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 Hi from Sophia

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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:52 pm

Hi everyone,
My name is Houn Sophia. I go by Sophia. I visited the Abbey starting around 1974.  I spent several months there one summer. I lived at the Dell with the married monks because I had my 6 year old son with me.

I recognize some of you from those days.  I was there with Henry when he was a lay person and remember the day he Postulated. I stayed at the Dell with Chosei and Zuiko, Hogetsu and Koshin, and Isan and Ando.

After my children were grown I started going back to the Abbey. I was ordained by Eko Little and was his Chaplain for about a year and a half.  I was his Chaplain up until he left and the other Chaplain and I helped him pack for his departure.

I discovered OBC Connect when I was still at Shasta Abbey. I was fairly horrified at the way the OBC was discussed on OBC Connect. But over the last several years I have read much of what is posted here and I have found it helpful to hear so many different points of view and perceptions.

I have enjoyed the shared stories and recollections and find the forum interesting and thought provoking. 

So greetings to all of you. 

Sophia
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:27 pm

Hi Sophia, welcome to the forum, it's good to have you here with us.  Please feel free to join in any discussions, or start your own, as you like. Topics may go dormant for awhile but we are always glad to hear more esp. from new members.  There is almost always someone around to chat with.



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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:46 pm

H Sophia wrote:

I recognize some of you from those days.  I was there with Henry when he was a lay person and remember the day he Postulated. I stayed at the Dell with Chosei and Zuiko, Hogetsu and Koshin, and Isan and Ando.

I have enjoyed the shared stories and recollections and find the forum interesting and thought provoking. 

So greetings to all of you. 

Sophia
.
Welcome Sophia.  I remember you from those early days, before you were ordained.  I'm glad that you've found the forum interesting and thought provoking.  People speak freely here, and I feel the honesty outweighs the occasional conflicts and sharp edges.  Feel free to chime in as you wish.  Note that there is also a private messaging system should you wish to contact other members privately.

best wishes,

Isan
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:10 pm

Thank you Lise and Isan for your welcome to the forum.  I read the posts often and will feel free from now on to ask questions or make a comment.

Sophia
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:03 pm

Hi Sophie,
Welcome
Were you shocked by Eko and his telephone sex antics, or were you disbelieving that someone you trusted would do these things, and somehow go against the spirit of what (hopefully) people there believed in
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:14 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
Hi Sophie,
Welcome
Were you shocked by Eko and his telephone sex antics, or were you disbelieving that someone you trusted would do these things, and somehow go against the spirit of what (hopefully) people there believed in
.
Well, I'm glad we got the pleasantries out of the way and are getting down to business funny  It's an interesting question, but I'll understand if Sophia needs a minute to catch her breath.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:19 pm

Oh sorry about that Sophie,break the precepts for a second and give me a clip round the ear!
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:27 pm

Oops, just wrote a whole long answer to your question and some how lost it.  Doesn't seem to be posted.  Where did it go?  I guess I don't know all the ins and outs of posting on a forum.

Sophia
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:31 pm

The answer to your question is yes and yes.  I am going to go write the long version of my answer on Pages and then cut and paste it onto a post.  I think it's a great question and I'm happy to answer it.

Sophia
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:36 pm

I will look forward to rading it, it is difficult when I dont know you , how you would feel,you were close to the action, Something like this happening can throw you off balance and turn you away from what one assumes the path to be,however I do not believe it turns one away from knowing and following your heart
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:43 pm

Welcome on board Sophia; though since you've been reading the posts for sometime you have in a sense been on board for sometime. I'm sure you realize that the discussions here can be quite robust but we really do welcome all relevant points of view. John Stuart Mills in his 'On Liberty' says that there is no real truth if there is not the liberty to contradict it. So please point out to us where you feel we are wrong, I'm sure you will be subject similar actions. Don't be put off by robust discussion, by and large we are interested in finding the truth of matters. So again, welcome, it will be good to get another more contrarian view and hopefully it will help you come to a less troubled and clearer view of things.
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:54 pm

Hi Sophia, and welcome. (As an aside, I was in Redding this last weekend and visited Craig, so I am particularly happy to see you here now!)

I have had the same experience of losing long comments before posting that you describe. One reason that it can occur, I think, is as a result of logging in to the Forum without checking the 'log in automatically' box. My understanding is that Forumotion.com periodically refreshes the site, and if the box is not checked, you are automatically logged out when this happens (and any comment not yet posted, disappears).
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:07 pm

Kozan wrote:
My understanding is that Forumotion.com periodically refreshes the site, and if the box is not checked, you are automatically logged out when this happens (and any comment not yet posted, disappears).
.
There are many reasons that unfinished text messages on computers can evaporate.  Except for very brief posts I use a word processor where I can create/save/revise text with more confidence.  Besides the web interface is pretty limited.  You can always add the "smileys" right before you "send" yes
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:20 am

Hi,
In answer to your question....  When Eko first announced to the Monks that he was leaving, it was just a few days before Wesak.  You know, at Wesak, the Abbot makes a promise to the Sangha to be Abbot for another year.  He knew he couldn’t do that, so he called us all together and told us that he was returning to lay life.

He said it was because he had “differences” with the OBC that he could not reconcile.  I’m putting it in my own words, but the gist of it was that he would rather give up the Abbey, his life as a monk, and leave than to stay a member of the OBC. 

This was devastating in more than one way.  First, my beloved Zen Master was leaving.  I had given up everything to come and be his monastic disciple and he was leaving after a few short years.  Second, he was leaving me here to be a member of an organization he was not willing to be a part of.  But when we asked him what exactly the problem was he wouldn’t say.  All he would say is that we should stay and carry on without him and continue to belong to the OBC.

