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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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Respecfully submitted, with all best wishes,
Rev Seikai

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



Last edited by Lise on Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:02 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : clarity / identifying dedicated thread)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:25 am

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

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

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

Thanks, Ian, for talking about this.

Lise



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

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

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

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

Thanks, Ian, for talking about this.

Lise


Thank you very much Lise for your very kind and supportive comment, it is really appreciated. Reverend X is no longer a monk in the OBC. As to why I got that response, I've thought about it over the years and have my own opinions, but I'd rather not speculate. I don't know if there ever was any follow-up, if there was I was never told.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:15 pm

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

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

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

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

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:17 pm

Making It Known...

I posted this once and then deleted it for fear of injuring those involved. Comments from Jimyo on the Inroductions site for Rev. Seikai made me change my mind. I hope, as always, to do more good than harm. But "do" is the operative word...

When I met the Abbot of the OBC temple that stands 75 miles from my rural home, I had no experience with Buddhism except to know I was sceptical. I had belonged for 25 years to a church which taught Raja Yoga, with a Guru who had died before I was born. But they were distant, when I became a member they sent instructions that if I had any questions I was to study the lessons, meditate and "ask Master" and if I still couldn't get it I should boil my question down to one or two sentences before submitting it. And it might take months to get an answer. (This will have meaning later.) I had become bored and lonely and discouraged in my solo practice. And then I saw this Buddhist monk in an unlikely place and at an opportune time and I ran to them like a well in the desert.

I visited the temple as soon as possible and we talked all day. I told the monk about my dissatisfaction with my current church, including the instructions regarding questions that I mentioned above. This monk told me that if I didn't take advantage of this karmically ordained meeting and introduction to OBC it might be many lifetimes before I got another chance. Like turning my back on an invitation from the Eternal. So I began to attend the weekly retreats.

Within a couple of meetings the monk told me that they thought of me and spoke with me as another monk, that our relationship was an equal one of spiritual friends. And as I began to practice zazen I did begin to experience many wonderful things that this monk made much of. They called me "the little mystic" which I liked of course. I was treated somewhat specially, I thought, which didn't make me popular with some of the other sangha members and I didn't like that because my life experience had been of being an outsider and I wanted so much to fit in here. But I was flattered.

One odd thing, I had blazing migraines every time I went to the temple for the first year. My monk told me this was due to unresolved guilt involving my relationship with my Guru. I severed that relationship and sure enough the headaches ceased. I then made plans to take the precepts at this local temple rather than at Shasta. The plans were set for me to spend three days in private retreat prior to the ceremony. When I called to say I was on my way, the monk had forgotten the plans entirely, and said it would be inconvenient to carry them out. Ouch! But they changed their mind, (the weeding could wait after all) and in a hurry-up arrangement the ceremony took place.

And then the behavior towards me changed entirely. Any request to have a private retreat was discouraged. They began to lose their temper with me in violent reactions way out of proportion to the situation. When I caught my breath and asked about such harsh words it was explained as my problem, my lack of understanding, or faith. Didn't I hear the love behind the words? Or else they denied saying the words I heard at all. It made me crazy. It was completely demoralizing. I got very depressed but I still believed the fault must lay with me. After all, this was a Zen Master! (I know I know, I let down my own side here. but it was done because this was what I thought I must do in order to train for that "conscious return to the Eternal", which was all that mattered to me.)

I have to be fair here. I leave out some information because I don't want to give away the monk's identity if I can help it. There were circumstances that put the monk under huge pressure, both from the inside and externally as well. But I too had extreme circumstances. During the three years I knew this monk I lost my mother, my health, my ability to work, and my husband had a serious heart attack. And very often when I turned to this monk for support I got shrieked at, attacked. I don't think they could bear the extra stress. I know the feeling. But I think I had a reasonable expectation of wiser treatment from someone who was a teaching Zen Master. Skillful means, you know. This monk also never gave their own dharma talks. They always played recorded talks from other monks, 99% from Rev. Koshin. And as time went by I liked what I heard from him less and less but when I questioned his teachings it was not well-received. It wasn't unusual to hear two-hour lectures on my failings. My monk's ability to coalesce their thoughts to answer questions decreased as their stress level went up. By the last time I went to a retreat I had to answer questions for them. But I loved this monk. When things were good it was the best friendship I ever had. We could giggle like children and then go so deep I didn't know such interchange was possible. We talked weekly on the phone. I loved this monk very dearly. And no, there was never any hint of sexuality in our relationship. I overlooked many things that I had misgivings about because I loved so much.

But one day, not long after I had a major back surgery, I called with an urgent question, very upset over something medical. I asked "when is it okay from a Buddhist perspective to blow the whistle on someone who is doing harm?" My monk became totally agitated, at one point saying "I have to get out of this conversation!" I asked to stop at that point but they were adamant that we continue, in a different tone. But the tone didn't change and by the end of the conversation I was more confused and upset than I was when we started. The advice, which was basically that we should live without leaving a wake, was in direct contradiction to an instruction they had given me earlier, that had caused real damage to my personal life.

I stewed awhile and then fired off the dreaded e-mail saying the above: I was confused, upset, the teachings were conflicting." I tried to be polite. Two days later I got a call from the monk and they were incandescent with rage. They read my e-mail back to me, critiquing each point. Then they said I was not to call them anymore. I could only call if I had a really important spiritual question that reading the literature and lengthy meditation and prayer couldn't answer. (Sound familiar?) I must then boil the question down to one or two sentences and I must accept that they might not have time to talk to me if I did call. They would no longer be visiting at my home because my husband (who had put in countless hours on labor for them) got in the way of our spiritual discourse. I wasn't physically able to make the trip to the temple myself, which essentially cut me off completely. They ended the conversation by saying "I guess I was mistaken about how much you have in place spiritually."

So that was when I thought about suicide. If a Zen Master couldn't stand me, I must be really bad. Instead I went to sleep for a month. And in a month the monk called me. All cheerful and bouncy, everything was great for them, how come I hadn't called? "Because you told me not to!" Oh, silly Polly, didn't you get it? Didn't you hear what I was trying to say? At first I confess I was thrilled. Maybe I was wrong, maybe I had blown it. But as it went on in this vein a curious thing happened. I became literally unable to hear the monk speaking. I ended the conversation, later sent a letter telling them I loved them but was hurt and needed space. Never got a response.

A year later I began to wonder if another monk of the order could shed some light on this. I contacted one who was very kind but whose first words in his letter were "monks are people too, they have good days and bad days, they make mistakes" etc, all this before I had done more than just ask if I could talk to him about this, with no details given. But we talked later on the phone and he convinced me that I should look past the bad stuff if I wanted to train, so I returned (after a lengthy pause while my monk decided whether to let me) to the temple, which was when I heard them yell at the elderly woman for taking too much time to get her thoughts together to say something. Which ended my association with that monk and that temple for me.

