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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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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 12, 2014 3:07 pm

mstrathern wrote:
I think it might be illuminating to go back to the origins of the kesa. I believe the original robes were supposed to have been made from rags sewn together, hence the kesa's many pieces.
 
Mark,
Do you know if there is a traditional procedure in Buddhism for a bhikkhu to return to lay life, and specially how the matter of robes is handled?  I wonder if it is generally the case that the "robe and bowl" are returned to the teacher/order or if they may be kept?  I've heard that people may enter and leave up to seven times so there may be guidelines about the kesa.
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 12, 2014 3:52 pm

Good luck with Shasta, Enida.


I'm shocked but not surprised how institutionalised so much of this sounds and how heartlessly people were treated and allowed themselves to be treated. It is yet another indictment of Zen. Stan said 

"I know that Jiyu picked up the notion in Japan that the Ego has to be subjugated and the means
justified the end.  I recall her saying to a small group of us that she was told that a good master
should be so convincing when bawling out a trainee, that his face would turn red with `apparent`
rage and yet be fully in control `within`." 


What a nasty load of Japanese rubbish! Just like Eido Shimano and his wife.


I was totally dominated in my childhood until age 14, when I held my father to the floor by the neck and told him he would not hit my mum any more.

Since then I have have spent 1000's of hours sitting with and listening to people (mostly women) who have been victims of the most heinous violence imaginable.

I wouldn't say i'm very good at it, but I have tried to be kind and keep my heart open. (As I have to say Jimyo once did for me at Throssel. It was my only experience of kindness and caring towards me by a monk at Throssel).

As I think Maisie just said, in my experience of a situation of rules with one person in control using subjugation as a main tactic, it is not just the large acts of subjugation, but its also the little things. It is in the small rules, the tiny things, that they ensure total power and dominance and the breaking of the other person. If done to a small child for many years, it is extremely difficult to unwind the conditioning, and requires many, years of kindness and patience.

'Monk', 'kesa', 'ordination', etc etc are just mental constructs that have no real meaning. As some are saying, they often were enacted for devious ends. If you are not a 'monk' you cannot be trusted with 'holy things', For gods sake! If you leave the monastry you become somehow a 'lesser-spiritual person'. For god's sake! 'Eko is dead'. For god's sake!

How people dealt with this in the warped world of Kennett and Eko would probably be how they were taught to deal with it as children by parents. Not easy to change our behaviour sometimes.

My attitude in holding my father down (and a few times after) has allowed me to speak up against people like them in my adult life. And it allowed me to walk away from Throssel and not go back when Daishin Morgan played the stupid 'lay people are less than monks' game, then tried to 'offer spiritual advice' about a girlfriend that was downright stupid at best, and dangerous to her life at worst. For god's sake!

Re sacred things being abused, I left Throssel once with the nearest thing I ever had to a kesa, my zafu! It represented my Zen practice. I arrived at my university friends' house to visit, and woke up the next morning to find them all playing football with it. When I tried to get it back they decided to play piggy in the middle! I felt defiled and ridiculed. And it was funny, [banned term] them. 

Life has continued to trample my false gods as a matter of habit. I'm still learning the lesson that nothing is sacred, everything i hold dear can be trampled on and humiliated, my emotions, my beliefs, [banned term] those Buddhist beliefs.... even my heart...

Well, there is one thing that can't be trampled on and humiliated...  but its not really a thing... [banned term] it!
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Mon May 12, 2014 3:55 pm

I must stop saying [banned term]
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 13, 2014 11:42 am

Or stop typing it, at least. That would be nice  funny 

So much to think about, in these recent posts. One thing my mind keeps coming back to is this comment of Stan's.


Quote :

When I knew that I was seriously considering leaving, I had a couple of meetings with Jiyu to see
if I could resolve the impasse I had come to.  I did tell her that I had tried my darndest until I was
blue in the face.  I felt that the teaching there and I were incompatible for whatever the reason.
I tried to get to the bottom of how I was going to resolve my `koan` there as things just wern`t
working out.  I`d had a major kensho before I was ordained and I knew that that wasn`t the big
answer that would give me permanent peace.  It was that, what I wanted above all and Jiyu was
unable to show me how I could get there.  She did ask me to stay and offer my training to the
community but in the end I decided that if I couldn`t help my self, I couldn`t help anyone else.
Before I left, she did give me a minor `Ego bash` together with a few others in a communal
assembly.  I thought it was a bit pathetic as I thought the Ego bashing thing was more counter
productive than helpful.  I now realise that it shows a complete lack of understanding of what the
Ego is....it in no way impedes understanding of one`s true self.

I'm told this has been a pattern at Shasta, when someone is moving through the stages of a planned departure. I wonder if those in charge are doing it still. I have heard the person is told, repeatedly, that it's best to stay at SA and "train for the community's sake if you won't do it for yourself" and then the non-private ego bash eventually happens, in some form, if the person does not change their intention to leave.

I can't get over how this is rationalised, if it still happening. They do it because it's for someone's own good? Or is it a matter of ownership rights and they feel they own this person's life now?

I wish someone who supports the approach described above would comment here and provide another viewpoint. I will not pounce on the response or use it for escalated argument. I just want to know why this is considered appropriate to do to another human being.
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Jcbaran



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 13, 2014 11:52 am

I think the best term for this is "spiritual malpractice" - and when in doubt, humiliate.  Pathetic.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 13, 2014 4:27 pm

Lise,

The odd thing is, I wasn`t picked out for an ego bash as a solitary individual.  It came at the end
of a general assembly/teaching period.  I was one of three or four people who got the `bash` as
a group of `bashees` at `bashing time` !

It was not unusual and quite a few people felt slightly grateful for it as it was felt that the master
was doing her job and being `inclusive` to the people concerned. a sort of `tough love`teaching
that highlighted hitherto unseen stumbling blocks.  people would swap stories of their ego bashing
and discuss what it taught them.   There`s a sort of sweet sadistic enjoyment in a good ego
bashing.....so long as it`s not happening to you ! 
I never found it too troublesome....whatever works ?....more of an irritant as I was used to far, far
worse things when I was a boarder in public school.  water off a ducks back compared to that !
I suppose it prepared me somewhat for this kind of treatment...in many ways, being at Shasta
reminded me of being in a religious boarding school and I had survived two of them.

I only saw one ego bashing in public that I found unnecessarily forceful and protracted.  A real
bashing worthy of the OBCC complaints department.  on this occasion, Jiyu had been keeping us
all informed of an english man`s progress as he was going through a kensho. over the days and
weeks, we were informed how he had finished kensho 2 and was now proceeding directly into
kensho nr 3 !  This man was writing of his experience over this time to Jiyu, asking advice, and
making comments about his understanding.  Jiyu would make comments on his progress and his
statements as a general teaching of what all this meant. I don`t think I need to mention names.

