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 Rev. Bridin Rusins

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Lise
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PostSubject: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:25 pm

First topic message reminder :

From Shasta Abbey's news section , posted 12 October 2013:

"We are sorry to say that Rev. Bridin departed from the Abbey on October 9th, to take up to a year’s leave of absence, both for medical reasons and to clarify her spiritual purpose. She left on good terms, and we support her in this decision and hope she will return. We are grateful for her 16 years of training with us, and wish her well."

I hope her health improves -
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:24 am

H Sophia wrote:
After a while, how many monks do you think do anything but agree with the Abbot when asked for their feedback on anything going on at the Monastery.

There is also favoritism by Masters that have more than one disciple.  One spends much more time with the Master, accompanies the master on more outings, is invited to tea much more than the other.  That gives the subtle message that the favored trainee is a "better" trainee, a more sincere trainee, a more enlightened trainee.  And then without realizing it, the community starts treating the two trainees differently.  It's not unlike sibling rivalry which gets out of hand when parents have a favorite.  Family dynamics that get out of hand because the family isn't aware of them.
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You have articulated the issue of favoritism well.  It is perhaps worth noting that this has been going on at Shasta Abbey from the very beginning.  This is precisely how Jiyu Kennett operated and the monks are simply perpetuating what they learned.  The reason why the FTI process could not change anything at Shasta Abbey is because most of what needed to change had nothing to do with Eko.  As you say people continue to leave because "they can no longer participate in an organization that won't look at itself honestly and make needed changes."  Jiyu Kennett taught that loyalty to her took precedence over everything else.  That's how it has been playing out since the 70s.


Last edited by Isan on Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:52 am

Gosh some good posts.  However
Amongst the masturbation, tea and outings with the masters,favoritism,historical issues avoided in the brief to the FTI, Sophia is pointed in the right direction,I think that is great news,but although it is highly personal,Sophia,I would love it if you would tell me what that means
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:26 pm

I have to say Lise your writing about Mike Little did make me wince a bit,but it has left me wondering why there are so many sexual problems, in society and religion I suppose one reflects the other. How did the connection of power creep into religions that inspire one to be humble and lead a tender life. Why indeed do people equate sex with power over others, maybe we have an historic gene to violate and conquer, and normal loving and kind seems something that has been forgotten. I still smile when I think of Todd remember Josh's version of Jesus with a boyfriend scenario. I have not read any detail but I think the Dalai Lama suggesting a new approach to religion that reflected the modern time is  well worth a look at.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:21 pm

Sophia, you say that SA viewed the FTI report as one sided and biased. This is ALWAYs and inevitably the case when a narrow scope is given to the investigation, which is often why it's done. The FTI remit was not to look into what was going right at SA, or at SA in general. Their remit was to look at what might be wrong in a very narrow and circumscribed area. Given the mess they fround it's not surprising that the report was negative. If SA wanted a more positive and 'unbiased' report they should have given them a more open remit and asked for comments on what was going right as well as what was going wrong. But then they might have been even more worried about an 'unbiased' conclusion. No, a report that is basically negative is much more easily dismissed as biased and having misunderstood SA, and then with some minor improvements, such as the treatment of people AFTER they have left, relegated to the dustbin.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:23 pm

I have a small bee in my bonnet this morning re: the details around M. Little's behaviour, as a result of (once more) responding to an email from someone who thinks the whole thing was a made-up story. I get a handful of those communications each year or so, from people who went to the Abbey once or twice years ago, haven't kept up with the doings there, and are then very indignant & outraged when they run across this forum and start reading just a little bit about Eko. I wish they'd read a LOT of what's on the forum before emailing me with their protests, but alas, no. I should probably quit responding, since it seems to wind me up each time I write back to someone about it. I notice that I'm using more graphic terms now than I used to, maybe to help drive the point home that this behaviour doesn't need delicate wording simply because the perpetrator wore special robes and sat in the biggest chair in the Buddha Hall.  Nonetheless, I am sorry if my comments came across as distasteful or too jarring. I will blame some of that on the spicy tomato juice/vodka I had with breakfast this morning funny
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:32 pm

Oh my, Jesus and Todd. Thanks for that, Michael - it's always good to revisit one of Josh's gems -

" . . . we do love our religious stories and myths and do not like it when they are challenged with another counter story or myth. I hope they find a papyrus that says Jesus had a boyfriend named Todd. That would definitely be a great monkey wrench."


thread

http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t585-jesus-had-a-wife-or-so-says-a-fourth-century-papyrus
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:47 pm

Hi Lise, 

I was there. My friends were harmed, both lay and monk. Give them my email address. I will talk to them personally. 

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:51 pm

Lise re the Vodka  for breakfast and using more graphic terms now than you used to..maybe some of us worldly mendicants especially with spelling rude words backwards in an attempt to get past the electronic sensors has led you astray......cant say I'm sorry!
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:36 pm

the above should say electronic censor the way I spelt it created a blue link to ebay where they sold sensors,
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:31 pm

Lise,

You mentioned eko wore special robes and sat in the biggest chair.  Don't forget, he also wore a tassel.  He's special:clapping
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:47 am

I am not so fussed about the chairs and tassels it comes down to what was actually going on, it seems so many 'teachers' have been on a ridiculous path of pretence

Is it
With tassels and chairs the heart sutra
Is passed on

Is it
With words and culture that the stone maiden
Dances
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:06 am

Sophia, that is kind, to offer to respond to some of these people, but I warn you it is not fun to deal with and it really sucks energy from you if you get too involved. But the next time I get one, I will check in with you and see if you want to have a go. Be sure to use an alternate email address to correspond from.

