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 Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?

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June99



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PostSubject: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:16 pm

[Admin note:  this thread was split from the thread about Rev. Bridin's leave of absence, under "Keeping in Touch", in order to give the offshoot discussion a chance to continue while helping the original thread get back to the purpose for which it was created.  June99's name shown as the author since her post was the first in sequence to be split, but this is only a function of the forum software.]

I was at the Abbey when Rev. Bridin was a postulant many, many years ago. She was kind, smart, and very sincere. I also remember her getting scolded in the kitchen by Rev. Leon for not cleaning a bowl correctly and doing what he said.  It was uncomfortable watching someone 20-30 years younger scolding her like a child.
I hope she feels happy and free now. The announcement that she is taking time to "clarify her spiritual purpose" rubs me the wrong way. It's seems they are trying to send the message that they know better and her decision has nothing to do with them. They should quote her reason for leaving instead of sounding like an authority on the matter.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:15 pm

June, nice to see you here again. Maybe we'll hear from R. Bridin at some point and she can say if she had input in the wording.

I question whether there is such a thing as a "spiritual purpose", but then I'm seeing most of these concepts as just more fiction piled on top of endless contrived stories.  Wouldn't an absence of purpose be more in line with the goal of goal-lessness?
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June99



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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:32 pm

Lise. Thank you and I couldn't agree with you more! "Spiritual purpose" sounds like a lot of gobbledygook.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:05 pm

It does. I think these concepts don't do much more than befuddle people, cause them to wonder if they're off-track and don't have what others surely have.

I am interested in how groups adopt phrases and move others out of circulation. "Put it on the back burner" becomes "let it cook" and that phrase is morphing into "just be patient". The third reads a little better b/c patience must be a virtue, right? But all three have the same effect -  to stifle action and cause one to be suspended in the status quo -
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June99



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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:11 pm

Yes, when I told Rev. Oswin I didn't want to become a monk because I'm afraid of being scolded and yelled at, he told me it may have something to do with the way my mother treated me. For the record my mother did neither.
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pete x. berkeley

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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:54 pm

Does anyone know a good religion that dried up and blew away?  That we would longingly revive?
Like the Cult of Baal? or something horrible? no...can't think of a one.
Meaning? maybe there's only one spiritual purpose: "Realize the Truth" and if a religious practice were outside the truth...it eventually ends.

How could spiritual purpose be different for a monk or a layperson?  The purpose?  Is this part of the Isan Challenge ("what went wrong?").  If we think of vocations as separate species, how long before there's a hierarchy and the Hatfields and McCoys being rugged mountain boys, taking pot shots across the valley of tears.

If a welcome for a monk entering the monastery, there should also be a welcome for a monk entering lay life...after all the person never went anyplace -- it's still the wide ole world -- and there's still a need to become one with Truth, which is Truth itself and a stupa for the world of the Dharma for our present body...or variously: You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free."
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:10 pm

" You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free."

 Amen to that Pete !


 Stan
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:57 am

Well after a very long day working yesterday loading  for London, i came home read June's posts and went to bed.
I was up really early today and phoned my grand daughter as it is her birthday, I knew they would be up, my phone call was greeted with grandad , grandad. so I pop over for a quick visit to give a present or 2 ,there was so much love given without though by 2 little beings I was so pleased. But Junes posts startle me and will not go away. The thought of the scolding is so disturbing. Who on earth was doing the scolding? and for why.
Is this scolding somehow justified by thinking it will show the self and allow one the opportunity to 'let go of ones feelings'
Personally it sounds like bullying to me.
Again personally I think there is a misunderstanding that 'zen experience ' (sorry) can be manipulated, reading Gempos big mind he says or said he could guarantee an enlightenment experience in 3 days or something like that,but what experience, it did not seem to do well for him.
The contrast of my grand daughters love and the scolding monk are immense, like wise the contrast between self manipulating self experience,and body and mind dropping away experience is immense.
Personally again, zazen is just done,no will power,no trickery or self manipulation,.....teaching it?....... well it is not taught by scolding, it is only taught/learnt by someone doing it
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June99



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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:19 pm

I think again it gets back to that master/disciple relationship idea that it's expected for the teacher to humble and deflate the "self" of their disciple. Unfortunately, it seems to be lead to a lot of ridiculous "correcting," berating, and controlling nonsense. 
I have one last bad experience that has stayed with me for years. In 1999 I spent three months at the Abbey contemplating whether I wanted to become a monk or not. As many know there is a kitchen clean up that occurs after breakfast and lunch, and as a lay resident, you are expected to sign up for at least once a day or so. Rev. Chosei, the guest master then, was big on "physical work," and apparently was not pleased that I did clean not "fast enough" and only did kitchen clean up once a day--which is what they asked. As I was leaving on my last day, thankfully having decided that monasticism was definitely not for me, I wrote a check for a size-able donation (which I had done every month while I was there). As I was putting the check into the donation bowl Rev. Chosei came around the corner and, meanly, says to me "Yeah, you had better do that. You had better..." In shock and not sure how to respond, I politely smiled, gathered my things and left.  
On my drive home I thought about writing to Rev. Master Eko and complaining about that comment, but I figured it would only make it awkward if I were to ever want to come back.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:51 pm

