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Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and others

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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby christopher::: on Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:19 pm

genkaku wrote:Follow the money:

"Eido Roshi will be attending DBZ for OBON on August 11th-12th. He will also conduct a special ceremony on Sunday with honored guests from Japan, to inaugurate the new Samon Gate for DBZ."

--- From Playful Moon

That photo from January 2012 is surprising, looks like he still dresses himself formally and presents himself as a Zen priest.

Oh well. Seems clear to me that those who were harmed by their experiences with Eido Shimano will find the greatest peace of mind and happiness by releasing any and all expectations of there being dramatic changes made as long as Shimano lives. It's just very unrealistic.

That's one of the sad lesson here, imo. Don't expect pigs to fly, trees to walk, or stones to feel remorse or grieve.
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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby Genjo on Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:22 pm

christopher::: wrote:
Oh well. Seems clear to me that those who were harmed by their experiences with Eido Shimano will find the greatest peace of mind and happiness by releasing any and all expectations of there being dramatic changes made as long as Shimano lives. It's just very unrealistic.

Yes, it is time to move on. Recently I was asked about forgiveness as it relates to Eido Shimano Roshi. As we know, just recently on August 12, 2012, Eido Roshi was scheduled to conduct a special ceremony with honored guests from Japan, to inaugurate the new $100,000+ Samon (Main Temple) Gate to Dai Bosatsu Zendo (DBZ), the Zen Studies Society (ZSS) monastery in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The current abbot of ZSS invited him, Shinge Sherry Chayat Roshi, appointed by Eido Roshi to be his successor. Many former ZSS students, including myself, and some current participants, including some ZSS Board members did not consider this invitation a good idea. In fact it is my recollection that nearly the entire ZSS board, at least when I sat on it, did not intend to invite Eido Roshi to this or any other ceremony on ZSS property, let alone allow him to “conduct” one (see: http://playfulmoon.com/EidoRoshi/segaki ... 2Email.pdf ).

Personally, I’ve come to forgive Eido Roshi for turning out to be a sexual predator who preyed on the most vulnerable female students under his care, resorting to date rape when he couldn’t get his way, and passing STDs to his students. Perhaps this forgiveness is not mine to give, as I was in no way abused or assaulted by him, but somehow I’ve come to understand that he clearly had no capacity to control his impulses, even though he was confronted about his problem multiple times over the course of decades. I have no desire to see him in prison, even though in many states he would be in prison for having sexual relations with multiple females (often at the same time) in the “congregation.” And from my gratitude to him for serving many others and me in his role as a Zen Master, I even want him to have a decent retirement package, but not what appears to me to be the ridiculously absurd package he is insisting on. However, given the facts of this case, I could only support a retirement package that was contingent on Eido Roshi's complete retirement from teaching anywhere. You see, though he has my forgiveness and understanding, I do not want more innocent students exposed to his abuses of power and authority.

What I'm not yet able to forgive is that Shinge Roshi and the ZSS board continue to expose the ZSS Sangha to this man that still denies he has a problem, at least not any kind of problem that would require him to work on his culpability. What I also cannot forgive or understand is why they are bankrupting the organization trying to pay him his deferred compensation at the rate of $90,000+ per year in compensation and benefits, even though he continues to teach in New York and elsewhere around the world. (See: http://playfulmoon.com/EidoRoshi/where.html ). Unfortunately, Shinge Roshi has told me he deserves this amount, which is why I think she is unwilling to test the issue in court. Yet, by holding to this position, she and the board are indirectly funding Eido Roshi’s ability to continue to teach, exposing more students to his predations. As many know, ZSS is currently seeking to set up a conservation trust with the Nature Conservancy for about half of the DBZ property, an idea which I support, to fund the Shimanos retirement, which I don’t support or forgive (see: http://www.choboji.org/NC.pdf), as it will continue to fund Eido Roshi’s teaching and predations off property.

Even though I had to leave the ZSS board because I was tired of being asked by Shinge Roshi to cover up for Eido Roshi multiple times (see: http://sweepingzen.com/interview-genjo- ... es-society ), and my temple, Chobo-Ji in Seattle, terminated all affiliation because the Chobo-Ji board recognized that the ZSS was not adequately addressing those directly harmed or alienated, ZSS for better or worse will always be my root temple. Therefore, I am still hoping for its recovery, not its downfall.