Next I found this forum. I was still on the fence of course. Maybe it was just my monk. But no, so much posted here sounded familiar. And then I spoke with Rev. Haryo which was a good experience. Mostly. I began having second thoughts. I have recently contacted him again but that is a work in progress. What is no longer a work in progress is my position with the OBC. I want nothing more to do with it, I am actually at this point almost phobic about Buddhism and all organized religion. But this forum helped me immeasurably. I feel at this point that I owe it to those who have given their stories to give back with mine. I didn't leave, I was kicked out. There's difference there. But I was kicked out for questioning the Zen Master. So things hadn't changed much in the near past. And since there was no suggestion that anything would be done about my experience/concerns, including checking to see if my monk needed help, I don't know if things have changed at all. I trust the good heart of most if not all the monks in OBC and I believe they are working on change now. Too late for me.

With thanks to the members of the forum and the friendships that have come out of it,
Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:05 pm

May I add that the OBC may be taking steps regarding my concerns that I am unaware of. I wasn't advised of any but there could be good reason for that. Just so the benefit of the doubt is given.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:12 pm

Polly,
Thanks for writing your story. I know it was a very difficult decision for you to make. I, for one, think your decision will be helpful to many people.

There is something that those here who post in defense of the OBC do that can be hurtful and/or annoy and aggravate others on this site that I don't think they are aware of. This includes Daishin M., with his comment to "move on," Haryo's post, which if I remember correctly was a defense of certain things done, Jimyo's posts, which you've addressed, and Seikai's earlier posts of "there is no self that can be hurt. All of them don't address the pain and disillusionment that has brought so many to this site. If they do address them, it is done perfunctorily, leaving one with a sense that they don't understand the depth of the pain and the sadness of the disillusionment that was created. And then there is the almost obligatory directive or implication that "this is your pain and your disillusionment, if you were as spiritually advanced or mature as I am, you would have dealt with it better so you wouldn't need to go on and on here about it." For those on the other side of the argument, I believe there is a sense that if they fully got it, I mean really fully got it, there would be a different response. Something of an, "Oh my God, this is truly horrible, truly mistaken and misguided. We have to take full responsibility and spare nothing to grasp the full import of all of this." If I had a line of people out my door, with a litany of stories like those posted on this site, knowing full well that what was posted is but the tip of the iceburg, all pointing to mistakes I've made that contributing to that growing mountain of pain, my response would be clear and loud. I certainly did not see that from Haryo or Daishin. Jimyo seems to gives a perfunctory nod to the stories, but the general impression is that they are the exception that prove the rule of a basically sound system.

Another tack people take is that all organizations have some dysfunction. These things happen. Do you want us to be perfect? All I can say to that is what an avoidance of responsibility. The Buddha Dharma placed at the same level as WalMart. If that's what you want, that's what you'll get. What we see in Polly's and Laura's and Diana's story is what was seen is similar manifestations at the OBC 40 years ago for some, 30 years ago for others, 20 years ago, with a helping of stories that are very recent history. Even Meian's talk about "mistakes made" does not convey a true from the heart understanding of the depth of dysfunction with a 40 year history that only gets worse over time, not better as some have claimed. To general, to nebulous. Plus the onus for healing is placed on those hurt to intiate the return to the open arms of the OBC. If I hurt someone like the stories show on this site, I can't imagine asking them to return to my open arms. I'd be on the horn, pronto. Real heart, real understanding, real, full, nothing held back contrition is what is missing.

I have written on the themes that run through decades at the OBC. People have written about the truly bizarre, the truly painful, the truly disorienting and confusing. To my mind there has been no reaction from the OBC or its defenders that comes close to conveying and understanding of magnitude of the mistakes and pain caused.

I would like to ask you why did Seikai think you would be vilified? And by whom.

Thank you again Polly for openning yourself up in this public way. I'm sure it's appreciated by many.

To Seikai,
If you are reading this Seikai, I guess this is my answer to your question which went something like, "what else can I say that I haven't said many times before? How many times do I have to admit mistakes were made." You have made a start, better than anyone. And the reallity is that these are not your mistakes. You are probably one of the least involved or not involved in anything like what's been described. But you have come to this site to heal wounds. And as such you have become a representative of the OBC on this site. I think that this is what many people here think is the appropriate response from the OBC or its defenders.

I have been presumptious enough to speak for many people. Please, anyone, feel free to skewer me if I've misrepresented you.


Last edited by Kaizan on Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:16 pm

Polly -- thank you. Where are my best words when I need them? What you have done is very brave.

I was afraid for awhile that someone had frightened you off the forum. SO glad to have you back with us.

,

Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:19 pm

Polly
i am very sorry you had this experience,it was and is very upsetting,and I hope you find some level of commraderie with us lot, people who have something to say too. The Sanga is here to help and support each other in various ways, wise ways, and any way possible. I helped run a soup kitchen once, and during my time there saw many Buddhas, and saw a lot of brave actions, and wise words, from people whose robes were tattered clothes. the basis of Buddhist action is to love and benefit other people. I believe the basis of our practice, is to be whole and complete,For me I believe action and practice that takes me away from these situations, is not for me. This first step that you and I took is maybe the most important,because we spotted something we did not think was right, I think we should take that as a positive, and look within ourselves and find the next step. That is a long way round saying thanks for writing and sharing,I feel for you and good luck, I hope you do not feel I have written from a lofty perch
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:42 pm

Thanks for having the courage to share your experiences Polly, especially as the sense of staying with the OBC or leaving was still a real question for you until so recently and must still feel fairly raw. It makes for some deeply uncomfortable reading to see how very precious and fragile some of the monks' egos seem to be to open and genuine spiritual questions - whether that's from a personal perspective or asking about something in a talk. I dread to think how many others there are out there who have been hurt or spiritually harmed through their contact with the OBC.

Thanks Kaizan for your post as well. There's only so many times the standard, stock answers of "move on", "let go" and "monks are human too" can said. At some point, some acknowledgement needs to happen that that's simply not an acceptable response to the hurt and anguish expressed through too many experiences on this site.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:15 pm

Addendum to my previous post.

To members of the OBC and defenders of the OBC:

There are some things that are very basic in human interactions. One of them is as follows: When person A has been hurt badly by person B (or witnessed this), and person B tells person A:

1. to move on
2. your self can't really be hurt
3. these things happen sometimes
4. mistakes are made
5. I'm sorry, call me up, tell me what I did and I'll apologize
6. the person who hurt you isn't perfect
7. organizations aren't perfect

then, person A will

1. get very angry and repeat his/her story until you get it
2. not get angry, but keep trying to help you to understand
3. ignore you and go away (until there is a forum like this and they might well say, "hallelulea, maybe 50 of us can get it through to them."
4. sue you
5. try to destroy you.
6. best case scenario for the OBC: they'll just walk away and never look back. (Don't look to this person for a references, though).

This is Psychology 101, Basic Manners 101, and Insight Gained through Buddhist Practice and Meditation 101.

