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 Leaving Your Robes Behind.....

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H Enida



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PostSubject: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 08, 2014 12:45 pm

First topic message reminder :

            Something I found irrational when I was a monk in the Order was the fact that, if you decided to leave you could not take your robes with you.  You were ordained and you trained with a teacher through transmission and were then somewhat autonomous, but still had to seek ‘permission’ to make any major move and, if you ultimately left the Order, you were required to abandon your robes.  There are a few examples of monks who defied the Order and left with their robes anyway, but they were disparaged when I was there which reinforced the idea that if you wanted to keep your robes, you had to stay put and could only change locations if allowed to.  I asked my teacher once if I could move later on and he said not likely, I should expect to stay at Shasta for as long as I was a monk.

            I was explaining this to a monk from another tradition recently who said hogwash, once you are ordained you cannot be unordained and that kind of restriction on practice would seem to be a control issue.  Tibetans, Chan, Theravaden, even Soto Zen, which is supposedly the Order’s main model for practice, can’t take your robes away except for egregious breakages of rules or laws and, as has been show in recent scandals, sometimes not even then.  Why is it the Order has complete jurisdiction over each member’s robes and practice?  There are many things I could have endured had I known at one point I could start my own practice somewhere else after transmission.  To act more as a training monastery instead of a cloistered inescapable life sentence would bring the choice back to the individual trainee as to how their practice would develop.

            One of the most difficult things I personally experienced about leaving the monastery was that I was required to disrobe.  It felt like somehow I was turning my back on my own training because my robes were precious to me.  I have spent the last few years rehabilitating my understanding of what that means.  Today I trust that my life is my kesa, and where I find and how I sew each panel into it is my daily training. 
 
            On other threads here, folks have talked about the cult-like behaviors they experienced and how to recognize if you are in a cult.  One of the main signs suggests that a cult has “control over members’ activities and social connections.”  I would appreciate hearing about other’s experiences of disrobing and thoughts about how you were not given control of your ordination and later practice under the Order.
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 1:34 pm

The outer  robe was the koromo.
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 1:45 pm

It sounds like incredible extreme behavior brought on by very deep insecurity.Was she insecure about loosing the Empire she had built?
At schools here they have time out cards for pupils who find the going tough,they simply produce the card and go to a special 'chill out room'
There is a special school  nearby for kids who cant hack the normal schools, they are unofficially allowed outside for a cigarette,but these are enlightened acknowledgments by the schools that they do not have all the answers. Experience and wisdom start here with not knowing all the answers,that though is too difficult for a spiritual teacher who feels under pressure to know all the answers.
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Jcbaran



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 1:59 pm

oh, right... and the robe that we sometimes wore outside in the world had another name.

i just remembered one more part to this little tale.  After Kennett took the robe back, she made a big deal about returning it to its original state.  Had someone go to town to purchase the right black cotton,and then instructed the people in the sewing room to fix it, and she supervised the "restoration" of the holy black robe.  I think that's why my crime took some weeks to play out.  Likely she gave the robe to the senior monk who was in total favor at that moment, someone who was playing the adoration game perfectly - at least at that moment.  

Jimyo brought up how she did say NO a few times and got away with it without repercussions  - and asked didn't others do the same?  Well, actually I did stand up to Kennett, I did disagree, but there were always consequences and most people learned there NOT to do it.  It was too costly.  They saw how people were vilified or put in the dog house for weeks or even months, demoted, shamed in the zendo and so on.  Also, how many times were we all taught to shut up and bow.  That teaching of "all acceptance" was drilled into everyone constantly.  Is this an exaggeration?  Not from my experience. 

During the intense part of her lotus blossom chapter, I disagreed with her about something very minor and the next day Kennett revealed that the Lord of the House told her that in a past life, I had been an evil Pope.  Now, how do you argue with that? The Lord of the Universe reveals this great truth. Could I disagree with GOD who was speaking directly to Kennett?  All I did was nod and think, "Get me outta here."   And actually, there were a bunch of those kind of revelations - sometimes daily.  

And by the way, sometimes the crime was not disagreeing with her - it was that you didn't clearly and publicly demonstrate your total adoration quickly enough.  There might have been the slightest delay in your absolute obedience in some minor way. and i mean like a half second.  You didn't leap with your whole body and to saying YES or doing something.  You might have had a thought before you responded.  Also bad idea.  Don't think, just bow instantly, as quickly as possible.  Then you were the ideal disciple who would leap off the cliff if asked. 

And so when Kennett revealed the Lord had told her that I was an evil pope in a past incarnation, she then told all those around her to also ask the Lord to see if they go the same answer.  So everyone around her would go into "asking the Lord" mode - the senior monks sitting around Kennett would  bow their heads to one side and silently ask "the Lord" if it was true that Josh was an evil pope, waiting for a yes or no answer, like an 8 ball - and surprise, surprise, they would all say, "Yes, Roshi, we got the same Yes answer.  Josh was an evil pope."

Zen on the outside, but on the inside, what would you call this?  Theosophy meets crazy town might be an apt description.  But of course, take all this with a grain of salt... since it's coming from someone who was a really bad pope in the middle ages.  how could the lord of the house be wrong?
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 2:32 pm

Not sure if she would have got away with that if she was connected with Japan, or maybe that is why she felt the need to separate.
I am pretty sure  when Walter Nowick started in Maine he had support from Japan but when it turned sour they very quickly came in and said something
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 5:15 am

Hi Popie. (ex)

When your teacher says something comes from the "lord of the house" (or similar) and they are lying or psychotic, then prepare for some totally confused students getting no-where, or getting somewhere despite the teacher.

I see so much written about Genpo's affairs, but that isnt the thing he got 'wrong' as a spiritual guide. It is when he lied about his version of "lord of the house" to justify his manipulation that he becomes impossible to have as a teacher. 

Daishin Morgan seemed a good man, from the limited time i spent at Throssel, but when in sanzen he lied to me about "the lord of the house", and  told me to split up with my partner, then when I confronted his inane advice with some facts that sank his advice, he had to admit he didnt know what he was talking about, got flustered then immediately ended the sanzen (all 5 minutes of it), that was it for me. I walked and never went back.


Also, I have studied with one of the top past life experts, Roger Woolgar, and I can assure you being 'someone famous' in a past life really doesnt happen... just work out the odds. As for having Jesus, Boddhidarma and the pope in the same room... laughable.

Oh, and Kennett 'lost it' with Caroline, thats for sure. 

I've been with teachers losing it, and students coming up to me afterwards and asking me what the teaching was.... der.... hello mummy and daddy


Last edited by david. on Mon May 19, 2014 5:41 am; edited 2 times in total
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 5:25 am

And I have had teachers that were 'good' for me and I had mostly a great experience with, but then i have seen and heard what they did to others I've got the teaching, looked at myself and walked.