However, to my knowledge:

1) No further exploration or healing with the wider sangha is scheduled.
2) The current operating ZSS bylaws have not been made public, I’m told because they are being worked on; however, this does not fit with any idea of transparency I'm aware of.
3) At this point the board is still essentially appointed, not elected, and the bylaw modification process is a board only concern.
4) The long awaited forensic audit of ZSS books examining other possible abuses of power and authority, promised since the fall of 2010, has no scheduled completion date.
5) An organizational apology for its part in not better protecting its own sangha over decades of abuse has never been offered and no published ZSS newsletter has ever stated clearly why Eido Roshi resigned as abbot.
6) Eido Roshi retired in the Fall of 2010, yet his possessions still clutter both temples to such an extent that Shinge Roshi has not even been able to sleep in the abbot’s quarters of either temple. It is as though these rooms have become shrines to him or are awaiting his return.

Many have said to me, “Shinge Roshi is doing the best she can,” but sometimes we must come to recognize “the best we can” just doesn't cut it, and if we are clear eyed enough to see this we must say so. In my opinion, Shinge Roshi’s loyalty to Eido Roshi is clouding her better judgment and hurting ZSS's chances of recovery. By supporting only the sangha left standing after another mass exodus, so many are ignored and left out of the process. At least this is how I see it.

In my mind, forgiveness can only come when one can reasonably conclude the abuse has stopped and those who have indirectly supported it have sufficient comprehension of the damage done that they have halted any direct or indirect support. All I can say is Not Yet. For myself, I will concentrate on my own practice with the Seattle Sangha, and I pray this is the last post I will feel compelled to make on this subject. As Christopher says, it is unrealistic that ZSS will ever actualize the dream I once had that it would become a welcoming temple to those who have been abused or alienated. It is time to let go and move on with our lives.

With palms together,

Abbot of Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji (Chobo-Ji) temple, Seattle, USA; psychotherapist and certificated spiritual director.

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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby Rujin on Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:14 pm

Genjo wrote:I was tired of being asked by Shinge Roshi to cover up for Eido Roshi

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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby Nonin on Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:40 pm

This is Genjo's view. Shinge's is quite different.

Hands palm-to-palm,

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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby Rujin on Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:54 pm

Of course, but what is the truth?
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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby Carol on Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:48 pm

Moderator's Note:

Posts with ad hominem attacks have been removed, along with posts responding to and quoting them. You know who you are and you know the rules. It's possible to have this discussion without stooping down to the name-calling/baiting/points-scoring level. Any more of that and I'll start issuing formal warnings. Please read the Terms of Service and Moderation Guidelines before posting here.
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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby Carol on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:09 am

Moderator's Note:

I have just removed several more posts. Everything that can be known about Eido Shimano and ZSS, and the past and current state(s) of affairs has been fully set out here by participants with differing points of view. Nothing new is being added, merely points scoring and/or personal bickering over whose allegations and views are more or less "true."

The spectacle we're witnessing on this board now is adding nothing to the body of knowledge or understanding, and is more posturing and insults.

I am locking this topic. The moderators will review whether or not it will be reopened. Nonin will be asked to recuse himself form the moderators' discussion, as he has been an active participant in the exchanges here. If you want to communicate your views about whether the topic should remain locked or be reopened you may do so by PM either to myself or to "Global Moderators" -- but NOT on the open forum.

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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby Carol on Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:30 pm


Thank you to everyone for their patience as the ZFI moderation team has reviewed the options moving forward. We have heard from members concerning closing this topic -- both pro and con -- and we have tried to take into account their desires, needs and views.

We have decided to reopen the topic for one purpose: to provide a place for reporting new information concerning changes in the Shimano/ZSS situation that may occur.

If you have such a report for posting please send it by PM to "GLOBAL MODERATORS." We will not approve opinion pieces or commentary or discussion. The moderation team may edit any post to eliminate commentary or opinion from an otherwise factual news report before approving it.

Moving forward, we will not allow open-ended discussion on this topic, for the following reasons.

The ZFI Shimano thread has too often been characterized by name-calling, sensationalism, games of telephone ("I was told X by Y that Z said..."), and other posting behavior that sits on the border of ZFI Terms of Service violations. (We encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the ZFI TOS for context.) Given that the Shimano affair itself concerns matters of secrecy, observer bias, abuse of power, truth, lies, institutional mistrust, and human frailty, it is sadly unsurprising that a topic devoted to that affair has produced just those effects.

