Friday, February 11, 2011

Eido Tai Shimano (continued)

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This is a continuation of the first Eido Tai Shimano thread which, after 5,000 posts, refuses to accept new ones. I am also posting the original introduction to that thread.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009
letter to Eido Tai Shimano
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What follows is a letter I wrote in 1982 to Eido Tai Shimano, the chief executive of Zen Studies Society in New York and Dai Bosatsu Monastery in upstate New York. Mr. Shimano is a Zen teacher.

The reason for posting a letter of so many years ago is not to open the old wounds that bled freely in their time. Nor is it to deny that Zen Buddhism in America has made great strides when it comes to the sexual and financial abuses that it has faced and continues to face from time to time. Nor is it to suggest that I have not been a hypocrite. Nor is it to elevate my own status as a rebel or nay-sayer or promoter of some one true virtue. I too love Zen Buddhism both in its directions and in its experiential truth.

I am posting it as a reminder that the past is or can be very much the present and further that the 'scandals' that have occurred involved very real and particular people and that those people suffered in ways that are contrary to Zen Buddhist teaching. Not for nothing did the teachers of the past make upsetting the sangha a no-no. Not for nothing did they encourage repentance when it was warranted. And not for nothing were they aware that in the human sphere, however elevated and adored, the room for error was and remains a very real possibility.


November 1, 1982

The Rev. Eido Tai Shimano
New York Zendo
223 East 67th St.
New York, NY 11021

Dear Mr. Shimano:

Thank you for your creative letter of Oct. 19, 1982 with its equally masterful enclosure of Oct. 21 to Mr. George (Jochi) Zournas. I must say that as I began to read your work I felt some vestigial hope that you might in fact clear the air, turn some metaphorical corner and clarify what, over the years, has become murky with the stuff that Soen Roshi has learned to call your “lies.” By the time I finished reading your words, I was, of course, disappointed if not surprised.

“So much sitting, so many sesshins, so many dokusans…” and still Soen Roshi calls you a liar. Could you tell me why? Is this perhaps another encouragement to “bravely march on?” Coming as Soen Roshi does out of a society that takes pride in indirection, still he uses this most direct word, “liar.” Why? Coming as he does out of a discipline that enjoins confession and straight-forwardness, he calls you a liar. Why? Among the monks at Dai Bosatsu last summer you managed to plant the idea that Soen Roshi was an alcoholic and/or senile. But why would a senile alcoholic even bother to call you a liar? Politics, you say? – because Soen Roshi wants Dai Bosatsu, to become king of the some American Zen castle? If Soen Roshi actually did want Dai Bosatsu, why not give it to him? Do you not owe him a great debt for his teaching, perhaps as Torei felt he owed Hakuin? As a ‘true man without rank,’ with so many sesshins, so much sitting, and so many dokusans behind you, surely you recognize that the toys of Zen Buddhism – the robes and monasteries and power – are only dreams. Could you, a ‘Zen Master,’ be fooled by a dream?

But this, of course, is not your understanding. Your understanding seems to be that They are all out to get you – you who are blameless in administration, honest in the dokusan room, pure and “fair” and deserving of respect from those who support and make possible your meaning as a person of rank. It is the questioners who are “insane” or full of “intense personal hatred” or want Your zendo or want Your monastery or hate you because you have money and they have not or don’t understand the ‘Japanese’ group and you…you bear it all so remarkably well, so staunch and patient. You are really very good at it: masterful, if not the master.

Besides those Jochi George Zournas mentioned in his letter (those Others who were out to get you), I would like to take this opportunity to recollect some others, perhaps not quite so august, who have left our own sangha. I am not now referring to those who left because they moved or to those who made an easy personal choice, but rather to those who left after some discovery in that beautiful zendo where there is room for our lifelong practice. True, some left in anger or confusion, but what was it they really discovered? Is it possible they discovered what Soen Roshi called your “lies?” I really don’t know, but I recollect them now and express my sorrow at their leaving: Daishin Peter Gamby, Maishin Mike Sopko, Reimon Ray Crivello, Genmyo Elihu Smith, Sojun George Seraganian, Bunyu David Bogart, Roca Lorca Morello (all of whom were residents as Sho Bo Ji with your blessings),Kanzan Bruce Rickenbacker (your monk who memorized the whole of the Diamond Sutra), Daiko Charles Carpenter (another of your monks), Shoro Lou Nordstrom (another of your monks), Kozen Peter Kaufman (another of your monks), Jonen Sheila Carmen (pseudonym), Wendy Megerman, Nennen Merry White, Toni Snow, Reishu Jim Gordon, Shinso Merete Galesi, Ishin Peter Mathiessen, Jean Day, Carol Binswanger, Jochi George Zournas, Wado Vicki Gerdy, Rinko Peggy Crawford and Mushin Frank LoCicero. You will recall, or course, that, over the years, the list has grown much, much, much longer and is filled with people who did not show sufficient “skepticism about rumors,” as you so quaintly put it.

How many of them came to you directly in 1975 and 1979 (when what were humorously referred to as the “Fuck Follies I” and the ”Fuck Follies II” were unveiled)? How many? Was it 10 or perhaps 20? Without any exception I know of, each of those who came to you directly came in a spirit of admiration and love, in hopes of clarifying a delicate matter without public exposure. The situation: your manipulation of the dokusan setting for your own periodic sexual satisfaction (seducing women); treating lovers taken from within the sangha with contempt once you had finished with them; and taking no candid responsibility for your own behavior but rather answering direct, honest and caring queries with, in one form or another, the line you used in a jam-packed zendo in 1975: “It’s none of your business.”

The line of people outside your door is long, very, very long. In my mind, they wait silently – the They and Them whom you so easily accuse of insanity or intense personal hatred. A long line of crazy people outside your door. What brought them there? Even crazy people have their reasons, don’t you agree?

Look! There’s Merry White. Remember her? She was the one who sent a letter to the Board of Trustees in 1979 outlining without rancor your sexual blackmail. It was she who wrote: “Personally, I found his (your) seductions very distracting and jarring during the first Kessei…I wonder now if I would not have been a better student in the long run without it. ... And last year (1978) during my second stay at Dai Bosatsu, it hurt me that he treated me very distantly for quite a while. When he warmed up, it became sexual again. That kind of either/or situation made it very difficult for me (or, I would think, any woman) to be his student. You want his attention and his help, and that, I think, is how it begins. He takes this emotional opening-up, which is normal and right in a spiritual student-teacher relationship, as a sign of sexual readiness.” Clearly the Board of Trustees, your Board of Trustees, took the only possible sane action by never fully discussing the matter and by issuing a letter, signed by Korin Sylvan Busch stating, “we affirm our confidence in Eido Roshi and his leadership of our sangha.”

And there’s Jane Smith (pseudonym)! Remember her? December 24, 1977, Room 1100A at the Statler Hilton after dinner at Mama Leone’s. Remember how the board of Trustees covered that one when Jochi and Korin, at whose instigation I can only guess, spread lies and rumors about Jane – how she was only dreaming of an affair with you? And how even Jane was drawn into the lies and told them on herself because she believed the truth would be harmful to you and to Zen practice in America? She was the same one who commented later in front of witnesses that “he (you) never even said thank you.”

And Carmen!… But of course you will recall this and much, much more.

On and on and on it goes down that long, long line. Person after person, Bodhisattva after crazy Bodhisattva, each of them willing their suspicions to silence. How is it possible they were so willing, so stupid? Perhaps it was because many people begin their spiritual practice with the understanding that the ascendancy they have previously granted to their emotions and intellect is the source of much suffering. Because of that pain, they were willing to set aside their own emotions and intellect (to the extent possible), and to be as faithful and obedient as possible. Perhaps they counseled themselves that intellect and emotion are more delusion. And perhaps they trusted that your emotions and thoughts were not based in delusion. This trust, however misguided, was surely human and understandable. Unfortunately, it was and is open to manipulation and deceit. There are many I know, myself among them, who practiced with you and were grateful to you, until, a little at a time, they began to wonder. In their wondering, they came to you in their twos and threes and tens, not even caring very much that you took lovers on the side, but curious about a wider pattern of contempt and manipulation. No doubt you saw them as insane people out to take your toys. Well, they didn’t get them, did they?

To some you said your Japanese heritage and samurai code of honor kept you from understanding or responding to these puritanical “barbarians.” Isn’t it odd for a so-called Zen Master who has lived in America for 20 years to claim he understands neither his students nor his environment? Isn’t such a person in the wrong line of work? No doubt it is equally insane to suggest that a real Japanese man would know something of discretion and that a true samurai would not exhibit contempt and dishonesty towards those in his own circle of honorable endeavor.

Of course it was more difficult to use this line on Dr. Tadao Ogura, the psychiatrist who offered to act as arbitrator in the present upheaval. He was the one who suggested taking three “impartial” observers from the sangha with him when he listened to the direct testimony of those involved. The group would then have reported to the Board of Trustees, your own Board of Trustees. Perhaps he too was one of the insane ones, the ones who had to be stopped. And stopped he was when Korin Sylvan Busch, at whose instigation I can only guess, let it be known that three “impartial” sangha members could not be found.

The long line outside your door does not say these things. They are silent. They are gone. It is I who say them, I, Kigen. I take responsibility for saying what I have said and doing what I have done. I have company, but I take responsibility for myself. I am one of Them, those Others whose fault it all is, one of the ones who supported you well, offered you gratitude, did his best to practice the Zen Buddhism of the Patriarchs, lied or remained silent for you on numbers of occasions, lied or remained silent to myself about you, endured and perpetuated your deceits, and, finally...went...”insane.”

It is out of that insanity that I also offer you my most sincere and honest thanks. I offer thanks without irony or sarcasm. You have taught me well and I am grateful. Besides the mechanics of Zen Buddhism, you have also taught me what a Zen Master is not – a teaching worthy of a true Zen Master. Although your teaching lacked the creative clarity, the nurturing of the Buddha Dharma, and the straight-forwardness of a truly enlightened man, still I say your teaching was fine. As I value my life, my Zen practice, so I value this teaching.

This is a time for potential new beginnings – yours, mine, the sangha’s. Always new beginnings. I pray now and will continue to pray that each of us may one day face death with strong, even breaths and perhaps a small smile of true understanding.

Thank you and goodbye.


Adam Fisher


It was during that same time period that I heard perhaps the sharpest rebuke I have ever heard in my life. At one point, Soen Roshi was talking face to face with Mr. Shimano and discussing the reported disharmony Mr. Shimano played a role in. Mr. Shimano offered his responses. And Soen Roshi reportedly said sadly, "Now it comes -- dead rock!"

2,184 comments:

  1. "There is one teacher at ZSS that is ES, so
    the message tries to diffuse the accusation
    by pointing the finger to several directions."

    News flash to makahaka: teacher is Roko, not ES.

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  2. Time Marches On said...

    "News flash to makahaka: teacher is Roko, not ES."

    So Roko is among the "teachers" who have been having inappropriate relations with their students? And who are the other ZSS-affiliated "teachers" engaged in such activities?

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  3. Roko is the only teacher at ZSS. ES is a former teacher, and should be characterized that way. The acknowlegement otherwise does indeed seem 'diffuse'.

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  4. I would go so far as to say that the characterization of abuse by a plurality of teachers is intentionally misleading and dishonest if 1) only one teacher is employed there at any given time, 2) only one teacher has been problematic in the history of the organization and 3) only one teacher (with the brief exception of Soen) ever taught there until Roko took over the title.

    So, rather than point to ES, the ZSS prefers to imply that multiple teachers have had inappropriate relations with students. That should certainly reassure prospective students!

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  5. More trouble in paradiseFebruary 12, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    Uh-oh...allegations of reverse sexual discrimination and Board secrecy at Austin Zen Center.

    http://yogi9.bravejournal.com/

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  6. Jiro and Junpo have also taught at ZSS ...

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  7. ...and then some...February 12, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    .... Denko, Ohashi, Kogetsu, Yamakawa.

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  8. I believe the specific reference, besides to ES, is to two ES Dharma Heirs, as detailed in the Shimano Archives.

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  9. An addition to the Shimano archives on 2/9/11

    Lineage Delusions: Eido Shimano Roshi, Dharma Transmission, and American Zen
    Share

    By Erik Fraser Storlie

    In August 2010 The New York Times exposed the persistent failure of both the Zen Studies Society of New York and the larger American Zen Buddhist community to address Eido Shimano Roshi’s forty year history of sexual abuse of women – and the desire, even now, to excuse or “explain” him. Equally distressing were Robert Aitken’s posthumous letters, recently made available, revealing that Aitken, a deeply respected founder in American Zen, had lied for decades about Shimano’s misconduct in order to protect, as Aitken explained it, “the American Dharma.”

    Were this an isolated case, it would not matter very much, except, of course, to the victims. But it’s an old and discouraging story in American yoga and meditation communities. In forty-six years of Zen practice I’ve observed Asian (and now Western) swamis, tulkus, roshis, rishis, dharma heirs, lineage holders, and masters of various stripes, as well as their disciples, explain that the master’s fiscal extravagance, alcoholism, cruelty, sex addiction, violence, and even rape is – of all things – “a teaching!”

    We are told that the master “dwells in the absolute,” or is a lineage holder in “crazy wisdom,” or can raise the kundalini energy, or read our chakras and past lives, or help “burn up” our karma, or is offering to share our wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend so as to assist us in breaking our unfortunate attachments – all of this, of course, to stretch us beyond our parochial notions of right and wrong and bring us to the ultimate attainment enjoyed by the master himself (the master almost invariably being male).

    We have seen some dwellers in the absolute require absolutely better automobiles and accommodations, while their disciples labor at low wages in community businesses; we have seen some destroy their health with alcohol, while another infected students with AIDS, deluded that his spiritual “power” would block viral transmission. Shockingly, governing members of his organization knew his secret, yet did nothing to warn potential victims.

    This is a Mad Hatter’s tea party, where hierarchical robes and titles, sadomasochistic austerities, and subterranean libertinism mix together in incestuous “spiritual communities” filled with distrust and rivalries – all this in a scramble for the summit of some distant “spiritual” mountain. This would be comic if it weren’t tragic.

    And it is tragic.

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  10. part 2.

    It is tragic because countless Americans hunger for genuine meaning – meaning unavailable in the toxic mimics offered by game shows, professional sports, “reality” TV, ugly politics, “free-market” competition, and unimaginably wasteful wealth accumulation at the top.

    Yet meaning is available – above all in the penetrating explorations into the mysteries of consciousness we undertake in meditation and yoga. And the most important thing we can bring to these inquiries – and to those we hope to further in these inquiries – is our sincerity and selflessness.

    The Shimano scandal reminds me of why, some years ago, I refused the opportunity to become a Zen “dharma heir.” I refused, knowing that, without this title, despite forty years of training and practice, I would never be a recognized Zen meditation teacher. The offer was generous. But to have accepted would have been tacitly to endorse a credential that conferred great authority – yet was given at the pleasure of a single person and based on a fantasy.

    The doctrine of dharma transmission hangs on four overlapping assumptions, all of which must be true to establish its credibility. The first two are beyond proof, and the third and the fourth obviously false.

    The first, that the historical Buddha attained a mind of absolute perfection, is pure poetry – fascinating, mysterious – and if accepted, accepted simply as an article of faith. Did the Buddha have such a mind? A wonderful question! Maybe he did. Or maybe, somewhere in the cosmos, he’s still exploring, expanding, and perfecting his infinite wide-awake seeing. Or maybe all of us are, exactly at this moment, his eyes opening again and again – and wider and wider as our practice deepens.

    The second, that the Buddha’s disciple Mahakasyapa also attained this perfect mind and that the Buddha recognized it, depends upon the first. Perhaps, indeed, a perfect being could recognize and attest to the perfection in another perfect being.

    The third, that an unbroken chain of such “mind to mind” transmissions has descended, generation after generation, in a known lineage, down to today’s living dharma heirs, is simply false on historical grounds. As Edward Conze, the great scholar of Indian Buddhism noted, “much of the traditions about the early history of Ch’an are the inventions of a later age” – inventions befitting a Chinese culture that deeply honored family lineages traced through renowned ancestors.

    The fourth, that every such transmission from master to disciple over the last 2500 years was genuine, is contradicted by the behavior of Shimano himself – and, sadly, of any number of Asian and American teachers.

    Stated simply, the doctrine of dharma transmission is just one more among the many attractive delusions held by human beings. Unfortunately, adherence to it gives the dharma heir a very powerful – and potentially dangerous – authority within the community of Zen practitioners, much as does the doctrine of the Apostolic Succession in the Roman Catholic Church, where the recent child abuse scandals illustrate the dangers of priesthoods that claim an authority beyond the ordinary and human. Those in such positions are sorely tempted to protect each other, ignoring or covering up the harm done by their colleagues.

    So long as American Zen relies on dharma transmission as a credential, there will be one Shimano after another – and dharma heirs who will go to great lengths to protect the master that conferred authority upon them. For if the master who has declared me awakened has erred, if he does not, indeed, “dwell in the Absolute,” then my own credential is called into question – along with my prestige and authority in the community and my ability to confer this power upon others.

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  11. part 3

    Even if the magical claims of dharma transmission are discarded and it is recognized as an ordinary human institution, it still should not be retained as a method of training Zen meditation teachers. No truly meaningful credential can be conferred simply at the pleasure of one person. Indeed, as a method, it creates toxic interpersonal dynamics in communities, for the future recognition or preferment of a student is entirely dependent upon pleasing a dharma heir, or a presumptive dharma heir. If I wish to rise in this hierarchical system, I must pay court to the dharma heir and his or her favorites, and as a courtier in such a system, I can never openly acknowledge my self-interested pursuit of attention, for my goal is always, theoretically, “spiritual” development. Yet, of course, my ability to please a dharma heir and receive, in my turn, recognition and/or authorization will give me status and even employment opportunities. The dynamics of court, courtier, and courtship create endless distortions of human behavior even in ordinary institutions – a business, political party, or college. These run wild when the king, queen, pope, or dharma heir has imputed “special” powers. Anyone connected for a length of time to a Zen Center can cite examples.