The whole thing didn’t make any sense, really, and we kept asking questions and trying to understand. 

So a couple of days later, when the true reason he was leaving came out, it was actually kind of a relief that at least it all made sense.  He had fallen in love with a lay person and was leaving to pursue a romantic relationship with her.  Pretty ordinary, really.  Lots of monks have left the monastery over a romantic relationship.

I didn’t find out about the phone sex until in September when it was shared with the monks at the conclave.  I think only two monks knew about it at the time he said he was leaving and they chose not to speak up.  Then at the conclave it was told at a Master’s meeting (no senior or novice monks allowed, only Masters).  They decided the truth needed to be told and not hidden, so they called a meeting of everyone at the monastery who was there for the Conclave, senior monks, novices, and lay ministers and they told that story.  What a shock that was. It took his betrayal and lying to a whole new level.

This person who I had respected and revered above all others was obviously deeply troubled.  On the one hand I had received incredible teachings from him that I still value and am grateful for to this day.  On the other hand his emotional maturity and mental health was obviously in question.  Not for falling in love, or even having phone sex, whatever floats your boat is ok with me.  But for doing this while he was claiming to be a celibate monk and Abbot and with people who trusted and depended on him to guide them with their spiritual well being foremost in his mind. He was using them for his own gratification and I perceive that as very selfish, with no thought for the well being of the people who trusted him.

Talk about cognitive dissonance!  I still go back and forth from gratitude for the time I had with him and the amazing teaching I received and dismay over the lying, betrayal and hypocritical life he was living.  I can’t seem to experience both attitudes simultaneously even though I know they are both true simultaneously. If that makes any sense.

Anyway, I hope that answers your question.  Please remember I speak only of my experience, my perception, and what I remember.  I know memories, even though they seem very accurate to the person remembering can be off in timing and others may remember what happened differently. 

But, thank you for asking the question.

Sophia
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:44 am

Sophia that is very well and honestly replied I can understand some of how you felt,I have a further question
What were the incredible teachings you received from Eko?

Take care and thanks
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:55 am

Another great question. I really want to answer that one, to clarify what that means for myself as well. This one is going to take me a day or two for sure.

Thank you for asking,

Sophia
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:40 am

Yep it is a good question for me too,
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:52 pm

H Sophia wrote:
This person who I had respected and revered above all others was obviously deeply troubled.  On the one hand I had received incredible teachings from him that I still value and am grateful for to this day.  On the other hand his emotional maturity and mental health was obviously in question.  Not for falling in love, or even having phone sex, whatever floats your boat is ok with me.  But for doing this while he was claiming to be a celibate monk and Abbot and with people who trusted and depended on him to guide them with their spiritual well being foremost in his mind. He was using them for his own gratification and I perceive that as very selfish, with no thought for the well being of the people who trusted him.

Talk about cognitive dissonance!  I still go back and forth from gratitude for the time I had with him and the amazing teaching I received and dismay over the lying, betrayal and hypocritical life he was living.  I can’t seem to experience both attitudes simultaneously even though I know they are both true simultaneously. If that makes any sense.

Sophia
.

Thank you for this honest and detailed account regarding Eko.  One of the serious problems with the OBC has always been what I call the “no turning back” policy laid down by Jiyu Kennett.  When I was at Shasta Abbey she often said that in Buddhism it was considered normal for people to enter and leave the priesthood multiple times in response to life’s changing circumstances but in practice she didn’t support this at all.  Once having accepted ordination it was impossible to seriously consider returning to lay life without fear of judgment and shame.  Monks who left were often subject to terrible public criticism and shunning, and that sent a clear message to the rest of us what we could expect if we allowed ourselves to consider leaving.  This injunction jumped to a new level when celibacy became a requirement of ordination – ceasing to be celibate was equated with literally turning away from Enlightenment.  In this environment it was impossible to allow oneself to evaluate whether or not being a monk and being celibate was still good training or if it might be time for a change.  I did my best to not even allow the question to enter my mind until it was forced to the surface by psychological crisis.  Given that Eko had always been one of Jiyu Kennett’s most unquestioning supporters and had been appointed abbot by her, I imagine he not only felt he was breaking the great taboo but also betraying his personal promises.  I believe he resorted to hiding what he was doing because he simply couldn’t handle the feelings and self-judgments.  He was ultimately a victim of the system that he so rigorously supported and has made it very clear why it must be changed.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:27 pm

Thank you, Sophia, for coming forward. I too admired Eko and learned much from him. He was always kind and welcome to me. I am looking forward to your posting on his teachings.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:02 pm

maybe zen is a middle way between denying ones humanity, and following a path that allows one to feel that right and wrong are mind made concepts and with diligence,determination concentration sense of oneness,accepting all karma  one can do what ever one wants,
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:40 pm

Hello Sophia,

Welcome.  And thank you for your posting.  My heart began to ache for you and for all us when I read your words, "I gave up everything."   We all did when entered those gates to become monks.  You haven't been gone for very long, in the scheme of things.  How are you doing?  Have you settled back into life 'out here'?  I do hope you're well.    You can count on us to support you in any way we can...even through our sometimes robust conversations!
~mokuan
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:15 pm

Gosh Mokuan I have missed your niceness
my kids told me what this means oxoxox....so long as they are telling the truth I pass it on ,if they are not I will send over the usual selection of fine west country cakes
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:03 pm

Quote :
When I was at Shasta Abbey she often said that in Buddhism it was considered normal for people to enter and leave the priesthood multiple times in response to life’s changing circumstances but in practice she didn’t support this at all.
When I left Throssel in 1985 I wrote to Rev Master Jiyu and asked if I could be an inactive member of the order while I made up my mind what I wanted to do next.  I think those were my words.  She wrote back and told me to take as long as I wanted, no problem.  This could be why I have difficulties understanding everybody else's issues with leaving.

In fact, I never officially left for good.  I just....didn't get round to going back.funny
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:23 pm

Jimyo wrote:
When I left Throssel in 1985 I wrote to Rev Master Jiyu and asked if I could be an inactive member of the order while I made up my mind what I wanted to do next.  I think those were my words.  She wrote back and told me to take as long as I wanted, no problem.  This could be why I have difficulties understanding everybody else's issues with leaving.
.
Perhaps it's because you never told Jiyu Kennett in some way that what she was doing was wrong?
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:55 pm

Hello Sophia,
  Was that you in the room making zafus? If so, you were always an inspiration to me as you worked all day in that dusty atmosphere, always cheerful and not complaining!
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:18 am

Hi Chisan,

I have been thinking about how to write about Ekos teachings to me. It wouldn't be helpful to just tell you what he taught me.  You can go online and listen to his Dharma talks and hear his teaching directly.  I would rather tell you about the life changing effects his teaching had on me. I can think of several time in my life when applying his teachings changed my life forever. That is what I can tell you about.

Also, it has been pointed out to me that the term "phone sex" isn't really correct. I would like to write more about what really happened in that regard.  However, that will take some time and thought. 

Thank you for your kind words and patience. I am working on a response to your question.

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:20 am

Hi Kozan,

Thank you for the information. I use my word processor, then cut and pasted it onto OBC Connect and that worked great.

Thanks,

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:55 am

Hi Sophie,
Thanks for your reply,
It must be a little difficult,someone you were close to and I ask a probing question,there is no need to answer it,there is not a need for any of us here to justify or prove anything.  It is all very personal,how one sees things how one benefits,what one perceives to be the true way.
I always remember the story of Hui Neng it is always pertinent to me, limited teaching and understanding and unlimited teaching and understanding. I think when limited teaching is passed on one often ends up in a limited place bound by views and theories,and diligent practice,one could build an exact replica of a japanese temple,but would it be true zen?  In this moment all life is just born,do we try and carry our life,Buddhism, and our karma with us

Talking of Understanding 
Is after all
Rather silly
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:18 am

Hi Isan,

I think that the one Abbey "policy" that has definitely changed since Eko's departure is the way exiting monks are treated. I can think of at least 3 reasons for this change. The first is OBC connect. Some monks, as you know read OBC Connect. To read about the suffering caused to the monks who have left in the past and not be affected is hard to imagine. It's possible that monks living in the monastery and not in contact with ex monks didn't realize the amount of harm that had been caused.

Second, there was a mass exodus of novice monks ordained by Eko the year after he left. One disrobed before the conclave, one left and ordained with a Chinese order and a new Zen Master, three went to Dragon Flower Mountain to train with RM Koten and RM Aurelian. Of those three that went to DFM one, that would be me, later disrobed. Only one of that group of novices ordained by Eko, is still at the Abbey. At that point it would have been really hard, considering the circumstances, to blame the monks who left. We were treated with compassion, offered any help they could give in either staying, or starting a new life elsewhere. We are all invited to come back and visit. All of us have been back to visit and were welcomed with open arms.

More to come...
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:27 am

The third, is the way Rev Berthold, Craig, has left the Abbey. He was a monk at the Abbey for many years, 22 or 23, I think. He was well loved and respected by the lay sangha. He made plans to leave for quite a while. He met with the local lay sangha before he departed and answered questions. He has stayed in touch with both lay and monastic friends, including me, since he has left. He has visited the Abbey fairly regularly since his departure and is still good friends with many there. He has been an example of how leaving the Abbey can be done, without animosity, without harm, and with great dignity.

Hopefully, this will be the way monks are allowed to leave in the future.

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:32 am

Chisan,

I want to answer your question. One of the hardest things for me was to hear the teaching and then to actually practice it. It's so wonderful to sit and listen to a Dharma talk and be inspired. It's so difficult to actually put it into practice. Every once in awhile, when I was able to do that the results we dramatic and life changing. That is what I would like to share.

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:36 am

Hi Carol,

Thank you for your welcome. I was not the one making Zafus. It could have been the first Sophia. There was a Sophia earlier at the Abbey. I was ordained years after she disrobed. Eko said he really loved the name, which means wisdom, and wanted me to have the name, also. He even told me a little bit about the first Sophia, who has posted on OBC Connect.

Sophia
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:45 am

Hello Mokuan,

I am doing ok. Not great, but fine. I am living in Redding and working in a position I find satisfying and enjoyable. The salary is also pretty good, too. I am in touch with Craig, some of the monks and ex monks I was a novice with and several lay people from the Abbey. I haver reestablished friendships with several friends in Redding. I have been back to the Abbey for some social events, like the Fourth of July picnic, but not for ceremonies or Dharma talks. I was angry for a while. Not over anything specific, just angry. That seems to have faded away. It has helped that the monks at the Abbey have been so kind to me whenever I have visited and seemed to happy to see me. It would have been much harder for me if that hadn't been the case.

Thank you for asking,

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:31 am

Hi Sophia - I've a question to ask you, that always interests me about people who are able to make hard decisions and act from a place of independence and autonomy. If it is too personal, though, no need to reply.