That no one from the OBC gets this, makes people wonder how much basic awareness has been developed over decades of practice. Has institutional mind, loyalty to Rev. Kennett, loyalty to Eko, all so obscured your basic awareness--which is what we all thought Buddhist practice was based on--that this simple insight into ordinary human interaction can't be seen?

I'll take my answer from anyone from the OBC or its defenders off the air.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:51 pm

To clarify something Kaizan said: Rev. Seikai warned me once that telling your story could get you some flack, as was his experience. He was being protective is all, and I mentioned it initially and then deleted it because I didn't want him to take flack for that. It was personal and kind and I shouldn't have mentioned it to begin with. He wasn't trying to tell me not to put up my story, and he's not the only one who has said, "proceed at your own risk." I have a high regard for R. Seikai.

Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:15 pm

Polly,

I'd like to ask a couple of questions, but feel free to ignore them if you're not comfortable answering them. Who would give you flack (no names needed)? And, what risk do you feel you face, or did the person warning you felt you faced, for telling your story?
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:31 pm

Polly,

What happened to you was horrendous and wrong. I think everyone would agree on that. I'm sorry you were hurt. I really do mean that.

However - and I sincerely hope you don't find it hurtful that I say this - this was one monk. It was not the whole of the OBC. I know others have similar stories, but we are still talking of a few monks, a few experiences, over 20, 30, 40 years.

What I've been objecting to is people deducing from these few stories that the whole of the OBC is somehow tainted. I don't perceive that as being either logical or correct.

I know some others disagree, and I'm beginning to wonder if we won't have to just agree to disagree on this.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:38 pm

Polly,

I'm glad you decided to re-post. Your story is an honest, though painful one. It will however, serve as a warning marker or at least a cautionary "Slow" sign for any others who wander here considering an association with the OBC. You've done your best to provide credible information and warning. That is all you should reasonably do.

My advice is not to wait on any useful reply or intervention on the part of the OBC.They don't have the eyes to see it or the ordinary human experience to grok it. The sad truth is that they imagine that you want something besides a full understanding of how much you and others have been hurt so that it won't happen again. But I've seen no evidence they have the capacity to understand that way anymore -- if they ever did.

In a way, the dismissive statements are correct, while also wildly insensitive and a boorish dismissal of any responsibility -- corporate and individual -- on the part of the OBC. In reality, though, it is a nightmare that's over - a bad dream that's ended. It lives now only in wounded space of altered protoplasm where it can never be changed. Memories are a blessing when they help us remember usefully what our name is and where we work. They are a curse when they re-create pain for us again and again, and make us re-live and re-experience the feelings of anger and disappointment. Letting them be without reliving them takes courage and wisdom. It's that reason I think your decision to have nothing further to do with the OBC is a wise one; it reduces the possibility that you'll encounter the same conditions which will force you to relive the pain again. It might be that things would be different or better -- next time -- but the odds are that they wouldn't.

Based on your story and others, the OBC pool is a dangerous one to swim in. It seems to me the risk is high because the water is polluted and often poisonous to drink or ingest. There's only a small chance you'll find the compassion and kindness you are looking for in OBC temples. There are better pools to swim and fish in.

I applaud your courage, understand the conflicting feelings, and hope you can find what you are searching for without the risk of being re-entangled in the darkness of some OBC temples.

To Seikai,

No one expects you to resolve anything; that is well beyond your influence. What people want is an understanding from at least one OBC monk of how very cruel and harmful the OBC sometimes is. I think if people could see that deep understanding in your words, that would be enough.

To Jimyo,

Your experience may leave fond memories of the OBC in your mind. I for one wouldn't try to convince you that your assessment of your experience was wrong. But others over a wide span of years and spectrum of experience have encountered the dark evil side of the OBC and Jiyu. Their experience is also valid. I'm glad you got to bite an apple that wasn't rotten. But your bite doesn't mean that others weren't fed rotten, wormy ones or pelted by them. That is the nature of human experience. Two children in the same family -- one experienced the parent as loving and doting, the other was manipulated, and crushed.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:40 pm

You know, I don't know Kaizan. I didn't fear for myself. I'm thinking that the couple of warnings I received were just the general "you know how it can get on the forum" sort of response and I hesitate to guess if they had anybody in mind. I didn't have any concerns in that regard until a couple of people said "look out" and you know, I think sometimes people just say stuff like that. Kind of like, "drive carefully". Then I thought a bit about possible black ice, but not much. That's my best guess.

Yes things can get peppery here but by far the lion's share of us on the forum have been as supportive as we can to each other, especially in view of the confusion and hurt involved. I think we are, by and large, a stellar bunch.

Jack! Grok!! Far out. And thanks.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:00 pm

To Seikai,

You asked me who else might want to see the best of Rev. Kennett's legacy preserved for the future. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job than Jimyo to cause anyone thinking of setting aside the harm they've suffered (or witnessed) in order to consider helping preserve her legacy, to stop thinking about it and want to join the "lets do everything we can to destroy the OBC so they can do more harm" camp. Jimyo's post embodies everything that so concerns people about the approach the OBC takes to the harm they cause. Jimyo says that maybe there is a monk or two that has caused harm, but all is well besides that. Her posts say different. They are exactly what people face when they try to approach the monks of the OBC with the harm they perceive.

When I was very ill, people who disagreed with how I was treated could not say anything publicly. There was a need to protect Rev. Kennett from criticism or a fear of repurcussions for interfering with her doing what she wanted to do. This way of handling dissent was thrust upon everyone. No one would have stood up and said to Rev. Kennett, "You must stop the way you're treating Kaizan or Isan or Josh or or. I'll not allow it. It's against my values." I never once saw that happen. And for many there would have been no ethical problem at all. It would be placed in one category or another such as, "this happens only once in a while," or some other way to dismiss the nightmare, just as Jimyo dismisses the OBC problems so succinctly and easily.

Jimyo's posts are exactly why people go "on and on." They are dismissive of people's direct experience and she doesn't even know she is doing this, just as it seems so many of the monks of the OBC don't know how they don't deal directly and honestly and ethically with harm done. So much is to protect those on top from criticism. So much is not said from fear. So much is not seen due to institutionalized obliviousness. I would very much like to hear your thoughts on this.

I've tried to answer some of your questions Seikai and will try to get to the others also. Please try to answer mine.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:27 pm

Stellar bunch indeed!

Thanks for posting, Polly.

I think I am feeling a good thing happening here. There is support here for those that need it.

The "spiritual friend" thing really got me, btw. The idea of "sangha" or "friends" or love for that matter, is very much twisted and confused in the OBC sangha. The actual social experience within the organization is dysfunctional. They do not value the very basic needs of human beings. I once asked, "what does 'taking refuge in the sangha' mean?" I never got an answer because honestly, I don't think they knew. I was told once by a novice monk that "we don't take refuge in each other, we take refuge in the sangha." Again- unhelpful. Because we were discouraged to actually talk about anything real that was going on with us and encouraged to maintain a fantasy-dharma world, all the normal social cues, relationship issues, boundaries, respect, everything, went out the window. We were discouraged from talking or chit-chat and especially discouraged from talking about "worldly things." I once sat next to Eko and a lay person was talking about her new car- he looked at me and rolled his eyes and made a rude comment. He had a way of controlling things.

