A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
Hello from Jikyo
|Subject: Hello from Jikyo Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:38 am|| |
My interest in OBC stems from the two terms (fall 2006 and spring 2007) I spent at Shasta Abbey as a novice from the Olympia Zen Center located in Olympia, WA. I was fulfilling my Soto Zen priest training requirements, which include a requirement for at least two terms of monastic training. I shared a tan with Enida during those two terms and worked in the kitchen with Sophia, who had not entered her postulancy at that time. I did not experience any untoward behavior from RM Eko, but I did notice the frequency with which Kim attended the pre-meditation morning services and the special privileges she had in comparison with other lay disciples. And I wondered about it. When Eko left and I learned it was because of a relationship with a lay disciple, I knew exactly which disciple was involved.
Otherwise I was completely occupied with surviving the monastic experience and incorporating totally new liturgies and forms into my practice. My time at Shasta was a huge growth experience for me, both personally and spiritually, and I will always be grateful for it. It is my view that RM Kennett's adaptation of Soto Zen liturgy into English plainsong is brilliant and it is my deepest sorrow that Shasta has done little to promote that liturgy and large volume of original Buddhist songs, particularly some of Rev. Helen's compositions, into the wider culture. At one point, I was even so bold as to make the suggestion to RM Haryo that professional singers should record the morning service for commercial sale. Of course, nothing ever came of that suggestion.
I did notice the odd prevalence of illness at the monastery, and attendance at tea, where general observations and attitudes were shared, was a revelation to me, as the attitude of some of the Shasta monks toward the wider Soto community was rather harsh from my perspective. Although most of the monks treated me with complete kindness, I always had the feeling that something was going on just out of earshot. Sort of like a very high whistle at the edge of my range of hearing. I never learned to keep my mouth properly shut as a novice priest should because I came from a community where everyone was permitted to speak and to discuss any topic. But I was learning. Ironically, my second term was cut short when I became very ill and had to return to Washington because my insurance did not cover local medical treatment.
It breaks my heart to read some of these posts, but my heart is also warmed by the wisdom and continuing practice that shines through, by your clear articulation of your perceptions, by your excavation of your deepest feelings and experiences, and by your care and concern for each other. This is a genuine practice community that is committed to the Truth. My home temple has experienced dissension and arbitrary wielding of authority as well, which kindled a personal interest in and continuing study of effective methods of group communication. I currently facilitate a small meditation group in Port Angeles that does not incorporate ceremony or chanting services into its practice. I also provide spiritual counseling to the sangha. As a member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, I am required to post a personal ethics statement that gives sangha members options for reporting my ethical violations to the SZBA. This is one small step the SZBA has taken toward teacher accountability, but as has been pointed out in many of these postings, it's not always so easy to take the first step to make a report.
I will finish now and hope to enter into some of your discussions about the challenges of spiritual practice together as human beings with particular emphasis on practice in Zen communities. Warm wishes to all of you.
Posts : 933
Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:19 am|| |
Welcome to OBC Connect! Thank you for your thoughtful words and for noticing that there is a lot of sincere (if sometimes cantankerous) communication happening here. Although many of us found practicing in the OBC unacceptable we've continued to practice nonetheless - the Buddha/Dharma remains the important matter. I look forward to your contributions.
Posts : 1431
Join date : 2009-11-08
Age : 47
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:56 am|| |
Jikyo, hello and welcome - it's great to have you here. I hope you will feel free to join in the discussions, even topics that have been snoozing for awhile, and start new ones anytime.
If you've been reading the forum for a bit you'll know that we can be very direct (ok, cantankerous like Isan said) when the conversation gets lively, and no topic is considered off-limits. We challenge each other but it isn't meant to be personal; mostly we want to get to the heart of the matter, whatever that may be.
Thank you for joining us, and for your great comments on the transmission thread. I'll be popping in over there later with some questions for you
Posts : 117
Join date : 2013-11-11
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:08 am|| |
Hello Rev. Jikyo,
How nice to see your name pop up! I remember fondly our days together in the meditation hall and am glad your practice is flourishing. Those were trying and rewarding times....
