Some people think it's a violation of the Buddhist precepts to point out garbage like this for what it is. Genpo and his buddies count on this mistaken interpretation of the precepts to intimidate those who ought to speak out against what so many of us can see clearly is abusive and harmful. I don't agree with that interpretation. This is some very nasty shit. And all of us who teach Zen are implicated in it by association. Our silence allows it to continue.
Fuck you Genpo Roshi.
The first comment below that fiery ending was this:
Genpo Roshi said...
So much for Buddhist serenity as it is generally conceived.
And here is Brad's take on Genpo's announcement that he would disrobe.
As near as I can get it, Brad's quarrel with Genpo is a little like the quarrel I have in my mind with a Catholic
Brad, as far as I can see it, has manufactured a quasi-bad-boy persona along the Zen Buddhist circuit, but his public persona strikes me as masking an honest thoughtfulness. He is not just some nitwit railing against the hypocrisies that humanity can nourish. He is talking about flesh-and-blood people who honestly long for some more stable and peaceful way. And of course they are vulnerable and sometimes foolish. But that's no reason to take advantage of their vulnerabilities. Brad speaks out for what I consider a common decency that deserves even more attention in a world of spiritual endeavor.
Mind you, I never met Brad and for all I know he is the neighborhood child molester, but his written words strike me as thoughtful and honest ... even when he gets a hard-on as in the case of Genpo.
As with the Eido Tai Shimano thread on this blog (which celebrated a first birthday today with close to 5,000 comments), so much anguish and anger and confusion is woven into the manipulations of so-called spiritual teachers that it is hard not to think it is just part of the territory. It all reminds me of the old insult that went "He's so dumb he could fuck up a wet dream!" Why and how the desire arises to fuck up this wet dream or that, I don't honestly know. But in spiritual life, it seems somehow especially heinous and deserving of reproof.
"Caveat emptor!" is too simple and too dismissive in the world of spiritual endeavor. It just indicates how anyone might rightly desire to elude the thorny particulars of a teacher's misconduct and the student's longing to trust. Teachers need to hold themselves to a more benevolent and clear-headed standard. I don't honestly say it will happen, but the imperative is there. It goes with the territory ... even it the territory is littered with those who decline to acknowledge that imperative in subtle and gross ways. As U.S. President Harry S. Truman once said, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
"Our silence allows it to continue." How sad and how true.
Brad Warner's arguments, both in particular and in general, have my ear ... up to and including a resounding, "fuck you!"