ZFI is inadequate to the task of overseeing such a volatile discussion for several reasons:
  • Volunteer moderators can only oversee the TOS of ZFI, a tool that is inadequate to adjudicating the complexities that are inherent in this situation.
  • Internet discussion forum topics are inadequate to the human responsibility we have to the individuals and institutions involved, responsibilities the moderation team takes seriously through our Buddhist vows.
  • ZFI topics are repositories of posts by both known and anonymous members. Many voices are left out, including those at ZSS against whom very serious personal and spiritual charges are levied, the women who have been directly injured over the years, those who wish to remain students of Eido Shimano, those working without and within various institutional transformations, and many others who for whatever reason choose not to post here.

While we will post relevant, new factual information on the topic, we also recognize that any discussion forum topic would be woefully inadequate to the epistemological demands of this situation; we hope that no one will harbor the delusion that what is posted here is somehow "the Truth", with a capital "T." It is not. To encourage the broadest possible perspective on the matter, we wish to remind members that there are other places on the internet for the collection and weighing of the facts of the Shimano/Zen Studies Society situation, including:

    Sweeping Zen, which reports and posts commentaries on this subject;
    An Olive Branch, which is currently working with ZSS on their difficulties;
    Myoan Grace Shireson, who met with and held a gathering for women harmed by Eido Shimano;
    The Shimano Archive, where voluminous documents and commentaries are posted and updated regularly;
    Playfulmoon.com, a website put up by Eido Shimano's current students with announcements of his activities and retreats;
    The Zen Studies Society, where Eido Shimano was formerly abbot and Shinge Roshi is the current abbot, which may from time to time post status updates;
    Cho Bo Ji Zen Temple in Seattle, where Genjo Marinello Osho, a dharma heir of Eido Shimano and former ZSS board member, is the Abbot.
Those seeking discussion of the situation can post comments on the blogs that permit such discussion; Sweeping Zen, for example, currently permits such comments.

The moderation team of ZFI recognizes that sexual abuse, abuse of power, and other ethical transgressions are serious issues in Zen, in Buddhism, in religion, and in society. We encourage our members to read about and explore these issues, to ask deep questions in their own sanghas about how to handle such problems (and prevent them in the first place), and to seek outside professional help should such problems arise.

Finally, as news of other sex scandals will inevitably surface, we will carefully screen announcements of such cases to insure that they are carefully sourced, credible, and within our Terms of Service. If so, we will permit them to be posted as a source of information for potential students seeking teachers.

The ZFI Moderation Team

P.S. For a commentary on our decision please visit Sweeping Zen "Is Zen Forum International becoming like E-Sangha?" and add your comments there!
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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby Carol on Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:02 pm

Photos of the Obon and Sanmon Gate Ceremonies at Dai Bosatsu Zen Monastery provided by Genkaku.

DBZ 2012_Obon_1a.jpg

DBZ 2012_Sanmon_1a.jpg

DBZ 2012_Sanmon_2a.jpg

DBZ 2012_Sanmon_3a.jpg

DBZ 2012_Sanmon_4a.jpg
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Re: Teacher Sexual misconduct -Eido Tai Shimano, ZSS, and ot

Postby Pedestrian on Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:59 am

Adam Tebbe at Sweeping Zen is reporting that Eido Shimano is suing the Zen Studies Society:

Eido Shimano, former Abbot of Zen Studies Society, and his wife Aiho Shimano, are currently suing Zen Studies Society for damages in excess of $2 million USD in New York court. The couple allege that Zen Studies Society breached their contract with them and claim that they have not received any retirement payments since August of 2012.

More information at the link above. You can also read ZFI member Adam Fisher/genkaku's blog entry here, which also contains a link to a pdf of the suit in the Shimano Archive. Both Sweeping Zen and Genkaku-Again provide opportunities for discussion and commentary.
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Re: Eido Shimano's lineage...

Postby Spike on Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:52 pm

Important Letter from the Zen Studies Society

The Zen Studies Society Board via zenstudies.ccsend.com
9:31 AM (16 minutes ago)

to me

Dear Sangha and Dharma Friends,

The Zen Studies Society Board of Directors would like to provide you with an update on several significant issues and challenges currently facing the Zen Studies Society.

As most of you are aware, we asked Eido Shimano Roshi, the Founding Abbot of the Zen Studies Society, to resign from the Board in July of 2010 after a student revealed an affair with him. He acknowledged that breach of our ethical guidelines, and the Board duly reported the sexual misconduct incident to our insurance company. We also asked Eido Roshi to retire as Abbot of the Zen Studies Society; he did so in December 2010, and Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi was appointed Abbot on January 1, 2011.

