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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

First topic message reminder :


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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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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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:50 pm

those tassels are so incredibly annoying.  when Kennett thought them up and found them somewhere, and made us all wear them, it just seemed like another layer of pomp and glorification.  Who were we trying to impress?  Why the need for more levels of stature and hierarchy?  Whenever such symbols become important, you know things are off track.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:58 pm

Now Mokuan and Josh, you two would really burst the "Buddha Bubble" as Josh calls it!

I doubt SA would survive. NCBP certainly would fight to fend off your efforts, but if you two prevailed as  the rulers, it certainly wouldn't survive either!

Actually, I understand there are Buddhist groups that function as Mokuan describes, but I haven't seen one first hand. I'm pretty reluctant to get involved with any organization that looks like an organization!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:56 am

When I was younger I was very influenced by Buddhist ideas, and especially Zen Buddhism. I was alarmed at the dehumanizing effects of industrialization and consumerism. Like a lot of people, I was drawn to the wonderful nature poetry that Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath were writing. There was a sense of urgency about it, a sense that we must keep our fragile links with nature, that we must not completely abandon ourselves to an enclosed, controlled and virtual world.
 
In the years since then, nothing has changed except that the problem has become much worse. The attraction of Zen, for me, was that Zen was practiced in simple surroundings and in a very physical way that emphasized presence of mind and attention to nature, and the aesthetics of the Zen monastery were very appealing. I read Herrigel, and particularly DT Suzuki. I built a hut and sat zazen in it, often I would sit all night. It seemed to have some effect.
 
At that time I naively assumed that the people founding “Zen Monasteries” in America (mainly) but also occasionally in England and France and other places, were motivated by the same imperative that I felt. The need to create a counterbalance to an increasingly unreal and harmful mental and “spiritual” (if one must use that word) environment. I did visit Throstle Hole for a weekend retreat briefly in 1975 (I think), and I remember the Rev Morgan from that retreat. He was my “guest master”, and he seemed like a thoroughly decent fellow and I had no complaints about him at all. But in the main I couldn’t get along with the practice too well because although there was a lot of energy there, I heard the “Buddha” word too often.
 
Later in my life I worked for the peace movement for a while, and one of my campaigns was run in Comiso, Sicily. There were a groups of Buddhist monks there that I got quite friendly with, they were primarily formed to campaign against nuclear arms because their founder had been at Hiroshima when the A-bombs was exploded. They all lived very simply, in an abandoned farm building, each monk had a bedding roll and few personal belongings, maybe a few photos and a little drum. Which was rather how I expected a monk to live. After all, you expect a surgeon to be able to carry out operations and you expect a pianist to be able to play the piano, but what do you expect a monk to be able to do? A monk is merely someone who has renounced the world, so you would expect a monk to have renounced the world.
 
One day I went for a walk with one of these monks and we sat under a tree and I talked about my interest in Buddhism and I said that I thought there were some positive things happening in American, with the founding of Zen Monasteries like Tassajara Springs. “Oh”, she said, “We hate those people.”
 
At the time I still didn’t understand why.
 
Anyway, as it happens I was deflected from becoming more heavily involved in Zen Buddhism, although quite by chance later in my life I lived for a couple of months in the Shaolin Temple, but when I went there I didn’t even know it was a Buddhist Temple, much less the first temple where Zen was practiced in the East. But the people there were people who had grown up with Buddhism so they were no more sinister than my Catholic neighbours here in Ireland. They no more believed that the priest was a repository of mysterious knowledge than my educated Catholic neighbours believe that their priest knows the divine will.
 
From my present perspective I feel very sad that westerners haven’t made a better thing out of “Zen Buddhism” – it could have been something very liberating in the sense that it could have been a way of providing urban peasants with a way of getting out of their surroundings every now and then and into quiet and inspiring surroundings for a bit of quiet sitting and manual labour, which might either calm them and improve the blood pressure or, who knows, have produced moments of inspiration or even religious bliss.
 
Instead it seems to have become a huge career market out of which masses of mediocre people have made excellent livings peddling “wisdom” which occasionally rises to the level of greeting-card platitudes, and much on the same level as the kind of Billy Graham stuff we used to laugh at in school. The fact that words deriving from Sanskrit, Japanese and Chinese are used to cleverly disguise it as nonsense, can hardly fool anyone who takes the trouble to look at it analytically.
 
But what started me off on this rant was the question of the “roshi-tassel”. It seems to me there is a very important question here and it’s not whether or not everyone is equal and on first name terms and discusses everything in a democratic way. It’s the question of what it means to be given a certain responsibility in an organization. For example, if I go to a library, I expect the librarian to be able to help me find and order books, which he or she may do well or not so well. I also won’t be surprised if the librarian tells me to shut up if I start talking in the stacks. Because that’s the librarian’s job. Personally the kind of librarian I like is the librarian who does that job and not the kind who wears a clown outfit and reads out the names of the books I am ordering at the top of his voice when I check out my books, still less the one who detains me from my business by trying to engage me in a democratic discussion about how he should index his library. This is called “keeping your personality out of the job”. All efficient people know how to keep their personalities out of their jobs, that’s what professionalism means.
 
So it always seemed to me that if someone was a Zen priest living in a temple, that their function would be to make the temple a suitable environment for anyone who wanted to meditate and to make the place run (i.e. order supplies, keep the books). If I go to a library I shut up of the librarian asks me to. If I go to a political demonstration I move on if the stewards tell me to, if I come to a police roadblock I assume there is trouble and I stop my car, I don’t assume the librarian / steward / police officer have superior wisdom to myself but in the context in which they have authority I yield to them.
 
And isn’t this, really, what “egolessness” means? It’s not really a mystical state of perfection (because such a state is really a will-o-the-wisp), it’s something much simpler, it’s just getting on with what we have to do in a professional and detached way and not letting the quirks of our own personality intrude. And the quirks of your personality would include your own delusion that you understand and can demonstrate what “Nothingness” means or whatever other delusion you happen to have.
 
