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H Enida



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PostSubject: Mudras   Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:43 pm

Hello all,

I would like to open up a topic here to get people's input.  It has to do with the giving and receiving of mudras.

Before I came to the monastery, and was having intense meditation experiences, I was given Rev. Master Jiyu's "Book of Life."  I read it and asked questions about my own experience in relation to the book's suggestions for mudras, and it was suggested I do certain ones to cleanse past life karma.  

Many monks did mudras at the monastery, and some would have regular sessions with RM Eko in his lounge if difficult karma was arising.  Monks would also do them on each other and themselves.

I had two particularly disturbing experiences with mudras.  Once, a monk was asked to do mudras on me and I could feel her negative karma so intensely I had to shower for half an hour afterwards trying to cleanse myself.  The second was done by the abbot and his disciple that he eventually left with while I was at the hermitage with them.  It was creepy and weird, almost like their stuff between them was moving through me.  

I have studied jin shin jyutsu for awhile and believe it is helpful to break up physical and emotional knots.  The mudras I experienced were on a different level and I believe can be spiritually harming, especially if a monk doesn't have the training or knowledge about their power and 
personal effect.

How have others experienced this?
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:46 pm

Hi Enida,  

How far do you want to take this conversation? Or is this an academic discussion of the benefits and risks of Mudras in general?

Sophia
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:47 pm

You have my support either way.

Sophia
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:47 pm

@H Enida
Some here feel strongly about the therapeutic potential of mudras but....

my experience with them on myself and with others was that it was more invasive or coarse an investigation than was ever necessary.
One of shikan taza's graces is that only that which you are capable of meditating with, will arise.

The mudra usage however could often bypass this grace and as a digging process, unearth phenomena that the meditater is not yet ready to face.

For me in hind sight, mudra usage represented a state of impatience for the Shikan taza process and a lack of acceptance for what my practice currently was. The actual antithesis of meditation.

Whether one thinks of what one experienced through their usage as something arising from self or other seems meditatively irrelevant since such a practice is just the result of your own beckoning to become such a conduit with no control of the potential content.
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H Enida



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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:53 pm

Hi Sophia,

I am happy for this conversation to go where it will, either personal experience or hypothetical.
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Kat14



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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:04 pm

I would appreciate clarification about what it doing a mudra on someone else is. I thought mudras were just hand gestures.

Thank you.
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H Enida



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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:38 pm

Howard:  "The mudra usage however could often bypass this grace and as a digging process, unearth phenomena that the meditater is not yet ready to face."

It seems to me that yes, it digs up things the meditator is not yet ready to face, but also could it not create new phenomena that wouldn't have ever arisen except for the digging process?  The power of suggestion is very subtle and karma is created on so many levels.  Some monks were given many mudra sessions by the Abbot, some none ever.  Could it not have been a way to feel "special"?  Or influenced the recipient to desire more time with their teacher?  Or inform the imagination to create more ego?  Or?
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:51 pm

I was wondering the same thing, what it means to "give a mudra". Does one person touch the other's body? What is the purpose of doing this, as far as the recipient is concerned?

Enida, what did you mean when you said you could "feel her negative karma" in regard to the one monk? Did you have mental impressions about things that had happened to her in the past, things she had done, etc?

Sorry for the basic questions, but I think a number of us have no background on this, to be able to discuss it -
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:56 pm

@H Enida
While I think a mudra practice could be used for Gedo Zen, it's the practioners intent that would make it so, not the inate form of the mudra practice.
An unopposed abbot like Eko would have numerous  ways of making a junior feel special or wishing to spend more time with him without needing to resort to a mudras practice. 
Gedo Zen or magic is nothing more elaborate than the common Ego playing Mr. Dress Up. Giving it a wu wu factor for it's potential to influence others detracts from the facts that within the nature of the master/disciple relationship, that permission to be influenced has already freely been given.
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H Enida



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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:09 am

Kat and Lise - in "The Book of Life" it describes how to use mudras and their purpose, depending on which one and where you place your hands.  They can be done alone or with a friend.  I would suggest you read the book because it would take a lot to explain it here and I would not want to misrepresent what it says.  You can find an inexpensive copy on Amazon.  

It was a common practice at the Abbey to perform mudras at various times for various reasons.  I became familiar with Jin Shin, which you can read about readily on line.  I found mudras useful on myself for loosening obstructions of energy that would manifest, such as fear, worry or desire.  It would also help with the physical effects of built up energy, i.e. tenseness and chronic pain.  



I'm not sure how to exactly describe feeling someone else's negative karma.  I am sure everyone is familiar with sensing someone near them when they are angry or when a really negative or authoritarian person walks in the room.....it is palpable and you can feel it in the air.  When having mudras done, you are vulnerable.  The person doing them is touching energy points that connect to the energy flows in your body.  I could always sense if the person performing the mudras was calm or agitated.  In the case I mentioned, I didn't have mental impressions 
about her past, I could simple feel the anger she had moving through my flows.  It left me with dread and I felt ill.

Most of my experience was helpful and jin shin jyutsu is a wonderful healing practice that is used professionally and is based in Chinese medicine.  It has helped many people heal from various physical ailments by working with the flows and loosening obstructions.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:25 am

My bad, I should have employed some Google-fu on this one -  I kind of remembered what jin shin jyutsu was, back when we were discussing Michael Little's brief foray into practice. Sounds like mudras, in this context, refer to a type of direct touch as opposed to making gestures or motions near the body. I wonder if Abbey community members had a choice about receiving mudras. It would be hard,  if you couldn't raise an objection to the person doing it, and ask for someone else. I can't imagine having to endure feeling ill due to someone else touching my body.