    Of course, many Zen teachers will refuse to discard this false credential. Those with the courage to act can take comfort from the Buddha’s words in The Mahaparinibbana Suttanta, words that E.A. Burtt suggests bring out “one major and authentic note” among the various presumed “final” teachings attributed to the Buddha.

    As the Buddha prepares for death, Ananda begs him to leave “instructions as touching the order.” The Buddha responds that he has nothing more to offer. He has taught freely to everyone, his teaching is complete, and the community must now find its own way forward.

    “What, then, Ananda, does the order expect that of me? I have preached the truth without making any distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrine; for in respect of the truth, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such thing as the closed fist of a teacher, who keeps some things back.”

    Then the Buddha hints at the possibility of a coming power struggle, suggesting wryly that if any person now thinks he should run things, he should just go ahead and try. “Surely, Ananda, should there be anyone who harbors the thought, ‘It is I who will lead the brotherhood,’ or, ‘The order is dependent on me,’ he should lay down instructions in any matter concerning the order.”

    To illustrate the absurdity of such thinking, the Buddha even goes so far as to insist that he, himself, does not “lead” the order. “Now the Tathagata, Ananda, thinks not that it is he who should lead the brotherhood, or that the order is dependent upon him. Why, then, should the Tathagata leave instructions in any matter concerning the order?”

    The Buddha is said to have said many things. But these words ring true. Monks seeking to establish governing hierarchies modeled upon patterns of royal or imperial lineages must have lamented their inclusion in the canon. These words were, to the hearers, most probably unforgettable – told and retold in the community too many times to be expunged. If they are indeed authoritative, the Buddha himself never had any notion of the creation of a lineage of dharma heirs.

    We must move beyond dharma transmission and construct approaches by which teachers of American Zen Buddhist meditation can be prepared effectively – and transparently. There are many models in a myriad of professions, both religious and secular. I would suggest that for Zen in America to speak to people, to become more than an odd, idiosyncratic subculture, it must draw sustenance from America’s deep roots in the democratic and egalitarian. English Dissenters brought the first churches to these shores. Their polity was congregational, where the minister served at the pleasure of the congregants. The minister was understood to be as susceptible to error as any in his flock

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  12. part 4.

    Having moved beyond the fairy tale of dharma transmission, Zen communities can begin work on truly thorny questions. Why did so many of the Asian “masters” who came to America, especially during the Sixties, behave in ways that to the objective beholder seem narcissistic, even sociopathic? What was their experience coming to maturity in monasteries and ashrams? Were they damaged in some way as children? And how, today, can the traditional Hindu and Buddhist emphasis on “non-attachment” be meaningfully taught in an America where many suffer “attachment disorders” – an inability to receive or return love?

    To matter much in America, Zen must undergo its own painful Protestant Reformation – the deconstruction of lineage. This will free practitioners to learn from trained and accountable teachers in the spirit of the Buddha’s final admonition: “Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Rely on yourselves, and do not rely on external help. Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Seek salvation alone in the truth. Look not to assistance to anyone besides yourselves.”

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  13. What is Zuo Chan or Zazen? Za means to sit, but it is not the body that sits, but your mind.
    Zen means to contemplate, but there is no fixed form or pattern to contemplate with.
    Not to be moved inside the mind is Za.
    Not to be attached to forms outside is Zen.
    Not to separate your mind from the Buddha-nature is Za,
    To be able to discriminate all phenomena is Zen.

    Such being the nature of Zazen, what is the point of sitting around all day meditating when all you're doing is really thinking delusional thoughts? If you truly understood Zazen, then there is not a single moment you are not sat. If you do not understand Zazen, then you can sit until you become a corpse, yet still fail to get even a glimpse of your own true mind!

    So should we sit or not? It all depends whether you grasp this crucial teaching.

    Take heed, do not follow the wrong path!

    found at....

    http://waynedhamma.blogspot.com/2006/06/to-sit-or-not-to-sit.html

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  14. A comment on the Gach piece:

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/culture/4075/zen_and_the_art_of_the_sex_scandal/

    "The present situation has been largely seen, at superficial scrutiny, to be a matter of the sexual abuse of students in inherent and amplified situations of inequality. On careful examination the situation is far more complex and not at all limited to sexual abuse. What has been revealed by the shimanoarchive.com raises serious questions about the 'culture' of ZSS centers, the behavior of ordained sangha in relation to the ZSS Ethical Guidelines and the functioning of the Zen Studies Society Board of Directors. The lack of awareness demonstrated by the recent revelations of ZSS Board members makes it clear that the Board has been completely out of touch with the reality and enormity of the crisis. The response of the larger Buddhist community leadership has been reprehensible and brings questioning of their own positions. Aside from a recent flurry of letters created out of a 'consensus' process and largely holding to a 'party' line, there have been but a few clear voices that grasp the concept of 'talking truth to power.' "

    "Most certainly this matter has raised intense reflection and questioning of "institutional" Buddhism. It is possible that "The Shimano Affair" may provide the catalyst for bringing about a revolution of transparency within World Zen in America and Japan. We are perhaps witnessing the making of a revolution in Buddhism."

    – Rev. Kobutsu Malone, Sedgwick, Maine

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  15. "If you do not understand Zazen, then you can sit until you become a corpse, yet still fail to get even a glimpse of your own true mind!"

    Yeah, but at least it keeps them off the streets.

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  16. John Wayne said...

    "Take heed, do not follow the wrong path!"


    So all these Zen centers including DBZ and NYZ are following the wrong path?

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  17. "Most certainly this matter has raised intense reflection and questioning of "institutional" Buddhism."

    As many are fond of saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," (even if the baby is a rotting, stillborn corpse infested with maggots.)

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  18. Apparently. They just instruct you on how to sit on a zafu. They do not teach the true meaning of zazen. Maybe if they did the Zen centers like DBZ and NYZ would not be so embroiled in worldly melodrama. Shimano apparently never understood zazen, and that is probably the same with his "Dharma heirs". Just think of all the zen centers around the world who have no idea what zazen really means. So they essentially are not teaching Buddhism.

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  19. No wonder religion and politics are taboo to talk about. They are both dominated by hypocrisy.

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  20. "The lack of awareness demonstrated by the recent revelations of ZSS Board members makes it clear that the Board has been completely out of touch with the reality and enormity of the crisis."

    "Completely out of touch ... "

    Thank you, Mr. Humble. I.e., this ZSS Board has not succeeded where all past boards have failed: to unseat Shimano, start substantially rewriting bylaws, undertake to institute membership and membership voting,and, in one director's case, take some personal responsibility for the mess.

    Mr. Humble's opinion is about as believeable as his DC Jail rape story. Reading about it was like going to his Shimanoarchive and seeing that he had posted male porn ("Oh, do some people regard that as porn?"). Feels like getting slimed.

    I have been in the DC Jail. Not to tour the drug-testing facility, not to visit the Hinckley cell. It is in fact loud, mainly when there are visitors, and dirty too. But they segregated the protesters from the gen pop. IMO, his rape story could never, never have happened, especially as described.

    Just another zen guy with sexual hang-ups. Nothing new under the sun.

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  21. The Jabberwock, with eyes aflame, Jaws that bait and claws that catch, Beware the Jabberwock, my son, The frumious Bandersnatch He took his vorpal sword in hand The vorpal blade went snicker-snack He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back. Its all about you, you know.

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  22. John Wayne said -
    "Apparently. They just instruct you on how to sit on a zafu. They do not teach the true meaning of zazen."
    "Just think of all the zen centers around the world who have no idea what zazen really means."
    I must confess I have visited quite a few centers over the years and I never realised that. How did you find out?

    I know I don't understand what Zen is or isn't. (Can Zen be 'not something'??)


    Some days ago someone mentioned "read Alan Watts - The Way of Zen.
    That's what it really IS", I have read his books but again I don't think I understand what he means with real Zen either.

    If you could explain to me what it is or where to buy it - that would really make my day.

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  23. Zen Skin, Zen Marrow: Will the Real Zen Buddhism Please Stand Up? by Steven Heine


    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Skin-Marrow-Buddhism-Please/dp/0195326776/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1297615110&sr=1-1

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  24. Ex-Offender said...

    "IMO, his rape story could never, never have happened, especially as described."

    Jail rape is common. Malone's experience is true. Malone works with prisoners and is totally aware of the problems that occur, and there would be nothing to gain by making up the story.
    My own experience is the same, and I would have been raped if not for a guard coming by the "drunk" cell at 1am and pulling the rapist off me. Malone's work with the Shimano archive is to be applauded for it's thoroughness, and exposing of the criminal nature of Shimano and the zen organization s DBZ and NYZ.

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  25. I like "Jabberwocky" and dislike seeing it mangled. So here is the Lewis Carroll nonsense:

    'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!'

    He took his vorpal sword in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought --
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
    And stood a while in thought.

    And, as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

    One two! One two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
    He chortled in his joy.

    'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ex-offender-

    In castigating Kobutsu, has it occurred to you that you are further reducing the credibility of Zen as an effective practice? The alleged number of sexually-repressed, lying Zen teachers just keeps increasing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Robin said...

    "Zen Skin, Zen Marrow: Will the Real Zen Buddhism Please Stand Up? by Steven Heine"

    Simply amazing, I was just reading this google book! :) It looks great!

    There is a review of the book at the zensite...

    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenBookReviews/Zen_skin_Zen_marrow_Forte.html

    a quote from the article "John Daido Loori has stated that Zen Skin, Zen Marrow “belongs on the shelf of every Zen Center in the West.” The only danger with this suggestion is that the book will remain there."

    ReplyDelete
  28. No BigMind said...

    "If you could explain to me what it is or where to buy it - that would really make my day."

    you can buy it at Amazon

    http://www.amazon.com/Way-Zen-Alan-W-Watts/dp/0375705104

    there are 70 reviews of it at

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/514210.The_Way_of_Zen

    ReplyDelete
  29. From the blog "NOT Reblogging Brad Warner"

    DECEMBER 12th, 2009!!!!!!!!!

    Last night I had a long talk with a guy who is well-connected and personally knows some of the players involved in the modern Zen scene. Let's call him Stan.

    Stan made quite an impact on me because we discussed many different aspects and problems with the Buddhist scene. And there were a few salient points that came out of the conversation.

    1. Transmission is a problem.
    Buddhist/eastern spiritual teachers and students have a kind of "diploma" system where you graduate when your teacher says so-- and they give you a diploma, or "Inka" or "transmission." Students want to get their diploma very badly, and it sets up a lot of jockeying for position, in-fighting, and power plays. It keeps people in line because after studying with a teacher for fifteen or twenty years, you want to get that diploma. And you wouldn't want to let something get in the way of that--such as telling the public that the teacher is stealing money or sleeping with dozens of students or whatever other kind of nasty business might be going on.

    2. Fraudulent teachers create cynicism in the community
    It struck me while talking with Stan, that it would be very difficult to spend years in these institutions where I regularly saw abuses of power and psychological bribery, not to become exceedingly cynical. And it caused me to wonder if people like Genpo Roshi might not be victims of having spent too much time around a fraudulent teacher. Seeing the teacher abuse students, seeing the psychological carnage over years and years, seeing how prevalent it was...

    Might that not at some point cause Genpo to say, "screw it, let's make some money." I mean, why be a poor monk when the whole thing is kind of bullshit anyway? People aren't getting healthier in these institutions, they're getting sicker. You've spent years and years dedicating yourself to Buddhism and it starts to look like nothing but a joke.

    That is why the existence of fraudulent teachers is so problematic. It breeds a kind of cynicism and defeat of the spirit. It makes people give up. When the truth is that there are good things about the practice of meditation, there are good things being done by teachers and students. But there is a paucity of oversight and "quality control" for lack of a better phrase.

    And again, people are not speaking out the way they need to (ya hear that Tricycle Magazine?).

    Part of the problem also lies in the insistence that Buddhism should not be placed under the same kinds of restrictions as other industries like the medical field or the practice of law, where you can be disbarred for ethics violations. And because Buddhism tries to deconstruct the normal sense of reality, vulnerable people can be confused and taken advantage of by opportunistic and predatory teachers.

    The best thing my own teacher ever did was tell me that he couldn't give me a diploma. He said even if he did give me a diploma, it would have no relevance. He said "you earn your diploma moment by moment for the rest of your life."

    Nobody can give it to me or take it away from me. If more teachers were honest about this, we would have far fewer abuses of power because there wouldn't be anything to get. And since that's what everyone keeps saying about Zen--there's nothing to get here--why are we holding fake diplomas over the students' heads?

    POSTSCRIPT: Could this stuff we've been talking about factor into some of the reasoning behind Brad's decision to stop giving Jukai to students? He's been trying to remove the mantle of "teacher" or authority figure for awhile now. And the more I learn about what's going on in some of these zen centers, the more I applaud his efforts.

    at http://rebloggingbradwarner.blogspot.com/2009/12/monky-business.html

    ReplyDelete
  30. BigMind No-no
    Colin
    synchronicity

    Thank you for your answer.
    I have read the book and I recommend it to all of you.(all of his books actually).
    The problem is - do you really think you can find the answer in a book? If it does, good for you - until perhaps next week you read another book. When hungry - looking at the menu is not enough for me.
    So my hope today is on John Wayne.

    ReplyDelete
  31. No BigMind said...

    "So my hope today is on John Wayne."

    Well, here's a BIG thank ya good buddy!

    to quote again what zazen is.....

    "What is Zuo Chan or Zazen? Za means to sit, but it is not the body that sits, but your mind.
    Zen means to contemplate, but there is no fixed form or pattern to contemplate with.
    Not to be moved inside the mind is Za.
    Not to be attached to forms outside is Zen.
    Not to separate your mind from the Buddha-nature is Za,
    To be able to discriminate all phenomena is Zen."

    ReplyDelete
  32. John Wayne said...

    "What is Zuo Chan or Zazen? Za means to sit, but it is not the body that sits, but your mind.
    Zen means to contemplate, but there is no fixed form or pattern to contemplate with.
    Not to be moved inside the mind is Za.
    Not to be attached to forms outside is Zen.
    Not to separate your mind from the Buddha-nature is Za,
    To be able to discriminate all phenomena is Zen."


    I think this is the most honest, concise understanding of zen practice I have heard in a long while!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. John Wayne

    Perhaps if you can really explain I would be willing to do you a favour. I happen to know some people who know some people who are very close WITH HIS ONLY SON. Perhaps they could have HIM put in a good word for you with the MAN. If you want I can even ask them to come to your house (These people got people all over the world even in your part of the world).
    So if you can really explain - then you've got a deal.

    ps no links to your temple or books or quoting allowed - YOUR WORDS -


    until you do i'll just stick to my ignorant sitting.

    ReplyDelete
  34. No BigMind said...

    John Wayne

    " Perhaps if you can really explain I would be willing to do you a favour. I happen to know some people who know some people who are very close WITH HIS ONLY SON. Perhaps they could have HIM put in a good word for you with the MAN. If you want I can even ask them to come to your house (These people got people all over the world even in your part of the world).
    So if you can really explain - then you've got a deal."

    I hate to break your bubble but John is dead.
    But that's OK, that soap bubble pipe is doing most of the work for you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. From: http://www.gutclean.com/buddhistsexabusecases.html

    "Copied below is the "Buddhist sex abuse cases" article that I recently contributed to Wikipedia under my monniker "Rinpoche" and which was deleted by their community without allowing me to defend it."

    ReplyDelete
  36. Genkaku

    - on a more serious note -

    your question was - Would you care to say why?
    comment was "A zen teacher who speaks up on this issue is etc..."

    My answer would have been comment #5001 or 2 - I didn't ignore it.

    Perhaps not all Zen teachers have been aware of Eido's behaviour these last 30, 40 or 50 years. In the sangha i was part of in the late 70's - 80's we were informed in 82 or 83 of Shimano (i believe there was a scandal at the time) That sangha has produced several Zen teachers (AZTA) whose views or opinions i have not come across anywhere (a few have).
    I believe that by keeping silent for so long they somehow enabled Shimano to continue and even have new students joining.

    For James Ford (and also Kyogen Carlsson and today also Dosho Port) to give their view now and not wait 10 or 20 years (after the jury has reached a verdict) - i find refreshing and appreciate.
    When Ford writes - Bottom line to Genpo: Don’t let the door slap yr butt… - it seems rather clear what his view is.

    the comment i responded to seemed to miss the point about Genpo - which was unfortunate, instead focused on -TRUE ZEN.
    To discuss - What Zen really is - i gladly leave that to people who have more free time on their hands than i do.
    After practising for some decades i feel quite comfortable not knowing what Zen REALLY is.

    Hope to have answered you question

    ReplyDelete
  37. No BigMind said...

    "ps no links to your temple or books or quoting allowed - YOUR WORDS -

    until you do i'll just stick to my ignorant sitting."

    Well, me and Elvis do quite a bit of croonin' where we've gone....and we haven't lost our sense of humor either. :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Zen is never having to say you're sorryFebruary 13, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    "After practising for some decades i feel quite comfortable not knowing what Zen REALLY is."

    Apparently you're not the only one. Dosho Port seems to equate "don't-know mind" with "don't-know-and couldn't-care-less mind" in his Feb 11 blog entry at
    http://wildfoxzen.blogspot.com/

    "On days like today, though, one thing that strikes me is how American Zen has attracted a self-righteous lot quick to pounce on someone when they're down and bragging about how right they were about it all to begin with. Looks like sanctimonious self-righteousness.

    "There used to be a precept discouraging that kind of thing called taking up the way of not elevating the self while belittling others but there seems to be fine print to the effect "...unless you do something I have a problem with."

    "But whoops - there I go joining the elevating-the-self crowd!

    "Back down to earth I wonder, where's the loving kindness?"

    Wow, Dosho's really sticking his neck out here in defense of the hapless victims.

