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 Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?

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Rev. Seikai



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PostSubject: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:26 pm

[Admin edit: This thread is an offshoot of another titled "Institutional Trauma", located under the category titled "In Theory and Practice". Please see that thread for preceding posts. In addition: although the forum software identifies Rev. Seikai as the "author" of this new thread, for purposes of clarity, he was a respondent to the parent thread from whence this was split. The forum software considers the first poster under a new thread to be its "author". We regret any confusion.]



Dear Kozan,
Thanks for the post above on the 6000 year collective trauma of humankind, and taking that thread of thinking towards how the OBC has functioned over the years. I'm trying to understand something, which I think you and I are both trying to work on from opposing sides of a philosophical fence, and in trying to articulate what that thing is, I will start with a comment made by Diana, which is:

I listen to all of you ex-roshi's and I hear a lot of wisdom, compassion, and kindness. I do not understand why you all are separated out from the order or "shunned." Except that I know this is what the OBC does! I think people either refuse to look at how the OBC regards anyone other than themselves (the OBC) or they just to refuse to see anything at all!

I ask myself, well, it seems like what some people who contribute to the web forum are saying is that they would like to be reconciled, somehow, somewhere, in some fashion, with the OBC. What is keeping them from doing that, if that is what they want? So I asked Rev. Master Haryo that question, and he doesn't actually know what keeps anyone from reconciling with the OBC. Anyone and everyone who feels an urge to become reconciled with the OBC, can set that process in motion anytime they wish to.

So, it appears to me that there are some false assumptions in Diana's statement, one of which is that "you are all separated out from the order or "shunned." My question is, what would people like to happen?, what would a reconciliation look like?, and what level of involvement with the OBC are you asking for? Another false assumption is that "people either refuse to look at how the OBC regards anyone other than themselves (the OBC) or they just to refuse to see anything at all!" Well, doesn't my presence on this web forum discount this statement? I care what people outside of the order think about the OBC, and I happen to know that the same is true for most of the monks. Not only that, I'm actively trying to do something about it. If the day comes when I am empowered to do more than I currently am, I will attempt to do more.

Meanwhile, here is what seems like an apparent contradiction, or mixed message coming from people who contribute to this web forum: if, on the one hand, you desire some sort of reconciliation with the OBC, however that might manifest, however that might come into being, wouldn't you make some kind of effort to bring yourself into harmony with members of the OBC? In other words, if you continue to bash the OBC, doesn't that work against your other motive of wanting to be reconciled with it?

I realize that there has been a stated motive on the part of contributors to this web forum, that they want to warn people who are considering a deeper involvement with the OBC on the dangers of getting too involved with these people, lest you get yourself seriously hurt or damaged. And, given the behavior of the former Eko Little, who can blame them for doing so? And yet, rather than painting the whole OBC as a bad bunch with a tar brush, why not actually ask some serious questions about what is actually going on within the OBC? Why not inquire into the reality of things as opposed to sitting around speculating about what has happened or is happening, and then believing in the speculation?

So, I hope I'm able to begin to paint a picture of the difficulties involved in bridging a philosophical divide wherein many assumptions are being made which, when you look at them, don't necesarily stand up to scrutiny. Here's one more question: those of you who honestly wish to be reconciled with the OBC, would you be willing to make it known to the world exactly what you did which brought about the reality of your being excluded? That would be the point at which true honesty and humility would be brought to bear upon the whole larger question of reconciliation: owning up to what one has done. This is not a one-way street in which all the misbehavior lies with the OBC. In saying this, I am not advocating for some sort of airing out of dirty laundry, but rather that this is a complicated business, every given individual is different and has a different history, and there are no simple solutions, generally speaking. It would require maturity and honesty in large doses.

So, Kozan, those are my questions, and I wonder if you, as a reasonable, honest and intelligent human being, can formulate a direct response to them. As I said, I think you and I are working towards the same thing from opposing sides of a philosophical divide, the bridging of which is not an easy matter, but I also believe that this fact should not be a cause to discourage us from trying in all sincerity.

Respecfully submitted, with all best wishes,
Rev Seikai

PS: hello, Jimyo / Helen Krasner, nice to see that you're still around!



Last edited by Lise on Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:02 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : clarity / identifying dedicated thread)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:32 pm

Rev. Seikai,

I have a number of thoughts to share re: your comments, but will wait on a thorough reply until Kozan has had an opportunity since your post is addressed to him.

I can't help but mention that I find one of your remarks very disturbing, however, and perhaps an indicator of your underlying attitude toward those who speak out about problems with the OBC:

"I realize that there has been a stated motive on the part of contributors to this web forum, that they want to warn people who are considering a deeper involvement with the OBC on the dangers of getting too involved with these people, lest you get yourself seriously hurt or damaged." [Emphasis mine.]

Rev. Master, I doubt that anyone who has come in contact with harmful OBC teaching or dishonest teachers would agree that they have "gotten themselves" seriously hurt or damaged. Is this truly your position?

Lise


Last edited by Lise on Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:37 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : it's been a long day and I'm snappish, but no need to advertise the fact.)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:26 pm

I feel like I've been hogging a lot of space here on the forum today, but I could hardly stay silent with regards to this thread.

To Rev. Sekai,

I fail to see why you would exclude me from your retort of what I wrote. I don't think it's fair to ask Kozan what he may think of what I wrote or think what it was that I was trying to say. I don't think it's my ego getting in the way when I say this, but I think your reply is rather rude. It is however, consistent with what I have observed with monks in the OBC.

If you believe that I personally want a reconciliation with the OBC, you are greatly mistaken. I don't know what else to say except that I think you may have missed the mark or perhaps, you are just confused. If you want to give it another shot, go for it.

I do not wish to change my original quote: "I think people either refuse to look at how the OBC regards anyone other than themselves (the OBC) or they just to refuse to see anything at all!" But maybe I can tweak it a bit and say that I believe that the active members and monks of the order fail to be able to be objective or be able to relate to or respect where the laity and ex-members are coming from. There is most definitley a disconnect somewhere.

I can't speak for Kozan here. I thought we were discussing and working together on this subject, but if you two have some other motive or relationship and want to discuss this subject amongst yourselves, then perhaps you should just email each other. I won't be bullied into silence though, and will continue on doing my best as long as I can. I have nothing to lose.

I hope I've made myself clear with regards to my motives. You are calling for maturity and honesty, which I value as well, but a call to all forum members to be contrite and state their "misbehavior" is a little over the top, don't you think?

Peace,
Diana

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:42 pm

Hello Seikai
This doesn't sound like one of your postings. Kozan will undoubtedly be gentler in his response but unfortunately I am too galled by the sheer obfuscation in your posting to wait for it. You take the smallest of posting threads about reconciliation and paint it as a dominant theme of the OBC connect participants. Then you infer that the people posting complaints about the OBC just need to put some effort into getting invited back into the fold, which might be done by not pointing out uncomfortable observations and recollections.
I am not surprised by self serving responses from the OBC to external criticism. I am surprised that you would try it out here. I have not personally bothered to recount disturbing stories around Shasta because I don't hold individual monks responsible for many of the accounts in this forum but I do hold the OBC organization responsible for providing an unquestioning shelter to people that get to behave badly around others with impunity. This might be a more dominant theme to address on this forum. It's really not a question of OBC bad/ us good. It's more like what good is the practise of sitting with whatever is in front of you if your not prepared to look what it turns up?
You've got the ugly job here. I think everyone recognizes and appreciates the uncomfortable position you've taken on. I'm hoping that your last posting was just another bad day at the office.
Best regards
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:15 pm

As I was a posting this, I was alerted by the forum that other responses had been posted as I was writing mine. Lise, Diana, and Howard, I have just now seen your posts (I have been working on mine for some time!) Diana, the fact that Seikai directed his post to me specifically, is as much a surprise to me as it is to you.

Hello Rev. Seikai,

Thank you for your response on this topic thread--and for your thoughts and questions.