I would imagine a monastery run by egoless monks just to be a place where you could go without fear of being contaminated in your meditation by someone else’s notion of what “Buddha Nature” means, or “Sunyata” or some garbage like that.
 
Surely a monk living in a monastery is someone who has chosen that life because they like living that way. If I go to a monastery for a retreat I will do as the monks tell me in order not to disturb the function of the monastery, not because I assume that they have “superior wisdom” to me. A monk may or may not acquire some kind of wisdom in the course of a long cloistered life, I would certainly hope that we all acquire some sort of wisdom in the course of whatever lives we choose to lead, but surely, for the most part, that is a private matter. I can no more impart the contents of my speechless heart to you than I can light candles from an icicle. Anyone living in a monastery should be there because they prefer that way of living and if there is any other motive that’s surely a recipe, sooner or later, for disaster.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:33 am

Yes interesting points Tufsoft.

I just want to go back to the last item I wrote,about lining in the present,and just say how fortunate we are to discuss and be here in the present, A lot of peoples lives are very complex and difficult. Not only do they not have the opportunity to join in the discussion,but it is far more comfortable for them to live in their hopes and dreams,I would not like to think I removed myself from people in difficult circumstances.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:47 pm

tufsoft wrote:
Surely a monk living in a monastery is someone who has chosen that life because they like living that way. If I go to a monastery for a retreat I will do as the monks tell me in order not to disturb the function of the monastery, not because I assume that they have “superior wisdom” to me. A monk may or may not acquire some kind of wisdom in the course of a long cloistered life, I would certainly hope that we all acquire some sort of wisdom in the course of whatever lives we choose to lead, but surely, for the most part, that is a private matter. I can no more impart the contents of my speechless heart to you than I can light candles from an icicle. Anyone living in a monastery should be there because they prefer that way of living and if there is any other motive that’s surely a recipe, sooner or later, for disaster.
.
Many interesting thoughts.  Regarding the way people view Zen Buddhist monks I believe it would be the exception to not initially perceive them as possessing superior wisdom.  It is baked into the literature that practicing Zen is about experiencing Enlightenment and that the Zen monk points the way for others.  The latter in particular underlies a lot of magical thinking.

It is not possible for the average person to see a monk as another ordinary person doing a specific job.  The Zen paradigm is similar to Roman Catholicism where the priest is the intermediary between man and God.  You are expected to revere and be dependent upon them, not think of them as wise peers.  Over time Jiyu Kennett made the OBC more and more hierarchical which increased the disparity between people.  I believe this accounts for the dearth of independent thinking and the extreme resistance to change.  You were fortunate to meet a group of monks who didn't subscribe to all of the above.

As to people living in a monastery because they actually prefer it, sadly that isn't always the case.  It was my experience that over time some people lost confidence in their ability to live outside the monastery and they stayed because it was "the devil they knew".

Isan


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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:15 pm

Mokuan

Great recommendations.

Imagine a place where everyone's BS meter didn't have to be set on mute..
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:51 pm

mokuan wrote:
. . . No one would wear the "roshi" tassel, which is equated with being "enlightened" and therefore sets you apart from everyone else.  . . .
 

Yesterday I was awarded a VT by certain peers (virtual tassel, lives in cyberspace only) and am moved to commemorate the occasion thusly:

silky red tassel
I have you, my precious prize

or do you have me


I will rely on ChisanMichael and all, for critique.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:32 pm

virtual red tassel
true gift, more real than self
autumn, delusion
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:02 pm

Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:50 am

message to self
'Don't get fooled again'
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:41 am

Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:52 am

This is the first time I've looked here for so long. Nice to see so many familiar faces, so to speak.  This comment is in regard to a point made earlier in this thread about CFS, fibromyalgia, etc, and how 50% of the monks in OBC seem to have it. I was told by "my monk" that fibro etc was a sign of advanced spirituality. It seemed to be in synch with what the guy in Northwest Buddhist Priory was teaching at the time...Koshin? That as you progressed you would be "miserable" because since all we were doing in life was cleaning up bad karma how we could feel anything but sadness and misery? The more advanced you were, the worse karma and the greater amounts of it you got to undertake to clean! Hence fibromyalgia, CFS and the like.  Poor little karma-cleaning machines, reluctant little bodhisttvas, the higher they were and the  more effectively they worked the more miserable and sick they got! How twisted is that? It is taking the idea that we are here to fulfill karma to a diabolical level, and a remarkably limited one at that.

This was one of the breaking points for me with my teacher and OBC. I began to suspect that Koshin was...nuts, and my teacher was enthralled by his every word. When I listened to his online dharma talk on the above topic I had to protest and that was not well received. It amazes me now how much good these folks had access to and how badly they muffed it. These aren't evil people. Proof that the ego never rests. Especially when the hierarchy system is so intrenched that people actually accept their edict that one can never question the Zen Master. Stunted from the onset.  I look back and wonder how I ever fell for it at all? It's not much removed from the Bhagwan.

Hi guys!

PS Really enjoyed reading "tusoft"s entry above.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:48 pm

polly wrote:
The more advanced you were, the worse karma and the greater amounts of it you got to undertake to clean! Hence fibromyalgia, CFS and the like.  Poor little karma-cleaning machines, reluctant little bodhisttvas, the higher they were and the  more effectively they worked the more miserable and sick they got! How twisted is that? It is taking the idea that we are here to fulfill karma to a diabolical level, and a remarkably limited one at that.
hiya Polly, what a nice Thursday surprise, to see you here.  I agree re: Tufsoft - hope we hear more out of that one.

