The following correspondence between Shinge Sherry Chayat 'Roshi' and Jeff Shore, a professor at Hanazono University and a 30-year Zen student/teacher, appeared in the Shimano Archive this morning. Eido Shimano is Sherry's teacher and the man who granted her succession. He is also a man whose sexual and financial depredations over the years have sown egregious sorrow.
In the correspondence, Sherry asks Jeff to verify or discount the authenticity of Eido Shimano's position within the Rinzai Zen lineage of Soen Nakagawa Roshi. Shore replies in various ways, among them:
At any rate, I trust you are really serious about this, Sherry.
If so, then you realize that there are no legitimate "successors" to Eido, and that their role as teachers of Rinzai Zen is null and void.
No hemming and hawing here.
Without this, we cannot even begin.
|Shinge Sherry Chayat|
Lineage in Zen Buddhism (and elsewhere) is taken with a sometimes-insufferable seriousness. To be part of the written lineage is to gain stature and legitimacy. To lack such a connection is to devolve into and rely on the wiles of charlatanism and cult-dom.
Sherry makes it clear in her words that she plans to hem and haw, to ask, as in the old Zen metaphor, who it was who shot the arrow that now pierces her breast ... what family does the shooter belong to, what bird provided the feathers on the arrow, what wood is the arrow made of ...? Sherry speaks of her wish for "integrity" and in the same breath flees that integrity as a wounded man might wish to flee the arrow in his chest.
The correspondence is informative for anyone interested in and perhaps devoted to a Buddhist practice.
Zen Studies Society, the umbrella group that maintains both Dai Bosatsu Monastery and Shobo-ji temple over which Sherry presides, may want to consider contacting a good lawyer.