    After chastising the messenger, he goes on to offer a few suggestions, in a bland, matter-of-fact tone more appropriate for a taxpayer's guide on how to maximize refunds. Most potential solutions he shrugs off as unworkable. He seems to favor transparency...

    "One way to achieve more transparency is to have multiple teachers working with a community and students having dokusan with more than one teacher - yes, like at Boundless Way."

    ...but then he backpedals because the few qualified Zen teachers there are can't cooperate with each other:

    "Unfortunately, this is sometimes difficult to pull off. Finding even one qualified teacher can be challenging. Teachers don't always work and play together all that well."

    Fortunately for all of us, the shortage of qualified teachers, their lack of transparency and their inability to cooperate with anyone has nothing to do with the growing tide of sanctimonious, self-righteousness detractors Port complains about.

    ReplyDelete
  39. "Perhaps not all Zen teachers have been aware of Eido's behaviour these last 30, 40 or 50 years.
    _________________________________________________

    Hi NoBigMind -- Thanks for your response, which, I admit, I cannot entirely understand, but appreciate the effort.

    Reading the above quote, however, brought a puckish smile to my lips. My experience along the Zen circuit has been that while enlightenment may be considered instantaneous, gossip is a very close second ... and what happened here traveled there at damn near light speed, even without the internet. I have a hard time imagining that a good morsel of gossip would not have reached even the most serene, no-idle-chatter ears. :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. "There is one teacher at ZSS that is ES, so
    the message tries to diffuse the accusation
    by pointing the finger to several directions."

    "News flash to makahaka: teacher is Roko, not ES. "

    Re Eido. This should be written in the past form. The context of this discussion was
    the pesnion plan of ES (based on Dec 1st letter
    and September email). At that time, Roko
    was not a ZSS teacher. Jiro, Yamakawa, Denko,
    Seigan, Roko, Abu Muthalib, Benedict VII,
    even Linchi were not involved.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Conform or be left behindFebruary 13, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    For those who have questions about what Zen "is", so as not to be confused or mislead by false teachers, just go to Amazon and get yourself a Zen calender. :)

    product info:
    "A daily jolt of truth, enlightenment, and clarity. Adapted from the bestselling book The Little Zen Companion, this calendar opens the mind with a koan, quote, parable, sutra, or poem on every page. Lao-tsu: "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." Kahlil Gibran: "I discovered the secret of the sea in meditation upon the dewdrop."
    Salvador Dali: "Have no fear of perfection. You'll never reach it." Eugene
    Ionesco: "It's not the answer that enlightens, but the question." Plus Zen thoughts from Henry David Thoreau, Dogen, Jack Kerouac, Seng-Ts'an, and Shunryu Suzuki: "Just to be alive is enough."

    at...
    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-2011-Page---Day-Calendar/dp/0761157727/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297627200&sr=8-1

    ReplyDelete
  42. Actually, I thought this was in the context of the ZSS ethical guidelines, which were posted around the time Eido left and Roko took over.

    I did reread the archives (for the third time) and saw only one reference to a dharma heir inviting sex with female students. This revelation took place at the women's retreat, and it was admitted at the time that there was no particular effort on the part of that person to operate in secrecy. I did remember hearing about another dharma heir involved in what could be termed an inappropriate sexual relationship, but I couldn't see to locate the reference. No matter...two out of five seems high.

    But in re-reading the archives, the other recurring themes that jumped out were 1) the rapid turnover in board members and 2)financial improprieties. The sale of the apartment against the donor's wishes, the outrageous 10th anniversary expenditures (nearly 4 times the amount decided by the board), the wheedling over retirement compensation, the irregularities in financial reporting, the repeated failure to follow the advice of accountants...nauseating.

    ReplyDelete
  43. From the Zen Calendar (sun, jan 30, 2011):

    "Do not judge or criticize others. Just be at ease and go on mindlessly like a simpleton or a fool. Or, be like one who is struck deaf and dumb. Spend your life as if you cannot hear a thing, or like an infant. Then sooner or later, all delusion will disappear.--Kyong Ho

    ReplyDelete
  44. Have anyone here been to Shobji lately? I just wondered what the atmosphere there was like. I was a member and had been sitting there once or twice a week for about 5 years up until last July. I was never asked to become a student of Eido, nor did I want to. But I did like the beautiful place, it's authentic Japanese feel, the nice stone garden in the back, the fantastic scrolls and Buddha images.
    I am one of those people who has become very
    cynical after the events of last year. It's been very difficult for me to get back on the mat, but I feel I'm starting to understand what went on and agree the lineage/Dharma heir issue really is at the core of this issue. It is a recipe for spiritual corruption. I spent 8 years before at the Village Zendo watching it start as an innocent sitting group at the teachers apartment and become a full-fledged toxic "Imperial Court".

    My rakasu and robe are still up at Shoboji, and I'm wondering if I even want to go back there just to pick them up. I'm so disgusted with organized religion right now, I'm thinking that I'll just leave my rakasu there until someone dumps it in the garbage eventually.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Dear James,
    Don't give up on your practice. You are your own teacher.

    ReplyDelete
  46. There's also a zendo in New York City where there hasn't been a teacher since the 50's, run by its members. It's on 30th Street. First Zen Institute open to the public on Wednesday nites. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Just a reminder carried over from the old Eido Tai Shimano thread: Please do not use "anonymous" as a nickname. Pick something else ... even (oh my!) your own. The objective is to allow others to respond specifically to your post if they wish to.

    I will delete those who post as "anonymous" in future.

    No more "anonymous" please.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Over on ZFI, "Hungry Ghost" posted the following today in the "Practicing Without a Teacher" thread:

    I am myself firmly in the "Find a teacher if you want to practice Buddhism". However, I did stumble across this little gem from the Khaggavisana Sutta:
    "If you gain a mature companion,
    a fellow traveler, right-living & wise,
    overcoming all dangers
    go with him, gratified,
    mindful.

    If you don't gain a mature companion,
    a fellow traveler, right-living & wise,
    wander alone
    like a king renouncing his kingdom,
    like the elephant in the Matanga wilds,
    his herd."
    Thought i'd share..

    ReplyDelete
  49. That is a great Valentine post. I wonder which of the two Shimano can claim. :|

    ReplyDelete
  50. Likewise in The Dhammapada:

    If you find no better of equal on life's road, go alone!
    Loneliness is better than the friendship of a fool.

    ReplyDelete
  51. James said:

    "My rakasu and robe are still up at Shoboji, and I'm wondering if I even want to go back there just to pick them up. I'm so disgusted with organized religion right now, I'm thinking that I'll just leave my rakasu there until someone dumps it in the garbage eventually."

    February 14, 2011 1:10 PM


    Go and get your rakusu and start sitting again. Is it somehow sullied by association with ZSS? I doubt it, but even if it was, so what. It is a symbolic part of the story of your zen practice and a reminder of all that you have experienced at Shoboji. Don't throw that away and don't give up. That rakusu has its own worthy meaning which can't be replaced.

    ReplyDelete
  52. "My rakasu and robe are still up at Shoboji, and I'm wondering if I even want to go back there just to pick them up."

    The ZSS no doubt has a pile of abandoned artifacts from former students.

    Some people just burn the raksu; they don't want to have anything that Mr. Shimano touched near their bodies. And for people who have been sexually abused by him, it presents a real problem since the "anything" that he touched, happens to be their own bodies.

    A dilemna of disturbing proportions; the abuse does not wash off.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Thanks everyone for your comments. I think I've heard more "turning words" here than from the last many Dharma talks from "great" teachers. When I was in art school in my twenties, I realized very quickly that I learned much more from my fellow students than from the teachers I was paying so much to learn from. I don't know why I expected anything different from Zen. My mistake. I will go back and get my rakusu...if it's still there. Actually, it was given to me by Enkyo "Roshi".I might still burn it!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Here's a letter from Les Kaye with some history very pertinent to the present situation with Genpo Merzel.

    Les Kaye Letter to Kanzeon Board re: Genpo and AZTA History

    http://wildfoxzen.blogspot.com/2011/02/les-kaye-letter-to-kanzeon-board-re.html

    ReplyDelete
  55. james said...
    "I might still burn it!"

    I was actually going to suggest that but thought it might be too "inflammatory"! :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Call ahead, quietly pick it up and leave.... it's your rakusu.

    ReplyDelete
  57. That 1992 AZTA letter to Maezumi about Genpo Merzel is eerily similar to the 1995 Aitken letter to the ZSS. There's something very wrong with the fact that both Merzel and Shimano were still able to teach for so long afterwards.

    I'm not too optimistic that I'm ever going to get a response to my letter to the ICSA, but my mind's made up already. Zen organisations that cover up sexual and financial abuse by their teachers are no better than extremist cults.

    ReplyDelete
  58. This is from page 6 of the google book
    "Zen skin, Zen marrow: will the real Zen Buddhism please stand up? by Steven Heine

    at

    http://books.google.com/books?id=33ymadXmyRkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Zen+gender+discrimination&source=bl&ots=2Gf82UdQ7p&sig=Jp3VtYT75cymw21PvRqv5zsF-GU&hl=en&ei=e_xXTZGLD4Gclgezp-GPBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Zen%20gender%20discrimination&f=false


    "According to a lyric by singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, "There is a war between the ones who say there is no war, / And the ones who say there isn't." Indeed, there seems to be a war in the sense of a conceptual and verbal exchange of conflict and hostilities regarding what constitutes and who gets to explicate Zen, whereby different factions unproductively talk at or past - but not constructively with - one other, whether intentionally or not. The main debate is between two factions. One faction involves traditionalists, referred to here as supporters of the TZN, who continue to articulate and reinforce their view of the "traditional Zen narrative" and may come off as apologists and/or reverse Orientalists ( even if they are Westerners like Herrigel). The other faction includes critics and reformers referred to here as supporters of HCC, who attempt to carry out historical and cultural criticism and may appear, like Koestler, hypercritical in the judgments and evaluations, which evoke shades of Orientalism."

    There is also a discussion of ZFI called "I'm a Zen master" located at

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=6087

    As Buddhism has entered the West/U.S. these two factions are at war. The traditionalists and the reformers. They talk at each other, and rarely if at all talk WITH each other. We are starting to see a split in where and how Zen is practiced. Many are questioning the validity of the Zen master/student relationship and forming peer-to-peer groups without a "legitimate" teacher. After the scandals of Eido and Genpo, this will increase this tendency to go somewhere else besides the traditional zen center.

    We might be witnessing a similar reform that happened in the 16th century to Catholicism, and Orthodoxy.

    from wikipedia.....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism

    "In the 16th century the followers of Martin Luther established the evangelical churches of Germany and Scandinavia. Reformed churches in Switzerland were established by John Calvin and more radical reformers such as Huldrych Zwingli. Thomas Cranmer reformed the Church of England and later John Knox established a more radical Calvinist communion in the Church of Scotland."

    This could even evolve into what is becoming more popular all the time in the U.S. known as "secular Buddhism".

    ReplyDelete
  59. Signs of the Times said...
    This could even evolve into what is becoming more popular all the time in the U.S. known as "secular Buddhism".

    If you consider Buddhism to be a religion, then, by definition, there is no such thing as "secular Buddhism". I think even the most radical "non-religious" Buddhists will have a hard time extracting absolutely all religious elements from Buddhism, which would be necessary of anything deserving the name "secular Buddhism."

    ReplyDelete
  60. Au Contraire said...

    " Signs of the Times said...
    This could even evolve into what is becoming more popular all the time in the U.S. known as "secular Buddhism".

    If you consider Buddhism to be a religion, then, by definition, there is no such thing as "secular Buddhism". I think even the most radical "non-religious" Buddhists will have a hard time extracting absolutely all religious elements from Buddhism, which would be necessary of anything deserving the name "secular Buddhism.""

    Yes, it would certainly seem that way, especially now when Buddhism carries with it so many of the religious rituals, and priests, and icons. But just look what happened to Christianity. It had the same thing going for it. Now there are 1000,s of Christians who do not go to church, or even pray or read the Bible.
    For instance their is a web site devoted to secular Buddhism already. It's mission statement is as follows...

    * Share accurate information, clarify misperceptions, and critically examine the teaching and practice of early Buddhism of interest to a secular audience.
    * Distinguish cultural accretions from that teaching and practice, and discuss secular Buddhist culture.
    * Discuss other topics and skills, like critical thinking, of benefit to the practice of secular Buddhism.
    * Discuss issues pertaining to separation of church and state, as they impact both traditional Buddhism and secular practice.

    It is located here

    http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/about_mission.php

    Many people are just not interested in organized religion, so they become a "lamp unto themselves."

    ReplyDelete
  61. Discuss, discuss, discuss, discuss, discuss, debate, debate, debate, debate, debate ... it's all a pretty good starting point.

    I guess my question is, where is anyone heading with this thing called "Buddhism?" If it's just to more discussion, discussion, discussion, debate, debate, debate, then it strikes me as little more than a cozy circle jerk, not providing much peace at all.

    Discipline means doing what you don't want to do. How many people are willing to give that a shot?:)

    ReplyDelete
  62. Shimano the traditionalist and Merzel the reformer-- both lustful and greedy.
    Common interest of two factions at war with each other. Seems to me they would have a lot to talk about WITH each other.

    ReplyDelete
  63. A group of former ZSS sangha members have been communicating over the past several months. We felt it was important to deal openly, and in a safe, supportive environment, with the pain Eido Shimano's choices have caused so many of us. For this reason we have organized a facilitated meeting in NYC on Sunday, March 20th from 9 am to 5 pm.

    Please visit the web page (www.sanghasteppingforth.com) for more detailed information and join us on the 20th if you feel that this meeting may be beneficial for you.

    Committee for Sangha Stepping Forth (CSSF)

    ReplyDelete
  64. Leonard Cohen from Anthem

    "There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in."
    ___

    All these beautiful words, Dhammapada, all Buddhist books, text etc - please do nor forget "real people" have suffered because of immoral teachers.


    When you consider that person could have been your wife, your sister, your daughter how much time, how many words do you need to make up your mind?

    If these people had not been Zen teachers but construction workers or accountants would there even have been a discussion?

    Why make it all so complicated - "Eido the roshi dwells in the absolute,” give him a real hard kick in the knee - see how long the dwelling lasts.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Signs of the Times said...
    Many people are just not interested in organized religion, so they become a "lamp unto themselves."

    Understood - and more power to them. I was just quibbling about the name, really, and by no means about their "mission".

    ReplyDelete
  66. Somebody posted the book "Zen skin, Zen marrow: will the real Zen Buddhism please stand up?"... I just bought it on amazon... here is the full quote from the back of the book By John Daido Loori.

    "As we enter the 21st century and western Zen Buddhism develops the roots and branches of its second and third generations, the time has come to reflect on what aspects of this ancient tradition we are importing. What are the Zen myths and realities we are disseminating throughout the West? Most importantly, does Zen address the moral and ethical issues unique to our time and place? Steven Heine is eminently qualified to crack open this Pandora's box and help us sort out the real from the apparent. With its critical reflection, deep investigation and outstanding scholarship, Zen Skin, Zen Marrow is a step in the process allowing Zen to take the shape of the container that holds it. This book belongs on the shelf of every Zen center in the West." --John Daido Loori

    I was looking at this book on googlebooks... I cannot wait to read this, it looks like it is addressing everything that is going on right now.

    ReplyDelete
  67. genkaku said...
    "Discipline means doing what you don't want to do."

    Hmmmm.... Merriam Webster defines discipline

    1. Punishment
    2. (obsolete) Instruction
    3. Field of study
    4. Training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
    5. a. Control gained by enforcing obedience or order.
    b. orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
    c. SELF-CONTROL

    from Joseph Campbell's book "Myths of Light"
    page 130.....

    This Buddhism comes to Japan in the twelfth century with the great teacher Honen and becomes the basis for the great Buddhism of most of the people of Japan now, Jodo and Shinshu.
    Now, how do you serve the Buddha? How do you launch your ferry boat across to the yonder shore? You serve the Buddha simply by performing your life duties. No meditation necessary. No special going to church necessary. Your whole life is church. Your children are your enterprise through which you achieve your fulfillment. This is a lovely, wonderful thing. The whole world is turned into the sanctuary, you might say, of the discipline. And the discipline isn't something that should make you anxious. It is something that you are doing simply by performing your life duties properly and peacefully.

    (Here's the part that makes me laugh)

    Now there comes a resistance to this kind of thing on the part of the people who like effort. You know, there are people who feel things shouldn't be too easy, and this way of high discipline is the way that is epitomized in what is called Zen.


    This word zen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word ch'an, and the Chinese word is a mispronunciation of the Sanskrit word dhyana, which means contemplation. Contemplation normally is thought of as disciplined meditation. I have spoken about the kundalini yoga, a form of psychological and spiritual discipline that consists of bringing a serpent of energy up through the spine. In Zen, you seek to transform your mode of experience through just this kind of spiritual exercise so that you actually come to the illumination that the Buddha came to in the way the Buddha himself did, not just seated in a shrine being a little dragon mouth saying "Buddha, Buddha, Buddha," then expecting to get somewhere. Here you are going to go to WORK.
    When you read about Zen there is something rather confusing about it because the story of Hui-neng is told and told and told as the typical story of Zen. But then behind that there is Bodhidharma, the one who sat facing the wall for 9 years. Then go to Japan and go to a Zen monastery and what do you see? You see rows of austere little monks sitting in the most fantastically controlled meditational postures. What is all this about?
    What group of people did Zen serve when it came to Japan? It was the Buddhism of the samurai, of the knights, of the warrior-monks. This gives you the clue to Zen. In contrast to the Chinese ch'an, Japanese Zen is the religion of knighthood, of athletes, of highly disciplined action, of being in high form. In China, the ideal is really the old rogue, the old fellow who's got wisdom in him, a kind of comical character through whom life just flows. The ideal in Japan, however, is this samurai discipline, the discipline of life in form.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Dennis -- Effortlessness is how things are, I agree. It is also a goal for some. But the effortlessness that trips off the tongue or tingles in the mind ... well, as Sarah Palin might say, "how's that workin' for you?" Is it really putting a smile on your face or making life a more peaceful adventure?

