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 Faith Trust Institute Report - full version

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Isan
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PostSubject: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:16 pm

Admin note...

The report has been removed for the moment.  My apologies for any confusion this creates.

Isan




10 December note:  we will be re-posting the Report in its .pdf form today. If anyone has trouble viewing it (once you are logged in), please let me know. Thanks for your patience.


Lise

Also: the Report attachment doesn't appear in the leading post of pg. 2 of this thread; it can only be downloaded from this original post on pg. 1.

Clarification:  when I deleted the original .pdf and re-posted it, the system didn't preserve the count as far as the number of downloads. It had been downloaded 59 times at that point. The current count shows the number of downloads after the re-posting.


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Kat14



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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:18 pm

Thank you for posting this.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:19 pm

It would be interesting to know how much positive change has occurred since this report was issued.

I'm curious about this item particularly:

FTI Report wrote:

7. It is also apparent that senior monks in leadership have not been trained in the basic counseling
and teaching skills that would enhance their abilities to serve as spiritual leaders.  We recommend
exploring these areas of study, as a means of encouraging spiritual, emotional, and physical
maturity of the membership.

I wonder if senior monks have received any outside (non-OBC-generated) education in teaching and counseling, so as to be better prepared and qualified for these tasks?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:09 pm

Well done for publishing Isan,

My first comments are that I feel my comments in the past were accurate but  somewhat withheld as I did not have proof of what i was talking about
talking about Mudras on the other post I was writing about abuse  which is what was going on,and I was also querying white noise machines and here is Eko with full naked massage and being sexually aroused and ejaculating


“merging” and “flowing,” i.e. spiritual intimacy resulting in orgasm for Little

 middle of the night phone calls with a lay disciple ostensibly discussing spiritual
matters during which Little was having orgasms

 nude, total body massage

 mudras carried out by female disciples resulting in Little’s ejaculation
 arranging social time alone with individual female disciples  

The Abbey had trained people to be completely unaware, to lose their life skills and trust a sexual predator.
As you know I dared query the practice and was shunned and discredited,so were many of my fellow monks,
This as I have said is wrong way Zen well the order is not caled the Soto Sect and I am pleased it is not called the Soto sect,this is a perverted path by a teacher that has chnaged a religion to suit personal needs
I am so glad I left
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:59 pm

I think also that this chronic tiredness is due to the fact that they knew that something very wrong happened in their community and by not stopping it they had actually allowed it to happen, the nice perfect dream is shattered and chronic tiredness sets in
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:18 pm

I think so too, Michael. Since reading this Report I have been trying to understand how I would feel if I had lived there and gotten a sense of this odd stuff that was going on, and how I would cope with trying to stay in line the way they expect junior trainees to do, and not question anything, esp. the master. What a struggle - it seems like every normal part of you would want to revolt, speak up and say, this is ridiculous. Except they can't say that, and what else happens except that they turn the discord inward upon themselves and begin to get sick, and then sicker.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:10 pm

Is the report available to everyone at Shasta or a select few people?
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:13 pm

Mike said....

 "nude, total body massage"

 "mudras carried out by female disciples resulting in Little’s ejaculation"

Is that correct ?  Anybody know what year that actually started ?
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:17 pm

It's what the Faith Trust interviewers were told by some of the women they spoke with, apparently; these items are found on pg. 2. The report makes a reference to some of the behaviour beginning in '99, but it doesn't state specifically which activities -
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H Enida



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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:53 pm

Lise - And if the seniors in charge had taken action when it first became apparent that there were problems with the Abbot (in 1999), I and many others would never have been involved with Eko Little at all (I didn't come to the Abbey until 2002).  Allowing someone to work it out in their own training (as the report states) is one thing, but when a person in authority is the one working it out on his disciples, it should usurp this excuse.  It sounds to me in the report like they were all just protecting each other...

That was my experience with my monastic officer in the kitchen (and kyojushi) before I was a chaplain as well.  Even though there were serious sexual boundary issues breached towards me, the community was more interested in saving the monk's monastic career than doing the right thing in accordance with the law.  I was actually quite incredulous that none of the monks could see this, and would even suggest that I was the one who should give in.  It created a lot of fear and self-doubt in me that I am still recovering from. 

I haven't read the report for quite awhile.  Thank you for posting it Isan.  It reminded me that the system is broken in that the Rules are in place but the Head of the Order doesn't invoke or abide by them.  They are therefore useless.  The Report suggested that the organization reform to help alleviate the abuse of power in the future.  To my knowledge, that has not been done and there is strong opposition to changing the Rules at this point.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:56 pm

Thanks Lise,

Pretty out of touch stuff there.  Sooner or later, the whatsit always hits the fan.

Nude , total body massage.....by who, on whom ?

Mudras carried out by female disciples resulting in Eko`s ejaculation !   Very hard to
understand how the females came to take part in this.  It`s the stuff of weird films.

No wonder so many people left and/or were deeply disturbed.  Mentally and physically.
The covering up and inability to take remedial action at the time is totally deplorable.
Especially as some people brought this all up to the attention of the seniors.
What a sorry mess, and this kind of thing happens so often.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:09 pm

That was my experience with my monastic officer in the kitchen (and kyojushi) before I was a chaplain as well.  Even though there were serious sexual boundary issues breached towards me, the community was more interested in saving the monk's monastic career than doing the right thing in accordance with the law.  I was actually quite incredulous that none of the monks could see this, and would even suggest that I was the one who should give in.  It created a lot of fear and self-doubt in me that I am still recovering from.
Enida I think that police persuing abuse and sexual abuse cases is getting a little better over here now, however there has been a reluctance to investigate properly in the past and an amazing ammount of refusal to believe or any type of papering over the cracks,which does make victis feel guilty for what has happened to them,unfortunate  and sad but true
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:19 pm

Thank you for posting the report, Isan. The healing continues on for me and this is a big part of it.

Honestly, I held back even in my report to the FTI, out of the same fear I had from the beginning: "no one will believe me," "they will judge me," "there will be serious karmic consequences," etc… From day one, way back in 1999, when I had a question about certain behavior or a "problem" in the Sangha or with Eko's behavior, it was minimized, denied, avoided, and projected right back on me. I can't describe the helplessness I felt. I was powerless to change anything and even my very soul/karma was threatened.