I too feel that we are both trying to work towards an understanding of the same overarching issue (or issues as the case may be). In many respects, the views expressed on this forum could be perceived as either "pro" OBC or "anti" OBC. Some of them may seem to fall into one catagory or the other. But I think that many if not most of the postings give expression to a far more nuanced perception. (I'll come back to this issue in a moment).

You have also asked a number of very good questions. I count five: three pertain to issues of exclusion and reconciliation; one to the perception of interest and concern that the OBC has or doesn't have to the viewpoints of others; and one pertaining to the forum's possible role in warning others about the OBC, tarring everyone within the OBC with the same brush of judgement, and doing so through speculation without making inquiries.

Although I can give some response to some of your questions, I cannot answer any of them directly in the way they are framed. Only the authors of the various statements that you either quote, or refer to, can do so.

I find a wide variety of different viewpoints expressed in this forum. Some viewpoints I fully agree with; some I do not disagree with, but also do not share; and some I actually disagree with as stand-alone statements--but often sympathize with from the perspective that I now have on what I think of as the larger context (including that 6,000 years of collective trauma!).

I perceive my own position as that of straddling the great divide that can easily seem to separate two positions that I both agree with. I think that quite a number of former members (and perhaps some current members) have arrived at a similar stance as well. For me, these two positions are:

1. My continuing enthusiasm, gratitude, and respect for Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett's teaching, for the OBC as an organization of high integrity, and for all of the members of the OBC, both former and current, who I have had the honor to know and train with.

2. My perception of what seems to be an often subtle, almost always unconscious, causal dynamic that includes some one-sided doctrinal positions, a fear of failure, and the occassional use of harsh teaching methods, which together may sometimes cause abuse and trauma. It seems to me that this dynamic may have become unconsciously institutionalized, for very specific historical reasons, within the psyche and culture of the OBC. Most importantly, I believe that no one is to blame for either the original institutionalization of the dynamic, or its apparent continuation. Based on accounts posted on this forum however, there have clearly been a number of people who have experienced very significant trauma as a result (I believe) of this unrecognized dynamic.

I do not believe that these two perspectives are in contradiction because, again from my own experience within the OBC during the development of what I now perceive as a collective trauma, there was never a malicious intent--only fear at work. I am likewise convinced that recognition and healing of collective trauma is possible, individual by individual, because I know from my own experience that it is an enormous relief to do so! I would propose that it is also the prerequisite for transforming the dynamic in order to prevent continued abuse and trauma--and that doing so benefits everyone! I think that Diana has, and is, providing important information and insight on this issue. More detail in upcoming posts.

So, back to your specific questions.

The three questions pertaining to exclusion and reconcilitation: I actually cannot answer this one because I have never felt excluded, and I am not presently seeking reconciliation. The details are quite straightforward, but describing the process by which I chose to leave active participation in the OBC is a post by itself, and directly connected to this topic thread. (Suffice it to say for now that I never experienced harsh teaching from RMJK or any other monk of the order. This, paradoxically, has made it easier to perceive the impact of harsh teaching on others, and to feel the subtle but still traumatic impact on everyone.

The question pertaining to the OBC's interest in how others view the OBC: I feel certain that the OBC, and most monks, are very interested. And yes, I certainly believe that your participation on this site is an indication of that interest. Obviously I am not speaking for others on the forum, some of whom might possibly suggest that your participation is the exception that proves the rule. At the very least, your participation is a clear indication of your own courage, integrity, and compassion. I think these qualities are shared by others, certainly by Rev. Haryo and Rev. Daishin Morgan, who have both posted here as well.

The question pertaining to a stated purpose of the forum in warning people about the OBC, to some comments on the forum that might seem to tar the OBC and its members with the same brush, and to doing so through speculation without making inquiries about current policies and practices: These are good questions. Again, I can't respond to them because they are issues that have been raised by others--although I do think they are all connected, in one way or another, to the more general focus of my own interest.

In conclusion (for the moment), I would also like to respond to what might be an unasked question behind the specific questions that you have asked. In doing so, I will not try to give words to the question itself, but to simply respond to it. ...On second thought, I think that I already have... Therefore, I will simply reiterate my own personal conclusions:

It seems to me that the most important thing in dealing with reported experiences of alleged harsh teaching, spiritual abuse, and trauma, is to consider the possibility that they are the consequence of a similar pattern or causal dynamic that has become part of the institution itself, for specific historical reasons. And that ultimately, no one is to blame. Recognizing that no one is to blame is, in turn, a likely prerequisite for being able to recognize the presence of institutional trauma; which in turn is a prerequisite for healing--for everyone involved; which in turn is a prerequisite for preventing its ongoing repetition. And finally, that while contemplating this may seem scary for many reasons, actually doing it (again as I can attest) is an enormous relief! As I have opined previously, I believe that this is precisely what Rev. Master would want us to do.

I hope this helps (and that the Conclave is going well)!

With Respect,
Kozan


Last edited by Kozan on Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:12 am; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : because it's not finished--until it's finished!)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:42 am

And just one more thought to reemphasize an earlier point (as I'm getting ready to retire for the evening) because it can get lost in the shuffle:

The proposal that no one is to blame for the causal dynamic of trauma that may have become institutionalized within the psyche and culture of the OBC, does not let any of us off the hook for any harm that we might have caused! And yet, an understanding of the causal dynamic itself may provide a framework for healing, reconciliation, and transformation.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:36 pm

Dear Rev. Seikai,

You threw out a powerful challenge, asking if those who felt they had been excluded from OBC explain to the world what they had done to bring about that exclusion. Do you REALLY want this? I was hurt very badly by an OBC monk who did exclude me, hurt badly enough to briefly consider suicide. I knew at the time that the intent was not to cause that response in me, that this monk had explosions of temper that they did not even remember later. More than once I heard, "I don't live in the past, I don't remember what I say," as a defense when asked about harsh words, which I thought was pretty coy even then. But you know, I took the precepts and I took them seriously. I took a vow not to speak ill of others nor to defame the Three Treasures. (Zen has a perhaps unintended built-in guard against criticism.) The monk even called me a month later and it was clear they had no idea of what impact our last conversation had on me. Heck, they laughed at me when I tried to tell them! And you know, I found I just couldn't face hearing that "I don't live in the past, I don't remember what I say," line again. True or not, it creates an unbreachable impasse. Anyway, the damage was done. If a truck runs over you it may comfort somebody to know the driver didn't didn't intend to hit you but it doesn't make you any less dead.

So I can go public here and tell all about my experiences which will doubtless be recognized by those involved and more hurt will occur. Some damage will doubtless be done just by posting this. I have asked myself over and over during the past year if disclosure would bring more good than evil. Finally I decided to ask a monk whose dharma talks I had enjoyed. I approached him very cautiously, wanting answers but wanting to cause as little harm as possible. The first thing this monk did was call the monk whom I felt had excluded me, to get the scoop on me I guess. The next thing he did was write me a very kind letter which began by explaining that monks are people too, they have good days and bad days, they can hurt others unintentionally and even when actively trying not to hurt them. He quoted RM Jiyu as saying: "Where there is hurt there is self," and that I needed to think about that. That he knew this monk very well and knew they would never intentionally cause harm.

Everything he said was rational and true but I did feel a bit scuppered before I'd even untied the boat. At least, he put the onus on me to prove that harm had been done. Fair enough. So we agreed to talk on the phone. I told him as simply and concisely as I could what had been said that caused the hurt. Just the final incident, not the other issues I had concerns about. My choice. When I told him, he agreed, he stammered rather, that the other monk's words might not have been skillful but then said "Well, you must have hurt ____."

I am NOT trying to criticize this guy. He is a prince of a man and a good monk and he was kind to me and funny and friendly and I really liked and trusted him and still do. But can you see how even the tiniest complaint has to run a pretty tough gauntlet before it is heard? I felt spiritually immature before I ever opened my mouth. Do you think you all might be just a little bit defensive? Still, criticizing a monk is serious business, I get that, it has to be handled responsibly from all sides.

