[Administrator note: The following were first posted under Carol's thread titled "not a violet" and moved here for improved visibility. Welcome, Brigitte.]
I've been following the site for a while, not posted anything as so far, but feel I'd like to give a short perspective on the NCBP, although from a very brief visit.
I am a former member of Pine Mtn. Buddhist Temple, and during a trip through some of the western states several years ago, passed through Washington State. At the suggestion of my then teacher, R.M. Phoebe, Abbess of P.M., who thought it would be good if I stopped there on my way through Washington, I reached the gate of the Priory after a long day of difficult driving over the Snoqualmie Pass accompanied by sleet, thunder and lightening, and intimidating big rigs, it was Spring. I found the Priory after asking at some neighboring properties. I had wrongfully assumed R.M. Phoebe had communicated to the Priory that I might be coming through, so when I rang the bell (intercom) it took some time for anyone to answer. It happens I arrived there during a monastic retreat!! Rev. M. Basil, whom I was aquainted with from my visits to the Abbey, kindly came to my rescue and made arrangements for me to stay overnight at a neighboring property, which belonged to a man who later became a monk and donated that property to NCBP (or so I have heard). He also said that R.M. Koshin wanted to talk to me and he would come and get me later to introduce me. A bit later he came and asked me to wait at a separate house at the Priory and wait for R.M. Koshin. It wasn't too long before R.M. Koshin arrived. I greeted him in the manner of a lay person to a superior, got up from my seat, bowed, gasshoed, and we had a short conversation in which I gave a bit of a background of myself. He seemed ok with that and said he would get someone to show me the Priory and if I wanted to I could join the monks for dinner and afterwards for evening meditation and Vespers and he would also have someone show me around the Priory and I could do some exploring on my own until dinnertime.
I have to say at this point, that even though I did not and still do not know anything about the internal goings on at this Priory, exept for what has appeared on this site re: Amalia and someone elses negative impression, mine was quite the opposite. It seemed to me there was some very deep and serious training going on.
The land itsself was on different levels, very woodsy, pools of water, frogs, fallen logs, sunshine and shadows alternating and a feeling of a somewhat mystical stillness that seemed suggestive of the presence perhaps of beings more familiar with an existence outside of the human realm, dryads, naiads, devas? if you were attuned to such possibilities? Anyway, the whole place seemed to be somewhat of a nature sanctuary and I walked for some time before realizing I was lost in the neighboring woods, (no fence), and I better find my way back fast. Having placed a strategic stick in a certain place helped and I was on my way back. I shared dinner with the monks and a little later joined in the hall for meditation, Kinhin, and Vespers. Again, I can only say that I still have not forgotten that period of meditation, and I am still grateful for R.M. Koshin to let me attend that day and sit with the monks, because I, as a novice meditator, knew that I was "pulled along" by their very efforts, graces, from which I benefitted. I left the day thereafter and never did see R.M. Koshin again. but always wondered what it would be like to train there?.....
I am extremely saddened by all the negativity surrounding the OBC. My own difficulties stem from a variety of different origins and I am now doing my own training. Life itsself is the great teacher and I have learned some hard lessons. All that I am sure of is the certainty that there is no blame, and I firmly believe we are all doing the best we can from our varied and often so limited perspectives. By this I do not mean to say that things cannot be improved upon, rather there always must be that effort, but how those improvements are implemented will itsself be a tremendous challenge
My best wishes to all for the coming New Year
Going on, going on, always becoming Buddha.............