The idea of fulfilling karma to a diabolical level -    I heard echoes of this at SA during a monk's talk in the Guesthouse. If everyone could "realise they have everything they need within themselves", they wouldn't feel compelled to chase partners, breed, etc.  They would be enlightened, which is much better. Extending that line of reasoning for myself (I kept quiet during the talk), if everyone sought "enlightenment" in that way, the human race goes extinct.  This is why we were given these beautiful biological forms?  To purge any more editions from the planet? What kind of arrogant rubbish is that, from a religion? Seriously. The monk who gave that talk disrobed and is now married, btw. There goes his shot at enlightenment.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:55 pm

funny That just Cracks me up.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:28 pm

I like the female beautiful biological form
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:23 pm

Michael, you rascal, you never let us down . . . I knew I could count on you.  It's like setting a bag of crisps in front of you and then counting the seconds till I see a hand in the bag funny
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:36 pm

Ha ha
it blows apart all this living now when I am sooo predictable
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:46 pm

the narrative - the more enlightened you are, the physically sicker you become -- that's a new one i think.  I hadn't heard that before.  Actually, that's the opposite of the official Buddha narrative.  But I guess the Shasta bunch had to come up with a story that glorified their physical maladies.  I do think that when there is a culture of severe emotional repression, it could lead to some physical problems - there is no scientific evidence I guess, and I don't see this as something mystical, more related to how your body/mind handles constant stress, sadness, depression, unacknowledged anxiety, lack of some of the positive effects of touching, and so on.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:45 pm

Well, some of that theory is mine. I put the ideas of two different monks together, so I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Shasta bunch thought that way. Fibro/CFS was presented to me as an occupational hazard of the Zen monk and a badge of honor since so many really advanced monks had it. I put that together with Koshin's teachings on how miserable one should expect to be when advancing on the path. As far as a likely reason for the illness to be so widespread, no one seems to know much about that yet, It has shifted in the medical world from a sign of a failed human being to a true illness, thank heaven. Clinical depression for the reasons you state, Josh, is extremely similar, so on the whole I would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:04 pm

This is teaching people to be sick in body, speech and mind. It seems that they are saying: I have a spiritual illness ( in this case acedia ) therefore it must be a sign of my enlightenment. Next of course it follows that anyone who is not sick can't be enlightened. What self-serving, dangerous and harmful drivel. It's time they came to their senses and gave up leaching off the laity they so seem to despise and, as we know in at least one case, abuse.

The dharma is a wonderful thing, paradoxically both simple and difficult to understand, that they are turning it into a poisonous travesty.

Mmm ....now what was it I was saying about right speech?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:13 pm

The impression at NCBP (I don't know if actually a teaching or just came about through casual remarks) was that the more spiritually advanced a person became, the more suffering and troubles arose. It had something to do with "asking for it" by engaging in deep meditation. It was suggested that the reason RMJ had so many troubles was that she was so enlightened. The Boddhisatva vow was bound to make your life miserable.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:45 pm

polly wrote:
Well, some of that theory is mine. I put the ideas of two different monks together, so I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Shasta bunch thought that way. Fibro/CFS was presented to me as an occupational hazard of the Zen monk and a badge of honor since so many really advanced monks had it.
.
Polly, by "really advanced" do you mean monks with high ranks?  As to Fibro/CFS being seen as a badge of honor I find that a significant reversal of Jiyu Kennett's teaching at least up until my departure in 84.  While I was there she held the traditional (and I believe correct) view that deepening meditation helped to free the mind and body from illness.  I wonder if she changed her view or if the monks created this belief after she was gone?  In any case I can see them needing a way to rationalize the illness since they cannot allow themselves to question and change the lifestyle which is causing it.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:50 pm

Get your pens and paper out for our annual PUB QUIZ

Question 1.Which  religious group (only 1 please)says the more advanced you are increases the ability to drink vast amounts of alcohol.

Question 2. Which religious group ( different answer from question 1 please)says the more advanced you are increases the  sexual drive to an unheard of degree.

That's all the questions for tonight folks now whose gonna start the kareoke this time,first song up
'I did it my way
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:20 am

Polly, Lise, Josh, Mark, Michael, Isan, and Carol: I think that all of your observations are right on the mark here!

I personally observed the proliferation, over the years, of the collective belief that "deepening insight leads to the taking on of ever more collective karma"--which therefore needs healing--leading, it now appears, to ever more illness for practitioners. (Isan--excellent observation that this was not part of RMJKs original teaching!)

I think that this opinion is simply delusional.

I have no argument with the underlying principle that deepening insight should lead to the taking on of ever more karma that needs healing--but not by personally and subjectively wallowing in it!

I think the issue here is: how can we understand the root causal dynamic of global-existential-economic-ecological crisis and suffering--so that we can actually heal and transform it?

My personal conviction is that this is what Buddhism can and should be about.

I must confess that I have great optimism for what I believe to be the innate ability of my dear friends, in the OBC Sangha, to eventually recognize all of this.

This optimism in turn is based on the always compelling insights provided unerringly by all of you--indeed by all of us here--on OBC Connect!
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:14 am

Kozan, since you recently visited the Abbey, can you update us on the OBC's view of OBCC? Is it considered off limits for monks to read? Does OBCC still meet with disapproval because people criticize RMJ? I recall that the one monk who used to participate in OBcC (Seikai) didn't like hearing his master criticized and eventually stopped writing here.

There is amazing insight and wisdom on this forum.  I would hope that some of the monks might see that there is useful teaching here. Also some practical suggestions on now the OBC might operate in a more inclusive  way. Is there some "official" OBC position on this forum? Is it forbidden fruit?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:08 am

Carol, wonderful questions! (I will attempt a brief response now, as well as I can, before retiring!)

In the broadest sense, I would say that the diversity of opinions about OBC Connect among monks, are as diverse as the opinions about the OBC are amongst those of us who post here.

At one point in time, RM Daishin Morgan (reportedly) required everyone who wanted to become a postulant, to sit down at their computer and read as many threads on OBC Connect as they could manage.

