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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 29, 2009 10:56PM

Many many people become interested in Zen after reading Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Suzuki Roshi. One could consider this a 'gateway text' .

This essay from the Dark Zen website kicks ASS.

[www.darkzen.com]

For it was news to me that through this essay, I discovered that from one persons perspective, there is a subtle indoctrination could form the subtext of the Zen Mind Beginners Mind-- and that Richard Baker's self aggrandizement was well served by this book--for which he wrote the introduction, describing the qualities, much idealized, of a Zen roshi.

This would aggrandizes the role of the Zen Master, a role Baker was shortly to fill, and would insinuate a power imbalance into a trustful readers mind.

I call this a preformatting process. Let the author of this essay speak:

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but Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind was published in 1970, only one year before Baker himself received Dharma transmission and the title, Zen master.

Downing (author of Shoes Outside the Door: Desire and Excess at San Francisco Zen Center) reveals that by 1969 Suzuki had made it known to Baker and others at the Center that Baker was to be his Dharma heir.

Baker's use of Dixon's words begins the description of Suzuki Roshi, with the strange phrasing "a roshi is..." This substitutes what is supposed to be a description of their close and beloved teacher Suzuki Roshi, a real person, with an abstraction, "a roshi."

Yet Baker certainly knew that, at best, few if any roshi are so fully realized. More tellingly, Baker, inserted the very idealized description of qualities and characteristics supposedly of Suzuki Roshi, generalized to all roshi, knowing it would inevitably, indeed shortly, be applied to himself.**


Corboy notes: thus, readers of Zen Mind, Beginners Mind would be "pre-formatted" to exalt the role of the Roshi in their own minds and be all the more ready to be submissive and trustful no matter whom they later met and studied with.

It should be noted that relatively few user friendly books on Zen were available in English, greatly magnifying the impact of Zen Mind, Beginners Mind.

Much, much later, after the Baker mess, more realistic histories of Suzuki Roshi and Zen Center became available and the role of roshi was de-mythologized-through such books as David Chawick's "Crooked Cucumber.""

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San Francisco from the 1960's into the 1980's was considered by many to be the freest city in America, especially when understanding "libre" as freedom from ideological constraints. Zen Center members did not think there was any thought control or propaganda necessary to escape when it came to Zen. Members had not the slightest inkling that their view of Zen was controlled. They believed their way of living and of practicing Zen was the best alternative available in America. People put their hearts into the practice and the Center, sometimes going as far as asserting that the Center represented the cutting edge of Zen in the America.

'When one member was about to leave (after the Baker scandal), rather than receiving well wishes or a word of advice from his teacher-who happened to be the new abbot after Baker, he was smugly told that he would be back in a year.

'It is clear from Downing's interviews that Zen Center members assumed that there was no ideology to be questioned, i.e., the unreliable history of Zen, the hagiographic picture of the lineage, along with its mythology of Dharma transmission, unbroken lineage, and 'enlightened' Zen masters.

'A number of Downing's interviewees spoke of receiving the true or pure Zen teaching from Suzuki Roshi.*(But, as noted above, filtered through the medium of Baker, who was to inherit the abbacy of Zen Center soon after publication of the very book that attracted so many to Zen Center--a book in which Baker had had an important role in exalting and mythologizing the role of the Enligthened, unquesitionable roshi)

" It was not surprising, then, that when trouble arose at the Center it was mostly assumed that something must be wrong with the members themselves; that it was because they did not use or handle well Suzuki's pure teaching. One older student expressed it this way, "In our hands, and it was in our hands, it [Suzuki's pure teaching] became a bludgeon of power, a source of competition, jealousy, and paranoia. That's what we made of it."

'All trouble at the Center was internalized and personalized by its members. Institutional mythology, which created a seamless picture of unbroken lineage along with pure, desireless perfection and attainment housed in the body of the master, was not questioned, and hence, remained intact.

Those who had loved and trusted Suzuki Roshi and who mourned his early death had to trust that he had been unquestionably correct to give Dharma Transmission to Baker. To dare question Baker meant, retroactively daring to question Suzuki Roshi.