Anyway, an English junior monk knew this person and wrote to him in England and congratulated
him on his kensho` and so on.  The man in question wrote back to Jiyu in a somewhat confused
state, saying that he did not know he was going through kenshos and what was he to do now ?
it rather disturbed the whole flow for him.   Jiyu called a full meeting of all the monks and went
up the wall. She ranted and raved at this female monk in front of everybody....saying she could
have ruined this man`s training for years etc...she had her in tears.  but that wasn`t enough.
on and on she went....if this is the sort of thing that would happen, she would stop all future
such public teachings and we can all thank this particular monk.  She still carried on though and
this poor monk ran out in floods of tears...there was complete silence in the hall.
I looked around myself to see how other people were reacting.  Had Jiyu totally lost the plot ?
was this just an extreme version of her `tough love` teaching ?  nobody stirred or said anything.
I felt somewhat disgusted and embarrassed about being caught up in this parallel weird reality
and was even more assured that I had made the right choice in leaving.
The monk left shortly afterwards ...not long before I left and I often wondered what happened to
her. I asked a few people if they knew of her whereabouts but drew a blank.   actually, I will
say that her first name was Caroline and I think she would benefit greatly if she could be made
aware of this forum.  Anybody know Caroline/ Jitsuyu ?

You said...

"I wish someone who supports the approach described above would comment here and provide another viewpoint. I will not pounce on the response or use it for escalated argument. I just want to know why this is considered appropriate to do to another human being."


I think you won`t get much joy out of this question Lise as this strict methodology of the truth

having to be rained down on to servile seekers has largely had it`s day.  It feeds into the

neediness and low self esteem of the seekers and teachers alike.  It`s only good for keeping the
guru`s in business broadly speaking.



It`s two thousand years since the Buddha`s words were first written down and as the words have
been handed down by people, they will have been interpreted and re-interpreted continuously to
this day.  When the Buddha taught, he taught as a friend and an equal and in his life there was no
hierarchy.

By now, the Buddhas original teachings have been so divided and split amongst all the various
sects as to render them almost unrecognisable.  It is extraordinarily hard to achieve the whole the
whole vision of the truth....to join up all the dots.  When most people become monks, they don`t
really have a firm view as to what they can and should expect from their years of toiling in the
spiritual salt mines.  There is not a complete teaching that resolves all the doubts.  How can one
determine whether the teacher is in line with the teaching until it is too late ?  How can you tell
a teacher when he`s gone wrong if there isn`t a complete road map ?  We are here at the mercy
of relying on a teacher who has truly found the truth for himself, lives it and is able to teach it.
Needless to say, they are as rare as rocking horse poop.  Sure , that`s the ideal but there are teachers who are good honest people, live a righteous life and truly follow the way with varying
degrees of living an enlightened life.  I don`t know what zen has got to do with it.  What is zen
anyway? every person seems to have their own interpretation of what zen is but they rarely seem
able to justify what it is.  What is Enlightenment ?  If you look at most people who have spent 10,
20, 30 years or more in their spiritual quest, they seem to be the same people with the same
values as before...nothing seems to have changed very much.  from what I can see, most long-
termers have basically given up on the whole thing.  maybe it`s all just an ideal in the end or just
something for `another life` ?  There are millions of seekers all with their stories but how many
finders are there ?

It`s not that long ago that it was extremely difficult to be accepted into a monastery in the east.
The general population was never too many steps away from starvation and supporting monks was
an expensive devotional sacrifice. often, an aspirant would have to bring enough money with him
so as not to be a burden if he died and needed a funeral.  Food was nearly always in short supply
so, it goes without saying that the monks were given no leeway for half hearted efforts.  It was a
very tough regimen and there was no room for slackers.  That regimen probably worked then but,
that was then and this is now.

If we consider that in the distant past there was no internet, access to books or communications,
how would one find a monastery or teacher that could be relied on or trusted ?  word of mouth
would be a start but that`s far from reliable.  There would need to be some form of `good
reputation` or form of recognition that what one and all can trust.... will give the right result.
Hence lineages or holders of the truth.  It`s as near as one can get and because it`s a construct
made by people, it will never be perfect.  or, as soon as it is, it isn`t.  Time and circumstances
change, new people come in and sooner or later,the truth gets interpreted through ignorance and
we`re on a downward spiral again.  it will eternally be so because the basic makeup of people
doesn`t change.  One minute Christ is teaching peace on earth, the next minute we`ve got the
Spanish inquisition.

David calls it all lies but I don`t agree.  It hinges on that word "All".  The Buddha did say that his
teaching was a `throw away`. a raft to be discarded and no longer carried when reaching the
other shore...only a fool would do so.  there is no transmission outside the scriptures but there is.
I know....I don`t think there is some transcendental `experience` of Enlightenment passed from
ancestor to ancestor, which confers some high status.
If a teacher leads his student to remove his own self ignorance, then the student re-discovers
his true nature.  It is the understanding only that is `transmitted` and it is beyond the scriptures
as understanding is not the same as information.  Understanding stands alone and cannot be
negated and does not rely on memory.  you can`t ever un-understand something.

In another way, David could be said to be right. [ sorry to talk over you David].  If all this zen is
a bunch of lies and liars, so is everything else...every institution or construct.  nothing can be
perfect here and not open to abuse.  friendship, marriage, the family unit, religion, culture,
politics, virtually everything is imperfect and open to abuse.  It`s just the way of the world.
Welcome to Samsara.  It winds you in ever tighter like a whirlpool and wears you out.
I guess I kind of went on a bit there Lise....
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H Enida



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Tue May 13, 2014 5:59 pm

            Wow, just wow.  That poor young woman; your account made me cry Stan.  It was so similar to the bashing I witnessed in the guise of a “sange ceremony” I described on another thread here earlier.  My heart goes out to Caroline/Jitsuyu wherever she may be.  I hope she knows she is not alone and finds this site one day.  I feel very fortunate that I am able to talk to others who had similar experiences.

            It explains many things that happened at the Abbey while I was there, since the same monks who tolerated it and learned their Zen from it, the “Old Guard,” were still in charge and practiced it to various degrees while I was there, ie., the sange ceremony mentioned above, the “evil eye” from senior-seniors, the customary and regular serious admonishments over very trivial matters, and the advice to “just train with it.”

            Someone sent me this link recently: http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct04/goodbad.aspx and I have to note the striking similarities.  Why didn’t anyone come to Jitsuyu’s defense in the middle of the bashing?  Why couldn’t anyone speak up and say, enough!

            Interesting about the bashing comparisons and how you would discuss them afterwards.  I remember hearing about that while at the Abbey and we novices had our own version – probably more akin to taking refuge in each other, than condoning the bashing behaviors.  I really appreciate all of you coming forward with your stories, it explains a lot about why/how I experienced what I did.
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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 3:10 am

I'm inclined to look at the above in context.  As far as I remember, it was always taken as read that if RMJK revealed part of what someone had said to her in a letter or similar, that was confidential between her and the monks, whom she trusted purely because they were monks.  I don't actually remember that being said as such, but I do recall that is how it was. 