I was told by a few people, monks and laity, that we were "spiritual friends." Of course, it was a very "special" and cosmic connection! But in the end, they all turned their backs on me and when things got complicated (meaning I had too many questions), they coldly dismissed me. I can't even tell you how painful that was- I'm sure you know though, obviously. The whole "friend" thing was a total sham. It felt like anybody would sacrifice anything for their "training" including their loving husbands and wives and even children. Then those lovely people were coldy labeled "attachments;" "love" was labeled "desire" and therefore an obstacle to training, "life" was labeled "samsara"- full of suffering..... I could go on and on. They effectively substituted all the good and healthy things in my life with dogma, obedience, shame, regret, depression, isolation, fear, and hopelessness. Wow, just typing that is so freeing. I'm so glad I got out.

Peace to you,
Diana
PS: Jimyo's comment- again NOT helpful! Saying you are sorry about someones experience and then following that with "However" or "But" is so obviously....can't find the word as I am astounded to see you still have not changed your course. Good luck with that.

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:54 pm

Kaizan wrote "I have been presumptious enough to speak for many people. Please, anyone, feel free to skewer me if I've misrepresented you."

Well, you speak for me and eloquently too. Thank you.

Again, thank you to all the former monks and lay people (like Jack and Diana) who have told your stories. For the first time, some of can see through the glass darkly.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:10 pm

Thanks Polly. Very clear and precise.

I have no further questions.

I'm glad you found the door. I'm the kind of person who heads for the door at the first sign of trouble so I've never been so caught up in a group, with all the emotions involved, as you were.

I was banned from one of the obc temples once though which became a big bragging point for me




Diana wrote:
. The whole "friend" thing was a total sham.....It felt like anybody would sacrifice anything for their "training" including their loving husbands and wives and even children.


Its like sacraficing life itself. Buddhism is supposed to consider the Human state a very fortunate one to be in. Without families how would we get more humans?
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:27 pm

glorfindel wrote:
... Buddhism is supposed to consider the Human state a very fortunate one to be in. Without families how would we get more humans?
It was my first visit Shasta, on an Introductory retreat, when I encountered this very puzzler. It seemed like the monks were saying, the only reason the human race even evolved was so that beings could be offered the chance to escape samsara and, in seeing the light and refusing to breed further, extinguish the human race as a species. What the? They could really apply their belief framework to the question of evolutionary biology for our species, and tie it up so neatly? I asked the monk this very question during his dharma discussion in the guesthouse. I had no experience of Abbey etiquette (pretending that a monk has answered a question when they haven't), so I kept at him each time he gave a non-answer. He got pretty annoyed with me . . . and the feeling was mutual.

Go on, G, tell us what you did to get banned. Really terrible, yeah?
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:53 pm

Dear dear Polly,
I can't describe how I feel on reading about your experiences. You see, my experience has been so, so, different. Since 1987 I've belonged to the sangha associated with Throssel Hole Abbey and the temples in the UK and mainland Europe and have known nothing but kindness, compassion and deep generosity from all the sangha, monastic and lay. They are my good friends and dharma family. I can honestly say that I am in tears as I write this and I am normally a hard-headed engineer/physicist.

Please believe me when I say that the whole of the OBC is not as you have experienced . The monks and lay people that I have known for nearly thirty years are, without exception, some of the best people I have ever known, and I am proud to call them my friends.

I have been a lay minister for nearly twenty years and a such am a member of the Order. All I can say at the moment is that it hurts to know that we have let you down.

With deepest bows,

George
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:39 am

Thank you Lise, Robert, Chisan, Violet, Diana, Glorfindel, all these forum sangha friends.

And George, I am sort of overwhelmed, I am sorry this caused you distress. I suppose that is what I feared the most. that the story would cause pain. I know there are magnificent people in the OBC, I've met some of them.

Maybe I wasn't big enough. I'm sure the monk I knew saw things very differently, I know their heart was good. Rev. Haryo told me to concentrate on intent, if the intent was good, that should be enough. It just wasn't, for me. I'm sorry.

I'm glad you have the experience I hoped for. Glad it's out there.
Bows in return, George,
Polly
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:05 am

polly wrote:

And George, I am sort of overwhelmed, I am sorry this caused you distress. I suppose that is what I feared the most. that the story would cause pain. I know there are magnificent people in the OBC, I've met some of them.

Maybe I wasn't big enough. I'm sure the monk I knew saw things very differently, I know their heart was good. Rev. Haryo told me to concentrate on intent, if the intent was good, that should be enough. It just wasn't, for me. I'm sorry.

Polly

There's a difference between injury and empathy. It's not a bad thing that we feel your pain as we read your story. Regarding intentions, I can see that my own were essentially good when I was a monk. That didn't stop me from sometimes hurting people, and it didn't permit me to waive the responsibility for cleaning up the mess afterward. When the monk in question is ready to cleanup the mess she will reach out to you, and you will know when it's enough. No one can say what should be enough for you.


Last edited by Isan on Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:11 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : edit for accuracy)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:37 am

Hello Polly
See how valuable the Shasta defending postings can be. Everytime I start to snooze, up they pop like an alarm clock telling me something needs to be done.! Even though I saw your "coming out" posting before, I find myself more angry reading it a second time because of the ever mounting evidence of OBC idiocy and the continued Shasta silence.

I used to find some equanimity in the face of teacher born foolishness by seeing how little it might take to find myself being just as foolish. Most of us have seen some give & take with the OBC foolishness. A little knife edge of doubt is all it took to send many of us on our way to exile where things gradually became clearer again. Looking back one usually asks how is it I could of been so willingly blind.

If Seikai finds himself reading this post he should stop here. It doesn't really apply to him but will hurt nevertheless.

Today your story has me feeling less generous, less understanding and perhaps less careful. Today calling the description of these Shasta born actions as foolishness just doesn't cut it. I guess today I see much of the OBC Monks activities as an ongoing & deliberate, manipulation of the three treasures to feed their undeserving bellies. Dogen called these types of Monks as * * * * bags. Too harsh, well it gets worse.

Jiyu's legacy is a group of child Monks who allow harm to be done because they can. Thinking that a few good monks might still be just quietly going about their jobs is delusion. Not standing up against years of harm being done to others is simple job protection. Are these the real transmitted teachings of their master? The turning of the wheel of the law is little more than a flat tire for those who hide these injustices behind continued "Shasta Speak". Their version of the Buddha, Dharma & Sangha is little more than the three rings of self interest for this little circus.