    Anyone can say "Sleeping, walking, eating ... this is Zen." It sounds nifty and unfortunately it may just remain another nifty bauble in a life tinged by unresolved doubt and distinctly un-nifty uncertainties.

    OK ... so pick your poison. How's that workin' for you? :)

    ReplyDelete
  69. genkaku said...

    "OK ... so pick your poison. How's that workin' for you? :)"

    Excellent point!!! Someday's, pretty good, others not so good. I think the same is true with the "Masters" of zen. :)

    ReplyDelete
  70. 10,000 Jesus ImpostersFebruary 15, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    From the Nebraska Zen Center web site...
    About the Teacher
    Rev. Nonin Chowaney, OPW, an American Zen Master, is a Buddhist priest trained in the Soto tradition of Zen Master Dogen.

    WOW! I wonder what he is Master of? Zen? :) oh he also says he has three disciples and one budding one.

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=6087&sid=33fa7ab032d02a6951633fa5e6a64820&start=40

    5th post.

    WOW! Disciples and Masters. No wonder people put these priests on pedestals as super human. Maybe they can walk on water too. :)

    Discuss ting, Discuss ting Discuss ting!

    ReplyDelete
  71. It might be that the Japanese Zen Masters have infiltrated our American society to take over our country! Ha!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Larry and Larry

    You may well be on to something.
    I once saw a documentary with John Belushi about a Japanese submarine targeting Hollywood, believe was 1941.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Signs of the Times said...

    "There is a war between the ones who say there is no war, / And the ones who say there isn't." Indeed, there seems to be a war in the sense of a conceptual and verbal exchange of conflict and hostilities regarding what constitutes and who gets to explicate Zen, whereby different factions unproductively talk at or past - but not constructively with - one other, whether intentionally or not. The main debate is between two factions. One faction involves traditionalists, referred to here as supporters of the TZN, who continue to articulate and reinforce their view of the "traditional Zen narrative" and may come off as apologists and/or reverse Orientalists ( even if they are Westerners like Herrigel). The other faction includes critics and reformers referred to here as supporters of HCC, who attempt to carry out historical and cultural criticism and may appear, like Koestler, hypercritical in the judgments and evaluations, which evoke shades of Orientalism."

    _____________

    There is NO war. The only war is when people think there is one. People are cynical - that is understandable and people always look for alternatives within cynisism/anger. Skype doesn't work, fuck that, I'll use my mobile!

    People will have opinions, that's OK.
    So fucking what, the point is what works for your life - the last time I looked Zen was about clarity. Eido could be a corrupt man but not everyone is corrupt in that world.

    ReplyDelete
  74. What if, after losing WWII, the Japanese have tried to even the score by infiltrating the West under a religious pretext, all the while taking advantage of our non-profit laws to loot and plunder our citizenry, brainwash us and abuse our womenfolk (all techniques of warfare.)

    ReplyDelete
  75. Rape and pillage

    You are right. that's why next election my vote goes to Tina Fey. She knows how to stand up and kick ass.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Jingles said...
    "There is NO war. The only war is when people think there is one."

    Well, lets say there is a BIG gulf that divides those who are traditionalists and those who are reformers. Probably always has been. The tension between these groups of idea-loges is palatable, if not blatant at times erupting in clashes of who's right and who is stupid, stupid, stupid. Neither side is right or wrong, and yet each will hold their position and not listen to the other persons point of view, or they just write them off as being ridiculous. Where is middle ground in this struggle? Practicing Buddhism without a teacher or being a disciple of Eido's? Two extremes that have not found middle ground yet. Neither side is willing to give an inch. Where is this taking zen Buddhism in the future? Who knows, it is all speculation.
    But if history repeats itself more and more people will begin to practice Buddhism without a teacher and that will become OK, just as it has in Christianity ( the people who do not go to church, pray, or read the Bible but still call themselves Christian ). That's just the way things spread out. Some take it personal and very serious, and others take it with a grain of salt. Who is the better for it? I certainly am not going to judge others. I will clean my own rice bowl, and show someone else if the want to learn how. But they are not my disciple, just a a human friend, and I am no better than them, just sharing with a friend about a certain aspect of life.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Greed, Anger and Delusion Thoroughly Pervade the Entire UniverseFebruary 15, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    James said...

    "I spent 8 years before at the Village Zendo watching it start as an innocent sitting group at the teachers apartment and become a full-fledged toxic 'Imperial Court'. "

    Please say more about the situation there.

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Interesting the ZSS crew all signed yet didn’t do the same things re Shimano and still haven’t http://t.co/USISsps

    ReplyDelete
  79. Achim, that's amazing! Someone who still has ZFI posting privileges ought to post that link to the Shimano thread and give Chowaney and Marinello the opportunity to defend their reasoning. Genpo's misconduct, after all, seems no worse than Eido's.

    The petition calling for Genpo's full admission and apology came out even after he offered such, much more convincingly, I might add, than Shimano's statement, which we all know contained no specific admission, a vague apology, and--considering it's overall brevity--a heaping helping of self-aggrandizement. Moreover, while 30 years is not a trivial time span, Genpo's history of misconduct isn't as long as Shimano's. And Genpo's financial irregularities exceed Eido's in scale but not in apparent deviousness.

    So...what can Nonin say? That, Genpo's Big Mind is a sham whereas Shimano, despite his faults, is practicing and teaching REAL Zen?

    ReplyDelete
  80. Interesting the ZSS crew all signed yet didn’t do the same things re Shimano and still haven’t http://t.co/USISsps
    _________________________________________

    I just posted it at ZFI. We'll see how long that lasts.

    ReplyDelete
  81. "Interesting the ZSS crew all signed yet didn’t do the same things re Shimano and still haven’t http://t.co/USISsps"

    Did you ask the 'ZSS crew' if they did not, in fact, favor or try to implement any or all of 'the same things'? If not, how do you know they didn't? Just because it didn't get published on your bodacious blog?

    ReplyDelete
  82. Presumed Guilty -- Point taken, but the interest remains: How is it that one such caring collective statement (Genpo) might make it to a wider public while another (Shimano -- if it exists) seems to remain hidden?

    ReplyDelete
  83. If indeed the "crew" implemented these same things, it is their responsibility to the community to inform of their actions. It is the silence and lack of transparency that is of concern.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Posted at ZFI, but I doubt it will last so I'll post it here as well:

    Genkaku quote:Interesting how forthright some 44 Zen teachers might be with regard to Genpo's miscues and yet seem reluctant to be equally forthright as a body about Mr. Shimano: [url=http://sweepingzen.com/2011/02/16/recommendations-for-genpo-merzel-the-kanzeon-zen-center-board-and-the-big-mind-teaching-organization-regarding-the-status-of-genpo-merzel-from-44-azta-members1/]Collective statement[/url][/quote]

    Nonin quote: A whole bunch of Zen teachers were equally forthright about Eido Shimano. If you'd read the letters sent to the ZSS Board and posted all over the internet, you'd know this.

    Hands palm-to-palm,

    Nonin

    Genkaku quote: I am aware of the individual statements (19 letters, 20 signatories) on James Ford's site. I would only note that 1. The signatories to the Genpo petition numbered 44; 2. The signatories to the Genpo petition did so collectively, under a single set of observations and suggestions; 3. The singular letters on James Ford's blog present some sincere and some seemingly sincere observations in what often amounts to strikingly similar wording, but can not be imagined as having the same collective impact or clarity as the Genpo petition; and 4. What happened to the 25 who signed the Genpo petition and yet are notable in their absence on Ford's blog?

    ReplyDelete
  85. Dharma One Eyed WillyFebruary 16, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    Uncle Fester seems to have his own "pattern" – defensiveness.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Someone should put the name people who signed
    Genpo petition but not signed Shimano's petition.
    Is there any pattern of relationship?

    ReplyDelete
  87. Dharma One Eyed Willy said...

    "Uncle Fester seems to have his own "pattern" – defensiveness."

    Well, you must not be one of his many disciples.
    He is a Zen Master, so he has the right to break precepts and do as he pleases.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Presumed Guilty said...
    "Just because it didn't get published on your bodacious blog?"

    What a nice complement ( but i don't think it was meant to be )

    bodacious meaning....

    1.thorough, unmistakable
    2.remarkable, outstanding

    ReplyDelete
  89. The funniest thing about Nonin's post, though, is his position on calling people Zen Masters. He makes it so painfully obvious that the only reason he wouldn't refer to himself as one is out of an accepted Japanese rule of politeness. The fact that he would surely use the term to refer to his esteemed AZTA colleague just confirms this.

    There's a passage in the book "Ambivalent Zen" where someone phones up the Soho Zendo and Kyudo Roshi answers. The guy asks: "Are you a Zen Master?" and Kyudo says "Yes, why?" or something like that. THAT'S a Zen Master, not somebody who is still caught in some sticky web, trying to justify himself and his titles.

    ReplyDelete
  90. The Zen teachers (collectively) were largely inutile in their response to the Shimano situation, writing their letters 5 or 6 months after the most damaging revelations came out about Shimano.

    Their collective response to Genpo was immediate and has a sense of urgency that was never present in their responses to the Shimano situation.

    It is clear the Zen teachers (collectively) learned something from the Shimano situation, that it is pointless to profess to have a strong ethical perspective months after the clear violations of precepts have been revealed.

    Carol Spooner put it well. We should not confuse "equivocation" with "equanimity". Some deeds simply have to be recognized for what they are. Buddhists should be clear-eyed and not confuse a fear of being self-righteousness with ethical clarity. Let us disapprove and condemn what needs to be condemned. Let us not be silent "collaborators" then pretend we were active "in the resistance" all along.

    Please support the Sangha Stepping Forth effort to help the healing process at ZSS.

    ReplyDelete
  91. The guy asks: "Are you a Zen Master?" and Kyudo says "Yes, why?" or something like that.
    _______________________________________

    Chris -- I needed a good laugh today and you provided it. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  92. There's more to the genkaku vs. nonin exchange...
    this one is great!

    Nonin says....

    "You've criticized Zen teachers for not speaking out; you've criticized Zen teachers when they do speak out; you've criticized Zen teachers for the way they've spoken out; you've criticized Zen teachers for not saying things that you've wanted them to say when they've spoken out; you've criticized Zen teachers for the form in which they've spoken out. There certainly is a pattern here."

    genkaku comes right back with...

    "You've defended Zen teachers for not speaking out; you've defended Zen teachers when they do speak out; you've defended Zen teachers for the way they've spoken out; you've defended Zen teachers for not saying things that you've wanted them to say when they've spoken out; you've defended Zen teachers for the form in which they've spoken out. There certainly is a pattern here.

    I guess we're both in a rut"

    at least one of them is not defending the phony Zen Masters and the many hundreds of disciples .

    ReplyDelete
  93. Genkaku

    The comment on Kyudo reminded me to mail you this link - Sochu, Kyodo and Eizan -teaching in London(UK).

    www.granitemountainzen.co.uk/line.html

    ReplyDelete
  94. I was just wondering how the "dharma heirs" of Maezumi Roshi have the balls to point fingers at Shimano when they recieved their "tranmission" from someone who it seems would match Shimano as a sexual predator any day. Am I missing something? Have they ever dealt with this issue in their own lives? I've read statements by Jan Chozen Bays (one of his students who he victimized) and it seems like she has never seriously dealt with it. I recently read Joan Halifax's rant on the issue, and wondered why if she is so horified with Shimano, doesn't she then give up her exhalted "Roshi" title given to her by Maezumi? I would love to hear someone's thought about this.

    ReplyDelete
  95. blast from the pastFebruary 16, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    From ZFI on Fri Aug 13, 2010

    dennis60 wrote:

    Hosho is correct in saying that Zen Buddhism has been given a reputation of dubious character because of the mistakes made by Eido, and many other teachers and roshis in leadership roles ( San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) and the Kwan Um School of Zen ). The acts have been committed and it has been all over the news in America. It would be surprising that anyone who is interested in Zen practice is unaware of this huge problem. As she says, "As uncomfortable a fact as it may be for some, Eido and others who have made mistakes are examples of what Zen Buddhism is today, and their actions effect what "Zen Buddhism" means today. You can deny this and even advise others to never associate bad actions with Zen Buddhism, but it will be an exercise in futility and delusion. Associations are not formed in an entirely rational or conscious way."
    This is the truth, and it can not be denied. It is what people remember about leaders, just like Tiger Woods.
    dennis

    Nonin replies:

    dennis,

    You said in reference to sexual misconduct by Zen Buddhist teachers:

    "It would be surprising that anyone who is interested in Zen practice is unaware of this huge problem."

    It is not a "huge problem" to people who practice Zen Buddhism, but I can see how it would be considered so by people on the outside who like to point fingers at the few and say, "See, the whole system is corrupt."

    Those of us who are interested enough in Zen Buddhism to actually practice it and teach it regard individual ethical transgressions as personal failures, by both Zen teachers and Zen students, whatever the transgression may be. We are also committed to helping heal both harmer and harmed in all situations so that they both can be restored to active and productive roles in the Zen Buddhist community rather than be shunned as either pariahs or trouble-makers by the self-righteous and vindictive.

    Hands palm-to-palm,

    Nonin

    ReplyDelete
  96. I wonder what the future holds for American zen...

    Catholic Church Can Blame Itself for Sex Scandals, Declining Confidence

    By Bonnie Erbe

    Posted: March 17, 2010

    If someone set out to destroy the image of the Catholic Church hierarchy as god-like and beyond reproach, that person could not possibly do a better job of destroying that veneer than what is being done by church leaders themselves. Sex scandal after sex scandal after pedophilia scandal has dogged the church leadership for the past two decades or more, and the pope and his close advisers have yet to catch up with how to handle a 21st-century public relations gaffe, much less trying to piece back together the lives of so many people ruined by priests’ actions.

    First, there were the priest pedophilia incidents that came to light in the mid-1980s and rocked the American church to the point where whole dioceses filed for bankruptcy as lawsuits for sexual abuse skyrocketed.

    Now similar cases seem to be appearing all over Europe, including Germany, where the pope’s own brother is linked to a nasty and growing scandal. According to Reuters:

    The scandal there has personally drawn in Bavarian-born Pope Benedict, whose brother ran for 30 years the prestigious Regensburg choir which has been linked to cases of abuse.

    The era of technology and instant global communication as well as more openness in government and governance has made it almost impossible for large institutions to hide corruption and scandal as they became used to doing in previous eras. This is not new. And the Catholic Church is far from the only major religion to have been jolted down to the foundation by similar allegations.

    The question in my mind is why, after all the evidence of man-made corruption, do the “faithful” continue to be so? Isn’t it obvious that organized religion is completely man-made? Isn’t it obvious that men pervert the power that followers voluntarily give over to them and use it to rape and pillage again and again?

    The following comment, also in the Reuters article, emanated from no less than the second-highest-ranking official of the church, Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. Even he acknowledged that confidence in the church had declined:

    “There has been a reduction in faith in all institutions including the Church,” said Bertone, number two in the Vatican hierarchy, after meeting Italian business leaders.

    “The Church still enjoys great confidence on the part of the faithful, it is just that someone is trying to undermine that,” he said, without referring directly to the pedophilia scandal. “But the Church has special help, from above.”

    Sorry, Mr. Bertone, but no one is trying to “undermine that” more than the priests and church leaders who not only participated in these horrendous acts but conspired to keep them silent for many years.

    at...

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/erbe/2010/03/17/catholic-church-can-blame-itself-for-sex-scandals-declining-confidence

    ReplyDelete
  97. No BigMind -- Thanks for the link. I think I had seen it before but was happy to see it again. It always gives me a strange small jolt to click on the Wikipedia entry on Kyudo and the first thing I see is a picture I took. Weird somehow.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Try this again.... maybe it is not supposed to be on this thread, but to me it is very relevant in that the sex scandals in the Catholic Church, and the priests protecting priests, is very relevant to the harmful and escalating controversy in the zen Buddhist MahaSangha.

    Catholic Church Can Blame Itself for Sex Scandals, Declining Confidence
    By Bonnie Erbe
    Posted: March 17, 2010

    If someone set out to destroy the image of the Catholic Church hierarchy as god-like and beyond reproach, that person could not possibly do a better job of destroying that veneer than what is being done by church leaders themselves. Sex scandal after sex scandal after pedophilia scandal has dogged the church leadership for the past two decades or more, and the pope and his close advisers have yet to catch up with how to handle a 21st-century public relations gaffe, much less trying to piece back together the lives of so many people ruined by priests’ actions.

    First, there were the priest pedophilia incidents that came to light in the mid-1980s and rocked the American church to the point where whole dioceses filed for bankruptcy as lawsuits for sexual abuse skyrocketed.

    Now similar cases seem to be appearing all over Europe, including Germany, where the pope’s own brother is linked to a nasty and growing scandal. According to Reuters:

    The scandal there has personally drawn in Bavarian-born Pope Benedict, whose brother ran for 30 years the prestigious Regensburg choir which has been linked to cases of abuse.

    The era of technology and instant global communication as well as more openness in government and governance has made it almost impossible for large institutions to hide corruption and scandal as they became used to doing in previous eras. This is not new. And the Catholic Church is far from the only major religion to have been jolted down to the foundation by similar allegations.

    The question in my mind is why, after all the evidence of man-made corruption, do the “faithful” continue to be so? Isn’t it obvious that organized religion is completely man-made? Isn’t it obvious that men pervert the power that followers voluntarily give over to them and use it to rape and pillage again and again?

    The following comment, also in the Reuters article, emanated from no less than the second-highest-ranking official of the church, Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. Even he acknowledged that confidence in the church had declined:

    “There has been a reduction in faith in all institutions including the Church,” said Bertone, number two in the Vatican hierarchy, after meeting Italian business leaders.

    “The Church still enjoys great confidence on the part of the faithful, it is just that someone is trying to undermine that,” he said, without referring directly to the pedophilia scandal. “But the Church has special help, from above.”

