Friday, August 31, 2018

Sex with a nun? - "Seinfeld" (video)

Dhr. Seven, Eliza Darcey, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Bhikkhuni Sutra: "The Nun" (AN 4.159); Kramer, Seinfeld; Ven. Thanissaro/Geoffrey DeGraff (original trans.), accesstoinsight.org


Buddhist nuns have a strict monastic code.
Thus have I heard. On one occasion Venerable Ananda was staying in Kosambi, at Ghosita's Park.

Then a certain nun said to a man: "Go, my good man, to Ven. Ananda and, bowing your head to his feet in my name, say to him:

"'Venerable sir, the nun such-and-such is sick, in pain, severely ill. She bows her head to the feet of Ven. Ananda and says, "It would be good if Ven. Ananda were to go to the nuns' quarters to visit this nun out of sympathy for her."'"
Responding, "Yes, lady," the man did so. Ven. Ananda accepted in silence.
 
Then early in the morning, having dressed and taking his bowl and cloak, Ven. Ananda went to the nuns' quarters.

Trouble in bed? Head bowed under covers.
The nun saw Ven. Ananda coming from afar and, seeing him, she lay down on a bed, having covered her head.
 
Then Ven. Ananda approached the nun and sat down on a previously prepared seat. Sitting there, he said to the nun:

Ananda teaches
"This body, sister, comes into being through food, yet it is by relying on food that food is to be abandoned.
 
"This body comes into being through craving, yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.

"This body comes into being through conceit, yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.

"This body comes into being through sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is to be abandoned. With regard to sexual intercourse, the Buddha declares the cutting off of the bridge.

Explanation
Mistakes were made, Ven. Ananda.
"'This body, sister, comes into being through food, yet it is by relying on food that food is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, but in reference to what was it said?

"There is the case, sister, where a [Buddhist] monastic, considering it thoughtfully, consumes food -- not playfully, not for intoxication, not for putting on bulk, not for beautification -- but simply for the survival and the continuation of this body, for ending its afflictions, for the support of the monastic life [thinking,] 'In this way will I destroy old feelings [of hunger] and not create new feelings [of overeating]. I will maintain myself, be blameless, and live in comfort.'

"Then one eventually abandons food, having relied on food. 'This body, sister, comes into being through food, yet it is by relying on food that food is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.
 
"'This body comes into being through craving, yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, but in reference to what was it said?

Nirvana
"There is the case, sister, where a monastic hears, 'The monastic such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the defilements [and taints and fetters], has entered and abides in the defilement-free release-through-awareness and release-through-wisdom, having known and seen these things for oneself here and now.'

"The thought occurs to one, 'I hope that I, too, will -- through the cessation of the defilements -- enter and abide in the defilement-free release-through-awareness and release-through-wisdom, having known and seen these things for myself here and now.'

"Then one eventually abandons craving, having relied on craving. 'This body comes into being through craving. Yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

"'This body comes into being through conceit. Yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, but in reference to what was it said?

"There is the case, sister, where a monastic hears, 'The monastic such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the defilements, has entered and abides in the defilement-free release-through-awareness and release-through-wisdom, having known and realized these things for oneself here and now.'

"The thought occurs, 'The monastic such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the defilements, has entered and abides in the defilement-free release-through-awareness and release-through-wisdom, having known and seen these things for oneself here and now. Then why not me?'

"Then one eventually abandons conceit, having relied on conceit. 'This body comes into being through conceit, yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

"This body comes into being through sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is to be abandoned. With regard to sexual intercourse, the Buddha declares the cutting off of the bridge."

Confession
Then the nun -- getting up from her bed, arranging her upper robe over one shoulder and bowing down with her head at Ven. Ananda's feet -- said:

"A transgression [an offense entailing defeat such as sexual intercourse?] has overcome me, venerable sir, in that I was so foolish, so muddle-headed, and so unskilled as to act in this way. May Ven. Ananda please accept this confession of my transgression as such, so that I may restrain myself in the future."