While we fully acknowledge and are deeply saddened by this incident and allegations of other ethical breaches on Eido Roshi's part, we do remain grateful for his visionary work in founding New York Zendo and Dai Bosatsu Zendo and for his five decades of inspiring teaching. We wanted to provide appropriate care for our teacher and his wife, Aiho Yasuko Shimano, after their retirement, and we trusted that we could come to a harmonious and reasonable agreement with them on a retirement pension. We have since tried in good faith to negotiate a retirement settlement with a succession of five different attorneys representing the Shimanos. Progress has been quite slow, and we have been required to keep these discussions confidential.

Then on January 3 of this year, through their newest attorney, the Shimanos filed a multi-million-dollar public lawsuit against the ZSS. We are profoundly disappointed in the court suit, but will continue to seek a settlement that supports our non-profit financial responsibilities appropriately. Litigation is a very expensive process; we intend to finance a defense that protects the mission and well-being of the ZSS in a manner guided by Board Best Practices and non-profit standards.

As a result of this filing of a public lawsuit, confidentiality has been lost. We are now able to share more information on how we have moved to address Eido Roshi's ethical misconduct and negotiate our financial responsibilities to him. The details about the lawsuit and the history of our financial negotiations with the Shimanos are as follows:
The lawsuit filed by the Shimanos in January of this year charges ZSS with discontinuing to pay them according to a Deferred Compensation Agreement (DCA), which Eido Roshi presented to the Board in December 2010, when he was about to retire. Although the DCA had been written in 1995, it wasn't signed until the year 2000 (by then-Vice Abbot and Board President Jiro Fernando Afable). No financial planning to support the agreement was done, and no funds were ever put aside for it by former Boards that were led by Eido Roshi.

The DCA called for a pension of 70 percent of Eido Roshi's and Aiho-san's final year of salary, plus ongoing housing costs, life insurance, housing insurance, health insurance, phone, and utilities. The DCA mandated a four percent annual salary increase, and we anticipated that the annual costs other than salary would increase proportionately, if not at a higher rate. One of our projections showed DCA expenses would exceed $1.8 million dollars over the first fifteen years (starting in 2011). The DCA is for life, though, so the duration and total payments could not be known with any degree of certainty.

The Board made monthly payments to the Shimanos during 2011 and most of 2012, while attempting to restructure the unfunded DCA into something more manageable. In 2011, direct payments to the Shimanos and other costs associated with support of the DCA totaled $98,534.57. Note: Sangha donations were not used for those payments; they have been used only for operating costs at our two facilities. During this period, we communicated to Eido Roshi on numerous occasions our concern regarding the lack of funding for the DCA.

In addition, there are serious issues concerning both the validity of the DCA and whether it is appropriate to make payments under the DCA when Eido Roshi may be liable to the Society for actions he has taken that have harmed the Society.

In August 2012, we were advised to discontinue pension payments to the Shimanos until a settlement could be reached through legal negotiations. We are continuing to pay their health insurance premiums.

In December of 2012, the ZSS Board advanced a proposal for binding arbitration to decide a fair settlement. On January 3, 2013, the Shimanos rejected arbitration, and brought a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the Zen Studies Society that includes a demand to pay the DCA in full as well as actual and punitive damages regarding their claim of ownership of buddhas, gongs, scrolls, and other items required for daily practice at the ZSS's centers.
We wish to share additional information about how the ZSS Board has addressed Eido Roshi's ethical misconduct:
In September 2010, the ZSS Board turned to the Faith/Trust Institute (FTI) for professional guidance in responding to Eido Roshi's sexual misconduct. In early September of that year, FTI led a meeting with Eido Roshi and the Board, as well as with the Sangha and the Board, at New York Zendo Shobo-ji. Their recommendations were: 1) that Eido Roshi end his tenure as Abbot; 2) that any students who wished to study with him could do so, but not under ZSS auspices; 3) that he make a public apology acknowledging his misconduct and his regret for harm done to ZSS; 4) that a formal financial audit for ZSS be undertaken; 5) that new ZSS leadership consult with Zen colleagues who had gone through similar restructuring to address misconduct issues; and 6) that the Board read Marilyn R. Peterson's At Personal Risk: Boundary Violations in Professional-Client Relationships. All of these recommendations were followed (see below for a progress report on the audit process).

Regarding Point 3, Eido Roshi did send an open letter of apology to the Sangha following the FTI meetings in September. However, many members had left after the 2010 announcement of the teacher-student affair, never to return. ZSS fundraising and sesshin attendance were badly affected by the negative publicity involving that most recent incident and the accompanying renewed attention to past allegations of sexual misconduct.

