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 Is Daishin Morgan retiring?

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Lise
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PostSubject: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 06, 2013 3:05 pm


I found this item interesting, under the Sept. news bulletin on Throssel's website. I wonder if he plans to return to an active role as Abbot.  His message doesn't really say -

"Reverend Master Daishin on extended retreat
Rev. Master Daishin our Abbot, with the blessing of the Community, left the Abbey on the 15th of September for an extended private retreat. This is a message from him, written shortly before he set off: Dear Friends, [i]For the last year or so I have been suffering from a form of chronic fatigue syndrome and for much of the time I have been away from the Abbey while trying to find the best way to live with this condition. I will shortly be leaving Throssel once again, only this time for a longer retreat. While I am away the monastery will continue to be run by Rev. Leandra as vice abbot, the monastery council and the community.[i] [i]When I have been away recently I have kept up with emails and letters and remained to some extent plugged in. It now seems to be time for me to let go of my responsibilities more fully and to be away for a longer open ended retreat. This means that I will not be available for some time but fully expect that once this retreat comes to an end I will be back in touch once again.[i] [i]Thank you to all who continue to offer your support and make it possible for me to have this opportunity.[i] [i]With love and best wishes to you all,[i] [i]In gassho,[i] [i]Daishin[i] As always, people are very welcome to contact us and talk to a senior monk."[/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i]


I have wondered if there is an accepted way for a senior monk to retire from his or her role, as people normally do in the world, once they're not able or willing to meet the job requirements any longer.


It's unfortunate if his health condition was the reason he didn't attend this year's Conclave at Shasta Abbey. Given his role in ensuring the Faith Trust Institute's review (Shasta monks opposed it), I would have liked to have heard or read something from him in the way of an update, as to the degree of progress SA monks have made in implementing FTI's recommendations now that two years have passed. Or, at a more fundamental level, have they yet to acknowledge that things did go very wrong?

We've seen posts on this forum re: the incidence of debilitating illness among OBC monks. If it's higher than you'd expect to see in an average population, does anyone ask why?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:08 pm

Not very nice at all for Daishin,
Lise I think your words
have they yet to acknowledge that things did go very wrong?
may be quite apt, the effect of all these teachers and teachings going wrong will still have to come out in the wash,years of funny practice, all the people that did not speak out when their teacher was a paedophile, a drunkard. a sex pest, a control freak, or just plainly deluded, can not be good for meditation or inner health. I am now reminded of my last conversation with a monk from Shasta , way back when I ran Dharma house in london he was so utterly scathing of the monks who had left making out they all had problems,it made me realise that I was not in any way listening to the Buddhas teaching,and the negativity was not in any way something I wanted to be part of. I recently read Gempo's new website, I was pleased to see he has reduced his fees, and quite interesting to read his sort of slant on karma and we can not escape it,almost like accepting ones bad behaviour, almost makes it OK,Sitting in this moment of zazen all things of the mind can drop away,including good and bad teachers and teachings all aspects of all religions, all beliefs, the sacred and worldly the good and the bad,everything in fact we thought was important, that'll be the day
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:00 am

As a brief aside I am going today to see a religious Christian lady who wants me to build her a library.
She went in to one of our shops over the week end, refused to speak to the sales lady as she wa not important enough,demanded to speak to me on the phone,demanded that I go out to see her today,telling me she wanted a library building the only problem was she did no have much money, She ran prayer meetings for the Church in her house but she would put off the meeting today so I could go,,she sounded terrifying. When I had taken the instructions down twice and my arrival time down three times, I asked her not to stop the prayer meeting for today. She said oh do you want to join in...I told her No but it is the only chance for her to get a cheap price!  Amazingly she went away laughing and even apologised to the sales lady for her bad behaviour.When religion causes wars personal constraint and divides one from others,perhaps it is time to look at the ocean,and breath in the air
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:05 am

Hi Lise and Chisan,

I’m sorry to hear about RM Daishin Morgan.  I was at the Conclave after Eko left when he spoke out for the need for changes in the order.  I was there when the Interim Board was formed. There was a brief window after the shock of what Eko had done during which change was a possibility.  Faith Trust Institute was hired to study what went on at the Abbey that would allow such a thing to happen and wrote a fairly in depth report.  I drove up to talk to them.  I poured my heart out to them and told them what had happened to me, what I had seen and heard.  They asked very astute questions and took detailed notes. Monks and lay people alike went to talk to them and were interviewed.  Lay disciples and lay disciple victims went and told their story.  The Faith Trust Institute was able to gather a tremendous amount of information with which to draw conclusions and make recommendations.

Now the Interim Board has disbanded, the FTI report was read and discredited and then put aside.  The window of opportunity for change seems to have faded away.  The monks are “moving on”.  RM Meian is trying very hard to practice loving kindness and compassion for all, but within the same Order with the same Rules and hierarchy as before. 

The only real change I see is the way monks are treated as they leave.  And I think that if things actually don’t change, more monks will leave. I perceive that some of the lay victims of Eko’s abuse haven’t been treated so kindly.  It looks a little like “blame the victim.”  They should stop whining and move on, too.  The monks are moving on, why cant the lay victims move on with their training, too?

Since the Interim Board has disbanded, especially the most senior monks are back to monastic business as usual.  It is most important to them to pass the teaching to their disciples, that is what they wish to focus on. The sanctity of the master/disciple relationship is much more important than the changes.  Which, by the way, would interfere with that master disciple relationship.  What master wants others criticizing his methods of helping his disciple find enlightenment.  That’s what change would do.  The threat of change is aimed at the very relationship they value the most.

I would say more about the treatment of some victims I hear from, but I don’t want to betray a confidence.  But I have heard the “we’ve moved on” several times myself.  So they’ve said they are sorry for the pain that was caused and isn’t that enough, they ask? 

Sophia
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:19 am

And Sophia does the teaching liberate or constrain?
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:42 am

The true teaching liberates.  

The teaching given by a selfish, non practicing teacher, constrains No matter the sincerity of the student. Because teaching selfishness causes suffering for both the teacher and the student.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:42 am

Yep I agree..Sophia I find what you said...
Now the Interim Board has disbanded, the FTI report was read and discredited and then put aside
...so dumb, I have not really followed it,but why ask for help and discredit it, there seems a great need here for these guys to pause for thought and and do some simple sitting,breath in become normal, associate and communicate with normal people,drop the hierarchy drop the self importance, and being right,.  nothing seems to have changed at all This comment...
What master wants others criticizing his methods of helping his disciple find enlightenment.
.....assumes so much, the master has some secret method of helping others find enlightenment..the master is enlightened!  it smells of religious superiority
On the count of three, paper bags over the head, and 4 deep breaths please
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:44 pm

H wrote:
I’m sorry to hear about RM Daishin Morgan.  I was at the Conclave after Eko left when he spoke out for the need for changes in the order.

It is most important to them to pass the teaching to their disciples, that is what they wish to focus on. The sanctity of the master/disciple relationship is much more important than the changes.  Which, by the way, would interfere with that master disciple relationship.  What master wants others criticizing his methods of helping his disciple find enlightenment.  That’s what change would do.  The threat of change is aimed at the very relationship they value the most.

I would say more about the treatment of some victims I hear from, but I don’t want to betray a confidence.  But I have heard the “we’ve moved on” several times myself.  So they’ve said they are sorry for the pain that was caused and isn’t that enough, they ask? 

Sophia
.
Regarding Daishin Morgan speaking out for changes is it correct that he was the impetus for bringing FTI to Shasta Abbey and that the monks at SA were against it?  That's what I've heard and if that's true it would explain why the report was ignored and SA has remained largely unchanged.

Regarding the master/disciple relationship, Jiyu Kennett was the one who created the rule that no one was allowed to make any input about how she treated her students.  This sometimes resulted in a very dangerous situation where students who had conflicts with her could not turn to others for help and others were not allowed to intervene.  There is a particular instance of this that I often remember where a monk was obviously on the edge mentally and I and others just stood by and watched.  It seems quite deplorable to me now, and it's a real problem that apparently there are still no safeguards in place.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:57 pm

Deplorable seems to be the right word.
It seems to me from the recent posts I have read ( and some old topics ) in this keeping in touch section that the leaving Shatsa has been difficult for people difficult to adjust.
This is a bit worrying as Shasta seems to train people how to live there,but not really anywhere else.
Back to Daishin if he was the impetus and was then largely ignored,it is enough to make anyone feel impotent,and not quite right about basic communial direction.
This not allowed to intervene is so wrong, I mean what exactly was being taught there
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:59 pm

Michael, yes, what was being taught then, and how is it different today?  Shasta's leadership had a fair amount of comment two years ago when the public scrutiny left them no choice but to talk about examining their culture and methods. What was the result?  Did the lay working groups get very far with their initiatives or did Haryo thwart them repeatedly? What do the Interim Board monks feel they achieved, in terms of a sustainable improvement?  Those who were there can speak to it, I think.