I hope tomorrow is better because today just sucks. Just how bad does it need to get or what needs to be disclosed before just one Shasta monk thinks that maybe this isn't what Jiyu wanted her legacy to be? Maybe that monk might be her only disciple! Makes me think that protecting her memory has little to do with devotion and is all to do with the very worldly continued maintenance of ones comfort!

All the luv I can muster.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:41 am

Jimyo's posts are exactly why people go "on and on." They are dismissive of people's direct experience and she doesn't even know she is doing this, just as it seems so many of the monks of the OBC don't know how they don't deal directly and honestly and ethically with harm done. So much is to protect those on top from criticism. So much is not said from fear. So much is not seen due to institutionalized obliviousness. I would very much like to hear your thoughts on this.

Dear Kaizan,
Yes, I can see the point you're making, and yes, it would seem that from the many stories that are being recounted on this web forum that there is truth to what you are saying. I don't yet know if it will be possible to fully change the culture of the OBC to the extent that unhappy, painful stories such as Polly's cease to occur; there are many of us within the OBC who are working hard to try to move things in this direction. Jimyo hasn't been a monk in the OBC since the mid-80s, and you haven't been a monk in the OBC since 1991, and there has been some change--not as much as you or I would hope, but some. I personally am no closer to the people involved in stories like Polly's than you are, so I'm just reading all this stuff the same as anyone else. As I said recently, I'm fairly powerless to do much, but I do what I can.

There has been more substantial change in the UK than America. Posts like George Norwell's point to that, and the stories like Diana's that speak to a dysfunctional culture that endured at Shasta Abbey during Eko's tenure show just how hard it was to live there during that period of time. I've spoken with most of the Shasta Abbey monks since last May, and they all say they are very relieved that it's over.

I really like the point made by Isan, above. It acknowledges the humanity in all of us, recognizes that we all have to do the best we can to clean up the messes we make when they happen, and doesn't expect anyone to be perfect. Meanwhile, people are saying that that's not good enough--monks ought to be held to a higher standard than the world, that the OBC has caused a ton of serious harm to people, and that in the wake of the harm, we've covered it up, refused to take the harm seriously, and protected those who have caused it from being accountable. (Just wanting you to know that I don't have my head completely in the sand.)

I'm looking for people willing to sign on as those who are wanting to work for solutions.

With all best wishes, Rev Seikai

PS: Howard, thanks for the head's up. I stopped reading right at the point you suggested I do so.


Last edited by Rev. Seikai on Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:47 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : additional post came in)
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:58 am

Polly,
You didn't cause me distress. I hope that a lot of good can come out of this forum. Thank you Lise for all the time and effort you and your team put in.

I am glad you were able to talk to RM Haryo - I have a lot of respect for him and the efforts that he is making to change the OBC. I hope that people will give him and the Interim Committe the time and support they need. I know most of the committee and they are people of integrity. I hope that people will not be too cynical about the efforts the OBC is making.

Let's not forget that the first reason that the former RM Eko gave for leaving was that he didn't like the direction the OBC was going in. I forget his precise words, but certainly evidence of change.

With bows,
George
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:24 am

When a large ammount of us left in 1976 it was centered around the change of emphasis the previous lives of Jesus St John of the cross and Boddhidarma were made out to be significant. Now if I wrote this in 76 it would have been denied, now everyone here is agreeing it happened it can not be denied.
The actual reason I left was not so much that the experiences happened but that kennett did not know it was illusionary, they were mind made. This shows a great lack of real meditation experience, and an incredible lack of wisdom. From that point it became clear that actually the way here and forward would be based on limited anything but a lot of ego. All thes nasty experiences come from the same lack of understanding. These bullying tactics are not acceptable, in normal social circumstances in society, and yet they are allowed in a so called Buddhist temple.
Fot some people this core base was and is OK some people think kennett ws enlightened, but outside the pressure and trappings of a closed society,there are not many,Most Buddhists and teachers looking in would applaud our efforts to uncover this.
The point when we felt Kennett was not going to direct us was different for all. I was talking to a friend of mine who is connected to a Catholic abbey about the Jesus experience and what Catholics would feel about it,he said they were more experienced in dealing with practices going off line, he was not shocked by the jesus experience, he told me that way back kennett stayed in his girlfriends parents house . They were very wealthy , and had Rembrants and other paintings on the walls , everything was very oppulant.
Before she left kennett defecated on the carpet. Now is this the zen master teching us something profound is this pointing the way? If the result is deep enlightenment we may say great teacher but actually everyone was appalled, and no one wanted to have anything more to do with her. So for him the saying if your first step is false you will immediately stumble, started very early.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:20 am

Seikai,
Thank you very much for your straightforward response. I think it is essential if there is to be some resolution on any level that monks of the OBC understand at least in part what you have understood. I think my post above on person A and B would be good study material (I'm actually not joking) as everyone from or defending the OBC have fallen into one or more of those mistakes. Meian took the initiative to apologize, but no one will get far if people who feel they were hurt are re-incensed by these grossly insensitive statements I referred to in that post. Statements such as these make an apology into an insult, which I know is not the intention, but as Isan rightly pointed out, it is time for the defenders of the OBC to realize that good intentions are not good enough. Responsibility and accountability for one's actions, one's words and their effect on others is long overdo. There should be no more hiding behind of the cloak of good intentions--too much harm has been done for that excuse to be viable.

I will try to find out who is interested in finding solutions and preserving the best of Rev. Kennett's legacy. It is more than fair that you have some clue about that, as I imagine you would feel your time here is not well spent if everyone is just plain done.


To George Norwell,

I also am very glad your experience at Throssel has been good for you and your spiritual development. I know and am fond of the monks who came to the US while I was at Shasta. I don't doubt that they did a great job. To say, "I was mistreated therefore everyone was mistreated and everyone must realize this and leave the OBC because they must be deluded if they don't" is as ludicrous as people inferring that since the OBC was a good experience for them, if someone had a bad experience it must be their fault on some level. (Polly seems to still be carrying that guilt, though I hope she is very soon able to leave that behind.) From your post, you do not seem to have that opinion, but believe me, I've experienced that opinion first hand, as have many on this site. If there is any of that at Throssel, I hope you all work to pull that out with the roots.

Again, thanks for your contribution. It is people like yourself that remind me of the good I experienced at Shasta.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:29 am

Hi Kaizan,

Thanks for your kind words. As to the "someone had a bad experience it most be their fault" attitude you are right I most definitely don't hold that opinion.

More on that another time.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:31 am

Polly,
That their intent was not good enough for you is no reason to be sorry (if you meant sorry as a type of apology), and Haryo was wrong to tell you that it should be good enough. That is for you and you alone to decide. You do not need to allow anyone to keep you a child. Somehow we are supposed to take limitless insults from monks of the OBC (for our personal edification of course), but we--as one person alone when we were still in the OBC--should be extremely careful of any criticism we make. We must speak about it only to those in authority in the most humble of manners, ready to hear it's really about us, and most importantly our criticism must not be public, for that would disturb the Sangha.