After you found the "sent" emails, did you struggle with deciding what to do, or was it quite clear that you had to tell someone? I would have guessed that a chaplain close to Eko and a favourite disciple of his would be too overwhelmed to act.  When Haryo turned up at the door to Eko's house and you had to deal with him shortly after finding the emails, what was that like for you? A different person might have kept it covered up, but you were able to do something very hard that needed to be done.

I think the same about long-term monks who leave, even without a drama that serves as impetus.  It's remarkable that their independent will and decision-making are still intact, at least to the degree needed to get out the door.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:11 pm

Hi Lise, I will be happy to answer that question. I'll go write it up on Pages and copy it over. Otherwise I'll lose it half way through.

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:31 pm

Hi Lise,

Here is the answer to your question:

For months Enida and I had watched the relationship between Eko and Kimberly become more and more intense.  The episode when he lied to RM Meian about the reasons Kimberly was coming to his house had occurred months before and was just the beginning.  At the same time, we were expected to carry on and pretend nothing was going on.  

When we questioned his flirtatious behavior, he would explain just what Enida mentioned, that to help someone you had to meet them at their level and talk to them in a way that they understood.  He also explained that the love between a master and disciple can be very strong, and to others it may appear to be a romantic love when, actually, it is not. 

One of the monks even came down to his house one evening after dinner and confronted him about his behavior and how inappropriate his behavior towards Kimberly appeared.  He became more angry than I had ever seen him.  She went away devastated and he never treated her the same again.  

It became clear to me that confronting him, or speaking about it to others at the monastery was futile.  It just resulted in lots of anger from him, and either a, “we just have to trust him, he’s the Abbot,” or a reminder that “you have to trust your master”  from senior monks.   We weren’t allowed to speak about it with other novices.  I was told that if I expressed doubt about the master, I could be responsible for someone else doubting him, and interfere with their training.

     Enida and I would talk about it, but neither of us could figure out what to do about it. I know she spoke to RM Meian about it, but she can tell you about that if she wants to.  We just watched the reality we were seeing growing more and more different from what we were being told until I couldn’t reconcile the two no matter how I looked at it.  Either everything spoken on the subject was a lie, or I was completely out of touch with reality and was actually manufacturing all these things I was perceiving with a paranoid, jealous, insecure mind. The worst part was I didn’t want to believe that this great zen master, with the deep understanding that he was willing to share with me, was actually lying about just about everything.

How do you reconcile the deep understanding that he clearly had obtained with all the lying and bad behavior?  His teachings showed him to be a great zen master.  The kind way he treated me 99% of the time and the help he gave me during sanzen had made me deeply grateful for his teaching and wisdom. I really, really, wanted to believe him when he said there was no romantic relationship between him and his lay disciple.

So then he announced that he was disrobing and leaving the monastery.  But instead of saying he was leaving to pursue a romantic relationship with a lay woman, he said he was leaving because he could no longer be a member of the OBC because he disagreed with the “direction they were taking.” Seriously?  He couldn’t agree with the OBC?  Now I really felt like Alice in Wonderland.  

Many monks have disrobed to pursue a personal relationship with a lay person.  The vice abbot of Throssel had done it within the past year.  He had left and become a lay person, and then carried on with his new love, good for him.  Nobody can blame a person who has been celibate for years for falling in love and wanting to become part of a couple.  It happens all the time.

It was the lying that was so confusing to everyone.  So there I was one morning, cleaning the Abbot’s den/office, dusting and sweeping away.  Enida was in the other part of the house, I was alone in the den.  When I started dusting around the computer I noticed that not only was the computer on, it was open to his e-mail program.  He never left his computer open, it always required a password to access it.


 The Abbot has private letters and papers from his disciples that are sometimes very personal and private.  One of the things you are taught when you become a Chaplain is never to betray that trust, never look at papers, letters, anything of the Abbot’s that might contain personal information that others should not see. 

I would like to say I was cleaning with a mind of meditation, just being in the present and was in a state of profound stillness.  I would like to be able to say that I lived up to the trust given to me as Chaplain never to look at the Abbots private papers. 

But I was in a state of turmoil, what I saw to be true and what everyone around me was telling me was true (except for Enida and the one monk who had confronted him) was completely opposite.  So when I saw the computer, all turned on and open, all I could think was, “now I can find out,”  “I can know which is the truth.”  “Am I a crazy, jealous, paranoid person?  Or is the Abbot really in love and lying about it.?" I want to be clear.  It was not the relationship that was making me feel crazy, it was the lying.

So I opened his email.  Since he had a iMac and I had a Mac, myself, it was easy.  I really didn’t think beyond wanting to know.  I didn’t give a thought to the consequences of what I was doing.  I didn’t want to read what Kimberly was writing to him, not interesting to me.  I wanted to know what he was writing to her.  So I went to the Sent box.  I started reading his responses to her e-mail.  There it was, e-mails from way back in October making plans to move in together.  Emails with information about rentals in different cities and discussions about where they would live together.  E-mails about how wonderful it would be to finally be together.

I had actually been hoping that I was wrong and he was telling the truth.  If I was being jealous and paranoid, I could work on that.  If my teacher was lying, well, nothing would change that reality.  Now the implications of what I had done and what I now knew started sinking in.  Do I turn off the computer and let the lie go on? No, couldn’t do that.  Not sure why.  Just not me.  If I turned off the computer and told people, he would just lie, discredit me, and no one would believe me.  I’d seen him do that.  He was good at it.  

