what you were taught)?

I cannot vouch for historical accuracy but I remember reading somewhere that, sometime after imperial Roman power in Britain ended (5th century CE, I think), bathing fell out of favour for about fourteen centuries, originally due to its association with abhorred Roman practices. Maybe it was originally assumed that, one bath and you’ll be worshipping the gods and holding gladiatorial contests. Or maybe it was some kind of “Yah boo sucks to Rome!” rebellion. At one time, some concerns might not have been farfetched, though it would be a shame if bathing were misperceived as inseparable from other practices. On another side, perhaps some things get associated with too painful memories, like the energy bars. Is it like any of these?

Respectfully and with thanks

_/\_
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amalia



Posts : 42
Join date : 2010-07-26

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:45 pm

Hi Anne,
thanks for such a sensitive post. I've read many of your interesting posts and can see that in many ways we are coming at this from very different perspectives. That is what makes it so meaningful for me that you take such care in your comments to me. I know I am a hardliner here, wielding a verbal sword so I shouldn't expect anything but the same as response....so thanks for being kind.
But nonetheless- here we go:

I begin by quoting a big chunk from a paper from Michael Langone
What is Mind Control?

Mind control (also known as "brainwashing," "coercive persuasion," and "thought
reform") refers to a process in which a group or individual systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s). Such methods include the following:

* extensive control of information in order to limit alternatives from which members may make "choices"
* deception
* group pressure
* intense indoctrination into a belief system that denigrates independent critical thinking and considers the world outside the group to be threatening, evil, or gravely in error an insistence that members’ distress-much of which may consist of anxiety and guilt subtly induced by the group-can be relieved only by conforming to the group
* physical and/or psychological debilitation through inadequate diet or fatigue the induction of dissociative (trance-like) states via the misuse of meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, and other exercises in which attention is narrowed, suggestibility heightened, and independent critical thinking weakened
* alternation of harshness/threats and leniency/love in order to effect compliance with the leadership’s wishes isolation from social supports pressured public confessions


I think most serious OBC trainees will recognize all of this, at least anyone who was a novice certainly will if they are honest about it. It is interesting that researchers have actually been able to recognize some of what happens to us when we meditate. How our mind becomes open and at the same time vulnerable. This is one thing that makes meditation so dangerous. Spiritual teachers can take advantage of this state and use it to impress their ideas into the mind of the trainee.

As for the granola bars, yes, you are right. It wasn't just the granola bars I ditched after leaving the OBC. I needed to make a clear break, and I especially needed to find a way beyond the scary teachings of my master and the horrific symptoms of PTSD that followed me for a long time after my traumatic experience. I soon discovered that not meditating helped a whole lot. It was actually critical for me in my recovery. Meditation triggers and reinforces the states of disassociation. For some people that is a desirable effect, for some people not. Some people are so level headed that they never go very deep into meditation, other people like me can whig out very deeply and very quickly. I did find what I was looking for in meditation, and maybe the drama of the situation I had to experience to get there suits my character as a person, I don't know.... but I am not looking anymore and I am glad to be back in the world with my feet firmly on the ground. Should I ever meditate again I would tread very, very slowly since I know what can happen. And I will be very sure to protect myself from the kind of people I encountered that summer, since they were the reason that my meditation became so life threatening, not the meditation in itself.
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Anne

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Posts : 408
Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Dorset, UK

PostSubject: Re: Personal views   Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:08 am

Amalia, thank you.

The truth is not divorced from daily life and existing only while seated.

:-) All the best on your path
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