You are not alone in your experience. I came to realize that that grinding noise I heard when I put my constructive criticism in the suggestion box sounded uncannily like a shredder.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:50 am

TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE:

Seikai would like to know who on this site is interested in seeing the best of Rev. Kennett's legacy preserved. Feel free to post your opinion of this thread or send me a private message. I might not be able to answer all private messages, but I will note your opinion..
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:10 am

Kaizan, I think we would need to know first, what is the best of her legacy? I'm not being facetious, it's a genuine question. I would like to hear someone discuss that. (In a new thread maybe, to keep this one on point.)

Then the next question will be, are the OBC capable of preserving it --

L.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:55 am

Hi,

I'm one of the (probably many) lurkers on this site, having had a little bit of contact with the OBC at various points but some reservations regarding the particular religious culture they've created.

I should say, first off, that I've had only passing acquaintance with and never suffered any sort of mistreatment at the hands of an OBC representative. Those lay and ordained members that I have had some intereaction with (at the Edinburgh/Portobello Priory) have been sincere, kind and good-willed, though I don't in anyway mention this to detract from the shocking and distressing experiences I've read about on this forum.

I'd probably describe myself as a bit of a commitment-phobe, in religious/spiritial terms, and have always been a principally solitary practitioner, so I'm not particularly qualified to speak, but, I would like to see the OBC reform to embrace a broader engagement with the wider Soto Zen community and wider Buddhist community as a whole.

There seems to me a lot of value in the organisation as it is: commited monastics, sincere practitioners etc, and an order that seems to have avoided becoming overtly capitalistic, which so much of contemporary Buddhism seems to be affected by. But the almost exclusive focus of the OBC on its charismatic founder and her writings, I think has been unhealthy, although I understand why a fledgling order would wish to do so initially.

There's a larger Soto Zen tradition out there, including Chinese and Japanese ancestry and current day practices, writings, and scholarship, which the monks/laity should be encouraged to draw on. I think to open up in this way would encourage a healthy openmindedness and also help ensure that clergy (in particular) and laity have sources of teaching and translations to draw on which would also help identify and correct some of the idiosyncrasies which have arise.

I remember reading once on the Throssel website that when on retreat (though I'm not sure if this still stands) they preferred that only books/writings produced/approved of by the order should be brought. Not healthy in my view, intellectually, religiously or any other way.

Also, to my mind, the 'Anglicanised' character of the order's interpretation of liturgy and music, some of the terms used ('the eternal') are a mistake. Of course they're only words, concepts, but they're important nonetheless, and the conscious use/adoption of certain terms and styles of teaching shows in itself that they have an intention and meaning behind them, and an effect. Also, speaking personally, having moved away from Christian forms of religious worship and language, I'm not particularly inclined to seek a watered down version in my Buddhist practice...

Anyway, these points are trite and superficial (and probably way off topic) compared to the experiences which I've read here, and to the issues surrounding the pastoral work of the order and lay-monastic relationships, which obviously take priority. This has been a rather long-winded way of saying that I'd like to be included among those who would like to see the best of the legacy preserved - principally its dual commitment to lay and monastic practice - and a strong and open reconnection with the broader Soto tradition and contemporary practice communities.

Best wishes,

Stuart
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:56 am

Appologies for the typos....tried copying/pasting onto word to proofread my post, but to no avail...

Stu
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:44 am

Lise I like what you say.
To me it is The OBC is not oprepared to answer difficult questions, Tell us to iforget,thatkennett was Bodhodarma, Eko was Jesus, forget the bullying, pay little importance to the discrediting, forget Eko saying the Abott of Sojiji doid not have any understanding, and find the good bits. and concentrate on those .
By all means it may help a lot of people.
They sayit is moving on . But it smells like cover up to me
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:26 am

Stu wrote:
Hi,

Also, to my mind, the 'Anglicanised' character of the order's interpretation of liturgy and music, some of the terms used ('the eternal') are a mistake. Of course they're only words, concepts, but they're important nonetheless, and the conscious use/adoption of certain terms and styles of teaching shows in itself that they have an intention and meaning behind them, and an effect. Also, speaking personally, having moved away from Christian forms of religious worship and language, I'm not particularly inclined to seek a watered down version in my Buddhist practice...


Much of what you write is a summary of my thinking and experience. In particular, I also didn't want a Christianized, Anglicanized version of Buddhism. I was disappointed to find though, that the OBC even in that trivial detail did not have courage to change what Jiyu had done, even when it clearly alienated some.

At the Buddha's death, he released his followers from all the lesser monastic rules. But after his death, the monks couldn't decide on which ones were lesser or greater, so decided to keep them all. I laughed when I read that the first time, because it is so like us human beings to be unwilling to decide what is important and what is not when it comes to religious practice. So it is with the OBC. They have no confidence in their ability to distinguish between the wheat, chaff, and E-coli in Jiyu's teaching, and so in their fear, preserve each bit as though it were sacred.

There is another sutra, the Brahmayu (and also the Lakhana sutra in the Digha Nikaya), that comes to mind. It is about the 32 marks of a Great Man, which includes among other deformities, the male organ being enclosed in a sheath about the largeness of the tongue. According to the sutra, the Buddha didn't actually show his organ to confirm his greatness, but caused a convincing image of it to arise in the minds of those present. It is acknowledged by Buddhist scholars to be a clear indication of monks willing to bend Buddhism to a pervading cultural myth which attributed those characteristics to perfected Brahmans. It is an example of Buddhism, even in early times, being bent to the shape of a cultural mold. The OBC ritual -- the Buddhist carols -- the Anglicanized liturgy -- the Buddhist hymns are similar bending of Buddhism to a Jiyu's cultural eccentricity. What is both understandable (from a human point of view) and sad from a point of view of Truth is that the OBC cannot for whatever reason see or acknowledge Jiyu's cultural or psychological distortions embedded with some obvious Truth in some of her teaching..
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:44 am

Jack I do agree, the angicanising if that is the word of Zen Buddhism, I have problems with it, I did not know about the Buddhist carols. there seems to be a under current of wanting Zen to be Christian,in the early days we all looked like christian priests with dog collars. You have to remember the OBC was once the reformed Soto Sect. I mean, it is a bit of a statement. I am reforming this ancient religion because it is not quite right. The religious terminology becsme christiany, The lord the host the lord of the house.I suppose if the spirit is good and true, then who cares, but after however many years here we are a lot of us saying hang on this is not quite right.I do not know what happened in Japan, but Kennett seemed to have left at odds,she seemed to be at odds with the Buddhist societies, now she seems at odds with alot her own pupils (not sure what the word is sorry)One may argue that zen is not dependant on what one wears etc,there is though a big risk if one throws out the bath water one also throws out the baby
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:51 pm

Seikai
Thanks for your recent posts I think they are very illuminating and helpful but I think that they point up a fundamental flaw in some of our thinking. This is a forum of disparate people whose only connection is their interest in the OBC. It is not a cohesive group or even set of groups with a leadership(s), there are moderators (and some immoderators!) but they are not the 'leaders' of the forum, nor are they delegated spokespersons for the forum.