During my recent visit to the Abbey, at one point in our conversation, RM Haryo (implicitly referring to the question you asked, within the equally implicit context of OBC Connect) stated that the OBC officially acknowledges that RM Jiyu made mistakes.

I would say that RM Seikai stepped back from participation on this Forum not because he disliked criticism of RMJK, but out of frustration that there was not a larger framework in place for addressing the underlying causal dynamics of what I have come to regard as the collective unconscious culture of the OBC--and (as Josh accurately points out) its shadow-dynamic.

I completed a preliminary draft article about this, and sent it ahead, before my SA visit.

The article itself has continued to evolve, daily.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:30 am

yes good stuff
What are the mistakes that are officially recogized that Kennett made?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:22 am

In response to Isan's question, "really advanced" came from a conversation that named a specific OBC monk, who I was told was a "saint", and many other OBC monks who I thought of as high-ranking as having fibro/CFS. From my viewpoint high-ranking may not have meant the same thing to me as it would to you. All you Zen Masters were high ranking, right? At any rate it sounded like a sure sign of success. But I also think this conversation was meant to comfort me since I had recently been diagnosed with fibro. Since at the time it appealed to my ego, it briefly kind of did. Me and the saints.

Koshin gave a long dharma talk on the subject of why and how spiritual advancement caused such misery. It was available online but I'm not even sure now of what year that was. Perhaps the summer of 2008 or '09. His talks seemed during that time to be increasingly dark and inconsistent. The concept of group, national and global karma was not part of the discussion. I never got that from either his or Jiyu-Kennet's teachings and yet it explains some of the points I found so unsettling in both. Or perhaps I just didn't get it. I thought Kennet's and Koshin's religion wildly inconsistent and joyless in the extreme.

Please remember that I was only exposed to a limited part of the OBC and I have no idea if these ideas were common or specific to my corner. I'm sure that those involved would tell you I twisted the works, misunderstood the lot. If you didn't agree it always meant you were too spiritually remedial to get the point.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:53 am

Carol wrote:
The impression at NCBP (I don't know if actually a teaching or just came about through casual remarks) was that the more spiritually advanced a person became, the more suffering and troubles arose. It had something to do with "asking for it" by engaging in deep meditation. It was suggested that the reason RMJ had so many troubles was that she was so enlightened. The Boddhisatva vow was bound to make your life miserable.
.
Jiyu Kennett had troubles not because she asked for them in deep meditation, but because she intentionally overworked herself.  She used to tell a story about a monk who was advised by doctors to stop working so hard or he was going to kill himself.  The monk replied it was his purpose to teach and died a few months later.  Telling this story was JK's way of making a statement about "training", ie people were supposed to put their training before any concern for health and life.  She intentionally created an environment where people were chronically sleep deprived and forced to work.  The health problems that the monks at SA suffer from now are the result of submitting to an abusive lifestyle and not from deep meditation or the Bodhisattva vow.  Over the years meditation has helped to improve my health, not worsen it.  Of course I also make a point of getting enough sleep and managing my stress, etc.  I exercise my right to make those choices.  The monks do not.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:43 pm

Jiyu Kennett had troubles not because she asked for them in deep meditation, but because she intentionally overworked herself


Sorry dont agree with that Kennett had troubles, no excuses ...she had problems..issues mainly with other people
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:10 pm

From the commentary to the 10th ox-herding picture:
Barefooted and naked of breast, I mingle with the people of the world. 
My clothes are ragged and dust-laden, and I am ever blissful. 
I use no magic to extend my life; 
Now, before me, the dead trees become alive. 

Comment: Inside my gate, a thousand sages do not know me. The beauty of my garden is invisible. Why should one search for the footprints of the patriarchs? I go to the market place with my wine bottle and return home with my staff. I visit the wine shop and the market, and everyone I look upon becomes enlightened.

Mmm... odd, no mention of anything like fibro/CFS, in fact the chap seems quite happy and at ease. SA should be looking to their true heritage, not making one up to fit their symptoms. Symptons that point to spiritual disease not enlightenment.


Part of the problem is as Josh has said overwork. Also a number of them are contemporaries of Josh, Kozan and me, so past most peoples retirement age (and a very happy coming birthday to you both). It must be very bleak for them. So I do have some feeling for them but at the moment they seem to be spreading their disease rather than for a cure, or helping to cure others.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:56 pm

"Happy and at ease," as Mark says, is a good way to be - both spiritually and physically. Enforced work (physical labor and otherwise) with inadequate rest is a recipe for ill health.

 I spent several week-long retreats at Shasta and had a lot of trouble with the lack of joyful exercise. If I was assigned to wood hauling or something that involved physical effort during working meditation, it wasn't so bad. But meditating 4 - 6 hours a day and then getting assigned to some kind of office work (one time I was assigned to spend hours unstapling invoices and bits of paper) is very hard physically and mentally.

I used to sneak into the woods behind the guest house and surreptitiously do yoga. It felt wonderful. But it was not an approved "rest" activity, so it seemed best to do the exercise quietly rather than ask someone if it was okay. My friend -- who was accustomed to a vigorous daily run -- was told she was not allowed to jog within the perimeter of the Abby. Since you weren't allowed to leave the Abby grounds either, if you wanted to exercise, you were left with walking meditation. This isn't healthy for someone who is used to the joy of physical exercise.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:05 pm

Polly wrote: "Koshin gave a long dharma talk on the subject of why and how spiritual advancement caused such misery. . . . His talks seemed during that time to be increasingly dark and inconsistent. The concept of group, national and global karma was not part of the discussion. I never got that from either his or Jiyu-Kennet's teachings and yet it explains some of the points I found so unsettling in both. Or perhaps I just didn't get it. I thought Kennet's and Koshin's religion wildly inconsistent and joyless in the extreme."