If that was the case, what Caroline did would have been totally inappropriate.  I'd like to just say, I knew her well at that time, and her not understanding that sort of thing does not surprise me in the least.  I don't really want to say any more on that.  As to where she is, her name was Caroline Evans, and she introduced me to Throssel and Zen back in the early 1970s.  It's too common a name to find a specific one on Facebook etc; I know, I tried some time ago.

Would she want to find this forum?  Why?  She left in the 1970s, nearly 40 years ago!!!   Most people who left at that time see this as ancient history.  The few who don't and want to keep bringing it up are in a minority and are probably all here already.

Still, if anyone does find Caroline, please say hello from me, for old times sake.
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H Enida



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 5:36 am

Just a couple of questions on your post Jimyo, if I might.  

Were you there to witness the bashing of Jitsuyu?  No matter the reason, it sounds abusive to me to repeatedly bash someone in public until they can't take anymore.  Perhaps RM Jiyu was angry and lost her temper?

Also, it seems hypocritical to me to talk about a student's training in public to all the monks in detail and then exhort someone for talking about someone's training.  Caroline was a friend of the fellow?  Perhaps conversations about other people's training in public should be refrained from altogether?  I can understand if a monk had a concern about a particular person and asked another monk for advice.  But couldn't that advice be more general rather than talking about the person in particular in most cases?  I remember more than once monks commenting to me about something I didn't tell them.  Most people would call that gossip.
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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 6:13 am

Questions no problem, Enida....

No, I wasn't there.  I think from the detail given that this was about a year before I first went to Throssel, ie around 1973.  Am I right, Stan?  If so, this is VERY relevant.....

If  the incident was as Stan described it, then yes, it was abusive.  But so many incidents can be looked at in different ways, particularly OVER 40 YEARS after the event.  I'm in no way accusing Stan of lying, just of possible inaccurate memory and perception.  I recall incidents somewhat like this at Shasta, and in some cases they weren't abusive, unless the person concerned was particularly sensitive or intolerant of anything related to criticism, usually because they thought a lot of themselves.  Now, I remember Caroline as being a bit like that, but I don't want to say any more about her as I may be remembering wrongly, and she may end up on here, and...she was a friend, and I don't want to hurt her over something that happened 40 years ago!  What I'm trying to say is, even had I been there, it's quite possible that Stan and I would have perceived things differently.  Who was right and who was wrong in such a case?  Who knows?  As for remembering 40 years after the event...this is history, and inaccuracies creep into memories, with the best will in the world.  I'm somewhat worried about the way memories from this long ago are continually brought up on here, which perhaps they need to be by the individual concerned - but then accepted as FACT.  They may be - but they may not.

On your second point - I suspect RMJK was sharing how well a person was doing with her fellow monks, that's all.  She probably assumed they'd know this was confidential.  Maybe not; I wasn't there.  Maybe it should be considered gossip. 

On one level I'm playing devil's advocate here.  But I think these points need to be borne in mind.
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 7:14 am

Well, well said Stan. I don't want to pick up on the 'ego' bashing of Caroline, I think you and Jimyo have covered all points.

As far as my rather faulty memory goes the story was as you say in the beginning, there was a group of friends and followers clustered around Gautama who followed custom not rule. In fact Buddha was reported as favouring no rules being set down when he died but saying that he expected his followers would want the prop of rules, so maybe it would be all right. And you have to remember that this was only committed to paper 200 years after the events, and then only by monks who had made up and followed the rules!

As how to find a good teacher, it does seem as you say pot luck. Most will follow the most charismatic or popular teacher around - neither good reasons for choosing one. As to whether it is all valid, I can only reiterate the Buddha 'look to yourself', would you be without your own experiences, would you have a better life, be a better person, I know I would not. But I agree with much of your sentiment. I am told that the first line of the Tao Te Ching literally reads 'way way not way', which I read as 'The way that is The Way is not the way'
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 8:01 am

First line of the Tao Te Ching is:

道可道,非常道; 名可名, 非常名

道 means way, but it can also mean speak, 非 means "not" and "常" means "ordinary", but 非常 is often used to mean exceptional, or not ordinary. These meanings have varied over the years, though, like English words so you have to be careful.

The first line here is usually translated into English as something like "The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name." which is how Legge translated it, or "The Way that can be told of is not an Unvarying Way; The names that can be named are not unvarying names." which is how Waley translated it and there are other translations that take a similar approach. One suspects, though, that translators often lean on each other (I daresay many translators including Waley had read Legge). It seems to me that maybe you could read it as "The way can be spoken of, the exceptional way; the name can be named, the exceptional name." I daresay a classical scholar could explain why it can't be read this way, though I found one version on the internet which goes
"The TAO, or Principle of Nature, may be discussed [by all]; it is not the popular or common Tao.
Its Name may be named [i.e., the TAO may receive a designation, though of itself it has none]; but it is not an ordinary name, [or name in the usual sense of the word, for it is a presentment or ειδωλον of the Infinite]."

which is less comfortable to read than the Waley version but might be closer to the meaning.

Old Chinese books are hard to understand, I reckon. Personally after living in China for 10+ years I came to the conclusion that Confucius is the greatest thinker they produced (a feeling apparently shared by a lot of Chinese people).

知之为知之, 不知为不知 - "what you know, you know, what you don't know, you don't know." Says it all, really.
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 9:33 am

Thanks for the correction tufsoft. I always new it was more complicated than I thought but was too lazy too follow up. After all Chinese is the language that can deliberately carry many meanings in one sentence. Let alone the vagaries of changing meanings through out history. But I don't know about the Confucian quote! wink
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 2:02 pm

All very eloquent
For me it's:

just because you talk the talk
don't mean you walk the walk
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 4:30 pm

I don't understand why people are posting about clothes and not the point of why they chose to wear them in the first place.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 5:29 pm

sianabelle wrote:
I don't understand why people are posting about clothes and not the point of why they chose to wear them in the first place.
 
Unless I am mistaken you have not been a monk, and so haven't had the experience of putting on the robe and then taking it off.  It's understandable that you don't appreciate the significance and the loss.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 6:08 pm

That's true, it sounds wretched. Perhaps you speak of the self respect one might feel in wearing a uniform imbued with authority, and then finding that it has no value in itself?
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 6:21 pm

sianabelle wrote:
That's true, it sounds wretched. Perhaps you speak of the self respect one might feel in wearing a uniform imbued with authority, and then finding that it has no value in itself?
 
