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

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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Shodo on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:25 am

Gregory Wonderwheel said:
There are some people who are shouting that anyone associated with Eido Roshi or ZSS, including Eido Roshi's dharma heirs and ordainees, should be forsaken for not having intervened earlier. But to say that Eido Roshi's dharma heirs or anyone associated with him is to be shunned just because of the association is like saying don't never buy a Volkswagen because it was built under Hitler's orders.


BAM!
Godwin's Law! :tee:
But seriously...

I have every intention on giving ZSS, Roko and Genjo every benefit of the doubt if they are successful at separating themselves from Eido Shimano and follow the Faith Trust's recommendations to the letter.
Doing that would be a wonderful 1st step in the right direction...
But anything less, no thanks - not interested.

I can only speak for myself.
"Before Arda you were, but others also, and you did not make it. Neither are you the most mighty; for you have spent your strength upon yourself, and wasted it on your own emptiness. No more are you now than an escaped thrall of the Valar, and their chain still awaits you."
-Hurin-
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Jundo Cohen on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:39 am

Gregory Wonderwheel said:
There are some people who are shouting that anyone associated with Eido Roshi or ZSS, including Eido Roshi's dharma heirs and ordainees, should be forsaken for not having intervened earlier. But to say that Eido Roshi's dharma heirs or anyone associated with him is to be shunned just because of the association is like saying don't never buy a Volkswagen because it was built under Hitler's orders.


Well, only if many of the managers currently running Volkswagon had associated with Hitler for 40 years, had at least known and tolerated if not participated in covering up the goings on for years, seem to be yet letting him hang around the Bunker for the time being, and were now negotiating to give Hitler a smooth and honorable exit from Germany saying that the past is past.

I appreciate that some people say they were late to this, and are trying their best to repair things. However, Hitler is still walking around the Bunker, denying his guilt.

Until the matter is resolved, the nation/Sangha should be shunned. When they have their act together, they ... like Germany ... can be welcomed back into the community of nations.

(By the way, I am -not- comparing Mr. Shimano to HITLER, for Buddha's sake! I am just following up on Greg's example).

PS ... I also know in my heart that Hitler was too just a victim of greed, anger and ignorance. As were the people he killed. All victims.

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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby partofit22 on Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:23 am

wishing someone experiences remorse is not quite the same as wishing they realize the errors of their ways, and experience the joy of seeing-
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Carol on Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:32 am

partofit22 wrote:wishing someone experiences remorse is not quite the same as wishing they realize the errors of their ways, and experience the joy of seeing-


Nine deep bows.

:rbow: :rbow: :rbow: :rbow: :rbow: :rbow: :rbow: :rbow: :rbow:
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Shodo on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:34 pm

Interesting...
From Joan Halifax Roshi... an excerpt newly added to the archives...

(AN INTERESTING TURN OF EVENTS: GRACE AND I WERE PUBLICLY
BULLIED BY ONE OF THE AZTA ZEN TEACHERS FOR OUR COMMUNIQUES,
INTERESTING PUSH BACK TO SAY THE LEAST. THIS IS JUST ONE MORE
PIECE IN THE PUZZLE OF THE CONFOUNDING BEHAVIOR THAT HAS
SURROUNDED THE SITUATION WITH EIDO SHIMANO AND A TYPICAL
RESPONSE WHEN WOMEN STAND TOGETHER AGAINST VIOLATIONS OF
THIS KIND. HEREIN A REDACTED VERSION OF ONE EXCHANGE, AFTER THE
FIRST EMAIL FROM HIM TELLING GRACE AND ME TO (EXCUSE THE
LANGUAGE) "BUTT OUT."


http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/2011 ... tserve.pdf

I wonder who it was... seems like utopia cannot be enforced after all.
"Before Arda you were, but others also, and you did not make it. Neither are you the most mighty; for you have spent your strength upon yourself, and wasted it on your own emptiness. No more are you now than an escaped thrall of the Valar, and their chain still awaits you."
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Nonin on Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:03 pm

Shodo wrote:Interesting...
From Joan Halifax Roshi... an excerpt newly added to the archives...