"Joyless, dark, and inconsistent" does not seem like a great path to enlightenment. But Polly, the fault does not lie with you or that you just "didn't get it." I thought for years I "didn't get it" because I was spiritually inferior to the monks and the more "advanced" lay ministers (they got to wear brown kesas, after all.)

We were always taught that if you didn't "get it," you were not spiritually enough advanced to understand. It's taken me years to begin to see that just isn't true. Learning and spiritual development can be kind, gentle, joyful, easy. Spiritual development -- or "advancement" (what a strange concept for a religion that teaches the goal of goal-lessness) -- doesn't have to be harsh and punitive, i.e. implying that you're just not far enough along to "get it." Especially Soto Zen, which we learned was the religion of farmers, not scholars, doesn't need to be attached to red kesas, purple robes, levels of high-and- even-higher masters, "saints," Bodisattva, etc. Everyone is equal spiritually whether you wear brown robes, purples robes, a business suit, or blue jeans.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:57 pm

today's babble -- I got IT... and IT was the realization how limited and contracted the Shasta scene was and to get out.  I got it and i got out.  Every day I am grateful for that insight and that I had the good sense to act on it and leave.  Good for me.  And many of you got IT.  Good for all those here also that followed their own integrity. 

I agree, in my experience Shasta and Kennett were joyless and loveless... they might have talked about Fugen and love, but this was 98% conceptual, in daily life, almost zero kindness or love .. and this blocked feeling was an expression of Kennett's upbringing, her shadow, she didn't know any better, but that does not excuse her lack of self-awareness and her addiction to dominating everyone around her. 

One other point.  Many gurus and "masters" have this addiction to thinking that they know EVERYTHING.  They are addicted to telling their students what to do, what's going on, how they are broken and precisely how they need to be fixed, and so on.  Here's the rub.  It is almost always nonsense.  But when disciples become regressed children, they fall into believing everything, even when it doesn't make sense or they can't independently verify what's said.  Also, in such states, as we all know, there is no room to disagree, say, What?  Saying No is not an option.  So, when someone gets sick, the guru - who is by definition omniscient - can say - you are sick because in your past life you killed a deer - and disciples bow and say Wow!  It's so specific, it must be true.  The guru has supernatural insight, can read my mind, and of course, wouldn't just make that up. In fact, it is not hard to get the disciple to even have dreams about killing the deer - and that will "verify" the guru's proclamation.  It's a closed loop, a distortion bubble.  Everybody in the system is lost in a story, a seemingly big "spiritual" narrative with divine beings and supernatural abilities and certainty.  Certainty is the dis-ease.  You are freed from the terrible state of "not knowing," of living in mystery, of uncertainty.  of wonder.

Or when the monks are ill, the "master" can say, you are purifying your bad karma so its all good - don't go see a doctor.  More meditation.  Recite this mantra.  he guru has certainty.  The guru knows.  You don't.  That's the game.  Question the rules of this game and terrible things will have to you - or at least that's what you are told - but isn't that part of the rules?  The rules say - question the rules and you will suffer -   Lifetimes burning or living as a rat.  Question and you are killing the Buddha, lack faith, are doomed, will go insane. 

But what happens when there is no story, no certainty, when you live in "don't know"?  What happens when neither the "master" nor you don't have all the answers?  What happens when you stop constantly seeking for answers and just live in the question, in mystery, in wonder?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:44 pm

Well Interesting Carol, What is nice about you writing is it is clear you are growing in spiritual confidence , and dispelling so many zen master myths as you go
Dont get it, well dont get wha? perhaps reading the heart sutra or one line of it, may be a single word, might help.
Personally I dont mind the long hours of sitting or hard working,i did an 18 hour day last week at work as we had so much to do,and we were loading a lorry at 10pm,Zen temples are not always the toughest places, sometimes everyday life is,our family and friends live and die before us. However to say this is or is not zen,is a little like following the footprints of a hippopotamus.
Fun was not always easy to come by in temples, tired ,sore legs, hungry ,the morning work crew chopping logs,unfortunately without words I started off the try and split the log with 1 hit. So we are laughing and joking a bit of Sumu wrestling,some jokes and memories of somewhere else are shared,well we broke the rules everyone would know...we had great comrederie.great spirit, we were together, despite different positions and roles we were equal we were not divided by deluded thoughts and principles we were being guided by the gentle teachings of the Buddha but did we get it or try to get I did not see that,was our lives lived to the full ,I think we had a good go
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:28 pm

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity. –Gilda Radner

and

My religion is not deceiving myself. ~ Milarepa
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:13 pm

Zen Graffiti

wake up zazen pickled plums 
work zazen sleep
wake up zazen pickled plums

Wake up zazen pickled plumbs
work zazen sleep
wake up zazen cornflakes

Now thats not true zen
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:46 pm

Hi Chisanmichaelhughes,

I told you I would share something that Eko taught me.  So here is one example. 

     I have been afraid of heights since I can remember.  When I was a child, my brother took great delight in swinging the car on the aerial tram over Disneyland and terrifying me, or mentioning the recent airplane crashes as we were boarding an airplane, and other ways to trigger my fear of heights.  When I was younger, I blamed his teasing and actions for my fear, but as I grew older, I realized he was just taking advantage of a wonderful opportunity to tease a younger sister who was conveniently afraid of high places.

     I talked to Eko about this fear and how to deal with fear in general.  He gave me the usual teaching about sitting with the fear and allowing it to arise, not pushing it a way, or trying to figure it out, just letting it arise.  He spent quite a while and was very specific in his instructions.  He also told me about an experience when he had done the same thing with anger and how it had worked for him. 

     The next spring I went on a cruise with my husband and in-laws to Alaska.  Since my father-in-law could not walk very far, we signed up for the handicapped friendly outings when we were in ports.  One was a train ride to a vista point.  When we arrived I found that the railway ride was an antique railroad with a very narrow track, an antique train, and it was going to go up the side of a canyon.  The track had been laid on a narrow path carved in the side of the rock canyon wall.  Because the track was so narrow, from the inside the train appeared to hang out over the side of the cliff.