I am grateful that everyone has spoken out here on the forum and in the report. I feel like I can finally take in a big breath and relax. It wasn't just me.

I like to remember Dr. Scaer's definition of trauma here: "Any negative life event that occurs in a position of relative helplessness." So much trauma surrounds this report. I hope everyone that has felt it is working through it okay.

Love to all of you that have ever felt that helplessness. I hope you can find your strength. Hail Achalanatha!
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:04 pm

No Diana it seems it wasn't just you. It is common for the victims of abuse to feel isolated it is part of the perpetrator's armory. But you are not alone. I think I can safely say we all wish you, and all the others involved, a speedy recovery and a rapid healing. And like you our 'love to all of you that have ever felt that helplessness'. You were brave to speak out and your strength will help others.Those who did not heed your warnings made themselves complicit, wittingly or unwittingly, which is sad for them too. It embroils them also in the confusion, hurt and despair that Eko's behavior has spread. For them too there is a difficult road to recovery, they will need to follow the hard path away from denial to an acceptance of their part in this sorry saga and hopefully to a deep sange.

But most of all our hearts go out to those wounded in this miserable business, even Eko.


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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:08 pm

Enida said:


I haven't read the report for quite awhile.  Thank you for posting it Isan.  It reminded me that the system is broken in that the Rules are in place but the Head of the Order doesn't invoke or abide by them.  They are therefore useless.  The Report suggested that the organization reform to help alleviate the abuse of power in the future.  To my knowledge, that has not been done and there is strong opposition to changing the Rules at this point.

Thank you for the support Enida (and also Kat14).  It should be noted that all the forum admins agreed that the report be posted.  And although I took the initiative at first I must admit to struggling with some ambivalence, not about the veracity of the report but about the descriptions of Eko's behavior.  I would have preferred to not post that unpleasant information, but I don't know that the seriousness of the situation can be fully appreciated without describing the behavior honestly.  I do not excuse what Eko did, but I do feel pity.  I hope that he will get help not only for his own benefit but so that he can shoulder the responsibility of making restitution to those he hurt. 

I would also note that the admins received the support of a number of people who were directly harmed as a result of the events described.  All those who were harmed deserve an honest account.

One reason the report is so valuable is because it puts a strong focus on how the seniors responded to the bad behavior - on the dysfunctional group dynamics.  I also find FTI remarkable not only because they were thorough and professional but because they actively tried to help the monks.  It is the Abbey's great loss that they chose to mostly reject the report's recommendations. 

The observation that many monks did not understand that behavior can violate sexual boundaries without being overtly sexual shows how limited their understanding of celibacy and sexuality was at the time.  Have they learned anything in that regard?

I believe you are correct Enida that the order continues to resist making the changes necessary to reduce the abuse of power.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:30 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:

Is the report available to everyone at Shasta or to a select few people?

Michael, I hope to be corrected if I've got this wrong, but I think someone said it was at the discretion of the seniors at each temple, as to whether juniors could see the full Report. I question how many Shasta Abbey seniors actually read the complete report, start to finish.  As soon as one of them said to another that the Report was an instrument of "spreading doubt", I can picture what might have followed from that.

I guess we could say the Report is available to everyone at Shasta now, if they happen to surf on OBC Connect when they're away from the monastery, like on a family visit or other temporary respite. All they need is a log-on, to be able to view and download the Report.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:12 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:33 pm

It is very important to get into the details and the specifics - and to openly talk about them, not run away from them.  The way is through.. and not through avoidance or quickly jumping away, or pretending to "letting it go"... or artificially forgive.  That's the reason I posted so many references to all these books and articles about other very similar situations - to see human nature in action - to see that we / you are not alone when going through these feelings of betrayal and abuse and confusion. This is actually a common dance - same circus, different clowns.   Especially, when we have come through these cultures of such rationalization and blindness. The demand to ignore, stay ignorant, suppress your intelligence, integrity is very painful.  We all know this first hand.  It takes some years to fully digest this kind of PTSD / trauma - after you leave - and for me, the healing process included getting into the specifics of Kennett's behavior and shadow - for me, it wasn't Eko of course.

Feel what you feel and when you hear the voices of these "masters" in your head, telling you that you are wrong to feel anger or sadness - that it's wrong to think what you are thinking - question those voices, challenge the truth of this "brain washing"... I don't luse the term "brainwashing" - most of the time - but it does apply - after years of mind/body/speech control.  These groups do practice a kind of mind control and it's crazy making. 

As has been noted also, the perpetrator is also the victim of his/her own mental confusion - decades of preaching celibacy and purity - while being a sexual predator... that's quite stressful.  Sasaki, Shimano and all the others - they share their pain and confusion through their behavior and hypocrisy and mental manipulations and rationalizations.  And then it all come tumbling down - their storybook zen collapses - and the fact that some of these "guru/masters" still can't acknowledge what happened - like [banned term] Baker - that hardness and blindness is a kind of suffering.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:48 pm

This FTI report is now available thanks to what I believe to be significant courage on the part of a number of former and current members of the OBC.


I think that this has come about as a result of a growing recognition that transparent honesty is always the right course.


My conviction is that we will all benefit, as practitioners of awareness.


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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:55 pm

Josh, as always, wonderful and important points.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:22 am

I read an introduction to the how to grow a lotus blossom and kennett writes about how one desciple has a real kensho and another desciple betrays her and leaves,I can not remember the exact words it was quite a curse,of good monk bad monk...I remember those days I remember feeling in my meditation that Mark had left and then speaking  to Mark about it all,I remember Jisho visiting me and saying unpleasant things to discredit Gensho,I remember writing ro Josh at Shasta and i assume the letter was intercepted as I had a reply from someone else,so my question is an odd question mainly to gensho mark and myself,and the question is are we surprised, my answer is No I am not surprised by the report that it has happened,and that the the seniors turned a blind eye in not wanting to admit there was a problem deep within...not surprised at all
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:37 am

Chisan Michael,

No, I don't think that any of us are surprised.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:41 am

It is important to hear the details about Eko's conduct, about RM Haryo's lack of action, and about the reasons given by the seniors for not taking action. The silence from 1999 until Eko's departure over a decade later later was the result of fear, the belief that the master is always right, that the master-disciple relationship can't be interfered with, and mostly lack of courage. We can only understand that by reading all the gruesome details.