(AN INTERESTING TURN OF EVENTS: GRACE AND I WERE PUBLICLY
BULLIED BY ONE OF THE AZTA ZEN TEACHERS FOR OUR COMMUNIQUES,
INTERESTING PUSH BACK TO SAY THE LEAST. THIS IS JUST ONE MORE
PIECE IN THE PUZZLE OF THE CONFOUNDING BEHAVIOR THAT HAS
SURROUNDED THE SITUATION WITH EIDO SHIMANO AND A TYPICAL
RESPONSE WHEN WOMEN STAND TOGETHER AGAINST VIOLATIONS OF
THIS KIND. HEREIN A REDACTED VERSION OF ONE EXCHANGE, AFTER THE
FIRST EMAIL FROM HIM TELLING GRACE AND ME TO (EXCUSE THE
LANGUAGE) "BUTT OUT."


http://www.shimanoarchive.com/PDFs/2011 ... tserve.pdf

I wonder who it was... seems like utopia cannot be enforced after all.

It was me. Joan Halifax's remarks are self-serving and inaccurate. Here is what I actually said, directed to two people, Joan and Grace:

At this point, I urge you both to butt out of ZSS's business and let those on the ZSS Board do what they know that they need to do. They are also well aware of what needs to be done to heal their sangha, and this is no time to be making demands on the ZSS Board that you have no authority to make. If they want your help or recommendations, they'll ask for them.

Our letters have all been thoughtfully considered, Roko has responded to our concerns here on the listserv, and Joe Soun Dowling will make a statement outlining the course of action that the Board will take when it is finalized. You two are coming across as crusaders who think that they know best for everyone concerned. I, for one, am very tired of your attitudes.


I later responded to a message on the listerv from Joan thusly:

No one is asking you to back down on this issue, and I am not backing down on it either. I am asking that you just butt out of ZSS's business at this time and let them solve their own problems. You don't have a lock on the truth about the situation and what needs to be done, and you are inserting yourself precipitously in their currently very sensitive and difficult business.

Your statement about the issue not touching me in the way it has touched women is nothing but a red herring and a manifestion of 70's feminism, which most people, especially savvy women, have gotten beyond.


To further clear things up, I sent the following to Joan and to Grace:

In case you didn't see it, here's what I just posted on the AZTA website:

"It has come to my attention that some people thing that my use of the word "butt" referred to a person's ass. This was not so.

In my dictionary, the word is defined as 1. to strike or push (something) with the head or horns. 2. to srike or push with the head or horns. 3. to project. 4. butt in, Slang. to intrude in the affairs or conversation of thers.

My "butt out" was the opposite of "butt in." This slang phrase is so common that I'm amazed that people would not be aware of it and would post my comment elsewhere as a use of foul language. We all have our linguistic challenges and private agendas, but this is over the top."

Joan, your presentation on the Shimano archives included all that you said but not all that I said. You only included one statement of mine to support your skewed view of what I said. This is intellectual dishonesty.

You also tried to to present my remarks as an example of men downgrading women. I do not downgrade women and try to keep them "in their place." My remarks to you and Grace were remarks to you and Grace, and they were meant to downgrade your behavior and your "positions." If men had written your remarks, I would have said the same thing.

I've receive four messages from female Zen teachers that were sent to me privately. All supported what I wrote to Joan and Grace, but a couple of they said they'd wished I hadn't used such strong language. I'd print those messages here, but they were meant to be private, so I won't.


Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Nonin on Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:16 pm

All,

Subsequent to the above, Grace and I have corresponded privately and have mutually apologized. We recognize that we are working for same ends and look forward to more expressions of friendliness (without necessarily agreement on all matters) in the future.

We are co-signing the above statement and sending it to our colleagues on the AZTA listserv.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby genkaku on Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:08 am

The Buddhist Channel editorial: "Mr. Shimano, Please Stand Down"
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby sweepingzen on Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:18 pm

I have to say that I think Joan and Grace are doing admirable work. The ZSS had decades to prove THEY have the authority to clean it up. Now, in a time when we are very close to change, is not time for the community to go limp and silent as usual. With all due respect, Nonin, it was this attitude that allowed such things to occur for all this time.

In gassho

PS: Concerning Genjo Marinello, Osho, I just want to say that I do feel him to be a good teacher. I've had the good fortune to observe him at Kannonji Zen Retreat, the virtual temple we run in Second Life. I'll admit that a virtual environment may not be the best of places to gauge a person's conduct and behavior but he has always been willing to devote his energies and be there to help give guidance to those throughout the country without a local sangha. That sort of commitment says something about his character, if you ask me.

