Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Sara H » Fri May 03, 2013 5:02 am

It's pretty interesting that most of the comments here are sortof attempts to discredit Jiyu-Kennet because of the vivid nature of her past lives that she experienced.

But the problem is, we can and do actually experience past lives as a part of Buddhist practice.

I've proved this true for myself.

Jikan for instance, keeps going on about the diabetes thing, while ignoring that many other people including his respected friend Kyogan have also experienced past lives.

I have no doubt that she was authoritarian. I wouldn't have it any other way.

And any complaints about her teaching style, seem to be coming from people for whom she was not best suited to be a teacher of.

The people who found her to be a helpful teacher seem to have no complaints.

That's a bit like saying, "my professor is an ass." because you have a personal issue with them,

While many other people in the class may have no problem.

She was an extremely wise and profound teacher. Her teachings are and were spot-on.

Peer review of her organization by other Zen masters and Zen organizations agree with this.

So regardless of whether someone agree's with her teaching style or not, what she taught was pure Zen.

She submitted her past life experiences to Soto-Shu in Japan, and they had no problem with it.

If you don't like discussion about past lives, (and some people don't) that's fine. You don't have to believe it if you don't want to.

I've personally verified these things are true for myself though. So to each their own.

I could understand if Soto-Shu and the other major Zen organizations were like "this is fake" but that's not the case. They endorse it.

Whether you like it or not, this is Soto Zen.

If you want something less colorful, choose a different practice.
(although I'd stick clear of Tibetan Buddhism if that were the case, as they are pretty colorful too).

Buddhism is a religion, and religious experiences do happen.

This is not a secular philosophy.

There is plenty of scriptural and historic documentation within the Dharma to back this up.

The Buddha Himself talked about His past lives. If you don't like that, I'd suggest a different practice.

In Gassho,

Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby JKhedrup » Fri May 03, 2013 8:33 am

Please tell me we aren't comparing Jiyu Kennet to the Buddha.

You call Tibetan Buddhism colourful but i have practiced it for 17years, and lived and spoken with Tibetans in their language for the past 7. I have never heard them talk in the way J Kennet has. Even figures like Hh Dalai Lama and Karmapa are famously reticent to talk about past life memories.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 03, 2013 8:41 am

I was present when Tai Situ was asked if he had any memory of past lives..he said " No I have no such memory none at all. And if I did it is considered poor form to talk about such things. But that is not why I am saying that I have no such memory..I am saying it because it is the truth."

As mentioned HHDL has said a number of times that he has no past lives memory.

CTR saw such claims as a classic symptom of Spiritual Materialism.

So who do we trust. Those who are renowned for their Awareness and Insight, and who have been trained in mindfulness from childhood, or those who appear to be in need of affirmation ?
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Anders » Fri May 03, 2013 9:17 am

Sara H wrote:It's pretty interesting that most of the comments here are sortof attempts to discredit Jiyu-Kennet because of the vivid nature of her past lives that she experienced.


Not me - Although there are comments of this sort, the main thing I see here that I am not sure you really acknowledge is that many ex-students felt the environment was not helpful and for some even traumatic. Let's talk about this moreso than "we talk about past lives, deal with it."

And any complaints about her teaching style, seem to be coming from people for whom she was not best suited to be a teacher of.

The people who found her to be a helpful teacher seem to have no complaints.


Come on, Sara. The same can be said of Trungpa, Shimano and Sasaki.

That's a bit like saying, "my professor is an ass." because you have a personal issue with them,

While many other people in the class may have no problem.


No, it's a bit like the guys at Mt. Baldy saying "I have never had a problem with Sasaki Roshi", whilst the women are continually having to fend off his sexual overtoures.

She was an extremely wise and profound teacher. Her teachings are and were spot-on.


Maybe for some. And maybe less so for others. It is so for all teachers - the difference here seems to be that those unsuited to the teachings of rev Kennet seems to come out with more grievances about how this dynamic played out compared to most other teachers. There is be some responsibility on the part of the students in recognising this and choosing a right teacher for themselves, but there is also a responsibility on the part of the teacher not to maintain such dynamics with her own students.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Anders » Fri May 03, 2013 9:24 am

JKhedrup wrote:Please tell me we aren't comparing Jiyu Kennet to the Buddha.

You call Tibetan Buddhism colourful but i have practiced it for 17years, and lived and spoken with Tibetans in their language for the past 7. I have never heard them talk in the way J Kennet has. Even figures like Hh Dalai Lama and Karmapa are famously reticent to talk about past life memories.


I don't think that was the implied comparison. But there is a culture, more pronounced online, of happily accepting the sutras (both historical and later) talking about past lives, awakening, etc, but woe betide the posters who then proposes that they have in fact confirmed some of these things for themselves.

There are pros and cons to talking about such things. I think it is generally more sustainable to not talk about such things, at the same time I appreciate the witness reports from people who have had such experiences. But imo, I think it does deserve some recognition that there is also a matter of spiritual culture clash at work here - on both sides. And give some room for acknowledging that the communication between these perspectives easily become incommensurate due to assumptions of scholarly accuracy, accepted behaviour within the tradition, and so forth.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 03, 2013 9:55 am

I dont think that it divides neatly down that line merely Anders. i.e. online and meatworld.
Apart from a few brief exceptions I have little personal experience of Zen, but the Vajrayana teachers I have known are as reluctant to enter " past lives " discussions as are teachers from the Forest Tradition like Ajahns Sumedho, Munindo and Amaro..who will quickly cough and change the subject if the topic of their, or others, previous lives is raised.
I think the reason is simple.
The scope for self delusion and misunderstanding in this area is vast.
And for many westerners the idea of " again becoming " is not seen as a powerful incentive to avoid such a possibility..but as a romantic notion which confers a feeling of specialness.
Which creates a fertile mindset within which to view any random product of the imagination as having significance. Particularly for those who feel alienated.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby JKhedrup » Fri May 03, 2013 10:06 am

I agree Simon. A focus on seeing past lives often proves detrimenal to the overall health of an organization. This is true across theyanas, just look at the Wat Phra Dhammakaya movement in Thailand.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Anders » Fri May 03, 2013 10:12 am

Simon E. wrote:I dont think that it divides neatly down that line merely Anders. i.e. online and meatworld.


I wasn't trying to draw that line. Only suggesting that some behaviours seem more augmented in cyberspace.

Apart from a few brief exceptions I have little personal experience of Zen, but the Vajrayana teachers I have known are as reluctant to enter " past lives " discussions as are teachers from the Forest Tradition like Ajahns Sumedho, Munindo and Amaro..who will quickly cough and change the subject if the topic of their, or others, previous lives is raised.


My experience is similar, although I have teased out some observations on the mechanics of these things from some forest teachers, with a strong implication that it is from personal experience. Still, my experience is that such things are often treated differently in meatspace. I recall one time at wat pah nanachat, I wanted to ask the advice of ajahn nyanadhammo about some very private aspects of practise. I was a bit surprised to discover that this exchange would happen in the presence of a score monks sitting around in the sala at the time. None of them seemed to pay it much mind other than a few tidbits of advice afterwards. The same was the case with the late Ajahn Pannavado - stuff would be shared with the ajahn and whoever happened to be sitting around at the time.

Both places are also very grounded communities, so nothing much was made of these things - hence, less need for discretion perhaps.

I think the reason is simple.
The scope for self delusion and misunderstanding in this area is vast.


I agree. I was a bit shocked to read reports that it was apparently encouraged among all students to take guidance from 'the still inner voice/cosmic buddha'.

My own view is that these things require enough discretion to ensure that there is not culture of narratives and identification being established around siddhis, or even awakening. Such guidelines aren't established for the mature practitioners, but a community has to be able to encompass a wide range of practitioners and the overall teaching/impression/training culture is important in regards to this. It all depends on the person really - and when 'the person' extends to a community of person and having the responsibility of establishing a culture of spiritual training that can encompass the many... Well, I don't envy the burden of teachers, that is for sure. Still, no one size fits all.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Sara H » Fri May 03, 2013 10:23 am

Anders wrote:
Sara H wrote:It's pretty interesting that most of the comments here are sortof attempts to discredit Jiyu-Kennet because of the vivid nature of her past lives that she experienced.


Not me - Although there are comments of this sort, the main thing I see here that I am not sure you really acknowledge is that many ex-students felt the environment was not helpful and for some even traumatic. Let's talk about this moreso than "we talk about past lives, deal with it."

And any complaints about her teaching style, seem to be coming from people for whom she was not best suited to be a teacher of.

The people who found her to be a helpful teacher seem to have no complaints.


Come on, Sara. The same can be said of Trungpa, Shimano and Sasaki.


And the Karmapa, and the Dalai Lama.

Both of them have plenty of their share of detractors.

That's a bit like saying, "my professor is an ass." because you have a personal issue with them,

While many other people in the class may have no problem.


No, it's a bit like the guys at Mt. Baldy saying "I have never had a problem with Sasaki Roshi", whilst the women are continually having to fend off his sexual overtoures.