    Sorry, Mr. Bertone, but no one is trying to “undermine that” more than the priests and church leaders who not only participated in these horrendous acts but conspired to keep them silent for many years.

    at

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/erbe/2010/03/17/catholic-church-can-blame-itself-for-sex-scandals-declining-confidence

    ReplyDelete
  99. I got email notification that this had been posted but then it didn't show up here (maybe too long?) but I'm going to give it a whirl:

    Dennis has left a new comment on your post "Eido Tai Shimano (continued)":

    Try this again.... maybe it is not supposed to be on this thread, but to me it is very relevant in that the sex scandals in the Catholic Church, and the priests protecting priests, is very relevant to the harmful and escalating controversy in the zen Buddhist MahaSangha.

    Catholic Church Can Blame Itself for Sex Scandals, Declining Confidence
    By Bonnie Erbe
    Posted: March 17, 2010

    If someone set out to destroy the image of the Catholic Church hierarchy as god-like and beyond reproach, that person could not possibly do a better job of destroying that veneer than what is being done by church leaders themselves. Sex scandal after sex scandal after pedophilia scandal has dogged the church leadership for the past two decades or more, and the pope and his close advisers have yet to catch up with how to handle a 21st-century public relations gaffe, much less trying to piece back together the lives of so many people ruined by priests’ actions.

    First, there were the priest pedophilia incidents that came to light in the mid-1980s and rocked the American church to the point where whole dioceses filed for bankruptcy as lawsuits for sexual abuse skyrocketed.

    Now similar cases seem to be appearing all over Europe, including Germany, where the pope’s own brother is linked to a nasty and growing scandal. According to Reuters:

    The scandal there has personally drawn in Bavarian-born Pope Benedict, whose brother ran for 30 years the prestigious Regensburg choir which has been linked to cases of abuse.

    The era of technology and instant global communication as well as more openness in government and governance has made it almost impossible for large institutions to hide corruption and scandal as they became used to doing in previous eras. This is not new. And the Catholic Church is far from the only major religion to have been jolted down to the foundation by similar allegations.

    The question in my mind is why, after all the evidence of man-made corruption, do the “faithful” continue to be so? Isn’t it obvious that organized religion is completely man-made? Isn’t it obvious that men pervert the power that followers voluntarily give over to them and use it to rape and pillage again and again?

    The following comment, also in the Reuters article, emanated from no less than the second-highest-ranking official of the church, Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. Even he acknowledged that confidence in the church had declined:

    “There has been a reduction in faith in all institutions including the Church,” said Bertone, number two in the Vatican hierarchy, after meeting Italian business leaders.

    “The Church still enjoys great confidence on the part of the faithful, it is just that someone is trying to undermine that,” he said, without referring directly to the pedophilia scandal. “But the Church has special help, from above.”

    Sorry, Mr. Bertone, but no one is trying to “undermine that” more than the priests and church leaders who not only participated in these horrendous acts but conspired to keep them silent for many years.

    at

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/erbe/2010/03/17/catholic-church-can-blame-itself-for-sex-scandals-declining-confidence



    Posted by Dennis to genkaku-again at February 16, 2011 4:56 PM

    ReplyDelete
  100. priests protecting priests

    birds of a feather?


    Catholic Church Can Blame Itself for Sex Scandals, Declining Confidence

    By Bonnie Erbe

    Posted: March 17, 2010

    If someone set out to destroy the image of the Catholic Church hierarchy as god-like and beyond reproach, that person could not possibly do a better job of destroying that veneer than what is being done by church leaders themselves. Sex scandal after sex scandal after pedophilia scandal has dogged the church leadership for the past two decades or more, and the pope and his close advisers have yet to catch up with how to handle a 21st-century public relations gaffe, much less trying to piece back together the lives of so many people ruined by priests’ actions.

    First, there were the priest pedophilia incidents that came to light in the mid-1980s and rocked the American church to the point where whole dioceses filed for bankruptcy as lawsuits for sexual abuse skyrocketed.

    Now similar cases seem to be appearing all over Europe, including Germany, where the pope’s own brother is linked to a nasty and growing scandal. According to Reuters:

    The scandal there has personally drawn in Bavarian-born Pope Benedict, whose brother ran for 30 years the prestigious Regensburg choir which has been linked to cases of abuse.

    The era of technology and instant global communication as well as more openness in government and governance has made it almost impossible for large institutions to hide corruption and scandal as they became used to doing in previous eras. This is not new. And the Catholic Church is far from the only major religion to have been jolted down to the foundation by similar allegations.

    The question in my mind is why, after all the evidence of man-made corruption, do the “faithful” continue to be so? Isn’t it obvious that organized religion is completely man-made? Isn’t it obvious that men pervert the power that followers voluntarily give over to them and use it to rape and pillage again and again?

    The following comment, also in the Reuters article, emanated from no less than the second-highest-ranking official of the church, Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. Even he acknowledged that confidence in the church had declined:

    “There has been a reduction in faith in all institutions including the Church,” said Bertone, number two in the Vatican hierarchy, after meeting Italian business leaders.

    “The Church still enjoys great confidence on the part of the faithful, it is just that someone is trying to undermine that,” he said, without referring directly to the pedophilia scandal. “But the Church has special help, from above.”

    Sorry, Mr. Bertone, but no one is trying to “undermine that” more than the priests and church leaders who not only participated in these horrendous acts but conspired to keep them silent for many years.

    at

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/erbe/2010/03/17/catholic-church-can-blame-itself-for-sex-scandals-declining-confidence

    ReplyDelete
  101. Thanks for the cooperation!

    ReplyDelete
  102. On ZFI, Nonin to Genkaku:

    [quote]
    "I don't defend any Zen teacher's behavior when there's no defense for it. I don't put forth a blanket defense for all Zen teachers no matter what they do, nor do I have a particular ax to grind against a particular form of wrongful conduct or a particular personal grudge against any teacher. I also don't put forth blanket praise for all Zen teachers.

    "Take the opposite of the above and you have your views, and you also have some basic differences between you and I."
    [end quote]


    Ergo, Nonin asserts that:

    *Genkaku defends any Zen teacher's behavior when there's no defense for it.

    *Genkaku puts put forth a blanket defense for all Zen teachers no matter what they do and has a particular ax to grind against a particular form of wrongful conduct and a particular personal grudge against at least one teacher.

    *Genkaku puts forth blanket praise for all Zen teachers.

    Conclusion:

    Nonin is losing it.

    ReplyDelete
  103. This absolutely "religion", a lost soul, who finds Jesus.....

    Nonin says...

    "I am so grateful for the opportunity to study and practice with my master, Dainin Katagiri, and, most importantly, to be his disciple. When I first met him, I was a mess -- un-happy, un-fullfilled, and going nowhere. He helped my turn my life around by pointing me in the direction in which I needed to go,"

    Now everybody sing.....

    "I once was lost in sin, then Jesus took me in,
    now a little light from heaven makes me shine..."

    conversion....to zen. This is what the Masters teach?

    ReplyDelete
  104. Bewildered by MastersFebruary 16, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    This is a strange form of zen worship that is going on over there on ZFI. Maybe it is part of the same coin, enough ignorance on one side and blissful appreciation for your saviors on the other. Or they be smokin' some damn good shit!

    this from Carol....

    "Homage to my teachers! Homage to my Ballet Masters! Homage to the lineage of Zen Masters from Shakyamuni Buddha to the present! Homage to all the unknown Zen Masters not recorded, the women and men who passed this great wisdom down through the generations to us from time beyond beginning!

    One Hundred and Eight Prostrations."

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=6087&start=60

    ReplyDelete
  105. CSSF update. We are grateful for the support and encouragement from the Buddhist community in response to the March 20th Sangha meeting. Tonight one of our facilitators (NYZCCC) has unfortunately opted out of participating. Grace Schierson will continue with us and we are in the process of finding another facilitator to work with her. We feel that this is a very important event and much needed. We will update you with further developments.

    ReplyDelete
  106. What does NYZCCC stand for?

    ReplyDelete
  107. NEW YORK ZEN CENTER FOR CONTEMPLATIVE CARE


    http://www.zencare.org/news/index.html

    ReplyDelete
  108. John Wayne said...

    " Apparently. They just instruct you on how to sit on a zafu. They do not teach the true meaning of zazen. Maybe if they did the Zen centers like DBZ and NYZ would not be so embroiled in worldly melodrama. Shimano apparently never understood zazen, and that is probably the same with his "Dharma heirs". Just think of all the zen centers around the world who have no idea what zazen really means. So they essentially are not teaching Buddhism."
    February 13, 2011 10:28 AM

    from --- Yung, a student of Hui-neng

    No tranquilization, No disturbance,
    No sitting, No meditation ...
    This is the Tathagata's Dhyana.
    The five Skandhas are not realities;
    The six object of sense are by nature empty.
    It is neither quiet nor illuminating;
    It is neither real nor empty;
    It does not abide in the Middle Way;
    It is not-doing,
    It is no-effect-producing;
    Yet, functioning with the utmost freedom:
    the Buddha-nature is all inclusive.

    This seems quite clear as to what Zeb Buddhism "is"...:)

    ReplyDelete
  109. A new file has been uploaded to the archive. Fourteen-hundred pages of the first five-thousand entries in the genkaku-again blog in text, in a single, readable (searchable) PDF file:

    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20100210_Genkaku_Again.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  110. Kobutsu and Genkaku --
    You have done a tremendous service to the mahasangha. I would like to join the many people who have expressed their thanks to you both.

    ReplyDelete
  111. In Genpo's wake, I just received this in email:

    PART I

    Dear Kanzeon Zen Center Members and Friends,

    As you are no doubt aware, the situation at Kanzeon has been the subject of a great deal of conversation on the internet and elsewhere, including an open “Letter of Recommendation to Kanzeon Zen Center” from 44 American Zen Teachers, which was sent to us directly by Kyogen Carlson of the Dharma Rain Zen Center and posted two days ago on the Sweeping Zen website.

    Attached is the Kanzeon Board’s response to that letter, which we are sending today to Roshi Gerry Shishin Wick, President, of the White Plum Asanga, and to the American Zen Teachers Association. We trust that they will post our letter on their websites and pass it on to their members.

    We would also like to remind you of the healing circle meeting tonight in the Zendo at Kanzeon at 7:30. These meetings will not be broadcast or recorded. Once again, we invite you to speak and listen from your heart, and even if you have not been involved in the conversation until now, to join us and participate actively in the healing and rebuilding of our sangha.

    Sincerely,
    The Kanzeon Board

    *****
    To Members of the American Zen Teachers and White Plum Asanga:

    As members of the Board of Kanzeon Zen Center, we have received many e-mails and phone calls concerning the highly-publicized situation resulting from Genpo Merzel’s admission of his transgressions and sexual misconduct. These communications from Zen teachers in your organizations and others, not to mention open letters and other postings on various social media and internet sites, are filled with advice and recommendations, many of which are beyond the scope of our responsibility as a Board. To the extent that they are motivated by a sincere concern for the survival, healing and rebuilding of our sangha, we would like to share with you an account of some of our efforts to date.

    • Feb. 3rd: Shortly after returning from the international sangha meeting in Europe, Genpo Merzel met with the sangha at the Zen Center in Salt Lake City in an open meeting which was widely publicized in advance. He admitted his misconduct (which had already been made public but wasn’t known by all attending), apologized for his actions for which he bears the blame and responsibility, and responded to the pain, anger, concerns, questions, and feelings of his wife, family and sangha members.

    • Feb. 6th: Genpo Merzel announced he is disrobing as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, resigning as a member of the White Plum Asanga, acknowledged his own dishonest, hurtful behavior as well as his sexual misconduct, and said he has entered therapy which will continue indefinitely. This statement was posted on his website on Feb. 7th — http://bigmind.org/Responsibility.html.

    • Feb. 8th: Kanzeon Zen Center announced that Richard Taido Christofferson Sensei will be taking over the teaching functions, training, administration, day-to-day operations, scheduling of all events, ceremonies, retreats, etc. as Vice Abbot and full time resident teacher. Kanzeon and Big Mind (a separate corporate entity) will also separate their websites, and Big Mind will continue as a separate secular practice, not connected with the Soto Zen Buddhist School. This announcement is posted at http://bigmind.org/Home.html.

    • Feb. 10th: The first of a projected series of council meetings was held with community members who wished to attend and express their feelings and their views on attempts for future healing.

    • Feb. 13th: Taido Sensei arrived in Salt Lake City to lead a town hall meeting to which all local members were invited. He outlined his vision for the future of Kanzeon under his leadership and responded to the concerns of the audience.

    • Ongoing: The Board is formulating a Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Procedures addressing issues of misconduct, abuse, and grievances within the sangha, based on models already instituted by other groups. They will be adopted as soon as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  112. PART II

    Further, an e-mail sent to us yesterday by members of your organizations raised six issues, to which we briefly respond as follows:

    1. Teaching. Genpo Merzel is taking an indefinite leave of absence of at least a year from Kanzeon. The Board has no authority over Big Mind, Inc.

    2. Therapy. This is a matter for health care professionals working with Genpo to determine. This is not within the expertise or purview of the Board.

    3. Salt Lake Zen Center. The Board is making every effort to maintain the facilities and keep the Center open for the community. This effort has been hampered by the heated rhetoric coming from the Zen Teacher community, in particular those who have reached out to members of our community to inflame reactions that are more adversarial than cooperative.

    4. Money Issues. The Board is supporting Taido Sensei's effort to maintain the flow of revenue through memberships and programs. His teaching schedule for the next two months will be posted shortly. We are a small Sangha, which has been financially supported by Genpo's teaching for many years and more recently by his teaching through Big Mind, Inc. He has offered to continue to support Kanzeon to the extent he can. Therefore, donations you wish to make to enable the Board to implement item 6 below would be welcomed.

    5. Public Statement of Apology. Genpo has apologized and his apology is posted at http://bigmind.org/Responsibility.html. He continues to talk full responsibility for the harm his actions have caused.

    6. Outside expert assistance. Taido Sensei has been in contact with several Dharma teachers in the White Plum Asanga, who have offered their support and willingness to come to Kanzeon to share their skills as teachers, therapists, and leaders who have experienced the problems of leading centers through similar crises. The Board in consultation with Taido Sensei will develop a plan that will include consultation with and participation of these and other Zen teachers. The Board has also been in contact with organizations, which can provide experienced, objective, professional assistance in guiding us to the creation of a healthier sangha with proper safeguards and strategies to avoid any future misconduct and abuse.

    As you might expect, these activities are occurring in an environment that is under great stress. The Center’s very small staff which is implementing the changes we have set in motion, is struggling to maintain the Center’s schedule and commitments in financially constricted conditions, not to mention the strong daily practice which all agree is vital especially now, while at the same time coping with a deluge of phone calls and emails engendered by the ever-increasing volume of recommendations and calls for action like yours. Long-time bonds of respect and friendship among members of the sangha are being frayed and broken. People with little or no connection to our sangha or Center have appeared at meetings designed to promote healing only to offer their own inflammatory views on our situation. Our Zendo has been vandalized, a beloved statue stolen from the altar.

    Under these circumstances, we respectfully request that those people who sincerely hope that we at Kanzeon survive and heal as a community, and create an environment and adopt procedures that lessen the possibility of any future misconduct or abuse, will extend us a little patience and allow us the time and breathing space to restore the peace and harmony of the sangha and the strength and sound practice of its members. Genpo Merzel has repeatedly reiterated his full support for all of the actions taken by the Board and Sensei as outlined above.

    Board of Trustees of Kanzeon, Inc.

    Kanzeon Zen Center
    1268 E. South Temple
    Salt Lake City, UT 84102

    ReplyDelete
  113. "[Genpo] continues to talk full responsibility for the harm his actions have caused."

    Aside from this Freudian slip, Kanzeon's communique' comes across as more sincere & cogent than has the haphazard reaction of the ZSS to analogous circumstances. Live and learn.

    ReplyDelete
  114. An Open Letter on Journalistic Integrity and the Shambhala Sun

    From The Diamond Sangha

    http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20110217_DiamondSanha_SuambhalaSun.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  115. "[Genpo] continues to talk full responsibility for the harm his actions have caused."
    --
    Others (dharma heirs) have known and kept silent for many, many years.
    Let them speak up as well.

    Your silence appears to have been rather self-serving. Some of those who did - well they have been labeled as "are not in good standing etc.."

    By not speaking up or standing up to mr Merzel imo your reputation has become rather shaky.

    Mr Glassman you gave inka to Genpo Sensei in 1996 - would you say that you really did not know what happened in Maine or Oregon?

    In Zen circles news and gossip indeed travel very fast and is not always reliable. However when people choose to ignore facts, something is very, very wrong.


    Some disrobe, I'll disblog.

    ReplyDelete
  116. I've been curious whether Roshi Joan Halifax would comment on the Genpo affair. This becoming public shortly after her scathing letter re Shimano. She's Genpo's dharma sister, and received funding for her Upaya Zen Center from the Lenz Foundation where Genpo sits on the board.

    ReplyDelete
  117. "investigate a moment such as this"February 17, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    Re: http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20110217_DiamondSanha_SuambhalaSun.pdf

    Sigh!

    I remember reading the article in the Sun and being a little surprised at the tone of the comments by Tarrant so it's nice to see a clarification by Nelson Foster and the Diamond Sangha.

    In the zen community I was involved in Tarrant's history with his students was no great secret. See www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/20110110_Benezra_Malone.pdf

    Extract:"I have currently been practicing at Pacific Zen Institute under the teacher John Tarrant.
    I recently learned that John, who was divorced within the last year or so, is having a
    relationship with a female student who has come from out of state to PZI (in Santa Rosa,
    CA) for sesshins. John is planning to invite this student and her two children in to his
    home. I understand that John also had a relationship, while he was still married, with Joan Sutherland, who has since become one of his dharma heirs."

    Though there were other rumors floating around re unethical conduct in his professional life, the letter from Nelson Foster and the Diamond Sangha not only fleshes out and confirms those stories, it appears that the sexual proclivities and relaxed boundaries of his professional life as well as in his role as a zen teacher were part of the reason for his acrimonious break with his teacher Aitken Roshi.