It turned out that for his many admirable qualities, Suzuki Roshi was not a saint.

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Suzuki indeed had ordinary and even tragic circumstances in his life, as is shown in Downing's book, who references David Chadwick's book, Crooked Cucumber, for the following details. He was married three times. His first wife contracted tuberculosis and returned to her parents shortly after marriage; his second wife was brutally murdered by an erratic, antisocial monk whom Suzuki had retained as a temple assistant, despite contrary advise from neighbors and colleagues. His youngest daughter, Omi, committed suicide after spending nine years in a mental hospital; he gave Dharma transmission to his son Hoitsu, who did not study with him or even get on with him, but who inherited his temple (this is standard Soto Zen procedure); he gave, as a favor to a friend, Dharma transmission to someone he did not know or have any contact with. He also ran a temple virtually under the control of Japan's repressive fascist era government. This is the sort of detail, which might be useful to both present and future students, but it is absolutely missing from all of the completely standard biographies of Zen masters through the ages.

This is now freely acknowledged at Zen Center. At the time of my visit Hoitsu, Suzukis son, gave a lecture and told the entire 150 plus person audience, which included many drop in visitors, of how his mother had been murdered due to Suzuki ignoring warnings and allowing a mentally ill monk to stay with the family--the one who murdered Hoitsu's mother.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/29/2009 11:10PM by corboy.

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 30, 2009 12:12AM

Whew, that article from the Dark Zen site really does kick ass! Well worth reading for anyone dealing with ANY alleged spiritual path.

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: March 30, 2009 02:19PM

those techniques are these guys like RamdomStu's bread and butter, they pay the bills.
They have been doing them for years, from Muktananda, right through to the present.
If people become aware of the tecniques they use, then they lose their power.
So they deliberately try to DEFLECT from the factual analysis. That is basically all he did here.
Deflect and attack. ugly.


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helpme2times
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The Anticult
just think, that guy who posted a while back, RandomStu, he is a Zen teacher? Zen of what? The Zen of taking drugs, gambling, and following a greedy Zen Master who was a sexual abuser and should have been 'defrocked' and kicked out on his ass? The Zen of deception, lying and cult apologia?
no thanks.
Ah, RandomStu. Just last night I was re-reading a second blog entry on Byron Katie by Guruphiliac, Byron Katie Poisoned By Success?, and in the comments section, there was good ol' Stuart, once again voicing support of BK (on 4/18/08):

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When we're infants, we have only one way to learn: imitation. Those of us mature enough to read this blog are no longer infants. We can still benefit from learning... but we can move beyond imitation.

Byron Katie had some sort of special experience, and was able to articulate it in a way that some people find useful. That's all good. We simply need to avoid considering her infallible (like we automatically viewed our God-like parents when we were infants).

We can take whatever's useful from The Work and other teachings and teachers, and ultimately make it our own, without imitating or following anyone.
Sounds so reasonable, doesn't it? Except it completely skirts the issue of all the devious mind-control methods BK is employing.

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: quackdave ()
Date: March 30, 2009 11:08PM

Just a quick note of thanks to corboy and The Anticult for being the calm voice of reason, injected occasionally with much needed humor. I personally am so filled with anger at this point that it may be best for me not to post, for the time being. Be aware that I follow and read at least three of these threads regularly.

I am very okay with my 'story' and my feelings right now, although I just 'see red', when I witness or think about the damage that has been (and is being) done in the name of enlightenment. I'm learning so much, and I thank everyone, but I'm just too goddamn pissed off right now to have anything to say that won't be tainted with anger.

People from all the threads I visit are posting here, so I won't repost this message elsewhere.

Thanks for being there, folks.

qd

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 31, 2009 01:29AM

Hey qd,

Boy do I know what you mean about the anger!!

I have to be careful not to take it out inappropriately on loved ones. I nearly took a friend's head off the other day when we began discussing Byron Katie and he said something about "not wanting to talk negatively about other people". It made me want to scream!!