Jimyo and Stan, you have a positive view and experience with OBC and Kennett, but after just what Josh has just said, doesn't it make you ask yourself what you were choosing not to see? You were very much at the center of the OBC, so you must have known about all the obvious ridiculous rubbish like lay people are less than monks, that sex is a sin, that if you leave the order you are doing something wrong, that the head walla is to be obeyed at all costs, temper tantrums are 'teaching' etc etc. The more I hear the more it seems to stink.


Last edited by david. on Mon May 19, 2014 7:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 5:40 am

And as for Kennet asking the other teachers to confirm Josh's popedom and them all 'going deep in' then agreeing with her, oh dear. It just reveals how shallow their spiritual attainment is, and how mummy attached they still are...

Doesnt take much group pressure to lie does it people? Hello mummy and daddy...

I stood up to a teacher who threatened to put me in hospital and was capable of it. I have stood by women who have been abused, when the abuser has been alive and capable of killing me. I'm no saint. Therapists and others all over the world are doing this daily.

If I had been at Shasta and Josh had told me what he has just said, I would have raised a stink. 

All this is just like all the zen teachers in USA knowing about Shimano for 40 years and publically supporting him. Then after the New York Times article they all stand up 'bravely'.. I have been banned on this site from using the word cowards so I shan't.

Non of those 'masters' under Kennett had let go in any shape or form of being a child in a family with their mummy and daddy. If they had they wouldn't have lied 'en masse' to agree with 'mummy'. Any of us here who have had a permanent letting go of who we truly believe ourselves to be will know this.

And it still seems to go on at Shasta... at least til fairly recently...

Zen practice is revealing itself to be very very very flawed. Want to know in what way?
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 12:28 pm

Josh said:
At some point, Kennett saw me wearing it and said, "Isn't that the robe I gave you?"  I said, "Well, yes, the robe you sold me."  She became livid.  By altering the robe, I had desecrated it.  She had given me this holy robe and by cutting it down, I had profoundly disrespected her.  How dare I do this?   I recall I tried to defend myself.  always a bad idea in that situation.  I said again, "You sold this to me."  I seem to remember it took her weeks to get over my crime - and there was some Zendo talk where she didn't name me, but shamed me.  These kind of zendo talks were also so absurd.  Everyone knows who the "guilty" party is that is being verbally attacked, but the name is never said - and of course - you are facing the wall in silence.  Kennett never came to the zendo to meditate - never.  I think she also demanded that I give her back the robe.

Another example of excessive toxic behavior.  And I don't care that she firmly believed that she was teaching me something by her anger, by her practice of humiliating me and others.  Her anger was quite real.  It wasn't Zen.  It wasn't mirroring.  It was domination and control.  Kennett was an Enneagram Eight who was incapable of empathy and treated others as her toys and dolls.  And someone with literally zero self-awareness. 

Yes, it really was this way, and for those who weren’t there I would add that what Josh is describing was the norm.  Jiyu Kennett created a very manipulative world, both intentionally (her notion of teaching) and unintentionally (an expression of her unresolved and unrestrained internal conflicts).  Was she “mirroring” in some way or just acting out?  I feel this can’t be parsed beyond a certain point because we have to allow for our own imperfect perceptions.  The more important question for me is can Buddhist practice be done in such an environment?  The answer is yes because practice can be done everywhere including in Jiyu Kennett’s artificially created hell.  If you accept the premise in good faith then you can practice.  It’s all about choice.  The larger problem was the way in which choice was made more and more difficult over time.  It was one of JK’s pretenses that we were all choosing freely each day to follow her teaching, but of course to actually disagree with her you had to be willing to face her disapproval and the disapproval of the rest of the seniors in those little kangaroo courts she would hold.  For me it comes down to the fact that there were times when she really did help me and so when I bowed to her it was out of gratitude, at least in part.  Finally a time came when it was finished for me and that was that.  The things people were told or came to believe to keep them there, such as "if you leave you’ll lose your enlightenment”, or "after transmission you can’t go back”, etc, were all just lines in the sand.  I sometimes feel that my training in the monastery was all about growing the inner strength to eventually be able to step across that nonexistent boundary and back into my life.  Still it wasn’t easy to accept that I sometimes allowed myself to be humiliated out of fear.  It took time to get over that, but all of us who left have to cut ourselves some slack.  After all we did leave.  I believe there were others who wanted to but were too afraid.


Last edited by Isan on Mon May 19, 2014 2:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 2:10 pm

Hi David,

I`d like to answer something you said.

" Jimyo and Stan, you have a positive view and experience with OBC and Kennett, but after just what Josh has just said, doesn't it make you ask yourself what you were choosing not to see? You were very much at the center of the OBC, so you must have known about all the obvious ridiculous rubbish like lay people are less than monks, that sex is a sin, that if you leave the order you are doing something wrong, that the head walla is to be obeyed at all costs, temper tantrums are 'teaching' etc etc. "

Sorry David, that`s a mistaken view on your part and a gross oversimplification of the facts.
I don`t expect you to be following my every word on the forum so, I don`t expect you to be
particularly clear as to whether I am a blind follower of the OBC or not.   Amongst other times, I
said just recently.....
" I was regarded earlier on as a pro OBCer and I am......but only as regards the OBC`s good points.
Same with the Forum.  it`s the best and worst of both worlds but frankly, who cares ? "

Sometimes I make posts about some views held by anti OBCers and sometimes I criticise what I
think is wrong about the OBC.  and vice versa.  I try to hold a balanced view because I see the
pluses and minuses in both sides.  It`s not an `either or` ...it`s more of an `also and` standpoint.

My "positive view" of the OBC is certainly not one sided.  If you read my posts, I think you would
see that.  I hope so, anyway.

It`s not true that I was at " very much at the centre of the OBC".  It`s not like that.  The very
centre of the OBC was Jiyu and her closest cohorts of seniors and the way the administration was
run.  It was run in many ways like a passenger liner.  The junior monks had almost no access to
Jiyu in person.  It would take a long time to get a personal interview/sanzen with her...if at all.

When I got to Shasta, the `Lotus blossom` phase had all but disappeared.  I didn`t " choose not
to see"  a teaching that "lay people are less than monks".  I saw a teaching that if one is going for
Liberation, then the monastic life is more helpful than life in the world.  sure, you can do a home
study course on being a brain surgeon but, university is far more beneficial.

I didn`t "choose not to see" that"sex is a sin".  I recall jiyu saying a few times that for married
people it`s natural and inevitable.  A few people got quite worked up about the sex thing and even
asked her how many orgasms is the right amount per week !  I thought it was highly amusing but I
was curious as to what she would say, of course.