Ha, Michael, I do think I'm picking up certain habits after hanging around the OBCC Pub this long funny  Or has the inclination always been there, and I'm ready to try being less prissy  . .  . hmm.


Mokuan wrote:

You mentioned eko wore special robes and sat in the biggest chair.  Don't forget, he also wore a tassel.  He's special:
Special?!  That's PeeWee's Secret Word of the Day  -   everybody scream real loud!!!!!!!  Hehehe. [See the link below if you don't know about PeeWee or the Secret Word.]

Mokuan, forgive me for being silly while I go off on this tangent - the word "special" has triggered all kinds of funny stuff for me. Until recently it has been on the very banned list at Shasta Abbey. Not sure why or how they developed such antipathy to it, but the group-think surrounding this innocent word had grown to a ridiculous level in recent years.  R. Meian even used it in a dharma talk while mis-quoting Jiyu Kennett and the goldfish she tried to give Koho Zenji. (Meian kept using the word "special" instead of "perfect".) The word became demonized somehow, I think they gave it the connotation of a thing set apart from other things, or having an allure of delusion and attachment --  it was just silly, to keep hearing them putting down the use of it, as if a word itself is wrong.  Then something changed slightly, and in one of Daishin Yalon's dharma talks he said "dare I use the word . . . special . . ."  I wish someone in the audience had piped up, "yes RM Daishin, you may dare to use the word. It's not evil and it won't bite you." Maybe someone did get hold of them and point this out, finally.

Off to work, happy Monday, all -

SPECIAL!!!!

PeeWee Herman's secret word /

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pee-wee%27s_Playhouse

Each episode usually contained a running gag particular to that episode, and/or a specific event or dilemma that would send Pee-wee into an emotional frenzy. The show had many recurring gags, themes and devices. For example, at the beginning of each episode, viewers were told the day's "secret word" (often issued by Conky the Robot) and were instructed to "scream real loud" every time a character on the show said the word. Pee-wee would always say the word himself at the end of the episode, just before launching himself and his scooter out of the playhouse through a hidden exit.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:18 am

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
I am not so fussed about the chairs and tassels it comes down to what was actually going on, it seems so many 'teachers' have been on a ridiculous path of pretence

Is it
With tassels and chairs the heart sutra
Is passed on

Is it
With words and culture that the stone maiden
Dances
Maybe we should come into the temple blindfolded, so that no visual cues intercede.  Imagine being free of the knowledge of who is tasseled, or not, and where they sit or stand in the seniority lineup. "What is learned" might finally get a fair chance to sink or swim, on its merits -
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:06 am

Maybe we should come into the temple blindfolded, so that no visual cues intercede.  Imagine being free of the knowledge of who is tasseled, or not, and where they sit or stand in the seniority lineup. "What is learned" might finally get a fair chance to sink or swim, on its merits -


very interesting Lise, my take is that there has been thousands of very sincerely people, who have looked to  zen or a spiritual path  over the last 40 years,hopefully some have found their way through the strange behavior and misinterpretation of the way,maybe this is how it has always been, That  is not good enough,I feel here and other websites we have hit the myth of teachers and teaching hard,hopefully it will help us all see the way more clearly for ourselves.


Other points the special or perfect goldfish,it is the koan of the last 40 years teachers who excuse themselves by saying they are imperfect therefore my behaviour is OK,and others that create huge facades and pretend to be perfect to the gullible, I wonder if the story of the goldfish actually meant mix in with the temple dont isolate yourself, i saw this, the first westerners  I met in japan wanted to keep apart, keep separate,they wanted their truth their understanding, they did not want to be challenged,did not want their limitations examined,which is fair enough


final point then cuppa tea...we like less prissy!
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:10 am

Hi Chisan,

Not sure what is unclear, so I will just start explaining what I meant and see if that helps. 

tea with the master – when a disciple has a question or an issue they are struggling with and feel they need help, they can ask to have tea with their master.  This is a time when the Master and Disciple sit down together and have a cup of tea and talk about whatever is on the trainee’s mind.  This kind of one on one talking about one’s training and asking for guidance can be an invaluable help to the trainee and it also helps the Zen Master know what is going on with the trainee’s training and how the trainee is doing.

As a Chaplain, I was around the Abbot, who was also my Zen Master, every day, so if I was having a problem or needed help, he would just invite me into the lounge for a cup of tea and we would talk,( I was a favorite). 
If another novice monk wanted to have an individual talk, they put in a request with the Chaplains and it was passed on to the Abbot.  If  the monk was a favorite, the monk would be invited to the Abbot’s for tea within a day or two.  If they were not a favorite, they were put in the next scheduled slot and it could be weeks before their appointed tea came to pass.  Of course, no one knew who was having tea with the Abbot and when, and weren’t supposed to talk about it, so only the Chaplains who were doing the schedule could really see the pattern of favoritism that existed.
If it ever came up, the Abbot would just say this monk’s problem was more urgent so this monk was seen sooner.  It was nothing you could ever actually ever pin down if you were inclined to point out the favoritism going on, it was just something you could see happening on a daily basis.  It was obvious, and yet, nothing that couldn’t be explained away with “their problem was more urgent”  “I had something in particular I wanted to talk to that person about,” etc etc. Who cares if it’s always the female disciples that he has time to see right away and never the male disciples?  He has tea with everyone every term and that’s all the male disciples need.
I always thought, if they would just stop denying it and fess up, we would all have been more forgiving.