Without the specific details in this report, we still might think "oh, whatever Eko did wasn't so bad" or "he was the abbot after all" or the other excuses the seniors in the Order and at Shasta gave themselves for not doing anything.This is especially true for those of us who liked and admired Eko. Reading the Report makes me see that I, too, was taken in by his charm and his charisma. I was one of those he invited for a private conservation in his house. With tea. I felt so honored. Well, now it looks like maybe not so much.  . .

The details given by many people on this forum as well as in the Report help us all to understand that our experiences -- our confusion, lack of trust in ourselves, belief that we were creating bad karma by doubting -- were shared by many others. That is a crucial part of the healing that goes on in this forum. No one is alone. We weren't crazy or wrong or evil.

Thank you, Isan, and all the admins for publishing the Report.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:53 am

Thank you Carol, for your insight here.

I think that you have expressed this so well.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:22 am

Well said Carol, there is always a tendency to excuse bad behavior from a group, whitewashing,no body understands,and I am sure it was someone else,s fault,as eko said to someone she had ruined his life. I agree the silence since 1999 is deplorable and caused hurt and pain. For me a grim picture is painted of spineless bullies
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:07 pm

H Enida wrote:

. . .

Allowing someone to work it out in their own training (as the report states) is one thing, but when a person in authority is the one working it out on his disciples, it should usurp this excuse.  It sounds to me in the report like they were all just protecting each other...

That was my experience with my monastic officer in the kitchen (and kyojushi) before I was a chaplain as well.  Even though there were serious sexual boundary issues breached towards me, the community was more interested in saving the monk's monastic career than doing the right thing in accordance with the law.  I was actually quite incredulous that none of the monks could see this, and would even suggest that I was the one who should give in.  It created a lot of fear and self-doubt in me that I am still recovering from.

. . .


Enida, after this breach of boundaries had happened, what kind of help or support was extended to you? I'm wondering if anyone there acknowledged the seriousness of the effects of this monk's behaviour, on you specifically. You weren't a bystander to the actions; you were the focus of them. Did they offer outside counseling if you wanted it, or time away from the Abbey, that sort of thing? It sounds like the offending monk and his fate were their primary concern, when it should have been you, one of the most junior members of the community at that time.

I understand this took place several years before Little's implosion, FTI, public scrutiny, etc.  Now, there are supposed to be safeguards in place, more oversight, reliable reporting mechanisms, etc.  If the same thing happened now, what are your thoughts on what is likely to happen?  If Haryo isn't supporting the rules noticeably better now than the community did then, I wonder what result they can expect?
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:33 pm

KUDOs to the admins for publishing the full report.   Thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:49 pm

Lise -

The kitchen had become a very difficult place to work – like walking on eggshells – prior to the disclosure of the many improper incidents; a lot of the anger was directed towards me and I just could not understand why.  I was called down to the Abbot’s house one morning and told that my monastic officer admitted sexually inappropriate things that were done towards me – that had apparently been going on since before I postulated and was a lay person in the guest house.  I was asked by the Abbot several times if I was a party to them, which I denied, and was sent back to the kitchen.  (This peeves me now – trying to find a way to blame the victim.)

A meeting was scheduled in the Buddha Hall later that morning for the monk to perform a ‘sange’ in front of the whole community.  I was absolutely mortified at the thought of having to sit with all these people and have someone elaborate on all the things Eko told me he had done towards me; it was especially traumatic due to the fact that I myself had suffered sexual abuse by a parent as a young child and it brought up a lot of past fears and stress.  I called Rev. Master Meian and told her I couldn’t do it, I just was too afraid and she told me to “forgive my fear” and told me Rev. Master Eko would let me sit right next to him.

The ‘sange’ was an elaborate ceremony in the Buddha Hall where the monk walked in front of all of the other monks and did three bows, sat on his knees as if a junior in “spiritual questioning” like we would do some mornings, and admitted all the things he did towards me.  I can’t describe what it felt like – but I still get numb recounting it here.  It was otherworldly in a way – completely dreadful.

Afterwards the monks had several meetings where new disclosures kept being added by the monk in question, and we discussed what to do about the situation, i.e. whether to keep him at the Abbey and not let him teach, let him go to another temple, etc.  As I recounted before here, I finally spoke up and said, “If he stays, I can’t” and the community voted to ask him to leave.  There were also several meetings about how to deal with the sorts of sexual misconduct disclosed in the future and a rule was established for the Abbey that if anyone was caught masterbating, they would have to leave the Abbey (a rule by the way that the rest of the Order was not consulted about).  That rule has since been rescinded.

I was offered counseling by a local psychologist, but he was a friend of the Abbot’s and I didn’t feel I could be free in my speech with him, so I declined.  No one discussed calling any police agency to report sexual abuse.  There was no offer of leave away from the Abbey, as I was a postulant and did not even have family leave until after I was ordained.  I did not tell anyone outside the Abbey of my experiences until sometime later, and never this publicly.  I still feel a sense of fear in disclosing these facts, as if I need to protect the perpetrators for some reason.  Very strange.

Rev. Master Meian apologized to me several times and said that she would listen to me in the future if I had a sense things were not right.  As it turned out, I brought my concerns to her about Eko many, many times and was not taken seriously again.  It was the same old cowboy, different boots...which is partly why I am on this forum today.  All the apologizing in the world will not do one lick of good if you don’t change the things that caused the problems in the first place.

I don’t believe anything of substance has changed with the Order Rules.  As the report states, there is but one board member, and that is the Head of the Order.  “Structure of the OBC with Head of the Order serving as only member of Board of Directors, i.e. no functioning board with oversight of finances and leadership. This structure with concentration of power in one person does not suggest transparency or accountability for the organization. There needs to be an established board with fiduciary responsibility and that includes representation from all levels, both lay and monastic.”  No accountability is built into the Rules if the sole board member disregards them.

