I have finally given in to the continuous prompting that I should add a comment on this forum. I don’t think that anything I say will alleviate the hurt suffered by some people who have been in touch and, may indeed, aggravate it, for which I am sorry and is the reason I have not written before. However, the negative descriptions of the OBC do not accord with my experience and I feel it is important for people to prove it true for themselves.
I have called myself Buddhist since about eleven years of age when I disagreed with the teachings of the church which I had been brought up in. I read my first book about Buddhism at that age and realized that this was my understanding and always had been. When I was twenty-one I met my future life partner and after trying another Buddhist tradition, which didn’t gel, we found a local group affiliated to the OBC. For us it felt very natural. We have been practicing together within the OBC for about 30 years and have been Lay Ministers in the Order for about 20 years running meditation groups and helping with a local Priory.
As we live in the UK I can only comment on Throssel Hole Abbey, although I do know and have known a number of American Monks from whom I have always received similar teaching and support.
The teaching and support we have received from the monks, in my mind, is always in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching. I have read extensively from other traditions and whilst there may be a difference in the outward form of each school, the truth is there to see. This is also true of the OBC.
I have never felt the need to become a monk having realized that, for me, Buddhist training needed to take place in the world. The vast majority of monks have been supportive of this, telling me that lay practice is just as valid as monastic.
When he left school my son asked about becoming a monk (not at our suggestion). After speaking to him. Rev Master Daishin, suggested that he should see a bit of the world before making a decision. He went to University, is married now and has become a christian because that is more suitable for him.
Buddhist practice has helped me in many ways. I see clearly that the well intentioned compassionate way in which my Father brought me up caused Karmic ripples which I passed on to my children in the same way. I have also suffered some discrimination because of my illness and the subsequent disability, although not nearly as great as some have mentioned here. I even discriminate against myself.
Regarding health, I have come to see for myself the karmic link of illness and how it affects body and mind. However, whilst alternative therapies have been discussed with monks these are always in conjunction with and not instead of conventional medicine. I have always been advised to follow medical advice.
In the last few years my health has got worse. I have had to give up work and have spent months in hospitals coming near to death on a number of occasions. Impermanence is now a reality. I am able to accept this because of my Buddhist practice. I can see that the difficulties that arose in my life were merely opportunities for training. This has only been possible because of my meditation and because of something that was said in my first few days at Throssel and was first said by the Buddha. Don’t just accept this because I say so but prove it true for yourself.
The OBC is not the only way to the truth and neither is Buddhism, Both have been the answer for me. Find a way and prove it true for you.