The common apology by the Masters at the Abbey is something like this.  “Well, monks aren’t perfect, we’re only human, we make mistakes, too.”  Well, actually, that is not an apology, that is an excuse.  An apology is, “Yes, I did that.  I’m so sorry, I was wrong to do that and I will try very hard never to do that again.”

To me an apology carries with it the intention to stop doing the thing you are apologizing for, an intention to see how what happened, happened and make sure it doesn’t continue.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:28 pm

Hi Sophia,
Thanks for explaining that,this is all new to me I did not know that went on,I guess if people want this and it helps them then they want it and it helps them.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:45 am

Hello Most Very Great Revernd Teachers,
This is the best discussion we have had on OBCC for a long time. Thanks to Sophia for getting the ball rolling on this one. New faces (or whatever-you-call-us) are great!
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 am

Lise, I don't get what these people are writing you about? Do they think Eko is being maligned?
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:08 am

Sophia did the situation with favorites carry on after Eko left?

For me the basis of Buddhism is the complete equality of all beings,the only way this can be taught is if it is lived, I think the real issue of living the teaching or even living or not living amy realisation of aspects of zazen seems to be what we have spent a lot of time discussing here
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:11 am

Carol wrote:
Lise, I don't get what these people are writing you about? Do they think Eko is being maligned?
Hi Carol  -  yes, they seem to think that what is written here are the wild accusations/fantasies of deranged former followers. My guess is they read a little bit of one thread and an emotional response comes up and they react to that emotion by sending an irate email right away, instead of exploring the site further or perhaps checking SA or the OBC's own websites first, for references to Michael Little. Mark is right about the need to bring the various threads into one place in an organised fashion - that would probably help readers get a clearer picture in one read.

Some people seem quite attached to the image of Eko as they saw him on their two retreats at the Abbey in the 90s, or whenever - they enjoy the blissed-out memory of a fun weekend at an odd little place in NorCal and the talks by such a wise Zen master. I understand the dismay of getting bad news about someone you enjoyed meeting; no getting round it, that's an unpleasant shock.

The other common theme in these emails runs along the lines of "even if this is true, how dare you write about it".  As we know, some Buddhist practitioners have a view of right speech that means you don't say anything negative ever, no matter the reason, esp. in relation to anything Buddhist. They overlook the fact that OBCC is not a Buddhist forum and is not founded on "the Precepts", and certainly not anyone's rigid interpretation of specific Precepts  - another item that blows their minds.  I feel sorry that they are so indoctrinated and mind-washed that they feel no one can ever criticise the "Zen master" no matter what. How sad to be labouring under that delusion all the time. Sometimes I ask them, "What kind of Zen master was Mike Little for the last umpteen years of his abbacy, when he was abusing disciples?"  I think SA even stripped him of his "Rev. Master" title eventually, after he left. Probably ought to back-date that one, you'd think.

I'm rambling, but there's the essence of it. I feel sympathy and exasperation for these people who so badly want their Disney version of Shasta & Eko to be true.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:06 pm

"I'm rambling, but there's the essence of it. I feel sympathy and exasperation for these people who so badly want their Disney version of Shasta & Eko to be true."


I am sorry that you are being so pointlessly harassed. The whole mess at Shasta is a hard one to swallow.


I ended up at Shasta after a couple of years of vipassana retreats and sitting with a zen group. I went to an introductory retreat in Jan 2000 and took the precepts that April. I really felt like I'd come "home". I really connected with something there.


I attended 2 or 3 retreats a year for 7 years ago, until I had to stop due to family illnesses and an aging mother. After a 3-year absence, I got on the Shasta website in Oct 2010 to check on upcoming retreats and encountered RM Meian's statement about the resignation of RM Eko. A real shock. Then I found the comments about Eko's delusion he was Jesus. Believe me, I never would have gone to Shasta had I known that.


I always enjoyed the former RM Eko's dharma talks, and the ceremonies and everything about the Abbey. I had no idea of what was really going on. I probably knew some of the women who talked with him on the phone. I also knew a few monks who ordained under him. It has been incredibly shocking and painful to have my Disney version of Shasta blown out of the water.


In gassho
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:32 pm

Lise - Of course the argument that we should all keep quiet about what we consider to be malign things going on is in my view, apart from being tosh, not 'right speech' itself. The intent of the right speech precept is, as far as I can see, twofold as in the old preceptual summary of 'refrain from evil and do only good'. Something which of course we all fail at because we are human but it is a good touchstone to start looking at serious matters like this.
 