Not nice at all June.
Do you mind me asking if you had to justify to yourself that you were experiencing good zen advice or if the telling off was good for you,or rather bluntly did you have low self esteem at the time? I  would not think you would be fooled again, But would the confusion from the past get in the way of , or help understanding zen practice now?
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June99



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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:46 pm

To answer your questions, in a nutshell, I was very young and rather desperate for some sort fulfillment at the time. I, erroneously, believed I needed the organization and the monks for direction or else I would be lost. As a result, I never challenged the rude comments from Rev. Chosei or thought critically about the way people were reprimanded or challenged being asked to wear a skirt (when I absolutely detest them).
Now that I am in my 40's I have a lot more life experience and confidence. I choose not to partake in the OBC organization anymore and have a full life that is not depended on things outside myself. In some ways I'm glad I logged all those times things rubbed me the wrong way and am grateful for the full disclosure on this forum.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:07 pm

Well lets hope that rev Chosei changes and is allowed to change and leaves his/her karma behind and can learn tha other people are OK and are neither a threat or objects to be abused.
We have to come back to why Rev Chosei thought this form of abuse had anything to do with Zen Buddhism,is this what Kennett had passed on.
Abuse is a horrible trait,it may well have its roots in insecurity,husbands sometimes do not allow their wives to wear nice clothes and look attractive,do not want them to have male friends,are pleased when they are pregnant so the wife will be dependant on them,and the abuse starts, there would be a simillar story for wives who abuse their partners. The levels of abuse grow what was once un thinkable becomes the norm.
Child abuse is beyond my understanding,I have seen it and read the current big stories in the papers or on the news, I think there was a young boy that was killed by his mum,and one time badly beaten for wetting the bed,this is a current story here in the UK.
So in temples or religious institutions, we give our trust, we expose our ignorance, and our lost ways, and enter an unusual arena where we trust and think we are receiving support help and guidance..
I dont think kennett started the reformed Zen Set with intentions to harm anyone, however she was completely unskilled in handling and helping with the wide range of issues that present themselves, shutting people up, or making them drop their self is not the answer.
I think that zen in Japan is very suitable for Japanese culture,it may suit japanese people and very few western people,Ikko Roshi in Japan would tell me he did not know if he could help me in any way because he did not understand me,he had not met any western people,certainly no one like me,he was even more puzzled by the fact that despite all that I fitted in, But western issues would have been a bit of a challenge . So I think, reforming a Buddhist tradition, and dealing with spiritually hungry people would have been far too much for Kennett, I mean why did no one spot the strange and horrible behaviour of Rev Chosei,the answer is most likely it was the norm.
But enough I do not have the answers,good for you for surviving lets hope all of us learnt something positive, like other people are sprcial and not put in the world for us to abuse them,simple words like I love you in sometimes difficult to say,maybe a temple is not a place where it is said,but it is a place where those very sentiments are realized..Good luck June
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:09 am

just responding to Marks post about scolding,yes we have all done in,as parents we will have done most probably,i think in Zen terms we have to consider motive and effect. In some ways June benefited as she got herself together and became more complete a person. But I am not sure that was the motive of Chosei,I am not sure Chosei showed or was in touch with skillful means,I mean what comments to make when June was giving Dana. When we did a begging round in Japan,it was quite clear it did not matter if we were given anything,the people that heard and saw us felt comforted by seeing us, it was enough.So what was Chosei trying to achieve, was it to break June or bully her was it to get her to drop her self.skillful means either work or they are not skillful means.Skillful means should help someone see a bigger picture,but maybe the skillful means is I sleep when I am tired and eat when I am hungry
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:48 am

Scolding -  many times not good spiritual teaching, normally the mirror points both ways. But we have all done it, ask my kids!

Nansen scolds sharply
Shoes on head Joshu chides,
Frost covers a cat


(If this looks a little odd coming after mike's comment on it that's because I moved it here having originally posted it under the wrong topic. Ah we'll, another senior moment!)
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:23 am

I think there is a fine line (again) with going the way of the temple and being brought back on track when when strays off. One assumes that the temple is going the right way but as we know it may not be,this in itself may not be a problem it is the coming back that is the spiritual practice, but of course everyone has to come back which I feel is the core of the reason for the exodus of us and what we write about. We are all human all make mistakes no one is above that. We all learn all the time, human love makes it possible without this human love there is no real contrition, no movement, no deepening, only static staying with what one assumes.Great experience is needed to keep a temple flowing and growing,everyone's input is equal and vital. This description of scolding is a negative trying to keep an idea or perspective together,growing spiritually I believe is leaving it behind,
it is little wonder the cat was cut in two
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:52 am

Yeah Mike, a fine line. Thinking about it one of the fine lines is between chiding and scolding/berating. I think of chiding as a more friendly, compassionate rebuke than scolding. Rather along the lines of 'Come on mate,you should know better than that.' rather than 'Do what your told, I know better than you!'

