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About steve

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  1. I don't think I could vote - these 3 options are not necessary. Illness is absolutely a part and condition of living and yet it is still illness. We can treat illness to the degree we feel is appropriate and then accept that there may still be undesired consequences and find a way to be OK with the new me, whatever that looks like./ To me the second part is more related to healing. In healing, there is acceptance of change. Not necessarily a refusal of treatment, however. We can have the same discussion about death.
  2. Nicely said. For me there is also an aspect to authenticity that arises with the peeling away of layers of confusion. The authentic is more deeply connected to our core, less disturbed by superficial emotions, concepts, and such. The more authentic we are, the more we express and manifest the Dao without getting in its way - it's related to De, Ziran, Wuwei. Humility is already there because the ego is less prominent and needy.
  3. More a practice than a book per se - Awakening the Luminous Mind by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
  4. This interaction with Chang brought up something for me. We have a tendency to seek out things that reinforce our view rather than be primed to look into things that may offer a different perspective. So Chang notices a thread about sexual abuse in Tibetan Buddhism and makes a rare appearance in the Buddhist forum. He does so because it's negative and he already knows Buddhism to be negative. At least that's my theory, and I think it's well supported in Western psychology. How often does he see something that might make him feel better about Buddhism and go down that road instead? I don't mean to pick on Chang but I see this pattern so often in myself and others and wanted to point it out. It's worthy of my attention when it happens in me. You all will have to decide if it's worth paying attention to in yourselves. Hopefully you already do. .
  5. Sanshiro Sugata is a wonderful film!
  6. You are welcome to the last word on the topic. Mine will be Peace
  7. Agreed I think there is a lot to learn here and it has nothing to do with Buddhism. That's clear. When we dismiss or judge people based on their religions and practices, we do no one a service, particularly not ourselves. But that certainly is your privilege. My experience as a moderator was similar. The pseudo-Tibetan Buddhist sophistry on DaoBums should not be confused with Buddhist intellectualism any more than the pseudo-Daoist sophistry here can be taken as advanced Daoist practice... Fortunately, I've had credible training in both and can make the distinction. There are some wonderful contributors and lots of chaff. I learned a good lesson from my experience moderating - my negative reactions and frustrations were not to the content of the posts (Buddhism, Daoism, lizard people, whatever) but to the reclusive individuals and their dysfunctional ways of interacting with the community.
  8. Here is a link to a rebuttal to Dzongsar Khyentse's statement from the NYT. The excerpt below is from the comments and I felt it worth copying and pasting here: Startdust on August 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm Reply I have been working on this post for a while, using exerpts from various articles most of which mentioned here before, relating predominantly to both interpersonal teacher-student relationship dynamics and ethics. The views expressed involve, as you will see, the concept of fiduciary care, which is of paramount importance in other care professions such as those of therapist, counsellor, doctor, professor and clergy. Jack Kornfield, Buddhist teacher Insight Meditation Society, says: ‘’There’s no problem with sex itself. Some people choose to be celibate. Some people choose to enjoy sexual relations. Both can be done as a part of spiritual practice. The problem that we have seen in many communities arises when spiritual leaders misuse their role of authority.’’ Zen teacher Grace Schireson suggests that ‘’A person doesn’t come to a Buddhist community to grow through a sexual relationship with a teacher. They come to a Buddhist community to study Buddhism. So in a teacher-student sexual relationship, the primary purpose of that relationship has been subverted.’’ Both quotes from From ‘’Sex and the Spiritual Teacher’’ by Scott Edelstein: “Any relationship potent enough to promote growth and healing is also powerful enough to harm. This is especially so with the relationship between a spiritual teacher and a student hungry for spiritual knowledge and growth.” “It is entirely possible for a spiritual teacher to be wise, compassionate, empathetic, and inspiring, and at the same time sexually exploitive. This may seem entirely contradictory, but spiritual teachers have proven it true time after time. For better or worse, we humans are often contradictory creatures—especially when it comes to sex, power and vocation.” Peter Rutter, M.D. psychiatrist, speaks on the subject in terms of man in power and woman under their care: ‘’What I have come to call sex in the forbidden zone sexual behavior between a man and a woman under his care of mentorship in a professional relationship can occur any time a woman entrusts important aspects of her physical, spiritual, psychological, or material welfare to a man who has power over her. (Women in power can exploit men too, but the balance of power is all too often in the other direction and such situations represent a small percentage of cases of sexual abuse.) Because these relationships invite both men and women to put into them their strongest hopes, wishes, fantasies, and passions, they are especially vulnerable to abuse and can be severely damaging to both people.’’ Rutter states that ‘’Although conservative estimates suggest that several million women in this country have been sexually victimized in relationships of trust, no numbers can possibly convey the full human cost of sex in the forbidden zone. (…) the mere presence of sexual innuendo from a man who has power over her can determine whether she experiences her femininity as a force to be valued and respected or as a commodity to be exploited.’’ ‘’For the teacher, this unethical and immoral violation of a woman’s trust is often seen by him as a loving act that promises mutual fulfilment, and he is in denial of the suffering he causes. Because the relationship is inherently dishonest and manipulative, even if the woman has initiated it and wants it to continue, the love, intimacy and healing he is seeking usually remains illusively unattainable, often compelling him into a succession of equally empty and unfulfilling liaisons. This compulsive, self-destructive behavior only increases his disconnection from himself and others.’’ It can and often will take time to realise there is or has been an element of exploitation, or one can even remain unaware of this. ”Adult victims of sexual exploitation by clergy often don’t see themselves as victims. Without wider public awareness of the extent and impacts of this form of sexual violence, adults who have been sexually victimized by a beloved priest, pastor, minister, rabbi or other clergy will remain the “silent majority” of clergy sexual abuse victims, suffering in their shame and self-isolation.” ”Many people, including the victims themselves, often label incidences of clergy sexual misconduct with adults as ‘affairs’. In reality, they are an abuse of spiritual power by the religious leader.” Lama Rod Owens writes: ”Buddhist communities are not unlike other organized religious communities: where there is hierarchy, patriarchy, and a clergy class with weak accountability structures, abuse will thrive. Lately, many of us have to come to realize how unsafe sanghas can be for the most vulnerable among us. We must work to undo this violence, which is rooted in patriarchy.” ”Sometimes the line between appropriate and inappropriate is blurred. And while I have seen and experienced boundaries being crossed by students, I still understand that the power balance in the situation means that I am the one ultimately responsible for maintaining boundaries.” ”Male-identified teachers, monks, staff, authorities, and lay practitioners in Western, mixed-gendered sanghas must speak out, taking responsibility for our role in a system that perpetuates violence in subtle and insidious ways.” Some communities have been proactive; they did not wait to address these issues until they had a scandal on their hands, like the Spirit Rock Insight Meditation Centre. Their ‘’Codes of ethics’’ say: ‘’A sexual relationship is never appropriate between teachers and students.’’ ‘’If interest in a genuine and committed relationship develops over time between a single teacher and a student, the student-teacher relationship must clearly and consciously have ended before any further development toward a romantic relationship.’’ How one would clearly and consciously bring the student-teacher relationship to an end is not quite clear, particularly as there are social dynamics regarding each person’s position in a sangha, which unavoidably affect interrelational dynamics. Lastly, Jack Kornfield on collective responsibility and structures offers practical and positive direction: ‘’It’s not just about educating women or educating men; it’s educating everybody. Educating the communities—that’s really the game. The responsibility has to be held collectively.’’ ‘’You’re quite right that our communities are structured from the top down. That’s because the traditions themselves have been patriarchal and top-down. To address this, what we’ve set up in our community at Spirit Rock is an independent ethics council. A small group of teachers who are most respected for their balance and integrity are elected to it—the balance is important, because these issues can stir up a hornet’s nest, and when emotions are triggered, people tend to think unclearly. So the council is made up of the elected teachers, a community member, and a board member who are independent from the board or the head teacher. They have the power to investigate, to look for reconciliation, and, if necessary, to come back to the board or the community and require changes. There has to be a process that’s outside of the hierarchy (…) described.’’
  9. Debate cultivates precision, focus comes from tantric practices. They're quite similar to some Daoist practices. All men are certainly not rapists but it's not too far from the truth to say that all rapists are men. There's something to be learned from that. I appreciate the reply.
  10. There is no movement without rhythm!
  11. I've been trying to figure out the cuica and berimbau. There's a circle on Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota on Sunday evenings.
  12. This is quite a generalization and insult to the Buddhist community, Chang. If that's how you feel, so be it, but I feel compelled to point out the ugliness of these words from another's perspective. I'm not personally offended because I don't feel it applies to me but telling all Buddhists that they have no common sense is unnecessary and unkind. My practice is almost entirely experiential. I occasionally read a book on Bön or Buddhism but it is infrequent and usually practice oriented. I don't have the time or patience for the wordiness of much of the written Dharma. I do not have that much interest in philosophy or theory, some might say to my detriment - I'm fine with that. What little time I have to devote to Bön is focused on practice and practical application. My teacher is a great fit for me because he also rarely touches on theory or philosophy, being committed to investigate how the experiential practices can change our views, behavior, and lives. There is no question that many online Buddhist warriors are lost in concepts and debate but that is not a fair representation of dedicated practitioners IME. There is also no question that proper study of Buddhist philosophy and tantra are enormously valuable for the intellect and the mind. The degree of precision and focus that can be achieved is astounding. Far more than is required by advanced Daoist practices that I've been exposed to. This sounds a bit like victim blaming and shaming. Many women and children are victims of sexual abuse at the hands of someone in a position of authority that they trust or fear. The predators are quite expert and cunning in their manipulation making it difficult for the victim to resist and even recognize what's happening as abusive. Add to that the mystique of the Tibetan tantric master and the tantric methods which sometimes employ sexual or extreme practices, and you have the perfect storm. I agree with you that if a person cannot see abuse for what it is, that person needs serious adjustment to their view. Dzongsar Khyentse's rant was offensive and disappointing to me. I think his view is narrow-minded, patriarchal, and ignorant. It's important to acknowledge that this is not a problem isolated to Buddhism. It is alive and well in all religions, business, health care, education... everywhere you find men. If you choose to pin it on a single group, men would be the most accurate, IMO.
  13. Lamaism will survive, I believe. People will always want to be able to submit to a "higher authority." I agree that it is an awkward fit in the West and no question that there is a need for deep and meaningful reform is some of the Tibetan traditions and cultural conditioning. We see it happening in the West and in the East, slowly but surely. Sogyal was clearly a fraud and a victim of his own lust. Just another in a long list of spiritual "leaders" seduced by power. He probably had inadequate training and did not grow into the type of person that can handle the power and responsibility of a Vajrayana master and spiritual guide. I have grave concerns about Dzongsar Khyentse after reading the entire statement. Where was the compassion? Where was the wisdom? All I came away with was that he is angry, bitter, and frustrated. I suspect that he would benefit from a nice, long retreat himself...
  14. Very sad situation. I have a few friends who were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of "Buddhist masters." It leaves a lasting scar. I was disturbed by the public statement made by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on the matter. While he made some valid and important points about the Vajrayana, he seemed to indulge a bit too much in what felt to me like bitterness and victim blaming.