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 Hi from Enida

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H Enida



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Join date : 2013-11-11

PostSubject: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:21 am

Good morning all!  I decided to quit lurking and come out in the sunshine and introduce myself. I was at Shasta from 2004 through July 2010, and was a chaplain along with my good friend Sophia for several years.  I wanted to say hello and will chime in if/when it seems helpful.  Grateful for all the insight here, of all kinds Smile
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:50 pm

Hi Enida and welcome
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:23 pm

Enida, welcome to the daylight side of the Forum! wink 

It's good to see you here.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:27 pm

Welcome, welcome to the glorious sunlight (??) of OBC Connect.
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H Enida



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:51 pm

[Admin note:  the following has been edited per Enida's request, to fix typos and add clarifications. I will put the changed text in a different font color and ask that you contact Enida with any questions. Because new members often aren't aware of the two-hour editing window, we will sometimes amend a post per their request, as a one-time courtesy and if it doesn't confuse things too much.]


Dear all,


Here is a more thorough introduction so you may get to know me and my association with training in the OBC.

Before coming to the teachings in the Order, I was a member of a 12-step program for many years.  I learned there that I could turn the light within and discover the things that hinder my love and acceptance of self and other, among many other things.  The emphasis of my journey in recovery was to practice acceptance, love and gratitude, in the midst of daily life’s successes and disappointments.  By thoroughly evaluating myself through the 12 steps over time, I found a deep and loving relationship with a power greater than myself, whom I chose to leave unnamed.

A friend invited me to a dharma talk at the Abbey in 2001, where I heard a talk by Rev. Master Eko.  It was like going to the best 12-step meeting I had ever been to – clear and inspiring and it spoke directly to my experience in recovery of that greater power. 

I was immediately hooked on the dharma.  I had never explored Buddhism, outside of a few lovely books by the Dalai Lama.  I could see so many parallels between my spiritual experiences in recovery and the Buddha’s teachings.  The teachings on impermanence and the present moment, loving kindness and all acceptance transformed my view in so many indescribable ways. 

I began to come regularly to the monastery and read Order literature with a veracious appetite.  When I took Jukai in 2002, I kept a diary of the experiences I had that week.  It was almost surreal – the past, present and future embodied in the ceremonies.  And it was humbling and inspiring at the same time.

Because of the profound teachings, I made internal plans to renounce and come to the Abbey to ordain, and quickly started a relationship with RM Eko, which became a master/disciple relationship shortly thereafter.  I was not familiar with any of the particulars of training in the OBC or monastic training, and his presence in my meditation was very helpful as I began to let go and move towards becoming a monk.  Meditation can be very powerful and I sought help with many of its mysteries.  In other words, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but was overwhelmingly drawn to do it, and having an experienced monk to help was invaluable.

It might seem naïve to some, but for me the opening of the truth was magical.  I loved the teachings and the heart of training and was completely committed to studying the various aspects in my own experience.  12-step had given me the tools to look within but Buddhism catapulted me into a whole different dimension.  After all, if there is no within or without, what was really going here?  I loved every minute of this self-(no-self)discovery and was certain about ordination.

I had two young adult children and a grandchild on the way when I moved to the monastery.  They were very gracious about accepting my desire to renunciate, but it caused them much suffering to let me go.  They did not have the aspiration I did but they respected that I should do what I felt I should.  (I am still making amends for this, but I’ll save that for another day.)

As a postulant, I was under extreme physical demands and challenges with the personalities that I worked with in the kitchen.  I suffered fatigue and physical pain, but was always pushed to keep going.  I had this underlying fear that if I ‘didn’t cut it’ I would be told to leave, so I didn’t complain much but would get to a point where I would get sick and be forced to rest.  And then I would catch hell for not taking it easier J

There were so many [banned term] if you do and [banned term] if you don’ts in the monastery.  No matter which way I looked at a situation, it was always my problem and I should just deal with it, but did not have the authority to do just that.  I was finally pushed to several limits by my monastic officer at the time, who had a terrible anger issue.  The anger would get so heavy in the kitchen you could feel it dripping off the ceiling.  For instance, I would ask what types of herbs to put in the soup and be admonished “How many times do I have to tell you!”  So the next day I would put the herbs in the soup and the cook would yell, “You should always check with the cook before you put anything in the food!”  It was maddening and the anger in the kitchen seemed to always be directed at me.

I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked to have tea with my kiyojushi several times, who would simply turn it back on me and tell me to train with it.  Now, I will say, there is some truth to that…..for someone who knows the difference.  But as a young postulant, I had no idea what that meant except that I would have to find my own way, even though I was constantly directed to take refuge in senior monks.  Of course I had many choices, but to stay and train as a monk limited those choices and I had to conform.

