Why is this group labeled as a cult in so many places?
Would love some insight gals and guys
It's not labeled as a cult in so many places.
In my experience, it's labeled as a cult in only one place,
and that's at a website run by disgruntled former members most of which left because they didn't like policy changes, or they didn't like the fact that monks are human beings who get angry and grumpy and irritated like everyone else.
There's a saying in Zen: With the ideal comes the actual.
Most of what I've seen from members of that group is people who had or have ideals of what they thought it should
be, and then when confronted with what Buddhist practice actually
is, that didn't fit their pre-concieved ideals, they left.
Some of them are quite bitter over that.
I've had discussions with many of them.
With some of them there's simply no reasoning with them, they've flipped from having one extreme which may have been blind idealistic adoration, and then when actuality stepped in to shatter their blindly adoring ideals, they became bitter and resentful and now are sortof the other extreme of blindly hating and being embittered toward the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives.
And of course, if and when a monk were to make an actual mistake that meritoriously needed to be adressed, they take that as proof that all their angry theories and embitterment is correct.
Example: a grumpy monk says something that is a jerk-like statement Them: "see? See? we're correct, they have no morals!"
Its not really a reasonable conversation with them.
Most people in the obc simply don't talk to them because everyone who has tried or tried to have a conversation with them or be reasonable, they've been either banned from the forum or shouted down, or simply attacked and treated rudely.
And it's one sided, some of those people were kicked out or left or were asked to leave because of their own poor behavior.
But are now bitter about being the subject of disciplinary action.
In one case, someone was actually involved in aspects of theft.
But that person still talks as though they left because they were taking the "high road" and the obc is so backwards.
While the obc is not perfect, no organization is, and to their credit, they've taken any actual system failure or cultural problems in their organization quite seriously, and quite openly, and with a willingness to talk about them and address them, as one person on this thread pointed out from their own experience.
That's been my experience as well, Rev. Master Haryo, the head of the Order, has been more than upfront and willing to talk with me about even personal issues.
I'd say that's very transparent of them, and he and other senior monks are very approachable and willing to talk and discuss things openly.
He openly publishes his own phone number and is quite reachable and has made it clear that anyone can call him and is warmly welcome. He returns calls and emails promptly.
Regarding openness I'd say that's the norm with the monks there. From my own personal experience.
And regarding what goes on at the monasteries: yes at Shasta it's the same thing as one poster said here already. Wake up, brush teeth, go to sitting, walking meditation (in circles, lol) morning ceremonies, dharma talks, breakfast, working meditation, lunch, breaks, more working mediation, afternoon seated meditation, dinner mealtime ceremonial, breaks, dharma talks/tea, evening meditation, rest, lights out, etc, etc.
Normal Soto Zen practice. Quite wonderful, honest, and nothing weird or creepy.
I used to live in Mt. Shasta, I was quite poor at the time, and never was pressured to give money, and was always welcomed, warmly and joyfully.
They even gave books away.
It was a welcome retreat(s) from the stress in my life, and an opportunity to deepen and advance my practice when I sorely needed it.
Quite wonderful folks there.
"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,
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer
" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy