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

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Rev. Seikai



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

First topic message reminder :

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Respecfully submitted, with all best wishes,
Rev Seikai

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



Last edited by Lise on Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:02 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : clarity / identifying dedicated thread)
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:04 pm

I've been thinking about the request for "the list." Perhaps we should send a request to the OBC and ask for their mailing list. Hmmm, I wonder what the answer would be.

Diana, I'm with you in feeling I've found my voice here. And like you, it's getting clearer and stronger everyday.

I have a fun voice story -- at least I think so -- that happened at the Abbey. I can't recall the specifics, but it had to do with the "I could be wrong" mantra. I was with a senior monk, and we were disagreeing about something. It seems to me we were back and forth on the subject for some time when she finally said to me "You could be wrong." Well, I turned around, looked her straight in the eye and said, "You know what? I could be right." That poor monk, you'd think I'd hit her with a sledge hammer!

But it was an invaluable moment for me. We learned not to trust our guts and to stifle our voices. In that moment, I knew I was right for myself, and I wasn't going to be bullied.

In retrospect, I think my assertiveness stemmed in large part from an incident that happened just a few years before. I'd lost control of my life, and when I needed to scream, I had no voice. Without a conscious decision, it wasn't going to happen again in any way, shape, or form.

There's an interesting aside to that story, that I guess I can mention here. I have never had any anger towards the man who attacked me. I do feel the repercussions of that event to this day, but no anger. Yet, for years I've been angry at Shasta. And the difference is the attack was impersonal. He didn't know me from Adam. But it was personal at the Abbey; they knew me.

But I don't want to be an angry person. I just can't stop anger. I have to see it, feel it, understand it, and I have to balance it. That's why I'm trying to remember the good times at Shasta, the people I loved and who loved me; the summers where we worked hard but on a relaxed schedule; popcorn and movie nights -- we had a movie monk; it was his job to procure the feature film -- all sorts of good times. I can't let anger blind me to those times, just as I can't let those times allow me to turn a blind eye to the distortions at the Abbey.

If Meian wants the list to intimidate people or dissuade anyone from venturing on to this forum, then that's a sad state of affairs. It would be working on the might is right thinking. For me, that translates into: A tree that does not bend will break. And if she wants to offer friendship, then I think publicly will have more of an impact. Pay the attorneys to figure out a way to do that.

mokuan
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:20 pm

Diana wrote:
Lise,
It could be that she (Meian) wanted to contact certain people and just thought that it would be easier to have a list. ...
I don't feel bad in any way that she contacted me, but private messaging is sticky. I have had several mesages that I would never disclose. But I did have one message that discouraged me from talking about one particular thing. This was disturbing to me; I took it as a way to control me and to keep me quiet. This is when things get sticky. So there still is some power there that still tries to exert itself. I would imagine that it would only take one message from a current member to keep certain people quiet and this is what disturbs me the most. ..."
Diana, that could be the reason, and I should keep that in mind. The thing about a general interest in contacting people, though, is that some members here have set up their profiles so that they can't be contacted, either by PM or email, and to give out a list with everyone's info would undermine that protection. (I know you weren't advocating for releasing the list, I'm just mentioning the no-contact issue as fyi for all readers here, as a group.) Also, we have a number of registered users who have never posted, leading me to think they prefer anonymity.

Anyway, I may be viewing this with too much suspicion, and I will think about that. I guess it was unavoidable that my own perspective about the OBC would shift so much since starting this forum. I had only my own experiences to go by, which were not extreme or traumatic. Then as an admin, I started getting the messages & stories that people wanted to talk about but didn't feel ok to post. It's been a strange transition, and it has altered me.

I still remember the good things I learned from the OBC, though, and the people who I believe were genuinely on the right track. I need to reflect on those more often, to keep some balance.

Mokuan, thanks for your comments along those lines, it is a good reminder for me as well.

L.
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Henry



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:35 pm

Lise,
I too have had a number of people contact me wanting to speak their mind but reluctant to do so. It is just a reflection of the mind set of the OBC. People say much has changed, but I believe there is an underlying pathology that remains strong and intact.

My impression is that the request by Meian is strange to say the very least. Here she has been invited to participate, given a chance to formulate rules of a forum that would take into account her and the OBC's concerns and yet there was not even a response. To then come to you and request the entire list of participants of OBC Connect after never even responding to our quite reasonable requests for a mutually agreeable forum and set of rules, and in addition not even informing you of the purpose of her request, is just plain bizarre. There is no other word for it. Everything I've seen and heard from the OBC on and off this forum indicates to me a group that has lost touch with even very basic knowledge of how people interact. Seikai is making the noble attempt to break out of the the closed feedback loop that has created this situation and to my mind, he can only be commended for it. It is a shame others in the OBC are still so enamored with their inbred, self sustained opinions, that they continue to listen only to themselves--suggestion boxes, conclaves, eliciting comments from the choir. Josh has made it clear that this is just the norm for such groups. It is truly a shame.

I have concern that this site can develop a similar dynamic. The crucial difference, however, as I see it, is that we as group have invited the OBC to challenge our self sustained opinions in a forum and format that takes into account their concerns. That speaks to the state of mind of those on this forum. That the OBC refuses to engage in an equally open minded manner speaks volumes of theirs. As I said, it is truly a shame.
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:52 pm

Hi Kaizan,

Could elaborate further on how you see the dynamics of this forum potentially turning into something like Shasta?