As it turned out my intuitive angst was not unfounded.  There were more reasons for the anger towards me on the part of my monastic officer than I knew, actions towards me that were personal and harmful, and the truth of it all came out to the community.  These acts and more, and we had many serious and horrific community meetings about it and what action to take.  And senior monks would admonish me asking me why I couldn’t just forgive and forget and couldn’t I vote for the monk to stay, trying to convince me to save that senior’s monastic life (whether or not the acts were criminal and liable).  No one would speak for me, a lowly postulant.  Finally, I had to say in a community meeting where they were trying to decide whether to allow this person to stay or not, “If the senior stays, I can’t.”  And the monk was asked to leave.  What I was left with and am still to this day, is it didn’t help the victim or the perpetrator in this instance.  It just caused more suffering for us both.

During all of this, I was hand sewing my kesa, reciting the three treasures in every stitch.  I thereafter ordained as planned and felt more supported by the community.  I was able to work with a lovely monk in the kitchen for a time, whom I have much love and regard for.  I was then asked to become a chaplain and made my transition over time to the chaplaincy down at the Abbot’s house. 

I was the third chaplain with two senior monks training me.  I rarely did anything directly for the Abbot during those early days, just helped the other chaplains and spent a lot of time with the abbot’s parrot.  I got along well with one of the chaplains, but the second one was quite abrupt with me and directed a lot of anger towards me.  I realize now that this person had anger management problems (self-admitted) and it was not about me, but at the time I thought, “[banned term], not again!”  One of the chaplains soon transferred to another part of the monastery and I became the main focus of the angry chaplain’s attention.  It was pure hell.  I was constantly admonished and never acknowledged for helping out.  She asked me once if I felt like Cinderella? and she meant it!  I could sense some jealousy in attention from the Abbot and it was just strange, is all I can say.  I tried to do what was expected but it was never enough.  The only time I ever got any kind of acknowledgement was when I told the chaplain I was afraid of her, and she started to cry.  But it didn’t change her behaviors.  To this day, I have never received an apology for the abhorrent treatment I received from this monk – who probably doesn’t even realize her actions towards me and their effects.  I find that sad.

My dear dharma friend was ordained and was immediately brought into the chaplaincy.  I was so grateful to have another person nearby, who was kind and who I could talk to about the insanity.  I wasn’t crazy after all I thought, and I am glad to say here how grateful I am for her friendship during the next several years.  I would not have made it here with my sanity otherwise.  She would speak up to the meanness and I began to see that I wasn’t crazy, that there was good reason to be afraid.  It is ironic that it took a brand new novice to help see the delusion, especially after asking my monastic teachers again and again why or how, and not getting any clear response.  The senior chaplain moved to another monastic office before long and, although there were many attempts to continue to control our actions, we were left to ourselves with the Abbot as the two remaining chaplains.

And then, things started to get weird in the Abbots house.  As a chaplain you could see the discrepancies in treatment between the Abbot’s favorites and his relationships with women and it was confusing.  After all we had been taught and advised about the Precepts and monastic protocol from him, why would the Abbot be able to disregard any of the rules?  There were women disciples in very personal relationships with the Abbot, and cat fights between them as they tried to elbow each other out of way.  I was asked to keep secrets about giving kesas to lay women and told by the Abbot “my teacher told me to lie for her” as if that was supposed to make it okay.  As soon as a new disciple would show up on the scene, the others naturally felt rejected and often were, because the attentions of the Abbot would move on. 

As chaplains we tried many times to ask the Abbot how these behaviors were in harmony with “the deportment of a monk” – in diplomatic terms of course, since you cannot address the Abbot with a critical mind.  The answers were always excused with responses like, “you need to meet the disciple at their level to help them” and “help looks very different to different people.”  Evasive and skillful at the same time.

As time went on, the answers confused my inner world with what was happening outside.  It looked like favoritism, infatuation and deception.  It was explained as jealousy, training and wrong view on my part.  My fellow chaplain and I would often seek counsel with each other to simply reaffirm that what we were seeing was what we were seeing and to reinforce each other in the midst of the uncertainty.  As the time drew nearer to the Abbot’s announcement and subsequent departure, the behaviors became more and more extreme – i.e. spending lots of time in town, constantly text messaging, lots of special treatment and making gifts, etc.  Any attempt to get explanations from the Abbot or to try to express concern to the seniors was met with disregard.  It felt very much like my experience in the kitchen again – just train with it.