It is my view from reading the forum posts that:
around 75-76, maybe earlier, something went seriously awry with the OBC;
this was partly denied, partly hidden and, because of other organisational and personal defects, not dealt with properly;
over the years not dealing with this contamination has led to institutionally embedded faults.

A few years ago the London Police were accused of being 'institutionally racist'. They denied this saying that every organisation has a few bad eggs and that they would discipline those found wanting. It was not so, the courts found that the organisation was 'institutionally racist' and a wholesale inquiry and reform started. I think that a similar process is needed for the OBC, starting with laying bare the problems.
The Interim Board, whilst a start, does not as it is presently constituted address the OBC wide institutionalised problems. It needs to be widened both in scope and membership. The scope is simple, the whole of the OBC, institution wide, and addressing all concerns including those raised in this forum. The membership needs to be enlarged to include not only those from within the organisation but also representation from its critics. I believe we have number of forum members who could fulfil the latter roll; to my mind the most highly qualified is my old friend Josh Baran [Jcbaran]. A quick read through: http://barancommunications.com/Josh_Baran.html would show why I feel this. He would not be a comfortable choice as his postings here show but someone who is capable of working both with Bill Gates and the Dalai Larma is unlikely to be sidetracked or overawed. And I believe that any findings that the board made, if he were a member, would carry weight and authority. If he or some other critical member of this forum is not acceptable than I would suggest that Josh is well placed to find someone of stature who is independent, authoritative and acceptable to all. It goes without saying that the whole process should be transparent and the findings however difficult made public.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:26 pm

Hello Mstrathern
Thanks for your recent posts I think they are very illuminating and helpful but I think that they point up a fundamental flaw in some of our thinking. This is a forum of disparate people whose only connection is their interest in the OBC. It is not a cohesive group or even set of groups with a leadership(s), there are moderators (and some immoderators!) but they are not the 'leaders' of the forum, nor are they delegated spokespersons for the forum.


Everything beyond the first paragragh of your posting made sense, but just like in a
"Fish Called Wanda" .....I missed the middle part.

Perhaps you could say more about the relevance of this fundamental flaw?

What ever gets Shasta to open lines of communication to here, even though all we may share as a group is an interest in Shasta, is better than nothing. Even a feint is something. Nothing just points to the continued hunkering down in the storm. If it's that then don't hold your breath for a real outside agency's help, with or without the baren's assistance.

Would not having both go forward give the best and most immediate info?
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:13 pm

I think there is something that no one has brought up yet. I'm not sure how to formulate this, but I'll try. It seems to me if the OBC needs to change or reform, that they should seek spiritual guidance from another teacher and align with the other Zen schools. Jiyu is gone, but just because she is dead, doesn't mean that the current monastic sangha is through being led by another teacher. If you look at Jan Chozen Bays and Great Vow monastery, even though they have worked with many teachers, they still seek guidance from Shodo Harada Roshi.

Jiyu really blew it by isolating herself from the other schools. Some have said here that the OBC should open up their own personal practice to other communities. I agree wholeheartedly.

Why should WE be the ones to fix their problems? They should seek help from those that will help to legitimize them. They need to prove themselves to the greater sangha. They need to grow up and expand their view and practice. Who is leading? Haryo? Meian? Who is their teacher? It seems like a desperate situation. I think they should ask another teacher to help guide them and get them on the right track.

I have already agreed to help with Eko's "investigation." All I can do is offer my own experience up. But even if they investigated every single story and situation, it will not help them to grow and learn new ways of running a Zen Buddhist sect/organization. I do not see how they can possibly survive if they do not align with other Zen schools.

I used to ask Eko why the OBC insisted on isolating themselves from the greater Zen sangha. He always complained about the Soto-shu (spelling?) and how much Jiyu hated dealing with anybody or anything from Japan. And it is obvious that he felt he was much better than them (such arrogance). This is the attitude, which of course started with Jiyu, that needs to be dropped. Someone else posted about the OBC insistance on OBC-only publications. This is ridiculous. There is so much good teaching out there! I once brought a book to tea and was telling someone about it. Eko was mad at me for talking about it. He reminded me that "other" books, or books that were not approved or offered in the library, were not permitted. He hadn't read this particular book. It was Jan Chozen Bays' "Jizo Bodhisattva" book which I found very helpful at the time.

Peace,
Diana
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:18 pm

Sorry Howard I spent the last 15 years in Cranfield School of Management and the fundamental flaw is an organisational one so appeared pretty apparent to me. It is the mismatch between a disparate group of individuals, the forum, and the OBC a theoretically cohesive organisation. The OBC has no voice as such here. There are defenders of the OBC but the OBC cannot speak, or defend itself directly. But what we are saying is often about the OBC as a whole. It could appoint a representative to the forum, now there's a job from hell, but it cannot directly talk to us itself. On the other hand we can't directly communicate with OBC. Seikai's suggestion of writing goes some way but if the person addressed merely bins the letter(s) its hardly communicating with the OBC. Organisations exist and communicate through their structures and in this case the OBC does not have one to which we can address our concerns. However the Interim Board is constituted to address a few of our concerns but without any direct input from us. My thinking was to widen the scope of the board and its membership so that it did address our concerns, particularly as my diagnosis is of an organisational illness not just an occasional rogue individual. And increase its membership to have our views represented.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:41 pm

Lise wrote:


Go on, G, tell us what you did to get banned. Really terrible, yeah?


Pinched a nun's bum. eek








andofcourseimjustjokingthere
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:51 pm

Diana
Yes I agree totally. I had thought about suggesting a representative from Soto-shu for the interim board but I came to the conclusion that one difficult suggestion at a time was probably all that was digestable!
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:05 pm

George ,

i wrote you a long reply and somehow lost it , maybe just as well im assuming - so, this one i'll do briefly : i was part of the sangha you write about , i too was a lay minister , we've met .(nicky Loutit ) . and i do not share your good experiences, and i want that to be out too. I've left my teacher and the OBC . i feel duped ,disillusioned, and miserable that i ever was a part of it . Nicky.


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Robert
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:18 pm

In her post, Jimyo wrote,

However - and I sincerely hope you don't find it hurtful that I say this - this was one monk. It was not the whole of the OBC. I know others have similar stories, but we are still talking of a few monks, a few experiences, over 20, 30, 40 years.

What I've been objecting to is people deducing from these few stories that the whole of the OBC is somehow tainted. I don't perceive that as being either logical or correct.