* * *
And I just had a scathingly brilliant idea: Since it appears there will be no public participation from any monk other Seikai on this forum, and these posts are getting longer and longer, maybe we should help them by putting together an outline -- you know, like the ones we learned in grade school.
Something that might look like this only properly formatted:
I. Shasta Abbey
A. Institutional Trauma
1. RMJK
a. Anger Issues
b. Control Issues
c. Unmet Needs
and so on.
With a script to follow, maybe, just maybe,
strides can be taken to help see the dysfunction within the community.
I love outlines! Outlines are our friend.
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Henry



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:24 pm

Mokuan,
Wherever there is a group in which the significant majority shares a similar point of view on a subject there is the danger that that view will be reinforced to the exclusion of other views. That is what to all appearances has happened in the OBC. For that reason, I would much prefer that there would be those to challenge the majority view. But in the end we can only make the invitation. We can't drag the unwilling to where they don't want to go. The very fact that we are open to a free exchange of ideas is itself a safety valve of sorts. In the end, doubt is good. Doubt towards the ideas of others and ourselves. The OBC appears to still be in mortal fear of doubt. To me it is the basis of all honest and open inquiry. To me, Buddhism at its best is a scientific inquiry into the nature of being, heart, and mind--the human condition. All scientific inquiry should welcome doubt, not fear it.

As for your outline, I've tried outlines in previous posts to simplify my message. Doesn't seem to work.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:39 am

You know I was surprised by Rev Mein asking for the addresses,and also disappointed that she did not engage us here, but do feel that she has made some contact and perhaps tried to right things for her,in that way I applaud her.
However ( there is always an however isn't there)
The secresy factor is not so good,and I agree with you that adebate is fair in Buddhist circles,
We have been very open to challenge.
Right now what diturbs me is Mokuan saying to Rev Sekei about how we have had to come back into society and forge out a new life.
This is very difficult of course after devoting years to our pratice.I feel also that the type of practice we have done varies, some of us have been quite devotional in our practice,and some philosophical, and some quite direct.The adjustment may vary.
People with a more devotional practice, may find it quite hard relating their feelings and indeed practice to normal life,and it is difficult to put down something thatin all sincerity was leading one towards ones heart.
Indeed with all of us our practice and life has had to change.
That is the good part in some ways
Now I think Carol is still reading this and I nelieve that you perhaps come under a more hurt situation, and maybe we all do too,so we have to work this out too.
I do not have these answers ,I wish I did, personally for me ,I have never lost my beliefs that I had,I would not like you to think for a moment that I have been any good at praticing them in daily life. But I do believe that the goodness that we believed in then, is still prevelant today,lets pause for a minute,because I believe what we really believed in was deep inside our selves.
For me when I have trusted that it has always pulled me through,some pretty dire circumstances I have pften fallen into.
I am not sure now whether it is early or late . I am waiting for my cat to come in,I have warned her about this before Take care for now
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:54 pm

This post is in response to Seikai's recent post on Carol/Violet's Introduction thread and also to inquiries as to why I changed my user name. There is a short and long answer to the latter. The short one is that I haven’t gone by the name Kaizan in 20 years. When I started on the forum I thought using Kaizan would be helpful for others in remembering or recognizing who I am. My stay on this forum has exceeded what I originally imagined it might be, and it seems to make sense to have the same name on OBC Connect as I have everywhere else. That’s the short version.

The long version stems from a realization that Shasta Abbey, my spiritual and actual home for over 15 years holds virtually no appeal whatsoever to me any more. I guess there was still something about my former life at Shasta that in some back recess of my mind still held some attraction for me in spite of all that was and is wrong with the OBC. However, there was something that Seikai wrote:

there is also little likelihood that any other monks besides me will join in this forum. From what I have been able to discern, there is no interest in that happening. I can make a guess as to the primary reason for it, which is that most monks of the OBC simply want to get on with their own training, and prefer not having to be concerned about events that do not immediately concern them.

This somehow was like the cherry on the sundae, punctuating how there is really nothing left there for me.

The monks of the OBC want to get on with their training and prefer not having to be concerned about events that do not immediately concern them. I thank Seikai for his honest appraisal, but how do you even begin to address the arrogance and obliviousness of the state of mind he is describing. Please understand me, I am not against isolation. I’m not at all against the ideal in monastism of separating oneself from the world in order to go deeply into one’s meditation and not be distracted by the hectic pace, the selfishness, the ever present drive to externalize so prevalent in modern society. I respect that.

But the goal of that approach is to clear one’s mind and sharpen one’s awareness so that one can see clearly things as they are. It is so that one can dissolve into universal awareness that makes clear errors, faulty perceptions, and propensities to create destructive karma. This has clearly not been the result of the OBC’s decades of isolation. The head of Shasta Abbey, Eko, was creating an incredible amount of destructive, harmful karma. As I said numerous times, his desire for power and the darkness of his mind were clear to me decades ago, as it was to others. Those who presently are in the highest positions of power in the OBC not only were unable to perceive the obvious, they actually dismissed those who could see the obvious and enabled Eko to continue with all his harmful acts. In addition, they put the blame for Eko’s self centered, destructive, harmful acts onto his victims. They were able to clearly see the karma of the whistle blowers as the true source of the problem. On top of that, they were able to clearly see that that Eko’s path to hell was, in fact, his journey to his third kensho. They were able to achieve this by listening only to themselves and isolating themselves from outside perceptions, which clearly could have given them more accurate information. Koshin and the monks at North Cascades, with their years of isolation, were unable to see Amalia’s psychosis in progress, not a difficult feat for the most ordinary person.