I was asked to spend a week alone at Fugen Hermitage with the Abbot and the lay woman who he eventually left with.  Honestly, I was simply the chaperone.  And in the midst of the flirting and exclusive behaviors between them, I could see I was losing my teacher and feeling the heartache of the Precepts being broken by the one I thought was most committed to them.  I was torn in two – between the naïve trainee who believed the best in people and their training, and the cynical and duped lay person who “gave everything up for this!”  I have never experienced so much internal dissonance in my life and am still recovering from it in many ways.  I returned to the Abbey and found out the lay person immediately turned around and went back by herself.  The Abbot declined to inform anyone as required and any suggestion on our part about it was immediately disregarded.

The other chaplain and I knew the Abbot had put down his robes long before the he left.  His attentions were drawn away from the monastery in many ways and it became hard work for him to maintain a semblance of normalcy.  But I didn’t want to accept it.  How could I stay committed to my own aspiration when right in front of me I see my teacher and friend had already lost his?  And there was nothing we could do to change it.

When the announcement was made that RM Eko decided to leave because he couldn’t train in the Order anymore, his reason for leaving was news to us chaplains!  That was the first time we had heard anything about it and we knew it was hogwash.  The problem was, there was no way to prove it.  As the days went on, and the text messages and visits to town increased, we knew in our hearts what his plans were.  There was much confusion internally along with the announcement.  How could I train in an Order that he couldn’t?  What was it exactly that he couldn’t train with?  As a very senior monk in the Order, there had to be some way to compromise, after all the Order is us, right?

When the real reason was revealed, as much as it floored us chaplains, it was not a surprise.  As the chaplains were the ones who discovered the truth, the first question was, should we tell anybody?  What it came down to for me was that the truth needed to be known.  Many monks and lay people were offering money to give him a new start (especially in light of his claim that he “had to leave” because of the Order). I believed he needed to let them know his real reasons and we told him so, which he eventually did as we all know.  Then people could give to him under the truth and not feel betrayed at a later date when they found out they were lied to.  I am not sure what would have happened had we not said anything, but I am glad we did.

His chaplains were the only ones who would stay with the Abbot after his last announcement.  None of the other monks knew what to say to him.  Interestingly enough, I wasn’t angry with him, just disappointed and confused.  I had a lot of empathy for him because I could see what a pickle he got himself into and there was no graceful way out.  My heartfelt belief is that a great opportunity was lost by not allowing us to train with the truth with the Abbot’s decision.  There was so much room for compassion, love and understanding and what we were left with was the revealing of a lie.  I believe more than ever in the Precept on lying and the harm it can do.

We spent the Abbot’s last days with him, who had dismissed himself as everyone’s teacher, helping him pack up the items he was going to take and disbursing those he wasn’t.  We took him clothes shopping in Redding and gave him advice as things came up.  We were no longer his students, and we knew it.  We could simply treat him as another human being and that was very helpful to us all. There are so many things you let go of when you move to a monastery and he had been in one for almost 40 years.  I knew it would not be easy for him.  The other chaplain and I walked him to the gate as he left and closed it behind him as he was driven to the bus station.  As it turned out, he didn’t get on the bus which was kind of hilarious if you think about it.  So many other lies, why this?  And now?  Silly.  But he was gone.

I had just finished the intensity of my head novice term with its ending ceremonies and dharma talk and at this point, I didn’t have a clue what next.  We had many community meetings to support us and were given time to just decompress as novices, but were told to start thinking about which Master we would like to work with as their disciple.  As a novice monk, you must have a Master.  Transmission comes through the Master -- that is our tradition.  So there was the dilemma – after all of the recent events, I must trust a new Master.

I finally did ask a senior monk, even though I was not sure how that would look or whether it would work.  I asked three times in fact, but the answer was no, no and no.  So, I left.  I did some travelling between some priories to just look at other options and see if they had any potential.  It was humorous in a way, seeing the Masters’ faces and the worry that I might ask them!  But, nothing seemed to fit so I have since made a life out in the world again.

Needless to say, all of the above was before I found out about the extent of the abuse with several female disciples that is now common knowledge.  But it fit like a puzzle when I did.  I was complicit in a way myself because I was too afraid to insist on the truth.  Funny thing is, the truth eventually insists on itself and all the karmic consequences intensify with denying it.  I guess I relied on that – as they say in 12-step, “More will be revealed.”

What I was left with from it all was the abuse of the spirit.  In so many ways I was admonished for listening to my inner knowing and accepted the harm to self and others as “teaching.”  I have a sort of PTSD from my experience that is just now starting to soften and change. 