I didn’t get too frightened at that point, I just sat on the side of the train that was up against the rock wall and didn’t look out the windows on the other side that showed the view of the canyon, unpleasand, but not terrible.  The ride started at the bottom where near the town, and then climbed to the top of the canyon.  At the top, we were told that the train didn’t actually turn around.  The seats flipped over and faced the other direction so the rear of the train became the front of the train.  Then the announcer stated that so that the people sitting on the canyone wall side hadn’t had the opportunity to enjoy the view, we should all change sides thereby switching views.  The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the side that felt like it was hanging off a sheer precipice looking down to the bottom of the canyon.

I panicked.  I felt the fear coming up and I felt completely trapped.  I was in a terrifying situation and couldn’t see any way out of it.  I remembered what Eko had told me and thought I might as well try it, as I didn’t really have another choice except to have a panic attack.  So I sat there and breathed in and out, let go of conscious thinking and let the fear and panic grow and grow.  It spread through my chest, and into my arms and legs.  My entire body was engulfed in fear and the more I breathed the more the fear grew and grew and grew and I just kept breathing and breathing and breathing and the fear kept growing and growing and I wasn’t going to stop even if I died of the fear.  I made up my mind to keep on letting it grow and not try to stop it no matter what happened.

Then it just kind of flowed out the tips of my fingers and melted away.   There I was, breathing and NO FEAR.  The fear was gone.  Completely.  So I thought I would just test it out.  I told my husband I was going out to the platform between the railroad cars and asked if he wanted to come too.  He didn’t believe me at first, but he came with me. 

I went out between the cars and leaned over the edge and felt the icy cold air in my face.  Then I looked out over the canyon, covered with snow and ice, and saw the most overwhelmingly beautiful, awesome view I have ever seen.  There we were in Alaska, in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with the most amazing view I have ever seen and I finally understood why people went on trips like this. For the first time in my life I could look out from a high place and just enjoy the cold air in my face and the panoramic view.

But even more incredible was the change in my life.  I had never realized how my fear of heights permeated my life.  I can now stay in a hotel on an upper floor and not avoid the window. I can ride in an elevator with clear walls in an airport and enjoy the ride. I can pick cherries from a fruit picking ladder and have a good time. I can take a drive through the mountains and look out over the cliff and still be happy and calm and on and on and on. 

I know this is a basic Buddhist teaching, just let things arise, abide, and pass.  But I had never realized how profound that teaching is until Eko instructed me to use it in this particular situation in this particular way. 

After I became a monk, I kept using this same, simple method.  Eko was having favorites and I was consumed with jealousy, just sit and breath and let the jealousy grow and grow until it filled me and then flowed away.  Many times it would come with memories of extreme jealousy and hurt feelings in my past that I had just repressed and refused to think about because I found them too painful.  My feelings are hurt by something a senior monk said, just sit and let the hurt grow and grow and keep breathing and breathing.  Feel the hurt finally melt away leaving behind it profound peace.  This is not dissociating, this is not repressing, this is Buddhist training. This is what Eko taught me at the monastery. 

On the one hand everything that causes fear and pain is an opportunity for training, an opportunity to let go of opinion, self, pain and jealousy.  On the other hand, to use this teaching as an excuse to avoid dealing with what is going wrong in the monastery is a dangerous and harmful practice.

Sophia
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:25 pm

Michal and Josh, you're right there is no "IT" to get. We just live our lives. E.S. Eliot wrote these lines:

Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,

You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know

You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess

You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not

You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:29 pm

Thank you, Sophia, for sharing that experience on the tram. (I don't like high places either!) The s tory is a good lesson in meditation. It also illustrates the value of much of Eko's teaching.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:40 am

Hi Sophia,

I never fully realized what "sitting with" something meant or really how to do it. Sitting with your fear on the tram was a wonderful example. Thank you for clarifying the matter for me.

In gassho
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:04 am

Good poem Carol
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:14 am

Hi Sophia,
thanks for sharing your story,and it is nice to know that what Eko showed you worked with you.
We dont have tall buildings where I live,and a few years ago I went to Hong Kong i went up the tallest building there,it was a simple into the foyer,into the lift what seemed like 10 second and out of the lift. same shaped room as the foyer,and I wander over to the window,and physically froze as my brain could not take in the sudden view change and incredible height,I stepped back and was amazed that everyone else was carrying on as normal,i felt I wanted to show them the view, you know as if they had not seen it,but to work in that environment is another world for me.
Where I live is slightly behind the curve but I like that
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:04 am

I think also Sophie that there are very fine lines in what we have discussed here over the last few years, and not only here on other websites mainly in America.  So many dodgy have been exposed, for stepping over a line, it seems that it is the line of sex and power,  today you have spoken of not being able to voice your concerns as SA and told the old black and white story.
For me these outings and criticisms, are signs of a generation not only growing up,but also realizing their own meditation points in a clearer way than their teachers.Why should some one own the right to saying this is how it should be,and you are not allowed a say because of this or that, why should a coloured robe and title give one an edge on inheriting wisdom.
realization is non dependant,an environment may be created,Buddhist principles applied, but for me realization is outside of the scriptures and religious form and culture..This whole business of growing groups zendo techniques,big mind little mind,controlling people ,power trips,sexual frustration,sort of takes us away from simply meditating
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:56 am

Lots of interesting thinking here.

Related to various Josh words

Two ideas that I've come to see very clearly.