Eko's behavior was more than merely reprehensible. It was for the people concerned a complete betrayal of the trust in him that he had said they could and should have. It seems that this was part and parcel of his general behavior and that for some reason seniors at SA turned a blind eye; this makes them party to his actions. I think that it is a great mistake to think that right speech does not include silence because it does. Silence, particularly deliberate silence, is just as much a part of what is meant by right speech as talking or writing. And just as turning a blind eye could, and in this case has, led to considerable harm, so to can speech, including silence. Silence, weasel  words and special pleas for respect for precepts are just ways of avoiding confronting the truth and not right speech. I'm sure we have all done it at times but that does not excuse such behavior, especially not in an organisation like the OBC that holds itself up as expressing higher ideals. The truth is that monks are just ordinary people who have dedicated their lives to a particular way; and which it seems they then ask the rest of the world to pay for, but which of course only they are qualified to judge on! However when they systematically don't live, or even try to live, to those ideals whilst saying that their life embodies them, then it becomes a duty, both in right speech and right action, to bring attention to their actions and warn others so they are less likely to be led astray. Do you refrain from warning someone that a snake is in their path for fear that the snake might get harmed? I don't think so. And so it is here. Eko, and as has been reported elsewhere on OBC Connect many others, have done untold damage to people, directly and also indirectly in the despondency, confusion and despair that they caused. For the sake of others, and the dharma, and the sangha, warnings need to given so that even more harm can be avoided. People can then make up their own minds on how they will react to the warnings.

[oh dear, on my hobby horse again I fear!]
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:35 pm

Hi,
In answer to your question, yes, favoritism is still going on at the Abbey.  Not necessarily in exactly the same way, but it is certainly still going on in very visible ways.  I can't give any details because the people involved are still there.

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:16 pm

I witnessed the same kind of favoritism in the priories as well, springing from the same source I'm sure.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:11 pm

Souds like a bull chasing it's own tail
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:57 pm

Mark, I've a hobby horse from the same bloodline, and he's the noisiest one in the barn.  Yes, if only for the reason that warnings are what reasonable humans do for each other, there is and always will be value in having public discussions and pointing out risks. People remain free to do as they like, anyway, and they will.  

Hi Kat, welcome to the forum.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:40 pm

I have an idea about why some people are such loyal supporters of the Abbey and don’t believe what’s said on OBC Connect while others are very disillusioned about what goes on there.

I was, for a long time, completely devoted to Eko, the other monks at the Abbey, the Abbey itself, and the OBC.  To me they epitomized Buddhist training.  They were devoting their lives to the training, the monastery, and the lay trainees that came to stay there.

There were several incidents when monks tried to warn me.  One senior monk, who has since left, spoke with me in the cloister when most of the other monks were at Throssel for a conclave.  I was actually a postulant at the time.  This monk told me that she was worried that if Eko kept on in the way he was headed he could cause such a rift in the Order that it could mean the end of the OBC.

Another time, I was talking with a different monk, who has since left, about Eko and she warned me that some day he would turn into someone else right before my eyes. That when this happened I would see that he was not really what he appeared to be to me now.

These conversations occurred periodically while I was at the Abbey, but I just thought that these monks were being hypercritical, were disgruntled for some unknown reason, or were just plain mistaken.

Then one day I realized that Eko was lying to RM Meian right in front of me about what was occurring at his house with the lay woman he later left to be with.  It wasn’t that anything wrong was going on, just that he would tell RM Meian that she had come down and worked in the garden with the Chaplains when she had actually been in the garden having tea with him all afternoon while the Chaplains were in the house.  Another time he told her this person had come to help the Chaplains and had worked in the house when she and Eko had actually been having tea in the lounge all afternoon, talking and laughing.

So it wasn’t the activities that bothered me, it was the fact that he was lying to the Vice Abbess in front of me.  So one afternoon I asked him not to lie to her in front of me anymore.  I told him that if he wanted to lie to her, to please do it in private because when I was in the room and didn’t speak up, I felt complicit.

He lost his temper and yelled at me.  He said that if he had to watch every single word he said and be completely accurate in everything he said in front of me I should go find a different master.  Then he accused me of “black and white” thinking and being rigid about rules and inflexible.  The basic message of the conversation was that if I wanted to stay his disciple I needed keep quiet about his lying.

This reaction was so opposite to his teaching that I was shocked.  When as I sat by myself afterwards, I remembered all the lies he had told that I had ignored, all the things that he was doing that were unfair but had been explained away as wise teaching and “skillful means” and suddenly everything made sense.  I realized that instead of being teaching methods they were just him getting what he wanted and explaining away his behavior.  The more I sat there the more incidents I remembered that had actually been cruel and selfish behavior, not skillful means.  I was amazed that I had not seen it before. I guess that he had helped me so much that I just hadn’t wanted to see it.

To this day I am both grateful and appalled.  I’m grateful for the teaching I received from him and appalled at his behavior and how harmful his behavior could be.  I realize now that most of the monks that had left, left because they had seen his behavior and either they could no longer go along with it, or had confronted him and been asked to leave.

It kind of reminds me of the novel by John Grisham, The Firm.  Everyone at the firm remembered the day that they had realized that the firm they worked for was not the wonderful place they had believed it to be.  I will never forget the day I realized Eko was not who I had thought he was. 

I went to RM Meian to talk to her about his lying and what he had said to me.  But as soon as I brought up the subject of Eko she started talking about my “black and white thinking” and inflexibility.  I realized that Eko had gotten to her first and successfully discredited anything I might tell her.  If you questioned him at all he would discredit you in order to protect himself from criticism.  All of you that have been discredited know what I am talking about.

