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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

First topic message reminder :

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.


http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t840-faith-trust-institute-report-full-version


Last edited by Lise on Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:23 pm; edited 8 times in total (Reason for editing : adding .pdf version / explaining the discrepancy in download count)
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chisanmichaelhughes



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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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Peggy



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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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chisanmichaelhughes



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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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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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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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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:20 pm

Mike I'm not sure I agree when you say: '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.' In both these cases the person was in a position where he had a professional duty of care. Under those circumstances when credible evidence or allegations come to light there should be immediate action. Whether it should involve the police has to be assessed on a case by case basis. But in my view if the law has been broken then the presumption must be to involve the legal authorities, only if there are very good reasons should this not happen. Partly because the very people who think they should decide on this are normally the last people who should, they are member of the accused's congregation. The temptation is all to strong to give the perpetrator not the victim the benefit of the doubt, and to sweep the whole sorry mess under the carpet because it might damage Zen. Zen is never damaged by the truth. It is damaged by priests who abuse their position and their followers. It is even more damaged if this is followed by cover ups, sweeping under the carpet, evasions, half-truths, denials and all the other sorry sagas we have heard of. If the time comes when Zen cannot withstand the truth it will be time for Zen to go, the truth, and then only the minimum necessary, should only ever be withheld to protect the victim The perpetrator and to a lesser degree the their organisation have forfeited the right to protection.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:35 pm

i agree with you Mark completely, I was thinking that if a third party reported it to the police how far would they get as it would be hearsay,and without the abused person saying something the police may not proceed. With Eko it is more subtle did he touch anyone when he ejaculated? Am I right he ejaculated when being massaged or when on the phone,if he ejaculated when being massaged, what part of him was being massaged when he ejaculated would the police get a conviction. Shout out and say it is wrong do something but I would not know if a conviction would follow,I do not know the laws in USA so someone could advise. I agree no cover ups and sweeping under the carpet,I am speaking purely from being unsure if the police would pick it up
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:59 am

Much of this kind of sex conduct we see in cultic / guru-based groups is not officially criminal, unless it is forcible rape or pedophilia. 

In too many cases, you can't make a case for rape.... there is certainly psychological manipulation and pressure, but the teachers and disciples are officially "consenting adults" even though we all know this kind of "consent" is murky at best.  But criminal law does not recognize "mind control" or "brainwashing." 

Civil law is another matter... some people have sued spiritual leaders and their organizations for sexual harassment... it is also a grey area because disciples are not usually employees (some actually are employees, get paid, etc), but just bringing the law suit and the publicity that comes with it often creates immediate change ... and many gurus/masters will quickly settle rather than face depositions, more bad publicity,  and a courtroom situation.  I posted the recent cases of Bikram and those lawsuits.  But too many victims of these guys do not take any action... they have complex emotions and want to get as far away from these scenes as possible.. and some are afraid of being attacked, vilified, and even counter-sued - even though that almost never happens.  Mostly the course of action is speaking out, bad press, taking these cases to the internet, telling your story, and so on. 

The situation is much different in the workplace, because there is a huge amount of laws that protect employees from sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.  In an office, even an inappropriate touch or statement can trigger legal actions.  But followers of religious leaders have little protection.  They should have more protections, but in the U.S., because of the strong concept of freedom of religion, the courts usually stay out of religious affairs, except when it becomes egregious and jumps into the general legal arena - when laws are broken, etc.  Freedom of religion is not absolute, but it does have huge power.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:09 am

Hi Josh (and all),

I can assure you in my case it was not consensual.  And the senior monk's actions would have been criminal in California.  I was not his first victim at the monastery but his last and most egregious.  If convicted, he would have had to register as a sex offender, which would have afforded some protection in the future.  It would have been prudent for the Abbey and Order to require this so that a future victim could not come back legally on the institution that protected the perpetrator.  Particularly if there are children involved as someone suggested above, considering that this monk was educated to be an elementary school teacher.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:51 pm

Enida how horrible for you.

Did no one report his behaviour before you?

I think the police should have been called.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:16 pm

Thinking about Peggy's comments and Enida's points up again the dangers of being involved with institutions who don't protect their members against abusive behaviour, particularly sexual.  And of course, how could anyone know this until they do get involved and something bad is done? Possibly there is more recourse and accountability now in the Navy than in 1970 when Peggy was first subjected to harassment, but much of what I've read suggests the military's primary intent is still window-dressing, lip service and damage control for the institution. The safety and welfare of victims run a distant second.