In December 2010, Eido Roshi wrote a letter to The New York Times that accused Mark Oppenheimer, the journalist who wrote an article about the teacher-student affair that Eido Roshi himself had previously openly acknowledged, of “obtaining his information from second and third-hand sources.” In this letter, Eido Roshi stated, “the opinions expressed therein are neither factual nor backed up by proof,” adding, “I have not resigned because of these false accusations.” His letter to the Times, while not published there, found its way to the Internet, resulting in a further deterioration of the ZSS's reputation in the Buddhist community at large and in a huge wave of letters to the ZSS Board (many in the form of open letters published on the Internet) calling for Eido Roshi's immediate removal.

As a result of these developments, Eido Roshi was asked not to participate in sesshins at DBZ or Shobo-ji, and the Board established a restricted access policy for him: visits were to be made only when necessary, and required a formal request and approval as well as supervision by a Board member or designated person. We did not wish to put any student at risk, and furthermore we had been advised that his unsupervised presence would be an insurance liability for the Society.

In May 2011, Board members held a meeting with Eido Roshi mediated by the founder of An Olive Branch to discuss allegations of sexual misconduct and a way forward. The Board wished to acknowledge problems and address them. Eido Roshi refused to work further with the Board on this topic.

At the end of August 2011, Shinge Roshi hosted an Open Sangha meeting, facilitated by An Olive Branch, at Dai Bosatsu Zendo. The goal was to address openly all concerns and issues, acknowledge past failures, and to seek Sangha feedback on how best to move forward. A historical timeline of ZSS events was presented, developed, and discussed. Attendees had the opportunity to bring up any and all issues of ethical misconduct. During this meeting many instances of affairs between Eido Roshi and his students over the years were referenced.

In October 2011, Shinge Roshi wrote an open letter of apology, saying, “In the weeks since our Sangha Weekend facilitated by An Olive Branch, I know we have been feeling deeply saddened by what we heard. I want to express my sorrow for those harmed by affairs with their teacher, for the many who have suffered feelings of betrayal and disillusionment, and for the ensuing bitterness and divisiveness that have occurred”

In January 2012, new members with professional non-profit experience joined the ZSS Board. Three facilitators from An Olive Branch led the Board in a Non-Profit Best Practices weekend retreat at Dai Bosatsu Zendo in August 2012, and in an all-day Mission, Vision, Values retreat at New York Zendo in October 2012.
In addition, regarding current ZSS finances, ZSS board representatives met with Citrin Cooperman, an audit firm, in October 2012 to review ZSS financial procedures for 2011 to ensure that ZSS employs Best Practices in its accounting processes. We have retained Citrin Cooperman to conduct an audit of the 2012 books. We are also working closely with Veris Consulting, a specialist in non-profit accounting, on improving our system and procedures. Additionally, during the past two years the Board has engaged Goetz Fitzpatrick, LLC and the Law Offices of Eric Grannis to ensure that the Board maintains the highest fiduciary standards.

The events of these past few years have caused serious blows to our ability to raise the funds necessary for the continued operation of our temples. As a result, even discounting the financial liability of having to defend the Society from the Shimanos' litigation, we are now considering whether the sale of assets may be necessary. Please be assured, however, that we are doing everything possible to insure that our centers will weather these challenges and go on to a bright and vibrant future.

Despite our present difficulties, there is great enthusiasm for the practice at both New York Zendo Shobo-ji and Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji. We just finished a dynamic and restorative Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend Sesshin at Shobo-ji, with 30 participants. Many of the 33 students who participated in December's Rohatsu Sesshin at DBZ said it was one of the best they had ever attended. We had an excellent group of fifteen residents during our last training period at DBZ, with three ordinations; nine students will be receiving the Precepts on the last day of Holy Days Sesshin this April.

We humbly request the continuing support and counsel of the Sangha. We will keep you updated as we continue to do our best to uphold our ethical, administrative, and fiduciary responsibilities to the Zen Studies Society.

We wish you good health and happiness in the New Year. May 2013 bring a peaceful resolution and ever-deepening practice.

Let True Dharma Continue!


The Zen Studies Society Board of Directors:
Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat, Abbot

Soun Joe Dowling, President

Shoteki Chris Phelan, Vice President

Shinkon Peter Glynn, Treasurer

Jikyo Bonnie Shoultz, Secretary

Hokuto Dan Diffin

Tamon Jeff Hovden

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