The difference is, in Sasaki's case, the complaint is:
"He made me touch his penis"

In Jiyu-Kennett's case, the complaint is:
"She gave me 30 cents" or "I disagree with this policy"


I hope some people will forgive me, but I don't exactly see that as an enormous problem.

I mean, quite frankly if Jiyu-Kennett had followed the letter of Zen the way she was trained in Japan, rather than some ex-desciples complaining about her giving them 30 cents, they'd be complaining about her beating them black and blue with the kyosaku. That's the way they did it in Japan. Lets keep it in context here, she was pretty mild. If stern words, is the most they can level at her, well that's pretty mild compared to how the Japanese practice Zen.


Anders wrote:
JKhedrup wrote:Please tell me we aren't comparing Jiyu Kennet to the Buddha.

You call Tibetan Buddhism colourful but i have practiced it for 17years, and lived and spoken with Tibetans in their language for the past 7. I have never heard them talk in the way J Kennet has. Even figures like Hh Dalai Lama and Karmapa are famously reticent to talk about past life memories.


I don't think that was the implied comparison. But there is a culture, more pronounced online, of happily accepting the sutras (both historical and later) talking about past lives, awakening, etc, but woe betide the posters who then proposes that they have in fact confirmed some of these things for themselves.

There are pros and cons to talking about such things. I think it is generally more sustainable to not talk about such things, at the same time I appreciate the witness reports from people who have had such experiences. But imo, I think it does deserve some recognition that there is also a matter of spiritual culture clash at work here - on both sides. And give some room for acknowledging that the communication between these perspectives easily become incommensurate due to assumptions of scholarly accuracy, accepted behaviour within the tradition, and so forth.
(my emphasis)


:good:

Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Sara H » Fri May 03, 2013 10:46 am

JKhedrup wrote:Even figures like Hh Dalai Lama and Karmapa are famously reticent to talk about past life memories.


Oh please. The Dalai Lama's entire spiritual authority rests on the idea that he was someone in a past life. Don't give me that.

Oh, but woe betide Jiyu-Kennett if her past lives are mentioned.

Yeah right.
Last edited by Sara H on Fri May 03, 2013 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Anders » Fri May 03, 2013 10:48 am

JKhedrup wrote:I agree Simon. A focus on seeing past lives often proves detrimenal to the overall health of an organization. This is true across theyanas, just look at the Wat Phra Dhammakaya movement in Thailand.


the Dhammakaya movement has more problems than just that. When you have teachers saying Nirvana is a 10-40m sphere with an actual buddha figure inside, it's time to run for the hills. But I digress...
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 03, 2013 10:55 am

Whaaaat ? :o
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Anders » Fri May 03, 2013 10:58 am

Sara H wrote:
JKhedrup wrote:Even figures like Hh Dalai Lama and Karmapa are famously reticent to talk about past life memories.


Oh please. The Dalai Lama's entire spiritual authority rests on the idea that he was someone in a past life. Don't give me that.

Oh, but woe betide Jiyu-Kennett if her past lives are mentioned.

Yeah right.


Heh, she has you there, venerable. Not to mention that HH doesn't mind talking about how he intends to emanate in the future or (or not emanate, as may be the case).

And let's be fair, discretion is not exactly a standout feature of a tradition that systematically identifies tulkus and sometimes even raises them from childhood because of it. The tulkus in question may be a bit more reticent to talk about their own past lives, but the culture surrounding these things often do feature rather prominently in Vajrayana.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Anders » Fri May 03, 2013 10:59 am

Simon E. wrote:Whaaaat ? :o


no joke.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby JKhedrup » Fri May 03, 2013 11:11 am

I find it slightly nauseating to compare Jiyu-Kennet to figures like the Dalai Lamas and Karmapas-for me it would be like comparing her to Bodhidharma or Dogen, but for the sake of argument I will respond to what was mentioned here.

Heh, she has you there, venerable. Not to mention that HH doesn't mind talking about how he intends to emanate in the future or (or not emanate, as may be the case)


HHDL doesn't speak at length about his past lives, anywhere that I've seen, and at any time during the many past teaching events that I've experienced. At the most he might say he feels ''A special connection to the 5th and 13th Dalai Lamas, but has no clear memories."'

Excerpt from “The Dalai Lama”, conversations w/ Rajiv Mehrotra, pg. 82:

“Reincarnation

(RM ?) Currently do you have any memories of your past life?