I don't want to talk in detail about what happened to me. I don't want to hurt the monk in question and I don't want to lose to anybody else the good that monk has to offer. I learned a great deal from this monk, others have and will too. I LOVED this monk and so do others. And yet, when I went back recently to the temple, I watched the monk who hurt me humiliate another sangha member in front of the group. So I can't go back there.

So, Rev. Seikai, what do you want me to do? Tell all? To "the world"? (Forget that.) If Rev. Haryo was reachable I might tell him all and listen to what he had to say. I don't think he's very reachable though. Am I wrong? Thus far in my attempts to gain some clarity on this issue I have heard a very kind but somewhat defensive response. This can make sorting out one's own pathology from reality quite difficult. And that's what we're all after isn't it? The truth? In OBC's defense, I haven't tried very hard to say anything. It's such very very dangerous ground.

I want to be a good person, Buddhist or otherwise. I also want to feel good about myself. I don't think outing a monk with a bad temper (and a worse memory) is going to get me that. I do worry about protecting others like the lady who got yelled at during the tea-and-dharma talk. So you tell me what you think would be a spiritually "mature" thing to do and I'll consider it.

Polly


Last edited by polly on Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:21 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : It needed it. It needed it twice.)
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PostSubject: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:35 pm

There is a very good discussion that develops on this site at times, but it seems to often disintegrate into polarized, mutually exclusive perspectives, with each polar argument alienating the other. Each side seems to look at the other across a great divide and wonders: “Don’t these people get it?”

I would summarize the two polarized sides as the following:
1. Those who feel they have been hurt in some way or have witnessed others being hurt. This side repeats in various manifestations that the OBC has done and is doing harm. Some feel the harm can be mild but still needs to be addressed; others feel the harm is horrendous to the point that they consider the OBC to be a cult. Either way, they would like the OBC to take seriously that harm is being done. This side feels their hurt is denied, minimized, rationalized, or justified away. Side 1 is correct.
2. Those who feel the OBC is a not only a good organization, but an organization whose very purpose is to help people get beyond their own ego, to help them understand that dwelling on hurts we’ve received is only perpetuating the life of the ego and preventing our individual selves from merging into the great ocean of awareness that is the Unborn. An essential part of the training this side teaches is that people give up attachment to the hurts, big and small, that we all experience. To indulge Side 1 is to diminish this essential tenet of the teaching and training. (That anyway is how I’ve been reading it. Corrections to my understanding are welcome.) Side 2 also is correct.

How then can these sides have some point of meeting? I think my recent post on spiritual and emotional intelligence might be of assistance in this. Essentially Side 2 is calling for spiritual intelligence from Side 1, and Side 1 is asking for emotional intelligence from Side 2. It is my belief that the disconnect between these two polarized sides is very pertinent to what Kozan refers to as institutionalized trauma (perhaps Kozan could comment). If this website is to function beyond being a place to share experiences, which is by no means a small accomplishment, we will have to find a way to talk to each other that does not alienate and minimize what is important to the other side.

I would also like to add that I think the questions and topics raised on this site go beyond what Seikai can handle alone. If he has become the official OBC Connect monk, I think it might be too much for one person. I know I’d feel overwhelmed if I was in Seikai’s shoes. If the results of the discussions on this site are of importance to the OBC, and I have no way of knowing if that is or isn’t the case, then it would be good to have more current monks participating. In fact, one of the perceptions or misperceptions of the OBC is of its monolithic character. Having one monk speak for all only reinforces this belief. Anyway, perhaps this post will be a start to not making the other side into the OTHER. Here is my previous post on spiritual and emotional intelligence: . . . [/i]

[Admin edit: Please see Kaizan's post titled "Kaizan: Belated Introduction", under the category titled "Introductions" for the full text of that posting.]




Last edited by Watson on Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:43 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : citing to previous posted material rather than restating in entirety; keeps thread on topic)
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PostSubject: split from "Institutional Trauma" thread and reposted here for relevance   Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:11 pm

[Admin note: The following were originally posted prior to Kaizan's above, but were inadvertently left out of the thread split. My apologies for any confusion.]


Lise wrote:
polly wrote:
Dear Rev. Seikai,

You threw out a powerful challenge, asking if those who felt they had been excluded from OBC explain to the world what they had done to bring about that exclusion. . . .

Polly,

I hope that someone within the OBC sees this and is willing to respond to your post. We may have another dedicated thread up in the next day or so which contains your question to Rev. Seikai and the other related comments. Whether he responds or not, your questions are valid, they deserve a response and I hope someone will take it on. Rev. Haryo, Rev. Meian, what say you?

I used to struggle with the concept of "there is no self, therefore who is it that can be hurt?" Until I stood by and did nothing, watching other people being hurt, and finally said, "enough".

Lise

polly wrote:
Thanks, Lise. Good to know you are there. Polly


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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:28 pm

[Admin note: moving this post from "Institutional Trauma" per Kozan's request, since it replies to Kaizan's above.]


Kozan wrote:
Kaizan--very well said--on all points!

And I agree that the disconnect you identify is fully pertinent to the issue of institutional trauma, and its recognition, healing, and transformation.

It seems to me that as essential as spiritual intelligence is as a response to the experience of trauma, transcendence by itself is not enough to bring about healing. It appears to me that trauma is actually experienced and retained by body and mind, not by the construct of the ego. Transcending trauma by returning to the all-is-one within Awareness, in and of itself, does not heal the trauma retained by body and mind. I think this is especially true if a pattern of denial is present that prevents the recognition, acceptance, letting go, and offering up of the trauma itself--and the work to transform the conditions that created the trauma in the first place, which is often essential for full healing.

If trauma has actually become institutionalized within the OBC as an ongoing dynamic, then its healing and transformation require both spiritual and emotional intelligence.

Thanks for bringing your post on the two over to this thread!
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:54 pm

Right then, so I think we may be caught up, and yes, it's a bit awkward to do this moving around of posts since it doesn't always go smoothly. But I think it is worth the effort.

I haven't as much as time I wish tonight so I will have to brief. I agree in principle with Kaizan that we don't want to make a target of Rev. Seikai, and yet, he has "walked into the room" as the Shasta monks sometimes say, and joined this discussion voluntarily. He also asked very pointed questions of our forum membership, without claiming to represent the OBC, therefore it is to be expected that people will direct their answers to him. He is responsible for his words on this forum as we all are.

For myself, I have already said why I fell away from going to the Abbey (see "Two Things on My Mind" under "OBC Experiences") and if Rev. Seikai or other OBC monks would like to respond to that post, I am willing to listen. I don't seek reconciliation, however; I didn't leave under a sense of exclusion, but I have no plans to return to OBC practice as I don't think it's a good route for me. I think there is value, for me and for others, in participating in this site and communicating information that I think needs to be seen and heard.

Polly's post made an impression on me because I do think a major problem with the OBC is the lack of checks and balances on some of the seniors' behavior. Even when problems are pointed out to other seniors who might be in a position to help, issues seem to be swept under a rug, concealed or dismissed, life goes on, new people come into harm's way . . . this needs to change. It should not be an acceptable part of religious training that you implicitly agree to be treated badly as part of the bargain in receiving "teaching" from a master. I am sure I've already revealed here that I no longer believe, if I ever did, in the Zen teaching that "there is no self that can be hurt". I understand that that works for some people, but it never made sense to me and it is not part of my spiritual path now. There are so many gentler-to-the-spirit forms of training in this world, and I am glad I found my way to one of them.

L.