These are not small instances in the larger grand scheme of enlightened perception by monks of the OBC. This is a problem of huge proportions. This shows an inability to clear one’s perceptions of karmic distortions of the most base and obvious sort. This shows an inbred, self sustained, and powerful form of perceptual distortion and inability to accurately perceive and judge what is going on. This, unfortunately, is the actual result of the OBC’s decades of isolation. As I’ve pointed out in numerous previous posts, this distortion did not start with Eko. Much was inherited from Rev. Kennett. The whole system that allows distortions to go unchallenged was inherited from Rev. Kennett and obviously remains a potent force in the OBC.

Seikai has made it clear that all the monks of the OBC, besides himself, see the perspective and experience of those who have been harmed by these distortions, and those who have clearly perceived these distortions for decades (or more recently for some) and have wanted to help the OBC see them so that they can address all this harm done and get past all the confusion suffered, as irrelevant. Instead they prefer to not have to be concerned about events that do not immediately concern them.The mental contortions and confusion, and the distorted perceptions and values needed to come to this conclusion are breathtaking. It’s not that I’ve not been aware of this previously, but in the context of many of us here trying to come up with a format and rules that could accommodate the monks of the OBC's concerns in order to have a civil discussion to resolve important issues, their response is staggering. They dismiss these sincere efforts and the task of resolution as unworthy of lifting their wall of isolation. The same wall that has reverberated and magnified the distorted perceptions that have created so much destructive karma.

Add to that that monks are discouraged (or perhaps worse) from reading or contributing to this site for fear of creating doubt. Doubt is exactly what the OBC needs. Their certainty has created the abbacy of Eko and it has created all the harm and craziness described on this site. They should be embracing doubt, not running from it. They should also be examining how well isolation has helped them to develop clear undistorted awareness. I can imagine all of Shasta feeling and joining in Eko's journey toward his third kensho and enabling him as best they could so nothing would obstruct his progress. Where is the clarity of vision in this?

So that it is the long version of why I switched my user name to Henry. It was just another shock of understanding how there is really nothing left for me there. I know it this should have been obvious long ago, bit the mind holds onto things in all sorts of little tucked away corners. Also, it doesn’t exactly make logical sense, as one’s ordination name is an entrance into all of Buddhism, not just the OBC. But I’m not as rational as I might appear, and all this just made me want to use the name I always use.

I know--too much information. I should have used Mokuan’s idea and used outline form, but I wanted to vent.

It appears there is no compromise that will be good enough for the OBC to open a civil discussion with those outside the fold. What a shame. What will the result be of another 20 or 40 years of isolation and listening only to themselves have on their ability to see things as they are?

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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:34 pm

hi Henry, I"m catching up a bit on posts --

Henry wrote:


My impression is that the request by Meian is strange to say the very least. Here she has been invited to participate, given a chance to formulate rules of a forum that would take into account her and the OBC's concerns and yet there was not even a response. To then come to you and request the entire list of participants of OBC Connect after never even responding to our quite reasonable requests for a mutually agreeable forum and set of rules, and in addition not even informing you of the purpose of her request, is just plain bizarre. There is no other word for it. Everything I've seen and heard from the OBC on and off this forum indicates to me a group that has lost touch with even very basic knowledge of how people interact.

I think you're right about the interaction, as far as them knowing how to relate to people outside of the OBC's orbit. When these seniors have lived for so long in the land of "yes, Reverend", from those within their reach, I wonder if they can even grasp that others may not respond that way --

I find myself wanting to do something for these people whose stories can't be told. I won't ever betray their confidence, I'm not talking about anything like that, but my mind is searching for some way to deal with this, I guess, beyond just saying "I'm really sorry this happened to you." There must be something more. Maybe I'll see what it is --
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:14 pm

Dear Henry,
It is not too much information. And besides, my idea of an outline was to have something condensed, but concise, to give to Shasta on the major points we've addressed here, not for us to limit our expression.

I feel like you do. I feel there is nothing left in the OBC that I would want to be part of. Like you, hidden in the recesses of my being, there was a little something of Shasta that tugged every now and again. Not so anymore. At this moment, as sad as it is to say it, I'm done. I'm done with hoping that they will see they've built a glass house on quicksand. I'm done with caring whether or not their glass house on quicksand will survive.

What's the name of song by Stevie Nicks where the refrain is "I've been scared of changes, 'cause I've built my life around you"? The monks should add it to their repertoire. It seems apropos.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:26 am

Ah Stevie Nicks
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:10 am

Well, in response to Stevie (I liked Gypsy) I have a broken record for y'all:

"Give them time."

Do we know what it's like to be there now? Have there been negative experiences that people are recounting from the time SINCE RM Meian took over?

I'm not suggesting that all is perfect there. Will it ever be, even in the best of all worlds? Surely they still have the majority of the work ahead of them.