HH: Sometimes it is difficult to remember what happened this morning! However, when i was small---say two to three years old---my mother and some close friends noticed that I expressed some memories of my past life. That is possible! But if you are asking me for a definite memory, I must say it remains somewhat unclear.”


As for speaking about how he will be reborn in the future, this is to empower the Tibetan people to make a decision about the Dalai Lama institution. Whether a new one is appointed before he passes away, whether it becomes an elected position, whether the tradition should continue as it is. In other words, because of the unique socio-political quandary the Tibetans face at this period in time, he is forced to speak about this.

I realize, though, Jiyu Kennet's defence depends on using the templates of past life statements of well-regarded masters, and so whatever differences I try to draw in terms of level of realization will probably be framed as sectarianism.

If it weren't for some of his conservative statements on social issues, I would propose Master Hsuan Hua as a potential candidate for a Chan master who spoke about past/future lives and was qualified to do so, and did so in an appropriate context.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
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Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Anders » Fri May 03, 2013 11:16 am

Sara H wrote:And the Karmapa, and the Dalai Lama.

Both of them have plenty of their share of detractors.


Well yes, that is sort of my point. Your point here actually says nothing.

The difference is, in Sasaki's case, the complaint is:
"He made me touch his penis"

In Jiyu-Kennett's case, the complaint is:
"She gave me 30 cents" or "I disagree with this policy"


I will say that reading posts on that forum, one does get the impression that it is a case of "one man's turning word is another man's insult" for many of them. And it is true, there are gradations of complaints and cultish or abusive behaviour.

The complaints also seem to include extensive emotional manipulation bordering on abuse, confused teachings that sometimes end up totally destabilising people. And a persistent line of such complaints that are suggestive of something more endemic than "no community is flawless."

I guess it rubs me a bit the wrong way that you in one smooth motion entirely trivialise the experiences and complaints a long and persistent string of people have had there (ranging, mind you, from zen teachers to ex-buddhists), whilst upholding her as an extremely wise teacher "for those she was the right teacher for."

I am not sure if it is the case here, but a frequent incommensurability is the assumption of the infallibility of the realised being. Well, in the Pali Canon we have examples of arhats who were quite frankly obnoxious and offensive to the people around them because their habits were still crude as well as arhats who were so intellectually dim, they could not express their realisation any more profoundly than "sweep the dust, sweep the dust."

I guess what I am saying is that I don't see the contradiction in someone who has had an awakening, but not yet thoroughly awakened (ie, still having emotional and cognitive stuff to process herself) being asked to not just continue a wellgrounded community, but to set one up from scratch in a different culture based on a mere five years in a foreign culture to absorb the culture of spiritual training there, in an era of limited and often fanciful scholarship, combined with few examples to take a lead from, it is not surprising to me that a lot of the "making it up as I go along" stuff (I am not saying that as a criticism as much as this being a sometimes necessity due to the conditions of the time and place) involved in setting up Shasta Abbey didn't always work out as well as it could have.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Anders » Fri May 03, 2013 11:18 am

JKhedrup wrote:If it weren't for some of his conservative statements on social issues, I would propose Master Hsuan Hua as a potential candidate for a Chan master who spoke about past/future lives and was qualified to do so, and did so in an appropriate context.


To be fair, master Hua had some kickass siddhis to back up his statements with.

I recall one forest monk who went there saying of the stuff that would frequently happen there: "it was like magic. Was magic really..."
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 03, 2013 11:24 am

Anders wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Whaaaat ? :o


no joke.



Crikey. :? Back to topic.
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Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby JKhedrup » Fri May 03, 2013 11:40 am

I am just sorry I never got to meet Master Hua. He also produced some fantastic students.

I never said hh dalai lama and karmapa didn't have detractors,they are entitled to their opinions. I don't put a lot of energy into trying to discredit those detractors (learned those lessons a few years back). Actually when you take the tact of "detractor a said so and so because he/she is such andsuch a person, imbalanced etc." Rather than helping your case it harms it. It is called "fair game" in scientology so I try to make sure my statements don't start going in that direction, even if I think the detracror may be unbalanced.

It would be better to show us evidence that JK's past life penetrations were recognized as authentic or give other examples of contemporary Zen masters with similar experiences and philosophy.
Last edited by JKhedrup on Fri May 03, 2013 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
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Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Postby dharmagoat » Fri May 03, 2013 11:43 am

Simon E. wrote:
Anders wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Whaaaat ? :o

no joke.

Crikey. :? Back to topic.

Yes, back to topic. But first... Are you sure this is not simply describing an object to be visualised? If it isn't, then 'crikey' indeed.
May all beings be happy
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