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:48 am

Although this may sound obvious, reconciliation is a two way willingness and genuine wish for seemingly different opinions to meet in the middle ground and find their common aspects of unity rather than re-asserting aspects of division. With a posting from the most active monk on this site implying that the need to reconcile is purely one way and that the OBC need make no effort to address their errors - of which it seems there have been many - makes a mockery of the notion of reconciliation and is frankly an insultingly patronising attitude.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:36 pm

I separated from the OBC when it became very obvious that the Priory I attended didn't have anything more to teach me. The experience became very much like repeating the third grade over and over again. Same words, same phrases repeated again and again, no indication by behavior that there was any real understanding or personal experience behind them.

I've encountered many secular people in the real world with very ill-defined religious beliefs who know and practice the truth of Buddhism better than what I sometimes observed at the Priory. My question became, "Why would I want to devolve to become a perpetual third grader when I could see others who were behaving and living their life on a much more profound level?"

And then I asked, "Why should it matter if someone else wants to live their entire religious life at the third grade level of spiritual behavior? Why should I want to reform or change them?" And I couldn't come up with any good answer. The kindest thing I could think of was to leave and wish them well. And I did so. If karma works, they will surely reap the arrogant, smug harm they sow. If it doesn't, then it's all irrelevant anyhow.

I don't think the OBC can reform any more than secular organizations can reform without bankruptcy or imminent financial disaster. One sure sign of a company on its road to failure is contempt for customers it loses because "they don't understand how great we and our products are."

I too had read in the OBC literature that kenshos of lay Buddhists were never to be acknowledged. I will not explore the arrogant childishness of that position, but I will state that I have become somewhat disinterested in it. If kensho is insight that transforms one's life, then I've already had several kenshos on the Buddhist path. If it's some sort of cosmic orgasm, then I'm no longer that interested. I only want to see clearly, without distortion, with compassion and kindness the world as it actually is.

Since I cannot now think of any wholesome reconnection with the OBC, I simply am resolved to let things remain as they are. I can live with the dichotomy of both gratitude for getting me to the third grade level and disappointment that they could not offer more.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:11 am

Greetings to all,
I've been away from this forum for over a week, as I was at the OBC Conclave, and then traveling home. This is not the time for me to make any remarks on what happened or did not happen at the conclave, other than to say I think it was productive.

I don't have a lot of time at the moment, but I would like to say that I'm grateful to all of you who have replied to my original post, which evidently was deemed weighty enough to be the topic for another thread. In particular, I would like to express my deep appreciation to Kaizan (who I regard as a dear friend) for his post, with which I agree word for word! I think it is an excellent examination, a necessary point of view and framework for the overall discussion between the OBC and its ex-members, and valuable to me, personally.

I would also like to thank Kozan for his usual insight and clarity. Thank you for your honesty and attempts to answer my questions insofar as you felt was possible. In time, I will try to respond to some of the posts which have appeared in this thread, including the one from Polly. As people have observed, I am not a spokesperson for the OBC; I am only one monk among many, and we are a varied lot. As I've stated before, I joined the forum to try to bring a bit of positivity and clarity to it. When I read posts that have anger and negativity in them, I find it difficult to respond because, by its very nature, we create difficulty, suffering, confusion--call it what you will--on account of our lack of self restraint for these things. It is not for me to blame anyone, and I think Kozan's words ring true, loudly and clearly: give up blaming.

To live beyond praise and blame is hard to do. They are two of the Eight Great Distractions. Investment of time, energy, emotion, grasping and pushing away into praise and blame, fame and disgrace, happiness and sorrow, gaining and losing--this is the human condition. This is what causes and sustains ego. I had a lot of trouble with the statement that "if there is hurt, there is self: look into your own mind to see where there is self" for quite a few years. Such a statement can easily be used to manipulate or duck responsibility for hurting someone on a human or emotional level. And yet, I cannot deny the truth of the statement. It points us to the deepest level of training, anatta, giving up the self. Giving up the self is by far the most rewarding thing, the path of liberation.

In the meantime, there is a lot of ground to cover. As was pointed out, I laid down a challenge, and people responded in different ways to that challenge. If we wish to speak to a group dynamic, i.e. the presence of institutionalized trauma within the OBC, I have already agreed that it exists. What I am asking, actually, is for patience and understanding. If you have no interest in being reconciled with the OBC, and are just interested in examining your experiences and talking with like-minded people, so be it. But for those who are interested in reconciliation and understanding, I am simply trying to extend an olive branch of patience and compassion in hopes of moving towards reconciliation. Nothing actually stands in the way of that process, provided that all concerned are willing to lay down hardened opinions and attitudes.

I have put myself here willingly, and for me to act as a lightning rod is part of the bargain. Many other Buddhist groups in America have experienced the same kinds of stuff; hopefully we can learn to work together so that there is less of it in the future. That would be my hope, recognizing that we have been thrown together in the human realm, which is a tough realm, a realm for making mistakes and then learning from them, meaning that none of this is going to stop any time soon.

Respectfully submitted, Rev. Seikai
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:15 pm

Rev. Seikai said:

"But for those who are interested in reconciliation and understanding, I am simply trying to extend an olive branch of patience and compassion in hopes of moving towards reconciliation. Nothing actually stands in the way of that process, provided that all concerned are willing to lay down hardened opinions and attitudes."

Have the senior OBC Sangha laid down any "hardened opinions and attitude"? I have heard that Rev. M. Meian's talk is a step in that direction, although I haven't had time to listen yet. Maybe there is hope of reconciliation if ALL are willing to lay down those hardened opinions and attitudes.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:47 pm

[quote="Rev. Seikai"]Greetings to all,

Quote :

I find it difficult to respond because, by its very nature, we create difficulty, suffering, confusion--call it what you will--on account of our lack of self restraint for these things. It is not for me to blame anyone, and I think Kozan's words ring true, loudly and clearly: give up blaming.


It seems to me you are asking for the OBC not to be criticized for the harm it has inflicted on others. "Give up blame you say," but it only seems you mean "don't criticize the OBC," even when they have grossly harmed others and refused to be accountable for it. The refuge you are asking for seems to be only refuge from responsibility, accountability, and yes, guilt. That rationale to be me seems to be part of continuing the sickness that caused some of the problems to begin with. When you can acknowledge that the OBC has seriously harmed others, and is still probably harming others, then your request "please don't blame" may carry some moral authority of wisdom.

Quote :
I have put myself here willingly, and for me to act as a lightning rod is part of the bargain.

This is a conversation, though perhaps not a pleasant one for you. You are not a lightning rod, at least for me. As a participant in a public conversation you have to deal with conversants without retreating to robes for authority or force of opinion - not a comfortable environment for a monk.

You try to deflect honest criticism by labeling those who criticize as angry, etc. If you try to pave over hurt with spiritual platitudes rather than dealing with it, I think you run the risk of falling into the monk's trap of ignoring harm with stock excuses that blame the victims. It's all for their own good somehow. I'm sure the Catholic pedophile priests had similar rationales.

I don't have much anger at all about the OBC. I won't support it. I no longer refer anyone to OBC temples as I've done sometimes in the past. I have become persuaded by the stories I've read on this forum that the OBC can be harmful and is not capable of recognizing or controlling its harm. And because the OBC record seems so patchy as reliable refuge, it seems simple wisdom to avoid that risk.

Quote :
Many other Buddhist groups in America have experienced the same kinds of stuff; hopefully we can learn to work together so that there is less of it in the future.

No excuse in my opinion. The wise learn from others' mistakes rather than repeating them. That there are many examples out there that should have been instructive seems to me to be an indication of organizational delusion or willful ignorance. Really there is quite a bit of information out there if one only looks, and quite a bit of information on how organizations have tried to deal with them.

Quote :
That would be my hope, recognizing that we have been thrown together in the human realm, which is a tough realm, a realm for making mistakes and then learning from them, meaning that none of this is going to stop any time soon.

Yes, we all make mistakes and we generally keep making them again and again until we really see how badly we have [banned term] up. Until there is seeing, there is no remedy or change, and I'm not persuaded the OBC has seen anything at all.