The Faith Trust Institute also points out: “The organizational structure which has evolved since the founding of the OBC does not appear to serve the best interests of the monastic communities or the wider lay sangha. We recommend that the OBC reexamine the various roles of leadership and consider amending its structures to reflect more democratic and transparent principles. We also recommend consultation with other Zen Buddhist groups in the U.S. who have struggled with these issues and found new ways to sustain spiritual integrity in the tradition.”  As I have said before, I believe it would be in the Order’s best interest to update their Rules to embody this goal.  If individual temples disagree, then so be it – they could succeed or fail on their own merits.

As things stand now, the structure of the Order and the various temples and monasteries have not changed.  The same people are in charge, the Rules of the Order are substantially the same and the Abbey has not even updated their rules since the last century.  There is an ‘ethics committee’ for the Abbey comprised of monks and loyal lay followers (with no unbiased parties), and there is no ethics committee at all for the Order.  The recommendations by Faith Trust were apparently considered and disregarded.  IMHO, there is nothing saying the same things we experienced could not happen again for the very same reasons (even if they look like a new pair of boots).


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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:38 pm

Well done Enida , very brave to be so open.
I think abuse and child abuse is far more common than we tend to think,simply because most of us do not see it. I have seen a little of it,and even now i have a young girl stay, only when my girlfriend stays, who was abused by her Dad,it must have been something for her to simply get to know me.
I ended a relationship a while ago and I had three children. What followed was a huge chunk of difficult life, the boys mum met a heroin addict who beat her up, I managed to get custody of the childen,the guy was found dead soon after with a syringe in his arm, and I gradually allowed the kids more contact with their mum until one lived there. Mum then met someone else who beat her up and my son spent 2 hours cleaning the blood up.he had serious problems ,I was in and out of the family cemtre,talking with the councellors who would get him to draw pictures and try and get him to talk about it. The headmaster, was quite prepared to admit defeat but he did say to me, work out what you want to do regarding schooling and we will pay for it. Eventually we sent him to a school that was out of the system, run by the local council,and the young guys and girls felt at home with similar kids. There were no rules a punishment by this amaxing headmistress in a tweed suit, was to not let them nip out for a cigarette,if they did not act like an adult..they were all under 16. The genuine love given by some of the teachers won the day for many kids. They still had issues and still do. this was maybe 6 or 7 years ago, and you know it was only this week my son talked to me about it,I have never demanded he tell me. He is doing well but with issues, he has learnt to channel things,he is into contact sports, and a keen boxer, tomorrow he has his first big match,at the end of each bout they all shake hands,there is a woman in the club the guys spar with her she hits them if she can and the guys are not allowed to hit her back,it is a good discipline, a good way to help calm a few troubles.
The point of me joining in is to say help that works is hard to find, understanding of personal abuse is really not so easy, and giving advice that that suits and does not come from a handbook very rare. This expertese I do not think would be found in a temple, but it would be found in people who have been there and maybe with time come through the winding path to maybe the other side.
The real gift that works is love  genuine love for other people,I believe it is an aspect of human life that made me for sure look towards a spiritual life. With genuine care  and direction of our practice we may find this buried deep under a rock or two within our own depths,but specifically in a monastry, and certainly temples like we have been discussing I dont think so,I dont think your situation was dealt with with any sympathy,but  experienced wisdom comes from a wider spectrum than just zen practice
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:58 pm

Thank you, Enida, for telling your story.
And thank you, Michael, for telling the difficult story of your children and their lives.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:15 pm

It does take time for sanity to return, to take back your adulthood and your power and your voice - that's my experience.  After you've spent years constantly repressing and denying and staying silent - getting your footing back can be disorienting, there is residue of fear and guilt and all the rest.  That's why it's so important to speak out, not hold back, be angry if you feel angry.  Their rules no longer apply - they don't control you or your feelings or thoughts any more.  It was important for me to just be simple and human and ordinary and to try and stop being any kind of disciple or saint and to drop Zen entirely.... and when I did that, what was essential, what I found valuable that had nothing to do with Kennett - it was just right there - not some great dramatic thing - but a much more quiet strength.  For over a decade I stayed well away from formal Buddhism - later i started up with Tibetan teachers and practice - but as an adult, on my own terms, never again as a mindless follower...

What I found valuable - and what i saw was valuable for so many leave-takers was sharing and talking it out - sometimes over and over again - this really helps - as a kind of therapy - like you are untying these knots - like you are draining the power out of the pain - and then the pain or fear or guilt begins to evaporate into the clear sky. 

So much nonsense for no good purpose.  So much fantasy and wishful thinking and self-fooling.  So great to free of all of this.  What a strange kindergarten...... with all the kids dressed up in monk robes, playing the roles of "masters" - halloween
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:17 pm

Enida - heartfelt thanks. It clarifies for me how SA progressed after I left. In the Catholic Church's sange, confession, at least in theory neither the confessor nor the person confessing know who the other is. The point being that sange is in the heart. What you describe sounds more like ritual humiliation both for the sinner and the sinned against. A ritual that seems to be more designed to shut people up than than the truly heartfelt contrition which is the center of true sange.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:57 pm

i agree.  it sounds creepy, extreme, so awkward, formal and inconsiderate.  It sounds like they had no idea what to do, so out of touch.  Yikes.  This is when a group really needs long-term professional intervention. It's not something you can quickly resolve - get over it as fast as possible.  It's time to seriously reassess everything - a big open honest process that is open ended.... but most cultic organizations in this situation are not interested in getting to the bottom, of coming fully clean.  Too uncomfortable.  And specifically regarding Shasta, if they really started questioning and examining - they would soon face the big Kennett shadow - and no one there wants to do that.....
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:40 pm

I have a caligraphy, translated as:

No title, No rank

It has a few meanings,but really it means:

Dont look outside of your self for the true way
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:16 pm

The confessions of sinners (in person and in print) have been popular for millennia.  In addition to being "creepy," "awkward," "inconsiderate," and "humiliating," such public confessions are also "voyeuristic" and "exciting" for the audience.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:55 am

If I had to watch such a ceremony as the Abbey's sange, I'd be wondering when my turn would come, to be that person kneeling on the floor with all eyes on them.