A couple of links to very brief info.  Not an endorsement, just fyi.

http://jsjyutsu.com/en/que-es/
“It is not a physical manipulation of tissue and uses only minimal pressure. The hands are used as “jumper cables,” contacting 26 “safety energy locks” to redirect, or unblock the flow of energy along its pathways.”
 
http://www.balanceflow.com/BAjinshinjyutsu.htm
“Officially known as Jin Shin Jyutsu® Physio-Philosophy, this practice is a disarmingly simple style of acupressure. It works with a set of 26 points (called Safety Energy Locks or SELs) along energy pathways. When a pathway becomes blocked, energy stagnates. This initially affects the local area of stagnation, but has the potential to create imbalance along the entire pathway. The 26 Energy Locks are the locations on the body where energy tends to become stuck. (Acupressurists and acupuncturists, by comparison, learn over 300 points.)
A Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner uses both hands (referred to as "jumper cables") to hold a combination of SELs. The very simplicity and gentleness of the process allow clients to relax and receive the work. As the SELs release and balance is restored, the client experiences physical, mental, and spiritual harmony.”


Enida, it's good to hear you had positive experiences with this also.
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Kat14



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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:33 am

Hi Enida,

I missed the reference to jin shin jyutsu in your opening post. The  info you gave in your subsequent post gave me the general idea.

Thank you Lisa for providing the links and the additional clarification.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:41 pm

yw - this is interesting, isn't it.

I'm trying to wrap my mind around the idea of how I would approach trying this. I would probably want the practitioner to be someone I had no connection with, and I would like to see a detailed diagram beforehand, to be clear as to which areas of the body could be touched. Being prissy and prudish as I am, I wouldn't want any surprises.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:40 pm

Here`s a video link to give a broad idea about what we`re talking about......


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99nrmCufq_c
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H Enida



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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:16 pm

In RM Jiyu’s “The Book of Life” the mudras have various names such as “Truth-Lie, Will-Despair, Security-Vulnerability, Spiritual Bathing/Cleansing/Unrest, Karmic Assistance” mudras.  The emphasis seems to me to be focused on the spiritual ailment.  Early on with the Abbey, I had the sense it was a ‘secret’ book and no one really talked about it.  When my meditation experiences started getting intense, I was given the book and directed to certain mudras for assistance by my teacher. 

Monks had a choice about receiving mudras and many did not do them.  If your teacher thought it was a good idea, you could say “no thanks” and walk away.  But, as you have all discussed here previously, it was often difficult to stand up to a senior without consequences, especially your teacher, who was suggesting something that would help your spiritual difficulties.

Jin Shin uses a different system of classifying the flows and the reasons for using them.  They refer more particularly to different aspects of the body, i.e. stomach, lung function, etc., and are not touted as spiritual remedies (although I am sure they can have those effects).  I believe someone training to become certified to do Jin Shin is advised on how to be neutral when jumper cabling the points and assisting the flows.  I don’t remember the specifics but it was clear that practitioners were clearly cautioned about bringing their own stuff to the session.  And the Jin Shin organization does not refer anyone to or condone anyone practicing within their organization if they have sexual boundary issues (which would be a typical requirement for licensed massage therapists too).
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:09 pm

thanks for that, Stan -  it's interesting to see how the treatment was folded into the patients' care programs by their open-minded physicians. This does provide a good picture as to what goes on, at least in this particular setting, by this practitioner.  She seems to have the demeanor to support a patient's trust in her.

Enida, thanks for clarifying. I will suspend further questions in hopes others may comment in response to your original post Smile
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:05 am

Just to clarify my post above, I meant suspend my own questions (not anyone else's, I hope it didn't sound that way) since I was kind of hogging the discussion. I too am interested in hearing what others experienced when receiving mudras in the context Enida described.
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:23 am

Hi H Enida

Your description of experiences with mudras is what science refers to as "anecdotal evidence" and is nearly 100% useless in deciding on whether mudras do anything at all.

It seems likely that you experienced an "effect" because you were involved in a group of people who colluded to believe in that "effect". Add confirmation bias to this mix and, hey! Mudras are real!

In short, it is wise to view mudras as the equivalent of placebo until the time that properly sampled  scientific analysis is done.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:27 am

glorfindel wrote:
Hi H Enida

Your description of experiences with mudras is what science refers to as "anecdotal evidence" and is nearly 100% useless in deciding on whether mudras do anything at all.

It seems likely that you experienced an "effect" because you were involved in a group of people who colluded to believe in that "effect". Add confirmation bias to this mix and, hey! Mudras are real!

In short, it is wise to view mudras as the equivalent of placebo until the time that properly sampled  scientific analysis is done.
.
Based on that comment I would guess that you've never experienced Jin Shin Jyutsu.  IMHO it's going to be a long time, if ever, before science will be able to analyze these kinds of experiences.  It's more important to be grounded in meditation and guided by intuition.  Experiences can be profoundly meaningful while eluding any form of objective verification.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:21 am

Unfortunately I must agree with glorfindel. Magic in all its forms has had a powerfull effect on the human mind throughout the ages. I felt at the time I left that jinshin as it was being used at that time was gedo and I said so. As glorfindel said the placebo effect combined with confirmation bias can be very powerful, if you add in group think and and group conformance you have a heady cocktail where almost anything goes. 

