May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

Yesterday was beautiful. There was the sweet smell of something blooming in the air. And although we live in NM and oranges don't grow here, for all the world it smelled like their round orbs would appear anytime.

As usual on Sunday afternoons, I headed out the road to the zendo, past farms, grazing cattle, horses and old dogs lying by the side of the road. I passed broken down adobe buildings, signs for firewood for sale, junked cars and trailers. Turning off the road I drove down a short dirt drive into the parking area by Green Gate zendo and unlocked the padlock letting the cattle gate swing free.

The zendo is a small adobe building that has been renovated to be a Rinzai style zendo. Not ten feet from the door of the building an over-full acequia is gushing by. The pasture is soft and green now where as a week ago it was dull brown and grey. Five horses were happily grazing.

I unlocked the zendo door, bowed and went inside to sweep the floor before everyone arrived to meditate. I propped the door open and let the warmth of the sun fill the room and after I swept, sat down on a decrepit bench with a horse shoe nailed on it just outside in front of the building. I listened to the swirling water as it made it's way down stream being diverted to farms in all the tiny villages in the area to water fields where crops are beginning to be planted. The horses swished their tails, the magpies dive bombed the rooftops and I went inside to light the altar candle.

After the first bell rang and we had settled in a frog began to croak, it added to sound of the water perfectly and seemed oh, so appropriate for this day.

Gassho, Chikai

April 25, 2011

Should we as women help?

Recently I received an email from a friend, a male Buddhist teacher. He had been asked to counsel a fellow practitioner who had been told to leave his community for sexual abuse. This man, a teacher in his sangha, was a repeat offender.

In the letter my friend remarked that sexual harming was only partly about sex, it is also about male power and privilege. And he asked if this teacher were to be reinstated in his former community would he go back into the 'old boy' network as a man who has learned a great deal about himself and about other men with power and who could therefore be someone who could affect change or would he go back and not speak up?

I thought this a very good question. Then my friend went on to say that he felt that probably women in our Buddhist communities would lead us out of destructive patriarchy. Somehow reading this didn't sit well with me. My immediate reaction was why should women have to help men figure this out? I feel that when there is a problem in our society there is a tendency to cast someone out, to send up a warning that it is not o.k. to behave badly, this happens in Buddhist communities too.. Should we ask people to leave and in essence dump the problem on someone else or should we deal with them inside our sanghas? And isn't it time for men that are sexually abusive and use power over women to sit down and look deeply into themselves and find a way to behave differently?

March 15, 2011

Welcome to Deglazing the Doughnut

If you are reading this you have found your way here to 'deglazing the doughnut'.
Thank you for checking out the site.

Some of my Buddhist friends and I have been talking about Buddhism, an Eastern spiritual practice and in what ways it works here in the West and in what ways it doesn't work and how it could be more viable for Westerners.  We've talked about the many stories of teachers having inappropriate relationships with students, extramarital affairs and the abuse of power by Buddhist teachers. We've discussed Lay Ordination verses Priest Ordination.  

We came to realize that there are endless amounts of topics and we felt that 'deglazing the doughnut' might be a good place to come and express our interests, questions and concerns in hopes  that we could support one another, share our concerns and insights and possibly find answers to some of our questions as well as yours.  We look forward to reading about what is on your minds and in your hearts.

Gassho, Chikai
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