    An interesting observation. (Maybe!)
    One thing that always bothered me about the book 'Zen Master Who' by James Ford, Roshi, a dharma successor of Mr. Tarrants is that in the book he felt free to publish the various moral/alcohol/sexual troubles of various teachers, who didn't complete training, who is in a relationship with who etc, yet included nothing about his own teacher, John Tarrant, other than he regarded him as one of the most exciting and innovative zen teachers around. In his blog he is also one of the more outspoken about the excesses of other teachers. Can't help noticing a trend here. The majority of the White Plum have refrained from speaking out about one of their own, Genpo. ZSS, Roko and Genjo, (admittedly he did eventually) silent about Eido though they feel free to add their names to the AZTA letter to Kanzeon Sangha and James Ford silent about his teacher John Tarrant!

    Go figure!

    ReplyDelete
  118. See, its all the sitting stimulates the sex chakra for which, when in the privacy of the dokusan room, there is no defense and those weak-willed ones succumb too easily to its beckoning:) Actually, this was a theory proposed to me by an ex-hooker who once was a member of a zendo we practiced at.

    How else to explain all these sex-obsessed zen teachers? Everyone knows, you never kiss and tell until the affair is discovered..of course many continue the same pattern even after the initial discovery, but some learn and wise up. This kind of behavior will never change. Great, sure, go get some kind of rules in place, but there will never be a 100% successful way to deal with a pretty face. But we all know this...what now? Give up zen practice? And do what? Sit at home watch net-flicks, or better still, read the blogs and compose long pieces everyday to what end? I rather sit with other like-minded sitters, wear old chinese robes, burn incense bow, recite sutras in a foreign language. I'm good with all of that, never bothered me and I consider myself an average american joe. I love it, that zen has taken root in american soil. This practice is priceless!! Everyday another day to earn a million gold coins.

    We will work through this, we are working this. Hooray--long live the transmission of zen to america--thank you ancestors all!!

    ReplyDelete
  119. Nuts.

    Getting on just keeps on getting on is closer to the truth.

    Now Chayatt/Marinello have the time to offer Zen organizations (other than ZSS) advice on how to deal with failure in an effective and timely manner?

    It seems bizarre.

    ReplyDelete
  120. 1. Teaching. Genpo Merzel is taking an indefinite leave of absence of at least a year from Kanzeon.

    At least a year?!? Are they kidding? Are they seriously so naive as to think that Genpo will ever be in a position to teach Buddhism?

    ReplyDelete
  121. We will survive said...

    "Give up zen practice? And do what? Sit at home watch net-flicks, or better still, read the blogs and compose long pieces everyday to what end? I rather sit with other like-minded sitters, wear old chinese robes, burn incense bow, recite sutras in a foreign language. I'm good with all of that, never bothered me and I consider myself an average american joe. I love it, that zen has taken root in american soil. This practice is priceless!!"

    This is all facetious, right? :)

    ReplyDelete
  122. No they probably really mean it. Kind of like going to "Disney World". Exit one's boring reality, and enter into some exotic "other" world. Doesn't sound like zen practice to me.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Just say no to netflixFebruary 18, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    "Sit at home watch net-flicks"

    Or just sit at home.

    ReplyDelete
  124. It just like celebrating Christmas. It is supposed to be honoring Jesus' birth. But what does America do? Buy a Christmas tree, lights, Santa's, reindeer, gobs of presents, Christmas songs, tons of food, and all the trimmings. I am sure that it all is a very deep spiritual experience. :) Now that's facetious!

    ReplyDelete
  125. Theme song of the day. (sing in tune to Car 54, Where are you?):

    A statue's been stole in Salt Lake

    And DBZ lost a gong

    Have you heard the lastest news

    They say Roshi Joan wears a thong

    O not another scandal

    Zen's gotta get a handle

    Car 54, where are you?

    ReplyDelete
  126. Does she wear a gold brocade thong?

    ReplyDelete
  127. Not the finger the moonFebruary 18, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    "Give up zen practice? And do what? Sit at home watch net-flicks, or better still, read the blogs and compose long pieces everyday to what end? I rather sit with other like-minded sitters, wear old chinese robes, burn incense bow, recite sutras in a foreign language. I'm good with all of that, never bothered me and I consider myself an average american joe. I love it, that zen has taken root in american soil. This practice is priceless!!"

    This is all facetious, right? :)""

    Dead serious!! You left off the most important line.--Another day, another chance to earn a million gold coins.

    And I enjoy eating, and sitting around the colorful lights of a christmas tree in deep winter with family and friends, too.

    I don't think Jesus would mind much the sharing of food with friends and family on a cold winter night. But maybe all that crass commercialism that goes along with it he might have a thing or two to say.

    ReplyDelete
  128. About the only worthwhile lesson (a lesson I can't claim to have learned) I have found in the mistakes of others is this: Just don't YOU do that.

    Praise, blame, teachers, temples, analysis, debate, psychology, religion, good, bad ... just don't YOU do that.

    Don't you do that and keep an eye on it. It's bound to change soon enough.

    ReplyDelete
  129. For people who are interested in obtaining a complete copy of the www.shimanoarchive.com website on a DVD disk, please drop me a line...

    kobutsu.malone@gmail.com

    The DVD's come with a label, case, padded mailer with postage included. The disks are available at cost ($5).

    ReplyDelete
  130. At the rate information is accumulating, Kobutsu, you'd best plan on issuing multi-volume set.

    ReplyDelete
  131. These are 4.7 GB DVD's.... as it stands, the present archive takes up about 1/3rd of the disk. So when the archive reaches three times its present size there will be a second volume.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Written today by Nonin concerning HIS and (all Zen Masters unbroken lineage of Dharma Transmission) that connects them directly to the "Buddha". OUTRAGEOUS!!!!! No wonder the students get sucked into a psychological quagmire! This should convince everyone who believes this non-sense to quit believing it.

    Part 1.

    As I mentioned before in this thread, lineage is a living reality to those who are part of one. I'd like to elaborate on that statement. Since this is a Zen Buddhist board, and the forum in which the OP was posted is Zen Buddhism, I'll limit my comments to the importance of lineage in Zen Buddhist history and in current practice and training.

    All Zen Buddhist lineages trace their ancestry to Shakayamuni Buddha, of course, but the lineages that have come down to us today all stem from Bodhidharma. There was one lineage that survived from Bodhidharma to Huineng, the 6th ancestor in China. After Huineng, there were two lineages, each started by one of his transmitted heirs. In subsequent generations, due to the proliferation of Zen Buddhism in China, the two lineages after Huineng split and then split again, and today, Zen lineages are still splitting, for each dharma heir of each master establishes a lineage that that is different from his or her transmitted dharma brothers or sisters.

    In ancient China after Huineng, the lineages that survived were begun by particularly potent teachers, such as Dongshan (Jap. Tozan) and Linji (Jap. Rinzai). The lineages stemming from these teachers have survived down to the present day; my personal lineage goes back to Dongshan. There were three other main lineages in post-Huineng China that existed for some time but then died out. The only two that made it to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam were Rinzai and Soto (The root teachers in Soto were Dongshan (Tozan) and Shushan (Sozan). Put their two Japanese names together and you get Soto.

    Dongchan, Linji, and the other teachers that began lineages in China were potent teachers, and their different teaching styles mark the practices of the lineages that stemmed from them. I'm not going to get into those differences here, except to say that the differences between ancient lineages and also between modern versions of their lineages are a matter of style, not of substance. That is still true today. Zen Buddhist teachers of different lineage traditions, whether Japanese or otherwise, find that when they interact with each other, they have more similarities than differences in their core practices. The styles may be different, but the substance is the same.

    ReplyDelete
  133. part 2.


    Potent teachers have arisen in all lineages over time, such as Chinul in Korea and Dogen and Hakuin in Japan, and they are still arising. Hsu Yun was a particularly potent teacher in 20th century China; Thich Nhat Hanh is a potent teacher in Vietnamese Zen, as were Soeng Sahn (Soen Sunim) in Korean Zen, and Shunryu Suzuki in Japanese Soto Zen. There were and are, of course, many others.

    My master was Dainin Katagiri. He transmitted to twelve of his disciples. In Japan, it would be said that we all practiced in Katagiri-roshi's "family style." However, some of us, not all, have transmitted our own disciples, and we have established our own styles in which we and our disciples practice. Again, this is a matter of style rather than substance. Some of our lineages will continue for some time, some will for a while, some will die out quickly, depending on the potency of the teachers that began them and the students that continue them.

    If a person says that they either practice in or are a lineage holder in the Suzuki-roshi lineage, the Katagiri-roshi lineage, the Kwan Um school started by Seong Sahn, the Korean Chogye Order, Sanbo Kyodan, or any other, it means something to those who practice Zen Buddhism. There are also deep bonds between those who practice in a particular school or lineage.

    At our temple, we chant our lineage every day during morning service, and I've found it to be the most important, moving, and meaningful part of the service and an important part of my practice. Our lineage begins with Shakyamuni Buddha, goes through Indian teachers such as Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, and Bodhidharma, the first Zen Buddhist ancestor. The lineage continues with Chinese masters, such as Huineng, and our particular lineage begins with (Japanese pronunciations) Seigen Gyoshi, and continues through Tendo Nyojo, Dogen's Chinese teacher. Eihei Dogen begins the Japanese part of our lineage, and it continues through 28 teachers to mine, Jikai Dainin (Katagiri).

    When I chant the lineage, I feel a part of something very old, something very powerful and complete. I also feel the human presence of those in our lineage. I've read biographies of Nagarjuna and have studied his Mulamadhyamikakarika; I'm familiar with the life of Vasubandhu and have studied his Abhidharmakosa. I've read a biography of Huineng, and have studied his writings, and also Donghan's, Dogen's, and many others. I'm also familiar with their life stories. When I chant the name of Gesshu Soko, sometimes a picture arises in my mind of his calligraphy of the character for "moon," a very famous piece. I'm very intimate with our tradition when I chant the lineage, and I'm so grateful for these people who have passed the teaching down to us over 2500 years.

    Lineage is not only important to me but to most people who practice Zen Buddhism. We are part of a family that stretches back all the way back to Shakyamuni Buddha. It's a family that I've lived in and with for 32 years now, and I'll die as a member of it.

    Hands palm-to-palm,

    nonin

    ReplyDelete
  134. Now this is from Stuart Lachs essay...

    Means of Authorization: Establishing Hierarchy in Ch'an/Zen Buddhism in America

    found at...

    http://www.darkzen.com/Articles/meansofauthorization.htm

    the whole essay should be in the "Shimano Archive"

    this is a section of that essay called "Zen Lineage"

    part 1.

    The third element of the conceptual triad of terms supporting institutional authority is "Zen lineage." In Master Sheng-yen's introduction to a recent book, Subtle Wisdom, he states that his purpose is to describe the background and development of Ch'an for both new readers and for those with little or erroneous information. He then informs us that," Since the time of the Buddha, masters have given 'transmission' of their wisdom to their disciples when they demonstrated experience and understanding of the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. As a result of this form of recognition, lineages have developed..."[36] Clearly implied in this is the idea that the Ch'an lineage goes back to the Buddha. Though he doesn't say that it is an unbroken lineage, it is implied in the writing, as the Ch'an tradition is still thriving and it is passed along from Master to disciple. What is carefully omitted by the author who knows well otherwise, is that there is no such thing as an unbroken Ch'an lineage going back to the Buddha and that the lineage that is upheld is not based on deep spiritual attainment.

    The notion that Ch'an/Zen is an unbroken lineage going back to the Buddha is repeated in one Zen context after another. The above mentioning of the Zen transmission/ lineage myth by Master Sheng-yen is only a recent repetition of the myth that the Zen sect has propagated and repeated since the sects beginning in China during the Tang dynasty. In the responses to my questionnaire, it was repeated by at least three respondents who I know are "transmitted" teachers of American Zen groups.

    The lineage paradigm, along with the idea of various "patriarchs" standing out among a line's ancestors did not occur by chance. It is well known the Chinese culture places great importance on ancestor worship and patriarchal genealogy. Essentially, Ch'an replaced the birth family line central to the social structure of traditional Chinese society with a "spiritual" family line descending from the Buddha, i.e. Ch'an lineage. This is not to say that the lineage structure of Ch'an is intrinsically Chinese or a creation exclusively of the Chinese imagination. The Kashmiri Masters who established the foundation of the meditation tradition in China brought "the nucleus of the transmission theory whereby the true teachings of Buddhism are handed down from Sakyamuni Buddha through a succession of patriarchs," into China.[37] This convention fit in well with the existing Confucian order, helping to facilitate the acceptance of what was in fact an alien religion. Alan Cole has written:

    Since the opening of the Dun Huang caves at the beginning of this century, we know that Chan lineage texts in the mid-and late-Tang were quite at odds with one another in their varied claims to own enlightenment--lineages harking back to Bodhidharma looked quite different, depending on who was writing them. On the whole, these lineage texts represent a new form of disputation which works as follows, 'I am right and you are wrong because I stand in a singularly perfect lineage of truth and you don't.' The structure of this polemic ought to be provocative simply at face value. How did this happen to Buddhism? Why did it get locked into a Confucian model of patrilineal inheritance...?"[38]

    ReplyDelete
  135. part 2.

    As we have seen above though, Ch'an/Zen attempts to legitimate itself through the idea of an unquestionable lineage and transmission going back to the mythologized Shakyamuni Buddha. This myth is a humanly constructed form that is necessarily open to human interpretation. By legitimation I mean socially objectified "knowledge" that serves to explain the social order. Put differently, legitimations are answers to any questions about the "why" of institutional arrangements. All legitimation maintains socially defined reality. At times a given legitimation may seem above question and the whole idea of human construction and interpretation may be hidden or lost. But at other times, for whatever historical reasons, the contingencies of human situations break through this covering and show how based in human interpretation and understanding the seeming absoluteness of the construction really is. Berger writes: "All socially constructed worlds are inherently precarious. Supported by human activity, they are constantly threatened by the human facts of self-interest and stupidity."[39]

    Zen appears trapped by its own rhetoric into idealizing key terms such as Master/roshi, Dharma transmission, and Zen lineage. It has divorced its own claims to authenticity from the sutras or any other canonical texts and based its legitimation on lineage. Inherent to this model is the corollary idea of Dharma transmission from enlightened Master to enlightened Master going all the way back to the Buddha. The Buddha represents ontologically, the nature of the universe as well as the epitome of human attainment. It is as necessary today to maintain the myth of unbroken lineage based on mind-to-mind transmission, as it was necessary for the Sung dynasty monks who created the myth and fought to have it accepted as historical fact. Otherwise, there is no way to maintain Ch'an's claim to represent the mind of the Buddha. It then becomes important to stress the ancestral connections, through mind-to-mind transmission, whether real or fabricated. The level of praise and sanctity attained in the human realm by the Ch'an patriarchs and succeeding teachers is a matter of concern to the living members of the Ch'an lineage, i.e. the living Masters and roshis. It is the prestige of the mythological lineage that affords the living teachers their privileged position in the Buddhist monastic tradition and the Buddhist world at large.[40]

    ReplyDelete
  136. part 3.

    Though the three terms Master/roshi, Dharma transmission, and Ch'an/Zen lineage may be looked at separately, in terms of authority in Zen, they are intertwined and almost function as a unit. This convention of transmission within a lineage requires that that which is transmitted be totally and authentically the mind of the Buddha. Importantly, there can be no partial transmission. Hence one is a Master or one is not a Master. There is no intermediate or equivocal state; no one is recognized as being " kind of a Master" or " almost a Master." If one is a Master, then one has perfectly realized the mind of the Buddha, and thus functions from the perspective of the absolute, a viewpoint beyond the understanding of the ordinary sentient being. In this sense, the Master stands in for the sacred, the mysterious living manifestation of true nature, Buddha Mind. Berger states the more general case thus, "Religion legitimates so effectively because it relates the precarious reality constructions of empirical society with ultimate reality. The tenuous realities of the social world are grounded in the sacred realissimum, that is, by locating them within a sacred and cosmic frame of reference, which by definition is beyond the contingencies of human meanings and human activity. The historical constructions of human activity are viewed from a vantage point that, in its own self-definition, transcends both history and man."[41]

    Hence, according to the rhetoric of Zen, every act of the Master is a manifestation of the living truth of Zen, every activity is a teaching if only the student can grasp it. Anything that seems wrong or problematic or contradictory is due to the student's lack of insight into the absolute, or the Buddha Mind, from which all the Master's insights and actions arise. This model leads necessarily to an idealization of the Master/roshi. As the embodiment of the Buddha's enlightened Mind, the Master is totally beyond all our comprehension and hence exempt from our understanding and all judgments. It is no wonder that much of the behavior one sees around American Zen Centers might appear cultish to the uninitiated.

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  137. Without poking anyone in the eye, I have always wondered why a lineage that reached "all the way back to Shakyamuni Buddha" was considered sufficient ... not to mention authentic. Isn't that lineage a bit truncated? And if so, who benefits from that truncation?

    I don't mind being told tales as a means of energizing my efforts, so if it's a benevolent fib, I can get down with that. But as something writ in stone ... well, how could that help but be counterproductive?

    I honestly don't understand this and would be grateful for some explanation. I would ask Nonin, but he has a tendency to delete posts that don't appeal to him.

    ReplyDelete
  138. As I commented to genkaku elsewhere on his blog ( http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com/2011/02/little-buddhist-nacht-musik.html ):

    For me, whether the lineage is broken or bullshit is not significant, because if you and I and others follow the Buddha’s Dharma, we are part of the ‘unbroken’ lineage.

    ReplyDelete
  139. Clyde -- No disrespect, seriously, but how is following "the Buddha's Dharma" different from "a lineage that reaches all the way back to Shakyamuni Buddha?" As I say, as a benevolent fib, I can get down with it and be encouraged to practice ... if not entirely sure of a factual meaning.