There is some evidence for acupuncture, and a little for related oriental 'chi' techniques. But which ones in particular 'work', how they work and what the are good for is difficult to disentangle. It will take some time and careful studies. There is quite good evidence that acupuncture and taichi have some effect with knee arthritis, whereas it seems yoga does not, which I find surprising. But when it comes to more esoteric effects that have not been fully tested purely anecdotal evidence must be taken with a large pinch of salt since suggestibility can have such a large influence. Look at the 'recovered memory' literature for a prime example. But there are a few straws in the wind in a negative sense for some effects. If one group reports an effect but other groups don't then there is an increased likelihood that the effect is not valid. If you want to see what I mean think of the curse/spell that witch-doctors have put on people and then they have subsequently died. Among societies that believe such curses the cursed have a higher than average rate of death, among societies that don't believe there is no discernible effect.

In my purely personal opinion there is no harm in trying something for a physical effect, as long as it is not used to supersede more proven methods. But when it comes to mental and spirtual effects you tread on very, very dangerous ground. You only have to read Stan Giko's recent posts to see someone who was subject to completely unsought episodes that seem to have come close to overwhelming him. Fortunately he seems to have come through unscathed, maybe even strengthened, whereas Amelia did not seem to. But these are not the kind of experience to seek out or open oneself up to, especially not without the help of professional help and guidance.

At Shasta jinshin, mudras or whatever, which are supposed to be 'chi' or 'energy' techniques has not led to a community that is more lively and energetic than the surrounding populace but to a group that for whatever reasons seems to more prone to fibromyaligia, etc. which are conditions of less energy!
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:50 am

mstrathern wrote:
Unfortunately I must agree with glorfindel. Magic in all its forms has had a powerfull effect on the human mind throughout the ages. I felt at the time I left that jinshin as it was being used at that time was gedo and I said so. As glorfindel said the placebo effect combined with confirmation bias can be very powerful, if you add in group think and and group conformance you have a heady cocktail where almost anything goes. 

At Shasta jinshin, mudras or whatever, which are supposed to be 'chi' or 'energy' techniques has not led to a community that is more lively and energetic than the surrounding populace but to a group that for whatever reasons seems to more prone to fibromyaligia, etc. which are conditions of less energy!
.
Actually I don't see my comment as conflicting with yours.  You are describing standing back and looking at objective results.  That's good as far as it goes, but beyond a certain point it doesn't help.  For instance I don't believe what you're saying would have helped Stan.  He had to find his own way through.  Once you step off the beaten path meditation and faith have to take up the slack.  I don't see what is going on at Shasta as proof that "energy techniques" are without value.  IMHO their problems stem from a distorted belief system and no amount of meditation or Jin Shin Jyutsu is going to help while they are unwilling to change how they think.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:40 pm

Yes I agree with you Isan, particularly when you talk about 'stepping off the beaten path'. However I would have thought myself that meditation and faith were both well on the beaten path, and some of their effects both positive and negative are by now quite well and objectively documented. And my argument is not that what is going on at Shasta is proof that 'energy techniques are without value'. No, my argument is on adopting them. Whilst there is some objective evidence that such techniques have an effect, and often a positive one, on the body, the evidence for positive effects on speech and mind except in the most general way is much more problematic. My position is much the same as the one I have when I go mushroom gathering. Nearly all mushrooms are harmless but a few of the ones that aren't are quite deadly. So when you go mushroom hunting you need a good guide. For some mushrooms a book of advice will do but it is always better to have someone with experience to refer to as well. And to never ever eat a fungus unless you are absolutely certain as to its provenance, identification and harmlessness. So with practices designed to effect speech and mind, there are enough tried and tested practices with a burgeoning body of positive evidence without resorting those that might be useless or even harmful. Zen meditation has a long history and is relatively noninvasive, but even than there are injunctions scattered throughout the literature that mishandled or undertaken by someone in the wrong mental state or with the wrong attitude it can have negative consequences.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:19 pm

The body is a bodhi tree,
The mind a standing mirror bright;
At all times polish it diligently
,And let no dust alight


I love the story of the sixth patriarch,it always points things out to me.
My friend the religious lady, wants me to build for her,as well as an extension to her library of religious books, a retreat hut for her contemplation, and place where she can give spiritual guildance.


She told me today she was offering guildance to a priest who who spent a lot of time with wayward women  (I plan to write a long book about wayward women! ) and he married 3 of them the church was struggling with him,I added that I thought he may actually be able to give rather good and relevant advice,my friend laughed an then told me of a Franciscan monk from USA who push the boundraries of his accepted belief as he visited  Far Eastern countries and explored thier religions without concepts.


I tell the story as spirituality challenges me to go where I have not been not by learning a new scripture or practice but by shredding more of what I carry around
I was atrracted to Kennett for 2 reasons
The first was strange I was at her retreat when Bill Picard experience Satori and I mistakenly thought that she played some part in it.
Secondly I was attracted to her because I felt she was a righteous person,righteous people I thought were always right.


Zen practice often seems righteous cleansing karma and even cleansing karma from past lives,however depths of insight have with hindsight always somehow been a new experience a deeper experience but not of anything new,it has always been experiencing this present moment but in a different way.


The expression body and mind dropping away is for me the accurate expression, as clinging to body mind and karma and the creation of body mind and karma do indeed drop away. No ammount of polishing minds and cleansing karma of this life or previous lives,will bring on to this experience ,because the process of polishing and cleansing is only reinforcing the state of duality we think and want to think exists


Liberation oneness and peace are not gained from our creativity and cleverness they are always here we stand in our own way


Bodhi is no tree
Nor standing mirror bright;
Since all is originally empty,
Where can the dust alight?
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H Sophia



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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:08 am

I would like to know what you mean by Gedo.  It there an explanation of what it is on this sight somewhere and I missed it? I heard comments at the conclave about Gedo Zen and RM Jiyu mentions it in one of her books, but I've never really understood what they are talking about.