So it is easy for me to understand why some people are shocked and dismayed at the things we are saying about the Abbey and Eko.  I was one of them.  Even after Eko left I was still very loyal to the OBC and believed them when they said things would change and this kind of thing would never be allowed to happen again.  It wasn’t until the Interim Board disbanded and the Abbey announced that they were all “moving forward” that I realized they had lied to me about this also.

Please understand that the reason Eko was asked to leave had to do with much graver wrongdoings than lying to the Vice Abbess.  What I just told about took place before any of that had come to light.  It was just the tip of the iceberg.

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:53 pm

Sophia, I marvel at your ability to have come through an experience like this with your functioning self intact (I hope you feel that is the case). I'm sat here wondering what I would have done after seeing/listening to Eko's lies about Kimberly and knowing he took it to the degree of feeding misinformation to Meian, to discredit you.  Your comments help put more pieces together.  At times I have wondered if the man didn't realise exactly what was happening with himself and the lay woman, but this incident shows he knew he was doing wrong, when it was going on, and he felt he had to cover it up. I am still amazed that he could reconcile this somehow with "preceptual behavior".  Or was he long past caring about that?

I haven't heard much about this "moving forward" announcement. I wonder why anyone felt the need to say such a thing -  of course time and life move everybody forward from the place where we were,  no matter what.  What do you think this meant?  Is it that they feel everything is set to rights now and they don't want to hear more about their errors?  If so this seems very odd to me. Actions speak louder than words, don't they?
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:11 pm

I can't remember the exact wording but it was referring to the whole Eko/FTI report episode.  It was something like we are putting that behind us and moving forward, or moving on.  Does anyone remember the exact wording?  I'll try to find the e-mail.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:39 am

my take on this it reminds me of kennett,Her version of Buddhism was right,her version of kensho had to be right her version of Japan ,of the Buddhist society. Mark Josh Gensho me onwards onwards
 What I learnt later was that  zazen has no versions,there are no befores and afters,good teaching  bad teaching,favorites and normals,the very thing we strive to attain, getting it not getting it, does does not have the substance of dust.
 Moving on getting over it,pulling our selves together,are the chants of the local football teams
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:28 am

I think my objection is with the idea that because pain and suffering are opportunities to let go of self, it is ok to treat others in an unkind way. They can just view it as an opportunity. I always heard, "Where there is suffering, there is self." So if you are suffering because of the way you saw someone else treated, or suffering because of the way some one treated me it is an opportunity to let go of self. 

But, actually, treating someone badly, lying, acting without consideration of someone else's well being is a sign of self, too.  It is not wise teaching. It is not providing someone with an opportunity, it is acting from a selfish place while claiming to be a teacher.

I'm reading a book called Eat, Sleep, Sit.  It's written by a person that spent over a year at Eihejii being abused in the name of Buddhist training. It's interesting reading. It makes Shasta Abbey sound like a luxury resort.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:53 am

I have a different take on what you wrote aboute suffering. I agree I am appalled by anyone saying where there is suffering there is self so we have some peculiar right to be nasty. this is nothing to do with Buddhism,
By practicing simply sitting it is very quickly seen that attachment to our thought leads us away fro the reality of here,and that everything we are attached to eventually stops,changes ,ends or dies.As human beings we can not escape this,it is the human condition. We do not stop loving our friends and loved ones because one day we will be sad, life ending befre our eyes is life and attachmnet to it causes sadness,seeing other peoples sadness because of the twists and turns the comings and goings of life,if we are in touch with our hearts makes us just as sad as the people or living beings involved,this is because with simply meditation we can identify with all beings.we all live and die.The gateway to deeper meditation is to recognise our connection with all beings,and our lives will naturally be transformed through compassion and love.
trying to transform somebody else or even oneself by thriving in suffering is being aalittle misguided.
zen temples in japan are quite difficult places to live in,if everyones heart is in the right place,it will be a great place to be
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:03 pm

H Sophia wrote:

I think my objection is with the idea that because pain and suffering are opportunities to let go of self, it is ok to treat others in an unkind way. They can just view it as an opportunity. I always heard, "Where there is suffering, there is self." So if you are suffering because of the way you saw someone else treated, or suffering because of the way some one treated me it is an opportunity to let go of self. 

But, actually, treating someone badly, lying, acting without consideration of someone else's well being is a sign of self, too.  It is not wise teaching. It is not providing someone with an opportunity, it is acting from a selfish place while claiming to be a teacher.
.
I feel that this is really the heart of the problem in the OBC.  Intentionally manipulating people to provide them with opportunities to "let go of self" may initially seem helpful, but the constant "being cruel to be kind" is ultimately crippling.  It is not understood that although one can let go of self there is still accumulating injury which over time can lead to despair.  In the ordinary world we are naturally presented with opportunities to let go of self.  It is a dangerous conceit to manufacture cruelty for the supposed benefit others.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:32 pm

Yep life is already here there is no need to look elsewhere for it
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:37 pm

back to Sophia being accused of "black and white thinking."  Black and white thinking epitomized Kennett.  Either you absolutely devoted to her or you betrayed her, you were her favorite, or in a past life you rejected her.  When you read Myozen's account, you see this with Kennett from the earliest days.. Also Sophia's account - how sad and unnecessary.  You see how impossible it was to have a simple honest conversation... for Eko or the leadership (and Kennett before) there to simply acknowledge a problem or issue and deal with directly, with honesty and respect.  "I am uncomfortable when you lie in front of me."  - that's a fairly simple communication.  If someone I worked with said that to me now, it would stop me and we would have a serious conversation.  The lack of even the most basic emotional intelligence is striking - and not unusual in cultic situation like this.. where they have no skills at having a direct encounter.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:59 pm