I didn`t "choose not to see" that "if i left the order, I was doing something wrong ."   When I told
Jiyu that I was going to leave and for me the teaching just doesn`t work and isn`t going to, I
didn`t get the third degree.  Even Eko reassured me and said I shouldn`t worry about it. It doesn`t
reflect badly on me.

All of the past life emphasis had pretty much been put to one side...any irony there for you ?

I had no way of knowing how Jiyu had treated Josh.  It was in the past and not general knowledge
amongst the monks, to the best of my knowledge.
So really David, I cannot but, have two views on the whole OBC problem and, problem it is.  Not for
me though.  I left long ago.  I didn`t feel hurt then and I don`t feel hurt now.  I do care for the
folks on both sides of the fence though and I benefit from coming here.

Your judgement that I was choosing not to see all the wrongs of the OBC are just that. Your own
judgment and projection.

When I first heard of Josh`s story of the three coins, I found it pretty disturbing.  I know that if I
was in his place at the time, I would have momentarily doubted my sanity...is it me or is it her ?
I know I would have felt a claustrophobic pressure rising as the inevitable understanding arose.
I was being manipulated !  I would have wanted to extricate myself from that room as fast as
possible and head for the hills asap.  I thought, no wonder Josh has got such an aversion to the
OBC. The teaching would have been killed stone dead.....if it hadn`t been long ago.

On hearing about Josh`s pope story  ( sorry to keep talking over you Josh ), I was incredulous.
I don`t mean that I thought that Josh was making it up but, the whole issue of a false teaching
just flipped from the sublime to the ridiculous !  It was bizarre, as if one had entered a parallel
universe.  I almost expected him to continue saying that the other seniors would have been told
to make him a pope hat and wear it....standing in a corner !  I`m still working on trying to get rid
of an imaginary popes hat on Josh`s foto....crazy stuff.  sorry Josh  :-)

Yes, I do agree that I did gain a lot of benefit with my time with the OBC...and I will always be
grateful for that.  That`s because I went to the monastery to train myself and that is what I did.
I took what was good and that included a lot of help and good teaching from Jiyu, the seniors
and the rest of the community of monks.  They all came as regular guys with the best intentions.
What I took away is my own and no one is able to take that from me. the false cannot negate
what truth I did find.

Of course it`s true that Jiyu had her problems and for god knows how long, she veered way off
the path.  Her teaching that was true, was finely woven,weft for weft, with delusion.  We all got
varying degrees and proportions of truth and delusion in `her` teaching.  It`s the `her` part that
was the trouble....it`s incorrect to say that there was no true Buddhist teaching there at all.

It seems to me that we`re all trying to unpick that OBC experience weft by weft...trying to see
what is true and untrue for each one of us .  I don`t think we`ll ever a agree on a universal
answer that works for everybody.

" If I had been at Shasta and Josh had told me what he has just said, I would have raised a stink."

Would you ?
There was a time when I was there and I didn`t notice any people that were`nt intelligent and
pretty much on the ball.  It`s easy to say what you would have done with the benefit of 40 years
worth of perspective on your life.  There was obviously a build up of screwed up teaching before
Josh managed to get clear on what was happening and organise a getaway.  It takes time.
You yourself said that you know you are Awareness....which is great in my book.  but you also
pointed out that you still have plenty of screw ups in your life.  Not much different to Jiyu and
everybody else in that respect !

As I mentioned,
the teaching and Ignorance were tightly woven and everyone felt invested in making their training
work for them.  In one particular way, Jiyu made the choice very stark for Josh.  Some of that so
called teaching was so skewed, that it made it almost impossible to stay.
You may have noticed that I AND Jimyo left.  If everything was perfect there, why would anyone
want to leave.  Some people are suited for monastic life but, there isn`t many of them.  That`s
only normal at the best of times.

If you could choose to ease up a bit on the " what were you choosing not to see ?" stuff,  I`d
appreciate it.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 3:15 pm

Stan Giko wrote:
It`s not true that I was at " very much at the centre of the OBC".  It`s not like that.  The very
centre of the OBC was Jiyu and her closest cohorts of seniors and the way the administration was
run.  It was run in many ways like a passenger liner.  The junior monks had almost no access to
Jiyu in person.  It would take a long time to get a personal interview/sanzen with her...if at all.
 
Stan, this is an important point and one of the reasons why the stories vary so much about what went on.  At a certain point junior monks had virtually no access to Jiyu Kennett and transmitted monks not much more.  It was only the circle of seniors that interacted with her on a daily basis and they were also the ones who she taught more directly (note the reference to "hell" in my previous post).  The jiishas (personal assistants) in particular felt the full force of her personality.  Even though I was one of the most senior monks in the early 80s I never aspired to be a jiisha.  I saw how she put them through the fire and I was not willing to sign on for that.  I believe that Josh was a jiisha at some point and so it's not surprising that he would have more extreme examples of the "black is white" teaching that Jiyu Kennett engaged in.  This is something all of the seniors experienced though, so I know exactly what he is talking about.
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 5:26 pm

Hi Stan,

Thanks for such a long and robust reply. It feels very useful to hear your experience.

I was at Throssel Hole, a nicer place than Shasta, and only as a lay person one month a year for 4 years from 1979 to 1984. Yet I saw enough to leave and never come back. Daishin Morgan seemed a nice sincere person. I discovered Kennett's weird attitude to sex through her books and what she wrote in the small obc magazines they had lying around with articles by various teachers in. It was also very clear that seniors knew 'better' than juniors and the Abbott was in sole charge and the single authority spiritually. I became aware that lay people were seen as inferior because Daishin said so in the last part of the 10 minutes in total 1-on-1 time i had with him in 5 years. 

Stan said:
"" If I had been at Shasta and Josh had told me what he has just said, I would have raised a stink."

Would you ?
There was a time when I was there and I didn`t notice any people that were`nt intelligent and
pretty much on the ball.  It`s easy to say what you would have done with the benefit of 40 years
worth of perspective on your life."

Actually, I raised a stink with my dad age 14, walked out on Throssel age 24, and in my late 20's did not stay quiet with scarier people than Shasta had. And as I have said, I supportd others in situations where i have had implicit and explicit threats on my life. I slept with a baseball bat next to my bed for a year.

So yes I have walked that walk for 30 years. And as I have said I am no saint.

Stan said:
"but you also
pointed out that you still have plenty of screw ups in your life.  Not much different to Jiyu and
everybody else in that respect !"

I am the same as Jiyu Kennett in being caught in my childhood and in what I remember as past lives, and in acting out on myself and on the people around me. I think you are the same as us.