Thank you,

Sophia
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tufsoft



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PostSubject: acupuncture   Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:08 am

mstrathern wrote:
There is some evidence for acupuncture
There is indeed some evidence for acupuncture but unfortunately a lot of western acupuncturists are like western Buddhist monks, they can talk the talk and walk the walk but their needles go painfully wide of the mark.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:15 am

Sophia - an extract from from the 'Wanderling' websites 'The Five Varieties of Zen':
Quote :
Another feature of gedo Zen is that it is often practiced in order to cultivate various supranormal powers or skills, or to master certain arts beyond the reach of the ordinary man. It has been reported that some who have practiced this Zen have attained the ability to make people act without them having to say a word or move a muscle.
So I use it with a flavor of cultivating or trying to use magical, miraculous or supra-normal esoteric powers. This kind of cultivation lays one wide open to the 'dark side'. By and large I don't believe in such powers so think that one is already enmeshing oneself in delusion by starting down that path. I believe that the tantra tries to use these techniques for beneficial ends but only with an experienced teacher. I am not that convinced myself, and even the tantra says in an early initiation: 'You are entering the tantra; the fast way - to heaven or to hell, and to one of them certainly.' Witch-doctors of all varieties, in this day and age, enslave they do not free. 

One of the other varieties that he talks about is Bompu zen:

Quote :
The first of these types is called bompu, or "ordinary," Zen as opposed to the other four, each of which can be thought of as a special kind of Zen suitable for the particular aims of different individuals. Bompu Zen, being free from any philosophic or religious content, is for anybody and everybody. It is a Zen practiced purely in the belief that it can improve both physical and mental health. Since it can almost certainly have no ill effects, anyone can undertake it, whatever religious beliefs he happens to hold or if he holds none at all.  
This is what the mindfulness movement (MBSR, MBCT, etc.) practice, and even they have strong strictures that it is not for everyone and should be undertaken with care as it can make exacerbate some mental conditions.

So use you common sense and tread with care.

Tusoft - how true, another case of a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:04 am

Mark I would like to throw in
using  or manipulating meditation for personal gain,or for power/domination over others.
I would also throw in anything other than pure zen is either makyo or gedo zen,
There goes my Christmas present again
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:36 am

If the practice of giving/receiving mudras encourages either person to think they can know things about the other's "spiritual" condition, karmic tendencies, etc., as a result of touching or being touched, I would question if there isn't a real risk of the individual thinking they are acquiring supranormal sensitivities. I don't know anything about this stuff - maybe there is something to it and they do develop enhanced perception - but to me the potential problem lies in making assumptions about other people that may not be correct at all, and then acting on those beliefs.

Thinking you have an enhanced perception about someone -  this is something that really can't be validated through external means, unless you were to maybe set up an experiment, as they do with people who claim to be psychics. They are tested to see what facts they "sense" about a person they've never met or heard of, or they're asked to describe the markings on cards they can't see, etc.

In context of receiving mudras, I guess I would worry about what the practitioner would go and tell the community about me afterward, if the culture in that organization is to give a lot of credence to people "knowing" things about others simply through touching them. If the practitioner concluded you were angry, resistant, whatever, how could you effectively respond to this if you felt it was total hogwash?
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tufsoft



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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:48 am

If you did have enhanced perceptions you'd probably run a mile from a place like Shasta.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:12 am

Lise - I agree with your point about sharing spiritual assessments based on interpretations of flows as a problem.  As the seniors talk with each other about the spiritual difficulties of others, who is to say their opinion is accurate?  Or even wise to share?  Sounds like gossip to me and I don't agree with it, especially on that level.

I also found male to female mudra practice dubious, considering the celibate aspect of the OBC and close training of male and female monks.  Seems to me flows and mudras could easily transform into chakras and tantra.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:19 am

Lise wrote:
If the practice of giving/receiving mudras encourages either person to think they can know things about the other's "spiritual" condition, karmic tendencies, etc., as a result of touching or being touched, I would question if there isn't a real risk of the individual thinking they are acquiring supranormal sensitivities. I don't know anything about this stuff - maybe there is something to it and they do develop enhanced perception - but to me the potential problem lies in making assumptions about other people that may not be correct at all, and then acting on those beliefs.
.
I feel there's an important difference between experience and interpretation.  It was common at Shasta Abbey for monks practicing Jin Shin to have all kinds of experiences, but how those experiences were interpreted was a separate matter.  Typically everything was viewed through the lens of Jiyu Kennett's teachings (as described in her "Book Of Life") about past lives, etc.  Looking back at my own Jin Shin triggered experiences I can see that that was sometimes simplistic and didn't always "fit".  What an experience means may not be immediately apparent and how we see it can change over time too.  It can be particularly problematic to interpret someone else' experience since it can co-opt the person's need to come to their own understanding.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:05 pm

Isan wrote:

Typically everything was viewed through the lens of Jiyu Kennett's teachings (as described in her "Book Of Life") about past lives, etc.  Looking back at my own Jin Shin triggered experiences I can see that that was sometimes simplistic and didn't always "fit".  What an experience means may not be immediately apparent and how we see it can change over time too.  It can be particularly problematic to interpret someone else' experience since it can co-opt the person's need to come to their own understanding.
Isan, good points. And in situations where the overlay of past life experiences doesn't fit at all - and of course it may not - no one can know if that concept has validity or not (including Kennett) - would a Shasta practitioner be able to consider it in any other way besides "what the book says"?