Taking your comments qne step further Josh,in this sort of situation I do not see how can there be any real spiritual growth when one is stifled at source in such ways
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:41 pm

Sophia wrote:
I think my objection is with the idea that because pain and suffering are opportunities to let go of self, it is ok to treat others in an unkind way.
But then so are joy and happiness opportunities, so maybe it's OK to bring others joy and happiness. Mmm ... wasn't there something about the Bodhisattva vow, and do only good? In some very real sense everything is an opportunity but in times of great joy and in times of great pain it is easy to be swept away by the emotion of the moment and become self-absorbed. It is all too easy to take almost any teaching and twist it up side down. For instance St Augustine said "Love and do as you will". Now I'm not a great admirer of Augustine but that is a fine turn of phrase. However in the hands of the misguided it led to immense harm. They took it as an excuse for great license.

One of the reasons I'm not fond of Augustine is that he often carried with him the taint of his Manichean, dualistic upbringing. And it is clear from what Sophia and others have said that the OBC, particularly it seems at SA, have become mired in dualism. Good against evil, black against white, enlightened against deluded. The picture presented is of being stuck in the third ox-herding picture, with its strenuous effort to catch the bull, and the even greater effort to try to tame it; the dualism between the trainee and his true self. Ah, well back to the 'God of Fire' again I see.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:42 am

i completely agree,it is difficult to see or hear exactly what the teaching is at SA. one has to go on what they do , how they live. but it does seem that zen training seems to be translated catching and taming the bull, remember Daishin in his defence of Kennett saying she could spot n ego at 100 yards ( well at least someone else's) the black and white story the stories of denial.
Outside of Shasta the stories of the groping teachers seems  to be in the market place you can do what you like.
All the shunning and controlling aspects that we saw is much easier to do when the trainees are constantly told to catch and train their bull and let go of their own selves..All of which actually takes one away from basically following ones heart. Good for Sophia for saying dont lie in front of me,not sure which picture that come from but it seems excellent zen to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:16 am

Reading this thread, perhaps particularly the things H. Sophia wrote, has done much to clarify my experience with OBC and its lingering effects. I recognize all these things she speaks of, the favortism, the "where there is hurt there is self" mentality, and much more. I had an an incredibly confusing and damaging experience and I see that I have been unsure of how to process this even up to today. (How long does this go on?) I was encouraged to tell "my monk" Everything about myself, all my innermost tender and afflicted parts and then she turned around and used them against me. And I was working with the "good" monks, the ones who are mentioned in various posts as being somehow separate from all the nastiness. I now believe that anyone still under the OBC umbrella has to considered twisted and dangerous. And I STILL find myself wanting to protect them, giving my teacher the benefit of the doubt and allowing that perhaps I may have "not gotten it", may have been insufficiently advanced, as she told me, to grasp the depth of the teachings. I posted for the first time in probably a year on another thread and found myself retreating from my own words the moment they were out, clarifying and minimizing the corrupt teaching that illness could be a sign of spiritual advancement. (Gee, I may have overstated that. I could perhaps have misunderstood... Was it really a teaching or was she just trying to comfort me? ) Holy -!  I do wish we could swear on this forum sometimes. A good four-letter word can express certain things so well.

The knowledge that SA rejected the findings of the report they commissioned is so depressing. And oddly liberating.  While I cannot believe that OBC is entirely Machiavellian, the effects of my experience with them has been precisely that. It's disturbing to know that I am still not over it, am still carrying bits, perhaps large chunks of delusion from what I was taught, mainly on a very personal level. For a group who utterly refutes the Self they sure know how to sucker-punch it.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:47 pm

polly wrote:
Reading this thread, perhaps particularly the things H. Sophia wrote, has done much to clarify my experience with OBC and its lingering effects. I recognize all these things she speaks of, the favoritism, the "where there is hurt there is self" mentality, and much more.

I now believe that anyone still under the OBC umbrella has to be considered twisted and dangerous. And I STILL find myself wanting to protect them, giving my teacher the benefit of the doubt and allowing that perhaps I may have "not gotten it", may have been insufficiently advanced, as she told me, to grasp the depth of the teachings.

The knowledge that SA rejected the findings of the report they commissioned is so depressing. And oddly liberating.  While I cannot believe that OBC is entirely Machiavellian, the effects of my experience with them has been precisely that. It's disturbing to know that I am still not over it, am still carrying bits, perhaps large chunks of delusion from what I was taught, mainly on a very personal level.
.
Your process sounds quite similar to my own.  I've been parsing my experience for almost thirty years and, as you say, sometimes there are still "bits" that need reevaluating.  I'm not beyond occasional doubt, and I allow myself to explore the possibility that I just got the whole thing wrong, but that doesn't fit any better than thinking Jiyu Kennett was completely wrong.  The way I understand it now is there was a time when I needed her, and her teaching helped me.  But over time my needs changed, in part because I had grown through her teaching.  I saw that continuing in the same way wasn't working and that she was utterly unwilling to change the way she treated me, and so it was time to leave.  There has been plenty of pain to deal with though, because I loved her, and she also me in her way. 