With Shasta Abbey it's even harder to draw conclusions about their awareness in '05 or earlier, or in 2013 turning 2014, of their legal/ethical responsibilities, first of all, to protect members against abuse, and second, respond appropriately when they learn of it, even if the response requires notifying police. They don't publish an ethics code, they don't answer to any other branch of their organisation, and are not audited or reviewed by anyone who could do a reasonable health check of the community, to confirm that their understand their responsibilities.

I wish someone, something had been in place to help Peggy, and I wish someone had properly understood and responded to Enida's experience.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:11 pm

I found this link at the SweepingZen.org website re: state laws and clergy abuse:
http://www.adultsabusedbyclergy.org/statelaws.html
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:31 pm

An abused person does not have to wait for an organization to take action or do the right thing.  He/she can pick up the phone and call police and/or get an attorney to push the police and the local district attorney to investigate and file criminal charges.  And if the local authorities decide they won't prosecute (for whatever reason), the person can then take civil action, file a lawsuit, go to the media, speak out,share all the details, find others who have been abused to join in going public - and make it clear that this isn't going away, that there is a huge price to be paid for complicity, denial, and institutional blindness.  Consequences.  

Many years back, a woman came to see me who had been the sexually used by her guru.  I helped find her an aggressive attorney and she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in California and I made sure that it was well publicized.  The guru flipped out and fled the country for a few years.  He did not understand how the U.S. legal system worked and feared he would be arrested at any minute - which wasn't going to happen. This was a civil, not a criminal case. Some months later, he settled the lawsuit for hundreds of thousands of dollars to prevent the case from coming to court.  Rumor has it that he is back having sex with lots of his female students - and another rumor that new lawsuits might be filed in Europe against him.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:44 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
An abused person does not have to wait for an organization to take action or do the right thing.  He/she can pick up the phone and call police and/or get an attorney to push the police and the local district attorney to investigate and file criminal charges.  And if the local authorities decide they won't prosecute (for whatever reason), the person can then take civil action, file a lawsuit, go to the media, speak out,share all the details, find others who have been abused to join in going public - and make it clear that this isn't going away, that there is a huge price to be paid for complicity, denial, and institutional blindness.  Consequences.  

. . .

It's true that an individual can take action on his or her own behalf, definitely. And it's likely someone would have to be out of the organisation already or on the brink of doing so, wouldn't they, otherwise they'd find themselves in an intolerable living situation. I can't imagine the Shasta Abbey culture accepting a monk's filing of a police report on another, and bringing an investigation and bad publicity down on all their heads. And it sounds like once you're really inside that group and have cut ties to the world, options for a quick or easy exit are limited. With no job, car, housing, etc., I guess one would have to have family at the ready, to take the person in on short notice and provide support until they could get on their feet. It would be hugely daunting.

Maybe it's similar when you're inside the military -  you've got a career you want to preserve and are also hooked into their support systems. If you make too much noise you become persona non grata and a target of retaliation for as long as you're there. And if they toss you out, how do you explain this to family and friends who think you must have "failed"?  I know that I still have a lot of ego tied up in trying to ensure that my life choices and decisions look good to the rest of the world, and successful, therefore I can well understand why anyone might not choose to go public and pursue justice. Very hard choice, it really must be.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:11 pm

absolutely, true - difficult situation at best.  If you speak out, let alone take serious action, you have to be out the door or make a very quick escape - and have some kind of safety net.  You are right, many people have no safety net... they have cut their ties over the years, have no livelihood or savings, may have few friends or relatives at the ready.  I planned my escape from Shasta for well over a year - and i had good family ties, some financial support, etc.  And my leaving could be timed - it wasn't precipitated by a single traumatic event or abuse.  Also, over the years, you have submitted and surrendered, so you do not feel that you are powerful and can stand up to all these "seniors" and "masters" above you... you have bought into the fiction that to speak out against them is a terrible sin, breaking precepts, killing the Buddha, even when you see clearly that they are far from perfect, even when you feel that remaining silent is just plain wrong, still.. those voices inside your head - that you have internalized - undermine your integrity....which is why you need to get out of there - so you can reorient yourself, cleanse your mind of all these narratives.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:15 am

I think your phrase
you have bought into the fiction
is apt Josh,I am trying to remember how I felt all those years ago,I think I was a little surprised and disappointed, but never doubted my actions to leave.But your phrase rings true we invest a large part of our life with an organisation,and to do so there has to be conviction that it is the right decision.
I think also the practice is ego related.. our egos are the problem let go of them... if someone says or does something that irks one's ego then let the ego go,regardless of whether any one else does,I recall Daishin Morgan writing on this forum something like Kennett could spot an ego from 100 yards or something like that. I feel this is a negative focus depending upon what accompanies the comment.
So the practice seems based on listening to someone something other than ones heart. Ones voice  is not regarded as important maybe this means our own integrity is undermined.