I am also glad to hear of the SZBA and their attempts to make progress on the ethics front by supplying an avenue for participants to make reports of behaviors. As you say, it will be interesting to see if students can break out of the traditional roles to actually register complaints
. It will be something to watch as the dynamics are similar to the OBC's with master/disciple relationships and later phases of practice.
I appreciate that SZBA ordains priests who then still have a foot in lay life, by marrying and engaging in activities outside of the temple. When I visited SF Zen Center, their practice was alive and vibrant with young people and positive energy.
And I don't think your sense of something in the shadows during your time at Shasta was unfounded. I remember some of the superiority that monks would express about true monastic training, as opposed to lay priests. There was one incident where a novice SZBA monk was staying in the temple for a term and was invited to hear a talk by the Abbot in the Meditation Hall along with the other monks. The Abbot then proceeded to talk on the Shobogenzo chapter that discusses, and I am paraphrasing, how monastic training is the only true training. I found it incredibly rude towards the visiting monk, and wasn't quite sure why it was done. I chalked it up to letting go of the self at the time, but it was very insulting to the visitor, who asked me about it later, and I was ashamed for the Abbey.
There are some real jewels at the Abbey in any event, and Rev. Helen is a dear monk. She is an inspiration with her music and I too wish she could arrange professional recording of some of the liturgy, particularly the music she has written. Perhaps in the future
I am so glad to see you here Jikyo and look forward to your insights regarding some of the difficulties we discuss and how you address them in your practice.
p.s. The chapters in the Shobogenzo are "On Leaving Home Life Behind" and "On the Spiritual Merits of Leaving Home Life Behind." You can read them in the PDF version of RM Hebert's translation of the Shobogenzo on the Shasta Abbey website.
Last edited by H Enida on Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 1640
Join date : 2010-11-17
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:35 am|| |
how monastic training is the only true training
In life,living is the only thing to do
Posts : 77
Join date : 2012-08-13
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:59 pm|| |
Thank you for reflecting the authenticity of practice by contributors here.That is my experience too.
Thank you too for telling us about your ethics statement and the checks and balances the SZBA is putting in place-very encouraging.
Looking forward to hearing more from you
Posts : 690
Join date : 2010-03-06
Age : 71
Location : Sonoma County CA
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:39 pm|| |
Hello Rev. Jikyo,
Welcome to the Forum. Your participation, and comments, are greatly appreciated!
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:46 am|| |
Rev. Jikyo, Thank you for posting your introduction. I had not been familiar with your home temple, the Olympia Zen Center. I'm glad you are affiliated with the SZBA, as it gives some peer accountability and support for those who share the tradition. I am curious about the Order of Ryokan and its meaning within the Soto tradition. Can you shed more light on that?
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:39 am|| |
Thank you for your greetings and welcoming comments. In answer to Bill R's question about the Order of Ryokan, this Order is purely a creation of Olympia Zen Center (in 2010) and has no basis in Japanese Soto tradition. Ryokan has been the object of special interest and study for OZC's abbess. She recently published a book about Ryokan (Kakurenbo by Eido Frances Carney) on which she labored for several years. A replica of Ryokan's hermitage of Gogo-an was constructed at OZC in 2006 and serves as a retreat hut and space for special ceremonies. Abbess Eido's transmitting teacher, Niho Roshi, is abbot of Entsu-ji, the temple in southern Japan (Tamashima) at which Ryokan trained as a monk and which is visited by hundreds of pilgrims every year. Since Ryokan had no dharma heirs, becoming Niho Roshi's dharma heir is as close as one could come to being in lineage with Ryokan. Because of her affection for and affinity with Ryokan, Abbess Eido chose to honor Ryokan by creating this order, which includes both monks and laity, as a means for students to deepen their Zen practice.
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:40 am|| |
Jikyo, thank you for the explanation. Most appreciated.
|Subject: Re: Hello from Jikyo || |
Hello from Jikyo