Requiring Enida to be present for that display was barbaric. I wonder what Meian was thinking of.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:08 am

living in this closed distortion field for so long, rational thinking is difficult - almost impossible - that's why such groups need to bring in outside professionals - and then let them do their job - but this only works if the leader and the organization are truly open to self-reflection, honest communication, in-depth exploration, and change.. and some people would rather die than change
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:10 am

Enida said:


The ‘sange’ was an elaborate ceremony in the Buddha Hall where the monk walked in front of all of the other monks and did three bows, sat on his knees as if a junior in “spiritual questioning” like we would do some mornings, and admitted all the things he did towards me.  I can’t describe what it felt like – but I still get numb recounting it here.  It was otherworldly in a way – completely dreadful.


I'm sorry that you were made to participate in this ritual, which sounds like something out of a lurid novel about the middle ages.  Jiyu Kennett did chastise the community in the zendo on rare occasions, but only she talked and we listened - no one was ever made to publicly humiliate themselves as you describe.  Even so it was a little weird and perhaps set the precedent for what came later.  Ironically I don't believe this has anything to do with ‘sange’.  A person can only do ‘sange’ when they arrive at an understanding of what is wrong about their behavior and experience a wholehearted desire to make amends.  That can only come from within and cannot be forced by other people.  The ritual you describe is a caricature of ‘sange’ and going through it doesn't guarantee that anyone understands anything.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:16 am

Zen Mind   Institutional Mind
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:27 pm

Zen Institution  ...mind! mind!
No zen, no institution... no mind!


Last edited by mstrathern on Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:29 pm

Oh, Enida, you have my heartfelt sympathy that you were treated so poorly by so many.

mokuan
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:32 pm

Enida: I had no idea your problem with the kitchen monk was sexual harassment. The whole situation including the sange session is perfectly appalling.

Shasta Abbey was supposed to be this great Western breakthrough that had male and female monastics training together equally. That was part of the attraction of the place. I was leary of getting involved with a Zen or Tibetan organization because of all the scandals, but decided to put my trust in Shasta Abbey because it seemed right on my initial visit in early 1999. Little did I know that the beginning of Shasta's own scandal was well underway, with Eko already collecting a harem of female favorites.

My Shasta experience was positive with no inkling of the dark underbelly. I invested some time for a few reatreats and money, but that is nothing compared to what the novices training under Eko have had to come to terms with, not to mention more senior monks that left because of what was going on.  The Faith Trust brought out just how ugly matters got when no one made an effort to clean up the mess.

I am most grateful for Jcbaran's extensive bibliography of the scandals that have plagued Buddhist organizations. It has helped make sense of how abuses are perpetuated in spite of members knowing that things aren't right.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:06 am

I think that Shasta mirrored a Dickensian class system,a lot of what has been written  of people with an inch of seniority over others abusing whatever they can out of it, do this like this not like that.It also reminds me of school bullying,the best place to be is not in the firing line,which means kids learn to be grey people unnoticed or funny people or just tougher than the rest.
For me there are 2 issues,
1 There  being a need for guidance,and this need helps satisfy a need of teachers  to be wanted, and to have acknowledgment of their superior wisdom.
2 The ridiculous notion of noself.What this notion allows is the perfect manipulating tool, so teacher can abuse mentally, physically, sexually and all the varients,whilst the lesser being dismisses criticism as a sign of self, and so gradually learns to be agreeably submissive,and in some ways start to think their inner voice is not important , we are told that the teacher's demands and voice is the one to listen to as it is closer to the ultimate voice which is a higher universal voice from a cosmic  or greater being.
For me this is religious schizophrenia.


I believe that our spirituality is found when one cuts though religion itself,and lets go of the trapping and so called spiritual needs of self of other, the starting place for me is learning to see the special and significance in the normal everyday,  and not special people in special locations
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:29 am

I think what Kennett wanted, was to set up  a religion that fitted her personal opinions of what a religion should be. I think this is very understandable as every organised  religion or or religious organisation will have flaws and will certainly rub us up the wrong way. This is certainly true of Japanese Soto Zen as it is difficult both physically and mentally,and of course spiritually.This does not mean spirituality can not be found within the lifestyle or practice,but it does mean there are many ways to improve  the basic structure.. Changing structures simply to fit easier with oneself may or may not work, depending on many things including purity of motive,which I certainly lack, as I am not an enlightened being.

It sort of reminds me of the story of Gutei's finger, teaching a spiritual method or passing on a Zen tradition without the essence which is nothing to do with props and institution, Zen brings freedom  not a clever system.
What this report reminds me of,  is a system being carried on by fervent followers,who are guarding,  protecting, living and also being suffocated and tricked by Gutei's finger. Eko's disturbing behavior can not be removed from the paper trail spreading from Kennett herself and the institution of Shasta Abbey she created in an attempt to form a religious organisation,rather than realize the formless the uncreated is always here, and religions as much as anything else can divide us from who we really are
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:57 pm

H Enida wrote:

" . . .

Afterwards the monks had several meetings where new disclosures kept being added by the monk in question, and we discussed what to do about the situation, i.e. whether to keep him at the Abbey and not let him teach, let him go to another temple, etc.  As I recounted before here, I finally spoke up and said, “If he stays, I can’t” and the community voted to ask him to leave.  There were also several meetings about how to deal with the sorts of sexual misconduct disclosed in the future and a rule was established for the Abbey that if anyone was caught masterbating, they would have to leave the Abbey (a rule by the way that the rest of the Order was not consulted about).  That rule has since been rescinded.

I was offered counseling by a local psychologist, but he was a friend of the Abbot’s and I didn’t feel I could be free in my speech with him, so I declined.  No one discussed calling any police agency to report sexual abuse.  There was no offer of leave away from the Abbey, as I was a postulant and did not even have family leave until after I was ordained.  I did not tell anyone outside the Abbey of my experiences until sometime later, and never this publicly.  I still feel a sense of fear in disclosing these facts, as if I need to protect the perpetrators for some reason.  Very strange.

. . . 


I don’t believe anything of substance has changed with the Order Rules.  As the report states, there is but one board member, and that is the Head of the Order.  “Structure of the OBC with Head of the Order serving as only member of Board of Directors, i.e. no functioning board with oversight of finances and leadership. This structure with concentration of power in one person does not suggest transparency or accountability for the organization. There needs to be an established board with fiduciary responsibility and that includes representation from all levels, both lay and monastic.”  No accountability is built into the Rules if the sole board member disregards them.