I am though still surprised by alot of the sexual revelations re Shasta maybe because I bought into the story that Kennett was hard done by and she was the one that had a pure teaching
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:37 am

Enida said, “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.”

Carol said:  “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.”

I said, “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 have found it very difficult over the years to speak up when I or someone else has been the target of abusive behavior, bullying behavior or sexual harassment.  I don’t want to be bullied in return; I don’t want to be dismissed from a job I have worked hard to acquire and hold onto; I want to be listened to and respected when I speak about bullying, harassment.  However, the reality is, institutions and individuals go into relatiatory mode (very subconsciously and rapidly), and make life miserable for the individual speaking out. A Woman who brings her rapist to justice through the legal system continue to be the target of : “You asked for it, why did you wear what you were wearing.”  Women in the military are accused of “wanting it, you joined the boy’s club, if you can’t hack it get out.”

Questions I have had to ask myself over the years have been: “what is so important that I want to be special, to be part of the inner sanctum, that I have put up with sexual harassment and bullying”?  What is going on with the socialization of boys and girls at a very young age that the girls have to put it out there and the boys have to take it.  I have seen this in third graders: the girls are dressing like vamps, like “jail bait”, their mother’s/caretakers/allow them to go to school dressed like this; and the boys approach the girls in a sexualized way.  This behavior is very hidden, and the teachers don’t see this.  These kids know that something is not right, but keep it secret from the adults.  These are 8 year old children!

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.”
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:38 pm

In my experience young girls and boys that mix at school have girlfriends and boyfriends all in a very innocent way. It always seems that the girls are the leaders in the role playing as most of the young boys are more interested in kicking a football around. From what I have seen the teachers are well aware of the scenarios as the children grow up,I think being a secondary school teacher ( from 11 years) is highly skilled and pretty thankless job as the teachers live through the mood swings of young people.

I hope the kids I have seen grow up do so with many aspects number 1  I think is a good deal of street wisdom,where they can spot dangers and recognises anyone who tries to abuse them and hopefully have the guts shout out when any nastyness starts to appear.

Well it is New years Eve here I am going up the hill to a near by  village pub an old place for smugglers,there is a rock band playing. Along with my girlfriend we are being accompanied by a 13 year old girl with red hair,16 year old grungy gothic girl with purple green and black hair, 16 year old boy who does crazy dancing,and a seventeen year old boy who wishes he was 18(legal age to drink),2 19 year old gay girls and half the village.

Yep I think I have brought them up well,...Happy New Year
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:39 pm

Happy New Year Mike....and to One and All !
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:37 pm

Peggy wrote:
A Woman who brings her rapist to justice through the legal system continue to be the target of : “You asked for it, why did you wear what you were wearing.”  Women in the military are accused of “wanting it, you joined the boy’s club, if you can’t hack it get out.”[/color][/font]

Let's not forget that both sexes can be victims of sexual assault and both sexes can be the perpetrators. Also, we must remember that, however disgusted we are by the crime, we must always require conclusive evidence before having an opinion about someone's guilt. Especially since there are many many many (many many) instances of false accusation such as the one linked below:

how to ruin someone's life


edit: just editing to add that, after reading this thread, I'm pretty (very) convinced that shady things were happening at Shasta. And I'm a darn hard person to convince of anything.



Oh, and happy New Year humans...
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Tue Dec 31, 2013 10:05 pm

For those interested, there is a very well-done documentary about the sexual abuse in the U.S. military - it was nominated for an Oscar and made by an old friend of mine:

http://invisiblewarmovie.com/
http://youtu.be/3fBaFQk6aE0
http://youtu.be/5kGGvzRPpNI

In the US, you can watch it via iTunes and Amazon video.  I think you can also see it in some other countries, but I didn't see the UK on the list yet. 

The film generated many articles, hearings in the U.S. Congress, and became an effective political action tool.

January 23, 2013, 12:00 pm
A Documentarian Focused on Trauma in Its Many Forms
By LARRY ROHTER


Today, members of the House Armed Services Committee are scheduled to meet in full session for a hearing on sexual assault in the military. That they are doing so is in large part a tribute to one of the five movies nominated this month for the Academy Award for best feature-length documentary, Kirby [banned term]’s “Invisible War.”

In “The Invisible War,” Mr. [banned term] interviews former members of the military, mostly women but also some men, who were raped by fellow service members while on duty. That trauma is accompanied by another, which Mr. [banned term] also documents in harrowing detail: the unwillingness of field commanders, the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs to acknowledge the victims’ claims, offer them treatment and prosecute the offenders.