Actually what I meant was the reasons for wearing the robe and then for removing it cannot always be so easily separated from the robe itself.  The robe has the meaning that we imbue it with, and taking it off does not necessarily erase the meaning.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 6:31 pm

Would it have been more of a fresh start to have the certainty that leaving the garment behind physically left no invisible remains with oneself?
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 6:40 pm

One may choose not to see it,but one never really takes it off
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 6:45 pm

sianabelle wrote:
Would it have been more of a fresh start to have the certainty that leaving the garment behind physically left no invisible remains with oneself?
 
That is possible, but something that each person must determine for themselves.  In my own case when I left I was quite certain that my practice no longer depended on my participation in the OBC or being a monk.  I divested myself of almost everything associated with the monastic life, however I decided to keep the kesa and I never felt it held me back as I made a new start in the world.
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 9:23 pm

Can I go back a bit? You all, actually I guess it was Stan who was speaking, about how Jiyu was talking about another trainee's kensho... So this brings up the privacy issue again and the obvious cult-like behavior of making and breaking the rules as you go.

Anyway, I remember going through my big Kensho and I had NO IDEA what was happening, although I was somehow getting through it, and every one and their brother kept coming up to me and congratulating me and looking at me like they had "drunk the Koolaid." They all really tripped me out how they reacted to me. If I had known that everyone was talking about me I would have left on the spot. But I was in a vulnerable position and sought out the help of the monks. The fact that Eko picked me up as a disciple was irrelevant- I just needed some help.

I don't know how to say this, but I will try... Jiyu and the OBC was basically fooling around with spiritual practice (occult practice), of which, they really didn't know anything about, had no right to teach, and certainly could not help anybody who was really on the path. They never helped me and made things worse on so many levels. But that's just me. We all have our karma and we are all at different levels along the path. But all I can say now is, I don't mess around with people who can't help me and who don't know what they are talking about. Spiritual practice can be serious and very dangerous for some of us. For example, along with my Kensho experience, someone should have immediately handed me a copy of "Psychic Self-Defense" and taught me how to protect myself. I have learned the very, very hard way, finally (!) about everything that happened to me and what it all means. I can honestly say that the OBC steered me in the wrong direction the whole time and made things much worse.

I just can't help but think of a big soap opera or drama, every time I hear stories of Jiyu. She threw some serious occult teachings out there with "How to Grow a Lotus Blossom," but she didn't back it up, teach from it, develop it, or seek the help of others. It's a shame, because there is some good stuff there. But her ego got in the way. Same with Crowley. There is also some seriously dangerous stuff there in HTGLB, because she has got some of it wrong, or I guess, confusing anyway. Although I do respect her experience, I wish she would have had whatever it took to work on it. The Buddhist way is just an aspect, a sliver of it. There are so many ways to expand upon it. Unless her disciples can continue her work in this way, there is no basis for her teachings- they simply have not been proven and will die with her.

This seems like an aspect of the OBC karma that needs to be looked at- are they trying to be a "religion" or are they trying to be "An Order?" These are two different things! A "Spiritual Fraternity" might be the better path for them. My opinion is, their time is over and they have nothing more to teach along the lines of Jiyu. If they want to join the Zen Budhhist community and train as a religious order, they need to change and assimilate with Western Zen Buddhists. Funny thing is, I know I have grown out of Zen practice and have moved on. I wonder if the OBC has too.
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Wed May 14, 2014 9:26 pm

One more thing...

What happens to your robes if you were transmitted by the Buddha's and Ancestor's and not a human?

What happens to your robes if you were transmitted several lifetimes ago? And maybe a couple of times, or over and over again?

You can't take the robes with you, but the transmission sticks.

It's just a gate you go through.... and on and on to the next.....
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 15, 2014 6:37 am

Jimyo wrote:

. . . As to where she is, her name was Caroline Evans, and she introduced me to Throssel and Zen back in the early 1970s.  It's too common a name to find a specific one on Facebook etc; I know, I tried some time ago.

Would she want to find this forum?  Why?  She left in the 1970s, nearly 40 years ago!!!   Most people who left at that time see this as ancient history.  The few who don't and want to keep bringing it up are in a minority and are probably all here already.

Still, if anyone does find Caroline, please say hello from me, for old times sake.

If you want to know why people benefit from finding this forum, consider what Myozen said when she connected here. If you don't recall her posts, they're worth a second look.

http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t537-myozen-delport
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 15, 2014 8:14 am

A quick thought from the past,
When I first met Jiyu she spoke of 'full scale kenshos'
I remember  triple kenshos,...
first second and third came later

Personally I have had 3 big and two smalls
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 15, 2014 9:57 am

Hi Jimyo,

Sorry to have taken this long to get back to you but, I wasn`t sure as to what year it was when
the Caroline incident occurred. I had to work it out with my sister in the end as she was there at
the same time.  At least now I can confirm that I was ordained in 1974 by Jiyu in Throssel Hole
and that the incident occurred in 1978...in Shasta.   You said that this 1978 year is VERY relevant
to you so, I wanted to be sure.

I recall you being there at the same time as myself although our paths didn`t cross much. I would
have left that year or possibly at the very latest in early 1979.  I don`t recall if you were still there
or not when I left.
I would like to go over a few points you made Jimyo, for the sake of clarity.

"If  the incident was as Stan described it, then yes, it was abusive.  But so many incidents can be looked at in different ways, particularly OVER 40 YEARS after the event.  I'm in no way accusing Stan of lying, just of possible inaccurate memory and perception. "

Fair enough, I can accept that premise. Everything happening in the past is subject to accurate
memory function and interpretation.     However, on this occasion, I have no reason to doubt the
accuracy of my memory as I wasn`t trying to recall anything word for word, perfect.  The event
certainly occurred and I described it as it played out.  like you, I was never overly bothered about
minor bashings and took them in the spirit of `teaching`.   This one was different and the only one
such that I witnessed personally and it made a strong impression on me.  I thought it was cruel
and so unnecessary.  I thought she would stop at any moment but Jiyu just carried on even after
Caroline was sobbing loudly and apologising saying that she didn`t realise what she had done.
Jiyu still carried on without regard to the state Caroline was in.  The whole episode probably lasted
two minutes or less but it certainly didn`t feel that way to me and I`m as sure as hell that it didn`t
to Caroline.   As far as i`m concerned, it`s very hard to misinterpret something like that !
I know for a fact that you wouldn`t put a child or one of your pets through that sort of treatment.

I couldn`t understand what came over her....It was so totally unnecessary and unskillful.  She
could easily have called her into her room and gone over the whole thing in private. use it as an
opportunity for teaching even.  better still, she could have kept the English guy`s name private.
As a teaching meant for the whole assembly, it was crude beyond words.

