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 Hi from Jimyo

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Jimyo

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Posts : 172
Join date : 2010-09-24
Age : 69
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Hi from Jimyo   Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:26 am

Hi everyone! I was told about this site a couple of hours ago, and I was just going to lurk for a bit - but it's so good to hear about old friends, so being an impulsive person I thought I'd register now.

For those who didn't know me, I'm Helen Krasner, was Rev Jimyo. Went to Throssel in 1974, ordained by Daiji in 1975. One of the five original British monks who went to Shasta. Transmission...must have been about 1978 I think, named as a Roshi at some point...I'm a bit hazy as to exact dates. Went back to Throssel with the others in 1982. Left for all sorts of reasons in 1985, temporarily, I said at the time...but I sort of never went back.

Now, I'd like to give you all sorts of good and well-thought-out reasons for why I left, as some others have done, but I can't. At various times I've blamed others, then myself, and now...it really doesn't seem to matter very much. It was such a very, very long time ago. I learned a tremendous amount by being a monk, and I'm glad I did it - I was in such a mess mentally before that I dread to think what would have happened if I hadn't discovered Buddhism and meditation. But I wouldn't want to go back; I'm really just not the type for a contemplative life, and probably never have been - square pegs, round holes, all that kind of stuff. I also realise how incredibly young and immature I was back then, and so many of us were - and also how new Buddhism was in the west. I really see that as the main reason for so many of the things that went wrong, and for me, at any rate, at this point in time, I don't see that dwelling on them is something I need or want to do. Getting older is good and I learn a lot from it; maybe everything I've learned (very little!) would have come to me naturally over the years anyway.

Life now is pretty good. I live in the hills of the Peak District in England with my five cats. I've walked round the coast of Britain and written a book about it, become a helicopter pilot and instructor and I'm just writing my second book about helicopter flying. I earn my living by aviation writing...plus a craft business and a few other bits and pieces. I'm trying to lead a quieter life and not managing it - like I said, never was the contemplative type really. I still meditate, but it's like cleaning my teeth - no big deal, but I wouldn't dream of stopping.

Wow, I didn't mean to write all that, but...you're all old friends! Isan, Gyokuko, Kaizan, Seikai, Kyogen, Komei, anyone I've forgotten - I can't believe you're all here. Isn't the internet wonderful. I didn't realise I missed the social side of all this, but I did know you all for such a long time, and it's so good to get back in touch. I hope you don't mind my enthusing in a ridiculously non-British and also very non-contemplative way, but I really am glad to be in touch with you all. Do write and say hi. My email address is helen@krasner.wanadoo.co.uk if anyone wants to contact me privately.
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Lise
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Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: Hi from Jimyo   Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:47 am

Hello Jimyo, and welcome! I'm sure your old friends will be checking in shortly, as the U.S. side of the world wakes up. Nice to have you here. Your introduction was quite fun to read Smile

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Isan
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Join date : 2010-07-27
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Jimyo   Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:23 am

Jimyo wrote:

Wow, I didn't mean to write all that, but...you're all old friends! Isan, Gyokuko, Kaizan, Seikai, Kyogen, Komei, anyone I've forgotten - I can't believe you're all here. Isn't the internet wonderful. I didn't realise I missed the social side of all this, but I did know you all for such a long time, and it's so good to get back in touch. I hope you don't mind my enthusing in a ridiculously non-British and also very non-contemplative way, but I really am glad to be in touch with you all. Do write and say hi. My email address is helen@krasner.wanadoo.co.uk if anyone wants to contact me privately.

Welcome Jimyo! Yes, we're all here, remembering and trading stories, sometimes still complaining and struggling to work things out and also trying to help others. Although we in the old guard have moved on and learned and to some extent just grown out of our problems, there are newer people here who are raw from difficult experiences with the OBC and we are trying to support them.

That's exciting that you've become a helicopter pilot and instructor. I flew fixed wing aircraft for a while, just as a hobby. Learning to fly was a great experience, but it was too expensive to keep up. Occasionally I go back to computer flight simulators - much more affordable, no ATC to deal with, etc. I'm glad you also were inducted into the Roshi club before you left. In the end there were so many of us we had to go back to doing our own kitchen cleanup sunny

By the way, I will always be grateful to you for the help you gave me during that month in retreat where I was all over the map and couldn't even get out of bed most of the time. I don't know how I would have gotten through it without your ministering.


Last edited by Isan on Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:24 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammar)
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Jimyo

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Posts : 172
Join date : 2010-09-24
Age : 69
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Re: Hi from Jimyo   Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:43 am

Hi Isan. Good to hear from you.

You're right; helping and supporting people is important. It's good that this forum is here for that purpose.

I started off with fixed wing, then went for a trial helicopter lesson and got hooked; I couldn't afford it either so I became an instructor so that they'd pay me to fly. Then the recession came along and...no work. Ah well, I seem to survive.

Thank you for your last paragraph. I always felt I was pretty hopeless; I was so in awe of you at the time that I couldn't string three words together sensibly. I'm rather glad you remember it differently.
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Jimyo   Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:08 pm

Hi Jimyo,

It's great to see you here! I get pretty enthusiastic myself sometimes when reconnecting with dharma sisters and brothers. The internet is indeed wonderful.
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Gyokuko

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Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Portland OR

PostSubject: Re: Hi from Jimyo   Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:06 pm

Jimyo
Welcome! It is so interesting to hear all you are up to. It's also interesting that you thought you were "pretty hopeless.' I remember being jealous of you when you did Kessei and Roshi was so impressed. I never thought of you as hopeless. Grumpy sometimes, but then so was I. Glad to see you here.
Gyokuko
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cmpnwtr

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Join date : 2010-08-16

PostSubject: Re: Hi from Jimyo   Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:07 pm

Hello, Jimyo,
You may or may not remember me or my wife, Jeanette, but you stayed with us in Klamath Falls on the occasion of a priestly visit with our meditation group (early 80s?). We so enjoyed your visit and wonderful wit. I am so glad you have gone on to have a good life as have we. Flying helicopters is way cool!

Blessings,
Bill Ryan
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Jimyo

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Posts : 172
Join date : 2010-09-24
Age : 69
Location : Peak District, England

PostSubject: Re: Hi from Jimyo   Thu May 12, 2011 7:19 am

Hi again. I'm writing this in response to a suggestion Lise made on another thread. I'd said that I didn't experience the trauma that many people did when leaving the monastic life after many years - 10 in my case. I wondered why it was different for me, and thought that if I could work that out, it might help other people. Well, I doubt if it can, as everyone's journey is different, but here's the story, for anyone who's interested.

For me, the trauma came when leaving Shasta and going back to Throssel. It had always been decided that the six British monks who first went over would do this, but for a long time I had considered asking to stay in America. After all, I'd never felt accepted in Britain anyway - you try being an overweight Jewish girl with very un-British looks in xenophobic, racist, sexist 1950s/60s Britain! Younger people won't understand this; older ones might. I always felt, right from childhood, that I didn't fit in.

I wasn't happy at Throssel either, mainly due to personal clashes...but the sexism still existed too. I'm not going to criticise people who are now on these forums, but let me tell you - they weren't saints!

Anyway, I loved America, Shasta, and Rev Master Jiyu from the start, and that never really changed over five years. It's true that none of them were perfect. But I felt that I had found a country where I could be myself, a place where I had some very real friends, and a teacher from whom I could learn. I was happy to ignore the flaws. I didn't need perfection; it was all a lot better than what I'd left behind and more importantly I could see that there was something very real going on.

I never asked to remain at Shasta in the end, because I felt very strongly, in the depths of my being, that this wasn't the right thing to do. But I still worried about going back to Britain. And when I did, for a while I hated it. I missed my friends, I missed the Abbey; it was horrible.