If they have read this forum and concluded that they probably understand what people have said, and don't want to participate in a yelling match in which they will be forced by their Precepts to be restrained and the other side will not, who can blame them?

Diana said that RM Meian called her and apologized. Reverend Sheridan left OBC in November, and was promptly thanked and extended well-wishes on their News page. No sign of excommunication there.

(I hope Diana doesn't mind my "using" her news in this way too much. Maybe part of the reason that people don't want to communicate positive things about SA/OBC is that it is contrary data to the prevalent discourse here. It's only the truly misanthropic who enjoy killing other people's buzz. Ahem...)

Maybe the senior monks are just getting on with it. Like it or not, there ARE at least little signs of response to some of the concerns that have been expressed here. And it's been only three months since the Conclave, only a little over half a year since Eko disrobed.

Is anyone keeping tabs on the Interim Board? Here's an update: http://www.obcinterimboard.org/content/news-3rd-jan-2011.

What are the chances that grousing about the total inadequacy of their work will follow? "Oh much of the IB web site is for monastics and lay ministers, they're being secret, they don't want reform, they'll be ignored by the RMs, yadda yadda yadda..."

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:32 am

'When I see you again', does it for me
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:05 am

Dan,
I will write more later, but I tried the link and it said "page can't be found." Any help? I hope to have a fruitful discussion on your post.

Also, please feel free to kill my buzz anytiime. I am distrustful of buzzes: both those of mine and others.

Lise,
The people who want to speak but are afraid for a variety of reasons is one of the main reasons I'm hear. In time I hope each will be able to trust their own strength.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:53 am

Henry--My bad. The period at the end got included in the hyperlink. Try this:

http://www.obcinterimboard.org/content/news-3rd-jan-2011

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:24 pm

ddolmar wrote:
Henry--My bad. The period at the end got included in the hyperlink. Try this:

http://www.obcinterimboard.org/content/news-3rd-jan-2011


Thanks for posting the link. It's good to see that they are getting on with it. We will have to wait a while longer before we can begin to assess the effectiveness of the board. I would agree that a little patience is in order.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:32 pm

Dan,

There are a number of points I would like to address. First, there is your statement:

If they have read this forum and concluded that they probably understand what people have said, and don't want to participate in a yelling match in which they will be forced by their Precepts to be restrained and the other side will not, who can blame them?

I have heard this argument from a number of people and disagree with its hidden premises. Your statement presumes a moral superiority by the OBC that I would assert does not exist. If abuses have occurred, and I assume they have because: 1. I have experienced them first hand 2. Others on this site have recounted similar stories to mine, and 3. Rev. Meian apologized for harm done. Given this to be accepted on all sides, surely the OBC should accept the anger of those they’ve harmed as a starting to point of discussion. To say, “I apologize for harming you,” and then be unwilling to talk to a person because they are angry or fed up demonstrates a striking lack of genuine contrition. In addition, there is an interrelational dynamic that often plays out when there is a disparity of power between parties. In this case, the OBC having the power and those on this site having considerably less. On the face of it, this statement is false, but I ask you to consider that each of us, when we were members of the OBC, faced those in power there by ourselves. There was no discussing our views and doubts publicly or having our views backed by anyone, other than privately with the understanding these things would not be spoken of in public. The discussion being played out on this site, which you refer to as yada yada yada, is something that for most us is a first: to openly discuss our views and get support for them in a public forum. So though now the power differential has been equalized, our history is that it was not equal. I assume this continues to one degree or another at present in the OBC, though I could be wrong. The interrelational pattern that often plays out when those with power meet with the ire of those who have been harmed but had no power when this occurs is something that you are familiar with, but may not have associated with the present situation.


Let me give the example of the recent financial crisis. The banks had all the power and abused it. They harmed all of us by seriously damaging our financial system (not theirs, ours). If you watch TV and see the bankers who created this mess speak, they are quite reasonable and calm. Those who’ve had their houses foreclosed on, their retirements destroyed, and their real estate they bought worthless, are, understandably very upset. They generally don’t present with the poise of the bankers. However, to say that in meetings to fix the mess they created that the bankers should not talk directly to a representative group of those harmed because they might have to subject themselves to their anger and frustration is not, to my mind, very fair. And to say that the bankers are at an unfair advantage because they are restrained by their ethics whereas those harmed are not, strains intellectual and ethical integrity to the limits of tolerance.

Being a family therapist, I also see this dynamic played out in my office on a regular basis. The abusive parent calmly dismissing the emotional distress of the abused child as hysterics that they either patiently endure or refuse to put up with. The dynamic plays out in innumerable arenas of human interaction whenever there is a large disparity of power. Take the Catholic church. For how many years did they patiently and piously endure those yelling, screaming, chaotic, and unplacatable messy group of victims of their pediphile priests. How unreasonable, what fantasies postualated as reality the church had to endure. Until of course a sufficient number of people made their stories public and until they all banded together as a group to have a strength and voice none had individually. While the specifics of situations and degrees of harm done vary, the essential dynamic of power differentials often plays out exactly the same. So please don’t be too protective of the OBC’s sensitive feelings and moral superiority, and too disparaging of the legitimate frustration of those who had no voice when harm was suffered. In the end, the most effective resolutions, healing, and growth often occurs when there can be established direct communication between parties.