I am different from Jiyu in that i own up to my failings as best i can, have never said I was a spiritual teacher, have tried not to dominate people (i hope), have owned up to myself and others as best I can for my failings, and tried my best to use kindness, caring, listening and gentleness in my relationships. I have also tried to learn from others who seem to know more than me. I hope you are different to her too. 

I hear you saying that you saw not much untoward at Shasta. I also am also suspicious of Jiyu Kennett being able to hide how she was with Josh, Isan and others, because the Kennett leopard did not change its spots. We know this because of the Eko Little revelations, which reveal the Kennett culture at Shasta to be alive and kicking.

I am asking you and Jimyo if you have asked yourselves if you were choosing not to see. I was asking you this partly because I have not seen what teachers are up to for sometimes years, but when i do see, I always have asked myself that question. And the answers for me have been useful, as they point to my relationship with my parents.

I think that when the sort of things that Isan, Josh and others are describing are happening, other members of the community are very likely to know subconsciously. But because of their own family dynamics growing up, they will "choose" not to see. Maybe Jimyo doesnt remember the severe Caroline incident for that reason (assuming she was there). I am asking, not telling.

Stan said:
"There was a time when I was there and I didn`t notice any people that were`nt intelligent and
pretty much on the ball"

I hear that. And I hear Josh saying how all the seniors lied about their "lord of the house" to agree with Kennett lying about her "lord of the house" to paint Josh as an Evil Pope for altering a robe he had bought off her. There are serious evidence here that "on the ball" is not how any of these people were at all. Emotional children is closer to what the evidence says they are.

Hi Isan. 

Thank you for being so clear about your experience, and saying Jiyu's psychotic or just plain nasty actions with Josh were the norm. I have to say I am still shocked when any of you say these things. I think specific incidents described as Josh has are very powerful and useful in finding the truth.

As a therapist, creating a hell for someone to learn in is a horrific concept. In fact Judith Herman says catagorically that no healing can occur until one is away from the hell. 

Also, generalising about events is a way of distancing ourselves from our feelings about what specifically happened. In therapy the road to healing is to move from the general to the specific events, so that we can face our feelings in a caring environment. In my experience the truth can be revealed when the specific event is relived emotionally.

For me there are lots of "right" stories of what went on.
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 6:13 pm

In examining the larger meaning of these reports and the discussions we have had in response over the past few years on this site some observations come to mind for me. In the West in recent history we have had a hunger for spiritual experience of unitive consciousness. In the course of my lifetime of sixty five plus years, I lived that hunger when I found Western religion in its then conventional forms of my youth as being unable to provide the teaching and practice that could lead me to unitive consciousness. In that search I and many of my peers of the 60s and 70s were led to Zen Buddhism and various other forms of  Eastern expressions of spiritual practice with its guru/zen master authoritarian model of transmission and teaching. We also bought hook, line, and sinker into the false notion that the unitive insights that this first generation of teachers/gurus made claim to would necessarily also involve a healed and whole psyche and character, which proved not to be true. The result has been a whole litany of experiences and stories of sexual and psychological abuse inflicted by these same gurus who made claims to be the carriers of a "superior" wisdom and freedom that was not accountable to community standards of humane ethics of respect for personal boundaries, kindness and care for those who presented themselves as students. Now being on the elder side of life the kind of Buddhism, (or any tradition I encounter) I have come to respect and find common ground with, is one that proclaims that its highest measure of "enlightenment" is kindness, and that there can be no separation of ends and means in the treatment of others, and  no claim to special entitlements, authority,  or deference for those spiritual leaders and elders who may have been faithful to a life of growth in compassionate insight and commitment and can be looked to for teaching and contemplative service to others.
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 7:44 pm

I would like to add a small measure of support to what Josh and Isan are reporting regarding the reality of abuse from JK. In Dec. 1971 I made a visit and short personal retreat to SA. It was the early days and lay people stayed in the main house with the small group of monks. I bunked in the same room with Isan and Keitetsu Norton. In those days lay people had a fair amount of contact with JK and monks while they were on retreat. I had tea time, and watched TV with JK and the monks, including meals. There were two incidents which I found particularly disturbing. One involved Josh (Jitsudo) who was then guest master. What I remember is JK giving a general berating of Josh in front of the other monks, of which the main focus was ridicule and humiliation about some particular personal quality of his which was seen to be prideful or problematic. A  joke is one thing, but deliberately inciting ridicule of Josh by others in a vicious way that I saw as an attack on his personal dignity was beyond the pale. The other incident took place in a hallway of the main house, and involved an instantaneous and rageful  attack on Isan, for reasons I didn't quite get, but in full view of others in the community, and myself a guest. The level of rage was at sufficient volume (screaming) to be quite upsetting to me and others present, and was much beyond any kind of disciplinary correction, but designed to diminish and humiliate Isan in front of his peers. I left my retreat disturbed about these things and wondering if I would ever return to SA or to Zen. I tried to dismiss these incidents as some kind of "Zen" thing that I should't get worried about. In the end I didn't have the self confidence, the education, or the life experience to confront this conflict either in myself or address it in the sangha, and I focused instead on the Zazen sitting. After years as a therapist, by the time I had split with the OBC I saw it for what it was. It was about punishment and control through humiliation and intimidation. My conviction today is that there is never any room for abuse in a teacher student relationship. It must be based on a mutually respectful sense of personal safety and trust to be growthful and of value.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 19, 2014 10:58 pm

Hey Bill, Kennett's explosions were a common occurrence with pretty much everyone, not every day, for frequently and they increased in severity over time.  I really don't think I was in any way singled out.  and certainly most of those incidents have dissolved from memory, but residues certainly exist.  Frankly, i think that things got worse not only because of her lotus blossom breakdown, but also because I think she ran out of things to teach or share.  After five years or so, it was repeating herself a lot, didn't know what to do in terms of training.  After all, her formal training had only been five years really, so that's what she knew.  I think she was truly stuck, confused and depressed, but had no tools to acknowledge these feelings, was trapped in her zen master bubble and in her need for adoration, so had no exit - at least that's what it probably seemed from the inside. 