Why would one want to be reconciled to a dysfunctional organization that apparently cannot recognize its dysfunction? Perhaps Shasta Abbey will change. But institutions do not change unless a sense of peril forces them to change. I see no sense of urgency, nor have any here indicated contact by the OBC to at least acknowledge its deficiencies that harmed them. (And I seriously doubt any will.)

And finally, I don't care if the OBC reforms itself or not. If it doesn't quit harming people, I hope, in the interest of Buddhist compassion, it fails. If it can reform itself, then perhaps it can contribute to the general good in the world.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:47 pm

Dear Reverend Seikai,
Thank you for returning to the forum. I was grateful for your willingness to persevere, to "be a lightening rod" and I look forward to your response to questions in my last post directed to you.
Rev. Meian's talk was encouraging and went no small distance in melting the bitterness I have felt towards OBC. To openly say "We were wrong, we are sorry," is a rare thing from any source and can transform a world of hurt.
Welcome back. I for one can use your help. I've had enough of confusion and anger. Even if reconciliation can't occur (and perhaps it can,) to part as friends would be a very great thing.
Thanks, Polly
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Rev. Seikai



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:05 am

Although this may sound obvious, reconciliation is a two way willingness and genuine wish for seemingly different opinions to meet in the middle ground and find their common aspects of unity rather than re-asserting aspects of division. With a posting from the most active monk on this site implying that the need to reconcile is purely one way and that the OBC need make no effort to address their errors - of which it seems there have been many - makes a mockery of the notion of reconciliation and is frankly an insultingly patronising attitude.

Robert, let’s look at what I actually said:
Here's one more question: those of you who honestly wish to be reconciled with the OBC, would you be willing to make it known to the world exactly what you did which brought about the reality of your being excluded? That would be the point at which true honesty and humility would be brought to bear upon the whole larger question of reconciliation: owning up to what one has done. This is not a one-way street in which all the misbehavior lies with the OBC.

Which is to say that, contrary to the impression made by many who make posts on this web forum, there are people who have made mistakes in training and in their lives which had considerable bearing on why they became separated from being disciples of RMJK, or OBC monks. Meanwhile, this does not imply that the OBC is blameless, or that reconciliation, if it were to occur, is a one-way street. Actually, I’m trying very hard to imply that it is a two-way street, and would require maturity all the way around. Maturity involves admitting to being in error, if you have been in error. Doubtless there are people out there who have been harmed in some way by the teaching they received, and did nothing wrong themselves, and if so, we owe them an apology. This is not a re-assertion of divisions on my part.
* * *

I am not surprised by self serving responses from the OBC to external criticism. I am surprised that you would try it out here. I have not personally bothered to recount disturbing stories around Shasta because I don't hold individual monks responsible for many of the accounts in this forum but I do hold the OBC organization responsible for providing an unquestioning shelter to people that get to behave badly around others with impunity. This might be a more dominant theme to address on this forum. It's really not a question of OBC bad/ us good. It's more like what good is the practise of sitting with whatever is in front of you if your not prepared to look what it turns up?

Howard: Now I know better. Reconciliation is, generally speaking, not what people are interested in. Meanwhile, the OBC organization has actually undergone considerable self-examination, and will continue to do so. We have no intention of providing unquestioning shelter to people who behave badly, and if there ever was impunity for them, I would sincerely hope that it has evaporated. There is looking at what turns up in front of you, and then there is acting on it; we’re working on both of those things.
* * *

So, Rev. Seikai, what do you want me to do? Tell all? To "the world"? (Forget that.) If Rev. Haryo was reachable I might tell him all and listen to what he had to say. I don't think he's very reachable though. Am I wrong? Thus far in my attempts to gain some clarity on this issue I have heard a very kind but somewhat defensive response. This can make sorting out one's own pathology from reality quite difficult. And that's what we're all after isn't it? The truth? In OBC's defense, I haven't tried very hard to say anything. It's such very very dangerous ground.

I want to be a good person, Buddhist or otherwise. I also want to feel good about myself. I don't think outing a monk with a bad temper (and a worse memory) is going to get me that. I do worry about protecting others like the lady who got yelled at during the tea-and-dharma talk. So you tell me what you think would be a spiritually "mature" thing to do and I'll consider it.

Polly: Here is the inherent difficulty in a situation like yours. You’ve been hurt by someone in the position of giving spiritual teaching. Discussing the details of it out in the open generally doesn’t work to anyone’s satisfaction; as you point out, it is very dangerous ground. So I wouldn’t recommend it. But the problem is, you already tried to sort out the matter, not to your satisfaction, so who do you think you can trust now? I’m always happy to talk to people about anything—that’s why I’m here on this web forum. Please feel welcome to click on the personal message tab and write to me privately. I’m interested in the truth; I may not be able to do much of anything about what has happened, but I’m interested in the truth. Why don’t you think Rev. Master Haryo is reachable?

This is all I can handle for today, with all best wishes,
Rev. Seikai

PS Modification: Polly, I just saw your post as I was sending in mine. Glad to hear that you found Rev. Master Meian's talk beneficial. I would like to think that a new era of openness and transparency is beginning for the OBC, and I pray that time will uphold this hope of mine. SL
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:09 am

Rev. Seikai

That word reconciliation seems to have a little more ommph than it needs on this forum.

My dictionary has numerous meanings under the word reconciliation. Heal is the one I like the best. I think this particular definition fits well on this forum because change, experience & growth have continued on for most of the forum writers after they have left the OBC. They have had to stand up on there own, bereft of traditional sangha support and find a way to continue. They look for healing here as they have learned to look for it anywhere. They are here because they have seen this forum as another possible support for some of that healing. Healing for themselves, for others, for people that might be on the same path ahead or behind, and for the general OBC sangha.

Reconciliation sounds like a process that a divorced couple goes through before getting re-married to each other. Healing sounds like a process of self examination and change that a divorced couple goes through so as to not keep making the same mistakes. It's success is not measurable by whether they re- marry each other but is more about how they learn to treat each other.

I also wanted to ask how you got to be point man for the OBC on this forum. It would seem to be an odious job that some of your fellow seniors could help you shoulder, especially considering the personal medical trials you have mentioned here.

Regards


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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:09 am

I never had any intention of "feeling" separated from Shasta Abbey or the OBC until the issues with Rev. Eko. ( In all honesty, the last retreat I was at when Rev. Eko gave his talk I was a bit put off by his dwelling on some rather trivial local community issues in Mt Shasta.) And then, reading all the things that were happening at Shasta to others while I was blindly in lala land makes me so very sad. I feel a great loss of faith in the people and the place. I do not know if I will ever be able to find the same joy and peace there that I experienced for years. All part of impermanence, I guess.
Rev. Sekai, I have fond memories of you managing the chaos at Jukai. By the end of the retreat you looked totally bagged and I thought you deserved a long relaxing holiday.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:55 am

Dear Reverend Seikai;

Thank you for responding to my questions. I wonder, however, if my points were not somehow lost.

I was responding to your post of September 26th where you say"...those of you who honestly wish to be reconciled with the OBC, would you be willing to make it known to the world exactly what you did which brought about the reality of your being excluded?" I had wanted to show that such action might backfire, that describing "what i did" would surely have to include what was done to me and that seemed inadvisable. You agreed with me that telling my story online was something that you "wouldn't recommend." So your position would seem to be that we are encouraged to confess our sins, so to speak, to the world as an act of spiritual maturity but, at least in my case, "discussing the details out in the open would be unproductive". Is that consistent?

My point in describing the response I got from the monk I approached with my problem was that, though kindly done there was an initial reaction of defensiveness, a sort of circling the wagons that made it difficult to proceed. So who would I trust now, you ask, since I wasn't satisfied with that? I put a whole paragraph into saying how much I liked and trusted this monk. So much so that I was willing to return to the temple to give it another try. Considering the fact that a year before I had been smacked down by the prior of that temple, hard enough to make me want to suck on a gun barrel, I think that was pretty "spiritually mature" of me, not to mention trusting.

