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Purpose of this Forum
This dissertation is my re-found voice once silenced by personal experience of betrayal, blended with the voices of those similarly betrayed. In my opinion, voices are meant to be heard. Our voices, alone and together, have something of value that wants to be shared. This work is, then, important to me personally, professionally and, in a wider context, communally. It is a way of understanding my own process more deeply, a transformative (and informative) process contributing to the understanding of those in the Zen community specifically, and of those interested in spiritual practice in general. Participants in this study may also experience transformative change, understanding their experience more fully and drawing meaning from both the experience and the process of participating. I also hope for transformative effects in the reader of this study, through insight, empathy, and understanding. - Caryl Reimer Gopfert

  We have similar hopes as Ms. Gopfert did for her dissertation and have produced this forum with the same goals in mind.  We hope for a participatory experience that will prove to be healing for all that have been embroiled in the controversies at Jikoji Zen Center, no matter what side they have taken.  We also seek the counsel of the wider sangha, many of whom are not aware of problems and conflicts that have occurred at Jikoji in its recent history.  This invitation extends as well to anyone who has an interest in making Zen practice more viable in the West.

  To facilitate the healing and bring about understanding, it is unavoidable that past conflicts will need to be brought forward and detailed.  This is not to assign blame, but to seek corrective measures so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past, and if possible, to achieve reconciliation.  The hope is that anyone who sincerely recites the Bodhisattva's Vows will take on the responsibility to make our Jikoji temple a place that facilitates whole-hearted practice for all.

  Again to quote Caryl Gopfert:
Awareness and compassion around issues of betrayal must be deepened and broadened, from the perspective of teachers, students, and communities. We cannot go on harming students and still have a viable practice; we must understand and prevent the causes of this experience--as far as is possible--and also identify and heal the experience of betrayal once it occurs. This work is a gift to the community I have grown to love and appreciate even more in the years it has taken to recover from my own experience.

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