"Yes, sister, a transgression overcame you in that you were so foolish, so muddle-headed, and so unskilled as to act in this way. But because you see your transgression as such and make amends in accordance with the Dharma, we accept your confession.

"For it is a cause of growth in the Dharma and Discipline of the noble ones when, seeing a transgression as such, one makes amends in accordance with the Dharma and exercises restraint in the future."

That is what Ven. Ananda said. Gratified, the nun delighted in Ven. Ananda's words.

Art as Meditation: Norton Simon (Sept. 6-7)

Ananda M. (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Eliza Darcey, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly


Goddess Tara (nortonsimon.org)
Thursday, Sept. 6, 7:00-8:30 PM: Art as meditation? Buddhism has produced some of the world's most enjoyable art.

Tibetan lamas create sand mandalas and wipe them away. Nepalese artisans pound out gorgeous golden statues and sell them to tourists. Thai craftspeople carve only to see their work drenched in rain.

Americans can use mixed media to focus on the Buddha as the Light of the East. The first human depictions of the Buddha were from the merging of East and West in Ancient Greek Afghanistan called Gandhara and Bactria.

Before we visit Pasadena's Norton Simon Museum of Art  (Sept. 7th), we'll meditate on the Buddha through art. Artist and former child-Buddhist nun Darcey will guide us. Basic materials provided. Or bring your media. FREE RSVP

Buddhist Art Night at the Norton Simon
First art was made in Gandhara.
Friday, Sept. 7, 6:00-9:00 PM: First Fridays at the Norton Simon (nortonsimon.org) are free. Join us for an enchanting evening exploring the Norton Simon Museum of Art’s world-class Buddhist collection from India and Southeast Asia. Take an artful meditation tour. Learn tips on meditation in a drop-in session in the Asian Sculpture Garden. Enjoy the galleries (where the best of Western art is on exhibit). Stop by the theater to see works come to life. Enjoy the flavors of India with special treats available at the outdoor Garden Café next to the lotus pond. FREE RSVP
 
Dharma Meditation Initiative: DMI, PasaDharma, Dharma Punx, Disclosure, UCLA

Noah Levine: Sex fiend still in denial?

Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells, Crystal Quintero, Sheldon S., CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Guilty of poor judgment, more or less innocent of major crimes and misdemeanors.
 .
I didn't know white privilege was a thing!
Dharma Punx/Against the Stream/Refuge Recovery Founder Noah Levine is still using his privilege to get his message out when we do not hear from his victims and accusers. Here is his latest round of excuses, in his own words, after being found GUILTY of all charges enough to cause the destruction of Against the Stream. Refuge Recovery, Inc. will continue with Levine as leader.

[Personally, we think maybe other people should cut the guy a break, but not us. We'd rather be hard on him because for a guy to shoot his mouth off with all of these PC phrases and uber sensitive yada yada to then go and harm people, even if only in their own imaginations, possibly including sexual assault and nonconsensual sex, it does not ring true to us that he did not know what he was doing. Who cares? Not us, but we don't like it and therefore do not cotton to Levine. He deserves much praise for bringing Buddhism to recovery, which Kevin Griffin has also done. Many punks and others have surely benefited. One of his teachers is the great Jack Kornfield, so that says something for him, and his father was the Buddhist writer Stephen Levine. He was running a big money business, and business at Refuge Recovery, Inc. seems better than ever. So how much has this sex scandal really harmed him in the age of #metoo and #timesup? Harvey Weinstein would be relieved that one can be found culpable (not really "guilty" since there seem to be no legal charges/consequences* or big pay out settlements that we are being told about) in spite of multiple accusers. Way to go, Levine. Here is more of his excuse making in his own words, and we suggest he almost certainly had lots of help crafting this and editing it to not put his foot in his mouth because his grammar is very poor and all of his books go through massive editing and re-editing to make them readable, even if many mistakes still slip by his helpers.]
  • UPDATE: According to a Refuge Recovery facilitator at the La Maida Institute and former friend of Levine's, there are legal charges pending, and lawyers did censor/rewrite this letter, which has left no one feeling any better. They must keep him from admitting any guilt or apologizing for anythingIt has only upset them as he continues to follow the Circle Jerks' advice to us all to "deny everything" when accused.
Open letter to the communities of Refuge Recovery and Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society.