    After the fact, I can imagine being tentatively content with using such terminology as "Buddha's Dharma" or "a lineage that reaches all the way back to Shakyamuni Buddha." But before establishing the fact, both strike me as a pleasant (or sometimes authoritarian) wishful thinking.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Knockin' Nonin in the NogginFebruary 18, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Nonin said to Genkaku, on ZFI:
    "Take the opposite of the above and you have your views, and you also have some basic differences between you and I."

    Laughing out loud! In Junior High School we used to say (and thought that we were SO clever):

    "I'm rubber, you're glue. Whatever you say, bounces off me and sticks to you."

    AND

    "I know what you are but what am I."

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  141. zen preists and their liesFebruary 18, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    The point is that these priests and teachers lie. The are making up a story and telling their students that it is true. They in fact have Dharma transmission through a intact lineage dating all the way back to the "Buddha". This is almost equivalent to saying they are "God's son". We know what happened to that fellow. But what ramifications are there for these people to tell such a hobble lie to students who are looking for their own "salvation". It is a cult. Or the worse ponci scheme ever devised. Anyone caught doing this should be DUNKED. :)

    ReplyDelete
  142. zen preists and their liesFebruary 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    zen preists and their lies said...
    "hobble lie"
    oops....should read horrible lie.

    ReplyDelete
  143. Isn't this fabrication a basic outright breaking of a precept to tell the truth?

    ReplyDelete
  144. Zen priests ... said: The point is that these priests and teachers lie.
    ___________________________

    This may be so, but we -- whether Buddhist or not -- are still stuck having to winkle out the truth. And not just some I-know-so-much-better truth, but a truth that settles our lives, makes us happy.

    I always liked the story of Gautama extending a closed fist to a weeping child and pretending there was gold inside his fist. The child stopped crying. Gautama opened his fist. I'd call that a pretty good lie.

    It's sometimes a little more subtle than "liar! liar! pants on fire!"

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  145. genkaku;

    And I sometimes fail to see what is before me, so I apologize for asking, but would you restate your point.

    As I (mis?)understand your post, it seems to me that your stating that you see the Buddha’s teachings as “a benevolent fib” as if the suttas are not factual and whose meaning is unknowable, so unfollowable. And I don’t think you mean this. Or do you?

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  146. This is what I be talkin about sense i started posting here, in spite of the true believers and witch hunters. The whole zen institution is a house of cards. An illusion. It is false teaching. It is a huge reason these priests sexual abuse their students. They believe their own myth of power and greatness. I thought Buddhism helped rid us of delusion, but all these priests are doing is adding a tremendous amount of delusion to themselves and their students with their contrived myths and rituals.

    ReplyDelete
  147. "Hence one is a Master or one is not a Master. There is no intermediate or equivocal state; no one is recognized as being " kind of a Master" or " almost a Master." If one is a Master, then one has perfectly realized the mind of the Buddha, and thus functions from the perspective of the absolute, a viewpoint beyond the understanding of the ordinary sentient being. In this sense, the Master stands in for the sacred,...."

    This kind of dribble is so tiring. (get that into the archive) . You dark zen types are such a bore. Why preoccupy yourselves with zen at all? Go your own way. Enroll in classes at your local university to study buddhist phenomenology; write papers and talk to your blue in the face and let us zennies do our thing. Now the Truth? What a laugh.
    Nonin for president of Buddhist America!

    ReplyDelete
  148. zen preists and their liesFebruary 18, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    genkaku said...

    "It's sometimes a little more subtle than "liar! liar! pants on fire!"

    Oh come on now! These lies and fabrications that the priests are making to their students have HUGE ramifications. They actually strip the student of knowing their own mind. Now how is that "even in the ball-park" with living our lives in a cloud of uncertainty?

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  149. Clyde said: ... it seems to me that your stating that you see the Buddha’s teachings as “a benevolent fib” as if the suttas are not factual and whose meaning is unknowable, so unfollowable.
    _______________________________

    Clyde -- I like suttas and sutras about as well as the next fellow. I'll leave it to others whether they are "factual" or not. But their instruction is recommended by some and followed by others, sometimes with good results.

    But if I did not know how to ride a bike and if a friend gave me a book about how to ride a bike and if I followed the instructions and eventually learned how to ride a bike, I don't think I would any longer put much stock in the book itself. Helpful? Yes. Kindly? Yes. Instructive? Yes. But as authentic as bike riding? I doubt it. So, in one sense, gently stated, yes -- it's all a benevolent fib.

    But maybe I need another instruction manual. :)

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  150. zen preists and their liesFebruary 18, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    Train harder said...

    "This kind of dribble is so tiring. (get that into the archive) . You dark zen types are such a bore. Why preoccupy yourselves with zen at all? Go your own way. Enroll in classes at your local university to study buddhist phenomenology; write papers and talk to your blue in the face and let us zennies do our thing. Now the Truth? What a laugh.
    Nonin for president of Buddhist America!

    It is soooo tiring to YOU, who obviously would rather be rocked to sleep than live your own life. You just don't get it. It is fabrication, myth, not real, can you understand? We are trying to get to the bottom of how this abuse in Zen centers keep occurring. You ever hear of Sexual harassment in the work place? Bosses "do it" to their employees? any clues yet mister ostrich.

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  151. Genkaku – Yes, there are many books and ways to learn how to ride a bike and once riding, we no longer need the books or the helpful parent who explained how and ran beside us. Perhaps we thank them, but probably not as we ride away in our new found freedom. Maybe later, we come to appreciate their help, even if we did it ‘all by ourselves’. Buddhism isn’t the only way. It’s the way for some and not for others. There’s room in this vast world for each of us to find our way, as long as we do no harm :)

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  152. Train harder said...
    "You dark zen types are such a bore."

    The essay "Means of Authorization: Establishing Hierarchy in Ch'an/Zen Buddhism in America" by Stuart Lachs

    appears on many other web sites. For example...

    http://www.engaged-zen.org/PDFarchive/Means_of_Authorization_Lachs.pdf

    You have something against "engaged-zen too?

    Mr. Ostrich is right!

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  153. clyde said...
    "There’s room in this vast world for each of us to find our way, as long as we do no harm :)"

    Then why would you defend priests who are misleading their students and putting themselves on mountains ( not pedestals ), can't you see the harm in this?

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  154. I don’t recall defending any priest.

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  155. You know like learning to ride a bike when we are young, an analogy to this myth making is the Santa Claus myth. It is a great myth, and I hope every child believes it. But after your 10 years old if you believe it you are weird and mis-informed. So the same goes with the zen myth of unbroken lineage and Dharma transmission. When we first start practicing Buddhism it might be a necessary myth, but after awhile we can go on knowing that it is just a myth, a story, and it is fabricated. To go on believing it is ignorance of the truth. Eventually we must face the truth that lies at the heart of our own mind, not believe in fanciful myths that we believed as children.

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  156. clyde said...
    "For me, whether the lineage is broken or bullshit is not significant, because if you and I and others follow the Buddha’s Dharma, we are part of the ‘unbroken’ lineage."

    That what Nonin was saying. Sounds like a defense to me.

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  157. There was a [shrug] after that:

    My words, my opinion. [shrug]

    and now a :)

    ReplyDelete
  158. 98% of zen practitioners believe all the myths.....zazen means "sitting", their teachers "know more than they do about the Dharma", you need to be in a physical Sangha group "to keep yourself on track", you need the zen paraphernalia "zafus, robes, bowls, incense" etc to be authentically practicing zen, your teacher has true "lineage transmission and is an authentic teacher with the appropriate credentials". What does any of this have to do with "being a lamp unto yourself"?

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  159. clyde said...

    "My words, my opinion. [shrug]"

    more like [smug] :)

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  160. Sorry, it was not intended that way.

    ReplyDelete
  161. What does any of this have to do with "being a lamp unto yourself"?
    ________________
    If you know that 98% of zen practitioners believe all the myths, you clearly know a lot.

    Will you give us some idea of your way of being a lamp unto yourself and whether it falls into the same myth-lined trap or not?

    ReplyDelete
  162. "Grown Ups said...
    You know like learning to ride a bike when we are young, an analogy to this myth making is the Santa Claus myth. It is a great myth, and I hope every child believes it. But after your 10 years old if you believe it you are weird and mis-informed. So the same goes with the zen myth of unbroken lineage and Dharma transmission. When we first start practicing Buddhism it might be a necessary myth, but after awhile we can go on knowing that it is just a myth, a ..."

    A fine explanation. Extrapolate from this line of thinking the newly arrived (last 45 years or so) active transmission of zen from Japan as that first decade of life for a child who absolutely believes the magical myth of a Santa Claus. It was new to us, this foreign religion with its fierce discipline and its priests in robes who spoke of enlightenment and self-realization. But we have grown up, and if you practice seriously you realize YOU are the lineage-holder in line to receive the ancestral transmission and teaching. You see with there eyes, lock eye-brows with the teachers of old. Inevitably from this flows gratitude, even to these flawed figureheads who, corrupted as some have become, in the least, they brought forth an idea, gave it shape and yes, a form, so that we could take up the Way. I'm very grateful to all teachers who have I have worked with and who themselves have committed to bringing forth this practice so that others can choose to follow, or not. Another chance to earn a million gold coins.

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  163. Does anyone else have the sinking feeling that that's all we're ever going to hear (at least without a court order) about the Shimano scandal from ZSS or its new abbott?

    ReplyDelete
  164. genkaku said...

    " If you know that 98% of zen practitioners believe all the myths, you clearly know a lot.

    Will you give us some idea of your way of being a lamp unto yourself and whether it falls into the same myth-lined trap or not?
    February 18, 2011 7:18 PM "

    Well, this thread is not about me, or what I know. It IS about corruption in the hierarchy in the zen institution of DBZ NYZ, SFZC, and many other institutional zen centers. Specifically about Eido Shimano. Who is another priest who claims direct lineage transmission that goes all the way back to the "Buddha". When visiting these zen centers it is not hard to tell that 98% of the practitioners have come to believe in the fabrications of these priests and follow there example in ALL the rituals. The emphasis is on being a good Buddhist, and to do this one must do as the priest says and does. It's a no brainer, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out it is a cult.
    Even the message of the "Buddha" is very simple and concise. It is up to each individual to work out their own salvation and be a lamp unto them self. If this is too bewildering to people and they need a teacher to guide them for awhile, so be it. But continued reliance on being taught cripples the humans progress in growing into a full human being. I have no intention of teaching anyone on this thread, i am only attempting to warn them of the dangers involved in following deceptive priests and teachers who almost always make a living at being tour guides of Buddhism. That IS what this thread is about. Stay with it.

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  165. We will survive said...
    "It was new to us, this foreign religion with its fierce discipline and its priests in robes who spoke of enlightenment and self-realization. But we have grown up, and if you practice seriously you realize YOU are the lineage-holder in line to receive the ancestral transmission and teaching."

    The Buddha nature is within every human being. If one has a spiritual friend to remind them of this, great. If they come to this understanding on there own, great. Gratitude to the guide is appropriate, but most guides do not really care about that. They are more interested in others becoming the full human being they are capable of. Professional priests and teachers are not usually concerned with this. They are more concerned with keeping their job, and keeping the students dependent on them and the rituals they prescribe. If they didn't they would be out of a job and have to find real work and probably live a lot worse off ( materially ) than they do as a priest.
    If one is after gold coins/merit it is a big mistake. It is not Buddhism but selfish egotistical gain. Knowing ones own true nature is all that you receive when you follow the way of the "Buddha". Anything less or more is fabrication.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Christopher said...

    "Does anyone else have the sinking feeling that that's all we're ever going to hear (at least without a court order) about the Shimano scandal from ZSS or its new abbott?"

    Yes, business as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  167. Christopher said...

    "Does anyone else have the sinking feeling that that's all we're ever going to hear (at least without a court order) about the Shimano scandal from ZSS or its new abbott?"
    ____________________________________

    Like "being in love," outrage runs out of steam.

    ReplyDelete
  168. zen preists and their liesFebruary 19, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    In the case of Eido and Genpo being considered Dharma heirs and zen masters, it is true that they both started out believing in a fabrication, or lie. They were supported by many people in this con game. Both students and fellow zen masters and teachers supported their self-aggrandizing illusion/delusion. When anyone starts with a lie, they just keep digging their hole of deception deeper and deeper. Finally they are unable to be authentic, and fall back on ritual and reliable persuasion.
    If this is true for Eido and Genpo, then what is going to prevent others who start with the lie of being like the "Buddha" through lineage and Dharma transmission, from mis-leading students, or at worse abusing them?
    The same is true for Nonin over on ZFI. No other point of view is tolerated, because he is a zen master descended directly from the "Buddha". Which puts him/them far above us groveling human beings. But he/they start with totally unethical premise, and then continue to build a mythic world of fabrication and deceit. Digging their unethical zen world into a den of inequity. They themselves describe a master as one who has mastered the ethical precepts. But they have, with their first step, broken the precepts. The whole system is broken. No matter what they teach, it is chicanery. They are "snake oil" salesman. Please be warned not to fall under their tutelage or for that matter any zen master or teacher. If you need a guide to help you learn to meditate, find a spiritual friend who has only your best interest in mind, and can devote themselves to your well-being. The shot gun approach is lacking in true compassion. It is a total distortion of the way of the "Buddha".

    ReplyDelete
  169. Yup ... and some of the greatest dictators once manned the revolutionary barricades.

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  170. truth and consequencesFebruary 19, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Or some of the greatest revolutionaries "spoke truth to power", so we no longer had to cater to the rule of dictators.

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  171. Perhaps it might be worthwhile to take a look at Uchiyama Gudō (内山 愚童), the Sōtō Zen Buddhist priest and anarcho-socialist activist executed in the High Treason Incident. He was one of few Buddhist leaders who spoke out against the Meiji government in its imperialist projects. Gudō was an outspoken advocate for redistributive land reform, overturning the Meiji emperor system, encouraging conscripts to desert en masse and advancing democratic rights for all. He criticized Zen leaders who claimed that low social position was justified by karma and who sold abbotships to the highest bidder.

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  172. Beautiful!! That is compassion and that guy was a Buddhist.

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  173. More from Wikipedia:

    "In 1993, the Sōtō Zen sect restored Gudō's status as a priest citing that "when viewed by today's standards of respect for human rights, Uchiyama Gudō's writings contain elements that should be regarded as farsighted" and that "the sect's actions strongly aligned the sect with an establishment dominated by the emperor system. They were not designed to protect the unique Buddhist character of the sect's priests"

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  174. So the revolutionary reformers always get cast out, leaving the uninspired, uncompassionate dregs who cater to myth and revel in hierarchy rather than human rights and selfless action.

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  175. It was Shimano's attempt to cast out Kobutsu that led to his downfall. It seems Shimano made a grave error heh...

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  176. "Does anyone else have the sinking feeling that that's all we're ever going to hear (at least without a court order) about the Shimano scandal from ZSS or its new abbott?"

    What specifically do you want to hear? What do you feel is owed to you to hear? What have you directly asked (the ZSS Board) to tell you?

    ReplyDelete
  177. Relay the Answers, or Lack Thereof, Please, Thank You.February 19, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    "The Zen Studies Society Ethics Committee can be reached at zssethicscom@gmail.com. The ZSS Board can be reached at zssboard@gmail.com."

    ReplyDelete
  178. "What specifically do you want to hear? What do you feel is owed to you to hear? What have you directly asked (the ZSS Board) to tell you?"

    Dear friend,

    It's funny that you should ask this of me, of all people, since I did in fact write the board a long public letter back in September (it's in the archives), and have been more or less dogging them via various internet postings ever since. And, since we're on the subject, I have also separately emailed a former board member, and once even went so far as to accept Genjo Marinello's offer of communicating "in private" about the issue. All to no avail.

    But that aside, re. what I "feel I am owed to hear": without going into specifics, I'll just say that the recent forthright and professional disclosures by the board at the Kanzeon Zen Centre is a good example of how a feeling of transparency can be achieved in such situations. And that's just vis-a-vis the general public like me, let alone the dozens - if not hundreds - of disgruntled, abused and/or hurt former ZSS students, who I'm sure would give anything for even the blandest of (sincere) apologies by the board or the new abbess.

    I note, by the way, that at least one victims group (CSSF) has given up waiting for the board altogether, and have finally taken the matter of starting to heal decades of abuse into their own hands. That doesn't exactly reflect positively on the board's relationship with its constituency.

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  179. Christopher wrote: "...the recent forthright and professional disclosures by the board at the Kanzeon Zen Centre is a good example of how a feeling of transparency can be achieved in such situations."
    ___________________________________
    Besides all the other cogent remarks, this is particularly cogent. Making some attempt to meet circumstances head-on is ... well ... a breath of fresh air by comparison.

    ZSS has been dogged and badgered in a hundred ways and, for whatever reasons, it has resulted in a transparency that is veiled at best and totally obscured otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  180. Dear Christopher,

    Sincerely thanks for your communication efforts. Your results exactly parallel mine, except that I have found dealing with Genjo useful and worthwhile in terms of my own expectations. Neither Soun or Roko have acknowledged my letters containing questions and/or suggestions. Chris P. responded "good idea!" to a suggestion to put Roko teishos on the ZSS website (but this was probably alreay planned, anyway).

    I still believe my efforts, unexhausted, are worth it. The Board deserves to be pressed on behalf of its Sangha. At some point, I will reconsider, probably after new by-laws are finalized. My main sticking point: Abbot/Abbess should be a direct report to the board, not a member of it.

    P.S. I think Sangha Stepping Forth has real potential and have asked to be on their mailing list (as a long-distance ZSS Sangha member).

    ReplyDelete
  181. An excerpt from the first article in the current ZSS newsletter (winter/spring 2010): "Rinzai Roku: Anroku (Record of Pilgrimages)
    Chapter 10:", by Eido Shimano Roshi

    "Nowadays, the sangha at DBZ is sort of
    “well-behaved” compared to old days.
    But I'm keenly aware that each one of
    you carries a big bag containing rebellious
    seeds. Every single day you are
    standing at a forked point: to be rebellious,
    or to be obedient."