The next point is about the giving the OBC time to resolve this. The implication I received from this is that we remain silent awaiting the inevitable good outcome. It is important for you to understand that thought the OBC has hired a consulting firm, the operative word here is hired. The OBC is the employeer, the consulting firm the employee. The firm will investigate only what the OBC asks them to. I checked out the link you provided and found that there was only one sentence that pertains to what we are discussing on this site: At the conclave in September it was decided in response to allegations of abuse of power at Shasta Abbey, to set up a working group to come up with a recommendation for possibly hiring an outside agency to help us discern what had actually happened, helping us to see if there are things we can learn to do better. While this is a start, it hardly warrants us ceasing and dessisting until all is wrapped up. For one, the abuses of power that Meian apologized for have already been demoted to allegations. In other words, I have no idea where all this will lead.

For one, the consultants might look only for abuses of power that are actionable in court. From what was stated on their website, there is no indication that the OBC has interest in addressing the issues that are important to us here, so there is no reason for us to stop discussing those issues or from providing support to those still feeling the effects of alledged abuses of power.

I for one, am concerned with much subtler phenonmena that actionable abuses of power. People go to the OBC, become monks or devoted lay people, because they expect to discover an extraordinary degree of awareness, clarity, and insight from the decades of experience that present monks have. Newcomers invest an extraordinary amount of faith in those monks to have actually attained high degrees of insight, clarity and awareness, or they would not give up their marriages and careers and comforts to learn from them. In a recent post (I can’t remember on what thread) I commented on how evidence is showing that monks of the OBC are often displaying an extraordinary lack of just those qualities. Further, when more junior people see the obvious that the monks do not, their perceptions are discredited, causing an enormous amount of confusion in the newcomer, who learns to doubt the most obvious of observations he perceives. This can be very distressing and disorienting when you have so much faith in a life and community that points the fault back to you. When you see Eko doing all sorts of harm, very obvious harm, and you go to Meian and Haryo and inform them and they tell you it’s your koan, end of story. You have a choice to leave or go along with the program. I prefer that OBC monks actually develop the clarity and awareness to perceive the obvious and also the openness to not discredit the perceptions of juniors and lay people. And also allow open discussion of dissenting opinions towards those in authority. I didn’t see these things discussed on the website you referred us to and I certainly didn't see this allowed when I was at Shasta. Nor had Laura, Polly, Amalia and others of more recent vintage experience such openness of mind and heart.

So that is why we yada yada yada. To help people who have been subjected to OBC think and are trying to sort out, What do I think? If I speak publlicly of my doubts, am I betraying my spiritual teachers? If I speak on OBC connect, will I be shunned by the community of the OBC? Am I causing disharmony in the sangha? Will I go to hell if I am doing this? What is the right thing for me to do? My experience and the expeerience of others on this site is that this questioning and healing and discovering who one is and what one believes outside the influence of the OBC is a long term process, and one that one will not receive the help one needs from the OBC. They don’t understand the dynamics and have shown no interest in learning what they are. What better source than many of the people on this site. But they prefer a consulting firm that has no experience or knowledge whatsoever in these matters. The consulting firm will help them avoid lawsuits and help with some basic communication issues within the OBC between the ranks of the order. They won’t help with the degree of subtle dynamics that concern me.

Another issue that the consulting firm won’t address is the legacy of Rev. Kennett. Kozan has talked about institutional trauma, Josh has talked about the shadow of the founder influencing the organization for decades or generations, I have talked about Rev. Kennett being enamored with repressive techniques to keep tight control of dissent and passing that legacy on to the one person best at repressing dissent, Eko. We have talked about how that legacy effects present day monks and is at the root of the problems experienced by those on this site; it is at the root of why the obvious is not seen. The consulting firm will not address these concerns. What better place than those on this site, for the OBC to grasp the effects of these dynamics on people that don’t fit into the non dissenting mold.

And so, Dan, I for one will continue to yada yada yada, as long as there are people trying to sort out their experience with the OBC and as long as there is hope that monks of the OBC might realize they have more to learn from those who left than they thought.

I would very much appreciate your feedback on my thoughts.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:55 pm

Just a quick bit Henry,
i was always dubious when kennett said she used greed positively,in relation to creating an establisment of seniors juniors and lay people, with pecking orders and, the seeming right to admonish. The problem with this system, is that it can certainly create a pecking order that admonishes others, and basically bullies. It is a bit like my Public School, an under current of bullying which made one wary to confront,in case everyone turned on you,It seemed to effect smaller boys,and did not effect the school boxing club ( sorry to bring this up, but I was the champ)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:10 pm

Chisan
The champ bully or the champ wimp?
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:07 pm

"The champ bully or the champ wimp?"

Man, now them's fightin' words, Henry.

I think it's time for a Dharma Throwdown! (cue cheap reverb: "down...down...down...")

Y'know, maybe SA should evolve into a combination monastery and ultimate fighting gym. Sure, it'd make the discussion of non-violence a little bit trickier, but hey, if the junior monks get too frustrated in talking with their superiors, they could through right action and right views administer a delusion-cleansing uppercut in the ring.