What to do, what to do.  So I just hit the print button and started printing up all those e-mails.  All I knew was that I didn’t want to be alone with this knowledge and stand by as I had in the past and not speak up about the lying.  It was the same as his lying in front of me to RM Meian. Now that I knew, I couldn’t stand by and say nothing, that would make me complicit. He had been warned.  I had told him I wouldn’t be quiet when he lied to others in front of me.  He should have fired me as Chaplain at that point.

So I printed up about 15 of the e-mails and went to the person I trusted most in the monastery, Enida.  I called her into the library, closed the door and started reading the e-mails out loud to her.  I was about halfway through when there was a knock on the library door and we heard the voice of RM Haryo, the head of the order. Oh brother, what timing.

He said he had heard that the Abbot was out of the temple so he thought he would come down and see how the Chaplains were doing.  He asked us if everything was alright.  Well, it clearly wasn’t.  And actually, it wasn’t our decision what to do about the new information, it was his.  He was the Head of the Order, that decision was on his shoulders, not mine or Enidas.  So we handed the e-mails over to him.  

We went to his office with him and he called RM Meian and RM Daishin down and they saw the e-mails. To end this long, long post… when Eko came back to the Abbey he was confronted by RM Meian, RM Daishin, Enida and myself.  Later that evening there was a community meeting and Eko explained to the community what was going on and the post explaining why RM Eko was disrobing was changed on the Shasta Abbey website.

Later I apologized to Eko for reading his private e-mail and he apologized to me for lying to me and we made amends.  I will always be grateful for the teaching he gave me so generously, he truly shared the Dharma in such an inspiring way.  It’s hard to express what a great Dharma teacher he was. It’s easy to tell a story about finding the e-mails, it’s impossible to express in words his great teaching to me which has nothing to do with words or e-mails.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:43 pm

I am sure it was very traumatic for you Sophia,we have to see it in context of there were strict rules he expected everyone to keep them,and there he is breaking rather seriously.
Actually that was always the case,there was shunning and discrediting from the beginning,slagging off people with different opinions, discrediting Mark Me Josh, Gensho, Nasty things said about The walshes,Toby Humphries,Japan,Japanese temples,it was not skillful means,it was plain nastyness,that set the tone,that is the legacy,that was passed on,along  with the dog collars came the shunning and discrediting,It is little wonder everyone is so tired
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:28 pm

Sophia, hearing this in your words adds a completely new dimension to what I thought I knew about this. 

In addition to what you did, I'm impressed with the bravery of the monk who earlier confronted him. She too could say something about independent thinking and the ability to take action.

It sounds like you were well fed up with the situation by the time the emails were discovered, thus no struggle about whether or not to tell. I wonder what I would have done; no way to know.

The hardest part to understand is your last paragraph, where it shows you're able to continue seeing what was always good about M. Little's teaching. I admire this even though it's beyond my present ability to understand.  If I hang around this forum long enough I might eventually get it -
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:10 pm

Lise,

"The hardest part to understand is your last paragraph, where it shows you're able to continue
seeing what was always good about M. Little's teaching. I admire this even though it's beyond
my present ability to understand."  

It really is quite a paradox on the surface.  The reality is that the teacher doesn`t have to be a
saint or enlightened, to impart the truth to a student.  As witnessed by Sophia`s last paragraph
for example.  This is because the teacher doesn`t own the truth and it therefore can`t be said
to be `his`teaching in reality.  It is a `rediscovery` of something real within himself that was
made possible through his training.

Likewise, whatever is real in his teaching, is recognised by his student .  This is because the
student also rediscovers the same truth as a result of training. The mind and heart are open to 
hear and understand the truth...often accompanied by great gratitude and an outflowing of love
and release.  It is obvious that something very real in the self has been experienced and very
often, there is much psychological healing.  It`s impossible to deny to oneself.

The problem is that if the teacher, in particular, has not fully assimilated the teaching in his daily
life, and is unable to live the truth, his subconscious undealt with issues will continue to torment
him.  Not only that, but if the pressures (vasanas) are not resolved, they will continue to grow
and be yet more oppressive.  The screw turns ever more tightly.  It`s a desperate situation with
seemingly no way out.  I heard that Eko tried to instigate the strict following of the vinaya rules
on to the community but got short shrift with that idea.  He must have been brought up to an
unbearable degree of pressure and was desperately seeking some way out of his personal
predicament....to no avail.

Well, if you can get enlightened, it seems pretty obvious that you can get un-enlightened.  There
is no way to enlightenment without dealing with one`s psychological issues.  In many ways, in my
own opinion, dealing with ones psychological issues constitutes one`s training.  Bypassing just
does not work and in this case, Eko came crashing down to earth.  He now has to live with his
shame and start again.  The Shasta community has had to live with this disaster and needs to
re evaluate their whole method of teaching and assess the reasons for so many failings.

It seems obvious that Eko should never have been put in his position of leadership.  He clearly had
not dealt with his psychological issues and was unable to. Frankly, in my opinion, the teaching at
Shasta was not up to the job.  Too limited a teaching..not enough of a tool kit.  It`s probably a
similar position throughout Buddhist teaching communities.  I believe Eko had been put in an
impossible position from the start and is probably the greatest victim of Jiyu`s incomplete teaching.