I forget precisely when it was that we took a vacation of sorts to Southern California and Kennett started wearing Mumus - these Hawaiian beach wear and wigs - and I was watching her and thinking - what a sad trapped woman she was.  She would occasionally blurt out short statements about not knowing what to do, not wanting to be a teacher anymore, express some other doubts, but quickly pretend she hadn't said them.  I did not take notes, so much of that period has faded from my brain, but I remember feeling so sad for her.  But believe me, if I had addressed this or said something or offered basic human comfort, it would have been a whirlwind of recrimination.  I also did not have the emotional tools for basic sane communication - having suppressed them for those many years.  None of us knew how to have a simple basic conversation where feelings are shared and we are vulnerable and open and caring.  That was all abandoned, seen as weakness or ego.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 20, 2014 12:49 am

Josh, well, that's a sad, lonely picture you're painting. Naturally I knew nothing about her personal life. I just recalled observing those two incidents which made an impression on me. Anyone can be trapped in the bubble, or role they create, but growth means finding a way to relinquish it and break out. i never did understand the drift towards greater seclusion and isolation, however. That seemed to be unhealthy for her and for her students as well. The lesson of this for me as I age, is that I am only too human, and remain so to the end. Best to fully accept our humanity and enjoy the sweetness it may bring and the pain as well.  We all have a need to give and receive love and to share our life with one another. Why not embrace it and live it fully? In early days I worried that Zen training was about denying one's humanity, and, while as a young man, I might have been taken by the delusion that I might find a way to escape vulnerability, soon enough I found that to be a dead end. Quite the opposite, my vulnerability was the way in to the depths of the heart, and the source of the spiritual life.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 20, 2014 3:04 am

Josh,

" Frankly, i think that things got worse not only because of her lotus blossom breakdown, but also because I think she ran out of things to teach or share.  After five years or so, it was repeating herself a lot, didn't know what to do in terms of training. "

I couldn`t agree more.  I think she should have taken time out for a good five years at least during
her Lotus Blossom period.  For me though, what you said about her running out of teaching is what
finished it for me.  I thought it narrow, incomplete and a dead end in it`s trajectory.  I didn`t see
how it was ever going to achieve liberation for the trainee. It seemed to be a treadmill of `jam
tomorrow` methodology enforced by blinkered discipline and pie in the sky spiritual wishful thinking.
A kind of spiritual porno really.  I think that apart from her own unresolved problems, the other
major problem was in inheriting that oddball Japanese approach to zen.  She never queried it and
swallowed a load of Ignorance together with what real teaching was available.

For example, that teaching of `going, going, going on beyond` was deliberately altered from the
`gone, gone, gone beyond..` as seen in all of the other schools.  I know that Koho Zenji passed
this one on.  It`s not seen as `going` in the other schools.  neither did the Buddha say so.
The `forever going` keeps one tied to a future goal permanently and in doing so, keeps the
teachers in business.  whether that`s an intended result or not.  

The Buddha said, " My teaching is like a raft used to cross the river. only a fool would carry the
raft around after he had reached the other shore of liberation ".  Why was this changed ?
Where is the teaching on what Duality really is, unfolded ?  I`ve still not heard a plausible
definition of what Enlightenment is supposed to be from anyone in her school and that`s supposed
to be the big goal !  nothing new there I suppose...I find most of current Buddhism to be pie in the
sky. 

I am curious though, where she got her tangled mixture of teaching ideas from. Could I ask you,
as you were close to her, did she do much reading on spirituality/buddhism ?  It all seems rather
odd especially as we were not allowed...certainly initially...to read other schools of thought ?
Her teachings are so contradictory.

Maybe I personally just got lucky there. I was a lowly grunt at the periphery of the organisation.
I only stayed six months in Shasta before I gave up on it and was not witness to a lot of abuse.
The limited teaching was enough for me though.  I`m glad I missed out on the bizarre stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 20, 2014 3:13 am

Well Bill and Josh that is quite a picture painted.
I think when Bill said..practice that could lead me to unitive consciousness, my feelings were this was never really talked of by JK , it is perhaps a little difficult to talk about it as it may be counter productive by giving extra concepts, but it is really the heart of zen. Ikko Roshi would give very short talks always from his sitting zazen  when in a state of deep zazen,which opened up ones awareness and was inspirational,so it is possible to convey the path through words that does not hinder. Personally I think this is a sign of a good teacher, one who can express in words the deeper levels of zazen.
Pointing out what is wrong with someone actually tends to lead to self obsession, Zen without real direction but lots of discipline is basically a bit stupid. The physical,mental and spiritual well being of everyone within a temple is the foremost responsibility of the Abbott and everybody else. I am not sure but these temper flashes and belittleing seem signs of trying to do something other than be whole in the present moment,
Josh ends with..... None of us knew how to have a simple basic conversation where feelings are shared and we are vulnerable and open and caring.  That was all abandoned, seen as weakness or ego.

This is sadly my memory of how things developed as well
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 26, 2014 8:10 pm

Hello all,

I wanted to let you know, that the answer to my request to have the kesa I made by hand returned to me was denied by the Head of the Order, because "for us the monks' kesa is to be worn by one leading a monastic life."  Sadly, apparently, they now distinguish between "us" and me.

There are many people associated with the Order who have been given, or allowed to keep their, kesas, including many lay people who have even been given brown kesas (not black ones) who are not leading or have never lead monastic lives - so this is completely arbitrary.  Therefore, the authority of the Head of the Order is available, just not for my benefit.

My five-year-old granddaughter Jade met RM Haryo a few times, over chips and soda - she appreciated his sweet manner and kindness to her.  I explained to her yesterday that he had something of mine that was very, very important to me, that I loved more than any one thing.  And, I asked her, what should I say to him so that he might give it back to me?  She answered so sincerely and innocently, "Tell him it is really special to my heart and may I please have it back, and the Buddha says please care about me or you will have a time out."  She also advised me to never quit asking......
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 26, 2014 10:37 pm

Did you buy the material Enida? or were you given it? maybe legally it is yours.
I very clearly remember Eko telling me in in  1971 or 72  a story about when he was walking somewhere in San Francisco and someone came up to him an yanked on his raksu and said'what;s this,Eko yanked it back and loudly said 'It's mine'
It is true to say that at some point our practice and relationship with JK meant something to all of us,It is also unfortunate that I for one was not allowed to leave in the right way with mutual dignity and respect. I believe if one leaves in the right way then we sort of dont leave , the circumstances change.
It is sad you can not be reunited with your kesa
There are things from your practice which very clearly no one can take from you,I personally think these are the important things
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 27, 2014 12:10 am

I believe that in creating an exclusivist institutional monastic order, the OBC created something that is alien to Soto Zen and the meaning of practice and enlightenment in the Soto tradition. They created a club, and the uniform is the sign of ownership of those who joined and are official members in the club. They created a seminary where no one ever graduates, a place of training where no one ever leaves with honor and blessing. Nothing could be further from the teachings of the Buddha where we are each invited to become a light unto ourselves and bring forth that light into the world. In that place of freedom realized the raft that brings us across the river and the externals are discarded.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 27, 2014 2:01 am

So true
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 27, 2014 3:55 am

Hi Josh, thank you for sharing. People not being able to talk with each other in a caring open way, and treated as 'weakness or ego' would for me make any kind of opening to my emotions impossible, which would have thwarted any spiritual progress. Kindness and warmth are so core to me seeing where I hold. As you and Bill said, it sounds very sad.