The Faith Trust Institute also points out: “The organizational structure which has evolved since the founding of the OBC does not appear to serve the best interests of the monastic communities or the wider lay sangha. We recommend that the OBC reexamine the various roles of leadership and consider amending its structures to reflect more democratic and transparent principles. We also recommend consultation with other Zen Buddhist groups in the U.S. who have struggled with these issues and found new ways to sustain spiritual integrity in the tradition.”  As I have said before, I believe it would be in the Order’s best interest to update their Rules to embody this goal.  If individual temples disagree, then so be it – they could succeed or fail on their own merits.

As things stand now, the structure of the Order and the various temples and monasteries have not changed.  The same people are in charge, the Rules of the Order are substantially the same and the Abbey has not even updated their rules since the last century.  There is an ‘ethics committee’ for the Abbey comprised of monks and loyal lay followers (with no unbiased parties), and there is no ethics committee at all for the Order.  The recommendations by Faith Trust were apparently considered and disregarded.  IMHO, there is nothing saying the same things we experienced could not happen again for the very same reasons (even if they look like a new pair of boots).

An offline discussion prompts me to raise this question.  One thing I would like to know, if anyone can address this -  do Shasta Abbey monks better understand, since the FTI review, when they have a duty to contact police in regard to a monk's behaviour or statements? It sounds like Enida knew (with her legal background) that the kitchen monk's behaviour had implications for a criminal charge, but no one asked her if she wanted to consider legal options. Not a surprise. In addition to not wanting publicity, I'm wondering if the Shasta senior monks were/are just ignorant of what constitutes a crime?

Also - re: the monk who admitted inappropriate behaviour toward Enida, my understanding is that he also admitted to having sexual thoughts/feelings toward a lay sangha member's minor children who were quite young at that time. What took place after this? Did anyone talk with the mother to find out if the kids had spent time alone with the monk, were there any behavioural changes on the kids' part that gave her concern? I have always wondered if anyone at the Abbey contacted this mother and what they told her.  I also wonder if the Faith Trust reviewers were told about this -

Edited to add:  my question has to do with the facts of this situation rather than the monk's identity; if people have a need to inquire about identity I think it's best to contact SA.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:31 am

Again rather disturbing I can not really comment on the situation regarding Enida as I do not know the full story. However I do know of an incident in Japan when a western monk misbehaved in a temple and the temple without hesitation called the police who put him in the local nick.
I assume that the monk at Shasta had some seniority,or at least over Enida, which if so is a case of misjudgment..but that at any moment Enida should always been allowed a voice or scream.Victims of abuse are so often forced into silence which is wrong,if Enida felt she could not shout then just for this Shasta has not got their act together.

There are wider questions  Can Zen practice help everyone? I believe that zazen can, however is everyone suitable for a temple environment?than I do not think so.
How does Zen establishments deal with sexual issues?well clearly not very well. There are degrees,Do paedophiles or people with sexual abuse convictions possess the Buddha nature, and can their issues be resolved? I do not know the answer,A friend who I sit with was high up in psychiatric nursing,he told me that paeophiliac behaviour is thought normal behaviour by paedophiles.
I do not know the answers,or enough of any story to say at what point police should be called..Maezumi Roshi with sex with a minor the police should have been called by anyone, Shimano with his touching I think that is up to the person being touched..With Eko well if someone felt abused or interfered with then yes.
Personally What Zen needs in this century is simple meditation being taught and practiced in normal life situations by normal people,dropping secrecy and strange 'mystical' behaviour
that would be  great place to start '
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:25 pm