The Oscar nomination for “The Invisible War,” which is available on DVD and in May will be broadcast on PBS as part of the “Independent Lens” series, is the second for Mr. [banned term], a 60-year-old Arizona native who has been making documentaries since the 1980s. In 2005, his “Twist of Faith,” which focused on sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, also was nominated. Last week he sat down for an interview to discuss the similarities between the two films and his hopes for this one. Edited excerpts are below:

Q.

Did “Invisible War” in any way flow out of “Twist of Faith”?

A.

In some ways, yes. I’ve made a number of films that deal with trauma in one way or another, because that’s a subject that interests me, particularly if there is some sort of social or political component to the story. Certainly there are a lot of similarities between the the two films, because in “Twist of Faith” you had victims whose stories were really being covered up by this very, very powerful institution, in this case for many centuries. So it’s similar to the U.S. military, which has effectively kept this story from widespread public view for generations.

Q.

How did you find your subjects and convince them to talk on camera?

A.

It was a real challenge, because many of these men and women, they are very traumatized, they oftentimes feel very ashamed and even blame themselves. It’s not something they are inclined to talk about, because those who did talk about it, who came forward and reported it, many of them experienced very severe reprisals. So we had to build up a very safe space for them.

Q.

Do you consider what you do to be art, journalism or some combination of the two?

A.

When you’re dealing with something like this, I think on one level it is journalism. I’m a filmmaker, I see myself as an artist, I came out of the art world and many of my friends are artists, but if you’re in this territory, journalism is in the mix. It’s inevitable.

Q.

Are their tensions between the two? If so, how do you resolve them?

A.

One of the things about this film is that it was actually made in some ways for two disparate audiences. One is a film audience. But it was also made for a very narrow group of people, a few hundred policymakers in Washington, D.C. So I had to structure the film, or approach the film, in such a way that it would operate successfully in both arenas.

It’s very typical, I think, for documentary filmmakers when they critique the military to take a strongly anti-military position. Now certainly this film is an extremely strong critique of the military’s handling of this issue. But people do not walk away from it thinking it is anti-military. We saw that over and over when active duty or veterans would see the film. Officers and enlisted personnel would come up to us and say, “We’re really glad you made the film, we’re really moved by it, we don’t want this to be any part of our military, we hope this helps to change things.”

Q.

One New York Times film critic, A.O. Scott, has called you a “muckraker.” Are you comfortable wearing that hat?

A.

(Laughs) Well, I think muckraking is a very fine, time-honored American tradition. Particularly at this time when there’s such an effort to keep information away from the public, yes, I embrace it.

Q.

I’m interested in some of the aesthetic choices you made. For example, you avoid re-enactments and pretty much stick to straightforward talking-head interviews. Can you explain your reasoning?

A.

I have never done re-enactments per se, but I’m a filmmaker who will use any technique possible. I’ll give cameras to people, I will sometimes set up situations that will induce people to get into discussions about things, so it’s not an actual verite moment, although in many ways it’s really close to it.

I was actually very concerned, because there is no way you are going to get footage inside the military with this. To begin with, people in the military need the approval of their commander to talk to the press, and they would consider us press. But also there is no chance of somebody being assaulted in the military and you heard about it that you could actually get on a base and cover that. That’s not possible. So I was concerned that because we had to do these interviews, I would have to rely on them a lot more than I normally do. But once I started putting it together and having these small screenings, I was very aware that they were so powerful.

Q.

It’s interesting you say that, because this subject was treated in 1999 in a feature film, “The General’s Daughter,” that had John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe and James Woods. Documentaries are often thought of as a ghetto, yet your film has had a much greater public impact than the one with all the big Hollywood names.

A.

Right, and theirs was an interesting film and I applaud them for treating this subject, but it was done in a very melodramatic way. And again, it’s focusing on an individual instance. So I think the audience walks away thinking, “Yes, of course, rape happens everywhere, it’s not just in the military.” But what’s really different about this film of mine is that you realize it’s a systemic problem and you hear the victims. This isn’t about four or five or six perpetrators. This is about four or five or six thousand perpetrators, maybe more, and the fact they are not being dealt with.

Q.

Let me conclude by asking you about the Oscar process itself. What’s your take on the changes in the selection and voting procedures that the Academy has put in place this year?

A.

It was a very significant change, but I think it was a good change. I think it’s good that more people in the branch are seeing documentary films to make the decision to get to the shortlist, and it’s good that more people in the Academy are seeing films to decide the winning film.

In terms of getting the word out, before, people had to see all five films in very specific screenings, or have had to see them at festivals or in theatrical release. So it ended up being targeted to a much narrower group, of four or five or six hundred. Now it’s a much larger group, maybe ten times that.


