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 Contact with outside world?

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June99



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Join date : 2010-06-17

PostSubject: Contact with outside world?   Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:26 pm

When you are a monk at the Abbey how much of the outside world are you allowed to know about? Can novices read newspapers, go online, or watch TV?
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H Sophia



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Join date : 2011-06-05
Age : 66
Location : Redding, CA

PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:44 pm

I
Hi,

In a word, no, not without permission.  I was corrected for looking at a magazine in the waiting room at a doctors office. 

Enida and I had computers and we did orders online and some searches online for the Abbott. The guest office novice helped with answering emails to the guest office online. The last year I was there it just wasn't practical to keep novices off the internet, but that was the preference. 

There was a bookcase in the library which held the books approved for reading by novices. If a novice wanted to read something else, they would ask permission of the Novice Master or their own Master. We were instructed not to read the newspapers, even the ones we used to start fires in the wood stoves, magazines, books or anything not on the 
Novice reading shelves without permission.  

At monks tea, which novices attended, occasionally we watched a documentary or a movie. We watched the Planet Earth BBC series and the series about the National Parks, by Ken Burns, which was really good. We could also watch movies and TV during family visits. Family visits are usually for about 2 weeks every year.

That's it in a nutshell. I do remember senior monks attending the conclave from Britain expressing their surprise that some novices at the Abbey were allowed to have laptop computers. They expressed their concern. So I'm pretty sure novices at Throssel were not allowed to have computers.

Sophia
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:16 am

I think the bench mark for me is ,Is it going in the right direction.

If the direction feels right then these are not great issues,if the environment is  controlling or abusive,then these types of restrictions become another form of control.
I think the under current of concern in what we seem to write about, is the creation of illusory situations,starting with the infallible teacher,the building of religious corporations,fame and gain, and taking away of individual rights as a means to control.It seems easy to fool and be fooled,and we end up following someone else peculiar views of the viewless way
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June99



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Join date : 2010-06-17

PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:16 am

Thank you Sophia. I knew access to other info. was strict, but that's pretty severe in terms of controlling what you see. It seems very fear based and similar to the way dictatorships control the media in countries.
On another note, when RM Eko resigned I was shocked by how child like and petty he seemed in his letter.  I assumed someone running a substantial organization and practicing Buddhism so intensely would have more maturity and foresight--that his words would be more diplomatic and concerned with the greater good. Instead he came off like very selfish and petulant child. 
Do you think by cutting oneself off from the world so intensely, and living in such a strict hierarchy,  there is a level of emotional and human maturity that doesn't happen? The kind one learns as they get knocked around in the real world by work, family, responsibility, and having to just get along with people? 
Do people like yourself who had a full life before jointing the monastery notice an undeveloped personality in some of the monks?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:57 am

What a great question
I am tempted to say that noticed everybodys undeveloped personality apart from my own but i will refrain

Regarding Ekos acting like a petulant child. he could so easily have left in a dignified way a few months earlier,
you know
' I have met someone fallen in love and want to be with them, I am going to carry on with my practice in different and challenging circumstances, but I will take with me what I have learnt, and I hope the good will of the community'
That is a simple good bye every body says good luck and thanks, but as we know goodbyes did not happen too easily,we were regarded as betrayers and outcasts,which does reflect an undeveloped personality
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Lise
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Age : 42

PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:33 pm

hi Sophia -  I wonder if you can clarify the accuracy of something I was told about computer use in the community. I have heard that when Michael Little first became aware of OBC Connect, he told his chaplains about it and said they should look at it. That may have been before your time as chaplain, I don't know, but do you have any knowledge of whether this is true? 

I'm guessing it was in early days when people were just starting to post -
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:56 pm

Michael, that is certainly a practical way the Eko departure could have been handled!
About the media - monks at North Cascade were not allowed to read anything that wasn't authorized, although my daughter used to sneak a peak at the newspapers she used to light the fire! They watched DVDs that Rev. Koshin liked - I think they were adventure movies or things about cars or something like that.

The monks are not only prohibited from using the internet, but North Cascades will not allow anyone to send or receive email. I was once working with Rev. Basil on some project and I was not allowed to send drafts of the flyer to him. I had to mail everything via US mail.

There is a monk who used to work at Microsoft and is quite tech-savy. I believe Koshin had him do the communications on the internet or email that Koshin wanted done. I have often wondered if he got him to print out things from OBCC.
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:00 am

Carol said: wrote:
About the media - monks at North Cascade were not allowed to read anything that wasn't authorized, although my daughter used to sneak a peak at the newspapers she used to light the fire! They watched DVDs that Rev. Koshin liked - I think they were adventure movies or things about cars or something like that. 

The monks are not only prohibited from using the internet, but North Cascades will not allow anyone to send or receive email. I was once working with Rev. Basil on some project and I was not allowed to send drafts of the flyer to him. I had to mail everything via US mail.
The classic behavior of the despot. There is no freedom or truth without freedom of knowledge, thought and questioning. It is true that it is easy to distract ourselves and a certain discipline is necessary, both individually and socially. However it is important to be able to question those restraints, otherwise we are doomed to the thought police. Take for example this forum. We can talk about anything - but we choose by and large to remain on topic. There are certain rules and protocols that are enforced but they are flexible and not very onerous. Every so often someone disagrees with them and then we have a discussion about it. Anyone who wields authority without the possibility of question spells their name G O D, but should probably spell it d e v i l. I think this is true in all walks of life and in this respect I am an admirer of Karl Popper's 'The Open Society and It's Enemies'
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:43 pm

Mark, I agree with you about open communication. Look at what shutting off free speech has done recently in Egypt, which started out with so much promise. Today they stopped any kind of demonstrations not approved by the military. They already shut off dissenting media.

If true in politics, how much greater is the need for free, open communication in religion.
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sianabelle

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PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:59 pm

So... where else in the modern world can you find an environment where there's no outside cues on what to do or have to fall back on what you might have heard about or learned once? Most people would say "anywhere and everywhere" but actually even when believing this to be the case there's always subliminal sense data being absorbed. A sensory deprivation tank session might do, but you can't live in one of those for days at a time, weeks at a time, months...

I like the sound of open communication yet if such communication is moving too fast and/or too overwhelming then listening gets switched off, and it presupposes that all parties speak the same language. Words can be too wordy. I find that people talking at each other is quite superficial and almost violent since each single word almost certainly means different things to different people and sets off all sorts of random connotations, so the probability of misunderstandings just escalates. By the end of such conversations, folk tend to just get tired and agree to have a break. And here we're back to square one, where people are contented just to sit. Unless they're in a huff and walk off, which equals communication failure. I like just hanging out with people, since others communicate plenty without words.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Contact with outside world?   Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:57 pm

That's a beautiful way to describe the role of silence in true communication. Watch enough TV news and you wonder how anyone communicates with anyone else. Too many words, words, words.
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