The end problem was that when I returned to the temple I saw the same sort behavior that had driven me away being repeated, aimed at a 78 year old woman I might add. I watched her crumble in front of us and later leave in tears, and I made a promise to myself then that I would do something to try to stop this. And a couple of days later I found this forum...

I say that Reverend Haryo seems difficult to reach because I cannot find an address or e-mail site or even a general location for the Head of the Order. I just looked again on the Shasta Abbey site and found nothing. I see nothing in the Journal under the address section. So I ask again, am I wrong? Am I missing it somehow? Is it hiding in plain sight?

I appreciate your offer to discuss my difficulties on a more private basis.

Thank you,
Polly



Last edited by polly on Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:43 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : to complete a point, to clarify another. semantics.)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:47 pm

Hello Polly,

It is possible to contact Rev. Haryo through Shasta Abbey, by email which requests forwarding to him. I believe that approach has worked.

guestmaster@shastaabbey.org and prior@shastaabbey.org

Thank you.

Watson
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:19 pm

Thanks very much, Watson. Most helpful.

Cheers,

Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:50 pm

Rev. Seikai wrote:

[i]Which is to say that, contrary to the impression made by many who make posts on this web forum, there are people who have made mistakes in training and in their lives which had considerable bearing on why they became separated from being disciples of RMJK, or OBC monks.


Here's one more question: those of you who honestly wish to be reconciled with the OBC, would you be willing to make it known to the world exactly what you did which brought about the reality of your being excluded? That would be the point at which true honesty and humility would be brought to bear upon the whole larger question of reconciliation: owning up to what one has done. This is not a one-way street in which all the misbehavior lies with the OBC.

Rev. Seikai


Regarding your first quote I don't think it's very helpful since you know who you are referring to, but none of the rest of us do. For the record I've stated here more than once that on occasion I made serious mistakes when I was a monk. In particular in the process of leaving the Abbey I caused harm to others that I certainly regret. I am willing to discuss it further with you or anyone else in the OBC if it will help bring honesty and humility to bear on the larger issues. You are correct that it's not a one way street.

Since you first posed the question about reconciliation I've been thinking a lot about what I hope will come from our efforts here. Howard called it healing and he articulated it pretty well:

Healing sounds like a process of self examination and change that a divorced couple goes through so as to not keep making the same mistakes. Its' success is not measurable by whether they re-marry each other but is more about how they learn to treat each other.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:01 pm

I owe everyone an apology for the way in which I phrased what I wrote on September 26. My post was addressed to Kozan, as he has consistently been articulate and gives very well thought out responses and offerings of his own insights. It was a mistake for me to address to him, as a solitary contributor, questions which in fact ought to have been addressed to the entire reading audience.

[color=blue]Regarding your first quote I don't think it's very helpful since you know who you are referring to, but none of the rest of us do. For the record I've stated here more than once that on occasion I made serious mistakes when I was a monk. In particular in the process of leaving the Abbey I caused harm to others that I certainly regret. I am willing to discuss it further with you or anyone else in the OBC if it will help bring honesty and humility to bear on the larger issues. You are correct that it's not a one way street.[/color]

I have to agree with you, Isan, and thank you for pointing this out. Again, I was making reference to a small group of people who are a subset of a much larger group, i.e. those who have been harmed in some way by monks of the OBC using less-than-skilful means in how they teach people. By no means do I wish to infer that everyone who posts on this web forum is somehow guilty or in error or needs to confess something; quite the contrary, I think that most people are seeking what Howard has pointed out as a healing process. I agree that the word reconciliation seems not to be the appropriate word to use, in a general sense, within this particular conversation. So, I am hoping that this addresses Polly's question to me, and clears up the inconsistancy of what I had written earlier. And again, I apologize for the lack of clarity on my part.

Circling the wagons and not being completely open and forthright in the wake of people having been hurt by some occasion of unskilful means in teaching is a behavior trait of long standing within the OBC. With the departure of Eko, and the recent convening of the conclave, there has been a renewed impetus to change this aspect of our culture. I believe Rev. Master Meian has given voice to this intention in one of her recent Dharma talks, downloadable from the Abbey's website.

I also wanted to ask how you got to be point man for the OBC on this forum. It would seem to be an odious job that some of your fellow seniors could help you shoulder, especially considering the personal medical trials you have mentioned here.

Howard, I got to be the "point man" by asking permission to be involved in this web forum. That permission was granted, but as I have often pointed out, I am not doing this in any official capacity. Although for me it is challenging, in part for the reason of my recent personal medical situation, I don't regard it as odious. It is an opportunity for me to give back something, as I have been the recipient of considerable good fortune, teaching and merit over the years. In other words, the main reason is gratitude. There is also a karmic reason, which is that I have inherited uncleansed karma from the lives of people who committed terribly harmful acts, and it helps me to work steadfastly to try to reduce the suffering that people experience on account of misunderstood religion. I can't say when, or if, any other senior member of the OBC Sangha will join me in this endeavor.

Isan, you are often on my mind, as we were good friends in the past and I enjoyed our cycling trips together. You were also my Precepts Master, a connection not easily dissolved. I do want to talk more, and I have been searching for a way to reach out to former monks of the OBC. It is a work in progress, that's about all I can say for the moment. Please understand that I have the intention of working for harmony in the Sangha, no matter what standing or level of participation anyone may have had in the past.

Respectfully submitted, Rev. Seikai


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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:15 am

Quote :
i.e. those who have been harmed in some way by monks of the OBC using less-than-skilful means in how they teach people

I am quite sure you did not intend to use the words the way they come across. Those words are OBC-speak that have been used to dismiss moral wrong done by the OBC as only unintentional errors and to mock its victims by belittling their claim for redress. If you have trouble seeing this point, consider yourself a Jew harmed by the Holocaust being told by Hitler that he regretted his "unskilful means." I think you will quickly grasp the callous trivialization of moral wrong and would readily agree that doing so only adds mockery to the injury.

I quite admire Polly for doing what most senior OBC monks would not. She sees clearly; she did not characterize anger which exploded in verbal assault and humiliation of someone to the point of suicide as a 'mistake' or 'unskilful means." (If you still can't see any moral wrong, just review the precepts, the Eightfold path, and other Buddhist basics.)

Polly also is showing more courage and integrity than the average senior OBC monk by intervening the best she can to ensure others (like the 78-year-old) do not continue to suffer the same harm from the same moral wrong. It is ironic that as a lay person she is more free to be moral and compassionate than those who believe themselves deep inside to be far superior. I applaud her courage. I applaud her ability to see without being blinded by a forced interpretation that "wrong" must somehow be "right" if is it done by a senior person.

Please protect yourself. Seriously. I'm not being sardonic. In your situation, you are quite vulnerable if you offend the hierarchy, and you, based on previous OBC actions, have a real risk of being put outside the gate to die on the street. The OBC is not known for kindness toward those who disagree with it or attempt to reform it.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:15 pm

Hi Polly,

I've just found out you may be interested in contacting me. I sent you a PM, but am not sure it went through. Anyway, my contact details are here: http://haryo.posterous.com/ .

I'd be glad to talk with you or have a cup of tea if our paths cross. Please feel free to get in touch.

Sincerely, Haryo
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:37 pm

I'd like to say to whomever has been following this thread that I received personal messages from both Rev. Seikai and Rev. Haryo and we are pursuing my issues in that manner, which I feel is absolutely appropriate and absolutely generous. I am grateful for both their concern and the concern shown from some of you. I know it to be genuine in all cases.
Thanks,
Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:46 pm

polly wrote:
I'd like to say to whomever has been following this thread that I received personal messages from both Rev. Seikai and Rev. Haryo and we are pursuing my issues in that manner, which I feel is absolutely appropriate and absolutely generous. I am grateful for both their concern and the concern shown from some of you. I know it to be genuine in all cases.
Thanks,
Polly

Polly, that's very good news. I hope things are successfully resolved. I look forward to hearing any details you are comfortable sharing as you go forward.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:27 am

jack wrote:
It is ironic that as a lay person she is more free to be moral and compassionate

Right there is my reason for choosing lay life.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:00 pm

Hi there,

Wanted to tell you...