    Let's examine this paragraph one sentence at a time.

    "Nowadays, the sangha at DBZ is sort of
    “well-behaved” compared to old days."

    What a disappointment for the Roshi. Word must’ve gotten out.

    "But I'm keenly aware that each one of
    you carries a big bag containing rebellious
    seeds."

    The Roshi's own "big bag of seeds" has established him as the seminal figure in the parturition of the first litter of American Rinzai dharma pups. If only we knew who the mother was....

    “Every single day you are
    standing at a forked point: to be rebellious,
    or to be obedient."

    Along with dwelling in the absolute, Roshi has obviously mastered non-duality. Being a Zen Master, he is only saying this to foster our awareness of our own regrettable split-mindedness. Hmmm...rebelliously leave the zendo or obediently perform sexual and financial favors for the Roshi? Decisions, decisions...must remember loving kindness…don’t criticize…exercise compassion…no self, no other...don’t wait too long. And if I do leave the zendo and sangha, however will I practice? Where will I go? What will I do? Okay, Roshi, I’m ready now….

    ReplyDelete
  182. In the tradition of a Sean Hannity, Kobrutus, the Humble Architect, has attached two unrelated paragraphs to advertise the Paul Schireson Sweeping Zen article of 2/14/11 that he has added to his archive, making the second paragraph seem as if it is an uninterrupted, and related, continuation to follow immediately after the first. It isn't, and shouldn't. The second paragraph should at least have included the following excerpt, also from the Schireson letter:

    "I saw some of this in my own early experience of residential practice with a spiritual teacher. The teacher, not connected to the Zen tradition, was a brilliant man who had many profoud things to say to the community and to each of us individually ..."

    Without it, one is led to believe that Schireson was writing about Eido Roshi, and not his own teacher, in the second paragraph.

    ER's shit can stink all on its own. It doesn't need anyone's embellishment.

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  183. Metal Head:

    The use of end quotes after the first paragraph indicates that the quotations are separate.

    ReplyDelete
  184. Yes, everyone will think that.

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  185. Notwithstanding, the shoe fits perfectly.

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  186. "the shoe fits perfectly. "

    Not unlike this choice morsel from Roko in the current ZSS newsletter, p 11:

    [quote]
    What did Hyakujo do? He exposed himself,
    saying, “It's a wild duck.”
    [end quote]

    ReplyDelete
  187. Buy ER an orgasmatronFebruary 19, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Yes, as Schireson would have intended.

    ReplyDelete
  188. Here is a post I found about a monastery without certified teachers....might be an alternative to creating more zen centers....

    part 1

    There was a guy who lived about 2489 or so years ago, who did an
    interesting and remarkable thing with his life. He invented psychology
    and a "way" that differed from the Brahaminists and their religion around
    him. He came from a family in the northern part of India (Nepal). Legend
    has it that he came from a 'royal'family and was a prince. So this guy
    called Gottama , well these days was what we would call a white bread
    boy, Certainly he wasn't from the hood. Daddy was rich and with the
    sangha, ran the place. But the kid, over-protected as he was, wanted to
    amount to something spiritually, and do something besides ruling over
    everyone in the area. There are all sorts of legends about the man who
    was to become the buddha, but then there are lots of whispers and stuff
    about Michael Jordon. Who knows how many of them are true, except
    for Michael. And so tales were told about the buddha's origin, none of
    which have anything to do with his achievement, that of mastering his
    own mind in a new creative way, still unmatched (mostly) in the world
    today.

    So, he sneaked out of this father's palace and went off to find
    god, or himself, or the universe, and began to practice in the ways of
    the saddhu's around him. It was fairly common for men (in what was to
    become the hindu culture) after they had raised their families and had a
    son to take over the household, to leave their possessions, go the
    jungle, with a sheet wrapped around them and they lived by begging for
    their food. Buddha was just starting the process a little early, but
    since he had a son, it was fairly typical...no big deal.(although his son
    was still an infant.)

    Wow, try living like that in America today. Not only would you probably
    starve to death, you would even get hassled in many places for begging
    and not meeting America's standard of the work ethic.( And get arrested
    for child abandonment)
    And he didn't get anywhere. He tried starving himself and doing all
    sorts of weird stuff. Stuff the bramhin priests told him and stuff the
    Jaine saddhu's were doing, and none of it did anything for him.(except
    make him very thin and he almost starved to death) So he invented
    his own way through his meditation and practices of his own devising.
    And in the process, dropped the god-idea and the soul-idea. Really a new
    view. And he said, everything you know is or can discover, is
    determined by how your mind works and how it is constructed. Stop
    fooling around with other stuff and start investigating mind stuff. And
    he taught people who gathered around him for the next xxx years. Then
    he died at the age of 60 or so. Some say from a meal of suckling pig,
    which poisoned him, and there are lots of stories about that subject too.
    Too many to quarrel about anyway.But he did say some interesting things
    about how if you chose this path, you had to go upstream, against the
    tide of common thought.
    You have to find your own way. And he taught that we should not accept
    anyone else's word for a truth, but should investigate it for itself.
    Wow, if he could see how Buddhism is practiced today. With all of it's
    versions, and truths and entanglements.

    ReplyDelete
  189. part 2

    So today, we have all these suttras written in Pali and Chinese and
    stuff, and scholars argue endlessly about what they mean. I mean it is
    fairly obvious from the writing, that a lot of different folks had a
    hand in writing this stuff and we can only infer what it means. But we
    can practice what he taught.

    We can stop mentation and still the mind and eventually if we are doing
    it correctly, we come to understandings and can reach nirvana (although
    there are myriads of quarrels about that too).

    Now the philosophy of pragmatism was invented in America, and some of
    that philosophy sounds very much like what the buddha said and taught.
    But what the buddha said and taught was not only a new philosophy
    for it's time, but it was also the invention of psychology. He said it
    wasn't so important to know why something was true about the mind, but to
    simply stop doing stuff that made us neurotic and ill, i.e. that
    caused suffering in our lives. He said," stop mentation". No checking to
    see what you think about things.

    Or to check constantly "how you feel" about something. Just still the
    mind of all that nonsense. Think when you need to think, but stop
    making a bad habit of it. No stopping to see how you feel about this or
    that. Still the mind and it will change the way you see reality in a
    major way. The world won't change, but the way you look at things will.
    And the buddha taught that the secret to this changed view, besides
    stilling the mind, was to rid oneself of the "illusionary self." See the
    "SELF" for what it is, and go on with your life.

    Stop putting concepts between you and reality, like a soul, or a god, or
    gods. See it the way it is. (raw sensation) And be careful to stay open
    and free. And stop believing in ideas and things. In fact, some think
    he told us to give up believing anything. And develop your mind by
    meditation. (A form of discipline) And don't check to see often what you
    have stored in the closets of your mind, dump the closets that you don't
    know are there. Those categories that govern your behavior without your
    being aware of it. True then, true now.
    And be truthful with yourself and others, it's easier to live a truthful
    life cause you don't have the burden of remembering the lies you have
    told.
    This idea was 'against the stream' in those days, and it remains 'against
    the stream' today. No one lives like that, except some buddhists. It
    is such a startling idea that the Brahaminists who came after the buddha
    co-opted his ideas and inculcated them back into Brahaminism.(The hindus
    are very inclusive in their religions.) They asorb everyone's idea and
    make it all part of Hinduism. Not a bad idea for religionists,( but
    it is questionable whether what the buddha did has anything to do with
    religion.) And the reasorbtion of buddhism back into Vedanta, turns
    buddhism back into what the buddha rebelled against in the first place.
    The Hindu's are still doing this...claiming the buddha to be one of the
    pantheon of indian gods.(a Khrisna incarnation, as it were) The buddha
    fought against Brahaminist ideas in his time...he would turn over in his
    grave if he knew how his message has been largely corrupted today by
    Brahaminists, some of whom call themselves buddhists.
    We think some of the buddhists found today have been corrupted in major
    ways. Now we don't claim to be pure and the rest impure. Such
    speculation is meaningless. But be very careful what you accept as having
    come from the buddha. The Buddha said everyone has to do the work
    himself, don't take our word for any of this, Search it out for yourself.

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  190. part 3

    We are not reinventing buddhism, we are merely doing as the buddha did,
    doing it ourselves. We are thankful for the lineages and past buddhas for
    preserving the buddhas' words for us. Thanks guys. We will take the
    words and leave out the all the other stuff.
    We are truely indebted to the ancient Ch'an practitioners of old northern
    China. If we were to homage to anyone, it would be to the ideas expressed
    in the story of Layman Pang.

    So in this small monastery (inspired by
    gotama) with rotten-falling-down buildings and a small creek running
    through it and bordered by high hills on one side and a rural highway on
    the other. It's peopled by folk, who like the buddha guide themselves in
    practices and meditation in a way perhaps like the buddha( or as close as
    we can get, depending on our understanding of the dharma he taught. Do we
    care that we are not 'certified' buddhists? Not really?
    Are we real buddhists as opposed to REAL buddhists? Who cares?
    We are more interested in stopping mentation than names and
    certification.

    We don't want to convert you, or take your money, or absorb your sons and
    daughters into a 'cult'. We will answer some questions once.
    Tourists are not welcome. Drop-in's are left standing at the gate. Phones
    are answered infrequently. E-mail is answered fairly often.

    At this small monastery, we think the message that the buddha left is that
    you can do it too. If you meditate and practice and read all the books
    and ignore them and practice and practice, you too can find freedom, you
    can unlearn the social,familial, cultural and religious conditioning and
    discover your own way to nirvana. The dharma will unfold from within.
    And if it doesn't, you ain't doing it, i.e. stilling the mind. So we
    don't have any resident teachers or gurus, we have spiritual friends who
    will make a contract with you to assist you in your search. Actually all
    that really means is that the monk who contracts with you, will make sure
    hat while you are fighting your invented demons, you don't wander onto
    the highway or fall into the creek and forget to wade out of it.
    We call our selves Buddhists, or Pod people, or whatever and those who
    live on the grounds take vows of poverty and obedience to the community.
    We have a tuliary abbot, but he is asleep and it is best to conduct
    your business in a way so as to not awaken him. Our cat is a tulku.
    We work to understand the imaginary self and thus we find the illusion of
    "we" spaces equally confusing. One of our monks, a few years ago, told a
    newcomer to the place the most memorable thing we have ever heard
    said about the place. Bro. Mark, affectionately called the dead monk,
    said,"It is not easy to simplify your life, although at first it would
    seem so."
    Currently the media and fashion are all agog over Buddhism, as recent
    movies have made it fashionable. People tend to think of buddhism as
    something from the east, but it has been a part of the American Scene
    since the 1800's. Though most American buddhists tend to be fairly
    invisible in their community.

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  191. part 4

    An Announcement:

    The leader of Tibetian buddhists is the head of state. He is probably a
    nice man, but he in no ways speaks for even a small portion of the
    buddhists in the world. And the situation is that he is the leader of the
    exiled government of Tibet. Mixing politics and spiritually is probably
    not a very workable idea for most of us.
    Buddha was a prince, and he chose to leave that environment and become a
    saddhu. We question the value of having a buddhist pope, but that is the
    situation and choice of the Tibetan people. We hope it was their choice
    and not the holdover of a feudal system in which only the titled and
    wealthy chose.
    However it came about, it is not our choice.

    And then we come to the argument, is buddhism a religion as practiced by
    some, or is it a "way"as practiced by others or is it best seen as a
    psychology. We don't know or care, and people of all persuasion are
    welcome, as long as you don't push your views into others lives. After
    all, if coping with the illusionary self is an aim, having strong opinions
    would seem to be boxing one's self in rather tightly.
    But we recognize that it is necessary to check periodically to insure that
    we are walking the walk, and talking the talk, without falling back into
    he habit of mentation. And that we are not espousing views that would
    cause the buddha to denounce us, were he living today.
    A lot of our how we try to live is expressed in the concepts of the
    Ch'an/Chan of old north China. Their records indicate to us that most
    buddhism as far as we are concerned is mostly about waking and stilling
    the mind.
    The way we work:
    One of the monks living here, might contract to help you teach yourself,
    meditation, skillful means, humor,insight, how to seek self wisdom, cook,
    garden, play guitar or to run a computer, etc. There is never a fee for
    any of our assistance, for we have learned that the exchange of material
    goods merely lends itself to unnecessary complications when it comes to
    spiritual understandings. If you ask any of us the most important thing in
    each of our lives, it would be practice, practice,practice. (And stop
    mentating) If you don't know what we mean by practice, it is time for a
    long search within and begin the practice of insight into the illusionary
    self.

    Our first question is always, to see if you can still the mind. That
    should always be the first goal of your practice, if your are silly
    enough to listen to us. One of our monks has spent many years of research
    on dreams and inquires of each monk in the morning, "Did you dream?"
    Another has researched astrology and all of it's spiritual
    ramifications.(And discarded quite a lot of this, but it is a body of
    knowledge that goes back 3000 years.( A lot of junk, but some good stuff
    too.)

    Monk is a generic term and does not refer to male or female in this place.

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  192. part 5

    We give annual lectures at the local high school and at the local
    catholic school about buddhism.
    You don't even have to be a buddhist to live here.
    Traditionally monasteries in old china and other countries had people of
    other persuasions living in them. They enjoyed the stimulation that this
    custom provided.

    We live by contract in this community. Mad monks and
    native-american-backwards people are welcome here. That means we
    are tolerant, not slack. You would be expected to help provide an income
    for the monastery and work around the place. This place is not
    glamourous, but it is kept free from neurosis, romantic ideals, passions,
    and preaching. Escapees from life need not apply. Seekers are welcome.
    We stay as invisible as possible.
    The Monastery is supported by the monks cleaning house as a team. They go
    most mornings to all sorts of homes and clean. All monies collected go to
    the monastery community, and each monk is given a small stipend each week.
    e earn enough to feed ourselves and keep the wolf from the door, but we
    never seem to get enough to remodel the old buildings on the grounds into
    livable quarters for more monks.
    The monastery is located on 28.8 acres of creek bottom and surrounding
    hills. The creek floods periodically and we are awash for a while, but the
    sky's clear and once again life goes on placidly. Our hope is to
    eventually put small one -person huts in the surrounding hills to allow
    retreats for folks who need such.
    These would be for time spent pretty much alone except for an
    evening meal for some.

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  193. I'll only visit on the condition that someone there prods my breasts with a zen stick.

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  194. Christopher wrote: "...the recent forthright and professional disclosures by the board at the Kanzeon Zen Centre is a good example of how a feeling of transparency can be achieved in such situations."
    ___________________________________
    Genkaku wrote: "Besides all the other cogent remarks, this is particularly cogent. Making some attempt to meet circumstances head-on is ... well ... a breath of fresh air by comparison.

    ZSS has been dogged and badgered in a hundred ways and, for whatever reasons, it has resulted in a transparency that is veiled at best and totally obscured otherwise."

    One BIG difference is that Kanzeon Zen Center has the cooperation and support of a remorseful Genpo. ZSS does not have the cooperation and support of a remorseful Shimano.

    That is a BIG difference.

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  195. But you won't be sending your daughter to study with him now that it's all cleaned up....

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  196. "If one is after gold coins/merit it is a big mistake. It is not Buddhism but selfish egotistical gain. Knowing ones own true nature is all that you receive when you follow the way of the "Buddha". Anything less or more is fabrication.""

    "a million gold coins" equates to wisdom, not gold stars next to your name in big daddy's book of good and evil.

    ReplyDelete
  197. Posted at Sweeping Zen:
    PART I

    To Whom it may Concern,

    I am the eldest daughter of Maezumi Roshi and I am writing in regards to the situation involving Genpo Merzel Roshi and Kyozen sensei, former vice abbot at Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City.

    First of all, it has been brought to my attention that the woman spearheading the aggressive involvement of the American Zen Teachers Association and the White Plum Sangha is Jan Chozen Bays.

    This woman and Genpo were both students of my father and I remember them both well from my childhood at ZCLA.

    It may or may not have been brought to your attention that Chozen had affairs with both my father and Genpo in the 70′s and 80’s.

    This was not the only affair that each of these people had, but the only relevant one in regards for this letter.

    The fact is, her 5 year long affair with my father, from 1978 through Dec of 1983, was what caused the separation of my parents and was the reason my mother left the Zen Center of Los Angeles with my brother and I in 1983.

    She was pregnant with my little sister.

    My mother felt especially betrayed by Chozen.

    She says she hurt her most.

    She was our pediatrician; my mother trusted her with her children and opened up to her on a personal level.

    They were friends.

    She was also my father’s doctor, my mother’s doctor, Genpo’s doctor and his wife Hobai. It made no difference to her that she was married and my father was married with 2 small children.

    I was only 4 when we left the final time, but I remember the despair and confusion I felt at our family being torn apart.

    We went to live with my grandmother, and she never forgave my father and I have spent many years deprogramming myself from the utter distrust of men that took root in this formative time of my life.

    I remember my mother often crying and could feel her sense of abandonment, betrayal and loneliness.

    At ZCLA there was uproar and a strong contingent that wanted my father out of the position as abbot, and another wanted him to stay.

    After much ado, the vote was cast, and by the thin margin of one vote, he stayed on as Abbot and Roshi at ZCLA.

    I think the validity of that decision speaks for itself.

    It has taken me the last 7 years of intensive meditation and therapy to make any sense of the toll that “Zen” took on our family, and I realized that my suffering was caused by my expectation of him as a father.

    He wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot, but that did not need to limit me in my life the capacity for forgiveness and understanding.

    He was not a good father, or a good husband to my mother, but he was an outstanding teacher with a love for the dharma and a vision of liberation that took precedence in all he did.

    As an adult, in my travels and own seeking, I hear testimonials to his awakened Buddha nature and hear and see the proof of it in the difference it has made for so many other gifted beings to step into their place as teachers and facilitators of peace and consciousness.

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