I spoke freely with the Faith Trust Institute because they guaranteed anonymity.  I am sad to hear, if it’s true, that the Order and the senior monks have or are discrediting it.  It is as if they are discrediting my and others’ experience.  I am reminded of a saying I heard once, “What you love you come to resemble.”  If there really is distrust and discrediting, then that is what it has come to resemble, and it makes me sad that the change that was possible in response to the efforts everyone put into that exercise cannot bear fruit.

Personally, I became so used to admonishment that I had to relearn how to ask for what I needed in the world – I became afraid to ask.  People would look at me quizzically when I would say, “May I ask you a question?” before every question, or “May I say something?”  Much of the protocol that formulates you in the monastery as a good monk just doesn’t work out here.  I used to have to ask to go to the bathroom when I worked in the monastery kitchen for crying out loud.  I see now that much of that protocol impacted me negatively and did not point me to becoming a “spiritual adult”. 

My experience with so much inner dissonance regarding the Abbot and others who were angry and abusive towards me, and not having anyone to take refuge in about it, resulted in much doubt in myself, in what I was seeing right in front of me and in how I felt about it.  To be told again and again you must just trust did not teach me how or what to trust, only to be naïve.  It was the difference between blind faith and perfect faith in my opinion.  It has taken a great deal of effort on my part to retrain my thinking to be more assertive.  Knowing what you want and expressing it are valuable traits in the world, they didn’t work so well in the monastery.

As a note, RM Eko and I never had any attraction towards each other physically or emotionally.  He actually was a good teacher to me of the Dharma.  I used every opportunity to ask him the most important question and listened to the answer and tried to see it in my own experience and put it into practice.  He had a profound understanding of the dharma sometimes, perhaps because he knew so much suffering in his younger days, I don’t know.  I do know that, just because you have great understanding doesn’t mean you still can’t make great mistakes.  I’ll give that to anyone, including myself, and him.

I have no regrets about becoming a monk, although I am still sad about the loss of the first pure intention I had to renounce the world.  But, it taught me a lot about the truth by example, both by what to do and what not to do.  And, because there is so much water under the bridge, I would not make a good novice today.  I am too self-directed and empowered and say what I feel and need.  I guess that’s a good thing, eh?

That is my experience in a nutshell.  Of course, there was so much more, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you with it all.  I couldn’t begin to express the joy and wonder, and the fear and disappointment in a few short pages.  I will share more as time goes on in response to the various posts and thoughts.

Thank you all for listening and the welcome here.

Bowing,
Enida


Last edited by Lise on Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:16 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : minor clarification and typo correction)
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:15 pm

Enida, I will be able to say something soon, but for now I can only say, welcome, and blessings to you. 

I'm not too much the cyber-hugs type but I have some for you and here it is ((( ))) And for Sophia  ((( ))) I am thankful that you have each other.
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:29 pm

Welcome, welcome, welcome, Enid

It's good to have you here.  nana Many thanks for sharing your experience.  I'm so glad we all made out!
~mokuan
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:31 pm

Hi Enida, 

You have expressed your (and our) experiences so well. You have inspired me, as usual. 


 Welcome to the forum, fellow chaplain. Here we are, together again. Always good friends, encouraging each other. I wouldn't be what I am today without your support and encouragement. I am so grateful we had each other during those crazy making times.

Love and gratitude, 

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:34 pm

Wow!!!!!!
A very revealing and sad illumination into Jiyu's legacy.
Thank you so much for your posting and welcome.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:51 pm

yes, thanks so much for sharing your story, journey, insights....  mostly what I needed after I left was simple kindness, truth telling, and just living without some big story.....
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:55 pm

by the way, some time ago, I posted an offer to send anyone on this site a free copy of this spiritual anthology I put together years ago - The Tao of Now - if you would like a copy, you can private message me your mailing address (or email it to me at jcbaran@gmail.com) and happy to send it to you.... and also anyone else reading this - who didn't see the original "offer."  the book has lots of simple reminders of present moment awareness beyond dogma and hyper religion.... jb
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:14 pm

Thanks for the open honest account Enida.
Not a very nice story, or experience to live through. You show great strength and courage to comr through all this,I also believe that by knowing what is not the right path helps a lot on your personal journey which of course continues,your family may well be slightly confused about what you chose to do,and the right ammount of openness and honestly may go a long way,Take care move on
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:16 pm

i was reminded of this quote:

Earnestness is the key. Unconditional willingness. All you have to do is pay attention, be honest, and follow through. Truth is discovered when you simply refuse to lie to yourself anymore. Love is discovered when you stop indulging in self centeredness, fear, and anger. You don’t have to improve yourself; just sort through the contradictions. Your desire is to love and be loved, yet you use and hurt and alienate the ones you wanted to love the most. You want to be honest, but you find a million excuses for continuing the pretense, for self righteousness, for psychological defense. You want to be happy and at peace, yet you cling to competitive, erroneous, and hurtful views of things.