Too often it seems that 'monks', particularly teachers, view themselves as better than those they teach in some way, in behavior, in knowledge, or in understanding, and then conclude that they themselves are infallible.  Ah well! No compassion for themselves or others. What was it that someone said about the lilies of the field, ...and little children. We must look to ourselves, help where we can, but not because we 'know better', we don't. Just out of compassion for the world, including ourselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:25 am

Fine line indeed,I think in this topic we have spoken of the mystery of life the unknowing I personally think a good teacher lives with this unknowing,but as you say they feel they have to be infallible know all the answers,which means it is over before it starts,other teachers as we have seen here want a cloud of unknowing for their disciples so the teacher can hide behind it and cleverly abuse their self created position of power.None of this has anything to do with sitting zazen. So back to Rev Chosei I think the Rev was propping up a system that needed to fall apart. Because despite the tradition, the japanese sticking with Dogen,s practice and teaching true zen is always outside the scriptures,it is always beyond religious form and title.
The fine line again there is nothing wrong with religious form or practice,just dont be attached to it
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:45 pm

You guys are good, and I always am interested in what you have to say but?
What if the Rev. was trying to be "funny?" i.e. sarcastic, sardonic.

I think we have to be willing to play with people before we get the best out of them.  I can see people pull back, and then I recall the times in my life where I was overly serious, overly self-concerned.

As I pondered these topics over the weekend, computer-less and therefore unable to jump into every ring and try to win a round...it dawned on me that I have one sorrow in life.  [John Bradshaw said the sorrow of life is that we weren't saints...well, that's answered by: "Not dead yet!"] 

In my case, the sorrow was not understanding that "love" means caring for those you like, and "love" means caring those you do not "care for"! (do not like).

In other words, love can move us beyond like or dislike.  I thought that was the purpose of the practice of Zen? To move beyond the opposites. 

I didn't always work to care for those I should have loved; I kinda just took what I could, and was horribly callous (until it happened to me--then I got it!). 

I also know that putting your likes and dislikes on hold can yield a sweet moment when the person antithetical to you turns out to be human.  You can put your-self on hold with meditation -- isn't that what Michael is indicating? 

There's too much pushing and pulling, and pulling back.  June? could we not have said "What?!" back to the Rev.  "Tell me when to laugh."

I had a friend whose car broke down in NYC.  He was pushing it himself off the street into a gas station.  There was a guy sitting on a chair by the lube bay.  He went up to him and asked him to help him push? since he had been watching him like a vulture, the whole time.  The guy replied: "Get your Mama to push the car," and added, "peckerwood!"

That's the way to earn that bronze plaque of brotherhood, yes?
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:39 pm

No the rev had a chance to demonstrate his understanding,being funny does not work,neither does putting yourself on hold,the master is about to ring the bell but I think your on the right track,do you cut the rev in two or walk out your sandels on your head?
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:10 pm

pete x. berkeley wrote:

In other words, love can move us beyond like or dislike.  I thought that was the purpose of the practice of Zen? To move beyond the opposites.
.
I agree Pete.  Love takes us beyond the opposites.  Forgiveness is a process though and I've learned that "spiritual bypassing" doesn't work.  There's room on the altar of forgiveness for bad days and bitter memories.  They need to be acknowledged and allowed a seat at the table.  Then I can see that they're only part of the story.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:57 pm

Pete's last post mirrored some of my own thoughts
This is no defense of anybody anywhere treating another with disrespect but...

It's been a long time, and folks might have changed but that particular Rev was burdened with a construction workers sensitivity covering one of the driest senses of humor at the Abbey.
I wasn't there for the exchange but I could totally see him saying this with the opposite intent that it was taken in. 
I think that the Chosei that I once knew would have been surprised if you took it as anything more than one last comedic gassho on your way out and would have chosen some other exchange if he could have known how it would be received.

But..... I guess with him in the position of Guest Master, you probably had enough contact with him to discern his intent.
Hhmmm That's a sad thought.  Had he lost all that dry humor by the time you were there?


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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:12 pm

Yes sir, and that's part of  the Isan Challenge...acknowledging that reviewing what's right and not so right is a process, not a vending machine product, readily obtained and easily identified.  For that we mine the ore of memory, to refine our understanding, no?

John Prine: "Memories they can't be boughten
Can't be won in carnivals for free.
Well it took me years to get them souveniers
And I don't know how they slipped away from me..."

Anyway, we're working with memories mostly, here in this forum --somebody challeneged me to "time stamp" the story I was on when I was talking with him...I gave him the date..."That's 40 years ago! It's over..." Well, live another second and this second's in the rearview mirror; that's the nature of time.  Is it invalidated for being past?  In the psyche there is no time; until things are resolved, they live, present time.

But I know "love" is gonna bug some people...it's a dadburned Xtian term...Well? The Greeks had 5 kinds of love, but I never can remember exactly what...but we don't have to scratch around in old Greek stuff...if we can agree on a 6th term...a Zen-like use of "love" meaning "door stopper" -- it's enough to call it love when you do NOT close somebody out for keeps.  If they don't fit in the room, they'll eventually mosey.  If they do fit, they'll eventually mosey.  This same guy defined himself as "the smartest guy in the room."  I offered that he was in the wrong room; and besides, he wasn't smart--only intelligent.  I offered that Mitt Romney is smart -- figures out how the world works, and makes it work for him.

Which brings us to the story of Ummon (Wikipedia has him as Yunmen Wenyan:
While a boy, Yunmen became a monk under a "commandment master" named Zhi Cheng [e] in Jiaxing. He studied there for several years, taking his monastic vows at age 20, in 883 CE.
The teachings there did not satisfy him, and he went to Daozong's school[f] to gain enlightenment. According to a legend, first mentioned in 1100, he had his leg broken for his trouble:
Quote :
Ummon [Yunmen] went to Bokushu's temple to seek Zen. The first time he went, he was not admitted. The second time he went, he was not admitted. The third time he went the gate was opened slightly by Bokushu, and thus Ummon stuck his leg in attempting to gain entrance. Bokushu urged him to "Speak! Speak!"; as Ummon opened his mouth, Bokushu pushed him out and slammed shut the large gate so swiftly that Ummon's leg was caught and was broken.
If that's the kind of Zen people like, whiskey-straight, no water, I believe the Rinzai temple, either up or down the road or thataway would be more appropriate than Soto.  Soto was tough enough for me.  I don't want the master using me as a doorstop, but his or her own internal stop that allows me to show up in the state I'm in -- not already condemned -- not allowed in.

Which is just to say--previously an intelligent response to one conundrum was: I don't believe there is such a thing a spiritual purpose; yet others are using that phrase.  Now what?  The no-door stopper approach is to jack up the leg in the gate, wrackannngghh..."You're wrong!" "No, you're wrong!"

But Aquinas used what I guess was an Aristotleian argument format...you make a proposal; state some argument then go: "On the other hand..." and make a proposal about that...and then do some kind of summing up thing to see if you have a definitive proof. 

Actually we had two proposals/arguments, up above...that Spiritual purpose is a nonentity; that it is an entity...and then that a monk's spiritual purpose is apparently not a layperson's...when we're done arguing we can see where we got, or did the wheels on the bus just go round and round...then we can remember the Shastites saying in seminar: "That which you can argue about cannot be the truth!"  Sure 'nuff.

So now I've said everything I know, and plenty that I don't. You're the best! and the door is always open. Amen.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:50 pm

Unless we're impaired by some temporary medical condition, or are just permanently thick, most of us know when another is joking. Tone, inflection, facial expression, posture, all of these are processed in an instant by the brain. Because my own brain has not (yet) let me down as far as correctly assessing others' intent (as far as I know), I believe it's possible June's brain is still functioning for her in the same way.

I believe June experienced what she said she did.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:56 am

To add to the post above, I didn't express what I meant very well -  I have been mistaken at times, I'm sure, about what someone else felt or intended at the time they did something. What I meant is this:  I don't spend much time trying to figure out if someone means well in what they say or how they say it; usually it's clear one way or the other. Where it's in-between and I can't tell, I don't struggle with guessing, I just move on.

Where my perception has not let me down, as far as I know, is in noticing when someone is speaking from a place of hostility and challenge. Primal alerts fire off in the brain in a way that just doesn't happen when someone is joking. That is what I meant to say.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:56 am

Lise: You're smarter than I look. (which is fortunate for you). If persons take the Bodhisattva vow, do they get to pick the innumerable beings they have vowed to rescue? or the innumerable Dharmas they vow to master? Or whatever else there is to that?

We have to remember that "Zen Master" is a guy is a robe...or a woman in a robe...and they weren't born wearing it.  How Zen is it to take guff and not offer a modest correction? 

When I said above somewhere: "You-all have the power to make people well!" That wasn't some gratuitous compliment, like a tray of braunschweiger sandwiches next to the sweating lemonade pitcher at the Moose Lodge, no! It was a genuine statement that? If you've ID'd the kryptonite, and gotten away from it, you have helped yourself to wellness, and now you can turn around and offer the treatment program, or the consolation.

The thing I found about turning my back on someone, because I was somehow distressed by them is, if you do that twice...

If you do that twice you notice that not everything is the same to everyone, and not everyone is the same to every other one.  The dog, wagging his tail in greeting, licks the hand of the Mafia hitman when he comes home from a hard day's work.  Mr. Hitman is not the Bodhisattva here, but the dog is.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:31 am

Not everyone has taken the boddhisatva vow; why would you assume this?  I haven't. I wish people the very best but I'm not taking responsibility for rescuing them. I have always thought that vow was such a grandiose and self-inflating statement.  Each of us can and must rescue ourselves, on our own, if such is needed. 

It wasn't June's responsibility to "offer a modest correction" in that situation, and, if you read what she wrote, the comment shocked her and she didn't know how to respond. People who absorbed the etiquette and culture at SA well enough to manage from day to day were for the most part quickly trained out of trying to defend or explain oneself. I had a monk tell me that directly, when I did try to say something supportive to him after he'd got chewed out unfairly in the kitchen. I knew that I was witnessing was wrong - a person was being berated for something he didn't do and couldn't control - yet he wouldn't speak up. He told me that did no good and was guaranteed to make things worse.

I appreciate that you try to see a positive solution or fix, and I understand you like to offer that each time someone here relates a troubling incident.  In my view, I don't care about what would have fixed things 10 or 15 years ago or, ideally, how all of us should react as boddhisatvas. When someone here says "this happened to me and I felt bad and I've carried it for years", all I care about is that they know someone has heard what they have to say. I'm not going to argue them into a position of considering how wrong their perception might be, or how they could have tried harder to wring some benefit from being treated badly -  what a waste of time.

It's ok that we focus on different aspects of these posts where people talk about their experiences. I don't mean to ignore your points, but I can't respond to much of it because my focus is on something completely different. Others will be able to, I'm sure.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:51 pm

Lise:  Alright!
anyway...I have solved The Isan Challenge ("What went wrong?")
Remember that full prostration, part of I forget, installation of a Chief Junior or other...
and remember "We must be completely humble before the Buddhas and Patriarchs." ?
It used to bother me as "people worship" a bit over the top, but now?
It dawns on us that while down, we should fall no further than the ground, not start digging a foxhole in defense against the insalubrious insouciancy of an itinerant Teacher, because? We Teacher is only a placeholder for the Buddhas and Patriarchs.

If, for one reason or the other, said Teacher is not appropriately managing the placeholder status, then up, up, and help them out in any way possible...don't duck for cover...or turn your back, (=180) without turning again once you have regained your composure (+180 = 360). Now you are face-to-face again, and you can help if you want to keep the business going.

If you don't want to pitch in? You are right to leave.

At this point, so will I...it's been a long, hard, sweaty Iditarod and I came in last...but on the earbuds we have The Band doing "Saved..." listen in?
"I used to lie.
I used to cheat.
I used to lie, cheat and step on peoples' feet.
I used to lie and cheat, lie and cheat and step on people's feet...oh yeah.
But I'm in that Soul-Savin' Army, beatin' on that big bass drum!"
boom boom boom boom
"I am saved, yes saved!
People let me tell ya about Kingdom Come!
I am saved, yes saved!
I'm in that Soul-Savin' Army, beatin' on that big bass drum!"
boom boom boom boom!

Can't find The Band You Tubing it, in a cursory glance, but here's the King, almost better!
Wishing ya'all well!
PS. Given the Five Laws of the Universe, we may have to use whiteout on the "soul" part and change it to "anatta" but after that, let's roar, it's karaoke time down at ElectronVille

ELVIS PRESLEY - Saved (Comeback 68') - YouTube
► 4:32► 4:32
www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH4wHOLHqIc


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Feb 21, 2011 - Uploaded by METALEIRO4EVER1961
Oh Oh yeah! And now I'm ... People let me tell you 'bout kingdom come ... I used to lie and cheat, lie ...
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:15 pm

pete x. berkeley wrote:


If, for one reason or the other, said Teacher is not appropriately managing the placeholder status, then up, up, and help them out in any way possible...don't duck for cover...or turn your back, (=180) without turning again once you have regained your composure (+180 = 360). Now you are face-to-face again, and you can help if you want to keep the business going.

If you don't want to pitch in? You are right to leave.
 
Pete, I can't help wondering -  how did that work out for you at Shasta, when you helped a Teacher by offering correction to their behavior?  I assume you speak from experience when advising people not to duck for cover or turn their back during challenging encounters?  It would help to hear how you handled this and obtained a positive outcome, such that you feel comfortable advising others to take this approach?
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:55 pm

Lise:  In fairness, I should respond, though I long to get on down the line...to a certain extent there is something in me that is irrepressible -- although it's not earned by intelligence, good looks, hormones a-popping, earning power, or achievement...
we can call it something (the Buddha Nature?) or St. Paul's "Now not I live, but Christ lives in me..."
First I was so busy putting out the trash fires in my karmic jangles, I was grateful for a place to sit.
Second I was so busy trying to iron out the wrinkles of my slow adaptation, that I was intrigued by the presentations and the presenters.
Third, I compared my experiences at Shasta, with my experiences in the world and actually made Rev. Teigan chuckle when I told him how I was suffering at yet another of my 21 jobs as a human..."but they can't do anything to me that Shasta hasn't done!" (the difference being that Shasta's contract calls for good intentions and that job site did not...and they're out of business to prove it...)
Fourth? I'm going with Empty Cloud -- got the reference from Shasta, got the book from Shasta, sent it to a friend (a former Carmelite monk turned psychotherapist who got beat with a baseball bat by his wife's nutcase/drug addict son and was in the hospital needing reading material in my opinion, and I cannot find the Empty Cloud book anymore...he got beat up and left for dead, twice, in his 121 years as a "skin bag" but he could still write a song about it, and an autobiography... oh yeah, now:
"The ridding oneself of a portion of one's defilements is a gaining of a measure of enlightenment."

Lise? I said early middle and now late: You-all are senior to me, and "one should never say all one has to say to a senior" cuz you just wear 'em out!  They're busy raising high the roof beams, but? finally: Me, Pee Wee the Least V. Shasta in a Smackdown of the Century...I just, I dunno, gulp...I just loved it, and love them for helping me put out the fires...

I don't have to go to the Burning Man festival, I can just look in the Mirror, the Great Mirror...

These three choices came to us, as an answer to The Isan Challenge: Dig a foxhole, get up and run away, get up and turn away (note to self: turn back), lay there staring at those cheap 10 dollar brown corduroy slippers, smooshed down at the heels of the Master before you...or? stand up like a person and as Rev. T. sang to me, and me alone, at Sange: "Om to the one who leaps beyond all fear!"

ain't nobody else encouraging me, hardly it seems, wah. nobody but them dadblamed, goshdarned, inkanackin, paddywhacking ooOOH Buddhas, Patriarchs, Saints and Bodhisattvas.