June 3, 2013 - Opinion Piece - NYTimes
Don’t Trust the Pentagon to End Rape
By KIRBY D ICK


LOS ANGELES — THE Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing today on sexual assault in the military. This comes after months of revelations of rapes and other violent attacks at military bases and academies. At the hearing, the chiefs of staff of the military branches will likely admit that there is a serious problem and insist that the solution involves changing military culture. But the challenge goes far deeper.

The military has a problem with embedded, serial sexual predators. According to a 2011 report from the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault and Prevention Office, 90 percent of military rapes are committed by men with previous histories of assault. These predators select and befriend lower-ranking victims; often they ply their victims with alcohol or drugs and assault them when they are unconscious.

In my film “The Invisible War,” a retired brigadier general, Loree K. Sutton, describes the military as a “target-rich environment” for serial predators. The training and leadership efforts the Pentagon proposes won’t change this environment. It simply isn’t possible to “train” or “lead” serial predators not to rape.

There is a way to stop these predators: we should prosecute and incarcerate them. But here the military fails entirely.

Though the Defense Department estimates that there were 26,000 sexual assaults in the military last year, fewer than 1 percent resulted in a court-martial conviction. Why? There is a deep institutional bias in the military’s justice system; senior officers can — and often do — intervene to prevent cases from being investigated and prosecuted.

Victims of sexual assault know this well, which is why fewer than 15 percent of sexual assaults in the military are ever reported. I spoke with hundreds of men and women who were sexually assaulted in the military while I was making “The Invisible War”; every one of them was advised by their peers not to report. Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, acknowledged that victims didn’t come forward because “they don’t trust the command.” Victims know they are unlikely to receive impartial justice and that reporting their attackers to the chain of command may well hurt their careers.

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and colleagues have recently introduced legislation that would empower military prosecutors and judges to decide whether to investigate and prosecute felony crimes. This would remove the decision-making process from the military chain of command and remove the disincentive to report crimes. The Pentagon is resisting this reform, just as it resisted reforms after the Tailhook episode in 1991, over sexual assaults at a gathering in Las Vegas; sexual assaults on female Army recruits at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in 1996; and a 2003 investigation of rapes and attempted rapes at the Air Force Academy, near Colorado Springs.

After each of these scandals, the military claimed it knew best how to handle the problem and proceeded to institute insignificant reforms that did little to reduce assaults among the troops. Now the generals are circling the wagons again, insisting that the legislation’s reasonable reforms would affect commanders’ ability to maintain “good order and discipline.” But, as Ms. Gillibrand noted, a military that suffered 26,000 sexual assaults within its ranks in the last year is already failing to maintain “good order and discipline.”

Sexual assault crimes are among the most difficult to prosecute, which makes it doubly absurd to have anyone other than professional prosecutors decide whether to pursue these crimes. We wouldn’t tolerate a senior commander’s operating a helicopter unless he or she was fully trained to do so. Similarly, we should not allow commanders, who are not trained as prosecutors, to make final determinations as to whether the military should adjudicate sexual assault crimes.

Our military readiness will be compromised unless the military quickly begins to bring sex predators in its ranks to justice. Recruiting top personnel is likely to be more difficult so long as the armed forces are known as an unsafe, lawless institution. Over the last year I’ve been contacted by dozens of mothers and fathers, many of whom have proudly served, who informed me, with great regret, that they could not encourage their child to enlist. If this country finds itself in a new conflict a decade from now, the difference between having the best recruits could mean the difference between winning and losing a war.

This dysfunctional system of military prosecutions affects all of us. With so few predators being convicted, a vast majority are discharged honorably, into an unsuspecting civilian population that unknowingly affords them the opportunity to continue their predation in a new “target-rich environment.”

The military cannot — and will not — fix this problem on its own. Despite the military’s repeated assurances over several decades that it has “zero tolerance” for sexual assault and will hold commanders accountable, more than 500,000 uniformed men and women have been assaulted since 1991. Senator Gillibrand’s bill gives Congress a real opportunity to fix a broken military justice system and begin incarcerating serial predators. Let’s not wait another generation and allow these predators to destroy the lives of another half a million of our sons and daughters.

Kirby D ick, a filmmaker, directed “The Invisible War,” “Twist of Faith” and other documentaries.