Do you really want to be happy? Just pay attention and be kind, unconditionally kind, on this breath alone. Forget about the future. Just this breath. No matter what the circumstances, just be kind. Friend, lover, family member, someone who seems to hate you, someone you’ve never met on the street, your own soft animal body. Just be kind, in whatever way is appropriate. Everything else will work itself out, and you will begin to sense your own Pure Heart everywhere. How amazing.

Very simple. Just be kind.
Only on this breath. -- scott morrison
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:20 am

Enida, thank you so much for all that you have shared in your last comment!

I think that your level of detail blows our collective discussion wide open.

(Hugs to you!!)


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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:40 am

Well you are right Kozan,
This snarling and snapping by the revs,or put another way the bullying,we have discussed before,Josh's account of the goat shed and being banished there if he dared disagree,the three dimes to try to persuade him into some form of dependency,the letter written about Mark and me, Jisho turning up at the London Zen priory when I ran it and slagging everyone off who left. The control the shunning, the bullying.
I think this comes from Kennett herself her desire to set up a religious establishment,her desire to be right,to show the London Buddhist society and Japanese Zen a thing or two,anything that stands in her way is banished to the goatshed,shunned,severely reprimanded,or downright bullied. And all we wanted to do was simply sit, we all believed in what we should have been doing, we all believed in our practice, we believed in ourselvesI think we have shown great spirit
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:41 am

Thanks Enida. Your account certainly consolidates my suspicions that the Abbot/lay member relationships were mutually engaged in.

Your reference to "cat fights" and "jealous" girlfriends makes me wary of taking circulating rumours at face value.  

It certainly sounds like the Abbot didn't want to be a monk any more. He should have done it sooner, but I'm glad he made the move out of the monastery in the end. In the everyday world the things that are not appropriate for an Abbot in a monastery are pretty standard.

Your account was incredibly lucid and thoughtful.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:19 am

glorfindel wrote:

Thanks Enida. Your account certainly consolidates my suspicions that the Abbot/lay member relationships were mutually engaged in.

I think you could be grouping too many things together in one basket, possibly?  The women who were subjected to the lewd phone calls may not necessarily be the ones Enida writes about in terms of cat-fights and jealousy, although some may be the same ones? Hopefully those who know more will clarify.

My understanding is that some women who reported the indecent-exposure calls were very clear about not wanting this from him and they said they felt ashamed and degraded that Michael Little did this to them. That doesn't sound like mutual engagement to me.
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H Enida



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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:03 am

Good morning.  Thank you all for your thoughts and warm welcome.  Josh, I would love a copy of the Tao of Now, I will pm my address.  I still love the dharma and will enjoy it.

Glorfindel, I did not call anyone girlfriends, but yes, there was jealousy, and jostling for position.  As far as who was who and which ones wanted what or not, or whether it was the same ones, that is not my story and it would be gossip to talk about it on my part.  I would leave that for them to tell.  I do know that many people, men and women, were affected by being "special" or not.  

The behaviors I witnessed would be pretty mild in the world, it is true - just watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians!  But the ideal in the monastery is to renounce picking and choosing, and it was very confusing to watch the favoritism.  Dogen experienced it in Japan and China and swore to bring back the true dharma to Japan.  I wonder what he would think of Soto Zen today?  Smile


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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:08 am

H Enida
What I was left with from it all was the abuse of the spirit.  In so many ways I was admonished for listening to my inner knowing and accepted the harm to self and others as “teaching.”  I have a sort of PTSD from my experience that is just now starting to soften and change.

Personally, I became so used to admonishment that I had to relearn how to ask for what I needed in the world – I became afraid to ask.  People would look at me quizzically when I would say, “May I ask you a question?” before every question, or “May I say something?”  Much of the protocol that formulates you in the monastery as a good monk just doesn’t work out here.  I used to have to ask to go to the bathroom when I worked in the monastery kitchen for crying out loud.  I see now that much of that protocol impacted me negatively and did not point me to becoming a “spiritual adult”.

I have no regrets about becoming a monk, although I am still sad about the loss of the first pure intention I had to renounce the world.  But, it taught me a lot about the truth by example, both by what to do and what not to do.  And, because there is so much water under the bridge, I would not make a good novice today.  I am too self-directed and empowered and say what I feel and need.  I guess that’s a good thing, eh?