Um, lemme see, how should I put this?
This is a complicated letter to write because I am essentially writing three groups of people in one open letter. I have a completely different perspective of my experiences with each of you individually and as groups of people. I’m going to approach this with compassion, willingness to listen and attempt to make sense of what is a layered, messy, painful situation.

I'm a kewl spiritual punker. Look at my tats!
I feel that it’s important for everyone to know that none of this had anything to do with students of ATS or members of Refuge Recovery. These were issues that came from my personal life.

I take full responsibility for anything that I have actually done. And will continue to be honest and cooperative with the process and anyone seeking the truth. That said, I will likewise also continue to tell the truth about what never happened, such as the accusation that I assaulted someone.

[To my victims]
To the women [I bothered] who have come forward and expressed a sense of suffering because of interpersonal [nonconsensual or consensual sexual] experiences with me, I am sorry I caused you harm and I ask your forgiveness. I wanted to connect and to explore a relationship. This has been a deeply painful learning experience. I want to take full responsibility for any harm I caused to anyone and everyone with whom I have had a dating relationship. [I'm not actually going to take "full responsibility," BUT I want to. It sounds like lying and hedging to us.] I want to make amends for my behavior if it didn’t feel good to them. [I'm not going to make amends, but I want to.] I don’t want to defend or minimize. [I don't want to defend or minimize, BUT I'm going to defend and minimize. Does anyone else see a pattern here? We need to get Dr. Deborah King on the case here to see if Levine is lying.] It is important to me that any woman who felt harmed, now feels heard. [Who talks like this? Lawyers and PR firms, that's who.] I want to understand. [I don't understand.] It matters. [But not to me.] I was shocked to hear (months later) [because I'm so insensitive I could not possibly read the nonverbal cues.] that someone was unhappy in any way with our [sexual] interactions. I was not aware at the time that anything was amiss with how we connected. [A guy so real, hard, and gritty uses "amiss"? Or was that a lawyer's suggestion after reading a thesaurus?] Whenever a boundary was stated – physical, emotional, or otherwise - I always honored it. [Always. See, this is that PC language at work.]

This is part of the learning for me in all of this - that just because someone doesn’t say “No” or express displeasure at the time, doesn’t always mean they are happy about it. I can also see that I wasn’t taking into account my power/privilege and status as a dharma teacher in my personal dating life. Perhaps I’ve had some denial or dismissive tendencies around my role as the founder of these two communities (ATS and RR). This has been a very painful way to wake up to the reality of who I am and how I’m seen by others.

For my communities, my heart breaks that intimate experiences from my personal life have caused a ripple effect that has made our community fragment. I can’t explain to you the depth of my sadness as I think of each of you and what has come to be a community trauma. I am especially sensitive to the needs of the recovery community and I encourage you to lean on each other. Against the Stream may not exist in name, but the community still exists in each other. Refuge Recovery meetings are a peer-led process, support each-other and continue the necessary work of your own healing and recovery. In moments like this we must remember even more to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

[To the backstabbers I trusted]
I don't need you guys. I have other friends!
For my colleagues, I feel betrayed and abandoned. You were my family. We taught compassion and forgiveness together. I feel you did the opposite. You silenced me. You isolated me. You did not give me the benefit of the doubt, and you offered me no path to forgiveness and healing.

As a community we face the painful reality of all that has taken place and we now have the task of beginning the process of grieving the losses, navigating the changes and rebuilding the trust and connection that we once had. I have every intention of carrying on with my calling and mission, that is to practice the Dharma, to embody wisdom and compassion as best I can and to share the teachings of the Buddha with all who are interested to receive it.