Last edited by Kozan on Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:22 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Restoring Kirby's last name)
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:31 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
For those interested, there is a very well-done documentary about the sexual abuse in the U.S. military - it was nominated for an Oscar and made by an old friend of mine:

Kirby [banned term], a filmmaker, directed “The Invisible War,” “Twist of Faith” and other documentaries.
.
Admin note: the forum software is incorrectly interpreting the the filmmaker's last name as a banned term!  For more info about the films including the author's last name click one of the posted links.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:36 pm

kinda goofy.  this is a common name.  i wonder if you can adjust the settings so the forum does not reject so broadly.  Especially in this day and age, seems highly restricted in any case.  G-rated for some reason.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:51 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
kinda goofy.  this is a common name.  i wonder if you can adjust the settings so the forum does not reject so broadly.  Especially in this day and age, seems highly restricted in any case.  G-rated for some reason.
.
Yes, we'll see what we can do :-)
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:13 pm

and also from the same filmmaker, the trailer for his earlier HBO film, also nominated for an Oscar, about sexual abuse and institutional cover-up in the Catholic Church:

https://vimeo.com/9433297
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:12 pm

Kirby [banned term], a filmmaker, directed “The Invisible War,” “Twist of Faith” and other documentaries.

The director's name, uncensored, is Kirby D ick


I just restored his last name, in two locations, in the post above.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:31 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
kinda goofy.  this is a common name.  i wonder if you can adjust the settings so the forum does not reject so broadly.  Especially in this day and age, seems highly restricted in any case.  G-rated for some reason.
 

Yes, reckon it is G-rated, and we will do some editing on the banned terms list. When the forum was created, my uncle Watson (he was an admin, now inactive) and I were in agreement that the internet was chock-full of websites allowing language that was just gross, gratuitously obscene, offensive, etc.   I myself had been turned off of a couple of forums for that very reason, and I wanted to create a space that was free of that.  It didn't have much to do with Buddhist right speech and whatever, I just don't like dirty words and coarse expression. But now, several years on, I think we have set the tone for a community culture here and it may work just fine loosen up a little. So we'll work on doing that  yes
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:22 am

Hello Everyone
I haven't contributed much lately.
I spent a few hours yesterday looking at the FTI Assessment Report.It was a helpful thing to do.
After taking such a promising step in commissioning the assessment,what a pity the OBC
didn't follow up with putting the Report into the public domain.
It wasn't shocking,was it?
This guy Little appears to have been a pretty average sex offender,aided and abetted by a blind and deaf community-nothing new there.His offences would be regarded as comparatively minor here in the UK.However,I would be flag up his propensity to get worse,rather than better,because that is usually the way of it.And what is in law regarded as fairly low key,in the life of a survivor can be devastating.
Judith Lewis says(to paraphrase)
"All the perpetrator asks is that we do nothing.The victim requires that we see and hear and act."
It is in doing nothing that we fail victims of these pervasive covert crimes.We fail to include them with all of humanity-we wish them to not exist.
This was the "crime" of the seniors in the OBC.It is the "crime" of most societies.
There needs to be a willed effort to change the culture of denial and collusion in regard to sex offences.This is a boulder -pushing exercise,not a little zen tea party.

And the FTI Assessment was unsurprising.
What did surprise me was the extracts I read from Scott Edelstein's book,"Sex and the Spiritual Teacher".
I don't want to do him an injustice but the little I read indicates he doesn't want to categorise the crimes of spiritual teachers with the crimes of other people.If this is so,I disagree.
A sex offender needs a base, a human hub from which to cull victims.
A "spiritual" centre is an ideal base,ripe with potential targets.I would class anybody who commits offences against persons as a criminal,whoever they think they are otherwise.Edelstein appears to want us to have our cake and eat it too.My view is,a paed.,or a rapist, or a small time exploiter is just that,wherever he gets his targets,however advanced he thinks he is.
Ultimately,all beings need their place in the world,they need acceptance.With a serious criminal,their place first of all is in the messy unsatisfactory world of criminal justice.This is not the best place in which to resolve the issues.But it is the right place in which to deal with crimes.It is the place shared by the society.
Retreats, ashrams, temples, catholic boarding schools ,ordinary boarding schools ,marriages are great hideaway holes for these degenerates.And the right place for them is out here where we can see them-and they can see themselves ,with all the huge failings and inaccuracies of our societies-all the barbarities. 