Sophia wrote:

I would say more about the treatment of some victims I hear from, but I don’t want to betray a confidence.  But I have heard the “we’ve moved on” several times myself.  So they’ve said they are sorry for the pain that was caused and isn’t that enough, they ask?
I think they find it works best to be sorry from a distance. From within a safe space, surrounded by others who praise their penitence and say "the past is gone, let it go".  It's not easy to take tangible action that means something to the persons who were harmed. That requires effort, risk, exposure. 

Sitting on a cushion, being sorry, and offering merit are not enough. Find out what the harmed persons want or need, and see what can be done after that.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:02 pm

Quote :
It seems to me from the recent posts I have read ( and some old topics ) in this keeping in touch section that the leaving Shasta has been difficult for people difficult to adjust.
This is a bit worrying as Shasta seems to train people how to live there, but not really anywhere else.
I had no problem adjusting when I left Shasta/Throssel.  Am I the exception that proves the rule, or (more likely) just the only one who's bothering to post here; the others are getting on with life, perhaps.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:43 pm

Yes, each person's perception of leaving is different. Some people experienced things that did make their adjustment difficult, from what they have said. I have no reason to think this isn't true, for them.

Getting on with life is easier if you haven't been knocked around by events, or disillusioned to the point of choosing to step away.

It is unfortunate that we can't hear more from Daishin Morgan regarding his leave.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:54 pm

Dear Sophia, 

Thank you for your further insight.  In my moments of warm memories, I often think the Abbey is much like Macon's family in the Accidental Tourist.  They were so completely dysfunctional -- in an OCD way -- and their dysfunction became their functional, comfortable norm.  So it seems with Shasta.  I venture to say they will never change.  Maybe if there are still monks left after all Jiyu's disciples have died, ones who've never lived in her realm, maybe they'll see a need for change... that is, if Shasta can survive that long. 
But until then, the status quo is what works for them.  It guarentees their personal survival.  I remember times when a monk left and how the empty space just sort of closed up very quickly.  And the person who left became a nothing, not mentioned, definitely not mourned. You have to stuff a lot of feelings for that to happen, which can't be good.
So what do you do?  You go back to functioning in the safe, familiar way, no matter how off kilter it is.  It's the primal need for survival.  Change might be way too threatening for their communal and personal existence. 
They have made headway, it seems, in allowing former monks to return and even communicate with current monks.  I think that's good. That was NEVER allowed when I was there.  Come to think of it, it was horrible when someone left.   Not only did they cease to exist, Eko would lead a band of monks armed with incense into the living space and working space of the monk to purify those areas.  I remember my own feelings as I knew they were purifying the spaces I occupied. I felt like I was now some vile, putrid thing that had to be exorcised.   Anyway, allowing fomer monks to visit, that's one good change.
  
I have a question for everybody out there: if you could walk into Shasta today and take the reigns, what changes would you make?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:02 pm

Mokuan - I do so agree. I had reason to contact Daishin recently and was told that he would be basically incommunicado for two years. Sounds like retirement or something to me.

I have also heard that upto 50% of the monks at Shasta Abbey have been diagnosed with some form of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anxiety disorder, or depression - 50%! How dreadfully sad, and as you imply points to some really deep structural problems. After all academic and medical research over the last 30 years has shown that mindfulness techniques are pretty effective against most of those disorders. So what on earth is going on?

I was also told that chronic fatigue, etc. might be being caused by years of overwork and deprivation. What sort of deprivation ? Sleep, lack of free time, or autonomy over one's schedule? Years of overwork and deprivation?

Lack of all of these is common in monastic traditions both east and west, seemingly without such outcomes. Though there is some evidence that the Catholic penitential orders suffered somethinglike this before Vatican 2.

I feel that the unresolved conflicts and contradictions which you talked about and which couldn't be voiced while living at Shasta Abbey are a more likely cause.  

In any case these people are holding themselves up as great masters and exemplars. What can you say! I fear that maybe what they are spreading is not zen but a spiritual sickness.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:20 pm

if you could walk into Shasta today and take the reigns, what changes would you make?