Henry thanks for writing back. I'll get back to you on your longer post, probably later this week. There are several issues that I'd like to discuss as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:43 pm

Henry I think you are a family therapist and I mention the champ
I was 10 years at public school, they can be quite something, I happened to be in quite dark ones, we were cained from the age of seven, and we all learnt early how to survive. sport and boxing were ways out. At the second school in London, we went to a boxing club run by george Francis,who has trained world champions,we trained with them. It was a rare mix, of kids,who if they were not there would be inside, and the public school boys.George was great,helped a lot of kids who had little or no confidence.
After, rebelling against the tight discipline,cainings, school uniforms, not allowed to express my self, not allowed to smoke ,drink or play my guitar loud, and only one girl in the village, I became a zen monk
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:49 pm

Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

After all that, did you still get beaten up by the little kids?
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:04 pm

No but I did by the Abbott
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:36 pm

I'm with Henry and hope the yada, yada, yada continues.

Also let's take notice that the apology to Diana came from Meian, not Haryo. That means Shasta Abbey (not the OBC) is apologizing for harm caused by Eko.

This is more of the Blame Eko theme. This forum deals with lots more than the wrongs committed by Eko. But it's easier for the OBC to hire a consultant to clean up whatever legal and other messes Eko left behind than it is to confront challenges to Jiyu Kennett's teaching and practices.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:18 pm

Hi all,

I would like to let you know that I recently received a letter from RM Meian inviting me to call her to "clear up any misunderstandings". In that same letter, she did personally apologize for any harm that she might have done to me. I must admit that she did not appear to truly understand how her behavior was harmful or, worse yet, in what ways Eko's behavior was harmful; nevertheless, I take her letter to be a good faith effort on her part to open a private door of communication on the subject. I have responded to let her know that I will call her sometime in February when the monastic community's rest time is over.

I don't know what will come of that conversation, and I don't expect that we will resolve all of our differences. Our viewpoints are almost 180 degrees divergent and I think there are limits to what communication can accomplish, regardless of whether that communication is public or private. I can, however, see the value in private communication and I don't completely share the opinion that the OBC needs to engage in public communication on this forum. I know that many of you would find that helpful, but I'm not completely sure about that whole concept.

I do believe that this forum is extraordinarily important in many ways, and I will continue to participate here. I think that we have had a strong impact on the OBC and are causing them to scrutinize their behaviors and practices on levels that they have never been willing to look at before. I think that we have helped each other tremendously, and that we continue to do so, by showing that the problems we have had are not completely our own fault as we had been made to believe. The common threads of our shared experiences clearly point to deeply entrenched and harmful behaviors on the part of the OBC that need to be addressed. I also never before realized the continual internal stress that was caused by the burden of secrecy under which I had been placed until I was finally able to speak openly here, and I know that several of you feel the same way. The release of that internal pressure has been palpable to me and I cannot begin to express my gratitude to this forum.

Nevertheless, I am still unsure that this is the vehicle by which to communicate directly with the OBC. Perhaps it is just that I am used to this being the vehicle by which we communicate about the OBC and I just can't quite make this kind of a transition yet. But I must say that I really don't have any problem with trying to address the OBC's problems with them via the tools such as the Interim Board that they have created. I really don't think it has to happen on "our" turf. It can just as easily happen on theirs, and there could be some advantages to a less public forum for both them and for us. There are many things that I am not willing to openly discuss on this media, and I would have less compunctions about that in a more private vehicle. As, I suspect, would they.

At any rate, that's an update I thought you'd like to have along with my two cents on the public dialogue question. I think the more important issue is whether or not dialogue happens, and not so much where it happens. Perhaps we could find some mutually acceptable venue for that conversation? I'm all for compromise as a part of conflict resolution. What do you think?

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:14 am

Well said Laura, and thank you for this update! I'm with you. I'm for what ever works for all parties concerned, in the pursuit of healing and genuine transformation.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:49 pm

Dan: "If they have read this forum and concluded that they probably understand what people have said, and don't want to participate in a yelling match in which they will be forced by their Precepts to be restrained and the other side will not, who can blame them?"

Henry: "I have heard this argument from a number of people and disagree with its hidden premises. Your statement presumes a moral superiority by the OBC that I would assert does not exist."

*******************

Henry--
You made many good points in your post and I won't try to hit on all of them here. But I respectfully disagree with the inference you draw in the above quote. I did not mean to imply that the OBC leadership possesses some intrinsic moral superiority over you or anyone else.

However, they have promised to obey the Precepts (the three, the ten, and the one against eating garlic as well). This is no guarantee that they will be more moral than anyone, because while the Precepts are not terrible guardrails on behavior, moral action generally cannot be boiled down to a set of rules, and anyway the moral dilemmas of life occur when two or more of our values come into conflict.

But I think it's clear in this case that you and others feel perfectly willing--indeed *required* by your sense of morals--to speak the truth about SA even if it means speaking badly of others. This could easily be more "moral" in my book than piously reciting the Precept against such speech if the intent is to prevent harm to sentient beings.

"How attractive is the prospect of joining the fray going to be to other OBC monks, even ones who are determined to act to prevent abuses of power like those described here?" is the question I was trying to raise.

Laura's post above is excellent and says with much greater authority much of what was on my mind. So I'm going to keep this short.

I don't think this forum is necessarily the place where official response from OBC should be expected. And just because it hasn't occurred here, it doesn't mean that the OBC is static, or that they won't find other opportunities to respond. But of course positive proof that they are changing is going to be slow and probably incremental. Institutional inertia occurs wherever people establish rules together, and changing direction therefore takes time.