Thank you Lise etc.for getting the FTI Report out to a larger group.It is creditable and brave of the OBC to have commissioned it,and reflects well on the movers and shakers in their midst.
But where,apart from on this excellent site,is the discussion,the change the movement?
They keep coming ,as far as I can see,fantasising about this special place where it's all robes and bells and everything is unreal.......no questions except,"can I join in the fairytale?"
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:05 am

Some good points, I read this morning in our local paper of a local official who has been charged with sexually touching a 7 year old girl and a 1 year old girl. What sprung to my mind was these perverts are brilliant at hiding in our midst look at the people that have been charged from the entertainment sector recently.
I agree in terms of degree Mike Little is not a heavy offender,however in some ways the line between big and small sex offenders is imaginary,his position in a small society and perhaps a larger society was high people would tend to trust him more than other people and perhaps feel they could be more open to him than others. In this regard his crime is great, in that he supposedly represented the Buddhas teaching,he  has let many many people down,His reflection casts a shadow of 40 odd years of trial and tribulation.
In other ways it maybe shows that the dharma was a sham in the first place,and holding anything dear in a world of impermanence,although it is how we tend to live, but will always bring disappointment and sadness when it does not last.
Spiritual teaching, umm, maybe at some point we have to be brave and put it down.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:48 pm

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments on this forum.  Thanks especially to Enida and Peggy for your personal recollections.  Thank you Jitsudo for the Wisdom Elephant.  I had a long and twisted history with SA and with Eko in particular. I don't often visit this site, so I can measure out the pain and frustration these issues evoke in me.  Perhaps an early expose to boundary violation inoculated me against Eko's so called "charisma."  When he invited me to use him as my spiritual director, I was creeped out and declined as politely as I could.
Kyogen and I have been wondering how this report going public would be received on the forum.  I hope it is not just confirming our previous convictions (as I confess, the FTI report did for me) but helping to bring things into the light.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:01 pm

I don't think it was brave that the OBC commissioned this report.  It's the minimal and common process nowadays when a religious group suffers a sexual scandal.  The organization's lawyers tell the group they have to get out in front of it, for both legal and PR reasons.  They can't conduct a serious inquiry just using their own folks - they need outside counsel / guidance and there are a number of organizations like FTI that are commissioned to do these studies.  But the scope of their inquiry is very limited, deliberately, and their recommendations are just that.  They have no force and the organizations routinely did just what Shasta did - they publish part of the findings, make a list of various new procedures they will follow to make sure sexual abuse does not happen again and grievances are heard quickly, etc.  

So there was nothing special here. It is sincere - but very minimally so.  The core issues at Shasta have very little to do with sexual misconduct and everything to do with living old unconscious patterns transmitted by Kennett, but that go back centuries.  For the OBC to deal with root issues, they would have to take a very hard and deep look at Kennett's legacy and their shadows and that would mean throwing everything up in the air and becoming uncompromisingly honest and vulnerable and open to feelings and change.  They have no skills to do that, no map, no will.  Easier to keep going in the same direction with only the slightest course correction - easier to keep believing in storybook Zen, keep doing the same dance.  Change like that would be very hard, much harder than the idealized Zen discipline actually. 

One of the narratives, of course, is that Zen is not for the weak, but only for the toughest, the most dedicated, those that can handle the intense discipline and demands, etc.  Only for the chosen few, as Kennett said.  But i would say that facing your shadows is much harder than that old Zen narrative.  It's harder only because of the resistance and insistence on staying in the fantasy and enchantment and the deep fear of being vulnerable and wrong.

I just ran across this blog post that I think makes some good points.  Jeff Foster in one of those independent advaita teachers of meditation:

Jeff Foster (www.lifewithoutacentre.com)

THE TRAUMA OF HEALING


All healing involves trauma, the re-opening of old wounds. Healing does not always look or feel good, pretty or kind.

One of the most dangerous myths we have inherited is that healing is supposed to 'feel good'. No. Sometimes our pain actually increases as the darkness emerges into the light. But the pain actually indicates that the healing process is intensifying, not stalling.

There is such a tendency in our culture to avoid suffering, distract ourselves from it, label it as 'wrong' or 'negative', meditate or medicate it away, prevent the experience of it (and of course there is great intelligence in this too!). Much of our Western medicine is geared towards the removal of symptoms, the calming of disruption, the numbing of chaos and the journey towards some socially acceptable idea of 'normality'.

But sometimes, friends, we no longer have any interest in 'returning to normal'! The 'normal' was the problem, not the solution! The status quo needed to shift. It was unstable and false.

Sometimes our fragile 'normality' needs to break open into chaos, the pain needs to be felt more fully, the heart needs to break open more intensely. This is not to destroy us, but to destroy inauthentic modes of being.

Suffering is not a punishment from a judgemental god, nor a mistake in a broken universe, nor evidence of our failure and unenlightened ignorance, but a profoundly alive spiritual teaching. Witness Jesus on the cross. The device of his torture became his ultimate invitation to healing - the rediscovery of his own unbreakable Presence prior to his human incarnation, prior to time itself. The crucifixion was the invitation to the rediscovery of God itself.

We are all on that cross with Jesus! The cross does not discriminate!