Many are stepping back from Levine.
I will continue my work at Refuge Recovery Treatment Centers providing addiction treatment to suffering addicts as well as teaching my weekly meditation group at our new location in Venice. I will also be offering residential retreats through my friends at Rebel Saints Meditation Society. For now it looks like all of the other organizations and retreat centers that I have been teaching at for the past many years will cancel my events out of fear of the criticism they will receive if they continue to have me as faculty.

Oy vey, what a cliche!
I am continuing to process all of this with my psychotherapist who specializes in Sexuality, and staying in contact with some of my Buddhist teachers.

I will end with my meditation phrase-

Please forgive me for any harm I have caused, intentionally or unintentionally.

Noah Levine

Message from Jack Kornfield: Change

Jack Kornfield (Spirit Rock) via Insight LA; Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

We can live wisely only when we accept the reality of change. Where I lived as a [Theravada] Buddhist monk, impermanence was central to the curriculum. We deliberately contemplated change, our moods, the seasons, the passing of visitors, our aging, and the movement of our breath until we could see life as an unstoppable river. When Zen [M]aster Shunryu Suzuki was asked to sum up all Buddhist teaching he offered this simple phrase: “Not always so.”

Who in the world is Jack Kornfield?
Indeed, it was in the forest monastery that I began to taste the beauty of change [like the disgrace of my student Noah Levine and the demise of Against the Stream Meditation Society in L.A. because of Noah Levine's sex scandal, whom Spirit Rock co-investigated when sexual misconduct allegations against him surfaced] and transformation. I remember how vividly mindfulness practice awakened my senses. I grew up in a suburban intellectual family, and the outdoors meant the backyard. But in the monastery, the temple buildings were in a central clearing, surrounded by towering teak trees and tropical vines, by thick woods filled with wild birds and cobras. Our small huts were scattered throughout this forest.

In this forest I learned to feel the turning of the seasons, the sweaty robes and loud singing of the cicadas on hot summer nights, the muddy feet and endless dampness of the monsoon rains, the dry winds of the cool season when I would wrap my towel under my robe for an extra layer of warmth. This was the first time I could actually watch the slowly changing phases of the moon and the appearance of morning and evening planets at dawn and dusk. I came to love these rhythms.

Bringing Home the Dharma
Now I bow to change everywhere. I have learned to be gracious with it. Of course like everyone I have suffered my losses, deaths of dear ones, divorce, and certain failures. With compassion and clarity, we can see that every one of us participates in the constant cycles of life’s change and renewal, seasons of grief and suffering, as well as seasons of joy, celebrating life’s renewed marvels and beauty.

Love, Jack [Kornfield]

Teachers at Kornfield's Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, near San Francisco
BIOGRAPHY
Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the Theravada Buddhist monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice (vipassana) to the West.

After graduating from Dartmouth College in Asian Studies in 1967, he joined the Peace Corps and worked on tropical medicine teams in the Mekong River Valley. He met and studied as a monk under the Buddhist master Ven. Ajahn Chah, as well as the Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. Returning to the United States, Kornfield co-founded the Insight Meditation Society (dharma.org) in Barre, Massachusetts, with fellow meditation teachers Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein and the Spirit Rock Center (spiritrock.org) in Woodacre, California. Over the years he has taught in centers and universities worldwide, led International Buddhist Teacher meetings, and worked with many of the great teachers of our time. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is a father, husband, and radical Bay Area peace activist.

His books have been translated into 20 languages and sold more than a million copies. They include, A Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology, A Path with Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; Teachings of the Buddha; Seeking the Heart of Wisdom; Living Dharma; A Still Forest Pool; Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart; Buddha’s Little Instruction Book; The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace, Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are, and his most recent book, No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are.

Meditation activities at Insight Los Angeles

Trudy Goodman (InsightLA.org); Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
InsightLA logo. Calming Minds, Opening Hearts, Changing the World

InsightLA
1430 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
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