Saturday, August 21, 2010

flotsam and jetsam

Like some successful depth-charging of an enemy submarine during a WWII movie, now and then chunks and hunks of what once was come floating to the surface.

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a longish, even-tempered piece about how Buddhism deals with its sexual upheavals. More specifically, it focused on Eido Tai Shimano, my former teacher and a man given to using and discarding American paramours. This has been going on for some 40-plus years without ever floating to the kind of surface the New York Times might provide.

For anyone who was and remains concerned not only by the wounds inflicted and the dubious financial activities of Mr. Shimano, the article ( great hunks of information out and perhaps the pivotal line of the article was, "Mr. Shimano did not return several phone calls." The refusal to take responsibility for his actions or respond to the long list of women who felt wounded by their liaisons has been a 40-plus-year constant.

So in one sense, nothing has changed. But in another sense, those of us who remember a time before the internet, when circulating information and bringing its force to bear were all but impossible, the New York Times piece at least opened a small door. A chunk of the submarine floated on the swells. Will it correct what has for so long gone uncorrected? Probably not. Mr. Shimano's twisted sense of "noble silence" is as effective as it is corrupt.

So many years have passed. Maybe it should all just be forgotten: After all, there are crooks in every walk of life. But there is a small voice that whispers in my ear -- rightly or wrongly: Zen Buddhism deserves better than lip-service.

But that's just my bias.


  1. No years have passed for the young woman who bravely stood up last june and exposed the crook. For her it's been but 60 days....

  2. The description Robin Westen paints of her encounter is not at all one of a "paramour" - closer to a victim of a sexual assault.

  3. Hopefully all the schools of American Zen will have great clarity with respect to "No Misuse of sex" and the other precepts moving forward.

  4. Regarding Mr. Shimano's silence.

    Silence is neither noble nor cowardly, it is neither a clue to fear nor bravery.

    It is the mind that often attempts to provide color and meaning to action. I think that Genkaku is right in pointing out that Shimano has expressed a view that silence is noble. We need to be true to our perceptions and address the inclination to be influenced by our own wishes and fantasies and the wishes and fantasies of others. It is a good skill in many situations.

  5. As I understand it, a "noble silence" in Buddhism protects or defends

    NO ONE

    If it does protect or defend something, then it falls into the realm of mechanisms and machinations.

  6. Please forgive, somebody in another post mentioned about non-Americans not having the right universal adaptor that plugs into American power sockets.

    Just renting a place to talk.

    Two months ago when the World Cup was held in Africa, everybody in my town was watching football. Everybody bought jerseys, even my best friend who was a long time supporter of British football, bought a new Spain jersey after they won the World cup. He was proudly wearing it to dinner with me the other day, and when I asked him about his change of loyalty, he gave me the Noble Silence.

    This morning I received a sms which was directed not to me, but probably a mass broadcast to all Singaporeans.

    It was an angry parent whose son was not fielded in the first XI of the soccer team for the Youth Olympics which is currently held in town. She said, in the sms, that her son practised passionately and there was so much unjust that being such a talent, the coach simply did not float him up into the first team.

    Like I said, please forgive as I am using a Singapore power adaptor that runs on a different A/C frequency.

    But like the beautiful plants that flourish in front of my house, whenever the flowers bloom two types of sentience turn up to frolick and have fun.

    Yesterday the most beautiful bird turned up, red and black in colour, almost devilish and yet so captivating. Today the most boring butterfly turned up, black and white stripes, and amusingly, oblivious that it's part of a food cycle as it dances beside a yellow hummingbird that joins it for lunch today.

    I somehow find this comment of mine totally meaningless and worthless, but an evil side of me says that hey, let's offend somebody today.


  7. If you need a summary of my above essay, it's like a Black Hawk Down movie that I watched before. Some chopper goes down in Somalia, the only American alive from the crash was surrounded by a bunch of black skinnies who's after his blood.

    Two Delta Force snipers asked to be loaded into the crash site to protect the son-of-a-bitch. Not because he deserves to be saved since he crashed the bloody chopper, but because Delta Force had a slogan that said Nobody Gets Left Behind.

    So when the son-of-a-bitch asked the two snipers where's the rescue team (to rescue him), they replied cooly, "We're it".

    Both snipers got killed to save that son-of-a-bitch who crashed the chopper.

    Just a movie.

  8. I just found this YouTube video that is a parody of this scandal done with a Beach boys