Enida, I wondered if the opposite sexes were involved in the jin shin practice. That area seems fraught with hazard, seriously, given the intimate nature of the touching. Not blaming anyone, just acknowledging the reality of humans being humans.


Last edited by Lise on Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:05 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:52 pm

Lise wrote:
Quote :
Isan, good points. And in situations where the overlay of past life experiences doesn't fit at all - and of course it may not - no one can know if that concept has validity or not (including Kennett) - would a Shasta practitioner be able to consider it in any other way besides "what the book says"?
Enida, I wondered if the opposite sexes were involved in the jin shin practice. That area seems fraught with hazard, seriously, given the intimate nature of the touching. Not blaming anyone, just acknowledging the reality of humans being humans.
.
I didn't know anyone at SA who considered their experiences from a significantly different point of view.  Since we were all experiencing JSJ for the first time in the context of SA training I don't know that any of us had a different paradigm to place them in.  Daizui was a possible exception since he was a licensed psychologist, but he never offered any alternative interpretations for obvious reasons.

From the beginning there were no general restrictions on who people practiced Jin Shin with and it was just as common for men and women to partner as men with men, etc.  Personally I didn't find the touching particularly intimate since Jin Shin was always a strictly "clothes on" affair.  For me the intimacy was more about sharing feelings.  The pairing of men and women did not to my knowledge result in any inappropriate liaisons - who knows, but I think if it had been a big problem it would have become apparent.  I never asked anyone if Jin Shin was challenging because of sexual attraction.  I can see how it could be if the attraction was already present :-)  Of course I can't speak to what happened in the years after I left (1984).
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:32 pm

Interesting.  Do you remember if the JS sessions were something that a third party needed to be aware of, or could the participants conduct this on their own without notifying anyone else?

In your memory, were there general guidelines about how & when it would be performed, for example, any requirements to hold the sessions during normal daytime work hours and in a place that was not someone's private quarters? Would it have been a common/accepted practice for a senior monk to summon (for lack of a better word) a junior to come to his quarters for a JS session in the middle of the night, for instance?
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:58 pm

Lise wrote:

Interesting.  Do you remember if the JS sessions were something that a third party needed to be aware of, or could the participants conduct this on their own without notifying anyone else?

In your memory, were there general guidelines about how & when it would be performed, for example, any requirements to hold the sessions during normal daytime work hours and in a place that was not someone's private quarters? Would it have been a common/accepted practice for a senior monk to summon (for lack of a better word) a junior to come to his quarters for a JS session in the middle of the night, for instance?
.
Junior monks often did Jin Shin in the zendo, which is a public space, on the day off.  Seniors sometimes used the zendo as well and those who were regularly invited to JK's house in the evenings did JS there.  Seniors were permitted to do JS in their private quarters, but "private" has to be qualified somewhat as it was a small community and it wouldn't have been easy to hide something from others.  JK typically stayed up until 4:00 AM so sometimes Jin Shin went on there in the middle of the night, but again that was a public space.  It was certainly not permitted for a senior monk to summon a junior to come to private quarters in the middle of the night for that or any other purpose.  JK did set the precedent though of privately receiving Jin Shin from her personal Jiisha's (assistants).


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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:34 pm

Lise – There are no ‘written’ guidelines and suggestions were subject to change.  When I was a chaplain, we would stay in another room (but that wasn’t always the case in the past) while the Abbot performed mudras.  There was a white noise machine on and the door mostly shut so we couldn’t hear or see anything.  There was no set time of day, but usually they were done in the evenings.  I never saw a male monk have mudras done by the Abbot.

I was never summoned to do mudras but I was invited several times to come down if I was having difficulty in the middle of the night.  I never slept well in the meditation hall (I lived there for five years) and lay awake on the tan many nights, but I never took the Abbot up on his offer.

Isan – I am not sure of time-frames but when you were at the Abbey weren’t monks still able to marry?  Now that the Order is celibate, I wonder how good an idea mudra practice generally is.  It is interesting to me that the OBC doesn’t really have a model to look up to given we are no longer Soto (who has married monks) or celibate with written and practiced rules (i.e. Vinaya).  Don’t know how males and females training together as celibate monks will work out over the long run....
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:44 pm

H Enida wrote:

Isan – I am not sure of time-frames but when you were at the Abbey weren’t monks still able to marry?  Now that the Order is celibate, I wonder how good an idea mudra practice generally is.  It is interesting to me that the OBC doesn’t really have a model to look up to given we are no longer Soto (who has married monks) or celibate with written and practiced rules (i.e. Vinaya).  Don’t know how males and females training together as celibate monks will work out over the long run....
.
Yes, initially monks were allowed to marry, but there were only a few years in the beginning (71-75) when that was a supported choice.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:53 pm

Enida wrote:
Don’t know how males and females training together as celibate monks will work out over the long run....
I think you answered your ouw question
Enida wrote:
  I never saw a male monk have mudras done by the Abbot.
Where there is power, opportunity and no effective redress then there will always be some who will abuse their position. And it only takes a bad apple or two in positions of power to subvert the whole organisation and ruin its reputation.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:50 pm

I want to jump and say something about Jin Shin Jyutsu.  Before I talk about Kennett's involvement with this technique, might be good to put this in context.  Jin Shin is one of many healing techniques that fall roughly under the category of energy healing.  It is a small tradition that came out of Japan in the early 1900's - and it was always considered mostly physical healing.  It had nothing to do with past lives or spiritual integration.  The past lives stuff is entirely a Kennett addition to this. 