However, the fact remains that he tried his best as did everyone.  No one sets out to fail from the
start. All people have their limits and Eko came up against his. He came up against a brick wall and
tried to make Buddhist training into an attempt to live up to an ideal.  End of the line.
Nevertheless, although he couldn`t get past his psychological issues, it doesn`t make the level of
truth that he found invalid.  The same with his students. What they found through their own
training, cannot be negated.  It is theirs alone.  If they found it with the help of Eko, their
gratitude will always be there.  They still have to work through their own issues, of course.

I feel that many people will not connect with the forum, not just because they refuse to look at
the failings of the OBCC. They feel that they are being asked to deny their personal training as
well in a complete capitulation.  However,whatever they found that was real, cannot be denied.

Some late night thoughts....
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:35 pm

@Stan: Beautifully and perfectly put together post and take on what is going on here. Everything you said rings true for me. Thank you!
@Sophia: Hi! I just had to publicly state how moved I am by your presence here and your courage for coming on OBCConnect. Thank you! I miss those early training days with you and Enida. It was so beautiful and exciting! The Dharma was lighting up our lives and it was so great to share it together.
@Lise: I can understand how it would be difficult for anyone to get how Eko's disciples could still have a sense of gratitude for his part in their lives. All I can say is, see Stan's post above! And for me, I can see my gratitude stems from that place of purity and truth: seeing past the oasis of Eko and diving into the ocean of truth and swimming in it. I'm the one who dived in though. We are all responsible for that dive. Eko did his best to show what that ocean may be like and there is gratitude for that, but he isn't the ocean. He's just like the rest of us. Personally, I have no more anger lingering around, just forgiveness and gratitude. But again, I had to work really hard to get to this place. (I really do think the "oasis" is a little too pretty sometimes, btw; the garments try to show us the monks have some kind of authority. What a distraction. They should get rid of those robes and quit shaving their heads. Just admit it, you're just like the rest of us.)
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:17 pm

My dear Sophia,
 
I can hear a bit of sadness still in your words and it must have taken a lot of courage to muster this posting.  Thank you for sharing your experience in the Abbot’s den that day. 
 
I remember when Rev. Master Haryo knocked on the library door and the blood ran right out of our faces as we saw him standing there.  He looked a bit befuddled by our “Oh [banned term]’s” and it was immediately clear it would be difficult to deny the truth.  I remember asking him to get Rev. Master Meian and Rev. Master Daishin and meet us in his office.  You and I spent three hours just talking it out between ourselves in front of them – they hardly said five words as we went verbally back and forth through all of our memories of the past few years and relived what we knew was true but never was believed or affirmed.  It was probably the most intense cleansing of the mind I have ever been through – comparing our experiences with what was in the truth of the emails.  And the seniors could no longer adjourn our doubts to what we knew was true.
 
I am still grateful to Rev. Master Meian for asking us if we would like to confront the Abbot personally, which we agreed to do.  It was still several hours until RM Eko was due to return and it was physically numbing facing the task ahead – I almost couldn’t go through with it.  As we came into the Abbot’s lounge after his return from house-hunting in Ashland, Rev. Masters Meian and Daishin were already there, and he looked around at us confused and asked, “What’s up?”  We asked him about the e-mails you found, which you explained (and apologized about for looking on his computer).  He asked, “What e-mails?” several times and would not admit that they existed, even after reading some of them back to him.  I finally chimed in and said, “You have to give the money back.  If people who contributed to your departure wanted to give you money after they knew the truth, that was fine.  But, as it stands now, you have to give the money back.  And, if you don’t tell them, we will.”  He agreed and, as Sophia said, he told the community about the further details later that evening, and made his subsequent announcement.  I decided to give him financial help anyway after the admission, as did others, and now, no one would be surprised and angered by the truth when it came out later on, as it most surely would have.
 
It was an incredibly enlightening experience for me to be able to face the truth and stand up to the Precepts personally with my Master.  So many times I had asked for clarity on my confusion and my inner dissonance and his teaching always turned my doubt back on me.  I was able sit in front of the truth and say it is real and I am not afraid of it.  I cannot describe what that meant to my certainty in any number of words.
 
Sophia, you and I have talked about those moments several times since and as I have expressed to you before, I believe we were just the conditions – the Precept on lying, as well as others, could no longer hide in the conditions and I truly believe that finding those e-mails and our subsequent disclosures were just an opportunity to return to compassion and wisdom.  The Precepts are not bound by conditions, rules and institutional protocol it turns out.  I can now see they have myriad ways of allowing the condition to prove a Precept true for itself. J
 
It is interesting to me that the Precepts chose the youngest novices in this case to reveal themselves, instead of the most senior monks of the Order.  If the seniors were the example, why didn’t they do something about it?  Come to find out later, some of the seniors  knew of the Abbot’s plan to depart many months before his announcement and they did nothing to mitigate more harm, for me personally and many others, in the interim.  That really bothers me.  I still can’t believe that I brought my greatest spiritual pain to my kyojushi (who was my Precepts Master) as best I could describe during that time, and she could look back at me and deny what was happening and poo-poo what I was seeing, even after knowing what she knew, and then turn it back on my own training instead.  I guess you can see I’m still a little miffed, even though she has apologized to me personally (as well as publicly) since.
 
I know this is probably really hard for many of you to hear, including the monks who read this forum as guests but never comment, but I feel this was just not right.  I am probably never going to be welcome at the Abbey in the same way I once was before coming onto OBC Connect and speaking my own experience.  But something in me says it must be said.  I am just really sad and exasperated that all of the exercises we went through after the Abbot’s departure and subsequent committees and meetings, etc., didn’t really inform or change the rules or protocols that made the abuse possible, or create real reform and protection for monks and lay people alike -- including a seriously relied upon Ethics Committee and oversight of senior monks.  I am sad that it is once again relegated to patience, and that accepting the Truth will have to prove itself true in these conditions too.
 