I would ask them all to leave for a year take a job without any authority that had to have a social need function,ie looking after handicapped children,mentally ill adults, old people who could not look after themselves,come back after a year, and say how they found it
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:33 pm

Mark interesting what you say I find it hard to believe that 50% have troubles,,My view is meditation should help the flow of good health and mental blocks and even certain ways of delusional thinking ( especially thinking you are right) harm the system.
I may be wrong but when Kennett was ill prior to having the visions I thought she had a collapse at a meeting and a Tibetan told her her illness was due to wrong teaching.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:42 pm

Eko would lead a band of monks armed with incense into the living space and working space of the monk to purify those areas.

Ha!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:20 pm

"Eko would lead a band of monks armed with incense into the living space and working space of the monk to purify those areas."

How humiliating for the leave-taker. So cruel.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:26 pm

Some great inner thoughts here

This is  the effect of negative teaching

I felt like I was now some vile, putrid thing that had to be exorcised. 

true zen
To study Buddhism is to study the self
To study the self is to forget the self
To forget the self is to become enlightened by all things
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:46 pm

"I felt like I was now some vile, putrid thing that had to be exorcised."

Powerful words, and Michael, your thoughts on "true zen" are a great antidote to such poison.

Mark, I would like to hear more about the shockingly frequent occurrence of chronic fatigue, etc. among monks. At least 3 out of the tiny group of monks who were once at North Cascades suffered from this type of disorder. What is the cause?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:04 pm

Didn't one of SA's senior monks also discuss (in an online dharma talk) having an autoimmune disorder, and state his belief that he was doing it to himself? I will look for the link -  it has been awhile since I heard it.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:30 pm

Carol wrote:
Mark, I would like to hear more about the shockingly frequent occurrence of chronic fatigue, etc. among monks. At least 3 out of the tiny group of monks who were once at North Cascades suffered from this type of disorder. What is the cause?
.
Carol, info about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_fatigue_syndrome

Info about Fibromyalgia can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia

There are no definitive tests for CFS and Fibromyalgia and the diagnosis is one of exclusion.  What this means is they test for other likely conditions first and if the results are negative then it may be called CFS or Fibromyalgia.  I've not experienced either but I have known a few people with one or the other and there appears to be a psychological component.  By that I mean significant psychological stresses that contribute to the physical symptoms.  Given the lifestyle of the OBC monks, which includes piling up conflicts and contradictions on the "back burner" instead of dealing with them, I'm not surprised to hear that a large percentage of them suffer from this sort of condition.


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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:03 pm

Isan, do you know if anyone within the OBC has looked into a possible link between the idea of putting contradictions and conflicts on the "back burner" and the prevalence of autoimmune disorders at SA and NCBP?  I understood at one point that they believed these disorders were caused by deep meditation and reaching an advanced, subtle spiritual state. Maybe I inferred that from some of Koshin's teachings and he didn't intend that.  Anyway,  Lise, I hope you can find the talk you remember seeing on line.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:08 pm

Carol I am not personally in a position to confirm the number of those at Shasta with these disorders. I was repeating a comment made by someone who had recently been to Shasta. Now it maybe true that the exact figure is not 50% but to have received this impression, and I would trust this persons judgement, would imply that there were a disturbing number of sufferers. As you are only too aware from your own family the dystopian outlook that seems to be common in at least some parts of the OBC can do more harm than good. These disorders  are not a sign of spiritual advancement or enlightenment, they are the signs of a dysfunctional, harming and possibly sick organisation. The truth will set you free not plunge you into a morass of spiritual torpor and sickness. This is acidia a well known spiritual illness fully discussed in the  Christian tradition as early as the 4th century by Cassian in his 'Institutes of the Cenobites' (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3507.htm, Book X). Perhaps Shasta should read a copy; for every Benedictine monk the 'Institutes' are required reading during their novitiate.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:33 pm

Carol wrote:
Isan, do you know if anyone within the OBC has looked into a possible link between the idea of putting contradictions and conflicts on the "back burner" and the prevalence of autoimmune disorders at SA and NCBP?  I understood at one point that they believed these disorders were caused by deep meditation and reaching an advanced, subtle spiritual state. Maybe I inferred that from some of Koshin's teachings and he didn't intend that.  Anyway,  Lise, I hope you can find the talk you remember seeing on line.
Carol, the .mpp3 file can be found on SA's site, under "Teaching" and Chosei Swann's talks, here , it is titled "The Noble Eight-fold Path", from 2011. 
http://www.shastaabbey.org/teachings-senior.html#choseiSwann

Somewhere around the 50 minute mark he starts talking about his auto-immune hepatitis disorder.