What benefit could there possibly be in bringing such distress to a person, publicly ?  really ?
It gives me no pleasure or satisfaction to be saying this at all.  RM.Jiyu helped me enormously in
many ways but she wasn`t perfect and she wasn`t a perfect teacher.  I personally have great
gratitude to her but am willing to point out where I think she went wrong.  For me it is a tribute to
her in recognition to the seeking for the truth she had at heart and wanted for everybody else.
She put herself into an impossible position and paid for it. It`s unfortunate that it led to other
people having to pay for it too.  I don`t blame her....she had her own conditioning and she thought
that Zen training, Japanese old school style, was still a valid way.

" I suspect RMJK was sharing how well a person was doing with her fellow monks, that's all.  She probably assumed they'd know this was confidential."

I agree.  We were in the USA and the other person was in the UK.  no internet, not much access
to the phone for casual matters, what could possibly go wrong ?  well, Caroline was writing to
someone she knew ...what could possibly go wrong ?   Sometimes everybody thinks they are doing
the right thing and it all goes pear shaped !  we can`t control the actual results of our actions.
Why create such a huge drama ?

" Would she want to find this forum?  Why?  She left in the 1970s, nearly 40 years ago!!!   Most people who left at that time see this as ancient history.  The few who don't and want to keep bringing it up are in a minority and are probably all here already. "

Well ok, would she want to find this forum ?   why not...it`s not for you or me to say what she
would want Jimyo...sorry to be blunt about it.  She might not be bothered and by the same token,
she might be very grateful to be led here.  She made a deep commitment to training and to take
on monastic life and left in very unhappy and painful circumstances.  Why wouldn`t she want to
try and resolve that painful personal history ?  She might have had a bit of a quirky character in
those days but, what has that got to do with it ?  It`s because her character was painful that she
sought relief in training and the OBC phase ended in more pain for her.  There`s a very strong
possibility that she would want to process all that hurt and gain some clarity and relief.

Yes, it is 40 years ago but you`re still here....me too !  I generally don`t post new topics here
because I don`t feel hurt by my time in the OBC. Often I have found that some of the attitudes
shown on the forum , mirror those same attitudes complained about of the OBC folks.  Not so much
now but I still discover some hidden prejudices by having my opinions pricked.  I rather like it and
it`s usually better than watching the telly.  well, almost anything is better than watching the telly
these days.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 15, 2014 10:03 am

Mike...

What ...No medium ones ?   Ha ha....

Jeez, did anyone ever notice that the Buddha never stipulated that you have
kenshos to get enlightened ?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Thu May 15, 2014 10:15 am

I was just counting up the mediums then a lorry rolls up that'll learn me
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 16, 2014 10:02 am

Hi Stan,

I was at Shasta from 1977 to 1982 (then at Throssel until 1985, for the record).  I must have witnessed this incident, but I can't remember it at all.  Very odd.  Or maybe I wasn't there for some reason.  Who knows?  As I keep saying, it was a very, very long time ago.

Quote :
Well ok, would she want to find this forum ?   why not...it`s not for you or me to say what she
would want Jimyo...sorry to be blunt about it.  She might not be bothered and by the same token,
she might be very grateful to be led here.  She made a deep commitment to training and to take
on monastic life and left in very unhappy and painful circumstances.  Why wouldn`t she want to
try and resolve that painful personal history ?  She might have had a bit of a quirky character in
those days but, what has that got to do with it ?  It`s because her character was painful that she
sought relief in training and the OBC phase ended in more pain for her.  There`s a very strong
possibility that she would want to process all that hurt and gain some clarity and relief.
Whoa!  What I meant was that whoever on here (can't be bothered to check who it was) was assuming she would want to find this forum was making one hell of an assumption.  After all, of the numerous people who left the OBC, quite a small minority have been on here, and even less of those still post.  I meant...don't assume, that's all.  And I'd say the same to you concerning your assumption that this still needs resolving for Caroline.  Some people seem to carry a hurt through many years; others don't.  You don't know, so don't assume....

Yes, I'm here...but in the ways being discussed I'm not.  I treat this purely as a social networking site; I come here to hopefully find old friends (then meet them on Facebook), and to promote my books.  While I'm here I sometimes sneak a look at posts, and - against my better judgement usually - I join in.  I keep saying I won't waste time doing this any more, but I know myself too well to say it publicly any more.  Having explained that, I think I'm now leaving for a bit (I'm very busy writing another book), but who knows....

Take care, Stan.  Maybe we'll actually meet up sometime, as we keep threatening to do.....
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 16, 2014 1:36 pm

I was disconcerted recently to learn that there's a phenomenon called truth amnesia in psychology and it applies to witness statements and such over various age groups and time periods. An example I heard was from the Kennedy assassination statements compared over time and illustrated how memories are highly constructed and lead to confabulation. How memories form and persist is currently an area of great interest given the aging demographic of western populations and the potential market for anti-dementia medications. Flash memories, often a component of PTSD, can stick in the mind long after the event due to emotional activation and may be labelled biologically so as to provide useful information in the future if there is a dangerous situation. The unreliable nature of memory is surely why we need courts of law complete with juries, and why it's more practical to learn codes of behaviour instead of rediscover ethics every single day. At the same time though, we should have the capability to rediscover ethics instead of just rely on the codes, particularly in cases where the codes seem to be subject to misinterpretation.
Now, where's my knitting...
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 16, 2014 4:15 pm

Hi Jimyo,

You said...
" Whoa!  What I meant was that whoever on here (can't be bothered to check who it was) was assuming she would want to find this forum was making one hell of an assumption."


Well, I agree that that is an assumption...of course it is but, so what ?  We all make assumptions
all the time and... assumptions aren`t 100% reliable. fair enough.  somebody assumed that Caroline
would find it helpful to her to find this forum and would benefit by it.  So is that a reasonable

assumption ?  We can`t be certain but under the circumstances it`s not an unreasonable

assumption.


Those circumstances are that quite a few people have told their stories here and have said that
they were very hurt and abused by their experiences in the OBC.  most of those people also said
that they found great benefit by their interactions here...a they were greatly helped by sharing
their experiences and underwent a process of healing over time.  these are not my assumptions.
They are personal statements of the people who said they underwent abuse and the important
point being, that they found this site enormously beneficial.

I think it`s pretty safe to "assume" that Caroline could easily fall into the category of people who
felt they were abused and would benefit from being in contact with people who had a similar

experience.  You did say, that IF my memory serves me well and my recollections were accurate,
then it was indeed, abuse.  If this is so...and i`m sure in myself that it is, then Caroline`s story
is similar to the other `abuse` stories here and those people said that they were benefited greatly
by coming onto this forum.  It is an assumption but I still hold that it`s a very reasonable one.
I see no harm in having such an assumption.

"And I'd say the same to you concerning your assumption that this still needs resolving for Caroline.  Some people seem to carry a hurt through many years; others don't.  You don't know, so don't assume...."

" So don`t assume" ?  Can I refer you back to what you said earlier...

