Fletcher wrote:Has any forum members had any experience with the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives
Since moving to the UK 5 years ago I've been attached to the OBC. I sometimes attend their meeting in Leicester and before at Reading.
Here is a list of the temples and attached groups: http://obcon.org/temps.html
Here is the main temple where I celebrate Buddha's birthday: http://www.throssel.org.uk/ and other celebrations.
What else do you want to know about them?
Huifeng wrote:Gary, you may have more luck at ZFI.
I Don't believe there are any practitioners of that order at ZFI. Monks in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives are actually monks (celibate etc.), and for that reason may stand somewhat apart from typical American Zen (ZFI should really be AFI, approximately 90% of the traffic there is within the United States).
Will wrote:I too intend to vist one of their temples at Pine Mountain, in Southern California. They have recently installed a stupa patterned after those at Borobordur: http://www.pinemtnbuddhisttemple.org/stupa.shtml
Wife and I finally got around to visiting (in February) the quite large grounds of this OBC temple complex. The terrain is high desert, with some pine trees. We did a little circumambulation around Vairochana Buddha in the dhyani buddha mandala space and also visited a large Kwan Yin a couple of hundred yards away. There are 3 or 4 living quarters for the monastics and visitors. They also have a small meditation/classroom, very nicely appointed. Rev Phoebe was kindly and bit spacey at first, we did not call first, but just dropped in without warning. Probably more civilized to give them a phone call first.
Their Wesak is 15 May, with a veggie luncheon; all are invited.
KwanSeum wrote:This is clearly a new site. It has recently been set up to help them communicate. Why does it indicate problems in the US?Fruitzilla wrote:The order does seem to have some problems, especially in the US. See this forum: http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/
Are you kidding? Read some of the threads.
Whatever wrinkles there may be in the leadership of the OBC, Pine Mountain seems a devoted and goodly group.
I would be happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability from my own experience.
Please keep in mind that I am an experienced Layperson, but I am not a monk, or priest or Lay minister or official representative of the Order.
I would be happy to answer any questions regarding my ongoing training within the Order.
Thank you very much,
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
With this thread, I propose we try to understand UBC in a more complete way. I'd like to know what others at DW know about OBC, its lineage, its characteristic approach to practice and teachings, and its history (OBC has been around long enough to have a significant track record). It would also be helpful to understand how these features fit together in an overall program.
For myself, I know rather little about OBC. I do have some experience with Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland, Oregon, USA; I have a great deal of respect for the teachers and students there (my cousin is also a current member).
https://www.academia.edu/25482900/WHAT_ ... _OF_STRESS
I went to quite a few Sundays at the Buddhist Priory here in Portland, which is connected to the OBC. I had very positive experiences. The monks there have been kind, instructive, and patient with me often not knowing what the heck to do during the ceremonies.
I did stop attending for a few reasons. There was nearly a weekly ceremony, some of which were hard for someone with no formal training or study in Zen to penetrate the meaning of. There also weren't enough teachings of the dharma for my tastes. I wondered if it was more like a priory with resident monks who offered to share their practice, versus a center geared more towards lay people. The extremely small sangha of regular attendees (two or three) may indicate it's the former. I haven't attended the Dharma Rain center. I wonder if I should give it a try
Another reason I stopped, I don't know if this is a good one, is I found some concerning information about the OBC in general online. Complaints about any charismatic teacher or rigorous monastic style are going to crop up, so I didn't care much about those. I did find what appeared to be a support forum for ex-monastics and people who had gotten deeply involved in the OBC then left due to concerns. The fact that it wasn't just one or two people but several corroborating statements gave me pause.
There were claims about actively repressing discussion or questions, ignoring student concerns, extremely hierarchical tendencies, and parroting the founder but not really knowing how to help the student along... Some said they felt they hit a brick wall in different areas and left. There were other things but I don't remember them at the moment. It was enough for me to stop going to the priory. I can share the link to the forum if it would be appropriate.
I don't mean this to be hearsay and gossipy. I didn't find any similar complaints about the other main Zen organization in my state, the Zen Community of Oregon, so it was very concerning to me. I hope this thread can clear up any misunderstandings or be a source of information and discussion on the OBC.
I've been going to a weekly Serene Reflection Meditation group that's affiliated to the OBC for quite a while now. I haven't seen or heard of anything weird going on. No one's tried to have sex with me, asked me for money, showed me how to make Sarin gas or tried to take over my mind. We stare at walls, walk in a circle, sometimes recite the Heart Sutra, Gregorian-style, then have a cup of tea and a natter. Now, when I explain that to my partner, she thinks that is hilarious.
On my journey into Dharma over these last 5 years, I think I've had brushes with cult-like groups, who I won't name, and my experience of the OBC just doesn't compare. No alarm bells have rang dealing with these chaps.
I've been to 2 day retreats with some of the monks and apart from they dress like Jedi and have no hair the only slightly 'odd' bit was getting used to their services that seem very influenced by gregorian music and was a bit 'Church-like'.
I understand that the lady who set up the OBC could be a bit of a crotchety old bugger but then so could my Nan when she got older. They've had the ubiquitous Zen sex scandal at their main temple in the USA, so in that respect they don't seem any different from other Western Zen associations.
A female monk from their Shasta Abbey answered questions about this sex scandal at the last retreat I attended in Sheffield and she was pretty damn open and honest about it, and how she was struggling to come to terms with it herself.
However, there is a site called OBC Connect which seems to be a support group for current and ex-members of the OBC. I've been on looking since the last post asking about the OBC and it looks like some folk have had some pretty shitty times with them in the past. I get the impression these weren't people like me on the peripheries of the OBC, but who were full-on into it.
Some of the postings seem a bit far-fetched to ignorant little me, but some of the posts sound like some people had a fairly rotten time of it living 'in-house'.
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