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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:08 am

I wonder if the problem has been due to self denial or basing their practice on training and disciplining the self
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:20 am

Carol, good question. I think that the cause lies, ultimately, in the OBC’s unconscious collective culture and its shadow dynamic.

Some of the more dramatic consequences of the OBC’s collective culture are well documented on this Forum. As I (and others) have suggested elsewhere, RM Jiyu unintentionally (IMO) introduced her own not fully recognized, or healed, existential fear and trauma into the OBC culture under the guise of teaching. Her fear of criticism, as a perceived form of betrayal, functioned to effectively prohibit the questioning of anything she presented in the name of teaching.

This (IMO) is why Eko’s behavior went unquestioned—and unrecognized.

A less dramatic and less visible consequence of our OBC collective culture is, I think, a kind of constriction that may result from the fear of making a mistake in training—or of believing, saying, or doing anything that is not ‘approved’ (which might then constitute a ‘mistake in training’). An associated fear can be the sense that one’s training is never quite good enough, reinforced by the apparently still common experience of criticism from one’s seniors. As subtle and unconscious as it may be, I think that this constriction can become a form of ‘straightjacket’, leading to a ‘shutting down’ rather than an opening up—and all in the name of spiritual practice.

I think that the ‘straightjacket effect’ of our OBC collective culture, and its shadow, is ultimately debilitating and unsustainable. My hypothesis is that it is a significant causal factor in the unusually high number of ailments now experienced within the Order.

I don’t think that any of this is anyone’s fault. And I don’t think that RM Jiyu intended to introduce what I believe to be her unhealed existential fear and trauma into the collective culture of the OBC. My current opinion is that as detrimental as the cultural shadow causal dynamic has been, and can be, the greatest problem by far, is simply the failure to recognize the presence of the collective (OBC) culture itself.

Accordingly, I think that the nature of the cure is relatively simple and straightforward. All that it requires (IMO) is that the possible existence of a collective culture be recognized so that it can be brought into awareness, as the essential prerequisites for healing and transformation.

With this in mind, I finally completed an article about all of this, entitled: OUR COLLECTIVE OBC CULTURE—and its SHADOW, and emailed it in September to all of the monks for whom I have email addresses, on the day before the beginning of this year’s OBC monastic general meeting at Shasta Abbey.

Two of the people who received the article then pointed out to me that I was only a dusty memory for many monks, and a complete unknown to newer monks, and that if I wanted the article to be taken seriously I should show up in person.

So I did.

Although the monastic general meeting (September 17th to 30th this year) was completely closed to lay practitioners, there was a Sunday afternoon event (on the 22nd) that was open to the public as an opportunity to meet with visiting monks. (Some 50 OBC monks traveled to SA from North America, the UK, and Europe). With Meian and Haryo’s blessing, I drove up from Redding, with Craig, to attend. Despite my article, I was (in my perception) very well received by all.

It was my first visit in over 20 years. (I was determined not to visit until I had finished the article and sent it ahead). The visit, for me, was a completely delightful experience; wonderful to see old friends again and to meet several second generation monks as well. The purpose of my visit was not to talk about the article, but to re-establish a connection. The purpose of a second visit will be to explore the issues raised in the article.

The visit did confirm my suspicion that the very concept of a ‘collective culture’ is non-existent within the OBC’s collective culture itself. Feedback that I’ve received indicates that first generation monks (RMJ’s disciples) and second generation monks, who already recognize the existence of the collective culture, seem to be in substantial agreement with the basic points of the article. I suspect that for monks who do not recognize even the presence of a collective culture, the article simply doesn’t compute.

I am now in the process of rewriting the article to provide a more comprehensive introduction to what (in my opinion) a collective culture is, why all groups and communities have one, how they come about, and why it matters from the standpoint of spiritual practice. This is not part of Buddhist teaching, and as far as I know, it is still a relatively new area of study for psychology and sociology.

My purpose in writing the article is to provide a framework that will, hopefully, make it possible to talk about a topic that cannot presently be discussed (at a collective level within the Order), because it has no currently recognized frame of reference.

When I’ve finished this next edit, I will post the article on the Forum.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:35 am

In a nutshell would you say that was group think and not being able to be outside of that?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:21 am

Michael, yes. I think that all groups, all organizations, all communities, develop a collective sense of identity, a collective culture, a collective self. The more isolated and constrained or constricted a collective culture becomes, the closer it approaches a dynamic of 'group think'.

What seems very clear to me is that individuals within the OBC vary significantly in the extent to which they actually buy in to the cultural 'party line'. I know a fair number of monks in the Order today who do not buy in to it at all, and are not trapped in 'group think'.

The problem is that at the collective level there is presently almost no way to counteract 'group think'--because there is no way to talk about it, and therefore, no way to identify it as such.

I think the situation is like the story of The Emperor's New Clothes. The illusory view that any collective culture creates seems very convincing--until it is suddenly recognized for what it is.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:43 am

Group think is peculiar ,people wear a new uniform that becomes the norm, new words , new names, new views, it seems rather than penetrate meditation and set one self free,the self simply forms a religious identity,strengthened by conformity.
Maezumis disciples all would talk gutterally especially using the word Muji, Mt Baldy monks had an image of being 'mountain monks' I met some western monks in Japan who were on a mission to do something,and they wanted to give the impression that they were severe and they would march around and wanted to talk about kenshos...if any one would listen.
The problems start when one needs a voice and is unable  to find one, Isan's story of standing back and not intervening, is understandable how Mokuan was made to feel vile shows me that,spiritual freedom was not an option  , and the great zen heart of transmission outside the scriptures,was maybe read about in someone else's books
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:09 am

Plodding slowly into the arena of tiredness

SA has managed to never really be challenged or criticized ,It was not allowed under Kennett, some people may have felt felt issues of loyalty, and remained silent, but after all these years voices of discontent can be heard. This may well have cracked the fortress,it may have been a bit of a shock the voices from the past, questioning their life's work. The issues of Eko brought things to the surface,the unimaginable had happened ,the righteous zen sect had flaws after all. rather than put things right the advice sought was ignored maybe more hidden barriers of of we are right are put up . Maybe this fatigue is to be expected.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:54 am

Kozan,

What a wonderful posting you made when you answered Carol`s question !

I thought that was an excellent analysis of Shasta`s (in particular) collective culture and
present situation.  It was heartening to hear that in your view that not all of the monks buy
into the `party line` and reject the group think mentality.  Life is never black and white.....
To me, your views and findings came over as objective, pertinent and above all, agenda free.

I was very impressed to learn of your work in the form of an article, which you call " Our
collective OBC Culture And It`s Shadow" . I hope you will make it available for all to see.

All groups have their Collective Culture..including the OBCC. Dare I say a shadow culture too ?
Although you said that going to Shasta turned out to be a "delightful" experience, I thought
that you really went `The extra mile` there ....considering your sending of your article ahead
of yourself.  It`s very gratifying that a second visit is in order where the issues raised in your
articles will be explored.  At last !  It`s to the credit of all concerned...the people involved in
this forum, the open minded people of the OBC and frankly, your good work that is helping in
a coming together for the resolving of painful issues.
You said.....
I am now in the process of rewriting the article to provide a more comprehensive introduction to what (in my opinion) a collective culture is, why all groups and communities have one, how they come about, and why it matters from the standpoint of spiritual practice. This is not part of Buddhist teaching, and as far as I know, it is still a relatively new area of study for psychology and sociology.


If it`s not, it darn well ought to be !

More power to your elbow, Kozan.....big bow,

Stan.
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George
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:54 am

Kozan said "I think that all groups, all organizations, all communities, develop a collective sense of identity, a collective culture, a collective self. The more isolated and constrained or constricted a collective culture becomes, the closer it approaches a dynamic of 'group think'." Yes, certainly, and I think that we all must have seen and experienced this.  Job group identity and mindset remain powerful, for instance, even when we have put in our day's work, and then gone home to family, friends, hobbies, weekends, holidays.  I don't see how SA, the overall institution, could ever change meaningfully when the cultural members never participate in, or even view, another world.  They are locked in 24 hours a day, not just 8.  The rare individual, perhaps, but the group as a whole?  From my own personal group think, I don't see how it can happen. Instead, I see large groups furiously playing whack-a-mole, never just unplugging the machine.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:21 pm

Carol wrote:
Isan, do you know if anyone within the OBC has looked into a possible link between the idea of putting contradictions and conflicts on the "back burner" and the prevalence of autoimmune disorders at SA and NCBP?  I understood at one point that they believed these disorders were caused by deep meditation and reaching an advanced, subtle spiritual state.
.
Not that I'm aware of Carol, nor did I ever hear anyone suggest that meditation could caused autoimmune disorders or illness in general.