I am thinking more and more that Jiyu isnt the only person to take on the mantle of 'Buddhist teacher' and have done little or no real work on their emotional world. I am thinking that in Zen practice this is being revealed to be the norm and a huge basic fault in the whole zen way of practice, which for me is also very sad.

Hi Enida. I like what your daughter said. Young children are still in touch with love, kindness and our hearts being listened to being the most important thing there is. It seems that Meian is making the rules more important than the heart. I know that the kesa isnt that important as a piece of cloth and in letting go of materialism, and at the same time for you it represents the heart of your practice at OBC and in not letting you have it, Meian is for you devaluing and demeaning your years of practice at the monastry as worth less than that of a 'monk'. In taking it away totally it may even feel like she is taking the value of your years of practice away. Does that sound right?


For me it took years of confusion and doubt before I reconciled in any way Daishin refusing to even talk about my first big opening because I wasn't a monk..
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 27, 2014 4:39 am

So what comes first.....Form or Substance ?

Where`s the generosity of heart and freedom of spirit in refusing this simple request ?

Haryo must know what the Kesa means to you Enida...what possible harm to the monastery or
you, could be caused by agreeing to your request ?  What`s the teaching here...you`re either
with us or against us ?

What a petty immature attitude is displayed here.  It`s the attitude of a petulant fearful child.
So unnecessary .  It just causes more hurt and does nothing to protect monasticism.  Just the
opposite.  The monastery is not higher than the truth.  How condescending this all is.
Well done for asking for your Kesa back Enida.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 27, 2014 12:15 pm

David wrote:

Young children are still in touch with love, kindness and our hearts being listened to being the most important thing there is.

In this case even a little girl of five can be a teacher of Buddhism . . .
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 28, 2014 4:05 am

This vignette about those robes being bought by jcbaran has been puzzling me (does that make it a koan). In offering the robes for sale maybe there was an opportunity to say that robes aren't a commodity of that sort, but in this case, the transaction having occurred they became so.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 28, 2014 9:27 am

I think I know what you mean Sianabelle,I will add to the koan by saying the robes I have been given are an incredible inspiration to me and point to a life lived from my heart. Of course I dont make it many many times, it is a wonderful thing to be given.

The Marketplace
Selling the Dharma
Two fat pigs
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 28, 2014 8:46 pm

I wish Kennett had given Josh his money back. That would have helped this story be a little less bad . . . maybe.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 28, 2014 11:39 pm

Gosh Lise, it seems to be a recurring theme,with people who are looked at as teachers, the inability to accept their humanity and that they make mistakes,they put themselves in a position that they can do as they please.
Surly real Buddhism starts and continues with our humanity.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 3:06 am

It seems a great pity but with the system of 'favourites' and in groups and out groups Jiyu had already commoditised the dharma, so why not the tools of the trade as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 3:45 am

Because then there is no practice and enlightenment
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 11:31 am

Yes, I can understand people getting to a point where they do as they please when there is no one to keep them in check. I am interested in the process of what happens to teachers (professors, executives, judges, people in power roles) as they lose touch with basic behavioural norms they must have grown up with. In this case for example, if you take money in exchange for some item, you don't just keep the money when you demand the item's return. How do basic norms of polite/decent behaviour get overwritten so easily? Do people even notice when they are losing their sense of fair play, as the power of their position grows?

Dharma as a commodity. Ugh.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 12:12 pm

There may be many issues, Issue number 36 clearly states:

The important person may not have really experienced the depth of their heart,after many years they may still have the same sense of self,the same converations with themselves,and maybe a little more self obsession, they may be calmer and quieter,but may also not be able to relate with normal people and normal situations. The illusion of being above other people and everything they do being a teaching, really shows incredible lack of depth and personal integrity.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 1:10 pm

just jumping back to this little robe tale.... OK, imagine if I had said to Kennett, "here's the robe, now give me back the money."  How would she have responded?
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 1:15 pm

Oh, my, "Issue 36". Really brings up a pretty good giggle, Michael. Great satirical humor. I just have to wonder if the uniforms and ranks don't actually feed into "Issue 36". Maybe people with serious intention of giving themselves to the "Way" should just  blend in with the rest of us plain folk, and live life on life's terms, rather than hide behind robes and ranks and all the layer of identity and defenses it supports. The warp and weft, and the grit of relationships as we learn to give ourselves to love ever more deeply and expansively are the raw material of unitive transformation in this life in my view.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 3:40 pm

Josh,sadly I never did pass on to you the secret teaching I received in a small temple near Kyoto,
It may answer your question posed above.
It translates as the secret teaching of the four options,there are of course special wood carvings to  go with each option, which are delicately caved by hand,out of imported Iroko wood. When I was privately allowed to study the carvings  I must confess to taking latex castes with the intention of using my Chinese contacts  from Fujian province to make copies to flood the western coast of USA and retire to the Maldives with a mild mannered Poynesian wife.
Option 1 Throw the question back with a curt 'You fool! Are you expecting to buy enlightenment?' 
Option 2 Remain silent with a divine transcendental look on face.
Option 3 The guilt trip, 'I saved 3 children's lives by donating all the money to the orphanage,you surely don't want a refund do you'
Option 4 'I had great plans for you, you were going places going to b special,represent me be my heir,but I am surprised you did not get the teaching everybody else did,you need a break  take a breather with the goats for a month it will do you good'
By the way wanna improve the artwork in the manhatten roof loft I got some nice Chinese 12th century meaningful carvings for 50 bucks to you
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 3:56 pm

you forgot some of the other even more secret options:

I could have taken off all my clothes expressing the naked unvarnished buddha mind and body
I could have lit the robe on fire expressing the relative truth that all things are on fire
I could have shouted - the robe covers the whole universe and is worth the weight of Mount Sumeru in gold
I could have said, "How this pettiness working out for you?"
I could have said, "This may be your circus, but I ain't your monkey."
I could have said - "I dare you - take it from me if you can" .... and then we would have seen all the hijinks and fun Zen shenanigans ensue as Kennett mobilized all her devotees in a crisis mode to GET THAT ROBE BACK (oh yes, that's skillful teaching... of some sort --- teaching everyone to blindly follow... great lessons)
Oh, the good old days....the golden age of zen in america........good times.......
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 4:07 pm

Further comment on the question of robes and ranks. Doug Daizui MacPhillamay told me once that his spiritual journey started when he decided to test the hypyothesis "Does love exist?". Now that seems like a pretty good koan to get going spiritually. In 1980 when Doug dropped everything and drove from Shasta to Dorhenbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon when my young son, Carlo, was dying from Leukema to be with us, when he sat in meditation with my wife and I in the crematorium at the moment of the cremation of my son's body,  that was a fully embodied answer to the koan question.  