I had the privilege to speak with Rev. Haryo yesterday. I mean "privilege" for a couple of reasons. First, how many other churches do I know of where the head of the entire organization would be willing to discuss my problems with me? I can't think of any. And I got to talk to someone who seemed to genuinely be able to take that third position. He was able to look and to help me to see the situation from a larger perspective without dismissing or demeaning my concerns in any way. It helped me.

Was anything resolved? Well, no. I think that resolution has to come from within me. What was done by those involved can't be undone by any of us. I hate that part. That doesn't mean that nothing can be done.

Was something healed. Absolutely.

While I'm here I'd like to say that I have always found OBC to be exceptional in how available they make themselves. Also in how generous they are in not having fixed fees for retreats, regardless of length, they have no charges for books, etc. I don't know any other church or religious organization who does that. Credit should go where credit is due, don't you think?

I also want to express that I learned a lot about "spins" through this process. It occurred to me as I lay awake half the night that I could put just about any spin I wanted to on that conversation. And that coming back to the forum to report "I am satisfied," could be spun by others as well, like, there's one of me born every day, right? Well, I have no control over that. But I hope that this will encourage others who want to communicate with the Order that I, at least, found nothing to fear and much to gain. No magic bullets but much good. I don't know how I'll proceed in relationship to the Order, but for now I got what I needed: I'm not angry any more. It feels good.

Polly
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Sarah



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:10 pm

Polly,

You're right, credit should go where it's due. If you're ok with how things are, that's what matters.

How will the Order address the issue with the monk who has the anger issues? Did Haryo give any assurances that the person in question will be counseled or receive closer supervision?

Sarah
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:22 pm

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for your kind words.

You know, I started my conversation with Rev. Haryo by telling him that I wasn't going to try to tell him how he should handle my concerns. I didn't ask or expect for him to give me an explanation of how he intended to proceed. I figured that he would need to think about what was said before deciding what to do. I think he offered to go there with me but my feelings are pretty complex and I veered away from that. Generally I make it a point never to enter into a conversation like that with any kind of script or agenda anyway. That may be a mistake, but my thought is that if I try to steer the boat too much we may miss the unfolding of something that might be a better direction altogether.

My own anger prompted me to react hastily to what I thought was a disastrous suggestion from Rev. Seikai, apparently a misinterpretation of his intent. I don't regret telling my concerns to Rev. Haryo at all but I would not normally have made my personal problems so very public. I can only hope that in the end I have done less harm than good and I trust Rev. Haryo to assist in that.


I have to remember that this is a religious organization in it's infancy and that they are just now working out the nuts and bolts that were not addressed at its beginning, to the detriment of some of us. But they are trying now. It must be tough to shift from an autocratic format to something... different. They have my prayers.

Polly


Last edited by polly on Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:27 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : second thoughts)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:56 am

Polly, I am glad you're feeling better about this. Have you considered, though, that by talking all around your story in such a big, dramatic way you have probably already done more damage then by not speaking up at all, or by calmly relating in a normal way what actually took place?
A lot of people here on the site do that, skirting around their story, probably from some remainder of Precepts-related guilt issues, but not all of us! I don't think relating a story in a factual, personal way without revealing identities is something that causes harm. It's your story. If it happened, you have every right to speak up.
The thing is, everyone reading imagines all kinds of different things when they read something like your posts. Did you ever think that maybe people imagine much worse things than that actually happened? There is a lot of room for speculation. I know you can't see that because you know what you know, but this is just a bit of feedback for what it is like to read all of these posts from you that all talk about this Big Something Better Left Unmentioned..
Also I find it kind of patronizing that now the big important seniors have been informed what took place, but for whatever reason you haven't chosen to share it with the many supportive folks here, many of whom have already shared stories presumably much more scary then what you went through. I say presumably because I don't know, since you didn't tell us.
Look, I am not saying come on out with it all. But you might want to think about the effects of making some such a big online drama about Something Better Left Unmentioned.

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:48 am

Dear Amalia,

You have a point, thanks for making it. It didn't occur to me that speculation might be rife. However, I don't think anyone needs to know my specifics. I was trying to make a point, not a confession or an exposure. It didn't work the way I'd thought. It felt like someone struck a match and I tried to put it out with gasoline.

Of course I have the "right" to tell my story in detail, but I choose not to which is my right as well. Divulging intimate details does not in my book automatically indicate courage. Sometimes, yes, absolutely. I certainly admired your willingness to share. But our stories and their particulars do not compare, nor should they be compared.

I'll say this much. All I got were my feelings hurt. Hope that ends the big online drama.

Polly

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:28 pm

Hi Polly,

I have been following your story like everyone else here...I am happy that you seem pleased with the outcome. There does, however, seem to be a big divide between saying that you were ready to "put your mouth over a barrel of a gun," or however you put it, to something like admitting that maybe the whole thing was your fault; that you were the one to "put out the fire with gasoline." This all may be well and good and you can move on now, but I do wonder if maybe you might be minimizing your experience. I think it is important to look at how we were harmed and I think the dialog is important. If it seems to come out as a "big online drama," who cares? The pattern I see with people who have been harmed though is to leave it at that; to say "I was being overly dramatic," or "I put out the fire with gasoline." What happened to that feeling of wanting to put a gun in your mouth? I think if you really felt like that, then you should really look at those feelings and move forward from that place. Those sound like strong feelings and I would encourage that someone who feels that way to get support. I guess I'm saying that I hope to support people here who need to communicate those feelings. The problem is, when someone comes out with something and then basically recants and minimizes their experience, it ends up minimizing all our stories. If you say the whole thing was just "you" in a sense, then that makes everyone else question themselves. Another thing is, there are so many subtle ways we can be harmed. It is not always clear or even provable. But I think our personal intuition or the feeling in our gut tells us so much and what we feel doesn't always translate into words and cannot be debated. I think every story here, including yours, is worth telling no matter what the proof is or what the outcome is.
Peace,
Diana
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:52 pm

I would like to say that I agree with Polly in having a right to either tell or not tell her story, or to tell whatever portion of it she wishes to. I am sure that she has her reasons for not wanting to say more now, and I personally respect her wishes. I have no desire to pressure her into saying more against her own judgment.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:47 am





Last edited by polly on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:50 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I accidentally posted a draft)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:35 am

Thanks, Laura, I was beginning to sweat.

Diana, did I say the whole thing was my fault? I don't think so. I didn't and don't want to get into any sort of quantitative stuff that I heard drifting out from Amalia's post. ("...many...have already shared stories presumably much more scary than what you went through.") I just removed myself from the competition.

You did hit the nail on the head on two counts. That "big online drama" concept made me want to bolt for the door, hence the "putting out the match with gasoline" reference. That doesn't mean I recant anything. What's to recant? What happened happened and it had precisely the effect on me I described. It's been no fun.

Ah, but the "is it just me?" question... That's the biggy. I have to think about that. I HAVE to. It doesn't diminish the anguish. Just as considering what the intent behind the injury was doesn't affect the injury itself. Did the monk mean to hurt me? Maybe not. Did they try not to? NO. Was it intentional? How should I know? I'm not as impressed by the "look at the intent" argument as I might be. But, I'm not going to take some rock-solid position in order to keep up the resolve of other forum members. That's not supportive. It has to be true to be supportive and I'm not going to pretend. I do not want to stay in some angry place to keep anger alive for others. Go ahead. Doubt yourself. It's good to doubt yourself sometimes. How do you find out what's true otherwise? Of course, I may be wrong...

