Well I came across this site by accident (on google) and was surprised by the roster of names.
My name is albertfuller. I was born in Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies: my religious name (Houn Myogetsu)
1 - I arrived at Shasta Abbey in January 1974 and left in late 1977
2 - went to university in Canada and did two degrees: in philosophy and then in sociology
3 - returned to Shasta Abbey around 1986 and left around 1989
Leaving for me was traumatic and it was only after several months that I realized I had come out of a depression.
I am of mixed (4) race and so I have some experience with the realities of inferiority and subordination as a self-definition you are given. If you are female, gay, poor, dying, hated by fashionistas, chained to an addiction you have come to despise, deemed to be low status, unemployed, victimized by bored/boring youths, living in a country where security is life in some foreign country, been raped, mugged, shot but did not die and/or you are white
I feel you know what I mean.
anyway on with my story:
4 - I settled in Toronto, Canada, and looked after my mother until she died of leukemia
5 - I also got married and we adopted two boys who have significant physical and mental challenges.
I am not a great or even good dad ... but that's not the point: I always want to be a better dad than I was yesterday. Last year I took to much time off to attend youth court.
6 - for the last 19 years or so I have worked for the city of toronto. I currently work in the IT area where I am a supervisor doing office support and lead a small software development team.
7 - for the last 18 years my spiritual practice is in the ch'an kung-fu heritage
When I was at Shasta Abbey, I had a lot of beautiful time alone ... and people mentioned stuff like family and community. I wrote this at the time (late 80's):a summer walk
on Monday I went for a walk
in the foothills around Mt. Shasta
amidst the rugged flowers
silence a subtle fragrance
in the shade of trees
I felt united --
my heart projecting
ring upon ring
I felt the patient endurance of gentleness
as each leaf fanned me
did I hear a murmur
an inspiration taking years to reach me
or was it just the tender shoots of my heart
pushing through the earth
I close my eyes:
what I see is the blue sky
I have read through a lot of posting on this site and on the topic of authority I want to say this:
In the context of the OBC and on this forum, authority has been abstracted from violence which is impossible. It's a lie. Authority is the YANG and violence is its YIN. THE VIOLENCE, THE ABUSES, IS DONE FROM SAFTEY. If the person hurting you was aware that, regardless of opinions and interpretations, in your pain you would turn from a domesticated cat to tiger and have him for lunch, then I sure that ninety percent of this non-sense would not have gone done. We were suppose to be living in the tiger's lair were we not ... or was that just artful abstractions?
The peace of buddhism does not come from believing in peace, but from the visceral insight that it is the far better path than vicarious violence (physical or emotional). The security and manners of middle class life alienates its participants from too many aspects of life ... replacing it with mere abstractions.
There was a time when Ch'an/Zen Masters taught warriors. And when your student could "take your breath away" you had better know the art of pushing that person. The self-indulgent would not last in this kind of trade. When our very life is not the edge we work on, we get flabby; we become insignificant.
I remember the slogan use to be:
do no harm
then if you can do no harm, do only good
then if you can do no harm & do only good, do good for others
Where did all this harm come from? .... how could it arise in Zen training!?!?!?!
One of the things my Grand Master is trying very hard to impart to us is:
1 - community is the most advanced form of training
2 - strike with kindness
But our central mandate is that when attacked you must subdue your attacker in 3/4 of a second or less.
Man has demonstrated the complex artificiality of conflict: but nature also teaches us that conflict is a natural occurrence. So although we need to avoid it's complex artificiality, we must not fear it's naturalness. To tokenized and abstract aggression (through rules) to the merely physical is false instruction and does not lead to perfection: because when you get down to the business of power it is rooted in the breath and emotions.
No one should be powerless, it is simply unnatural. And those who are powerless must always be protected.
It is not enough to have a code; you must give your life to your code, for the benefit of living beings.
In the Art of kung-fu, the student is powerless and the teacher is profoundly powerful. But the training (discipleship) is not merely the teacher teaching the student how to transform his/her life for the cultivation of power, the Master must also give the student energy to establish the student in a self-sustaining process. For the teacher, the student offers the invaluable opportunity to refine, expand and develop both his skill and their common humanity.
Surely, it is no demonstration of skill for a teacher to injure a student. Each student is a teacher's karma. There is nothing beyond this, except mere opinions.
The late Jiyu Kenneth, Roshi was my teacher and I will always love her. And what I DESIRE for her and for all of you is power of serenity, both in peace and in adversity.