There are many other similar systems - some are based more on the Chinese acupuncture meridian systems and others incorporate more of the chakra system.  Some techniques lightly touch the body, others are done with hands above the body.  Reiki is the one of the more famous of these systems, but there is also polarity therapy, quantum touch, regeneration therapy.  Out of China, we have various kinds of Chi Kung energy healing.  And India and Tibet, have their own versions.  And all of these have come west, been adapted and mingled with other things, and there are many therapists who practice multiple modalities - they went to various workshops.

In Japan, after they lost the war, the Americans established freedom of religion and there was an explosion of thousands, tens of thousands of new religious movements in Japan, most of which incorporated various forms of healing.  Some of these groups mix healing and spirituality, mixing Shinto, esoteric buddhism (Shingon), New Age influences, and some Christian monotheistic elements.  Most have classic origin stories of founders who became severely ill - on death's door - then went into an extended meditation retreat,  had some kind of unique awakening and healing and then shared their mystical energy with their followers.  The general Japanese public was abandoning Buddhism since they felt that the Buddhists had not kept their promise to protect the nation from harm - and they wanted new religions that worked, that could bring results - healing, prosperity, and so on. And these new religions had charismatic gurus who claimed that had a direct and exclusive plugged-in connection to God, divine Buddhas, etc. 

Mahakari s a good example of this kind of Japanese new religion - there is one of their centers here in NYC a few blocks from my apartment.  Their movement split into two or more sects - http://www.mahikari.org/ and http://www.sukyomahikari.org/ - these are examples of religions that are based on hands-on healing rituals - with prayers and rituals thrown in.  But I think that healing is a very common practice in almost all these new religions and was commonly practice in Soto temples for centuries.  Give the people what they want - and they certainly were not generally interested in meditation, studying Dogen or enlightenment - at least not most of them. 

Now back to Jin Shin Jyutsu - this is based on the Chinese meridians and really is mostly practiced purely for health - like shiatsu, acupressure, or acupuncture.  There is some talk of harmony, but mostly that is secondary.  In the way it is generally practiced, people have some shaking or emotional releases, but generally they feel nothing or a kind of relaxation.  There are still probably a few hundred practitioners in the U.S. 

In terms of energy healing - there are many contexts or stories about what is happening and how to interpret it.  Hundreds of millions of people in Asia believe that illness and misfortune is a result of their ancestors being unhappy - i am not making this up.  They don't see it as anything to do with past lives or past karma.  You didn't make enough offerings and pay homage enough to your dead grandfather, he is not happy with you, and is sending you bad vibes so you are sick or your daughter can't get pregnant or your husband loses his job.  How do you know this?  You go to a priest who does some kind of divination or goes into a meditative trance and sees who the offended relative(s) are, then tells you what ceremonies you must do and how much it will cost to pay for ceremonies to be done in the temple.  This is a classic Asian approach.  I saw this in Japan with Agon-Shu - another example of a new Japanese hybrid religion - which has a head temple in Kyoto that cost nearly one billion dollars to build, and heard about many other examples of this.  The catch here is that you can't clear up this problem by yourself - you need priests to do the special ceremonies to really dissolve the problem. 

Also, what is common is the belief in bad energy, minor evil spirits - so exorcism is common the world over, but especially in Asia.  I met a woman who was seeing a top Tibetan lama / doctor.  She had numbness in her arm.  He did a diagnosis and told her -- she had inadvertently bumped into a man on the street who had committed a murder, the lama said, and that man sent an evil spirit into this woman's shoulder and this spirit had possessed her arm.  He burned incense on her skin - that burned little holes in it -and she had to wear an amulet 24-hours a day, and recite certain mantras and do pujas for many months to get rid of the demonic spirit.  He also did a kind of exorcism on her.  So a common belief is that if you are feeling ill or depressed or whatever,  it is not because of your past lives, but because of spirits.  Exorcism is the answer.

Actually, there are many other stories and narratives you could tell when you begin to play in this world.  It all depends what you believe.  You are in a relaxed state, receiving healing from a therapist and in this dreamy mild-altered state, you have an image, or a scene appears.  Just your mind dreaming?  past life?  demon?  vision from God?  a valuable story from your unconscious?  Something positive is happening?  or is it negative?  or is it just a random irrelevant image.  In many situations, the healing therapist can become controlling - not just setting the stage, but interpreting what is happening, guiding the experience.  And it is very easy to go along - this becomes like joint dream.  It is actually very easy to guide someone anywhere you want them to go - if they are trusting.  So if your big story is past lives, then that's the lens.... you start looking for images and then you interpret them as past lives and string together a narrative that suits the belief system.  If the system is ancestor worship, then you have another dance going on.  Or if it's evil spirits.  

And there are all kinds of other modalities - that would tell a more psychological tale - the therapist says you have a blockage of energy in your throat chakra -- that's not because in a past life you were stabbed in the throat or told a lie, not because you grandfather is angry with you, no, it is because you are not speaking the truth to your husband, not speaking out, etc. 

I would say that in an energy healing situation, the mind becomes dreamy, it is very suggestible, by being there you have already agreed to experience something, to trust the therapist or priest or guide.  One other point - many psychic healers - or people in that position, love to be in charge, love to demonstrate that they have supernatural sight, can see and feel things and what they see and feel is hyper-truth - more than what you see.  They see truth.  They believe whatever comes into their minds as true.  They are certain of it.  This magical insight combined with certainty is very seductive.  it must be true because it is so strong and certain and beyond the normal. 