Look, I question myself all the time. (I love Sugin's thread about trust, everything posted there is great.) My opinions change, my attitudes, my emotions, even some of my truths. Aren't we all like that? Or is it "just me?" That's why we need the three Refuges, isn't it? Why the Buddha said that life is suffering? Nothing lasts. But that has its sweet side. Pain doesn't last forever, anger doesn't last forever, this life won't last forever. Eventually the big Rumpelstiltzkin in the sky will spin us all to gold. The Eternal can take, and help us to take, any evil and turn it to good. I trust that we are wanted, loved, delighted in. Even when we are completely wrong and being completely awful we are of unspeakable value and absolutely necessary to the universe. That's what I trust. How did I get on trust?

Anyway, thanks for your input, Diana. Your dialog is always interesting and I respect your point of view.

Polly
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:43 pm

polly wrote:
. . . I do not want to stay in some angry place to keep anger alive for others. . . .

Wise words. I think it's hard to be on this forum and feel nudged toward taking a firm, identifiable position that others might want or expect you to maintain, whether for your sake or that of others. You don't owe that to anyone here. None of us do.

L.
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amalia



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:09 am

Quote :
My opinions change, my attitudes, my emotions, even some of my truths. Aren't we all like that?

@Polly
That is why it takes so much courage to tell a story and be willing to stand up publicly for it. And why it is so much safer not to tell it, or to talk around it, or to revise the talking around it..... or to let people that have great influence on us as authority figures "head of the entire organization" help us frame what happened to us.

You know the more you go on and on about this the less I understand about what you felt, what happened to you and why you are posting or even started posting in the first place. What is all this about the "right not to speak"?! You have been posting all kinds of things for weeks now! Others here on the forum have said much less and communicated much more, without any dramatics, internal contradictions and allcaps expressions. I am sorry if that seems like a quantitative comparison to you, but it is just how I take in what I read here.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:48 pm

polly wrote:
My opinions change, my attitudes, my emotions, even some of my truths. Aren't we all like that? Or is it "just me?"

It's not just you. I think of a line from a Don Henley song - "the more I know, the less I understand". Part of it is due to what people say on the forum. I know more now about the Shasta culture and its effects on people (including monks) than I did when I stopped going. It's like pieces of glass shifting into new shapes in a kaleidoscope when you turn it. "My story" isn't the same to me as it was six months ago or two years ago. Could that be why I'm stuck when trying to do an intro post.

Being on this forum may be a way for some of us to find out how we feel about "our stories" and what we want to do with them. If anything. It's kind of like poking around in the dark with a stick, waiting to see if I hit something. That's the closest I can come to describing why I'm here.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:26 pm

Dear Sarah,

Your analogies are wonderful and fit my experience with the forum exactly. For the reasons you describe I think it's doing a lot of good. It takes awhile to find your feet in participating, at least for me. Still looking!

And dear Lise, thanks for your support. Laura too. (I really was starting to sweat a bit.) As an administrator, Lise, you have set a really good tone of openness that allows for change. This is a changing experience, or it can be.

I forgot about Don Henley. I had to drag out an old tape after Sarah brought him up. Good memories!

Thanks,
Polly
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Sarah



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:40 pm

You forgot . . . about Don Henley . . . I have to go recover from this one. Polly! Seriously, Don Henley is like, the best there is. I have him as my ring tone. Hotel California, baby Smile
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IanPatton

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:33 pm

Just a small bit of personal back ground first. When I was young I spent time in prison. When I got out, eventually I went back to school and became a Respiratory Therapist and spent half of my career in emergency and the ICU's of a major metropolitan hospital.

I was a Lay Minister here in Edmonton for several years. One day we got a call from the prison here in Edmonton from a prisoner who wanted to learn how to meditate. Our monk asked if I would do it. I told him that I would but I would really like his support and could he come with me as walking into a jail was not something I ever wanted to do. That help was not forthcoming, it was my responsibility. The prisoner was Vietnamese. I did not go but talked to a monk at the local Vietnamese temple and asked if he could do it. I don't know what happened.

One day we got a call from the local hospital. A young Korean couple had asked if a monk was available. I was asked to go. When I got to the hospital I talked with the people in Pastoral Care, just to get some background on the situation. The mother did not speak English well and what had transpired was that she had overdosed her 1 year old child with Tylenol. The child had a fever and she had called a community health help-line and had misunderstood their instructions. The child was on life-support and would not survive. I called our monk, told him the situation and said, "I'm really going to need help here." The monk was doing "computer work" and help was not forthcoming. He did however tell me to phone another monk long-distance for advice. This I did having nowhere else to turn and the first question I was asked was, "where is Reverend X." I told Reverend Y that he was too busy doing computer work. The suggestion I got was to take a recording of the Scripture of Great Wisdom (we had received these little pre-recorded tapes in Chinese as a gift from the local Vietnamese temple). Now I've seen and have been directly involved in a lot of "stuff" over the years but I had never walked into agony like this. When I walked out I felt both betrayed and like I'd been handed my guts. I sat for quite a while thinking that I would more than anything like to drill Reverend X in the chops and then take his computer and shove it up a specific orifice sideways. I got over it, but something died in my heart and even though I was there for a few more years, I really wasn't there at all.

Perhaps that's enough for now.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:25 am

Ian, thank you for coming here. I haven't had a chance yet to welcome you to the forum -- I'm glad you found it, and it's good to have you.

Your presence must have been a comfort to that young couple, probably more than you know. That you cared enough to be with them is a huge offering regardless of how well-equipped you felt to deal with it. To me this is, very clearly, "doing the very best that you can do" in a situation. Anything you gave them was more than they had.

I can't comprehend how/why those monks responded to that situation in the way they did. (If one of them is reading this perhaps they'll let us know.) Reverend Y failed to do his/her duty no less than Rev. X. And it's unfortunate that there isn't a clear escalation process, to allow one to keep dialing right on up the chain of monastic command, getting Haryo Young out of bed if necessary, to suggest to Rev. X that he turn off the computer and attend to his job. Maybe someday the OBC will identify a way for sangha members to dial a hot-line and go straight to the top in an emergency, bypassing those at lower levels who aren't responsive.
Food for thought.

Thanks, Ian, for talking about this.

Lise



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IanPatton

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:59 am

Lise wrote:
Ian, thank you for coming here. I haven't had a chance yet to welcome you to the forum -- I'm glad you found it, and it's good to have you.

Your presence must have been a comfort to that young couple, probably more than you know. That you cared enough to be with them is a huge offering regardless of how well-equipped you felt to deal with it. To me this is, very clearly, "doing the very best that you can do" in a situation. Anything you gave them was more than they had.

I can't comprehend how/why those monks responded to that situation in the way they did. (If one of them is reading this perhaps they'll let us know.) Reverend Y failed to do his/her duty no less than Rev. X. And it's unfortunate that there isn't a clear escalation process, to allow one to keep dialing right on up the chain of monastic command, getting Haryo Young out of bed if necessary, to suggest to Rev. X that he turn off the computer and attend to his job. Maybe someday the OBC will identify a way for sangha members to dial a hot-line and go straight to the top in an emergency, bypassing those at lower levels who aren't responsive.
Food for thought.

Thanks, Ian, for talking about this.

Lise


Thank you very much Lise for your very kind and supportive comment, it is really appreciated. Reverend X is no longer a monk in the OBC. As to why I got that response, I've thought about it over the years and have my own opinions, but I'd rather not speculate. I don't know if there ever was any follow-up, if there was I was never told.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:15 pm

Ian,
Thanks for posting. I appreciate you being here, willing to write about your experience.
Kaizan
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:55 pm

Kaizan wrote:
Ian,
Thanks for posting. I appreciate you being here, willing to write about your experience.
Kaizan

Thank you Kaizan.
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Sarah



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:44 am

I see Lise's point about escalation but I wonder how many people would be comfortable doing that. Another idea, as a fall-back for meeting the emergency, is to reach out to other temples in the area. (And Ian, I'm not implying you should have done that, it's just a thought that occurred to me.) If there are a couple of Buddhist centers within reach, I think it's good odds one of them could help.

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