A Zen Woman’s Personal Perspective on Sexual Groping, Sexual Harassment, and Other Abuses in Zen Centers
Posted by: Myoan Grace Schireson November 21, 2012 143 Comments
Eshu Martin has published painful allegations about Mt Baldy Zen Center and Joshu Sasaki’s abuse of women students. Rumors about Reverend Sasaki have circulated for decades, but until now, no member of that community has spoken up publicly. What is missing for many observers are the first-hand accounts of women. For a woman to speak up as the object of unwholesome sexual attention is a no-win situation. I was “groped” by a Zen teacher twenty years ago, I still have only told one close friend. I feel ashamed. And I know from experience what can happen when I have come forward.
As a 17 year-old college student, I narrowly escaped a rapist and I got away to call the police. When the police came to interview me, I described my assailant perfectly, recounted all parts of my thought process, impressions and the activity that had occurred with exact details. The comments made by the middle aged adult police officers, recording the attempted rape account from a strong and calm young woman were: “You’re not a woman, what is the matter with you, why aren’t you crying? He was lucky to get away from you.” I was further shamed and blamed and vilified. Even then I knew what they were doing was wrong, but I could find no means to say so. I just had to bear it.
For women to come forward and to report what happened, we need to make deep changes to a global primitive view of women: their need to be both desirable and at the same to be pure. Almost all the women I know, personally and as a psychologist, have experienced one form or another of sexual harassment—ranging from intrusive remarks, being ogled, offers to trade sex for job promotion, brief pats, grabbing, being pinned down, all the way up to violent rape. Women are blamed for men’s desire, even in Buddhism (see Diana Paul on Buddha’s description of “ensnaring women”). We hear expressions like “She was dressed to kill.” Women’s beauty is described as aggression towards men. And in short, we learn to live with it—in healthy and unhealthy ways.
I appreciate Eshu’s efforts and understand from some of the comments posted in response to his piece that many have had enough of this kind of news. Some protest that we have had enough reporting of this issue, and want it to stop messing with our ideas about Zen. When will it stop? Enni Ben’en (1202-1280) the original founder of Tofukuji, my teacher Fukushima Roshi’s temple said: “The Rock of Ages will some day wear away, but when will this suffering end?” Apparently, not any time soon; and while mountains may wear away through natural forces, suffering is only transformed through willing attention. Can we continue to look at this issue, to tolerate our discomfort, and to educate ourselves, our Zen sanghas and even our teachers? Rather than bemoan the outcome, can we lessen our predisposition to be fooled by teachers who act out in this way? Can we prevent rather than protest?
We need to study and understand how people become more susceptible to sexual and other misbehavior in Zen centers when they are supposed to be waking up to reality. There is a variety of reasons. In regard to some of the issues raised in response to Eshu’s piece: Yes, we let our defenses down to allow deep change, yes, we develop trust in our teacher, and yes, we are in a different world. Years ago, during a practice period in Japan with eleven other women, I learned just how confusing “foreign context” could be. Standing in the garden of a Zen temple with four other women, a Japanese lay visitor to the temple put both of his hands on my friend’s breasts, and squeezed them while muttering some non-recognizable Japanese. We were all momentarily stunned into silence and inaction while he smiled, squeezed and muttered away. Since I was the only one who spoke any Japanese, one woman in the group asked me: “What does it mean?” The question woke me up. I said: “It means the same thing in any language,” as I slapped his arms off of her chest and forcibly pushed him away. Not only was there a culture barrier, but we had been instructed to be friendly to lay people since we were considered “nuns of the temple.” Was I allowed to do that or had I created an international Zen incident?
How much more confusing would it be to be groped as part of koan practice? A woman would wonder, what does it mean in a private interview with a Zen teacher? Does the groping test my ability to transcend our usual limitations? Does it mean no-self? Is it a koan? I would call this atrocious behavior disguised as Zen practice by another name. In an attempt to respect our sensibilities, I will suggest that this is the same name with which we usually refer to the defecation from a bull’s digestive tract which is used to fertilize plants.
Frankly, as some political candidates recently suggested in their distorted views on rape, women have plenty of opportunity to respond to being sexually molested. This can be neither “Special Karma”(as described in Merry White Benezra’s novel about practice with a sexually exploitative Zen teacher) nor a koan, not at a Zen center, and not anywhere else. When sexual misconduct occurs, it is actually a crime, not a Zen koan. And it is a cause of suffering that Zen teachers should not inflict on anyone. We have long addressed the potential psychopathology and character flaws of teachers who perpetrate such harm. And we have made statements to address this harm. I will continue to do so. The real work is creating an environment in which women can speak of the incident, and face their suffering with support and wisdom.
I also have some ideas about how women may play enabling roles when it comes to this kind of behavior with Zen teachers, and about the education women may need regarding aspects of their participation in sex and cover-ups within the Zen sangha. Our American practice is the first time men and women have practiced Zen under the same roof. The Zen training brought to America from Japan was designed to address men’s tendencies and not women’s delusions. Women are practicing a style of Zen that was generally designed to address men’s power issues. The Japanese teachers who brought Zen to the West had been trained by other men in all male monasteries. None of them had trained a group of nuns or had to deal with so much and so continuous a stream of sexualized transference from women students. They were unprepared to deal with this issue, nor did they specifically train their successors to deal with it. In many cases, these Japanese and Korean Zen masters and some of their successors seemed to revert to one of the classic privileges of male power—plenty of sex with plenty of women who happened to be their students. And women suffered the sexual intrusions silently.
How can we prevent this kind of thing from happening in Zen centers? In blunt terms, they can’t do this without us–perpetrators can’t behave this way without permission, cooperation, and silence from women and sangha members in general! If sanghas say NO, it can be prevented. It’s rarely a secret. Someone knows. For women in particular, we need to offer a supportive and kind community, AND we need to offer formal Zen training that addresses a potentially gender specific delusion to be pleasing or even seductive, to want to be desired. Some women seek power through being desired by a powerful man. I address the issue of women’s sexual agenda in my book Zen Women. Scott Edelstein addresses the root causes in Sex and the Spiritual Teacher. Peter Rutter describes the psychological dynamics in Sex in the Forbidden Zone. Let’s study up and get wise.
Everyone who comes to Zen practice is suffering with some delusion; this is to be expected. Some women may bring a particular delusion with them to Zen centers — that ingratiation and seduction are the only way they will ever matter or have power. Of course they bring their suffering into practice, but a Zen teacher needs to see the behavior as suffering and resist gratifying himself sexually even if she throws her naked body in his direction. This female quest for power through seducing a powerful man is a widely held cultural delusion, in my opinion, and one that we as teachers and sangha members need to notice, acknowledge, and address. Some women mistake this sexualized attention for “love”, and may value this imagined love more than they value the truth (or reality) and their own well-being. This response and the underlying needs it serves can be seen as a form of addiction. Women’s participation in sex with a teacher as “love” may be in part a cultural learning, and may also be associated with biologically determined factors pertaining to women’s heightened emotional relatedness, family learning, earlier sexualized trauma or other factors. This delusion needs to be investigated within Zen practice and addressed.
Another problematic role is that of a sangha’s female enablers; they may either participate in sex with the teacher themselves or may place the bulk of the blame on the women who do. These sangha women may have their own motivations, perhaps wishing to maintain an idealized and dependent relationship with the teacher, or to be his “favorite”. They may fall into believing the familiar stereotype of the evil seductress who brought down the great man. The woman identified as the seductress is banished and the Zen teacher is excused. We have recently seen some of the press coverage of the female vamp who led the poor Four Star General Petraeus astray leaning in this direction. Really? She tied him down and made him do it? Is it any wonder that women will almost never come forward? A woman who has had sex with a teacher is seen as a “fallen” woman and the cause of the problem.
But for me, immediately at the heart of addressing this ongoing harm, is the question of how sanghas begin to learn to set standards for teachers to “do no harm.” Sometimes this is a difficult call, but in the situation of groping, sexual molestation, sexual affairs with students, spreading venereal disease, and even generating children in this way, we are not in a gray area regarding harm. We need to do far more to educate sanghas about their role in creating a healthy process and a healthy environment for Zen practice. Fifteen years ago one of my students voiced his reason for leaving Sasaki and Mt Baldy where he had lived for an extended period. He said “It is one thing for a teacher to make these mistakes; it is a bigger problem for me that the sangha does nothing. I cannot abide with that.” And this is the dynamic that perpetuates the problem; those who can’t stand it leave (in silence or without public protest), and those who accept this behavior, stay and support the teacher. As others have said, we need to speak out even when there is some risk. I applaud Eshu Martin for doing so at this time and note the extent to which the internet is making it easier for people to speak out and harder for perpetrators to hide.
While teachers who behave this way may technically offer Zen, it is not a wholesome practice and the cumulative effects are unacceptable and incompatible with Zen awakening. As a community, I believe we need to say so, and we need to offer specific education to sanghas and sangha members to prevent and address this unwholesome accompaniment to Zen teaching. We can do more to educate and prevent this harm that has become all too common at Zen centers. I am looking forward to a statement from Rinzaiji that promises to address the harm and begin the healing, but our focus should be on all Zen practice places and our own responsibility to see deeply into our own behavior and delusions.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:54 pm