I also find the rejection of the FTI report both depressing and liberating - depressing for obvious reasons, but liberating because it confirms so much of what I felt was happening to the community before I left.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:55 pm

Polly I feel i would like to make you laugh,tell you a funny story or sing a rude Cornish ditty ,onlyt o cheer you up because as we all know because revealing oneself to ones monk or teacher and then have them take advantage of it ,serves no purpose apart from abuse and betrayal,and has nothing to do with zen.
I feel this is what Mark describes as the third ox herding picture and never getting beyond it.
By highlighting our selfishness one creates issues that never existed before,however by following the Buddhas teaching that all things are not permanent and there is no self that is fixed and and constant and this leads to a real path of connection with ourselves and others.
Now then first line only (Calming down pills sent to one and all fast service internet express)
There once was a lady from Bude...... ( Bude is a beautiful town in Cornwall)
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:09 pm

Hi friends-and Thank you so much Sophia for the open and honest contribution,with an accurate account of Michael Little's actions.
This helped me put some pieces together too,and gives me a clear picture of things that I was onl guessing at before.
So,a [admin delete] in the midst of it all.Sadistic, narcissistic, utterly heartless.
Not exactly a surprise,just the confirmation of a deep discomfort I have felt for many years.
It seems my hands on/hands off approach to involvement with the OBC might have been instinctive as well as just me and my usual approach.I am very suspicious.I didn't like the culture at Throssel for many years and stayed away.But I was quite fond of Daishin,and developed friendly relations with some of the other monks.And I have good friends amongst the lay people.There are some lovely people.But then again the whole interim board/Faith Trust Inquiry thing made me deeply uneasy.
And hearing Haryo talking about Buddhists not indulging regret,not apologising(that was at Throssel two years ago).That made me nauseous.So thank you Sophia.
I too feel liberated from the isolation of thinking maybe it was "just me".Now I know it isn't.There is institutional blight to its very roots in the OBC.They should dismantle the whole thing.
I went to see a wonderful film last evening about Hannah Arendt.Her incisive analysis of the nature of the evil perpetrated by "foot soldiers" in the Third Reich(in particular Eichmann,whose trial she reported for the New Yorker),helped me reflect anew on this OBC stuff.Of course we are not dealing with genocide or a totalitarian state.We are ,though,looking at the behavioural and spiritual symptoms that lead to such phenomena.The "banality of evil" ,indeed.
But still the "sweet dew covers the earth",and there is compassion and benevolence everywhere. 
Thank you friends


Last edited by Lise on Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:31 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Violation of forum rules against name-callling.)
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:29 pm

Oh Michael, I think that ditty might be a doozy. Thanks for your thoughts, and Isan's too. And for Maisie's last sentence.
I think I got up crabby today. All better now.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:34 pm

what does doozy mean Polly?
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:43 pm

outstanding.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:49 pm

not sure of that Polly but it may, just may,.... make a nurse blush!
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:32 pm

Well, actually, that may be a part of the definition of "doozy". Clearly in this case!
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:42 pm

Polly
Great posting!

I think everyone brings their identity production and maintenance to a practice. Trying to address, soften or dissolve this inertia required an honesty of heart and action that Jiyu's teachings ultimately lacked. 
The Dharma of her path was handicapped by her actions. Folks either managed to compartmentalize those disparate transmissions or eventually couldn't & left. 

Those who stayed seemingly still maintain that disparity and the mental genuflects required to maintain her legacy and so that transmission continues unabated.

Those who left should only expect memories to repeatedly wander from these compartments until you have nothing left to greet them with but the equanimity
of that moment of meditation.

I hope that the OBCC threads are part of that process..
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:09 pm

Hey Howard! Good to know you are still here.

The thing in this thread that revved me up was a comment about monks giving personal advice to laity. When I reminded my teacher of her past very bad advice that contradicted her current words, she flipped and ordered me out. When, this spring I think,  I tried to discuss this with another monk who was close to her, his first words were "You should be over that" and next, "We don't do that. We don't give advice. There must have been something sick about your relationship to make her end it." So there's an example of compartmentalization and mental genuflection, or so it seems to me, or at least self-congratulation. But my equanimity when the memory surfaced was non-existent, darn it. Maybe next time. It comes and goes like grief, and like grief, eventually it should fade almost entirely away.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:04 pm

Hey polly.

Here but barely.
Like coming back to a soap opera after leaving for a year to find it's still on the same episode
except..

What's the deal about monks not supposed to be giving advise to the laity?
&
Doesn't the fact you refer to a monk as your teacher imply consent to receive advise?
&
Since everything changes, why wouldn't a monks advise change, as new understandings emerge?

Be well!
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:24 pm

polly wrote:
There must have been something sick about your relationship to make her end it
Yes clearly there was but not from your end I think.

It gladdened my heart to here from you, and  my old friend maisie, that OBC Connect has helped you start to get over the OBC and see their actions in a clearer light. I must say that you have all done the same for me too, so my deep and abiding gratitude to all. Let us hope OBCC can help others out of confusion and on the road to clarity too, particularly Sophia who has bravely done so much to clarify a number issues.

Now we have to stand on our own feet and find our own way, with the help of our friends of course, and lessons from fellow travelers past and present. But without being trapped and subjugated to ideologies and ideologues.