However, I realised fairly early on that this had nothing to do with Buddhism, meditation, or the OBC. I had simply been avoiding my own problems by being in America...which was probably why I felt I had to return to confront them. I kept meditating, and things got better, and eventually much better. I had sort of separated out the whole social aspect of being a monk from what it was really about. Spiritually, in those three years I think I grew up.

Then came some rather strange happenings, which I honestly don't remember in much detail. As an aside, I'm amazed at the detailed memories of people on here for events of 20, 30, 40 years ago; mine are all very hazy. There seemed to be some complaints about my spiritual state after a visit to Ajahn Sumedho's group which Rev Master Daishin and I made. Considering the way they treated me as a woman, almost refusing to believe I was a monk, that would hardly have been surprising! However, I was not aware of anything going on with me, and said so, eventually quite vehemently. I had often tended to personality clashes with Rev Master Daishin, and this happened now. I do remember eventually completely losing my temper. Soon afterwards, I decided I had to leave, at least for a while. I tried to phone Reve Master Jiyu, I remember, but she refused to talk to me, saying it was between me and my Abbot. I was on my own. So...I left - though at that point we all said it was temporary.

However, all I was now leaving was the monastic life. And I'd never felt a strong identity with monkhood in that sense; all it had been for me was a good way to train in Buddhism. My real 'leaving' had happened three years earlier. To be sure, I was a bit shaken up. I had no idea at all what I was going to do. But I stayed with my parents for a bit, contacted old friends, and tried to think things through. I wasn't sure whether to blame myself, Rev Master Daishin, Ajahn Sumedho, or...who? I eventually decided the whole idea of blame was pointless. I also shelved the decision about going back, and wrote to Rev Master Jiyu asking if I could be an inactive member for as long as things took - and she agreed to this. In fact...so far as I know that's still the situation!!!

So...I just gradually eased into a new way of life - or sometimes taking up the old one from 10 years earlier, particularly when it came to friendships. I guess I've always been very adaptable; I don't quite understand why doing things one way means you have to go on doing them that way for ever, and I never have. I tend to reinvent myself every few years anyway.

However, leving monastic life made me realise how much Buddhist training had helped me, and how much I'd changed over that 10 years. I was a million times stronger in myself. I no longer cared about being considered 'different' or 'odd'. I had found the inner strength to be myself without rejecting others. It was nothing dramatic, but I actually felt pretty good about...well, everything really. The OBC really worked for me; all else is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.

I've just started this paragraph three times and nothing I can say feels right so I'll stop here.

Love to you all,

Jimyo
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Jimyo   Thu May 12, 2011 9:22 am

A beautiful statement, Jimyo. From your statement it seems as if your spiritual search came to a completion and a fruitfulness by the time of your leaving. That part resonates for me. I was not a monk and the time actually spent at the Abbey was relatively small as I was a lay minister. By the time I left I had grown enough to be grounded in an inner authority and sanctuary that was in fact the realization of the promise of Zen training. And as the emphasis had grown in the OBC on the primacy of the external authority and its contradictions with the earlier teaching I received, it was time for me to leave. The main trauma I experienced was in the actual leaving and the subsequent shunning and betrayal that occurred, particularly from a personal friend and mentor, which to this day I do not understand fully. I appreciate the brief stay that you had in our home, and the person with such interior stability that you were in those days.

Many blessings,
Bill
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Jimyo   Tue May 17, 2011 10:01 am

I wish to add to Jimyo's commentary and my own, that with further reflection that my experience with Shasta Abbey and the OBC taught me to be a spiritual adult, first by teaching me to have a disciplined daily practice of meditation and the precepts, secondly, that in those betrayals of its own teaching and in the shunning that followed my leaving, I learned to take refuge only in my interior practice and not in any human being or external authority. That, my friends, is invaluable to one's spiritual and psychological well-being in life. I grew up tremendously in the 17 years of my affiliation with Shasta Abbey and the OBC.
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