But we also need to remember that our minds are storytelling machines - that's what they do - we connect the dots - we make up fables and myths - we see things that aren't there - we want things to be different so we see them that way.  And in isolated spiritual groups / cults, in healing situations, there can be joint dreaming / illusions / storytelling going on - that is powerful, feels special - but is just a stronger form of the wandering mind - just a slightly more colorful version of samsara, jointly shared, directed by a charismatic central person. 

That being said, I like Jin Shin.  I like Shiatsu.  I don't know how healing these practices are, but it might be helpful on some level.  And if I have subtle experiences during a session, that is my business - and it might be fun to explore what happened like you would a dream - not seeing it as "true" but as some reflection of my psyche / mind... there might be some insight to be gained... or maybe not.  Things arise and pass.

But if I did bump into a healing therapist who started to try to take charge and impose his/her story on my experience, I would say no thanks - unless it was gentle and casual.

A few other things about Jin Shin.  It came through a woman who did healing work on Kennett.  I forget her name - but she shared the basic flows / patterns with us... but what we learned i think was kind of Jin Shin lite.  We did not learn the full system, we never learned how to take pulses or diagnosis - as they do in traditional Jin Shin - which is borrowed from acupuncture.  And Kennett changed the names of everything because she was very concerned that Shasta could be sued for practicing healing / medicine without a license, so she didn't want the system to appear to be physical healing - but a spiritual healing or a spiritual practice - which was protected by religious freedom.  So she changed all the language and inserted her strong views into the whole shebang.

enough babbling for now.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:11 am

When did the white noise machine start? did that come from Japan?
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:38 am

Josh you were here
The visions and previous lives Kennett wrote about were they all induced by he JinShin?
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:10 am

I would say not induced by Jin Shin per se
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:18 am

When you say
It had nothing to do with past lives or spiritual integration.  The past lives stuff is entirely a Kennett addition to this.
How did she add 

And would you say it helped her storytelling
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:51 am

another thing I forgot to mention that relates to this.  Kennett had only a few outside friends - and one of them was Saul. 

http://www.dervish-healing-order.org/jiu-kennett-roshi/memories-of-roshi/

Saul has part of the Sufi Sam's organization - which was a hybrid New Age / Sufi-influenced group.  Sufi Sam or Murshid Sam was quite a wild bay area character who created "Sufi Dancing" -which later had to be renamed "Dances of Universal Peace" because the traditional Sufis objected to the word "Sufi" being used to describe what was being done.  Sam had been all over Asia, one of the original early spiritual seekers - intersected with teachers from many traditions - Sufi, Hindu, Zen (Japan and Korea) and claimed he was authorized to teach from many teachers.  He was quite a self-promoter.  He was eclectic and unconventional.  Every year, he put on a Sufi Fair - i think it was called that - some booths, vegetarian food, dancing, guided meditations and we went a few times. 

Kennett connected with Sufi Sam early on - soon after she arrived in the bay area.  He might have visited Sojiji at some point while she was there - but there was some slight connection from the past.  So Saul met Kennett through Sam.  After we all moved up to Shasta - and before there was the Berkeley Priory, when we came down to the bay area for the occasional visit, we stayed at Saul's house.  I remember staying there a few times.

Now Saul was officially head of what is called the Dervish Healing Order - which is connected both to Sufi Sam's group and i think another Sufi organization.  Saul did and probably still does energy healing - among other things.  I saw him do some energy work when we stayed with him.  He might have worked on Kennett. I don't think he worked on me.  His healing work is a mix of many things - like many new age healers - mantras, visualizations, breath work, energy work, meditation, and probably other things.  He is still alive and doing this work.  Sufi Sam's group was large and vital when he was alive, but my impression was that after his death it slowly faded and is now probably quite small.  I liked Saul.  He was very devoted to Kennett, but he really did not know her.  His interactions were relatively few, not sure he ever visited Shasta when I was there - he might have once.  He saw her mostly in the bay area where she was treated an honored guru guest.  He would have probably been totally unaware of Kennett's shadows or the issues that most of us had to deal with and Saul is one of those folks that revere teachers / gurus - so perhaps even if he heard or saw something, he might be the kind of person to ignore it - just see Kennett's behavior as wild crazy wisdom - much like Sufi Sam perhaps. 

I bring this up because Kennett was aware of things like Jin Shin or energy healing modalities earlier in her story.  I have no idea if Saul's work was or is effective.  I am not criticizing his work here or suggesting that there was anything off going on -  just adding to the back story.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:16 am

I think that if Kennett at that time was ill,finding something for a cure is OK by me,I may be wrong but I seem to remember a Tibetan saying she was ill due to giving the wrong teaching,I do not believe the comments were believed,and they were regarded as manipulation,this was after she collasped at a talk,I may not have my facts right. so healing helped her but then the outcome seems to have taken on an importance of its own,clearly carrying on and developing with Eko I believe doing the mudras on female deciples with a white noise machine on. AllI can really say it was not for me and it is not for me
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:44 am

When performing Jin Shin on someone else, you can literally feel the current of their energy in your fingertips as you jumper cable to different points.  When you become sensitive to it, you can feel the flow’s disharmony kind of like a sporadic electric current and when it becomes harmonized you can feel the flow become fluid and consistent.  You can also feel different levels of energy.  You can call it chi, or energy or water of the spirit, or many other names, as Josh describes above.

I could feel other’s energy harmonize through me as well, both while giving and receiving.  Sometimes I could not tell the difference between my energy or the other’s energy, although I could feel my body was separate, if that makes sense.  When having them done on me I could feel the flow through the particular meridian being jumper cabled, and would feel the harmonization when it occurred. 