Alright: Everbody! Give us an "H" (H!)
give us a "U" (U!)
give us an "L" (L!)
give us a "U" (U!) and do that all over again, everbody, and then a M-A-H-A-S-A-Y-A and all that other stuff
what's that spell HULU HULU MAHASAYA! Louder (etc.)
what's that mean?
Durned if I know.
What's that translate to?
There is a way out of mad-ness.  If you can't buy into it, you're right to leave.  I had no rank or file--there was no way they could bust me back to private -- once I went public. 
I ain't afraid of no Zen Master -- but I sho nuff don't like the lickin stick of Roshi Phillip Kapleau et al.  Fooey...if you have to beat me, or even browbeat me into enlightenment...you can keep it for yourself.

You're doing a good thing, and I'm not trying to kick dirt on it.  but if Rev. Master could take it--I could take it.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:46 pm

Pete, I wish I could make out what you've written, but most of it escapes me.

What I think I am seeing from your response is that you did not ever actually put into practice, yourself, what you are now telling others they should have done. If you didn't have the ability to correct a teacher, is it fair to ask anyone else why they didn't do so?  

Your positive experiences at Shasta were helpful to you, and that's good, but they don't serve to negate or trivialize the difficulties others had with theirs. However, I won't drive this further into the ground, I think I've made the point I was trying to make.
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PostSubject: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:41 pm

Lise? Are you ever lucky!  I had a "great" answer, the typical pastiche of half-remembered everythings...but? I opened up and was logged in and started banging away, and then got guillotined out, as Kozan has noted...you have to go up to Log In and if necessary, Log Out and come back in with automatic checked...so all that blab went bye bye, as should I.

in any case, rather than my answers, let's take yours.  I accept your criticism in the spirit it was given.  I have so much room to improve, I could make it a party. 

The one brilliant offering I do want to share is: We probably can't change ourselves that much, but we certainly can change our Karma.  It's not that you GET happy, but you reveal the happy that once was, or that lives in the heart.  That's what I wanted to get back to the night we were riding in the back of the parents little Nash Rambler station wagon on a hot St. Louis night, with the gate down, me and my bro, (totally not safe), and I looked up at the night sky and saw a million stars...mine for the taking.  I only wanted to look and admire the universe, without fear.

That's all I wanted...oh, and a Tonto shirt, and a Davey Crockett hat.  But? in modern times you have to wear your hat backwards...that's not gonna fly with a coonskin cap.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:19 pm

Picking this up again -  in hopes the discussion will continue about the if/when/how of challenging and correcting a teacher, or electing not to do so . . .
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:29 am

well? with trepidation (now that I have read on this forum, particularly in the Introduction wing) and learned more...I now know that my feeble attempts at carbonation are off the mark...I wanted not to believe which way the wind blows, or blew, but I can't take my thimblefull of experience and place it on the scales against a riptide...
so now, having self-declared myself a winner of the Isan Challenge ("what went wrong?") I know that also to be wrong.  I said there's four ways to face a problematic teacher: prostrate in homage and a high measure of compliance; try to hide and pretend to be in the battle when you're actually in avoidance (dig foxhole with your paws while you're prostrate, which is a form of capitulation), stand up but turn your back...even run...stand up and eventually face the teacher, even if you whisper. 

I figured people weren't doing that. But? It's clear I was mistaken: People did.  You all are so discrete here, it's hard to know what's what...and that's GREAT! The precepts are right around the corner. So?

Now I'll say  the last thing ever from lil ole Pee Wee The Least: You can only do 50% of a relationship.  That's why there's no real "wrong" here...you can't make the other person do "right."  You can only hope; model the behavior; pray in your heart for better luck next life.

I'm amazed at the forbearance.  I only hope the best is yet to come.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:42 am

Personally Pete I find I want to talk normally,to people,i would not want them to hide behind a facade of importance rank or title, I would not want to duck behind anything of mine either
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:04 pm

Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?

Well, your "career" at Shasta Abbey, either as a monk or lay person, is likely to be short should you try this.

For a reality check, I would suggest reading Eat Sleep Sit, the book Sophia mentioned in an earlier post, to see the basis of the Shasta Abbey culture. Rev. Master Jiyu eliminated the kicking and hitting parts, but senior monks, that is anyone who entered the Abbey as a monk before you, has authority over you. Age has nothing to do with it. If a monk senior to you chooses to scold you because you aren't cleaning your bowl properly, he/she can. Not that I see how that is helpful, but that is the way it is.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:16 pm

Kat has anyone got authority over you?
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:53 pm

No one has authority over me in my everyday life.

When I attended  Shasta Abbey, I did consider myself to be under the authority of the monks. I chose to be at Shasta Abbey and that was the way it was.

After what has gone down at the Abbey, I won't be going back. I didn't get so far as finding a teacher at Shasta Abbey, which I think was just as well.