Good for you Peggy I agree there should bee zero tolerance of any form of abuse anywhere in any situation.What you have highlighted for me is the reflection of society within religious communities,but real wisdom and real love and tenderness,is not only missing but way behind these attributes followed and lived by many people with no religious inclination or training
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Peggy



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Join date : 2011-04-13

PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:38 pm

When I  enlisted in the US Navy in 1970 the words sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual predator; the concept  of rape as a grab for power  did not exist.  At my very first duty station in Norfolk, Va, I was sexually harassed on my very first day by my supervisor who was a chief.  He sat very close to me, and ostensibly and disgustingly started rubbing against my leg.  I said nothing, pushed my chair away from his and went about my business of learning my job.  What to say, anyway, and where to go, anyhow since I   was  only one of three women stationed there, and didn't have the words to describe what he was doing to me.  Abuse of power has existed everywhere ,and at all times.  Only  now as a society  are we coming to terms with naming abuse of power for what it is, and grappling with what should be done about it. Even at my very old 62 years, I ask what have I learned over these years  since that day in Norfolk when I was just 18 years old.  I recently attended a baptism of my great nieces who are twins, and found myself wanting to have the attention of the priest;  I found myself "pleasing" him by being the only one  in the congregation (the good girl) who would respond to the prayers he was saying.  And, much to my embarrassment in 1999, I, too, it seems now, was swayed by Eko's charisma at Shasta Abbey during an introductory retreat.  However, my intuition was working, and I high-tailed it out of there after spending one night .  Anyway, I didn't like being locked in--that great chain fence and  the locked gate didn't set well with me.
In my job as social worker at the Veteran's administration, not a day goes by that a  woman or a man isn't referred to me who has been sexually used and exploited while they served in the Armed Forces.  The women, unfortunately, generally  run away from counseling after telling their story; and the men, well, they are not sure what to do.  This is a very delicate situation, because all of these people have had an integral part of themselves destroyed while serving in an institution they loved. Someone in power took away from them that which is intrinsically part of   they are.  We are taught and socialized into trusting authority; yet when we speak up against blatant abuses and abusers, we are shunned and silenced, and, ultimately, dismissed. The silencing is so powerful, that even when we do tell our stories, we censor ourselves after the telling.
I remember when the priest sexual abuse scandal broke in the Catholic Church; I couldn't believe this kind of behavior was possible in a church I had grown up in and loved.  When a bishop I knew personally was accused, I became quite  literally sick.  He was someone I respected.  I decided to go to the web page of the diocese where I had practiced and force myself to read the accounts of abuse within that diocese.  I became physically ill again when I read a letter from a nun who had been a friend of mine bringing to the attention of the authority the sexual predilections of a priest she worked with.  She was described as "disgruntled" and removed from her position; and that priest was protected by the Bishop.
I have been fascinated   and fixated in reading OBC connect; reading the wisdom in these discussions as people reveal their pain, sorrow, frustration and disgust at being both victimized,  and keeping silence when observing someone else being abused; being shunned and ignored when speaking out; and carrying a burden of compassion as they walked away from the situation helpless, but finding their voice on this forum.
 The list of abuse of power is long, and is growing, but it is only by facing truth with compassion and love that this will change.  Education is the key, in churches, monasteries, schools, in the work place and being aware one on one how we communicate with each other; Most importantly is being able to speak truth to power, and holding  our heads up high in spite of the shaming and the silencing by those in power who need to abuse other people. 
 
Another little tidbit about me:  i was studying to be a nun.  Actually, tried it three times and was thrown out each time.  I remember wanting to be a nun because I would show them that you could be cheerful and joyful while being a nun, and not look so dour and sour as the pictures I saw of nuns ; and  those who taught me in grade school and high school.  Anyway, I was in  the second year of my novitiate, and was looking forward to my first vows.  The novice director was a sour and dour person who frequently delighted in abusing her power.  I had a powerful dream:  I was in  jail.  The door was open and unlocked, and I just sat there.
Lesson learned:  pay attention to your intuition and leave and don't look back.  It took me a long long time to find my voice after that experience, and to leave my sorrow behind.  I moved forward,  with a bit more compassion that seems to grow each day I hear the sorrow in someone else's life.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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Join date : 2010-11-17

PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:20 pm

Thanks for your story i have not lived a life looking through womans eyes so i can hear and understand what you say,but not experience it. I think the dance through life is natural attractions and relationships which form and deepen,close relationships especially sexual are by nature so intimate, that people can merge together. Families are formed and really a family is a unit, a oneness of sort that perhaps is not fully realised because it is lived,until it is broken or split by death or circumstance. I was driving own a very small lane today ( that means you hardly see anyone) I saw a lady kneeling beside a dog at the side of the road. I stopped and waked back to her to see if the dog was OK and advise where the nearest vet would be, she told me that she thought the dog had had a seizure,and her husband had returned home to get their car,the lady was very distressed and asked if I thought the dog was going to die, I gently stroked  the dogs side and his head, he was slowly dieing I told the lady to be with the dog I would stay and be with him while he died i guess it was 10 minutes and the dog died it was a nice way to die, out walking with his owner who loved him and being stroked all the time,I stayed with the lady till her husband returned and then quietly left. For me life is sacred, sometimes I see it and sometimes my lifes upside down and I don't, zen for me is seeing it and also trying to do ones best when it is upside down,  sadly what we are talking about is people not doing their best when they cannot see it and are upside down,and we do have a responsibility to shout,thanks Peggy for joining in the discussion  on abuse in religious communities with your story
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