However, when Doug informed me he was cutting off all contact with me in 1987 because of the "apostasy" of resigning my lay minister role with the OBC and attending the heretical Dharma Rain Zen Center (because clearly that was what JK had ordered him to do), then clearly his robes and rank, and hers, were an utter impediment to the Way of love and his search to embody a response to the koan through his life and practice.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 4:51 pm

I am very much in favor of temple practice all together ,same thing every day,constant mindfulness.
But as helpful and relevant as that can be,.... on your own, no props, normal life, the impermanence of living,is the real koan, what is the practice outside a confined religious environment?standing on one own feet, saying yes to this no to that,finding direction,heart, spirituality when one does not have to,daily life is the real testing ground to any koan. By cutting ties with an old friend is really cutting oneself off,that for me is a complete misunderstanding of zazen and zen practice
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 5:02 pm

josh wrote:
just jumping back to this little robe tale.... OK, imagine if I had said to Kennett, "here's the robe, now give me back the money."  How would she have responded?

Aah....I think I feel something akin to Hell freezing over!
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 6:41 pm

100 dollar coins...each one neatly wrapped...
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 7:04 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
Istanding on one own feet, saying yes to this no to that,finding direction,heart, spirituality when one does not have to,daily life is the real testing ground to any koan. By cutting ties with an old friend is really cutting oneself off,that for me is a complete misunderstanding of zazen and zen practice

Michael, herein is the failure, sadly. It is  in a way irrelevant that I had been a personal friend of Daizui. The person that I knew and had loved and respected, lived from the heart, in his personal and professional life. That person would never have turned away from the precious source of his life and capitulated to a demand that he shun anyone, whether it be a member of the sangha, or a psychotherapy client, or a stranger on the street. That is the sad part. He hurt himself much more than he hurt me. In my own case I did learn even more to stand on my own two feet and Daizui proved unable to do that, unable to withstand the inevitable rejection and expulsion that would have happened to him had he resisted JK's demand. Zazen taught me to not seek ultimate validation from external persons or conditions, but to anchor it in my own heart. For that I am grateful. It was disappointing that a person who had been a mentor to me revealed himself to be so dependent for validation in an autocratic religious figure and his role as a disciple of her, that he was willing to renounce and relinquish validation and grounding in what is truest and most real within himself, and the spiritual training and practice that should have led him to that truth. Which leads  me to question, is this where robes and ranks lead?
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 9:09 pm

Nicely said Bill.
 I have a calligraphy that says 'No robes no rank' which thoughtfully points the way
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 9:57 pm

I wanted to jump back to Enida's post where she wrote:


Quote :
"I wanted to let you know, that the answer to my request to have the kesa I made by hand returned to me was denied by the Head of the Order, because "for us the monks' kesa is to be worn by one leading a monastic life."  Sadly, apparently, they now distinguish between "us" and me."

I think the key word here is "monastic" - that's their refuge and world.  More important than dharma or kindness or compassion.  They relate to other monastics and celibacy - that's their world and comfort zone and field.  

More and more in the west - and in Buddhism worldwide - the whole "monastic" framework is fading out - in favor a much more inclusive way of relating to each other. Especially now.   And OBC/Shasta is stuck in this old hole that Kennett transmitted to them - and when challenged or when they feel threatened, they just keep digging harder and faster.  And yes, making it "us" vs. "them" - the evil "world" out there... what a story.
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 10:37 pm

Jcbaran wrote:

More and more in the west - and in Buddhism worldwide - the whole "monastic" framework is fading out - in favor a much more inclusive way of relating to each other. Especially now.   And OBC/Shasta is stuck in this old hole that Kennett transmitted to them - and when challenged or when they feel threatened, they just keep digging harder and faster.  And yes, making it "us" vs. "them" - the evil "world" out there... what a story.

That's a healthy trend for all concerned. I see a similar development happening in Christian monasticism. The institutional monastic orders are dying out. People who are serious about contemplative practice are creating alternatives outside of the autocratic institutional boxes. I think Thomas Merton could see it coming when on his last day alive, at a Christian-Buddhist Conference in Bangkok said, "From now on everyone stands on their own two feet." I look at the community photos of SA now and they are getting older and fewer.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 29, 2014 11:41 pm

I think that the situation with Eko and with Enida's robe only show how incredibly limited th JK situation ends up,not much sign of humanity nor real wisdom, there may be some sort of experience in dealing with mental stuff,and various cathartic releases, but transcendance,unity and love,which is certainly what I was looking for does not appear easy to see in the practice
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 12:40 am

And Thomas Merton said this from the standpoint of someone who had for much of his life first desired, and then led an eremetic life. But his talks became more human not less when he became a hermit. When as he put it, he woke in the morning and jut nicely filled the Thomas Meron sized whole in the universe, he was like a lump of clay in God's hands, shaped into Thomas Merton. Of course by lunchtime he said he personally managed to mould the clay to a rather different shape, 'Preacher Merton', 'Monk Merton', etc., even 'Thomas Merton'. And it was this recognition by him both of his own nature, his natural humanity, and the constant mucking this up by lunchtime that was the source of his strenght. It is the constant, or even inconstant struggle to live in truth that is the true, human way. Not the struggle to be a 'monk', 'buddhist', 'roshi' .... tinker, taylor, soldier, sailor. Live in truth, or as the christians would have in the image of god, and there is nor room for differenceses, not even any eye ear bose ... till we come down to mind conciousness. This unlikely sounding state of affairs turns out to be full of humanity not empty of it. Live mindfully and enquire into the source of you life. And if you meet Buddha (internelly or externaly) cut him down.
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 2:09 am

Great analysis of Thomas Merton, Mark. It's what makes him such an person of interest  in my own life. In his book, "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander" he talks about an awakening he had at the corner of Fourth and Walnut in Louisville, Kentucky:

 "I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs,  that we could not be alien to one another, even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness of spurious self isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. The whole illusion of a separate holy existence is a dream. Not that I question the reality of my vocation, or of my monastic life  but the conception of a "separation from the world" that we have in the monastery too easily presents itself as a complete illusion, : the illusion that by making vows we become a different species of being, pseudo angels, "spiritual men"" men of interior life, what have you."