Greetings Enida and welcome to the forum.  Thank you for the detailed account of your experience at Shasta Abbey.  I experienced some "deja vu" while reading it, thinking yes, yes, it really was like that.  I'm sorry to say that what you're describing about the manipulation is the norm and not unique.  I don't know if it's possible for people who have not experienced it to understand how Kafkaesque this really is.  The PTSD you describe is a natural consequence of living in that environment.  Asserting the truth of your memories and feelings will help.

Like you I feel that something precious was lost, but Buddhism is greater than Shasta Abbey and we took with us what was worth keeping when we left.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:57 am

just saw this video of a Moth presentation - very funny - and on point - and sometimes it is just best to say NO and GO:

http://youtu.be/Tf0Tz0B6DC4
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:17 am

What would Dogen have thought about Soto Zen,,
Interesting question,i think alot of us stood up for our hearts,I think we did well. and Enida you still have principles and a direction to follow,I think Dogen would respect that
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:01 pm

Welcome Enida....

Thank you for your candid and touching introduction of yourself.
You said...

" It might seem naïve to some, but for me the opening of the truth was magical.  I loved the teachings and the heart of training and was completely committed to studying the various aspects in my own experience."


It did not come across as `naive` to me.  In fact I`ve never read  a better description of `Beginners` Mind`.  The mind
that is so valued and meant to be kept from the beginning of training to the very end.  It seems
like you still have it. I hope you don`t mind me saying.
You also said.....

 " Dogen experienced it in Japan and China and swore to bring back the true dharma to Japan.  I wonder what he would think of Soto Zen today?"

I suspect rather what he thought then ! Zen is what you make of it and, you get the good, bad
and the ugly.  Hence all the searching for the Masters that know the `Real` truth in the old days
which is why Dogen went to China.

Dogen said,  "Next to good manners, Enlightenment is the most important thing".

The context of this saying was not about manners...how to hold your teacup.  It was about the
following of Dharma. The moral laws, following the precepts and living a truly righteous life.
Such a person who follows Dharma is worth a thousand Enlightened beings who lead a fraudulent
life and have not dealt with their psychological baggage.  Sooner or later, the fraud comes crashing down.  We see this daily nowadays.
Dharma trumps Enlightenment every time !

I look forward to hearing more about your experiences.  Thank you for sharing them.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:16 pm

Reading Lise's post above
My understanding is that some women who reported the indecent-exposure calls were very clear about not wanting this from him and they said they felt ashamed and degraded that Michael Little did this to them. That doesn't sound like mutual engagement to me.
I am not sure what the law is in the States,but I think you would get a custodial over here if there was a complaint.
The laws have changed a lot here and fairly recently,it was not long ago when domestic violence was not interfered with by the police,they would put it down as domestic squabble and that was it. Strange now to think that basically within a marriage or relationship one of the parties could get away with violence but not anymore. One of the guys that works for me had a little push and shove with his girlfriend after an evening in the pub,there was no hitting but literally pushing each other,she complained the police came he spent 24 hours locked up,and has to go to court,he may well get a custodial as he is on a suspended,so the laws have tightened up,I think Mike could have had a nasty shock
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:23 pm

Thanks Enida. My advice would be to allow yourself time to heal. It can take some time to see things clearly, and there can be false fits and starts in between. If any of us can help - ask, on the forum or by pm. I am sure we would all be very willing to help if we can 

As I'm not a 'senior', there aren't any here (except Lise of course!) you don't have to take our advice - and if we say anything you think is wrong point it out. We may not agree but the truth amongst friends is the dharma, or as close as we can get to it.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:55 pm

what the? I'm not a senior anything, don't drag me into this funny  

Mark's right, lots of help can be found here and we disagree with each other frequently, no problem with that yes
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:28 pm

Enida, I have some questions - many actually, but I don't want to overwhelm you.  Maybe one issue at a time is enough, and if I ask something you'd rather not address, no worries.

Do you have any thoughts on why the Abbey might announce that a monk had left voluntarily, when in fact they told the person that she/he would be leaving?  I know you've been away from the monastic role for several years and that things might have evolved since then, as far as accuracy and openness, but I’m questioning how they would justify saying something that wasn’t true.  I would have thought they could just say “this person has gone on leave” and not take the additional step of adding details that aren’t true. Unless lay sangha members had been at risk due to some aspect of the monk’s issues, I wouldn’t think the laity are necessarily owed details, from the Abbey, about why someone left.

If a monk wants to make a statement about leaving, that choice should be respected and their words shouldn't be censored, which is a separate issue.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:10 pm

Hi Lise,

I don't know which situation(s) you are talking about and the facts of whether they were told to leave or left voluntarily, so I can't answer that.

I can say that, in my experience, a monk who was leaving was consulted about their individual circumstances and, for their own privacy and often at their request, things were not publicly stated or they could make their own public statement.  In my experience of working in the legal field, I believe the institution could actually be held liable for harm done if they disclosed after being asked not to.  As I said, I don't know what you are specifically referring to, but while I was at the monastery, the monks were always as helpful as they could be to the monk who was leaving and would do everything possible, within their means to do so.

Hope that helps.

Enida
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:03 pm

I was thinking of the example you mentioned, where the community voted on whether an individual should be asked to leave and you were pressured to change your decision. I'm aware of the facts of that situation and I recall the Abbey putting out an internal announcement (not website, but available to laity) to the effect that he had left voluntarily on an indefinite leave of absence, to address personal issues. Until you posted this, I did not know that the community voted on it and he was not given a choice to stay. That sort of negates the voluntary aspect -
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:58 pm

Over here this is called spin,it may be over there.Politicians amongst others offer a different version or answer the question by answering another question to keep the truth a little unclear. The politicians seem to get away with it,as I think people sort of expect it,or are not interested anyway. I think religious institutions are always under pressure to be right,which explains wthe letter sent out re mark and myself,and the discrediting,if the truth or other reasons are given basically the game is up. The spin maybe a lie or under the cover of politness to the one departing ie we did not want to say the truth as he/she was a miserable so and so and we wanted them out..just thoughts
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:10 am

I think I answered your question above Lise.  I was not privy to the particulars of how monks announced they were leaving or their reasoning as I was only a postulant and not in on those conversations.


In regards to voting on issues, I can tell you that Abbots/Priors are given a lot of leeway to run their own temples as they choose. The previous Abbot at Shasta was attempting to try decision making by consensus.  He would ask the community (even novices) their thoughts on some, but not all, important issues, and try to agree by consensus.  It worked very well in many cases (and I thought it was a good idea generally), but not in that case.  I think the consensus idea was a Rev. Eko aspiration and I don't know if it is still being developed at Shasta or not. 


It has been some time since I have been involved and a lot of monks have left since then.  I chose not to have any announcement of any kind when I disrobed - it was too painful - and that was respected.


For me, it comes back to allowing people to tell their own experience and stories about what it was like for them.  I think it is kinder that way.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:14 am

When I left, and when others left that I knew, you were shunned.  You were not allowed to speak to anyone, nor were they allowed to speak to you.  You were not allowed in the zendo or to eat meals with the community. It was all so horrible.   I'm glad to see that aspect of Shasta has changed at least.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:05 am

I am so sorry to hear that Mokuan.  It was difficult enough leaving under the circumstances I did, but it would have been unbearable if I was rejected at the same time.  That doesn't sound very compassionate and wise to me......I will add that, although things were more open while I was at Shasta, as a novice, it was recommended I didn't talk too much to the monk leaving, but I was able to say my goodbyes and best wishes.  

Another thing that occurred to me in answer to Lise's question, is that the Order rules have clear guidelines and procedures on whether and how a monk can be forced to leave.  I am not an expert on those rules and don't have a copy anymore but I believe a monk has the means to be heard before several monks and it would be decided at the Order level.  So, a monk could be asked to leave a particular temple but wouldn't necessarily have to disrobe.  All of the monks at my time at the Abbey voluntarily left and did not go through that process, although I heard it had been used in circumstances before my time.

I apologize for my historical ignorance Mokuan, but did Order rules exist during your time and were they invoked?  Perhaps having the rules in place is impacting that old behavior???
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:10 am

For me Buddhism is the friendly way,we all make mistakes,teachers too,if they can teach something it is what to do when mistakes are made ,how to pick ourselves up they teach by example by picking themselves up,tenderness, benevolence love our hallmarks, being here is enough there is no need for theatrics and controlled enviroments
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:24 am

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
Reading Lise's post above
My understanding is that some women who reported the indecent-exposure calls were very clear about not wanting this from him 
Yes, it seems clear that Lise has (confidential) information that you and I are not privy to. This, of course, means that you and I must withhold judgement as the information available to us points to the opposite of your quoted statement.

The inability of people to hang up the phone until after the conclusion of the "activities"

Also, the atmosphere of "cat fights" and "jealousy" makes me wary.