Didn't you allow Rev. Master Jiyu to have authority over you. How can a master-disciple relationship work without that?
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:23 pm

Thanks for the reply Kat,
And I am pleased no one has authority over you,mind you I was driving somewhere and there was a whoop whoop behind and a cop pulled me over, hello Michael he said you're driving too slow! where you going!
I believe master disciple relationships,are a little deeper than authoritive relationships. There is a great deal of mutual,the walls are down and you see each other,that involves alot of known or unknown trust and respect.The very new person to a temple will teach the temple,the temple will respect that,they may not publicly say that because it may not be too helpful, but the core of Zen is tenderness and love for all beings,if that's not there nor is Zen
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:56 pm

I love the bantering on these threads, it is really an informative way for the group to chew through a topic J

In response to what others have mentioned above, part of the culture I experienced as a young monk was that you ‘were a good monk’ if you did what you were asked, but if you stepped outside of the norm you were brought back in, often through intimidation – and invariably I would make a mistake about what was being asked!  When I was at the Abbey, there was a pool of novices who did most of the manual work (cleanup, tea prep and cleanup, cleaning the monastery, etc.) – there are rotas for every task and the novices were on every one, unless they could get an excuse to only do some of them.  Most of the junior-seniors would typically perform some of the rotas, unless they had other things to do at that time, and the senior seniors were not on any rotas (although a few showed up voluntarily anyway) – that was part of the culture.  As you moved up that ranks, you were able to do less of the work.  I was actually approached by a senior before I left trying to impart her concerns about my departing, who expressed that if all the novices left, they wouldn’t have anyone to do the work.

For many years the novices were kept separate from the seniors for most events – monks’ teas and the like, and they still did that at Throssel when I visited several years ago, but Shasta stopped that practice before I came.  I know that would have just exacerbated the circumstances and separation for me.

Not all, but many of the seniors I worked with had a very abrupt style with most of the novices and postulants.  They would keep an eye on you and make sure you were doing your share.  If you were doing something they didn’t condone, it was admonished.  That’s just the way it was.

When I was head novice, I read the priest book about the position beforehand and said it was a requirement of the head novice to “be a friend to the other novices.”  That was news to me because I had heard horror stories from the last several batches of novices regarding some head novice practices.  I committed myself to doing just that during my term and tried to use tactics that could investigate a novice’s resistance with kindness instead of admonishing them.  It worked pretty well in most cases, and at the least brought up regrets or understanding.  I learned a lot from the experience.

I have often wondered when I was being admonished how that monk would ever get along in the world if they behaved like that.  Did they act like this before they became a monk?  My experience is that you would get fired or your friend would never call you again.  Just my opinion. 
Anyway, thanks for the lively conversation.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:04 pm

"I believe master disciple relationships,are a little deeper than authoritive relationships. There is a great deal of mutual,the walls are down and you see each other,that involves alot of known or unknown trust and respect.The very new person to a temple will teach the temple,the temple will respect that,they may not publicly say that because it may not be too helpful, but the core of Zen is tenderness and love for all beings,if that's not there nor is Zen"

This would be the ideal. But the actual? How can tenderness and love come out of a system as described in Eat Sleep Sit? It was brutal for the new arrivals. The diet was so poor that some ended up in the hospital with beriberi.

What I knew about Zen came from Shunryu Suzuki's books. Had I read Eat Sleep Sit, I would not have ended up in a Zen monastery.

I have gone back to Vipasanna. The Metta meditations are very helpful for promoting tenderness and love.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:13 pm

Kat I think the actual is tenderness and love for all beings,i do not know you but I believe you feel the way is the way of the heart,if it is not you have to be strong and live by the aspirations and inspirations of yourself. Japanese temples may well be tough,but so is life over here it is 10pm I have just got in from work and I stated at 7am,In this country there are a lot of homeless people,people below the poverty line,family and friends dying,in different parts of the world,severe food shortage, diseases,,countries still at odds, religions fighting. Is it easy to see the big picture when we are surrounded by the the pressures of lif?. There is a great need for human kindness tenderness and love,maybe it is hard to live up to in any circumstances,but if you feel it is the way you have to try
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:34 pm

H Enida wrote:

. . .  

I was actually approached by a senior before I left trying to impart her concerns about my departing, who expressed that if all the novices left, they wouldn’t have anyone to do the work.


. . . 

I have often wondered when I was being admonished how that monk would ever get along in the world if they behaved like that.  Did they act like this before they became a monk?  My experience is that you would get fired or your friend would never call you again.  Just my opinion. 
Anyway, thanks for the lively conversation.
Enida, were you at all tempted to suggest that the seniors would probably manage very well by taking on some chores themselves, if the labor pool of novices dipped too low?   funny   I'm sure you didn't want to be rude or cause any hard feelings as you were headed out the door, but some folks wouldn't have been able to resist the opportunity to offer that snappy suggestion. 

I wondered, all the time, how some of the community would manage outside the Abbey structure, if they had been delivering admonishment and correction for years without ever receiving that themselves. Or maybe the seniors do correct each other?


[Adding a note to say, I wish I weren't in such a flippant state of mind, I might be able to say something on Michael & Kat's discussion. I love it when we have multiple topics going -]
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:10 pm

RE: Admonishment in the real world. 
Ironically, I just recently finished a job at a company where the person above me had a real axe to grind. She had been fired previously, but due to some political reasons was brought back. I think in fear of looking weak and complacent, she used to blame her team (me as one of them) for any little thing that went wrong or wasn't perfect. She would usually attack us personally with broad stroke criticisms like "You aren't organized or "On top of it..." She might as well have been blaming us for the weather, really. Like the novices at the monastery, I had to just take it in the chin, as absurd as it was at times. I usually nodded my head, vowed to do better, and threw in a little "but in my defense..., which was followed by more ridiculous "...should haves." 
The difference is I had a bigger plan in mind. I knew this wasn't someone I wanted to work for and that I just had to get through it long enough to find another company that treats it's employees with respect. I'm happy to say, that in very little time I did, and this person has lost me and another very valuable employee. Those are the real world consequences, as it should be.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:45 pm

Nice to be able to "vote with your feet" and move on, isn't it. Many of us know what that's like, having a bully for a boss.

I can't imagine being in a monastery and dealing with daily hostility, while trying to accept that my current life plan was built around a commitment to be a part of that community permanently.

I'm trying to recall if I ever "offered correction" to a monk, in SA or any other place. I don't think so; my antennae picked up very early that such things weren't done. Even when I saw things I should have objected to, but didn't. I still regret that.
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:25 am

I think there is great confusion regarding zen practice aspects and interpretation of Japanese culture, and human failings of wanting status whilst in a non status spiritual quest situation. We have all experienced nagging aurthoritve people in religious orders who have created a power base and for safty like at school it is often easier to join than be separate,however we have at some point realised it is the wrong way,it is not what we sign up for,and being bullied is not the way for us, we left,lots of us left,thats our hearts telling us things are not right,hopefully we are stronger for it, a little wiser,does a tassel or title signify enlightenment..er no sorry it does not, does some one berating mean they have a clearer picture no it does not it,it may very well meanthat they have completely lost the plot
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:59 am

you got me chuckling there persons! Amen to all of that.  On the other hand? I've been a petty tyrant at times myself, my conscience reminds me.  I think it comes down to Carl Sagan's reprising Chaos (disorder) vs Cosmos (ordered universe) of the Greek ideas...petty tyrants (a term from Carlos Castaneda/"Don Juan") I forget which book but great stories...too bad they don't seem to be true! (Sorceror's Apprentice by Amy Wallace I think was her expose autobiography)...in any case...petty tyrant...

so how to objectify this quest: The Isan Challenge ("What went wrong?") as we remember, "When the opposites arise, you have almost lost the way to salvation.") so Dogen doesn't want us to go: on the one hand, and on the other hand, either/or, as if that's as far as our thinking can extend because that's how many hands we have...we need that Hindu goddess with the thousand arms really to encompass some real world problems...!
But, in any case...it dawns that there's a plus and a minus nomenclature we could look it, to remove the personal i.d. element...in which case:
Plus (+) is the disciple bowing in full prostration at the Master's feet, vowing full compliance. But what of the disciple who's done this and senses a serious difficulty? They stand up and leave...that's a minus (-).  What of the disciple who senses the difficulty but doesn't want to say or do anything--hopes it blows over (the foxholer)...the minus and plus cancel out to neutral (0).  But these aren't the only positions:
+, -, 0
because? You can be plus and minus on someone, or minus and plus, depending on which is in the ascendancy. 

The disciple who stands up after prostration "we must be completely humble before the Buddhas and Patriarchs" (+) and turns his or her back (-) without stepping away, is holding the supposed opposites in dynamic tension--there's still a chance for positive change. This is a -/+ disciple. The negative is in the ascendancy.
 
The other disciple who prostrates (+) and stands up and faces the teacher with a will to initiate change which is a challenge to authority and therefore deemed a minus (-) is a +/- disciple.

This has been done to me when I was being obstreperous...it's what Shakespeare talked about in Hamlet's soliloquy..."who would fardels bear? or the proud man's contumely"

I know I wouldn't if I had a real choice that didn't get me hacked into bouillon cubes of cat soup.

"If you express by fancy words, it is all stained." still "I gotta use words when I talk to you..." T.S. Eliot said..."What can I give you love?  Words, words, as if all worlds were there..." Robert Creeley said.

somewhere there's a plus sign, a minus sign, a neutral sign, and the hybrid signs swirling around in ionic stress strain and dynamic interaction.

which is the best way to go? which is the solution to the Lise Challenge? ("How to correct a teacher?")

Isn't it the +/-  and? preferably in private, so someone can back down with dignity.

"The worst thing you can do is confront someone bluntly" Carlos has Don Juan say.
"The worst thing you can do is hurt someone's feelings" Maharaj Charan Singh said.

why? I asked myself...I thought being cut into cat soup boullion cubes would be worse...why? because it's karma and the start of violence to be willing to hurt someone, to confront them bluntly.

at the end of the day? It's night ("and you will be cast outside into the darkness, where there will be a weeping, and a gnashing of teeth.")
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:12 pm

Yes with gnashing of teeth ,prostrations in and out of foxholes and carefully walking backwards, how can the master point the way when every moment is new?
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:21 pm

Could Hyakujo tell us the 500th time?  Or would it take 500 times?
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:29 pm

What would take 500 times Enida
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:33 pm

It is almost winter here new friend Smile

But I remember spring and hope to be alive for the next one!
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PostSubject: Re: Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?   

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Offering Correction to a Teacher - is this "good to do"?
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