I think my friend was holding that attitude in an attempt to be "spiritual". He's been dabbling in various things for as long as I've known him. (Pretty much like me!)

Sadly I have been in his place, trying to be "positive" all the time because a particular approach says if you do that, you can heal your life.

It doesn't f-ing work!!

Fortunately it's gotten to the point where I'm able to catch myself much more quickly than I used to with these approaches and groups. Like, I was able to stop contact with Charlie Hayes on a dime after I witnessed him badgering a suicidal person. That was over a year ago.

And last year I was able to avert attending Byron Katie's school and also halt all "Work".

Whew!

As far as I'm concerned, qd, your anger is very welcome here.

Regards,
H

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: quackdave ()
Date: April 02, 2009 10:17PM

Thanks for the support, HM2x; anger is certainly part of the process but I am hoping to temper my emotions with civility, anyhow. The whole proliferation of newage 'speak' can get me heated up pretty quick, though. It's a major epidemic akin to the black plague, as far as I'm concerned. That's why I love Sagan's book The Demon Haunted World so much.

This thread, which I think is a very necessary part of the RR Forums, started to slip in the list so I felt this a good time to thank you and get it to move up higher for others to see and get involved in.

qd

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: April 02, 2009 10:30PM

Hi qd,

Thanks for bumping this thread up. I agree it's "very necessary". I say that because the Advaita aka nonduality "path" is rife with supposed "teachers" - and swarms of followers behind them.

Well, maybe some of the "teachers" are sincere people who've had some sort deep experience they want to share. (I sure have had moments of feeling "one with everything".) But that doesn't mean they are "enlightened" and qualified to lead others where they supposedly are. What if their enlightenment was short-lived and they fell back down into suffering? (That's certainly happened for me.)

The deep psychological harm that can happen via "Advaita" is no joke. I don't share a whole lot on these boards about the specifics of how I was harmed. I've got my reasons for that. For one thing, I'm pretty fragile a lot of the time and truly lucky to be alive.

And that's all I've got to say for the moment.

Thanks,
H

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: quackdave ()
Date: April 04, 2009 11:35PM

I was just thinking: In a country where the commercialism tends to constantly hammer us with the idea that we are lacking in myriad ways (i.e. the way we look, smell, feel, think, live, act), might that not be the 'softener' with which we were made such easy marks for the hawkers of Enlightenment, Peace, Tranquility, Clear Mind, etc.?

Please, do not misunderstand; I would NEVER blame the victim, like so many apologists we have experience with. On the contrary, I most certainly blame the charlatans and hucksters who take advantage of the constant beating down of our minds, that this society (in the USA) has perpetrated on us. So much for the 'land of the free', eh?

The fact that any of us in the USA has even shown the smallest degree of freedom from this bullshit, is truly a major miracle in my book. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that, to me, true 'enlightenment' is seeing the salesmen of all this newage crap for the dangerous phonies that they are.

qd

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: April 05, 2009 06:13AM

"I'll go so far as to say that, to me, true 'enlightenment' is seeing the salesmen of all this newage crap for the dangerous phonies that they are."

Qd, I think you have something there! :-)

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: quackdave ()
Date: April 09, 2009 10:41PM

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helpme2times
"I'll go so far as to say that, to me, true 'enlightenment' is seeing the salesmen of all this newage crap for the dangerous phonies that they are."

Qd, I think you have something there! :-)

Hey, it's nice to hit the nail on the head once in a while. Re-framing my use of that old newage terminology seems to be helpful, in distancing me from the garbage. I'm open to any techniques that will aid in the re-aligning of my thought process from the "non-dual" approach back to critical thinking.

I read something once, that really impressed me; I can't remember where. But a person, responding to a newage comment relating to non-dual thinking, said something like, "We may be 'all one', in the final analysis, or have started as 'one thing' originally, but somewhere along the line we got 'separated' and that is the reality we live in right now, until or unless we come back together sometime in the future."

qd

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