At the same time, I don't think it is unfair to ask the question: Why did this go unchecked for so long? Actually, to not ask that question is a bit abnormal and should be what gives pause to us. If true, Shimano's actions were not simply unethical but criminal.

As Aitken Roshi said in his final interview, albeit in his own grumpy way, "He's (Shimano) a crook!" Strong words coming from the late 'Dean of American Zen.'

I would also like to state that it's getting very old hearing people trying to save Shimano's reputation."Eido Roshi’s uncompromising and penetrating Dharma Eye, which reveals directly the luminous power of the unconditioned mind." If Roko Chayat believes that then perhaps she is too close to the matters at hand to see the situation clearly. It reminds me of the opening to Shoes Outside the Door by Michael Downing:

"I am the wrong person to write this story, and this seems to make sense to everyone. Early in 1998, I met Norman Fischer, then Abbot of Zen Center, and I told him that I did not have a Zen practice, was not even an aspiring Buddhist, had never meditated, ate more than my share of meat, and basically knew nothing."

"Knowing nothing is a great place for you to begin," Norman said. "I hope you end up there."

To my mind, there is far too much hot air being tossed around about the character of some people. At the end of the day, Zen practice is how we manifest all this understanding in our lives. It isn't about how many of my colleagues like me on a personal level.
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Carol on Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:03 pm

Calling on Grace and Joan to "butt out" when clearly the ZSS board needs all the pressure it can get to get over the hump into truly confronting the consequences of Eido Roshi's remorseless actions, is very strange. A number of American Zen teachers are writing letters -- many are published on Monkey Mind. I'm sure I'm not alone in gratitude to them for (finally) stepping up, speaking out, and not backing down. Failure to do so by so many for so long has been a blot on American Zen.

That's not to say that any one person's views about what must be done can be taken as the final word ... but the range of opinions about that should be fully expressed lest ZSS's history of doing too little, too late be seen as acceptable. Even this past year, while addressing the issue with more seriousness than before, they pulled back from removing Eido Roshi from teaching on the premises, allowed him to do a Jukai ceremoney and to teach sesshin, all after the Faith Trust Institute recommendations came out. This certainly gave credence to those who fear the whole thing is a farce without substance.

I have MUCH sympathy for those close to Eido Roshi, for the love they feel for him as their teacher who has been instrumental in their awakening to the Dharma. I also share with many others a deep disquiet about those same people rationalizing or minimalizing or discounting the suffering Eido Roshi has caused over decades of sexual misconduct and other abuses of power that were well-known even before the Simano Archives went public.

The conflict must be resolved in favor of clear ethical standards ... which means at a minimum removal of Eido Roshi from any position at ZSS, admitting and disavowing his conduct, making humble apologies not just for him but for ZSS, and to the extent possible making restitution.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like if one of my children or parents were to commit a murder? (I thought of it again in regard to the suffering parents of the young man who just did the shootings in Arizona.) How could I abandon them in their time of need? I couldn't. But neither could I permit them to evade the consequences of their actions, even if it meant I had to sit with them and bear witness to their execution.

I think this whole thing is a huge challenge to all of us who practice Zen ... to examine our opinions and beliefs and feelings and judgments, our shortcomings, our tendencies to avoid conflict while projecting ill-will onto others who are also working through their opinions, beliefs, feelings, judgments and shortcomings. This situation calls for action, firm action, and we're not used to that. We've cultivated a culture of equivocation rather than equanimity.

It's a very hard koan. How to act when circumstances demand action, while remaining compassionate in our hearts and not giving in to greed, hatred and ignorance. So, when we see someone like Eido Roshi -- delusional -- doing great harm and excusing it by raising the false flag of "the unconditioned", we'd best wake up. We'd best listen to those sounding the alarm, however unpleasant and jarring the sound. To think that silencing the alarm will eliminate the danger is also delusion.

So, I'm truly grateful to Joan and Grace and all the other Zen teachers who are not letting this go away, who are speaking out to the ZSS board and publicly. It was a long time coming.

Gassho,

Carol
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Kojip on Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:19 pm

As a marginal person looking in at this situation. The thing that stands out most is not that people are cowed by hierarchy, or silent in deference to a troubled teacher, or even his sexism, which is no surprise. It is that a half-baked notion like someone “dwelling in the absolute” while indulging his impulses and trashing his precepts can have any traction at all, with anybody. That view is the key. Without it this kind of thing would not go on for years. It points to a general sickness in Zen circles.




anyway... said to much , .....time for break. :achoo:
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Linda Anderson on Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:21 pm

Thanks Carol, and everybody. Just a comment, I won't give a comprehensive reply which your thoughtful response merits... and should be taken to heart by all to see the long shadow. It is a koan, no easy answers.

What I notice this morning is your comment about "the false flag of the unconditioned".

YES, this is an extreme case, but it happens in many other situations, as I well know. It is the one thing that disturbs me the most about zen in the hands of beginners. In fact, just last night, we were working on the koan about killing the cat if a saving/turning word is not spoken. It is beautiful in that it can bring one into the unconditioned oneness, on'es nature, but it stopped there... and there were the comments about "just cat, no death, being just ourselves, we can talk all night about right/wrong... but what will save us?" Seems like signs that the ship is leaning too far to the right into emptiness... So I asked "what about the blood" and received ill words about its author and "rigid" views on social activism which were oh so nicely prefaced by "but I love him." The blood was indeed discounted by the false flag and never addressed. For many reasons, this being one, I slowly back away and watch... where is the relationship to life? to human relations with each other?

There are so many signs like this that can be attributed to the blind spots in the Eido case, not to mention how the unconditioned can be appropriated for the abuse of power.

Now that I've heard the cat koan, I'm picking up on bubuyaya's poem in the zazen thread where he mentions the cat killer... part of the wakeup call...

Linda
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Carol on Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:07 pm

Linda Anderson wrote:Now that I've heard the cat koan, I'm picking up on bubuyaya's poem in the zazen thread where he mentions the cat killer... part of the wakeup call...

Linda


As I mentioned before, there are 3 great bodhisattvas in our tradition: Manjushri - Great Wisdom, Avalokiteshvara - Great Compassion, Samantabhadra - Great Action. All are necessary.

That cat killing koan points that out. Here's a good teisho on the case Nansen Kills the Cat by Barry Majid that I just found by googling. The universe provides.

:Namaste:
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Linda Anderson on Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:15 pm

:heya: :Namaste:
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Nonin on Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:26 pm

Carol said:
Calling on Grace and Joan to "butt out" when clearly the ZSS board needs all the pressure it can get to get over the hump into truly confronting the consequences of Eido Roshi's remorseless actions, is very strange.

I said that along with other things that explain the statement. It was said within a long discussion on the AZTA listserv about the best way to promote positive change at ZSS. Without knowing the full context of my statement, it must seem strange to you, Carol, especially since I was one of those who wrote a letter to the ZSS Board advising Eido Shimano's complete withdrawal from ZSS.

The AZTA listserv is a private service that can only be contributed to and read by the 110 AZTA members, all authorized Zen Buddhist teachers, who subscribe to it. The posts to the listserv are only to be shared with other subscribers, so they are to be kept confidential because we want to be able to speak freely on all issues without having to hold back on anything we say. We are all Zen teachers who lead sanghas, yet we are all individuals who hold different views some subjects, and sometimes we have pointed discussions and squabbles. We are also public figures, and we insist on confidentiality in our private affairs so our statements are not misconstrued, half-quoted, or cherry-picked and held against us in public forums.

Unfortunately, someone leaked our confidential statements. A subscriber to the listerv either forwarded the statements by Grace and Joan along with my comments and other comments to the Shimano Archives or forwarded them to someone off the listserv and they passed them on. Then, someone read them on the Archives and linked to them here on ZFI. As yet, we have not been able to determine who is responsible for the leak.

Grace's letter, her second one to the ZSS Board, is a public matter, but the other statements were not, and they should have been kept confidential. Since they were not and a link to them was posted here, I felt that I needed to respond, so I did previously in this thread. I should have said that I agree with most of what Grace said in her letter. My disagreement was with the timing of it.

I've probably said more than I should have said on this topic. I wanted to put it in context with the rules of the AZTA listserv, but I can't get into the meat of the discussion carried on there.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby just on Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:17 am

sorry to ask something that has been on my mind a while..Could anyone answer?(maybe only opinions?):

Is it possible to sue ES, and people like him, for sexual and financial abuse?

Im no lawyer, so thanks for any clarification!
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby moon face buddha on Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:02 am

Kojip wrote:As a marginal person looking in at this situation. The thing that stands out most is not that people are cowed by hierarchy, or silent in deference to a troubled teacher, or even his sexism, which is no surprise. It is that a half-baked notion like someone “dwelling in the absolute” while indulging his impulses and trashing his precepts can have any traction at all, with anybody. That view is the key. Without it this kind of thing would not go on for years. It points to a general sickness in Zen circles.


To what do you ascribe this 'general sickness'? Is it something inherent in Zen itself? Or has it crept in as Zen moved from east to west?

My thinking is that there has been, in some ways, an over emphasis on meditation and gaining enlightenment with a corresponding lack of attention to everyday moral/ethical practice. I am finding this discussion very interesting as it is causing me to reevaluate my practice.
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Linda Anderson on Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:23 am

moon face buddha wrote:
Kojip wrote:As a marginal person looking in at this situation. The thing that stands out most is not that people are cowed by hierarchy, or silent in deference to a troubled teacher, or even his sexism, which is no surprise. It is that a half-baked notion like someone “dwelling in the absolute” while indulging his impulses and trashing his precepts can have any traction at all, with anybody. That view is the key. Without it this kind of thing would not go on for years. It points to a general sickness in Zen circles.


To what do you ascribe this 'general sickness'? Is it something inherent in Zen itself? Or has it crept in as Zen moved from east to west?

My thinking is that there has been, in some ways, an over emphasis on meditation and gaining enlightenment with a corresponding lack of attention to everyday moral/ethical practice. I am finding this discussion very interesting as it is causing me to reevaluate my practice.


Moon Face Buddha,
I appreciate your vulnerability and openness in your reevaluation. If I may offer this... my first teacher (not Buddhist by lineage, yet by heart) often said that we are no longer in this for our own benefit, but for what we can offer each other walking together, or in times of crisis... it doesn't exclude the authenic zen heart mind, yet it doesn't belong to any of us... it has it's own life, walking together. Perhaps the sickness has a more solitary perspective, like the tradition that it came from. I have gratitude for the centuries of tradition, but I don't think imitation is enough in this changing world. I appreciate your question.

That said, our practice may or may not change and evolve. It's our job to follow it.
Linda
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby Kojip on Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:44 pm

moon face buddha wrote:
Kojip wrote:As a marginal person looking in at this situation. The thing that stands out most is not that people are cowed by hierarchy, or silent in deference to a troubled teacher, or even his sexism, which is no surprise. It is that a half-baked notion like someone “dwelling in the absolute” while indulging his impulses and trashing his precepts can have any traction at all, with anybody. That view is the key. Without it this kind of thing would not go on for years. It points to a general sickness in Zen circles.


To what do you ascribe this 'general sickness'? Is it something inherent in Zen itself? Or has it crept in as Zen moved from east to west?

My thinking is that there has been, in some ways, an over emphasis on meditation and gaining enlightenment with a corresponding lack of attention to everyday moral/ethical practice. I am finding this discussion very interesting as it is causing me to reevaluate my practice.


It appears to be an issue in some Zen circles. There are healthy Sanghas as well. The fact that unethical conduct can be included in "Dwelling in the Absolute", points to an aperspectival sickness. The fact that this view has traction points to a wider problem. As someone who has both a Theravadin and Zen background, there are two things I have personally come to know . Ethical problem are more common in Zen, and Zen is a much more difficult path to walk (freewheeling pop Zen aside). Embracing the full spectrum of life is far more challenging than simply retreating to uproot greed, hatred, and delusion. I think ethical wisdom is that much more important in Zen. So no it isn't a slam against Zen. Zen it is the way for me.
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Re: Sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers (was Eido Tai Shimano

Postby just on Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:33 pm

Imo, what ES is relating is a problem pertaining to the self, not the 'dreaded' emptiness sickness, which, in my discriminations, has very different symptoms.
And i dont think that his raising a flag of awakening, of 'abiding in the unconditioned realm', in this case is an evidence that these teachings are somehow, in their true manifestations, tainted.
therfore, ES has a problem of the 'self', not one that is 'inherent' in the teachings. imo.
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