Having said all that, I do believe Lise has convincing information, otherwise she wouldn't be so convinced. But you and I chisanmichaelhughes have to remain in a state of ambivalence.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:38 am

Yes i was commentating on Lise post where she says:
My understanding is that some women who reported the indecent-exposure calls were very clear about not wanting this from him and they said they felt ashamed and degraded that Michael Little did this to them. That doesn't sound like mutual engagement to me.
I said :
think you would get a custodial over here if there was a complaint.
and
I think Mike could have had a nasty shock

I think they are fair comments
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:54 am

However we can deffinately comment on his known behaviour, whether the other parties were willing or not. First, a number of the incidents were with his disciples to whom he owed a duty of care. This was not some secret tantric initiation, there is no such thing in Zen, it was just bad behaviour and an abuse of power even if the other parties were willing participants, just as it would be between a doctor and their patients. Second, he was at the time preaching that any kind of  sexual behaviour by monks was forbidden and against the precepts, let alone sexual behaviour with disciples. I believe that some monks had been asked to leave because they had infringed this rule in a lesser manner.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:06 pm

Michael, I have wondered if the former Eko would have done anything differently if the laws were more strict here. Actually I don't know if he violated any criminal laws but I've been told he could have faced civil lawsuits.

Mark, thanks, it seems we have to keep pointing out that consent wasn't relevant in this situation nor how long someone stayed on the phone. I can't quite picture a woman hanging up on the Zen master unless she was quite done with the connection and prepared to be cut off. Ironically some of the women were cut off regardless when Eko tired of them. It's unfortunate we can't see the FTI interview transcripts (with names removed), as this might help people understand that it wasn't fun & games for everyone.

Enida, my question had to do with the notice that was posted on the guesthouse bulletin board ('05?) regarding a monk who was said to have left on a "voluntary" basis, when the facts were that he did not have the option to stay. I understand and respect that you don't want to speak about particular individuals and I won't use names for that reason. I'm not asking you to comment on that,  I only wanted to clarify what my question was -  I don't know why the Prior's Office would put something in the notice that wasn't true. It must be what ChisanMichael suggests -  spin.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:17 pm

Hi Enida. Thank you for illuminating on much of what was happening at the abbey. As a guest i caught glimmers of what didn't seem right to me and it's reassuring to know I wasn't just being too sensitive. So glad that you are out of there now and can choose to be around people that treat you well. That to me is the most wonderful thing about "free will" not the obc's idea of denying yourself love and comfort.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:38 pm

Lise these phone calls,..Did they start before Kimberley came on the scene,Did the phone calls continue after she came on the scene.

I will share my touching moment of the day,My young assistant's Dad died last night,shes a young girl of 20 a Cornish girl who has some temper on her,she organises all the dispatch,very stressful,she shouts and hollers,and we shout and curse each other,I emailed her at 4 am when I heard and then phoned her at 7 make sure she was Ok,I was thinking about her alot and grinning at the rows and arguments..not the best way to live, a very constant fiery relationship not in any naughty way at all,any way about lunch time in she walks very tearful we have a big hug and off she goes back to making the family arrangments,it made me realize that who we are is never ever hidden
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:49 pm

How sad for her, 20 is far too young to lose her parent. Hugs from afar -

Michael, I believe the answer is yes to your first question - several people have told me this independently, but then I'm not able to verify with certainty. I haven't heard whether the calls continued after Kimberly appeared or tapered off once their romance began. I've always wondered what she thought about that situation, or if she believed it was true.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:10 pm

With my limited experience of women,I would have thought most would have felt betrayed if it had carried on after their romance started,and jealous if it happened before,but not sure many would choose to disbelieve, it is after all something to bring up at the right moment!

Thanks for those hugs
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:46 pm

No problem Lise.  Did you see both of my posts above?  To put it simply, while I was at the monastery, no monk disrobed involuntarily at the Abbey as far as I know – they chose to disrobe for their own personal reasons, including the monk you are asking about.  Any one of them could have petitioned the Order to invoke the process to review their concerns or tried to find another temple to move to, but none chose to do so, as far as I heard.  Why they disrobed or how they wanted it to be announced was their own personal choice but I assume the Prior’s Office followed their wishes.
My opinion was that it wasn’t about ‘spin’, but maintaining someone’s confidentiality at a difficult time.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:26 pm

Ah, I see the disconnect now -  you're talking about disrobing whereas I'm talking about whether the monk had a choice about staying or leaving Shasta Abbey, and they are two different things obviously. When you said the community voted on whether he could stay, and the decision was no, that's what I was referring to; I wasn't considering whether he remained a monk. The Prior's notice didn't say he had a change in status, it just said he was taking a voluntary leave to address personal issues. That's why I was confused, because a no vote suggests his wasn't a voluntary departure.

It makes sense that there would be a set protocol for disrobing and it wouldn't be done to someone involuntarily unless all the steps had been taken. Thanks for clarifying.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:39 pm

Hi Enida! Just wanted to say thank you for being here! I've always admired your courage. You're such and incredible lady. Love and hugs to you.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi from Enida   Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:47 am

hello .. hello ,, hello..
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