Josh wrote:
But what happens when there is no story, no certainty, when you live in "don't know"?  What happens when neither the "master" nor you don't have all the answers?  What happens when you stop constantly seeking for answers and just live in the question, in mystery, in wonder?
That is an insight that has taken many years to accept. Zennies talk about "letting go of everything," but like the ordinary person, they won't give up the idea they know stuff for sure. Acknowledging at a fundamental level we don't know for sure is the scariest idea of all -- because our very survival depends on "knowing stuff." I'm not advocating deliberate ignorance; I'm advocating being brutally honest that we don't know for sure most of what we claim to know.

The second idea is that OBC Buddhism was like a fifth grade school with no possibility of graduation. In that grade we were taught about solar system like atoms with electrons whizzing about a nucleus. That was "enlightening." It jarred us awake from the macro world our senses encountered and opened up the possibility that things really weren't as they seemed to be. OBC Zen had the useful effect of countering some of the usual assumptions I'd made, and opening my mind to new possibilities. But then it stopped. It just wanted me to stay there with the "OBC Answer Book" for the remainder of my life -- no more exploration -- only a dedicated shackling of mind to the OBC fifth grade answers. I left the OBC because even then I could see freedom wasn't about living in a better prison.

Related to Carol's writing ...

Though TS Eliot, being a devout Episcopal, may have shuddered at the idea of writing Zen in the profound poetry of his "Four Quatrains," it is in my judgment one of the most elegantly expressions of Zen Buddhism in Western language.

TS Eliot wrote:
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
Better Zen than almost all the Zen books I've read.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:24 pm

Thanks, Jack. I thought I had found "fixity" when I started with OBC Buddhism. I guess not. But learning that we live in the uncertainty, the not-knowing is, as Eliot says, figuring out that there is only the still point and "only the dance."

I was struck to that Eliot, that conservative renegade, was a Buddhist inside.
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June99



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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:06 pm

I just find it suspicious how "Cronic Fatigue" re-occurs over and over again as an ailment amongst the monks.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:36 pm

Kozan wrote:
... During my recent visit to the Abbey, at one point in our conversation, RM Haryo (implicitly referring to the question you asked, within the equally implicit context of OBC Connect) stated that the OBC officially acknowledges that RM Jiyu made mistakes.

I would say that RM Seikai stepped back from participation on this Forum not because he disliked criticism of RMJK, but out of frustration that there was not a larger framework in place for addressing the underlying causal dynamics of what I have come to regard as the collective unconscious culture of the OBC--and (as Josh accurately points out) its shadow-dynamic........
I want to say a few things on "the idea of collective unconscious culture of the OBC and its shadow" ...
and I want to start by looking briefly at the Western flavors of consciousness (I am very conscious of the Lakavatara Sutra, but I don't want to surf the big waves right now).
 
Unconscious
Is there, can there be, an unconscious culture (I can ignore the tern collective since culture is collective … and I think it was George Orwell who said insanity is a culture of one). I do not think the question can be answered. And any attempt to answer this question would generate a paralogism (Immanuel Kant). Any proposition made in the attempt to answer this question can never resolve itself into a claim of truth or of falsity due to the limitations of access. Thoughts, motivations, etc. can all be in the unconscious but not culture, in the sense of the meaning of culture as being that of a horizon of participation.
 
Subconscious
Is there, can there be, a subconscious culture. I would say that that is not possible, again understanding culture as being that of a horizon of participation.
 
Culture is built upon the subconscious; indeed I think that it can be argued that the subconscious is the true totem (abstract entity) of Western civilization as a the Platonic accomplishment of setting abstraction as a basic feature of the horizon of our existence.
 
Preconscious
Is there, can there be, a preconscious culture. I would say that culture is too often experienced as precociousness by some of its members; and that the true life and vitality of culture is in its members rising into conscious participation in their culture. This is the heart of the love of wisdom: philosophy.
 
But I recall, when I was at Shasta Abbey, the casual dismissal of philosophy and the intellectual as inappropriate use of mind; or as I would prefer to say, an unauthorized use of the mind.
 
So when there is a view that one disparages intellectual life as a crude bias -- this being a position propagated by Zen – you have a point of view that can only be vulnerable to the sad excesses of fundamentalism.
 
When the Chinese Buddhist experienced their last genocide, did not the Buddhist sects that remained adopt the teaching of those sects that were exterminated and today you can find Chinese teachers being linage holders to more than one sect. What a noble and truly Buddhist way to deal with the dead. They bind their former "competitors" to their practice, to finally become non-competitive.
 
Now I want to turn briefly to your idea of the shadow -- the darkness accompanying the light, alive only on the periphery. It is brilliant and poetic image. But the shadow is also unmasked in the very strategies of practice.
 
1 - Is OBC a cult? I have already explained on this forum why (IMO) it is not. But does the OBC possess the seeds from which a cult can grow and thrive?
 
The answer (IMO) is yes. Here are some Zen /OBC ideas that are such seeds:
1.1 - The Master of a disciple is the living Buddha.
1.2 - The Master as enlightened and the disciple as ignorant. ("simultaneously with the universe" must in a galaxy far far away. The real point here is that in all religions devotees temporarily take on negative descriptors (sinner, ignorant) as a social ritual of transformation and acceptance into the group. But when people take on negative descriptors permanently you have mental health issues and your bus ride to paradise just went south)
1.3 - When I was at the Abbey there was the free floating belief that seniority was synonymous with greater insight: so (in general terms) seniors were de facto better than their juniors. I personally only ever met 3 monks who were consciously out of step with this particular piece of background noise.
1.4 - Buddhist teaching is so precious and so rare to come by, that its presence can only be addressed by utter and avid submission. (After all, who wants to wait another 100,000 kalpas for the next bus … this is how desperate a good student must be! But, metaphysically, the maximum duration of an effect is 84,000 kalpas ... my point, the use of 100,000 is an absurdity since the maximum duration of cause and effect is set at 84,000 kalpas, which is just suppose to mean an incomprehensibly long time; the number is qualitative not quantitative: other qualitative number are some, a lot, many .... when you use numeric values for qualitative references you can create a lot of logical confusion and Indian metaphysics has a beautiful array of such artifacts ... but I digress)
1.5 – The problem of ignorance is that the temporal is taken as a refuge (not that we may require more than one temporal refuge, with an understanding that behind/beneath the temporal is the light of eternity which we may desire as a refuge but in fact it cannot actually be that. (Hagel wrecked the concept of "the Eternal" for me so I just can't bring myself to use it … I positively dislike "the Eternal").
1.6 - Enlightenment as a flight from the burden to claim one's humanity (The very last thing I would ever want to do is meet another enlightened person. Give me someone who is struggling to just be human).
 