By trying to describe this, I am hoping to make the point that if framed in a ‘spiritual’ context, all kinds of interpretations of what is happening could be made, depending on the intention.  Jin Shin makes you vulnerable and open in my experience.  I believe it would very easy to twist that openness into any number of personal whimsies, i.e.: “You healed me!”  “I healed you!” “You are healed!” “We have shared past life karma.”  “We are consorts.” “You have difficult karma.” etc. etc. etc.

That being said, I believe Jin Shin is pure but like anything is subject to misinterpretation and misuse, particularly because you are so vulnerable.  That is why the Jin Shin Jyutsu organization is so adamant about training people to be neutral and not making assumptions about what is going on with it - just do the work and let the patient discern for themselves whether it helped or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:15 pm

Jcbaran wrote:

A few other things about Jin Shin.  It came through a woman who did healing work on Kennett.  I forget her name - but she shared the basic flows / patterns with us... but what we learned i think was kind of Jin Shin lite.  We did not learn the full system, we never learned how to take pulses or diagnosis - as they do in traditional Jin Shin - which is borrowed from acupuncture.  And Kennett changed the names of everything because she was very concerned that Shasta could be sued for practicing healing / medicine without a license, so she didn't want the system to appear to be physical healing - but a spiritual healing or a spiritual practice - which was protected by religious freedom.  So she changed all the language and inserted her strong views into the whole shebang.

That being said, I like Jin Shin.  I like Shiatsu.  I don't know how healing these practices are, but it might be helpful on some level.  And if I have subtle experiences during a session, that is my business - and it might be fun to explore what happened like you would a dream - not seeing it as "true" but as some reflection of my psyche / mind... there might be some insight to be gained... or maybe not.  Things arise and pass.
.
I can't remember if JK worked with directly Mary Burmeister or one of her students.  When JK came back and introduced JSJ to the community she didn't go into the back story about how she became aware of it.  I believe you and Gensho were with her in the Bay area that summer and maybe can remember more.

http://jsjinc.net/pagedetails.php?id=jsj&ms=8

I actually still have the original workbook that was copied and distributed at SA when JK came back from the Bay Area in 1976.  The book is fairly complete in terms of flows,  and includes a section about pulse reading, though you're correct that JK didn't incorporate that diagnostic technique.  I had never heard that she was concerned about "practicing medicine without a license" and that that was part of her motivation for creating the Book Of Life mudra system. In retrospect it seems more like she wanted to "spiritualize" the system (not that it needed it) and also give Daizui a project :-)

I also remember Saul who seemed like a really nice guy.  Jk took me along a couple of times when she went to visit him in the Bay area.  I also remember attending the Sufi Fair once or twice, and staying overnight in one of the Sufi meditation centers - we just threw our sleeping bags down on the carpet.  It must have been before the Oakland Priory was established because typically we all stayed there when we traveled down (just a little reminiscing here...)
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:23 pm

No, Kennett never met Mary Burmeister - it was one of her students.  There are many more flows and self-help techniques in Jin Shin.  Yes, I was in the bay area the whole time that Kennett was going through all her stuff and having Jin Shin - i was there for every minute of it - or so it seemed.

I remember clearly the whole discussion of practicing medicine without a license and the concern that no one had any kind of certification to do body work. Kennett was actually quite worried about it for awhile - i think she even had someone called a lawyer or two about it.
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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:30 pm

H Enida wrote:

By trying to describe this, I am hoping to make the point that if framed in a ‘spiritual’ context, all kinds of interpretations of what is happening could be made, depending on the intention.  Jin Shin makes you vulnerable and open in my experience.  I believe it would very easy to twist that openness into any number of personal whimsies, i.e.: “You healed me!”  “I healed you!” “You are healed!” “We have shared past life karma.”  “We are consorts.” “You have difficult karma.” etc. etc. etc.

That being said, I believe Jin Shin is pure but like anything is subject to misinterpretation and misuse, particularly because you are so vulnerable.  That is why the Jin Shin Jyutsu organization is so adamant about training people to be neutral and not making assumptions about what is going on with it - just do the work and let the patient discern for themselves whether it helped or not.
.
Couldn't agree more.  It is one of the cornerstones of talk therapy that the therapist not interpret the client's story, but simply help the client become more aware of the story and come to their own understandings.  The same applies to techniques like Jin Shin where there's likely to be discussion about the meaning of experiences.  There's a very human need to quantify everything and we're not comfortable with just "holding" things without knowing, but that's zazen :-)

By the way, nice (and precise) description of the JSJ internal process.


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PostSubject: Re: Mudras   Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:40 pm

key point.  Most of life is MYSTERY.  We don't know hardly anything.  I don't think we even know why the sky is blue.  Most of the processes of our bodies and minds take place out of conscious awareness - probably 99.99%.  Why does someone get dementia?  You can tell any story you want about that - past karma, past lives, demonic possession, blocked chakras, imbalance in your kidney and liver, trauma from your childhood, cursed by God, black magic from your neighbor,  let alone the more physical explanations - environmental pollution, chemicals in our food, vaccinations.  But what's the reality?  We don't know.  No idea.  We might find out years from now through scientific research about genes and brain function.  Does telling a story help the situation?  Well, if you are so uncomfortable living in the "don't know mind" - living in mystery, then i guess you need some story, so you find one that makes you calmer. 

I have seen this a lot.  Many people must "know" - even when it's impossible - but they must, so they create the narratives.  It becomes a kind of psychopathology - and we see it in the gurus and psychics who tell you what's what, who believe their thoughts and imaginings as divine sight, folks who need to be in control.
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