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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:32 pm

Lise wrote:
Quote :
Carol, the .mp3 file can be found on SA's site, under "Teaching" and Chosei Swann's talks, here , it is titled "The Noble Eight-fold Path", from 2011. 
http://www.shastaabbey.org/teachings-senior.html#choseiSwann

Somewhere around the 50 minute mark he starts talking about his auto-immune hepatitis disorder.
.
I listened to that section of Chosei's talk where he expresses the idea that his autoimmune hepatitis is an expression of "attacking himself".  It would be interesting to hear him explain in more detail what he means. 

When I was at Shasta Abbey I would have defined such an illness as an expression of resistance to Jiyu Kennett's teaching.  Now I would consider the possibility that it is the result of being afraid to say no to institutionalized bullying and mind control.


Last edited by Isan on Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:21 pm

I wouldd add to Isans definition with
Blocking and
Blocking the way your heart tells you to go
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:50 pm

Great work Kozan - perhaps we should change your name to Kanzeon clapping
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:13 am

Thank you Stan, Michael, George, and Mark, for your thoughts! (Mark, too many letters for me in your suggested name change. wink)

Lise and Isan, I listened to the beginning and 50 min plus sections of RM Chosei's talk, and have some similar thoughts. I'm off to the airport now for a return flight to California (I've been visiting family and friends here in Illinois for the last week). I'll get back to this thread sometime tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:02 pm

Group think the opium of the masses,I think Stan is right it is everywhere,
kids at playschool learn to be in as you can be bullied if you are out,clubs and teams ,husbands in wives in matching trainers and trackies, worst of all Ethel and Cuthbert
Ethel to Sylvia
'Cuthbert and I always like the same things dont we Curthbert?'
Cuthbert  'Yes Ethel'
'We like the same food'
Yes Ethel
Watch the same soaps
Yes Ethel
You haven't got any opinions of your own have you
Course not dear
But zen should not produce people like this, Zazen people should be their own person, stand strong on their own,not be moved by group think
That is what I think
yes I agree
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:07 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
I wouldd add to Isans definition with
Blocking and
Blocking the way your heart tells you to go
Michael, so would I.

Mokuan, if I could walk into Shasta and make one change, it might be this -  require everybody to cease telling others what "the heart truly wants".  This seems to be a frequent theme, the idea that anyone can know what another has in his or her heart, or "should have".  Respect others. Let your own voice be silent, so they can hear for themselves what their hearts truly want.
 
Now, off to take my own advice for awhile . . .
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:28 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:

" . . .   husbands in wives in matching trainers and trackies
, . . ."
 
Just one more thing, I can't stop smiling at this, abomination though it is. How does this happen, that people get to such a state  funny
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:17 pm

Quote :
 This seems to be a frequent theme, the idea that anyone can know what another has in his or her heart, or "should have".  Respect others. Let your own voice be silent, so they can hear for themselves what their hearts truly want.
Here, here, Lise - 'With the ideal comes the actual like a box with it's lid'. What is in your heart is what is in your heart - the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is where training starts not with some 'party line' self-serving lies. The truth is the truth, is the truth; is what is!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:16 pm

So true, my friends...
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:23 pm

I never intended to suggest that meditation causes autoimmune disorders. I do suspect that these disorders can arise if day in and day out a person is told that "doubt" is a hinderance to spiritual progress, that whatever doesn't seem true must go to the back burner until he/she is ready to understand, and that common sense is wrong unless it conforms to what is taught.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:23 pm

Carol I don't think anyone meant to imply that you did - I certainly didn't. It is more likely to be as you say the constant and continual effort to twist one's beliefs and mind to conform to 'doctrine'. It is interesting to note that doubt is a central part of the koan method, and so central part of the Rinzai and to a lesser extent the Soto traditions. My feeling, though I think on the forum there are those rather better qualified to comment, is that this psychological and spiritual repression both self inflicted and externally imposed is likely to lead to a number of severe problems. I also think it is likely to foster an authoritarian imperative in order to bolster and maintain a psychologically untenable facade.

