A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
Posts : 10
Join date : 2011-04-13
|Subject: Introduction Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:50 pm|| |
Hi, I am new here, been "lurking around" a while. I don't have a whole lot of experience with the Shasta Buddhist Monastery, but have some.
I moved to California from Ohio back in 1998 after I was "burned out" at my job as a social worker. Since I had had frequent contacts with a Roman Catholic Monastery in Kentucky and enjoyed the quiet, prayer and solitude there I wanted to find a place like that in California where I lived. Over the years I had heard about Shasta Monastery, and since I was interested in learning more about Buddhism I went on an introductory retreat in 1998. I didn't stay the whole weekend because bowing to the statue of Buddha was somewhat foreign to my R.C. background. The guestmaster Mondkthat weekend told me about a catholic monastery near to where I was living, so I got much of my spiritual solace and need for quiet and retreat there after my visit to Shasta.
However, I did sign up to receive the tapes of talks the monks gave. I enjoyed these tapes extensively and thus had a good feel for the monastery and the commitment to Buddhism there. I also developed a fascination to learn everything I could about RMJK as I think she is a remarkable woman to do the things she did with little or no family support, especially staying at the Jaanese Monsastery and taking the risk of founding the one in Shasta. I went to the dedication ceremony for the RMJK stupa, and found that quite a ceremony that I won't forget, and quite beautiful.
Fast forward many years. I'm back in Kentucky. I was going through my stuff the other day and found all the tapes I had listened to I had received from Shasta Abbey. That took me to the website, and I noticed the website had changed significantly from the last time I had looked at it last year, so that took me to google, and I googled RM Eko Little. What a shock to find he had left the monastery after 39 years! I had always loved listening to his talks on the tapes, and on the web, and couldn't believe it! anyway that is how I found this forum, and I have been hooked ever since.
The discussions on this forum are quite lively, and have been filling the curiosity hole I 've had for many years about whose are these people who become monks at Shasta Abbey. I have to say I respect their decisions to stay or leave as needed; and I have a great deal of respect for what the monastery is doing, especially in the great numbers of people it has attracted and influenced for good or bad over the years. I find this AMAZING!
I do have a great desire to know who RMJiyu Kennett was as a person, what made her tick, and what kept her going. Is anyone writing a biography of her either authorized or unauthorized? I know when I was active with the catholic monastery in california one of the monks there told me that in the early days on the way to Shasta RMJK and the early monks spent the night at their monastery.
Love you all, and I'll probably lurk around and respond as I have the time and inclination
Posts : 1431
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 45
|Subject: Re: Introduction Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:55 pm|| |
Hi Peggy, welcome -- glad to have you here. I hope you will post whenever you like.
There is a lot of info on the forum now, thanks to the many members who have been putting together the puzzle pieces. We are seeing a more cohesive picture all the time, in my opinion.
Perhaps someone will chime in if they know of a Kennett biography in the works -- it would make a really interesting story for sure. Actually I think there's a good deal about the Shasta situation (from Jiyu to the present) that could make a fairly compelling film treatment, in the right hands. Perhaps a book will be the start --
Posts : 554
Join date : 2010-06-27
Age : 65
Location : Vancouver
|Subject: Re: Introduction Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:56 pm|| |
Welcome to the Connection
I believe that Rev. Koten of Dragons Flower Monastery was intending on doing Rev Jiyu's Biography but that info is 8 years old so I'm not sure what has progressed with it to date. I think that Lay Minister Michelle Feist in Vancouver could answer or relay your question to him.
Posts : 418
Join date : 2010-08-16
|Subject: Re: Introduction Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:34 pm|| |
I've been a sporadic poster. But like you I've lived something of the East-West dialogue. I was a lay minister in the 80s before I left OBC. There were many RCs who came to Shasta in the 70s seeking for the contemplative mystic side that seemed to be hidden to most lay people, and not finding a coherent mode of meditation practice in Christian monasteries. They found Jiyu Kennett's theism and knowledge of the Christian Contemplative tradition rather validating. As I recall "The Cloud of Unknowing", the works of the desert mothers and fathers, and Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross were on the reading list and topics of dharma talks. As time went on Christian Zen became increasingly available and a number of trained Christian Zen teachers were known, Robert Kennedy, Willigis Jaeger, Thomas Hand, Pat Hawk, Greg Mayer, and so on.. mostly people who had trained through the Robert Aitken/Yamada/Yasutani line. As time went on I saw fewer of the Christian/Catholic pilgrims. I have no idea what the appeal might be now. But Jiyu Kennett enjoyed the exchange with Christian mystics I found, much to the dismay of some of her students and other Buddhist communities.
I'm a sometime participant of a community that is a blended Christian/Buddhist blend of Zennists, founded by a Trappist Abbot who was my mentor for some years, and by students of Willigis Jaeger and Pat Hawk, named Seven Thunders.
All this may or may not be of interest to you, but I thought I would post it anyway.
Posts : 10
Join date : 2011-04-13
|Subject: Re: Introduction Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:46 am|| |
Thanks Lise, Howard and Bill for responding to my post. I think there is a geat spiritual hunger in a whole lot of people that the contemplative lifestyle is attracting whether Buddhist or Christian. I enjoy listening to and reading spiritual teaching regardless of what tradition they are from because I think they all have very similar teachings to give, which include simplicity in lifestyle, non attachment to the material while living in the material world, compassion, charity, and living a chaste lifestyle. The use of the word "celibacy"over the years has taken the "chaste" out of whatever lifestyle one chooses whether lay or monsastic, married or not married. This website is definitiely putting together the pieces of the puzzle that is RMJK and her early teachings/follower; and her later teachings/followers/ and those that realized her techings got off course due to her own limitations and lack of accountability. I think RMJK was attracted to these same things in her own way; after reading the posts on this website, her teachings, (and sounds like she personally,) went awry somewhere; but her legacy which has some truth to it, is managing to reevaluate itself through the honesty in the posts in this forum. I am in the process of reading Zen at War, and was struck by this quotation: "if it is possible to transmit light of the Dharma lamp from master to disciple, perhaps it is also possible to transmit darkness". All religious traditions are in the service of the people who are attracted to them; the teachings are in the service of a "higher order in mystery" which as people we can only glimpse every now and again; unfortunately, all of us Humans do have a darkness that can become dominant if we are not constantly watchful and on guard in our own thinking and behaving. I am getting some really thoughtful spiritual teaching from all of the posts I have been reading; and, Bill, I am so happy to learn there is a community out that that is trying to purposefully integrate Buddhist and Christian teachings as they are so similar. Do they have a website up? Living in my part of Kentucky can be lonely sometimes due to the closed off teachings of Pentecostalism and some of the "snake handling sects" in these parts; and the dominant evangelical christian thinking down here. Thanks, thanks, and thanks again. Peggy
Posts : 418
Join date : 2010-08-16
|Subject: Re: Introduction Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:17 pm|| |
The website you are seeking is www.seventhunders.org .
I appreciate your distinction between chaste and celibate, important difference.
Posts : 605
Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 76
Location : Bedfordshire, UK
|Subject: Re: Introduction Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:26 pm|| |
Welcome Peggy, yes it would be good to have real biography of RMJK (also a Peggy). But I fear that the waters are so muddied now that a hagiography is all that the OBC would be capable of. In her own account in 'How to Grow a Lotus Blossom' she had manipulated the truth so much that even she described it as a work of fiction, so how anyone else would get to bottom of things I don't know. I know from my own time with her that her stories changed to justify herself at the time and suit her mood.
|Subject: Re: Introduction || |