" She probably `ASSUMED` they'd know this was confidential."  .....on the balance of probabilities !
notice the similarity ?   In this case Jiyu was wrong in her assumption but it was Caroline that paid
heavily for her mistaken assumption.  there`s nothing wrong in having assumptions so long as they`re
not acted upon as if they were certainties...i`m sure we`d agree.  unfortunately it`s not a perfect
world and nothing is certain.  To the best of my knowledge the first law of Dharma is to cause no harm.

I remember that day very clearly.  The way Jiyu acted was a shock to me as i`d not seen her do that
before or since.  that day has stayed clearly with me to this day.  It`s not History as you put it for
everybody, despite it being 40 years ago.  There are quite a few people here who have stated that
very clearly and emphatically.

The probability of Caroline coming to harm by investigating this forum is very slight.  The chances of
her finding a lot of help here are quite likely, as witnessed by the other folks who testify to just that.
We`re never sure if we`re doing the right thing because sometimes one has to choose the lesser of
two evils, so to speak.  Yer takes yer choices and yer takes yer bruises if you`re a mature person.
You don`t pass on your bruises to the other person.

"Take care, Stan.  Maybe we'll actually meet up sometime, as we keep threatening to do....."

I hope so Helen. one fine day...that would be nice.  I don`t think we`ll be talking about Buddhism, the
OBC or the forum somehow  :-)

Good luck with the book and give my best wishes to David.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 16, 2014 5:13 pm

            In response to my comment re welcoming someone here should they find OBCC, I would rather that person find a comment of empathy:

“My heart goes out to Caroline/Jitsuyu wherever she may be.  I hope she knows she is not alone and finds this site one day.  I feel very fortunate that I am able to talk to others who had similar experiences.”

Then one of veiled criticism:

“I'd like to just say, I knew her well at that time, and her not understanding that sort of thing does not surprise me in the least.  I don't really want to say any more on that.”

Not to mention the fact that bringing a name up here in this way without their knowledge seems a bit gossipy in and of itself.

            I was only trying to extend understanding, not disparage or assume anything about her.  I too have known many people who have benefitted by telling their story here.  I also know numerous people who read this thread often (who knows, maybe even Carolyn reads it) and are healing from it, even though they do not feel ready to post here for their own reasons – perhaps one day they will and I am glad it is available.  Sure beats the ol’ ‘shun and never talk to the people again’ option as ex-monks say had been the norm in the past.

 
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 16, 2014 9:51 pm

I wasn't comfortable either with Caroline's full name being posted, esp. in conjunction with those comments. Not necessary and doesn't help anybody -
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Fri May 16, 2014 11:26 pm

On the subject of "holy" kesa cases and other garments, the words on the back of the lay minister's kesa is ironic: "That which is true is greater than that which is holy." I always like those words and believe them to be true.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sat May 17, 2014 1:29 am

See what is true and everything is holy
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sat May 17, 2014 2:51 am

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sat May 17, 2014 7:23 am

@Lise,
I wasn't comfortable with Caroline's name being posted either. But then, I am not comfortable about many posts here, especially the passive-aggressive ones whereby someone brings up a subject, and it is passive-aggressively criticized like my comment on kenshos.

I hesitate to post anything, really. This forum seems more relevant to people who want to work through their problems with the OBC, but it doesn't seem friendly to those who are basically moving on, evolving, and still "training." There really are more negative posts here than anything else. And the OBC way of communicating is very much alive here; there is a hierarchy of monks and lay people, shunning or criticizing in a passive-aggressive way, submission, etc...

My post on kenshos did bring up another subject altogether and I have also criticized that subject in the past, but... I have been working on what happened to me and what my experiences mean and they are very important to me. I see now that whatever I seem to say here is not important to anyone else, so I really see no point in continuing. I have wanted to respond to some of David's posts, but have hesitated for fear of being mocked and criticized by other forum members. If there is fear there, then obviously this is not a healthy environment for me and probably others. I think the forum does have potential to help people, but I think there is a point of inertia where other's paths are stuck and that keeps other people from evolving.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sat May 17, 2014 10:02 am

Stan Giko said:

Anyway, an English junior monk knew this person and wrote to him in England and congratulated
him on his kensho` and so on.  The man in question wrote back to Jiyu in a somewhat confused
state, saying that he did not know he was going through kenshos and what was he to do now ?
it rather disturbed the whole flow for him.   Jiyu called a full meeting of all the monks and went
up the wall. She ranted and raved at this female monk in front of everybody....saying she could
have ruined this man`s training for years etc...she had her in tears.  but that wasn`t enough.
on and on she went....if this is the sort of thing that would happen, she would stop all future
such public teachings and we can all thank this particular monk.  She still carried on though and
this poor monk ran out in floods of tears...there was complete silence in the hall.

Stan when I first read this I thought that Jiyu Kennett was too hard on Jitsuyu, but now I feel she shouldn't have been bashed at all.  It was Jiyu Kennett's responsibility to protect the confidentiality of her correspondence with the man in England.  It was not the responsibility of her students at Shasta to know what was or wasn't OK to repeat back to the man.

It was Jiyu Kennett's fault that the man's training may have been "ruined for years" not Jitsuyu's.  Jiyu Kennett should have taken responsibility for her mistake and treated it as an opportunity to educate the community about the ins and outs of confidentiality, but instead she attacked Jitsuyu - why?  I believe because she felt embarrassed.  It was more important to her to express her rage at Jitsuyu than to deal with it.


Last edited by Isan on Sun May 18, 2014 6:13 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : accuracy)
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sat May 17, 2014 11:22 am

I think Isan like so many of these issues it is how it is handled. I think communities of monks live and share their lives, there are not many secrets, maybe less than other communities,with the lowering of personal defences comes mutual respect and trust or it does not work.I doubt it if Caroline meant any harm,a misjudgment of tact is fairly normal when one finds oneself in new surroundings of openness, in times like these, one hopes that someone at the top resolves the issue with great wisdom in the right way for everyone, so no one feels hurt and everyone benefits and learns from the real skill of cutting through the personal misunderstanding indeed of Nansen's Cat
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sat May 17, 2014 11:35 am

Hi Diana,

" I hesitate to post anything, really. This forum seems more relevant to people who want to work through their problems with the OBC, but it doesn't seem friendly to those who are basically moving on, evolving, and still "training." There really are more negative posts here than anything else. And the OBC way of communicating is very much alive here; there is a hierarchy of monks and lay people, shunning or criticizing in a passive-aggressive way, submission, etc..."

I know what you mean...and so do quite a few other people.  I recall in the earlier days of the
forum that I was very wary of posting anything.  I too felt that the "OBC way of communicating
was very much alive here. "  talk about irony !  I have a friend that said that he/she felt almost
physically sick at the prospect of posting here and having to face all the personal attacks and
unpleasant bigoted attitudes......sorry to say.