Consider the difference in outcome between the Russian and Chinese attempts at reforming their economies from Communism toward Capitalism. The Russians tried to do it all overnight and ended up with as corrupt a kleptocracy as just about anywhere in the world. The Chinese have made slow changes, one thing at a time, and have experienced incredible economic growth. Yes, this is a vast oversimplification but I think the point is clear: fast reforms tend not to be as successful as slow, steady reforms.

As with ANY actions they take, the hiring of a consultant by SA does not guarantee anything about how they will behave in the future. As an environmental consultant for industries and governments, I know this only too well.

Finally, by all means let the grousing about SA continue. Surely the smart folks there can see that they are blessed to have people who care enough to be thoughtful critics. My concern is that criticism of their every move might have become a reflexive habit. Hence "yadda yadda yadda".

I don't have any right or reason to urge that people should stop cricitizing them, but "stop AND think" seems like sound advice. Dogmatic beliefs like (potentially) "SA is harmful/beneficial" are still dogmas, and it's good for anyone to take those out and examine them carefully.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:40 pm

Laura wrote:
... and I think there are limits to what communication can accomplish, regardless of whether that communication is public or private. I can, however, see the value in private communication and I don't completely share the opinion that the OBC needs to engage in public communication on this forum. I know that many of you would find that helpful, but I'm not completely sure about that whole concept.

Nevertheless, I am still unsure that this is the vehicle by which to communicate directly with the OBC. Perhaps it is just that I am used to this being the vehicle by which we communicate about the OBC and I just can't quite make this kind of a transition yet. But I must say that I really don't have any problem with trying to address the OBC's problems with them via the tools such as the Interim Board that they have created. I really don't think it has to happen on "our" turf. It can just as easily happen on theirs, and there could be some advantages to a less public forum for both them and for us. There are many things that I am not willing to openly discuss on this media, and I would have less compunctions about that in a more private vehicle. As, I suspect, would they.

At any rate, that's an update I thought you'd like to have along with my two cents on the public dialogue question. I think the more important issue is whether or not dialogue happens, and not so much where it happens. Perhaps we could find some mutually acceptable venue for that conversation? I'm all for compromise as a part of conflict resolution. What do you think?


Laura, just catching up on your post -- thank you for letting us know this.

I agree, public forums may not be the best for every type of exchange, and what matters is going forward with communication. The only risk I have seen with private exchanges is the possibility of current monks pressuring/influencing people to drop off the forum. I'm not worried that you would succumb to that but I do think it's a risk for others. Each person has to look out for herself/himself in that regard, of course; no one has the right or responsibility to intervene. And I shouldn't frame it just in the sense of someone "giving in" to pressure, because people might for any reason decide not to be part of the forum. Obviously that's their right too, and may be totally unrelated to external pressure.

It could well be that a more controlled environment is the only method by which the OBC would engage on a larger scale. The biggest issue there, as others have pointed out, is the overlay of "preceptual speech", if that is interpreted by the OBC to mean that faults and misbehavior can't be discussed openly in plain terms. For example, if Kennett's behavior that caused harm can only be discussed as "good strict teaching" that some people knew how to accept and learn from, whilst others didn't . . . I think this would cause the process to break down very quickly.

I do hope your discussion is beneficial and productive for both of you --
L.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:31 pm

Looking at the last few posts. Laura
It is great that Rev Meian is gong to talk to you. If it is about strictly personal matters it should indeed be private, you are the best judge of that. But if it is of more general interest do report back to the forum. You also say "Nevertheless, I am still unsure that this is the vehicle by which to communicate directly with the OBC." But we do communicate with them there are members of the OBC who follow the forum, maybe even senior members. But more importantly this is the perfect place for the OBC to communicate with us, and by us I particularly include all those who have left the order over the years. I agree that it might not be appropriate to join in the general hurly burley, the yada yada, but I for one would support a thread visible to all but on which only a group designated by the OBC could post. It would be the perfect way for them to communicate with us and if as Rev Meian has said there have been individual and institutional faults then they owe it to us. It is not a matter of courtesy it is due to all those who were mistreated and / or wrongly forced one way or another to leave that are represented here. It should be a matter of honour for the OBC. I think that we should ask Lise to set up such a thread. Perhaps those in favour could post here or PM / email her (done by pressing the PM or email button at the bottom of any posting by Lise, just above and there are lots in 'Forum Rules'.)

LISE would you like to comment on the above paragraph.
Perhaps nothing would be posted but that would be an answer in its own right, silence sometimes speaks as loud as words. We, I'm sure, will start another thread where we would all comment on the postings without the OBC having to become involved in anything they found unseemly. (By the way anyone fancy a 'I am an OBCconnect Yada Yadaist' tea shirt ... mmm I might make a fortune selling them!)

Dan
You said '"How attractive is the prospect of joining the fray going to be to other OBC monks, even ones who are determined to act to prevent abuses of power like those described here?" is the question I was trying to raise.... I don't think this forum is necessarily the place where official response from OBC should be expected.' My point of view is in the first paragraph above.
Aah! the precepts, the precepts they are a thorny bush. I would misquote Rabbi Hillel 'Do no harm, all the rest is commentary'. And here you have to balance the passive and the active. To refrain from speaking out against or stopping harm being committed is to do harm just as much as to actively engage in harming. Ask yourself, hypothetically, 'If the only way I can refrain from harm is by leaving the sangha what should I do?' Similar but not so extreme dilemmas arise all the time. Sometimes we get 'em right sometimes we get 'em wrong but we should always try to love and learn.