For me another key example of the strategy of the shadow (can somebody play the Star Wars theme song  please) is in the following little story:
 
The claim is made that conflict in communication is, in the Buddhist context, inappropriate and the desire is to speak and communicate positively and with care and blah blah blah.
 
In sociology it is well established that when you create rules, you also create the capacity for rule breaking.
 
But the gentle teaching, which appears by all appearances to just being gentle, is saying that you cannot disagree ... why … because disagreement is conflict.
 
So you see: if a teacher said, you are not to disagree, that teacher is being irresponsibly clear and precise. But when a teacher preaches about conflict as a problem in Buddhist training (an OBC theme from the beginning) you the listener and aspiring disciple will extrapolate the lesson of compliance and submission in the privacy of your own thoughts and you will then be the architect of your own cell (monks like to live in cells) and you will self-regulate, self-criticize ... indeed you will sublimate and/or disassociate ... and you will end up making conflict your mode of being-in-the-world, all wrapped in a shell of peacefulness ... attacking yourself at every turn and calling it training ... until your teacher authorizes that you have successfully completed your training. But new Zen habits die hard.
 
Why has the teaching of peace and unity in the OBC given birth to so much conflict, strife, pain and suffering? What is wrong with peace and unity?!
 
I will impatiently give the answer (time is too precious to waste):
 
Help is morally pure. Help is never a bad thing.
 
But Help, all too often, can be a pedagogy of violence: the purpose of this violence is to teach people a lesson.
 
The reason that I walk in the Shaolin tradition is that it takes the study of violence as a key practice: both the violence we can be surrounded by and the violence that arises from within. And what else is violence but suffering.
 
But how to overcome violence -- this is the koan of daily life. And judging by the news being repeated on this forum year after year, it seems to be the daily life of religions (old and new).
 
In the modern world the citizen can live in a peace that is supported by, dependent on, a serious military might.
 
Peace is neither absolute nor ultimate -- but we so desperately seek it or seek to preserve it. It seems to be a human need that all too often we are willing to kill for it or die for it (directly or by those acting on our behalf).
 
CAN WE LIVE FOR PEACE?
 
... I imagine a spiritual teacher as someone who brings and gives a lasting peace to those willing to accept and to those willing to reject.
 
 


Last edited by albertfuller on Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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polly

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:45 pm

That was a beautiful piece of reasoning. Thanks for making the effort and taking the time.
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pete x. berkeley

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PostSubject: Re: Is Daishin Morgan retiring?   Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:42 pm

Albert: I remember a guy that got way-peeved at me for keeping one desk lamp on after lights-out, at Shasta
(I was visiting).  He was some kind of regular.  He had that canvas judo suit of the layman.  That was during a drought year. With the water shortage, they didn't want us flushing the toilet everytime it was used. 
 
I was drawing out the plans for making a weighted stopcock/flapper valve, with a dixie cup, washers, and hot wax poured in to hold the washers in place, with the dixie cup.  You unscrew the copper rod from the flapper valve (this was the old plumbing) punch it through the center of the waxed washers in the dixie cup, and the toilet only flushes when you hold the handle down.  So you can highly regulate the flow...and not keep biohazard around for the next guy to ponder...and splash aboot.

In any case, some guy in my little barracks just about pounced me for leaking over into the enforced darkness...but I 'splained I was leaving in the AM, and "had" to get this done. I don't know if they ever implemented it--the monk I gave the drawing and text to seemed rather nonplussed.  I think it was Rev. Shiko Rom.  Not her bailiwick, was it? Wasn't she a nurse?

But this is always the problem with theory versus practice, yes?  It may be that theory is just a different kind of practice, like Aquinas trying to reason out the nature of God, or someone trying to find the mathematical combinations for disciple-master interactions...that practice of mind is scratching one kind of itch.  Trying to take the tension out of toilet flushing/water-saving is another kind of practice.

Maybe if we put all the cards back in the deck after each hand, and reshuffled, we would be more efficient and effective.  I find I've lived, ulp, for decades--in discomfort--by not properly tidying up my house.  My w.o.t.t. (wife of the time) did it, and I never learned from her.  Left to myself, I keep everything.  Holding every physical thing is not that much different from holding every thought.  I need to trust that the universe will let me get stuff again, should I need it...and let stuff flow through me (so hard!) not wash up at my bend of the river...

and maybe the same with thoughts, theory, and the terms...I don't understand your distaste for "The Eternal" but I admit, I can't look at medical pictures...so I've got distastes too...still? I hope my doctors can! 

Just like that guy who chested me up and seemed ready to paste me over trying to help...it wasn't his thing, to modify a toilet, so it wasn't going to go down on his turf?  He had taken the strict rules of Shasta Abbey to be his turf.

I had taken the improvement of Shasta Abbey to be my turf, and had only one thing to offer -- which actually my genius brother taught me, so it wasn't even "mine."

Interesting as it is to ride over hedgerows at full gallop in your steeplechase of thought and theory, I'm wondering: Have you made this your turf?  To defend in all its dimensions?

if not--could you say it one more time, just the chorus, so we can sing along like the "lineman for the county" who hears his babe singing in the wires (she must be some 220 Volt babe) !
thanks, Albert!
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