It was not all like that of course.  nothing is ever black and white...it`s all those darned shades
of grey.  what I particularly disliked was that quite often, the `anti OBCers` never seemed to
allow the `pro OBCers` the chance of a balanced counter view at all....just went into attack mode
and made out that they never got any benefit from spending 10 or more years at Shasta.
If not, what the heck were they doing there so long, and what kept them there ? something must
have worked...till it didn`t.
On the other hand....

It can`t be denied that many people have testified to things going badly wrong at Shasta and that
they suffered quite deeply on account of it.  deeply enough for the feeling of being damaged in
some way having stayed with them for many years.  That can`t be just dismissed.  Not only that
but, those people say that they have been greatly helped by coming onto the forum.

I think that what i`m trying to say is that I don`t think that the forum is so polarized these days.
What seemed like a journey into a minefield previously feels more like a walk through a field with
pot holes.  I find it ok personally,  it`s good to be careful what you say.  I like that people really
can be friends here and get re-acquainted with friends of old.

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 ?
You said back in 2011 that you`ve had it with the forum and see no point in carrying on..and yet ?
I have thought quite a few times I`d not bother any more.  Many people have said the same but
keep re-appearing.... saying that they are just popping in on the off chance.  I find it quite 
amusing.  I see that my friend Jimyo was going to post but thought better of it.  perhaps she feels
that no matter what you say, someone is going to get the wrong end of the stick, go off on one
and the whole thing gets turned into poop...again ?  I`ve thought that before.
Maybe it`s all just Forum Therapy.....who knows ?  Why do we do it ? who do we want to be listening ?

" I see now that whatever I seem to say here is not important to anyone else, so I really see no point in continuing. I have wanted to respond to some of David's posts, but have hesitated for fear of being mocked and criticized by other forum members."

If that`s the case Diana, why not tell the `mockers` to ferk off ? tell them to justify what they
say or take a hike.  nobody has to take any shite from anyone.
I like very much what you have to say and would like to hear more.  I like David`s posts too but
havn`t replied so far as there is so much there in one hit.  I also have a tendency to be cautious
as it`s easy for the other person to think that you may be criticising or judging them.  I personally
think that you`re wrong in believing that people would mock your possible posts to David.

" The Buddhist way is just an aspect, a sliver of it. There are so many ways to expand upon it."

" Funny thing is, I know I have grown out of Zen practice and have moved on. I wonder if the OBC has too."

" But now, years later I have found what I've been searching for my whole life and it fits me perfectly and I've never been happier."

I`d really like to hear more on what you brought up there Diana....particularly the last statement.
It`s such a positive thing to say. something you don`t hear often.......would you say more ?

Sorry to you Lise for budging into Diana`s post to you.  I hope you don`t mind.
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Stan Giko

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sat May 17, 2014 12:14 pm

Isan,

I agree with what you say.  Put briefly, Jiyu should have kept the man`s name confidential
as part of being a professional teacher.  She could not have asked the man for his permission
to give details of his ongoing experience.  Why, because by her own words, it could have been
detrimental to the flow of the man`s experience.  She slipped up by assuming that no one in
the States would be in close contact with this man.  It was her mistake though and not
anybody else`s.  possibly ruining another person`s vocation to make a privacy point is ...well,
i`m lost for words...for a change !

As Michael said, there are skillful ways of dealing with a mistake.  It should have been turned
into a teaching.  berating someone until they are distraught and having to flee in tears is the
very opposite of good teaching.  It strengthens the sense of Ego in the abused person as they
cannot but identify with the sense of themselves being hurt.

I am a bit confused about something you said though...

" Stan when I first read this I thought that Jiyu Kennett was too hard on Jitsuyu, but now I feel very differently about it."

Am i not getting something here ? Are you saying that Jiyu was NOT too hard on Jitsuyu after all ?
Does not compute.  perhaps you are referring to a change in emphasis to you as to what this episode brought home to you ?  Could you elucidate ?   Thanks.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sat May 17, 2014 12:46 pm

A lot of the criticism we have made of teachers on this forum has been perhaps teaching  wisdom but living in a not such wise way.I personally am not in favor of being wise in certain circumstances  whilst being propped up by some sort of establishment and 'yes boys'
Zazen has to be our lives, this life this moment. One can not resign from this or pretend there is something better or more special.The more special or better is realized when the burden and filter of our self our karma is allowed to drop away.
I suppose the story of Caroline has highlighted for me that the testing ground for zazen ,experience,wisdom ,enlightenment is daily life,this whole koan is very relevant for me this weekend as I have to decide by Monday if I am sacking a couple of guys who did not do their job well last week,and they both have young babies to look after, it always seems easier to see what other people should do,and facing my own dilemma and challenge  is maybe something I am not good at.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sat May 17, 2014 8:18 pm

Stan Giko wrote:
Isan,

I agree with what you say.  Put briefly, Jiyu should have kept the man`s name confidential
as part of being a professional teacher.

I am a bit confused about something you said though...

" Stan when I first read this I thought that Jiyu Kennett was too hard on Jitsuyu, but now I feel very differently about it."

Am i not getting something here ? Are you saying that Jiyu was NOT too hard on Jitsuyu after all ?
Does not compute.  perhaps you are referring to a change in emphasis to you as to what this episode brought home to you ?  Could you elucidate ?   Thanks.
 
You're right Stan that first sentence I wrote is confusing.  What I meant to say was the problem wasn't the extent of the bashing but the fact that Jitsuyu was blamed to begin with.  She didn't deserve bashing to any extent.
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 2:39 am

Carol wrote:
On the subject of "holy" kesa cases and other garments, the words on the back of the lay minister's kesa is ironic: "That which is true is greater than that which is holy." I always like those words and believe them to be true.

An interesting discussion here, and while my status as a lay minister in the OBC was not equivalent to the experience of those ordained as priests and resident monks, I will just share a short reflection on the demand that I return my rakusu when I notified Eko of my decision to resign from the OBC. In the early days the teaching was clear to me that the externals such as robe, kesa, rakusu, and so on were just that, and only that, symbolic externals showing passages in one's training in Zen. In a phone call Eko angrily demanded I return my rakusu immediately. The anger surprised me and so did his demand. There was a brief inclination towards a feeling of hurt, but then I remembered the teaching about religious garments, and I also remembered that transmission story from the Denkoroku about the "true kesa." On a more pragmatic level I also did not want to burn bridges, as my son's ashes are buried in the Abbey cemetery and I didn't want to lose access to visiting his gravesite. 

But that moment when I acceded to Eko's demand and without any recrimination and carefully folded my rakusu in a container and posted it to Shasta Abbey was a liberation. Yes I had given 16 years of affiliation and training in a commitment in presence, practice,and finances to the Shasta Abbey and then OBC Sangha. Yet I never regarded it like an institutional loyalty or "joining the club" nor did I consider it a betrayal when I moved on, but obviously Eko considered it otherwise. I was puzzled to think that by keeping my rakusu I might be suspected of misusing it in some devious way, as a symbol of religious authority over others or something of that nature. That seemed rather comical to me. Clearly the creation of an institutional religious order with a hierarchy and a chain of command had turned the idea of sangha into something different than what I had been taught originally. 