To return to the first point about the OBC and OBCconnect. The followers of the OBCconnect have a significant proportion of the total time spent by people in the OBC. Some appear to have been harmed by the OBC, some seem one way or another, to have been pushed to leave, should they not have a voice in any reformation? After all they have a proven history of speaking up, sometimes at great cost to themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:51 pm

Just to add something to that from my view Mark, and disagree if you like.

I wonder if Amelia or Henry,or anyone else that who were harmed,had heard before they got involved with Shasta,that Kennett Roshi had a previous life of Bodhidarma,or Eko had a previous life as Jesus,if they would have joined up.I can not answer for anyone, I would not have gotten involved.

This is a case of breaking the precepts by keeping quiet, it is misrepresenting themselves, and Zen Buddhism.After all if there was not perceived to be a problem, why not be open
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:32 pm

mstrathern wrote:
I agree that it might not be appropriate to join in the general hurly burley, the yada yada, but I for one would support a thread visible to all but on which only a group designated by the OBC could post. It would be the perfect way for them to communicate with us and if as Rev Meian has said there have been individual and institutional faults then they owe it to us. It is not a matter of courtesy it is due to all those who were mistreated and / or wrongly forced one way or another to leave that are represented here. It should be a matter of honour for the OBC. I think that we should ask Lise to set up such a thread. Perhaps those in favour could post here or PM / email her (done by pressing the PM or email button at the bottom of any posting by Lise, just above and there are lots in 'Forum Rules'.)

LISE would you like to comment on the above paragraph.
Perhaps nothing would be posted but that would be an answer in its own right, silence sometimes speaks as loud as words. We, I'm sure, will start another thread where we would all comment on the postings without the OBC having to become involved in anything they found unseemly. (By the way anyone fancy a 'I am an OBCconnect Yada Yadaist' tea shirt ... mmm I might make a fortune selling them!)

Mark, I think it would be great to set up threads as described above -- one for designated posters and a shadow thread for observers/commentators. The admins here will do whatever we can to support the idea.

I want a t-shirt, please, size M. Kensho blue would be nice Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:28 am

Good one Lise and Ha Ha too!

My t-shirt would also be kensho blue , large, and the logo

'Go pop your own balloon'
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:13 am

Dan,
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. I'm glad you do not hold the view of the moral superiority of the monks of the OBC over this more chaotic and messy, but I would say equally ethical bunch. That is why I like to ask for feedback from what I write, because words offer many opportunities for misunderstandings and false assumptions. I actually wouldn't be surprised if the many of the views we and OBC think we are far apart on, might actually prove to have more in common than either party thought.

As for the attractiveness of "joining the fray," there is what is attractive and what is needed. My belief is that the OBC could stand some running towards doubt and messiness rather than avoiding it. But that is my opinion. They will do as they judge best. Also we've offered and continue to offer a variety of options. If they see all as not worth it to them, again, I believe that is a poor decision, though I respect their right to make it.

Laura,
Though I had made a suggestion of creating a site for the purpose of public discourse between some on this site and some monks, that does not mean I am against private communication. I see public and private communication as complementary rather than mutually exclusive. I'm very glad you've had some fruitful communication with Meian and appreciate your sharing what you can with us.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:06 pm

Mark--I would argue that Rabbi Hillel was only half right, as are all proscriptive lists of things you shouldn't do...the Precepts and the Ten Commandments included. The other half of morality is what you should do, which in Buddhism is nicely but nebulously covered by the eight-fold path. That could make it easier to argue for OBC participation in a (semi-)public forum, and that the senior monks owe some time to one. Right speech, right effort, right action, maybe some others. Anyway, it seems cleaner than invoking the Precepts negatively...you should not NOT do something or other.

I wonder why Jukai does not include receiving the Buddhist "Thou Shalts" in addition to the "Thou Shalt Nots"?
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:27 pm

Lise wrote:


Mark, I think it would be great to set up threads as described above -- one for designated posters and a shadow thread for observers/commentators. The admins here will do whatever we can to support the idea.


My personal opinion is that you should focus first on getting the forum onto a platform that is not promoting Scientology

With Bows

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PostSubject: A little clarification   Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:53 pm

Greetings. Regarding the question that was raised as to why I asked if there was a list of users of this forum, please see my posting on the "Introductions" thread today. I hope this explains the matter satisfactorily. Thank you.

With best wishes,

Meian.
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Posts : 24
Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Portland OR

PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:51 pm

ddolmar wrote:


I wonder why Jukai does not include receiving the Buddhist "Thou Shalts" in addition to the "Thou Shalt Nots"?
FYI
Dharma Rain Zen Center and many (if not most) Zen Centers in the US have added the Clear Mind Precepts to the prohibitive precepts at Jukai. You may view our current Kyojukaimon at this link
http://www.dharma-rain.org/?p=practice_kyojukaimon
We also have people include one statement of something going well in practice as well as a confession of a shortcoming when we do Fusatsu. Balance is especially important when examining oneself in the Land Without Light (Northwest coast in winter). Smile
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