Everyone that I've known who seemed to have some understanding was open to the questioning and doubts of others. In fact that implacable authoritarianism seems to me to be the hallmark of the false in spiritual teaching. I know that JK was fond of saying 'I may be wrong' but in my experience she did not brook anyone who questioned her in any serious sense.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:58 pm

Good observation, Mark, about psychological and spiritual repression. In my experience, this is a really subtle thing. Not something we can easily observe in ourselves. I always thought that of the 3 poisons - greed, hate, and delusion - that delusion was the trickiest. We can delude ourselves into thinking we are having a deep spiritual experience, that we are being "good" and following the precepts, that being quiet and whispery is somehow spiritually more advanced than a good loud laugh, etc. etc. The best antidote for this is letting go of all opinions, letting go of the "self," but I found this hard to do in the NCBP/SA atmosphere. There was such pressure to conform. Requiring strict conformity in minor things like not drinking out of the wrong cup or standing when the monk entered the room trains the mind to accept teachings on important things whether they are true for you or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:23 am

I do so much agree with you Carol,there is a fine line I think between carrying the teaching around with oneself and living free of all things in this precious moment. I believe there are different types of insights..insight into an explanation, or a particular text,and insight into this present moment.. Insight into this present moment is really awareness of that is unfettered by this weight of our personal self,it can not be a self manipulated insight,it is rather a normal experience of meditation or awareness deepened by natural dropping away of all the silly things you are mentioned.
The instant problem with this type of insight is one tends to pigeon hole it analyse it,think about it and even understand it,all of which create another bit of trickery that we can get lost in.
I think zen practice in some ways needs some further explanation( here we go ) from the varying positions that we live our life from. In Japan I was taught Bedowa,which is I guess at first glance peculiar as it is basing an existence on an ancient existence, after a while it is clearer that actually it is a way of learning mindfulness,of being here in the present moment,of course where else is there to be, of course there is nowhere else to be but our minds do take us to these other places,
Again I do not believe Zen Buddhism is about any other place ,this experience of the present moment although it is our only reality,needs no explanation because in the varying depths it seems to be experienced is always a coming home to who we are.I believe the true way is no dependent of circumstance it is where one is,the practice is to be who one is and the greatness of who one is, in every aspect of our normal life,sometimes I feel that the more difficult ones life the better it is for Zen practice. Out of this practice the compassion love of the Buddha's teaching I believe naturally manifest,everything else for me is everything else.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:30 am

Mike, Carol great! For me practice is about mindfulness, choosing what is - the good, the bad and the ugly. Only then can we choose what might be - the future. Not that it will turn out how we saw it! But it is more likely to turn out closer to it. The explanations that we make in our heads, or receive from others are just stories, made up to try to understand and make sense of the world. This why there are many religions (stories) but only one truth, present reality.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:08 pm

Jumping in for a second - my advice to SA/OBC would be to send EVERYONE on a year sabbatical - everyone leaves, takes off their robes, and goes into that "evil" outer world... visits other Buddhist centers or religious groups, or volunteers in some socially-relevant situation, drops their Zen and "master" personas, gets a job even - imagine that - but hard to imagine that many of these folks have any marketable skills.  Just take a real break from their closed buddha bubble.... like the Amish kids do with Rumpsringa (look it up).  And see what happens.  Then they come back or not.  Up to them.  Admittedly, just leaving isn't necessarily eye opening.  Some people might not interact much and stay contracted, but others might find this sabbatical revelatory.  Hard to imagine that they would ever do such a thing, but if I ran the zoo........
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:06 pm

I like the discussion and insights here on this thread. Thank you. 

As far as what changes I would make if I ran the Abbey show?  Well, if I couldn't close the place down, I would first reguire that everybody wear the same colored robes.  No one would wear the "roshi" tassel, which is equated with being "enlightened" and therefore sets you apart from everyone else.  There would be no titles.  Everyone would be on a first-name basis, even the abbot.  The senior/junior hierarchy would be eliminated for all practical purposes.  Spiritual "accomplishments" wouldn't factor into anything. 

Ceremonies would be minimal.  If you look at the Shasta calendar in recent years, nearly every Sunday is taken up with a celebration of some mythical dieity or another.  There would absolutely be no ceremony allowed that could be mistaken for a worship service.  RMJK would have a once-yearly memorial and not one every month, which I understand happens now.  Teaching would be eliminated; study and discussion introduced.  

These are things that I would do to begin the recovery process of a lost community.   Yes, I would do a radical thing. I'd turn the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives into a place of meditation and contemplation.yes
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