The paradox for me is that the direction of training for me in my growth and development through Shasta Abbey  was to lead toward a relinquishment of forming or seeking any form of identity and its trappings, whether religious or spiritual,  and rather to simply  just *be* in freedom. This interaction with Eko  and my decision in response proved to be an extraordinarily growthful  and liberating experience and teaching in my life.  In saying this I hearken to Carol's statement about what was actually inscribed on my rakusu. (Some of you aging hippies out there will get a chuckle of what flashed though my mind not long after this interaction, a scene from Firesign Theatre's rendition of "The Adventures of Nick Danger Third Eye". A radio theatre spoof of the film noir detective a la Raymond Chandler where a character announces he is going to "turn in my badge." )
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 4:11 am

I hope you manage to visit your son's grave Bill. 
I think a lot of this anger and controlling people is a misunderstanding of what actually is passed on. It is a wonderful thing to pass on and receive the teaching of the Buddha,it is great to accept the faith entrusted in oneself by someone else,one accepts and lives this throughout ones life, regardless of where  one is.  What one wears is very secondary to who one is.


Controlling the wind and sky
Ha
The wind and sky
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 10:48 am

Thank you, Michael. Very well stated, directly and simply. Yes, I was able to visit my son's grave without impediment.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 11:39 am

We see this hyper-control behavior in all kinds of groups.  It is never really about the robe or the piece of paper, it is about domination, controlling all aspects of the game.  These groups feel they own you, they made you, they enlightened or saved you, and you are just a doll in their doll house.  They love and care for you when you play by the rules, adore the leader - but break the rules and we know what happens.  And this game always comes with punitive behavior, vengeance, reprisals.  In older days - actually even now in other parts of world - you break the rules and they kill you.  Just saw a story on line a few days ago about a woman who converted to Christianity from Islam, and she was sentenced to death.  I forget which country this was.  She refused to recant, so they will end her.  In Brunei, they just instituted Sharia law - if you are gay, you will be stoned to death. 

A very old story and not expressions of anything but patriarchal group mind.  And as i've said before, Kennett is alive and well - when her devotees continue to live her shadow - and it makes no difference that they firmly believe that their rules or behavior is Zen or Dharma, that they are protecting the Dharma.  Really?  Is that true?  What are they protecting?  So if you kept your raksu or kesa, you could do something really bad with it?  What?  Hold a satanic mass?  So goofy. So sad for them.

And one last point.  Kennett exemplified being independent.  She fired her actual teacher, Zuigan Yogo, and never communicated with him, at least during the time I was there.  She walked out of her country temple, not sure she even told anyone she was abandoning it.  She cut off all contact with the Soto Zen head office.  What if the Soto Zen office had asked for her silks or kesa back?  What would she have done?  Screamed her head off - it would have been high drama that would then become part of her master narrative until the day she died - and there is no way she would obey.  No way.
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 11:59 am

Jcbaran wrote:
We see this hyper-control behavior in all kinds of groups.  It is never really about the robe or the piece of paper, it is about domination, controlling all aspects of the game.  ...Just saw a story on line a few days ago about a woman who converted to Christianity from Islam, and she was sentenced to death.  I forget which country this was.  She refused to recant, so they will end her.  In Brunei, they just instituted Sharia law - if you are gay, you will be stoned to death. 

A very old story and not expressions of anything but patriarchal group mind. ... So if you kept your raksu or kesa, you could do something really bad with it?  What?  Hold a satanic mass?  So goofy. So sad for them.

And one last point.  Kennett exemplified being independent.  She fired her actual teacher, Zuigan Yogo, and never communicated with him, ...- and there is no way she would obey.  No way.
 
Nicely stated, Josh. It is about domination.  (The country in question of the pregnant woman condemned to die is Sudan. I saw that story in horror.) And, although SA did allow me to visit my son's grave, I was officially shunned for the grievous sin of attending Dharma Rain Zen Center, led by the disobedient and "bad" ungrateful monks who refused to get a divorce and follow orders. Probably the most hurtful thing of all was that Daizui Doug MacPhillamay, who had been a good friend, confidant, teacher, and colleague (and a very good friend of Kyogen and Gyokuko Carlson, indicated by letter that he could no longer communicate with me. I get a chuckle about your "satanic mass" reference, because it is evidence of the same magical thinking that invests power attributes into religious symbols and garments to the wearer or owner.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 12:22 pm

Yes the country was indeed Sudan, Apparently it is a preliminary verdict only as there has been a lot of international condemnation re the verdict. The lady also was sentenced for adultery to 100 lashes as the marriage to a Christian is not recognised,she is 8 months pregnant. Brunei is not on its own with treatment of gay people, Europe is doing better as the Eurovision song contest (if you can sit through that a weeks sesshin in Japan is easy!) was this year rightly won by a bearded transvestite in a dress,now that would not have happened a while back.
Regarding Kennett and her sacking Suigan Yugo it would have been much more honest to be completely open with the not being connected with the Soto Zen head office I for sure rightly or wrongly assumed we were at the time,which does explain a bit the need she felt to keep everybody under control.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Your Robes Behind.....   Sun May 18, 2014 12:48 pm

wanted to share another Shasta "clothing" tale - that I came back into mind when i was reading this thread.

So Kennett had this black robe that she had brought with her from Japan.  I am forgetting now the name of the outer black robe that we would wear over white robes.  In any case, it no longer fit her because of all the weight she had gained and it was in her closet.  And one day she asked me if I wanted it.  She said if I did, she would sell it to me.  Not give it, but sell it.  So I said OK and she asked me to pay her like $25 or $50, which I did.  Seemed a little odd, but OK, I bought it. 

Some months went by and I just wasn't wearing it - it was a bit heavy and I had a few other robes that had been made for me.  At that time, there were also these robes that we sometimes wore when we went out - they had much smaller sleeves and they weren't quite as long.  Also forgot the name of that in Japanese.  I needed one.  So I asked someone in the sewing room to cut down the sleeves and shorten the hem, which she did.  I did not ask Kennett's permission.  It was much more practical and I started wearing it when needed.

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.

What's the message?  Simple.  I own you.  I am in charge and you are nothing.  You have no rights, no power.  Shut up and bow.

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. 

I realize that events like this are small in many ways.  She wants her robe back. So what? But as others have noted, in this closed distortion field, in this bubble, where you give up your ability to say no, when dozens of times per day you must behave as sheep, when you are treated as a child over and over again, even the small incidences can have painful consequences - it is like bullying - no one act is that serious, but as a constant culture, very damaging to most people.  I posted elsewhere an article about the mind/body effects of bullying.
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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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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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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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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


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