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A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
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Posts : 1431
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 48

Integration Empty
PostSubject: Integration   Integration Empty6/29/2011, 8:40 am

Last week I started a thread, or thought I did, about some of the recent Abbey dharma talks that are posted online. I must have deleted the silly thing shortly after posting, as I had a couple of forum screens open and was clicking through them too fast. That's what I get for multitasking after a third coffee.

No great loss anyway, but I wanted to share an observation so I will try this post again. I listen to the talks sometimes, to see how the monks' public comments may reflect changes we've been talking about here on the forum -- more openness in the OBC, less suppression & groupthink, etc. I do think you can pick up on changes that may be going on behind the scenes. Recent dharma talks contain more references to teachings from other traditions, and some comments that sound like the speaker is examining some long-held assumptions about training (the OBC view, anyway), instead of spouting the traditional party line. Kind of refreshing, and it gives one optimism that maybe the monks are becoming more free to question, think independently and express their thoughts.

I will probably get some feedback to the effect that I'm doing an advert for the OBC -- that's okay, I don't mind funny

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Posts : 50
Join date : 2010-06-17

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PostSubject: Re: Integration   Integration Empty7/2/2011, 12:05 pm

The priest at the prior I attended had a fear, and almost jealous possesiveness, about his laity reading or listening to any other teachings. As a result, there was an unwritten rule that one did not read any other books by spiritual or Buddhist teachers. It was conveyed by him dismissing any discussion about other teachers and their teachings in an elitist, scornful way.
I once recall asking a question about a passage on a precept from Robert Aiken's, "The Mind of Clover," and my teacher refused to answer the question, about the teaching, by replying "I don't know who that is." Another time I mentioned going to hear Ram Das speak and my teacher again scoffed, "I don't know who that is" and became very quiet.
Another time I brought a friend to an introductory retreat where she mentioned Thich Naht Hahn during the question and answer period. The prior responded by saying something to the effect that Hahn is not an authentic Buddhist. Afterward, my friend asked me what he had against Hahn and I felt almost embarrassed.
Unfortunately, for a long time, I also embraced the idea that OBC buddhism was the only real Buddhism. When I took a job in another city without an OBC priory, I was afraid of attending other groups thinking that their teachings would be sub par. And when I finally did, I had a lot of fear and judgments--primarily of the nature that these teachings aren't as good as the OBC's.
I'm happy to say that some years later, I've realized that there are good teachers and teachings everywhere. Whether they seem true, authentic or helpful is something I can now trust myself to judge... I don't need to be fearful anymore.
I'm also pleased to see that the OBC is opening up a little too. I heard them quoting Robert Aiken recently, which made me smile. And ten years after the fact, the priory I went to is watching Ram Das video for movie night.
Unfortunately, I think RMJK passed on underlying feeling of paranoia, mistrust, and need to control and thankfully the monks are finally starting to outgrow and question that fear. It's nice to see them learning to "trust and let go a little" too.
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Posts : 1640
Join date : 2010-11-17

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PostSubject: Re: Integration   Integration Empty7/2/2011, 1:40 pm

Very thoughtful article June. I believe Robert Aitken ran the type of retreats that were a lot of sitting, all day into the night,which take some adjusting to. I believe he tried to teach the heart sutra ( through koans) the emptyness of mental ( all) activity,of assumptions, conceptualizing and intellectualization of life,basically seeing that our ego is not a fixed solid thing.
I believe what you emphasis 'the trust and let go' is the basis of zazen.
The trust and let go unites us with all beings and ourselves,when we let go of issues that you mentioned they ceases to exist, 'goodness' is allowed to flourish naturally. I believe this is the wonderful basis of Soto Zen Buddhism.
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