There are arid regions on the road but there should also be great joy, love and support from, and for, fellow travelers, and a deep satisfaction.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:50 am

Mark, i loved your last posting , Thank you .
   And more thanks to the rest of you .
i'd like to say more , there must be more , but for the moment not !
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:29 am

Mark, I'm with Nicky. Your post made my day.
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:33 pm

i must also tell you Mark of a friend of mine you would have met at Throssel he moved to Cornwall when I did and has sat well for 40 odd years .
I have just visited him just now,he has within the last few months has been diagnosed as having motor neurone disease.
He now can has lost the use of 2 arms and 1 legs the remaining leg is very weak, my friend was in marvellous spirit,and I draw strength from him and gained great encouragement he still sits zazen twice a day,how wonderful is that
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PostSubject: Re: Rev. Bridin Rusins   Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:09 pm

Alright, Michael, please look up Dr. Terry Wahls (an MD at the Iowa City Veterans Med. Ctr), who restored her health from wheelchair-bound MS.  Her book: Minding My Mitochondria -- regarding a diet and exercise approach that can possibly help your friend, as it clearly helped her.  www.terrywahls.com

Next, I don't belong here, as usual, but Mark, is it? Your quote of Augustine I had been thinking all along was Paul...but I googled around and it seems you are correct.  I appreciate having that bit of my understanding improved.  I used that phrase as a rationalization for my own misbehavior in younger years, and regret every minute of it.  It's what brought me to Zen, my own malaise.  And Augustine was not exactly a shining star of moral excellence, or was he?  According to Peter Brown's book Augustine of Hippo, he spent the last 10 days of his life, bedridden and weeping, and on the shelves his 80 books of which we have just the few surviving down the years.  I think you're a saint if you can weep 10 days for your sins or indiscretions, or duplicities, or vagaries...Question Mark and the Mysterians cut the song "96 Tears."  I've got all that, and a bag of thrips. If you've gotta weep as you leave this world, to free your soul, or cleanse your karma...I wanna do it, and be done.

Back to all you geniuses who made a whole-body commitment to Shasta--for those who feel duped, I know I must be the dupe of dupes, for not having been fully duped, because I could never buy in all the way to the Two Abbotts or the monastic life...so I stayed a distance, and they were great to me!  I was looking for the "path that certain is, no matter how far distant you may walk" because in my life, I was stuck in those arcade electric bumper cars and still am...enough to make you strew your cotton candy and circus peanuts...wham, bam, spin, wham, fizzle, snap, spark, whiplash. 

Is it possible...there is a phenomenon (may we call it) Pin The Tail On The Donkey.  I did this, before I heard of the First Noble Truth, and I don't know the better way to parse it, just: "Suffering exists" or "Existence itself is suffering."  When feeling suffering, I cast about for someone to blame.  How convenient if they were close to hand.  How wrong when the background music to my mistaken projections was Spike Jones' "You Always Hurt The One You Love."

What I learned to do--when someone did to me what I had been doing--was stop.  I had started a yoga class with a former disciple of Yogananda's, Sri Nerode, so I could quit smoking cigarettes, and day 1 he ended the yoga lesson with a brief meditation: "I breath in peace, I breathe out peace; I slowly breathe in peace, I slowly breathe out peace."  How helpful it was...to be able to just sit and take it, for once, without dishing it out.  Somewhere in there was Jung's "Neurosis is the refusal to suffer."

That suffering can be -- what's the word in chemistry, sublimation...suffering can sublimate my own stupidities, phase change to vapor...look at Ikkyu's death poem...that's fine with me.  If it can't, I'm stuck with the ball and chain of myself, please pardon my scraping and thunking as I pass.

If you are free to venture into the Bible, we find Jeremiah 31: 31-35..."The New Covenant" which Bill Clinton had the nerve to make the theme of his second presidential campaign but? maybe that's genius, not nerve...like I said to a friend who was spittin' mad about Bill--if political life means never making a mistake, we'd have only saints, or stodges, for president. Alright, Jeremiah: A New Covenant I will make, says the Lord, I will write my Law in people's hearts, and there will be no need to ask a neighbor: "What is the Law?" for you will know it: It will be written in your heart." (words to that effect)

Is it possible to have a complaint of misconduct against another if The Law were not written in your heart?  That's the benchmark.  I remember hearing "Remember Thou must go alone..."  If Rev. Komei's luggage went out on the road, why couldn't I have too, and sat with it waiting for the gentle heart she seemed to me to be? (as a case in point).  that's going alone...but to meet a brave heart in a brave way.

That's all -- you deuterium control rods? When you walk, the mass goes critical.  But in any case, you were brave enough to go and do and up and leave.  I'm not gonna say any more about it. 

"Love then do what you will" I found out meant: doubt your love, because it's not divine, there likely is an ulterior motive...so don't do what you will...just restart the mantra..."Love...then...love...then...love...I'm sorry for those who had trouble.  Actually? I'm sorry I got trouble.  As the hippies I tried to join used to say: "What a drag..." But if we don't pick up our trouble, and try to move it, it stays right there, oppressing the spirit, and so we stay burdened.

You all were part of something great, or it couldda been great, or it shouldda been great...if it was not, you made your escape, and now what? 
but I loved dropping in, because I could get away again, almost airborne.  "This alone have I taught: Sorrow, and the release from sorrow."  That's the something great I felt when someone ended their words with "In gassho..."
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