"But then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts, where neither sin nor desire nor self knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God's eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could all see each other that way all the time. There would be no more cruelty, no more greed.. I suppose the big problem might be that we would fall down and worship each other..... "

"Again that expression, le point vierge, ( I cannot translate it) comes here. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind, or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. .. It is in everybody, and if we could see it, we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely.. I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. but the gate of heaven is everywhere." 

I think that description of his experience can translate without too much difficulty into Buddhist terminology. Stated as only Merton can so elegantly speak it.  I would add that later Merton did indeed have serious doubts about his monastic vocation, especially when he fell head over heels -in such human fashion- in love with a nurse named Margie and very nearly abandoned his role as monk and possibly leave his hermitage on the monastery grounds. I should also add that Merton had great freedom as a monk because he had the status of a resident hermit and was not subject to the demands of community living,(except to give a prepared talk to the novices once a week) but had the freedom to write and work on the grounds, and even to have guests, many of whom were the peace and justice activists of his day. (Because he was such a popular writer he had a degree of protection that was uncharacteristic for most Trappist monks.) I love Merton because he in fact is so human with  fragility and flaws,  and came to embrace his humanity fully as he developed as a human being, and grew in compassion and engagement with the world around him. And as you know in his final trip before his death in Bangkok was able to meet with the Dalai Lama and have an historic role in catalyzing the dialogue of East and West spirituality. Buddhism had a huge role in his growth. He enjoyed a personal friendship with Thich Nhat Hanh and wrote of an awakening he had upon encountering the giant Buddha images in Sri Lanka in his Asian Journal.  

Thank you for your comments on Merton.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 3:05 am

pet peeve alert


And if you meet Buddha (internelly or externaly) cut him down.


That old chestnut about cutting down (or killing) the Buddha that one meets on the road
is the lost leader of all koans and if anyone thinks that attempting to cut or kill an attachment works as an effective way of addressing it, then do I have two halves of a cat deal for you.
 
ah hem..coughs nervously..Of course that's not the point!...ducks out back exit.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 7:15 am

Howard wrote:
pet peeve alert


And if you meet Buddha (internelly or externaly) cut him down.


That old chestnut about cutting down (or killing) the Buddha that one meets on the road
is the lost leader of all koans and if anyone thinks that attempting to cut or kill an attachment works as an effective way of addressing it, then do I have two halves of a cat deal for you.
 

Is that what this means? I have read others' posts on this forum to mean that if you see someone on the road and you think they are Buddha, you're letting your mind turn them into something you want them to be instead of seeing them as they are (which may or may not be Buddha). I thought it was our minds' projection that we're advised to watch out for, and the interest in wanting someone or something to be Buddha. I didn't read it a literal admonition to cut something down, kill someone, push away, etc.

Sorry if I misunderstood your comment, Howard. I have trouble grasping a lot of the abstract stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 12:35 pm

I also don't know what is meant by "lost leader".
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 4:17 pm

Regarding "le pointe vierge" I couldn't help but think of a quote from Rumi I was just reminded of recently: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field, I'll meet you there.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 4:49 pm

breljo wrote:
Regarding "le pointe vierge" I couldn't help but think of a quote from Rumi I was just reminded of recently: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field, I'll meet you there.

I think your Rumi quote carries something of the meaning. I have read it translates as "the virgin point".
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 5:09 pm

Hey Lise

Perhaps I should of just let my pet peeve out onto the back lawn instead of here...but.

...Lost leader, the dude with the broken compass in front.  Just kidding and covering for what my grade 3 spelling teacher said was a lost cause.

Loss leader= product advertised to sell at a loss in order to attract customers in the door to buy other things. On it's own, it would cause a loss of profit but when it results in additional products being bought, it pays for it all and more.

This "killing the Buddha" koan is the example most commonly brought up by the rest of the Buddhist world to question why Zen calls itself Buddhist.
It probably was the perfect teaching for someone, somewhere, but it has been misinterpreted too many times to be called anything overall but unskillful means. Only with some serious 2 stepping, can the plain speech of cutting down or killing the Buddha, be brought around to your explanation of it.  And no I don't see dead masters everywhere.

Attachments to anything are addressed with acceptance, compassion, love and detachment. Attempting to cut down or kill an attachment is just another run around play for the ego.

Personally I think that meeting the Buddha on what ever road you walk, is just being awake. Not meeting the Buddha on every road you walk or seeing some as Buddhas while seeing others as not, just describes sleep walking..


Abstractedly
H
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 5:25 pm

Lise wrote:
Howard wrote:
pet peeve alert


And if you meet Buddha (internelly or externaly) cut him down.


That old chestnut about cutting down (or killing) the Buddha that one meets on the road
is the lost leader of all koans and if anyone thinks that attempting to cut or kill an attachment works as an effective way of addressing it, then do I have two halves of a cat deal for you.
 

Is that what this means? I have read others' posts on this forum to mean that if you see someone on the road and you think they are Buddha, you're letting your mind turn them into something you want them to be instead of seeing them as they are (which may or may not be Buddha). I thought it was our minds' projection that we're advised to watch out for, and the interest in wanting someone or something to be Buddha. I didn't read it a literal admonition to cut something down, kill someone, push away, etc.

Sorry if I misunderstood your comment, Howard. I have trouble grasping a lot of the abstract stuff.



Hey Lise

Perhaps I should of just let my pet peeve out onto the back lawn instead of here...but.

...Lost leader, the dude with the broken compass in front.  Just kidding and covering for what my grade 3 spelling teacher said was a lost cause.

Loss leader= product advertised to sell at a loss in order to attract customers in the door to buy other things. On it's own, it would cause a loss of profit but when it results in additional products being bought, it pays for it all and more.

This "killing the Buddha" koan is the example most commonly brought up by the rest of the Buddhist world to question why Zen calls itself Buddhist.
It probably was the perfect teaching for someone, somewhere, but it has been misinterpreted too many times to be called anything overall but unskillful means. Only with some serious 2 stepping, can the plain speech of cutting down or killing the Buddha, be brought around to your explanation of it.  And no I don't see dead masters everywhere.

Attachments to anything are addressed with acceptance, compassion, love and detachment. Attempting to cut down or kill an attachment is just another run around play for the ego.

Personally I think that meeting the Buddha on what ever road you walk, is just being awake. Not meeting the Buddha on every road you walk or seeing some as Buddhas while seeing others as not, just describes sleep walking..


Abstractedly
H
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 30, 2014 5:41 pm

Bill writes:

I think your Rumi quote carries something of the meaning. I have read it translates as "the virgin point".

Yes, perhaps as in the Scripture of Great Wisdom, "Void, Unstained and Pure" ?, but perhaps I'm off on the wrong tract alltogether.
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