Sad to say, we were all subject to the limitations of the institution at the time, including the seniors and Abbot and the lay people who were harmed.  It seems to me that everyone was just on autopilot and could only do what was known in our experience.  I think that is still true today, but we have more experience than we did then.  It is my sincere hope that what we learned from it all will be made good use of, for our own sakes and Rev. Master Jiyu’s true legacy.
 
I did and do still have much compassion for my Master, the ex-Abbot.  He taught me so much about the dharma and how it operates in our daily lives.  He and I shared a thousand points of light during our friendship and by his guidance of my inner questioning to the Buddha’s teachings.  Some of the other seniors I have spoken about have done that too for me many times, including my kyojushi.  As it has been said previously above, we all make mistakes, sometimes big ones.  I can only pray that we can continue to learn from them.
 
Thank you all for your kind ear.
Enida


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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:04 pm



Quote :
My dear Sophia,

I can hear a bit of sadness still in your words and it must have taken a lot of courage to muster this posting.  Thank you for sharing your experience in the Abbot’s den that day

I remember when Rev. Master Haryo knocked on the library door and the blood ran right out of our faces as we saw him standing there.  He looked a bit befuddled by our “Oh [banned term]’s” and it was immediately clear it would be difficult to deny the truth.  I remember asking him to get Rev. Master Meian and Rev. Master Daishin and meet us in his office.  You and I spent three hours just talking it out between ourselves in front of them – they hardly said five words as we went verbally back and forth through all of our memories of the past few years and relived what we knew was true but never was believed or affirmed.  It was probably the most intense cleansing of the mind I have ever been through – comparing our experiences with what was in the truth of the emails.  And the seniors could no longer adjourn our doubts to what we knew was true.

I am still grateful to Rev. Master Meian for asking us if we would like to confront the Abbot personally, which we agreed to do. ...

Sad to day, we were all subject to the limitations of the institution at the time, including the seniors and Abbot and the lay people who were harmed.  It seems to me that everyone was just on autopilot and could only do what was known in our experience.  I think that is still true today, but we have more experience than we did then.  It is my sincere hope that what we learned from it all will be made good use of, for our own sakes and Rev. Master Jiyu’s true legacy.

I did and do still have much compassion for my Master, the ex-Abbot.  He taught me so much about the dharma and how it operates in our daily lives.  He and I shared a thousand points of light during our friendship and by his guidance of my inner questioning to the Buddha’s teachings.  Some of the other seniors I have spoken about have done that too for me many times, including my kyojushi.  As it has been said previously above, we all make mistakes, sometimes big ones.  I can only pray that we can continue to learn from them.

Thank you all for your kind ear.
Enida
Enida and Sophia, thank you both, again, for your heartfelt and courageous sharing! This means so much, to so many of us.


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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:16 pm

Stan Giko wrote:
Lise,

"The hardest part to understand is your last paragraph, where it shows you're able to continue
seeing what was always good about M. Little's teaching. I admire this even though it's beyond
my present ability to understand."  

It really is quite a paradox on the surface.  The reality is that the teacher doesn`t have to be a
saint or enlightened, to impart the truth
to a student.  As witnessed by Sophia`s last paragraph
for example.  This is because the teacher doesn`t own the truth and it therefore can`t be said
to be `his`teaching in reality.  It is a `rediscovery` of something real within himself that was
made possible through his training.

. The mind and Likewise, whatever is real in his teaching, is recognised by his student .  This is because the
student also rediscovers the same truth as a result of training
heart are open to 
hear and understand the truth...often accompanied by great gratitude and an outflowing of love
and release.  It is obvious that something very real in the self has been experienced and very
often, there is much psychological healing.  It`s impossible to deny to oneself.

...  I believe Eko had been put in an
impossible position from the start and is probably the greatest victim of Jiyu`s incomplete teaching.

However, the fact remains that he tried his best as did everyone.  No one sets out to fail from the
start. All people have their limits and Eko came up against his. He came up against a brick wall and
tried to make Buddhist training into an attempt to live up to an ideal.  End of the line.
Nevertheless, although he couldn`t get past his psychological issues, it doesn`t make the level of
truth that he found invalid.  The same with his students. What they found through their own
training, cannot be negated.  It is theirs alone
.  If they found it with the help of Eko, their
gratitude will always be there.  They still have to work through their own issues, of course.

I feel that many people will not connect with the forum, not just because they refuse to look at
the failings of the OBCC. They feel that they are being asked to deny their personal training as
well in a complete capitulation.  However,whatever they found that was real, cannot be denied.

Some late night thoughts....
Lise, your question is, I think, at the heart of the matter for everyone.

Stan, superb response!


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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:26 pm

[size=18]
Quote :
@Stan: Beautifully and perfectly put together post and take on what is going on here. Everything you said rings true for me. Thank you!
@Sophia: Hi! I just had to publicly state how moved I am by your presence here and your courage for coming on OBCConnect. Thank you!...
@Lise: I can understand how it would be difficult for anyone to get how Eko's disciples could still have a sense of gratitude for his part in their lives. All I can say is, see Stan's post above! And for me, I can see my gratitude stems from that place of purity and truth: seeing past the oasis of Eko and diving into the ocean of truth and swimming in it. I'm the one who dived in though. We are all responsible for that dive. Eko did his best to show what that ocean may be like and there is gratitude for that, but he isn't the ocean. He's just like the rest of us. Personally, I have no more anger lingering around, just forgiveness and gratitude. But again, I had to work really hard to get to this place. ...
Diana, so good to see you posting your right-on-the-mark insights again, on the Forum!
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:15 am

I like your post Enida I think you and Sophia have done great
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:20 pm

Stan, you make very good points about appreciating the value of a teaching and being able to separate that from the one who delivered it. And I agree that SA's teaching system is inadequate, even harmful.