I guess that leads me to ask myself why I see the harm done as emanating from the community of monks (however sincere or "kind" they may be individually) rather than as merely one individual monk. It's not just Daishin who was responsible for my situation at Throssel. All the monks who were there in Dec '06- Jan '07 know what happened both with Rev Wilber and my departure so soon afterwards. I heard enough arguments going on about it as I walked the cloisters to realise how widespread the dissent was. While many had great courage to speak out to me at the time (while Daishin was in Germany) not one of them has had the courage to respond since preferring to defer to their master and hide behind the hierarchy. Non-action through chosing to remain silent does not make the issues disappear, nor does it absolve responsibility. All it does is ensure that cycle of hurt continues right to the present day and is not consigned to the past few decades. It also means that all the monks are lumped together, rightly or wrongly, as being untrustworthy and colluding with something they know not to be true or right.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:02 pm

Robert,
I'm glad to see you're speaking openly. Without that views such as Jimyo's persists. The same themes spanning decades. It seems our voices together are causing at least some monks to reconsider long held views, whereas individually or just a few voices were easily dismissed as delusional and misguided. I'm sure your familiar with that message.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:56 pm

mstrathern wrote:
Sorry Howard I spent the last 15 years in Cranfield School of Management and the fundamental flaw is an organisational one so appeared pretty apparent to me. It is the mismatch between a disparate group of individuals, the forum, and the OBC a theoretically cohesive organisation. The OBC has no voice as such here. There are defenders of the OBC but the OBC cannot speak, or defend itself directly.

This is essentially the point I was wanting to make in my last post on Rev. Sekai's thread about a week ago.

There is also a wider question concerning 'organisational' issues that might not be so obvious but which is relevant to the discussion here. The traditional east Asian mechanism for reproducing of values and teachings across generations is takes place through the 'blood line' and 'transmission' and is based on a paradigm of human family relationships. The "Soto-shu" on the other hand is a late nineteenth century invention, an adaptation of a Western-style of organisation with objects, rules, constitution etc. Actually it was also set up in the 1880's to try and resolve wider problems that were occurring because of conflicts between teaching lines in Meiji Japan.

I think that this same tension between traditional personal master-disciple relationships and an organisational form of association underlies a lot of the issues revealed in these posts. Wildly simplified, is the underlying relationship one "How I relate to my kids" or "We run this college by these rules"?

This has been been exposed here in terms of the potential for abuse within the relationship between master and disciple. Of course in examining institutional reform based on other forms of association there is going to be the 'mirror' problem - what in future can be the basis of trust be on which the teachers themselves relate to those they teach?
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:43 pm

Robert and Kaizan,

I fully agree with both of you on the comments that you have made, springboarding from Jimyo's comments quoted above.

I firmly believe that a dysfunctional and sometimes extremely harmful dynamic has become institutionalized within the OBC--and precisely because it remains invisible to some if not many active members of the OBC, it is essential to continue drawing attention to it.

With that said, I would also like to say a few words in support of Jimyo.

Jimyo wrote:

"What I've been objecting to is people deducing from these few stories that the whole of the OBC is somehow tainted."

I have an additional interpretation to propose. My perception is that Jimyo is calling our attention to an extremely important principle (#3. below).

My personal viewpoint is that:

1. RMJK's personal trauma has become institutionalzed within the culture of Shasta Abbey and the OBC--as a moderately high level of trauma and dysfunction.

2. The OBC, as a collection of diverse individuals, as a culture, and as an organization, also has a high potential for healing and transforming this trauma and dysfunction.

I believe that this potential is made possible by--and is critically dependent on:

3. A high level of underlying integrity. I see this integrity in the best of RMJK's teaching, in the inherent integrity that we all have, and in the essence of the Transmission itself.

I think that without a simultaneous recognition of trauma-dysfunction and inherent integrity, healing and transformation become difficult if not impossible, whether individualy, collectively, or as an organization.

In some ways, I think that a trust in deep integrity is even more important for active members of the OBC. Unlike what we face as individuals, what they face as members of a religious organization, in looking sincerely at the overwhelming evidence of dysfunction, is the possibility that dysfunction is all there is! From this perspective, it is hardly surprizing to me that there is such a history of denial and reluctance to address these issues.

By trusting in underlying integrity, trauma-dysfunction can be faced without denial or minimization--which makes actual healing and transformation possible--which confirms underlying integrity!

So, thank you again Jimyo, for being you, and persevering with your perspective!
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:19 am

Kaizan
I missed your posting about preserving the best of Jiyu's teaching before putting up mine on talking to the OBC. I too would like to preserve what was good in Jiyu's teaching as I have said in other postings, but I don't think that it is a straightforward matter. Each one of us has a different view about what the best is I don't think that Seikai, me, you, Jimyo, Anne to mention just a few would agree about what the good in that heritage is. But in the end the decision will lie with the OBC and posterity, neither of which we have very good communication channels with! The OBC may be prepared to listen to us but we will have to find a method that will mesh with its methods or we will just be whistling in the wind as far as trying to influence it to address it's past. This was my point about the organisational form of the OBC. We cannot coerce after all this is one of the major complaints we have. Instead we have to find a suitable arena and present our views openly, persuasively and in manner that allows the OBC to take them on board and act on them This is why I made the suggestion about the Interim Board. Perhaps someone within the OBC heirarchy could reply or come up with another suggestion.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:57 am

Hi Nicky,
I've only just seen your posting and of course I remember you. I'm truly sorry that your experience has been so bad. Each of us can only draw on what we have personally known and my experience since 1987 has been very positive.

If I've had problems I've always felt able to discuss them with RM Daishin or other senior monks and have "frank discussions" where necessary. But then I'm an old trade-unionist and not particularly a respecter of rank and authority for its own sake.

My experience has been good, yours hasn't and it's so important that both are expressed.

I hope life treats you better in the future. Please take good care of yourself.

George
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:59 am

I have written to haryo and get no response, so there you go!
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:11 am

Kozan,
I agree completely with everything you said. I would just add that I think what you referred to as "cult like" dysfunction in the OBC is the mistaken underlying belief that to fully perceive, admit, and be accountable for mistakes made, is a threat to the underlying integrity. So all sorts of defense mechanism are brought to play in order to make those mistakes insignificant or non existent. The bigger the mistakes, the more denial and minimizing is needed, to the point that perceptions become quite warped. The cure for that is understanding that the underlying integrity is not diminshed by the mistakes; conversely, denying and minimizing the obvious does make the OBC appear like a cult.

Mark,
I agree completely with what you wrote also. I think the next step is to hear if the OBC is at all interested in an open conversation with those who would like to see the best of their legacy maintained. For me, if they stop the harm so amply recorded on this site and its underlying causes, I'd be happy for them to go on whatever path they choose. I hope someone else takes up the task of organizing how such communication would take place. It's not my area of expertise. Josh is the one with expertise, but I can't imagine that would be a warm a fuzzy conversation.
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PostSubject: Re: Making it known: Why are you separated from the OBC?   Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:18 pm

hi John / deweyboy --

Possibly you might hear from Haryo now, if he sees this. If your letter was sent some time ago he may need some details again. (Not trying to get you to post them here although you're welcome to. I hope that comes across right.)

Lise
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