Consider the possibility that within your suffering you are being invited to let go, to 'put away childish things', to wake up from the dream of normality and embrace life in all its brokenness and wonder. To fall in love with where you are. To be here, now.

Let the winds blow, let the tempests rage, let all that is false be purified, let all that is dead remain dead, let life explode where you are. You are only being invited to a deeper healing, even though it feels like pain, even though the heart is tender and raw, even though you cannot yet feel your tomorrows.

God is here.
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:13 pm

maisie field wrote:
. . .

Thank you Lise etc.for getting the FTI Report out to a larger group.It is creditable and brave of the OBC to have commissioned it,and reflects well on the movers and shakers in their midst.

But where,apart from on this excellent site,is the discussion,the change the movement?
They keep coming ,as far as I can see,fantasising about this special place where it's all robes and bells and everything is unreal.......no questions except,"can I join in the fairytale?"

hi Maisie, credit for the report's availability must be given to the source from whom we received it, a person I regard as quite strong-minded and clear-thinking, based on our contact thus far.

I hope we see more as time goes on, in terms of positive change. Meian Elbert's latest dharma talk is titled "Changing Ourselves", and in listening to it, I wondered if part of her talk was a response to what has been posted here of late. Maybe not, but even so it was encouraging, to the extent it indicates a sincere commitment to listen, be more open to needing to change, and then taking real action to cause that to happen.

Gyokuko, it's nice to see you here again. Best to you and Kyogen -
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:29 am

Hi Josh,
I haven't seen any other commissioned assessments of temples ashrams or retreat centres, commissioned, I mean ,by the organisations themselves. I don't keep such an eye on Buddhism as you do, so probably missed a lot.
The devil is in the detail I believe.
The detail for me is in the encounters I have daily with people who come to groups and retreats with twinkly stars in their eyes, looking for a fix, a spiritual fix, making up stories about men in frocks and bald women. The incense the funny clothes and the remote location seem to do the trick. And then I hear intelligent ,capable ,people who have great skills and brains, lots of life experience, telling me how wonderful and different these places are.
It is very odd, because in one of the texts used in OBC it says "to live by Zen is to live an ordinary daily life".

The revelation that offenders and abusers of all kinds cluster in these places,(alongside the loving lovable people and all kinds in between, just the same as other places),doesn't make any difference. I have seen very little interest in the FTI Report. In my local meditation group, a very intelligent guy said he took no interest, it was just something that happened in America.
When I tell people about the unfortunate encounters I have had(alongside the great and loving meetings,mixed up and ordinary and real life),again no response.
I would like to see the monastics meet with social services, mental health service providers, the police, criminal justice agencies ,rape counsellors,(all of these professions are represented in the local sangha here).Stop fxxxxxxg around, jump in to the messy world we live in),get their hands dirty, be good priests.
I am friendly with an ecumenical group ,who do real community work. When one of the priest talks about suffering and such, I recognise that we live in the same culture , and we can have a dialogue.
It takes humility. The ability to acknowledge that there aren't quick fixes or formulas.
Actually, I have stopped thinking the OBC will do anything except try to preserve itself, the prime task of any organisation.
Like the Jeff Foster poem. I wonder what he is like-could be a wxxxxr.......
A lot of writers sound great, but act weird.....

Wishing the critical aware conversation was live, with the people I sit with .......

People get scared don't they?

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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:28 pm

thank you, Peggy, for your comments. Every woman who can bear to be honest with herself has had some kind of similar experience - if not overt sexual advances, then the subtle put-downs that tell us we are not one of "the boys" and we should keep our mouths shut and not interfere with the important work the men are doing.

In the mid-1970s, I taught in a Catholic girls' school. There were only two young-ish nuns teaching at that time. Both grieved because the Church would not let them become priests and perform the holy sacraments like communion. At least one of those women left the religious life and probably the other did also. It's a tragic loss of spiritual energy for the Church to treat women as less than priests.

Thank you also to Michael for the touching story of staying with the dying dog and the distressed woman. You are a compassionate person without the need of mythic rituals to honor Kanzeon.
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PostSubject: Re: Faith Trust Institute Report - full version   Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:37 pm

Sorry Carol. I think you are very nice so I hate to pull you up,  but I find that comment sexist. Males are also the recipients of inappropriate sexual advances and put-downs. I myself have lost count of the times I have been touched or spoken to as though I were a sexual object. Admittedly, 65% of the time I liked it but this does not discount the fact that I was receiving un asked for physical or verbal attention. I'm talking about quite strong physicality/suggestiveness here. 

I suppose I'm just trying to keep awareness that all humans can be subjected to/be perpetrators of such behaviours.
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