Where I get stuck is when I think about this - and it actually doesn't matter, so why think about it -  can we ever know that a teacher actually found "the truth" for himself at any time, or was he simply very successful at repeating an approved doctrine to others?  He knew what he supposed to say and believe, and over the years his delivery would be refined, expanded upon, customized for his recipient. So long as his behaviour didn't give him away, no one would actually know if he accepted any of the doctrine for himself and put his own faith in it. So long as he doesn't harm anyone, if he's able to help others see truth (whatever that is), then I suppose his own internal state is no one else's concern, and we should give him the benefit of the doubt. When serious harm is done, though, I have a lot of trouble supposing that this person actually had any real understanding of "the truth" they claim to teach. And that would lead me to start re-examining whatever nuggets of teaching I'd picked up from them. Re-examining is a good thing anyway, though, no matter the avenue through which teaching comes.

So, I guess I understand small bits and pieces of this, but will continue to slip a gear on the "gratitude toward the teacher".  I could be grateful for having more knowledge, for being able to better protect myself in the future, etc.  Jaded as I am, I'd be more like "well, I got something out of this not because of you, but in spite of you and your shenanigans, Mr."  after which I would mentally kick them to the kerb.

Maybe if I'd ever gotten really attached to a teacher I wouldn't have such a blind spot on this issue.

I am better off for having read all of this discussion, though yes
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:39 pm

H Enida wrote:

It is interesting to me that the Precepts chose the youngest novices in this case to reveal themselves, instead of the most senior monks of the Order.  If the seniors were the example, why didn’t they do something about it?  Come to find out later, some of the seniors  knew of the Abbot’s plan to depart many months before his announcement and they did nothing to mitigate more harm, for me personally and many others, in the interim.  That really bothers me.  I still can’t believe that I brought my greatest spiritual pain to my kyojushi (who was my Precepts Master) as best I could describe during that time, and she could look back at me and deny what was happening and poo-poo what I was seeing, even after knowing what she knew, and then turn it back on my own training instead.  I guess you can see I’m still a little miffed, even though she has apologized to me personally (as well as publicly) since.
 
I know this is probably really hard for many of you to hear, including the monks who read this forum as guests but never comment, but I feel this was just not right.  I am probably never going to be welcome at the Abbey in the same way I once was before coming onto OBC Connect and speaking my own experience.  But something in me says it must be said.  I am just really sad and exasperated that all of the exercises we went through after the Abbot’s departure and subsequent committees and meetings, etc., didn’t really inform or change the rules or protocols that made the abuse possible, or create real reform and protection for monks and lay people alike -- including a seriously relied upon Ethics Committee and oversight of senior monks.  I am sad that it is once again relegated to patience, and that accepting the Truth will have to prove itself true in these conditions too.
 
Sad to say, we were all subject to the limitations of the institution at the time, including the seniors and Abbot and the lay people who were harmed.  It seems to me that everyone was just on autopilot and could only do what was known in our experience.  I think that is still true today, but we have more experience than we did then.  It is my sincere hope that what we learned from it all will be made good use of, for our own sakes and Rev. Master Jiyu’s true legacy.
 
 
I like how you framed this as the "Precepts choosing" the two of you, I think you mean in the context of being change agents who would be able to help and not thwart the ripening conditions. 

Maybe the discussions here will also help the Abbey community see that they don't need to, and should not, continue treating people as you and Sophia were treated.  Actually they probably can't keep up the same levels of secrecy, duplicity, etc.  Maybe that part of JK's legacy can be let go of sooner than later, to everyone's benefit.

I can imagine some (a few) at Shasta being quite relieved that more information is coming out and less needs to be hidden/denied.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:33 pm

Hi Lise, 

They say that during Sanzen a true zen master will answer the trainee's question on 3 levels. If I remember right, the 1st level is the superficial, literal meaning of the question itself. The second level is the deeper question that the trainee really has, but is often unable to see, and the third level is the one question from which all questions spring.

When you receive and are able to hear the answer on the deepest level, you recognize that and know it to be true. You can never explain it verbally. It can't be put into words exactly. No teacher can learn enough doctrine, or read enough Dharma, memorize enough answers to answer a question on the deepest level. Therefore I'm pretty sure it can't be faked.

 I know RM Jiyu answered question from that place, (I had one encounter with her and had a direct experience of it) no matter what other behavior she may have exhibited. I would say she left Eko in charge because he could teach from that place, also. It doesn't excuse their behavior, but neither does 
their behavior negate the true teaching passed on by them.

Hope that helps instead of confusing.

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:58 pm

It does, Sophia.

Even if I doubt my own ability to ever perceive levels of questioning & answers, I don't disbelieve anyone else who is able to understand the subtlety of the 3 levels and has experienced that. 

That is good to know, that M. Little had in your opinion a genuine insight.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Sophia   Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:00 pm

Hi Lise, 

It's hard for me to fathom how someone with such insight can behave so badly. Kind of beyond belief. If anyone has a rational explanation I would be interested in hearing it. I guess it has to do with what I've seen on this site called spiritual bypassing. But it confuses me, too, Lise.

Sophia
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